24 December 2005

Right, you can say it now!

It's 24 December, so I hereby formally announce that you are now allowed to mention the 'C' word. Yep, Christmas!

I'm off to stay with my pals Bungle and Zippy for a couple of days and to have a jolly good time. Now, last time I saw Zippy, he looked like this, which I found rather amusing. Therefore, I've charged up the spare camera batteries and will take no prisoners ...

Right, I'm off to load the bike and get gone. So to the rest of you out there,

Merry Christmas!

21 December 2005

Nuisance Bus Lane

Bolton Council has announced that it is going to put spy cameras on the bus lanes, to catch those drivers who use them improperly. Great!

But, hang on a minute ... what about the bus lane at the junction of Deane Road and College Way? It causes traffic problems already. This is probably one of the busiest junctions in the town and probably the worst designed end of a bus lane.

There are two lanes, one is right turn only, the other is left turn and straight on. However, the bus lane ends only three car lengths from the junction.

This results in the following:

  • When three cars are waiting in the left lane at the lights, other cars stack up behind them, in the bus lane.
  • Those drivers, who obey the law, continue in the right-turn only lane until the bus lane ends, before pulling into the left lane. But no! They can't pull over, because there are cars stacked in the bus lane! Even worse, if there's two buses waiting at the lights, no-one can (legally) pull over at all.
  • Those drivers who do actually want to turn right, get annoyed at all the cars stacking up in their lane, and try to get round them by going on the other side of the road, causing oncoming traffic to swerve. This is even worse when there is a waggon delivering to the factory on that side of the road.
  • Most drivers stacked up in the bus lane won't let the law abiding drivers in, causing much stress and foul language.
So, Bolton Council, before you put the spy cameras up, can you shorten the bloody bus lane so you can get at least 10 cars in at the traffic lights, please? If the bus lane ended at Chamberlain Street, the problem would be solved.

Polos

Is it just me, or are polo mints really crumbly these days? Every packet I get, the damn things just break up. They never used to be like that. I wonder if it's since they stopped using gelatin?

20 December 2005

it's that time of year...

when drivers' brains turn to jelly. This morning, I was just about to exit a roundabout (and indicating accordingly) when a driver leaving the motorway decided to pull out on me, forcing me to stop (and the 2 cars behind me). Because he'd blocked my exit, I had to continue round the roundabout. I was a tad peeved.

However, 5 seconds later, exactly the same thing happened to the car in front of me at the very next exit, so he was forced to stop (and, ergo, so did I, and the car behind me) and then continue round the roundabout too.

What is it about the run up to Christmas that drivers seem to turn into Mr. Magoo? I mean, I had my lights on, I was indicating, and my road position was correct. The driver in front who also got pulled out on was also in the correct road position, indicating and had his lights on.

If you can't drive, stay of the fkin roads!

15 December 2005

greater love hath no friend than this...

that she not only gives her half of her Maya Gold, but also produces a copy of Vivaldi's Four Seasons, performed by Pinchas Zukerman.

20 years ago, I was bought a copy of the aforementioned music, and I played it so much that the tape wore out. I was absolutely gutted and tried in vain for many years to obtain a replacement. Other violinists were good, but not as good as Zukerman.

Today, I happened to mention it to my pal Linda and she said "oh, I've got that". Linda, I love you! I am now a very very very happy Womble indeed. The slave, however, is not impressed now that the Four Seasons is on its fourth playing at high volume, despite the quality of the recording ...

one demon slayed

I am very pleased to report that I passed M206 (now discontinued OU course). Only just, but I passed.

This may not seem much to some of you clever peeps out there, but given than my study year was completely screwed up by missing two months of study for the general election period, followed by illness and impending divorce, I'm pretty bloody chuffed.

This means that I have to complete only one more course to obtain both my Dip. Comp and my Bsc. However, given the stress I've had this year, I've decided to take a year off.

So near...

14 December 2005

Magnum


















There appears to be an affliction, affecting drummers and keyboard players - they keep hiding, which makes it damned hard to get good photos of them in action. This was evident at the Lost Weekend gig last week, and again at both of the Magnum gigs on Friday (Manchester) and Saturday (Glasgow).

Both Magnum gigs were superb, although I thought the sound was better at Glasgow. At both gigs, I managed to get myself right to the front, although it was a bit of a crush. Ray (doing the Tommy Cooper impression in the photos) came up with a great plan to wind up Bob, and we bought a load of tambourines to play along with one of the songs. I think it went down well, it certainly caused a giggle among the band anyway.

I was pleased to hear Bob suggesting that Jimmy Copley will remain as the band's drummer because he certainly put in two excellent performances on this tour. Indeed, when he played at the Astoria back in April, he was bloody good then. I know there's a few people said that they would rather have Mickey or Harry, but in my opinion, Jimmy is a damn fine drummer and I think he's good for the band. Keep it up, Jimmy and I hope to see you on the next tour.

After the gig, we went for a drink or four in Weatherspoons, where the bouncers asked us very nicely not to play our tambourines cos it's a 'no music' venue. Shame. Then we went on for a curry before heading off to our beds. It was great to see old friends again, and to meet some new ones (hi Hazel!). Can't wait until we meet again - Bob Catley tour anyone?

Oh yeah, nice tongue Dave ;o)

13 December 2005

out of order

I have got tonsillitis and I'm feeling very very sorry for myself.

Normal service will be resumed when I can drag my head off the pillow for more than an hour at a time :o(

nose job?

So, how exactly did my mate end up with a cut either side of his nose? Fighting? Nope. Walked into a door? Nope.

Apparently, he had his face in someone's bra and when he tried to pull away, it snapped back on him. Then he got his head stuck in her t-shirt and fell on his arse.

Ha ha ha. Hope it gets better soon, mate ;o)

12 December 2005

Mostly Autumn

There's something about Bryan Josh's guitar playing that transports me to a different place. I can just close my eyes and float away on the music. It's reminicent of Dave Gilmour, but played with a passion that is most definitely Bryan's own. I don't know if he saw me at the foot of the stage, but I was the one standing there with my jaw on the floor, completely blown away.

I saw Mostly Autumn live for the first time at Burnley Mechanics last Thursday and I was almost in heaven. I just couldn't understand why the venue was only half full, because this band is one of the best on the circuit at the moment.

The support act for the night was provided by Chris Johnson (Evernauts) and Olivia Sparnenn, who make a great duo. Olivia has a fantastic voice (although most of the blokes seemed to be more interested in her bod than her voice!) and I suspect that she'll be a huge star in the near future

08 December 2005

another Lost Weekend

Lost Weekend's gig at the Golden Lion in Halifax on 3 December 2005 was an absolute stormer. The pub was completely packed the atmosphere was great.

The lads were on fine form and played a cracking set of songs both old and new, including some from the forthcoming album.



I'm absolutely shite at writing reviews, so all I can say is they're a bloody good band and you should go and listen to them, cos they're all superb musicians and I've never heard them play a duff 'un yet. They all enjoy themselves immensely and they're a really nice bunch o' lads.

Book 'em for your rally now!


I don't have any pics of Jack actually playing the drums cos he's always hiding at the back, and Irvin's just as bad - I think he must duck every time he sees a camera. Just wait till I get the proper camera out - I'll blind the buggers wiv me flash :o) There will be no escape. Ha ha ha.

To be honest, I'm surprised they haven't shoved the camera up my arse already.











Some of the band has been instrumental (geddit?) in the writing of Bob Catley's forthcoming album, Spirit of Man, so get that on yer wish list too.

05 December 2005

Edible decorations?

I cried laughing when I read BigBod's little Christmas tale published over on the 100% Biker forum... Cheers for letting me nick it :o)



I had a very bad experience with crepe streamers years ago....nasty horrible things......

They don't taste very nice and the dye stays round your lips for days afterwards.

Twas many moons ago aboard HMS ---------- , mess deck party the night b4 captains rounds. Each mess had been given £25 to decorate, to cut a long story short, we got pissed and ate the decorations!!!

Captains inspection the next day was a fraught event. Presenting the mess as being ready for inspection with red dye round my mouth and the skipper commented that there didn't appear to be 25 quids worth of decorations in our mess. I don't think he believed me when I told him we'd eaten them...

02 December 2005

More humbug

Hey, I don't even need to rant - someone else has done it for me :o)

http://www.illwillpress.com/xmas.html

It's still not Christmas yet

Apparently officials in the House of Commons have informed staffers they can't put Christmas decorations up until 5 December, and some staffers think it's mean. Actually, I think the officials are dead right.

I think I'm gonna join a 'Keep Christmas at Christmas' campaign.

27 November 2005

George Best

Jingle bells

This is really childish, but I can't stop laughing at it.

If it offends you, blame Bad Toad of Dorset :o)

Anyone seen my sanity?

Our IAM session finished early today and I remembered that a friend had said that a few folk were meeting up for a pub dinner at 3pm in Ashton under Lyne, so I decided to go along. However, I had 3 hours to kill first, so I thought "Where would be a nice place for a ride? I know! The Cat and Fiddle, I've not been up there for ages".

It was at that point, that my sanity disappeared. I had a lovely ride up the A50 to Macclesfield and it started to rain a little, so I stopped and put on my waterproofs, and then continued on my merry way. When I got to Walker Barn I suddenly thought "'ere, this rain looks a bit funny. Sort of, erm, white." Ten minutes later, I knew why I hadn't seen any other bikes on this popular road. By the time I got up to the Cat and Fiddle itself, visibility was down to about 50 yards (and the misting on my visor made it worse), and I looked like a snow-womble. I pulled over for a minute to take the photo below, and managed to get a glove full of snow :o( Looking at the picture, you wouldn't guess that it was taken at 1.15pm.

However, by the time I got down into Buxton it was back to rain again, so I headed up the A6 through Dove Holes and up to Stockport, jumped on the M60 and off again at Ashton.

It only took about 3 hours for my gloves to dry out on the hot water pipes in the pub and I was actually quite warm on the way home. The Cold Killers really do work.

26 November 2005

pre nollaig

Last night was Manchester MAG's pre-nollaig bash and charity fundraiser. The turnout was somewhat disappointing and Tim & Rancid Tom had to go outside and throw some people in.

However, I caught up with a few old pals, had a beer or several and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Cheers to Steve for being the chauffeur, I'll return the favour next week for the Lost Weekend Gig :o)

Dan ... enjoy banjo country, don't worry the sheep, and remember to come up for air occasionally, mate :p Keep in touch, you've got my number.

24 November 2005

Words of Wisdom from Sandy McPhilosopher Holt

People say life is short, yet it's the longest thing we'll ever do.

23 November 2005

Revenge!

Since my earlier posting about misuse of fog lights, I discovered this cartoon on the Visordown forum, posted by 'number8'. I think I might give this a whirl :o)

22 November 2005

Bah! Humbug!

Anyone know when Christmas is? I always thought it was 25 December.

It's not even Advent yet (it starts on 27 November this year), and I have just received my first Christmas card.

Some sad individual in Bolton is whining because the Christmas lights she put up in October have been nicked. It serves you right for putting them up too soon. Get a bloody life, woman! And don't give us that crap about how your three year old loves Christmas so much - it only knows what you tell it, so try teaching it about Christ instead of capitalism.

Anything commercially Christmas-related should be illegal until Advent (except for Advent calendars which should be on sale one week before).

People think I don't like Christmas. They're wrong, I do. I just like it to be at Christmas.

Doogle

Way hay, a new search engine to play with!

21 November 2005

Press-speak

Will someone please send the media hacks back to school to learn some basic English grammar?

Why do they feel that they have to read the news in either the present tense or a 'future predictive' tense?

Phrases like "A man is arrested for..." No he IS NOT. He WAS arrested. It happened in the past, it is not a continuous event. It only happened once, it is not still happening, so please select one of the correct tenses on offer. Personally, I would choose either the present imperfect (has been arrested) or the past simple (was arrested).

Then there's this lovely new 'future predictive' tense which the hacks have invented to get round press embargoes: "the Minister is expected to announce that..." or "he will say that..."

They know damn well what the announcement will say because they've been sat on it for hours but not able to report it because of the time restriction, so they tell people what is expected instead, thinking that they're clever. They're not. They're just irritating.

Our language has become, to paraphrase John Humphrys, 'mangled and manipulated'. It's no wonder that the standards of literacy have dropped in the UK, if the mass media can't even be bothered to get it right.

Pedants Unite!

Ouch!

Slipped on the ice outside work and landed on me bum. How undignified!

Good job there was no-one about to hear the rude words I said as I landed.

18 November 2005

Bloody hell it's cold!

I was out on the bike all day yesterday. I passed my Senior Observer test for the IAM and then went off to see a mate.

For the second night running, I had to scrape the ice off the seat of my bike before the ride home. Apparently it was -2 degrees, although I didn't feel as cold as I did on my ride back from Oxford last weekend.

I think I'm going to buy some Cold Killers. Failing that, a heated jacket, gloves and socks would be nice, if anyone would care to lend me a few hundred quid.

15 November 2005

Lost Weekend (again)

JJ has just reminded me about the two forthcoming Lost Weekend gigs :

Saturday 3 December 2005 - Golden Lion, Highroad Well, Halifax
Sunday 4 December 2005 - Melodic Rock Xmas Bash, Ruskin Arms, Manor Park, London

I'll definitely be at the Halifax gig, and if I can afford it, I'll try to get to London too, but it might just be a bit too much on the old bank account.

Lost Weekend

Lost Weekend have revamped their forum and right now it's empty, so get in there and fill it up, folks :o)

In the meantime, here's some pics of guitarist Dave Thompson on the recent Bob Catley accoustic tour.

11 November 2005

It's only a couple of minutes

Today is Armistice Day. For the past eighty-odd years, people all over the world have held a two minute silence at 11:00am on 11 November, in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the various wars around the world.

So why is it, that every year, at exactly 11:00am on 11 November, someone has to ring me? It's only two minutes, once a year!

Why do people forget so easily?

I'm blind! Aarrrrrggghhhh!

Why is it that when the nights start drawing in, and the weather starts getting shitty, there is a group of car drivers who think that they need to use their fog lights all the time? Stop it! You're blinding all the oncoming drivers, not to mention the fact that it's illegal! (see here, here and here) I don't care how cool you think you look in your stupid little micro car with the 'body-coloured bumpers' and pram handle, if I was a traffic cop, I'd book the bloody lot of you inconsiderate bastards.

And whilst I'm on the subject, if you're wondering why the motorbike behind you keeps pointing it's high beam in your rear view mirror, try taking your foot off the bloody brake pedal! If you look down to the left hand side of the driver's seat, you'll see there's a sort of stick thing. It's called a handbrake. Use it instead of sitting at the traffic lights with your foot on the brake, with your eye-level brake lights scorching the retina of the person behind you.

Livin' the Dream

Back in April 2005 I travelled down to London with a pile of mates to see Magnum perform their 20th Anniversary of 'On a Storyteller's Night' gig at the Astoria. Those who know me, will also know that Magnum are, in my opinion, the greatest band on the planet. I've travelled all over the country to see them (and also Bob's solo tours) and I've got almost every release they've ever made.

The Astoria gig was fantastic and I was buzzing for a week afterwards. It was probably the longest set I've ever seen a single band play too (including Rush). They performed 18 numbers and didn't even look knackered afterwards and then we adjourned to the pub, where we were joined by the some of the lads from the band and crew.

The gig was filmed for Magnum's new DVD, 'Livin' the Dream', which I've had on pre-order for months. It arrived yesterday and has been played 'on repeat' pretty much ever since. I've got it on my laptop at work and have been playing it at full blast. Good job I work alone, innit? It's brought back some great memories and can't wait to see the band again in December.

Anyway, the DVD is bloody brilliant and if you haven't got it already, go and get it now!

Magnum Forever!

08 November 2005

Why do I torture myself?

The latest gym-related injury is a pulled muscle in my side. I think. Whatever it is, it hurts, and the worst thing is, I haven't a clue how I did it. It just started hurting.

I think my body is trying to tell me that exercise is a bad thing.

On the upside, though, congrats to John 'Brucey' Banner and Mandy Crossley for winning their fights last weekend. Mandy was displaying an impressive range of bruises, John had the sense to wear pants :o)

tomatoes are still evil :o(

It's now five days since I got poisoned by tomato and my guts are still off, so I am feeling thoroughly sorry for myself. I don't know if it's a wise idea to go to the gym tonight, it could be disastrous.

Bloody technology

One is deeply pissed off. I have a really good 2400dpi scanner, which I've had for about 5 years, but it has a SCSI/ISA connection and runs with w95.

Recently, I discovered a handy little device which converts SCSI to USB, so I connected it up to my lovely super-fast wXP laptop. However, every time I try to run the software, it tells me that the drivers aren't installed. I've been to the website and downloaded the wXP drivers but it still doesn't like it. The Micro$oft scanner function will let me scan one pic, and only at 600dpi, and then packs up again.

I think I'll have to reconnect it to the dinosaur PC again. At least it worked, even if I do have to bugger about transferring the files to my other PC to get them smaller than 90mb :o(

07 November 2005

Rev Spooner strikes again

There's a letter in this week's Manchester Evening News which is supposedly from Mrs. Elizabeth Swallochs.

I wonder if the postbag editor has ever heard of Reverend Spooner?

Think about it.

06 November 2005

What a lovely day for a ride!

It's 8am, it's dark outside, it's windy and there's horizontal rain. Just the sort of weather I love to be going out in, to help nervous riders to learn how to cope with their bikes. I bet no-one turns up. I've still got to go, though, just in case someone loony does decide to keep me company (hi Andy!).

Only just over a week to go before I do my Senior Observer test now, I hope it doesn't piss down on the day.

Now, where did I put my waterproof pants? Mustn't forget my shades.

05 November 2005

it's good to have friends

Over the past few weeks, I've been going through some serious shit and my head is completely screwed up. My friends have really been supportive and although I don't always show it, I really do appreciate all that they've done for me, so I'd just like to say particular thanks to:

Baglady - for sharing her story and assuring me that things really do get better;
Bungle - for cheering me up and talking sense;
Cath G & Michelle - for letting me punch them around the gym and then taking me for dinner;
Debs, Isla and Shirl - for putting up with me whingeing for a whole week and still being friends with me afterwards (and for stopping me spending £700 on an electric fiddle);
Hairy Stores - for the hugs, the songs, the laughter and the sippin' liquor;
Jimmymoonlite - for lending me his ear, even though he's got troubles of his own;
Jochan - for just being a pal;
Reverend - for the sofa and the shoulder to cry on, the food, the friendship and for being there when I really needed someone to talk to;
Spike - for understanding
Woody - for the curry, the brews and just for being there
Caldarium MCC - for being a really great bunch of people.

I know things will improve, and it's good to know you're all out there.

Hex-Rated

Last weekend, I went off to Caldarium MCC's Hex-Rated Rally at Arncott, near Bicester. I decided to make a proper trip of it, and set off on Thursday morning to visit a mate in Gloucestershire, had dinner there and then carried on to another mate's place in Oxford and got fed there too. Must do this more often, cos they're both better cooks that I am. Cheers lads!

Friday morning, I sat about and read for a while whilst my host was working, and then when he got back, I repacked my bike, he packed his and we set off for the rally.

I felt a bit weird when I got there. Although I've done lots of rallies on my own in the past, this was the first one since I ditched the Slave, and I got a bit maudlin and stood there like a pillock for a while, staring at my bike and considering going home. Anyway, shortly afterwards, I had a bit of help getting my tent up and then I went a-wandering cos I was feeling like a spare part. Half an hour later, my mate Hairy Stores arrived and I cheered up immensely. Over the next few hours, several other mates turned up and I was glad I hadn't bottled out and gone home. I bought myself a new tankard to replace the one that Lumpy sat on, so a few hours and a few beers later, I was having a whale of a time. It was getting a bit cold by midnight and I was glad of the brazier, but when I went off to bed, I was bloody freezing, even though Weevil had given me one of those foil survival blanket thingies to put under my sleeping bag. I didn't sleep too well, cos I kept getting cramp in my legs, so I got up at about 5.30am and discovered it was actually warmer outside my tent than it was in it.

Saturday morning, Reverend said he had to nip home for something, so I said I'd accompany him cos I needed some cash, seeing as I'd blown my budget on the tankard. Whilst back at his place, I did something I've never, ever done whilst away at a rally... I had a bath. Oh the shame! However, seeing as I don't actually have a bath in my house, it was a rather special treat. We then went off into Oxford for cash and summat to eat.

When we got back to the rally site, Bungle introduced me to the lads from 'Domine de Mortis' (jolly nice chaps too) and I sat with them and my mate Angus for a bit, before going outside to watch the egg roulette. Poor Tufty, who was officiating, also managed to get covered.





















Mid-evening, was the Mr. Hex-Rated contest, which caused something of a stir. Eight hapless contestants were dressed up, and then interrogated, prodded and measured before being asked to perform a pole dance for the judges. I fear that some of the judges may never recover. Unbeknown to me, Bungle had been plotting, and at the end of the contest, the winner was coerced into performing a special 'dance' for me, so I was plonked into a chair and sat there doing a very good impression of a beetroot. All those who took part were brilliant and I take my hat off to the lot of them. Cheers Bungle. I think :p

I spent the rest of the evening gassing with folk (and being gassed by Ever Ready's farts) round the brazier and later on in the barn, before heading off to bed in the early hours. Angus had had to leave the rally on Saturday evening, and had sold me his tent, so I had a choice, but seeing as all my stuff had been dumped in the big one, I decided it was too much like hard work to transfer it. It's a smaller tent than my current one, and I can put it up on my own. This time I slept like a bloody log and woke up quite refreshed.

On Sunday morning, I had a lovely surprise, cos Hairy Stores had bought me a birthday prezzie - he was the only person to remember, and he got me a fantastic hip flask with a celtic engraving on it. I was quite touched; it's a lovely prezzie and I shall treasure it. It's got Otard brandy in it at the moment.

I didn't really want to leave the rally, but I had to go, cos I was due to meet my pals from Scotland in the afternoon, ready to set off for Kent on Monday. I even remembered to pack down the second tent! It pissed down on the way home, and at one point, visibility was down to about 40 yards, which was rather scary, cos loads of cagers didn't even bother to slow down. Somehow, I've managed to lose my neck tube, so all the rain went straight down my neck, and drenched my back and my chest. Even after it had stopped raining, it was windy, so I was bloody freezing by the time I got home, and all the dye had leached from my jacket onto my neck. It took me ages to scrub it clean. I even had the energy to hose down the bike to get all the crap off it. OK, not all of the crap, but some of it, at least.

Tomatoes are Evil

On Thursday, owing to the stupidity of a foreign waitress in a crap café in Canterbury, I accidentally managed to eat a microscopic amount of tomato, and have been feeling shit ever since. Why is it that when I tell people that I am allergic to tomato, they seem to think it won't matter if they peel it off my plate and serve it up as though it was never there. I don't think I can make it much clearer than "I'm allergic to tomatoes and I will be very very sick if I eat anything which has even touched a tomato."

If it was a nut allergy, I'd be dead by now. Why can't people just listen? It's no bloody wonder that I rarely eat out. The Slave (now ex-Slave) soon learned the hard way about not cutting tomatoes on the bread board.

Anyway, I knew within ten minutes that I'd eaten some, cos I was soon ralphing for Britain and my guts felt and sounded like a coffee percolator. Two days on and I'm still struggling to keep food down and I won't even begin to describe what's happening down at the other end. Suffice to say, it's not pleasant. If that's what a bit of tomato juice does, God help me if I ever eat a big piece. I once ate a piece about half a centimetre square, and threw up for 6 days. Effective way of losing weight, but I wouldn't recommend it.

31 October 2005

hello, goodbye

Well, having just had a bloody fantastic weekend at Caldarium MCC's Hex-Rated rally at Arncott (report later), I'm off again, this time to Staple in Kent for a week of fun and frolics with some friends. As Isla is completely and utterly mad (see photo for proof), I expect to come back completely exhausted. Please pray for my sanity - if she even gets the hint that there may be a theme park anyway en-route, we may never get to Kent. It was hard enough trying to get her off the see-saw in Ardrossan.

25 October 2005

bastards :o(

Tall Paul's bike has been nicked and he's very, very dischuffed.

So, if you see anyone riding the following bike:

Honda XL1000V varadero
black and silver
reg- W842 SFP
chassis No- JH25DO1A1YM102844
stolen from : Merseyside/Cheshire border

he would be very grateful to receive information and also possibly various body parts of the craphead that nicked it.

You can contact him via 100% Biker : http://www.100-biker.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=12044

major wobbly

On Sunday, I learned a new skill: how to stay upright on a motorcycle which is glissading on wet cow shit :o(

I do wish that farmers would try to transport the stuff in a manner which doesn't result in turning the bendy bits of country lanes into skid pans.

don't you just hate it when...

you're dying for the bog, but you can't go cos there's a decorator painting in there :o(

I'm seriously considering going over to the Market Place to use their 'facilities' - assuming I'm able to walk that far with my legs crossed.

21 October 2005

if you act like rubbish...

Congratulations are in order to the unnamed PC mentioned in today's Mirror, for chucking a scumbag teenager in a rubbish bin, after the kid and his mate threw conkers at him whilst filming it on their mobile phones.

The kid got what he deserved, and the copper deserves a commendation for helping to clean up our streets.

20 October 2005

just plain crackers ...







Thanks Excalibur, for cheering me up with this one :o)

18 October 2005

the Yanks strike again

So the Americans and the Germans think they don't have to pay our congestion charge? Does that mean that our politicians don't have to pay foreign airport taxes or road tolls then?

more words of wisdom from Grav

"Political correctness is a load of bollocks".

Right on Bro.

17 October 2005

just when you thought it couldn't get worse

I trapped my bloody finger in the catch on my mandolin case. Aaaarrrrggghhhhh!

I think I shouldn't bother getting out of bed tomorrow.

E minus 2

My M206 exam is on Wednesday afternoon and I've done absolutely no revision whatsoever. It is about as appealing as an extra hole in the head. I did contemplate a bit of revision earlier today, but I put my Mostly Autumn album on (Passengers) and miraculously forgot all about it. So, no closer to revision, but certainly a lot more chilled out than I was when I left work.

different shit, same day

The headache finally started to lift at about 3pm, but I started getting mega backache at dinnertime and it's still hurting. I wonder what's gonna hurt next?

Still, I've lost 6lbs in weight since Friday, so that's a good sign :o) Hope it stays off, but I doubt it will, somehow.

pissed off

I have had a banging headache since Saturday and I am now very very pissed off with it.

Just so you know.

15 October 2005

would you ride 174 miles for a pint?

I did :o) I must be mad. 340 mile round trip for a couple of pints, and you know what? I enjoyed every minute of it. Well, except for the prick in the Volvo 4x4 who nearly ran in the back of me, cos 85mph wasn't fast enough for him. Stupid Cnut.

Thanks to the Reverend for inviting me, being a taxi when I got there, putting me up and putting up with me. Also thanks to Caldarium MCC for making me feel so welcome.

Big hi to Jan, great to see you, hope your hot water tank is now water-tight, and cheers for the dinner :o)

14 October 2005

Poundy gets clobbered

The Mirror has reported today that MP and all-round superstar, Stephen Pound, has been walloped by Tory backbencher and 'little squirt', Philip Davies.

Apparently they were both appearing on a radio show and Poundy tried to read out an e-mail from Davies's office, which had been sent out to Tory supporters, encouraging them to ring the show to support him.

Poundy has got a suspected broken rib. Davies has a suspected broken good reputation.

some people will say anything..

I can't believe the lengths that some people will go to, to avoid a speeding fine.

A couple from Hyde took extreme measures and still got caught out. They made up a story about how some ficticious Bulgarian was driving their car and, to make it more convincing, the wife flew out to Bulgaria to send a postcard from the ficticious bloke, back to their home!

They've now been fined £9,200, plus £1,900 in costs cos of their stupid lies. Not to mention the cost of the flights to Bulgaria. If they don't pay up within 28 days, the bloke faces six months in jail, and his wife faces a 40-day sentence.

It'd have been cheaper just to pay the bloody fines, you pillocks! Some people are too stupid to be allowed to breed.

11 October 2005

Ghosts in the machine?

Someone broke the Division Bell. It keeps going off at random moments and MPs have been scurrying around to go to votes which haven't been called. I think it's great. They need the exercise.

10 October 2005

Fish!

Wow! I managed to get one of the few remaining tickets. 5 minutes later, it was completely sold out.

I didn't catch much of the support act, a lass called Annemarie summat, superb voice but her last song didn't do anything for me. I think the bloke next to me had fallen in love with her cos he kept rabbiting on about her for ages.

The first half of Fish's set was good, music and a bit of chat. However, the second half was mind-blowing. During the first half, I was thinking "an all-seated gig just doesn't work" There's something not right about sitting down at a rock concert. When the second half started, everyone said "fuck that" and stood up anyway, and then proceeded to jump up and down like a bunch of nutters. The bloke at the side of me kept telling me that he knows a Marillion tribute band called Forgotten Sons who he thinks are better than Fish. Sorry buddy, but I loved Fish for 20 years and I have never heard of your tribute band, so stop spoiling my bloody gig! He took the hint when I turned my back on him.

I think Fish was pretty pleased with the response he got from the crowd, cos he had a huge grin on his face by the end of the night. I think it was the crowd participation in Market Square Heroes that clinched it. I bet we could be heard from the train station, it was that loud. The lead guitarist was bloody fantastic too, I could have spent the night just listening to him, and the backing vocalist has one hell of a voice too. Damn, I just loved the whole band.

If you're into prog, go and watch Fish, cos if you don't, you'll miss a bloody good show.

panic stations

The Slave has just come home and shown me an advert in tonight's paper - Fish is playing at the Albert Halls in Bolton!

I am now running round like a mad thing, trying to get a ticket, but the booking office is closed. I'm going to turn up and see if I can get in on the door.

Service with a smile

How long does it take to print 2 pages in colour? 23 minutes, if you go to Staples.

First of all, they couldn't let me in, because only one member of staff had turned up. When some others finally turned up, they let me in and I went over to their 'copy centre'.

I explained to the woman that I had a pdf document I wanted printing and told her I'd got it on my flash drive and also on an SD card. She scowled and muttered that she didn't have a card reader, and that their computer was so old it probably wouldn't accept my flash drive.

Anyway, she tried the flash drive and announced that because my computer at home was a high-speed one (actually it's not), it had saved it in a different format and she couldn't open it. (Can you smell bullshit?). So I said "well try the SD card then". She said "I haven't got a card reader" - so I said "well what's that then?" - pointing to the card reader. She examined it closely and said "oh, they must have put it there yesterday, I've never seen it before." (I'm sure I can smell bullshit).

Anyway, she called up the document, send it to print and the printer jammed. She stared at it blankly for a few minutes and then went to the tannoy and asked for someone to help her. The woman who came said "yes, paper tray 1 is broken, you have to use tray 5 - it's written on it here, you'll have to cancel the job send it again to tray 5." So she sent it again - to the same tray and had to go through the unjamming procedure all over again. Eventually she managed to print it to the right tray and then she picked up the copies and walked off, without so much as a backwards glance. Eventually, I followed her to the till, paid and made a hasty exit.

So much for a friendly and efficient service then.

09 October 2005

hair removal part II

One Woman's Tale of Woe-

All hair removal methods have tricked women with their promises of easy, painless removal - The epilady, scissors,razors, Nair and now ... the wax.

My night began as any other normal weeknight. Come home, fix dinner, play with the kids. I then had the thought that would ring painfully in my mind for the next few hours: "Maybe I should pull the waxing kit out of the medicine cabinet." So I headed to the site of my demise: the bathroom. It was one of those "cold wax" kits. No melting a clump of hot wax, you just rub the strips together in your hand, they get warm and you peel them apart and press them to your leg (or wherever else) and you pull the hair right off. No muss, no fuss. How hard can it be? I mean, I'm not a genius, but I am mechanically inclined enough to figure this out. (YA THINK!?!) So I pull one of the thin strips out. It's two strips facing each other stuck together. Instead of rubbing them together, my genius kicks in so I get out the hair dryer and heat it to 1000 degrees. ("Cold wax," yeah...right!) I lay the strip across my thigh. Hold the skin around it tight and pull. It works! OK, so it wasn't the best feeling, but it wasn't too bad. I can do this! Hair removal no longer eludes me! I am She-rah, fighter of all wayward body hair and maker of smooth skin extraordinaire. With my next wax strip I move north. After checking on the kids, I sneak back into the bathroom, for the ultimate hair fighting championship. I drop my panties and place one foot on the toilet. Using the same procedure, I apply the wax strip across the right side of my bikini line, covering the right half of my vagina and stretching down to the inside of my butt cheek. (Yes, it was a long strip) I inhale deeply and brace myself.........RRRRIIIPPP!!!! I'm blind!!! Blinded from pain!!!!.... OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!

Vision returning, I notice that I've only managed to pull off half the strip. CRAP!!! Another deep breath and RRIIPP!! Everything is swirly and spotted. I think I may pass out . . . . . . .must stay conscious . . . Do I hear crashing drums??? Breathe, breathe . . . OK, back to normal. I want to see my trophy - a wax covered strip, the one that has caused me so much pain, with my hairy pelt sticking to it. I want to revel in the glory that is my triumph over body hair. I hold up the strip!

There's no hair on it. Where is the hair??? WHERE IS THE WAX???

Slowly I ease my head down, foot still perched on the toilet. I see the hair. The hair that should be on the strip. I touch. I am touching wax. CRAP! I run my fingers over the most sensitive part of my body, which is now covered in cold wax and matted hair. Then I make the next BIG mistake.......remember my foot is still propped up on the toilet? I know I need to do something. So I put my foot down. DAMN!!!!!!!! I hear the slamming of a cell door.

Vagina?
Sealed shut!

Butt??
Sealed shut!

I penguin walk around the bathroom trying to figure out what to do and think to myself "Please don't let me get the urge to poop. My head may pop off!" What can I do to melt the wax? Hot water!! Hot water melts wax!! I'll run the hottest water I can stand into the bathtub, get in, immerse the wax-covered bits and the wax should melt and I can gently wipe it off, right???

*WRONG!!!!!!!*

I get in the tub - the water is slightly hotter than that used to torture prisoners of war or sterilize surgical equipment - I sit. Now, the only thing worse than having your nether regions glued together, is having them glued together and then glued to the
bottom of the tub . . . in scalding hot water. Which, by the way, doesn't melt cold wax. So, now I'm stuck to the bottom of the tub as though I had cement-epoxied myself to the porcelain!! God bless the man who had convinced me a few months ago to have a phone put in the bathroom!!!!! I call my friend, thinking surely she has waxed before and has some secret of how to get me undone. It's a very good conversation starter - "So, my butt and who-ha are glued together to the bottom of the tub!" There is a slight pause. She doesn't know any secret tricks for removal but she does try to hide her laughter from me. She wants to know exactly where the wax is located, "Are we talking cheeks or hole or who-ha?" She's laughing out loud by now . . . I can hear her . . . I give her the rundown and she suggests I call the number on the side of the box. YEAH!!!!! Right!! I should be the joke of someone else's night. While we go through various solutions. I resort to scraping the wax off with a razor . . . Nothing feels better then to have your girlie goodies covered in hot wax, glued shut, stuck to the tub in super hot water and then dry-shaving the sticky wax off!! By now the brain is not working, dignity has taken a major hike and I'm pretty sure I'm going to need Post-Traumatic Stress counseling for this event. My friend is still talking with me when I finally see my saving grace . . . the lotion they give you to remove the excess wax. What do I really have to lose at this point? I rub some on
and OH MY GOD!!!!!!! The scream probably woke the kids and scared the dickens out of my friend. It's sooo painful, but I really don't care. "IT WORKS!! It works !!" I get a hearty congratulation from my friend and she hangs up. I successfully remove the remainder of the wax and then notice to my grief and despair . . .

THE HAIR IS STILL THERE . . . . . . ALL OF IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

So I recklessly shave it off. Heck, I'm numb by now. Nothing hurts. I could have amputated my own leg at this point.

Next week I'm going to try hair color......

an evil mind

The Slave has come up with a very evil-minded suggestion for livening up music practice:

A keyboard with metal keys, linked up to an electrical circuit which makes one key 'live' for a fraction of a second. However, the circuit is completely random, so it could be any key, with the sequence changing every second.

Methinks the Slave needs more purple pills.

talk to the hand ...


First he wants his photo taken, then he doesn't. Make your mind up! Oh yeah, and remember, where I go, my camera goes too :o) Just wait until I get my on-bike video set up properly :p

News just in from Saxman

Tampax have replaced the piece of string with a piece of tinsel.

Apparently it's only for the christmas period though..

07 October 2005

don't shave yer bum, mister!

I have no idea if the following story is true, but it's bloody funny.


I have recently made a mistake in my life, and I offer my story to all though tasteless, that you may learn from my error. It all started, as many things do, with me having trouble pooping. No, I was not constipated; this was not a regularity problem but a matter of technique. It seems my ass-hair had grown to such a length that tiny grogans were constantly getting tied up in the matted jungle between my ass cheeks. It led to much frustration, with me KNOWING that I still had something to drop, but unable to shake the tenacious turd loose from its butt hair dwelling.

Eventually I would have to do two things: either reach down with some paper and try to pinch off the lingering loaf (which required careful precision to avoid smearing the creature all over my rear, especially since I had no way of seeing what I was doing) or just go for broke, start wiping, and hope that I could remove all the leftover fecal matter before the toilet paper reached its Can't-Be-Flushed threshold. I was contemplating this problem, when I had what seemed at the time to be a bright idea. "Hey, this is my butt and my butt-hair, right? So why don't I just eliminate all the hair, and then my grogans will flow out like beer from a keg!" I said to myself. It is a statement that will go down in history with a lot of other regretted statements. "How many Indians could there be?" said by General Custer. "Looks like a good day for a drive!" by JFK. "There! America On-line now has complete Usenet access!" by some idiot system tech. Such was my anal shaving idea.

I performed the operation that night, with a cheap disposable razor and a towel to sit on. Starting from the bottom, and shaving from the crack to the cheeks, I began the arduous process of ridding my ass of hair. Occasionally, I would have to clean the razor of accumulated hair, which I did by wiping it on the towel. Slowly, my twin mounds and the between-ravine began to resemble the hairless cheeks of a newborn babe. Finally, I wiped the razor one last time, and surveyed my work. The towel was covered with a pile of hair. My ass was smooth as ivory. I smiled, satisfied, thinking my troubles were over.

Little did I know. I now have a great respect for anal-hair. Like everything in this world God created, it has its mighty purpose in existence. It was only after I had removed it that I started to learn how much I had been taking it for granted. For one, it provides friction. I learned this the next day, when I walked out into the sun heading for class. After climbing two flights of stairs and starting to sweat, I started to notice something unpleasant. The sweat was accumulating in my crack, and was causing the unpleasant sensation of my two ass cheeks sliding past each other with every step. I thought about going to the bathroom and wiping it off, but had to get to class. Eventually, I thought, it would dry. Unfortunately, it did dry, but only after mingling with the microscopic poop -molecules lingering around my brown starfish. When I stood up after class, my cheeks were stuck together with a slimy sticky poop/sweat combination. As I made my way back to my dorm, it started to itch. God-DAMN, did it itch! Felt like a swarm of ants was making its way up and down my crack. Fighting to keep from jamming my hand down there and scratching away, I rushed back to the dorm. Unfortunately, this exertion caused me to sweat, and when I finally reached my room, my cheeks were sliding back and forth against each other like a pair of horny cane-toads. I quickly dropped my pants, and attempted to dry my ass off by sticking it in front of a fan and spreading my cheeks.

As I pulled the two mounds of flesh apart, a horrible stench burst free and filled the room. Every dog within a 4 block radius started to howl. I had it worst of all, as the ripe aroma of festering poop/sweat went into the fan and blew back into my face. I fought to keep from heaving. And as I sat there, fighting vomit, my ass cheeks spread and dripping, with the concentrated aroma of my body odor mixed with the tangy smell of my own poop blowing right into my face, I had only one thought: "It will be like this until the hair grows back." Weeks later on, trying to deal as best I could, wiping my ass at every opportunity, I discovered another wonderful use for ass-hair - ventilation. I attempted to launch a fart, only to have it get stuck between my ass cheeks.

Apparently, with no hair, the two pink twins can get vacuum sealed together, and the result was a frustrating fart that slid up and down between my cheeks like a lost gerbil. As if that wasn't enough, I am now enduring further torture. As anyone who has ever shaved anything knows, when hair is first growing in, it comes in as stubble. Imagine your ass having the texture of a brillo pad.

Well, that is what I am dealing with now. It is a hellish torture, and there are many times when I just look out the window and contemplate why I shouldn't just jump out and get it all over with in one fleshy splat, rather than endure this constant agony.

Friends-DON'T SHAVE YOUR ASS-HAIR!"

wossat?

I've got myself some funky new earplugs for when I'm on the bike. I've tried using those yellow foam ones (they're too big, and hurt my ears) and I've tried the little orange mushroom type ones too, but they make weird crackling noises and don't block out any wind noise.

Anyway, a mate recommended that I go to see a bloke called Gerry Marsden in Bolton, from Hearing Resolutions, and get some custom-made earplugs. So I did.

Having the impressions of my ears done felt very weird indeed. It felt like he was putting toothpaste in my ears, but it only took a minute or two to set, and then all I had to do was choose what colour I wanted, so I got blue & purple marbled. I went to pick up the finished plugs today and once I'd figured out how to get them in, they were very comfortable.

I'm off to Wolverhampton tomorrow, so I'll give them a proper test and report back :o)

06 October 2005

Thursday funny

Alleged statement on an insurance claim form, after a car hit a cow:

Q. What warning was given by you?
A. Horn
Q. What warning was given by the other party?
A. Moo

Sorry, but that one tickled me.

just bog off, will you !

For most of the week, I work alone. Totally alone. I'm the only person in the building, which means I can work the way I want to, and I have a nice little routine going on here which means I get all my work done in a relatively efficient manner.

I love working alone. I can listen to Beswick on the radio and e-mail him the occasional pithy comment, I can watch the news on the telly and I can choose when, where and if I'm going to have my dinner. That's 'dinner', Beswick, not 'lunch' ;o)

However, there's one little blot on this lovely landscape. Someone who is involved in the management of the building we rent seems to think that because I'm alone, I must be lonely, and therefore must appreciate being interrupted on a regular basis. I don't. I don't want checking up on, I'm very happy on my own and, in truth, I'm quite an anti-social owd git. This is my place of work and not a social drop-in. I don't have time to sit and gossip about people I 1. don't know and 2. don't care about.

So, Someone, you know who you are. Just because you have a key to the building doesn't give you the right to keep walking into my office. If you need to see me about something work-related, please make an appointment like everyone else has to. Otherwise, please leave me in peace to get on with my work.

Nee Naw

Big thanks to Jan for pointing me in the direction of the Nee Naw blog.

I'm supposed to be working, but it's very difficult trying to read the screen when there are tears of laughter streaming down my face.

04 October 2005

and it's good night from him.

Ronnie Barker, one of Britain's greatest comedians has died. Although his obituary mentions many of his TV comedies, it doesn't mention my favourite singing duo - Jehosephat and Jones. I think The Slave has got one of their albums somewhere.

power corrupts ...?

The Iron Lady could be in trouble. It seems she's being questioned in relation to a corruption investigation.

Every time I think of that woman, a shudder goes down my spine and, for some strange reason, I start singing Pink Floyd's 'Fletcher Memorial Home':

take all your overgrown infants away somewhere
and build them a home a little place of their own
the fletcher memorial
home for incurable tyrants and kings
and they can appear to themselves every day
on closed circuit t.v.
to make sure they're still real
it's the only connection they feel
"ladies and gentlemen, please welcome reagan and haig
mr. begin and friend mrs. thatcher and paisley
mr. brezhnev and party
the ghost of mccarthy
the memories of nixon
and now adding colour a group of anonymous latin
american meat packing glitterati"
did they expect us to treat them with any respect
they can polish their medals and sharpen their
smiles, and amuse themselves playing games for a while
boom boom, bang bang, lie down you're dead
safe in the permanent gaze of a cold glass eye
with their favourite toys
they'll be good girls and boys
in the fletcher memorial home for colonial
wasters of life and limb
is everyone in?
are you having a nice time?
now the final solution can be applied

dozy drivers

Yesterday afternoon, I drove to Southport. I was most peeved that the dual carriageway was down to one lane and, despite the fact that the speed limit hadn't been reduced, the driver in front of me refused to go over 40, causing something of a tailback. That was annoying enough, but when the speed limit was reduced to 30 - the bugger still kept doing 40!

I suspect that the driver was asleep and the car was on cruise control. What else could explain such piss-poor driving?

03 October 2005

Wounded again :o(

I think the Gods are mocking me. First they ensure that it starts raining just as I take the flysheet off my tent at the Mabon Rally (the only bloody cloud in the sky too, you gits!). Then they make it rain for the ten minutes I was riding home from the gym (again, an otherwise clear sky), and today I was attacked by a vicious vacuum cleaner.

A mate came to stay for the weekend and The Slave engaged in a tidying-up frenzy which involved chucking everything into the cupboard under the stairs and shutting the door on the whole lot, trapping it like some coiled spring. This morning, the unsuspecting Womble opened the door, and the Dyson sprang out and twatted me on the ankle. Great, so just as the left ankle recovers from the gym incident, the right one develops a lump the size of an egg.

The Reverend has suggested that I elevate the injured part, and get a bag of frozen peas to throw at The Slave. Not a bad idea, methinks.

How to lose customers - the PayPal way

I bought something on eBay last night and when I tried to pay by PayPal, it said that it wouldn't let me pay by my credit card and that I had to give my bank details so they could set up a direct debit.

Not a bloody chance! I have control over my money, not you, and I prefer to pay by credit card so that I get proper consumer protection and not the poxy £500 limit that PayPal puts on you.

Fortunately, the seller accepts personal cheques, so I've paid that way instead. OK, I'll have to wait a bit longer for the goods, but what the hell, at least my bank details aren't being stored in some US server, waiting to be phished.

Way to go, PayPal.

Don't you just love 'em?

There's a 3 minute message on my answerphone at work, consisting of two people arguing about whether or not to leave a message and if they should leave their number.

Some people really are strange.

Blown away

I went to see Kate Rusby and her band perform at the Lowry in Salford last night. The last time I saw her, was at the Albert Halls in Bolton a couple of years ago, and there were about 150 people in the audience. She's become much more famous since then - the Lowry's Lyric Theatre holds 1730 seats, and it was pretty much sold out. Even though I was up in the Gods, the sound was crystal clear, and the view was unobstructed.

The whole concert was fantastic. Kate has such a friendly and personal approach to her concerts and talks to the audience as though they are all old friends. She played a good range of songs, some from her new album 'The Girl Who Couldn't Fly' and some which are old traditional numbers.

Of course, I didn't just go to see Kate. John McCusker (Kate's husband) is one of the best folk fiddlers on the circuit and I admire him greatly, so to see him and Kate performing on the same stage is a double treat for me. I've been trying for ages to get hold of a copy of his songbook - The Bothwell Boy, but the online ordering service doesn't appear to list it, and I've been too lazy to order it by post.

I've always fancied myself as a folk fiddler, but listening to John makes me realise I've got a long way to go. Oh well, I suppose some practice might help.

01 October 2005

Is it that time of year already?

At 22:10 tonight, our neighbourhood was treated to a barrage of very noisy fireworks, which set several dogs howling. I thought they'd brought in a law to prevent people from buying them before November?

Noisy buggers.

29 September 2005

Oh what a brave Womble!

Well, I've just been and had the crown put on my tooth. I asked the dentist if he could use less anaesthetic this time round, because last time my gob was numb for about 7 hours. He offered to do it without anaesthetic, so I thought I'd give it a go. No problem at all. It felt a bit cold when he was cleaning the cement off from the temporary crown, but apart from that, it was OK.

At least now I can have a cup of tea without dribbling it down my chin :o)

The final Straw?

Now we have final proof that freedom of speech really doesn't exist. The manhandling of 82 year-old Walter Wolfgang, and his subsequent arrest under anti-terrorism laws at the Labour Party conference yesterday was utterly disgraceful and indicative of the control-freakery that has now taken over that once-proud organisation. To arrest a man, simply for accusing of Jack Straw a liar, is outrageous and, despite the fact that the PM has apologised, the behaviour of the stewards should never have been allowed to occur. I know they're 'only volunteers' but that's no excuse for bad behaviour.

I attended the Labour Party's Centenary Conference in Bournemouth in 1999 and was dismayed at the way in which the party officials controlled who could speak and what they were allowed to say. OK, I can understand that they don't want 10 people all asking the same question, but to refuse to allow people to speak simply because they don't like the question is just cowardly. It's almost as bad as those people supplying lists of questions they wanted to ask, to give the Minister a feed line for the things they really wanted say.

In the years I've been a party member, they've stopped allowing the plebs on the ground (i.e. the branches and constituency parties) to put forward resolutions to conference, thus removing that method of allowing people to express their opinions. Instead, they've introduced policy fora which, ostensibly, allow groups of members (and non-members too) to discuss particular issues and put forward their views. However, in practice, most of these views are ignored. The debate is stifled and members aren't allowed to put forward any new ideas not in 'the list' - it's more of a ratification of the things that have already been decided. The worst part came when the subject of Identity Cards was to be discussed, yet the Party brought forward (and made public) the proposals before the consultation had closed. A lot of members were very angry about that.

I, for one, will no longer have anything to do with the Party until this ridiculous top-down manipulation is halted.

Comrades, the Peoples' Flag has indeed turned pink.

The peoples flag is palest pink.
It's not as red as you may think.
White collar workers wave and cheer.
A labour government is here.
We'll change the country bit by bit.
So nobody will notice it.
And just to prove we're still sincere.
We'll sing the red flag once a year.

27 September 2005

Soggy Womble

What a lovely evening - the sky was clear and bright as I set off for the gym. It's only 15 mins away, so no need to take the waterproofs. WRONG! On the way home, the heavens opened, strong sidewinds tried to blow me off the bike, and I got drenched. Just as I got home, the rain stopped, the wind dropped and left me cold and wet. Typical.

My gym kit is soaked, my boxing gloves are all soggy and stinky, and my boots are wet through :o(

So, I'm sat here in front of the PC with a ham sandwich and a cup of hot chocolate. What a combination!

25 September 2005

What a weekend!

I have to say that the Mabon Rally is the best rally I've been on for years. No bands, no disco, no crap, just an excellent bunch of folk meeting up and having fun.

I had a great time, singing round the bonfire, doing the quiz, watching the viking football and just chatting with friends, old and new. I didn't have such a great time shivering in my tent at 4am on Saturday though. Still, it soon warmed up once the sun came up.

W@nkel didn't believe Chris when he said he had a good cure for hiccups, but it worked, didn't it?

Hi to all the folks there - Otter & Carrie, W@nkel, Chris, Mr. & Mrs Critch, Fez, Matt, Sophie, Roger, Vince, Biggles & Lynn and all the others whose names I have forgotten. Big thanks to Cookie for helping me get my tent up - I owe you one, bud.


One thing I'd really like to know... how did my sleeping bag end up full of peanuts? And what was Chris doing with this streamer? Do we really want to know?

Chris, you're a good mate. Hope to see you at the Hex-Rated. W@nkel, I know you're going anyway, so see you there.

23 September 2005

The weekend starts here!

Right, I'm off to load the bike for the Mabon Rally. If you're there, it'll be easy to find me. I'll be the one with 'Womble' on the back of me jacket :o)

20 September 2005

getting yer dongle in a twist

What a day! Got to work at 07:55, dealt with a punter from 08:20 to 09:20. The bloke who came to install my new-fangled networked copier thingy arrived at 08:55, and the pair of us finally left the office at 20:25.

Oh, the machine installed fine, as did the router, but we had to wait for an hour and a half for the download of w2k sp4 to download from the Internet. When that was done, the bloody laptop wouldn't connect to the network. Then we got that fixed (no thanks to the unhelpful bloke at BT who didn't want to give us the DNS settings) but every time we tried to secure the network, the bloody router changed the IP address.

Anyway, the nice blokey from DocumentXpress managed to sort it in the end and everything was sweet as a nut.

I wonder if it'll work in the morning ???

Oh no! I've just remembered that the boss will need to be taught how to use it. Aaaarrrggghhh! Where's the valium?

Lancashire County Council is crap

On 3 July 2005, I told Lancs CC that there was a speed limit sign missing, at the entrance/exit to an housing estate. Despite 2 phone calls and 2 e-mails (all of which were acknowledged), the sign is still missing. So 2 weeks ago, I filled in a council complaint form. Guess what? The sign is still missing, and the Council hasn't responded to my complaint at all.

If there is an accident caused by a speeding driver, I suggest that all parties sue the pants of the council. They can't say they weren't told.

today's song is ...

Well first thing this morning, I thought it was going to be Pink Floyd's 'One of My Turns', because that was the mood I was in. However, I started listening to 'Shine on You Crazy Diamond' and it cheered me up a bit, so that's the one I'll be annoying the boss with today :o)

19 September 2005

poetry corner

I found an old poetry book, which I appear not to have returned to my school back in 1985. I don't think they've missed it. Anyway, I found this poem and thought it was great:

'Progress'

I am a sundial, and I make a botch
Of what is done far better by a watch.

Hilaire Belloc (1870 - 1953)


There's another poem in there about a motorcyclist dying after a crash cos no-one bothered to help him, thinking it was already too late. I don't like that one very much. It's a bit too close to home. DD - 15 years gone, but not forgotten, mate.

just shove a broom up my arse, why don't you?

I am so busy and so stressed, that if one more person says "where have you got to with my case?" I'm gonna run round to them, rip off their head and piss down the hole.

Arrrrrgggggghhhh! Irate Womble. Everyone take cover, cos it ain't gonna be pretty.

a painful extraction ...

No, not the tooth, but the £401.45 that has been extracted from my credit card, to pay for me to have the tooth fixed.

It's about time the Government sorts something out about NHS dentistry, and PDQ!

Christmas is now cancelled until further notice.

a brainbox in the family

Congrats to my cousin Peter for getting his PhD. It seems that the Antipodean branch of the family got all the brains, so there's not much hope for me!

pain

I'm in a right grouchy mood this morning. I think I've got a crack in my tooth, cos every time I try to eat, it's agony. It hurts so much I feel like pulling it out myself. Anyway, I just rang the dentist and he'll see me at dinnertime. Thank God for that.

17 September 2005

going nowhere

I'm pleased to say that I spend the day screwing the balls off my bike. It redlines at 10k, but still pulls. Spent £15 in fuel today, going round Lancashire and Cheshire and thoroughly enjoying myself. I'll be doing more of the same tomorrow.

I think my bike is the only thing that keeps me sane.

Ah well, time for bed. G'night all.

Congratulations ...

to Medicine Man, for passing his IAM test today. I knew you'd do it mate, so when are you starting observer training?

16 September 2005

Bloody kids!

My 8 year-old nephew doesn't miss a bloody trick. "ooh, you've got a new crash helmet, what are you doing with the old one?" Well tough, cos it's too small for him - yep, my 8 year-old nephew has got a huge head. So he couldn't have the lid, but it didn't stop him nicking my old gloves.

However, the lid fits his little brother, so there's now a 6 year-old riding around on a mini-moto with a £300 Arai on his bonce. That should raise a few eyebrows.

what do people think I do here?

I just got a call from someone asking for the phone number for the General Medical Council. What??? Try ringing directory enquiries!

I wish that I could block withheld numbers to this phone, so that I can avoid the nutters.

s'not fair

It's a beautiful day, and I'm sat in work when I should be out on my bike. Sometimes, life is just not fair.

I am soooo unfit :o(

I returned to training last night and the warm-up session nearly finished me off. I really must start doing situps every day, because before I got to the hundred, my abs were screaming for mercy :o( Even my favourite exercise, the back arm-press, started to hurt after a while AND I got a 25 press-up fine for not taking Sandy's advice on sorting out my twisted ankle three weeks ago (and yes, Sandyman, I did the McPressups, even though you weren't looking - see how honest I am!)

Still, on the positive side, I didn't injure myself this time, the kicks didn't hurt as much as I thought they would, I felt great after the session and I lost 4lbs in the space of 2 hours! I have no doubt that the 4lbs will reappear some time today, though. I don't need a crystal ball to foresee me having a pudding at dinner time. I think it's rhubarb crumble day :o)

14 September 2005

No fuel shortages here

It's OK folks, panic over. You can get your fuel delivered direct to your door, and much cheaper than the prices at the pump.

Head on over to Petrol Direct.

ID Cards

Are you uncertain as to the efficacy of ID cards? Perhaps this will help you to decide.

13 September 2005

an unexpected gift

An old friend of mine paid me a visit at work today, and said she'd brought me a present. She was carrying a large, oblong, cardboard box wrapped in a binliner. When I finally managed to unwrap it all - look what I found inside!

Anyway, at lunchtime, I went off to the shop and bought a new set of strings for it, and then as soon as I got home, I put a new bridge and the new strings on it. I've already had a good fiddle with it (pun intended), but the new strings are still stretching, so it goes out of tune pretty quickly, but it should settle down in a few days. It's got a beautiful tone and resonance, and sounds much nicer than my present instrument. Apparently it's over 80 years old and has been in Gill's family all that time. Her brother inherited it from an uncle, and then it was passed to Gill. She's not played it for over thirty years, and it's been stuffed in her loft. She won't accept a penny for it; she says she's just pleased that someone will play it. I am very chuffed, and feel honoured that she chose to pass it on to me.


US date styles

The Americans' silly insistence on using back-to-front date styles, e.g. putting the month first, nearly gave me a dicky fit a moment ago.

I've had a ticket to see my favourite band, Magnum, for months, and I just looked at the agent's website which said the gig was on 12/09/05. Panic! I thought I'd missed it, but no, it's actually on 09/12/05.

Let me explain how dates should be written - they go from left to right in order of size:

Day - Date - Month - Year. e.g. Friday 9 December 2005.

Right, I need a cup of tea to calm me down now.

12 September 2005

Bad Womble!

I got some very dirty looks in the supermarket this afternoon, cos I was laughing my tits off at the extremely fat woman in front of me in the checkout queue.

The conveyor belt was stacked high with ready meals, pot noodles, chocolate, crisps, biscuits, frozen yorkshire puddings (even I can make those!) & pizzas. Best of all, on top of the pile was a copy of 'I can make you thin' by Paul McKenna.

Sorry love, but you don't need a book to tell you to stop eating crap, and start buying fresh food instead. It's not rocket science, you know.

11 September 2005

Autumn NABDness

Had a belting weekend at the Autumn NABDness rally in Oxfordshire. It was great apart from the rain. Met some really nice people (hello to The Reverend, Tich, Bonehead, Bungle, Andy, & Cory!) and had a good laugh. Tich was a complete star and fixed the electrics on my bike, and The Reverend put up with me being a coarse notherner (despite me being stone cold sober all weekend), so they both deserve medals.

Billy cut his head open, so he went home cos it hurt and I ended up doing the van driving for the weekend, and enjoyed it immensely. Sorry Billy, hope you're feeling better.

Smurf did my head in on the journey home, speeding up and slowing down, so eventually I deserted him on the M6.

I'll post up some pics when I can be bothered. Watch this space

07 September 2005

Potholes cut accidents!

Congratulations to Councillor Andrew Furse of Bath and North East Somerset Council for coming out with possibly the most stupid statement of the year.

Apparently he wants to suspend repairs to roads because he believes that people drive more carefully when the road surface is in a dangerous condition, thereby reducing accidents.

Although LibDem Watch reported this ridiculous statement back in July 2005, MCN only picked up on it this week. On the ball as ever, guys, eh?

31 August 2005

New lid


Oh what a happy Womble am I. My current skid lid, an Arai Giga II is now eleven years old, and falling to pieces, so I've finally got off my bum, broken out the credit card and forked out for a new lid. It's another Arai, cos they fit so well. This one is a Signet Cathcart replica.

RRP £379.99. Reassuringly expensive, as they say.

In the past all my lids have been plain black, but I thought it was about time for a change.

New Orleans

The Police in New Orleans really do have their priorities wrong. Thousands of people are homeless as a result of the devastation caused by hurricane Katrina, and the Police are wasting precious time trying to stop looting from supermarkets.

OK, I know that the Police have a duty to prevent lawlessness, but please, get real. The food in these shops can not be sold, indeed, that which is still fit for consumption will be beyond it's 'best before' date before the insurers even get to it. So instead of trying to stop people nicking it, take control of it and get it distributed fairly to those in most desperate need. As for the other stuff, electrical goods, etc, most of it is ruined anyway.

27 August 2005

Hurrah for Saparmyrat Niyazov!

Hurrah for Saparmyrat Niyazov, the President of Turkmenistan!

So why do I say this? After all, it is well known that he prefers to spend public money on silly projects rather than on social welfare, closed nearly all of the hospital in Turkmenistan, sanctions heavy-handed censorship of all media, declared himself 'president for life' and has banned men from having beards or long hair.

Well, he has done something that I have been calling for in the UK for many years - he's banned lip-synching (i.e. miming to music), saying "
Don't kill talents by using lip-synching... create our new culture". At last, someone has seen the truth - there are too many talentless so-called entertainers out there, making money on the back of someone else's ability. We should ban it in the UK too.

OK, so he's done one thing I really approve of.

However, he's still a cunt.

Why I hate going to London

OK, we'll skip the bit about the 5 hours I spent on trains getting there and back, suffice it to say that it was cramped, hot and uncomfortable. They journey back was made more bearable by the lads in the vestibule having a party on the way back- it cheered me up no end.

Yesterday, I walked from Westminster to Rathbone Place (off Oxford Road). It's only about 2 miles, although I probably walked three miles because I did a couple of detours on the way. Apart from the fact that my foot was killing me by the time I got there, I was extremely peeved at the huge number of moronic pedestrians who seem only to have two speeds: slow and stop. London is full of these gormless dawdlers who don't even have the sense to move when they see an increasingly annoyed Womble stomping towards them in a mission to get to Hobgoblin Music before the place shuts.

One poor pedestrian who decided to stop in the middle of the pavement for no apparent reason was rather startled to hear a very angry "oh for fks sake!" right in their ear, before being unceremoniously moved to one side to allow the rest of the street to get past them.

Oh yeah, and Recess Monkey, you were right - the book shop I wanted was indeed Foyles. It's been refitted and had a new shop front since I was last in there and that's why I missed it when looking for it again. They still didn't have the book I wanted though. Ho hum.

24 August 2005

I told you it hurt!

Shirl thinks that her bruised toe is impressive - but it's absolutely nuffink compared to my foot, which is still swollen. The bruise starts above the ankle bone, and goes all down the left-hand side of my foot (or should that be left-foot side?) and right across the top of my foot and down to the toes. Every day has a new array of colours in which to delight, from the deep purple line under my ankle bone, to the black puddle on top of my toes. My foot isn't so much black and blue, as brown and purple. I must be the only Thai boxer in the country to sustain more injuries out of the ring than in it. In fact, if you look really carefully, you can still see the last bit of blood blister growing out of my big toe nail from when I kicked my sparring partner in the kneecap...


poor Alice


The Granada News team have just referred to heavy metal veteran Alice Cooper as a 'pop star'. Even I'm offended by that! 'Pop' is the musical equivalent of playing with dolls and dressing in pink frilly frocks.

According to his website Alice Cooper stood against Richard Nixon in the US Presidential Election. What a wonderful world it might have been if Cooper won.

separated at birth?

Pic of Blair from Guido

if you're going to try to hit a biker...

make sure it's not a Policeman.

A
Police Pan is not exactly inconspicuous, especially when being ridden by a Policeman in a fluorescent yellow jacket, so I can only assume that the driver in Bolton town centre yesterday was either blind or very, very stupid.

The bike was heading in a straight line and the driver of a car on the opposite side of the road suddenly decided to turn right, in front of the bike, causing the rider to brake sharply. Needless to say the Policeman followed the car down the cul-de-sac. I hope he gave the numpty a producer.

Ha ha ha.

21 August 2005

Amateur Transplants

I stumbled on the Amateur Transplants website a while ago and I still think it's brilliant. There's some great songs on there, including 'London Underground' and 'The Menstrual Rag'.

Although you can download a couple of tracks for free, it's much better if you buy their CD to help them to raise money for MacMillan Cancer Relief.

20 August 2005

torture time

I've not been training for three weeks now and I've decided to bit the bullet and go back to the gym at 12pm. My sparring partner, Cath, has promised to be nice to me. Ha! I'll believe that when I come home with no new bruises/dislocations/broken bones.

I've remembered not to eat a bacon butty for breakfast this time - the last time I did that, it decided to come back up. I've had cocopops today :o) At least it will be more colourful.

computer strife

Yesterday I suffered from a real PICNIC error (problem in chair, not in computer). I was holding an advice sugery and had downloaded the backup of my case management software onto my USB bar. When I got to the surgery and uploaded the backup onto my laptop, I discovered I'd copied the wrong bloody file - one that was a month old.

In a panic, I sent the slave back to the office with instructions on how to retrieve the correct file. Apart from setting the burglar alarm off, and then coming back and telling me my instructions were 'pants', he said he thought it was OK. He handed me a CD and said "I put it on there". Hmmmm, my PC doesn't have a CD burner... The CD was blank and I was preparing to do the whole damn lot in notepad when he said, oh, and here's your memory thingy back and handed me the USB bar. By some miracle he had actually managed to put the file onto it, and the day was saved.

Hurrah for the slave!

19 August 2005

Mo Mowlam 18 September 1949 - 19 August 2005

I am truly saddened to hear of the death of Mo Mowlam, a lady whom I greatly admired. My sincere condolences to her family.

17 August 2005

Dear HMRC...

I have just spent the past two hours completing the online self-assessment tax form. It would have helped if I actually understood some of the questions. I'm an Office Manager, not a bloody financial advisor! A glossary might be useful. I didn't know what 'post-cessation and similar business receipts' were so I assumed I didn't have any. I bet I'll get a letter telling me I missed summat out.

One More Mile

This picture caught my eye and led me to read OMM, which is a rather good biker site for those who want more out of their ride than just a journey from A to B. I liked the pic because it sums up my outlook on life. No matter what the world throws at me, so long as I've got my bike, it's not all bad.

Oooh! That's a long one!

I'm back. Didja miss me? Whaddya mean you didn't notice I was gone?

I've just spent a week in Crete - my first proper holiday since 1998. So here's a not very brief summary of my jollies.

Place : hot, arid
People : friendly, welcoming and very polite
Food : plentiful, good quality and cheap
Weather : hot & sunny

Tuesday - got up at 3.30am, got to the airport and found that the flight was delayed by 3 hours. Grrrr. Good news: got a meal on the plane. Bad news: it was full of tomatoes (I'm allergic to them), so I couldn't eat anything except the blueberry muffin. Yak. Felt sick on the coach from Chania to Plakias cos I was so hungry. The coach driver, Costa, was a star; he knows exactly how wide his coach is, which is a good job, given that he drove it through the Kourtaliotiko Gorge, which has some very tight turns and rocky overhangs.


My suitcase got damaged somewhere between Manchester Airport and Chania Airport. Family from hell on the coach, with mum gobbing off at everyone and one of the kids being a complete pain in the arse.


This pic is of the German Alps, just close to the border with Austria. Not bad, for a pic taken out of the plane window.


Wednesday- spent the day exploring the village of Plakias, where we were staying in the Apollon Studios. Nice room, excellent pool, hard bed, even harder pillow. Had to use a folded up blanket as an extra pillow. It was so windy at night that it was like sleeping in a wind tunnel. Family from hell in neighbouring studio block complained about everything in sight and kept having a go at the rep.

Thursday - boat trip from Souda Bay on the MV Ostria. Fantastic! Great tour guide (Kristo) showed us the cave of Barbarossa (a pirate)
and I had a ride on the 'banana' (don't be rude! It's the big yellow inflatable thing they tow behind a speedboat). Managed to skin my thumbs whilst trying to stay on the damn thing. It stung like hell when I had to jump in the sea to get back to the boat. Lovely dinner on the boat and then a bit later, another opportunity to swim in the sea which was, surprisingly, very warm. We were on the boat for several hours and the trip was well worth the €42. The taxi-driver (supplied by the rep) who took us from and back to Plakias, was very nice, but completely bonkers. He yattered on at us in Greek for the whole journey, not seeming to be at all bothered that we didn't understand 95% of what he was on about.

Thursday evening, mum of family from hell ran out of studio, shouting 'fire'. Turns out that a palm tree at the side of their studio (on the shaded side) had somehow 'spontaneously combusted' (yeah, right) giving mum another reason to gob off at the poor rep (flat full of smoke, no smoke alarms, everyone could get burnt to death in their beds, etc).

Friday - did absolutely bugger all other than laze around the pool and read. Was very pleased to learn that family from hell had been moved in the middle of the night to another resort. Yippee! Peace at last.

Saturday - same as Friday, except got roped into a game of piggy-in-the-middle with a bunch of kids in the pool. Great fun (sez me who usually hates kids). Hot enough to boil a monkey's bum.

Sunday - hired a motorbike - a BMW F650. What a bloody nightmare. The bike was ok-ish (if you don't mind getting vibration white-finger and a numb arse) but my pillion was crap and whinged almost all day. The roads have no grip whatsoever, junctions are only marked once you actually get on them (scary!) and there are some very nasty hairpins on the mountain roads.
Cretan drivers seem to ignore speed limits, helmet/seatbelt laws, double white lines, etc. and love to beep the horn at every possible opportunity. I was enjoying the ride, despite the 32° heat, until I got to one particular hairpin between Rodhakino and Suda. There was a car coming the other way and a car behind me, and as I tried to turn, the bike started sliding sideways, so I put my foot down, and that started sliding too (I told you there was NO grip), so the bike started to go down and the slave decided to put his foot down. Him being smaller than me, this meant that I couldn't lift the bike back upright again because his leg was in the way. Then he gets off completely and grabs the bars off me, yelling "just let go, will you?" to which I responded "I will if you let go of my bloody thumb!". Anyway, I gently laid the bike down and got off, whilst the car drivers were tutting about the delay. Bollocks to 'em. No damage done, except to my pride.

We visited Rethimnon, which was a lovely old town with a Venetian fortress on top of a hill. We also discovered a beer called 'Vergina', but we weren't tempted to try it...


Monday - The mad taxi driver took us to Rethimnon to join a coach trip to the excavation of the Minoan settlement at Knossos. Our guide was a real-life genuine archaeologist/boffin and she completely blew out all the stuff I'd been taught at school. She pretty much said that the Welsh archaeologist, Arthur Evans, who excavated the site in the 1920s and 30s was a bit of a prat who came up with some dud theories and then tried to make up a story about the 'Palace' - even throwing in a 'throne room' for good measure. It wasn't a palace at all, and the 'throne' was just a chair. The silly bugger even claimed that the big clay things were baths. No they weren't - they were coffins. That's why some of them had skeletons in them. Unfortunately, Evans also decided to reconstruct part of the building, using concrete, and got it wrong, and now they're pretty much stuck with it.


Got back to the studio mid-evening and then swam a kilometre in the pool :o) Found the anti-mozzi spray and decided to use it - and got bitten 5 times. I didn't get bitten at all before I used the spray :o(

Tuesday - Back home again. Queued for over an hour to get the luggage checked in at Chania airport and then pretty much got straight on the plane. Uneventful flight, and then had chicken chow mein from the chippy for tea. Looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight.

Oh yeah, and a miniature bottle of Ouzo got broken in my suitcase, and everything smells lovely.