Posts archive for: January, 2006
  • Riding my nightmare

    I haven't written anything for ages because I have just been soooooo busy. January is usually a quite month at work but this year has been bloody mental. So far this week I got home at 11 pm on Monday and left again at 6am on Tuesday. Then both Tuesday and tonight I didn't get home till after 8. Next week is mad too.

    We still seem to be getting a lot of shows for the Government. So far this year I've done events for the Dept. of Constitutional Affairs and the Home Office. I've put microphones on both Permanent Secretarys and the Home Secretary. It was interesting to meet the Permanent Secretary at the DCA, Alex Allan as I knew of him as he runs a rather good site on the good old Grateful Dead.

    He must be the only high ranking civil servant who lists the Grateful Dead as an interest on their department website. I did however resist the urge to tell him that the lyrics quiz on his website has wasted so much of my time and how I've still haven't managed to score more than 6 out of 10!!

    I've also been restricted in my blogging by the IT manager at work who has seen fit to add to the banned list on our firewall. That'll teach me to fall out with him. Not my fault I know a lot about IT but it seems to piss off IT managers when you know as much as they do - especially if he has just reformated a colleagues hard drive losing al their data and the same problem occurs with your pc and you point out it could be a conflict between the new anti-virus software and the old one he has left on there.

    Title comes from a track by a band called Budgie - it was a track of their album "Never turn your back on a friend" that I dug out after a good few years - it amazing how you don't hear something for 15 years and you can still remember the lyrics!! I saw them a few times back in the late 70's but they're still doing the rounds.

    Finally it was Sarah's birthday today but I'm probably not allowed to say that she was >:XX!!

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  • Friday 13th

    What a good day I had!! Friday 13th and a full moon - if I'd thought about it I would have stayed in bed!

    First of all was the parent consultation day at mt daughter's school. We waited an hour past the appointment time to see my youngests teacher, sitting in a corridor with nothing more than some French essays and my ex wife for company, only to be told that he didn't have anything to tell us about our daughter.

    This made me an hour late for work.

    When I went to leave work I drove off only to find I had no headlights. Luckily I had one spare bulb in the car so I drove back to the office and parked under a security light to change it.

    On the way home my mobile phone decided to stop working - nothing I did made it register with the network - as soon as I got back into the house - bingo it worked again.

    Then I caught my foot on the wall in the bathroom and bruised two of my toes.

    Oh and I think I may have lost a filling out of a tooth too.

  • Now there's a strange thing!

    Oxford and English Dictionary Draft Revision Jan. 2006

    Mackem, n.

    A native or inhabitant of Sunderland or Wearside; a supporter of Sunderland Association Football Club.

    Brit. colloq. (orig. Eng. regional (north-east.)).

    Watched Balderdash and Piffle on BBC2 tonight and one of the words included was the word Mackem - meaning someone from Sunderland. Now when I first heard this word about 15 years ago it was a derogatory term used by Geordies (from Newcastle)to insult us Wearsiders.

    However in the intervening years it seems to have been adopted by the inhabitants of my town of birth as a badge of pride. Mind you with the team doing so well this season I guess we have to find our pride where we can.

  • Apparently... about 4:30 this morning there was a loud crash from outside the Big Blue House - loud enough for Sarah to think someone was breaking in.

    A few minutes later a Police car with flashing lights pulled up outside and for several minutes a load of Police with a policedog (who was barking his head off) searched for something or someone in the area in front of the house.

    Apparently this was quite exciting but I wouldn't know because I slept through the whole thing - despite her efforts to wake me!

  • Christmas stories Pt 2 - A great big Family Christmas

    My daughter had complained on her blog that it didn't feel like Christmas and she told me this when I picked them up on Christmas Eve. We were going to Norbury for the Midnight Mass and I had burnt a compilation CD of Christmas songs to play in the car. Soon they were all singing along to Merry Christmas Everyone and Mr Hanky the Christmas poo (not sure if that last one was a good idea).

    By the time we got back and put all of the prezzies out it was almost 4am by the time we got to bed. Ben had been funny in the church shouting Dadadada at inappropiate moments! We were up again at 8 to get the turkey in the oven while all the kids were opening their stockings. All I can say is that if the eldest hadn't felt like it was Christmas she wasn't showing any signs of that now.

    Sarah's mum and brother had come back with us so there were 9 people to open prezzies so it took a while. Ben got bored waiting his turn and decided to rip open one of the largest boxes. MP3 players were the popular choice this year with 5 people getting one.

    I got the following

    A giant rubber duck (from Ben)
    Jah Wobble CD
    KT Tunstall CD
    Libera CD
    A book about beards (oops)
    A book about cats
    Inflatable boob bath pillow (what are you trying to say?)

    and the bestest prezzies

    A Chef's jacket and hat that Sarah has specially embroided!!

    Chef coat

    That was such a well thought out idea I have to take my hat off to her. I wore it while I cooked the Christmas Dinner. We were joined for dinner by Sarah's Sister and her boyfriend who were back from OZ for the first time since she moved out there 18 months ago. This made 10 people for dinner - the largest catering experience I've had yet!! It reminded me of Christmas dinners when I was a lad, first at my Gran's house and then at home with all the relatives coming for dinner. I coped well but the parsnips got a little over roasted.

    Cooking the turkey

    It was a little sad that I had to take my two over to their Mum's house at 5pm but I think they'd had a good Christmas. One of the odd things about starting a new life is how you have to merge what you are used to at Christmas with what your partner is used too. For example I've always set fire to the Christmas pudding but this was new to Sarah. Last year we sat down and both made a list of what food we would expect and compared notes - she still doesn't understand my insistance on sausage rolls and turkish delight though!!

    One of the ideas I've had to get used to is Sarah's family tradition of tree presents - small silly things left under the tree and opened on Boxing day. I have to say it hasn't been hard to get used to it but my kids made me promise that they wouldn't get opened until they got back on Boxing day evening.

    The numbers for dinner on Boxing day were reduced by my girls not being there but increased by Sarah's other brother who came over for a while. Once again dinner came out ok - except those damn parsnips - frozen ones next year?!?

    It snowed the day after boxing day and I was supposed to be taking the girls back to their mums. However when we set off we got about a third of the way down the 10% gradient hill near us and gave up on the idea. I parked the car on the side of the road and we walked back in the snow. Sarah and I did venture out to retrieve the car later but it was still too icy to go any further down the hill. The girls had to stay another night and even when I did take them back I struggled getting back up the hill by their mums house which isn't anywhere as steep and the one near us.

    So I had a lovely but exhausting Christmas - don't think I saw the TV once and the PC was busy loading MP3's onto new players most of the time. I'd bought a copy of the Radio Times which went into the bin unread after the holidays. Oh I almost forgot to mention we got the piano tuned just before Christmas and Sarah's brother and Sister played it while they were here. Apparently it's 1920's so about 70-80 years old and in pretty good nick - so a bargain!

  • Back to work, back to reality!

    Or at least it should have been like that this week but for a bug which has hit the big blue house. It started on NYE and so far all 7 of us have had it in some form or another.

    Only one of the girls has made it to school and that for just one day. Sarah has managed to make 2 out of her 3 days in her first week back after maternity leave.

    Ben is all snotty and when he woke up yesterday morning his cot sheet was green :(:( We had a family outing to the doctors yesterday but apart from waiting for the virus to work it's way through us there was nothing else to do.

  • Christmas stories Pt 1 - Hair today, gone tomorrow

    Wow that was the busiest Christmas break I've had for years didn't get near the PC in almost 2 weeks - had a great time so more to come after this post.

    Something strange happened just before Christmas and as a result I'm a little less hirsute than I just to be. I went to get my hair cut and in one of those spur of the moment things decided to have a bit of a change and as a result my beard has been trimmed back so it's now just a goat-ee. This came as somewhat of a shock as parts of my face hadn't actually seen the light of day since 1983!! It also meant I had to go round the shops just before Christmas and invest in a razor, shaving brush etc and teach myself how to shave again.

    It worked out ok though, those who actually noticed seemed to like it. It was a bit worrying as I went to the barbers I've mentioned before in previous posts. After he'd cut my hair I asked him to trim my beard and he didn't understand so he asked one of the others to translate - before I knew what was happening they were arguing back and forth in (I think) turkish about what I actually wanted. Thankfully I got what I wanted

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