Friday, 3 May 2013

The best pint of beer ever

I was wondering if I could add this rubber duck to my collection

I think it would look very nice in the bathroom

Last night I broke my duck, and for the first time ever voted in local elections. Despite UKIP offering to repair all the terrible pot holes in our roads, I didn't think that is where my cross should go.  Both The Boy and The Cat were also able to vote for the first time.  As The Cat's Mother reminded us, many people have died to ensure we have that honour and privilege.  I can't say that I'm a great fan of the way democracy works in modern Britain, but on balance it's probably better than having a despotic tyrant in charge.

 The Boy's hi-viz label on his jacket makes him look a bit Star Trek

Once we'd done our duty, The Boy took me off to the pub, and bought the first round.  It was truly the best pint I've ever had.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

We have a baby boy!

Mum To Be in the office is no longer MTB.  She is just Mum.

Her yet to be named boy arrived this morning at 5.30.  And no I don't know how much he weighed.

We are very happy.

Isn't he beautiful!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013


Well it's a hard thing when you have to work on your birthday...and even harder when you are swotting for your 'A' levels.  The Boy is having his first exam tomorrow, so he has little option but to be head buried in books this evening.  He has my sympathy.

He will be eighteen.  That's a big age isn't it?  I wish I could remember that far back, but I can't. In eighteen years he's gone from this

To this

The celebrations actually started a couple of weeks ago, with the family lunch...the date decided by when Grandma in Cyprus was visiting.  The birthday decorations have stayed up, so almost become part of the fixtures and fittings.  This weekend he will have a bbq in the garden with friends...a welcome break for all of them from the rigours of revision I hope.

Eighteen years passes so quickly, and it is easy to forget some things.  Fortunately there's been a camera at the ready to record most of the most important events.  The Cat's Mother and I spent a week in Brighton a few weeks back.  It should have been relaxing, but in fact most of my time was spent scanning in original photographs to the computer, so we could create book for him.  With diligent (!) editing I managed to get down to just 565 photographs which filled some 150 pages...we used Jessops (not the chain that went bust, but in fact the online photo book service who have served us well in the past).  Photo books are a marvellous invention, and the two copies we bought are fabulous...something that we will enjoy looking at regularly.

For a present, I felt that some keepable was the order of the day, so I had a wooden box made especially for him.  It is completely handcrafted by Hawthorn Crafts, and has his initials inlaid in the lid.  It's quite beautiful.  Not so long ago it looked like this

And it finished looking like this

I don't expect a wooden box will mean too much to him at the moment, but I hope in time he will come to treasure it.  Of course, I couldn't let it go at that, so I asked the very fabulous Scarlet Blue to come to my aid.  I gave her a list of eighteen things you can do when you are eighteen (OK, some you might be able to do before that, but I couldn't let that get in the way of things) and she wrote eighteen envelopes, each of which has inside some money to enable the thing to be done. Each one is sealed with wax and has been placed inside the box. For some I had to be a little when he votes for the first time, I've given him the taxi fare, and there's money for a sandwich after he gives blood for the first time.  The one I'm most pleased with is the money to buy a round.  Mine's a pint, please...

And this is how it looks

Of course, it wasn't without pain...I managed to drip burning wax onto my finger, and it remains blistered. Ouch.

So, Happy Birthday, Fred.  It's been quite a journey over the last eighteen years, and I hope the next eighteen brings you everything you dream of and aspire to.

Eighteen years in one picture (click to see what I mean)

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Terrible situation

Like Mr Clinton, I didn't inhale.

Once I saw a video where someone had hot wax dripped on them for sexual pleasure...or at least that's what I assumed it was as neither had their clothes on. I didn't watch long as I just couldn't see what the pleasure could be. This weekend, I was using sealing wax and managed to accidently drip some onto my finger. I now know for sure that there is no pleasure in it. In fact two days later, I still have a nasty blister on my finger and it still hurts. As they say, you can't condemn it unless you've tried it.

I know that I can be unreasonable. In fact I can be the master of being's a technique I use when dealing with nasty corporations, and usually gets me quite a long way. However, The Cat's Mother makes me look like a rank amateur. I learnt from a very young age that there's never any point in arguing with a woman, but sometimes, just sometimes it has to be done. So since Thursday night, with a brief pause on Friday, we have been at loggerheads. It has seen us complete a journey with one in the car and one on the train when we both should have been in the car, and one go to a party to which we had both been invited whilst the other stayed at home. Anyway, no doubt The Cat's Mother will think I've been unreasonable for writing this. I might yet delete it.  Women!!!

Have you ever had one of these messages from a friend:

"I am sorry for reaching you rather too late due to the situation of things right now. My family and I had a trip visiting Manila Philippines,everything was going on fine until last night when we got attacked by some unknown gunmen. All our money,phones and credit cards was stolen away including some valuable items, It was a terrible experience but the good thing is that they didn't hurt anyone or made away with our passports.

We have reported the incident to the local authorities and the consulate but their response was too casual, we were ask to come back in 2 weeks time for investigations to be made proper,But the truth is we can't wait till then as we have just got our return flight booked and is leaving in few hours from now but presently having problems sorting out our bills here and also getting a cab down to the airport, Right now we're financially strapped due to the unexpected robbery attack, Wondering if you can help us with a quick loan to sort out our bills and get back home. All we need is (2,000 £) I promise to refund you in full as soon as I return home hopefully tomorrow or next. write back now to let me know what you can do.

Thank You."

The first time I received one, I almost fell for it because it does come from their e-mail was the bad English that gave it away. It worries me that one day I might get tricked, and I'm sure that some others do lose out...modern technology seems to feed the thieves quite nicely.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Are you happy?

I'm a little annoyed with Gay John.  Best friend and business partner of Gay George.  Yes, George who has spent this year in hospital coming back from near death after being knocked off his bicycle.  I saw Gay John this week cycling near London Bridge.  A busy, busy street, and he didn't have a helmet on.

It is noticeable how quiet the Korean issue has least over here.  My best guess is that in the Peninsula the problems have not in anyway gone away, and the expectation is of a clash (hopefully only of rhetoric) sooner rather than later....unless the Chinese have really stamped their feet and told the Playboy of the Eastern World to behave again.

My life just became a little better with the removal of the fly from the ointment I mentioned a few posts back.  It all came to a head pretty much as soon as I'd written about it, and the resolution was straightforward.  I'm not crowing about fact I'm a little saddened that it had arisen at all, but I hope the new arrangement means that everyone knows what they've got to do, when they've got to do it and how they've got to do it.

Over in Syria, I see that the temperature is ramping up with accusations that gas has been used.  The esteemed Mr Cameron has suggested that it is the issues around the Iraqi conflict that are preventing us from intervening.  I still remain of the opinion that sticking our nose in will only make things worse.  Syria is a sovereign nation and we should keep out.  Particularly as we really don't know where the rebels stand, and it might well be that we're feeding the radicals who will one day turn on us.  It wouldn't be the first time would it...Afghanistan....

I was intrigued by this article on the BBC - it's about the happiest places in the UK.  In general, and having read it I think we should all be moving to Scotland as they seem the happiest.  My personal experience is somewhat different...I dare say no more Mrs Chandler.  I've always found the folks of Brighton a very amiable and happy bunch, but that may be entirely down to easy access to the sorts of substances you wouldn't want your children indulging in.  Obviously Londoners are an anxious lot...not surprisingly as it's a very insecure environment, and you've got to feel for those poor bankers always worried about just how massive their next bonus is going to be.  I couldn't understand why people from Leicester were anxious though...the ones I know there seem pretty chilled.

Impressed yet another Old-Etonian has joined Cameron's ranks in deciding how the country is governed.  Boris' younger brother Jo is now helping formulate policy...or perhaps I should say helping ensure the old guard remain in charge whilst continuing to trample on the workers (which includes the middle classes)....

I couldn't believe this story that made the headlines this week.  Most of the papers have focused on the immorality of James McCormick...and that's fair comment...but what worries me more is the stupid gullibility of the people buying these things.  A novelty golf ball finding device repackaged and presented as an explosive detector whilst being sold for $55, wonder things are so awful in the territories that Mr Blair and Mr Bush liberated from tyranny - bet they're feeling proud of themselves, and not at all worried that this might be symptomatic of where all those lost £billions have disappeared to.

Meanwhile, I may be a God.  Over at business social network LinkedIn, they've introduced a feature which encourages you to endorse your contacts.  It makes suggestions for you, so all you have to do is click the button. And people have been endorsing me left right and centre, and often for things I know nothing about.  After a few months of this, I can tell you I am a genius at everything and anything.  You may bow down and worship at the feet of someone who is better qualified, more skilled, more effective than anyone.  Of course, you may decide that the whole thing rather undermines the value of social media for business networking...

I am in awe of Mr Madiba...he may also be a God...this leaflet was thrust in my hands as I left London Bridge station last week