30 December 2011 (Friday) - Great Expectations

Having played cards last night I was rather late to bed. I dropped off immediately, but was woken by "er indoors TM" coming home an hour or so later, and that was it for the night for my sleeping. When I go to kip I drop off right away, but once woken I have serious trouble getting back to sleep. Exactly the same thing happened the night before when "My Boy TM" came home quietly.
Over the last two nights I don't think I got more than five hours sleep, and bearing in mind that the ongoing sinusitis has me more bunged up than a bunged up thing, I wasn't feeling in tip-top condition today.

So this evening I did something which was quite out of character: I sent my apologies to the astronomy club. To be honest I wasn't overly fussed about the planned activity for the club tonight: the film society was going to play the film of Apollo 13 and charge us four quid each for the privilege. Much as I would like to have met up with everyone tonight, I wasn't really feeling up to it.

So instead I stayed home and did the ironing. Whilst ironing we watched the BBC's latest adaptation of "Great Expectations"; quite watch-able, even if I had no idea what was going on for most of the time. That Miss Haversham was as mad as trousers....

29 December 2011 (Thursday) - This and That

I was woken by the front door slamming rather noisily at 3.10am. So I went downstairs in case the worst had happened. Needless to say it was only the first fruit of my loin coming home quietly. He looked rather smart - he'd been to a casino (in Margate) to lose forty quid. I tried to hint that he could lose forty quid more constructively by giving it to me, but for all that my lad might be a bit daft, he ain't stupid.

Mind you, I wish he'd come home even more quietly: once I'm woken I have terrible trouble getting back to sleep again, and having exchanged insults with him and having had a quick tiddle, I then lay in bed until 9.30am.

Yesterday I mentioned that I was in a sulk at work. I was doubly sulking today. Having thought that I was on an early start, I found out yesterday (at almost the last minute) that I'd been reassigned to the late shift. I don't mind the late start because I go to work in daylight, but the later lunch break (2pm at the earliest) is too late for comfort, and the last few hours of the day do seem to drag.
I really don't like the way we have a seemingly random shift allocation. I would far rather do a week of late shifts rather than have an odd late midweek after which I do not get home before 9pm, and know I have to be out of bed at 6am the next morning.

And being on a sudden late shift really stuffed my plans for the evening. I'd been invited to a game of poker, and I missed the first half hour. Mind you, despite turning up late, I still managed to win. I did the victory dance to celebrate....

28 December 2011 (Wednesday) - Stuff

Ideally I would like to have visited my mother today: she'd been taken into hospital on Boxing Day following a fall (she's home now and all is well), and today was her birthday. But (seemingly unlike the rest of the world) I was back to work today. So I contented myself with a phone call. It seems as though I always go back to work on Mum's birthday.
Work didn't go well today. Well to be honest, work went much the same as ever, but I spent most of the day in a bit of a sulk purely because pretty much everyone else was still on holiday (or so it seemed).

Tonight was arky-ologee club. We didn't go. My sinusitis was giving me gyp, and realistically I've very little interest in the arky-ologee club. Some of the talks are interesting enough, but the core business of the club (scrubbling about in holes in the dirt) leaves me yawning. Next month is when we will be expected to renew our membership: I don't think I will renew.

Meanwhile there has been a celebrity death. "Cheetah" - star of many "Tarzan" films died today aged eighty Fond of Christian music and finger painting, when irritated "Cheetah" was not averse to flinging dung about. Or so early news reports claimed. Later reports claimed that the monkey who died today not only wasn't the film star monkey, but was nowhere near eighty years old.
Apparently if the monkey that died was the real McCoy, then he would have been the oldest monkey ever. The news reports seem to imply that somehow the public have been duped into accepting an imposter monkey. I can't see what anyone stands to gain with substituting one monkey for another.

27 December 2011 (Tuesday) - Telly Christmas

A rather restless night - up for the loo several times during the night. I blame yesterday's over-indulgence. We finally got up at 10am, and after a light breakfast we waved goodbye to those who'd stayed over for the night.
The original plan for the day had us going out and doing something, but unfortunately for reasons of economy that wasn't possible, so we stayed in.

So, after a flying visit from Fudge and his entourage, we had a catch-up session with what we'd missed seeing on the telly over the last few days: Sky-Plus is a wonderful thing.
First of all we watched "Charlie's Angels". An entertaining enough program which really would benefit from the addition of a plot. Today's show featured our heroines being locked up in a Cuban jail. And having been locked up for quite some time, our heroines all still had immaculate make-up.

Then we watched the Christmas "Doctor Who", which started off as an episode of "Things Exploding" and carried on in much the same vein until about twenty minutes after I'd (quite frankly) lost interest in the show. And just as the show started getting to be worth watching, it turned silly again. If I'd been watching it on my own, there's no denying I would have missed the best bits because I would have turned it off after the first fifteen minutes.
Much as I've always liked "Doctor Who", over the last few years the program seems to be becoming far more comic and slapstick that ever it used to be. The Doctor never used to be a comedian. In all honesty, these days I find myself watching the program out of a sense of feeling I ought to watch it rather than because I actually enjoy the show any more.

Over a lunch of cold meat, pickles and home-brewed stout we then watched the Christmas episode of "Downton Abbey". In retrospect I could have done with reading up on what had happened during the last season as there was a lot of continuity from the last episodes that I couldn't remember, but the program was well worth watching.
Even if the nobs did wind up laughing and the servants wound up in the chokey. But such is life.

A slice of "er indoors TM"s' home-made Christmas cake, and then we did some catching up with "Terra Nova": somehow we'd managed to get three episodes behind. I do like that series; and with believable characters you can forgive it the occasional plot hole. (Like meteors going upwards).
We've now seen all of season one of that show - I hope they make a second season - however it says on Wikipedia that no decision about a second season will be made just yet.

And being Tuesday the tribes gathered and we watched "A Christmas Carol": the Disney version from two years ago. Normally I'm not a fan of things Disney, but this film was quite enjoyable. For all that we don't have a single blu-ray disk, the blu-ray player comes in useful from time to time...

26 December 2011 (Monday) - Boxing Day

This morning was spent in a flurry of activity: with the fruits of our loin coming for dinner we needed to get the living room tidy. Or if not tidy, at least under control. A couple of hours effort reclaimed the room, and soon after the family gathered. My grand-dogs were pleased to see each other (as only boy dogs can be), but they soon lost interest in podgering each other.
Seven of us sat down to dinner: something new - a four bird roast. I quite liked it, but I think we made far too much. But then we usually do. Dinner was washed down with my latest home brew which was quite a nice drop of stout (even if I do say so myself).

Feeling quite stuffed we then sat down for a few hands of cards, a few games of "Downfall", and some sitting in front of the telly. "Oliver Twist", "The Borrowers", "Michael McIntyre", "Ab Fab"... I dozed through the lot, periodically waking and nodding off again. I think where I went wrong was having some of the evening buffet: I was still stuffed from yesterday and still I ate far too much.

I finally gave up and went to bed about 1am.

25 December 2011 (Sunday) - Christmas Day

Waking up on Christmas morning without the kids being home is odd. The house felt very lonely this morning. Perhaps I'm getting soppy in my old age.
"er indoors TM" eventually emerged from her pit, and as a special Christmas brekkie we had croissants and coffee. I suppose that there are those who would wonder what's special about croissants and coffee - all I can say is that I like them.

"My Boy TM" then arrived, and we had a pressie opening session. I got quite a decent haul of goodies, and then we set off to my brother's house for the day. We arrived shortly before mid day and had a crafty pint. And then another crafty pint, and a third as well before going to visit Elaine and Roy. Visiting was thirsty work, so we took up the offer of another pint.
And then back to my brother's house where ten of us sat down for Christmas dinner. Far too much Christmas dinner. Oh it was good - but the diet certainly went out the window today. And after having reached the point of being able to eat no more we wandered up the road to the garage to get some cigars: after all it was Christmas.

From that point it all became rather vague. There were games on the Nintendo Wii. There was more food scoffed. There was Christmas pudding. There was a crafty hour's sleep. We had a really good time, but all too soon it was time to come home. Amazingly I stayed awake for the drive home, and seeing that the Sky box was recording Downton Abbey, we watched some telly. I'd been looking forward to the new series of Ab Fab. I was disappointed: it was rubbish.
And I then tried to stay awake whilst Michael McIntyre's Christmas special was on the telly. I didn't quite succeed.

24 December 2011 (Saturday) - Christmas Eve

It is something of a family tradition that on Christmas Eve, "er indoors TM" goes visiting various relatives and drops off pressies along the way. Usually I'm working on Christmas Eve, so I don't normally get to go along. This year with Christmas Eve being a Saturday I got to go along. As did the rest of the tribe; chauffeured by the Rear Admiral.

The first port of call was my mummy's house where we exchanged insults over a cup of coffee, then moved on to my mother-in-law for a glass of Bailey's. Very nice.
And then to the brother-in-law's house where his nearest and dearest were all watching him play "Grand Theft Auto" or some such game. Whatever it was, it looked interesting.

We then popped next door to the chip shop for some sustenance, then after getting some petrol we drove out to Westfield to see my sister-in-law. My niece wasn't feeling well, so whilst everyone "familied" in the kitchen, me and her watched "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" in the living room. An excellent film.

Pausing only briefly for a flying visit to my father-in-law, we got back home with half an hour to spare before our lift arrived. And then the Bat took us to Folkestone where the clans gathered. There was a minor panic when we realised we'd forgotten the dice, but that was nothing that a quick phone call couldn't put right.
Usually we meet up for New Year's Eve, but this year was different, and twenty of us scoffed, watched films, played the parcel game, and had a wonderful evening.
I eventually got to bed shortly after 1.30am. Absolutely worn out. I'd had a brilliant day just meeting up with family and friends. For all that I've been getting rather self-absorbed lately I am very much aware of the wonderful people in my life.

In another plane of reality Santa has arrived. He's having trouble telling the difference between who's been good and bad. But when one has just come up the chimney, one is hardly in any position to take the moral high ground.

And here's a thought - it's not actually Christmas yet, but creme eggs have been spotted in the shops already....

23 December 2011 (Friday) - More Star Trek

Much as I like my job, the shift pattern sometimes leaves something to be desired. On Wednesday I was on a late start: yesterday back on normal hours, and then another late today. On Wednesday I whinged about not being able to have a lie-in. Today was different, and I didn't get out of my pit until nearly ten o'clock.

A bit of brekkie, and off to work. Normally when I'm on the late shift the roads are relatively quiet as I leave Ashford. Today the roads were heaving: everyone was driving to town. Both in Ashford and in Canterbury. Presumably last minute shopping before the long Xmas weekend.

Work was dull: I could probably have come home three hours earlier than I did (for all that was going on). A shame it was pouring hard as I walked across the car park, but you can't have everything. And so home where, after a smashing bit of scoff, we watched "Star Trek - The Search for Spock". Or that is I watched Star Trek. "er indoors TM" wrapped Christmas pressies.

Meanwhile the forces of law and order have got a dog. Someone has given it a bone. The lucky thing.....

22 December 2011 (Thursday) - More Stuff

Every year as we come into December the mornings are darker. It happens every year - but for some reason this year I'm finding it especially depressing. I really don't like leaving home in the dark. Coming home in the dark's not so bad, but leaving home in the dark is not good.
Thank heavens today is the shortest day, and so from here on in the days start getting longer again.

And so to work where I did my bit and came home again. I discovered a scar along the length of my forearm this evening - it's got quite a serious scab on it too. I wonder when that happened. And how.
And after a decent bit of tea which I had to cook for myself (home alone again...) I watched "The Wrath of Khan" on the Film4 channel. A classic film - is it really twenty nine years since that film was made?

I then mucked about with my laptop's settings. I'm hoping that the blog is a tad more readable today - for the last week I've been transmitting from my lap-top using Internet Explorer 9. But IE9 takes forever to boot up, and has issues in blog entry preparation, cutting and pasting. So I've downloaded FireFox as I've been running that on my desk top successfully for ages.
And as I mucked about I had a visit: "My Boy TM" and his good lady popped in to say hello. I quite like having visitors: I don't like being alone these days.

Meanwhile in another plane of reality, in a lame attempt to keep up with the opposition, the forces of law and order have obtained a snow-mobile. All they have to do now is find a rozzer who's able to drive the thing... or would rather drive it than drink tea or muck about with his thunderstick.

21 December 2011 (Wednesday) - Stuff

We had a late night last night, but being on a late start meant I could have a bit of a lie-in. Or so I thought. The dustmen were rather noisy with the bins this morning, and next door’s dogs sounded as though they were in full demolition mode as they crashed about.
A nuisance – I wasn’t feeling in tip-top condition and a lie-in would have done me some good.

Over brekkie I heard a noise at the door - a visit from the most recent fruit of my loin and Sid had come to visit too. That’s always good. I gave them instructions not to leave me a house full of washing up, and wasted the morning playing Mah-Jong before going to work.

Work was good - we had the Xmas buffet. In the past I've always taken crisps and peanuts: but at Canterbury people seem to make the food they bring in. I shall have to up my game plan for next time. We also had the "secret santa" draw. I got a decent haul of bottled ales. Very nice!

And then home to find the house empty and that washing up had been generated for me, but hadn't been done for me. So I left it in the sink and sulked. Either magical pixies will do it overnight, or I'll do it in the morning.

Yesterday the forces of villainy were contending with a snowmobile with a storage capacity that wasn’t up to transporting lots of ill-gotten gains. Today Harry Ramp would seem to have a trailer full of illicit Brasso that he is having difficulty in pushing.
Perhaps the two of them might come to some sort of arrangement? Or perhaps Harry Ramp might just end up having his trailer nicked?

20 December 2011 (Tuesday) - Feeling Poorly

The plan for today was a meeting for the morning, and then would take the afternoon off. The meeting went west, so I spent the day at home. To be honest I wasn't feeling 100%: my sinusitis was playing up quite seriously today. I curled up on the sofa; pulled a blanket over myself, put "Survivors: Season 2" on the DVD player, and sulked for six hours.
I don't cope with illness very well.
And being Tuesday we went round to Chris's house. Rather than the usual TV, tonight we watched a film: "The Amazing Mr Blunden". I can remember watching this in the cinema when it first came out nearly forty years ago. I could remember it being a good film, and i wasn't disappointed. It has to be said that the ending was rather weak, but that can be said of a lot of films form the early 70s.
I was amazed to find that the film had been directed by Lionel Jeffries - he played the Grandad in "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" - I had no idea that he was a director.
Meanwhile our newest friend has realised that preparation is everything: it's all very well blowing a safe (oo-er!) provided one has the wherewithal to make a quick get-away. Clearly a snowmobile lacks the boot space that a blinged police car might have.
It's amazing how upsetting a failed get-away can be - that crowbar is certainly not at a very rakish angle....

19 December 2011 (Monday) - Bit Nippy

It didn't feel too cold when I emerged from my pit at 5.45 am this morning. Mind you I thought the day wasn't getting off to a good start when the "Discovery Shed" wasn't showing fishing programmes at 6.30am. And then off to work. And that *was* cold. Once I'd got through the ice on my car and got into the thing I saw from the thermometer that the temperature was minus five. That's chilly.
Pausing only briefly to skid on the ice in Wincheap I got to work relatively uneventfully, and did my bit. Coming home was equally dull: there was a dubious few seconds when I found myself on course to be heading north up the M2, but that was nothing that a swift lane change couldn't put right. Mind you, since when has it been possible to head north up the M2 from Wincheap?

Once home tea got scoffed,and with "er indoors TM" gone bowling, I activated my laptop and transmitted to the world from the sofa whilst watching "Rock and Chips" on the telly. For so many years I've taken myself up to the back room and mucked about on a "proper" computer. I quite like sitting in front of the telly with my laptop. I just need to get used to the keyboard...

Meanwhile, whilst the forces of law and order muck about with blinged cars, our new protagonist has jemmied open the safe and is about to make off with his ill-gotten gains.
Or has put his tool to use, and is about to spend his wad; depending on your personal perpective...

18 December 2011 (Sunday) - Dull Sunday

We had a late night last night – we didn’t get in till midnight and then spent a couple of hours watching telly and playing computer games. So I wasn’t very impressed to be woken by the phone ringing at silly o’clock this morning. And even less impressed to find that the caller not only hung up before I could get to the phone, and that they’d withheld their number.
And so having been dragged out of my pit, I was up and about. So I had brekky and started playing on-line scrabble. I say “on-line scrabble”: the game isn’t actually scrabble because (as I understand it) copyright laws prevent the use of the name. But the game is as close to scrabble as makes very little difference.

Normally I’d do something with a weekend day; but it was cold. So we sat in front of the telly and watched all sorts of programs that had been recorded onto the Sky Plus box whilst playing on-line scrabble and Mah-Jong. Rather a waste of a day, but when it’s cold it seems as good a way of wasting the day as any.
As the afternoon wore on, I had a video call from the Rear Admiral. It would seem that video calling now works. That’s nice.

Meanwhile, whilst the usual suspects muck about with the blinged car, a new protagonist arises. He has a crowbar, and from his demeanour he doesn’t look like he would be afraid to use it…

17 December 2011 (Saturday) - An Evening Out

The weekly weigh –in: three more pounds lost. The weight is coming off nicely. If only I didn’t feel hungry all the time.

I wandered up town to get some makings of lunch for the week - carrots and apples from the market are good quality and are very cheap. Ant the walk is god exercise too. Strangely the town wasn't especially busy: not that I'm complaining.
And then home again. "er indoors TM" 's laptop was playing up, and "Daddies Little Angel TM" needed taking back to Folkestone, so whilst the girls set off to the coast I ironed my shirts, and then spent the afternoon watching the telly: a "Compo and Clegg show" marathon followed by "Dad's Army - the Movie".

And finding myself telly-ed out, we went round for dinner with friends for the evening. Smashing food; smashing company. And after a truly wonderful chicken in white wine sauce followed by home-made cake we played the Logo game: a new one on me, but great fun. We really must do it again.

We eventually got home about midnight and then sat up playing silly games on the computer till really late.. I think that I might have overdone my calorie allowance for the day, but the occasional overindulgence doesn't hurt too much....

Overnight the “Old-Bill-Mobile” has become somewhat blinged. Which is more than can be said for the mad axe murderer.

16 December 2011 (Friday) - Snow...

I could not believe my eyes when I read the news this morning. Apparently experts have found that it is vital for the functioning of a true democracy that a sizeable proportion of the electorate should have no idea of what's going on.
It would seem that a sizeable proportion of people with no grasp of the issues of the day can have a steadying influence on those who actually know what's happening. After all, heaven forbid that democratic decisions should ever be made with any knowledge of the issues or reason being employed.
Mind you, does anyone truly understand what's going on in the world? I certainly don't.

And so to the doctor’s. My appointment was for 9.10am – I got in shortly after 9.30am. I didn’t complain – the place was busy, and enough other people were complaining already.
When I saw the hospital doctor about my sinusitis (two weeks ago) he said to see my G.P. in a week or so, and so I did. They said to keep taking the medicine. Whilst there we had a chat about my general health (I knew him when he was only a corporal!). My cholesterol isn’t *that* high according to today’s doc, and we’ve agreed to check it again in a few months. My blood pressure is also down – now at 120/80, which is the best it’s been since the early 1990s. We put the improvements down to the recent weight loss. So I suppose this diet is a good thing: even if I do feel hungry most of the time.

And then to work – through the snow. Only a few flurries, but I don’t like snow if I have to travel. I still have memories of a journey to Whitstable. We drove there in under an hour, the snow fell, and it took five hours to get home again. There was a dubious few minutes on the way as I saw the snow was laying on some of the fields, but fortunately the snow turned to rain. Let’s hope it stays as rain.

Meanwhile overnight the mad axe murderer’s car has transformed itself into a vehicle of the forces of law and order.
The mad axe murderer is rather dubious about driving round in a police car: it may be a tad conspicuous. As if being a mad axe murderer isn’t conspicuous enough already.