Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Whole

Thankfully a day off.... I mean a whole day off.... nothing to do but sit around and think..... so I thunk and I thunk, and here is the kink......

Struggled through the four hours at the pub last evening and even managed to get through a little bit of work..... a bit of tidying here, a bit of cleaning there, spreading my germs almost everywhere.

I even stayed behind after work for a couple of pints of Guinness..... a drink I used to consume in rather startlingly large quantity before I discovered the joy of real ale.  They say Guinness is good for you, and while I did sleep rather soundly for the first part of last night. I did have to retrieve Dawn from the sofa in the lounge at about four o' clock to apologise for what must have been unbearable snoring.....  I spent the rest of the night on the sofa and went back to bed when Dawn got up...... complicated stuff.

I'd like to think that the copious quantity of snot pouring out of me is a sign that I've broken the back of this particular bug!!

I've just been up the road to the postbox to post a rather pleasant birthday card (a delightful little scene of Berwick) to my Aunty and I noticed some rather wonderful things along the way.....

Firstly, I am always amazed at how active your brain can be......  it just never shuts up!!

Did I lock the door?  I'm sure I did!

BT Openreach van..... you can bet he's not making my broadband go faster can't you!!

A funny looking metal disc on the pavement.... looks like a bit of a petrol cap?

The small piece of land for sale/rent - must look it up.

No chickens in Peter's field this morning..... and I never noticed the gateway that's been bricked up in Peter's garden wall before..... and his wall looks a bit lopsided, might need looking at.

Logs.....  a massive stack of logs at a house that's been built but never quite finished..... been going on for a couple of years now..... we could use them logs at the pub.

Jet black elderberries.   Must be nearly Autumn.

Gravestones..... and some tiger lillies growing around them......

Garish gold painted stone lions.....

Post collection 4:45pm but 11:30am on Saturdays.... typically useless to me.

I cough up some phlegm and head back down the road.

Ruby red rosehips.  Autumn's not far off.
 
Ah, there are Peter's chickens.... I cluck at one plucky soul which has made its way right up to the wall at the side of the garden..... and I wonder how you could turn Peter's field into a little fishing pond..... how would you stop it leaking?  surely you don't just dig a big hole?  What kind of features would I put in if I were making my own fishing pond?

I kick the weird metal disc and it scoots off, rolling down the road.... it seems to be some sort of rubbery metal disc thing and I have no idea what it is..... it veers slightly to the right and rolls round the back of the BT van.

Crab apples.  Must be Autumn.... wonder how 'Udders Orchard's apple pick went?

As I pass the BT van I realise I've forgotten to take notice of the piece of land I wanted to look at.....  I turn back round to look and notice the estate agent's name and think to look it up when I get home.  I also notice the BT van is wide open and looks stuffed full of equipment in little drawers...... at that point the BT man appears in front of me, as I'm looking backwards into his van...... he probably thinks I was thinking about pinching his gear......  

A tiny, adorable ginger and white kitten standing in the lounge window of a cottage I passed, looking out, probably wondering where all the balls of wool have gone.  The cottage, once owned by a driving instructor and his wife..... we refer to them as "Aspire" and "Tilpey" based on their cars and registrations.... I think they split up and moved out so the kitten must belong to the new owner(s) - can't remember if it's rented or sold.  Remember to tell Dawn about the kitten.

I squash some greenfly on my rose bush.

It's not far to our postbox!

driftwood shelter at Cheswick

Monday, September 17, 2012

Nothing

Lungs like toast.

Tight cough with a sore throat.

Head, on the verge of exploding through unprecedented internal sinus pressure.

Still, we men don't like to complain about our illnesses.... we just quietly go about our daily lives and continue to fulfil our roles in society as best we can.

And so it comes to be, that despite all common sense, I'm heading down to the pub for a short, sharp four hour stint at the coalface of refreshment provision.

I dare say that nobody will even notice I'm ill nor ask me how I am feeling, so well do I cope with such adversity.

What a trooper I am!

Harebell amongst the sand dunes

Friday, September 14, 2012

Groans

I've got a tickly throat... in fact I've had this annoying, steadily increasingly annoying, tickly throat for a week now and it's JUST starting to get the better of me..... Strepsils and Beechams Powders at the ready.

(hot toddy made with rum and I'm off to bed)

I've just been reminded of a story.... reminded by my own inability to spot a joke when it slaps me across my dumbfounded face.

Well, as a kid, I was a real gag machine.... a veritable joke magnet.  I was always buying, digesting and regurgitating joke books.  I had a good memory for jokes and I'm sorry to say that my ability to spin a yarn or remember any funny jokes really has deserted me as I get older.

A few that I do remember are the silly childish ones like.....

Shall I tell you the joke about the pack of butter?  Oh no, you'll only spread it.

Want to hear the joke about the wheelie bin?  Oh no, it's rubbish.

Shall I tell you the joke about the broken pencil?  Oh no, there's no point.

you get the idea, right?

Well, there was a kid at our school, and to protect his identity, I'll just refer to him as "Ian"..... he wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer and as kids do, we royally took the piss.

Well Ian always liked to hear a joke.... and it was a fair certainty that he'd laugh at any joke you told him, whether he understood it, or got it, or not.

In order to test this particular theory... someone, and I forget who, came up with a nonsensical joke to tell to Ian and see if he laughed.......

I can confirm that Ian did indeed laugh, and the joke was not in the least bit funny......  Sadly, I still remember the nonsense joke, and it does make me laugh.....

A boy walks into a baker's shop and asks "Have you got a blue loaf please?"  The baker replies "I'm sorry we've only got green loaves left" and the boy says "It's ok I've got my bike outside".

HAHAHAHA who's laughing now Mr. Haigh.... oops!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What

What a difference a day (or two) makes.

In true British style, I'm about to start some gentle weather discourse.

At the weekend it were boiling..... and now..... it's feeling like deep, dark autumn.

A ten degree temperature drop and some rather chilly winds have meant that my shorts and sunglasses are making way for socks and woolly hat.

It's decidedly cooler, and though there are promises that it'll pick up again by the weekend.... I'm not convinced.

I DID have fun at the weekend discussing the fact that it was "too hot" and bemoaning the scorching weather - in a very tongue-in-cheek manner with the overheated punters at the pub.  I knew that all too soon we'd be able to have a further conversation about the lack of summer and the bad weather we always have.... that's the advantage of working with drunk people.

So, I've tried to be a good boy.  I've tried to get back to my blog on several occasions, each time to be thwarted by such events as computers that refuse to work or a stomach that needs to be filled.

Just now, as an example, I received an email that wasn't really intended for me.... I had to forward it to someone else, and in order to do that I had to log in to a different mail account, find some mail with that person's email address , copy and paste between one email client and another, forward the mail..... it all takes time and provides endless opportunity for being sidetracked..... I rest my case, and I rest my feet on my case while I get my book out.

Point in question - one minute I'm typing my blog.... the next minute I'm reading and commenting on another blog..... then I hear the front door opening and I'm making a cup of tea for my mum..... time passes.... and passes......

And so, it comes to be that at some point I was hoping to post a few more pictures from THIS last trip to the borders area of Northumberland..... and of course, I end up posting pictures of fish and a previous trip to Northumberland....  it's more complicated than it needs to be.

In honour of a recent competitor on "Celebrity" Big Brother, I've made my very own internet based "wishlist" and you're all free to pick off as many items as you wish to send to me in exchange for, well, how about some gratuitously bad holiday snaps?

Here's my wishlist, and remember it's my birthday on the 24th September!!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Success

I caught a good fish!

Down at Riley's Pond on Friday last week, I caught a rather splendid seven and a half pound common carp, which is only about a half a pound short of the pond record.... and I have to say, it was an exciting time for me and the chap in this picture who held the fish for me......  he was as thrilled with this perfect specimen as I was!!

As a rule, during match days, any fish that weighs OVER five pounds is removed from this pond and placed into the bigger pond, so a fish of this size and in such good condition, seemingly never caught before, is VERY rare!


Suffice to say, as soon as this fish had gone back into the water, I packed up my gear and went home..... there wasn't going to be a better way to finish the day.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Partly

Partly on account of the fact that:
Yesterday I worked a fourteen and half hour straight shift behind the bar.
Yesterday I drank (it's a guess) a gallon of Easy Rider during the above premise.
I've pulled a piece of skin off one of my toes, and it turns out that it's the bit that touches the floor when I walk and it's stinging and pretty uncomfortable.
I have headache.
Having got to bed at sometime around three o' clock this morning and being back at the pub for line cleaning at nine thirty, I'm quite tired.

For those reasons alone.....

Thank God it's Super Searching Sunday......

dose anyone know if i can buy rileys choclate toffee rolls
As featured in my "Top 10 Sweets" list.  Rileys no longer exist as far as I'm aware.... And I believe they were based in Halifax?  I could be wrong.... but it's highly unlikely!!  Anyway, you can get these, which are, apparently, quite similar.  Also, I think you mean "does" and "chocolate".

"the harlot's room" melissa
What can I say?  It's a book about an autistic hooker.  I've read it and can't remember it.  Here's more information on it.

"i now smoke daily"
Well you should stop.  It's bad for you and it's very antisocial..... here preaches an ex-smoker!!

disney on ice let's celebrate pinocchio
Did someone really come here looking for this?  They should be looking for this!

sapnas curry
Now here's a blast from my past.... on Venn St. (a street famed in Huddersfield for its "ladies of the night") there was a taxi rank (that contained an arcade in the back with great games like Burnin' Rubber) and there was a little late night curry house called Sapnas.  It was really grotty and grubby but the food was rather good and the people that ran it were always nice and friendly despite being permanently troubled by inebriated clientèle (a common curry house complaint).  I am convinced that a friend and I once went there and woke up resting on each other across the table.... surrounded by empty curry dishes, the previous contents of which we promptly paid for.... and to this day I am not aware that we even ate a curry.... I hope this is true.  It was also the last place that I ordered a meal that contained meat.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Aye eye

Sunday morning on holiday..... first full day in Scremerston.

Early start.... out of the door by half past ten (AM before you get any smart ideas) and fancying a stroll around Berwick.....

We drove the couple of miles to town, and upon reaching one of the three bridges that cross the Tweed, it was patently obvious that, this being bank holiday Sunday..... there was a football match on.

Now, for those as ignorant of all things football related as me, there's an interesting fact about Berwick Rangers football club, and that is, although geographically located in England, the team play in the Scottish league.  They are currently languishing in the Scottish third division, which incidentally also includes one of the two Scottish teams that I regularly check on, those two being Montrose (in the third division) and Arbroath (in the Scottish second division).

So, normally, what sort of attendance would one expect to find at a sleepy border town, third division club, bank holiday match?

Well, given the fact that last season's highest home attendance had peaked at a paltry 486 when they played against Alloa Athletic, you might imagine that Berwick had naught to fear.... you'd be wrong.....

On this particular day..... the big bank holiday game was against Glasgow Rangers - a team that have been "demoted" from the heady heights of Premier League football, on the grounds of financial "discrepancies" - a claim for which I stand to be corrected.  They were, in fairness, lucky to be allowed to continue playing.... but the impact of one of Great Britain's most successful teams being sent so far down the ranks will have some big knock on effects in the coming seasons..... a lot of money's just fallen out of football.

Alas, I digress.....   so, with Berwick Rangers fans raising the roof off the town at eleven AM and kick off a good hour away..... all the shops (wisely) closed..... there wasn't much reason to stay in Berwick at all..... so we headed off to Eyemouth..... it's the first little seaside town over the border into Scotland - A place I really like.

On the way to Eyemouth there were dozens of coaches of Glaswegian fans queued up waiting to be escorted into town.  Herded and shepherded like lager swigging sheep so as to not cause bother in the wee town of Berwick.

As it turns out, we had an ace day in Eyemouth..... we had a lovely lunch at a cafe/bar called Oblo, on the outside balcony, in glorious sunshine, where we dined on fresh mussels, haddock, crab, prawns, nachos, olives, and generous helpings of Tennents lager..... all washed down with some rum and raisin ice cream.  Magic.

Surprisingly..... Berwick nearly won the game but had a late goal disallowed..... and were quite happy with a draw at one apiece.... Ally McCoist on the other hand was not so happy on his way back to Glasgow!!

Unfortunately, as we had only planned to stroll round Berwick, I'd neglected to bring along my camera.......  I DO have some photos of Eyemouth from a previous visit if I can dig them out..... (to compensate for the crappy uneducated view of football (above) I give you a series of photos - AND I've put bowling cam back on and put a new tune for you to listen to)

the two of us on the beach in Eyemouth (on a previous visit)
just outside Eyemouth harbour (on a previous visit)
Eyemouth harbour (on a previous visit)
grey seals in the harbour at Eyemouth (on a previous visit)

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Is it...

Is it because I is back?

Home - and back into the routine as quickly as I dropped it like the hot potato it was rapidly becoming.

I've already done a shift at the pub..... I've already drunk beer in the pub..... I've already been fishing..... considered mowing the lawn...... wondered when it is right to harvest a chilli pepper from the plant.... hunted down an old frenemy on facebook..... got up late..... watched my local news..... spent too much time on a computer..... tried desperately to catch up on all the blogging activities that have taken place since my last showing (and given up on the two or three hundred unread posts)...... forgotten to hang the washing out (just checked and the washing machine's still going so I can rest easy on this score).... Lost my photos..... found my photos.......

The things we do that define us in our own spaces, eh?

Well, I'm pleased to say that I had a totally ace time in Northumberland with Dawn.

We rented a house from a friend of a friend for a particularly reasonable rate in the "village" of Scremerston.

Scremerston:
Pop - 300?
Shops - none
Pubs - none
Facilities - Berwick RUFC
              - St. Peter's Anglican Church
              - Jehova's Kingdom Hall
              - A roundabout
              - 2 swings
              - A postbox
              - A roundabout

It's such a strange little village..... you can walk around the entire place in ten minutes and there's every possibility that you will not see another living soul in that time, or indeed on that day.

The advantage that Scremerston DOES have is that it's only a five minute drve to Cocklawburn Beach and a five minute drive into Berwick Upon Tweed.  Scremerston is, of course, VERY quiet..... and that's something I appreciate.  The beaches of Northumberland are also equally quiet, and that is something I also appreciate.

The beaches are stunningly beautiful..... geologically interesting.... steeped in history...... and mostly deserted.

I can heartily recommend that anyone who likes walking and solitude, should get their act together and get up there...... get up early or go out late and you'll most likely feel like you have the whole county to yourself.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Treading

Wake up.... do some jobs.... go to the pub..... come home..... be tired.... repeat as necessary.

Trying to enjoy my week of solitude but not really finding much time to relax and do nothing....

This morning I've brought some washing in and folded a few pieces before unceremoniously dumping it on one of the kids' beds.  I've cleaned out the cat litter tray and fed and watered the cats (outside today) while I cleaned the cat feeding area in the kitchen.  I've repacked all my fishing gear that's been strewn around the kitchen in various states of wetness due to downpours on the last two successive fishing trips to Tatty Watter.  I've re-tensioned the sagging washing line and washed it down.  I've cleaned my scruffy coffee jar that had a crust of melting coffee granules all around the top of the lid.  I've bleached all the cleaning cloths, brushes and scourers.  I've made a cup of coffee and somehow managed to lose it.

It's now time to start on the lounge (which after last night's activities - i.e. me being late home and slightly drunk looks like I had a party in there) and then I can start thinking about some lunch and a late shift at the pub (tea time until closing time - on a Tuesday, which is renowned for being, well let's just say quiet).

So, this week of "home alone" despite me eating prawn crackers from the bin and finding some crumbs of what appeared to be biscuit(?) that had gathered in a fold in my jeans......  I'm living on vegetable curry that I managed to make and when I don't have the inclination or time.... it's cheese and crackers all the way.

I've just noticed that my bedroom looks a mess now too..... groans..... right... no time to say "hello, goodbye" I'm late, I'm late, I'm late.......

Time to hit the lounge!


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Home alone....

For the next week, I'll be eating cold baked beans straight out of the tin, lounging in my underpants, and generally peering suspiciously out of the letterbox in the front door to make sure that nobody is approaching my property.

yes, it's holiday season, and Dawn and the kids have gone and left me home alone.

In truth, I'm not as useless as I might make out, and I can, and indeed do cook for myself (and Dawn when she's here).

I do still have reservations about approaching a washing machine or an iron, but the dishwasher is no problem, other than the fact that she only speaks Spanish..... just kidding, it's a Bosch and they only speak Chinese with a slight German twang.

The cats are looking at me like they are doubting my capacity for maintaining a regular feeding, watering, and de-crappifying routine.  They'd be right to eye me so.  Although Dawn did leave me with twenty pounds "spending money", muttering something about cat food as she went..... so the cats will probably have to make do with whatever beer and pizza doesn't get consumed this evening.

The dog's gone to Dawn's mum's house for the week, so that's one less thing to worry about - I say "worry", when what I really mean is "get out of bed to take for a walk".  And of course it's one less food and water bowl to replenish on an "oh my God, these animals look starving" basis.

So, the water's on, in order that I can have a relaxing leisurely bath (I might even leave the bathroom door open and have some radio on) when I finish the dreaded "ale trail" shift tonight.  My pyjamas are all aired and ironed, ready for curling up with my Celebrity Big Brother this evening.  Beers are in the fridge.

Now, if I can shake this "bad pint" headache that's been surgically grafted to my brain, and get this five hour shift behind the bar (during which time I will undoubtedly stare dumbfounded at the till wondering where a certain button is; wonder how a pint of Carling and a half of Strongbow can really add up to eight pounds forty on the till; not know what button to press to ring in a Tropicana; run out of clean glasses more than once; have to swap a dead lager glass at least four times to get one that "works"; have to bite my tongue on more than one occasion; look at the time about twenty times between half past seven and eight o' clock.  Then it's plain sailing all the way until fishing tomorrow!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Trying not...

I'm trying not to say "Oh blimey, it's Thursday already" but oh blimey, it's Thursday already!

I took a friend of mine out fishing yesterday - to give him an Arctic Fox style introduction to the noble art.....  and although it rained....and it rained.... and we were alright until the wind changed direction and the two of us impersonating drowned rats had to hang onto one of the umbrellas to keep one of us from going all Mary Poppins.......  He loved it!

We had a good day, but it's taken a very hot day and the hours until just now to dry my gear out.

We've pencilled in another trip for Sunday.

Now, back to my gardening.... having just spent a half hour in the company of grass trimming equipment in the exact colour of orange of your dreams....  I do still maintain that I'm a lazy gardener.

My garden's wildlife-centric or so I tell anyone who would care to comment on the strands of sticky willie and buttercups gone to seed.  The crops that grow beneath the bird feeders.  The borders that were once pin sharp are now beyond blurred.... they're positively overflowing.

Occasionally I walk round my garden with some secateurs..... sometimes with a kitchen knife..... I poke at this plant or prod this weed.... in fact, I even go as far as to not call my weeds weeds, because everyone knows weeds are just wild flowers in places they're not meant to be.  I pull something up that looks like it might be choking a more desirable thing..... and I generally just show the living rectangle out front of my house who's boss!

I find it therapeutic right up until the point it starts to resemble work.... and then I go and play computer games or something.

Anyway..... the reason why I'm motivated to write another bloody boring garden blog, is that today, during one of my fist shaking type garden rants, where I am trying to tell it to behave but it's not listening..... I noticed something which simply enforces my "laid back" approach to gardening.....

Now, bearing in mind it's August, and in fact, having just consulted my calender realised it's MID August.....  I noticed a couple of pots in the garden that still have winter bedding plants in them..... and not only are the plants STILL alive..... they're actually starting to do quite well.....  just goes to show.... if you hang onto something for long enough it DOES eventually come back into fashion..... now where's my sheepskin waistcoat?

some sort of pansy or summat

a primula

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tricks

As I get older I begin to wonder at what point a dog becomes too old to be taught new tricks, and in learning new tricks, does this enforce the fact that I'm possibly not TOO old?

It's not something that troubles me a great deal (the thinking about the above statement) but I do love learning things, and unfortunately for those around me (taking after my mother) I am all too keen to share any new found knowledge with anyone who is too afraid to tell me to shut up.

OK, so, I don't know where this came from, but hear me out......

I have some rather scrappy looking rose bushes (I hesitated before typing the word "bushes" because they are far too spindly and scrappy to be given such grand nomenclature) - so I have rose plants in my garden.  I only have a few of these roses, and generally I'm not much of a fan of their gaudy, temperamental and fragile blooms...... but.....

Somewhere down the line, perhaps in an article I might have read in a magazine or a newspaper or from a TV programme or something.... I have it in my head, that, when dead-heading the roses, you shouldn't just take off the failing bloom, but should go back down the stem to the nearest "knuckle" and snap it off there.

Now, I don't do much gardening.... I prefer the garden to be full, even if that means letting the weeds run rampant.... the majority of my gardening is just keeping things moderately in check..... I DO however prune the roses every year, and since I moved in here they have definitely improved with the annual secateur based attention that they receive.

So.....

This year.... apart from cutting a few "suckers" from the roses (a term which loosely refers to "blind" shoots that come from the plant - i.e. non flowering), I've made the effort to apply this new piece of knowledge, about snapping the dying heads off at the first knuckle, to encourage multiplied growth.... 

Snapping the flower heads has been quite simple.... a bit like breaking the woody part of an asparagus spear at its base.....  grab the dead flower head and feel for where the stem wants to break and simply snap it off.....

(note to my cousin Jo - the snapping of the heads from the roses is in no way comparable to the unbridled whacking of red hot poker blooms)

The results.... well.....  I think it's a bit early in their first season to properly call it a success, but look at this:

an example of the "knuckle" at which the heads freely snap off

Even an untidily snapped head has promoted ruby red new growth

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Goodbye

Goodbye Olympic flame.... you'll be off on your way back to Greece or Rio or wherever it is that you rest inbetween games.

In fairness, I have to admit, that in the run-up to the games, and during the torch procession..... I was decidedly in a state of "meh" about the whole thing.

As it's turned out, I've thoroughly enjoyed the games, and not just our success, either as Great Britain OR as our great state of Yorkshire, but it's been a really great games.

Well done Great Britain..... now let's forget about the games and on Monday morning we can get back to remembering how the bankers are screwing us and we're all frikking skint, and the price of petrol will be going up again.

Ok, that's my Sunday morning rant over.......

Super Sunday Closing Ceremony Searches.

does the 2006 artic fox 19 b have an alumimun frame
I can confirm that the Arctic Fox 19b does have an aluminium superstructure.  I can actually go one step further than telling you that this is a fact, and actually prove it to you.  Click here for the evidence, and what could possibly be deemed as the most awful video I could ever imagine!  If this was a video on youtube I'd be UN-favouriting it.  Also note, aluminium is spelt A L U M I N I U M and there's a C in Arctic..... like ArCtic dammit!

litres to us gallons
Well this is interesting.... I would convert in this manner:
1 US Gallon = 3.8 litres = 0.83 Imperial Gallons

silverbacked earwig
Now I don't know one earwig from another.  I DO however know that Dawn is terrified of earwigs, based simply on the old wives' tale that they crawl into your ears and eat your eardrums and lay eggs in your brain.  Stupid really, but it's still making me queasy typing it.

confused face
The emoticon (internationally recognised) for a confused face is.....
:S

the bait kitchen huddersfield
That'll be my mate Mark's shop then.... he has a facebook page and a website.


Thursday, August 09, 2012

Weeks

Flying through space and time at a rapid rate of knots.

This week, Curiosity landed on Mars and presumably it landed on the Martian cat that was having a crap in the giant litter tray (or crater as we prefer to call it).

Oh dear..... and therein lies the power of the internet..... one minute I am happily tootling along writing a blog, and the next minute I am watching videos of ducks accompanied by techno music....

Sidetracked.....

Here's where I got up to:

Curiosity confirms that there was indeed in the not so distant past, life on Mars

Mars landing plan of Curiosity
And then I started looking at ducks, foxes, Olympics... a whole heap of other sidetracking things..... and that's my point really....

Where do these weeks go?

One minute I'm breathing a sigh of relief that I've survived another Saturday scrumdown at the pub.... then there's the tranquility of line-cleaning on a Sunday morning.  Monday I do a little afternoon evening shift and I have two days off on Tuesday and Wednesday.  This week, on Tuesday, I have absolutely no idea what I did with my day.....  oh wait, yes I remember, I've been researching glasswashers (of the mechanical kind, not the two pound an hour spotty kind) and how we might successfully lease or hire one that performs better than the one we already have.

Ok, so that's most of the week so far accounted for..... and yesterday......  I went fishing.... I fished a little bit of the canal near Elland and had a few perch and a nice bream - was very slow going, but I sat out in the sun and had a nice relaxing day - must do it again sometime - not only because my fridge now has the customary remnants of a pint of maggots in it!

And that's where weeks go.....  add into the mixer that this week I had vowed not to drink, and have so far managed to drink every single day...... plenty of  Facebook.... Olympics..... curry..... blog reading.... pogo playing..... the list goes on....

Fox takes a deep breath.......  waiting for a call from a man about a glasswasher and then..... a bit of gardening and a shift at the pub tonight.


Monday, August 06, 2012

Oops

I don't know where all this time goes to.....

One minute it seems I am resolving to get around the blog circuit and catch up with whatever everyone else has been up to, and the next minute it seems I've not only not done that but I haven't even kept up with my own blog(s).

These are the inherent challenges of being a lazy blogger..

I'll tell you a little about my day yesterday then.....

I went to the pub in the morning and cleaned the lines - it's one of my favourite jobs of the week, and because it's carried out whilst the pub is shut (for obvious reasons - obvious to me but I'll explain later) it's a task with no serious distractions.

On Sunday mornings the pub (rather like the Landlord/lady) is suffering from the effects of the night before - and in this instance, much to my chagrin, that involved a "disco" of all things.  There were plastic shot glasses, sticky surfaces, and empty fridges to contend with.

Because line cleaning involves a certain element of "waiting" time - whilst the line cleaner does its job in the line system, I always get chance to tidy the bar area so it's ready for the next person to take over control at high noon.

I always pour myself half a pint of cider (which would normally go down the drain) as a sort of pub tradition that I drink whilst carrying out the work..... cider DOES actually count as one of my five a day..... usually crisps count as another of those, and if they're cheese and onion flavour..... well, double bonus.

The first Slawit drunk stumbled through the unlocked door at exactly 10:17am to ask whether we were open or not!!  We were not!!  The second one was not far behind him, and it did take some time to work out exactly where this chap could get a drink from at "silly o' clock" on a Sunday morning.

Beer line cleaner is an extremely caustic mix of chemicals that is flushed through the beer system, allowed to stand for a while, then pulled through and flushed out with water..... the caustic nature of it makes it a dangerous substance.  For this reason, it's advisable not to do this when the pub is open.... and to do the task when you're not being distracted.

Lines cleaned - beer all looking perfect - off out to Huddersfield for a bite to eat and a nice cup of coffee.

In the afternoon we returned to the pub and had a few beers and a game of "rock n roll bingo" and caught up with a few friends.

In the evening we went down to Greenhead Park to witness the end of the Jamaican Independence Day Festival and we watched the men's 100m final of the Olympics on a "jumbotron" TV screen, and the atmosphere was terrific.  Wish we'd gone down there earlier, it looked like a great day out and it was totally topped off by a Jamaican one-two in the race...... great stuff.

Quote: "Now Paulette, what is it that we are drawing this raffle for?"..... Paulette presumably says something "off microphone" and the man with the mic says "Yes my love I know it's for the first prize but what is that prize?".... and you know what, I don't think we ever found out.

Quote: "And the winner is Mister XXXX from North Birkby...... Blacker Road...... well it couldn't be Whitey Road now could it?" - cue hilarity in the park.


Saturday, August 04, 2012

Edna!

Once upon a time there was a tea-time quiz show.... I forget the name of the show in particular, based on the fact that it was quite a long time ago and my memory does tend to ignore such trivialities (sometimes!).

Anyhoo.....

This particular quiz show shall, in our household at least, be remembered for a particular contestant that appeared on it, and I believe her name was Edna, or Ethel, or Edith or something along those lines (not that I am suggesting in my generalisation that there are similarities in any of those names or the people who possess them, and of course, other girl's names are available)......

Ok, so to recap..... there was a Tea-time TV quiz show (name forgotten) and they had a contestant called (for argument's sake) Edna, and Edna had a strange affliction that rendered her incapable of turning her head to look at the screens and/or quiz show host.  In order that Edna COULD see what was going on she had to turn her whole upper body whilst keeping her neck rigid, and at each turn her shoulders moved with her head..... we found the whole thing quite amusing.

The reason I mention this?

Of course.... in the world of Karma it is said that "My Name is Earl Arctic Fox" - and for the last week, I've had a similar affliction to that of poor, dear, possibly for all I know, departed Edna!

It's not in the slightest bit funny now, is it?

"Question... Which fox now looks like an idiot?

buzz....

"Yes, Arctic Fox for the School of Hard Knocks.... what's the answer?"

The Arctic Fox turns his whole body, stiffly, and painfully sideways, to look down the lens of the camera with a red light on top of it, and looking like a public information film about the effects of whiplash speaks softly to the viewers.....

"Erm..... that'll be me then!"

"Yes, Arctic Fox, you're quite right...... ten points to Gryffindor"


Wednesday, August 01, 2012

checks

The Arctic Fox looks nervously over his shoulder to see if anyone is watching.

At the same moment, he tries to remove the gun from its holster and promptly shoots himself in the left foot whilst simultaneously putting his right foot in his own mouth.

You didn't know i was a contortionist did you?

Well those were the thoughts that swum lazily through my tired little mind early this morning when the landlord/lady confessed to having found my blog.........

"Arctic Fox" she laughed "nice photograph" and my feeble brain swung from thoughts of balance sheets and profit and loss calculations to whatever I might have divulged within these pages that may be incriminating / insulting / unprofessional / stupid.

It's the age-old blogging quandary - should I blog anonymously? should I be more careful with what I say?  I can't decide what's for the best.  I always hated it when my mum used to quote back things to me that she'd read on my blog....

Always when someone discovers my blog that i spend time with in a "real-world" scenario it makes me question whether i should be doing this at all.

I guess the difficult part about blogging is that you quickly realise that not everyone who reads blogs is familiar with the spirit in which some of the items are written.....

Some blog entries are written in the heat of the moment or in a state of emotion that might easily be taken out of context when read by the uninitiated.  A blog entry that might have been written a year ago in a tongue-in-cheek style may well not stand up to the scrutiny of the eyes of a relative who discovers my blog today.

I  hate looking over my shoulder and I hate not having the freedom to blog as i feel......  perhaps anonymous is the future?

The spirit of blogging MUST prevail!


Monday, July 30, 2012

crunch

Back to school.

I've been sent back to school to study the finer points of running a pub.

It just so happens that the landlord/lady who runs the pub where I have achieved some form of employment, has been awarded a free place on a training course courtesy of the pub company from whom they rent their pub, and "tig, you're it!" or should that be "I'M it"?

So there's a pub which seems to think it's in Morley which is really more like in Dewsbury, and for the next five days I'm trying to explain to a guy who only understands "swot analyses" and the "5 P's of marketing" that his theoretical marketing and promotional strategies hold very little water when you're confronted with five guys in banana costumes who are on the "ale trail".

It doesn't take me very long to come to the conclusion that life would be much simpler if I kept my mouth shut.

On the plus side, the landlady/lord do keep stressing to me that they do eventually want me to manage their pub for them when they step slightly to the side in September or thereabouts.

It could, as George Formby predicted, all turn out nice again.

Employment Law tomorrow - hooray!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

light

Out of the darkness into the light.....

It's Wednesday and this week that could only mean one thing.....

The landlord/lady (depending who you speak to) - return from their holiday and my grip over their public house reverts back to one of being a casual employee.  I have only one more evening shift to do and everything goes back to "normal".

It's been a tough week running the pub and I've probably clocked up around sixty hours - which doesn't sound like a frightening amount in a week until you realise that there have been two other people also working at the pub - the lad who has done the daytime shift will have done thirty six hours and my partner in crime, who works some evenings and weekends with me will have done perhaps thirty five or more hours.

It all adds up to a rather large wage bill, some tired bar staff, and a couple of sun-tanned publicans!

Despite my  fear and nervousness at the THOUGHT of dealing with the week.... it's turned out to be quite rewarding and relatively straight forward.  I have a methodical way of working and it's stood me in good stead this week.

Highlight of the week was surviving the "Ale Trail" on Saturday with the help of Antonia, Dawn and Mandy.

Lowlight of the week is probably the dripping tap that I've hammered into the barrel of Kelham Island's Easy Rider! (Which I don't think is my fault).

Highlight - Managing to deal with real ale for the first time (at a cellar level).

Lowlight - finding out that I have to be at the pub for the beer delivery with no warning.

Highlight - Putting three new barrels of real ale on during a busy Saturday shift.

Lowlight - A light-bulb exploding and tripping the fuse......  (a real head scratching moment).

Highlight - Managed to get a whole day off fishing yesterday.

Lowlight - Several times, when climbing into bed, late at night, I've remembered something I have to go back to the pub for!!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

not

Not dead, just in a fuggy haze of Carling and Jagerbombs!

Ale Trail Saturday came and went, and yes, it was manic at times....... we're all alive though..... not sure about some of the punters that bought silly drinks though!

One day soon I'll be free to come and read and write ..... for now...... I have one hour before I am back behind the bar.....

Time for some food.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Gnu

It's a new moon.  Happy new moon everyone!

As for my state of mind at the moment, I'm all over the place.

Opened the pub yesterday...... closed the pub yesterday...... worked a shift at the pub yesterday...... couldn't sleep.....  Dawn started snoring..... the rain started pouring........ my back started hurting.......  restless night to the power of ten.

Today I have to open the pub..... close the pub, and make sure the new real ales are all tapped and ready to go for the weekend.... I think I'll tap the Martson's Pedigree tonight to put on the bar tomorrow and tap the Kelham Island on Friday night so it's ready to replace something at the weekend.  The new Copper Dragon will arrive Friday and that'll just follow itself on the bar when it runs off and the Leeds Pale, well, unless I get some stillage space, it'll have to wait.  I need a Bateman's XB drinker to walk through the door!

It's enough to keep me awake at night!

I eventually got round to making a lovely salad yesterday to take to the pub for my tea.....  I julienned carrots, diced peppers, boiled eggs, tore lettuce, chopped spring onions, sliced radishes, deseeded cucumber, and generally mixed it all together........ then promptly dropped it all on the kitchen floor!

If Jesus wept, he couldn't hold a candle to what I did!!

As we all know, the 8 second rule doth verily apply, and I scooped it up quickly, leaving the last few dog hair coated pieces for the sweeping brush.

Once I'd tipped some bacon bits (vegetarian ones of course) and Italian dressing over the top, you'd never know of the salad's close encounter of the linoleum kind!

And Lord, the salad was good!

Right.... time to get ready and get down the boozer for some opening up type antics..... a barsteward's work is never done!

(just got time to pay tribute to Brian at Tannu Tuva for reminding me how good Squeeze are - in homage, I've changed my music - go on have a go on the music player over there on the right hand side)


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Confused

Confused from Huddersfield!

I am working some crazy stints at the pub this week..... I mean crazy!

Some days I'm opening up the pub, other days I'm closing up the pub..... and all the twiddly little bits that go inbetween.

A good number of years ago, I worked as a Mainframe Operator - the computer was so old and grey that it filled a whole, enormous, air-conditioned room.

The disk drives (whose capacity was tiny) needed two people to lift them, and the tape drives were like those that you might see in a mad scientist's laboratory in an episode of Thunderbirds.

I say "a good number of years ago" but it might surprise that this was still in operation around the time of the millennium switch-over, by which I mean the twentieth to twenty first centuries!

Well, that job was a split-shift pattern, and one week I would be working 6:30am to 2pm (including Saturday morning) while the following week I'd be working 2pm to 9pm (or until you'd achieved the workstream - sometimes early hours, others you might get a half hour earlier) and that week there'd be no weekend working.

I shared the shifts with a clever young chap called Sean and we did ok..... we actually ran things quite well.

The ONLY problem I had with those split shifts was that you sometimes get disoriented.......

It's wasn't uncommon for me to wake up at silly o' clock in a cold sweat thinking I'd forgotten to go to work, or that I'd missed a shift, or that I didn't know which way was up and what day of the year it was.

It's the only time in my life that I've had irregular working patterns and hours..... and it did strange things to me.

Well.....

I'm sure the more astute readers have already guessed where this is heading.....

Day one of my hectic schedule and I'm already waking up in that familiar cold sweat!

Right now I'm typing so fast so that I can get this down..... get to the pub to open up..... go to the supermarket to get some food...... cook myself some food and head back to the pub for the evening shift (I need to make myself some decent food because once I'm in the pub tonight I will be there until closing time).

Roll out the barrel on next week!


Monday, July 16, 2012

When Sunday

When Sundays go bad.

I looked, yesterday, for a series of searches of which I could select my usual eclectic mix, and expand upon them, in order to assist lost surfers in finding their perfect internet shaped wave.

Alas and alack.... in actual fact, a severe lack of searches have been completed in the last week, and for the first time in living history (or at least the last couple of weeks) there was not enough material for a Super Sunday Search blog entry.

Shame on you search engines of the interweb.  You know who you are!

So my weekend highlights have included:

A garlic pizza, which when opened (in the comfort of my own home/pyjamas) was revealed to be a combination of garlic and pineapple.

Line cleaning at the pub on Sunday morning - completed all on my own.... no help, no assistance..... no troubles.... everything tip top, ship shape and Bristol fashion.

Somebody ordered 11 pints of Leeds Pale Ale..... and the barrel ran empty after six!  Placated them with a further five pints of Batemans XB.

A bag full of new polo shirts (suitable for lounging and getting covered in beer) bought for me by the lovely Dawn.

My mum questioning the answers I supplied to her for her crossword..... on the basis that she couldn't understand how or why I would know that another name for a werewolf is a lycanthrope or that  "hydra" begins with an "H" and not with a" T"!

An order for twelve jagerbombs!
An order for twenty two raspberry sambucas!

A suitable (and cheap) lunch at Dirty Dicks in Halifax on Sunday afternoon with a couple of pints of rather nice ale.

A Chinese takeaway on Friday night that went a bit wrong by virtue of them not having what I ordered and then getting a free replacement dish instead.  Then similarly on Saturday lunch time, Dawn's ordered dish was not available and she was given a slightly inflated refund over her alternative choice.

I've just realised that I've eaten out all weekend.... and when I haven't eaten out, I've eaten takeaway.  Bad diet indeed!  A week of salads will surely be the penance.

Slurp, now for some Tour De France.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Trail

The butterfly effect is kicking in....

I don't know why, but when I am getting ready to do the afternoon and early evening shift at the pub on a Saturday, I start to get nervous.

As soon as I pour the first drink and my eyes get accustomed to the gloom over the till and the fine print on the keys thereof, I'm fine......

It's the "Ale Trail" that does it!

It's a bit like the feeling of jumping out of a plane and hoping that you have a parachute strapped to your back but without being able to check until you're falling to earth.

It's unpredictable and a bit wild.....  you could crash in a heap on the floor with Carling lager all around you or you could float majestically to earth, landing on the big red cross amid raptures of applause with a finely poured pint of real ale clutched in your hand.

Who knows what the afternoon will bring....

I only hope it isn't a series of requests for "shooters" and "jagerbombs" and that everyone just wants Guinness and Carling - it would make life much simpler for us humble serving agents!

So there you go..... I'm up to date with the Tour De France..... nonplussed over the latest events in the Big Brother house...... and if I don't pour a drink for someone soon, well I might just break into a cold sweat!

See you all tomorrow for a Sunday Search perhaps?


Thursday, July 12, 2012

where?

Where on earth does the time go?

Seems like one minute I'm doing the Sunday Searches, and the next minute I've got headache and it's Thursday lunch time.

Perhaps it's the cause of the headache that's responsible for these missing days?  A few beers at the pub last evening in order to lend some support to a trial run of an "unplugged" jam session - the pub was quite busy for a Wednesday evening and although the musicians were not out in force, they did manage to put on quite a good show.... and of course the beer was nice!

But that only accounts for one single evening, and I can't blame THAT for the rest of the week.

The Tour De France is taking up a fair bit of my time - I am only watching the highlight shows this year...... I'd be more than happy to fall into the trap of watching endless hours of the live show but it DOES take up so much time.  It's a fascinating sporting spectacle, and one which I look forward to every year.  For those unfamiliar with it, it's a very tactical and complicated game.... it's not just riding round France on bikes... oh no..... much more complicated than that, and I'm not even going to start explaining it here.

But that's only an hour a day or a middle of the night viewing experience when the heat/humidity/sound of rain are keeping me awake.

Big Brother is merrily marching towards its conclusion in a few weeks time - I'm always up for an episode of Big Brother - car crash TV which simultaneously manages to be at its best and worse.  This year has not been a "classic" by any stretch of the imagination, and I wonder whether the best days are a long time behind it, but I still watch the spectacle.  This year has been most notable for its unashamed game playing and general lack of "love"!  Everyone hates each other, and I in turn, hate them all!

That's another hour out of my day accounted for..... and sometimes I watch Big Brother's Bit on the Side - the companion forum show..... but not religiously.

Pogo - Online gaming accounts for a few hours of my week.

Lego Batman 2 on the Wii - that's eaten a fair old chunk out of my days this week..... if it didn't crash quite so much it would probably have had more!!

Facebook - countless hours - but usually while I am doing something else as well.

Work - did a couple hours Sunday and a few hours on Monday.

Music - I've been collecting a load of "pub friendly" tunes that I can stick on an iPod and play on a random cycle.... there's nothing worse than being stuck in a musical loop at work - ask any shop worker during the christmas period!!  Once collected - from various sources..... I have "cleaned" them up - discarded any that were faulty (for whatever reason) and "equalised" their volumes (whereby they go through some software that matches the volumes together so that you don't suddenly blow up your speakers with a really loud song).

The music thing, in fairness, has taken bloody ages!!

Blogs - reading blogs.... it takes a      l     o     n    g    time to read all the blogs.  Some bloggers manage to post multiple items per day, while others might manage one shot a week..... they all take time.... and that is sometimes followed by a little research..... and the process of formulating a charming and witty response.  HOURS!!

Now, I'll be glad to go to work tonight, just for a rest!!


Sunday, July 08, 2012

You know the score...

... socks and shoes off at the door!

Cleaned the lines at the pub and can't tell the difference when water or Carling is coming through them!

Enough pub speak...... let's do the Sunday Search Shuffle.....

hearth slabbing scunthorpe
Sounds like a new extreme sport that's begun to show its face in the Scunthorpe area.  Now, I won't pretend to know what "hearth slabbing" is.....  but I will pretend to know that Scunthorpe was once renamed "sconethorpe" in the early days of internet parlance.... and the reason was that some offensive language filters wouldn't let you use Scunthorpe's original name.... figure it out for yourself and get back to me if you think that's true or not!  Anyway - if you want to know about "hearth slabbing" it's covered here!  As for that particular thing, based in Scunthorpe, well I'll leave you to find that out for yourselves.

arctic fox animations
Shall I go round and dance about on the webcam?

outlane grave yard
It's small, but it's perfectly formed.  See bottom of this page for a picture of it!

jimi hendrix hair
He had lots..... and it looked really cool.  Look at this!

a whole heap of: cow from huddersfield; arctic fox blog; um bongo lyrics; there's nothing in the garden spike milligans!
These have all been covered in previous weeks and I don't wish to go over them again...... move along now!  The problem is that every time I mention these search items, I am presuming that the "algorithms that be" on our various search engines, are shunting me up the rankings!  Catch 22!


Saturday, July 07, 2012

Ale to the Tsar!

I'm working again today.... from 3pm to 8pm.... it's what we call the "ale trail" shift, whereby a bunch of drunken drinking parties arrive in a series of villages to guzzle a drink or two before catching the next train out of there.

Between the drinking and train catching, they're usually urinating somewhere.....  the war memorial, the lamposts down the street.... etc etc.... you get the idea.... it's a drunken free-for-all that makes the cash registers sing in regular twenty minute bursts.

I can't complain..... I've got some work.

Anyway.... it means that you're not very likely to catch much of a blog update from me today, and I wanted to share the news that today.... is the local bowling club's "fun day".... which I am told will involve such frivolous activities as "target golf" and a "bouncy castle".........

In one previous "fun day" someone managed to throw something onto the roof of the extension at the back of my house and subsequently put their foot through several roof tiles in the process of retrieving it......

I give to you, today, the task of monitoring the "fun day" via the live(ish) webcam and email me any screen captures of the misdemeanours that may transpire throughout the course of another (expectedly) drunken day - you may also catch some gratuitous shots of someone grilling dead animals on an overturned oil drum.

Good luck with that..... I'll think about you while I am pouring a pint of Carling!

Live(ish) webcam (note: I've found that my Firefox prevents the auto-updating of this page so if yours does the same you can press F5 every ten seconds or so for the latest picture)


Friday, July 06, 2012

Tinker....

Tinkering with my widgets.

I know I shouldn't but I'll just do it until I need glasses!

After a rather late and stressful bar shift last night, I'm left feeling a little flat today.

I was hoping I might rise late, have a bite to eat, pack some fishing gear and head out to charm a fish or two out of a local fishing hole, known, rather imaginatively, as the "Duck Pond" at Lindley.

Of course the British summer has other ideas, and it's possibly the wettest morning I've seen since I lived in Outlane, some seven or eight years.

So, I've been tinkering.

I've changed the "chicken" tune to one the is more suited to our current situation, and I've uploaded a few couple more webcam highlights.  Don't forget to click on the arrow, on the right, under where it says "music player" to hear my latest selection.

There's a definite "weather" and "ducks" theme running through the air today!

The tune in question is dedicated to my late cousin Dan - It's a track by a band called Lemon Jelly and I'm pretty sure you'll be able to guess its name.  I remember the twinkle in Dan's eye when he told us about this track.  I'd heard it before but didn't know what the heck it was.  Anyway, this is an "unplugged" version of that tune and I'd give anything to be playing it to Dan and imagining him dragging out, not only this version, but every other version that has ever been released and quite a few that haven't as well.  He was an avid, obsessive compulsive, collector.

The stress at work was caused by a lack of customers......  between the hours of half past eight and ten o' clock, the pub was empty..... I cleaned and tidied, wiped and dried, mopped and stacked, rinsed and wrung..... until there wasn't a surface left that I could tackle.

Bored by the inactivity, I had a go on the quiz machine and was almost in "cash winning" mode when a single solitary customer walked in.....  rats!  I think he had half a lager and went to pick up some salt and pepper chips.  Lucky lad!

I got another seven or eight customers that came in and stayed until closing time.

I managed to clock up one complaint about my music choice in the pub (the trouble with "compilation" albums is that there's always one or two tracks that you don't like, and the landlandy happened to walk into the bar at one of those moments - even I don't like the track, but if you had a jukebox there'd always be someone who'd put the Wombles on or something right?).  I could write a bit more about this "music" thing.... perhaps another day?

At 2:30AM I woke up with more "window" fever!!  Did I check the windows?  Knowing full well that I did!