Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Are we there yet?

Almost done.... just the piffling matter of New Year's Eve to get out of the way and soon, very soon, things can start to get back to normal.

So what's been occurring?

Christmas - spent recovering from flu. Had a few beers (on my own - not something I do very often) at the excellent Drop Inn in Elland - Treacle Stout makes for a great chrimbo tipple. The rest of the day I spent cooking up a storm for my own christmas dinner - A fake chicken roast thing, a sublime cauliflower cheese, cabbage, carrots, roast potatoes, stuffing, gravy, honey roast parsnips and the obligatory brussel sprouts - I am still trying to work out why my folks are so fixated with people eating or not eating brussel sprouts - I know my mum doesn't like pineapple so why would I force her (under peer pressure) to eat it?

Fell asleep in the afternoon with a bottle of excellent Leeds Pale Ale in my hand.

As for christmas gifts.... I wonder why I bother!! Dawn and I both agreed to only spend a tenner on each other and that worked quite well..... I got a keyring, a Woman's weekly cook book and a cowboy story (possibly the most costly postage of tat ever???) from the Australian relatives - A DVD from Dawn's kids..... Socks from my Aunty Jan..... chocolate coins, socks, liqueur chocolates and some love hearts from mum (presumably they ventured no further than Slaithwaite chocolate shop) and that's it!!

My flu has finally effed off..... Good old Cock o' the North have had a beer festival..... been for a walk around Scammonden Dam......

Much ado about naff all!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Hello world.

I am alive.... just.... battling the flu!!

My boiler is fixed.... slurp.... now for a hot... cold... hot... cold.... feverish christmas!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Well, I've sort of knuckled down to some serious christmas shopping. I always find the task very depressing.

I hate crowds of people that amble along with no sense of purpose or intent, like zombies in the shopping mall of a George A. Romero flick.

I hate buying things for people based on the fact that it's bad form not to, even when you know that in a couple of weeks time you could get twice as much "crud" for your money.

I'm not religious in any way, shape or form, and even if I was then I'm unsure that christmas shopping would form any part of my beliefs.

I hate seeing the same old crap that was on display at this time last year being wheeled back out onto the shelves for us to have another crack at.

Christmas socks, mugs, hats, shirts, cardigans, jumpers, decorations, in fact anything christmas "branded" that will never see the light of day until the same time next year.

I always see loads of stuff that I'd want to buy for myself, but I know nobody else will see those things and unless I DO buy them for myself, then I'll never receive them (examples of this, today, were: Electric toothbrush heads; Deodorant; Clothes; Shoes; Walking boots).

Even a dose of Michael Caine in Muppet Christmas Carol has failed to thaw my icy mood.


Not a great photo, but a nice example of a spider in my living room. I love spiders because they eat flies.... and I HATE flies!! There are also some good examples of dust bunnies in this photo, the kind that blow across my floor like tumbleweeds in Dead Man's Gulch.

Friday, December 12, 2008


I'm upset.

I'm not sure what upsets me more:

The fact that, after twenty six years uninterrupted service, Carol Vorderman, the thinking man's crumpet and all round letters and numbers queen, has been forced to step down from her job on the popular, old ladies' favourite game show - Countdown.


The fact that I can only make a six letter word out of the final letters selection of the final game.... I'd have liked to send Carol off with a nine letter salute at least, but ADJUST will have to do.

At tea time tonight, Des O'Connor and Carol Vorderman aired their final show. A sad time for telly, and me. The early evening slot will never be the same again.

RIP Countdown. God bless Carol Vorderman and all those that sail in her.

Proof indeed that the old ones are the best. A dog just after it had fallen in, crossing the famous stepping stones at Bolton Abbey, during warmer sunnier months, earlier this year. I watched this dog all the way across, it struggled to reach across some of the gaps, but it didn't panic as much as Dawn did when it was her time to cross. I kinda like the rippled reflections on this one and the skinny wet dog's legs.

Let me just say: With reference to tonight's full moon..... Let someone else say it, but DO take a look here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dark night.

It's a dark night, and a good night to watch the Dark Knight.....

I've been up to my elbows in films again. Spent a bit of time watching some old black and whites, watched a few episodes of John Shuttleworth's 500 Bus Stops, and crowned it all off with a viewing of the Dark Knight movie.... the one with Heath Ledger as a crazy arsed Joker and Christian Bale as a Batman with a Samuel Tweetesque speech impediment!!?? (anyone remember Thamuel Thweeth?)

At two and a half hours long it's a bit beyond my standard concentration levels and there were a couple of moments where I felt it was going on a bit but I stuck it out and thought it was a good film, albeit quite brutal and much too harsh for the younger eyes that I might have liked to lend it to under normal circumstances.

As for the rest of the day..... well.... gas fires were quite important..... Pictureka (a game like "Where's Wally") played a large part.... waiting in my car playing Pokemon while my mum attended various health centres..... ginger wine.... parkin pigs..... cherry scones..... usual stuff.

Perhaps I've got room for a beer tomorrow?

Perplexing: 3:38pm (last Saturday afternoon) in Albert Square..... I thought it was Coronation Street in Manchester, not Eastenders!! A very busy European Christmas Market and a giant illuminated santa.... what more could you ask for? The more eagle eyed amongst you may spot Sally Webster wandering about like she's just been discharged from a mental hospital complete with straightjacket (or perhaps you won't?)!! I might be wrong about this being Albert Square.... Sally Webster may not be in this picture.... I've still got that one-leg-shorter-than-the-other trademark tilt!!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Never return.

Never return to a firework that's gone out. Even if the firework never properly ignited, it's not the best solution to go and stick your eye over the top of it to see what happened. We all learn these little rules of life, and they go along just fine until......

Even a broken boiler can burn you.

Having thwarted my usual boiler repair man and having soured our relationship by him having to back away from the deal seriously out of pocket..... I contacted the boiler manufacturer......

Here follows their reply:

As your appliance is now out of warranty, should you wish for our engineer to visit your property, we can do so for a fixed charge of £215 which includes most parts, labour and VAT. The only parts not included in this fixed price are the heat exchangers and expansion vessel, therefore should we find that any of these parts are required, our engineer will quote separately on site for the completion of the repair.

I would advise however that we do reserve the right to charge an abortive call out fee of £82.25, should our engineer be unable to gain access to the appliance, where parking is not available, where the appliance is deemed beyond economical repair or find the fault to be external to the appliance. This may also apply if the visit is cancelled by yourself with less than 24 hours notice.

Ouch..... burned again. What happened to my eyebrows??

My recent trip to Manchester. Not only did Sally Webster from Coronation Street try to buy some amaryllis bulbs from me in the market, but my good friend Shaun Ryder bought me a pint in the Marble Arch. If you look carefully you might just spot the lovely Wally Dawn in this picture.... Sally Webster's phone number goes to the first correct guess.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The boiler man cometh.....

... and invariably he faileth to fixeth my boiler.

The boiler repair man has suffered a severe defeat at the hands of my obsolete Gloworm Fuelsaver F 55F broken down machine. Parts were replaced, earths were restrapped, connections remade, circuits tested, voltages measured..... we even tried turning it off and on again!! For all intents and purpose, the boiler should be working... it goes through its routine and the final step is the spark which ignites it... and that's where it fails.... all other preliminary stages are present and correct.

Upshot, it's still f-f-f-freezing.... my boiler repairman has suffered a devastating cost in spare parts which he can't return or charge for.... I think it's new boiler time..... insert groan here.

We are all very disappointed but only one of us is cold.

Manchester Eye and the Arndale Centre - After a few beers and a trawl around the festive markets in the city centre on Saturday afternoon and evening. Spent some time in the Marble Arch (my first but not last visit there) and the Briton's Protection (where I struggled to get through a very fine pint of "hung, drawn and portered").

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Jack Frost.

Man, it's officially VERY cold.

Update: Bath - fixed; Shower - new one installed; Boiler - waiting spare parts (possibly a week and I am not convinced that it will fix the problem when it arrives!!).

The gas fire is working overtime, and I am cuddled up with a quilt and a carbon monoxide alarm in case my quest to live in a draft free, superheated, micro-climate, should end anywhere near the wrong end of the disaster scale.

Snow came.... I got up for the customary post drinking, forgot to turn my electric blanket off, five AM whizz!! The ground outside was frosty.... the ground inside wasn't much better!! I went back to bed with a tshirt wrapped round my head like some sort of turban. Woke up at seven thirty.... lo and behold, it's been snowing.

I took an eight AM ride across town to get a new shower with my uncle.... the normally congested journey, was of course simply exacerbated by Joe Public's complete disregard of common sense and highway code.... when snow falls, it's motoring anarchy... It took a while!!

I'm not holding my breath that I'll have central heating again before Christmas now.

Quite literally - Up the garden path at seven thirty in the morning. A snowscape of small proportions. This here bunch of white stuff probably added thirty minutes onto our five mile trip this morning. Not the sort of thing you really want to wake up to when your central heating boiler's acting the lemon!!