Tuesday, January 31, 2006

On the way up

The last few days I have not been at my best. I seem to go through phases of indecision and procrastination – paralysed by fear or so it seems. On the outside I seem to cover it up quite well. Only those who know me best would ever know – I make promises I can’t keep, swing in mood from one moment to the next, reach for the fridge, tell blatant lies.

It seems that returning from a few days of sickness to an already overcrowded schedule did it for me. I wasn’t really coping before I went down with the bug and I could cope even less afterwards.

I generally snap out of it and catch up with myself when deadlines loom so close that I have no choice but to act. At least this time I recognised where I was at a bit sooner than usual. Or was it that I have too many deadlines looming just now? Whatever, but the truth is I usually manage to squirm around in my little cocoon of fear for a good while longer than this.

So although I have no one to apologise to other than myself I want to say sorry for not blogging so much lately although it is the truth that the whole internet thing has fucked my head lately.

Having A at home tonight has made a big difference. She is, in a sense, an embodiment of my conscience. I don’t feel under pressure if she’s about but, somehow, it’s just feels nice hearing her pottering about (more often than not doing the housework that I ought to be doing), knowing she’s there.

Fucking opera.

So here’s to me on my way back up. If how I’ve felt is a tiny, tiny bit like depression then my heart goes out to all those who suffer any mental illness.

I dedicate this entry to them.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

DJ all the Way

Days like this don’t come along that often.  This has been a great day…

Installed wireless modem/router and didn’t manage to cut off the phone, nor call BT to sort out the mess I’d made of extending phone line.  
Managed to get new phone to talk to wi-fi and so can web and email browse anywhere in house.

Accepted lunch invitation from old friend.

Listened to a great band that I’d never heard before – John Butler Trio.  Thanks D for the disc.

But most of all, listened to and then later saw (on Match of the Day) Brentford put Premiership Sunderland out of the FA Cup.  Shit happens that I couldn’t get a ticket for the want of a stub but I’ve not felt so excited about a football match for a long time.  I’ve recorded the highlights to play ad nauseum to the kids at school on Monday, and Tuesday and…

No seriously, this has been a great day.

Chasing Technology

Very late, very tired but just a quickie to say that technology caught up with me in a big way today – or was it me catching up with the technology, I’m not too sure.

Bought a brand new phone that now combines my PDA, MP3 player, digital camera and oh yeah, mobile phone all into one. Cool.

Spent bloody hours setting it up out tonight to sync with PC via bluetooth.

Broadband account came on line today.

Spent bloody hours setting up modem tonight.

Got new SIM card for old phone so that I can access all the features on my old phone to transfer all the data to my new phone.

Spent bloody ages trying to register it tonight.

Didn’t do any of what I should have but enjoyed myself nevertheless chasing technology.

Perfect Friday night in.

Oh and by the way, happy birthday Mozart. I hope they’ll talk about me in 250 years.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Galloway Comes Out

Now that would be a headline!

I’m not hugely impressed by the man if truth be told. His anti-war rants have been entertaining enough though others have ranted better. His speech before the US Senate was truly brilliant but that was more yank bashing than Saddam supporting.

But his decision to go into the BB house and his performance were truly narcisstic. And to think that he could influence what C4 were going to edit is just a joke – he is a man blinded by his own light.

But he is the type of politician that we have grown to idolise over recent years – a maverick fighting for a just cause, unashamed to speak his mind and willing to take on all who disagree right to the very top. One thinks of Tony Banks, Tony Benn, Martin Bell and the heady days of the SDP.

Still you know what they say – the only problem with political jokes is that all to often they end up getting elected!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

For the Want of a Stub

Tried to get a ticket for Brentford v Sunderland for Saturday now that the season ticket holders and club members have had their first dibs.

The good news is that there are still tickets to be had.  The bad news is that I’ll need to produce a ticket stub from a Brentford match this season to get one – and I’ve chucked all mine out.


So I’ve signed up for the live commentary and am going to download the highlights of Saturday’s remarkable victory over premiership opposition.

Come on you Bees!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Inside and Outside

My sore throat has abated. My cold has developed. Not really in the mood for blogging but just having got an internet connection going again, I could hardly justify not blogging tonight.

Being ill kind of cocoons one from the world outside. Normality is suspended along with routines and relationships. It was just me and a bottle of lucozade today.

It wasn’t total isolation, like solitary confinement. For example, work rang a couple of times to piece together what should be going on – that did not help with my feeling of guilt for not being there and I did take N for his swimming lesson but I seemed to be living in an existential moment for the whole day where I seemed to be on the outside of a goldfish bowl all the time.

My friend rang earlier this evening to see how I was and to talk about some stuff at work. Thanks S, by the way, if you’re reading this, it meant a lot to have a chat. Again, I felt as though I was taking part in the conversation but at the same time felt strangely outside it too; an eavesdropper on my own voice.

Maybe it’s the lucozade.

Anyway, bed beckons and work awaits tomorrow. Not looking forward to it if truth be known but it’ll be fine, once I get going.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Observer Front Page

I was sad when the whale died. Poor bugger should have been keeping his bottle-nose clean in the North Sea and not trying to capsize coxless fours from the Putney Rowing Club, though we’d have all laughed if he had. Instead we all witnessed the desperate attempt to put the thing back where it belonged only for it to give it up a the last moment. Classy of the whale in a way but sad nevertheless.

I was sad when the Observer gave some of page 1 and all of pages 2 and 3 over to covering the story in great detail with charts and diagrams. Some wag even stuck ‘whale’ into a bible search engine and found it that the word appears four times in the Bible but never in the book of Jonah. (‘Big fish’ in case you were wondering.)

I was sad when I saw the rest of the Observer’s front page given over Mark Oaten’s resignation in the midst of him having an affair with a rent boy. A career in tatters because of an indiscretion and an attempt to conceal it. Personally I’m not in favour of casual sex but why should I care who he shags?

The Observer is a good paper but it’s a crazy world we live in.

What ever happened to pages 2 and 3 on how Japan and Norway flagrantly flaunt the International Whaling Commission’s rulings on banning whale hunting, joining the USA, Canada, Denmark and Russia in the blubber fest?

What ever happened to articles that expose the intellectual and ethical hypocrisy in our demands that our politicians live to some moral standard that none of us could ever attain?

I dunno sometimes.

He's up, he's down, he's up again

It would appear that the state of my internet connection and my bodily health are inextricably linked.

The wireless modem has gone. Decided that the signal was too patchy for it to be worth £14 a month so rang the company to let them know that I wasn’t going to extend the contract beyond the 30 day trial. The man was very nice about it and agreed to cancel the contract after 29 days and send me a bag to return the modem.

The diet was plodding along ok too, weight coming off, bowels wide open (a much better name for that movie I you ask me) and mind ok.

The following day could not get a signal on the bleedin’ modem for love nor money. Try as I might just could not get the thing to connect.

This began to play on my mind and, mixed with the diet mental torture, made the it really hard for me to keep true to the rules of what I should eat.

Confirmed my order with the new ISP – £265 up front for a modem router and 24 months of 1 meg internet. Not bad, in my opinion, if you don’t mind entering into a 24 month contract, which in this case, I don’t.

Eventually rang the wireless people to see if they could fix the fault even though I only had a week of 30 day trial left. Turns out that the reason the modem wouldn’t connect was because the service was cancelled at the time of my original call and they couldn’t reinstate it. Broke new year’s resolution and didn’t post to blog. Bugger.

Diet finished. Yippee! Didn’t go mad but did have a couple of breezers with B to celebrate.

The new ISP email me to confirm order and that BT would need 10 days (10 DAYS FFS) to activate my phone line for internet. So now no wireless internet service and, for 10 days, no broadband either.

Throat started to dry up.

Plans to cancel contract with NTL (old cable TV and dial up provider) were put on hold. That’s another £45 to stump up. Nice. Phone lines were plugged back in and good old 56k is back again. Yawn.

Throat turned to sand paper. The sand paper began to burn. Took today off work. I bought antiseptic lozenges made from turps – they work on the basis that if they can burn a whole layer off your throat they’ll good and bad alike but at least they’ll work. I don’t see work happening tomorrow.

And just having done my head in by not eating all sorts of stuff – I’ve had nothing today save a bit of mash potato made from glass and razor blades. Yum.

But never mind. Tomorrow is another day.

I’m off to watch ‘Dune’ now – it came free in yesterday’s paper. Read the book when I was a kid – didn’t really get it. Saw the first half an hour once at the flicks then fell asleep so this I think should be the perfect anaesthetic after not having slept at all last night. I’ll let you know tomorrow what I think.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Sharks and Jets

Tonight, tonight won’t be just any night…

I had a wonderful evening at a production of West Side Story.  The children from my class last year have now moved on to high school but I always promised that I would go to see their production and in the words of young Mr Grace, ‘they all did very well.’

I was the best school production I have ever seen.  From the orchestra to the main roles to the chorus to the sound and lights crew to the stage hands, everyone did their part with professionalism and a really positive attitude.

Some people have jobs where the fruits of their labours are swallowed up by tomorrow’s problems.  But I have job where the fruits of my labours go on to achieve even greater and higher things.  I felt really proud tonight.

I feel pretty, Oh, so pretty, I feel pretty and witty and bright! And I pity Any girl who isn't me tonight.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


A game of two halves today.

The working day - unbelievably rancid. You know when you expect certain things to happen and certain events to unfold in an certain way and then they don’t, that’s what I’d call eventful. But when the things that actually happen and the events that actually unfold are both unexpected and really shitty, well that’s what I call rancid.

It would be indiscrete to go into details but everything just seemed to conspire at work today leaving me feeling breathless and languid.

But home more than made up for it. N had a swimming lesson and did really well. I was 11 or 12 before I learned to swim and even now I tend to thrash the water to foam whilst moving backwards slowly. But N is a proper little fish doing breaststroke on his back and wotnot. I smiled at his brimming enthusiasm and failure to listen to pretty much most of what his teacher said. S sat with me and waved to him from time to time singing the theme to ‘Balamory’ and ‘Bob the Builder’ in his own strange and arcane language.

Then too Tesco’s (boo) to pick up some bits and bobs for the diet. Since you ask it was bananas and skimmed today plus the rest of the butternut squash soup. All going well. Head in reasonable shape and not too tired either.

Got us all home in time to feed macaroni cheese to boys (always a winner when you’re in a rush to get them to bed) before making borscht. Red cabbage and beetroot – it’s a bit of a red soup, this one. But I’ve had a little taste and although I can’t go silly on the sugar to sweeten it up or the single cream to garnish, it’s really good. So I’m up for beef and tomatoes tomorrow plus borscht to wash it all down. Yum. Oh, and I’ve lost a couple of kilos too, so far.

Then to the PC to write emails for Greenbelt, watch The West Wing (is this not the best series for a long long time?) and finally blog all the way to bed. I should read some more of ‘The time Traveller’s Wife’ but I imagine I’ll be asleep before my head hits the pillow.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Photoshop v1.00

I saw this portrait of Louis 18th today. A portly chap. In fact, so I’m told, his legs were so obese they oozed puss and needed constant attention by servants who kept them bandaged and so on.

Funny thing is though, although his face is depicted as being quite fat to give an indication of wealth (access to plenty of fine food) his legs have been painted as being strong and athletic. And his robes were thrown to one side to show off his lovely pins.

My point is that when you exert that amount of power and influence you can have yourself painted in any old way you like.

Nothing’s changed really. People are still slaves to image. We still see politicians and celebrities surround themselves with people who are too stupid, well-paid or loyal to say that you are a pillock.

I, however, in my suburban castle, am different. I do not care what I look like beyond hygiene. My hair is cut with clippers from Argos, my clothes (with a few exceptions) are from St Luke’s Hospice charity shop and my shoes from Shoe Express.

I love myself. My wife loves me. My children love me. My mum loves me. Jesus loves me. (Another man who did not care for fashion as I recall.)

And if no one else loves me, what do I care.

So I do not feel the need to touch my life up with photoshop. Do you?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Auntie Migraine

Led the service today at church and really enjoyed it. Liturgy from Wild Goose, poetry by Steve Stockman (see earlier post) and final music by Fat Boy Slim made for a good hour spent in worship.

Sadly could not indulge in tea and biscuits after the service due to diet. Bugger. But was soon home to eat remaining carrot soup and salad before it all went horribly Pete Tong.

My left eye decided that it no longer wanted to focus on the sport section of the Observer. It’s a weird feeling but the out of focus area around the point where one actually is seeing in focus grows dramatically until it’s difficult to see at all. Then my left hemisphere decided to imagine that it was being squeezed in a iron maiden. At this point I realised I was being paid a visit by auntie migraine who comes to see me once every few years.

So it was off to bed to sleep it off. Now some people are affected for hours and hours, sometimes days. I did have a stinker once way back in my teens that knocked me out for a few days but in truth I don’t suffer that badly. After a couple of hours kip I was left feeling as though my brains and eye balls were extremely swollen and any movement would make them explode in pain. It’s a difficult to describe and it’s a bugger to suffer.

Anyway I wandered downstairs, turning off lights as I went and Andy, bless her, dug me out some soluble paracetamol which, within the hour, had knocked the sharp pain off and jest left me nursing the dull throb.

The rest of the day was spent playing with the boys without moving or looking or thinking, reading a book with N – I wish I could have a magic key adventure and then getting Sharpreader to work (thanks for the tip Harv).

It’s funny though that although I feel ok – just a bit dull in the head, this post as I read it, is littered with grammatical and spelling mistakes – and not just because I’m a crap typist. No, auntie migraine comes only now and again but she does make her presence felt.

Tomorrow should be fun.

As for the diet, and by the way, do you think there’s a relationship between this detox diet and the onset of a migraine?, it’s going ok. Soup and veg today so no problem. Tomorrow even easier – soup and fruit and veg. bowels wide open.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Diet day 1 - holding firm (unlike my bowels)

The diet has begun and I’m doing ok.  Well let’s face it, if wasn’t doing ok I’d be in trouble.

I’ve eaten loads of fruit, had two bowls of carrot and coriander soup (see earlier post for recipe) flavoured with balsamic vinegar rather than yoghurt and two bottles of water.  

I jumped on my friends scales earlier and got the bad news:  according to their digital scales I’m 107kg as opposed to the 104kg that my scales say.  Personally I think it’s the scales getting their own back after years of abuse.

So I’m off to squeeze some juice out of some grapefruits and have another bowl of soup.

On a separate note I’ve spent some of my free time today looking for a RSS reader into which I can put a few blogs and a few news feeds.  Harv put me on to sharpreader – doesn’t bloody work.  And what’s even more ironic is I bet Harv is reading this post through his working copy.  I tried attensa and intravnews through outlook and succeeded only in buggering up outlook, though that in itself is no great loss.  Next up was pluck into which I cannot get my blog to fit let alone anyone else’s and newsview which only does news and newsplorer which I couldn’t get to work at all.

So if anyone knows a product that will show me the BBC headlines and Brentford page, the Guardian headlines and a bunch of blogs and isn’t going to cost me anything, do let me know.

Friday, January 13, 2006


Diet starts tomorrow. I haven’t got on the scales yet. I’m putting that moment of destiny off until the last possible moment; partly because I’m dreading what the scales will say (I think I’m off the scale and into the ‘you fat bastard’ territory) and partly because those poor scales have had to put up with me squashing them for the past 15 years; I just don’t think I can bring myself to cause that amount of pain anymore.

I have devised many ways of fooling the scales. Standing on one leg. Leaning forwards or backwards. Doing a poo. Stripping off. (I don’t recommend doing these things all at once.) Actually I don’t know how much stripping off helped because at the point when my knickers dropped to the floor the manager of Boots asked me leave before I could get back on.

I shall eat vegetable soup for a week until it emerges from my pores. I shall eat fruit and vegetables for three days and bananas and skimmed milk on the fourth. I shall eat chicken, tomatoes and brown rice for two days and I hope to lose so much weight that I will be able to describe myself as cuddly or chubby or maybe even tubby. (Oh I haven’t been tubby since I was a teenager.)

My moods will swing violently between morose and gloomy. I will hate everyone including myself and especially those that like me. In fact it is upon them that I will heap most rancour. I will cry in the company of people thinner than me. I will cry in the company of people fatter than me. I will crave foods I do not like and will take to shop lifting and peeing in public places as a means of diversion.

In short I will declare self loathing an Olympic sport and become the gold medal winner overnight.


I will learn the difference between eating as a response to hunger rather than eating as a response to marketing.

I will do my body some good for a change.

I will be healthier and thus extend the number of days that I can chase my children around the garden.

RSS anyone?

Really silly sod?

It’s late and that’s the best I can do.  I’ve apparently signed up the blog for RSS but quite frankly I’ve no idea what I’m doing.  I’ve downloaded feedreader and signed myself up and can now see the blog there.  My next mission will be to add someone else’s blog and finally find out how you, my avid (if a little disturbed) readers can be alerted should I blog something.

Do you think I should alert the wider news media of this event?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Gaffer Tape

Fixed the shower with gaffer tape (dirty white tape to match the dirty white tiles).

I sometimes feel my life is held together by gaffer tape.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Beyond in the Midst

I’m leading the church service on Sunday and, should you not be able to attend, thought i'd this poem by Steve Stockman which will be read during the service.

It is sometimes said that they don't write ‘em like they used to. I’m so very glad that actually, they do…

Beyond me
Beyond my comprehension
Beyond my understanding
Beyond my definitions
Beyond my highest efforts
Beyond my lowest fall
Beyond my morality
Beyond my most penitent call

In the midst of me
In the midst of my tears
In the midst of my frailties
In the midst of my fears
In the midst of my cheers
In the midst of my sighs
In the midst of my sinfulness
In the midst of my lies

Dying for me
Dying for the masks of fake
Dying for the distorted opinions
Dying for the promises I break
Dying for the words carelessly thrown
Dying for murderous thoughts within
Dying for adulterous looks of lust
Dying for my sin

In the midst you reach out
In the midst you offer grace
In the midst you throw your arms around me
In the midst you kiss my dirty face
In the midst you touch my soul
In the midst you cast your smile
In the midst you love this vagabond
In the midst you call me child

Monday, January 09, 2006

How honest are your colleagues?

I’m very fortunate to work in an office with 30 people. My colleagues are a good bunch of people to work with. They can be selfish, insecure and, on occasion, unkind to each other. They enjoy rude jokes and like talking about football and pop stars and have (in my opinion) dreadful taste in music.
Sounds familiar? Like most offices I’m sure.
But what makes my office different is that my colleagues are all 11 or 12 years old and these children allow me (for 6 hours a day) to inhabit their private world of pop stars, petty squabbles and internal confusion in a way that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
This is what one child wrote when I recently asked them to describe their personality…
On the outside of me, __________, I am a very happy, bubbly person. I love jokes here and there, and I have loads of friends who I really like but not too sure if they like me back. I also love chasing girls around and flirting. I think I’m a very outgoing energetic person. But on the inside of me, the side that I lock away so nobody else can discover what I’m really like I lock away this side of me and throw away the key. On the inside of me I’m tense and full to the rim with anger and if the inside came out of me in the morning I fight mentally about which side of me goes to school with me and sometimes the inside takes control, it’s full of hatred and badness and sometimes I just have to put on a happy face when there are people around me, I’m like a clown I have to put on the inside it’s like the complete opposite to the show I have to put on for all the viewers and people around me. And I’m crying inside and nobody knows it but me. I can’t help but let the hate win because it’s like a fight I always lose and I always end up even more sad. That is how I feel inside every single day of my life so far. It makes it worse when someone says something that wouldn’t annoy or agitate anyone else, it drives me insane, I get so angry I want to right at that moment explode because of all the running, conflicting emotions running in my head. The stress just keeps on piling on me and I really absolutely hate it.
How honest are your colleagues?

Sunday, January 08, 2006


Readers of yesterday’s mammoth posting will know that I have marking to do and sleep to catch up on before tomorrow’s onslaught. As it happens I did sleep quite well, the marking won’t take too long and today was fairly uneventful which means I won’t be posting a whopper.

Up early to get the kids ready for church before picking up Andy, who had stayed at a friend’s place last night. Didn’t see much of church as I was leading the crèche which, in the end, turned out to be me and three toddlers learning about Simeon and Anna welcoming Jesus. Systematic theology and colouring in.

Then off to in-laws to set up DVD player, laptop and PDA. Success with DVD but needed to bring said laptop and PDA home for swearing at and new installation of Windows.

Then home to chuck tea into kids and then chuck kids into bed before some housework and blog.

Which brings us neatly up to date. So I’ll bid you all goodnight.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The pros and cons of watching telly in bed

Busy day today. After a momentous effort to get me and two boys washed and dressed before lunch on a Saturday morning (face it, the men of this household are biologically predisposed to wear pyjamas for the first 12 hours of weekend days), I clean the kitchen, (actually B cleans the kitchen and I move things from one place to another telling her how guilty I feel about her doing it when it was my job to do but actually make no effort to stop her), enjoy a cup of tea with my mum and aunt who pop in and take N to a birthday party. From here it’s off to Tesco to return the freeview box purchased before Christmas to sit on top of the telly in the bedroom.

Now a small ‘is it me or is it everyone?’ moment is required at this point… I was clever enough to keep the receipt for the freeview box when I picked it up just in case it didn’t work (self fulfilling prophecy). You see, when I installed it first time around I found that it would run the 5 terrestrial channels and even go through the setup routine for freeview channels but the bugger just would not find a single channel when it searched; it was like a 5 year old boy looking for trainers that are on the floor right in front of him, invisible to all but him. The same happened when I tried it downstairs where the other box sits and found that it wouldn’t work there either. What's more, i tried the good box upstairs and found that it worked, proving it was not the TV's fault. Now at that point I should have known that the bugger was, well buggered, but, and this is my point, 'is it me or would everyone' have carried on fiddling with all the different settings, unplugging and replugging scart leads and aerial leads and wotnot and basically wasted hours proving that it didn’t work? Like what I did.

So I’m at Tesco and I’ve really wound myself up for a fight when it comes to explaining with the use of logic that it doesn’t work and all the bloke says is, ‘we’ve had loads of them come back, just take another and you should be ok.’ Not confidence inspiring and, to add insult to injury, he doesn't even want to see the receipt I had so proudly flattened out on the counter. Bastard. I want an argument. I want to feel justified. I want someone to say, ‘you did all you could but you couldn’t save this one’ in a Dr Kildare kind of way.

But all I get is a new box that is potentially as dodgy as the first.

So S and me go for a ribena in the café and window shop for a wireless router. We get home in time for me to stick a picture on my blog profile – That’s me and N and he is 6 days old and I am knackered but I am always touched by the way my fingers support his head – and for S to watch some CBeebies. Then it’s off to pick up N from the party all sugared up with no place to go (including bed) and back to run baths and fill cups with milk (that promptly get spilled on the table).

To be fair the boys get off to bed without too much fuss and B does lend a hand and I prepare the patient for surgery (to continue with the Dr Kildare metaphor that I am slightly proud of). I carefully open the freeview box, remove the wrapping, add the batteries to the zapper and place all the instructions to one side (remember there’s a masculinity point to be made here). Clamp, forceps, EKG and Chem7 (and other terms I heard on ER), I position the box on top of the telly and carefully attach cables. I switch on the TV and allow nature to take it’s course – will the setup routine shoot though all the channels as before or will my viewing capability be increased from 5 channels of shit to 35 channels of shit?

The tension mounts as I select ‘first time installation’ and lo and behold the channels start pouring in, even the unavailable ones like UKTV Gold and Red Hot TV but we’ll live to fight another day on that one.

I select the programme guide and find Luton ahead of Liverpool on BBC1. At last, some time for me. A rare chance to see the European Champions knocked out of the cup by lowly players who probably only earn twice as much as me in a week as I do in a year. I settle on the bed throwing Andy’s stuff on to her side in an act of supreme selfishness (that’s footie for you) and promptly fall into a sleep so deep that even John Motson’s ecstatic cries at the Liverpool revival fail to rouse me. And I miss what is later described on News 24 as one of the great FA Cup matches.

The time now is 23:31. I am wide awake and shall remain so for hours causing me to be tired and grouchy tomorrow, whereupon I shall sulk and not mark the English and Maths books I dragged all the way home on Friday, which will cause me to become stressed about parent meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday and will leave me even more sad and disillusioned about my career.

And I might even get irritable bowel.

So I think I’m going to have a large glass of the 40% proof plum stuff that B brought from Romania and hit the sack.


Friday, January 06, 2006


Am beginning to get act together with what I listen to. Young Mr Lawson mentioned a while back about this web site, and tonight I took the plunge. It’s pretty good fun – you type in who you like listening to and the player finds you similar stuff you might to listen to. What’s more it stores all your choices in a profile and eventually links you up with other people who like listening to what you like listening to.

There comes a time when the CD’s on your shelf have not a lot more to offer than nostalgia value and last.fm seems to solve my problem of ‘I know what I like but I want to like something else’. Which probably explains why I am listening to ‘Pigface’ play ‘Bitch’ from the album ‘Easy Listening for Difficult Fuckheads’

Thanks Steve.

Soup to die for

You have just got to try this soup. It must be the greatest soup in the world. Please try this soup and then say ‘I can die happy now’.

Carrot & Coriander Soup


25g butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed550g carrots, of which 450g roughly chopped and 110g coarsely grated
1 litre vegetable stock
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
150ml single cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper

TO GARNISH:150ml yoghurt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander

Melt the butter and cook the onion and garlic gently until soft in a covered saucepan, without colouring. Add the roughly chopped carrots, stock and nutmeg. Cover, bring to the boil and simmer gently until the vegetables are tender. Cool a little, then puree in a liquidiser. Return the soup to a clean saucepan and stir in the grated carrots, coriander and cream. Taste for seasoning. Serve garnished with a swirl of yoghurt and a sprinkling of chopped fresh coriander.

Most recent music – Avril Lavigne – Let Go

Enduring Ian McKewan

Had the most agreeable of evenings at the Reading Circle – a group of friends who meet monthly to discuss a book that they probably didn’t get time to finish or even start although a month ago it sounded like such a good idea. This month ‘Enduring Love’ – is that a verb or an adjective?
I’m being disingenuous. Most of us had read the book but then again we had given ourselves two months to read it. Truth be known I had to stay up half the night to finish it and this is NOT a book to read late at night.

Wholesome chat and disagreement. One thought it pacey. Another thought it lacked credibility. Another thought it flawed because a balloon that had come down could not possibly go up again. Another thought it similar to John Irving (ordinary people in extraordinary situations). Another kept their thoughts to them self.

I like the Reading Circle and I like the people who come along.

Next Month a cinema trip to ‘Memoirs of Geisha’ and in March discussion of ‘The time Traveler’s Wife’ (it’s not me that can’t spell it’s the Americans.)

Most recent music – Allegri - Miserere


Today I met Dr ABC or to be more precise the initials drabc – it’s just easier for me to remember them if I refer to them thus. For today (back to work after the Christmas holiday) we all renewed our first aid certificates.

So, for those unaware or unsure of first aid procedures, read on:

D – when you come across a casualty, check for associated dangers.
R – attract the attention of the casualty and check for their response if any.
A – if there is no response check, open and maintain their airway.
B – check for signs of breathing. If yes, then place in recovery position.
C – If there is no blood circulation, administer CPR.

We also learned about choking, cuts and shock but I haven’t made up any initials for these.

We didn’t learn about concussion which, ironically enough, is the main injury we see sustained at school but we live in hope that a child or colleague will collapse and need one of us to grope and kiss them in the petty name of saving their life!

Come to think of it, it’s not so much a case of could I resuscitate them, it’s more a case of would I want to.

Most recent music – Govinda by Kula Shaker

Hay Yam Yam

So I get us a broadband connection. Now Andy doesn’t want wires trailing across the house from the phone socket and I fancy getting into this wireless thing so we have proudly signed up with NOW who have supplied us with a wireless modem that goes up the arse of my PC via a Ethernet cable and a 1 Gig connection (though we are only paying for a 512k account – but please don’t tell). The signal is a bit dodgy and we might not keep it but for now it’s still a bit of a novelty.

So how does one play silly buggers with a brand new internet connection when one really only needs to read emails and write blog. Well one simply kicks of Shoutcast on WinAmp and heads straight for Turkish World Radio (details below) so I’ll sign off now whilst listening to…

Most recent music - …Erkin Koray - Hay Yam Yam (# Turk Radyo Dunyasi # Turkish World Radio # SMS: +90 544 644 6226 # www.trd.com.tr #)

PS Does anyone know what Hay Yam Yam means?

What does the future hold?

I’m not going to tell you my new year resolutions. I wouldn’t be so foolish to tell you – if I did you could all remind me of my failings as I systematically break them one by one – suffice it to say that keeping this blog on the go is the one I intend to keep.

Now here’s a thought from a super sermon I heard today. The magi based their mission to seek the new born king of the Jews upon a mixture of astronomy and astrology and, shifting from their own religion and culture to something entirely foreign, they came upon Jesus and bowed down and worshipped him. Wouldn’t it be cool if the horoscopes in this week’s daily papers said ‘do something rebellious this week – become a Christian.’ And wouldn’t it be cool to see the look on the faces of some of the pompous, bigoted, self satisfied Christians when they find out that the new fella in church this week came because his horoscope told him!

Personally, I’ve never been one for horoscopes. It’s not some great doctrinal thing – I simply find the whole notion crap. My tai chi teacher tells me so much about myself based on me being born in the year of the sheep but I seem to identify with the other people who are born in the year of the rat, ox and dragon etc.

And anyway, who wants to know the future? As Einstein said, ‘I never think of the future - it comes soon enough.’

Happy New Year.

Most recent music – Eight Lines by Steve Reich

the need to achieve

I had a really shitty day yesterday. Looking back on it I think it was the overwhelming possibility that it held at it’s start spoiled by the depressing lack of achievement by it’s end. True, I did get to the shops to pick up some Christmas presents and a bluetooth dongle but then it all kind of went to pot. The dongle would link my PC to my new phone ok but not let me transfer any files (which was the main reason why I got it) and my computer got infected by some adware that Symantec were proud to tell me about but too fucking stupid to detect.

So as you can see it doesn’t take too much to deflect me from the pathway of success into the tall grass of despondency.

Therefore I needed to feel a sense of achievement today. Thus I declared war on our spare room and attacked it with paint brush and roller and have just finished. And it feels good.

As you can tell, it doesn’t take much for me to travel the road to the city of completion in time for a beer at the inn of satisfaction.

To blog or not to blog...

I think only appropriate at this juncture to let you in on my reasons for this narcissistic exercise of self-deprecation and navel-gazing.

Firstly I’d like to thank (or should I say blame) Steve and Liz, two of the most charming and intelligent people you could ever wish to meet for cajoling me into this venture. Once I’ve worked out how to invite people to read this verbal diarrhoea I’ll add some links to their blogs.

My second reason for blogging my internal musings is to let my brother get inside my head a bit more.

And my third reason is to pay back all those friends who send us beautifully prepared desktop published A4 sheets reporting in 256 colours how wonderful their lives are and how well they and their children are doing and, ergo, how shit my little life is. Unfortunately you’ll get nothing as salacious from me though you will probably end up concluding that my life is actually rather little.

This is the voice of Suburbia

I like here in the suburbs. I can walk to work each morning. I can shun Tesco and have my groceries (organic of course) delivered to my door. I can be in the centre of London in 15 minutes and in the countryside in 15 minutes. I can share my neighbourhood with a delicious mix of races, cultures and religions and I raise my children in a world where our differences can be celebrated and not fought over.

So join me in raising a glass to the beautiful world all things suburban.