Sunday, 29 June 2008

The weekend landed and went :(

I'm on early shift this week at work, which means I have to get up at stupid o'clock and drag my sorry backside into Swansea for a week, it's not so bad I guess at least I get to finish at 4:30pm everyday so I have "some" time to relax after work... it's not that the job is hard, it's hardly taxing physically.... it just requires me to use my brain from the minute I get in to the second I leave...... there doesn't seem to be any happy medium at work, it's either flat out and fit your breathing in around what you're doing, or staring at the walls watching the paint peel off slowly and believe me that's a long wait because the offices are brand new and immaculate.....anyway after work the big off switch is flicked and I join the traffic with all the other zombies working for a living and head off back home... every cloud has a silver lining I guess

This weekend has been pretty poor weather wise and ironically it brightened up the latter part of today (Sunday) and even got pretty damn hot.... and sorry but no real news, except the epic Shell Island trip is looming which perversely I'm really looking forward to, all those massive sand dunes the clear blue sea and warm beer in the chav pub, my best mate and his wife are coming along with their three kids so it should be one hell of a laugh, he is bringing his sea kayak and obviously his fishing gear so who knows we may even dine out on some mercury laden and partially cooked by Chernobyl's best quality Iodine 135 an incredibly ugly fish dragged from the very depths of our North Wales beach side camping area...

Oh our vacuum cleaner packed up the suck this weekend, well I say it doesn't suck that's not entirely true, it does but with the most deafening whine you can imagine.... health and safety would probably recommend you use ear defenders whilst it's on.... so after I stripped it down to find out where the almost jet engine like whine was coming from, several screws later and a vacuum cleaner that looked like it had been made safe by army bomb disposal on a bad day, it was soon apparent that the bearing had actually gone on the motor.... so time to shop around for another one..... the Frank Whittle designed upright cleaner has been offered on Freecycle with a warning that only the deaf or partially deaf should ask for it......

anyway we looked in the online laminated book of dreams (Argos website) and we immediately skipped over the stupidly priced ones... I say stupidly priced .....I mean anything over £50 and after much umming and ahhhh'ing and a £1 thirty day trial to the WHICH website.... we settled on a Samsung SC4360.... apparently it would have been a best buy on the WHICH website but they didn't have reliability data from Samsung on it.... but at £51.99 and coming in slightly over budget for my liking ;¬) it was picked up by my long suffering other half who insisted on visiting the Carmarthen boot sale at the same time......whilst I lounged around in my dressing gown watching Top Gear on Dave..... I would have got dressed but I dare not set foot into or around the bedroom for fear of waking Freya.....considering you only have to touch the door handle these days and she lays in bed with eyes wide open like a Vampire disturbed in her coffin in a bad Dracula film of the 1930's....

anyway it arrived home was assembled and Andrea says she loves it, I have to say it does have a ridiculous amount of suction for such a small vacuum cleaner and is remote control as well :)
(alas not remote control enough to get it to hoover the house)...... But I have to say vacuum cleaners do not hold my interest ....for long anyway....I'm just glad we have a nice quiet one now, instead of it sounding like she is testing Thrust SSC in every room

I STILL have the Jeep's tension bar to replace and it's a race against time now, because the brand new tyres are starting to show uneven wear again, but with my shoulder still out of action it's unlikely I will be able to even attempt it for another two or three weeks :( otherwise the only wrenching I will be doing is my shoulder.....again...

I'm taking time off Aikido even though our instructor wants me to attend (I bet he does at £4 a throw....excuse the pun ;¬) ) but it's seems pretty pointless to me considering I won't actually be doing anything even if I do go... But I shall be taking the Xbox 360 recluse religiously because he does really enjoy it... the only other thing of note is that he has got a job interview at a sports shop in Carmarthen !!! I'm really pleased for him, it will mean he gets out and meets real people and has some cash to spend this summer (and pay for his own Aikido !!!) instead of going a pasty white colour twitching his thumbs to extinction on some battle simulation game.... providing he gets the job of course, and Xbox boy being Xbox boy he has already spent the money and is lining up his todo list for the Summer.... he has given up on a car after he found out the insurance alone was over £2000 (third party)..... and was told in no uncertain terms that there was no way on earth either Andrea or I would put him on our policy....... Generous we are, but stupid we are not !!! ;¬)

anyway that's just about all the new news I have for you, I'll try and post more regularly but it's hard to find things to talk about when nothing is going on....... and there really isn't anything going on ..... just life

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Our 1st Anniversary.... :)

and how it has flown past this last year :) not sure if that is a good or bad thing, its all been a bit of a blur to be honest, but one year on we are just as happy as we were last year, if not more..... (sick bags third on the left just past the complimentary gallows for the truly sickened...).. anyway enough slush, the only reason I'm updating my blog is because two of my step children and their mother insist on watching Eastenders and I would rather stick pins in my eyeballs than sit and watch that dross.... but each to their own.

The second youngest had his birthday this weekend he got a DS lite from us with a brain training game that comes with it and a Pokemon DS lite game from Andrea's mum and dad, a book on how to play his guitar off his Dad with an Xbox 360 controller, which he was pleased with, and oodles of cash from various members of his extended family (well £30 but more than enough for a 9 year old boy) but above all of that, he finally got his kitten !!!

initially he decided to call it "Cuddles" but after much ridicule from the other family members (he wasn't going to get away with calling a cat "Cuddles" no matter how much he wanted to !!! ) he eventually buckled under the pressure and decided to call it Fifi, I think in honour of one of the Xbox 360 recluses friends (and now ours) Ffion who is coming camping with us to Shell island near Barmouth in August... Andrea and I have been before and we thoroughly enjoyed it, here's hoping the weather holds..... it's going to be quite a gang of us camping there, so many in fact we may well set up a driveway tarmac'ing business complete with transit vans and a clothes peg emporium, notice how I refrained using the word "Pikey" in all of that ;¬) well considering what you can and can't say these days and how many people get into quite frankly ridiculous trouble over piffling statements..... you can never be too careful can you ? ;¬)

Freya now has her two front teeth completely through and let us know all about them by chinking them on my coffee cup this morning in bed.... she really does have one hell of a lot of character in her, always has a smile, very rarely grumpy, and (thankfully) has slept through the night since she was eight weeks old..... not much to complain about really.... she is a star :)

We aren't going out to celebrate our anniversary because finances simply do not allow us, so instead I'm cooking our meal (God help her)... I held up two of the local post offices (it would have been three but I couldn't afford the petrol to drive to the last one ;¬) ) to scrape together enough cash to buy two lovely sirloin steaks.... so hopefully all will be ok after I slap them under the grill and cook them to death.... plus we have enough wine in the house to sink a small lifeboat, so tonight won't be so bad after all :)

Onward and upward :) here's to the second year ..... !!!

ps/ the picture of the kitten isn't ours but they all look the same to me (give me a dog anyday).....sigh

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Day two....

of feeling like my shoulder has been wrenched out of socket by a really hacked off and clumsy grizzly bear... it doesn't seem to be getting much better, it's worse in the morning, eases off through the day then hurts like a bitch at night.... having time off work helps but it also means I can't really get on with much whilst at home .... ah well, lets see how it is tomorrow.

weather wise it's been pouring down here all day practically, we've had the odd clear bit of sky but it doesn't last very long and now it's given up trying to warm up and is blowing a minor gale with stair rods coming down.....I mean what can we expect it's only June ?

I do feel sorry for those fuel protesters down in Pembroke, apparently their numbers have increased and they are being joined by taxi drivers and farmers, they haven't picked very good weather for it, I can't think of anything less interesting than sitting in your cab/car/tractor with the rain drumming down on your roof but I suppose they are at least doing "something" positive however futile it seems

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Aikido hurts !!

I went to Aikido last night, I had a bit of a sore shoulder from a week or so back, but thought (stupidly) that a bit of exercise would do it good.... how wrong I was... I'm sitting at home with a heat pad on my right shoulder grimacing every now and again at the slightest movement, it was initiated with move called "nikkyo" ..... it shoulder went pop and I went "ahhhh you *&^%"..... anyway what's done is done, I just need it to get better that's all...

I'm currently experiencing the joys of day time television with what feels like hot coals stuffed under my jumper, but it feels nice on the buggered shoulder..... Freya is currently in her tank battering it against the coffee table which my legs are up on, trying desperately to pull out the USB wifi dongle or power cable from the laptop and since I have moved the table towards her reducing her arc of "grab" she has turned her attention to my coffee cup which has now been about eyes in the back of your head !!! there is simply no stopping the little ram raider at the moment.... she is growing up so fast she even has her first tooth through !!! :) it's her front top incisor (the left one) God help Andrea now, it's going to be like breast feeding a piranha in a few weeks....

The only other thing of note are the Welsh hauliers protesting in Pembroke at the refineries, as I speak.....I've got to be honest I think it will come to nothing, we the people have been emasculated in the sense we can't blockade or burn sheep and have been reduced to standing on the side of the road holding signs saying how disgusted we are......mainly because of the new laws that have been passed, not many people are willing to be dragged off to jail for blocking fuel deliveries

Monday, 9 June 2008

A bar in the bush is worth two in the hand

quick pass me a brown paper bag.....I'm hyperventilating !!!..... no not really, but I'm sick to death of paying out for car repairs recently, I've found the problem with the Terrano's habit of chewing tyres off at an alarming rate, it's called the compression rod which is bolted to the lower link arm and terminates at a set of rubber bushings each side, one side is fine but the other is definitely not right and is too high in the bushes and is causing the caster and camber to be thrown right off.....

anyway I just rang up JJ Motors in Cross hands where I got the car from and they want £160 all in from compression rod to the nut on the end and all bushings to do the job both sides, fine I thought but I can probably get the bits cheaper elsewhere, it's always good to have a reference price.... then I thought.... (ding light bulb moment)

"Ahhhhh Ford brought out the Maverick at the same time which is a Nissan under a Ford badge and mechanically is identical..... they are bound to stock the same parts"

so I rang up the Ford dealer in Carmarthen and without even looking up part numbers or checking stock he came out with from the top of his head wait for it ........£173 for the compression rod alone (same rod £28 in JJ Motors) !!! and when it was all added up it came to a whopping £858 for two iron bars, 4 bushes, 4 dust covers, 4 washers, 2 sleeves and 2 nuts..... talk about profiteering !!! methinks the Ford part will be staying on their shelf for some time to come.....well until some sap parts with his money of course.... :) but it won't be me

I could probably get away with just replacing the one that has failed for now which will halve the cost otherwise the kids are on Jam and bread for the next two months to pay for it... it's that or replace the tyres in two months.......again :(

Fabulous Sanding weekend

We finally decided to rip up the carpet in the hallway and stairs, which quite frankly was a stomach churning paisley pattern in orange and a mixture of other colours but basically looked like several hundred ginger tabby cats had been skinned and stitched together in the most appalling gut wrenching pattern imaginable.... we decided that sanding and staining of the stairs was in order because they are in good condition and would look lovely... well lets face it ANYTHING would look good after removing the 1970's monstrosity we had down there...

Now I DID have a lovely belt sander but like all things worth keeping from my first marriage like the kids, the dog, the house, the belt sander, a fantastic high powered Bosch drill, a Henry steam cleaner and of course my beloved Technics SL10 record player and numerous other items I have missed over the years my ex wife of course has them and most probably is going to hang onto them and would rather throw them away before offering them to me..... and besides all my old power tools probably hate me now and would refuse to work, the Henry probably doesn't suck any more and the Technics SL10 has probably forgotten all about me or has a bent stylus..... :( such is life

So I gave up trying to remember if I had brought it with me or not, or where I could have stored it, because I was pretty sure they were all rotting in some cupboard somewhere in Tumble..... so I decided to go off to B&Q to purchase one which was on offer for £49...I mean a man just isn't complete unless he has a full set of power he ?

Anyway I got there and chose the belt sander on offer only to be told by the spotty ginger Chimpanzee in the B&Q uniform complete with orange apron and one GCSE (in Art) that .......

"no sorry computer says no..... we don't have any sanders in stock, maybe you could try Focus DIY ?"

I didn't bother making a fuss or pointing out that it's pretty pointless having such a marvellous display of power tools but no stock to back it up ...... it really wasn't worth the blank expression I would have got in return...... :(

So off I went to Focus...and pulled another complete and utter blank there as well. I could have got a Black and Decker D45 orbital but my experience of orbital sanders boils down to them being frankly disappointing, they make a lot of impressive noise and give you lots of white finger and stop the TV from working when on... but in the sanding department they remove only slightly more than a woman's five year old nail file...and life is too short to spend it doing something pointless...... So I went home empty handed thinking how ridiculous it was that not one DIY shop in Carmarthen stocked a belt sander...

then my better half suggested after biting into her Caramel double chocolate ---> Argos !!!! in a flash of inspiration (she has them from time to time) and sure enough after browsing their site we found they did stock belt sanders for £29.99 !! well whaddya know ???

Ok it wasn't what you would call a well known make "Challenge Extreme" !! .... but what the hell... so off I went, it turned out it is BETTER than my nice one my ex wife had claimed post divorce, the only thing was the belts they supplied with it were Chinese and although they worked I HAD to invest in some well engineered German Bosch ones @ £9 for 3 ..... Vorsprung durch Sander !!

but fair do's once they were fitted the stairs were sanded in no time flat :) ... I fact I had a bit of a "what shall I sand next moment after I had finished" and I probably would have.... had the dust bag not got eaten by the sander ripping it to shreds in seconds, we both worked hard that day and there is/was wood dust everywhere, but it's going to be worth it in the end, the only thing that deeply concerns me is that I still found Andrea attractive with goggles and dust mask on :) but I think that's a flashback to an Eric Prydze video

Anyway all we need to do now is finish up the fine sanding and it's ready for some wood stain/Varnish in Oak with a satin finish of course.... we certainly get things done around here.... That's what I like about Andrea she gets things done and it's a partnership and we work well together and best of all we have a laugh doing it, well in-between gagging on the sawdust :) ....If I was still with my ex wife (shudder) I would still be looking at pink plaster walls no doubt.... and I wonder if she has put the skirting boards on yet ?..... :)

(ohhhh had a rather grim flashback then to dog hairs on the stairs and hallway at the former marital home swirling away as you walked up or down them....)..... Ho Hum life is good :)

Thursday, 5 June 2008

A funny thing happened to me today

I was browsing the BBC news website in the technology section during my lunch break, and I came across this story about "Twitter" and thought

"ohh that looks interesting, I'll give it a try"

so I created my user name and filled in the bare essentials then up popped a screen with a twitter conversation, I immediately noticed my daughters on-line handle/persona and thought

"ahh must be somebody else using it, it is too much of a coincidence to think otherwise"

then I noticed another name with whom she is friendly, so drawn like a suicidal moth to a flame mainly because I am starved of any information about them both.....I read on..... until I got past a few pages then BINGO! she posted something about the rain battering down on the conservatory and her bedroom being right above it.... so as I was reeling with the shock of bumping into my estranged daughter on the web like this all of a sudden my access was blocked.....she threw the switch and the lights went out :(

ah well she will probably think I was stalking her and nothing could be further from the truth, I do think about them both practically every day, and I have no doubts whatsoever that they read my blog from time to time, as I know my daughter definitely stalks me on the net from time to time (my chosen field is IT after all and if you go online you leave a digital paper trail) but if neither of them want any more contact than that... then I respect their wishes..... However it did throw me a bit though

it was almost as real as bumping into them in the street.....Bizarre what are the odds on that happening again ???? (less than zero I should imagine)

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

It has been a while....

So I thought I would update my blog with some more digamy drivel, well here we are on the supposed day of action for Transaction-2007... the deadline !!!! or all ports and refineries will be blockaded, and I have just been browsing the BBC news website and there is nothing.... zip.... nada...not a solitary sausage blocking any refinery or port for that matter, well at least nothing reported to be blocking them of yet

The reality is probably none of them can afford to drive to any blockades after last weeks convoy they have to save up to protest !!!

Diesel is still sky high around Carmarthen £1.34 it's kind of sobering when at £1.09 a few heady months back that was £5 a gallon, fuel is eating away a large proportion of my take home pay at the moment...

The French have it right, they burn lorry loads of specially bred suicide sheep at the ports at the slightest sign of public outrage, they also have a massive arsenal of police cordon barriers to throw at the police and love the taste and smell of CS gas.....

What do we do in the UK ? we sit and watch the news and roll our eyes at the high price of fuel..... then turn the TV over to watch EastEnders (I hate that utterly depressing soap...nobody is EVER happy in should come with a years supply of Prozac !!)...

Oh well maybe later on today news will break that the UK has been brought to a complete standstill as three lorries and a small group of petrol heads stage their one man protest chained to a set of swinging gates, as the fuel delivery lorries file past the rows of baton happy police.... it is after all a terrorist threat

me suffering from apathy ? .... nah just can't afford to join them ;¬)

and a small family related update, at some time soon Elonex will be delivering my step daughters belated birthday present the "Elonex one" in pink, hopefully it will be treated with a bit more respect than all the other electronic gizmo's she has systematically destroyed through abuse and neglect... I mean HOW do you lose a remote control in your bedroom ? rendering a perfectly good digital freeview box inoperable in one fair swoop ? I give up .....ahhh well if she trashes this she'll be getting boots vouchers from now on ;¬)

ohhh and while I'm at it..... rechargeable batteries which seem to simply disappear from ownership within one week of purchasing them ??? how ? I've bought two sets of quite expensive 2500MAh batteries for my Nikon digital camera, I even put them away in the camera case as spares, but the minute they are put into the charger I go back within three or four hours and they have walked !!!! grrrrrr

and as for news on the newest addition to the family front, Freya has discovered her feet, we got hold of a baby walker a couple of weeks ago and after a refit from me to free the wheels and a liberal spraying of PTFE and a slightly halting start followed by "was that me that just moved it, or you ?" look from her... there is simply no stopping her now, she races around in the "tank" as we call it bumping into walls and doors ...... screeching in delight then of course she is trying to grab anything with her eagle eyes and gripping hands, she does look like a juvenile Dalek with the armour removed, but it's lovely to see her moving under her own steam.... :)