Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A bit more festive fun...

I saw this on Facebook today and hunted it down on YouTube so I could share it with you here.

This is our very talented friend Richard with his take on Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. In my opinion, this would have been a much more worthy occupant of the Christmas number one spot than whatever eventually made it there.

Oh and when you have finished watching this (and telling all of your friends about it) don't forget to check out Norad Tracks Santa to see how our other festive friend is getting on. At the time of writing he is just leaving Sydney. Who says it's just for kids...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A bit of festive fun...

Well I finally got away from work tonight for Christmas and I've resisted the obvious temptation of hooking myself up to an intravenous real ale supply.

Instead I decided to call in our local kebab shop and walked out with the equivalent of a grilled Turkish farm. Admittedly, my appetite is not what it used to be but I doubt a family of four could have waded through so much meat. Lesson for next time I guess.

Anyway, its been in the back of my mind that this years little festive animation hadn't exactly involved a huge amount of effort on my part and although I've no reason to feel guilty about it, I've had a go at something a bit different this evening.

I've stumbled across loads of clips on YouTube where people have added their own "literal" videos to existing songs so here's my homage to the Christmas Song by Nat King Cole. It's festive and more than a little bit silly, but then what else did you expect...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's on the cards...

I can't pretend I'm finding it particularly easy to get into the festive spirit this year.

Perhaps it's because we had to say our final goodbyes to my uncle yesterday. Perhaps it was because at that very service we discovered the shocking news that one of his sons in New Zealand is sadly no longer with us either. I'll spare you the few details I know as there has been enough sad news on here of late.

Our Christmas shutdown at work this year is more fragmented than usual so I'll ending up working on and off throughout, where usually we enjoy a bit of a longer break. Still, I suppose I should really be grateful that I have a job go to back to at all really.

I'm acutely aware that finances are a bit tighter this year than they have been for a while, so I've also made a concerted effort to avoid putting my liver through it's traditional punishing schedule. Fortunately, the last time I went out I managed to catch up with most of our friends and bought them all a drink in lieu of a Christmas card (a bit kinder towards the trees and generally better appreciated I find).

On the subject of Christmas cards, I have continued my personal tradition of keeping them to an absolute minimum again this year. I will never understand why people sit down and write hundreds of cards each year, most of which are then distributed out of some kind of obligation rather than need to share Christmas wishes. For example, this is my 4th Christmas in the bungalow and yet I continue to get cards for the previous owners, one of whom sadly passed away a few years ago. I have no means of letting the senders know and clearly they have not heard from them in return for three years, but in the words of Jeff Wayne "still they come".

However, I haven't lost my Christmas spirit entirely, they do say that the best presents or cards are the ones you make yourself, so I've put together another one of my festive little animations for you all. Despite the absence of a coloured piece of card through the post, I sincerely wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and hope that 2009 brings you continued health, happiness and prosperity...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It's started...

The weekend has got off to a good start with my waking to find that I have effectively shrugged off my latest bout of man-flu within 48 hours thanks to little more than a few paracetamol and a few extra hours sleep.

Keen to maintain this advantage I braved the elements around 7:30 this morning to nip to the bank (cashpoint obviously) and then hit the supermarket for my weekly shop. To my amazement, I had to queue at both, at that time of the morning and with 12 days still to go before Christmas. Realistically, given the days that the seasonal holidays have fallen this year, I doubt many stores will be closed beyond the festive day itself but I'm sure people will still stock up like there's no tomorrow.

The title reminds me of a story about a guy who gets in from work, slumps in his armchair in front of the TV and calls through to his wife "Quick, get me a beer before it starts".
Dutifully, she brings his beer which he chugs in almost one go then says, "still not started yet, can you get me another?"
He polishes off the second can at the same pace then says "Still not started, can I have another?"
At this point his wife slams the can on the table by his chair saying "Who the hell do you think you are? I've been busy all day running round tidying the house, trying to keep the kids occupied, preparing a lovely meal for when you get in and all you can do is perch in front of that bloody TV barking orders"
To which the husband replied "and there you go, it's started"...

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Almost a month to the day, I posted about the discomfort we feel when we part company with friends and colleagues and how perhaps we should be grateful for the way they have enriched our lives and for their opportunity to move on.

It's not quite the same though when you know you will never see them again. This morning I received a call from Mum telling me that our Uncle John passed away early hours this morning. He has been battling ill health for many years, indeed it must be at least five years since he was told he had only months to live, but his sheer determination and refusal to give into his illness often disguised any physical clues whatsoever.

We had been told on Sunday that he had been admitted to hospital and we decided there and then to take a drive out to see him that evening. Sure he was in a hospital bed and occasionally a little short of breath but that didn't stop the stream of tales about how they had been teasing the nurses, or his trying to work out whether mobile phone frequencies actually would interfere with hospital equipment.

Rather like Little Sis has said, I will always have fond memories of him, from the extravagant tales of his travels across the world to the ingenious tricks I could have tried to beat the exhibits in the Science Museum as a child. A generous man to the extreme, ever willing to help you through a financial scrape or to treat his family and friends to some of the memorable restaurant meals I've ever enjoyed.

As our busy lives take us all our separate ways, its all too easy to feel guilty and wonder why perhaps we didn't keep in touch more often, but it's probably more important to realise that he is now free from the pain and discomfort he has battled with so bravely in recent times.

So I'll raise a glass to you tonight Uncle John (single malt of course). God Bless and I'm sure that you and Grandma have got some real catching up to do...

Friday, November 28, 2008

License to print money...

It's been a good day, probably something to do with not having to go to work.

Ever mindful of how long it took to sort out last weekend's quick plumbing task (eventually sorted by paying the plumber a handful of notes Monday night), I decided to set forth this morning with a little electrical task. OK, no big deal really, just changing a couple of light switches over to dimmer switches as my contribution towards saving the planet. The screws that came with the switches were too short for the pattress but fortunately I had a couple of spares in the garage that obliged and it was sorted in about 15 minutes.

Every other little "get out of the way" job I tackled went according to plan until I decided that perhaps it was time I set my printer up with the laptop. Should have been straight forward, the printer was still perched on the desk along with cables and discs, fresh from the time a set it up with the previous laptop only a few months ago.

However, Lexmark obviously had other ideas. No discs, cables or any other accessories could cater for the fact that there are no drivers released for my all-in-one printer to run with Windows Vista and by all accounts it looks as though they have no intentions of doing so either. Oh bugger - it would seem I need to buy a new printer.

Am I alone in thinking that is a bit naughty? I'm now stuck with having to replace a perfectly good printer, well OK, it isn't really that good to be honest but the scanner has been really useful and best of all, it was free when I bought my first PC. Fortunately my old laptop hasn't breathed it's last yet so I do have a protracted means of printing anything that won't wait for me to send to work to print there and when it does come to upgrading, I think I'll pick another manufacturer. Or at least see if anyone is still giving away free ones...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

On and on...

I thought I really ought to post something today seeing as it is my 4th Blogday today! As usual at this time of year, it's hard to believe it's been another year since my first post and it's all the more remarkable that people keep looking in even though, by my own admission, posts have been a lot less frequent and less inspired of late. However, I'm continually grateful that you all do keep dropping by and proud to remain the "I'm Feeling Lucky" or first search result on Google for the word "Seany". Perhaps the popularity of reality TV "celebrities" is short lived after all.

I'm not sure that you could call it a celebration, but today I also find myself the owner of the biggest fridge I could ever have dreamt of. Perhaps the situation would be more accurately described by saying that the snow has settled outside on the very weekend my central heating system decided it doesn't want to play any more.

Determined not to let another weekend disappear into combination of beer swilling and sleeping, I decided on Friday morning to put my day off to good use by getting a replacement radiator for the dining room. The old one had developed a tiny leak quite a while ago and although it wasn't doing any significant harm, it clearly wasn't going to get better on it's own and equally, would be unable to heat the room once the weather took a turn for the worse.

I took Dad up on his earlier offer to help with replacing the thing and although it took a little longer than expected, by teatime we appeared to have reconnected a brand new radiator with no sign of water leaking from anywhere and any residual air removed from the system. What I didn't discover until later that evening was that now, none of the radiators were working and it was getting bloody cold outside.

After a brief review again yesterday morning, we couldn't see where the problem was and as neither of us are qualified plumbers, I've had to resort to calling a professional in. So now I'm playing the waiting game until he replies to my message and then ultimately to find out what the damage to my wallet is likely to be. It's not really an emergency as I do have a solitary gas fire which is going it's best to keep the living room warm, but it isn't up to the challenge of heating the entire bungalow.

It could also prove a good excuse to plug in the Nintendo Wii in as all that jumping around provides some natural warmth...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Have you ever wondered...

...where mobile phones go to die?

By the look of this little lot (which isn't exhaustive), it would seem there is a veritable cellphone graveyard developing in my house.

It's not that I keep changing them to keep up with fashion, but I'm not as careful with them as I ought to be and all too often end up replacing them rather than going through the hassle of trying to find a repair outlet or worse still, trying to convince an insurance/ warranty company that I had been less careless.

But there is good news ahead, all the more topical to tell you about it today. If you have any old mobile phones lurking around the place, put them in an envelope, marked Freepost BBC Children in Need and pop it in a post box.

Apparently there is an organisation called Regenersis (formerly Fonebak) who have the licenses to unblock phones from all networks and if they can repair them, will send them off for use in developing countries. If not, they break them down and their constituent parts and they are recycled.

They have agreed to make a donation to Children in Need for each handset that can be economically repaired. So I've cleared out a load of handsets I'll never use, potentially improved communication in developing countries, added to my existing donations to this year's Children in Need appeal and if nothing else, they will be more environmentally responsibly disposed of than they would have been otherwise.

Everyone's a winner...

Saturday, November 08, 2008

All change...

We are all somewhat resistant to change and goodbyes are never easy, but I guess it's just a question of perspective.

My manager retired on Thursday after 40 years of service and I think we are all a little nervous of how on earth we are going to fill his shoes. Sure, his replacement is very capable, but it has always been easy for us all to pick up the phone and tap into those 40 years of experience whereas now we are going to need to be more resourceful. On the positive side, he has worked damned hard and is certainly deserving of a long and happy retirement so who are we to deny him that?

Secondly I was surprised to hear that our beloved Tap and Spile is closing tomorrow night as Dave and Rose have decided it's time to move on. We are all going to miss them both and it's unfortunate that circumstances have dictated that the pub will actually close (hopefully just short term). As I have posted numerous times on here before, I truly believe it has been home to some of the best ales, food, music and of course regulars. But again, the sale of the pub has been ongoing for years so from their perspective it must come as a welcome relief that they can put the pressures of running a pub behind them and get on with their new lives.

Perhaps the reason we find such goodbyes so difficult is more to do with our own discomfort and insecurity at being left behind rather than considering the positive prospects for the leavers themselves...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Motivational thought for the day...

I just had to share this email I received at work today which provided some much needed cheering up:

This little animal is called the Naked Mole-Rat and is from Africa

So if you're having a bad day and feeling sorry for yourself, just remember, you could look like a dick with buck teeth...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Far too excitable...

I suspect that unlike many of those who have been very opinionated on the subject, I have actually listened to the Brand/Ross phone incident for myself before choosing to comment.

Did they go too far? Well yes in my opinion. It didn't offend me personally but I would have felt considerably different in Andrew Sachs' position.

Should it come as a surprise that these two characters didn't know where to draw the line? Not really. I usually find them both very funny as a rule and largely because their humour is so near the knuckle, but this was more like listening to a couple of schoolkids messing about on the phone while their parents are out of the house.

Are the current outcomes appropriate (resignations, suspensions, etc.)? Well I don't think that's for us to decide. I guess that is down to exactly how offended Andrew Sachs and Georgina Baillie are over the issue and certainly nothing to do with the millions of people jumping on the bandwagon crying for heads on platters.

Why is it headline news all over the country? I've absolutely no idea, there are far more important things going on in the world at large than the offensive antics of a couple of celebrities. Sometimes it seems to me that the media in this country is just a self perpetuating beast that thrives on the very drivel that it creates.

It has provoked some hysterical comment on internet forums though...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Is she or isn't she...

Fair enough, given my hairstyle I couldn't really give two hoots about hairspray but I've always held a soft spot for harmony where music is concerned.

My recent trawls through YouTube have uncovered a couple more great examples; maybe not as emotionally stirring as the Dixie Chick's truly stunning version of their national anthem I posted a while back but examples of great a capella music.

First off are the Kings Singers, who I seem to remember had a weekly guest spot on some comedy show or other, but I particularly remember them for their version of Blackbird on a Beatles TV tribute (this is clip is actually more recent). Oh and [Capital] Em - if you're reading this you may want to skip to the second one!

Until a couple of nights ago, I'd never even heard of The Real Group, but they do an amazing version of Dancing Queen and were lucky enough to be accompanied here by one of the original singers

Sorry - YouTube have deleted the original video, but you can find another here:

I know I'm seldom short of something or someone to complain about and think that maybe we could all do with a bit more harmony in our lives...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

They will rock you...

I've just got back this afternoon from a superb long weekend away with Little Sis & family. We usually enjoy our time with them but this was something a bit special as last night I went to the O2 with her other half to watch Queen and Paul Rodgers.

Firstly, I ought to say that the O2 is an excellent venue which also boasts some superb food venues to be tried whilst you're whiling away the hours between turning up as enthusiastic and early as we did and the doors opening about 6 hours later. We eventually settled for a couple of burgers from the Slug and Lettuce, which I highly recommend (especially on Mondays when food is half price and therefore, nearer to prices expected in Grimsby than London).

At 5:30, we were both surprised to receive a text from O2 telling us we had won a mobile text competition and had been upgraded to a VIP lounge. We verified this at the desk and it was correct. Well, to a point. I was already on the phone trying to text everyone I knew saying that we had been upgraded to better seats, with VIP passes and who knows what other perks, when I overheard the "actual" prize being explained to another winner. What we had actually won was access into a separate lounge to wait in more comfort before making our way to our original seats. Still with its own reasonably priced bar (by London standards), some O2 bank notes to flutter on the casino tables and an abundance of free chocolate dice and chips on offer, who was I to complain?

After another brief burger stop (from the huge selection of food counters available within the actual arena complex) we made our way to our seats on the 4th tier and although that sounds a mile away from the stage, we had an excellent view and the little distance there was didn't diminish our enthusiasm for cheering, clapping, shouting, singing and generally getting into the spirit of it all. Hand on heart, I think I would have preferred one of the standing tickets, but perhaps my ageing bones may have thought otherwise after a two and a half hour show.

The band themselves? The word awesome is severely overused in conversation these days but it is well deserved here as they all gave a truly outstanding performance both collectively as a group and individually with solo performances. They sang all of the old Queen favourites you could have asked for, liberally interspersed with tracks from their new album, a couple from the Paul Rodgers archive and not forgetting of course the obligatory guitar and drum solos.

I'll not spoil it for anyone who is planning to go and see them by giving too much else away, but if you're interested, Brian May has added the whole set list here to yesterday's post on his website and of course, YouTube is already crammed with video footage from the tour so far.

I really would recommend you go to see them if you're lucky enough to track down any available tickets but I understand that even the extended dates have practically sold out now. Not bad for a bunch of blokes with a collective age of nearly 350...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Rise and shine...

Having spent the best part of the last week recovering from man-flu the last thing I really should have been doing is messing around outside in the cold and rain early this morning.

That said, I'm sure the last thing my neighbours wanted was to be woken by my garage alarm going off about 6:00am this morning following a power cut (not that it was the only one I hasten to add).

And it's not as though you can go back to sleep once your mind starts racing through all of the gizmos and gadgets that will need resetting, or worse still, how long to leave it before doing a mercy dash to save the contents of the fridge and freezer

Still at least I've done my bit for energy conservation by consuming absolutely no electricity whatsoever for at least an hour and a half this morning...

Friday, October 03, 2008

About last night...

This afternoon I feel the need to set the record straight about my previous post as I'm aware that most of my regular visitors look in over the weekend.

All too often I've read posts proclaiming the end of a blog which quite frankly appears to be little more than a lightly veiled complement fishing exercise by the author. Delcatto and Jeremy have already left some very kind comments, but I'd just like to clarify that this was never my intention! It was simply carrying on my tradition of blurting out whatever had been going through my mind at that particular time.

As long as I have anything [in the slightest bit] interesting to share, I will keep posting. As a certain Mr Mercury (almost) sang once, "The Blog Must Go On".

In fact, that reminds me that it's only a couple more weeks until I go to see Paul Rogers & Queen (well, Brian & Roger) at the O2 in London and on the Friday of the same week, I'm meeting up with Pete Frenzy who's visiting from the USA.

So there's at least another two posts in the making...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

So what's new...

When I first started this blog nearly four years ago, I had no idea it would still be going after all this time. I've certainly never managed to keep a diary this long.

One of the first principles I promised myself when I started this off is that I didn't want it just to become a catalogue of whines, but rather somewhere to share my thoughts and opinions on whatever happened to be going on in my life at the time. Hopefully, some of these tales would have proved entertaining, maybe even informative to a few of you out there.

If I'm going to be brutally honest, my lifestyle of late has become a little too predictable with nothing really worth writing about:

Work? Expectations are running ridiculously high with my having to cover five people's workload for far too long now (all free of charge) and there has been virtually nothing suitable new on the horizon. Needless to say my search continues.

Travel? I'm too busy in the UK office for any overseas jaunts and I think I've pretty much done the commuting stories of lousy driving along the M180 to death. Having just paid through the nose for a car service, I'm inclined to delay updating it now for a while so there's another fun-filled adventure that will have to wait.

Social Life? Sure, there have been a few nights out, still restricted to Fridays or Saturdays and on those nights probably still drinking more that I ought in one night, but again, that's hardly news. I also can't deny that as the global financial situation gets closer to home, it is having a distinct influence on where my money would be better spent.

Health? Well I've had a couple of days off work this week when what started out as a cold suddenly developed into the sweaty, shaky, sneezy, coughy, man-flu it always seems to. Beyond that, I can't grumble. Staying off the smokes has been an unexpected challenge of late, but I'm still hanging in there and the weight has stayed pretty static since my dramatic loss earlier in the year.

So I guess the big question is whether it is time to finally give up the blog? I hope not as I'd like to think there's a few original stories left to tell yet. Perhaps the aforementioned credit crunch will provide the basis for some interesting stories - hopefully nothing too dramatic!

Facebook is my latest preferred forum for more frequent (if less verbose) updates of what I'm up to (apologies, but you need to register with them to read it). Otherwise, please keep dropping by - who knows what blog-worthy adventures are around the corner. And of course, I'll always need to find an excuse to put together another one of my silly animations...

Monday, September 29, 2008


Well I know I haven't posted anything in a while but there's nothing much to tell you.

Still, when you least expect it, there will probably be three posts all come along at once...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

That can't be good...

Driving up the hill into work this morning at 8:30, I'm ashamed to admit that I felt somewhat disappointed that the world hadn't actually disappeared with a big bang and I would have to face another day in the office.

When I reached my desk, I was somewhat disturbed to discover the number of colleagues who had been sharing the self same thought.

It really is time to start making some changes...

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Back from the farm...

Despite the apalling weather, I've just spent a superb weekend staying with a couple of friends on their family's farm in the beautiful Peak District. Even though the weather prevented us from travelling very far or doing too much outside, the whole family made me feel very welcome and it provided a much needed break.

Situated where they are, it's about 10 miles to the nearest town, so evening entertainment was courtesy of the TV, the Wii I'd been asked to take along and a few bottles of well chosen real ales from the local supermarket (local being about 15 miles away). Of course the plus side to it being remote is that it's also incredibly quiet. So if you're looking in, thanks again to Andy and Sharon.

I ought to add that if anyone reading this is thinking of taking a break in the Peak District, there are a couple of beautiful holiday cottages available for booking - details can be found here.

On a completely unrelated note before I sign off, I've been amazed how many people in the last week have told me that they have also seen Mamma Mia and were surprised at what a great singer Meryl Streep is. Well it wasn't the slightest surprise to me - I distinctly remember being impressed by her singing for the first time whilst watching Postcards from the Edge. Take a little look at these two clips I found on YouTube this evening...

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Quite a weekend...

It's been a busy old weekend with one thing or another.

Friday night after the usual tea in the Tap, I paid a long overdue trip to the County to watch my mate Rich play with his band Second Nature. I don't get to see them too often even though they play regularly in town, so it was good to see that they were every bit as entertaining as I'd remembered. Recommendation #1: go and see them if you get the chance.

Saturday morning started bright and early as I wanted to get a replacement laptop seeing as the old one keeps cutting out for no apparent reason and is about ready for the big PC World in the sky. Fortunately, the big PC World on the ground obliged I despite some confusion over their stock, I walked out with a much higher spec machine at half the price I'd paid for it's predecessor. Recommendation #2: Staff were sparse in PC World but the few I found there were friendly and helpful plus there's no denying that they've got some good bargains at the moment.

Next came the job of trying to transfer stuff from old machine to new. Seeing as I still had 125 days of Norton Internet Security subscription left to run, I contacted them to help me to transfer it to the new machine. Again they were incredibly helpful and by connecting remotely, managed to sort it all out for me. Recommendation #3: There's loads of security products out there, but these guys will continue to get my business. Especially as they gave me a years free additional subscription!

Teatime, I met up with Emma and we took a trip to Cleethorpes Parkway Cinema to watch Mamma Mia. Yes, I had my doubts (about the film, not Emma!) but there's no denying that I am a huge fan of their music so it just had to be done. Again, I was not disappointed. Sure, it wasn't the most complex plot I've ever watched but they all gave great performances in a really enjoyable feel good film. Recommendation #4: Go and see it - I've not heard of anyone yet who has seen it and not enjoyed it.

From there we grabbed a couple of crafty pints at the smallest pub, then returned to the County in Grimsby to watch Si Nichols. It's a while since we've seen him play in the Tap and he never fails to entertain with an eclectic mix of ballads, fold, rock and what can only be described as bawdy songs. Recommendation #5: Check out his MySpace or better still, as he always seems to be touring pubs and clubs, try and catch one of his shows.

Now Emma and I aren't particularly renowned for our self control where beer is concerned so it will come as little surprise that we didn't call it a night after that, but decided to grab another drink then go onto Caspers where we both enjoyed a delicious seafood carbonara. Recommendation #6: OK, they aren't a licensed premises but if, like us, you've probably already had enough for one night, Caspers is a great place to end an evening out with a coffee and a delicious Italian meal.

So there you have it, over far too quickly but that's always the way when you're busy. As a bit of a bonus (?), work commitments mean I've had to cancel the remainder of my holidays for the year, replacing them by extending my weekends so at least I'll have more time to cram in the fun for the rest of this year...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm sorry I'm not here...

A bit of lazy blogging tonight. My mate Steve in Toronto sent me these today which I thought were kind of topical and certainly worth sharing.

Ten suggestions for "Out of Office" messages:

1. I am currently out of the office at a job interview and will reply to you if I fail to get the position. Please be prepared for my mood.

2. You are receiving this automatic notification because I am out of the office. If I was in, chances are you wouldn't have received anything at all.

3. Sorry to have missed you, but I'm at the doctor's having my brain and heart removed so I can be promoted to our management team.

4. I will be unable to delete all the emails you send me until I return from vacation. Please be patient, and your mail will be deleted in the order it was received.

5. Thank you for your email. Your credit card has been charged 5.99 for the first 10 words and 1.99 for each additional word in your message.

6. The email server is unable to verify your server connection. Your message has not been delivered. Please restart your computer and try sending again. (The beauty of this is that when you return, you can see who did this over and over and over...)

7. Thank you for your message, which has been added to a queuing system. You are currently in 352nd place, and can expect to receive a reply in approximately 19 weeks.

8. Hi, I'm thinking about what you've just sent me. Please wait by your PC for my response.

9. I've run away to join a different circus.

10. I will be out of the office for the next two weeks for medical reasons. When I return, please refer to me as 'Lucille' instead of Seany...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Spoke too soon...

Further to my wittering a couple of posts ago, I finally received a letter today telling me that I didn't get the job. Disappointing maybe, but at least my judge of character is still on track - I thought it very unlikely that they would never reply at all. And clearly, my judge of character is far better than theirs!

Judging from Paul's comment to my previous post, it appears that it may not have proved such a prudent move if it had worked out. At least I'll take great consolation from that until the next opportunity comes along.

Of course, I guess this also means that perhaps Little Sis is right and everything really does happen for a reason...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hedging my bets...

I made a rare trip into my greenhouse this afternoon.

Dad put a lot of work into repairing and replacing some fence panels in my back garden earlier this year and I even made the effort myself to re-treat them all a few days later. It's not a job I relish repeating particularly so I decided I would shop around for some suitable hedging to grow around the lawn, initially to support the panels against the strong winds that we seem prone to, but eventually to replace the need for them entirely.

Now the grounds to Seany Towers aren't that extensive but it looked as though I would be looking for around 20-30 plants and I've been suitably horrified at what it was going to cost - even with my internet bargain hunting skills.

So this afternoon I set to raiding the green and golden leylandii that border the front lawn and armed with a new bag of potting compost and some organic rooting compound, started off 20 cuttings. My horticultural skills are hardly notable so as a back up, Dad is also starting some cotoneaster cuttings from their garden to add to mine.

The really disturbing thing is that it wasn't entirely the unpleasant chore I'd anticipated and I'd hate to think that I've already approached the age where I'm happy pottering around in my greenhouse on a weekend...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Just coincidence...

It's been a lousy week at work, everyone has become ultra demanding and impatient and it hasn't helped that for a number of reasons I've been a one man department since Wednesday lunchtime.

I've not mentioned it on here before, but whilst browsing the net a few weeks ago I stumbled across a job vacancy that looked right up my street. I was certainly well qualified, it was a welcome change from what I do now and it was considerably nearer home.

Admittedly, I spent a lot of time preparing but I couldn't have asked for a better interview. If I say so myself, I confidently delivered well prepared answers for everything they asked but in a sufficiently understated was as to not seem too cocky. The tone was professional, yet somehow relaxed and despite discussing the difficulties to be expected in the role, we all still managed to find time for a laugh here and there.

A couple of days later, I was asked to return to complete an assessment test which although much tougher than I'd anticipated, I still managed to complete with appropriate responses in the time allocated and they seemed quite pleasantly surprised that I'd done so. I'd also discovered during the process than from the hundreds of applicants, I'd made it into the last six. On the way out, they explained that I should expect to hear something in the next week.

I have to admit I was feeling incredibly confident at this point, but pride always comes before a fall as they say. With no word after a couple of weeks I'd become resigned to the fact that something hadn't gone to plan (well not mine at least), but still maintained a glimmer of hope in that the previous events had been carried out so professionally so surely they wouldn't just leave it at that.

On advice from a few people, for the first time in my life I sent a follow up mail. Now I'd always thought this would be considered pushy, but apparently it's common practise nowadays and is seen as as indication that you are keen to join their organisation. They replied immediately thanking me for my mail and saying they would be in contact again soon.

It's now five weeks since the test and I don't care what anyone says, to contact them again would come across as either too pushy, or needy and pathetic; neither of which are personas that I wish to convey particularly. Sure, I'm really disappointed that I didn't get the job, but I'm even more disappointed that I've heard nothing from them at all just to close the deal one way of the other.

So life goes on, but it didn't help this evening when an unexpected police detour practically took me past the doorsteps of two of their premises - surely that was just my imagination. Then, about half a mile from home, I paused to let a range rover out into the traffic, only to see as it went past, the registration plate was personalised to the name of this company's proprietor; not just initials, but initial and full surname.

Fortunately (!), I'm currently covering 5 people's work and there's no sign of that letting up any day soon, so that should keep me from wondering how close I was to escaping...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A week in a few words,,,

Ridiculous workload kept the days occupied

Facebook kept the evenings occupied

Food, beer and a couple too many JDs and Glayvas took care of Friday evening

Baz singing Elvis (I believe his best show yet) helped us to wish Shaunna good luck as she left the Tap last night to pursue her culinary career

And here I am on Sunday evening ready to face it all over again...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

OK, they've got me...

I posted last November about my reluctance to get involved with any of these social networking sites, but I confess that Facebook is finally starting to win me over.

Not least for the fact that Little Sis roped me in to join in the Parking Wars game which although quite simple to play, has quite an addictive charm to it (except when the pair of them keep fleecing me with extortionate parking tickets).

That aside, there are some amusing features and applications on there which provide a timely distraction to the chores I would usually be up to on a weekend

Unfortunately, my continued attempt to retaining a little anonymity on here prevents me from posting a link to my Facebook page but to those who do know me beyond the blog, please feel free to look me up and join in the fun...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Hola Amigos...

I'm back from my latest travels and the 30 Things... list has been updated accordingly.

As predicted it was one of the usual whirlwind visits with most of my time in Spain spent in either a meeting room, taxi or hotel room. What little I did see of Barcelona as it whizzed past the car window, I have to say looked well worthy of a return visit at a more leisurely pace sometime.

There was one more time honoured tradition to be upheld and that was to take the hour or so we did have spare on Monday night and find some good quality nosh. We were recommended to the Casa Fonda Europa and I have to say they didn't disappoint.

I took the usual opportunity of trying something different and started with a tapa of sardine and anchovy which set the taste buds up nicely to be followed by veal cheeks and pears for my main course, finishing with a medieval cheese and mint desert. I'll admit that the unusual combinations were the initial attraction, but I thoroughly enjoyed every last morsel of each course all the same.

Ever mindful of the six hour meeting scheduled the following morning, we all agreed that perhaps a small glass of beer was a more appropriate accompaniment than bottles of the local vino but the beer was the only non-Spanish element of the whole evening. I even got to try out a bit of the lingo with the waiters and taxi drivers with surprising success.

Sure enough, around 24 hours after arriving, we were boarding our Jet2 737 again and heading back to blighty. Incidentally, the jet we flew out on was called "Jo Whiley", but unfortunately I didn't notice whether we had the same one coming home. I only mention it as I was desperate to be able to come home, telling people we'd had a successful trip to Spain and that as an unexpected bonus, I had ridden Jo Whiley both ways...

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Bright and early start...

I'll not deny there is a certain smug sense of satisfaction I get by getting an early start to a Saturday after a Friday night in.

By 8:30 this morning, I'd been up and out to the bank (ok, cashpoint), took a look at Cleethorpes market (which for future reference is deserted at 8:00am), whizzed round the supermarket for a few essentials for next week and got a load of washing done and out.

The plan for the rest of today? Well after the delicious plate of kippers I polished off for breakfast, I'll be trying to fight off the thirst and stay out of the pub this afternoon, added to which, I really ought to be getting things ready for my trip next week.

On top of the additional responsibilities at work that kick in on Monday morning, I have a meeting with one of our major customers just outside Barcelona. On the plus side it will provide the excuse to add Spain to the list of countries visited on my 30 Things... list.

Unfortunately, we are on a tight schedule and will only be there for about 24 hours so given the fact I will also need to sleep, I expect I will only see about as much of Spain as I saw of Mexico last September...

Friday, August 01, 2008

5/31- must try harder...

The sort of title you'd expect to see on Little Sis' blog really.

We're into August and I've just realised that I only posted five times last month; officially the slackest month on here since I started in November 2004. Tut tut indeed. The problem is, there's a story I'm dying to share with everyone but the time just isn't right yet, not wanting to tempt fate or providence by spouting off too soon.

I've got a quiet weekend planned this week seeing as we've just had a couple of busy ones. Two weeks ago we "had" to be out on the Friday night to catch the collection for Dave and Rose at the Tap, then on the Sunday we went back for the football team barbecue and presentation from the aforementioned collection. Although obviously pleased with their presents, it was somewhat premature as despite the fact we know they are leaving at some point in the near future, nobody (including them) knows exactly when.

Last weekend started with joining Do-Ron to celebrate his birthday. You've got to admire the guy, 80 years old and he is still partying like a good 'un. Seeing as Dom was down from Middlesborough for the event, we thought it might be fun for Dave, Dom and I to recreate the excellent night out in Cleethorpes we had a few years ago. After a couple of liveners in the Tap, we headed for the Eastern Delights in Cleethorpes market place for the best Indian meal I can recall for a long time. From there we headed to the smallest pub (stopping for a quick refreshment stop en route) as we'd been told there was a mini beer festival in progress.

We caught a couple of pints at the festival before he started shutting up shop, from which point it appeared the ringing of bells calling last orders chased us the whole length of the resort back to the high street. That said, it was gone 2:00 in the morning when I jumped into a cab so the bells can't have been chasing us that closely. Not that it mattered as Dave and Dom are both excellent company, capable of glugging plenty of beer while conversation roams from the state of the economy, how the job market has changed in recent years to the perennial favourite of naming all manner of female celebrities that no matter how unlikely, "you still would".

And here we are today, in August already. The atmosphere at work is a strange one right now. The senior in my department left today after thirteen years with the company and his workload is headed my way. One of our accounts girls also left today after four years and one of the key account managers who looks after one of our most "challenging" customers has handed her notice in.

There have been a few of these departures of late, they will all be missed in different ways for different reasons and although I wish them all luck individually, there's no escaping the dilution of knowledge and experience that they leave behind. It seems that those who aren't actually working their notice are actively taking a second look at their future. On a purely selfish note, it frustrates me for reasons that probably wouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out.

Perhaps it's just time to go off and busy myself with another silly Seany head-bobbing animation again...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Move over Doctor...

I realised this week that I have unwittingly stumbled across the secret of time travel.

Travelling forwards in time has always been straightforward, as long as you maintain a steady speed of one second per second. And many is the Friday night that I've gone to bed, only to wake up on Saturday at a time several hours further into the future than I had expected.

With regard to travel in the opposite direction, our file server crashed at work this week. Twice. Losing several days worth of valuable work in the process. Ultimately resulting in my suddenly finding myself doing exactly the same things that I was in the previous week.

Unfortunately I was a little to distracted to make the observation at the time...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Playing Silly Bees...

I heard this song on Chris Evans' show last week and for some reason, I was immediately struck with the idea of adding another one of my silly animations to it. Now admittedly, I usually save these events to mark the passing of a significant number of blog visits, but to be honest, I'm not sure exactly where it stands.

The Bravenet (musical) counter appears to have been stuck on 24,677 for quite some time now and I've only just discovered why this evening (yes, I have been getting visitors). According to Sitemeter, it's only 24,562 and to add to the confusion, eXTReMe Tracking make it 24,786.

Not that it really matters anyway so firstly my continued thanks to those responsible for [nearly] 25,000 visits and for no other reason than a bit of midweek silliness, I give you my latest offering...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Busy doing nothing...

There's a very good reason why I've not posted anything for a couple of weeks - basically there's been nothing much to tell.

Work has been up to its usual standard, the Friday teatime tradition of a bite to eat and a few beers in the Tap has been kept, no progress on the diet but I haven't gained any either so I'll take some consolation from that.

The Wii hasn't seen much activity but I have been doing some serious catching up with TV. Over the last two weekends I've managed to watch both series of Life on Mars and the first series of The Big Bang Theory. Well it's free entertainment on Virgin Catch Up TV so you might as well take advantage. I couldn't stop watching Life on Mars as I was desperate to find out how it ended and couldn't stop watching Big Bang Theory as aside from being quite funny, it stars the gorgeous Kaley Cuoco.

Beside that, I have one other project simmering away in the background that I hope to be able to share on here soon, so there's the obligatory suspense ending to try and entice you all to keep looking in...

Sunday, July 06, 2008

I would have written sooner...

You would have thought that with a week off work, I would have found a bit of time to pop on here and keep you updated with what's happening but I seem to have been a bit preoccupied.

Where were we last? Right, Tuesday and I'd just finished treating the fence. Well after a quick trip out first thing Wednesday morning, I picked the folks up for a tour of a few garden local centres. No I can't believe I spent any of my holiday doing that either, but all is well with the world - I still don't enjoy the places much. Still, it did provide an excuse to take them out for a spot of lunch which was dutifully washed down with a few well chosen ales.

Friday's events started with a phone call from the most experienced member of my team saying that he'd put his notice in. Sure it was disappointing but there was little I could do about it before returning on Monday so I set forth for the real ale trail in Grimsby and Cleethorpes I'd been planning with Rich and Delcatto. Needless to say, a good time, delicious fish & chips and a plethora of tasty ales were had by all.

Yesterday was my chance to get the usual weekly household chores and shopping done before settling down for the evening to discover the fate of Doctor Who and his companions (and then of course flipping over to BBC3 to catch all of the happenings behind the scenes in Doctor Who Confidential).

I thought I would probably get around to posting something this evening, but then I flicked the TV over just to see how the men's Wimbledon final was shaping up. Even though I only joined it towards the end of the fourth set, I have never seen the like of it in my life - it was an awesome match; both players on excellent form and worthy champions in their own right.

And I guess it's too late to start writing now, so I guess I'll have to leave the blog for another day...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Please don't take a fence...

A couple of weekends ago, I decided to treat myself to four 5lt bottles of fence treatment and a pump sprayer (some treat eh?!) but today is the first chance I've had to get out in the sunshine and play.

I can't honestly say that "it does exactly what it says on the tin", because for starters I bought it in bottles and secondly it was the cheapo own label stuff. Four minutes per panel it said, but it seemed a bit sketchy about the fact that you still need to run a brush over the stuff to even it out after the spray is so patchy.

Still, a couple of hours later, eleven panels treated and my utter amazement it's dried out evenly, they look as good as new and all a matching shade of golden chestnut.

As a bonus they also match a lot of the border, several patches on the patio, my hands, feet and jogging bottoms, not to mention next door's conservatory...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I suppose it's only a song...

I can't say I'm much of a fan of our national anthem, with the possible exception of Brian May's instrumental interpretation of it.

For that matter, I'm afraid I can't admit to being particularly patriotic either. I've nothing against the royal family but they hardly stir up any sense of national pride for me and neither does the sound of the opening bars of God Save the Queen.

Now the American national anthem is another story altogether; there's something about The Star Spangled Banner that just feels truly anthemic. I've only been over there a couple of times so I hardly qualify (nor am I tempted) to apply for citizenship, but whenever their anthem is played it really seems to invoke an atmosphere of national pride among Americans.

A few years ago, the Dixie Chicks ruffled a few feathers with their comments about George Bush but I think their version of their anthem for the 2003 Superbowl was truly moving. Take a look at this...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Slow but sure...

I had an enjoyable, if typically excessive night out last night so today has been a predictably quiet one.

Result of the day though was discovering this morning that I've finally passed my next weight loss milestone having lost over two and a half stone now. There is still some way to go but it's reassuring to think that my persistence is paying off albeit a bit slower than I might like.

It's funny, when the scales were moving in the opposite direction, I hardly remember weighing 16 stone-anything at all, but on the way down its taken 14 weeks to shed it again. Still, all of the advice seems to say that it's better to lose weight in little and regular amounts.

Of course, it's easier when I'm in my usual weekly routine of diet and exercise so it will be interesting to see how I fare next week while I'm off work...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Storm before the calm...

It must be a gift, I can't figure out how they do it.

It occurred to me when I got to the office this morning that I've barely touched my holiday allocation for this year and we are nearly halfway though. Little wonder I'm knackered.

So unbeknown to anyone else, I studied my Outlook calendar, the office holiday planner, found three weeks with nothing much planned (the first one being next week) then dropped a quick email to my manager for sign off and approval.

My request can hardly have left my PC when the influx started. The rush jobs started to pour in, all time consuming, all jobs that nobody can really do but me and for some reason, all need completing by the end of the month, or by the end of Q2, i.e. by Friday.

It always seems to work that way - you work yourself into a frenzy preparing for a week off, then endure a week of the same catching up when you get back. Still, holidays just have to be taken (we have a use 'em or lose 'em policy) so I'm making amends by planning my activity accordingly for next week.

What have I got planned for the week? Well it sounds a bit like the shipping forecast zone between Shannon and Bailey...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Tap into the weekend...

This afternoon's activities have been mostly Tap related, but for once I haven't been to my favourite pub or even revisited one of my favourite films, I have been on a quest for one of these:

This is a ceramic tap gland and if it makes you feel any better, I hadn't seen one quite like this until a couple of weeks ago either. Any taps I've dismantled before had a simple rubber washer that could be replaced in an instant, but no, I had to inherit taps that were different. Surely all I had to do was just nip down to B&Q and get a replacement?

Incidentally have you every tried to use the B&Q website? It's about as user unfriendly as you could dream of, but fortunately, the people in store are usually the exact opposite.

Today was no exception - I showed the existing one to the assistant who readily explained the difference between the four seemingly identical replacements I had in my hand. The only difference apparently being the splines at the top which are designed to fit a multitude of tap levers and handles and as nobody seems to have established any standards, this in turn means there a lot of different ones.

Long story short, after 20 miles of to-ing and fro-ing in the car, lots of helpful people but nobody stocks the model I need so I came home and re-fitted the original again. Except that for some reason it doesn't drip anymore. I ought to be delighted that I've saved some money but on reflection I'm probably worse off when I think of the petrol I've used...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Not that I'm really interested...

It's no secret that I have little interest in club football and with no UK participants, the European cup tournament wasn't likely to capture my imagination. All the same, I agreed to take a team in the office sweep stake and was less than impressed when I unfolded the slip of paper and read "Turkey".

Then Tuesday morning, Rob (the sweep organiser) called across "not such a bad draw after all then?". Completely oblivious to the action the night before, he updated me on the remarkable comeback from 2-0 down against Czech Republic to win 3-2 in the closing minutes.

So I feigned a little interest this evening as I was home and had the second half on the TV while I caught up on the aforementioned blog reading. It seemed they hadn't managed another last minute escape and with the score still at 0-0 they went into extra time. With only a minute or so to go, Croatia scored with the commentator exclaiming "...and the last minute heroes are themselves knocked out in the closing minutes" but apparently not, Turkey still managed to cram in an equaliser with literally seconds to spare.

On to penalties where it had to be said they won more convincingly (if a game could ever be won convincingly by penalty shoot out). So who knows? They face Germany next who will hardly be a pushover but if they get though that game I'm looking at a windfall of at least 16 quid. Woohoo!

And if I win I might just spend it all on kebabs...

And here's another thing...

I thought I would also take the chance tonight to start catching up on my blog list on the left, many of which I have been neglecting for longer than I care to admit.

So far I'm only down to the second one and Birdman led me to this excellent article...

Musical Interlude...

OK, so now you're over the initial shock that I've decided to stay on on a Friday night, take a little look at this.

The Fratellis set a competition on YouTube inviting anyone to send in covers of their favourite Fratellis song and fortunately for us, Stevie Riks decided to send one in. I'm sure I've told you all about Stevie before, he's something of a YouTube celebrity and quite frankly it's about time we saw him get a slot on prime time TV.

Anyway, here is his video and there is something very wrong in the world if it doesn't get first prize...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Quite surprising really...

It's turned out to be a day full of surprises today; some nice ones and some not so.

Nice: Despite last night's little sojourn to my favourite hostelry, I woke up really early this morning completely free of any ill effects.

Not so: Bathroom scales still moving in the wrong direction. (OK, I always said weekends don't count)

Nice: Took advantage of the bonus waking hours by getting the breadmaker and washing machine going then set off to Tesco to join the inevitable queue for petrol. But there wasn't one. And hardly anyone in the supermarket itself for that matter so home again and unpacked before 8:00am

Nice: Managed to get the car loaded up to return Dad's tools that he'd left in my garage and found a parking space right outside their house. In the town centre. On a Saturday morning.

Nice: Whilst there I learned that Delcatto's "have a go hero" antics from Thursday paid off with his would be assailant destined for a court appearance. Good on yer Delcatto - a lesson for us all there perhaps.

Not so: Also whilst there I discovered my mobile phone had started playing up again. A few times in recent weeks the earpiece stopped working so you coudn't hear dialling tones or voices at the other end without turning the external speaker on - not much use for private conversations.

Nice: Of course, that was all the excuse I needed to treat myself to a new one

Not so: I'd kept to the same network and manufacturer to help transition of numbers etc. but this new one just wasn't playing. Looked like a very boring afternoon's work ahead.

Nice: Persistence paid off

Not so: I was interruped mid cursing at phone/laptop by the postman. What could they want? I've nothing due for delivery. Well not for a few days at any rate.

Nice: Turned out it was a present from Pete Frenzy who very kindly sent me a St Louis Cardinals calendar. Thanks very much Pete - I guess I can finally take the 2007 arch calendar down from the kitchen wall!

Not so: On the subject of the USA, I thought I should check on the cactus seeds I brought back with me. Having finally got around to planting them a couple of weeks ago, they've since failed to show any signs of life.

Nice: I would appear to be the owner of a new prickly pear! (even though it must be all of 5mm tall).

Nice: We don't usually do Father's Day in our family (his choice as it is purely commercial), but as he has been really helpful replacing my fence over the last few weeks, I've invited Mum & Dad over for Sunday roast tomorrow. The beef is done and chefs prerogative titbits would indicate it's going to be another tasty one.

So here we are, dinner already prepped for tomorrow, two loaves baked and a third about to go in, after which I'm looking forward to a leisurely evening catching up with the Doctor's adventures.

Oh and I've finally set the ball rolling on another long overdue project, but I'll tell you more about that another time...

Friday, June 13, 2008

No shortage of stupidity...

This isn't the first time I've come on here to witter about irresponsible journalism and I highly doubt it will be the last.

As we all know, we are midway though a four day tanker driver strike in protest over pay and I have no issue with that; we are lucky enough to live in a society that allows us to take such actions when we feel unjustly done by.

So what is the first comment to come blurting out of the BBC news?
"There is no need for panic buying - there is plenty of petrol available as long as people don't panic buy"
Public reaction?
"Well if there's any chance at all of a shortage, I'm going to make sure I'm alright and top my tank up"

I know people who go weeks without having to top their petrol tank up. Others who just buy a tenners worth every now and then paying little attention to how much they are using. Little Sis has been known to go for years without having to buy petrol (sorry Sis - just kidding!). Seriously though, there are some of us who drive economical cars, have no feasible public means of travelling to work but genuinely need a tankful of petrol every week or so.

I'm not saying my case is special or that I personally deserve special treatment after all, I chose to apply for a job where I did, but the newsreaders blabbing on about "potential" shortages and drivers from other companies being turned around at picket lines is just spreading the widespread panic they purport to be warning against.

Many years ago in my supermarket shelf filling days, I remember someone putting the word about that there was going to be a pepper shortage and we just couldn't keep the stuff on the shelves. People were coming in and buying pots of pepper quite literally by the dozen. How much pepper can you possibly consume for fuck's sake? I think I've only ever bought two or three in the whole time I've been responsible for buying my own food.

I've a good mind to flush them all out by starting a rumour that white pepper becomes radioactive if stored for more than 20 years and see the fools who have still got tons of it go running to their local news stations.

Oops, I appear to have published such a ridiculous lie on the internet...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Anyone for tennis...

The weight loss appears to have hit another plateau despite my best efforts on diet and exercise. I'm quite happy to post on here when things are going well, but I admit it is frustrating when you are exercising hard and what little you are eating is the right stuff, yet there are no tangible results. Still, Rome wasn't built in a day and I don't expect a thinner Seany will be either.

Progress on the Wii tennis has provided an unexpected insight today though. Although I've finally broken through the 2000 skill level with no new competition in sight, I still doubt I'll be anywhere near Wimbledon this summer (unless I could persuade some of the furry litter patrol from the common to join me in a few verses of 70's nostalgia).

More than usual today, the incoming crap at the office was relentless and more kept pouring as fast as I could deal with any of it. Everything was going wrong, everything was critically important and all of it needed dealing with immediately. That's when the tennis analogy hit me; no matter ho hard I try and keep batting the balls elsewhere, there will always be somebody ready and waiting to serve up a load more.

Hey ho. Only two days to the weekend when I fully expect abstinence to become a stranger again for a few hours...

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The power of advertising...

I was just sat in front of the telly minding my own business when an advert appeared for a Lexus Hybrid and although I wouldn't mind upgrading the car, I accept that those are well out of my league.

It was the music that caught my attention initially and the fact that it sounded like the same music from the Scottish Widows advert (not that I'm in the market for one of those either).

Now the internet being the wondrous thing that it is, I soon discovered that both companies were in fact using the same music in their advert and before I knew what was happening, I was facing a sudden compulsion to sell my guitar again...

Monday, June 02, 2008

Tea break over, back on your heads...

I returned to work this morning and within minutes of reaching my desk, it was as though I had never been away leaving me yearning for another holiday.

The 163 mails waiting in my inbox hardly came as a surprise and despite my leaving an out of office message on, people kept sending their mails in by the virtual sack load, presumably in the hope that I would return from my holiday early.

The perennial squabble fodder of the office air conditioning units reared its ugly head again while I was away, which I quickly dismissed again today with the indifference that it duly deserves.

There is still a plethora of secretive whispering about the place. Some changes are definitely afoot (not to mention long overdue) and there was a time when I would have been more concerned but experience reassures me they are most probably of little, if any, significance to day to day activities and in the meantime, it serves to make certain individuals feel important while they wander about with their encrypted mutterings.

On a brighter note, I managed to escape a couple of minutes early so that I can dedicate this evening to some serious me-time. Or if the local weather forecast is anywhere near the mark, some pretty prompt boat building.

The post title? Well it's such an old joke I just assumed everyone had heard it, but just in case, you can find it here...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

You could have put money on it...

Well the week of carefree eating, drinking and running machine avoidance yielded predictable results. If the bathroom scales are to be believed (and they should be as I've just bought some new ones) I've managed to accumulate an additional 4lbs since last Friday.

Sure, it's a little disappointing perhaps but there are three very good reasons why I'm not overly concerned:

1) It was a weeks holiday and my idea of holiday is to focus on enjoying yourself with diet and exercise being the last things on your mind

2) My original target was to lose 1lb a week and even after last week, I'm still over 1lb ahead of target overall

3) I'm much more preoccupied right now with how I really don't feel like going back to work tomorrow...

Saturday, May 31, 2008

And relax...

The 2008 birthday marathon is now over with a well earned break now until October when it will be my niece's ninth birthday.

It's been a busy month as always, but everyone seems really happy with the presents I selected this year: a Japanese puzzle box, an omnitrix, an ice candle, a robin tattoo and finally, an autographed photo of Brian May.

As a bonus, I've enjoyed having the family here for the best part of the last week and although we didn't travel very far, we all put the Wii through it's paces, which in turn provided the excuse to turn a blind eye to any thoughts of diet as we waded through plates of roast dinner, pizza, chicken curry and a barbecue, finishing this morning with our traditional cooked breakfast to set them up for the journey home.

It always takes me a while to wind down from the frenetic activity of playing host, so I did my best Taz impression for the rest of today and tore through the house but being still full from breakfast, opted to clean everything within reach as opposed to eating it.

I hope that decision makes a difference when I hop back on the bathroom scales tomorrow...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Open all hours...

To be honest, today could have got away to a better start.

I was awake bright and [ridiculously] early so I decided to take advantage, getting some fresh bread under way and preparing a few bits for our roast turkey dinner tonight. Inevitably there were a couple of things I'd overlooked when shopping yesterday, but as we have a couple of 24 hours supermarkets nearby I didn't think it would be a problem. I could nip out early, miss the crowds and be back home in plenty of time before the family arrives later this morning

That was until I discovered they aren't actually open 24 hours. I realise they have restricted opening hours on Sundays, although I still fail to understand why we are subjected to such commercial censorship. If it is important to you to reserve Sunday as a day of rest then fine, please yourself, but there is no shortage of people prepared to work Sundays and anyone who ventures to the shops on Sunday will testify to the lack of conscientious objectors from a consumer perspective.

Truth to tell, it is too politically sensitive for anyone to make the controversial decision of overruling the current hours so I guess we're stuck with them. But why were they not open early this morning? Apparently because it was a Bank Holiday yesterday? What difference is that supposed to make?

Would I work a Bank Holiday? Well like millions of others, I don't get any option as I am contractually obliged to do so and the only reason I didn't work yesterday is that I booked the whole week as annual leave. Oh and don't get me started on the public holidays we get compared to my European colleagues.

Rant over. Have a nice day...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Holiday fun...

You would think that people would have better things to do on a Bank Holiday afternoon than going food shopping, but apparently not - Tesco was packed to the rafters today.

My excuse was that from tomorrow I'll be catering for anywhere between five and seven rather than just little ol' me for a few days and I doubt my meagre provisions would have sufficed.

Anyway, everything's bought and packed away now so I intend to do a little as I can get away with for the rest of the day (although I suspect that Wii will play a part at some point).

In the meantime, there's an interesting looking film on the TV full of nuns, children and goats. If I'd known it was going to be on TV, I wouldn't have bothered going to the cinema to watch it all those years ago...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I love it when a plan comes together...

Hannibal would have been proud of yesterday- everything went to plan and we had an excellent day.

The biggest highlight had to be getting the birthday present for Mum who is now the worlds coolest (nearly) 70 year old with a newly tattooed arm. I was really proud as she sat there without a flinch for an hour and a half while Stewart worked his magic and produced a wonderfully detailed picture of a robin on her upper arm. I'll post a picture of it on here once it's fully healed.

It also came in well under budget, so we hopped into a cab, went to pick up Dad from my house where he'd been working on some of my fence panels and popped down to our local for lunch. The Farmhouse didn't disappoint again with a delicious luxury fisherman's pie, pannecotta with blueberries for pud, all washed down with a cracking pint of Black Sheep.

We left there to return home where I could change into something smarter for the evening, but spotted a bus approaching. The realisation hit me that with the money I'd save by taking the bus instead of a taxi (given that Mum & Dad travel for free), I could pick a new shirt in town, so Primark obliged accordingly.

Out to the Tap for tea where we met up with Faith and John for another superb meal, after which we returned to the bar where a whole host of other friends came to join us for an excellent night out. Liquid refreshment was largely in the form of a very tasty Raspberry Wheat Beer from Millstone Brewery, which despite checking in at 5.6%, left me feeling a lot brighter this morning than I would usually of expected.

I wonder if I could count those pints towards my five a day...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Let the fun begin...

I finished work today a little early, but a lot relieved that for the next week I'll not be setting foot in the place.

Regular visitors will probably be puzzled as to why then I am still sat at home on a Friday night tippety tapping on the PC instead of swilling ale as though someone was trying to take it away from me.

Well the simple truth is, tomorrow sees the start of Mum's 70th birthday celebrations. On her strict instructions there is to be no party but I have a really cool present lined up, Little Sis & family are on their way up next week and although it's not a party as such, we should be meeting up with a few friends tomorrow night where after a quiet meal we will no doubt have a drink or two.

I'd just like to mention for the record that today, before the festivities begin tomorrow, I am only one pound short of reaching my two and a half stone weight loss milestone. Now there's a challenge - I wonder how much of it I can put back on by next weekend...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What other day could it be...

I'm pleased to say I don't get nightmares often but something had obviously decided I was due one last night and it was a corker. It had everything any horror film would wish for - war, nasty things happening to the family, loads of gory violence, demonic possession, Westlife playing in the Tap. OK, I made the last one up but the rest were all too vivid and even though I realised I was dreaming, I couldn't wake myself up. Although of course I did eventually.

That pretty much set the tone for the day. Despite my efforts with diet and exercise, the scales refuse to budge (even with new battery) and keep moving in the wrong direction, I seemed to be scraping the last of everything to put a breakfast together, it took at least three attempts to leave the house because I kept forgetting things and I saw more near misses this morning due to maniacal driving than I can ever recall in one journey to work. The day in the office goes without further elaboration on my part - one of the usual.

I know I have my superstitious hangups and after all, today's date is only a number. I did some research on the net and it suggested I go and have a pint with my old neighbour - try ask Dec for a beer, or something like that. For the record ('cos I know he'll read this), I say "old" in reference to the fact that I don't live there any more rather than his age.

Well as the old saying goes, all bad things must come to an end. They don't say that? Well they did come to an end and despite it taking me three attempts to get home tonight being called away twice, I'm pleased to say that one of those distractions was to collect my Wii Fit Balance Board.

I can definitely see what all the fuss is about, I've had a whale of a time on there this evening, yoga, jogging, skiing, hula-hooping, ski-jumping, tightrope walking, step class and probably plenty of others I've not mentioned as well as loads of new activities which can only be unlocked through continued playing on there.

I've taken the opening tests and aside from being accused of having a Wii fitness age of 53 (cheeky blighters), my little Wii character has been redrawn to remind me that over two stone down or not, I'm apparently still a fat bastard with a lot of hard work ahead of me so there's a good chance I may never see beer or daylight again.

OK, we all know how likely that is but I can seriously see that at least I'm going to have some fun trying to work off the next few pounds...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Weekend in brief...

Wow - did you see that fantastic weather?

There's clearly something out of the ordinary going on when I'm out working in the garden in shorts and tee shirt instead if sitting inside at the PC telling you all about the things I should have been doing instead of going to the pub...

Monday, May 05, 2008

Panic buying...

It's been a predictably quiet bank holiday today after helping Little Em celebrate her 30th birthday last night. It had all of the ingredients of a great party - a good crowd of friends and family, delicious buffet, an abundance of fine ale and a disco playing music that we were more than happy to sing along with. After some persuasion from Amy I also got the chance to remind everyone what a crap dancer I am.

The journey home is a bit of a blur, but I clearly stumbled across an establishment with kebabs for sale at some point which provided a hearty breakfast this morning.

So, with little else to do today I decided to continue my quest for a Nintendo Wii Fit. I should have followed my initial instincts really and pre-ordered one before it was launched a couple of weeks ago because rather like the consoles a couple of months ago, the latest Wii must-have is as rare as the proverbial rocking horse droppings.

I've been using a stock checker site and could hardly believe my eyes when it told me that Dixons had just got some more in stock. I followed the link to the site and sure enough, it confirmed that they had some in stock so I wasted no time in hitting the buy now button. Then of course they wanted me to register with them so they needed my name, address, contact details, a password, etc., which was all taking rather too long for my liking.

Finally I reached the payment page and unwittingly selected a credit card I'd not used previously for online purchase which meant they also needed me to supply names, date of birth, card dates, new passwords, etc. It might seem that I was fretting unnecessarily, but I'd already been caught out once this weekend having tried to reserve my little nephew's birthday present on the Argos website only to find someone had narrowly beaten me to the last one. But the good news is that little nephew will be getting his new toy this month and in a few days time, so will I.

Oh and in case you are looking for one, Dixons are out of stock again already...

Thursday, May 01, 2008

I'm feeling lucky...

Vanity is restored in the Seany household this evening.

I was chatting on the phone with Andy this evening who has just acquired a new laptop and had wireless broadband internet installed, but was struggling to find my blog. It seems his machine came with Yahoo as the preferred search engine and having looked on there myself this evening, it took me two or three attempts to track myself down as it were.

I recommended he try Google as I usually feature on the first page of results when searching for "Seany" although I had shuffled down the rankings somewhat since the arrival of the similarly named Big Brother contestant last summer.

It's been a while since I checked my Google rankings so I carried out the above search and was delighted to find I'm back in the top spot (although quite honestly, I'm not entirely sure how or why). The bonus of being the first result means I can now refer people to Google, to type the word Seany and then hit the "I'm feeling lucky" button which will bring them straight here.

Of course, if they are really lucky, they may also find something here worth reading...

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bolt from the blue...

OK, it may be a challenge getting hold of him sometimes but I turned up at the garage tonight, confessed to some serious twattery in the field of DIY car maintenance and walked out moments later with a selection of bolts and the advice from my mate "one of those should do the trick".

And at long last, I'm pleased to report it did...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

On reflection...

I think it's fairly safe to assume that the feathered critter that decided to tweet it's last before launching at my wing mirror a few weeks ago has gone to the big aviary in the sky by now. If not, I would probably be on my way to the same spot now with a size 10 in hand preparing to secure a similar fate for it.

In fact, I actually quite like birds (yes, the feathered kind too) and could probably never have gone through with the aforementioned threat, but equally could never have forseen the trouble that resulted from that morning's incident.

The day it happened
, I rang the dealership as soon as I got to the office and my mate told me he would see what he could do. You may have read on here that a few weeks later I gave up on un-answered messages, ordered a replacement on ebay and fitted it myself, which only left me with having to get the outer shell sprayed to match the rest of the car.

Apparently, up until a couple of years ago Ford colours were easy to track down but recently they decided to get cryptic and whatever references I could find could have been for one of a dozen different colours. Back on to my mate at the dealership when he suggested "well why don't you drop it in and I'll get one of the lads to spray it the right colour for you".

Very gratefully, I dropped the shell off agreeing to leave it a couple of days. Two days later, I called in and apparently they hadn't yet had a chance to spray it. The following Monday still nothing. The following Friday I called in to pick it up (whether painted or not), we went to the paintshop to be told "Oh good, I've been waiting for you to come in so I could match the colour to your car". Shame I didn't know this earlier really. Anyhoo, it was being done on the cheap as a favour so I swallowed my pride and agreed to leave it for a couple more days.

Tonight I collected it and to be fair, it looked great but apparently needed another hour or so to finish drying properly. Having got the thing home and patiently waited until after tea before fitting it, I noticed that a small wire had become trapped beneath the fitting plate so as I had a little time to spare this evening, I might as well put it right. When will I learn?

All came apart again very easily until I dropped the mounting bolt inside the door. Oh bollocks. Another 10 minutes unscrewing , fiddling, shoving and generally pissing about with the door interior, only to discover that the easiest way of getting it out was probably to take the entire door off and turn it upside down. Even if I was going to seriously entertain that idea, it had started to get dark so the only thing to do was replace the door interior, disconnect the mirror wiring and removing it again.

So tomorrow I begin the quest to find a replacement bolt to secure the wing mirror again - I wonder how many weeks that's going to take...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

And did those feet in ancient times...

I was accompanied on the running machine this morning by the Winchester Cathedral Choir with a rousing rendition of Jerusalem. Quite amazing how we all managed to get on there really. OK, it was on the radio but I guess you'd already worked that out for yourselves.

Every year I bleat about this on here and yet this year, it's even passed me by. Yes folks, today should have marked the celebration of our national Patron Saint but there were no flags to be seen, barely a mention in the media and certainly no sign of a national holiday in sight.

Probably some PC brigade somewhere has decreed that it's no longer appropriate to display any sense of national pride. Well I'm certainly not out to offend anyone so for what it's worth, Happy St George's Day...