30 April 2010 (Friday) - New Car, Astro Club

Last Saturday night I went into work for a couple of hours. Which (in the end) worked to my advantage. I took two hours out of work today to collect my new car. I had some qualms about saying goodbye to the old car, but the new one is virtually identical in everything but for the colour and one extra gear. Back to work via Tesco’s for doughnuts to celebrate.

After work was somewhat rushed. Tonight’s astro club meeting was an outing to Cranbrook to meet up with CADSAS (Cranbrook and District Science & Astronomy Society). Four of us set off hopefully, only to find one other person sitting in a car park hoping he was at the right place. Having found him, five of us then sat in a car park and hoped we were in the right place. After a while our numbers grew to double figures, and we found the people from CADSAS who led us to where we were supposed to be. It was at this point that we heard a car hooter, and saw some of our members driving toward us in their car. And behind them was a veritable convoy of a dozen or so cars full of club members. All of whom had found each other, but not found where we were supposed to meet.

Having said that, I feel I should point out to my loyal readers that history is written by those who take the time to write it. There is a conflicting school of thought that maintained we’d parked in the wrong place….

Eventually over thirty of us met up with the Cranbrook people. We went specifically to see their huge telescope. And it was quite a whopper, although still in the throes of being rebuilt. Fortunately some of our number are quite clued up with thing telescopic, and some helpful suggestions were made. I was part of a small number of people congratulated for coming up with the idea of springs. Perhaps I should say that I didn’t have any conception of what possible use springs would be in the telescope. I merely overheard it being said, and so I just repeated the word “springs” like a stuck record, and people seemed to think I knew what I was talking about.

To be honest I don’t really know anything about telescopes, and (not being rude) I have no real interest in them. I am after all very much an armchair astronomer. But having said that, I can appreciate the passion that some have for telescopes, and a really good evening was had tonight. I got to chat with friends I only meet once a month at the astro club. But there were a lot of faces I didn’t recognise. I need to get to know more of the membership.

And then home. I really should do my packing for next week’s holiday……

29 April 2010 (Thursday) - This and That

When not on an 11.30am start I always get to work far too early. There are all sorts of reasons for this. Avoiding the rush hour traffic is one, getting a parking space within fifteen minutes walk of the hospital is another, as is getting a few minutes peace and quiet to read a book before the day starts. And being in at work early has the advantage that should the person rostered to be in early not turn up for whatever reason, I am there already, can step into the breach, and so can go home early. Which is what happened today.

We had an interesting and intellectual discussion at work on the subject of who is the lamest super-hero. Despite the utter rubbish-ness of Elastic-Man, the Green Hornet and all of the X-Men, the title of lamest super-hero went to Matter Eater Lad – a particularly useless hero whose sole super talent is to eat everything and anything. One can only hope that Matter Eater Lad has solved the problem of chronic flatulence.

I then phoned the garage – which took some doing. All is well with my new car, but it occurred to me that with the switchover of TV and radio broadcasting to digital format in two years time, perhaps I should be considering a digital car radio. The garage said not to worry – they have had no direction from Renault about digital radios whatsoever. Further research on the internet would seem to show I needn’t worry. I’ve got until 2020 to get a digital radio in my car. Hopefully that will be several new cars down the line.

And then home – I mucked out the pond filter. It didn’t actually need doing. Or that is, it hadn’t started leaking yet. Every other time I’ve cleaned it out this year was because it was leaking, so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to be pro-active. Hurt – no. Smell of fish poo – yes. But you can’t have everything.

And then I had a look in my letter rack. The leccie company had sent me a letter. I get my leccie and gas from them, and because I get both, I get a discount. Or that is I used to get a discount. They have a new system, and my details differ between the two accounts. Unless I phoned them immediately to tell them to make the accounts have the same details they were going to discontinue my discount.

So I phoned them, and asked them if they thought (as I did) that their writing to me to tell me to tell them to correct their own error was a bit dumb. The chap on the phone was helpful (being able to speak English helped, and was a novel development for a call centre), and he said that whilst their new system is good and has cost millions of pounds, apparently they cannot change my details on their system without my permission. Even if they’ve typed them in wrongly themselves.

All’s well now, but I resent wasting my precious time on drivel like this. Which is odd – it’s taken me twice as long to type up what happened, and I don’t mind that at all…

28 April 2010 (Wednesday) -Arky-ologee Club

Let’s hope my PC lasts long enough for this blog entry to reach cyber-space. On booting I had some message which dribbled about an unregistered anti-virus being installed. So I employed my standard I.T. fix #1 – I rebooted, which seemed to work. But we shall see.

Being the last Wednesday of the month, we set off to Lenham to the arky-ologee club. More often than not the meetings are dull, but tonight’s speaker promised to be good. Her previous talks had been on the saucier exploits of King William IV and Admiral Nelson.

Tonight she lived up to expectations, digging the dirt on the seedier aspects of the lives of the six uncles of Queen Victoria. With two of them being kings (George IV and William IV) and four of them being dukes (of York, Cumberland, Sussex and Cambridge) they were (with one dull exception) a lively lot. Between them they were involved in several illegal marriages, had several mistresses, fathered at least fifty-six illegitimate children and ran up debts of millions of pounds (each). The speaker read from letters and eye witness accounts written at the time, and brought to life a subject which thirty years ago my history teacher had killed stone dead.

Following her talk we had a celebrity guest. Or so I first thought. My mistake – the poor lady who told us of her excavations bore an unfortunate resemblance to “Tiddler” from “The Riddlers”. She waxed ecstatically about some medieval duck pond she was digging out, which was apparently remarkable because it was built on the wreckage of an earlier medieval duck pond. I suppose there are those who get over-excited at the thought of double decker medieval duck ponds, but I must admit I am not one of them…

27 April 2010 (Tuesday) - An Afternoon Off

Some days I feel like I am running round like a headless chicken at work. Other days we seem to have more staff than sense. Today, with seemingly double the staff we had last week, I thought I’d take the opportunity to use up some of my lieu time and I took the afternoon off.

I came home to find my camera case had arrived. I do like buying stuff on eBay. Although it can sometimes be a bit of a gamble, just lately everything I’ve ordered off eBay (except one item delayed by Icelandic volcanoes) has arrived within a couple of days. It’s a good camera case – it’s very pink.

My Boy TM ” was clumping round the house whilst bellowing into his phone. He was planning to take a bird to the seaside. I did tell him that there were plenty of seagulls there already, but he wasn’t having any of it.

Totally by chance, the bank phoned – would I like to borrow a squillion pounds? By one of life’s many co-incidences, one squillion pounds is exactly the amount of money I need to borrow to pay for my new car. So I told the bank I would like a loan, which completely flummoxed the poor girl. She was obviously so used to being told to get knotted that she simply wasn’t expecting anyone to say yes. She then passed me onto someone who claimed her name was Kelly. If her name was really Kelly, then from now on I should be known as Rashid. “Kelly” started her standard spiel. I stopped her and asked her my most important question - how soon I could get my hands on the money? That flummoxed her. She said it depended on where the money was coming from. I might have it in savings, in bonds, on deposit. I asked her what she was talking about, and she admitted she didn’t know. She then put me on to somebody who spoke both scripted and impromptu English and I asked my questions.
She gave me her figures, and I trotted round to the garage to see how much money I could save on the car loan. Despite my being a valued customer entitled to the premium rate loan reserved for the bank’s most valued customers, it was still no cheaper than going with the deal that Renault had already offered, so I shook hands with the salesman, and spent a few minutes looking at my new car. I realise that (apart from the colour) it is pretty much identical to my current car, but it’s still quite exciting.
This car will be my tenth motor vehicle, and I’ve just amazed myself that out of the thing’s nine predecessors, I can only recall the registration numbers of four of them. My DAF, my mini, the Maestro – what were their numbers? My motorbike “Zoomy Petal” – what was his number?

I then mucked about adding an RSS feed to my blog. I have absolutely no idea what an RSS feed is, but if you look at the very bottom of the screen you’ll see there’s a link to it. I was actually trying to blag an animated header similar to that which one of my loyal readers uses on a certain kiting forum, but I got this instead. I wonder what it does….

26 April 2010 (Monday) - Stuff

I read the news this morning over breakfast. I know I shouldn’t. Sometimes I wonder if I am really the only sane one in a mad world (and that’s a scary thought!). Take today’s news for example. Apropos of nothing, one of the greatest minds of the age, Professor Stephen Hawking has announced that he thinks that intelligent aliens have exhausted the natural resources of their own world, and are on their way to Earth in enormous spaceships to take ours. Has anyone told the Professor that “V” is a program on the Syfy channel, and is make-believe?

And then another genius professor has discovered that the sun goes through phases of more intense and less intense activity. And the phases of less intense activity correspond with our getting harsher winters. What can I say? Dur!!!!! Isn’t that patently obvious?

I had got a service booked on the car I’ve just sold. So I phoned the garage to check that they’d cancelled it, and to speak to them about my service account. Each month I’ve been paying fifteen quid into an account to help meet the costs of having the car serviced. Seeing I’m getting a new car I’ll need to have the account transferred to the new car. After all, I’ve been paying into this thing for two years and haven’t touched that money yet. It would be a nice little amount to put towards future services. Or so I thought.

It’s not that simple. These things never are. The service deal wasn’t with the garage. It was with some third party that the garage was dealing with two years ago. Whilst the garage can get money out of them to pay for services, they were pretty sure the funds would not be transferable to another car. It would be easier all round if I cancelled the service plan, got my money back and started a new one. Or so I was told. The garage suggested I contacted my bank to ensure the direct debit was stopped, and they said they would get onto this third party to get me a refund. They warned me there would be an admin fee. I phoned this third party myself to find the admin fee is forty quid. Forty quid!!!

I won’t be taking out a service deal with the new car. I shall just stick fifteen quid aside each month and I will have the interest and admin fees for myself.

25 April 2010 (Sunday) - Cycling to Aldington

Last night just as I was getting really cross in NeverWinter the phone rang. Work’s I.T. had gone west and the chap who was on duty couldn’t remember how to rig the apparatus to back-up mode. It was one of those things that I don’t do very often, and it would have been quicker for me to show him face to face rather than tell him over the phone, so at 11.15pm I was on my way to work. A bit of mucking about, and I was back home by 12.45am and asleep by 1am.

At 2.30am I was woken byMy Boy TMcoming home quietly. He’d been on the razzle with some mates in Maidstone to celebrate a birthday. Their plan was to go to a tasteful establishment where refined young ladies get their kit off for the titillation of young gentlemen. But having been to a “wiiiiine bar” where the cost of a round of drinks was weighed rather than counted, they found had no money left to spend on flaunting floozies. Which was probably for the best.

With a few minutes spare this morning, I figured out how to take the roof rack off of the car. It was quite simple to do – I shan’t leave the racks on the new car when I’m not using the top box. If for no other reason than that the colour would be wrong.

Despite the drizzle we got the bikes out, and the weather soon perked up. Seven of us cycled to Aldington to the Good Intent, which is a semi- regular destination when out cycling. Four well kept ales on the hand pumps, good food and friendly service. Cycling on a Sunday was a change from usual, and in retrospect a starter followed by a roast dinner probably wasn’t the best of ideas when one has to cycle home again. So we broke up the journey home by calling in at the Queen’s Head for a pint of Summer Lightning.

We were home relatively early, so whilst the guinea pigs ate the dandelions I topped up the pond, emptied the car of all sorts of tat and fell asleep for half an hour before mowing the lawn. I was told the lawn didn’t need mowing, but the trick to keeping a lawn looking like it doesn’t need mowing is to keep mowing it regularly. I still haven’t got the fascia boards painted. Maybe in the week at some time….
And now I really ache….

24 April 2010 (Saturday) - Buying Blue Things

For once I slept well, and wasn’t up with the lark. So I was understandably miffed to be woken by a furious hammering on the front door. I get annoyed when people bang on the door – after all, there’s a perfectly serviceable doorbell there. So I got up and trotted downstairs to find some normal people thundering on the door of the house next to us. “Did we wake you?” they asked. I gave them a sickly smile, and then made my brekky.

Then another noise from the front door. I thought the thing was being kicked down. But no – the postman was putting letters through. How can you make so much noise posting letters through a letter box?

My postal vote has arrived. And with it was a separate letter telling me that I’d been allowed a postal vote. Which was rather obvious, and a waste of a letter. And then I did a little research. There are 45.2 million people registered to vote, according to Yahoo Answers. Of these, the Electoral Reform Society claims that 12.1% will use a postal vote. So I am one of five and a half million people who will use a postal vote. That’s far more than I thought. And every one of us has had a totally redundant letter telling us we’ve been allowed a postal vote.

Admittedly councils using franking machines get their postage cheaper than usual. A second class stamp costs me 32p. Let’s be generous and assume the council gets it for 20p. That will still cost the country just over a million pounds on sending out these unnecessary letters, to say nothing of the cost of the paper, envelopes and people’s time in producing them. I might just write to my MP, pointing out the saving the government might make, and asking if I get a reward for spotting this.

(And they claim there is a recession on!).

Then I got really angry with the PC – I couldn’t access anything in Facebook. Nothing at all. After half an hour I decided my browser was at fault, and tried using FireFox. That wouldn’t work either. Facebook itself was not working properly.

Facebook’s not what it once was. It’s a typical example of today’s IT philosophy: something is working well, so let’s fiddle about with it. As opposed to the typical engineering maxim “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” I wasted a lot of time trying to use Facebook to send a message, which in the end I sent by email anyway.

To town for shopping. First of all to buy breakfast. Having been to The Gorge with Martin a few weeks ago, we went back. A good old fry-up is always appreciated. With grilled tomatoes and black pudding too. We then wandered through the market stalls where I got a bandanna. In years gone by I had loads of bandannas. These days I can’t find that many. I have my suspicions where they might have gone….

I had been told that I could buy pink crocs for a fiver in the shop which once housed the Co-op. I was misinformed. Whilst they had pink crocs in my size, they were thirty five quid. A tad expensive. I found a pair of black crocs in Peacocks for a fiver, and went with those.

Over the last few weeks, everyone has been buying new cameras. Whilst I am very pleased with the camera on my phone, the battery doesn’t last more than a day, and my old camera is nearly ten years old, and is starting to creak a bit. I had a look in Colourscope Cameras. The one I’d had my eye on was rather expensive, so I looked at what else was on offer. I decided that since I didn’t use the video camera I’ve got much, I didn’t need one that did HD videos. All I wanted was something that took photos. The Fujifilm A170 took 10.2 megawotsits photos, and was on a bargain offer. And it also took AA batteries. I like a camera that takes standard batteries I can buy anywhere, so I bought the camera. The chap in the shop tried to sell me a case and a memory card, but I was talked out of buying those. They sounded expensive.

We had a look in Cheesy Computers (GZ to the normal people) where the assistant was very helpful. Not only were his memory cards half the price of the ones in the camera shop, he refused to sell us the biggest ones until he’d checked on the internet that our camera would take a 16Gb card. And he was right – it would only accept up to an 8Gb card. So we bought one of those. As we paid, the chap in the shop was saying how in the past they would sell the bigger memory cards, and then have people coming back complaining because the bigger cards didn’t work in most digital cameras.

On reflection, with each photo being about 2.5Mb, an 8Gb card can hold just over three thousand photos. How big a memory card do I need?

I came home via the tattoo shop. Dan the Tattoo Man had asked me to pop in so’s he could photograph my new tattoo once it had calmed down a bit. He was very pleased with it (as am I!).

Once we were home I spent a few minutes playing with my new camera. It can take videos after all. Having mucked about with it for a bit, I’m quite impressed with what I’ve got. I had a look on eBay, and I think I’ve got a bargain, as the eBay price for my camera is thirty quid more than I paid for it. I’ve ordered a sexy case for it which hopefully should be here mid-week. Let’s hope so.

And so the the Renault garage to check out their deal which sounded too good to be true. It was – partly.

We had a good chat with the salesman, who gave my car the once over. And it soon became apparent that my getting a brand new car wasn’t going to happen. He asked what sort of car I was after. I was very clear on that – the same as I’ve currently got, only newer and with comparable mileage. They had two cars which would suit my (and their) requirements. I ended up going for another Grand Scenic (same as I have now) which has done just over twenty thousand miles, and is two years newer than my current car. I pick it up on Friday, and having given them my car in part exchange I will be paying a quid less each month on my car loan. Admittedly I’m starting with a new car loan, but I was planning to do that when the loan was paid up anyway.

The only drawback is that grey roof bars and top-box will look a bit spazzy on a blue car, but I only have the box on for two months of the year anyway.

We then settled down to watch Doctor Who – another excellent episode. Having watched the last two years of David Tennant’s tenure out of a sense of feeling I had to, I’m really liking this year’s season. I then wasted what remained of the evening in NeverWinter.

All things considered it was quite a constructive day, but I had planned to do loads of laundry, mow the lawn and paint the fascia boards today as well. Maybe tomorrow…

23 April 2010 (Friday) - St George's Day

I didn’t sleep well last night – the letter about Renault’s new car deal was preying on my mind for some reason. I phoned Renault this morning to ask how it worked. Effectively they say they will buy my car off me for how much I still owe on the loan, and then sell me a new(er) car. And because of the interest rates being a lot lower these days than when I bought the car, the monthly repayments on the loan for the new car will be less than what I’m currently paying.

I then spoke to the loan people. So long as the garage offers me five grand for my car, I shall be laughing. Having done a bit of research on-line, I think that figure might be a bit optimistic, but we shall see. I’ve booked an appointment with them tomorrow afternoon.

After mucking about with a very laborious automated switchboard, I asked the council about the ballot card I received yesterday. I eventually got through to someone who assured me the paperwork for my postal vote will be with me tomorrow. I’m quite excited about having a postal vote, even though I’m still not sure who to vote for. I’ve half a mind to just draw a picture of a knob on the ballot form and send that in.

My children are decided on their political stances though. One is voting “Send them all back on the next banana boat”, the other is voting “Tree Hugger”. Oh well, as I’ve mentioned before, the vote in Ashford is a foregone conclusion anyway.

I then called into the post office to collect the parcel. It wasn’t my eBay bargain after all – it was a letter for Daddies Little Angel TM ”, who now owes me £1.19 for the extra postage I had to pay. And again the post office didn’t ask for any proof if identity before giving me the letter. They never so when I have my passport with me. But when I leave my wallet at home, they always insist on seeing I.D.

Whilst I was in the area I thought I’d have a mooch in Kent Wool Growers to see if they did guinea pig food. They did, but before I could look closely a passing normal person started haranguing me about tack. I told him I didn’t work in the shop, but he wasn’t having any of it, so I beat a hasty retreat.

Seeing as I might be selling the car tomorrow I took it to be cleaned. It’s now sparkling inside and out. And then I popped into Tesco to get some doughnuts for work. After all it is St. George’s Day, so I thought I’d treat everyone.

Maybe half the people I spoke with today knew it was St. George’s Day. Several stared at me blankly, clearly with no idea what I was talking about. And one person commented that she liked St George’s Day because that’s when everyone drinks Guinness…

22 April 2010 (Thursday) - Paperwork

Despite a late night last night, I was still up with the lark, and watching episode three of “V” at 6am. So far I like the program, but bearing in mind it’s a remake, and the remake of “The Prisoner” started earlier in the week, I can’t help but wonder what’s next to come back to our screens.

Off to work, which was the same as ever, and then home again, having acquired some fine paint brushes to touch up the stripes I’d painted on the front of the house yesterday. It was a lovely evening to be pootling about in the front yard doing my painting.

And then I settled down with a cup of coffee to sort my post. I see I have a parcel waiting at the post office. I’m assuming that’s my latest eBay bargain. I’m told that the postage has been underpaid. Not quite the bargain it might have been, perhaps. I shall find out tomorrow.

There was a flier from the Conservative party – “Three Reasons to vote for Damien Green”. I’ve blogged before that I’m convinced that Damien Green is going to retain the parliamentary seat of Ashford. No other politicians have gone to the trouble of sending anything through the post – perhaps the other parties have already conceded defeat locally. I did notice yesterday that as I drove to Wadhurst I drove through four different parliamentary constituencies, and I soon lost count of the “Vote Conservative” banners and placards I saw. There must have been well over a hundred of them. I didn’t see a single one for the Labour party, and there was a solitary poster for the Liberal Democrats just outside of Biddenden.

I also saw my voting card has arrived. I shall have to phone the council tomorrow – I have applied for a postal vote.

I had a letter from the Renault dealer with an offer which seems too good to be true. For a limited period (next week) they are offering a deal where I trade in my car for a brand new one, and they guarantee my monthly payments will stay the same, or be cheaper. And they will chuck in a free flight for two of us to somewhere in Europe.

I’m not keen on the free flight. I think those things are a con. After all, it’s only the flight that is free – you’re still saddled with hotel bills and holiday expenses. But I’m intrigued by the idea of a new car. I’ve still got two years of payments outstanding on my car. Do they actually mean they will pay off the outstanding loan on my car? I wonder how they can do this deal. I might just phone and ask them.

I then had a stab at the monthly accounts and was pleasantly surprised. I’ve had a pay rise. Only two per cent, but in today’s financial climate, that’s better than a poke up the Herschel with a sharp stick.

And I wasted a few minutes going through the forthcoming dates for the diary section of this blog. Milwaukee kite festival is much earlier in the year than I first thought, so that’s probably had to be scratched from my itinerary, which is a shame. Dieppe kite festival is also looking dubious for me – I’m told that the astro club may well be something that weekend. And while I’m scrubbing kiting events from my diary, I’ve still to hear any confirmation of the Sumner’s Ponds. I’ve emailed the management to find out if that one is still going ahead. And I need to make up my mind about when we are going to the Brick Lane curry extravaganza.

21 April 2010 (Wednesday) - A Day Off Work

‘er indoors TM has been abducted by aliens and has been replaced by a replica. This replica isn’t very good, and hasn’t fooled me for a minute. Not only did it let take stuff to the tip, it even gave me stuff to take to the tip. I hope ‘er indoors TM is all right, wherever she is.

After the tip I went to Tesco for more petrol (that’s expensive stuff now) and then to B&Q for small tins of masonry paint. For some time I’ve had this plan to paint the front of the house like a liquorice allsort, and now it’s done I’m not sure I like it. Some of my paintwork isn’t as straight as it might be – once it’s dry I’ll go over it with a fine brush. Or that is I will when I can find one. I want a kiddies painting brush – the sort of thing I used to use with watercolours all those years ago. I can’t find one anywhere.

Whilst doing the painting someone parked his car outside my house. Right in front of the “please don’t park here” sign. He asked me if he could park there, and I told him that it was a matter of the utmost indifference to me where he parked, but I did point out the sign. The nice man then got a bit cross and asked me where he was supposed to park. I replied that I’d got up early and parked my car three streets away, but it was entirely up to him where he parked – neither his parking nor the no parking sign were anything to do with me. As the nice man reached the beetroot red stage, and the vein on the side of his head started to throb, I suggested he spoke to the council, and I got on with my painting.

I then spent a few minutes chatting with the bloke next door. Relations have been strained in the past, and it’s good that we are chatting again. He was telling me that at the weekends there are a lot of low flying aeroplanes coming over – apparently our area is being used by trainee pilots. He’s written to our local MP about the matter – apparently no one owns the air rights to Ashford, and anyone can fly overhead. I didn’t know that.

I then got an email – my latest eBay purchase has been delayed by volcanic eruptions in Iceland. Last night a friend was telling me that her friends are stranded half way round the world, and that they are now booked on a flight home on 11 May. That’s ages away. I hope my shopping don’t take that long.

And having slept in front of the telly for the afternoon I brought offspring home from college and then I set off to Wadhurst. As part of a co-operative venture between local astronomical societies an exchange of speakers has been arranged. The people at Wadhurst were given a list of the talks we’d had at our astro club over the last year, and they asked for me to talk about the ice giants.

I’ve not been to any other astro clubs, and wasn’t sure what to expect, and as the evening started it was rather odd. At the Ashford astro club there’s over seventy people, with ages ranging from seven to seventy, and we have a very wide cross section of the public. Tonight at Wadhurst there were twenty two people (including me & Jason who’d come for the evening). With an average age of (about) mid-fifties, there was no one aged under forty there, and everyone was rather well to do. Having said that, they were very friendly and welcoming, but all were just a little bit normal. What would they make of me?

Having prepared my presentation it was too late to change it. I had two chances – they would laugh, or they wouldn’t ask me back again. I needn’t have worried - I had them all in stitches several times, and afterwards several people commented how no one’s ever been brave enough to admit they think that Ur-anus is a brilliant name for a planet. And several more said they agreed that Herschel should have gone the whole hog and called the thing “planet bum hole”.

After the meeting I went over the pub with a dozen or so of the members of the club, and I had a half of Finchcocks whist we waited for (and saw) an iridium flare. The people there were so welcoming. I’ve offered to do more talks for them, and I’d go to more meetings; if only it wasn’t such an awkward place to get to.

I got home at 11pm to find that neither ‘er indoors TM nor “My Boy TM ” had noticed what I’d done to the front of the house….

20 April 2010 (Tuesday) - Painting, Ranting

Whilst going to my car this morning I saw signs had gone up in our road. Apparently the council were coming to scrub the gutters, and would like people not to park up the road during the day. I would have thought they might have given us more notice, but what do I know?

On Sunday I mentioned my masonry paint was broken, so being on an early finish today I popped into B&Q to get some more. And seeing how lovely the evening was, I made a start on painting my wall. The paint tin says it comes with a fifteen year guarantee. Fifteen years? I painted the wall last September, and it’s flaking already. I make that seven months. But the wall looked better once I’d finished, and as the evening was still so lovely, I then carried on and painted the front of the house. Painting the house was originally supposed to be the plan for tomorrow, but I expect I’ll find something else to do. Finding somewhere to park the car might be something I could do instead…..

Regular readers of this blog might remember a rant I published on 15 October 2006 when I attended the Annual General Meeting of the British Kite Flying Association. At the time it looked like there were going to be all sorts of restrictions on the flying of kites in the UK (especially the big ones), and the BKFA had been formed to stand up for the man in the kite-flying field. At the time I thought the BKFA was getting bogged down with trivial paperwork and was losing its way. But at that meeting four years ago I was firmly told to get stuffed and to mind my own business. They knew what they were doing.

Today they emailed me “News Update #13”. They have put a lot of effort into developing a child protection policy (why?) and into developing an incident reporting scheme (reporting what to who?). They are still trying to undermine local kiting clubs by offering cheap insurance, and they are now attempting to form a gallery of other people’s kiting photographs for which they can take the credit. In fact the only thing they’ve done which is in any way related to what I thought they were formed for was to organise an Edwardian Kite Competition which will take place in three weeks time. There’s nothing like being given enough notice of these things, is there?

Interestingly neither “News Update #13” nor any of its predecessors have ever carried news of bans on kite flying having been lifted. The phrase “Still fiddling whilst Rome burns” springs to mind.

Still bitter? – Me?......

19 April 2010 (Monday) - Sheep? Pig !!!!

When not on a late shift I always wake early, and so I watch DVD boxed sets. (It’s either that or lie wide awake waiting for the alarm). Today whilst ironing my work shirts I finished watching “Space: Above and Beyond” – it’s “Top Gun in Outer Space”, but was watchable. A shame it only ran for one season: I liked it, and it was far better than that drivel “Caprica” which is being touted on Sky at the moment.

Talking of which, is it just me, or is there something seedy about the cover for the “Caprica” DVD which has recently been released, featuring a nudey girl?

And then, having checked two different weather forecasts, for the first time this year I pegged the washing out on the line. And as I drove to work, the radio predicted showers. Oh how I laughed.

I then remembered something I hadn’t done from the weekend. During our cycle ride on Saturday, “Daddies Little Angel TM ” had staked out a chap doing his gardening, and eventually got a photo of his bum. I put it up on Facebook as I said I would – only two days late.

Yesterday I mentioned about washing a coat that somehow got smothered in fish poo. I think I got away with the fishy element, but the thing is (apparently) noticeably creased from a vigorous spin drying. I’ve ironed the thing – let’s hope that’s done the trick.

And in closing, does anyone fancy a trip to the Tropical Wings Zoo in Essex? A few years ago whilst driving along, ‘er indoors TM saw some pigs in a field. They were woolly, and made “Baaa!!” noises. But the Zoo has obtained some Mangalitzas (furry pigs). Perhaps that’s what we saw all those years ago?