Wednesday, December 21, 2011

This Christmas

Our first Christmas at home together - even after all these years. We alternate - 1 year at Xfe's parents in Annecy, the next in Scotland with mine.

Search labels for Christmas 2010 and Christmas 2009 on the blog and you'll see the habit.

But this year we're having a Scottish Christmas here. Mum and Dad, my brother, his partner and their 2 children (16 months and 3 years 1 month).

What a joy. It is so much fun with LM (the older).

And Xfe is on his way home from Tunis...


Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas 2011 - Festive Weekend 1

Friday night - Green Lanes Christmas tree switch on

in 50 different languages at the Salisbury pub

Even the rest of the decorations are working tonight

Saturday morning - the tree came from the florist around the corner. Easy.

Decoration done


A real Dalek bauble



and my Dalek bauble from last year


Friday, December 09, 2011

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Dear Life

Hanging in there, really...


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Saturday, December 03, 2011

Final Sequence

Delicious.

Repulsive.



Final Sequence.

ToDoToDay

  1. Buy some stollen.
  2. Check if champagne is on double offer at M&S. If so, 6 bottles please.
  3. Have lunch.
  4. Come back home.
  5. Write Christmas cards, sipping a glazz of something cold and fizzy.
  6. Dinner in, DVD or other film. 
We are only 1 episode of Romanzo Criminale behind, and as we watch 2 in one go, we'll get up to date next weekend before Xfe's departure to Tunis.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Read Me - I Used To Be Good

Wow. I just read some posts from this time 3 years ago.

I used to be good.

Relatively prolific, some of my posts were - out there!

I have no idea really what this one was all about:

Made in Scotland: With A Little Illumination

Nor indeed what inspired it (though I would hazard a guess some glasses of wine helped).

Likely it was nothing more than wine and music of course. I do recognise the lines...


Friday, November 25, 2011

Scent Of Winter

Late November is my favourite time of year.

Short crisp days, a cold sun hanging low in a cloudless sky. A warm home, back turned to the black outside, and the anticipation of Christmas. Close enough to be real, but not yet close enough to be drawn beyond control into the festivities.

Although Christmas can be anticipated after Hallowe'en, bonfire night first needs to get out of the way.

But by the end of November it is a certainty, inevitable and there to be enjoyed.

This year we will be at home for Christmas. I haven't spent Christmas at home with Xfe ever. We take turn about to visit his parents and mine. A Christmas in France followed by a Christmas in Scotland.

This year (a Scotland Christmas at my parents) we are spending at home in London. Mum & Dad are coming to stay and so is my brother, his partner and their two children.

I'm not sure which part is the best part. being at home for Christmas. Being at home for Christmas with the children....

The best part, of course, is all of them.



And 32 years later I'm still listening to Kate Bush - 50 Words For Snow

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Interference Book Two

File:Interference II.jpg My second Amazon Marketplace sale.

Bought for £3.33 (3 for £10) and sold for £49.

It's rare and I've been biding my time - no rush. I have 3 or 4 to sell and a secret supplier.

All brand new mint bookshop condition...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hard Times








Yesterday and tomorrow come find me toiling at the Country Life Christmas Fair, Islington Design and Business Centre.

I can competently work the till and I used the card machine once, which means, I think, that I can safely use it too.

Why? Austere times. Even a City lawyer needs to moonlight.

Of course, as one would expect, I am doing it pro bono. Out of the goodness of my heart (even though I might not be a good person).

My friend is staying this week and I volunteered to help her yesterday and today.


So if you see me, come say hello.

Such fun.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Simple

A relatively painless switch of internet provider has occurred.

From btopenworld to Sky, saving in excess of £20pcm, with first 3 months free - so we now have integrated tv, broadband and talk package. All because BT were too expesive for phone and broadband, and really, who wants BT vision?

Saturday, November 05, 2011

I Hate Bonfire Night


I'm such a grumpy old man. I've become my father. I hate fireworks (that's not new though).

They shouldn't be sold to the public, let alone up at Wood Green. That is really irresponsible.

Happy 5th of November all.

Bonfire Night - go Google it!

Already the air is heavy with the burn of gunpowder. All around - and it is only 20h03. Still, I think it is going to rain. Damp squibs.

Squibs - go Google that.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Show Me The Puppies - Part 1

In the wee hours of this morning I caught myself waking up in front of the TV at 3h42. I'd been watching the stuff recorded on the HD, trying to free up some space for all that Xfe has programmed in. Never aware of loosing time, sleeping. So I had the idea that it was a good time to go to bed.

Suddenly I was awake, listening to the calming tones and sensible interrogatories of Evan Davis. Which meant (knowing it was Saturday) it was after 7h00 but still before 9h00.

Despite a bottle and a bit of wine I had a not too throbbing head.

I rose, prematurely. Had some pepsi max (always my soda of choice) for breakfast. I would have liked some instant coffee but the milk was off, Xfe being away.  Followed by cold pizza. The Mexican from Papa Johns. Two slices more than half were left over from the night before.

I think I prefer cold pizza to fresh, especially if spicy. No pizza expert I rely on friend R1's recommendation of Papa John. Though they had no coleslaw, which I love on hot pizza. Instead to get the 25% online discount I ordered sides of chicken dippers with potato wedges and chicken dippers with stuffed jalapenos. I ordered 4 of their buffalo dips. I am addicted to them. Delicious. Though I never ate any last night. You see, like any good hoarder I need to keep them for a better time to have... (I did notice their best before goes into the New Year. Brilliant).

Selecting 4 buffalo dips, Papa John must have thought I was mistaken. For in addition to the 4 buffalo, my delivery came with a couple of others instantly forgettable.


At some point I went back to bed to listen to the Reverend Richard "Communard" Cole. It was too involved to do otherwise. Sue Johnston's Inheritance Tracks, disappointingly unlike their sponsor, were predictably true to type.

After some WhatsApp exchanges with Tel Aviv located Xfe, it was time for action. A shopping trip adventure to Wood Green.

Sometimes It is another world up there. Always. I think I just fit in up there.  That is until I open my mouth, or present my selections for purchase and pay. My new favourite store there is Wilkinson. It's like crack cocaine for the non-earning income supported.

Today when paying for another bunch of foil wrapped Doctor Who Series 2 Character Building figures and more Christmas shit, I was asked if I needed to top-up. I was lost for words. I didn't want to stand out, but I didn't know what she was offering me. My instant reaction was that her question was related to alcohol. Many of the people who shop there use alcohol in extreme. The third time she asked me I had to own up that I had no idea what she was asking me about.

She explained - did I want to add money to my mobile. Nothing to do with wodka.

As with an Oyster card you can choose a phone to "pay as you go". They also can do it for electricity (though I think you need a different sim card for that). Looking around many people appeared to be doing it. In fact, many "Wilko's" had smartphones. They were buying "top up" points and lottery scratch cards. Here's an idea for someone - top up scratch cards. I think I'd be on to a winner!!!


Looking around I couldn't believe so many of the people around me had expensive smartphones. I just got my first smartphone 2 weekends ago. It took me a long time to weigh up if I could have one. Cost -vs- benefit. Whereas it seems benefits -vs- mobile phones is a no brainer, even though they have not enough to do without benefits (I think that is why they shop in Wilkinson etc). This I don't understand. Me - City salary, doubting if I can afford the iPhone. Them... not. Simples.

Thus - if anyone from Waitrose is paying attention - look up! Why can't we "top up" when buying monkfish tail and parma ham?

Before getting the bus to save me a 15 minute walk, I decided to pop into LIDL on the way back (glad I did; got some stollen and other Christmas muck). In store I found myself thinking about the 2 week old smartphone in my pocket. The place was full of families with children taught to be more interested in what is in my pockets than what is on the shelves. But the cropped haired boys and the girls with full length skirts are all too easily distracted by dropping a £1 coin and pretending not to notice.

It may be only 1000m away, but Wood Green is a different world...


Friday, October 28, 2011

FilmCram

Never enough time. Sky+ almost maxed. Watch or delete? Kidulthood. God. Do. I. Really. Want. To. Live. In London? These kids. Jokers, right. Who would. Seriously. Dangerously though. Fucking blood. Man. Innit.

Von Trier - he gets 7 mins with 1h56m remaining. Delete. With relief.

39% on the HD left.

How about a Threesome? I rather liked it last week. Then I'll delete. I know Xfe would like to watch it, but if I do I shan't want to see it again. And he has tons of TV to watch. Really, I promise.

Besides, next week the Becky/Russell Tovey bedsit sitcom starts again, and we rather liked that and we can't keep recording all these comedies and stuff to watch.

Innit, Blood.

I say, blood. Get back to your estate.

TFI FRIDAY

Is it just me, or is life really getting more difficult?

The day job (a misnomer, obviously) gets harder. I find stress more difficult to deal with. I worry about so much. I sleep fitfully....

When Thursday arrives it really feels it should be Friday. When Friday arrives, I just want to sleep in.

One more journey to make to work before I can kick back for the weekend. Kick back meaning destroy 2 bottles of wine and eat some seriously junk food. And go to bed without worrying about having to get up to go to the office.

I recently read blogging is so vintage. My blogging conduct over the last 18 months or so would seem to substantiate that.

Still, TFI FRIDAY.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Excuse Me?

Today I got this email from a colleague who also happens to be the compliance officer of the firm.


Really! The demands that are put on us at work to comply....

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The New Look

 So, the new Christmas light works better receded.
Still, you will be converted.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Message From Xfe #1

This of course is the only way I manage when Xfe is away.

#1


















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Friday, October 21, 2011

While Xfe's Away

I'm gonna' play.....



With a takeaway arrived, I guess you can conclude Xfe has gone to work. Three weels in Tel Aviv this time.

So, what's for dinner?

Indian takeaway. Yum.



But, I assure you - this isn't one meal. Honest. It will do me 2 or 3 meals over the weekend.

Mmmm.....






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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hot Harvest

From our chilli plant. Great success.




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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bye Bye Betty

She's gone to make hotpot in heaven...



RIP Betty Driver, Betty Turpin

Can You Guess What It Is?


Hint: Just reference my last post.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

iMadeInScotland

Once again it's i-Everything.

Having pondered I have decided that I cannot afford the iPhone 4S. Not this month.

I'm thinking about downgrading to a 10mb internet service and ditching Sky+ for a freeview or freesat.

All I can see are rising costs and outlays and static income.

This month Foxtons clawed back £1,700 commission on the next 6 months rent, so no voluntary mortgage payment this month.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Season 6 - Been And Gone

From today's Observer.

I have still to post my thoughts, but in brief, over-complicated for a large part, the split was a mistake and well, they are always changing the timing and have been for a number of seasons.

Though The Girl Who Waited was...wonderful.

Is time up for Doctor Who?

 

Its stories might be getting darker, and its plots ever more outlandish, but the Time Lord still has millions of fellow travellers. Helen Lewis-Hasteley and Andrew Harrison debate the tea-time institution
    DOCTOR WHO
    'Perhaps the show has become too complicated for adults, but children seem to get it just fine'. Photograph: BBC/James Stenson/BBC

    Helen Lewis-Hasteley is assistant editor of the New Statesman

     

    God love the BBC, but they do make some baffling decisions. In Doctor Who, they have more than a TV show, they have a national institution. So what do they do? Monkey around with its scheduling – a split series this year, and the next 13 episodes to be spread across 2012 and 2013 in some unspecified way, like it's some failed American import that no one knows what to do with. Even worse, BBC1's controller, Danny Cohen, put the blame on the showrunner, Steven Moffat, who also executive produces Sherlock. Moffat took to Twitter to respond: "The scheduling of Dr Who has got NOTHING to do with Sherlock", so I'm guessing there was  a frosty atmosphere the next time the pair met.

    Then there's the penny-pinching: I can't quite believe they scored the coup of getting Neil Gaiman to write an episode, then told him he couldn't have a new monster and would have to make do with a recycled Ood.

    Andrew Harrison is editor-at-large of Word magazine

     

    You know what? You're right. The BBC really should show more love to the series that practically regenerated the corporation's family viewing remit all on its own. The idea that there won't be a full, 13-part season for Doctor Who's 50th anniversary in 2013 is a crime on a par with Scaroth of Jagaroth forging the Mona Lisa.

    But when you look at the figures, the idea that Doctor Who is fading just doesn't stand up. This season averaged about 7.5m viewers (a little down on David Tennant in his rock-star pomp, but hardly a collapse) and between 1.5m and 2m people watch it on timeshift. In September, four out of the five most-requested shows on iPlayer were episodes of Doctor Who. These are figures that TV executives dream of.

    But let's talk about the stories instead. The other complaint is that under Steven Moffat, the show has become too complicated for kids. Too many loose threads (Amy's baby, the Doctor's death, River Song), too many time paradoxes, too much concentration on giant story arcs and not enough on one-off tales. All I'd say is, if it's too confusing for kids then nobody has told my nieces and nephews, all of whom understand the show completely. Perhaps it's become too complex for adults – but children seem to get it just fine.

    HLH I wouldn't deny that Doctor Who is a phenomenally successful show, and I agree that the viewing figures are a red herring in the age of the iPlayer. But I will see your nephews and nieces, and raise you my own nephew, with whom I watched "The Curse of the Black Spot". He might only be eight, but even he could spot plot holes so big you could pilot a star whale through them (sorry, no more nerdy references, I promise).

    The current vogue of 45-minute, high-concept single episodes means that everything else can get squeezed to the margins, resulting in dollops of exposition and all-over-the-place characterisations, like Hugh Bonneville's heartwarming-yet-bloodthirsty buccaneer, or the cheery Silurian medical researcher in "The Hungry Earth", memorably described by the Androzani review site as "lovable old Dr Mengele". And how could Rory and Amy lose their baby in one episode, and in the next be blithely unaffected by the story of a child who feared being abandoned? Instead they were larking about with giant scissors.

    Oh, and while we're on the subject of Amy, what happened to Steven Moffat's hatred of "clingy girlfriends"? They've eased up this series, but I could definitely live with fewer longing looks across the Tardis console, and I bet your nephews and nieces could too.
    And as you're clearly a "City of Death" fan, answer me this: how many of these episodes will you want to watch again? Isn't the danger with relying so much on cliffhangers, twists and big reveals that the shows don't stand up to repeated viewings?

    AH Well, one person's plot hole is another's unfathomable mystery – and I'm glad that Moffat is pushing the Doctor back into the realms of inscrutability. It's more fun that way, and it's best not to focus on plot holes in a show that's based on the flatly impossible. But you're right to question Amy and Rory's weird reaction to the abduction of their baby. Spods like you and me know it was because the producers switched a couple of episodes around, so that a relatively simple pirate story would follow the plot-heavy "Day of the Moon". It's not the ideal way to play it, but neither does it constitute bad characterisation.

    Instead, I prefer to think of it this way: Doctor Who is a kids' show – one that adults love because they can share it with their own children, and with the part of themselves that is still a child. It's one thing to see a human brain sliced out and inserted into a Cyberman's body (in fact, I'd say it's an essential part of a rounded upbringing); but a mother in weeping despair over a stolen baby would just be too raw and too real for Saturday tea-time. Better to treat it as a fairy tale, where children vanish and are rescued without any real pain.

    Too much seething passion in the Tardis? When Russell T Davies resurrected the show, his masterstroke was to understand that it had to win over women viewers as well as nerdy males. Remove the "emotional content" and you've got a husk of a series. As for the re-watch value of new Who, how could you not want to see "The Doctor's Wife" or "The Girl Who Waited" again? They're self-contained modern Who classics, up there with "The Talons of Weng-Chiang".

    HLH Hmm. I'm not sure that pointing out there's a reason for bad characterisation excuses it, when as you say, the vast majority of viewers wouldn't know about it.

    That said, I'm pleased to see you acknowledge that some topics aren't right for a Saturday tea-time programme, because the classic deflection of anyone criticising Doctor Who is to argue that "kids understand a lot more than you think". I'm sure they do, but that doesn't mean there isn't a difference between a children's show and a grown-up drama, and the recent series have tended more towards the latter.

    Still, I'm pleased to be having this argument. While I love the fact that Doctor Who fans feel so possessive about the show (I do, too), it can mean that any whisper of dissent is met with a thunderous wall of denunciation. And here's one thing I bet you can't defend: James Corden's acting when he was on the floor being attacked by that CyberWoodlouse. Preposterous.

    AH The thing is, Doctor Who is like Queen: there's so much of it, and it's so ridiculously diverse, that no sane person can sincerely say they love every single aspect of it. I've got a soft spot for "Don't Stop Me Now" but I wouldn't care if I never heard "Bohemian Rhapsody" again. Similarly, I'd defend "Vincent and the Doctor" or "The God Complex" as epitomes of quality telly until the eventual heat death of the universe. But every time the music goes soupy and some tearful character tells the Doctor what a wonderful man he is – and every time that Love Saves the Day – I find my faith wavering.

    No, I'm not going to stand up for James Corden and his Rod Hull-and-Emu routine with the CyberMat… the comedy bits are not for me. But following Doctor Who is a bit like following your football team: some Saturdays you get beaten 3-0. Some Saturdays it's a boring story about a girl whose drawings come to life. It doesn't mean that next week won't be amazing. And as for those over-possessive fans, my advice is to stay away from the message boards. There be dragons. And Skarasens, Myrkas and Slythers.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

In The Closet

Today I took my Dad 1h50m approx across London to see a game of footie.

Truth is, I'm a closeted fan. I know the bare minimum to converse about. Though I can't/won't comment on technical happenings. I have no idea.

Truth is, I ended up thinking I should sponsor the kit of one of the players. I get to meet him and get it (his kilt) end of season.

Hope I can negotiate it unwashed.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Random Of Coincidence

This morning, after speaking to my Mum on the phone (while I was surfing elsewhere) I was looking at the ultra-rare Dr Who Character Building (Lego like) figures.

I started here, then went to the Merchandise Blog.

Last week, before my Manchester trip, we were at this super cheap store. The cheapest I have ever seen. We live near Wood Green and, oh my goodness, the shopping canyon that is here and then (when we lived in Islington). What I have learned is that those who can pay do.

Here, in N8, value is necessary and a total bonus. The quality and choice of food we have here cf the Islington delis is beyond belief. There, I'd pay £2.89 for a bag of gourmet crisps. Here I get them in the cheap shop (the name eludes me, but when Xfe wakes up he will know) for 99p. No joke. The same.

In this shop people buy in bulk. I hate it. It takes forever to get beyond the check-out. Because they have 33 bottles of conditioner and 39 bottles of shampoo. Which they sell on in their corner shops, I'm guessing.

Anyway. I digress. I was looking at these limited edition figures. The 11 Doctors set at £19.99. With 4 variants, each selling for between £200-£150. I was immediately there.

But, it seemed someone was there before me. All the packs had been reviewed. I checked and instead took 15 foil packs (@£1.99 each), and a plush Dalek for a Christmas gift to nephew or neice.

Back home, two packets in, I hit gold. First came the certificate. Then I took the pack to Xfe, saying which I wanted to be.
 











And it was.

£1.99 selling for £200. But I won't sell. No way.













Ha!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Our Little Chilli Plant





You saw Stephen's. Well that's our one. It is fierce and we have so many chillis!

Location:Piccadilly,Manchester,United Kingdom

Travel

I'm heading up to Manchester on business for a couple of days. Nice to get out of the office, but the blackberry keeps me a slave to the stress.

Here in the wifi Virgin Lounge at Euston, there is not much worthy of noting. It is not at all the nicest lounge.

I'll be comfortable at the other end however. I'm staying at the Malmaison, which is always rather nice.

See you there.




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Location:London,United Kingdom

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

On 20 July...

Xfe left for the far east - Taiwan and China. Just before I posted this piece.

Today he arrives home, 1 day short of 8 weeks away.

Hurrah! Welcome home mon C.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

On Amy Pond

Amy Pond IS Emma Peel.

And this was the first episode to bring a tear to my eye since any one of the Donna episodes.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Some Kind Of Trouble

Shit. I'm going to be arrested...

From:     Agent John Edward
    Subject:     Proof Of Ownership For Your Consignment..
    Date:     9 September 2011 08:12:34 GMT+01:00
    To:     john.ed@ci.fbi.gov
    Reply-To:     agentfbi_jee@one.co.il

FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
INTELLIGENCE FIELD UNIT
J. EDGAR HOOVER BUILDING
935 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE,NW WASHINGTON,D.C.

ATTN: BENEFICIARY

I AM SPECIAL AGENT JOHN EDWARD FROM THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (FBI) INTELLIGENCE UNIT, WE HAVE JUST INTERCEPTED AND CONFISCATED TWO CONSIGNMENT BOXES AT JFK AIRPORT IN NEW YORK, AND WE ARE ON THE VERGE OF MOVING IT TO OUR BUREAU HEAD QUARTERS.

WE HAVE SCANNED THE SAID BOXES, AND HAVE FOUND IT TO CONTAIN LARGE SUM OF MONEY AND ALSO BACKUP DOCUMENT WHICH BEARS YOUR NAME AS THE RECEIVER OF THE MONEY CONTAINED IN THE BOXES, INVESTIGATIONS CARRIED OUT ON THE DIPLOMAT WHICH ACCOMPANIED THE BOXES INTO THE UNITED STATES HAS IT THAT HE WAS TO DELIVER THIS FUNDS TO YOUR RESIDENCE AS PAYMENT WHICH WAS DUE YOU FROM THE OFFICE OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN NIGERIA FROM UNPAID CONTRACT SUMS.

WE CROSS-CHECKED ALL LEGAL DOCUMENTATION IN THE BOXES, AND WERE ABOUT TO RELEASE THE CONSIGNMENT TO THE DIPLOMAT,WHEN WE FOUND OUT THAT THE BOXES IS LACKING ONE VERY IMPORTANT DOCUMENTATION WHICH AS A RESULT, THE BOXES HAS BEEN CONFISCATED.

ACCORDING TO SECTION 229 SUBSECTION 31 OF THE 2005 AMENDED CONSTITUTION IN TAX PAYMENT, YOUR CONSIGNMENT LACKS PROOF OF OWNERSHIP CERTIFICATE FROM THE JOINT TEAM OF THE IRS AND HOMELAND SECURITY, AND THERE FOR, YOU MUST CONTACT US FOR DIRECTION ON HOW TO PROCURE THIS CERTIFICATE, SO THAT YOU CAN BE RELIEVED OF THE CHARGES OF EVADING TAX WHICH IS A PUNISHABLE OFFENSE UNDER SECTION 12 SUBSECTION 441 OF CONSTITUTION ON TAX EVASION.

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO CONTACT THIS BUREAU WITHIN 72HOURS, OR YOU WILL BE ARRESTED, INTERROGATED AND PROSECUTED IN THE COURT OF LAW FOR MONEY LAUNDERING.

ALSO, YOU MUST NOT CONTACT ANY OTHER BANK OR PERSONS IN NIGERIA, THE UNITED KINGDOM OR ANY PART OF THE WORLD FOR ANY PAYMENT, BECAUSE YOUR PAYMENT HAVE BEEN CONFISCATED BY THIS BUREAU HERE IN THE UNITED STATES.

YOURS IN SERVICE,

AGENT JOHN EDWARD
REGIONAL DEPUTY-DIRECTOR
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
INTELLIGENCE FIELD UNIT
J. EDGAR HOOVER BUILDING
935 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE,NW WASHINGTON,D.C.
20535-0001,USA.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

My Newest Latest Addiction

Coming at the weekend.

You'll never guess....

...ever.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Latest Addiction

Wine gums!



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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Happy 70th Birthday Mum

I think I came up with a great idea for a birthday present for my Mum.

She doesn't want for anything (apart from her health, really). So, I thought and thought and came up with something.... thoughtful. Her desert island disk from us...


I asked family to come up with a choice and an explanation.

And here is the playlist.


I really can't wait to give it to her! She will of course get the CD and a framed copy of the explanation.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Sun Refused To Shine

This morning I cried.



I read "A letter to..." from the Family section in the Saturday Guardian that had been on our dining table for about 3 weeks.



My fear is the bereavement one of us will suffer at the loss of the other. My biggest fear is that I will have to leave my darling man behind.



I have taken bereavement badly before. The fear of leaving my darling man, Xfe, behind terrifies me. Less so, saying goodbye to him and letting him go. I could just survive that.



But leaving Xfe behind truly scares me. Unfair, no longer being able to look after him (of course he can look after himself, and financially he'd be secure and able to live well - but I would not be there caring for him).



If I knew I was dying I would only worry about who would look after mon C, and to love you.



Lust - vs- Love



Still continues to be a feature in life.



Did anyone actually see last weekend's Ch4 Banksy editorial night? Loved it. It all made sense, even more so when I found myself listening to Richard Hawley remembering that I had noted to buy his work before. It really suits me.



Happy birthday, Mum



I thought for my Mum's actual birthday [she will be 70] I might give her her very own desert island disk.



I thought I would ask closest family to suggest a song that they would want to give to my Mum, to take on a desert island, so she could know what she meant to us all/think of us.



Suggest a song (hopefully that I can find on iTunes), and write and send me maybe 2-3 lines/sentences or less to say why.



I thought:



Dad

Bro & I

Aunt M.

Aunt E.

Aunt T.

You

S.

El.

JLL

Xfe

E& B



Would you do that for me? Choose a song, and if you could all write a couple of lines in your handwriting (then sign below) send it to me, no wider than A4 and I will stick them all on a card/in a frame and give from us all on her birthday.



BUT I do need it by next weekend….



SO, Bro & I will choose 2 little boys and probably write



Because, Mum, we will always remember that we are your two little boys.



You get the idea



Would you manage that? The song doesn't have to be about her - just for her. If nothing comes to mind, a song from the house when you were children, or even choose a song that Nana or Papa would have chosen for her….



It would be greatly appreciated



Friday, August 12, 2011

Le Weekend!!!

At last the weekend is here.

It's hard to describe this week. Work hell, London shame and pride...

However there was this great piece of news on the way home.

A model wept today as she was jailed for six months for looting an Argos store in the London riots.

Shonola Smith was caught when police stormed the building after youths smashed in the front of the shop during the disturbances in Croydon on Monday night.

The 22-year-old model, from South Norwood, was arrested at the scene in Church Street with her sister Alicia and their 22-year-old friend Donness Bissessar.

All three pleaded guilty at Croydon magistrates' court to entering the store with intent to steal.
The trio, who had no previous convictions, broke down in tears as they were led to the cells.

Their stunned families clutched each others' hands for comfort as District Judge Robert Hunter gave them all six-month sentences.

He said: "The tragedy is that you are all of previous good character, each of you well educated.

"You have jobs. You have got plans for future education. You have shown remorse and you have all pleaded guilty.

"However, I can't ignore the context in which these offences were committed. You have played your part in a wider act where devastation was caused to businesses and local residents.

"In my view, although I'm retaining jurisdiction, the matter is so serious that only a custodial sentence will suffice. That, I hope, will serve as a deterrent to others."

When Alicia Smith was arrested she was carrying 10 packs of chewing gum she had stolen from a nearby Kwik Stop convenience store on the same day. She admitted theft.

The Smith sisters and Bissessar were remanded in custody when they first appeared in court on Tuesday. Dressed in identical prison issue clothes, all looked downcast in the dock as they exchanged glances with their parents in the public gallery.

Their lawyer told the court: "I was taken by surprise. Talking to them and recently talking to their families, they come across as perfectly ordinary, reasonable, dare I say it civilised young women.

"Their parents have found it really very hard to fathom what's going on. They have accepted their guilt and there is no doubt that they are remorseful.

"They all work. If it all kicked off again tonight I don't for one second think you would find these ladies anywhere near."

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Full

My pop-up is full.

Though I am considering having a 70's dining experience after next weekend's meat feast!!

ahoj

Me, The Rudeness

No problem. We were very tardy to get the invites out! I will pass on your regards (after the surprise, of course).

Fortunately their health has been decent this summer, unlike the last couple of years. Mum has just had the very good news that, for the moment, her cancer is in remission. Perhaps we will have the chance to celebrate 75, with plenty of notice to all!

Because so many have asked about gifts for Mum and Dad, none are needed.

Though, after the cancer so soon after the amputations, I have asked people to consider donating to UK cancer research.

http://giveincelebration.cancerresearchuk.org/....

TOGETHER WE WILL BEAT IT.

Have a lovely time and if you don't mind, I will read out your kind message from xxx at the celebration.

This has been an automated message.


On 7 Aug 2011, at 10:37, jxx xxtter wrote:

MiS,Thank you for the invite to your mum & dads surprise party,sorry we shall be unable to attend due to other commitments.
Please give our regards and we wish them all the best and have a great time with family and friends.
Mr& Mrs J xxtter

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Welcome To My Pop-Up

Xfe is gone away - for 8 weeks!!!

Paris-Taiwan-China...

While I think I'm heading to the kitchen. Pop-up (according to my TimeOut) is all the rage.

Welcome to my pop-up! Instead of going out I'm going to offer for 6 guests only a pop-up dining experience. On 13 August (subject to 6 discerning consumers) I'm serving an exclusive dining experience.

Meat feast (you have to like meat). £30 per head, BYOB. Email me for a reservation.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Apple Buggeration

Last weekend I upgraded Snow Leopard to Lion.

When I went to use Eudora it wouldn't work. Work and Excel also had a "no entry" sort of sign over the icons.

After a little research I realised that the Outlook for Mac I used was for Power PC chips (used by Apple before Intel was inside). Lion no longer supported Power PC software.

My archive - and more importantly Xfe's - archives of emails, addresses, attachments and other documents using mail were lost.

SO, thought I, no option but to buy new Office for Students for Mac. Only to find, when I loaded it and ran Outlook, I had to upgrade to "buy" it.

What?!! Then looking at the box I noticed only Word, Excel and Powerpoint are included. Outlook is not.

I tried to find the .eml files etc, transfer from one Mac to another. But all in vein.

Eventually, 11.30pm on Tuesday night I thought of a solution...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Garden - July 2011

Here's how the garden is currently looking, after 1 year ...


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lonely House

Well, the family have been and gone, and once again the house is empty.

It was super fun having our nephew and niece stay with Uncle Riffroff and Uncle Gok.

Xfe has far more patience with them than I. But they are lovely and a delight.

I had the week off and got into nephew LM's routine, watching his programmes, so much CBeebies. My favourites were Zing Zillas (I counted the coconuts with Granite and Gravel until the big zing) and Show Me (where L does his funky moves, then freezes - great stuff).

Here are some best bits.




They'll be back again at Christmas. We are having my parents and brother and family. It is going to be so over the top, and that's a promise!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Excitement

Great excitement (me a little, Xfe overly so). Our nephew and niece are arriving today to stay with us - with their Mum and Dad - for a week.

Xfe is a patient and joyous Uncle. He's great. When I've had enough I just tell nephew LG to go show/tell/ask/bother his Uncle Xfe!

Nephew LG is almost 3 and niece LO almost 1 (so I expect she is a little less effort).

(Only joking - I am looking forward to seeing them. I haven't seen niece LO since just after she was born, and nephew LG for about 10 months or so).

My great pleasure is seeing how much happiness they bring Xfe. They really do.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Working Crowd



I couldn't help it. I had so may favourites, and while this doesn't make me rock, it really takes me back.

My video BTW!

Something Of Your Very Own

Last night I was transported back to 1979, to my bedroom, living at home with my parents.

One year for my birthday I got a record player. It was a kind of portable lo-fi one. Certainly not a stereo.

I had a few records to play on it. One of the first that I ever bought, I played over and over. A 12" single, with an alternate French version of the song on it, and B side I also liked.

The band became a favourite, before new wave led to indie and The Smiths.

One of the bands whose music takes me back...

Living in my bedroom, and only just teenager, Blondie became a firm favourite. I never ever thought in my little teenage world in parochial home-town that I'd ever see them.

But tonight, almost 32 years later I was 3 people back from the front of stage listening to Atomic, Union City Blues, Dreaming, Sunday Girl, Heart of Glass and oh so many others. I loved it.

But here is an amazing thing. Debbie Harry is older than Xfe's mother and just a little more than 3 years younger than mine. My goodness!!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

More Garden Chores

We're back from Stockholm. I ordered some compost while we were there for delivery and it arrived at 8.30am this morning.



Over 1000 litres to fill up the borders....

In the meantime, we think the garden is looking rather nicely thank you.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Holiday Reading 1

I finished reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, appropriate reading for Stockholm I thought. As one of the waiters on Finnhamn explained to me yesterday, "Capturing, isn't it?".


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Location:Tegelbacken,Stockholm,Sweden

Friday, July 08, 2011

A Silver Darling - Stockholm Day 2

So, here we are in Stockholm, in a fantastic room at the Sheraton. When we booked there was a twin queen room available at the same rate as a queen. I told him to take it. He had a little moan of doubt - but when I explained that having 2 queen beds didn't mean we had to use them both, he sort of saw the point. Now we are here he does. The room is double the size of the others.

There is one small problem with the room. I'll explain later, but for the moment let me just say that Stephen King would no doubt write a blockbuster novel inspired by it!

Last night we went out for dinner at ......... I has the taste of Sweden platter (delicious) followed by Elk meatballs and mash - the most traditional of Swedish cuisine. Xfe had a selection of herring and then a salmon skewer. I have to say his herring dish was a winner.

I was struck by Sweden as soon as we started flying over it, the mix of green and water. As we descended even better. Forests and lakes everywhere. Stockholm is surrounded by water and with quite a number of imposing, historic buildings.

I could live here, but Xfe not. The winters would be too cold and the nights too long. That, for me, would not however be a problem...


Location:Kungsgatan,Stockholm,Sweden

Monday, July 04, 2011

Garden Ever After

Here are a couple of pics, showing the finished result, after the hard weekend graft.

But first the before:

DSC06070

Now the after...




Actually, there is still some work left to do. We have to raise the borders to level off the brick. We can do that once we have successfully recycled the top soil.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

The Big Ache


Oh my goodness, Xfe and I are completely ached-out. Yesterday we shifted over 3 tons of sand and stone into the back garden.

The grass we had didn't winter very well. Over winter it was pretty sodden and the grass destroyed and extremely patchy. So, Xfe decided we should get rid of the lawn and cover it over with shingle.

Yesterday was the day. So, while other Londoners may have been enjoying Pride under the sun, we were doing back breaking work, lifting turf, digging up and replacing with sand and stone. Over 3 tons, plus some 160 bricks. Which was well calculated - we only had 4 left over.

I will post some pics once I've got them over from Xfe's phone later.

In the meantime I. Need a rub...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Olympic Dream Tickets - Update



Well, there's no email. So is it just another system failure or does it mean Xfe was unsuccessful?

It is hardly beyond the realms of possibility that the system has just failed to cope and perhaps allocated more tickets than were available, leaving even more of a guddle to be sorted!!

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