Saturday, June 30, 2007

Up in smoke...

I imagine by now that nearly everyone in England is perfectly aware that the smoking ban comes into force at midnight tonight, after which it becomes illegal to smoke in almost any enclosed public place.

The phrase "smoke free England" strikes me as a little ambitious, although given the weather of late, it don't see many people hanging around outside doorways trying to get their fix in the slinging rain & floods.

Typically, the new rules are overly complicated as demonstrated by the quiz on the BBC Breakfast website. I managed a modest 9 out of 15 and can only assume I got so many wrong as I relied on common sense when selecting my answers. Should have known better really.

I have joked for several weeks now that I might just start smoking again on July 1st as a protest against the infringement on my rights, but to tell the truth, even though I resent having put weight on, I don't miss cigarettes one little bit and I'm not even remotely attracted to the idea.

Even if it has only been 910 days, 16 hours, 5 minutes and 25 seconds since my last one...

Friday, June 29, 2007

Going where the sun shines brightly...

I've never really been one for holidays but on the occasional times I have been away (that are not business related), I've tried to make them worthwhile.

I'm now only one step away from finalising holiday plans for later this year having eventually managed to book my train tickets online tonight. Apparently you can only book them twelve weeks in advance, but it's done now and all I have to do is wait for the postman to deliver them. Once the postal strike is over. Gulp.

The last thing to get sorted is my international driving permit, which only lasts for three months so I've had to wait until such time as it would be valid until I return. Passport pics tomorrow then and off in the post on Monday.

Where am I heading? Well I'll be taking a short taxi ride, a train journey, a couple of flights, over 4000 miles of (shared) driving, visiting two countries, nine states through countless towns and cities before taking planes, trains and automobiles back home again.

As I said, don't do holidays often so now I'm finally being tempted away, I might as well make it a good 'un...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Blue pencil alert...

I've never been much of a fan of censorship, largely because I am a rational adult who is capable of turning a TV or radio to another channel or if necessary, switching it off completely.

That said, I suppose I still support the idea of some kind of watershed so that kids don't have be subjected to unsuitable material over the tea table, but whether 9 o'clock is still an appropriate time limit, I'm not entirely sure.

I was watching "That 70s Show" tonight on Paramount and for reasons best known to themselves, they had decided to repeatedly blank out the word "ass". Poor Eric always takes a verbal battering from his Dad and is always being called "Dumbass" so there are some scenes where hardly any dialogue can be heard at all. If the language is seen to be so inappropriate for a family audience then why show it so early? Or at all?

Funnier still, was an example on the Radio 2 breakfast show the other morning where they played a censored version of Christina Aguilera's "Candyman". Now we all know that young Xtina is not exactly backward in pushing the boundaries of decency when she chooses, but I think they ruined a perfectly good song. More to the point, by replacing phrases like "cherry pop" and "panties drop" with record scratching, wolf whistles or trombone noises, they made it sound a whole lot filthier than it was with lyrics intact.

Censorship. Why can't they just leave us alone to make our own decisions the interfering bunch of c****...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Call holding...

At last I appear to have my phone back.

No, this isn't another sorry tale of a mobile phone being dropped somewhere it doesn't work very well, I'm referring to the fact that I've got my land line back. Not that I've lost any service during the recent weather; probably more accurate to say the numerous daily telesales calls have just about stopped at last.

How? Well a little while ago, Little Sis put me onto the Telephone Preference Service who in return for taking a few minutes to register with them, prohibits companies from calling you trying to sell something without your consent. It can take up to 28 days before it takes full effect, but if recent results are anything to go by, it's time well spent.

I hadn't anticipated a letter that arrived through the door this week though:

Dear Seany

We tried to contact you by phone recently but are no longer able to do so as you have registered with the TPS. Over 90% of our customers who registered for the service hadn't realised that we would no longer be able to call you to inform you of our latest promotional offers. Please return the attached consent form, blah,blah, blah.

Really? Over 90% of these people didn't realise that TPS would do exactly what we hoped they would do? I think we know where their consent form is headed and I'll consider contacting them when I think I may be interested in any services they have to offer.

Assuming I'm not overrun with junk mail from them that is...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Meals in minutes...

I've long been a fan of cookery programmes on the TV and it always fascinates me how they manage to create superb meals in no time at all; more often than not with ingredients you're quite likely to have lying around.

It was challenge enough getting home last night with most routes between work, home (with recently acquired moat) and the local supermarket having closed so when I did finally get home feeling tired and rather too damp for my liking, I'm afraid my culinary muse had deserted me.

I would have hit the shops today but it seems the weekend sniffles have developed somewhat further resulting in my first "sickie" in probably a year or more. Fortunately, it's not the dreaded man-flu so there's no need to write my will just yet, but in-between nodding off in front of the UKTV Food programmes on TV, I've decided to see if I can be a bit more inventive for the rest of the week and make the odds and ends I've got last until the weekend.

Well, certainly a bit more imaginative than the cheese and Marmite on toast with Spiderman pasta shapes served last night...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I must find another hobby...

Thursday night saw the re-opening night at the Tap, which delivered everything promised except for the extended kitchen (about which I'd probably mis-heard anyway). In addition Richard provided the music for a good ol' fashioned sing along; rather too many songs for which I knew the words (probably as a result of having to watch too many Good Old Days shows as a kid).

Friday night was our chance to catch up with Dom. It's always good news when we hear he's paying a return visit as it's a cracking excuse for a few laughs and usually a few more beers while we put the world to rights. It was also a chance to catch up with Paul & Em who I haven't seen in too long and to join them for my first taste of sake (and possibly last) while we all continued our on-going discussions over favourite musical DVDs. As Saturday was supposed to be a light day, I wasn't too bothered at being out until gone 3am.

For our "lightweight" Saturday, I'd arranged to meet Dom for a few beers in the afternoon and rather foolishly we'd agreed to start at 12 noon and finish around teatime. Predictably, we didn't finish at teatime but we both agreed that 12 hours had been too long and we certainly shouldn't have been in any fit state to be discussing the matter.

Very surprisingly, this morning brought no ill side-effects whatsoever other than a few sniffles and a sore throat; and that I suspect as a result of too much ale induced snoring...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

As the nights draw in...

So today is the longest day then. Really? It's flown along at it's usual pace from where I was.

Still, tonight does bring something of a change as I break the school night rule; yes I'm sneaking out for a couple of pints on a week night.

The special occasion that warrants such carefree abandon is the re-opening of the Tap after their closure for refurbishment. Well actually, they've only been closed for four days. And quite honestly, I don't usually get in there between Saturday night and the following Friday anyway.

It brings promise of a smoke free atmosphere a week before they have to, new decor and an extended kitchen (with rumours of hours to match).

Is that enough of an excuse? Clutching at straws I guess...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Good Friday...

In fact, great Friday would be nearer the mark.

Admittedly, I was more than a little surprised to find the bungalow had been magically transported to Atlantis over night, but I guess it makes a change to have to swim to the car in the morning.

I had finally had a good day in the office again. Sure it wasn't without it's challenges but everything was sorted by the time I left so there shouldn't be my too much to do over my long weekend.

The Tap kitchen closed early yesterday, but to keep the "take Mum out for Friday tea" tradition going, we decided to try out one of the pubs in the village. We have two pubs but as one of them is a generic chain pub, we opted for the other one which proved to be a great decision. Friendly staff, nice surroundings, a good pint and the food was excellent. It would take a lot to drag me away from my favourite pub but this would be a serious contender if I ever fancied a change.

A short taxi ride back to the Tap and although it was quiet to start with, we ended up with a great crowd in. I'd had a two or three calls to meet up with people over the weekend and as the pub is closing for a few days tonight, we arranged for everyone to meet last night (to make sure the beer didn't run out!). Throw in a couple of surprise visitors, a well fed jukebox, a new beer from my favourite local brewery and there you have it - the recipe for an excellent Friday night out...

Monday, June 11, 2007

As predicted...

There's no denying it, my site visits have taken a distinct upturn since last Friday and I can also see that almost half the search engine enquiries that landed here today are related to the aforementioned BB8 housemate.

Still a long way to go though before he catches up with the adorable Samantha Janus or the infamous bunnies who still reign supreme as the number one reason Google keeps sending people here.

Just to help make sure things stay that way, here's a couple more gratuitous pics.

Topless did someone say? I can't think why anyone would want to see a headless rabbit...

Saturday, June 09, 2007

It's only a name...

Following the recent furore in the press surrounding Big Brother, I'll probably not bother watching any more of this series. I did notice however that one of the replacement characters is called Seany.

I remember sitting with the family one Christmas watching the latest Wallace & Gromit offering "A Close Shave" and still vividly recall the sinking feeling in my stomach when they took one look at the little sheep and Wallace declared "I think we'll call him Shaun". As it turned out, he was a harmless little character and has since found success on his own.

As for this chap on Big Brother, it probably won't make any difference to me as long as he doesn't do anything too notorious and at best, while would be fans are trying to find out more about him, they might stumble across my humble little blog and help to keep it as the number one Google search result for Seany...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Seanys laws of something or other...

Alright, I'm hardly likely to give Newton a run for his money but here are a few of my observations from today:
  • This morning I proved once again that for every minute you leave early for work, there is a proportionate number of obstacles to delay your journey by the same amount of time.
  • I've witnessed that for every really attractive contestant on a reality game show, there is an over-sensitive TV executive who feels the compelled to over-react to an incident despite none of the parties involved actually being offended.
  • For every "tuit" job you get out of the way, there are at least two more to take its place.
  • The dirty surfaces on adverts for cleaning products are ten times filthier than anything you would allow in your house.
I thought I'd worked out a connection between time and weight but I think I confused it with wait as despite reaching the top of their waiting list today, it's still about 6 weeks before I finally get inked for the second time...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Busy doing nothing...

I remember as a kid many years ago buying my Dad a round tuit for Christmas, not quite like the one pictured above, but with the same sentiment "I'll sort that that out when I get..."

OK, it's a well over-used cliche now and although I probably genuinely believed it would bump some toy repairs up the list at the time, I could probably use one myself these days.

However, I'm pleased to say that with my return to work pending tomorrow, I've managed to get a few round tuit jobs out of the way in between all of the other activities going on.

The biggest achievement of them all has to be that the steel components that have been cluttering up the garage floor for the last year or so have today finally taken the form of shelving across the back wall.

Unfortunately, a new item for the to do list has to be sort through all of the boxes that have just been dumped on the new shelves and clear sufficient space on the floor to increase the chances of getting a car in there again...