Friday, December 31, 2004

Now there's an idea...

We've all seen & read plenty of the horrific events following the Indian Ocean tsunami this week and I don't think there's really much more I can add.

However, as an unprecedented gesture of goodwill, I've decided to make a donation to the disaster fund in place of the money I would have spent had I gone out for a "few" tonight.

If you feel like doing similar, you can make an online donation here.

I'm sure on this occasion they can make better use of my cash than the brewery would...

What a year...

As in most previous years, I have no intention of joining the drunken masses seeing the New Year in. It still leaves me 364 days to celebrate the arrival of 2005.

After a quiet start, 2004 as been a very eventful yearfor me:
  • 1st April I was promoted at work to take charge of an additional department (yes, I had my reservations about the date too)
  • 15th May saw the arrival of my nephew who is already becoming a great little character
  • On 12th June I had the pleasure of being Best Man at Andy & Anjie's wedding - worth every minute of the wait
  • July saw the beginning of a new relationship. Sadly she went the same way as her predecessors within a couple of months!
  • August was my first (and hopefully last) operation. Nothing too serious, but it meant 4 weeks off work - another first. I also finally paid off a long-standing loan, paving the way to get back on the property market next year
  • September my niece started school (but it doesn't seem 5 minutes, etc., etc.) . This month also saw the arrival of my new car - nothing exciting just a newer version of the same
  • October I was promoted again - this time to a role which much better suits my chosen career path. A lot happier at work now.
  • November I started blogging - and I didn't think I would have kept at it this long!
So who knows what 2005 has in store? I always say that I'm not going to drink or smoke any more. Usually followed by the statement that I'm not going to drink or smoke any less either!

I could really do with quitting smoking though. Apart from the obvious health benefits, it costs a bloody fortune now and no-smoking areas are forever on the increase. I object to not having the freedom of choice, but if I can stop again then I don't suppose I'll care!

Well here's wishing you all the best for 2005 & good luck with whatever resolutions you've made.

Meanwhile I've a half-finished pack of cigs somewhere that need finishing before midnight...

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Fun With Anagrams...

OK, I know it's childish but I found this site tonight and couldn't resist playing!
My full name becomes "slack and varied"
My sister's becomes "rather a mad able hen"
Mum's becomes "marry a black Arab"
"New Years Resolution" becomes "yes urinate now, loser"

Oh how those cold winter evenings will fly by...

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

They think it's all over... is now - well for another year.

I hope you've all enjoyed Christmas as much as I have this year. Its been great having the whole family together for the first time in ages and everybody seemed genuinely pleased with their presents.

This year I opted for a "sensible version" by cutting down my usual festive alcohol intake. Thursday 23rd was a bit of a night - I'm sure the beer I drank accounts for a missing battleship somewhere, before we hit the annual tradition of Guinness with Tia Maria (I know it sounds disgusting, but try it sometime) and of course a contribution from our friend Mr Daniels (no, not Paul). Although by some miracle I was fighting fit the next morning, I thought I would give Christmas Eve a miss as I really didn't want to be steamed when the kiddies arrived that afternoon. Everybody arrived safe and sound, decorations just up in the nick of time and they were met by the smell of roast turkey wafting around the house.

Congratulations to little Sis. Firstly she's started her own blog but I promised I wouldn't post a link until she had a few more postings on there. Secondly, Mum, my sister and I had a bet back in October as to who could lose the most weight between then and Christmas Eve. I thought I'd done OK at losing 9lbs but she beat me by losing a further 7. There goes fifty quid then.
Bloody stupid time for a diet anyway.

Christmas morning, I got to play Santa this year handing out all of the presents and although it's a bit of an honour in our family, it is always a logistical nightmare. I always like to make sure everybody has a present to open at the same time but it's difficult to judge when there are five adults with three presents each and two kiddies with about three hundred each (one of which was more interested in chewing the wrapping paper than examining the contents but hey, he is only 7 months old)

To add to the festive fun, we thought the oven had packed in - always good for a laugh and sure to relieve the tension of a Christmas Day. Then we momentarily thought we'd run short of potatoes to roast, but thankfully not. To be honest, Mum did us all proud as usual turning out a fantastic dinner although next year, we'll probably have less than 7 veg to choose from just to reduce the stress a little!

Dinner was accompanied by a couple of fine bottles of wine (one glass of red being my only drink for the day) and was followed by the other tradition of the whole family falling asleep.

Boxing Day arrived and we'd promised my niece that we would take her across to the pub to see the Morris Men perform their Christmas display. Well that was my breaking point - I've always enjoyed watching these strangely dressed folks dancing and bashing each other with sticks, but I've equally never witnessed the event sober - this year was to be no different. Fair play to the guys though, it was bloody freezing out there and they always raise a good few quid for charity.

Yesterday was another day spent with the family before they set off last night.

Today I've read one of my Christmas presents cover to cover. XS All Areas is a fantastic behind the scenes look at the story of Status Quo. I know it isn't the first biography on the group but this is an autobiography and is a real "warts 'n all" account. It is quite frank in some places but also offers some good defences against the "three-chord-wonders" and "oh no, not another covers album" criticisms. (Just in case the other fan is reading this and is just as sick of the remarks as I am!)

Somewhere in the meantime, it looks like the Bunnyhero Labs website hit problems over the last few days so I've had to remove "Mog" from my blog. I might get round to putting him back, but then I always thought it took up a bit too much space.

And that folks, was my Christmas. I don't usually do New Year's Eve - I can't see the point. I can use any night of the week as an excuse to drink twice my bodyweight in real ale because the date is changing at midnight.

Come to think of it, twice my bodyweight is a bit of an exaggeration, perhaps I was closer with the "sinking a battleship" analogy...

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas...

All presents bought and wrapped, work finished now until next year, the major drinking session completed last night (first of many I'm sure!), now it's time for a day of quiet reflection before the family arrives this evening. It's my nephew's first Christmas and my 5 year-old neice is just the right age to keep the magic alive - I'm really looking forward to it this year.

I'd just like to wish a Merry Christmas to all of the Bloggers who have kept me entertained this year and to the 250 or so people who have dropped in to check out my pages over the last three weeks. Be sure there'll be much more to follow in 2005...

'Ave a good 'un!

The Waiting Is Over...

I finally gave up on Amazon delivering my last present on Wednesday and set out to the shops. Fortunately I seemed to time it just right between the daytime hoards heading home and the night time crowds on their way out and found an appropriate replacement present with little problem.

I headed straight home (after the obligatory quick pint) and leapt up to the PC in anticipation of cancelling my order only to be met by an e-mail from my e-shopping heroes to advise me that my parcel had been despatched. OK, no need to get bitter just yet, there was still no guarantee that it would be delivered in time for Christmas, I had made the right decision.

Oh joy of joys, guess what arrived yesterday morning? This leaves me now in somewhat of a dilemma. Should I return it out of spite? After all, it is a better gift than the replacement I had found. If I keep it, then Amazon have won and despite their service, they have still made the sale. I have worked in a Customer Service environment for many years and every company's biggest threat is the silent complainer who votes with their feet (or these days, keyboards).
The real annoyance is that I have been fretting and complaining for the past couple of weeks and in fact, they did actually come up with the goods in time for Christmas - which puts me in the wrong!

I think I'll start next years Christmas shopping in the January sales to spread out the stress. In which case I'll probably spend the whole of 2005 worrying whether they are going to buy the same things as I have got them for Christmas...

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Time For A Change...

I thought it was about time to give the blog a bit of a makeover. Don't get me wrong, "Minima Blue" has been a faithful servant for the last few weeks, but I thought the site needed a little more originality having blagged most of the other features from Bravenet et al.

Unfortunately, I have next to no experience in html and possess the artistic prowess of your average bat, but you have to give these things a go.

In case you were wondering, the picture is St. Michael's Mount in Cornwall, taken whilst away for a weekend earlier this year when it was a lot sunnier than it looks in the photo! Having spent many a childhood holiday in that neck of the woods, I believe it is a truly magical place and would recommend it to anyone.

Seems I Was Right...

All was going well with the internet Christmas shop this year despite my earlier worries. Almost everything has arrived and is exactly what was ordered with only one more present to arrive and just under a week to go.

To coin a well used phrase from the funniest Letterbocks contributions in Viz, "imagine my suprise when" an e-mail arrived from our friends at Amazon to inform me that one of my items would be delayed for a further 1 to 2 weeks.

Still, I only ordered it a month ago on a 2 to 3 week delivery and I guess they are fairly new to this internet shopping lark. Added to which, they probably didn't realise it was a Christmas present, what with it being due for delivery in December 'n all.

Well that's f*cked up my smug Christmas shopping conversation for the next week, looks like I'll be queuing up on Christmas Eve after all.

Ho Ho Ho...

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


I thought it would be fun to squeeze lots of links in one sentence...

(Thanks to Twenty Major for the Irish CHiPs and Declan for finding it for me!)

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Christmas Presents...

On the subject of Christmas presents, number one on my wish list this year should be a publication along the lines of "1001 Ways To Finish A Sentence".

I've just noticed how many of my postings end "..."

Maybe I'll be lucky... (Sh*t - there I go again)

Seemed like a good idea...

I'm ashamed to admit that I've spent the last two weeks being particularly smug, listening in great amusement to everyones horrific tales of their Christmas shopping experiences this year.

This year, I chose to complete my shopping from the comfort of my PC screen and avoided all the crowded stores, lack of parking spaces, not to mention the temptation of buying completely unsuitable and unwanted items.

I usually manage to buy all of my presents in one trip anyway, but this year chose to avoid that once-a-year- mega-stressful day and ordered everything over the net.

It occurs to me now that I now face 17 further stressful days before the big one wondering when the hell everything is going to turn up and just to add to the excitement we have the festive postal strikes looming. Oh Joy!

Despite my original good intentions (and unwillingness to get any nearer into town than our local hostelry), I will probably still end up queuing up on Christmas Eve to buy gift vouchers in the place of the well thought out presents that had only taken me 11 months to decide upon.

Fingers crossed...

Saturday, December 04, 2004


I don't claim to be an authority on art, to be honest I probably don't understand it. If something is pleasing to the eye then why not enjoy it and share it?

However, this just takes the p...

Monday, November 29, 2004

Out of the mouths of babes...

Anyone who has the pleasure of little people in their lives has hundreds of these but I'd like to share a recent one of mine.

We got a call from my sister this week that has a 6-month-old son and a five-year-old daughter, the latter of which started "big school" this summer. She was sat playing quietly (my niece that is) when she was overheard singing a sweet little song about baby Jesus.
"That sounds like a nice song" my sister commented, "Where did you learn that?"
"We're learning it for our nativity play. It's all about a little baby called Jesus who was born in a stable" the little one replied.
"Who else is in this play?" she continued to question
"There's her Mum, she's called Mary, and there's shepherds and three kings"
"So who's Joseph then"?
"Joseph is a little boy in my class"

By means of revenge on my niece's behalf, I was reminded tonight of a conversation many years ago when my sister was probably around the same age.

My Mum hails from a little village in Cornwall where just about everybody knew everybody, and on this particular occasion, we had just received a phone call from one of my aunts to let us know that an "old dear" from the village had just passed away.

Mum came off the phone and announced to us all that Mrs so-and-so had just died and although these occasions are always sad, she was fast approaching three figures in age, so it hadn't come as a great surprise to anybody.

"What did she die of?” Dad asked
"The big C" replied mum trying to be euphemistically tactful to which my dear little sister added "What, did she drown?

...aww, bless

Saturday, November 27, 2004

'Tis the season...

So once again we are fast approaching the season of goodwill and I am always reminded at this time of the days in my youth working at the local Presto supermarket.

Being a typical student with very limited resources to fund my bar bill, I was always keen to cram in as many extra hours and at Christmas, there were as many hours available as you wanted to work.

What is it with shoppers at Christmas? Every year people go raving mad, from the minute the shops open, they are full of people wandering around for hours on end filling numerous trolleys with things that nobody is going to eat and drink, but “We have to have some – we always buy these at Christmas”. Yes and we always throw them out mid-March when you find the out-dated packets stuffed at the back of some remote kitchen cupboard.

The upside to this when you work in a supermarket is you can stack your shelves from floor to ceiling and pretty much guarantee an empty store by teatime. I clearly remember wheeling cages of stock out onto the floor to build displays of Christmas puddings, tinned biscuits, fizzy drinks of every imaginable flavour, tinned fruit and tinned milk.

However, I was a little puzzled when the store manager asked me what Christmas stock we had left to put out.
“None”, I replied proudly. I had filled every end display with festive goodies of some description in order to tempt our unwitting customers in to buying things they weren’t looking for.

During our tour of the store, he pointed out several pillars around which I had neglected to take any creative advantage. I reminded him that I had put out all stock vaguely connected with the festive season at which point I was instructed to bring down a few cages of tinned tomatoes, baked beans and tuna – those well known festive favourites.

The gem he then imparted has stayed with me ever since

“Listen, it’s Christmas – you can wrap sh*t in silver paper and people will buy it”

The scary thing is that he was right – please heed this warning should you receive any unexpected shiny presents this year.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Everyone should have a "hobby"

OK, this is just an excuse to try posting a picture and creating a hyperlink.
But really, if you ever see it, you should try a pint!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Here goes...

Hello World!

Having happily squandered endless evenings reading other blogs, I'm unable to resist temptation any longer & have to give it a go.

It appears to me that the real challenge is finding sufficiently interesting stories & anecdotes to update it on a regular enough basis.

Sh*t - have I run out of ideas already?