27 July 2006

Look out for smoke signals

OK, today I am setting off on what sounds like it's going to be a great break away from the rat race. I'm off to the wild jungles of South Wales, to learn all about Bushcraft.

This will include forging knives, flintknapping, long bow making, deadfalls and snares, shelter building, knots, cordage, fire by friction with bowdrill and handrill, bamboo workshop, plant walk, tracking and making hobo stoves/reflector ovens.

It sounds great doesn't it. In reality, I suspect I'm gonna starve to death. If I'm not back by Wednesday, please arrange for a parcel-drop of wine and chocolate, and a consignment of aromatic crispy duck with spring onions, cucumber and pancakes. TVM.

Now, has anyone got any Kendal Mint Cake? Brandy?

Getting a buzz

The TotalRock newsletter is a wonderful source of information. This morning's missive includes this gem:


"The Members of AntiProduct, on their recent return from recording and networking with the Rich and Powerful in Los Angeles, were stopped on their arrival into Heathrow Int'l Airport by Customs Agents in the 'Nothing To Declare' lane. What the band had failed to mention in their arrival documents were the 600 red and black striped Jungle Rocket vibrators they were carrying in their suitcases, courtesy of their good friends at www.goodvibes.com, sponsors of the First Official Masturbate-a-thon in London on August 5, promoting Safe Sex. The airport all but came to a standstill when the customs dude got to suitcase number three with all the vibrators in it, like in that Western when the bad guys ride into town. It took all of singer A. Product's Chicago bullshitting skills to talk the band's way outta the mess. But more than that, the looks on the tourists passing us by were priceless, with all these vibrators and their attachments spilling like little hand grenades. One Japanese couple actually threw themselves on the floor, screaming! Using the desperate ploy of telling the absolute truth, the band were eventually able to make clear that the vibrators are part of a upcoming promotional campaign , heralding the release of the AntiProduct's version of the Beach Boys' classic 'Good Vibrations', and not the weaponry of terrorism either through violence or the sale of black market sex toys. After the band's release it was reported that several of the vibrators had gone walkies, and one female and two male Customs Agents were seen with knowing grins!"

For similar wonderful stories, why not sign up to the TotalRock newsletter yourself? You can listen to the station live on the Internet too, which is great for me, cos most of the 'terrestrial' radio is pish. At least this station plays proper music, ands knows that Kylie does not come under the banner of 'rock'!

26 July 2006

Hot weather makes people stupid

I've just had a brief walk round Bolton town centre and seen a few things that made me wonder just how stupid/weird people can be. I was only out 15 mins! Oh yeah, and it's 30 degrees, so most people are wearing shorts and t-shirts. So here's what I saw:
  1. a teenage girl wearing furry boots and a furry anorak
  2. an old man wearing a dufflecoat and trilby
  3. an emaciated woman walking round in flip flops and a grey satin slip which barely covered her assets (or lack thereof), and smoking a cigar
  4. a chav bloke yelling at a crying baby to try to make it shut up. FFS! It's 30 degrees out there, take the fkin duvet off the kid! No wonder it was crying, I think I'd be crying too.

Sometimes, I despair :o(

24 July 2006

A grand day out

On Sunday, Spike and I went to the Black Country Living Museum near Dudley. We had a fantastic day, and I only wish that we'd gone for 10am, when it opened, instead of leaving it until noon.

I can highly recommend the BCLM as a great day out for young and old. The staff were really friendly and helpful and the site is pretty much disabled friendly. There is some rough ground and a few steps, but they have portable ramps which they'll go and get for you. They'll even provide wheelchairs for those who may not be able to walk so far.

There is a lot of walking involved, but there are trolley buses which travel up and down the site all day.

There were three bits of the site we didn't get to see; the Oliver Shop, which was closed whilst they were working on it, the cinema, because it was just too bloody hot in there, and the Canal Tunnel Trip. At first, I thought that £4.25 was a bit steep, but then I found out that the trip lasts more than three quarters of an hour, so I reckon it's damn good value for money. I intend to go back and do the Canal Tunnel Trip again. I think you can do the trip in isolation from the rest of the museum.

So, which bits did I enjoy the most? Well, I think the coal mine has to come top of my list. We were given hard hats and purposely-dim torches and then guided underground into the pitch blackness. The roof was very low in some places, so a lot of ducking was required, but it really did bring it home to me what appalling conditions the miners worked in. The tour guide was very knowledgeable, having worked at a colliery himself, albeit above ground.

Return of the Village People

The guide who took us around the Anchor Forge and Rolling Mill will never forgive me if I don't give a mention to his hero, Henry Cort, who was the inventor of the steel rolling mill. The rolling mill at the museum is a bit rusty because, obviously it's not in use, but the guide did explain quite comprehensively how it worked.

The Anchor Forge was pretty impressive too. Just look at the size of the anchors! I wouldn't like to have one of those dropped on me toe!

I think Spike was particularly fascinated with the Trap Shop - a small factory dedicated to the production of animal traps. The factory closed down overnight when trapping was made illegal.

The guide at Pitt's Cott was a cracking bloke. He seemed to have an unlimited store of knowledge which he was willing to share with all-comers. I felt quite sorry for him because the range was lit and the cott was stiflingly hot, but he didn't actually seem to notice. He told me that his good lady cooks their dinner on the range, and that it roasts meat beautifully. I felt quite hungry after that visit and set off towards the village chippy, where the chips are cooked in beef dripping. Yum! Oh yeah, and they have little piggies at the cott too!

Happy as a pig in ...

I've always been a fan of steam power, so I really wanted to see the Newcomen Steam Pump. Sadly it wasn't in steam, but it was damned impressive all the same.

The museum is currently working on the relocation of the Workers' Institute, and are asking for people to 'sponsor a brick'. Go on, it's only a tenner, and it's worth it to save this wonderful piece of Labour history.

There really is too much there to mention everything, but it really was a damn good day out. So here's a couple more photos, just to whet your appetite.

because I liked it.

Lest we forget...

above the law?

OK, so you're driving into town and you see that your preferred route is coned off, with a big sign saying 'Police, No Entry', and has a police car blocking the road. What would you do? Well several hundred people took the alternative route, but the muppet in front of me decided he was just going to go round the Police car and carry on down the blocked off road. He looked every so surprised when the copper went after him and made him turn round. What a wanker!


Bristol Council has been criticised for allowing a piece of graffiti by Banksy to remain on the side of a building. Apparently, in an online poll, 97% of voters wanted it to stay.

I rather like it.

21 July 2006

Spanish Castle

This is a really weird optical illusion. Don't worry, it's not one of those stupid things where summat screams at you and makes you jump. It's a proper optical illusion.

You need to have javascript enabled. It didn't work in my Firefox, but it worked fine in IE.

Taking acting to the extreme?

Big Vern spotted this one. It made I larf, it did.

Actor Playing Jesus is Accidentally Crucified in This Year's Passion Play

My favourite line has to be:

The autopsy of Pastor Truefaith revealed acute toxicity of the liver, which was attributed to the 3 quarts of apple cider vinegar the "Roman Soldiers" force-fed the actor while he was on the cross. Added Sergeant Lewis: "And the decision to use real nails certainly didn't help."
And for all you thickos out there - no, it's not real. Honest.

19 July 2006

Can I start again, please?

So far today:
  • I dropped and broke the glass soapdish in the bathroom, cutting my leg in the process
  • I left my cash at home and had to go back for it
  • I locked my office keys in the office and had to go and get the second set off the cleaner
  • The bank told me I can't have a temporary overdraft facility, even though I've had an account with them for over 20 years and have never gone overdrawn. Apparently it's because I opened a second account a months ago, and they say I haven't put enough money through it yet, even though it's my old account I want the overdraft on. They did, however, try to sell me a credit card again, despite the fact I've already got one that I don't use.
  • My laptop overheated and shut itself down in protest, despite the fact that it has internal fans, a heavy-duty 'cooling pad' and the office fan all dedicated to keeping it happy.

So, if you don't mind, I'd really like to go home and sit in the garden with a nice cold beer.

18 July 2006

Sniffer Dogs



I don't know who is worse

The idiot who penned this crap, or the Bolton Evening News for publishing it. They must be really desperate. Perhaps they thought it would start a flood of letters.

Mrs. Marshall, you have my deepest sympathy for being married to such a complete tosser.

15 July 2006

Perfect day

Been out eight hours today. Great weather, great company, great roads. Spike and I took a meandering route, through Standish to Orrell, Bickerstaffe, Aughton, Formby and to our destination - Crosby, where we paid a visit to Critch, Emily & their two great kids, Grace & Freya. Critch gave me a Womble - Stepney, to be precise :o) Cheers mate!

After stuffing ourselves with pizza and potato wedges, we set off towards Southport, where we stopped to admire the lack of sea, and have a cup of tea and a cake.

We then set off again, through Tarleton, Holmeswood, Rufford and Parbold, before heading up through Haigh to sit up on Rivington Moor to watch the sun go down. We did about 100 miles on the round trip, and no-one tried to kill us!

We're now sat in front of the telly, watching some programme about Glastonbury, with some chilled white wine and a big bag of Maltesers :o)

All in all, it's been a bloody nice day.

12 July 2006

Canine dustbin

It would appear that my neighbour's dog, Stretch, likes Sherbet Fountains. Nooooooooo!!!!!!!

Addendum - sherbet and red wine do not make a good mix :o(

Bull terrier vs porcupine

Porcupine 150 - 0 Bull Terrier

Shame on the VA

Kingdom of Madness has highlighted the story of a fallen Wiccan soldier, Sgt Patrick Stewart, who has been left with no memorial because the US Department of Veteran Affairs won't allow a pentangle to be inscribed on US military memorials or grave markers.

In this day and age of so-called 'religious tolerance', it is disgraceful that someone who fought and died for their country cannot have their Wiccan beliefs recognised on their memorial.

Of course you could always contact the VA and tell them what you think.

Lest We Forget...

24/7 working?

Caller: "When is your next open advice session?"
Me: "Next Friday, from 4.30 to 6.00."
Caller: "Is that in the afternoon?"
Me: "No, I like to work in the early hours of the morning when every fucker else is asleep"

OK, I didn't really say that, but it was sooo tempting.

11 July 2006

Bye bye Syd

Pink Floyd's very own Crazy Diamond has finally shuffled off this mortal coil.

10 July 2006

Woo hoo!

It looks like I may be getting someone to help me in the office for the summer holidays. Yippee!

I'll know for certain later on today :o)

06 July 2006

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Coming to a town centre near you...
Hell's Granny!
Happy new scooter, Linda :o)

One for Deb

A large hospital recently hired several cannibals as it couldn't find enough British staff.

"You are all part of our team now", said the HR manager during the welcoming briefing. "You get all the usual benefits and you can go to the canteen on the Ground Floor for something to eat, but please don't eat any of our other employees".

The cannibals promised they would not. Four weeks later their boss remarked, "You're all working very hard and I'm satisfied with your work. However, one of our secretaries has disappeared.. Do any of you know what happened to her?"

The cannibals all shook their heads "No".

After the boss had left, the leader of the cannibals said to the others, "Which one of you idiots ate the secretary ?"

A hand rose hesitantly.

"You fool!", the leader continued, "For four weeks we've been eating managers and no one noticed anything. But, NOOOooo, you had to go and eat someone who actually does something!

Not only is the law an ass...

but the judges have gone soft too. 21 year-old yob, Daniel Hardman was sent down for six months, but he did a Gazza and had a bit of a weepy in the dock, and the judge thought "awww, poor love" and decided to change his mind and give him community service and a fine instead.

I wonder how many other scrotes are going to try turning on the waterworks to get a reduced sentence?

Allan Beswick sez he's going to set up a business installing tissue dispensers in the docks of the UK courts. He might just make a fortune.

Nationality Test

Wulfweard the White's Nationality Test is uncannily accurate. Give it a go and see what you think.

04 July 2006

Is there no escape?

There's something rather disconcerting, when the radio alarm-clock goes off at 6.45am and the first voice you hear is that of your boss. It's like being haunted.

02 July 2006

The death of civil liberty

Major rant warning!

This article has really annoyed me. There is a small minority of stupid people out there who have committed crimes using knives as weapons. As a result, the British Transport Police have decided to crack down on everyone carrying what they choose to define as a weapon.

Now, as it happens, I do possess a small number of items which the Police would define as weapons. OK, I don't carry them around with me when I'm off to the shops or anything daft like that, but what if I carry one for a legitimate purpose? For example, when on my motorbike, I have a multitool in my tool kit, which is carried on the bike at all times. It has a blade on it, as well as a small saw, a screwdriver, a file and a pair of pliers. So, if I need to carry out a roadside repair to my bike, and the Police decide to intervene, whilst they can see that I am using the tool for a legitimate purpose, the officer might decide that I shouldn't have been carrying it in the first place.

I also have three small sheath knives, and I will usually take one of them with me when I go camping. I'm not one of these poncey car-boot campers. I like to do camping for real, and enjoy a bit of small-scale bushcraft, for which a knife is essential. Does that mean I am a criminal?

What about my Swiss Army Knife, which I purchased at Vienna airport in 1998? (Yes, folks, bought at an airport!) It has a blade, a screwdriver, a pair of tweezers, a toothpick and, most importantly a corkscrew :o) It's a tiny thing, only four inches long when folded up, but I am rather attached to it. Does this make me a criminal?

Now the felling axe might be a completely different story... it's a very nice axe with a 3 foot haft, given to me by a friend. OK, so I wouldn't take that out with me, but hey, I've got an axe :o)

I know someone who has a sword and a flail hanging on his wall. They're just for decoration, but should a Police officer come to visit, would they be confiscated? He also has a small machete which he uses for hacking away at the brambles in his garden - does that make him a criminal? The only blood it has drawn is his own (clumsy sod). Another friend uses a sickle in his garden. Personally I prefer my strimmer, but the sickle works for him.

The main thing that has annoyed me about Operation Shield, is the apparent presumption that anyone who has a knife will use it for a criminal purpose.

So, given that the transport police are convinced that there is a desperate need to search everyone, how many crimes have been committed to warrant such resources? Well, according to their own website, that staggering figure is ... wait for it ... "only one knife-related incident for every four million passenger journeys". That's 0.000025%. WTF??? According to Cancer Research UK, 27% of deaths in 2004 were caused by cancer. You're more likely to die from cancer than you are to be a victim of a knife crime on the railway.

The world has, indeed, gone mad.

When I was a kid, young people were pretty much expected to carry a knife of some sort. I rarely went anywhere without my penknife, which my grandma bought for me whilst I was still at primary school. I was taught how to use it responsibly and whiled away many a happy hour, whittling away at bits of wood, and using it to make kindling for campfires. A knife was part of the kit carried by Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, and care and use of the aforementioned knife was detailed in the respective handbooks. I was even presented with a new knife at one camp, as a reward for my campcraft skills.

Where will this stop? In Coventry town centre, the Police have already executed two operations in the town centre, forcing people to walk through their metal detectors. Of course, they tell you that it's purely voluntary, but then they also tell you that if you refuse, or are seen to be avoiding them, they'll stop and search you anyway, because you're acting suspiciously. So what they mean is, you have a choice between walking through the detectors or being phyically searched. So what sort of 'voluntary' is that? It stinks.

So what has gone wrong? It doesn't matter how many knives you confiscate from people - it won't stop the crime. I must have at least 20 sharp knives in my kitchen alone. You don't have to have a knife to cause injury. It could be a key, a nail, a coin, a makeup mirror. Hell, I could do more damage hitting or headbutting someone with my crash helmet. I practice Muay Thai, so I could do a fair amount of damage with no weapon at all, if I was so inclined.

The sort of people who would commit crime, are just going to do it anyway, and harassing innocent people will just make them resentful. It's about time that we remembered to teach responsibility at the same time as rights.

You can't teach responsibility with a big stick, it just doesn't work.

and another one...

One woman's personal monthly hell.

There is a proper eco-friendly solution though - the Mooncup. I don't know why they don't get more publicity, cos they're brilliant and not at all messy, until the 'usual' products.

Where can I get a cheap megaphone?

Thanks to Oz for this one - an arsehole with a loud car stereo gets beaten at his own game.

I still intend to put air horns on the bike :o)

Phew! What a scorcher!

Went to a party last night, great fun. Got a kebab on the way home too, not had one in ages :o)

Gave Kyle a lift on the bike to go and pick up his car from the party venue. It's only 2 miles away, but bloody hell is it hot! I was stuck to my jacket when I came to take it off. Lovely.

Got a text off The Reverend yesterday too; he's back from his intrepid travels round Spain on his Norton Interpol II, and I look forward to seeing the hundreds of photographs that I know he will have taken.