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...