Friday, March 28, 2008

Aye Carumba!

Interviews, eh?

Well, it was good in places and bad in other places.

Thanks to everyone who has wished me luck. I should find out on Monday next week whether they are doing second interviews or whether they have allocated the job and who they might have allocated it to.

Fingers, legs, and everything else that would cross without making my eyes water, well and truly crossed!!

For now, it's the weekend. I can relax without the pressure of an interview hanging over me, but with the added pressure of waiting for that fateful phone call!!

I think I might like a beer this evening.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Step away....

Step away from the Nintendo!!

I'm trying to ween myself off from my Nintendo DS.

I don't have a problem with playing it twenty hours a day. I don't have a problem with falling asleep with it clutched in my sweaty palms and waking up to its tinny speakers playing some weird loop of music from an aquarium simulator that I was playing. I don't even have a problem with breaking out in a cold sweat when the low power light comes on and I am out of the immediate reach of a suitable power supply.

The reason(s) I am keen to ween are along the following lines:

I have a nine AM job interview on Friday this week. It would therefore seem logical that I try to get back into some sort of routine in a two day preparation ritual. I also need to spend some time doing "revision" to ensure that I at least know what the job that I have applied for entails, and some background info on the relevant organisation. (I will give more details about this job after I've either passed the test or embarrassed myself into oblivion later this week).

Real life things. Despite being cocooned in a soft, fluffy, cotton wool wrapped Nintendoland for more time than I would care to add up, there is no doubt that my time of "retirement" must come to an end soon.

Bike. If I had spent any fraction of the amount of Nintendotime actually riding my bike, in the real world, real air, rain, snow, hills, and mud, then I might not currently be two dress sizes bigger than my ideal size!!

Brain draining. Doctor Kawashima has a lot to answer for. The Brain Training game that came out (a long time ago) for the Nintendo DS did more than get us to sharpen our mental agility. The rash of "training" programs that followed it have resulted in a two hour door (I would normally call it a window but you can see through a window, this block of time is not transparent, it's solid, and a real daily obstacle for me) where I embark on a range of daily training activities.... Picross, Ninja Reflex, Maths Training, Brain Training, More Brain Training, Puzzle League.... I can't function until I have satisfied this unhealthy quota of training.

And so......

I must step away from the virtual aquarium.

In other news:

There must be a phrase that sums up a situation where you lose something, but find something of equal value? I've heard of losing a something and finding a something else, but it's usually an expression of gaining something...... Anyhoo, if I knew the phrase, then I'd be saying it in relation to the fact that for the first time ever, I appear to have a pair of sparrows nesting in my garden (following the tragedy of losing my robin nest in the snow and wind earlier in the week). I don't often get many sparrows, so it's nice that they've chosen to stay.

Customer service. Following on from yesterday's order for a new ISP (just twenty-four hours).... I have received no fewer than six messages to my mobile phone advising me that different phases of the process are taking place. Service indeed!! A nice touch is that they messaged me to say that my equipment arrives tomorrow and as a pre-emptive measure I can simply reply to the text with any one of a range of numbers to pick alternate delivery dates. Let's hope that:
a) When I need to speak to someone, they are in this country and know what they are talking about.
b) The "up time" of the new service can even partly compare to the current service provider.

(For the records: I was with Zen - they're fantastic if you can afford them, absolutely top notch.... I am now going with O2 - a mobile phone company which isn't Orange, but the negative vibes are spooking me!!)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Ever get that feeling that you're hurtling towards an immovable object with less than an unstoppable force to back you up?

I mentioned before that I was making preparation to change internet service provider. Having done the maths, I'm possibly going to get approximately five times my current internet speed (currently a meagre 512/256 ADSL) and it's going to be almost a third of the price that I am currently paying.

It all sounds brilliant doesn't it?

So why do I get the feeling like I'm losing something?

Customer service... I'm a stickler for it and my current provider has been exemplary in that respect. My phone call today to request my MAC key to leave their excellent service was friendly, helpful, and truly broke my heart to let them go. It seems a shame that I am reduced to leaving them purely on the grounds of cost. A sign of the times, and the fact that I have not received a single penny into my bank account for the last eighteen months!!

The other thing which completely goes against my grain, is that the new service provider is a twelve month contract, and that's tragic. My current service provider has a rolling monthly contract with no tie-ins at all.

I am sobbing as I type.

And so.... as of 2nd April 2008, I'll have a new "improved" service, or no service at all!! I'm nervous and completely unconvinced that it will be painless exercise.

Prepare to entertain yourselves in a fox-free zone for a while!!

In other news.....

I'm sorry that amaryllis cam has not been updating recently.... I'm downloading a Malcolm in the Middle torrent that's twenty five gigabytes..... net result..... no cam updates.

I don't think my weather widget is working properly?!?

Bowling season is open. The first official games were yesterday, so you can look forward to some new, improved bowling cam, coming soon.... as soon as I have the MITM torrent!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Searching on a snoozy Sunday.

Well, after some fine tapas (at Les Caveaux in Holmfirth) and a couple of beers (at the Barge and Barrel in Elland) last evening, it turned into a snow laden, relaxed, snoozy Sunday.

Here's some searches to cheer you up.

black beer and raisin wine (Google)
It's a firm favourite of my lovely girlfriend, and I'm quite fond of it too. I've been to two pubs that serve it: The Head of Steam in Huddersfield and The Maltings in York. From what I can gather, there are two different types of black beer and raisin wine, and they're made by Gales and Lindisfarne.

KRUMLIN - 1970 pictures (Google)
There's not really a lot of info about this here washed-out festival - The most I can find is here. I think my dad went there..... I think Tony might know something about it if you ask nicely!!

"fat tulip" "garden" "download" (Google)
Pre Baldric, pre time-team.... Tony Robinson at his best telling tales of Fat Tuplip's Garden!!

how long does an arctic fox live with its mom (Google)
I left home when I was twenty one.... next question.

Today's temperature in Golcar (Google)
Cold! Seriously if you want weather, then look across at my weather widget on the right hand side and you'll see what it is like in Golcar.... I don't live more than a mile or two away.

I Like toast. A little bit o' toast. White bread, brown bread (Google)
Paul Young and the Streetband? Toast? A great song, and one that inspired my lifelong love of bread based produce. How did Paul Young ever turn so crap? (Wherever I lay my hat?? Everytime you go away??) - Song lyrics and a video too.

The Star Beer Festival, Folly Hall, Huddersfield 2008 (Google)
Look under events, but be quick it will finish by the end of today!! I recommend "Hot Cross Bunny" (It's very hoppy - geddit?) from the Goose Eye Brewery at Keighley.... delicious!!

rodney alan greenblatt (Google)
Ah, artist behind Parappa the Rapper, Um Jammer Lammy, Parappa 2 and lots of other cool stuff.... but not many others that turned into fabulous cult video games!! You can find him here, and Parappa here!!

cupwith reservoir (Google)
I love Cupwith Reservoir and I love the Riverhead's Cupwith Special beer too!! Here are a couple of my Cupwith photos. Nothing quite like blowing your own trumpet is there?

how do you describe words like ning nang nong on spike milligans poem (Google)
Nonsense.... how do you describe them?

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Woke up this morning to bright, hot, white sunshine, streaming through the windows.

Fool's gold of course. The sun, albeit strong, was magnified tenfold by the couple of inches of snow that fell overnight.

I peered out into the garden and noticed a shrub that grows along my garden path, that climbs up the garden wall, and slightly over the top.... for the first time it's ever happened, had actually blown over into my garden. It's a variegated sort of thing, none too pretty, but it grows nicely and fills a big gap in the border.

Eventually I got out of bed (having exhausted my supply of Nintendo patience) and got dressed to go and deal with this weak willed shrub.... To my dismay, nestled amongst the broken debris of the shrub is a robin's nest complete with three baby blue speckled eggs in it.

These are DEFINITELY not the sort of eggs that I wished to receive for Easter!!

I've propped the shrub back up, and I've dug a garden fork in next to it and tied it for extra strength, but I am afraid that the robin may have already abandoned its station now.

It's a crying shame.

Friday, March 21, 2008


It's the post modern fusion of drinking and blogging.... formerly known simply as pissed-up-blogging, and like pissed-up-texting is usually something to be avoided at all costs.

I fly in the face of convention and bring you a drunken rant.

Attending a beer festival is always a mixture of pleasure and pain. The pleasure is quite transparently the delicious and varied range of ales readily on offer. The pain, probably a bit less obvious to non-frequenters of such events comes in the shape of strange people with plastic bottles and funnels and reams of printed literature, scrutinising the half-pint measure lines for the slightest discrepancy.

I even saw one myopic lady tapping her glass with a pen to make the beer reach that elusive half-pint measure line.

I could swear at this point.

The other side of beer festivals is people like me.... ready to talk to people, ready to enjoy drinking the beer instead of sipping it and bottling it and weighing and measuring its specific gravity..... a beer festival to me is about more than beer, it's a festival too.

And so.... I wanted to give you a simple flavour of my tasting notes from today.... they made me smile.... perhaps they will work on you too....

Beer No. 1: Brewdog's Hop Rocker - Delicate, refreshing, hoppy, almost like lager.

Beer No. 7: Derwent's Local bitter - Like being mashed around the gob by a bag of hazel nuts.

There seemed little point in trying to further analyse beer other than to just drink the bloody stuff.

Suffice to say....

Hooray for Fred.... a good beer festival companion.

Hooray for Folly the Star Inn's resident dog (aged 6 tomorrow).

Hooray for Tizzi, the Star Inn's aloof tabby cat (age unknown).

Hooray for beer.

Hooray for the Star Inn, Huddersfield.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


The weather has changed.

We've had a few nice days, it's been great cycling weather and I've taken full advantage of it. Looking out the window today, you would never believe that it's been so nice. We have fog, wind and that characteristic sideways rain that seems to be the signature move of New Hey Road in Outlane!!

I've locked the doors, taken the phones off the hook, rolled my dog-shaped draught excluders up to the draughty bits, grown a beard, baked some bread, and I'm not going out.

Managed a few cheeky halves of beer at the splendid Star Inn Easter Beer Festival last evening. That pub is a credit to the licensed trade..... sixty... count them.... sixty beers to choose from.... breweries from as far afield as Glasgow and Cornwall.... all on hand pumps. Splendid. I'll be going again tomorrow and if I get my way I will be going on Saturday too!!! Muhahahahah!!

I still want to write something about my new toy, the CycloDS. In the meantime, if you have a Nintendo DS then just buy a CycloDS Evolution, I got mine from TechWizad, and you will see how good it is.

Here's a funny fact.... it is now one whole year &to the day) since I quit smoking. In those twelve months elapsed, I would have smoked fourteen thousand six hundred and forty cigarettes which would have cost me somewhere in the region of three thousand eight hundred and fifty quids!! (that's a bewildering seven thousand six hundred and thirty three US dollars).

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Thankfully, it is exceedingly rare to have a day as traumatic as this one.

Not one, but two of my all time heroes have passed away.

The first person to have sadly shuffled is the legendary Arthur C. Clarke. He brought us the geostationary satellite, The Sentinel (precursor to 2001: A Space Odyssey) and was generally a sci-fi visionary. I suckled at the teat of Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World. It makes me sad to think that we have lost such a fantastic mind. I feel privileged to have crossed lifetimes with this space-age soothsayer!!

Arthur C Clarke (1917 - 2008)

The second person, whose passing I am mourning today is John Hewer. He was a childhood hero, and probably did more to promote healthy eating to kids than Jamie Oliver, Delia Smith, and Nigella Lawson all rolled into one big sponge cake. Ok, so I admit, I can only imagine you are now wondering who this piscatorial pioneer that's cashed his frozen chips might be.... here's a clue:

John Hewer (1922 - 2008) - Captain Birdseye (1967 - 1998)

After a quick trip to the beer festival at The Star at Folly Hall tonight, I am going to retire to my sofa and sob into my fish finger butty while I watch 2001 a Space Odyssey.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Here's a meme.

Many thanks to Yorkshire Pud for tugging me senseless!! You don't often get to utter a sentence as intriguing as that one, do you?

It's all about meme!!

4 movies I'd watch again
Evil Dead (all three of them, but I will generously count this as one choice).
Whisky Galore.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (just to spot Yorkshire Pudding charging over the horizon).
Mon Oncle.

4 places I've lived
Pole Moor (in Huddersfield).
Outlane (in Huddersfield).
Birkby (in Huddersfield).
Edinburgh (briefly, for work, not in Huddersfield).

4 TV shows I watch
Difficult to say,as the seasonal programming changes what I watch on an almost weekly basis. I NEVER watch soaps. Currently:
Harry Hill's TV Burp.
Keith Lemon's World Tour.
Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.

4 people I email
Anyone who gives me bad customer service.
Anyone who gives me good customer service.
Sometimes my mum and Fred.
I don't really use email...... I use messenger and I text from my phone a lot.

4 things I eat
Bread and all associated bread-type products (muffins, crumpets, teacakes, currant teacakes, croissants etc etc).
Cheese (it's my downfall in life.... I was much thinner when I was a vegan!!).
Marmite (I bloody loves it).
Liquorice (in all its shapes and forms - allsorts, pontefract cakes, poor bens, those whirly wheel things etc etc).

4 places I'd rather be
Hmmm... this is tough because the answers are fluid and don't remain the same for more than a mere fraction of a second at a time..... right about now I'd rather be:
With the missus, curled up on the sofa with a cuppa and a bun, watching some of the programmes mentioned previously.
At the Riverhead in Marsden drinking a pint of Sparth Mild or Cupwith Sepcial (with the missus of course).
In a noisy video game arcade, like the ones that used to exist in the good old days (not sure she'd want to accompany me there).
Although I've never been there, I'd like to be on a Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee plantation (as a visitor, not a poorly paid, exploited worker of course!!).

It is customary to perpetuate these "memes" by tagging or tugging a given number of people in return for being tugged. I'm far too non-conformist to oblige, but I'd like to hear Rol's movies or TV answers..... spice the cat's places he'd rather be........ Polgara's list of confidential email addresses...... and Pixie's places she'd rather be....... so if any of you can be arsed..... or need something to blog about..... get on with it!!

Monday, March 17, 2008


I am currently working on a plan to move internet service provider. The one I am using, although they are totally fantastic are a little beyond my meagre budget at the moment.

In the meantime, you may notice several things starting to break around here..... music, pictures, you know, the kind of things that are linked to some webspace that is now moving to somewhere else.

I will try to minimise the impact that this move has on everything, but if you spot something that doesn't work, then please let me know.

Thanks for your patience.

CycloDS news and a meme to follow later!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Rarely do I spend a more relaxing weekend than the one that has just elapsed. It's been really busy, but thoroughly relaxing and enjoyable at the same time.

In beer terms, it was a joy!!

Managed a few pints at the Three Pigeons in Halifax, and was pleased to taste my first drop of "Silver Fox" which is the Ossett Brewery's ale for March. Very very nice and a beer that I have been waiting to come round. Can't wait to sup another!!

Beer festival? Brilliant. The success of a beer festival is truly measured by the fact that we had to wait for two people to stagger out before we were allowed to take our turn at selecting our poisons. Me, I jumped straight into the "mild trail" and supped a goodly selection before being rewarded, bang on the end of session bell, with a free glass of the mild of my choice. I chose the Midnight Bell from the Leeds Brewery (sponsors of this particular festival) and I was not disappointed. Top mild!!

My only beery regret is that I didn't have time or the constitution required to sample some of the porters on offer at the festival...... I will make up for that neglect at the Star's beer festival later this week.

Other than drinking beer, I've been....

Riding my bike. I managed to talk the lovely Dawn into getting on the spare bike and coming for a bike ride. Dawn was apprehensive, but once we got going, and we went along at Dawn's pace and chatted as we rode and managed to stay warm, there was no stopping her..... I was really impressed how well we managed do.

Shopping. A Sunday trip to Wilko's!! Hurray, I love the Wilkinsons.

Cooking. Baking bread and food for the most part of the weekend.

Now I'm relaxed.... chilling with my CycloDS.... more on that later!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Whisky makes you frisky.

Brandy makes you randy.

And beer.......? I'm off to the festival of course!!

Yes folks, the first ever beer festival I attended was the Leeds beer, cider and perry festival, and that time of year is upon us again!!

During the course of this weekend, they'll be serving up a mouth-watering 150 ales and a choice of 25 ciders and perries. I am SO looking forward to it.

As if that wasn't enough.....

Next week is The Star's beer festival at Folly Hall in Huddersfield, and theirs (as pub festivals go) is the pinnacle my friends!!

Roll out the barrel.... hic!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


A sleepless night. Hot and bothered, unable to open the window because of the "storms" outside - for "storms", read "wind and rain" - I'd like to know exactly when we started referring to typical British weather as "storms" - An overactive mind, bent out of shape from a marathon job application form (I spent about six hours yesterday working on a single application)..... these were (some of) the factors that have left me tired, miserable and decidedly grumpy today.

I'm not going to comment on the "storms" other than to reveal that unsurprisingly the highest winds were measured in Snowdonia - it's a bloody mountain, what do you expect?

I'm not going to comment on the prospect of the introduction of the "pledge of allegiance" to our schools.

I'm not going to even comment on the disruption of the Cheltenham racing meet, other than the fact that it might mean we get our beloved "Countdown" back on the screens this afternoon.

Not going to mention the prospect of a "green" budget announcement later today that will not increase petrol duties, but will see a levy placed on carrier bags!!

I will however mention......

I nipped out to hand deliver an application form and missed a post delivery that I now have to wait 48 hours to collect from the post office in the town centre. That really irks me!!

I have an interview for the second job that I applied for.

I am going to have a nap.

Monday, March 10, 2008


We are apparently in the midst of the biggest storm of the winter. In all honesty, it's very mild here in Huddersfield. It's wet, but it's not windy and there certainly is no sign of the promised storm. Other parts of the country don't seem to have been so lucky!!

I've had a nice steady day of it. I've been out and done a bit of shopping and I've been out for a spot of lunch. I've watched a bit of telly and I've played some video games.

As far as TV goes, I have to say how amusing it is to see the return of a slightly older, hungover, frozen food shortcutting Delia Smith to our screens. I can't believe they showed the footage of her (seemingly three sheets to the wind) on the Norwich football pitch appealing for someone to volunteer to be tweflth man. Incredible!! She is still a good cook though, and I will be watching the series.... fabulous to see she had brought Nigel Slater in on the act too.... I think he's one of my favourite TV chef types.

I am hoping that tomorrow's weather is no worse than today's and I might actually brave it on my bike... it's just a bit of rain, right? I can do wet, but I can't do windy!!

I am also wishing I had not bought Morrisons' cheap coffee.... it smells like wet dogs!! Revolting. Tastes ok, but the smell is making it impossible for me to get close to the cup. Guess that'll learn me!!

Amaryllis cam is rocking out!!

Job applications are continuing. I am actually thinking about signing on for a while!!

Sunday, March 09, 2008


I am tired.

I haven't done very much this weekend that would make me tired. Perhaps it's the inactivity of it all that has actually done me in??

Apparently we're set for some serious storm force weather over the next day or so, and on that basis alone, when I woke up this morning I had my heart set on going for a walk or a bike ride or something before we are all hiding behind locked doors hoping the chimney doesn't blow off the roof.

We managed a canal-side walk from Slawit to Marsden (one of my personal favourite walks) and even got a pint of Cupwith Special at the Riverhead. Magic. It was trying to snow when we set off and glorious sunshine when we got back to the car.

My Nintendo DS has started playing silly beggars with this doo-hickey that I have installed.... for some reason it refuses to "play ball" with me.... I even took the soldering iron to it today in pure frustration. I've ordered a new doo-hickey, and this one is supposedly better, faster, much improved, a simple slot-1 solution, or so they tell me!! Time will tell!!

My amaryllis is just about opening up now!! Here is a captured image for posterity. As you can tell from the image, both "spikes" are now too large to fit them fully into the picture, so you just have to imagine the scale - I can't fit the top of the plant pot in any more.

I think that once the amaryllis is done I will install a hyacinth cam!! Imagine!! The problem with the bulbs I have planted today for this purpose seemed decidedly rotten, so it might be more boring than bowling cam even!!

Right, I'm going to get myself some coffee and play a bit of Wii before I shuffle off to bed-ford-shire!!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Banana? Vanilla!!

Nothing much to report.

I've applied for a job.....

I've been riding my bike......

I've been playing on the Nintendo Wii......

I've been baking bread, of which my latest creation is a date and pecan loaf.......

I've been playing my Nintendo DS......

I have requested another two job application packs (against my better judgement - I really don't want to find myself back behind a desk being a computer jockey again!!) for computer related jobs!!......

I am feeling curiously introspective......

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


None of us is as young as we used to be.

The symptoms of this aging disease appear to be:

a) I think I may well now be unemployable!?!
b) A bike ride now leaves me with aching bones in my wrists!!
c) Where I used to take weed and hash pipes round to my mates, I now take freshly cooked warm loaves of bread.

I went on a bike ride yesterday evening, and it was hard work. The muddy bits were just difficult to pedal through. The bumpy bits were just hard on the bones and the body. The road bits were just hard on my arse 'cos I have a saddle like a razor blade. So, all in all it was a good bike ride!! Here are a couple of pictures that I managed to take during the breathers we took.

A view towards Norland Moor from Turley Cote Lane.

Disused brickworks at Blackley.

As for employment.... I've now applied for a grand total of two jobs, and haven't been invited to interview for either of them!! Anyone got a job for me?

As far as the loaves go, perhaps I am over procrastinating to compensate for my lack of desire to complete an online job application, but I've spent the whole day cooking. I've made two Parmesan and sun-dried tomato loaves. I've cooked enough spicy bean stew to feed an army, and enough brown rice to feed anyone else that still feels hungry. The kitchen (as a procrastination positive side-effect) is now quite clean and tidy!!

Every cloud has a silver lining I guess.... back to Tangram-mania for me!!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Every day...

... is mother's day!!

Today is Mothering Sunday..... I say that every day should be a special day for mums the whole world over!!

Here's my gift to all the mothers, a Super Sunday Search!!

clothes w/ animals on them arctic fox (Google)
Not sure if there is an arctic fox garment specifically.... but this question made me wonder where all those strange people buy their fleece jackets with moonlit wolves on? You know the types... they usually are two overweight middle aged people wearing matching garments.... they buy them here (apparently)

is egears any good (Google)
No!! Don't use them!!

artic fox (Yahoo)
1) It's arCtic, not artic!!
2) Why don't you use Google? It's much better!!

why does my boiler not start in foggy weather (Google)
I don't know, but I know a man that would!! Unless you live in Huddersfield, this information would (of course) be wholly irrelevant. What I might suggest is that you search using your boiler's make and model numbers to find some forums or discussions where you might get your questions answered. Perhaps it might need a service? The guy came and stuck a vacuum cleaner in mine and it made it work better!!

dead arctic fox pictures (Google)
You're sick!! If you must see dead foxes, then you'll find them here, but I urge you not to think about it!!

skoda expensive advert cost (Google)
I covered this a while back, and it's all probably urban myth.... I hate to direct anyone to the Daily Mail but they covered it quite well here.

how to make arctic fox paper bag puppet (Google)
I've seen paper bag penguin puppets but no arctic fox bags... if anyone finds them then let me know!!

how does the Arctic fox keep warm (Google)
Either he turns up the central heating, or he uses his extra thick coat!! Apparently (according to Nigel Marven) an arctic fox's fur coat will keep him from shivering until the temperature goes below minus seventy degrees (he (regretfully) did not state whether this was Fahrenheit or Centigrade though).

where the arctic fox lives (maps) (Google)
This is asked for quite a lot... I stole this map from a source that I will not divulge. The lighter coloured parts of the map indicate the fox's range. I DO like the way you bracketed the word "maps" in your search but it's really not necessary. NOTE: Bugger, the upload image thing seems to be busted, but I'll upload it when I get round to it.

what is a mother arctic fox called (Google)
A female fox is called a "Vixen", and this is the same for a female arctic fox. The babies are called "Kits" and the males are called "Reynard". A very appropriate question on Mothering Sunday!!

Saturday, March 01, 2008


Happy Saint David's day to you all.... daffodils and leeks indeed!!

Does anyone remember as far back as my experience with the humane rat trap that I bought from B&Q for about fifteen quid? It was back when I had a rat in my garden that was hoovering up the stray bird food. The trap didn't work. I stopped feeding the birds so much for a brief spell and the rat eventually buggered off to pastures greener.

Well, I can now confirm that the rat trap that failed for me has scored in its new location (under someone else's bird feeders!!). Today, near a hotel at Scapegoat Hill, I released my first ever humanely trapped wild rat, back into the wild!! Quite satisfying, and you could tell old ratty was relieved not to be having a spade smacked down on the back of his head!!

They do say "Feed the birds, feed the rats" but as long as those rats are on the outside and not on the inside of my house, then I won't be too angered by them.

My latest "fad" - I use this term loosely, as this is how anything I am remotely interested in gets labelled.... encouragement might be more appropriate than to habitually pour disdain on my interests. - Anyhow, my latest "fad" (even I refer to it as a fad now, I am so damaged!!) is bread making.

I have inherited the family bread making machine. It's not a Rolls Royce of machines, but it serves a purpose and it works. This week I've made two wholemeal granary loaves and I sort of invented a cinnamon and raisin loaf (not that I discovered it, just that I poured random amounts of stuff into the machine to see what would happen).

It was Friday night, about ten PM. I sat chuckling to myself, tucking into my latest dough-based excursion. I think when your Friday night's entertainment is bread related, then it's a sure fire sign that you're getting old!!

Did anyone notice I've spent some money on a new webcam? You now get a better picture when viewing the amaryllis cam!!