30 November 2011 (Wednesday) - On Strike (?)

The “My Boy TM –mobile” is now fixed. It wasn’t fixed cheaply, but then cars rarely are. Yesterday I mentioned that I was feeling a bit iffy. I seem to have developed a bit of a sniffle. That’s a pain. I don’t do illness very well.

And so to work. I suppose I should really have gone on strike today like so many other people did. But I remember the strikes of the seventies and eighties. People were on strike for months and achieved very little.
Having said that, I support the principle of today’s strike. There is a school of thought that the nation cannot afford the public sector pensions. That may or may not be the case. I’ve seen evidence from both sides of the argument; evidence that looks convincing for both sides of the argument.
However from where I’m sitting, the bottom line is that having let me pay for my pension for twenty nine years, it’s a bit late for the government to now announce that they can’t afford it. They should have priced it up right all those years ago. A bit like my mortgage endowment, really(!)

And (to all the nay-sayers) yes – you did read that right: “pay for my pension”. There is a perception that public sector pensions are a freebie. They are not. If you want a public sector pension, you have to pay for one. They might be a better deal that the private sector pensions, but in my experience that is because a lot of people in the private sector don’t bother to spend out on one…

29 November 2011 (Tuesday) - Teston Kite Festival

I was feeling a bit iffy last night, and so had an early night. I slept for the best part of eight hours. I do hope I’m not sickening for something.

A minor disaster – the “My Boy TM –mobile” has failed it’s MOT. As is always the problem with cars, when one needs to take a car to a garage and leave it there, how does one get home again? This morning before work I collected  “My Boy TMfrom the depths of Kingsnorth after he’d dropped his car off for fixing, but I had no idea how he will collect the thing later.
I hope he sorted something out.

A couple of days ago I mentioned about the recent news that the June kite festival at Teston has been cancelled. I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about what’s been going on lately.
Reading some of the postings on the Internet kite forums, I think the general feeling in the kite flying community is one of frustration with the County Council. Many kite festivals are subsidised by local councils because they are a fun event for the public. However Kent County Council seems to want to have a fun weekend put on for the public, and those who are putting on the event will be charged for doing so.
Apparently last year KCC wanted to charge Teston kite festival’s organisers hundreds of pounds for putting on the event (but they didn’t get any).
Something similar happened with the kiting event at Capstone a few months ago.

Much as I like the kite festivals at Teston, I’ve commented in the past that the attendance of kite-fliers has been dropping off. A lot of kite fliers have not been going to Teston for a few years because it is quite a way off the beaten track: it’s in no way a central location.
And reading the forums, it would seem that the attendance at next year’s only Teston kite festival will be even less because the rank-and-file kiter doesn’t like the council’s greedy attitude.
The organisers have said on their website that rather than having a weekend-long event next June, people might just turn up for an informal kite day. I don’t think people are going to travel the distance just for a few hours. I certainly don’t want to.
I can’t help but feel that the event has had its day. Best to let it be a happy memory rather than being something which will slowly fizzle out as more and more people become disillusioned with a greedy council.

28 November 2011 (Monday) - Rather Cold

It was cold this morning: I had to shift ice from the car’s windscreen. Is it just me being soppy, but I’m finding the cold dark mornings rather depressing at the moment.

Regular readers of this drivel may recall that I went to the Battle of Hastings re-enactment a few weeks ago. The re-enactment was in the village of Battle, and was on the actual site of the original battle. Or so we thought. It would seem that there is some controversy about the subject, and there is a school of thought that the battle was actually fought a few miles away in Crowhurst.
There was a nice man on the telly today expounding on the matter. Apparently he’d proved it with his divining rods, so there was no need to actually dig up the field and bother looking for any hard evidence. I wonder what I could prove with my divining rods. I might get them out and have a go with them.

I’ve realised that I didn’t run a plug for “Badger Original Landscapes” yesterday. What was I thinking of? Talking of which… I’ve had a few enquiries about doing custom paintings – if any of my loyal readers would like a painting specifically to be given as an Xmas gift, it might be worth getting me going on the painting soon if you want the thing to by dry by Xmas. Otherwise there’s always the stuff I’ve got in stock. They are dry. Mind you, a painting being damp isn’t a problem (as long as you don’t try to wrap it).

And in closing today, I’m sure that my loyal readers have been waiting anxiously for news on “My Boy TM‘s fish. That is, the one he had for his tea last night – not one of the Koi. I’m told that it cooked up according to plan, but it wasn’t as nice as he expected it to be. However it “wasn’t too sad”, so all was not lost. Personally I think that fishing for your tea is a lot of fiddling around, but what do I know?

27 November 2011 (Sunday) - Rather Dull

I really would like to have done something with the day today, but it was so cold I didn’t fancy going out anywhere. So I wasted a few hours doing a writing test. One of the jobs I’ve applied for was as a medical writer, and one of the agencies sent me a test. I had to summarise a medical research paper, write a synopsis for a magazine, and produce a PowerPoint presentation about it. That took three hours.

Following yesterday’s weigh-in I then had a measure-up. My neck’s stayed the same, but my waist has got an inch smaller: that’s five inches thinner since September, and my hips have also lost an inch: also five inches thinner since September.

Yesterday I mentioned that “My Boy TMhad bought some beach fishing gear: today he put it to use, and came home at mid-day with a fish he’d caught. It was a rather small whiting, but he had plans to have the fish for his tea. Neither ‘er indoors TM nor I would prepare the fish for him, so he phoned my brother who gave him instructions. From what I could see, the main instruction was to put the fish into a bowl of water and leave the thing there. But after an hour or so he took the fish round to his girlfriend’s house. I’ve since been told that it got as far as the oven, but I’ve had no further news than that.

I had an email - dianpresley459 is following me on Twitter. dianpresley459 would seem to be a porn-monger. He, she or it can follow me as much as he, she or it fancies: I’m not going to reciprocate.

And I spend a couple of hours this evening applying for various jobs. Maybe some of the agencies might pick up on my C.V. and find something for me. Or maybe they won’t….

26 November 2011 (Saturday) - Rather Busy

I was rather late to bed last night. Before going to bed I wanted to tally up the money from last night’s astro club meeting. No matter how I counted the money, I was exactly twenty four quid short. After what seemed like hours of frustration, I got up to make myself a cup of coffee. As I got up, I noticed a bowl of coins by my side that I’d put there to count later. And in that bowl was exactly twenty four quid. Oh how I laughed when I finally got to bed shortly after 2am.

And despite a very late night, I was still up and about shortly after 8am. With ‘er indoors TM off on a candle-related beano, I was left to my own devices for the day. I started off with the weekly weigh-in. And again, I can’t say I’m sure exactly how much weight I’ve lost. By moving the scales to various points on the kitchen floor I can vary the readings by over four pounds. So I took an average reading and it looks like I’ve lost another two pounds this week.

I then went up to the bank to pay the astro club’s money in. Nat West look to be having something of a re-build: the place wasn’t what it once was. But the staff were a lot more helpful that the last time I went in, so I shall be grateful for small mercies. I then went shopping for some canvases for Badger Original Landscapes (did I mention I’m doing it commercially?). It certainly pays to shop around: the same thing was available in three different shops; prices varied by up to five pounds.

I came home with five blank canvases. I wonder how long it will take to shift those? And once home I had a go at doing a painting. Something with yellows and browns and contact paper and coming out of the circle. I’m not entirely happy with the result; but then I never am. Whilst I was painting, “My Boy TMcame home with a beach-casting  fishing set he’d got from the market. He was rather anxious about the shed: apparently there’s been a spate of robberies from sheds in some of the nearby roads. Fortunately we were OK: sometimes it helps not having rear access (oo-er!).
I then realised I’d used the last of my tear-off palates. So I wandered back up to town to get some more. More expense – but as its business related it might be tax-deductible. I wonder how tax-deductible works?

I then watched a couple of episodes of “The Joy of Painting” over lunch. That counted as research. And then I syphoned the beer from the bucket into the pressure barrel. Hopefully it will be ready for Christmas. I had a sip whilst syphoning: it tastes very much of liquorice. But I remember last year’s having a similar taste at the barrelling stage.
And then with beer barrelled and paintings painted I set about the ironing. There was quite a lot of it. About two hour’s worth. That kept me out of mischief for much of the afternoon.

I then had a bit of a fiddle about with Badger Original Landscapes. I’ve put the links at the tops of the pages where they are immediately obvious; rather than at the bottom. And I’ve put up a page of paintings that are currently available for sale. It might be easier for people to choose from a selection rather than having to muck about planning out one from scratch.

‘er indoors TM  eventually returned home from flogging candles, and after a quick sossige sandwich (who says I can’t cook!), Jose drove us round to Chris’ house. We played Top Trumps with the nutritional values on the crisps, and once I’d realised I had the same crisps as Jose and couldn’t possibly beat him, we settled down to watch films. “Minority Report” and “I, Robot”. Both excellent films: I can’t believe I’ve not seen them before, and I can only wonder how many other good films I’ve missed.

And I’ll close today with some bad news. Regular readers may recall that a few months ago there was uncertainty about the future of one of the highlights of my year: Teston Kite Festival. The word is that the festival planned for June 2012 has been cancelled. There will only be one Teston Kite Festival next year, and that will be on the weekend of 11-12 August 2012….

25 November 2011 (Friday) - Astro Club

The last Friday of the month – astro club. We got there early to set up, as threats of imminent baby was worrying the usual set-up stalwart. As always we weren’t sure how many chairs to put out. We set up for sixty five people, and ended up with standing room only.
The main talk of the evening was Stevey lecturing on extra-solar planets. A brilliant talk – really good. There was an interesting question after the talk in which one of the punters seemed not to believe in the principle of friction. I really don’t know how you should proceed when you explain a patently obvious scientific principle, only to be told “Well, I don’t believe it!
And then those of us with vested interests exploited our positions to extol the virtues of paintings and literature.

I hawked the raffle as always, and for once I actually won the constellation game myself. That tenner will come in handy. Meanwhile Steve hawked the recently obtained club clothing. We’ve got a range of T-shirts, hats and fleeces. We sold over three hundred quid’s worth this evening.
And then we did some stargazing. For all that I have a very good telescope (that wasn’t cheap), I rarely stargaze. Tonight was great – we looked at Jupiter and the Pleiades and Andromeda and all sorts of things. I even managed to get a photo of Jupiter and its moons with my camera.

Regular readers of this drivel might recall blog entries from four years ago when I was very sceptical about how the fledgling astro club was doing. In retrospect it would seem that I had nothing to worry about: the club’s turned out all right….

24 November 2011 (Thursday) - Stuff

Yesterday’s blog entry attracted a comment. The comment was “Thanks for sharing the idea ....nice post”, and then gave a web link to someone flogging dental treatments. I’ve not published the comment – I’ve tagged the comment as spam; if someone wants to hawk their products, they should do it openly. Like I do. (Did I mention that I’m selling paintings?)

I had a minor shock at tea break today. When I sit I tend to slouch in a chair, and use my not inconsiderable belly as a table. Either to support a drink, or to rest my Kindle on. And today as I slouched, I struggled to find anything on which to prop my Kindle. I’ve still an awful lot of weight to shift, but this served as a nice reminder that I’ve shifted quite a lot of bulk so far.

Yesterday I mentioned about making monthly payments to “Product Support”, and having no idea what “Product Support” was all about. Yesterday I also mentioned that PC World don’t do in-store fixes any more, and I’ll have to send my PC away to get its fan fixed.
Today I found out that this fiver each month is the warranty on the PC with the noisy fan. I’ll see if we can fix the fan ourselves before cancelling the monthly fivers.

Here’s something of interest. Astronomers have published a list of the top ten moons an planets which are most likely to harbour life. Unsurprisingly the planet Earth came out in number one place. What I found amazing was that the same article which placed the planet Gliese 581g in second place also cast doubt on the existence of the planet Gliese 581g.

And in closing, did you know that today marks twenty years since Freddie Mercury died? No – neither did I. That’s been kept quiet…