28 December 2006

Christmas comes but once a year ...

thank feck for that.

The run up to Christmas was spent, as usual, wondering what the hell to get everyone. My ex has a large family and I'm crap with kids so I never know what they'll like. Every year I wrack my brains trying to come up with something good and, once again,
Hawkin's Bazaar came up trumps :o) Although I wasn't able to spend half as much as I usually do on them, I think I did OK. I got a message off Charlie, via Smurf, to say thanks for her prezzie and that she liked it (cheers hon). Dunno what the rest of his family thought of theirs cos I didn't get so much as a Christmas card off any of them. Hurt? Yes, actually, I am. Even a phone call, e-mail or text message would have been nice, but at least now I know where I stand.

I started with a mega-bad back on 20 December. It's now 28 December and it still hurts like hell :o( There have been days where I've been virtually unable to move. Round about the same time, I got the lurgy, which I'm sure was given to me by Freak in one of those nasty e-mail thingies, so I've been coughing my guts up (literally) for a week and no signs of it abating. To be honest, I'm bloody fed up of it. After coughing for several hours last night, and keeping Spike awake, I finally did the decent thing and tried to sleep on the sofa. I managed about 3 hours, which is about the longest yet.

OK, so I make it sound like the worst Christmas ever, but it wasn't. Despite me being ill, and feeling grumpy, I've actually had quite a good time. Spike and I went to my parents for Christmas dinner and had a lovely meal. Then we went off to spend the evening with Mad Dave, Jules, Pauline and Tony and had more food, lots of wine and a good laugh. Then on Boxing Day, Howard came over to see us and we drank lots of tea and put the world to rights. I even managed to drag myself out shopping yesterday and bought a few things for the house. Tonight, I'm off to a party with another bunch of mates in the Midlands, and then at weekend, health allowing, Spike and I are off on a New Year camping trip.

Right, time to eat. Again.

22 December 2006

I take it all back...



Father Christmas DOES exist! Yes, really, he does! I was so excited I nearly dropped me camera, but I managed to get this rare pic, just before he gave me a Vimto lollipop. Yay!

21 December 2006

Brightest blessings

and a very merry Yule to you all.

The picture below is from Amy Brown Fantasy Art, and I think it's just right for the Winter Solstice.

When is lying OK?

This article in the Manchester Evening News has made me quite annoyed and maybe not for the reason you'd think.

Parents are annoyed because a vicar has allegedly told kids that Father Christmas isn't real. Whether he did actually say that or not is a moot point. However, I truly believe that it is fundamentally wrong to lie to your kids and make them believe in a fictional character, only to tell them some years later that you made it all up. After all, most normal people bring their kids up to tell the truth, don't they? So what gives parents the right to lie to their kids? Some kids are so upset by the revelation that they cease to trust their parents, because if they've lied about that, what else have they lied about?

Surely a far more sensible approach would be to teach them from the outset that the Father Christmas portrayed by many people in this world, is not the real Father Christmas, and teach them about the story of St. Nicholas, or Santa Claus, Christkind, or Kris Kringle, or whatever you happen to call him in your part of the world. Tell them that the original charitable gift-giver died many many years ago, and that people remember his kindness by dressing up and giving gifts to their loved ones. That way, they'll understand that the spirit of the deed is to be kind to one another, not to be money-grabbing little parasites.

Oops, sorry, got a bit carried away there. Um, er, Bah Humbug!

19 December 2006

Turkey and Tinsel

I've been a bit slow with my blogging recently, cos I've had a lot to do, what with Smurf moving out, and me trying to catch up with my work. However, I thought I really ought to tell you all about Lost Weekend's Turkey and Tinsel gig on 2 December at the Sportsman Inn in Halifax (bloody good pub!).

I had absolutely no idea where the pub was, but Spike and I set off to Halifax in good spirits. I pulled in at Sainsbury's and asked if they had any A-Z Maps. I got a blank look, and then someone suggested I try the petrol station. So I went over there and they had A-Zs of Bradford and Leeds, but not Halifax or the big West Yorkshire one. Spike and I tried several other places but they all had maps of anywhere except Halifax. Maybe they don't like foreigners from over the border...

Anyway, it was whilst we were looking for another shop that we suddenly came upon the pub and found there was a parking space right outside the door. Bonus! I grabbed my trusty camera from the car boot and went inside, to be greeted by the lovely Mike South, who'd come all the way from Southampton especially to see the band.

Whilst the band were doing their sound check, Spike, Mike and I had a few drinks and put the world to rights, and had a chat with
Ratty, the resident DJ.

The gig got going in grand style, and the whole pub was rocking. This was the first time I'd had the opportunity to listen to the material from the band's new album, Forever Moving On, and I was mightily impressed. In fact, since the gig, the album has been on 'repeat' on my CD play pretty much every day since. You can have a listen to some of their tracks on the Lost Weekend MySpace. My current favourites are 'Seize the Day' and 'High and Low', although I have to say I love all but one of the tracks.


During the gig, it became apparent that Robin had his own
fan club in attendance, given by the number of people yelling out his name, and the rapturous applause when he left the stage, shortly before getting mobbed.

Despite the tiny stage, the lads managed to put on a great show, and I even managed to get some rare pics of Jack, who is usually hidden in the dark and murky corners where no camera flash can penetrate. My photo-taking spree was interrupted temporarily by Paul trying to put his leg in front of the lens but I didn't mind, safe in the knowledge that I'll get my chance to leg him up eventually ;o)

Dave was in 'Guitar Face' mode again, to accompany his amazing riffs. I often wonder what would happen if the power went off mid-riff. Would he still pull the face, even with no sound?

Dave and Squiz weren't pissed at all after the gig. Oh no. Honourable mention should go to Jeff the Tech, cos he works really hard behind the scenes and never really gets any credit for it.

15 December 2006

Playing God...

When I get asked to go to fancy dress parties, I never have a clue what to wear. Woody always seems to be able to come up with something good, though (although his pimp costume was maybe a bit too 1970s). Maybe I should ask him for ideas. I think this latest costume, and photo is brilliant. He won't tell me if the Saviour goes commando though. Spoilsport.

14 December 2006

Wet

I've just seen on the news that the village of Milnathort in Perth & Kinross has been flooded. One of Cooldrums's mates, lives there and, if I recall correctly, lives pretty damn close to the river. Cooldrums, get some pictures, you never know, they might come in handy for an insurance claim. Failing that, you could sell them to the press.

Hazel, I hope that you and your stuff are OK.

Lonely T.O.G.

Tradgedy has struck in the Womble-mobile. The radio in my car has decided to die on me and I have been forced to travel to work Wogan-less. I've checked the fuses and it's not that, so that's about the limit of my expertise. Bugger.

12 December 2006

Mass medication

I am so fed up of the state trying to enforce medication on the citizens of the UK.

Some kids have bad teeth because their parents feed them on sugary food and don't make them clean their teeth properly, so the Government wants to mass medicate the water supplies with fluoride, even though most people neither need nor want it. Indeed, for some people it could prove fatal.

Now the Food Standards Agency has decided that because some young women don't get enough 'folates' (folic acid) in their diet when they're pregnant, that all flour and bread supplies should be doctored with the stuff. I realise that a folate deficiency when pregnant can lead to problems with the baby, such as Spina Bifida, but that is no reason to mass medicate the whole of the UK's bread supplies.

Well how about this? The UK has a massively high teenage pregnancy rate, so let's reduce it by adding contraceptive drugs to the water supply? Whilst we're at it, how about adding aspirin to the food supplies, so that people can avoid headaches and heart attacks? Hmm, I wonder if adding paracetamol to beer will help to prevent hangovers?

I've got a better idea. Why doesn't the Government let people take responsibility for themselves for a change. If you don't want your kids to have bad teeth, teach them proper nutrition and dental hygiene. If you want your baby to be healthy, make sure you eat properly during the pregnancy. Don't let the majority suffer for the stupidity/incompetence of the minority.

If you want to have your say on the folic acid debate, have a look at the Food Standards Agency website.

09 December 2006

The big cleanup

Smurf's in the process of moving out and I'm the process of cleaning up. Everything's going OK so far, except that I've cut my nose-picking finger which, to me, is a tragedy.

07 December 2006

ET has landed!

"Well not so much landed as spluttered his way here."

Yes, that's how my mate Debs announced the arrival of her first grandchild. From the text above, I'm guessing it's a boy, but we haven't been told if he's got a name yet.

Debs, please make Kelly give him a sensible name!

Congratulations Kelly, now the hard work really starts ;o)

05 December 2006

Pachelbel's Canon in D

Many many years ago, when I played in a Chamber Orchestra, my favourite piece was Pachelbel's Canon in D. Even now, saddo that I am, I will put the CD on and play along to it, reliving my former passion :o)

Anyway, I've had this bookmarked on my browser for bloody ages and it's about time I shared it with you all, cos this lad is the dog's bollocks.