Tuesday, August 21, 2012


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


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.


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 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.....

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


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....


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


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


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!).


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?


"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


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!