Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Scared.

As I sat on the sofa, playing yet another game of Star Wars on my Nintendo Wii at one AM.....

Holy smoke, the whole house began to shake.

It was EXTREMELY windy outside, and at points of the evening several vehicles had been blown over on local roads.

As I sat on the sofa that merrily jumped up and down, I immediately thought a chimney had blown off the roof, or that one of my trees had blown over.

I jumped up and looked outside, but couldn't see anything.

EARTHQUAKE!!

Turns out, I'd witnessed my first ever earth tremor.... and to be fair, it wasn't the kind of experience that you need to witness with any more frequency or severity than that!!

In other news.......

There was a cow of Huddersfield,
Who said that her milk would not yield,
Unless she had her udders feeled!!


Amaryllis cam continues to amaze. The main stem is well over the thirty centimetre mark now, and I am going to have to work out some other way to fit the whole plant into the webcam image.
Biofuel - I don't often make political or news related wranglings on my blog..... there are millions of blogs out there that already do that, and I don't like to pretend that I can do anything as insightful or witty or astute as the myriad of those blogs that do what they do.

Imagine our collective gasps then, when faced with a news item (see earthquake above) AND a political hot potato (see biofuels, following).

Biofuel..... We are apparently supposed to be thankful to the likes of Richard Branson and Co. for trialing these new "eco friendly" fuel products.... well let me tell you..... well why bother...... you all know I loves the birds in me garden, don't ya? Well go and fill this bloody form in and tell Ruth Kelly how you REALLY feel!!

While we are on the subject..... feed some starving buggers too!!

The Hunger Site

Monday, February 25, 2008

Frosty walk.

Happy 500th Blogger posting to me!!

Last week I went for a walk. We had a few really frosty mornings, and I decided to head along the towpath from Slawit to Marsden.... it's a lovely place to be in allsorts of weather or if I am on foot or the bike.... it's still a classy bit of countryside.

Here's a few pics from that walk (20th Feb 2008)


The barge in Slawit.... a good place to stop off for a cuppa. (This was actually at the end of the walk chronologically, but geographically represents where I started, if you know what I mean?)


Dancing on ice. I love ducks, especially when they're tootling about on a frozen canal. This was taken outside the Empire Brewery in Slawit.


Mossy stone in the woods. Between the river Colne and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, just outside Slawit, lies a fairly rampant wooded scrubland (a good place to dump bodies it seems) that has a few paths and stuff leading through it. I love mossy stones like this one!!


Icy blast. I love it when frost collects on grass and blackberry bushes like this one. You almost get a sense of the direction and temperature of the wind that came last night. A visible reminder of the cloudless twinkling starry night before.


Locks. A FoX on some locks. How much did I enjoy my time doing canal restoration? Immensely, and I never tire of those watery silver veins that brought industry flowing through our local towns and villages.


Marsden. An excellent opportunity to stop off for a couple of pints of Premium Mild at the Riverhead before the walk back to Slawit.

You may or may not have noticed that, contrary to my closing statement yesterday, I haven't actually updated "random shopping" at all!! I am an idiot.... the pictures I had to update were all taken with some stupid settings on my phone camera, and the net result is..... rubbish!!
Bloody freecycle.

Here's a clue (or two) for freecyclers everywhere....

1) In the subject line of the email offering goods, you will see something along the lines of:

[huddersfieldfreecycle] OFFERED: Lava Lamp - Outlane - HD3

This tells me that:

1a) This is the HUDDERSFIELD group.

1b) The item is in Outlane in Huddersfield in the HD3 postcode area.

2) Don't be bloody expecting me to deliver anything!!

3) Don't email me telling me you will have the item before noticing that you live too far away to make the journey.

4) Don't tell me you can take the item but can't collect it for two weeks.

5) If you tell me Sunday at six PM is the time you will call for the item, then don't expect either me or the item to be here when you finally decide not to show up!!

6) Be considerate, polite, and don't screw it up for all the good freecyclers out there.

7) If your name is Wayne or Dre Dre, and you are anywhere near Outlane, then watch your back!!

I won't be offering any more goods up.... EVER!! I will take them to a tip rather than be pissed about.

Such a shame....

In other news:

Amaryllis cam is almost unable to fit the complete plant into view now. The main stem is twenty nine centimetres tall now, and the side shoot is already thirteen centimetres. It's growing like crazy. Remember it was only eleven days ago when Amaryllis cam was begun with a single six centimetre long shoot!! Check out the live cam pics here!! Check out the very first Amaryllis cam pic here!!



Thanks Blogger for FINALLY fixing that bloody annoying spell checking error!!

Thanks to Joey Cool for my wizzened Granny Smith's apple tree!! I will always keep a fruit bowl full of their decaying remains in your honour.

I have updated random shopping blog today as well. (I am writing this before I have updated it, but for most people it will have been updated by the time they read this so it will be technically correct on at least some levels?!?)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Jelly.

Back in the days.... the days when I was probably about an inch tall and weighing less than an ounce, on this day forty years ago, I was taken along to a very special event.

Forty years ago to this very day, at two thirty in the afternoon, my aunty Janet and uncle David got married at Clifton Church near Brighouse.

Ever since I can remember, my aunty and uncle have been major players in my life.... like the time my mum was down the boozer with my stepdad and my unc and his brother had to take me to hospital when I lost a fight with some barbed wire...... I am sure my mum still expects social services to be paying her a visit for this comical indiscretion.

The time my uncle Dave, one Sunday afternoon, pretended to phone the television company to ask them to put a cartoon on for us..... which to my amazement, happened...... I must have been too young to comprehend a television guide such as the TV Times.

The time I was manhandled into a bathroom, projectile vomiting, with alcoholic poisoning during one time when I visited them. They were never judgemental with me about anything like that.... seemingly it was expected!!

Explaining to my aunty Jan about the "People would pay good money to feel like that" concept.

Their unconditional welcome and ever present hospitality, whether I arrive on my own, with company, or one time with a bunch of mates and a girlfriend in tow as well......

I have a photo from their wedding day that I will scan and put on my blog sometime.

Anyhoo.... we've been out for a lovely lunch at the Gray Ox at Heartshead Moor, with those lovely people (and other lovely people too) and it's been a right nice time of it.

Happy ruby wedding anniversary to my most beloved aunty and uncle....

Lang may their respective and collective lums reek!!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Whistle and ride.

If you manage to achieve the impossible, and actually be able to do two things at the same time, then you're "whistling and riding", apparently!! Sounds unfeasible, I know, but we all need hopes and dreams.

For me, the possibility of doing more than one thing in a day is a daunting task, never mind trying to do them both at the same time.

This morning I went for a bike ride, and this afternoon I took advantage of the hazy, frost lifting sunshine, and headed out to Deer Hill Reservoir for a picnic lunch, complete with brandy laced coffee in a Thermos flask!!

This morning was definitely a case of "wheezing and riding" as there was no whistling to be heard. Perhaps there might have been the odd squeal, as I realised I was going too fast down a frozen, muddy, rutted track, with the back wheel skidding on ice and the brakes providing no respite.... barrelling ever faster and ever more uncontrollable...... My feet bounced clear off the pedals a couple of times, and at one point I even wished I had worn my cycling helmet!! By the time I reached the deer farm in the bottom of the valley, I was pleased to still be in a single piece.

The walk around Deer Hill was lovely today, and although I prefer to walk without meeting other people, it was nice to see so many jolly people out and about and enjoying the sunshine.... it DOES put people in a good mood.







I have also fixed the "Amaryllis cam" which has been freaking out a bit..... for some reason, my webcam doesn't like working off a USB hub, even though the hub is of the powered flavour. I don't get it, and rather than try to find out why it has suddenly started to whinge about it, I've swapped the camera over to its own USB port. You will, of course, be pleased to know, that in the four days since starting "Amaryllis cam", the plant has grown from six and a half centimetres to thirteen!! I will need a fish eye webcam before this experiment is over, just to fit the triffid like plant in!!

Further to this, I am working on a new update for the "Man VS Mouse" section, as I've scored yet another hit!!

I've given you a nice new Underworld tune to play too.... one of my all-time favourite tunes... I am so good to you.

I also have a bit of random shopping to update, so I'm gonna be busy with blogging for the rest of the day.

From massive bulbs, mental amaryllises grow!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Slack jawed yokel.

Ok, so I've been a bit "slack" of late.

I haven't been paying much attention to my blog, my updates are less than interesting, and the bowling cam has kind of gone into meltdown along with all the other features that I normally update.

I've been doing a bit of gardening..... I've been riding my bike a bit.... I've been listening to lots of digital radio (Radio 7 is brilliant - no music, just comedy, plays, books and the like).... I've been playing a wee bit of Pogo.... I've been playing a whole lot of Lego Star Wars on the Wii....... and I'm only seen with my Nintendo DS in my sweaty palms when I am riding my bike.

I am also in depression / denial (delete as applicable) to have heard nothing about my recent job application! Mr. Clack was right on the money with his reference to the "soul destroying" aspect of job hunting..... and I've only applied for one!!

And so it is........ today I bring you..... in place of the bowling cam, which of course has not seen much action during the "off season"..... I bring to you, the magic of Amaryllis cam!! They are fast growing bulbs, so I expect that it will be more exciting than the bowling for the minute..... currently the green shoot (for reference purposes only) stands at around six centimetres which is about two point three six inches on the old scale.

Here is the first picture, but you can check it out "live" as well!!

I Wish they would fix the frikking spell checker on Blogger.... not only has it not been working for ages, but it completely "gooses" everything when I try to use it or see if it is fixed yet!!!!

Happy valentine's day lover!! X X X

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Every day....

... in every way, I'm getting better and better.

Flapping and panicking are left behind, and a new sea of tranquility has washed over me.

The boiler man came and cleaned out my boiler.... he hoovered it out and disassembled bits of it and generally fettled it. It's burning clean and bright now.

The so-called windscreen place were less than courteous, but more than ruthlessly efficient in tackling the de-fog-ifier and its unconnected connections. The very fact that I had to drive twenty minutes there and twenty minutes back to have a sixty second procedure carried out, when it should have been done in the first four day experience was just too much.

Get it right first time, was a business mantra when I was a young lad.... seems it went over some folks' heads!!

Today has passed (thus far at least) without breakdown of an appliance, without injury, without expensive or time consuming diversion......

I even managed to get out and do a few miles on my bike in some unseasonably hot February weather.... it's been glorious for a few days. I even managed to sit out in the garden and drink a cup of coffee.

Pleasant.

Monday, February 11, 2008

More??

Hellfire, damn and blast.

I went out for a meal last evening, for no other reason than the very fact that I could. Nothing too fancy, just some roasted vegetables en croute with some seasonal vegetables at the Sands House at Crosland Moor. An altogether pleasant affair.

On the way home, Mr. Walker began to turn into Mr. Wheeler.....

Misted up rear windscreen in my car.... nothing unusual about that...... I turn on the de-fog-ifier and set off..... halfway home and those telltale George Foreman grillesque chargrilled bars of heat that should be radiating across the rear window are nowhere to be seen.

They haven't connected it up have they, when they fitted my new rear glass, just last week.... not only did they have my car for four days.... order the wrong glass...... have to wait for a new one to arrive...... and then when I turn up for the car they start vacuuming all the broken glass out of the back, and they've flattened my battery to boot........ they haven't actually connected my de-fog-ifier!!

So I ask the question, to nobody in particular, just to the heavens as I shake what's left of my already ragged and frankly overused fist.... for a company called RAC Windscreens, what the hell do they actually do?

It's a bit like putting a load of shovels against a wall and asking someone to take their pick!!

Oh, yes of course sir, we do windscreens, which are typically the ones at the front, and you've thrown a spanner in the works by wanting one at the back!!

Well, let me tell you.... I'll damn well give you one at the back!!

Booked car in for this afternoon, and the boiler repairman, thankfully, is coming in the next hour or so.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Bloody typical.

Since October 24th 2006 I've been a warm and clean little bunny, thanks in part to the boiler repairman and partly to the expensive crappy circuit board that he fitted, that in turn made the boiler work.

Sadly, as is totally typical of my life, I fix one thing and another breaks.....

Seems I am destined to never have things just go plain sailing.... As soon as my back is turned......
The boiler is not working AGAIN, and even more typically than that, it's gone on Saturday evening, when of course I will be without the boiler for two days before I can even ring the guy to come and look at it, before it takes him a couple of days to order and receive the no doubt, necessary part.......

Why me? I ask, as I shake a hand at the heavens and curse the God of central heating boilers!!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

It is with sadness.....

... that I report my excitement at the fact that my neighbour has applied for planning permission to install hardwood double glazing in his property.

Perhaps I am getting old when I await the outcome of Brian's application with trepidation?

The reasons I am so bothered are quite simple really.

a) The buildings are "listed" in that their character may not be altered... everything needs to be replaced on a like-for-like basis.

b) My house is the lowest quality property in the whole row.

c) I would love to get some decent hardwood double glazing in.

d) If they let my neighbour have it, then they surely can't object to me getting it done!!

My current mish-mash of softwood windows, some of which are falling to pieces, some with secondary glazing, some with the thinnest sealed double glazing panels in them..... all different, all scruffy, all in too poor a state to even open, could soon be the lovely windows I so desire.

Perhaps when the Pogo badges get released this afternoon I might calm down a littrle from all the excitement.

I wish I would get a response from the job application I completed recently..... fingers crossed.
Credit.

Credit where credit is due. I often write about how Egears or RAC Windscreens, or AA have completely and utterly pissed me off. Occasionally I receive such exceptional customer service somewhere that I am compelled to write about this too.....

Yesterday, as part of my bedroom tidying activities, I decided to order a part for my computer and some oil for my shredder.... By the time I settled down last evening I had received four emails and a text message to my mobile phone advising me on the status of my computer part order. Even more remarkable was the arrival of this low value piece of computer equipment before lunchtime today....... amazingly simple turnaround with great communications and absolutely no fuss at all.

The company in question, and I recommend them for all your computing needs, is CCL Online - I've used them for years and they NEVER disappoint!!

In direct contrast to this exceptionally positive story is the story of my shredder oil..... I received an email to say they had received my order.... and that's as far as it got.....

If only CCL sold shredder oil!!

So, following my day of housekeeping yesterday, I've spent the day virtual housekeeping.... i.e. consolidating all my photography files and mp3s and Nintendo DS games into a central location - the concept of owning just a single copy of each file instead of having them duplicated and scattered across an array of media is less than useful.

The end result is no less satisfying than the work I did yesterday, but I didn't get as dusty (apart from when I fitted my new computer card - as everyone knows, them puters don't half suck up a load of crap and then spew it out on you as soon as you open their cases!!) and I got to sit down for the most part, and drink lots of coffee.....

Bargain!!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Graveyard shift.

Yesterday was a bit of a runaround. Got up fairly early and made breakfast.

The afternoon was reserved for Tom's homework.... his assignment was to go round photographing churches and graveyards or something..... and naturally, I was enlisted to assist.

We visited the lovely Deanhead Church (Saint Bartholomew's) at Scammonden, Saint John's at Town End in Golcar, a church at Linthwaite, and the old chapel and graveyard (which is occasionally treated to a manicure by the Pole Moor Residents Association!!) at Pole Moor.

We managed to put quite a collection of photographs of varying quality together. The light was quite dull and overcast, so of course, you have to make the best of what you have.

The afternoon was punctuated by a moment of complete and utter stupidity when I visited a petrol station, filled my car up with petrol, and realised I had left my wallet at home!! My, how we laughed.... not!! One lengthy form, and a round trip to collect said wallet, and we were back on track. It was embarrassing to say the least.

Today, I spent pretty much the whole day tidying my bedroom. Loud groans all round!! It's amazing how much paperwork I manage to pile up..... how much junk I accumulate, and of course, how much furry dust I manage to coat everything with, which makes for fairly unpleasant cleaning duties. I even went out and bout a bit of a filing system to completely get myself in order. I am now, like the James Taylor Quartet suggested, organised, or is that oraniZed!!??

It's one AM and I have just finished filing my stuff into the new system!!

So, I'm sitting at my "good" computer typing my blog, at my empty, tidy desk, in my bedroom, with a remote controlled connection to my laptop in the lounge..... If only I could telnet onto my kettle I would be laughing!!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Trying to relax.

Sometimes you have to take a step back and just relax a bit.

We started the process by going for a lovely walk across the golf course in the snow that has appeared over the last twenty-four hours. It was nice to be able to just walk, completely freely, across the hallowed turf, where you would normally have to risk a clonk on the bonce from either an enraged golfer's club or a wayward golf ball. I love walking in snow. A couple of kids threw snowballs at us, and to their delight I fired right back.



Next up, at lunchtime, as the snow began to thaw, we headed off to Haworth, deep in Bronte country. We rode the steam train from Haworth to Keighley, an old fashioned train-spotter's delight.... I can't deny that it's always been a charming, pleasant experience to travel by steam.


Real, honest to God gaslights.


Dawn, freezing to death, fully bemused by my choice of entertainment.


Thar she blows, our train pulls into platform one!!

We spent a while looking round the town of Keighley, which is a strange place full of rugby fans, chavs, and weirdos. I am sure that not everyone in Keighley fits into one of those categories, but I bet it's at least an eighty percent fit. We rode the train back to Haworth, and enjoyed real ale from the buffet car. Pleasant is right!

In the evening we headed to Bradford to try a curry house that has recently been recommended to me by several of my befriended Bob's Taxis taxi drivers. I've had better, is about all I will say about the curry at Anams on Great Horton Road. The starters were nice enough (We had a masala fish and an aloo tikka) but both main courses were disappointing. Overcooked chopped up king prawns for me, and some kofta that didn't hit the high notes for Dawn. The rice and tandoori rotis were delicious and the jug of strawberry lassi was good too, but the idea of charging me fifty pence for extra chillies because I asked for my dish to be cooked on the hot side, is unnecessary and petty. I'm pleased we went there, but not sure I'd hurry back.

Came home (avoiding the temptations of the Barge and Barrel) and relaxed in the obligatory pyjamas with compulsory over-filled belly, the symptom of any curry night!!

I am relaxed.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

They tell me.....

... you should never let those bleeping bleepards grind you down!!

I have often said the same thing myself in advice to anyone who might be feeling slightly "under the cosh" at the mercy of "the man".

It's just bloody hard sometimes to keep smiling when everyone is trying to grind you down with electric orbital sanders turned up to number eleven.

The car saga rumbles on.....

They've had my car at the windscreen place for four days. This factor is unacceptable in its own right, when you consider that it should have been a mere twenty four hours.

Yesterday afternoon after three days, having not received the phone call they promised me, and against my better judgement, I phoned them..... the phone jockey goes to check... despite the fact that I know you can see out of the office window directly into the work area..... he comes back.... "yes, they're working on it now. It will be ready at four thirty".

Ok, so here's the catch.... they've got my car.... at the other side of Huddersfield.... what time do they close? Five o' clock!! I have a thirty minute window to get across Huddersfield in the rush hour, and it's snowing.

"Look, what time do you open tomorrow morning" I ask.....

"Eight thirty"

"I'll be there at nine"

"Ok see you in the morning".

I turn up this morning, and they move a car that's parked in front of mine, and then between them they push my car out of the garage. He comes in and says "Oh by the way, were you having trouble with the battery?".

"No"

"Well we came to start it yesterday and it was flat".

"Ok, so you've charged it then?"

"No, but we will bump it off the forecourt for you and you'll need to run it around a bit"

Then they open the boot and start cleaning out all the broken glass from the old piece that's all shattered inside.

Four frikking days.... you haven't even managed to tidy up after the job that you did yesterday afternoon and you've flattened my battery??

I get in the car and drive off.... with smoke billowing out of my ears.... I'm trying to stay calm.... honestly, but if one person..... just one person steps moderately over the line......

Kaboom!!