Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Thanks for the comments to my last rant - made me feel much better!

Do not worry about me - statistically a cyclist has to ride 14 million miles before it is his turn to die, so I have plenty of time to go ;-)

Anyway, I saw this today and thought it was very funny, so I thought I would share it. The person who made this clearly has the same view of cats as I do! Hope you like it!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Why are people so DUMB???!

Today I intend to be very unreasonable and uncharitable about humans. Why? Because too many people are just plain DUMB and I am getting sick and tired of stupid idiots nearly killing me and/or generally bringing down the tone of the neighbourhood.

Case Number 1

I went into the local shop last night. I have mentioned it before, being run by a really nice family from Sri Lanka. They get a lot of racist c$%p thrown at them on a daily basis.

As I went in, some teenagers were coming out. They were not happy. The guy in the shop told me the story. They were clearly under 18 and wanted to buy cigarettes. To do this they had "borrowed" some ID. What they had been too dumb to work out was that the ID only indicated that they were 17! Dumb?

Case Number 2

Imagine the scene. You are driving along a narrow road - one so narrow, in fact, that passing cars often clip each other's mirrors (there are bits all along the road as proof of this!). You come up behind a cyclist. There is another car coming the other way. Do you:

  1. Wait until the car has passed you before overtaking the cyclist?

  2. Move to overtake the cyclist in the hope that the other car will stop to let you through? If they don't stop you still have the option of side-swiping the cyclist into the bushes.

  3. Slam your foot to the floor and try to get past the cyclist before the other car gets in the way.

OK, now I know that my readers are all intelligent, sensible people (why else would you be reading my blog?) so you will clearly choose option 1. However, in my experience, many people out there will choose options 2 or 3, and it is beginning to wear very thin. I have taken to venting my spleen at them, shouting and making gestures. Not that they care, of course, they probably go home and laugh about the nutty cyclist that they passed on the way home.

Ah well. Maybe I should have added a Bazooka to my Christmas list...

That would make them think twice!

Monday, October 29, 2007

What I want for Christmas

Following on from Logziella's Christmas Meme, here are my 3 top presents this year - not that I can actually afford them at the moment...I had a go on one of these the other day, and it is really nice. You can never have too many guitars. I could annoy the neighbours with my rendition of "A Fairytale of New York" or "I believe in Father Christmas", which are both coming along nicely...

It is always nice to have a few new toy soldiers for Christmas, and these are really rather tasty. You can never have too many toy soldiers...

I would love to get a little friend for Custard, and a Westie would be ideal - he gets on really well with them and they are great little characters. It was one of these that we were going to buy for my daughter's 18th birthday, so in a way I still think we are destined to own one at some point in the future.

So there you have the 3 presents that I would love to see under the Christmas tree this year. If you have not already done so, please share your Christmas list!

Friday, October 26, 2007

A movie about me, Meme

This sounded like a nice easy Meme to do!

A movie about my life called:

The Path of Least Resistance

This is generally how I have tried to live my life, going with the flow rather than battling to achieve - every time I have tried to battle things have gone very wrong for me!

I would be played by:

Once, when The Lord of the Rings was at the cimena a young boy pointed at me and said I was Aragorn! Who am I to argue with that? ;-)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Getting a new family dog

After losing a dog people often say that they will never get another one. Here is my story.

Many years ago, my mom and I were involved with rescuing dogs. We were terrible. We would take one in with full intentions of re-homing it, but then decide that we could not pass it on to someone else, so we would keep it. The peak was when we reached 21 dogs!

Then my mom got married again and moved to Scotland, taking most of the dogs with her. Some stayed behind with me. One of these was Sid, a small, black Welsh Collie cross. He was really cute and really smart . After a while it became clear that we could not keep him, so we re-homed him with someone that was also involved with animal rescue. Seemed the ideal solution.

Then we moved house, along the coast to the next town. A week or so after arriving there I was riding my motor bike (this was before I became a dedicated cyclist) through the town and saw Sid walking along, all alone. I stopped and called him. It was a meeting of old friends. The Police Station was nearby so I locked my bike and took him there to report that I had found him and was taking him home. I called at the house where I had re-homed him but there was no sign of the owner and no one contacted the Police about him.

So we kept him for the next 10 years, until he was taken seriously ill and we decided to part with him - he was old and we do not agree with putting them through unnecessary treatment. I took him to the vets in the town we had previously lived in (about 6 miles away) in a taxi, stayed with him while he was put down and then walked back home. It was late evening - I could have taken a taxi again, or the train or a bus most of the way, but at times like that I like to walk. Sid was the last of the 21 dogs that my mom and I had owned years before. At that point I decided I did not want another dog. And life seemed to agree - we became very busy, moving house again, and it just seemed impossible to make the time for a dog again.

Time passed. The kids started asking about getting a dog. My eldest daughter wanted a West Highland White, and we were planning to get her one for her 18th birthday, but fate decided that she would not live to see that day. However, the thought had been planted and we came to thinking that having a dog might do us good as a family, but I still had my reservations. Slowly but surely the hunt for a new dog began, in local rescue centres and in the ads for breeders. Eventually we ended up, one spring morning, in a farm yard looking at a Golden Labrador and her 2 remaining puppies, and it was only now that I felt that I was really ready for another dog, 5 years after we had lost Sid.

As you will know from reading previous posts, we bought Custard and have not regretted it for a single moment.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Welcome back my friends.... the show that never ends!
So glad you could attend
Come inside, come inside.

There behind the glass
Lays a real blade of grass
Be careful as you pass
Movin' on, movin' on.

Emerson, Lake and Palmer, some time last century

OK, so I am not as young as you are, but in my day it as all doom and gloom about the fate of The World. If it wasn't the Ruskies blowing us all to bits, it was over-population that was going to get us - see the movie Soylent Green for a great indication of how people thought the world was heading. Both of those have subsided (OK, Putin is getting a bit big for his boots, but compared to Soviet power in the 1970s he is a little kitten), giving way to international terrorism and Global Warming. Before The Cold War we had a real war (although I would also count Vietnam and Korea as real wars too), before that The Depression, and another big war...

Doesn't this sound a bit like life, huh? There is always something going on that you could do without - get rid of one problem and BAM! turn the corner and you walk slap into something else. Can't we just have a break, where nothing exciting is happening and we can just roll along in bliss?

My wife has a view on this - she thinks life like that would be dreadfully dull. Human nature being what it is we NEED something to fight against, at a personal and national level. It is what makes us human. Without this need we would still be sitting in caves going "Ug".

Friday, October 19, 2007

Not Responding

That is what my PC keeps telling me. Every time I ask it to do something slightly taxing, the window freezes and I get that little message...

I think my PC has decided that the weekend is here already and just wants to slack off for the rest of the afternoon.

I wonder what its plans are for the weekend?

Maybe it has a date with that new slutty PC from accounting - I hear rumour that everyone has full privileges with her...

Maybe it has got a party to go to where it can network with some of the big boys, looking for some good connections.

Maybe it is depressed because it knows that it will never be capable of running Vista and knows that retirement is fast approaching.

Maybe my PC is a pervert and likes to surf the net looking for pictures of RAM, hard drives and processors.

Maybe it is going to do an exchange with a PC from abroad? If my keyboard thinks it is in Japanese on Monday I will know why!

Who knows?

I just wish it would stop sending me that £$%& message!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My Desktop

Terri tagged me for this meme, so here is what is on the desktop of the Mac that I use:

I also use a Windows machine but the desktop on that is locked to show a set university image, links and stuff, so I left that one alone.

As you can see, it is pretty messy, as I tend to put stuff there as I work and then have a tidy up when I run out of space.

The photo is of Custard, the day we got him, so here it is without all the junk on top:

If you want to do one of these and are not sure how to do it, all of the instructions are on Terri's blog - see above for the link. No point replicating it all here...

Monday, October 15, 2007

An Interview with Mother Nature

There has been a lot of talk about Global Warming in recent years - the world is warming up, the ice caps are melting, weather systems are changing, we are going to destroy THE WORLD.

All sorts of people have expressed their views, from raging hippies to politicians to owners of oil companies - each has his view, each puts his spin on what is going on. But so far, no one has asked the person at the centre of it all - Mother Nature.
So, in the interests of getting a wider view on events, I went out and found her....
Me: Hello, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Mother Nature: Yeah, whatever.
Me: The theory of Global Warming is causing a lot of discussion and concern amongst humans. Can you comment on the different views? Who is right?
Mother Nature: Well I get hot and cold flushes from time to time, but what woman doesn't?
Me: So it is not caused my Human action?
Mother Nature: Well those little rats get me a bit hot under the collar sometimes, but nah, most of the time I don't notice they are there.
Me: So Global Warming is not going to destroy you, then?
Mother Nature: Destroy me? Are you kidding? I like a bit of a suntan, don't you?
Me: Well yes, but there are theories that if the earth continues to warm up, life as we know it may be virtually wiped out...
Mother Nature: Oh, sure, you humans might have it a bit rough, but hey, you've had it coming to you haven't you? Besides, I like a change of outfit from time to time, you understand? I like a bit of variety. Maybe it's time for the insects to have a go at being in charge, what do you think? They like it hot.
Me: So that is it? Humans are out?
Mother Nature: Could be! Who knows what the next fashion could be? I've put up with you for 10,000 years! I've treated you pretty well, I think, given you more chances than you deserved but now you are starting to piss me off,so if you don't mind, I've got things to do...
So there you have it. Come in, Human Race, your time is up! Mother Nature, meanwhile, has plans for the future.

A warming winter breakfast

Autumn is definitely here, now, and the mornings and evenings are getting noticeably colder, hinting at Winter with all that has to offer, even in these days of Global Warming ;-)

Well I think I have discovered the perfect winter breakfast! Here goes!

Now we all know how wonderful porridge is - oats, milk, sugar.... Mmmmm.

Well while shopping on Sunday I discovered Carnation Caramel in a can - the sort of stuff you make Banoffee Pie with, but already done for you!

So I grabbed a can, intent on committing Banoffee-Pie-icide.

But this morning, when I got up and looked out at the fog, I decided I wanted something really good for breakfast. I went to the kitchen and got out my usual oats and milk. Then the fruit bowl caught my eye. Hm, bananas in my porridge, that would be good. Then I remembered the caramel. BANOFFEE PORRIDGE! Yes! YES! YES!!!!!! (See, guys can do it too!)

So there you have it - when that winter sets in and the snow is piling up, don't leave home without a belly full of Rock Chef's Banoffee Porridge! YEAH!

Friday, October 12, 2007


This is a little Meme that I thought up while walking Custard.

You are stranded on a desert island, like Tom Hanks in Castaway, and 10 items have been washed up with you. What are they? You cannot choose anything that will prevent you being stranded, ie no helicopters, PCs with Internet access, etc.

My answers are in red.
  1. A solar powered DVD player with one movie - what is the movie? The Lord of the Rings.

  2. A solar powered CD player and 1 music CD - what is on the CD? "In your Honour", Foo Fighters.

  3. A huge crate filled with a single food item that will not go bad, eg potatoes, steak, chocolate - what is the food? Potatoes, you can do so much with them!

  4. A huge crate filled with a type of drink - what is it? Coke!

  5. A book - which book? "Small Gods" by Terry Pratchett.

  6. A piece of furniture - what is it? A really nice bed.

  7. A picture - what is it? One of our wedding photos.

  8. A piece of clothing in addition to what you were wearing - what is it? A nice thick towelling robe.

  9. A box containing everything you need to learn a new skill - what is the skill? Playing the piano.

  10. One more crate is washed up - what is in it? Cooking equipment.

Well? What about you?

Thursday, October 11, 2007


This is my dog, Custard.
As you can see, he is devilishly handsome, rather like his owner :-)
In the background of the picture above, you can see his bed that is in our sitting room. My wife made it from an old wooden bunk bed. The headboard is now the back and the foot board is now the 2 sides. My wife is very clever like that! He has a variety of different covers that go on his cushion. I think he is rather spoilt, don't you?

He will be 2 years old just before Christmas.

He is extremely friendly to everyone except cats and teenagers in hoodies, which we think is a good thing!
When he sees a dog in the distance he lies down and waits for it to either go away or come over and say hello. This is generally a good thing unless you are in a hurry or it is pouring with rain!
My children utterly adore him and he can do no wrong in their eyes. This means that when I am cooking and Custard decides that the best place for a snooze is spread out on the kitchen floor, I get told off by the kids if I use my foot to encourage him to move. It is not like I kick him or anything, I just slide him along until he is not in the way!
Although Labradors have a reputation for chewing things up, Custard only destroys things that he knows are his. He has a lot of toys and these live in his toy box. Did I mention that he is spoilt?
Custard loves to cuddle, and loves to curl up on someone's lap (quite a feat given his size) or to be held like a baby with his legs up in the air (again, quite a feat...)
Custard is quite a fussy eater and will only eat things that he likes - we often have to add something nice to his dinner to get him to eat it, otherwise he will happily leave it for a couple of days! We use our George Forman grill quite a lot, so he tends to get the juice and fat from that poured over his food...

So there you are - my dog, Custard!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Chinese - the ultimate family food?

My youngest was 9 on Saturday, so he could choose what we did.

He was up and opening his presents by around 6.30am (we had sent him back to bed when he originally came into our bedroom at 4am!) and was very pleased with what we had bought him. The morning was spent with the kids trying out the new Playstation and Wii games, "Destroy all Humans 2" being a real hit...

Then, as lunchtime approached we suggested going somewhere. After brief thought he decided that we would go into town and have dinner at the Chinese restaurant. Half an hour of steady walking later, we were there, the walk having really gotten our hunger going.

Looking at the menu it was easy for each of us to pick a favourite, and then I ordered some extras to go in the middle of the table so we could help ourselves. Chinese food is especially wonderful for this sort of eating, and it was not long before we were busy stuffing ourselves with various meats, rice, noodles, prawn crackers, etc, etc. Too full to contemplate dessert, we paid the amazingly small bill and headed out to stroll around the shops, giving the kids a chance to spend a bit of cash. This allowed lunch to settle a bit and make room for dessert, which came in the form of ice creams and cream cakes. Mmmmm.

Totally pooped, we headed for home, returning to the task of destroying the human race for a while and then watching Family Guy on DVD - another present.

All in all, a very nice day to celebrate our little guy's day. I love birthdays. I love Chinese food. I love family days like that.

Monday, October 08, 2007

And today's weather will be...


As a cyclist, I tend to notice the weather - it is up close and personal!

Today, as I cycled to work I pondered the local weather conditions:

  • Temperature: Moderate, I suppose, not warm, but not cold.
  • Wind: None at all, not even anything to disturb the tops of the trees.
  • The sky: A thin veneer of grey cloud covered the entire sky, enough to blot out direct sunlight yet not thick enough for me to really feel that it is "a cloudy day".
  • Precipitation: None.

So, as you can see, there is no weather today, it is like living in a huge futuristic dome city, no wind, no rain, no sunshine, no real clouds!

A strange day...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Mistaken Identity

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything that is going on around me at the moment, some good, some bad - stuff that I don't want to talk about at the moment. But I have to write something - otherwise I get these comments and emails from a certain regular reader - you know who you are... :-)

Anyway, I decided that I would type my name into Google, see what came up and then write something based on that. So in went my name and up popped a photo of a soccer player:

One of these guys has the same name as me and plays for the biggest team in this area. No, he is not the cool looking coloured guy, he is the pathetic specimen that is getting trampled into the turf, which is about right for this team.

Although I am not a soccer fan (in fact I think that Britain in particular would be a much better place without it!) I know about this guy.


Because I sometimes get phone calls for him! I guess someone looks up the name in the area, gets a short list and works their way down. The calls tend to be from journalists wanting an interview. Last season I was getting really mad about it and decided that, next time someone called I would pretend to be him and see what happened. I started to think about the sort of comments that I could make that might stir up a bit of excitement in the press - match fixing, dodgey referees, hints at sex scandals among the players, their wives and the team management, you get the idea.

Sadly, I have had no further calls...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Return of Hell's Grannies?

As I left the Mexican place where I usually buy my lunch, there was a group of teenagers who were reluctantly making way for a woman in a mobility scooter (like the one in the picture).

She stopped, placed her order in the Mexican and waited for her food. As I passed I decided to make conversation.

"My wife has said that if she gets one of these she will have spikes and blades sticking out of the axles, like Queen Boadicea."

The woman looked up at me and grinned a marvelous grin.

"Oh I have been thinking about that for YEARS! They'd soon shift if I went along taking out their Achilles tendons!"

"That would be great - you have even got the right hair colour for it."

"This was supposed to be brown but something went wrong and it came out red. I like it, though."

"So do I. Next time maybe you should get a blue streak put in."

"You know, I saw a picture of a woman whose hair had gone completely white and she had done that! Look great! I want to do that when mine finally goes completely white."

"You're a real rebel aren't you?"

"Yep. When I was young we weren't allowed to do anything or go anywhere. Now it is just me and I do what the hell I like. It's great."

We parted company as I promised to keep an eye out for her with her spikes and blue streak.

Could this be the future? Gangs of rebellious oldsters creating a wave of terror in our towns and cities? I sure hope so!

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Injustice of it all!

Have you noticed that there are things that it is OK for one gender to do but not the other? Is it time to let go of gender stereotyping and allow a level playing field for all?

For example:
  • It is cute when a girl takes to wearing her boyfriend's/husband's sports top. However, if she comes home and finds HIM wearing something of HERS...
  • If a guy is dating a different girl each day of the week, there are nudges and nods - he is a stud. If a girl does that she is a tramp.
  • If a girl is upset about something, she gets to sulk and pout. A guy who does this is going to get a slap!
  • If a girl is having a bad day there are knowing looks and everyone steers clear. A guy will be challenged and asked what the hell is wrong!
  • There are guy things and girl things. Guys are supposed to know about cars. A guy who cannot engage in talk about stripping out engines and breaks gets odd looks. A guy who is more at home with a crochet hook than a spanner MUST be gay. I am and I am not!

You get the idea? Agree? Disagree? Please help me add to the list above!