02 November 2009

Sorry, until the next time.

I can believe what I just heard on the news. Arsene Wenger believes that disgraced footballer Marlon King should be given a second chance and be permitted to continue his career after he has served his prison sentence for assaulting a woman in a nightclub, as long as he's sorry for what he did.

Second chance? Doesn't he mean 14th chance? Given that he has 13 previous convictions, including one for violence against women, I suspect the only thing he'll be sorry about is any potential loss of income. It's his wife and kids that I feel sorry for.


29 September 2009

The rising cost of food

I very rarely shop for food in the supermarkets because my local market is superb in terms of range, quality and value for money.

However, the other day, I decided that, seeing as I was going into the supermarket for soap powder, I may as well buy the food for that day's tea in there too. When I got to the checkout, I nearly had a heart-attack at the cost. £28 for just a couple of items! Now I could understand it if I'd bought luxury items, but I hadn't - just bog-standard ordinary stuff (and no alcohol). The cost of one night's meal was more than I'd normally spend for a week's worth of food on the market.

It made me think about what we buy, where we buy it and why. I receive e-newsletters from a couple of supermarkets, and I looked at the items on 'special offer'. Let's compare some prices:

A 1kg (2.2lbs) bag of potatoes for £1.29 in the supermarket. On the market, it's less than £1 for 5lbs of the same spuds - double the amount.
Mushrooms for nearly £1.50 for ¼lb, when it's about £1.10p for 1lb on the market.
I can buy a week's worth of veg on the market for about £7, and my weekly shop includes potatoes, onions, carrots, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, garlic, celery, peppers, swede and, in winter, 1lb of 'pot herbs' (mixed chopped veg suitable for stews), because I'm lazy. For a further £1, I can buy 6 apples on the market. There's no way that I could get so much good quality food for so little cost in the supermarket.

Then there's the meat. 2 lamb loin chops in the supermarket for £3.84, yet I can get 4 for a fiver on the market. Nearly £7 for 5 chicken breasts in the supermarket (£1.40 each), yet I bought 26 chicken breasts for £20 on the market (77p each). Last week I bought 2 fresh tuna steaks, 2 salmon fillet pieces and 2 large bass for less than a tenner. In the supermarket, it's nearly twice that.

Not only is our local market good value for money, but the range of fresh products is far superior to any of the supermarkets.

I'm not just picking on one supermarket either, within close distance of my home and workplace, there's Aldi, Lidl, Tesco, Morrisons, Asda and Sainsbury's, and I've shopped in all of them at one time or another.

So, why do people choose to shop in supermarkets? Well, some people don't have a high quality local market within easy reach of their homes, but many do and simply can't be bothered to go and have a look. They'd rather drive to the big supermarket, buy all of their week's shopping in one place and pay through the nose for the priviledge. The annoying thing is, they'll probably chuck half of it away because they buy too much and then don't eat it until its 'poisonous on' date.

05 July 2009

I'm blaming Punzie

Cos I'm drunk and it's all her fault. So there. Zzzz

25 June 2009

Salads 'rival Big Macs for fat'

Well, according to the BBC they do.  A survey by Which? magazine goes on to cite examples such as 'Marks and Spencer's Pasta with Tomato & Basil Chicken', Sainsbury's Thai Chicken Noodle and 'Sainsbury's Tomato & Basil Chicken'.

Excuse me?  These are pasta and noodle dishes, not salads. 

Most people equate 'salad' with plants (although the word 'salad' actually means 'mixture') and, therefore, I think this article is misleading.

This biased article will only serve to allow some people to normalise stuffing their faces with burgers whilst saying "it's no more fattening than salad".  They'll probably go on to blame Which? or the BBC for them being overweight.

Salad vegetables are low fat.  It's the other stuff you put with them, like dressings and mayonnaise that makes it fattening.  Eat a proper vegetable salad and, believe me, you won't be eating a lot of fat.

My mum got it right years ago.  She said that if you buy fresh food and don't live off food mixed and prepared in factories, you will have a healthier diet.  Stop buying convenience foods and learn how to prepare stuff yourself.  It's not difficult.

20 June 2009

Drever, McCusker & Woomble

A great gig, spoiled only by the couple in front of me who, between them, managed to obscure 90% of my view of the stage. I ended up sitting with one arse cheek off the edge of the seat and my head on one side, just so I could see. I have backache now.

Eventually, I had to tell them to sit back in their seats. The woman, who was clearly bored witless, gave me a really dirty look, so I smiled and then sat back to hear "this is our last song, thank you".

Fortunately for me, the band did two more songs as an encore, so I actually managed to see and hear everything for three whole songs.

I was pleased that Chris Drever sang 'The Poorest Company' because I love that song. It's one I'm trying to learn.

John McCusker played a wonderful medley which raised the biggest cheer of the night. If I could play half as well as him, I'd be very chuffed indeed.

One thing that did make my night is that D, M & W have released their album on vinyl, so I had to buy one. Yes, some of us still prefer vinyl.

I'm home now and blogging from my bed, absolutely knackered. Night night everyone.

19 June 2009

Heidi Talbot & Boo Hewardine

It's the interval of a cracking gig at Bury Met. I came to see Drever, McCusker & Woomble (not that I hero-worship John McCusker at all...), but I'm seriously impressed with the support act, Heidi & Boo. Heidi has a beautiful voice & a lovely stage presence & I might just be buying her record. Yes, she has a 12" vinyl out - fantastic!

18 June 2009

Hayfever - the light at the end of the tunnel?

It's OK, I'm not going to repeat my annual whinges about hayfever in this post.  Oh no.  I think i may have found a solution.  My friend Claire suggested one of these .  It cost me £15 - about the cost of 2 prescriptions, so if it works, it'll be well worth the money.

OK, I have realised that I look a complete idiot whilst using it (think Arnie in Total Recall when he's taking the bug out of his head), but it does actually seem to be working.

Day One

I sneezed as soon as I put the thing in my nose, and continued to sneeze for a good minute afterwards.  It was a bit messy.  It also made my eyes stream to the point where the tears were dripping off my chin.  The pharmacist said that i would have to use it 4 times a day, and it really starts to take effect after about 3 days.

Day Two

My eyes are still streaming, and I'm still sneezing like mad when I use it.  However, I've not been sneezing as much in between times.

Day Three

I woke up at 5:30am, courtesy of the milkman and his noisy diesel-powered 'float'.  Although my eyes were a bit sticky, my nose wasn't bunged up at all.  I went back to sleep and woke up to the alarm clock at 6:45 - still not bunged up.

At 7:30am, I managed to use the device for 2½ minutes before sneezing.  This time, my eyes started watering towards the end of using it, rather than immediately, as before.  I was a little bunged up around 10am, but cleared it easily with a single Locket sweet.  Felt fine until dinner time.

12:10 - second use of the day.  No sneezing, no runny nose, no runny eyes.  Result?  Possibly.

16 June 2009

They're all at it!

My garden is full of sparrows doing a bit of jiggy jiggy, and making a right racket too. Mrs Blackbird looks somewhat bemused.

14 June 2009


Seeing as this is an annual event, I thought I'd bump this one: Hayfever is Hell

Has anyone found a cure yet? I'm suffocating here!

13 June 2009

Happy Birthday Cath!

I'm sitting in Cath's back garden, putting the world to rights :o). Ah, happy days. Well, evenings ;o)

12 June 2009

Sponsor Julie Hilling to raise money for Bolton Hospice!

My friend Julie will be taking part in Bolton Hospice's Midnight Memories walk on Saturday, to raise some much needed money to help to improve the quality of life for patients and the people close to them who face the problems associated with life-threatening disease.

It costs approximately £1.2m each year to provide the service and almost all of this has to be raised by the Hospice and its supporters, so even if you donate only £1.00, every little bit will help to keep this valuable service running.

Please, give 'em some money!

10 June 2009

and there we have it

Only seconds after saying I had nothing to rant about, there was a knock at my door. Now, as it happens, I was sitting in the smallest room, reading. So, I broke off from my task to go & answer the door, only to find it was a young man with a clipboard, wanting to talk to the 'homeowner' but not selling anything. Honest. He was very polite, though, when I said "no thanks".

I tend to work on the theory that if someone comes to my door trying to sell me something I didn't know I wanted, then I probably don't want it.

Mobile ranting

Now I've discovered how to rant from my mobile, I might get round to a few more posts.

So, what can I whinge about today? Well, apart from the builders repairing the roof at my office making enough noise to wake the dead, not a lot has happened, and I can't really blame the builders - there's a job to be done.

Ho hum. I wonder if I have time for a snooze before venturing off to the wilds of Blackrod?

07 June 2009

You know you're really tired when...

you throw your socks in the wardrobe & your shoes in the laundry basket.

01 April 2009

Possibly the most annoying advert ever

These kids really scare me.

What this advert says is "You've got grey hair so you've no chance of pulling a bird; you're a loser, with patronising brats".

Words cannot describe just how much I hate this advert.


08 March 2009

The Devil's Doctor

Thursday night saw the Pikey and me, Punzie, Og, Rook, Ali & Shoeless all traipsing out to Edge Hill University to see The Devil's Doctor - a play about the life of Paracelsus. It was particularly interesting for me, because I studied the History of Medcine for my GCSE History and it has always held a fascination for me.

I don't get to go to the theatre often, but I was glad that I saw this - it was one of the funniest plays I have ever seen. The actors were superb and interacted with the audience, and I was particularly impressed with the improvisation after a prop 'malfunction'. There was one point where I was laughing so much that I had difficulty in breathing. I'm sure I recognise the bloke playing Paracelsus, but I never did find out his name.

Oh yeah, and Og nicked one of their pens, after purchasing a stolen staff for 50p. He did whinge that he never got his 50p back, but as we pointed out, "buyer beware!". (Don't worry, he wasn't really upset ;o) )

It's on again next Saturday at Bury College, and I can highly recommend it. Not for little kids though.

05 February 2009


OK, so we've had a little snow. On 2 December 2008, our town was brought to a standstill because, although the council claims that all the roads were gritted, there was another snowfall after it had been done. It took me over an hour to travel quarter of a mile, before I gave up trying to get to work, and went home instead. To be honest, it's a good job that I did, because I came down with the flu (yes, not just a cold), and I couldn't walk properly for about 3 days.

Anyway, earlier this week, a few schools were closed here because of the snow which, at my estimation was about 3 inches deep. Apparently it was out of concern for the safety of the children. When I was a kid, the only time the school was closed in winter was when the central heating packed in. We had to walk the mile to school through snow, hail & wind and just get on with it. I remember on some days, the teachers even let us stay indoors at dinnertime, if we wanted to. So when did we become so soft? I guess it was when lawyers started telling people to sue others for their own stupidity/incompetence.

This morning, on the way into work, it was snowing lightly, but there were far fewer cars than usual. I guess people are either taking days off, or working from home. It made my journey nice and quick anyway.

So much to rant about, so little time

Believe me, I've not stopped ranting, it's just that I've not had a moment to spare recently. However, I feel a few minor rants coming on today...