Saturday, April 28, 2012

Weak end!

It's the weekend, it's a bit weakened and I've got a weak end!

Story of this wet and miserable couple of days that everyone who goes to work looks forward to.

If these antibiotics would let me stray beyond the comfortable reach of a decent bathroom and/or permit me to have the customary weekend real ale experience.... then I am sure that this weather wouldn't be pissing me off as much as it is!

Even venturing out to the shops with Dawn today was like a military operation.... tablets.... alarms.... feeding time at the zoo.....  hopefully by Wednesday of this coming week things will be getting back to normal.

My alarm's just gone off to tell me I ought to be having my tea and taking a tablet but the adjustments I have to process from earlier in the day when we were out and about and the subsequent knock on effects are tying my loose noggin in knots.

Trying to download some films to watch this evening and the crappy USB stick I bought as a replacement is playing silly beggars too..... it does this stupid thing where it chops my download speed to 10kB/s and it makes me want to smash something!

To top it all off, my Nintendo 3DS has upgraded its own software and now my "special" card doesn't work in it.....   bloody technology!

Bloody weekends....

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Vicious circle

Stuck in an anticyclonic tango with bad health and bad weather.

Miserable outside... miserable inside.

Not even the chance of watching a hitherto unseen movie or playing a video game could lift my dank spirits today.

More of the same antibiotics... more of the same alarm bells signalling mealtimes.....

I decided I'd fix myself a nice big pan of stew, the ultimate comfort food, but of course, when I got there the cupboards were indeed bare.  In order that this poorly dog shouldn't have none, I decided to get dressed and head on out for supplies.

I picked a suitable gap in the rain and made a dash for the car.  To my surprise, something you can never really gauge from your armchair caught me unawares, and I found it was actually quite warm outside.  Warm to the extent that the road was actually beginning to steam.

I set off in one direction, changed my mind, took a detour, got stuck in some traffic lights and ended up at a local Aldi.  Now I've nothing against Aldi, but I find that you need to prepare yourself for a visit when you decide to go there.....

a) I've got no change.... not one single coin.... no trolley and they don't have hand baskets at Aldi either.

b) No shopping bags.  Usually I carry a few bags in the car for such emergencies.  I'm a big fan of reusing bags and we have a plethora of jute and canvas bags for such occasions.  Not today though.

c) Car parking.... whenever I go to Aldi there's never a car parking space and I had to do two circuits of the car park turning round by the recycling bins at one point before I finally parked in the loading bay!

Ok so I've parked.  I can't get a trolley.  I've got no bags.

First thing on the list.... bread.  I pick up a cheap brown sliced loaf.  Then on to the fruit and veg section, picking up a tin of tomatoes on the way.

It's about this time that my lack of energy due to lack of food decides to kick in and I get that unmistakable shuddery feeling inside, which I presume is low blood sugar or something.

So, a family pack of mushrooms..... a turnip... some potatoes.... some carrots..... some onions.....  by now the loaf is getting slightly squashed......  I put the turnip in my jacket pocket, like some weird shoplifter and carry on..... to the till..... feeling like I could faint for lack of nourishment at any given moment.

It's turning into a weird episode of Double or Drop (if anyone's old enough to remember that Crackerjack classic?).

To add insult to my injury in this unpleasant shopping experience.... I have to pay three pence for a carrier bag.  On the plus side, I DO remember to take the turnip out of my pocket and I don't get charged with shoplifting.

I DID forget to buy Greek yoghurt - and that scuppers my plans for teatime tomorrow.....

I think I will go to Morrison's next time.....  Stew is finally cooking away as we speak.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Shoot me now....

Dreary.... dull, wet, and extremely windy..... and the weather is just as bad!

I've got an abscess, and I have to take this staggering amount of antibiotics.  It took me a few hours just to work out the schedule to take these antibiotics.

I'm going into no gory detail about said abscess, suffice to say, if monkeys WERE to shove bad nuts there, they'd find that they would quite quickly become ex-monkeys quicker than they could say "Davy Jones".

For example:-
Flucloxacillin (a whopping 500mg variety) - Take ONE four times a day, an hour before food or on an empty stomach (which means one hour before food or at least two hours after food) and to take them with plenty of water.
Metronidazole (200mg) - Take ONE three times a day, with or after food.  Avoid alcohol like the plague.

So I have had to set up a series of alarms on my phone that tell me when to eat, when to breathe and most importantly which tablet to take at which point in the day.... it gets to be awfully confusing.  Coupled with the fact that I don't, as a rule eat "normal" meals in the day time, and I like a drink or three...... it's hard work.

Side effects of such large doses of antibiotics are "unpredictable" to say the least....  They tend to go in one end and come out of the other in very quick succession.

So I'm stuck in a loop.... timer goes beep, I respond like Pavlov's incontinent dog!  They tell me it's all in a good cause..... let's bloody hope so because the alternative path of having the abscess excised or drained and the subsequent round of daily dressing changes is not an option I wish to consider.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ring ring....

I'm out in the garden cleaning the bird feeders.... the phone rings.....  not unusual you might think, but I NEVER use the land line.... and it's ringing......

I jump down out of the tree where I hang my bird feeders (honestly you'd fall for anything.... of course I took the bird feeders down BEFORE cleaning them).... and go inside and answer the phone, fully expecting... "Congratulations, you've won"!

"Hello" I inquire, sounding remarkably like a person who has never seen a phone before and wonders why this white bone that hangs on cave wall should suddenly make loud noise......

A REAL PERSON on the other end of the phone.... the novelty throws me slightly.....

"Could I speak to Mr. Weaver" she asks, and switching immediately to business mode "Speaking!" comes my standard reply.....

"Hello Mr. Weaver, I'm just calling from your bank" - She does go on to verify that it is indeed my bank and I'm happy to spend a couple of minutes talking to her.... fully aware, even before she, that this is a fruitless conversation for both of us.

"i wonder whether I could book an appointment for you to come in and for us to review your bank accounts so we can make sure you have the best deal?" she offers optimistically.....  "I see you have a current account, a mortgage, and savings accounts with us....".

I interrupt her mid flow and state, quite clearly "No, that's ok thanks, I'm not interested."  Which to me would signal the end of the conversation, but I'm not "target driven" like this poor lady and I certainly don't have anything to sell......

She goes on to ask me a few questions about my mortgage like "Are you on a fixed term variable rate tracking deal?".... it might as well be in Chinese... for one, she's looking at my details on a computer screen so she knows EXACTLY what I have...... for another..... I don't have a clue what kind of mortgage they handed to me on a plate back when I had money and before the banks had none.

"I don't know" I claim.

"Well we could sort this out for you and get you on a better rate of interest" she begins......

"I don't have a job" I cheerily chime in....

She continues.......

"Look!" I start to become agitated, I don't suffer fools gladly.  "Look.... how can you offer me a new mortgage when I don't have a job?" I ask of her.

"We can't" she concedes, starting to realise she is not making a sale. "How about your household insurance?  We guarantee to beat any quote you might have for that,"  She is clutching at straws now, and the birds in my garden will not feed themselves.

"I tell you what" I counter-offer "How about when my household insurance is due for renewal, I'll let you know".... which I thought was a fair "out" for her, she could hang up without totally losing face at this point and make a note on my file that I'd let them know.... a dont-call-us if you like.....

"Well it does make sense to sort these things out BEFORE they are due" she begins and my left eye begins to twitch......

"That's ok.... thank you, I'm still not interested... thanks for the offer though" and I hang up the phone.

The punchline to this story.... and one which I would not dare to admit to my mortgage holder.... is that my house and contents are currently uninsured..... and if she could beat THAT quote, then I'd love to hear it!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy George Day

Happy St. George's Day - What's that mean?  I'm glad you asked because I don't know either....

April 23rd... no fanfares, no trumpets, no fireworks, no national getting drunk day, no national holiday even....  what's the "unifying" experience that brings us all together then?  Answers on a postcard!

What I CAN tell you about this day is that historically it's been a good day for sporting prowess....  On this day in 1977 Vlastimil Hort (Czech chess grandmaster) earned himself a world record by playing 201 games simultaneously, whilst at the same time Dr. Allen Bussey looped a yo-yo a staggering 20,302 times and only lost control of it ten times.  Neither of them were British.

This day is also overshadowed by being the anniversary (from as far back as 1984) that the AIDS virus was discovered - and it TOO wasn't British.... nor was it cricket!

The other significant events that this day could be remembered for are:

1923 - Stalin officially opened the Moscow Underground.
1616 - Miguel de Cervantes (creator of Don Quixote) shuffled off this mortal coil.

And finally.... British FACT (possibly):
1348 - The Order of the Garter was founded (the highest order of English chivalry - not including holding the door open for a bird) - *** A BRITISH FACT ****
1564 - William Shakespeare was born (good times but possibly not even a real event)
1616 - William shakespeare died (bad times but possibly not even a real event)
1850 - William Wordsworth died (bad times) **** FACT ****
1915 - Rupert Brooke died (bad times) **** FACT ****

I came back late and tired last night
Into my little room,
To the long chair and the firelight
And comfortable gloom.

But as I entered softly in
I saw a woman there,
The line of neck and cheek and chin,
The darkness of her hair,
The form of one I did not know
Sitting in my chair.

I stood a moment fierce and still,
Watching her neck and hair.
I made a step to her; and saw
That there was no one there.

It was some trick of the firelight
That made me see her there.
It was a chance of shade and light
And the cushion in the chair.

Oh, all you happy over the earth,
That night, how could I sleep?
I lay and watched the lonely gloom;
And watched the moonlight creep
From wall to basin, round the room,
All night I could not sleep.
(Rupert Brooke)

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Rain, meet Manflu.... Manflu, this is rain.....

Now if I can only persuade them how good they are for each other they might just get it on and piss off into the sunset and leave me the hell alone!

A quick walk round the garden this morning reveals that the last week of continuous rain has rendered my normally slow growing lawn into a veritable green jungle.  Too wet to cut and too long to be of much use to anyone.

My daffodils have just about given up the ghost but my tulips are all starting to come out.... it's truly amazing how much this rain has brought things on in the past week....  I know the gardens really did need it.

I suppose I can thank small mercies in that I've been stuck inside brooding and stewing with a fevered brow and the weather really has not done anything that would suggest I could have been doing anything else but watching films anyway.....  I certainly wouldn't be walking or fishing in THIS stuff, or at least that's what I keep telling myself, knowing full well that I've done both in much worse!

I took a quick drive down Grimescar Road today which is a little back road through a lovely bluebell wood, and I always like to have a look at this time of year..... the sheer quantity of bluebells there does not and in this case DID not disappoint - a real local highlight.  I've even got some "bells" coming out in the garden although I'm inclined to think they are the foreign invaders - probably Spanish - and should be composted really but they add some colour for now!!

So, if this rain would just do one.... and I could shake the tail end of this man flu.... I might actually manage to get out of the house..... do some gardening..... get back onto shanks's pony...... and catch a few fish!

Give us a break, please.

Friday, April 20, 2012


I get pissed off when chains of events conspire against me..... case in question......

A friend gave me a computer.  I want to plug the computer into my television so I can surf the internet, in large screen mode.... from the comfort of my sofa.  Not a difficult request really.

I installed Windows XP on the computer - a series of problems meant that this process in itself took a whole day!!  The computer has been working, but it has hiccoughed a couple of times, but I thought I had ironed these problems out.

I check my TV and it doesn't have a VGA connector on it to connect a PC.... groans..... the PC doesn't have an HDMI connector on it to connect it to the TV..... double groans...... there's got to be a way to do this..... I can't find the instruction book for the television.... I can't find the model number of the television to find an instruction manual for the television on the internet...... 

Reluctantly I lift the entire TV cabinet which holds (TV; Freeview HDR; Nintendo Wii; PS3; DVD Player; Wireless router; DJ hero controller; All the associated plugs, wires and bits and pieces that go with it) - I drag the unit out just far enough that all the cables and plugs get tangled up and just far enough that I can get a camera down the back to take some photographs......

I sift through a series of terrible photographs that I've blindly taken down the back of the TV and find one that when I zoom in close enough, I can read the model number of the television......

I look up the television on the internet and find an instruction booklet for the correct model.... it requires some software to be installed to read it though and I give up.....

I am just emailing my friend to see what he thinks..... when I remember I had bought a VGA to RGB H/V cable for my laptop, some time ago, and it's right here in the cupboard in front of me.... I dig it out.  It's the FIRST thing to go right today!!

I run all the cables through the right holes in the cabinet, thread this one here, pull that one through there - it's turning from a tidy, cable managed nirvana into the cable knitting fairy's hideout!!  Everything's hanging out.... bits here, bits there..... but everything's plugged in..... I switch it on...... 

Nothing.... blank screen......

I unplug everything, plug it all back in..... and..... a different shade of nothing..... a BLACK screen.......

I switch off and on again like a seasoned IT professional and......

beeeep..... beeeep....... beeeeeeep........ a motherboard sounds its last dying breaths........

I should...
a) go back to bed.
b) smash something.
c) put everything back the way it was before i started pissing about with it.
d) blame it on the dog.
e) all of the above)

delete as applicable!

I consult my download schedule and notice "Day of the Jackal" has just about arrived...... looks like that's the plan then.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Hurricane Mucus has reached land, somewhere around the Bay of Arctic Fox at 11:00hrs today.

Scientists predict high blood pressure, gusting sneezes in excess of 300 miles per hour with prolonged showers of snot.  Extreme periods of abject frustration and intense seismic activity are highly likely sometime around bedtime!

Local residents have been warned to stay out of the path of this flu-nami and to seek shelter at the earliest opportunity and start panic buying (amongst other things) petrol; Kleenex (mansize); beer; and Beecham's Powders.

The Met Office have issued a severe bad mood warning for the rest of the week.

Fiddlesticks!  Don't forget to see what films I am managing to stay awake to watch - and here's a picture of brighter, happier times!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hand - floor - armour

As a child I was never much into the game of charades....  perhaps it was the thought of Lionel Bleurgh, Una Stubbs and their "jobbing" luvvie friends cavorting merrily on-screen with their secret handshake Da Vinci code style clues.....  i.e. They had a series of repeated actions that you would never find in any other game of charades, like when they touch their nose and point to the person who said the correct word that they had been miming to suggest that they had got it right.....  Twaddle of the highest calibre, and SO overly camp!


I  DID say I was never much into it... but that doesn't mean we never played it.....

For one thing, as a child, how are you supposed to know if, let's say for instance, Lord of the Rings is a TV show, a film, a book, a play or a song or indeed any combination of the above!  I bet Lionel and Una never had to argue that there had never been a TV series of Lord of the Flies.......  ridiculous concept then.

I only have two memories (and they may well be clues as to why we didn't play it much).....

When someone tried to mime the hit TV show "Panorama" we managed to arrive unconvincingly at "hand-floor-armour" and I think the game was over shortly thereafter.....

Another game of equal success left us with a very firm suggestion that "Emu-gin soldiers" was actually a book and a film, only to be let down by the final answer of "Virgin Soldiers" - Again.... a decent "mimer" could really have given us kids something to think about with that one!!

And all this tomfoolery and shennanigoats leads me to the following......

Whilst in the Lake District recently, I took some photographs - I posted a link to this flickr set yesterday.... but today I've added something very special to that set......

A selection of hand-floor-armours!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

wooo - OOO - ooo

Ok the ghost-posting has stopped - I'm home again!

Spent a feverish few days in the Lake District.

Snow on the hill tops.... warm sunshine..... rucksack.... t-shirt..... sweating.... freezing.....  a recipe for man flu if ever there was one and now I'm in a right old tangle!

I love it in the Lakes....  there's always something new to see.... somewhere new to visit..... a new hill to walk up.... and a whole range of chance and fortune with regards to what the weather will do.

It's been lovely weather as it happens.  The very second we sat down at a cafe for our first cup o' tea in the lakes, the heavens opened.... it hailed, it rained..... and it blew for an hour or so.... it was NOT a good omen, but as it turned out that was the first and last of the bad stuff.

The snowy hill tops gradually receded during our stay and we were treated to glorious spring-like displays with sumptuous green and golden hues contrasting with blue skies and fluffy white clouds.

Well, of course I've taken a few photos and we've done a "little " walk......

Langdale Pikes - A paltry 4.7 miles with a whopping 2439 feet of ascent - and conversely a knee shattering equal descent!!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Cosmetics for men

I don't wear make-up.  I've never worn "guy liner" or had a "back, sack and crack waxing"....  Hell, most days I don't even bother to shave.....  I'm a veritable Neanderthal as far as male grooming goes.

I use a bit of Old Spice deodorant of the stick variety....  and some Super Matey bubble bath......  I occasionally use a bit of sunscreen because I spend so many hours outside either fishing or walking.  One of my sunscreens is a combined moisturiser and sun block.... and THAT is about as far as we go.

I'm not keen on things that "spray" - Tomcats and deodorants... hairsprays, perfumes and aftershaves.  I don't like to smell someone else's artificial scent  in the cinema, in the restaurant.... or in my own home....   it's the equivalent of a wild animal walking up to me and pissing in my face.  Can you imagine what would happen to said animal?

So my fishing pants smell like Grimsby Docks.... my walking gear all smells like it's been dragged through a hedge backwards..... and me?  I'm somewhere in the middle!  I don't actually know what I smell of....  I don't think anyone knows their own particular scent really.... but you get familiar with other people's odours, and according to Dawn.... mine isn't bad, and I'll settle for that.

I have a blotchy skin.... the best thing for it is to be outside in the fresh air and to get some exercise.... not to block my pores with laboratory crafted potions.  I don't feel the need to dye my grey hair, or to turn back the clock.....  I'm getting old, it's a fact and I'm not the first person it's happened to and I certainly won't be the last.... unless everyone comes and pisses in my face.... then you're all dead!

(God help any woman who dares to wear one of those offensive scents - namely Poison or Opium (just two past fragrances that make me physically ill) - near me!)

No, dear reader, the world of male grooming is not for me.  I'm proudly cosmetically challenged!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Geocaching for beginners

I've already covered this topic.....  but for the benefit of anyone who might have missed it.....

Imagine if you will, as I often do, that you are going out for a walk.  A perfectly normal thing to do, and even more normal if you're accompanied by a dog.

Now imagine if you will, that you are taking the same walk that you took yesterday, or the week before, or a month ago, and you could magically turn this walk into something slightly different to the last time you did it.... in the same way that mixing up your walks benefits any canine companion you might have, it would also have similar beneficial properties for your good self.

The answer to this and many other situations is simply.... Let's hunt for treasure.

Now "treasure" as everyone knows is relative.... one man's meat is another man's poison and all that.... what's good for a goose is often good for a gander..... so my idea of treasure may differ slightly to your idea of treasure if you see what I mean?  So let's all agree to disagree and reach the conclusion that every young boy already knows..... that the hunt for the treasure is usually much more fun than the actual "treasure" you may find at the end of it.

So we're all clear now.... this bloody dog is going to get walked whether he/she likes it or not..... and we WILL look for "treasure" and you WILL bloody well enjoy it, or at least look like you're enjoying it.

So, you get your treasure map (incorporating all the "treasure" locations that are in and around your chosen walk) and you head out armed with a pencil, some tacky but small plastic toys (badges, keyrings, erasers, little soldiers and toy figures) and and a dog (optional).

Reaching the first location (remembering not to pull drystone walling apart) you scout around a bit looking for obvious piles of stones (less obvious than a pile of stone in the shape of a drystone wall) and without looking too suspicious you lift a few stones, move a few branches and seek out the glistening hues of a tupperware container.  Just like rockpooling, it's best to remember that you should put EVERYTHING back EXACTLY as you found it or the sea creatures will die.... and a useful but sometimes troubling geocaching rule of thumb is "try to leave the place tidier than when you arrived".

So you found the right spot, you've turned over a few stones, moved a few branches, had a wee behind a tree and tried to not look like you're "dogging" or "piking" to all passers-by.... you find the tupperware "treasure" and open it up to find (mostly but not exclusively)......

1) Soggy notebook or piece of paper with all previously successful treasure hunters dates and signatures.
2) An Ikea pencil which is usually blunt - I carry a penknife to sharpen said pencil or my own pencil!
3) Some useless items of no financial value that you may exchange for one of your own pieces of junk.

So, you sign the soggy paper trying not to punch your newly sharpened pencil straight through it, swap a piece of plastic, reseal the leaking tupperware box, and put it back where you found it for the next lucky contestant to find.

Sound like fun to you?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Life without meat

A long time ago, in a curry house not so far away.... I sat and ate a fine lamb curry.

The curry house - Sapnas on Venn Street in Huddersfield.

The time.... probably 3AM (eternally) and perhaps the year 1990 or thereabouts.

It was the last piece of meat that I ordered.

The next day I was vegan.... stopped buying wool, silk (not that I ever bought silk anything anyway), leather, milk, cheese, meat, eggs..... the list goes on.  The Friday big-shop went from being a pleasant 1 hour saunter through the local Tesco's to being a frantic four hour marathon of ingredient listings, E number translations and painful scrutinisation of lots of small print.

Retrospectively I tried to justify my decision to become vegan by applying the principles of karma and the concept of yin yang.... really it was just about me trying to balance the forces of good and bad in my life.... I was a pretty bad guy doing lots of bad things and I needed some sort of good thing to balance the scales.

For eight years I managed to avoid animal produce..... it was a harsh time and it was difficult to go on holiday anywhere or to eat out anywhere.  It was a DIY culture where everything had to be cooked from scratch at home and one which mainstream society had no clue about - times have changed since then and people are much more aware now.  It is not uncommon to walk into a pub and see items on their menus that are even labelled as "vegan" - this would never have happened in 1990.

The Vegan magazine was a helpful publication at the time, and you could, if you shopped around find a guesthouse with vegan catering, and I do remember vegan breaks in The Lakes, at Blackpool, and we even found a vegan restaurant on the island of Zakynthos (tucked away behind Greece's answer to Blackpool).

During a weekend break in Whitby, it was decided that I would start to eat fish again... probably 1998 or thereabouts, and what better place to do so than the famous Magpie restaurant on the harbour front.  I tucked into a fish supper of immense proportion for the first time in many years - and no doubt it was fried in beef dripping as well as is the Yorkshire wont.

And that's it.... I eat fish and seafood and I'm none too fussy if something contain gelatine.  Once I accidently picked up a slice of pizza that had meat on it and rather than waste it I ate it....  the Chinese takeaway once served me sweet and sour chicken instead of king prawn and I still ate it.....  I'm not fussy.

My choice is.....  I don't eat meat... that's it.... you can call me a half-arsed vegetarian.... a pescetarian.... a tree hugger.... call me what you want....

I'm NOT fussy!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Say what now?

I was just flicking through my "stats" and it would appear that I received six hundred and sixty six pageviews in the month of May.....  Strange!

Wow it's been a busy little day with one thing and another.  I know that most people don't consider the things that I do as anything other than procrastination but I've done loads of it!

I have sectioned and printed a whole heap of OS maps for the purpose of walking.  This also involved me going to my mum's house to use the printer and to return something she'd passed on to me in error, and of course involved me copying everything onto a USB stick to take with me for the printing which also included a Langdale Pike walk document that I've downloaded.

I emptied the dishwasher.  I emptied the drainer on the sink of the items that don't go in the dishwasher.

I went to see Richard to get some computery bits to rebuild a computer that I've been doing for the past few hours - which is going badly wrong and making me tear my hair out.  I've even spoke to Richard about what he thinks and I am still no further with it.

I've spent time researching the "movie and meal" deals that we could choose for this weekend and finally chosed.... and booked that for Saturday night.

I've watched the end of a film that we started watching last night.  I've watched a film that I downloaded last night while I slept.

I've broken and subsequently bodged back together my USB stick.  My NEW USB stick no less..... it fell into three pieces!  It's only a couple of weeks old.

And that's about it - all time consuming nonsense that somebody simply HAS to do.... and I've jolly well done it!

AND I've written a blog entry for the day!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Superstitious? Me?

I'm not superstitious....  By choice I would not want to tempt fate though and I guess that's a form of superstition.....

Example - If I walked down the street and there was a ladder... would I walk under it or around it.... well I'd walk around it, but not because I think something bad would happen..... it's more of a case that I wouldn't WANT or INVITE anything bad to happen.....

I salute magpies!

And so, it is with a heavy heart that I post a second blog update for today (somewhat hastily) when the following comes to my notice.....

I've just updated my filmography page - where I list the movies I've watched, and noticed that, having just watched "The Devils" that my previous blog entry was number six hundred and sixty six..... this will now be six hundred and sixty seven and I'm happier with that.......

Odd numbers are better anyway as any flower arranger or chef will tell you!!


This weather is driving me nuts....  one minute it's pouring down, the next minute the sun is shining, the wind is blowing icy cold....  I can't cope.

Last September, for my birthday, we took a trip to the Lake District and took on the challenge of the mighty Old Man of Coniston via a litte-known track - which, under normal circumstances, may have been an interesting day out.....

On the particular day in question the weather was bad.... just awful.... It was raining and foggy and wholly unsuitable to walking, but I'd planned it and double planned it.... it was my bloody birthday after all and it would take more than a bit of weather to stop me from taking it on....

As it turned out, it was not the best option for that day.... clothes, rucksacks, navigational equipment, all wet, soaked, waterlogged.... less than useful.  We DID actually get a bit lost.... I DID lose my temper..... Dawn NEARLY cried.....  we did make it to the top of the Old Man and curtailed the walk by returning immediately down the better trodden "tourist" path.... a miserable experience without even a decent summit view to show for it.

I can honestly say.... despite full waterproofing of every possible measure - I have never been wetter in my life!

And so, given the option to plan another walk in the lakes in the immediate future, I'm naturally wary as to what the hell this weather system is likely to throw at us.... do I plan a simple valley floor walk or just plan a full-scale expedition.... do I plan several and opt for the most suitable on the day (planning more means they are planned less well of course) - I think I've picked a nice walk but it DOES involve a graded scramble and I'm not overly confident that my Frankenstein walking boots are suitable for rock-hopping especially if the "slabs" are likely to be wet.... oh decisions!!

I always keep in mind that the Lake District is not called the Lake District for no reason, and that all those lakes are not there by accident.  There ARE no accidents!

Here's a link to the scramble I want to tackle - Jack's Rake!

The shelter at the top of the Old Man!

Monday, April 09, 2012


Curse you Easter weekend.... when Sunday feels like Saturday and Monday feels like Sunday and I don't know which end is up any more.

I've been a bit busy doing absolutely nothing to even get around to writing a blog lately....  I've hunted a few geocaches (mostly in vain).... done a bit of shopping, a bit of walking, a bit of socialising, a bit of partying.....

And now, on Monday and it feels like Sunday.... and I'm wondering what to do next.

Hope there's a decent coffee shop open somewhere - could do with nice cuppa!

Was supposed to go metal detecting with spice-the-cat today but it's too wet and muddy everywhere and nobody but hippopotami would enjoy rolling around in THAT!

So, the hunt for coffee will commence.....

Friday, April 06, 2012

Are you local?

One thing I love about living where I do, is that you don't have to go very from the doorstep to feel like you're outside... I don't mean like in the garden or even in the village.....  but REALLY outside!

I can walk for five or ten minutes in any direction from my house and be away from roads, on public footpaths or bridleways and find myself heading in all manner of directions.

Today's been a classic example... my mate Ben came round with his lovely dog Lola for a bit of a walk now that the snow's finally decided to budge....  So we actually set off from my house on foot and managed a sort of convoluted circular sort of walk on a route I've never done before, with no planning, and we've been out for maybe four hours, up and down hills and wombling free.

My GPS device was not turned on correctly so I'll have to give you a brief guesstimate of our path....  apologies for my technical failings.

Must be energised by the full moon tonight - didn't think we'd walked anywhere near this distance today.... could have gone on a bit more!

Stats:  distance 8.09 miles with 1511 ft ascent

Here is a Flickr set for the walk today.

Thursday, April 05, 2012


It has been said in the past that I'm trying!

It's harder than I first imagined to get back into this "blogging" lark.

I've been absent from blogging for a few years, and although I had websites that would now be referred to as blogs before the term blogging was even invented they were sites I had to do manually and there weren't all these intuitive and useful tools that we all rely on now.

Even some of the items things I used here on blogger are now showing their age.... blogpatrol, my crappy webcam, a thing to play music and sitemeter to name but four.  These were little widgets with bits of html code pasted into them that worked from a site that was separate to blogger and you had to have an account there and do this and do that.... and when it finally worked it provided some sort of bell or whistle to marvel at.

Now I'm slowly trying to strip back the superfluous and broken items and stripping everything back to the bare bones.  It's a chore and one that isn't much fun..... but in doing so, I've remembered and resurrected two of my favourite pages from my former bloglife and you can see them here:

This season....  (a page that I update randomly to provide a summary of where I am up to in my everyday life)

Film List.... (A list of films with IMDB links) that I used to update every time I watched another film.

Well, those two pages are staying... as for my crappy webcam and blogpatrol?  I think they'll be going the way of the dodo very shortly!  As for the other two blogs that I do..... we'll get there eventually.

It's a bit different to using Facebook, that's for sure!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

night night

just wanted to show off the fruits of my labour - an experiment with a filter and a tripod yielded this lovely moonscape tonight.

Good night all!

oh go on then.... here's a crop of it...... self indulgent idiot that I am.....


But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' Wevz an' Ben
Gang aft a-gley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promised joy.

Official - walk's off!  Started snowing about nine of the clock last night and guess what... at ten thirty this morning it's still bloody snowing....

Pared back plans for a trip to Kinder Scout.... cancelled plans of the Colne Valley Circular..... I'm not even going out to empty the bin today!!

Drawbridge is up!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012


I'm typing this in a bit of a flap.... 

Having reached the end of my very short tether regarding my under-performing antiquated laptop and its very own personalised geriatric copy of win-doze.... in a peak of fury I decided to completely wipe it and install windows from scratch AGAIN.

This is the life of a windows user.

Anyway, the machine's looking alright now and it's got a new lease of life.  The only thing left to do is install a few pieces of software - no doubt crippling windows in the process.

This is the life of a windows user.

Well I was planning a large-scale jaunt out to the Dark Peak tomorrow with my mate Ben, but as I type it's bloody hammering down with snow, the forecast for Edale for tomorrow is snow, rain and twenty five mile an hour winds.... the sort of thing you really ought not to be clambering about on a large millstone grit escarpment in.

So we've pared back the expedition and we're doing the 12.5 mile Colne Valley Circular - a route I know quite well - and which provides us with several safe bail-out zones where we can curtail the adventure with no harm done.

Right now I am cursing the snow and desperately trying to find the Memory Map software and the routes that I've created......  

This is the life of a windows user that goes out walking in the snow!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Bit of sorting

My mate John is back from his holidays in New Zealand.  He's been out there to catch up with his son, daughter-in-law and his grandkids.  By all accounts he's had a good time and even managed to squeeze a bit of time in with my cousin (John's nephew) and his wife who were travelling (note to spell checker - I like to spell "travelling" with double L - it's not a crime) there from Edinburgh on honeymoon.

Before John went to New Zealand I lent him my old digital camera with a decent memory card so he could take some photos - he's been before but didn't take pictures, and I think it's a shame, especially with his grandkids and stuff.  Anyway I lent him my old Samsung Digimax, which is only a 3 megapixel or something but it's great for point-and-click holiday snaps.

I gave John the relevant bits of information about making sure the camera was set to "easy" and to half-press the shutter button to make the focus and how to zoom in and out and all that guff and promptly sent him on his way.

John came round this morning with the camera and we sat and sifted through his 250 (or thereabouts) photographs looking for ones that worked and ones that didn't and picking ones that he might want to send to people and ones that he might want to put on his wall and ones that should never see the light of day again etc etc - I'm sure anyone who uses a digital camera will agree.... far too few pictures ever get actually printed out any more - our social history is about to fail in this respect!!  PRINT MORE PICTURES PEOPLE!!

We eventually narrowed the selection down to about 130 that were fit to print and I copied them onto a usb stick to print out at Asda (other supermarkets DO exist) and off we went.

When we got to Asda we decided to get the photos printed by the lab because - and here is some screwy maths to go with it - self service is 35p each (133 prints = £46.55) - 1 hour service is 20p each (133 prints = £39.90) - 2 day service is 15p each (133 prints = £19.95) .......  So significant savings to be made.... until you discover that 200 prints on the 2 day service comes in at 5p each .......

So we quickly undo all our good work and sorting.... add back all the ones we DON'T want printing and deselect a random few and opt for 202 images on a 2 day service at 5p each (202 prints = £10.10) and THAT my friends is not only a bargain, but also strange economies of scale!

When it's cheaper to print the images you don't want than it is to not print them.... you have to start questioning your own ability to make cups of tea!  If you use digital cameras - get 200 pictures together and go and get them printed out for a tenner - it's money well spent and may preserve a little slice of social history - when your hard disk or memory stick fails, you'll be glad you listened to me and so will future generations when they look back at our antiquated civilisations!


Also as a complete "freebie" here's a random Flickr set of mine!