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life archives


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these signs are so sad

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i walked through trafalgar square a few hours after the remembrance day events, and the fountain contained hundreds of poppy leaves

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i'm always looking for a bargain so i like to have a little nose round the reduced to clear items in the supermarket.  it was particularly full yesterday, and despite some tempting packets of poppets, there was nothing that grabbed my fancy.

doesn't life often feel like this shelf ?  badly stacked nearly-rans that are slightly too damaged to see full price ?

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at the risk of turning in to a normal blog, here's a story from our life.  jane's car broke down on the way back home yesterday and i drove out to meet them so she and the girls could go home in my car.  before they went we i walked up to a nearby garage and got some food to eat whilst i was waiting.  unfortunately i left my sandwich on the counter, which was a shame.

anyway, i sat in the boot for half an hour or so until the breakdown man turned up.  he asked me to open the bonnet and i fiddled about for a few minutes looking for the pully thing, before re-emerging and explaining that i was actually quite rubbish at cars, and would he mind doing it.  he pulled a lever directly in front of where i was sitting and opened the bonnet.

he looked at the car then quickly disconnected battery as he feared the car might set itself on fire !  perhaps sitting in the boot wasn't the best plan.  the car was loaded on to his van and plopped outside our house where it rests to this day (which is the same day as yesterday since this will be published tomorrow).

so there we go.  an actual story from the funkypancake household.

knowing right from wrong xcan be tricky, but knowing which is your right and which is your left even trickier.

esther came up with this great trick for remembering and we decided to share it with you here in case you need to teach anyone else (particularly school children) how to remember which side is left and which side is right.

esther made this up (at least she claims she did). you start by putting your hands in front of you with your thumbs pointing towards the middle and your first finger pointing in the air, like so.

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you then look at your own hands and the one which forms an 'L' shape is the left hand one. brilliant !

here's a sign stating the obvious (although you probably already noticed that didn't you).

now don't get me wrong, but do you ever wonder what life would be like if you'd taken another path ? occasionally i consider how worse off i'd be if i hadn't met my lovely wife jane. i had a glimpse of what a poor predicament i'd be in earlier this week.

we've had the decorators and so have been sleeping on our inflatable mattress on the floor in our living room this week. since we have no telly in our bedroom it was quite a novelty watching telly in bed (especially from this funny angle - although i think Michael Stipe's head always looks like that).

jane's guitar at the foot of the bed made it appear like a pretty good batchelor pad. however, on reflection, life is most excellent as it is.

and we've now moved back upstairs. together.

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just look at this scene. it's a proper building site.

it's got everything you could wish for - men in flourescent jackets, hard hats, ladders, things high up on scaffolding, holes, dirt, shovels, tractors, wheelbarrows.

brilliant.

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jane bought a new vacuum cleaner yesterday. after years of good labour, our old one converted itself in to a loud dust blowing device.

here is jane with her dyson. she was very pleased. and shocked/excited by the amount of cack it picked up off our carpet.

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i waited three hours for someone to turn up for a meeting today, but they didn't show, so by 6pm i gave up and went home. but as i came out the office i saw them in the pub across the road !

so i went in and he admitted he'd forgotten and was very emmbarrased. By the time we'd chatted i was over 2 hours late going home. so the two events which happened on the way home were really someone else's events which i hyjacked. possibly.

anywoo, the first thing was hearing this phone box ring. in these days of mobile phones it's rare to hear such thing so i jumped in to answer.

"hello", "hello", "who's this?", "it's dave, who this?", "mandy", "hello", "hello", "where are you?", "in a phone box", "where", "i don't know, oh yes, there's a street sign, Paddington Street", "oh", "why?","because someone just phoned me from there", "oh, sorry, wasn't me", "oh, it was probably my sister", "yes, probably", "is she there", "no, there's no one in here but me", "what about outside. she's got very short hair. and she's called Karen", "just a minute, i'll have a look", "thanks", "THERE'S A PHONE CALLED FOR A SHORT HAIRED LADY CALLED KAREN ? no, sorry, just shouted down the street, no one's about", "ok, well, thanks anyway", "that's ok", "have a good evening", "yes, and you", "bye", "bye".

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and then a little later on my journey i found this very smart (and expensive) 4 Megapixel camera. i've reported it to the relevant authorities and now need to wait until the owner claims it.

i'm going to take a photo of me, the finder, with it so when it gets reunited with its owner they'll have a nice momento. perhaps i'll give them a link to the site too. there weren't any photos on the camera already. I'll let you know how i get on:

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i walk past the gates of the Wallace Collection every day but it's never normally this exciting.

i suspect they've either had a fancy corporate event or a fancy private event. Or maybe they had an opening preview for their new collection which starts tomorrow (according to their website).

but i wish it was just completely for no reason. how fantastic it would be if everyone just decorated their front gates for no reason.

so that's my challenge to you today. find and put up a fancy decoration on your house/flat/caravan front or on your desk at work.

when someone asks you what you are celebrating, just say "life itself" and do a little twirl.

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this little match box is looking at this pillar in awe.

"Wow ! to be so tall !" they are thinking and they've even taken the roof off their box so they can all see properly.

but don't despair little matches. each of you have the power of fire. something this yellow pretender will never have.

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one day on our holiday we found this wheely bin blocking our exit. jane's dad tried to move it but it was filled with concrete and mud.

how like life.

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today was a nice day to pass stonehenge. i know people like to see them so here's some pictures through the car window as we zoomed by.

the one on the right shows esther hiding under kezia's blanket with stonehenge in the distance.

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i'm not going to talk about politics. but this was an interesting coincidence in the street.

the middle of the paper had blown away leaving a mixture of headlines from the front and back of the paper.

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i thought this was poignant (pungent) for the beginning of a new week. a flower about to spring in to life.

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instructions for viewing are in the comments here thanks to Jimmy.

let me know how you get on ! i wasn't particularly successful.

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disclaimer: i can't be held responsible for any blindness or insanity which may result from this experiment.

classic british birthday BBQ this evening for jane's friend lynn. Untypically the food was excellent. here is the birthday girl and her cake (and husband and mother-in-law).

I took a few other photos with the flash which turned out better technically, but this one captured the mood more accurately.

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our telly died again so i got the old PC out and set it up in the living room. i think the scruffy office look works well in this room.

jane is less keen.

it's bagpuss on the telly in case you can't see it clearly

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i'm ill today. achy, massive headache, hurty neck, voice like barry white. so i'm taking a rare sick day and spending it in bed. it's been brewing for a week so hopefully this is the climax of the movement. apologies for the lack of updates today.

UPDATE: thanks to my old friend coproxamol i'm feeling a little better and can at least think again. back to work tomorrow ...

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here is henley viewed from the middle of the Henley Royal Regatta race course.

despite visiting henley hundreds of times, we've never been on a river cruise. today we did and it was a really nice relaxing way to spend an hour and a quarter !

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for the 24 hour thing i thought i'd take a picture of me putting the bins out. i got a bit sidetracked photo-ing a hedgehog (a sweet little chap).

i sat down in front of the bins and took this photo. unfortunately i missed my face and you can't see the bins. but other than that i'm pleased with it.

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hoorah. they swallowfield show website has been updated and the schedule has been published.

if you live in berkshire and its environs then you should consider entering one of the many craft exhibits (or at the least going along). The Sunday clashes with the Reading Festival, but you'll be free on Monday right ?

i was fortunate enough to win the photography prize last year.

their website is just superb. you really catch the carnival atmosphere (especially if you have your sound switched on).

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it can't be great being homeless. but you can choose a nice view to wake up to in the morning.

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you suddenly feel a bit old when you become a parent. you suddenly realise you ARE old when you start going to school parents events. where did our lives go ? good job the blog has an archive so i can keep track and answer that question at least for the last year.

meanwhile jane and i went to an auction at esther's school this evening. there were many delights and many expensive items were bought (but not by us).

and how strange to look around and see other parents who we don't know, yet our children may know each other really well.

it's all just too bizarre. luckily there was beer, chocolate and a flappy number to help the auction go smoothly:
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the weather is like my head at the moment. full of a thousand different bits of a thousand different things all dropping down at the same time. oh well.

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cheese and potato pie (mashed potato with cheese on), ketchup, top of the pops and subtitles. lovely.

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yeah. i get my pillow back tonight.

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is it a coincidence that this appeared here today ?

so what did i learn ? not sure.

certainly that i need chocolate more than my pillow (the longest i managed giving up chocolate was 5 days).

i also learnt that if i'm tired enough i'll sleep with a degree of discomfort.

it's Good Friday today so we spent the day out in the funkypancake estate.

jane did all the work as i am totally rubbish at anything gardeny. here are some grass clippings in a bag.

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more history from my old computer - ancient webcam pictures from when i had hair and didn't wear glasses all the time.

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i don't often get angry about things or people, but this woman does cause me much mirth / annoyment (depending on my mood).

i have a standard response to her rudeness which generally works well in most situations of potential confrontation. i say "thank you, have a really lovely evening". today she went too far and i didn't say anything.

i approached, paid her my 40 pence, went to extract my paper from her claw-like grip and she looked me in the eyes and said "never do that again".

"pardon ?" i said

"NEVER give me copper coins. i don't want them. never do that again"

my mistake had been to include two 2 pence coins and one 1 pence coin in my money.

so, i shall save up all my 1 pence pieces and make a special purchase of my 40 pence paper next week. i may even be ready with my camera:
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and here she is close up:
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she is the complete opposite of this man

jane's parents have been cleaning out their loft and have obviously reached the corner marked '70s cutting edge mass market technology'.

here is jane's old portable tape player. it's massive by today's standards:

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they also brought round jane's old soda stream with some original gas canistors. I never had one as a child and am quite frightened of the thing. there's too much opportunity for things to explode in my opinion.

here's the logo to keep you going for now. what a logo:

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i'll tell you more if we survive the recommisioning tests

you can tell easter is on the way. i spotted my first easter card growing wild in a flower bed this morning.

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the back lash against no smoking restaurants has begun.

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cheryl asked if she could see my charles and diana glass tankard full of drink.

here is it full of old speckled hen. hmm. old speckled hen. another sponsorship opportunity ?

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i spotted this newspaper sign yesterday which related to the government's budget statement. you can see what kind of coutry modern britain is by the which things the papers think will concern us most. there were few mentions of the new VAT free status for church repairs ...

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update: i may reach Paris by the end of the week.


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is it ever appropriate to have beer for breakfast ? i occasionally think i might fancy a pint when i'm walking to work. but by then i have been up a few hours. what's the cut off point before which drinking is unacceptable and you have to admit you have a problem ?

Here is a van advertising Honey Dew, my favourite honey based ale.

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i went to the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall for a meeting this afternoon.

The Royal Automobile Club club is one of those historic gentlemen's club things which were very popular with the upper classes in years gone by. The people who were running the presentation i was attending had hired a room on the 1st floor.

I arrived at the same time as about 10 of my colleagues. As i walked in a very nice waiter/bouncer chap approached me and in front of everyone asked if i had a jacket. i replied i didn't (preferring shirt/tie/suit trousers with jumper rather than jacket). he then said "sorry, you have to wear a jacket to get in".

ooops. luckily he had one in his jumble sale box which i borrowed. i felt like the kid at school who forgot his sports kit. he said i could take it off as soon as i got to the room. i got a few remarks about the jacket, which matched one of the other attendees normal jacket !

here is me wearing the borrowed jacket in the men's toilets and below it and the communal comb and hair brushes provided for club members to brush their receeding hairlines (i decided not to try them out):

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why did i call this item RAC IQ ? because i wasn't smart enough.

jane took this photo out the car window. it's the gubbins in traffic lights (before they stuck the head on them)

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there's definately too much red tape these days. and yellow.

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i'm pleased to see that rope and knots are still in use in modern britain. i thought ropes were only used at the seaside nowadays, with urban man preferring a more secure padlock.

this knot is quite elaborate and one i never learnt when i was in the cubs.

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there's a period in life when you don't have to worry about marbles on the floor. for me this was the period between leaving my family home and having children. like all things you forget what the reality of a thing was like until it returns.

marbles are great at just being there when you put your foot down. usually directly underneath your foot.

when i was a kid i used to think that marbles were miniture spy cameras which were put in our house by aliens / the police to spy on me and my family. i was utterly convinced about this and i can remember vividly staring at a marble which had rolled under the sofa in my old old house when i could have been no older than 6 ! i was really spooked back then.

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here is my favourity drinking glass. it's probably a highly valuable collectors item, but i use it every day and the dishwasher has slowly faded its beautiful design.

in particular, dear dead diana has become transparent in the body. When filled with Ribena she goes all red.

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update: a picture in its full configuration is here

i ate something which was not quite a quiche last night. it was in fact made of goats cheese i think. but to me, it looked like an egg pie.

here is a cottage pie. we don't eat much processed food nowadays. it never ceases to amaze me how space age we've become. each pie individually processed and precooked and wrapped in plastic ready to be reheated.

i think i could live with that idea, but somehow the printed writing on the plastic film makes me think the manufacturers consider this a 'pie unit' and not someone's diner.

It says 'uk Cottage Pie 900G' and is printed in a nice old courier font. 900G is probably the pressure they put the pie under or something.

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it's a lucky bonus leap year day today. i find the whole thing a little puzzling.

one thing that dissappoints me (other than spelling words correctly) is that they chose February as the month to have the extra day.

why didn't they put it in june/july/august ? that would make the summer last longer and may even coincide with prebooked holidays thus giving an extra day.

at the very least it should be a public 'bonus day' holiday.

all it does stuck on the end of february is postpone the summer for an extra day (and lengthens the winter).

who makes up these rules anyway ?

there's an excellent page on leap days and wonky calendars here

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thanks to my pedometer i can now reveal that i am over halfway to Paris from London. here is the graph to prove it. Total so far is 240km and average weekly distance is 60km.


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i like how these cups blend in with london below:
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they look good out of context too:
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three seperate bulbs have blown in our house in the last 24 hours. very mysterious. one even blew a fuse and i had to do some mending in the fuse box. what does it all mean ?

i'm reminded of The Fall song which repeats "there's no bulbs in the house, the lights have gone out". that was a fantastic song.

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it's quite popular when you die to have a bench named after you. i like this idea. it's people can rest on you when you're enjoying your own eternal rest.

this bench in Hyde Park was one of a few which seemed to be dedicated to living people and said things like "to my wife in celebration of our 50th wedding aniversary". i thought this was a great idea.

when you go to some churches it seems that every piece of brass work is 'in memory of' someone or other. it's a kind of eclesiastical individual sponsorship scheme.

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it's pancake day today. my trains are broke and i'm in a conference all day so next update tonight.

send me your pancake throwing pictures

two phrases from my youth have just sprung to mine.

my dad, a lovely gentle chap would occasionally threaten to "skin us alive" or "have our guts for garters".

before the child protection people move in and have me sent to a children's home he never said these things in anger, just as comedy phrases in play arguments (he's not the arguing type).

As far as i know, he never went through with either of these threats.

here is my dad with kezia:
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our telly broke. we bought it from ASDA (Walmart) so it's got a three year guarantee on it and a man is coming to look at it tomorrow morning. i'm feeling quite positive about the whole situation.

as a stop gap measure i enjoyed resurrecting an old PC and installing a TV card in it. Once i'd got it up and running and all tuned in we realised there was nothing decent on anyway. oh well.

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i like having a PC in our front room. it somehow speaks of a future world of interactive enjoyment. even if the machine is 5 years old, massively noisey and only boots one in three times.

i suspect it may be sent back to its rightful corner as soon as our telly gets mended.

UPDATE: the telly man came and took it away to be mended and left a loan one for us to watch whilst they are doing the work. So far this has been great post-sale support from Asda !

i have one of those annoying bits of flappy skin between my knuckle and finger nail on my middle finger on my right hand. all my other fingers are without blemish.

these little things are annoying as any contact with anything causes a little short stabby pain.

however, it has revealed to me how much daily activity involves very close contact with the back of my fingers. my life must be so finely tuned that even a small blemish less than a milimetre high can break the flow of normal activities.

shoe lace tieing, getting stuff out of my pockets, putting my coat on etc all involve close contact with fingers. usually this goes un-noticed, so i welcome the opportunity to think about them again, and in particular take note of the involvement of the top of the backs of my fingers

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it took me ages to get jane to pose for this photo.

click for big version

here are the fantastic cards i got from my ladies:
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but what did you expect for £10.95 ?

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how often do you see something in a shop window and go inside to buy it only to end up leaving the shop with a watch nearly twice the price of the one in the window (but with more features).

this happened to me today. the watch in the window was £5.99. Admitedly it wasn't all i wanted. once in the shop an extremely nice chap showed me a variety of watches and in the end i bought one for £10.95.

no compass - but i can always use an upturned plate if i want to draw a circle.

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this shop is just off petticoat lane and is excellent. go there and buy a cheap modern digital watch.

cashback is a brilliant idea and much safer and more convenient than standing in the street taking money out of a cashpoint.

you buy something from a supermarket on your bank card and before you know it you've got your shopping a big wad of notes.

unless you go to the supermarket near my office. in there they haggle.

i asked for £40 cash back today. and they said "how about £20" ?

so i said "no, i'd like £40 please"

and she said "well, i've only got £20"

so i accepted her original offer and received £20 in £2 coins. i thanked her on behalf of my wallet manufacturer.

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i'm looking to buy a watch, but no where seems to sell them these days. i went to Nowhere and even they had ceased selling them.

i went from door to door down tottenham court road saying "do you sell watches" with no success. next time i'll actually go in to the shops.

i want a thermometer and compass on my watch and i only want to spend £20. i suspect my search may take some years.

meanwhile i can take my old watch to the clothes repairers where i saw this sign. they can apparently alter a 24 hour clock and turn it in to a more decimal 10 hour version. possibly.

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it was dark when i left home this morning (as usual) but it was light by the time i arrived at paddington which is great. summer is on its way.

i was struck this morning by the gradual introduction of colour to the day. it started off black, then came the introduction of dark blue, then some reds were added and before you knew it, colour had stretched down from the sky and lighted up the world.

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oh yes, i forgot to say. this photo is of the moon through the windows (some paneless) at my local train station

pound shops were so 1980s. inflation has taken it's toll and nearly a quarter of a century later, we're got £5 shops in the high street.

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Mr Gilbert, the great wig man, has died. and so it goes.

and all his belonging have been thrown in to the street by a company which does that kind of thing.

he was one of the first people i (tried to) blog and it's the end of an era. i liked walking past his shop door and looking in to see if i could see his bearded head.

i nearly went in last week to ask for a picture. i wish i had now. my last blog of him was in october

i'm blogging this from paddington station, so these photos are but 2 minutes old.

top tip: if you go up to the top floor in paddington station, there is a free wifi hotspot !

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here's a really exciting story for you. when we moved in to our house just over 2 years ago we were told we would have to pay £55 a month for our water.

quite a jump from the £16/month in our old house. so we said we wanted to go on a meter and we would jolly well show them how little water we used.

after waiting a couple of months for them to install the meter our bill dropped to £21/month ! And now, a year later, they've dropped the bill even lower to £13/month. hoorah.

so, the lesson to learn is: get a water meter and ban your family from using water. i suggest turning it off at the main as the ultimate deterent.

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i get some great comments from people on the blog and i thank you all (except the spammers).

i occasionally get comments which should read "i've been given some homework by my teacher. can you do it for me please".

one such appeared today here. Poor Nishan obviously just googled for "car show rooms" (i'm the second and third choice!).

So, if you are willing, could you all draw me a picture of a car, together with some random sports car facts and i'll compile a dossier for him.

let's harvest the power of the Internet together.

send them to the following email address homeworkhelp@funkypancake.com

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update: results here

i have a new device to bore you with. not a drill (that would bore you in a more literal sense). no. i have a pedometer to so i can see how far i walk.

and so we learn that from my home door to my office door is 4.976 km (3 miles) and i walked at 5.34 km/hr (3.3 mph).

52 minutes of my journey this morning was spent walking and i took 6144 steps. (this obviously excludes the 50 minute train journey and time waiting for the train to turn up). Oh, and i may have burnt 232 Kcal, but i don't know what that means (i need a measure in Mars Bars)

This is a walk i do twice a day. my new boots are still giving me blisters

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but what about the science of walking speed ? try here.

i'm working from home, starting at 6am this morning so i can get stuff done before i go to something at 11am. It occured to me, sitting in a cold room, repeatedly trying to boot my poorly laptop that mornings are a difficult concept for most people.

i'm a morning person, but i don't like getting up. So maybe there is a market for a Home Start option for people at home. You could phone someone up and they'd come round with a pre-warmed dressing gown, a warm beverage and some soothing words.

They could perhaps even offer breakdown cover in case you were heading for a breakdown by massages and (once again) soothing words.

The car breakdown people, AA, would be ideal people to offer this kind of service. I may email them to suggest it.

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the wimpy burger is something very british. wimpy restaurants were the forerunners to McDonalds/Burger King in the UK and no town was without one.

their beauty was that they didn't put gerkhins in their burgers and they had proper chips (not fries). Best of all though was that you got given a knife and fork to eat your burger.

wimpy's still exist (looking at the wimp website there are still quite a few about) - mostly in motorway service stations, which is where we found one today.

service was dreadfully slow and totally lacking in interest. but i did manage to find a knife and fork and happily ate my not-too-pleasantly tasting burger in a peculiarly british way.

i left feeling strangely satisfied that the US influence has even now failed to reach some of our darkest corners.

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not for the first time in my life i was following my own path

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my local council are brilliant at mending street lights.

And not only that, but they send people round randomly to check lights even when they are working fine !

here is a man doing that very thing:
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Continue reading "more light entertainment" »

spring has sprung very early this year. here are some actual daffodils. they'll probably all die next week as we are promised sub zero temperatures (more normal for this time of year)

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here is my stan boardman cup. i got it from a charity shop, but that still doesn't make it right. i found it in the cupboard because we used all our normal mugs at the party last night

stan boardman belongs to a time and era (1970s?) when political correctness didn't exist and mild racism was acceptable if you dressed it up as humour.

i bought this cup as it was ironic, but now i wonder if it's just sad.

perhaps i should put it on ebay. perhaps i should just chuck it out.

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stand boardman is currently available for 'nearly any event'. he, and numerous other top british stars (and lookalikes) can be hired from entertainers

due to a combination of things i've had to start work early this morning so i can finish early. i was aiming for a 4am start, but this didn't fit well with going to bed at midnight following my jaunts of last night.

my alarm clock woke me up at 4am and 5am. my brain was mostly awake but seemed to have lost the ability to control my body which was definately still asleep. instead i listened to the gales outside and watched the curtains suck in as if trying to escape from the window.

i've been up for half an hour working now and it's 6am. it's just me, my laptop, Radiohead (Amnesiac) and the magic soap cat ...

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you can make a job out of anything nowadays. what are you good at ? play to your strengths.

i've just spotted (and heard) this man outside my window at home. he's unloading massive concrete blocks in front of a bungalow.

so far, his skills have included driving up and down our dead end street with his articulated lorry twice - once with an extra trailer, once without it (perhaps it fell off)

he then climbed up on to his little stool and using a mechanical grabber picked up and moved the concrete blocks.

it appears to me this man may have had his training in a fun fair.

driving skills courtesy of the dodgems and the lifting skills finely honed by playing those machines with little grabbers which never quite managed to lift the teddy bear/watch/£10 note/packet of cigs.

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this cucumber is on the street outside my office and represents a slip hazard. but is it as bad as a vol-eu-vent ? Popular classical songsmith Charlotte Churchslipped on a vol-eu-vent the other day whilst walking past an ex-boyfriend.

She probably could have complained in a french accent that she had been briefly stolen-by-the-wind. But it did make me think how slippy are vol-eu-vents.

my thoughts are that if it were upsway down, then standing on it would expel slippery sauce on to the floor, whilst the pastry mixed with a smaller amount of sauce would stick it to the shoe, thus creating ideal slippage conditions.

i may attach a couple to my shoes for everyday use when i need a little extra speed. we could have a few races.

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on the subject of racing, i am proposing a different kind of race with my work colleagues for this lunchtime as the weather is perfect for paper boat on puddle racing. we have wind, big puddles and at the moment it's not raining. we'll haev to see how we are doing by lunchtime ...

here is a dead dove which has been at my train station for the last week. the disturbing thing is the position of the wings. i hope you don't mind me sharing this with you. (it was very dark when i took the photo and i didn't want to flash in public before 7am)

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how do you like your custard ? i'm definately thick. very thick.

jane made some custard which was very thick indeed. the test is whether you can take a spoonfull, turn it upside down and see if it can be defeated by gravity.

this custard put up a healthy fight and i loved it. you could even stand the spoon up in the jug. lovely. you can tell by my face i'm loving it.

just recently i've become extremely unphotogenic. for this i apologise.

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and here is a boat we saw in henley today, coincidently called 'The Flying Custard':
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when i used to live in sheffield i used to help our at a breakfast project at the cathedral for the homeless and needy. it involved getting up at 6.30am i think which was quite early for a student who had been dancing at the discoteques until the early morning.

anyway, there was a chap who used to come along who lived in the local mental hospital. every morning he would 'escape' and end up at the cathedral for his breakfast.

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Continue reading "tab ends" »

here are three glasses containing soapy water sticking up above the bubble line in the sink. they had a certain beauty in real life which is somewhat lost on this small photographic version

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i have a very complicated ritual for breaking new boots in. Today i've gone back to my old boots until my blisters get a bit better. The beauty is that it allows my old boots to have their last few journeys and gives them a chance to remind me how comfortable they had become.

unfortunately, because it's chucking it down with rain in london, my 40 minutes walk to work also revealed how holey they are. the result is soggy feet which will probably end up infecting my blisters and i'll have to have my feet amputated.

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one good thing is that the rain has washed all the mud off.

change is always painful.

my second prediction came true. And today i'm wearing the new boots. I've had them on for two hours now (i booted at 6.30am) and the pain is significant.

It's a good way of discovering pain receptors which i didn't know i had. little toes, top bit of foot (whatever that's called), heal, ankle, lower leg. I shall be stopping by a chemist later for some plasters.

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i told you a few days ago how bad i am at DIY. It seems Esther has a similar affinity for the genre. here is her attempt to nail a nail in straight to a piece of wood.

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she does nailing at pre-school which i think is great. i was 'mother's help' once and got to supervise 3-4 year olds hammering real nails in to real wood.

they were scared. i was scared. we were all scarred (mentally).

i've been trying to fill jane's tax return in, but the inland revenue site is broken (nice plan) so i thought i'd do some DIY instead.

when it comes to DIY i am rubbish. totally.

my limit is a dripping tap. that's just about doable i thought. just a matter of turning the water off, unscrewing the thing and cleaning the doofa and puttting it all back together.

so i went to our airing cupboard where i thought the stop cocks would be. and this is what i found was a load of pipes (note the absence of anything turny):

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so i followed the pipes (some hot some cold) and found this under some floorboards:

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i haven't got a clue where anything goes, or what it supposed to do. it's all too scarey. so i'll put up with the dripping tap for a few more weeks until jane's dad's available to do it for me point me in the right direction

meanwhile brother edd is a few miles away rewiring someone's house. either he got all the practical genes or the household he's rewiring should be very scared.

erk - this has got to be my most boring blog entry to date. i apologise.

back to work tomorrow so normal mis-service will be resumed.

we had a great squelchy puddly muddy walk this afternoon. both esther and katie fell in the mud which (luckily) they both found really funny.

get your wellies on and jump in some muddy puddles. don't forget to climb a gate and have a ponder.

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my predictions are this:

Continue reading "new years predictions" »

i'm rubbish at new year's eve.

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i'm much happier going to bed early and getting it all over a done with than partying like a mad thing. that said, we were invited round to a neighbour's house for a hogmany do which i quite fancied, but lack of babysitters prevented us popping out (and it would have been bad form for one of us to go and not the other).

so we sat in chatting whilst fireworks exploded around and about. we just assumed they were fireworks from all the noise. i like to think it was actually our neighbours wandering up and down with inflated crisp bags, popping them occasionally to give the impression they were having a good time and we weren't. the loud deep explosions were obviously the kettle crisp bags

hang on to the old year i say. let's have an old year non-party instead.

my supposition is this. the world is going mad thanks to kids toys.

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how so ?

Continue reading "i fear for the future" »

we have some friends who seem to cancel at the last minute everytime we go to visit them. they have some good excuses, but i suspect they simply just don't like us.

in order to break the cycle of not seeing them, they invited themselves to some other friends' house so we could all meet up near where we live. unfortunately they cancelled (surprise surprise) but it was ok because we could eat more of the fantastic lunch provided by our host Tanya.

esther and catherine with the shepherds pie and profitable rolls
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It was also the first opportunity to have some crackers. Tony bought them because they were half price. they were also unwrippable causing much mirth and merriment

what a fantastic day !

we started off with an excellent service at church (we were playing and i don't think we stuffed up too much). there was a nice kids song to wig out to which is always handy for a bass player. there was also a massive party for the kids so they had a great time too (and one of our friend's children got baptised)

then we were invited round for lunch spontaneously at some friends house which was fantastic. the unplanned nature of it made it even better ! whilst there we saw some friends we see about twice a year who have just popped back to see their folks over christmas.

after that we came home, dropped off the music kit and went out to the Christingle service with some other friends. i was asked at the last minute to light a few christingles during the service and given a box of cooks matches. however, when my moment came i was trumped by a man with an automatic gas cooker lighter thing. he went whizzing up and down the church before i had even lit my first one. it was SO unfair !

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after tea, coffee, cake, biscuits etc we headed off to some other friends from church's house for a party. this was really nice too. especially this table decoration which is a melting skull candle adjacent to a couple of butter knives ! very festive. they also have a knitted nativity.

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finally it was back to our house to put some decorations up, kids to bed. jane's gone off to sing in another carol service and i'm about to tidy up the house !

today's been a great start to christmas, covering all the main themes. friends, family, church and melting skulls.

today was a good day for sunlight shining through things. here is a beam at paddington station and a beam in the wood in apsley (wherever that is).

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i felt considerably peaky this morning. if i knew i was ill i would have stayed in bed, but i don't know if it's just something i ate yesterday as i had some pudding with egg in and that makes me bad (incredible hulk style). if it's my own fault then my employer shouldn't have to suffer as a result. so i've come in anyway and will just feel like death on a plate for a while.

meanwhile there was a fantastic sun rise this morning. i watched it out of the train window. by the time i got to london the main bit was over, but there was still some dramatic sun-through-steam-on-buildings type things

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update: i started feeling even more ill so went home. rest of the day in bed with laptop :-(

i haven't been home much this week because of work stuff in the evenings and various meetings for other stuff. i got home around 9pm last night and jane greeted me with a potato which had been in the oven for 2 days. it was tuesday's tea i think. ooops.

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there were no blue ones. so we requested them. then they were mostly blue. so we ate them and gave one to a man in a suit. modern life is far from rubbish

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here is a comprehensive website on the blue smartie phenomenon

it was very wet this morning. i became invincible and unafraid of anything by taking my glasses off and walking to work unable to see clearly. it was a bit weird to begin with, but i soon got to enjoy the freedom.

unfortunately, i did step in a lot of puddles and got splashed by lots of passing cars as i did spot these usual obstacles in advance.

here is the first thing you see when you leave paddington station on a wet morning. the whole of london glows red because of the steak house neon. there's probably some metaphor for blood and meat there but that would be too clever for me.

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i don't watch TV or movies much. but occassionally i will. i'm probably way behind the times on this, but Little Britain on BBC3 is extremely excellent. it's also about to be shown on BBC2 on Monday nights for those in the UK.

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(photo from BBC website)

last night jane and i hired Being John Malkovich. it only took us 4 years to get round to watching it, but it is completely fantastic, particularly the first quarter when it's completely random.

as for music, esther discovered she likes the Beta Band today and i rediscovered the Brian Eno's Nervenet album.

we watched a documentary on Robert Wyatt last night and that was fantastic too.

yeah for music, tv and films.

i started the day with a trip to the emergency doctors to get some more antibiotics and eardrops for my canal infection. i prefer infections in my ear to where i used to get them, but there can hardly have been a clear two months in the last three or four years when i haven't been on antibiotics. i'm nuclear kid.

i collected my prescription then popped in to Waitrose to get a paper. whilst i was in there i thought i'd check out their offers on beer as i'd drunk all my honey dew the night before to wash down my pain killers.

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i got talking with a chap at the beer counter who only drank Newcastle Brown Ale. this bloke was definately a biker type so i talked to him for a while then made my excuses.

i said "good bye, hope you have a good day" but he said nothing. as i turned the corner i heard him shout after me "be careful mate". did he mean this along the same lines as "take care" or did know something i didn't ? needless to say i took the utmost caution for the rest of the day

(paul daniels lives by and the lovely debbie magee (his wife) is often spotted in this same waitrose. she wasn't there today though)

oh dear. all new top of the pops is as bad i expected it to be. new does definately not equal good in this case. i am gutted. the website is a bit better though

and i've got another ear infection. boo !

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update: so what was so wrong with it in my opinion ? well, there was too much messing about, chatting with the stars and general pointless smiling. and all the bands on the program were of the manufactured variety. the only nod towards good music was a short clip of The Darkness on tour in America.

it used to be the case that TOTP would bring you a variety of bands playing back to back with a mix of pop/rap/indie/rock/whatever else so you never knew what was going to pop up next and it made it exciting. for me at least it seemed to have sold out.

i guess the fantastic Later has taken on the role of the muso's music show in the UK so they can afford to aim the main TOTP show at the teeny market. seems a shame though.

Interesting the second half of the new TOTP on BBC3 (digital) was much better but i think this was because it had better bands on.

i'll give it a few more weeks and see what happens.

here is a luxury old fashioned toilet we saw in a museum.

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we went to some friends house for a meal today which was excellent. esther and kezia went under the dinner table to worry their dog, fudge. i had a lovely photo lined up with kez, esther and fudge. it would have been great. then they all moved. as animals/kids do.

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the conversation proved too much for one fellow diner:
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and our the host resorted to showing the kids how to do lego properly:
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it's official. no more wispas.

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i phoned Cadbury's today to find out where the Wispas have gone. It turns out THEY HAVE STOPPED MAKING THEM ! the last ones were produced at the end of August 2003.

I was informed that they had been replaced by Dairy Milk Bubbly, which is nearly the same thing. Dairy Milk is Cadbury's flag ship product and they have decided that the Wispa should be rolled in to that family.

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So no more 'velvety textured milk chocolate'. instead it's now just 'bubbly'.

I went in search of the last remaining Wispas which are working their way through the newsagent shelves. i was prepared for a long search through the backstreets of london, but found my favourite local newsagents on charlotte street had a few in stock:

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The bubbly dairy milk hasn't the same crunch as the old wispa. this is mostly due to its lack of girth (bubbly left, velvety right):

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i remember queuing up to get my wispas as a teenager from my old school tuckshop which intriguingly operated out of the science block windows

and so another part of history dies ...

today i plan to log my consumption. i'll update this entry throughout the day.

breakfast 6.15am:
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* multifruit juice
* gerbil museuli (peanuts, sunflower seeds and some other nuts i don't know the name of)
* Calcium and Chromium supplements
* Mug hot water

sugar rush 8.30am:
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* bottle Ribena
* Big Mars Bar

Drink
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* another hot water

Leaving do lunch (13:30):
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4oz(actually) Ostrich and Cranberry burger, fat chips ('fries' to the international audience), 2 off 1664 beers, cookie and ice cream cake and a mug of hot water (too hot to drink)

Conference Call Mint (15:30):
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Commuter Beer (17:30):
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Both of these half pints were free as a result of the Government's 'Beer for Commutters' scheme. (actually it was a London Pride beer promotion which had something to do with Rugby).

Arrive home (19:15) snack
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mmmm - crisps ('chips' to the international audience)

Evening Meal at Heather and Clive's
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Tomato soup, fizzy lemon drink, chicken, sausage, stuffing, runners (fresh from the supermarket, not the garden), carrots, crumble and custard, hot water, mini mars bar and fancy 'big eye' truffle. All cooked by Heather and tasted mighty fine.

Final supplements
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Multifruit juice, garlic, copper, eradicin forte, fish oil and bedside water

I really didn't expect today to go like it foodwise. i don't usually eat at a restaurant during the day and we don't usually get invited out to be fed so fantastically. I also don't usually drink much alcohol - the leaving do during the day and free commutter beer were special events today.

but then everyday is different, so perhaps i don't have a typical dietous day. how interesting (or not)

ah. just seen concorde fly over my house. last day tomorrow. probably won't see it as will be at work, so was nice to say goodbye. i was too slow to get my camera - it moves quite fast you know (concorde, not my camera)

here was an earlier spotting of it.

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another non event happening day working from home. my home office is loads less interesting than the streets of london. the lack of people and gloves make sure of that.

i did hear one comedy thing this morning. Esther proclaimed loudly "it's eaten one of my chap's Bible's" (her 'chaps' being her favourit beany toys).

"what has ?" I asked

"the house" she answered.

scared ? i should be.

hoorah. back home. but now to bed. more stockholm remnants to be posted tomorrow ....

it turns out the hotel i'm staying in has recently recruited a complaints manager as they are having so many people complain about the state of the hotel at the moment ! hehe. my letter has been emailed ...

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they've even started wripping plaster off outside my room !

there is a fantastic outside museum thing in stockholm. i wasn't convinced it would be any good, but thought i should go there this afternoon (so i did).

it has lots of authentic old swedish dwellings, and is one of those fancy living museums where people demonstrate what they actually did.

it also has some animals in. here is some people being filmed watching the bears. i suspect the film crew were hired by the bears so the people could see how the bears felt being watched all day. it seemed to have back-fired as the people weren't bothered.

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here is one of the bears (and a fox)
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and here is me outside an authentic dwelling.
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Go to skansen if you are in stockholm. it's excellent and really cheap !

here is a nice swedish phone box for your enjoyment

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carpet doesn't fit leaving little carpet nails sticking up:
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smell of sewage in bathroom comes from here:
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chipped sharp bit of tile in the bathroom:
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hotel under wraps
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a welcoming entrance
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i came to stockholm 5 or 6 years ago. at that time i was collecting pictures of doors. what a strange chap i was back then. here is a door:

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stockholm has lots of great doors. they are very big on doors. big on big impressive portals.

pretty street in stockholm old town. taken with a cold, but steady hand

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i won't go in to details of my toilet experiences on the plane, but here is a sign i saw. not a clue what it means
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here is a cardboard box in heathrow airport marked "fire safety equipment". I guess they hope the cardboard will burn first and let the fire fighting equipment loose. it's a cunning plan ...

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when i get better internet i'll tell you about:

¤ the flight - eating, a book review, strange noises and bald heads
¤ the total quality hotel i'm staying in ...
¤ the number of gloves i've already seen (3)

but you need pictures. it's what we all want !

stockholm is very cold. it was a bit drizzly earlier but it's now cleared up (that was for all you swedish weather watchers ¨ i know who you are !

swedish keyboards are good as they have extra letters like öäå

i shäll try ånd supplement wherev€r i cän.

cool hotel claimed the håve bröadbänd in the rööms. unfortunåtely i spent twö höurs when i årrived trying to måke it wörk. they even moved my rööm tö öne withöut åny windöws, but even the läck öf light didn't make it wörk.

sö here i åm sitting in the hötel bår using their public mächin€.

i'll try ägåin in a möment as nö rööm access, nö pictures and i've alreådy göt söme småshers

ooh, i just found a button whïch püts thöse fünny thïngs övër vöwëls. ï mïght gët öne öf th€s€ k€ÿböårds¨ät hömë.

and thêrês alsö thës€ chåräcters: ¤ ½§

off to sweden today. hopefully update later when i get there ...

nicknames are funny things. i never had a nickname given to me at school so i had to make my own up. Getting them accepted by my peers required a choice of name which would capture their imagination.

At School:
Dishcloth Dave
a derivation of 'Dishy Dave' which i would never get away with in a single sex school

Torchon David
the french version said in a french accent

At University:
SpoonChicken
I had a pet wooden spoon and loved chickens

Mr ScragEnd
i used to hang out with tramps at soup kitchens etc - they were often better dressed than me

Goth phase (15-18yrs old):
Occasionally I did get third party nicknames such as little goth during my goth stage. but then you have to expect to be called silly names if you dress up in comedy cloths.

(click for big version - picture from when i was 15ish i think). what incredibly good skin i had back then

So there we are. i'm sure there were others nicknames i forgot and i'm sure Brother Edd will remember.

here is my mum on holiday. just so you know. blue ridge apparently. lucky thing. still, it's nice and sunny in the uk too.

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i like to drink hot water. at home this is no problem. when visiting companies often secretaries get it wrong and bring me cold water or worse, hot water in a spindly glass (asphesdos gloves to the ready).

in restaurants and hotels hot water can prove more complicated. ordering it can be difficult as the waiter often doesn't listen properly or thinks you are mad. but the main area of variance is the charge.

i was just charged £1.75 for a small cup of hot water in Cafe Rouge on Tottenham Court Road. i was with someone who bought a Cappucino which costed £1.75 too. outrgeous ! i don't mind paying something as they have to wash the cup, heat the place etc but £1.75 seems a little steep. oh well.

i've put this under the category 'life' but 'death' might be a better category. i was walking across a zebra crossing this morning (which in the UK gives you priority over traffic) and a car nearly ran me over. it came to a skidding halt and i only avoided getting run over by jumping backwards just in time.

the woman in the car looked a little alarmed and mouthed 'sorry' which was reasuring. usually you just get a rude jesture or the verbal equivalent.

however, she had to stop at the traffic lights a little bit further on so i took a photo of her car:
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and here she is a bit closer up.
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i'm alive and so is she, so no harm done !

we had a trip up to leicester today. it's where i come from and my grandma, pam, and my father still live up there.

i found this trip up there more of a trip down memory lane than previous journeys. perhaps it's the fact that we've got kids of our own now and showing them where i went to school has more meaning ? dunno.

here is pam and esther making our sandwiches
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here they are in the garden throwing feeding the birds croutons and boiled egg (strange but true):
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yeah. i had a new bike when i was 12. it was a racer. i fell off it just before my 13th birthday and knocked my front tooth out. i now where a falsey.

now i'm 31 i figured i'm old enough to have a new bike now. so i got one. and so did esther. and i even managed to fix the tagalong bike on to jane's bike.

esther's very excited (and nervous) about her new non-stablised bike i will update you on progress tomorrow ...

jane inspecting my new bike
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following jane, esther and kezia's lift story i obviously felt i needed to compete.

i attended a meeting today and afterwards made my way out of the building. i wasn't sure which way to go so was quite glad when i found the lifts. i climbed in and pressed G for Ground. The door closed and then straight away opened again. I pressed G again, but this time nothing happened.

it was at this point i realised that i was already on the ground floor and the main exit was just off to the right. d'oh. blame the drugs ...

if you walk down Oxford Street in London (or many other shopping streets around the world) you can easily get dazzled and taken in by the lights. but i say to you "don't be dazzled".

instead, raise your gaze above the shop fronts, and, in london at least, you are rewarded with a hotchpotch of ancient and modern buildings. some are absolutely excellent (some 70s efforts are less so). the nice ones appear in sharp contrast to the ultra modern shop fronts below.

They've opened a new mcdonalds in oxford street (oh goody, we need more of those). i actually spotted the nice building first, then looked at what was in the basement.

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it's not even a nice looking mcdonalds (though they were giving out balloons which would surely cheer even the most hardened burger hater)

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that nice olde london still exists. you've just got to look for it. my advice is to take a bus and sit upstairs.

we are all p[r]awns in a bigger game. we all know that.

and now so is my email address. if you have been sent a virus apparently from me, then it wasn't. it was from someone else. so there.

very cold this morning. and dark. it was very cold and dark this morning. and a bit misty. it was very cold, dark and a bit misty this morning. getting up a 6 was too much of a struggle so i waited until 4 minutes past this morning to break myself in gently.

on the way in i saw a pair of trousers, a shoe and a tie. one day i may take a chance and leave the house in just my pants (which i am shall also refer to as 'ass pants' for the sake of our american readers).

i'll then put on any item of clothing i find discarded on the way to work and see if anyone notices the difference.

i'll put this thought on hold until next summer when it warms up. someone remind me ...

Before i start. if you are interested in anything really megalothic, visit this site. if you live in the UK buy The Modern Antiquarian book. Visit Avebury and Silbury Hill rather than just Stonehenge.

meanwhile ...

longleat is quite near stonehenge. i posted photos from the journey down previously.

on the way back, jane was driving do i got to take pictures as we whizzed by stonehenge

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however, tony, tanya, catherine and anna, who we shared our chalet with in center parcs, went to visit stonehenge on their way home instead of going to longleat.

here is one of tony's pictures:

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Continue reading "stonehenge again" »

this afternoon we've had cousin thomas to stay
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we took him to a party where i mowed the lawn with kezia (photo by tony):
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Longleat claims to have the world's longest maze. when we went in I asked for some hints so we could get through it quickly (before the kids got bored). she said "allow an hour and ... STICK TOGETHER".

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we started by letting esther lead the way down the narrow hedges. then we let kezia lead which was really funny. she kept whizzing off round hedges and we had to keep up so as not to loose her. then jane took control of the situation and finally I made a lucky choice of exit in a funny circle area and we found the centre.

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it's a fantastically difficult maze, but really good fun. best of all is that the hedges and thick enough and tall enough to make it impossible to cheat !

we got to the middle in 25 minutes which i think was good going.

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kezia and esther loved the little train ride thing. we got to see the hippos swimming along the river which was good.

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the safari is the main bit about going to Longleat, though after we were attacked by the monkeys it was the least enjoyable (at the time). once we were back in the carpark and realised there was no lasting damage to our car (other than a few claw holes in the plastic trimming) we decided we had enjoyed it afterall.

here are the sweet monkeys:
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here are some tigers:
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here is a wolf
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we also went on a boat cruise in a tiny lake and saw a couple of hippos:
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and a gorilla:
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and everyone loves meercats:
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the visitors can wait a few minutes - this is important stuff

here is the monkey who pulled the trimming off our car:

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here is his hand on our window screen:
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you can't hear the scratching and ripping noises which accompanied it


we are back. a monkey ate our car at the safari park. this and other stories to follow. probably tomorrow now though as we've only been back an hour, just put the girls to bed and have some visitors staying overnight arriving any minute ...

my ear is still REALLY hurting. hopefully the antibiotics should be starting to take effect now (48 hours after i took my first one). should be fine by the time i'm back at work. kezia keeps pointing at the cotton wool in my ear and laughing. which is nice. no sleep last night. oh well.

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here we are by some giant (but actually not that giant) redwoods.

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here we are walking to the shop for our crois-ers.

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the girls have been locked out of the toy shop:

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but they were allowed in the supermarket:

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jane and i went to the poshest restaurant last night. was very good. here is jane by candlelight

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in the toilet was some bodylotion. i never understand what us blokes are meant to do with that ? strip down to our underpants and lard it on ? i think not ...

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read the update here

here is a nice night view of the swimming place. jane and i had our first night out (of two) last night. italian followed by a walk around a lake. very nice (but a bit chilly - the weather not the food).

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today, the girls are very tired (all of them). My ear is massively painful like someone pushing a red hot needle down it all the time. a coprox cocktail will get me through our meal out tonight.

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much misery this afternoon as esther lost her cycling mojo :-( hopefully we'll get it back tomorrow. she's ok on the flat, but after her dramatic exit whilst in motion yesterday she's not keen to go downt he hill to the lake. ho hum

risking the pain barrier we went cycling today. esther fell off, but got back on again so that was ok.

my antibotics are called Amix. coproxamol is good too.

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longleat is quite near stonehenge. i posted photos from the journey down previously.

here is a view of stonehenge out of the window as we drove to center parcs

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more stonehenge updates here

gprs is cool - although it only works if i sit in the forest outside our chalet.

i have an ear infection. excellent timing !

girls are having great time.

winnie the poo, black rebel motorcycle and beck kept us all amused on route.

possibility of 'real' internet access this evening using laptop so can update you with pictures, medical info etc then.

the story of my evening with a load of men:

Continue reading "singing with men" »

exciting day spent doing tax returns. i agree with taxes generally. i've certainly got value out of the national health service over the last few years and the UK is generally a good place for public services (even if they aren't world class). Doesn't make filling in the forms any more exciting though. ho hum.

ahoy there

i totally forgot it was talk like a pirate day. i was happily reminded by a message on the office ladies guest blog.

i'm out singing tonight with 55 men so i may adopt a pirate stance. they don't know me and i don't know them. i'll just be 'that chap who turned up one week and spoke like a pirate'

yar.

i woke up at 6.30 this morning rather than 6am, so had to run out the door almost as soon as i was awake (vital duties duly dutied). therefore i've lost 30 minutes of today and have been running to catch up.

as if to serve me right, my train was delayed 15 minutes on route, thus increasing total delays to 45 minutes.

during the 15 minutes stoppage i looked out of the window and watched this squirrel eating an acorn. he hopped right up next to the train, had a nibble then jumped to another rail etc. i looked around the carriage to catch a fellow commuter's eye so we could share the moment, but everyone was either asleep or reading their papers.

as a result of the site of the squirrel i now have the White Stripes song Little Acorns in my mind. which makes a change from You Make Me Feel Like Dancing by Leo Sayer which i have had stuck in my mind for the last 7 or 8 years.

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i noticed yesterday that there is a trend for very thin high heels. i noticed this when someone nearly got stuck on an escalator and someone else did get stuck going in to an office building in a little great (great little?).

it got me thinking back to physics lessons at school and how pressure is related to weight and area. a quick google search revealed a number of essays on this subject. one such is here:
Pressure Under High Heels.

Bear in mind that as high heels become smaller, the pressure exerted will tend to infinity. and that's a lot of pressure.

i've a stinking cold today. as everyone knows a stinking cold is an ideal opportunity to try a spot of amateur pharmacoooticalling.

i have decided that a combination of squeezed orange juice, fresh cranberry juice, coproxamol, crisps (plain), carrot sticks and rice cakes will make me feel great again. so far so bad.

we bought a map yesterday at the Henley Show. We used it today to go for a walk near Grey's Court (which itself was shut). According to the map it is an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (ONB).
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i discovered waitrose quick check today. scanning your own food is fantastic ! of course esther is an expert on this already as jane usually scans when she goes round in the week. but it was my first time and i loved it.

here are two girls in a trolley:
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we went to the henley show today. it was excellent. very hot (i burnt my head).

highlights were the larmaaaas. i don't know where llamas have come from but there are all of a sudden loads of them at country fairs. The Henley Show even had special showing classes for them. They do look quite cute though. their popularity has also boosted sales of labcoats. Poor animals probably expect to be experimented on.
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This being Henley, land of the posh, we were delighted to see some truely exceptional picnic-ers. we sat on a rug and ate chips. others had bought luxury tables and chairs with champagne flutes and even flowers for their tables. the world was a live with the sound of popping champagne corks
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Another highlight was the motorbike display team. we sat behind their starting positions so we got to see (and smell) a lot of waiting bikes whilst being helpfully shielded from the real action by the bikes themselves. what we could see was good though.
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summary: Total entry fee was £17 and we paid the same again for food, so quite expensive. we were there for 5 hours though so good value I think.

it's herve's last day in the office. people are dropping like mouches. he's not leaving the company. just his desk.

herve has been trying to increase his 'française' influence, particularly with regard to fashion, specifically related to my jumper, more exactly relating to how i wear it.

here is my first attempt as wearing my jumper "the french way"

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i hate standing in dog hound poo. i stood in some this morning. i'm sure the extra weight of my laptop in my backpack which squashed me down in to it.

i was then faced with the dilema of stopping and scrapping (but with what) or taking a more grassy, puddly route to wipe it off as I went.

it was this second option i chose which involved dragging my feet down gutters (of the road, not houses) and standing in every puddle and pile of workman's sand available.

however, all this really did was to increase the level of soilage on my shoe and make people think I was practicing for a role in the Hunchback of Notradam.

in the end i cleaned it off with toilet paper when i got to work.

apologies to anyone reading this whilst eating.

i was wondering why my part of berlin was so quiet. there didn't seem to be many people about for sure. i thought berlin was meant to be party-central. i had a feeling something was going on somewhere else and i wasn't invited (probably for my anti-freedom of speech leanings or something).

however, it was because they were all over in the old West side of the city having a street party and doing shopping and eating at brand named takeaway restaurants.

this is how they must have felt in east-berlin before the wall came down. but it was probably worse for them. i suspect.

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i went to a flea market near the Tiergarten. it was full of fantastic things like thousands of rusty door handles

and boxes full of ceramic doll limbs
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pictures of russian leaders
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(where's the birth mark)

here is a jolly face only viewable from the top of the reichstag

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here is the top of the reichstag. i arrived at 7.30am to avoid a two hour queue. it worked very well. my queuing lasted 30 minutes (ie until the door opened at 8am). If i had arrived at 8am then my queue would have lasted no minutes as they let everyone in when the doors opened. very early Sunday morning is the time to go.

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i caused trouble with the security people because i stepped forward when i shouldn't have despite being told in incomprehensible German what to do (i assume). i then forgot i had some spare batteries in my pocket and the more he quizzed me the more confused i got and it was all very stressful. i made it through in the end though.

later that day this experience would be repeated at Berlin Airport where i even had to take my shoes off and have them put through the machine. i used to look like a hippy, but these days i obviously look more like a terrorist.

here is one of berlin's busiest roads. it's empty because it was 7.30am on sunday. much of berlin seemed empty. i later found out why, but you'll have to wait until later this evening for me to upload those photos !

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saturday evening was the reception to end the conference. after my walking i was little tired and only did some small dancing.

here was a view of the sunset:
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here are some of the people from the conference:

warning. this man sells PONS (passive optical networks)
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this chap was the jolliest man at the conference. he'd been retired from BT for 12 years but still comes back for more. probably similar to watching open university in your spare time. i hope i'm like that when i'm retired.
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this man is one of the nicest on the planet. he's also just like the dad from the kumars so he's also one of the funniest !
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this man is called jos and he has the same dancing style as me. we had a jelly legged dance-off. it was a close thing. i thought he had won for sure, but he graciously conceded defeat to my younger more nimble legs.
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this man was a contendor for the greatest dancer award. he's greek so it's in his blood. we made sure all the plates were well out of the way
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i found a tall building and went up it at sunset. it was such a clear night you could see the sun go down over the horizon. very nice.

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click for big version:
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i went to the reichstag last night. there was a massive queue for the dome so i wandered about in the park in front of it. the charilion was playing and there was an echo almost as loud as the original sound itself from the nearby buildings. this made it sound even more fantastic !

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i used to be a goth so i liked this sign. should appeal to latter period stone roses fans too
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there was time for a quick look round after the conference and before the reception last night:

checkpoint charlie (replica)
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old wall:
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an old watch tower had been overtaken by hippies paying "jigger jigger" music
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more things seen:

church against eery sky
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famous things
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peeping tower
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i suspect we will be hearing more from the shoe grinder. it's quite an agressive foot tickler.
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i love post offices. they are dark, hot, stinky and full of old people collecting their pension. well maybe that's an exageration, but they are a special type of shop.

the people who work in them are good value though. i was sent back and forward 3 times to get my E111 form.
"you haven't filled that bit in sir"
"i know, it's not clear what i have to do"
"yes it is sir, now go over there and fill it in"

my favourite bits are the pigeon holes for all the forms and leaflets. these things have been around since the 70s and look like it too.

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i went to bed at 7.30pm last night with a dodgy stomach and got up at 6am this morning only to decide that working from home might be a safer option (for all involved). so here i sit at 6.45, bucket ready ...

update: here is the (empty) bucket
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we had a multitudinal luncheon activity today. 10 round the table which was great. children played in one room whilst adults chatted in another.

well, that's not quite true.

the children DID play in another room, but the adults played dressing up in wigs:
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and doing the jigsaws and a marble run which we originally put out for the children:
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it's still august and not lets forget it. i thought it might be the first of September today, but we have 31 days in August. it's like we are pleading for the summer to continue forever.

my advice is just to go with the flow. the quicker we get this winter started, the quicker it will be over with. let's get our coats out the cupboard and start enjoying some cold weather.

i can smell a chicken cooking downstairs (because there is one cooking) and I feel very Christimasy.

Let's hope Jesus doesn't come back before lunchtime else we won't get to taste it. I suspect they'll have some nice lunches in Heaven though.

we tried to go to Hillier Gardens today.

It looked great but it was closed when we got there because of a concert in the evening. we will visit this place another time ...

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after visiting jane's granny we went to Broadlands, which was the home of Lord Mountbatten.

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It costs £3 each (for the growned ups) to go for a walk round the grounds (you can go round the house if you pay more but that didn't seem a great idea with the kids). for £3 you got to go round the exhibition and we spent about an hour there and the guides were really nice. i still felt it was a little expensive.

we picnic-ed in the carpark, but there is a nice picnic area inside

kezia enjoyed shutting these massive gates:
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i have never seen either of the following:

* a piece of cheese riding a space hopper down the street
* a bearded man who can actually fly

both of these relate to transport which is interesting

i'm looking at introducing a new directory enquiry service (no honestly, i am).

here were some people advertising 11 88 88. and you thought you had problems (or maybe it was me who just thought that).

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a country path
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style guru
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three girls in a row
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it's an exciting weekend ! not only is it a bank holiday, meaning a lucky bonus day off work, but it's the Reading Festival weekend. Jane and I are going for the day tomorrow.

it's also exciting as i'm entering my first photo competition (hence the trip to Swallowfield earlier in the week). it's at the Swallowfield Show see. Go to the site and enjoy the music !

i've entered 7 different categories, but had only 5 photos at the beginning of the week. so i had to take and print the last two this evening (they have to go to be displayed tomorrow).

Here is one of my last minute photos. i hope the judges are surrealists ...

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judging happens Sunday, but we aren't going until Monday so I'll find out what happened then. gulperama.

when you have nothing to say, should you just shut up, or tell people you have nothing to say.

macaroon macaroon macaroon

i posted my experience of using a couple of the new directory enquiries numbers last night.

imagine my surprise when I saw the headline of the Daily Mail this morning in the newsagents:

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"118 the great phones fiasco" which refers to the new DQ services !

Where this blog leads, the popular media will follow.

have you used the new 118 numbers for directory enquiries yet ? I phone both 118 118 and 118 500 this evening ...

Continue reading "directory enquiries" »

it dawned on me this evening that my life doesn't really get dark anymore. i don't know if it ever did get dark even. everywhere i go is surrounded by either daylight (thanks to the sun) or streetlights (thanks to the local authorities).

Continue reading "deepest darkest berkshire" »

i had lunch in the British Museum with the author of Dragoon.
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The British Museum is full of smiling faces:
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Maybe one day i'll investigate some more ...


and so the transport misery continues. i think it's a given that my journeys to and from work will take at least 2 hours each way for the next two weeks :-(

bad morning for transport. looks like being a very bad fortnight. my train line has been reduced to hardly any trains and the ones that are running are stopping at every station. yeah. packed hot slow trains. great.

it's all explained in a nice press releasefrom thames trains.

it's a pain for commuters and anyone trying to get to the Reading festival this bank holiday weekend.

Someone else who was having a bad monday morning - a car randomly crashed in to a parked car. two police men but no driver at the scene.

i suspect it was driven by a badger. badgers are notorious bad drivers, partly as they can't see out the window and press the pedals at the same time. this is why they usually drive automatics.

this was a manual car. they were asking for trouble.

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we had a family trip to Calleva today. It's an old Roman town and once was as important as London. now it's just a some falling down walls in the middle of some lovely countryside.

however, today there was an archaelogical dig in the middle of it arranged by Reading University. They have a website about it

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esther even got to have a little dig in a pit of mud:
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here is kezia and her grandma at the ampitheatre entrance:
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i got the train in to reading this morning. took about 1.5 hours door to door so had a bit of waiting.

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whilst waiting i read an oftel explanatory document on rules for service providers under the new regime in case any one is interested in how i spend my time during the day ;-)

I then met Jane in town and swapped her my train ticket for the car keys and drove myself home (she'll come back later with the kids on the train). but not before paying for the car park.

the first pay machine i put my ticket in first said £2 to pay, but it owuld not take notes or cash. instead it said go to the machine two floors below to pay by those methods. so i went down two flights of stairs, inserted my card and it told me i had to pay £3 ! When i looked at the ticket it had just rolled over to another hour. how completely annoying.

we had our friends andy and gill round for tea last night. candlelit meal in the backgarden. my feet got bitten lots, but i didn't realise until this morning.
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I entertained annoyed our guest by using the night time setting on my camera to take lots of photos. none came out except this one which is a shot looking directly up at our apple tree. It was illuminated by candle light hence the weird colours
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esther has gone to stay with my mum this weekend, so we took kezia to the steam rally. we sat in front of this steam organ for 20 minutes waiting for some dancers. The music whilst we were listening was very nice. the dancers when they arrived were a little long in the tooth and it proved to be very disturbing. we went home soon after they started.

here is the 100 year old musical instrument
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concorde is stopping flying soon. it's sad because it's a beautiful plane and gets you to america quickly (if you can afford it). On the down side it flies over our house twice a day and is INCREDIBLY noisey. the sound certainly won't be missed.

here is a photo i took of it this evening as it went over

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a sniffly spikey creaturey thing
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Much thanks to our friends the Newells who surpassed themselves with Birthday goodies (albeit 3 days late!). Here is a picture showing the beautiful ballerina pen holder that Tony and I give to each other every present-occasion (Xmas and B-days). You can also see the rather neat card and a bit of the fantastic drawing produced by Catherine and Anna.

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our friends paul and liz came round for lunch today. we were a little tight for time as jane, esther and kezia are off camping in the Gower for a few days.

I was in charge of barbequeing which was a very bad idea. I didn't put enough charcoal and the heat ran out half way through the cooking. actually, we didn't even get halfway through. I put some more charcoal on and the skewers caught fire and bits of mushroom fell all over the place.

result: much late and burnt food (better than early and raw).

BBQing is a stupid idea anyway. we all understand how ovens and grills work (or at least someone in our house does). idiots shouldn't be left in charge of fire. i proved that :-(

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i took the girls to Trilakes Animal Park today. It's a funny place but has some really nice lakes and random animals wandering about. There was a particularly attractive cockerel on a bench, but when I went to take a photo of it my camera informed me that i had forgotten to load my memory stick. d'oh.

i went to two pubs with my brother in law (b-i-l)this evening. you know, the one who likes to raise his toilets a couple of inches (with a jack-see). anyway, we were talking and all of a sudden a giant bright blue starfish threw itself off the top of the coral reef in our local pub. incredible thing. b-i-l looked round, but the starfish had already landed so there was nothing to see. but i had witnessed something beautiful.
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turns out I was 31 today. what a shocker.

the day started early at 5.30 with an encounter with a giant spider. i trapped him and threw him out of the window but he was so huge he stuck to the window like some giant suckery-spider thing. yuckerooney.

do i feel different now i'm 31. no. life doesn't work like that. in the same way that a tree doesn't know it's christmas day so doesn't do anything different. my lawn looks the same on 24th Dec as it does on 25th Dec . We just stamped time on to the world, we can't expect things to respond likewisely back.

this concerns me. what will they do to Top Of The Pops ? Is Andy Peters the right man for the job. why does anyone still listen to veteran DJ DLT aka the Hairy Cornflake. why can't they just leave stuff alone

british trains are expensive, but at least you get punctuality, airconditioning and courtious staff.

one thing your ticket price doesn't include is the cost of litter bins. the world of terrorism has a lot to answer for. in the end i did something i don't normally do. i put my rubbish on the floor.

here is the rubbish, which represented over £6 worth of Virgin Trains catering fodder:
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i read this on the BBC news this morning. It makes no mention of wooden ties (which are secured by an elastic loop).

"A tight necktie can be considered a risk factor in men who prefer to wear tight neckties, men with thick necks, and white collar professionals."

my ear is still giving me jip which means I didn't sleep very well (at all) last night. lieing awake at night is a weird thing, especially with two children in the house. esther had a nightmare at one point so i went through to see her (she was ok and just went back to sleep).

But the funniest thing of all was Kezia who woke up between 1am and 2.30am and was highly animated in her speech. She tried a dozen different ways of saying 'Mummy' and then a dozen ways of saying 'Daddy'. When that failed to get a reaction she sang a note perfect 'Happy Birthday to you' to Esther. I was really impressed. During the day she doesn't say half as many things.

I'm sure she also said "yes please" a few times whilst chatting to herself.

red sky in the morning, shepherds warning. it's 5.30am and the sky is red. how relevant is a shepherds wisdom in modern urban england ? we shall find out in due course I imagine. I shall update this entry throughout the day.

update: bad things which happened throughout the day
1) woke up with excruciating ear ache at 3am and didn't get back to sleep
2) found my computer has locked me out of most of my accounts so it's tricky to work from home (though I have found a sneaky non-ideal way)

However, we also know that every cloud has a silver lining, so here are some good things:
1) cotton buds, codeine, oral and aural antibiotics all combine to numb the pain (and give me a slighlty euphoric feeling
2) my work email account has sprung back in to life and i can access my emails again (hoorah).

been no blog entries this weekend as I have an ear infection and am in a massive amount of pain. will attempt to catch up tonight :-/

here is elton and kezia. elton is a hairdresser in Sheffield and is one of the funniest people I know. he's also one of the kindest. the two are not incompatible.

we had a barbeque for anyone involved in music at our church and Elton did a fine job barbequing in the rain. we couldn't allow him in the house as he doesn't go to our church. this picture was taken just before we threw him out in to the rain.

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this was spotaneous art which took ages to set up. the little ball kept slipping out of esther's toes when she raised her foot above the globe. i'm sure you agree that the final picture was worth the effort.
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here we are with our friends the gooddys and the newells at dinton pastures.
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the long awaited back lash has started against the stupid black flies which have recently entered our house. I counted 7 flies in our house (spread over various rooms)

we are approaching the eradication on two fronts - chemical and physical.

Here is Kezia enjoying the new fly swat.

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Current fly count is 4 (and falling). they are dropping like flies it seems

the highway code suggests you should slow down and stop if pedestrians are using a zebra crossing. the highway code makes no comment about reversing backwards over zebra crossings and hitting people that way. a white van took full advantage of this fact earlier today and nearly sent me flying across Charlotte Street.

Had I been tieing my shoelaces or taking a quick nap, i would surely have been one less dimensional by now.

we went to warwick castle today - was most excellent.
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view from a window
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warwick castle is great for all the family. you have to watch out for your kids though. here is the rat catcher (right), esther (middle) and the jester (left)
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90% of our waking hours today were spent on church activities.
the fun was split between music related activities and the church family BBQ.
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the BBQ was christians burning steak, rather than being burned on one.

jane and kezia compare tongues
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Continue reading "visit to my mum's house" »

today it was raining. i got very qet. when it rains people use umbrellas. pavements aren't wide enough for multiple umbrellas. this causes people to think vertically when walking. do i crouch to avoid the oncoming umbrella. do i lift my umbrella high above the oncoming walkers.

it appears the etiquette is that the largest umbrella goes highest. golfing umbrellas go way up in the air, whilst small pop up ones can get away with barely skimming the tops of people's heads. this is fair as the golfing umbrellas cover the most area and save the smaller umbrellas from getting wet.

no one likes a wet umbrella. that's the problem with them really.

view from the boat at dusk
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this next photo was taken moments later with the bridge just closing. i missed the bridge fully open as i was disembarking the luxury superior quality craft. oh well.
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tonight we had the pleasure of a pleasure cruise aboard a superior cruise vessel. we also had the pleasure of a DJ called Paris who had a gameplan. His gameplan worked as people started dancing at the required time. he told me he also has a daughter named 'elektra'. i didn't ask him his surname.
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this morning (6.40am)on the way to work i saw lots of snails out on the street as it was nice and wet for them. walking back this evening (11.50pm) i saw snails on the now dry path way. lots of them.

my game was to walk really fast listening to my stereo really loud (Supergrass) whilst dodging the snails on the floor. there were lots of crushed ones, but I managed to avoid them all myself.

a good 'on the way back from the pub' game to play i think.

being back in a school brunged (brungt?) back all sorts of memories. I had forgotten that schools had their own sort of bins. I was delighted to see this specimen in exquisite surrounds
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I went to Potters Bar today with a chap called Harry. Here is Harry Potter's Court (see latest harry potter book to see if he aquitted or not)
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i've just reminded myself of scratch and sniff stickers. it's no wonder my generation is messed up. we were encouraged to sniff chemicals which vaguely smelt not totally unlike strawberry etc. at the time we thought we were living in willy wonka's chocolate factory. now we realise it was more like nuclear research.

of course things are much better these days. my daughter puts flourescent sparkly makeup on herself which makes her look like a robot and I zap the family home with WiFi, DECT and a microwave oven.

and my mum used to buy dodgy bits of old scrag end meats from the CJD butchers in Queniborough when i was growing up. Hasn't effected me of course. [this last sentence is appropriate for use in my obiturary]

i looked through the postoffice window in Aldwych and saw Diana and William picture postcards. The Prince Williams were going like hotcakes

we went to a party this afternoon and had a quick walk round Dinton Pastures on the way back. was looking very nice.
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we started esther's fourth birthday party by makling the kids stand in a line as if in detention. we had to assert the ground rules and a little fear never hurt anyone.
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There was a bit of a stampede when the Pin The Tail On The Donkey competition opened. (click photo for bigger version - everyone is in motion!)
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the excitement got a bit too much for one of the parents
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the girls were made to sit in line for afternoon tea. standards couldn't be dropped just because we had friends round.
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jane made the cake which took her ages. it was brilliant and a pile of pooh.
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the birthday girl with new hat, sunglasses and face tattoo (hopefully not permanent)
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today this station was very busy because of the Henley Regata. The picture doesn't really show how stupid busy it was.
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Quote from Thames Trains:
Around 25,000 more passengers will use the Henley branch line during the 5 days of the Regatta, with a staggering 10,000 users expected on Saturday 5th July

i went to the house of commons for a work meeting yesterday. how exclusive i thought. when i finally got in to the building i got lost in corridors looking for my meeting room.

what i did find was loads of school kids everywhere. the last thing they need in the house of commons is commoners. oh well.

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now, it appears to me that colour is an anagram of odour. if you cut the d of odour with some scissors, then you can get a c and an l as in oclour, which is an anagram of colour. easy.

you can try this trick with other words. simply take the letters, straighten them out in to one long black line and reshape them in to new letters. (you may have to make the letters slightly smaller if you haven't got enough length). this way anything is an anagram of anything else.

whilst we are on the subject of colour and odour, why are smells depicted as brown ? Bisto is an obvious example of a positive brown smell, but of course brown is the official colour of bad smells too. makes you think.

it's esther's birthday 4th birthday on the 9th july. she's having her party this saturday.

she's been counting down the days since, well, she turned 3.

my mum (her nanna) phoned up yesterday evening to see what esther would like for her birthday.

after a nice conversation between esther and her nanna, the phone was passed to jane to discuss the present proposal (not as in 'current' proposal - we are not thinking of getting esther old shrivelled grapes. not this year anyway).

esther obviously heard half the conversation as she asked "what's nanna going to get me for my birthday". The answer came back "a bucket of mud and an old sausage".

esther's reply was "don't be silly, nanna wouldn't get me a bucket of mud and an old sausage".

perhaps esther is going to get a surprise present from her nanna afterall !

i don't know about you (actually I don't know anything about you, except maybe your IP address and some other techy details from the access logs), but i like to have nonsense arguments with my wife. (perhaps i should just ask my wife if she has nonsense arguments with anyone else. that would save all the waffle above).

anyway, last night, over the tea table (we have a different table for every meal - it makes cleaning up easier as you can just clean up the day's debris from the various tables at the end of the day), jane and i were discussing the potential opportunities around the house for our children to injure themselves.

this wasn't a real argument, we were just being hypothetical in a comedy kind of way. esther and kezia looked on in their usual bemused way.

we join the climax of our conversation as it homes in on one key issue: leaving stuff in the hallway at night so the kids find it in the morning.

(Not that our children every come downstairs on their own in the morning anyway, but there we go)

jane: "well you leave guns and chemical weapons at the bottom of the stairs"

dave: "well you leave razor blades and knives everywhere"

jane: "well you leave lit bonfires and petrol in the house when you go to bed"

dave: "well you leave bonfires too, AND thousands of lit fireworks"

esther: "don't be silly daddy, you can't have fireworks in the house."

dave: "very true esther. i must have got that wrong"

esther: "you probably meant roadworks"

dave: "you know what esther, i probably did"

[ends]

i have been asked several times today if the tie I am wearing is made out of wood. The answer is yes. i bought it for 5 euros. It's elasticated so you don't have to tie a piece of wood in a knot.

not that knots don't appear in wood. not that sort anyway.

my only concern is it'll get woodworm and drop off.

for info on where to buy your tie go here

a 2 hour journey to work in the drizzling rain this morning. welcome back to real life.

i've been putting my new found tourist skills to work though. i've been reading out road names loudly in silly accents and taking photos of everything. (actually i used to do this anyway)

very hot. no photos as computers don,t recognise my memory stick reader. coming soon hopefully.

sometimes you just have to say enough is enough. of course 'enough' is only realised after you've had too much and by then you can't back up.

so there you go.

got home. people everywhere. hid. too busy. too awake. too tired. need holiday.

i cycled down to my local chemist to pick up some drugs. i haven't been on a bike for at least 2 years so it was very exciting.

I asked for my prescription in the pharmacy and confirmed my name. whilst they nipped out back to find it, an elderly gentlement with a neck brace and no teeth said, in a very gummy way, "you have the same surname as me". he had just asked for his prescription too.

i could see some comedy mix up was possible. luckily for me (and unluckily for you the reader) the inevitable mix up did not occure and was therefore not inevitable after all.

and this whole story is a bit boring. sorry.

the local scouts had a village fete today and got some old planes to fly by. maybe if they earnt some more money bob-a-jobbing they could afford to get some new planes to fly by.

maybe if they looked in to the sky more instead of doing good deeds they would see that there is always numerous commercial jets flying over throughout the day thanks to our proximity to Heathrow airport.

the last thing we need are more planes (or more scouts)
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Following serious technical problems, the essence of these files were lost.

This page alas forms part of those which were unobtrusive.

Please accept my excuses for this nuisance quite independent of my will.

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tastes like pink penicilin you used to get as a kid. in my opinion

more parties for esther today. this one was a gym party where all the kids could keep fit and jump up and down on trampolenes whilst eating cake.

we stumbled upon the henley community festival today. esther got her face painted as usual
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and a man balanced a canoe on this chin
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how cool to be able to sit outside at 8am in England and do some work
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how weird. i was drinking absinthe and 1664s and this story appeared in the Guardian the next day: Absinthe and 1664

leicester square. what a treat
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zoom in profile (coin style) on her majesty
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whilst walking to work i was 10 metres away from a skip lorry dropping a massive skip on to the road from a height of about 1 metre. a fantastic noise was produced. fantastic yes. welcome no.

more party time today. kez is at a difficult age where she needs 100% supervision. low light today was not being able to remember how to spell kezia's name. question was did it have an 'h' on the end or not. apparently it doesn't. i should have these things written down somewhere. or better still, get someone to remember it for me. i usually get jane to remember stuff but she has been staying out the way doing exam marking all weekend (hence me looking after the kids)

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kid fight

commuting is so boring i thought i'd take my wife along on the journey.
didn't help. we were both board. such a card

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the one problem with my velveteen tie is the size of knot required to keep it round my neck.

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i have enough ties to wear a different one every working day of the year. I wear ties about three times a week. there is a strict rota for the ties which enables me to concentrate on other more important things.

title-less emails are a queer thing. you feel obliged to open them to see what they are about. an email or website title is like a headline on a newspaper, inviting you to read the content. But conversely it is there to warn you to stay clear if you don't want what it offers.

a good title is inviting (or warning).

a misleading title is a social no-no.

a non-title is an cheeky invitation to sample the unknown. dive in my friends it says.

so where do i stand on this issue. good question. thanks for asking.

and i haven't even mentioned the numerous issues relating to attachments ...

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i drank deep from my bottle, expecting sweet orange juice. it was grapefruit. not pleasant. this was the second 'drinks misunderstanding' of the day. the first was when someone fetched me a 2litre bottle of water when i was after a half litre one. as for the tesco grapefruit drink. yuckety yuck.

in offices we often have to dial nine for an external line.

this helps reinforce the idea that an office environment is seperate from the outside world.

in life we often have to dial 9 to connect to the real world.

went to the London Men's Convention today at the Royal Alber Hall.

Saw a glove on the way there and a painted lady on the way back

bought for £3 from a charity shop in Basildon.

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from the box:
Approx 10m of cable supplied
Excellent reliability
Made of high impact polystyrene - giving durability as well as style
Suitable for House, Office, Workshop, Den, Nursery etc.

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my santa stays up all year round.
here he is enjoying the may sunshine
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how long is a peace of string ? double the length to its solitude (where solitude equals my pie squared). therefore we can find peace in a square pie.

working from home is a lot quieter than working in the London office. however there are other differences:

In London I get the sounds, smells and bits of cack from the building they are constructing next door.

at home i get the mixed smell of silage and fresh tarmacadam

quote from esther: "this cake is so gorgeous I can't even taste it".

i think she captured the 'mood of cake' perfectly

I've shouted "hello" quite loudly to 4 people this morning (3 street cleaners and one person in the office). No one has acknowledged my greeting.
Perhaps today I am invisible (and the sound equivalent of invisible).

Although I did converse with Laurent as I entered the building this morning. He is French.

So maybe I'm invisible and inaudible (probably the correct equivalent word) to all except the French.

Or maybe French people are just friendlier than English people in the morning.

makes you think


2 ethernet cards £4
pair computer speakers £6
guess who ? 50p

esther helps poochy blow out her birthday cake
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fly kites on windy days.

went to Mecca Bingo in Reading with Jane and Sally this evening. Didn't win money, but did gain a whole lot of fun. Also saw loads of rats near a litter bin. I can highly recommend Mecca Bingo in Reading. They made us feel extraordinarily welcome !

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there is a reason why apples comes from the female part of a tree. but it escapes me. www.michiganapples.com may help

modern life has few real dangers. we seldom get eaten by wild animals or killed by infectious diseases (shoddy zoos, SARs, world terrorism, natural disasters excepted). The challenges modern man (i use that term in a non-genderly way) faces are more subtle.

Continue reading "urban life (after rain)" »

voting is fun. three names on the sheet - no loonies or extremists here. whole thing took 30 mins (incl 25 mins walk)

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unfortunately no golf was allowed whilst voting

Continue reading "voting" »

it's the local elections today which is very exciting. i'm working from home which means i can pop along and vote during the day. i suspect it will be quite empty. i'll let you know.

working from home 'downstairs configuration':
(voting slip next to laptop)
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funky music down the funky doctors ...

Continue reading "funky doctors" »

fantastic blue pool in the UK.
Toilets were voted best loos 1999.
Won't win this year though (imho)

photo by dave


photo by dave

just back from a weekend in weymouth. was very excellent. stayed in a caravan, but even that was good.


photo by dave

fantastic geography

photo by dave


photo by dave

here's a cunning plan. in order to be able to finish work at 1.30pm on a Friday (4 hours early) I have decided to start work 4 hours early (5am).

Continue reading "an experiment in time" »

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photo by dave

easter sunday today. double feature church music-wise. arborfield this morning and barkham this evening. lots of funky bass lines. all good fun.

went to the vyne with andy, gill, adam and luke during the day. was most excellent.

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photo by dave

today we went for a studio session at Venture Studios

Unfortunately Kezia wasn't in a great mood so misery abounded. We get to see the results on Friday.

Was very interesting from a photography point of view and I now want to paint the inside of our garage bright white. Suspect it's highly unlikely I will though.

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photo by dave

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07 Apr 13