Saturday 18 June 2011

Winning Friday

Kellogsville posted a really interesting piece here which prompted me to enter the Nivea promotion...a picture that reflects closeness. I chose this picture

It's one of my favourites...and it won me a £100 prize! I can't tell you how chuffed I am...and looking forward to spending my winnings...thank you Kellogsville

Anyway, I got a little app for my phone which lets me take 360 degree is the local park in Bermondsey. Unfortunately, it doesn't work too well on the blog...but on my computer it fills the screen, and it's as if you're standing in the middle looking around. The best way to look at it here is to double click on it and then mouse around on it...lots of fun! Or go and look at what other people have been doing at

Thursday 16 June 2011

Photo fest

I take a lot of photos....I like to snap away, and just occasionally there's quite a good one amongst them. But like most people with a digital camera, these don't get printed off, and spend their days languishing on a forgotten corner of my hard drive. It's a shame really, but I suspect that if I took 'real' pictures, they too would spend their days gathering dusty in some drawer somewhere. So it was with a little bit of encouragement from the Cat's Mother that I have sorted out the 'best' ones. By best I don't just mean technically the best, but the ones that mean the most even if they're a little crooked or a little blurry. It was no small task...I think I have around 15,000 digital pictures, and over the course of some weeks I got that down to about 1500 or so. We've been lucky over the last couple of years because like toasters for wedding presents we've been given three digital picture frames. So the 1500 pictures have been loaded up and set on random and left to do their thing. the fantastic thing is that when you walk in the room, you just don't know what it is you're going to it's quite exciting to anticipate what might be coming up. Here's the frame in amongst the Cat's Mother's framed group holiday prints. By some chance, the picture showing is Grandma in Cyprus with her father (my Grandfather Harold) on her (first) wedding day....obviously I wasn't there at the time, and this is from a selection of family pics she recently sent us.

I have other photo stuff...but that can wait for tomorrow!

Wednesday 15 June 2011

Money, money

My photo safari is not going well. Yesterday I missed the opportunity to take a picture of a "fancy dress" shop. Fancy dress in the sense it is ideal if you're going off to a vicars and tarts party. Actually and in truth, if you're going to a tarts and tarts party. The shop has no shame in displaying its wares in its windows. It's certainly got plenty of frontage. And all very peculiar because it's in the middle of a very suburban, middle class, middle-aged area. Obviously those parties where you drop you keys in a pot are in full swing in leafy Epping Forest. I may yet go back just to provide you with the evidence. Obviously not for any other reason. I'm not sure The Cat's Mother would thank me for a lacy, see through black and red negligee in finest nylon, with matching suspender belt and stockings. Not to mention the patent leather high heels. mmm is that too much detail?

I was going to the office next door to the shop to discuss, yet again unreasonable and unjustifiable service charges from one of my flats. I'm not an accountant, so thank heavens The Cat's Mother is and had helped me go through the accounts to highlight some problem areas...gates that require £5000 of maintenance every year, an entryphone that cost £21,000, redecoration work that cost £11,000 with no estimate or any detail...and so on. Now I know why it was so important to get a grade 'A' in 'O' level maths...

And talking of money, here's my photo for the day

This is the sign for one of the most interesting and enjoyable events I've been to...we all went last year, and the show finally closed earlier this. Very hard to describe...the action takes place in a giant machine which the audience enters and then moves around as the play progresses. We all went, with me having booked, and not told the rest what we were going to. I like doing that...I love the idea of surprises...receiving as well as giving, so planning these little ventures can be as much fun as the event itself. The play was (almost incomprehensibly about the danger of letting bankers and financiers run free. Oh that's a theme I buy into. One day some politician will recognise that finance is a part of the the global infrastructure, so too important to be left to a bunch of greedy, self-obsessed egotists, and etc, etc, etc

Money by Shunt Part I from Susanne Dietz on Vimeo.

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Come dine with me

I'm still trying to get a quote for the car insurance, and it's proving a remarkable experience. I went through Compare the Meerkat and then through Go Compare. Both came up with quotes by the same companies....even though the quotes varied widely with the same insurance company quoting £50 more through Go Compare than they did through the Meerkats...even though they were supplied with the same information within a couple of minutes of each other. Just shows what nonsense it all is.

At the same time my motorbike tax is up for renewal...I've tried to do it on line, but the DVLA have decided I don't have insurance, so I can't, even though I've got the certificate in front of me. I tried to ring them but they're 'exceptionally busy so can't take your call right now' according to the message before they hang up on you. Yes, right, drinking tea, stuffing their faces full of biscuits whilst waiting for their fat index-linked government pensions...and thinking they might go on strike because they're going to have to contribute more. Feckers...not surprisingly I've battled with them before and I'll shout four letter words at them again. It's the only place I now of that it's more expensive to buy on line than do it in a shop. Just how bad can government services be?

So back in Sarf Lunndunn, and round the corner from my office in hyper hip Bermondsey, here's a traditional sight - Manzes pie and mash shop. It's charming and quaint and full of fact so full of history I think there should be a preservation order on the idea as well as the shop itself. Most days, there's a queue out the door and round the's as popular now as it's always been...probably more. The menu is not extensive. It's meat pie and mash eels (stewed or jellied) and liquor. I've no idea what the meat is (they say beef), nor the liquor. I tried a meat pie once and it wasn't quite to for me....I'd love to love it...I'd love to love eels and mash too, but I just don't. In fact the thought of eels repulses me. But as an institution, this is an absolute treasure....

Monday 13 June 2011

Rainy Sunday

I'm building up to a little rant about things Middle east and things Banker...I wonder if I can keep a lid on it for another few days?

If all else fails, I think I may yet become a computer engineer. My computer has been making some peculiar noises over the past several the extent that one clever computer engineer decided I needed a new hard drive. The noise didn't abate after the change of bits and bytes. Then last week, someone pointed out it might be just the fan. I opened up the casing and it was quite dusty in there, so I whipped out the Dyson and Hoovered it. I can't tell you how much fun it was making the fans spin with the suction action of the vac. And low and behold, as quiet as a quiet thing. I'm dead chuffed.

Yesterday we were going to go out on the River Lee...there's a place near Nazeing where you can hire little motor boats. the added benefit is that it's based at a pub. Unfortunately, instead of us going to the water, the water came to us, trapping us all indoors. All day. There were no black and white Stuart Granger movies to watch, nor cakes to consume around the fire in the hearth, so no wonder we were all a little tetchy by the time we went to bed.

Sunday 12 June 2011

Bucket loads of fun

We managed a walk round to the local pub yesterday with the aim of sitting in the sun and getting some fresh air. Unfortunately the sun and clouds had other ideas so we sat was good to be out. The Cat was out having a coffee with her Dad...I'd report the name given to him by The Boy, but I'd be in deep trouble. The Boy himself was revising, but given that history revision recently involved playing a WW2 game on his X Box, I'm not sure what it may have meant...possibly watching 'end of the world film' 2012 will count towards his geography grade? I guess all the skiing videos are something to do with physics... the meantime we went shopping and bought this beer bucket in anticipation of all the BBQs we'll be having this summer. Naturally as the drought has been declared in parts of England, the rain has started the garden is in drowning. The Boy of course is most excited by the bucket, but judging by the fact that it stayed on his head for an hour, he may not have fully understood what its purpose is...