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


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.


Way hay, a new search engine to play with!

21 November 2005


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!


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.


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.