Monday, April 30, 2007

You asked for it!

OK, I have been peer pressure cooked into it.

The rat must go, but the rat must also live.

The reseach I have done is not very favourable for our rat friend.

For just a few pounds I can kill him / her / them. For considerably more, I can trap him / her / them and release into the wild.

It comes as no great surprise to anyone who knows me, that I am currently out of work, and am living on the breadline. No income.... no job..... no coffee.... no hope.

The net result of my poverty is that it dictates that the rat(s) must die a horrible, painful, poisonous death.... needs must.

Unless......

.... And this is where I call on all my cunning foxy attributes, to mastermind an alternate plan.

How about this:

You can help me save a rat!!

I promise, that in return for contributions, I will dedicate captured rats to your generosity. Each contributor shall receive a certificate of ownership, and a letter of thanks from each captured rat, along with a photograph commemorating the release.

Click the banner - don't make me kill Ben!! If you don't contribute, then Ben's pain will be on your heads.... not mine!!


Sunday, April 29, 2007

It's a rap trap.....

Well, I realise that opinion on rats is very divided. I like him though. I still can't imagine a method of catching or trapping the little fella, that will not endanger any of the feathered chums that visit my locale.

Perhaps it's time for a little rodentary research?

Sunday evening eh? Where'd the weekend go?

Well, if you're sitting comfortably, and enjoying the "Goldie Lookin' Chain" that should be caressing your earlobes by now (if you have the relevant plugins and sound enabled, and choose to listen to it of course - that's a lot of variables, and I imagine most choose not!!), then I'll begin....

It was a dark and stormy night.... Well, OK, it was a warm sunny Saturday afternoon, probably about nineteen degrees centigrade, but that makes for a crappy beginning....

It was a warm, spring, Saturday afternoon, and the lambs were gambling in the fields.... most of them were hooked up to some online poker tournament, but the rest were just playing "stone paper scissors" for cash, which is hard if you only have hooves for hands!!

Me and Dawn/Dawn and I/myself and Dawn/Dawn and myself - all the bases covered - jumped in the car and began heading north....

I lie..... We actually began heading west, along the infamous M62.... M60.... M61 and then north..... This is actually turning into a pretty crappy story already....

OK, I will cut out the flowery prose of the middle man, and render this seemingly long story short, for your benefit you understand!!

We went to visit my Auntie and Uncle in Dumfriesshire.... the rolling lowlands of Scotland. It only takes two and a half to three hours to get there, and it's a great place to be, and my lovely relatives are always most welcoming.

Exactly one year ago to the day since we last visited the same area on our first "away" trip together.

The weather was grand, the scenery breathtaking, and the wildlife out there, if you take time to suck it all in is majestic.

Amongst the creatures on display - A pheasant strutting around the garden lawn. Red kites hunting the thermals, and soaring circularly skyward, out of sight. Wild partridge running along the roadside, dicing with death.

We just stayed for a day really.... not really long enough to appreciate the excellent company of my relatives, or to explore the sights and sounds, and spring bursting across the land.

What it HAS been though, is a most welcomed sojourn in Scotland. I love spending time with my folks, and I love spending time with Dawn. Quality time - that's what they call it!!

Back down to earth.....

Now, about that rat..... The fox wanders off in search of humane solutions.....

Friday, April 27, 2007

The epitome....

... of laziness.

It's Friday, it's a quarter past eight in the evening, and guess what.... I still haven't even got dressed today!!

I ran out of coffee two days ago, and I don't drink tea.... until today that is!!

So what the hell have I been doing all day?

Watching snooker..... Playing "need for speed".... Drinking tea.....

Nothing more, nothing less.

At one point, I was in the kitchen making a cup of tea, when my garden rat decided to show his face. I spotted him swinging around on a coconut, hanging from my bird feeding pole.

This might not sound at all remarkable in any way, but to me it was an incredible feat. Incredible until I saw him skillfully scale the pole to the top, in order to reach a fresh batch of bird food that I had put out.

The pole itself is a sheer metal pole, with no obvious points of purchase for any furry critters to cling to. Roland (well it seems a fitting to give him the name of my 1980's role model) just wrapped his little paws around the pole, and up he went.... I've never seen anything like it. Coming back down, he just did the same thing, but in reverse..... craftily clinging, and descending headfirst.

I ran, grabbed my camera, and managed to set it to video, and caught the resourceful rodent in resplendent glory, shinning the pole. Unfortunately, it seems the little fella has much more about him than I, and of course, I hadn't quite pressed the right button, and missed the whole bloody episode!!

Bugger!!

I am still torn over the concept of having a rat in my garden, but he is a fine specimen, and for his cunning stunts, he has bought himself a little while longer at least.

Right, I better go get dressed.
Early to bed.....

... early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

I guess my desire to play "need for speed" until all hours ungodly, will mean I am destined to be a sick, stupid, pauper, for all eternity.

It's one AM and I have just hung up my crochet backed driving gloves for the evening, or should that be morning? Even my lovely ambilight television cannot conceal the bags beneath my watery, bloodshot eyes.

I've promised myself to be a better blogger over the next few days. I have so many blogs that I'd like to catch up on.

I remember once, I had a physics teacher, with whom I had established a mutual bond of hatred and fear. When I skived off physics one time, the thought of going back there to face the wrath was too much. Net result was that I never returned to his lesson for the rest of the year.

This is a similar feeling I have to revisiting some of the blogs I have been neglecting lately. The amount of catching up, and the shame of neglecting all those blog entries, and the bloody pressure to come up with a comment for each missed day is tremendous.

Even my own blog is suffering some serious abandonment issues.

I must jolly up my blog, and start writing properly again. I must organise my photos and start posting some of them. I must also start responding to a few comments that get left from time to time.

Starting now:

Spice - The camera in question, that I am saving up for, is a Samsung GX10. The camera and two lenses is just about six hundred pounds, but when you factor all the nice twiddly bits and pieces - spare battery, bag, etc etc then you know I am gonna need a grand.

Y.P. - Yes, I DO want to give up the lozenges. I have heard that the first three months of stopping smoking are the worst, and I intend to use the therapy for that period at least. After six weeks, I will make a concerted effort to reduce the dosage, but until then I am in no rush.... It's not a sprint, it's a bloody tri-peak fell running marathon. Not sure if Dawn prefers kissing an ashtray or a moody, grumpy bastard to be honest?

Here's a fitting photo that I took on St. George's day - it's one of those sit-on-and-ride things, and it's a dragon. (phone camera unfortunately - sorry).



Here's a couple of pics from when I was house sitting at my mum's place. Sheep and millstone grit, and some wild ducks that came to help the chickens eat the sheep's food!! (These are a special gift to Jen and Fred).

This is Yorkshire!!



Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Oh to be in England.

Saint George's day just passed, grey and drizzly, snooker on the telly, and BNP leaflets through the door.

Yes, we're most definitely in England.

Strangely enough, it always makes me smile that BNP (British National Party) are the only wankers who will shove a leaflet through the door and then run off without so much as canvassing my hard earned vote. They are the only party I would actually like to knock on my door, so in return I could knock their effing blocks off!!

I think their PR guru missed a trick by not wrapping their bile ridden leaflets round a house brick and then throwing them through our windows as they drive by from some armoured vehicle.

I shouldn't moan, it's a democracy right? Seems a shame that the BNP come canvassing in a village where two of the three remaining shops are run by Asians, and I for one am VERY grateful for their services, and the fact that they don't observe christian holidays. I can always get a pint of milk or a curry when I need one.

Thirty one days without a cigarette. I am beginning to feel quite proud of this achievement. So far, I haven't smoked twelve hundred and forty cigarettes, and I haven't spent three hundred and twenty five pounds (650 USD; 725 CAD).

The only drawback of using nicotine lozenges, is a heightened state of extremely unpleasant flatulence. The comedy potential is enormous, and I am often found retching at my own astonishing pungency.

Don't think it will be too long now before I can afford the camera I am promising myself.

Right, I better be scooting along.... time's money on a Wednesday night, and I better get myself out of this funk, and into something a bit more presentable before I go round to see Dawn.

Manana bananas!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Double edged sword.

Newton was right.... Every action force, does indeed, have an equal and opposite reaction force.

I am in absolutely no position to confirm any law of physics, but the law does seem to fit my life in mysterious ways.

Having chosen to be out of work, and to rest my weary bones, I am constantly amazed at the reaction this news would provoke in people.

People I haven't seen for years, seem to think that the topic of work is a suitable point of conversation. Rarely am I asked for my viewpoint on the war in Iraq, or my stance on global economics.

So, what are you doing now? The recurring question.

Nothing, the eternal reply.

Impossible, the look on all their faces.

As an addendum, I admit to playing lots of Nintendo.

It's difficult to garner any respect when you don't tow the seemingly employed party line.

I don't like being made to feel guilty about my choice though, and that's the bit that leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

Is it really so incredible that someone might choose not to work?

Today, as an example, and a rare one, I concede.... I woke up on the settee at about two in the morning. Rolled off the sofa, and switched everything off and went to bed.

Woke up around nine, and got some coffee and muesli. Played Nintendo while I ate my breakfast, and went back to bed.

Sucking on a nicotine lozenge and reading a book until I felt ready to get dressed. One in the afternoon. More Nintendo, more coffee, another lozenge.

I have to go pick Tom up from school in a bit, otherwise I may well have charged up my Nintendo DS and spent the whole day in bed reading, and playing games.

Whilst working, I would have daydreamed of days like this. Even on the odd duvet day, it would have been nigh on impossible to shake the nagging guilt far enough away to enjoy relaxing so much.

I refuse to feel bad about doing it..... For a while I am truly free.... to come and go as I see fit, and to do absolutely nothing if I so wish..... and I have wished long enough.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Back in the swing.

I was going to write something about my rehabilitation. My return to my own dwelling, after a week of house-sitting. Something about being "back in the swing" of it. Alas, I don't ever think I have been in the swing of anything, and as such, it would be foolish of me to think otherwise.

I have missed certain elements of being at home this last week though.

I am amazed at how much the garden has come along.

The previously stumpy, brown, decayed stands of fern, that will eventually transform my woodland glade into a jurassic park, have begun to shoot and the fronds are unclicking themselves.

The daffodils, some that came early have now finished, but the later ones are in full bloom. I have some gorgeous double daffs, and they're oh so pretty.

Harebells and bluebells are budding and bursting out.

A handful of tulips (all red unfortunately) are unfurling their scarlet petals, to reveal the alien interiors, in a brazen display of floral flashing.

The cherry tree has finally begun to come into leaf, and there are a few unopened blossoms, where it will no doubt fruit, and be ravaged by the birds.

The monumental, frankly oversized ash tree, which is always the last to get its leaves, and the first to lose them, is budding too.

There's a haze about the place, a fuzzy green haze at the peripheral edge of the garden, that hasn't been there until now. Rebirth, regrowth, resplendent. It's the heartening cycle of life that, irrespective of our short encounter with it, will rumble on regardless.

I frikking hate photos of flowers and plants and such, so here are some!!











Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Pole.

Pole Moor, it's a helluva town.

Well, of course, it's not a town.... far from it.... Far from frikking everything if the truth be known.

Missionaries beware!!

The land of neighbourless dwellings, and marginally reduced light pollution, on the edge of the Pennines. Where five TV channels, and internet connections, are considered akin to alchemy.

It's a close call between watching a program about wheelchair dancing or another dissection of the Virginia Tech shootings on a regurgitative news show.

I'd read a book, but without the television on, the silence here is overwhelming.

Does anyone want some free-range eggs? I've got loads here, and anyone who knows will happily testify as to their outstanding quality..... I'm the egg-man!!

As an example of the Pole Moor based pace of life: I scanned in the Huddersfield Examiner weekly prize crossword, emailed it to my mum, and she and Fred returned me the answers, which we have completed in triplicate and will be entering into this week's prize draw!!

It's times like this that make me wish I'd burned all the Rab C Nesbitt episodes from my Sky+ onto a DVD to bring with me.

Perhaps I will just go back to playing some PC based golf. A more pointlessly enjoyable exercise I could not imagine at quarter past eleven of a Tuesday evening.

In other news - I am slightly on the mend. I've regained some element of control over my bowels. I'm skint, waiting for all kinds of money to land in my lap, but still not quite able to touch it. I am still confused as to what my next career move should be.

Anyone got a job for me?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Infected.

The blogger you have installed is infected with a virus.

Please ensure you have all the relevant painkillers, vitamins, and disinfectants to hand.

I don't know what the hell I have had for the last few days.

First, I thought I had sunstroke. I was shaking, and hot, and then cold, and generally feeling like something bad was going to happen.

Next projectile vomiting - not something that happens to me too often, and I never relish the prospect of a bag of dried fruit trying to make a break for freedom down my nostrils.

Shortly followed by the sensation that every muscle, bone, and fibre of my pathetic existence had been microwaved and hung out to dry. A constant flu like feeling, similar to that of being repeatedly kicked in the scrotum.

I am on the mend now, but the occasional visits to the bathroom are still producing some distinctly unpleasant twists.

A body in turmoil. Thirty six emotionally and physically cataclysmic hours.

I am "baby sitting" my mum's house, while they visit my relatives in Scotland. Being ill, away from home, is not a pleasant experience. The chickens, cats, and sheep in these parts are non too sympathetic to my plight.

As part of any recovery from illness, I like to clean myself up, have a shave, a shower, a change of clothes, and a change of mood. I find I can only face these things when I feel better, and I like to think of it as changing out of my funk. It's usually a good sign when I actually WANT to shave!!

Well, right now, I think I am ready to wield the Gillette Mach 3 and get myself a shower.

I've been in the bloody wars lately.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Grazed?

Ok, so a combination of walking boots, a steep grass banking, a dead tree at the bottom of the banking, denim jeans, an over zealous 38 year old non-smoker with the brain patterns of a ten year old, and legs that don't keep up with the brain.....

Put them together and what do you get?

Cracked ribs, grass stains, grazed forearms, torn muscles, and a reasonable amount of laughter at one's own expense.

I look like a self harm victim that's bitten off a bit more than I ought to.

I can't remember the last time I got a "graze". I certainly can't remember the last time I had a grazed nipple!!

I am dosed up on germoline and nicotine lozenges, and my rock bone's even more busted than ever!!

In order to clear up any confusion over where your rock bone might be.... I would suggest it's somewhere between your shoulder and your collar bone on your "strumming" side!! Overuse of a "whammy bar" or trembalo arm, if you prefer, might cause severe shattering of said rock bone, to the point that one can no longer rock, but must sit in one's grandparents rocking chair drooling like Ozzy Osbourne's dealer.

One thing I have learnt today.... well I've learnt more than one, but I won't bore you with a ream of facts about running down slopes in walking boots..... so, one thing I have learnt, is that if you do suffer a nasty graze..... try to wash it in COLD water... not hot!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

My granny.....

.... Not only throws harder than that, but she rocks harder too!!

What am I on about?

I done busted my rock bone, Musky.

I was supposed to be giving a masterclass to the kids tonight in how to play Guitar Hero 2. Alas and alack, during my afternoon warm up, which lasted some three hours, I think I have snapped more than my G string!!

My rock bone is truly knackered.

I did, however, manage to attain levels far in advance of those ever witnessed before. I can honestly say, that for a while, I was rocking.

I guess that, unlike an ageing, and rather portly Biff Byford, I know when it's time to hang up my plastic ukulele, and start sipping cocoa by the fire, with a cat curled round my feet. I don't want any of those marshmallows on top though, they make me feel queasy. I'll stick to drinking my pureed vegetables through a straw.

Ouch, my rock bone's even twinging and twanging when I type, and that's never a good sign, is it?

I should apologise for having neglected, not only my own blog, for a week or so, but everyone else's too, but I am not going to, so there!! The Fox bites his thumb at thee!!

I am still eating far too much. Too many sweets, and now I am starting to get toothache. I would switch over to gum, but it just makes me more hungry, and last time I chewed gum it inflamed an abscess in my jaw. I haven't smoked a cigarette for three weeks though, and that's no bad thing. I'll be a toothless, fat, bald, non-smoker, before you can say "diabetes".

I have managed, so far, to not smoke eight hundred and forty cigs. I have saved two hundred and twenty pounds (434 USD; 498 CAD), and that's roughly about a quarter of what I want to spend on my new camera and associated peripherals. It's a start.

I can't imagine how much gunk would have come out of those eight hundred and forty cigs, and into my lungs, and subsequently, blood. I just can't begin to imagine, that over twenty or so years of smoking, this hasn't occurred to me before.

I think, when you stop smoking, you look at a bigger picture. Let's imagine I was still smoking, then I only ever measure how many cigs I smoke in a day. I would never calculate the volume of a week, or the cost of a month..... Just the day. It works in reverse I suppose. A handy way we can imagine to ourselves that we'll stop smoking tomorrow, or that we enjoy smoking anyway.

Having a sense of smell again is a bonus.

Having a sense of taste, and obliterating it with every sugary confection under God's blue sky, is another matter.

I love being a preachy non-smoker!!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Fear ye not!



Whilst sleeping, a particularly spiced up cat, came and scent-marked my place!!

It took me two days to get my coat back into condition.

I am very much alive.

To be fair, I don't really know what I have been doing for the last couple of days. Nothing of great importance or note, that's for sure.

The weather's picked up and we are having a great spring-like flush. I've got a new phone, which has a really nice camera on it, and I've been playing a lot of Guitar Hero 2.

Please find enclosed a nice picture from my new phone. Incidentally, if anyone were interested, it's a Sony Ericsson K800i, which incorporates a 3.2 Megapixel cybershot camera with image stabilisation and all sorts of spanky bits.



A definite sign of the warmer weather... I've seen loads of really cool insects. Lots of humble bees, and flutterbys, and ladybirds.

Cheech Marin.... I used to worship you as a God, and now I see you clean shaven, and suited and booted in Nash Bridges??? How the mighty have fallen.

Late night shopping.... I am going supermarket shopping this evening with three ladies. This might not be the smartest move I have ever made. Might get some random shopping pics with my new phone though!!

Easter..... I'm not in the slightest bit religious, nor do I actually like chocolate all that much. Makes easter a bit of a washout for me really. Perhaps I should be ebaying my bloody easter eggs? I am sure Dawn and Kirsty will see them off though.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Shhhhh....

Don't wake the Fox.... he's sleeping.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Recipe for what?

Ingredients:

1 Sunday night.
1 Slice of Paul Daniels
2 Cupfuls of Vanessa Feltz
1 Jug premixed Louis Theroux
4 Months of Frank Skinner
60 Offspring of Fred Phelps
1 Banjo

Method:

Gently peel the Frank Skinner.

Mix with the banjo and allow to simmer for four months.

Roll out your Frank/banjo mix at the international banjo championships in Kansas, until Frank's face goes bright red.

Next, mix, on a separate channel, your Vanessa Feltz and Paul Daniels, and sprinkle liberally with their respective partners.

Pour the mix into a saucepan and leave to simmer for 2 weeks.

While the pan is simmering, pour modest amounts of Louis Theroux over the offspring of Fred Phelps. Be careful not to add too little or too much Louis, as the result could leave a severely bitter taste in everyones mouth.

When all the ingredients have been prepared, mixed, and marinated enough, pour them into one lightly greased Sunday evening and bake in a moderately heated telly box.

The result: A rather pleasant evening of uncomfortable televisual entertainment.

Allow me to elucidate further.

First up in last night's entertainment:

Play it again: The BBC hitting all the high notes, with this six part series. Take six "celebrities" and make them learn an instrument in a 4 month period. Each show focuses on one such four month period. The first one was Jo Brand, learning to play the organ - culminating in a performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Last night was Frank Skinner learning the banjo, and he wound up making a bit of an ass of himself in Kansas, but showed that learning an instrument is NOT a competition. Foxy factor? I'll give it nine claws.

Secondly:

Wife Swap: So Vanessa, who has been seeing this guy (who sang on the annoying Phats and Small's minor hit "Turn Around") for about 4 months now. Paul Daniels (weirdician extraordinaire) who has been married to the equally sickeningly strange Debbie McGee, for about 18 years. They switch them over, and we get a chance (AGAIN) to marvel at what a completely fekked up individual Paul Daniels is, and to see how Vanessa really wishes she was quite young again. I thought it would be fireworktastic, but it was really a cringeworthy damp squib. Foxy fun? A sober 5 claws.

Thirdly:

Louis Theroux - The most hated family in America: Apparently God hates fags.... He also hates America, and anyone who isn't related to Fred Phelps. A bunch of religious "nuts" that picket dead soldiers' funerals, spreading hatred and damnation. A fascinating mockumentary, in true Louis Theroux style, which manages, marginally, to get under the skin of the Westboro Baptist Church. Enthralling viewing, if not only to see Louis' deadpan, preconceived, foppish, naivety at work. Must see TV. Foxy Frolics? Another 9 claws.

So what is it? What did the recipe make? Well, in all honesty, it's an evening of TV, that for a change, was actually worth watching.

Did you know Vanessa Feltz's first ever kiss was with Rolf Harris?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

There once was a young fox from Hudds.....

No, seriously, I am NOT going to limerick my way through the week.

It's been very difficult this last week, being confined to haiku. There have been days where I have wanted to say things, and it's just not been possible.

One thing I DID discover over the course of the week, that I will point out to you, is a little blog that reports news headlines in haiku. It's just one guy that does it, and he does a great job. It's called "Now haiku", and I know he will appreciate your support.

The smoking, or should I say lack of it, is going really well. I have managed twelve whole days without a cigarette. In that time, I would have smoked four hundred and eighty cigs, yes 480 of them!!!! This would have cost me two hundred and fifty two pounds, yes £126, and for my American or Canadian chums, that's about two hundred and fifty US dollars or nearly three hundred Canadian dollars!!

I have set my heart on buying a new camera with the money I am saving. The camera I want is a Samsung GX10 and it's gonna cost me about six hundred quid, so I am well on my way.

Today, however, my dreams of becoming a photographer, have been shattered.

I have, for quite some time, fancied myself as a wildlife photographer. Dawn doesn't take photographs, but she enjoys looking at the ones I take. Imagine my disgruntlement, when today, she picked up my camera, and with a single shot, managed to catch one of the rarest sights you could hope to see......

Many wildlife photographers have tried to catch a scene like this. None have succeeded, until now. David Attenborough would have been proud to include this in his collection.

An Arctic Fox, captured, engaging in a hitherto unknown activity. It's unlikely that it will ever happen again either!!



You might be forgiven for thinking this is an April Fool's joke, but it bloody well isn't.

I might as well hang up my flashgun now.