Thursday, August 30, 2007

Surprise!!

I am truly surprised by the reaction to my previous post. It would seem that my passion for birdfeeding is not such an isolated case. Messages of support have been flooding in.... well a couple of people mentioned that they also indulge, and that's nice.

This year is the first year that I have had baby birds living in and around my garden, and it fills me with delight.

There's a family with three baby goldfinches. The juveniles looking similar to their parents, but lacking the vibrant red patch on their heads. They have a resplendent yellow "Z" down their wings though.

A family with three baby robins, and they are just starting to get their red breasts and to lose their spotty juvenile down. They've been such good company this summer. Apparently they are rarely seen in July and August, but I have had a garden full of them.

Bluetits nested in the holes in the cement between my house and next door. You wouldn't even know there was a hole there to be honest, and it took me a while to actually find where they were flying their beakfulls of worms into. Lots of chicks and still a good number in the garden.

Other feathered friends without families it would seem are:

Collared dove; Starling; Dunnock; Wren; Sparrow; Chaffinch; Greenfinch; Blackbird; Thrush;

In other news.....

Big Brother.... we're winding down, and tomorrow is the final. I'd be lying if I said I was excited, but I am looking forward to it. I think I have managed to keep my blog fairly Big-Brother-free during the mammoth thirteen week stint.

Beer: I've got a hankering for some real ale this weekend. I am going to give both The Star at Lockwood, and The Grove at Springwood a shot. From what I've read, they are two of Huddersfield's finest "ale" pubs, and I am getting a bit old for drinking wihtout being able to speak to my companions.

Antichrist: I have made the fatal error of reinstalling the antichrist of video gaming onto my computer. I had it before, but after it ruined my lust for gaming and lowered my self esteem to nothingness, it had to die. The Sims 2 rides again!! How many weeks will I spend maintaining my virtual real estate, while my real house and life fall into complete disrepair around my ears??

Yorkshire Pudding: You don't scare me, you big puddin'!

Random kindness: Still working on this one. Pol, it was also on R2 the other day when the lovely Davina was standing in for someone. Those blagards have robbed me blind and cast me assunder.

Blog updates: I know it doesn't look like I have been here much lately, and the posts have been thin on the ground, but believe me, I've been working my fingers to the bone for you. Here's a brief list of things that have changed:

Random Shopping has started again.

The navigation stuff on the right hand side of my page was looking really shabby, and there were so many sections with different little snippets in them, and I know nobody read any of them, so I have turned each section into a blog entry.... Feel free to click some fo the things under the "Blogbits" section on the right hand side to see what I mean.

Flickr: Not only did I upload a little section of photos for Connor (and tag them all, and geotag them all, and title, and description them), but I also uploaded a few new ones of my own. Feel free to head across to Flickr and look at mine and/or Connor's pics.

Bloglines: My cousin Sophia mentioned (sometime earlier this year) that there was a product out there called "bloglines" which manages all the blogs that you read. My list of blogs to read was becoming so long, that I have (more by necessity than curiosity) invested some effort into it, and I am loving it. If you have a long blog list to trawl through, then I suggest you set it up for yourself. Thanks Soph.... Also: I found the Guitar Hero disc that I couldn't find when you were here - didn't take me long huh?

Bowling cam: More new pictures on my dedicated bowling cam highlights page.

Pogo; Sims2; Battlefield 1942; Dungeon Keeper2 - Too much time to mention on the aforementioned.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bloody hell.

Sometimes it's hard to write a blog.

I don't expect everyone to share my enthusiasm at spotting a bunch of fledgling goldfinches or robins or bluetits in my garden. The pride that accompanies their survival, assisted by my bird feeder treats, is a personal feeling that I cannot expect anyone else to share.

The excitement of having heavy machinery and a new road surface outside my house is purely selfish. Clouds of burning diesel and bitumen. Hissing steam and gravel pouring machines. The change in background noise as the first cars tentatively drive across it, with a care usually reserved for snow and ice.

The rekindling of my desire to perpetrate random acts of kindness.

My enthusiasm for playing video games, and its rejuvenation, brought about by a couple of seemingly random car-boot-sale purchases.

My disappointment at having allowed myself to sit through Eli Roth's "Hostel" after vowing never to allow myself to waste time on another of his films after watching "Cabin Fever". Unfunny, unscary, and very very missable.... both of them!!

Big Brother..... I mean, who would want to hear about that? Apart from which, if you did want to read about it, you certainly wouldn't come here, you'd go to digitalspy of course!!

Oh my, I am having a mid-blog crisis!!
Bowling cam.

OK, despite the fact that it is indeed a "zen like" experience watching the grass grow at the bowling club...... Occasionally, something happens. I am going to keep this entry for posting "bowling cam" highlights to prove a point. If anyone spots anything good on bowling cam, then make sure you are viewing it on this page and email me the picture for inclusion.

My mum and Fred bowling.

Puffers and slurpers. Donated by DohDoh - A confirmed "bowling cam" addict.

Peter can't get his "strimmer" started.

The mower man cometh....

Rook - Yes it's a rook, just a common or garden rook. The trees you see beyond the bowling green actually hold a rookery, so it's not surprising that we get rooks. Rarely though do you see a rook on the bowling green. Rarer still does the rook actually walk with a limp like this one did - you'll have to trust me on that one.

September dawns over Outlane Bowling Club. White rabbits, white rabbits, white rabbits, or a pinch and a punch for the first of the month. Whichever you prefer. I am intrigued to note the shadows across the bowling green may be used at a later stage as some sort of sundial.... maybe??

Snow White. Honestly. Look carefully, and just above the date stamp at the edge of the bowling green you can see what appears to be one of the seven dwarves and Snow White engaging in some sort of perverse role reversal?

Floodlights. The first floodlit game of the season. This picture signifies the exact end of the match.

The Pete Fowlie trophy is hotly contested around these parts. I believe this is some sort of scoring discrepancy or disagreement about to flare up into violence.

My birthday. A man climbs up a ladder in the rain to fix a roof on the extension at the back of the property at the top right hand side of this picture. Happy birthday to me.

Shock, horror. The yobs are in town. Unprecedented levels of anti-social behaviour as one of these yobs urinates in a flower pot and they all take turns in riding their bikes on the bowling green. Disgraceful behaviour. Bring back the birch!!
Some men trying to steal the kitchen extension on the bowling club.28/06/12


Mum and Fred having a bowl (5/7/12)
 
 
Rain stops play 6/7/12


Friday, August 24, 2007

Choke....

Choke, gasp, gag........

Last night was an adventure. I introduced the lovely Dawn to the world of tapas. A restaurant I had never tried before, in an unfamiliar village, but with very pleasing results.

The downside of this, was of course, double garlic overload..... We ate a little TOO late, and both had a restless, acid indigestion plagued night's sleep, and heaven forbid.... The sheer stench emanating from where monkeys shove bad nuts is unbearable!!

I've never been very good with garlic. I love it, but it's not a mutual relationship.

Coupled with the fact that I have a really sore neck, for which I am taking anti-inflammatory painkillers that equally disagree with my digestive system, I now feel like I have been staked out in the sunshine and force fed a barrage of flaming rats.

Big Brother has now entered its final week. A double eviction tonight has dispatched of two of my least favourite characters, and this time next week we will know who has won (or indeed who has not lost by default). I am secretly looking forward to being given back some element of control over my life once the sun goes down. I've been a TV slave the same this year as every other year!!

The mousetraps remain empty - I am unsure whether this is a good sign or a bad one. Good if there are no more mice to catch..... Bad if they have become impervious to the delicious scent of peanut butter, and are secretly having a mouse sized Oktoberfest under my kitchen units, where they all play the alpenhorn and wear lederhosen and eat pickled onion monster munch, that come in a packet that has on it a competition to win a split level bungalow in the exact colour of orange of your dreams, and a shoe that's far too big to put your foot in.

I knew I shouldn't have eaten that cheese!!

See Connor's very own mini photo album here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

In order....

In order to alleviate the more sensitive visitors' pains at having to contemplate the harsh reality of being a mouse trying to survive on my patch, I am making a blog entry, which in turn should shove the rigor-mortised rodents further down this page, out of sight, out of mind.

In order that I might fill this entry with something other than images of myself beating my chest as a display of my hunter/killer alter-ego, I am harking back a couple of weeks to Radio Free Stan's meme about eight random facts (30th July 2007).

As everyone knows.... The obligatory "tagging" at the end of these memes causes a great deal of pain to both the nominator and the nominee..... in this instance, consider yourselves lucky that I will ask for eight volunteers to propagate this viral questionnaire.

So here it is..... Eight random facts about the Arctic Fox:

1) The arctic fox is the only dog that changes its colour.

2) The last books I touched were: The Switch (Lynsay Sands); Viz - The Dog's Bollocks; The Wharncliff A-Z of Yorkshire Murder (Stephen Wade)

3) The arctic fox mates for life.

4) I know a joke which has the following punchline: "Hold my bum and f**k it while I get my c**k out!".

5) Arctic fox babies are called "kits".

6) My first ever blog entry was written on 3rd April 2003. Six days later I was bitten by two dogs simultaneously - I spent two hours in casualty, during which time I watched (live on BBC) the pulling down of the Saddam Hussein statue in the centre of Baghdad.

7) The soles of an arctic fox's foot (including their pads/paws) are covered entirely with hair to prevent frostbite.

8) I own a pair of electronic dice.

So there they are.... Feel free to volunteer yourself for continuation of this scheme.... the first eight responders will receive a bumper bargain bag of good karma by return mail.
Mousetrap.

I am turning into a hunter gatherer.... my inner animal is being released.

Maybe I should have fought for custody of the cats after all!!

Ok, I am going to avoid all the problems associated with adding a mouse tally to each day and create a dedicated mouse post.

Mouse number 1: He likes drinking Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain. (21 Aug 2007)


Mouse number 2: Once played bridge with Omar Sharif. (22 Aug 2007)


Shrew number 3: Had a number one single in 1984 called "Bing Bamma Boom Boom" (31 Aug 2007)


Mouse number 4: A late night chocolate fetish that we all knew would end in tears, actually gave this mouse a fatal nosebleed. It's been a while since my last confirmed kill, so when this bugger ran across the kitchen floor in front of me, I declared chocolate spread war.(3rd Oct 2007)


Mouse number 5: He dreams of sipping Cuba Libres on a far flung desert island shore, and once played in goals for Scunthorpe United. (11th Oct 2007)


Mouse number 6: His cousin, a badger, once pissed on an electric fence to see if it would give his balls an electric shock. The badger is dead now. (16th Oct 2007)


Mouse number 7: Despite what looks like blood all over the mousetrap, we can confirm on closer inspection, it is merely the remnants of several portions of chocolate spread. Just ask this mouse if you don't believe me. (17th Oct 2007)


Mouse number 8: OMG - I was getting quite comfortable with the constant battering of mice. Until now, each and every kill had been quick and clean, with a snap across the back of the neck. This one looked a bit more painful. It made me feel sick thinking about it. Hope it was quick!! The biggest mouse I caught so far. (28th Oct 2007)


Mouse number 9: He gave himself away by virtue of the fact that I am hardly ever at home. I had trodden on the mousetrap and set it off, but the bait still went missing!! Silly mouse!! He's dead now though and I'm not... who's laughing now?? Muhahahahah!! (20th November 2007)


Mouse number 10: What better way to enter double figures than with a bleeder?? Poor beggar, although it looked like instant death from above, I had to move the trap to take this picture. The floor was a pool of blood where his front legs were smashed to pieces!! Ouch!! (21st November 2007)


Mouse number 11: Once went on a "round the world" cruise holiday, where he dined with the stars of the Carry-On movies (24th Nov 2007).


Mouse number 12: He's a fat one, but fast. He tried to eat and run, but Lucifer denied him the opportunity. Eats, shoots and splats!! (26th Nov 2007)


Mouse number 13: Too messy to photograph. A very untidy kill, and one that had to be finished manually!! Unlucky for some!! (3rd Dec 2007)

Mouse number 14: Quick and clean. I'm back on track. Bloodless, straight, old fashioned kill. pleasant return to Luciferian form. (9th Dec 2007)


Mouse number 15: Once had a French pen pal, called Jean Francoise, but they fell out when Jean Francoise insisted on sending numerous pictures of Charles De Gaulle with the legs of a ram grafted on, from his mobile phone. (14th Jan 2008)


Mouse number 16: Following a game of Perudo, this little chap was on his way home when.... well, that'll teach him to drink so much!! (29th Jan 2008)


Mouse number 17: Once this fella was the booking agent for Ken Dodd and the Diddy Men of Knotty Ash. Following Ken's tax evasion exploits, the two friends split, and the mouse was last seen trying to press gang Timeteam's Tony Robinson into making another series of Fat Tulip's Garden. (2nd Feb 2008)


Mouse number 18: One minute we were eating tapas, and having a good laugh at the plight of teenage binge drinkers, when he suddenly and unexpectedly had one sip of wine too many and went straight for the chocolate spread!! "Oh, Monty!!" I cried as his ears felt Lucifer's full force!! alas I fear he did not hear me. (16th Feb 2008)


Mouse number 19: Mustapha Mouse, once sailed single handedly around Black Moss Reservoir in search of hedgehog that could recite the complete works of Edward Lear whilst riding a unicycle. Suffice to say, his search was, like a sponge cake, rather fruitless!! (31st Mar 2008)


Mouse number 20: After taking part in the BBC sitcom "Oops where's my trousers?" alongside June Whitfield, this mouse's ambitions were fulfilled, and there was little left but to throw himself to the mercy of Lucifer the French mousetrap! (10th Apr 2008)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mixed emotions.

Following on from yesterday's pro-animal campaign.... It is with sad news that I bring you this report.

A few days ago, I noticed that something had been nibbling away at the corner of the bags of birdfood that I keep in the cupboard underneath the kitchen sink. Vermin!!

I decided to try out the "humane" rat trap that I bought some time ago, which has since been renamed humane-animal-feeding-station - since it has fed every living animal this side of the Watford Gap, and caught approximately none of them. They've been queueing up around the block, and you may have noticed some of them on the "bowling cam".

Suffice to say, one pack of Emmental later, no animals caught. Birdfood all packed into tins and containers, safe from attack. Something is definitely eating the cheese though.

Commence operation "Shock and Awe". Two conventional mouse traps, baited with Wensleydale are laid out. Commence operation "Shock Horror" when I discover the crafty critters love the Wensleydale and manage to eat it without springing the traps.

Cue the cunning fox.

At approximately five o' clock this evening, I smeared peanut butter across one of the traps.

Fox 1 - 0 Mouse



In fairness to myself -

a) Peanut butter is the king of mousetraps.

b) It doesn't look at all like this fella suffered. No blood, no struggle, clean, quick, instant death!!

c) I am a hypocrite, but who wants these in their house?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Would you....

Would you Adam and Eve it?

I don't like horses. Horses don't like me. It's no secret.

The recent "Pole Moor Riding Club" day near my house, resulted in traffic, parking, and muddy road chaos. I can now add to my list..... I don't like horse events either.

I don't like bloodsports or cruelty to animals. I don't like sports involving animals, and I don't even like the farming of animals.

You have to feel for this poor horse!!

(I hope the link works)

If it didn't work - as an afterthought - Here is the same thing on youtube

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Some days....

Some days it's difficult to find the words to blog with. Other days there isn't enough time to write it all down. Sometimes enjoyable, other times a chore. Relentlessly I plug away, bashing the keys and allowing thoughts to become tangible.

Today is an easy day.

I'm recording some programmes from my Sky+ machine onto some DVD discs - namely a bunch of Doctor Who series two episodes. It's about six thirty in the evening. Inbetween babysitting the recording sessions, I go to make coffee.

Outside it's grey. Drizzly rain, pale grey clouds, wet stone slabs. The kettle is boiling, and in the interim period (where I am sure I would have smoked a cigarette in a previous incarnation) I pick up a bamboo skewer and rake it across the metal of a kitchen draining device. An improvised percussive instrument.

Outside the window, in the shrubs and ferns of my garden, I fix my eyes, searching for the tell tale shudders that indicate the presence of a feathered friend. I watch a sparrow fly under a shrub and turn and fly straight back out again. Something or someone disagreed with the little chap. I drop the bamboo skewer and crane my neck and strain my eyes for a sign of what else could be in there.

The smallest of garden birds comes into view. About the size of a very small mouse, and the same colour, it's the wren. My favourite garden visitor (besides the hedgehogs of course). I watch the little wren as it perches on a plant pot and takes a sip of rainwater. It drops down onto the slimy Yorkshire stone flags in front of my kitchen window. Out of sight.

I move across to the end of the windows, and see the bird on the floor. The wren is taking a bath in a small pool of water that's collected in the worn corner of a stone paving slab. The water no deeper than a couple of millimetres is ample for this tiny creature.

Awesome. Priceless.

The bird finishes its bath and hops up onto a ladder. Feathers puffed out, it's now about the size of a golfball. I can see the little spots on the feathers and a droplet of water on the end of her beak. She shudders the spray of water off and flies away.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Spider pig....

Spider pig, spider pig, does whatever a spider pig does.

For anyone that knows about it, then they will ultimately know, that at some point today I have seen the Simpsons movie.

What I CAN say, is that it ain't all that!!

The highlight for me personally was the spider pig sketch.

The rest was a fairly over hyped damp squib that left the two kids (avid Simpson fans in their own rights) distinctly cold. That said, one of them had had enough before the trailers were even over!!

In other news.....

Have a look at my "bowling cam" - it's over there on the right hand side somewhere. In an undisclosed part of the world, there is a quintessentially British pastime going on. The art of crown green bowling my friends, is alive and well, and you can now tell (judge by the activity on these benches) whether there is a competitive match on or not.

Please note:

If the picture looks shit, it's probably dark outside, or my webcam is so cheap and nasty.

The picture is updated every minute - but this page doesn't reload itself. If you've been here for a while and fancy the updated picture, then reload the page.

You can directly view the webcam without my page (in bigger picture) here!!

If you see anything half interesting on this "watch the grass grow" cam, then save the pic and email it back to me!!

You might also not that the club door is where those dirty smokers hang out on an evening.... tut tut.

If you live in one of those houses you can see, and are offended by my camera pointing at you, then sue me!!

Spiderpig, Spiderpig
Does whatever a Spiderpig does
Can he swing, from a web
No he can't he's a pig
Look out, he is a spiderpig

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Elvis has left the building.

Thirty years ago to this very day, the obese one clutched his deep fried peanut butter and banana sandwich in one hand, and his exploding heart in the other. I bring to you, the finest web cam of all time.... Elvis-death-anniversary-vigil-cam. Who gives you more?

Well, there isn't much that can possibly top a great web page like that one.....

Or is there?

Some bloody big brained boffins have managed to do some monkeying around with a few numbers and reached the conclusion that, no matter what state it is in, it should take no more than twenty six moves to solve a Rubik's cube.

Lightheartedly, I make fun of this work, but the calculations and computing power required to achieve this goal are so large that I can't even fit them on this page. Ok, I will try to summarise......

The Rubik's cube was invented in the 1970s.

I used to be able to complete the "cube" with the aid of some self style shorthand written notes that I made from a book.

The boffins used seven terabytes of disk space as a memory extension to run the necessary calculations.

The Rubik's cube has forty three quintillion possibilities.

And there you have it....... They did receive a two hundred thousand dollar grant for disk space though!!

I am DEFINITELY in the wrong job.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Knock knock.....

Who's there?
Doctor.
Doctor who?
Aaaahhhaaaaa, you just said it.

The old ones really are the best.

I now have two really great applications that let me watch television when I want to watch it (providing it's been on in the last seven days or so) from all the BBC channels and also Channel 4.

The upshot of having the ability to download and watch programmes at leisure, is that I am managing to watch all sorts of really good television, and because of the very nature of the medium, it is generally advert free!!

Fonejacker; Big Brother (Diary room uncut; Little Brother; On the couch); Doctor Who; Britain in pictures - just a few of my favourites.

So, I've been watching tons and tons of Doctor Who (the new ones) series 1 and 2. I am loving it. Having viewed the first season when it graced our screens but missing out on season two, it's great to have the opportunity to catch them all again..... an episode a day on BBC3 - Brilliant, I don't even have to wait a week for the next episode.

All this TV leaves little time for anything else. I've finished a few books recently - Harry Potter; The Key (Battle of the belt - by the lovely Lynsay Sands); Melissa, the harlot's room (the autistic hooker book - I think Rol asked the title some time back). I am now reading another Lynsay Sands book The Switch.

Pogo is still demanding more time of me than I can reasonably proffer.

At least the wind and rain have returned, and I can (without twanging my conscience too much) avoid going out on my bike. Not sure my blisters would be up to it in all honesty, but I would certainly have a go should the weather allow.

More search items for you today..... A random collection:

Q: http://arctic--fox.blogspot.com/ (Google)
A: Uncle Remus says "You search Google for a web address?".

Q: pooyan jar game (Google)
A: Uncle Remus says "A fox in a basket shooting pigs? Gimme gimme".

Q: "welcome green elf" (Google)
A: Uncle Remus says "Welcome red valkyrie".

Q: why has pogo stopped working? (Google)
A: Uncle Remus says "Go and ask Pogo, don't be asking me".

Q: "whale oil beef hooked" "hoof hearted" (Google)
A: Uncle Remus says "Iced ink".

Q: CAT PICTURE, "I'VE JUST FARTED" (Google)
A: Uncle Remus says ".....".

Q: beef flan (Google)
A: Uncle Remus says "I'm just glad you weren't looking for fox recipes".

Q: Coming down like stair rods (Google)
A: Uncle Remus says "It's raining Datsun cogs".

Q: pictures of bernard manning dead (Google)
A: Uncle Remus says "There's some weirdos about!!".

Monday, August 13, 2007

I'm wishing on a star.....

Rol: Hope the title helps you differentiate the myriad of shades of grey that make up my blog.

Action packed few days here at Arctic Fox central.

Perseids: The annual viewing of the Perseid meteor shower. An event that for the last however-long-I-can-remember has been blighted by cloud cover. This year was actually quite good and we (Tom and I) probably managed to spot about thirty of those little pieces of dust burning up in the atmosphere. Humbling.

Dentist: Phobia threshold well and truly breached. A single filling that had fallen out, has so far resulted in one and a half hours in a dentist's chair. Metal implements hacking and slicing inside my head. I found a new fear today, in the portion where the drill starts and stops whilst embedded in a tooth. Most unpleasant indeed.

Jekyll: A BBC series which concluded a few weeks ago. My Sky+ managed to freak out (mid series) when they opted to miss one of the regular Saturday night slots in favour of "Live Earth" or whatever the frik it was. Subsequently, the series link went all awry. I thought I had salvaged and repaired the error, that is until I sat down to watch the final two episodes today. The last episode is missing!!

Searches: I often bring you the "cream of the crop" that rose to the top of my favourite search criteria, resulting in people ending up at my blog. Poor buggers. Here are some more of my favourites, that will be forever more perpetuated.

The selection today, are all about arctic foxes in one way or another...... some of them are quite disturbing:

Q: why does the arctic fox live in the arctic (Google)
A: The fox says "Because if it lived in England it would be called a fox."

Q: arctic fox a map where it lives (Google)
A: The fox says "Try googling "arctic map"!!".

Q: where did the arctic fox come from (Google)
A: The fox says "The answer was in your question".

Q: arctic fox babies for sale (Google)
A: The fox says "I hope not".

Q: Arctic fox pet (Yahoo)
A: The fox says "see above"

Q: artic fox for sale (MSN)
A: The fox says "We are animals, not property!!".

Q: artic fox -ways of eating (Yahoo)
A: The fox says "Don't even think about it!!".

Q: house training arctic foxes info (Google)
A: The fox says "Try not keeping an arctic fox in your house at all".

Q: how to get an arctic fox (Google)
A: The fox says "Ask him nicely to come over for tea".

Q: price of a live arctic fox (Google)
A: The fox says "If you have to ask, you can't afford!".

** Pet hate - it's arCtic not artic you morons!!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I've been.....

..... sneering at my neighbours.

I am minding my own business, cutting down a few branches from an unfeasibly large tree in my garden. The tree manages to envelop at least five phone lines, and my mission has been to free the lines from tangle. Each time the wind blows, I wince at the swaying lines connected to the tree, knowing that the next gust could have the telecoms company issuing me with a rather unsightly invoice.

One or two passers-by stop to admire my swinging posture, some thirty feet above them. One or two passers-by with nothing better to do, cast their eyes upon me as if I am carrying out the work of Satan herself, and mutter about local council, preservation orders and conservation areas.

I cut short my arboreal exploits with a view to contacting the council next week to clear the matter up once and for all. I would not want to give one of the local busy bodies the satisfaction of having one-upped me.

Now, whilst up a tree, I notice motorists speeding through my village at double the allowed rate, I see people using weedkiller in their gardens, I see gardens being turned into car parking spaces lovingly tarmacked.

I would not hurt a fly. I encourage wildlife into my garden. I feed the birds. I am one of only two houses in my street with any trees at all. Remember my rat?? I wouldn't even poison it!!

My blood boils.

Go back to your tarmacked front lawns and your manicured pristine gardens...... Go and attend to your bedding plants, leave me alone to look after the juvenile robins and blue tits that come and feed while I have my breakfast.

I might catch the rat and post it through their letterbox one night!!
I've been.....

.... up a tree.

If ever there was conclusive proof that a gentleman of a certain age should not be climbing trees anymore, then I think I have it.

A day of tree surgery (for surgery, read butchery) has left me with little cuts, scratches, twinges, aches and pains all over.

Wielding long handled loppers and a variety of saws whilst clinging onto the branches of an ash tree, some twenty to thirty feet off the ground, isn't really what a man of my gentle persuasion should be doing. I think I am more of a tree hugger than a tree surgeon.

Cue drifty dream sequence..... Scalpel..... swab...... chainsaw...... Ellen, can you tidy up here please?.... Doctor, the cherry tree is flatlining..... stand clear...... Bzzzzzz

Today is earmarked for more of the same.

In all honesty, this bout of activity is not self motivated. The impetus comes from a pair of my mum's friends. They are so "get up and go" that it puts my "lie down and think about it for six months" attitude somewhat to shame.

Perhaps I can talk everyone into playing bowling on the Nintendo today instead of hacking more trees down? I live in hope.

RIP Tony Wilson (1950 - 2007) - Son of "Madchester" and father of the Hacienda.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I've been.....

.... in pain.

I am resigned to hobbling around the house like some deranged Hobbit who has been forced to walk along a fire pit of glowing embers. The sound of my mantra fills the air. Cool wet grass, cool wet grass, cool wet grass...... this could go on for quite some time.

For your enjoyment, I am including a blister inventory:

Left foot:

* 1 blister covering the entire end of my second toe (I am presuming we all agree that the second toe is the one next to the big one?).

* 1 blister on the sole of the foot, directly at the base of the second, third, fourth and fifth little piggies, measuring 50mm X 25mm (thus far, I have "emptied" this blister twice with the aid of safety pin, staples, and paper clips).

Right foot:

* 1 blister covering the entire end of my second toe.

* 1 blister covering the entire end of my third toe.

* 1 blister on the sole of my foot, directly behind the third toe.

* 1 blister on the sole of the heel.

All the above results in me having great trouble in wearing socks or shoes. Even the pressure from a pair of slippers has been too much to bear today, and that's before I even TRY to stand up!!!!!

owah........tarnar........siam!!

Concerned relatives and loved ones have been round to communicate their support. They are reduced to shouting encouragement through my letterbox, as I am too feeble to make the journey down two flights of stairs to answer the door. At one point, a concerned neighbour posted me a loaf of bread (a slice at a time) through the letterbox so I would not starve.

I feel the need to commemorate this moment in haiku.... I can hear the collective groan at the Vogonesque efforts I issue.

If I could still walk
I would throw them in the bin;
inadequate shoes.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I've been..........

...... very stupid.

Woke up this morning, my dog was dead...... No, wait that's a Nazareth song or something. Let me try again.

Woke up this morning, and the sunshine was streaming in through the windows. Glorious blue sky and a slight nip in the air, but one of those days you just knew was going to warm up.

By half past nine I was cycling up the road. A really great ride of about thirteen miles followed by a creatine and HMB based chocolate flavour muscle recovery bar. Exhilarating.

Early this afternoon I decided to have a stroll up to mum's house, and to sit in the garden there and read my book. The sun was high now, and it was indeed a scorcher. I put on my flip flops, a big floppy pink shirt and my cowboy hat. I picked up my walking staff, and set off.

Flip flops for a mile and a half?? What the hell was I thinking? About a half a mile into the journey, the first blisters broke forth. By the time I reached mum's house I could no longer walk, and had the biggest blisters I have ever seen/had.

Feet of fire or feat of stupidity?

I sat and read my book a while and mum gave me a lift home.

Now I am stranded, crippled and very miserable. I can't even put my feet on the floor.

Repeat after me.......

owah..... tarnar......siam!!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I've been....

.... to Whitby.

It was good. The Gothic capital of England, in North Yorkshire. Home of Dracula and smoked kippers. Plastic buckets and cream teas. James Cook and a whale bone arch. Cobbled streets and full English breakfasts. One hundred and ninety nine steps and a swinging bridge.

I love Whitby.

I have fond memories of Whitby (and the surrounding area) as a child. Rock pooling in Robin Hood's Bay, a cottage in Grosmont, and having my photo taken with Rupert the Bear. I have more recent memories of Whitby from what we must now refer to as a previous incarnation. Now I have memories of Whitby that include Dawn.

We arrived on Saturday lunchtime, with the minimum of fuss. TripAdvisor had helped me select a bed and breakfast, and the genial hosts welcomed us into an establishment that lived up to its excellent reputation.

We left on Monday afternoon, having had a whale of a time.

Points of note:

Having packed all the camera accessories, I forgot to pack the camera, so had to resort to using my mobile phone. Double blunder on my part meant that the few photos I DID take were all done using the wrong settings, and look awful.

I love the pace of life that is dictated by high tide and low tide.

Robin Hood's Bay will always be one of my favourite places on the planet.

Horse riding across Great Fryupdale (you have to love the name of the place!!) and Glaisdale on Wainwright's coast-to-coast walk on a horse belonging to Elle Macpherson!! Not to mention Dawn's face, when I surprised her with this little excursion because she knows that horses and I are not the best of friends!!

Lots of nice food, of which a surprisingly large amount was homemade, full fat, and usually served up with something extra fattening. They do say that fat is merely the vehicle for flavour!!

Great weather.

They say a break is as good as a rest, and what do you know..... it's true!!