Thursday 31 December 2009


I'm not going to do the predictable and review the year or even decade. I simply want to wish all my friends, family, followers, fans, stalkers and anyone passing through a happy new year and new decade.

Sunday 27 December 2009


Ok, so I'm a bit late posting this. So sue me! I've been busy.

It's finally here once again and once again I've survived the build up. This year hasn't been easy, in fact it's been a stinker.

The highlight was my holiday back in August, although cut down somewhat to previous years. We returned to our favourite place, Cei Newydd in Wales and the Hotel Penwig.

Star Trek was reborn thanks to the genius of J.J. Abrahams and like most fans I was nervous about the result.
Apart from that good times have been few and far between. It seems that fate once again saw fit to test our strengths as a family. No major disasters but lots of smaller issues, one after another. Things have been difficult but I'm optimistic about the new year.

Saturday 19 December 2009


So it's the final leg of the road to Christmas. A time when people panic buy because they are worried that the shops may never reopen again after Christmas Day and traditionally you have cupboards full of food you're not allowed to eat because 'it's for Christmas'!

A week last Thursday saw our office party. If I'm honest I'd say that I wasn't looking forward to it (in fact if I could have gotten out of it I would have). In the end and despite not partaking in the drinking of alcohol, I had a wonderful night (and it's safe to say that so did Morticia).

Christmas shopping is painful and hideous and I've hated every minute. What is fun about spending more than you can afford then giving the stuff away?

Last night was the annual Jolly Boys Christmas drinkipoos. The Jolly Boys event used to be well attended, unfortunatly, as last year, there were only 2 of us; Mr C and myself. We toured the various hostileries within Rotherham town centre taking in the sights of the lady Santas of which there were many. As usual we ended up in the Snafu (the town's premier rock bar) where I unleashed my air guitar skills.

Considering I didn't get to bed whilst 3 this morning I'm feeling pretty good today (I've been at work since 9:00, this is a miracle)

Thursday 10 December 2009


Tonight sees the annual office Christmas party, this year a more formal affair than previous years. My suit is ready, Morticia has a nice spangly dress and babysitting is organised. The only issue is it's a school night so whilst everyone else will be getting hammered, I'll be on pop.

Tuesday 1 December 2009


The advent calendars are out and I must finally accept the reality of Christmas. The cold frost has arrived and although it hasn't turned the land white (just yet) it was amusing to see motorists scraping their windscreens and pouring boiling water over the cars (surely that's gonna crack the glass?).

I must say that if you wrap up warm it's fantastic weather, much more preferable to the wet we've endured over the previous month.

Saturday 28 November 2009


The Captain's Movie Review in 7 Words

Friday 27 November 2009

0911.27 FIRST AID

First AidThis week I took the proverbial bull by the horns and tackled my weakest skill at work. I took the 4 day Mod 4 First Aid course. I am pleased to say that I aced it and am now a fully qualified first aider!

Tuesday 24 November 2009

0911.24 CHIN CHIN

Chin ChinThe winter is here and it's gonna get colder real soon. In fact the evenings now are dropping to about 3 degrees (according to my car's thermometer). Because of this I've deceided to thicken up my beard for the winter. It's been a couple of weeks now and it's pretty thick. Let's see where it goes.

The reason for growing the beard may also be because I've been feeling down and need something to hide behind.

Sunday 22 November 2009


I haven't drawn any new pics of my little friend 'The Captain', my digital alter-ego. To be honest I haven't been in the best frame of mind to do anything, especially like drawing. Don't worry, I'll kick myself up the arse and sort something, hopefully by next weekend.

I'm off to work shortly, I just love working Sundays, not!

Thursday 19 November 2009


This week should have been work Monday and Tuesday then off till Sunday (annual leave). Change of plan, because of a family emergency (which would be inappropriate of me to go into detail about here) I've ended up being off Monday till Thursday, back at work tomorrow (Friday), then off Saturday and back again on Sunday. What a messy week!

Went Christmas shopping on Wednesday and Thursday, hating the season already. I'm not going to blather on about how fucked up the whole thing is again, I guess I do that most years. It's just a demon I have to live with.

Four of the fence panels that broke during the last storm are now shattered and spread across the garden. Two of them are the responsibility of next door. I'm not confident that they will do anything about it, since their English is awful I guess I'm going to struggle with this one.

Spend some of my time off setting up home wifi so I can connect the wii to the internet. I now have BBC iPlayer on the main TV (the whole purpose for doing this) and my phone can enjoy a fast internet link when I've at home.

Been reading some 5 year old blogs of mine. It's amazing how some things have changed and others have stayed the same.

Tuesday 17 November 2009


I was contacted today by Whitley Hall Hotel via Twitter. They were responding to a tweet I posted last week regarding the lack of cycle provision...

'Arrived at Whitley Hall Hotel. Cycle provision is none existant.' 9:25 AM Nov 11th

I've never before experienced such aggressive customer service, to actually seek out complaints and deal with them is completely new to me.

Monday 16 November 2009


Morticia went to Nottingham for a 'girlie' weekend this weekend and left me to look after the kids. I don't mind, sometimes I even get a small amount of time to myself.

It seems that no one wanted to help me tidy up, I spent most of the time running around after the kids. My only consolation was that I got to watch the new Star Trek DVD (a total of 5 times), great considering it's not officially 'out' till Monday. Gotta love

Wish I could have a couple of days to myself. I feel so mixed up at the moment, I need to rediscover myself. Maybe when Christmas is all done with I can go a check into a hotel for a couple of nights with some books and be truly alone.

Went to visit my Grandad yesterday. Nan didn't sound very good when I phoned her so I knew it was important I go. Grandad discovered he has cancer and the doctors are not going to treat it. I don't know what this means and I don't know what to think. All I do know is that I am very scared. didn't get chance to speak to Nan properly, without Morticia being with me it is hard to do.

I'm all over the place.

Tuesday 10 November 2009


The Captain's Movie Review in 7 Words

Sunday 8 November 2009

0911.08 DEMONS

So, British Summer Time is over. The nights are longer and colder and traditionally we get busier at work.

I went back to work after a week off with the Swine flu. In hindsight I went back way too early (there was no way I was fit enough). I went back because I knew there was a staff shortage and I thought it was the right thing to do. I was wrong. Whilst I was off one of my colleagues was given the job of acting as supervisor for the team (a job I've been doing on and off for the last few months). Now I don't begrudge anyone the opportunity but this was a long term opportunity. You could say I'm 'pig sick'.

Since returning I have felt isolated, outside the loop and generally out of touch. I know that many factors in my life a causing me to feel this way it's not all work.

Home is proving to be difficult for me and I have a general feeling that I am not coping with things. Perhaps my weekend state has affected me far greater than I anticipated and my demons (that I usually keep at bay) are surfacing.

Whatever is making me feel this way I know I must get a grip on it all before I cause further problems for myself. Time will tell.

Sunday 25 October 2009

0910.25 WEEK OF HELL

It all started with me going back to work. I was really still too ill to go back but knowing that we have been understaffed I went back in anyway. Did I get thanks? Did I hell. There was a nasty atmosphere within the team and to top it I was refused leave for this weekend. I was not a happy bunny. I spent most of the week in a foul mood and did my best to keep out of everyone's way.

I was pushed hard despite telling my supervisor that I was needing to take it easy, I felt they were taking the piss. I needed to vent but had no outlet although I did have a private moment where I kicked the shit out of my locker (although the locker being made of metal won).

On appeal I did get my leave granted so at least I had this weekend which we had planned to drive to Morticia's mothers.
So Friday night we set off (as we have done loads before) to visit Morticia's mother in St Neots. It's a tedious 125 mile drive down the A1 and to top it I'm not a big fan of night driving (although I enjoy early morning journeys).

The journey was going pretty well until we reached the A14 where the A1 closed (roadworks). I followed the diversion signs until they just vanished. We ended up at the border of Cambridge before I pulled over to check in we Google Maps. I plotted a route (which involved a certain amount of back tracking) and ended up getting to our destination about an hour late.

I'd like to thank the Highways Agency for pissing me off and wasting my time and petrol. Knobheads!

Monday 19 October 2009

0910.19 BACK TO WORK

As I write this first paragraph I'm sat on a bus travelling to work. I'm not quite ready for my cycle just yet, I'm taking it one step at a time. I'm pretty keen to get back to work however I feel a little apprehensive to what awaits me. I've heard some rumours about certain staff being shipped out of the team for a transgression and other tit-bits. I'm not a fan of office politics an fear that there will be something of an atmosphere on my return.

Saturday 17 October 2009


Swine FluI thought I'd got a cold last weekend, come Monday morning I thought it was a bad cold. By Monday afternoon it was becoming apparent that this was no cold. I then learned I'd contracted Swine Flu. I got a reference number (you don't get a prescription) to collect a box of Tamiflu from the local collection point (luckily there was one in my village). I was then quarantined to my house until Friday.

I slept, I ached, I coughed, I sneezed, I sweated, I shivered.

So now at the other end, I still feel ill but not like I was. I'm still coughing but the muscles are no longer aching. I'm even considered going out tonight for a bit. I'm determined to be back at work on Monday but am worried about being fit enough for my bike.

I recently got an invite to preview Google Wave, the new messaging system that the Google people are playing with. Unfortunatly for it to be effective you need people to talk to. I have one contact, the person who invited me - @JaneBunny, a twitter friend. Not really ideal to be able to give feedback.

Saturday 10 October 2009

0910.10 EXPLOSIVE!

ExplosionNothing much exciting happens around here, or so I thought. In the early hours of Monday morning I was woken rudely by a car alarm. I went through to the front of the house to see one of the neighbours' cars in flames. It was parked on the road (so little danger of the house catching fire). I rang 999 for the fire service, they had already received the call and a fire engine promptly arrived and began tackling the blaze.

So, what it an unprovoked act of mindless damage? An enemy of my neighbour? Or perhaps a racial attack (the owner of the car is Asian). After speaking to him he seems to think it's the first one. Who knows? Thankfully since then it's returned to the quiet, boring street and I like it like that.

Saturday 3 October 2009


Finally I can relax, it's my 3 day weekend and the last 2 weeks have been particularly stressful. For the last month I've been 'acting up' at work (supervising the team I work in), work politics and staffing issues have made it challenging but enjoyable. From next week I'm back to being just a normal member of the team but for now I can look forward to relaxing this weekend.

Tonight I am going out for a chinese with Morticia, it's a friends' wedding anniversary and we've been asked to accompany them. I'll have to watch my drinking since I'm such a lightweight. Last thing I want is to be hungover for my youngest's birthday tomorrow.

Thursday 17 September 2009



The Captain's Movie Review in 7 Words

Tuesday 15 September 2009


UnlimitedAfter 3 years of active campaigning I finally got Morticia to agree to let me have any film fans greatest prize, an unlimited pass for the cinema. Many years ago I used to visit the local pictures at least weekly. I saw everything, including the low-budget Channel 4 funded stuff. I saw all the blockbusters and loads of shit too.

Family life, shift work and financial contraints meant that visits wained off a little but things are more settled these days and after loads of gentle hints and outright begging she finally gave the green light.

With this in mind I intend to review the films I see. I'm not about to turn my blog into a movie review site so as I have done in the past I'll review each movie in 7 words.

Monday 31 August 2009


I'm not the biggest fan of bank holidays, not for the extra day off work (I love that), I hate the obligation that we have to do something.....anything. Why?

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy spending time with my family but really don't relish spending loads of cash to get into some over-crowded attraction for a few hours. Morticia has been wanting to plan a day out for today but after a weekend with trips to the zoo and an air show (and we're visited the Mother in law too) I'd rather just relax and enjoy my last day off.

Saturday 29 August 2009


Since coming back from Wales I've been craving something for me. Some time to myself to relax and be me, not someone's husband or father. Life just gets in the way of living, I just always seem to have something to do. It just frustrates me to see others who manage to squeeze in activities outside family life. Why can't I manage it?

My holiday ends this weekend with some family activities. Today we went to Twycross zoo, tomorrow we're off to an air show. I'm back at work from Tuesday and it'll be like I was never away.

Wednesday 26 August 2009


One of the first things a gadget minded type like me notices when you come to a place like Wales, particularly the quieter areas like this one is the poor mobile phone signal = lack of mobile internet access. The good news is that some of the pubs (including the one adjoining) has WiFi.

Part of me does yearn for my childhood when you went on holiday to the coast and had no contact with family or friends, in fact the post card home was the only way anyone knew that you'd arrived safely. I've never quite managed to have the nerve to leave the phone back home.

Weather has been good to us with only a bit of rain. Breakfast is included with the cottage and is an excuse to get us up in the morning. The cottage is located to the side/rear of the Penwig and has a sea view out of the windows at the end of my bed.

We had a day out to Cardigan Coastal Farm in Gwbert, it was a windy day and quite nasty down by the cliff edge.

I ventured in to the Seahorse Inn a couple of times in a break with tradition (we have always tended to stick to what we know). I'm glad I did, I discovered a 'proper' pub untouched by corporate hands. Friendly and some great real ales.

Wild dolphins are one of the attractions of the area, this year I think we spotted more than in all the years we've been visiting the bay. Not a day passed without seeing these wonderful creatures.

I don't follow cricket but following the English team's win in the Ashes I loved the Welsh attidude, they all were celebrating -the way it should be. The landlord of the Penwig is a wonderful bloke, really friendly, the girls thought the world of him. On Saturday night he gave me a gift. After telling him how much I loved Welsh beers and how much I'd miss them when I left he went off and brought me a party keg of Brains SA (about 9 pints!).

It was a long sad journey home, really love it in Wales. We've already booked for next year.

Friday 21 August 2009


Our annual trip to Wales has come around again. The car was loaded quite late on the Sunday night (so as not to attract attention), however this meant that I got a late night, not good for the early start I'd got planned. We all woke just after 6 and fuelled by Tescos Kick (cheap Red Bull) and guided by my Grandad's Sat Nav we set off.

8:55 - 80 miles in and after managing to miss any nasty traffic through Manchester we took a short break stopping at services on M56 near Chester, just before reaching the Welsh border.

Normally we switch drivers at Bala, on the border of the Snodonia National Park, this time everyone (except for me of course) was sleeping and I chose not to wake Morticia and drove on. It was only me that saw the leftovers of this year's Eisteddfod.

Morticia finally awoke and took over driving just after 11 and took it through to the other side of Aberystwyth. It gave me a much needed hour long break.

13:07 - Arriving at the Penwig (our home for the next seven days) in Cei Newydd (New Quay) I soon installed myself on my bed looking out of the window out to sea.

Tuesday 11 August 2009


e71It was upgrade time on my mobile contract once again and I was faced with the most important decision a pre-40 year old geek must face.


I looked at many, not tying myself to my current network. I had a few boxes to tick - must haves if you like;
  • Had to be a smartphone
  • GPS
  • Video Calling
  • Decent Web Browser
  • Support Applications
  • Good Calendar / Organiser
  • Camera with Flash (although doesn't have to be outstanding)
I did look at the HTC Magic and was won over with it's good looks, cool touch screen and Google powered operating system but it wasn't ticking all my boxes. I was keen not to make the same mistake I made 18 months ago when I blindly upgraded to the LG Viewty and promptly went back to using my Nokia N80 within a few months.

I looked at the Nokia N97 which ticked all my boxes but the cost and teething problems associated with a new model put me off. I then realised I was looking at touch screens almost exclusively, did I NEED a touchscreen? Well no, not really. I needed a good way of entering data for emailing, scheduling, blogging and tweeting. A qwerty keyboard? I looked long and hard at Blackberrys but it was unknown territory for me, I don't know anyone (apart from my boss) who owns one.

Then like the holy grail I noticed the Nokia E71. I did my homework, checked reviews, asked around and even went into a mobile phone shop to play on one. I was sold, this was the phone for me. The upgrade also offered me more stuff (calls, texts etc.) for less line rental! Everyone's a winner!

I've had it for over a week now and have to say it is a fab phone / device. I'm happy that this time I've made the correct choice.

I can't end this post without mentioning just how good a phone my old Nokia N80 was, it served me well for 3 years (2 lifetimes in the mobile phone world). It fell down a toilet and into a pint of beer and still kept on working. A true communication legend!

Wednesday 5 August 2009

0908.04 HOME ALONE

I've have the house to myself this evening, the kids are staying at my mother-in-law and Morticia is out at a friend's. Enjoyed having control of the remote for a change.

She came home about 2 hours ago and now I'm struggling to convince her to come up to bed. I'm up at 6 and not going to leave here up since she'd stay up all night if I let her.

Tuesday 4 August 2009


PencilI know I haven't blogged for ages, this is mainly because I wanted to do an illustration and I lost my favourite pencil. As time passed it got harder to get around to it.

So, what's happened so far?

The biggest event was my eldest daughter's 13th birthday. A big event with a big limo and her first proper girls night out (bowling). I'm now the proud father of a teenager.

Oh, and I have a new pencil!

Monday 27 July 2009

0907.27 NORMAL SERVICE....

.....will be resumed shortly. I've gotten a little side tracked
lately. I've a couple of entries in draft that I'll sort and post

Sunday 26 July 2009

0807.26 LE TOUR

I have to say how much I have enjoyed watching Le Tour de France this year. It really captured me and carried me throughout this month. Well to to Mark Cavendish who smashed the stage win record taking 6 in total, including the iconic final Champs Elysees stage.Bradley Wiggins also did the nation proud finishing 4th overall, just missing out on a place on the podium. Lance Armstrong's comeback was inspirational, a man my age can get fit and come second overall (there is hope for me yet!).

Wining the yellow jersey was Alberto Contador who struggled through some hefty team politics (he was on the same team as Lance Armstrong) to take the top spot.

Friday 3 July 2009


Today, 10 years ago I married my bride, the lovely Morticia. It's been a long hard slog, we certainly haven't had it easy but we made it. Our 10th (Aluminium) wedding anniversary. Tonight we are off out to our favourite restaurant, not much but we don't get out together often.

Tuesday 30 June 2009

0906.30 HORIZONS

It's the end of June and I have loads of things coming up on the horizon.

This week (Friday) is my 10th wedding anniversary, it's a date we've both been planning since just after we were married. Initially we planned to celebrate in Vegas (maybe even renewing our vows), then because of financial constraints we downgraded to a weekend in London, perhaps taking in a West End show. Now with it being upon us and the final reality check kicking in we have decided to go out for the evening to our favourite restaurant followed by getting hammered in Rotherham town centre (I'm just an old romantic).

Next week it's my eldest daughter's 13th birthday when she can officially take up the mantle of 'teenager' (something she's trained hard to be). We are in the process of organising a celebration for her for.

Next August will see our annual pilgrimage to Wales, something which will finally give me a chance to relax during what has become a stressful year.

Monday 29 June 2009


Unless you live in a cave you can't fail to have heard about the death of pop star Michael Jackson. It's had a huge effect on our lives here since Morticia is a HUGE fan and has been so since she was about 3 years old.

I did see him live in concert about 12 years ago at Don Valley Stadium and as a 'non-fan' really enjoyed the show. I'm getting fed up with the constant news feed on rolling news stations such as Sky News, how much longer can they waffle on for?

Monday 15 June 2009


FloodsThis week saw torrential rain in Sheffield causing havoc and giving everyone flashbacks to the devastating floods of 2007. Wednesday night and the rain suddenly came down, the shear volume meant that the drains couldn't cope. This lead to flash floods. Luckily the rain subsided and things improved later on.

As a result of all this I found myself (and a colleague) on the front page of the local newspaper the next day.
I'd like to say well done to all the girls who did the Race for Life today in ais of Cancer Research. In particular my Morticia and Harlz. Morticia did the race knowing the consequences to her physical well being and did really well.

Race for Life

Congratulations to them both and a big thank you to all those who sponsored them both.

Saturday 13 June 2009


Next month I'm due for an upgrade with my mobile phone supplier, Three. I've checked their current range of handsets and to say I'm disappointed would be an understatement. The only handset that would technically be an 'upgrade' would be the Nokia N96. Morticia is due her upgrade at the same time and there is nothing I can see suitable for her.

It seems that '3' are throwing all their eggs into the Skype basket and ignoring the wider market place. Surely this is going to hurt them. I for one (and Morticia for 2) will be voting with our feet.

I am now faced with waiting out my contract so I can get something decent from one of the other networks. I'm fancying the HTC Magic Android phone on Vodafone at the moment. It's so frustrating!

Saturday 6 June 2009


Collectormania is something I've attended for some years now. When I heard Leonard Nimoy was one of the guests I knew I had to be there. Unfortunately I' d completely forgotten about it until Mr C text me this morning asking what time I wanted picking up. Luckily I'd not planned anything else so off we went accompanied by the 'other' Ian.

We arrived late (around lunchtime) which meant that all the queue tickets for Mr Nimoy had been handed out. My heart sank, all this way for nothing. There was no other guest that I wanted to meet so it seemed like I'd wasted my day. Still, I made the best of it, looking at the dealer stalls at all the merchandise that I'd probably buy if I was a single man (that's the sacrifice us marrieds make). We mealed at a nearby Asda (£2.80 for Cornish pasty, chips and a large Diet Coke!) and returned to the event to see if there was any chance of joining that queue.

The guy running Mr Nimoy's queue said that they may open up the queue at 16:00 if it had gone down significantly. At 15:50 it was announced that they would be issuing further tickets for the queue, we were stood next to the guy that said this so got some of the first tickets issued. We jumped straight into the line and shortly after this happened.....

Photography or videoing wasn't permitted but I wasn't going to be without my picture of 'authenticity' so I set my camera to record video whilst it was slung arround my neck.

It was only a few seconds but I shook his hand and we exchanged pleasantries. That was everything that I'd hoped for.

What an experience for any Star Trek fan!

Sunday 31 May 2009

0905.30 DATE

It's been a different week with the kids staying down with Morticia's mother's and at work I've been performing the supervisor role (covering for holidays). On Wednesday I took Morticia up to the local carvery followed by an evening down the local pub. It was as if we were on a date. Normally we don't get to go out together, on the odd occasion we do we have to get back for a babysitter. This was different and special (in the fact that it was so ordinary).

Sunday 24 May 2009

0905.24 LACK OF LIFE

I haven't posted for a while now, this isn't because of lack of interest, nor is it because I've been too busy with a hectic lifestyle. It's simply because nothing of note has really happened in my life recently. Apart from having a stint of supervising the team at work to provide holiday cover, nothing is happening. Bed and work, that's it.
Currently I'm at Morticia's mother's in St Neots, all I'm doing is sitting 'round the house trying to find things to occupy me. I've tweeted, facebooked, I've read a cycling magazine. Now I find myself trying to blog about nothing, all in the aid of filling up my day.
If I have the cash I'd get an old bike and leave it here for me to get out and about whenever we come dow to stay. I'd love that and maybe then I'd have something to go on about.
Until something interesting happens I'll just plod on with my day. *yawn*

Monday 11 May 2009

0905.11 STAR TREK

NeroOk, I went into the movie with some doubts....

I have to say I loved it, can't wait to see it again. But is it a Star Trek movie? Yes and no is the answer. Most Trek movies of the past were big budget elongated episodes that mainly appealed to fans, this is a blockbuster movie about Star Trek with plenty of references for the fans. Not sure about the new timeline clean slate thingy but I guess if Star Trek needs to survive and recruit new fans then I'll go with it. As long as by the 24th century it's all smoothed out so Picard and co. can get along with they're adventures I'll be content.

Don't be put off, it's a movie for fans and non-fans alike. You'll love it.

0905.11 PREQUEL

This is just a short post before I go off to see the new Star Trek movie. Never since the 'Motion Picture' has all all eyes been on Star Trek. I really want to like this film but I'm going with some reservations. Hopefully I'll be proved wrong and Paramount won't have abandoned over 40 years of back (and fore) story just for a profit.

I'll post later for my verdict.

Sunday 10 May 2009

0905.10 IN THE DUMPS

I seem to be in a bit of a low spot. I've been feeling down now all week and for the life of me I cannot put my finger on why.

First I considered it may have been a reaction to my birthday on Tuesday, but it's no milestone event and when I think of my age I don't worry about it at all.

Work? No, that plods along just fine, my reviews are good and I my superiors consider me to be indispensable (I hope!).

Home? It's just the same old same old, but could THAT be the issue?

If I had the answers I could solve the problem but I don't. Maybe I'm just feeling sorry for myself and I just need to kick myself up the arse and get on with it.

Sunday 3 May 2009

0905.03 BOMBS AWAY

Last night I went to a World War II evening of nostalgic entertainment hosted by the High Green Women's Institute. How may you ask did I end up attending such an event? Well, Morticia was invited by a family friend but was unable to attend due to her been away on a jolly (in Camden, London). So I took (dragged) Harley along.

I've always see myself as a student of history, soaking up as much as I can when I can, so to experience something like this was a chance to see for myself what my grandparents have told me about. The first half was a light am-dram style collection of dances and singing from local people most probably connected to the WI, the second part was a showcase of Judith Hibbert who's singing and light-hearted banter were a joy. Even Harlz loved the show!

Sometimes it's important to remember the past, especially something that is still in living memory of our grandparents, it's easy to dismiss as not relevant but I believe it is. How they lived and laughed, cried and sang is at least as important as the events (in fact probably more important).

If you ever find yourself in North Wales and are interested in the events of WWII then a visit to the Home Front Experience is a must.

By the way, I won the raffle as well - nice bottle of Champagne!

Saturday 2 May 2009

0905.02 A NIGHT OFF

Night OffMy beloved Morticia is away again this weekend, this time in London for her friend's 40th birthday (she got to see the new T-Mobile ad shoot with Pink in Trafalgar Square but that's her story). This means that I'm left behind at home with the kids and I get a little 'me' time. Me time tends to be late night movies with nibbles or something from the takeaway across the road and 2 litres of Coke Zero (or Pepsi Max).

I'm not really a one for drinking alcohol at home, I'd rather have my caffeine laced fizzy stuff.

She returns tonight so I'll be spending the day tidying the mess the kids and I've made (which isn't too bad for a change.

Friday 1 May 2009


The Blogalyser reveals...

Your blog/web page text has an overall readability index of 12.

This suggests that your writing style is conventional
(to communicate well you should aim for a figure between 10 and 20).Your blog has 11 sentences per entry, which suggests your general message is distinguished by complexity
(writing for the web should be concise).


male malefemale female
self oneselfgroupworld world
past pastpresentfuture future

Your text shows characteristics which are 55% male and 45% female
(for more information see the Gender Genie).
Looking at pronoun indicators, you write mainly about yourself, then the world in general and finally your social circle. Also, your writing focuses primarily on the present, next the past and lastly the future.

Find out what your blogging style is like!

Sunday 26 April 2009


My life just doesn't get any duller than it is at the moment. All bed and work with very little else. Time and money seem to be holding me back from living.

I was actually excited at the prospect of doing my supermarket shop online. The monthly shop had become more and more difficult. We just couldn't take the kids along anymore, it became too difficult lugging them along so it ended up easier not doing the full shop and we just ended up just popping to the shops as we needed. The costs were astronomical, fuel and the extra items we ended up buying all mounted up.

I was pleasantly surprised at the service (I guess I was worried about the whole process about someone else doing my shopping). It meant that there is food in the cupboards and we've saved quite a substantial amount of money.

Saturday 18 April 2009


My eldest daughter will soon reach the age of 13 and is already exhibiting the usual teenage characteristics. She's bad tempered frequently, unreliable and has a bedroom that I wouldn't house a wild animal in. Does anyone have any survival tips on how I'm supposed to get through the next 7 years?

Now I understand why some animals eat their young.

When I initially posted this, it was intended as a tongue in cheek post, I offended my eldest who got upset thinking I was 'having a go' at her publicly. I think most people reading this realise but just to make it clear. I'm having a laugh at the teenage condition and is certainly not meant to reflect any true feelings.

Saturday 11 April 2009


This week it's been my daughters' dance show, which is always a tough week for all involved. It usually involves sitting in a large hall behind the main theatre and getting my youngest daughter in the correct costume at the correct time. Add to this all the other screaming kids, it makes for a stressful time. This year, I have to say hasn't been too bad, although very tiring when you add on a morning shift at work.

(I have drawn the obligatory cartoon but with time being tight and not being at home I haven't had time - at the point of posting - to process it thro Photoshop)

On Thursday night, the final night of the show we also planned to head down to visit Morticia's mother who lives about 120 miles away. It was 23:15 when we set off, I drove about 40 miles before I felt the warm hand of fatigue on my shoulder. Luckily, Morticia is pracically nocturnal (being queen of the dead and all) so she did the rest of the journey as I slept in the passenger seat.

Saturday 4 April 2009

0904.04 BED AND WORK

Life weighs heavily on me at the moment. Loads of pressure on the home front and changes at work. My life seems to consist of bed and work at the moment. The bit in between, the cycling between the two sites is the only thing that is holding me together. I yern for more but cannot see an end to this loop at the moment.

True things are better in some respects than they used to be back in the days I worked horrible shifts and was constantly tired. So maybe progress is slow and someday I'll find myself with more time for me. Until then I'll keep sleeping, cycling and working.

Tuesday 31 March 2009


Boring TrainingI get to go on a number of training courses in my job. They cover a wide variety from driving to mental heath. Sometimes I get put forward for a course that I think is "right up my street". Yesterday I attended such a course. It was a trainers course to enable to deliver training to my colleagues on the forthcoming upgrade to Microsoft Office 2007 (yes I know we're behind the rest of the world, we just feel lucky that we are moving into the 21st century). Boy was I wrong! It ended up being a bit of an 'Office for beginners' course and because of this I ended up sat around waiting for the others (all of whom I assumed had been chosen because of their IT skills - wrong).

It was a long day which seem to just go on and on, I left the training centre with a nasty headache. I learned nothing I couldn't have picked up in 5 minutes tinkering with the things. To clear my head and to keep my mileage up I went an cycled home via Scholes village, it was a much more gruelling ride than my usual commute and got all the frustration out of my system.

Saturday 28 March 2009


I realise I haven't posted an entry for a while now, my eldest daughter has had a few personal problems which have needed my undivided attention. Hopefully these, whilst no way solved, are hopefully in hand and I can get back to ranting and drivelling on about whatever else is on my mind.

I am thankful to my employer who have bend over backwards to assist me during a really difficult and stressful time.

Sunday 15 March 2009


This week saw the 25th anniversary of the start of the miners' strike. At the time I was a 12 year old boy living in the small mining town of Killamarsh. My father wasn't a miner so I never went through the deprivation of some of my friends. I remember the protests, not quite understanding the bigger picture. I saw friends claiming free school meals and big community charity drives. The biggest thing I remember during this time was when the fair came to town, perhaps to raise the spirits of a community on it's arse. It was a few days where we all had good time, rides were cheap (10p a go I think) and the soundtrack was Wham! Good times amongst bad times.

The pit closed soon after and devastated the area, we left a few years later (because of my parents jobs) but the area still survives all be it without me, I still have friends there and have driven through a couple of times. One day I'll ride my bike over there and take in the places I remember and cherish.

All this reminiscing got me into looking at old pictures of Sheffield, my home city (I've got loads of books). Naturally I moved onto tinternet to search more. I came across the filmreel of 'Sheffield, City on the Move', it was used in an edited form at the start of 'The Full Monty'. It's a little earlier than I remember but nothing much changed between those times and my childhood in the seventies.

I'm including links to each part (it's split into 4) to show the glory days of my home city and a recent showreel promoting the city today and how it's risen from the ashes of the 80s. If you have no connection with Sheffield you may find it dull but for anyone of my age it's a walk down memory lane (fuck me, I can't believe I just said that, 40 is much closer than I realised!).

City on the Move part 1

City on the Move part 2

City on the Move part 3

City on the Move part 4

Creative Sheffield

Monday 9 March 2009

0903.08 BAD TO WORSE

It's only Monday and I'm having a bad week already.

My eldest daughter has been playing up and behaving like Jekill and Hyde for the last couple of days. It's like walking across broken glass with her at the moment. I'd love to know why she is being like this but I don't think even she knows. I can't remember growing up ever being that bad.

Work is a bit crap at the moment (it gets that way from time to time), office politics and new work practices are just pissing me off at the moment.

Usually, to de-stress I can just jump on my bike and go for a ride. I get time to myself and the whole experience just calms me. Unfortunately, I discovered this morning (whilst attempting to get to work) that the chain is slipping. So it looks like I'll be needing a new rear cassette (which I'll fit myself this time).

That'll be another week on the peasant wagon!

Sunday 8 March 2009


Yesterday I finally collected my bike, after many phone calls and being fobbed off, arguments and disgruntled conversations. I am really disappointed with the service I received and it is safe to say that I won't be taking my bike there again.

Ironically, after I'd taken my bike in people started to come forward to say that the particular shop I used had a reputation for poor service. This view was supported by several cyclists I know which wasn't much help when I was stuck in the middle of the process.

Lesson learned, I tried to take a shortcut for convenience only for it to take longer. The whole thing blew up in my face and since I only have 1 bike I shouldn't leave it to a 3rd party to sort out unless I really have to.
Morticia left on a train yesterday for her mother's for a couple of days. She's having a little break for the hustle and stress of daily life. So until Wednesday I'm in charge!

Saturday 28 February 2009

0902.28 PIG

Morticia asked me this week if she could have a pet pig. I know she loves the animals and goes a little daft when she sees them in petting zoos or farms but I really wasn't expecting this. The reason behind it is that a friend of hers (who has a small-holding / good life style back garden) has a pig that has just given birth to a number of little porkers.

I guess most people would instantly dismiss the idea if their partner asked such a question, not me, I did the research for her and unfortunately there are a number of issues that would prevent us having such a pet. The main one is space, the garden is to small and would have to be turned over completely to the animal. The other main one would be the expense of securing the fencing to prevent the animal escaping.

All in all, a nice little dream but not going to be possible. Plus how could I be expected to enjoy a bacon and sausage sandwich with a pet pig looking at me?
Harley has been suffering with severe stomach aches all week which culminated in us taking her to the hospital yesterday. It was great to be kept for 5 hours just to be told that it wasn't appendicitis and to come back if it got worse. I guess the doctors were keen to get to the golf course (it was Friday afternoon).

She seems a little better today but we are keeping a close eye on her.
Still no sign of my bike. My last conversation with the bike shop was a couple of days ago when they were still waiting for the mech hanger. I now wish I'd purchased the parts and fitted them myself.

- Lesson learned!

Monday 23 February 2009


I hate the idea of working Sundays and if you'd asked me this time yesterday I'd have said that I hate working Sundays full stop. I think this stems from my time working on the buses when Sunday evening were the most boring shifts ever. Last night, however, was exceptionally busy at work. I fact I've generated enough paperwork to keep me busy for the first 2 hours of my shift today. So maybe when I say that I hate working on a Sunday it's just the thought of leaving my family at home.

Getting home last night was another matter all together. I checked the bus timetables and there was a 45 minute wait for the bus that goes directly home. I'm not one for waiting around so I jumped on a tram to Meadowhall. At Meadowhall I checked departure up home, 32 minutes wait (just 3 minutes earlier than the bus I could have caught from Sheffield). I ended up walking the last couple of miles.

Sunday 22 February 2009


I was looking forward to picking up my bike yesterday after it's repair but unfortunately I received a phone call late on Friday afternoon from the workshop at the cycle store to tell me that a part was needed to attach the rear mech to the bike and was out of stock. This means that I'll probably be off the road for another week.

Personally I think this strengthens the argument for me having a 2nd bike. After approaching the supply chain at work regarding the possibility of another Cycle2Work scheme (by far the easiest way of financing another bike), I was told that it was "unlikely" that they would run another scheme. It seems that they have ticked that box.

It looks like the possibility of me getting another bike is slim. A 2nd hand one may be a possibility if the right bike at the right price came along but chances I think are low.

I'm working later today, I've always hated working on a Sunday. Might get a few miles on my work bike.

Sunday 15 February 2009


Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. We made a deal this year to only buy cards for each other and to have a night in with a chinese and a DVD. It was the perfect evening, add a couple of bottles of Cava and the evening was complete.
Last week was my first week in exile while my bike is off the road. It's booked in for repair but the first available date isn't until 0902.20 (next Friday) so my exile onto the peasant wagon (the bus) continues for another week.

I'm trying to use this experience as leverage and an argument for owning a second bike. I'm fancying a road bike to do some leisure riding and distance work on. Morticia isn't convinced, I guess I'll have to work harder.

Monday 9 February 2009


Unless you've been on the other side of the world you can't have missed the worst snow falls in 20 years (I can vouch for that as I was around 20 years ago).

Heavy snow on Monday and again on Wednesday (around these parts) practically brought the country to a standstill. "Why did this happen?" a lot of people ask, the news has been filled with Scandinavians telling us how well they cope with the snow. Well to put it simply, we don't get much in the way of snow anymore. We don't have the infrastructure because we don't normally need it.

I think the lemming approach by the great unwashed did more damage to the transport system than the weather did. If it wasn't for drivers rushing out to get home, driving in conditions that they have little or no experience of driving in then perhaps things would have kept moving a little better. How many of the drivers that got stuck actually had a themos, a blanket or even a shovel? Very few I'd guess.

Anyway, the thaw has started (although rumours of more snow persist) and soon life will be back to normal. I've enjoyed the snow and I'd welcome more.

All the way through the bad weather I've kept on cycling, however, whilst pushing the bike over my icy driveway I slipped and fell, dropping the bike. This I believe did some unforseen damage because whilst riding home from working the derby match on Saturday the rear derailleur snapped off.

So now I'm without my bike. I'm miserable as hell (and will be until it's repaired). This has come on top of the TV blowing up and losing my favourite hat.

Tuesday 3 February 2009


Well the promised 'second wave' of snow never materialised up here, instead the snow turned to sleet then froze over leaving the entire area covered in a sheet of ice. Once again crazy motorists insist on trying their luck and driving in horrendous conditions (personally I'd invalidate their insurance, except maybe 3rd party, if they didn't have a bloody good reason to be out on the roads). I heard various 'horror' stories about how it took people over 2 hours to get home last night. I have no sympathy at all. It took me 35 minutes (10 minutes longer than usual) on my bike.

Why not try out a different way of travelling to work. Walk or at least walk to a main road (which are clear in the most part) and catch public transport. Don't worry about being late, your boss will be pleased to see you and that you made an effort to get in at all.

Many schools have closed over the region, my kids' schools haven't though. We have 3 main schools in our village, 2 primary and one secondary. One of the primaries has taken the decision to close, I have to wonder why when the others have opened (I have various issues with this school since this is where my eldest daughter went).

There are two pieces of advice to follow in extreme weather conditions:
  1. Don't Panic - the world isn't ending.
  2. Don't be a lemming - just because everyone is setting off home, doesn't mean you have to. Wait til it all dies down and then go.
Stay safe out there or better still, hibernate until the spring.

Monday 2 February 2009


Last night the snow arrived and what has been called the first wave came during the rest of the day. I love to see the snow, it reminds me of my childhood when winters seemed to last for ages.

Snow on my Street

Out and about this afternoon the kids were out playing and motorists were panicking. The smell of burning clutches filled the air as cars slipped, slid and sat in traffic. Shops closed early, public transport was cancelled and Meadowhall shopping centre closed. It's amazing how a few inches of the white stuff can bring a country to it's knees.

Cycling in the Snow

The roads were clear so I cycled in to work this afternoon. This meant that I had to cycle home in a blizzard. I managed to safely get through both ways. Tomorrow could be a different story, more snow is promised. As I lay here on my settee looking out the window at the world with a blanket of white over it, watching the snow fall, I wonder if I'll wake up tomorrow to chaos. it's been a kind of fun day, wonder what tomorrow will bring.

Sunday 1 February 2009


I live on a fairly quiet street, a cul-de-sac of sorts (the access to the main road at the bottom was blocked many years before I arrived). There are comings and goings mainly because it's a main pedestrian thoroughfare from the bus stops and local shops. Since the chav families across the road moved out it's been very uneventful (and I do like it that way).

Until yesterday....

Just before Christmas we got new neighbours next door, not really spoken to them apart from the odd hello. Yesterday we had major drama (for  'round here), police and ambulance in attendance after some huge domestic incident. Don't know any details but I know the officers were looking at forcing the door because they came 'round to our house to look at our front door (which is identical).

Not much happens in my personal life at the moment, so a little bit of street drama goes a long way.
I'm considering taking up running again (when the weather warms up a little). It's been a few years but hopefully I'll be able to enter a half marathon next year as a target.

Sunday 25 January 2009


There has been a lot of talk recently in the media about the micro-blogging service 'Twitter'. Now I've been tweeting (the term that describes a post) for many years. In fact I remember when I first started it was a lonely place with very few interactions. Over the last year or so the site has come alive and I have made many friends on there, the ability to update using a mobile phone means that you can tweet at any time.

Some celebrities have discovered the service and are now tweeting away. Businesses are looking at it as a way of advertising it's products. It certainly is the time for twitter. What worries me is that some people seem to be focusing on the celebs (I do follow a couple, but fairly passively) and forgetting the message of twitter, which is...

What are you doing?

I hope the explosion of popularity doesn't ruin things, I'd hate to abandon it, it's addictive and fun but can't see it being that way if all people want to do is send messages to the rich and famous.

Twitter has always been seen as a little bit geeky and I like it like that.

Tuesday 20 January 2009


My TV stopped working at the weekend, after 4+ years of service it decided to expire, emitted a squeal and burning smell and died.

We are now forced to sit around a 14" portable from the bedroom.

There was a time when this could have been acceptable, but these days it's a struggle. TVs get bigger and bigger with better sound and picture and with it so do our viewing expectations.

The problem I now have is replacing it. I haven't got the £300+ to buy a new one, renting is extortionate and cheap CRTs are none existent (not that I fancy another one anyway).

I'm gonna look for a buy now pay later deal. As someone wise once told me, "never do today what you can put off until tomorrow".

Saturday 17 January 2009


This week has been a funny weather week, I can still hear everyone going "it's global warming!". If that's the case, why has it been so bloody cold?

When I say cold, I mean cold for the UK. -11 was the lowest I believe (for the Americans, that's in Centigrade). People complain about the cold but I read about my friends across the pond who are practically skating to work every day and not whinging about it, I guess it's the British condition.

Luckily I've not had any nasty encounters with the ice and I've managed (so far, touch wood) to stay on 2 wheels and both feet. I have to say that I'm not a fan of frost or ice, I'd rather have snow, snow is fun and causes chaos within minutes of falling.
Changing the subject entirely; has anyone seen the new PG Tips ad? Genius and an excellent tribute the the Morecambe & Wise breakfast/stripper sketch.

If you haven't seen the PG ad, click here, and for those young enough not to remember the original - see below.

Saturday 10 January 2009


The festive season is well behind us now. It's time we deal with the damage. There are the bills to pay and of course most of us (me included) will be carrying a little bit of extra weight. Luckily I'm not up too much but the podge is there and must be removed.

My best solution is some extra mileage on the bike, all well and good but it's bloody freezing at the moment and the conditions are a little dodgy to say the least. My mileage is going to be up on December's (I believe) but they'll be no real major rides this month. I'm back on the Push-ups programme and I've just joined a similar sit ups programme too.

A lot of people join gyms at this time of year, I'm not keen on the places and think you can achieve the same (or even better) results at home.

You can follow my fitness progress at

Monday 5 January 2009


Saturday saw the announcement that Matt Smith will be cast in the role of Doctor Who when the series returns proper in 2010. The country could be heard saying "who's he?", myself included.

My initial reaction was NO NO NO NO NO NO, this is just a boy, how can he be Doctor Who. At 26 he will be the youngest Doctor ever.

I've let the dust settle and looked at this young guy, mmmm, maybe he can pull it off. He's kind of odd looking, he has a very angular face with an almost alien presence. As for the age thing, well it still bothers me (a little) but he'll be 27 when the show hits our TVs, that's only 2 years younger than Peter Davidson when he took on the role.

I suppose it had to come, a Doctor that is younger than me (David Tennant is 1 month older). Well, I'm willing to give the kid a chance, let's see what he can do, I doubt the powers at BBC Wales would take a huge risk on their biggest show.

Sunday 4 January 2009

0901.04 AND WE'RE OFF

Since New Year's Eve I've been at my Mother-in-Law's. It's always nice to get away and I'm lucky enough to have a good Mother-in-Law. I've spent most of my time piggy backing my phone's internet onto my host's WiFi. Tomorrow we return home and the next day I'm back at work again. Everything returns to normal and the silly season is officially over.

Whilst posting my previous entry my blog 'broke'. I got a connection time out error which, according to all the forums I've researched, is the kiss of death for ftp hosted blogger accounts. I've decided not to kill myself over it and to take advantage of a fresh start. I'm going to rebuild a new blog in the old one's image, this time hosted on Blogger (it seems less problematic that way).

If you're reading this then it's worked.


The blog published fine this morning (0901.05), I can only assume some outage on either my webspace provider or blogger. Business as usual then.

Thursday 1 January 2009

0901.01 NEW YEAR

While the previous year is still fresh in my mind (and without looking back through my posts) I thought I'd look back over what has happened in my hum drum little life.

The biggest deal this year has probably been the lack of recovery of my Morticia from her illness (which is once again becoming a big mystery). It's probably the hardest challenge I've ever faced. Luckily I've got a fairly decent support network and a supportive employer. I've got bigger challenges to face with this coming year.
Work's still good, the buses seems so far in the distant past now. I've done some good work and have respect from my bosses and colleagues and have good friends. I've pushed for advancement and I'm confident that I'm going to push the envelope this year.

I upgraded my mobile late in 2007 from a Nokia N80 to an LG Viewty. It became apparent that me and the upgrade were not getting on. I made a decision to ditch the LG (which I ended up giving to my daughter) and go back to my N80. Since going back I've dropped it down a toilet and into a glass of beer. Both times the device has survived. It is proving to be the best phone I've ever owned. This year I'll be upgrading again, I can't see me straying far from the Nokia store.

2008 is probably the year of Facebook. I'm certainly not going to complain, so far I've managed to get back in touch with so many old friends, old school friends, work colleagues, people from my past who I thought were long forgotten. My Twitter usage has also gone through the roof with the help of mobile internet.

Probably the highlight of my year was my trip to Wales. I love the place, it's become an annual pilgrimage. I'll be back again this year.

The biggest deal for me this year has been my cycling. I've cycled for years, 2007 I was lucky enough to get paid for cycling, something that has continued in 2008. Last year I moved my personal cycling up a notch with my purchase of my new bike. Altogether I've spent over £800 on my hobby. Not a lot in some cyclists' eyes (some indeed may sneer) but on my budget it's quite a sum. Next year they'll be more of the same, cycling is time for me, something I can't get doing anything else.

We also said goodbye to the Tinsley Towers...RIP.

2008 has been a difficult year. Increasing prices and family issues have made it hard going. I have high hopes for 2009, I have a good feeling about this one, it's going to be a good year...

...HAPPY 2009 to all my friends, family and followers!

Things to look forward too: More cycling, holiday in Wales, Our 10th wedding anniversary, the new Star Trek movie. Finally, do I have any resolutions? Haven't thought of anything specific but I'll be going through and updating my 40 b4 40 very soon.