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Posts archive for: October, 2006
  • Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

    My MP3 player stopped working on the way to work this morning. I've phoned Archos and apparently I have to send it back for repair as it sounds like a hard disc problem.

    Six weeks to Australia - arrrrrrgggggghhhhhhhh

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  • It's nature's way of telling you

    Somedays I like my job - I think I've said that before. Among all the boring financial conferences we do we sometimes get to do an interesting on and today was one of those.

    IMAGE_00025

    Billed as "Nature's Narrator" the event at the Natural History Museum was basically a chat between Jonathan Dimbleby and Sir David Attenborough about the latters career which has now spanned 50 years. It was extremely interesting as it covered what was effectively the birth of natural history broadcasting.

    There were clips from his TV programs and stories about his exploits capturing wild animals that had never been seen on film before. My personal favourite was the story of meeting the Gorillas. There was a clip of him sitting amongst them in the wild. We had to edit some of the footage this morning and to be honest some of the best stuff was left out.

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    The event was held in the Central Hall of the museum (where the dinosaur is) and we aren't allowed to start setting up until after the museum closes at 6pm which only gives us and hour and a half to set up the sound and projection and get everything tested and working. Plus I had to run through the running order and cues and show David Attenborough the edited clips. It can get quite stressful.

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    Getting home was a bugger even though I didn't leave the museum until 10:30 I still managed to get stuck in three different traffic jams and it was nearly 12:30 by the time I got back.

  • Road to hell?

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    Another wonderful day on the M25

  • The Giant Arachnid

    A few weeks ago we were driving into a school for an open evening and Sarah started leaping around and squeeking in the front seat. She was shouting about there being a spider climbing up her leg. Somehow despite the jumping coming from the passenger seat I managed to steer the car safely through all the parents and children and park it. By which time there was no sign of said arachnid.

    A few days later we were driving to another school and there was a scream from the middle seats. This time the spider was crawling across the ceiling. It was HUGE! I certainly didn't want to pick it up so I flicked it out of the car. At least it was gone.....

    ...Suddenly on the M20 yesterday sarah started squeeking again. The spider was once again crawling up her leg. I figured that it could be quite dangerous having a leaping twitching partner next to me when travelling at 70mph so I pulled over to the hard shoulder. Sarah lept straight out of the car but dropped my mobile phone as she did. Further investigations revealed a somewhat squashed spider underneath the mobile phone - nice shot!!!

  • Bird's got a blog

    So Sarah has set up a blog - hmmm

    It's obviously to get me back for invading her Bad Mothers Club as Mr.Sassywas.

    Nice picture of her though!!

  • A tangled web

    I'm really worried about David and Ruth - you see they are going through a bad patch and their marriage is in trouble.

    You see Ruth thought that David was having an affair with Sophie, an old flame, but he wasn't. However it turned out that Sophie was after David but when she kissed him he turned her down and then told Ruth everything.

    Meanwhile Ruth had looked to Sam for comfort when she thought that David and Sophie were at it and Sam confessed that he is in love with her and now she's confused and doesn't know what to do.

    And of course there's the kids to think about - oh what a mess....

    ...do di do di do do do do di do di do do

    Think I might be addicted to the Archers - you won't tell anyone will you?

  • Power in the darkness

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    This is us in the dark as we have had a power cut - no electric, no lights, no cooker, no internet! :##

  • My Bedroom Window

    I wrote my blog elsewhere yesterday as part of the One day in history project. I would love to point you in the direction of my entry but I can't find it on the site!!

    Still here is a picture of the window in the bedroom I stayed in for the last two nights

    IMAGE_00014

    Ever get the feeling you are being watched?

  • A very big house in the country

    So anyway I'm away again working and once again staying somewhere nice. This time it's the Ashdown Park hotel in East Sussex. It's an old country house with it own chapel which has now been converted to a conference centre. We had dinner tonight sitting in front of an open fire - very nice.

    Anyway talk turned to telling each other of the strange unexplained things that had happened to us over th years - basically telling ghost stories. After dinner as I walked back to my room down a long corridor I felt a cold chill as if there was a presence there. I also manged to get lost as I walked back which ended up with me feeling quite disorientated which didn't help.

    Anyway here are some pictures I took earlier this evening:

    ashdown 1ashdown 2

  • Scream until I'm sick

    I was watching a program last night about the 100 greatest albums of all time. On the whole I enjoyed the program there were inevitably some things I disagreed with. I don't think I would have put Jagged Little Pill above Led Zep IV for example. I also can't agree with OK Computer being the greatest album of all time.

    There were albums on the list that I had forgotten about or never even heard. One of these was Screamadelica by Primal Scream. I can't understand why I never bought this when I bought the follow up album "Give Out But Don`t Give Up". Anyway I added Screamadelica onto my must get list and dug out the CD I did have to listen to again. It's missing the little booklet which one of my colleagues managed to lose for me!

    I saw Primal Scream at Reading in the early 90's. I had gone to the festival with some friends and we met up with the cousin of one of my friends. He had been working at the festival on the Friday night vision mixing and had a backstage pass for the whole weekend. In fact he had two.

    A plan was hatched to go and watch Primal Scream from the side of the stage. What we did was two of us would go through a checkpoint with the passes then one of us would return with them to bring another person through. There were three such checkpoints before the four of us made it to the area by the stage. At one point I even had tea and biscuits in the crew catering area.

    We watched the band from various precarious positions in the scaffolding that held up the stage. The PA system was directly above our heads, the bass bins below us. The only disadvantage was that the vocals were barely audible but the advantages were great. We had a great view of the band and it was worth it for the view of the audience especially when the lights were shone on them. If I recall correctly Mick Jones from the Clash joined them for a few songs.

    We tried to do the same the following evening to watch the Red Hot Chilli Peppers but their roadcrew had barricaded the entrance to the stage and weren't allowing people on there. So we watched the band from the audience but events that had happened during the day took the shine off the weekend (don't even ask!)

    At one point during the set I needed to go for a sit down and it was suggested that I use the facilities backstage as they were nicer. So off I set and found myself in the loos backstage in the smallest cubical I’ve ever been in. In fact it was so small I could barely move. Anyway I just got myself sat down when the bassist let loose with a typical Chilli Peppers bass line that shook the entire cubical!!!!

  • New toy

    I just replaced this

    v3

    and this

    3950

    with this

    9100

    And very nice it is too. I saw one in O2 and when I rang up Vodaphone to ask about terminating my contract they gave me the phone/pda free of charge and did me a good deal on my monthly plan which means I get more for less!!

    Now that is what I call good customer service :D

  • Isn't it ironic...don'tcha think?

    Up at 4:30 this morning - out the door at 5:10, On site by 6:45. Worked all day no breaks no lunch, in fact no food except what we could blag from the delegates coffee breaks - survived the day on biscuits and grapes!!

    Non stop up and down the stairs, overheated building, very stressful.

    Todays conference - A meeting by the Heath and Safety Executive to promote heath and wellbeing at work!!

  • Baby gives me the blues

    benny plays the blues
    Doo dudu do do tish tish
    Doo dudu do do tish tish
    Whoooaaah yeah!

  • Start the Week

    Well the week started in the same way last week finished - a traffic jam. On Friday it took me 3 hours to get home from London with the first two hours being for just 6 miles. It's always the same when you need to get home to do something at a specific time. On this occaison it was taking eldest daughter to a campsite in deepest Kent for her D of E expedition. In the end she got there just as it was getting dark and still had to put up the tent.

    This morning it took me two and a half hours to get to work. There was a massive queue on the A2 caused it would appear by 400 yds of roadworks!! Still it wasn't worth the effort as when I got there I was accused of having lost 3 laptops by our IT nazi manager. They eventually turned up in a van that hadn't been unloaded - did I get an apology - did I b*llocks!

    Anyway we have a new washing machine arriving tomorrow to replace the one that broke down. We gave up trying to get the old one fixed and bought a new one with an extended warranty. We could do with two really if we could find somewhere to put the other one!! So I had to unplumb the old one and take the door off the downstairs loo in anticipation of Dan Dan the Comet man a coming.

    I was putting stuff in the car earlier as it was parked in the drive by the house and I heard a noise. I looked up in time to see a fox run into the drive. It took one look at me and turned tail (a big bushy one) and ran away.

    It's Sarah's eldest daughters 13th birthday tomorrow - another teenager to add to the collection (although she has been a teenager in training for some time now). Sadly I'll miss the prezzie opening in the morning as I've got to leave for work at 5:10. Which reminds me - what am I doing still blogging I should be in bed!!

    Nite all!

  • Jake Thackeray

    I've just stumbled upon two programs on BBC4 about the late great Jake Thackarey. He was one of this countries truely original songwriters and I had the privelidge of seeing him once in Newcastle in 1984. We had gone to a Miners benefit at the City Hall during the strike and among allthe local heroes who turned out like Prelude and Alan Hull, Jake suddenly appeared on the stage.

    thackray2

    Although at first I wasn't sure who he was I enjoyed his music very much and it had a familiar feel to it. I knew it from somewhere and it was probably from his appearances on shows like "That's Life" which we used to watch every week back then.

    The one thing that endeared him to me was when during a song he forgot the lyrics he not only apologised to the audience he told us that it was utterly unforgiveable! jake died on Christmas Eve 2002 aged 63 - a sad loss.

    Sister Josephine

    Oh Sister Josephine
    What do all these Policemen mean
    By coming to the convent in a grim limousine
    After Sister Josephine

    While you Sister Josephine
    You sit with your boots up on the alter screen
    You smoke one last cigar
    What a funny nun you are

    The Policemen say thet Josephine's a burglar in diguise
    Big Bad Norman fifteen years on the run
    The sisters disbelieve it "No that can't be Josephine"
    Just think about her tenderness towards the younger nuns

    Oh Sister Josephine
    They're searching the chapel where you've been seen
    The nooks and the crannies of the nun's canteen
    After Sister Josephine

    While you sister Josephine
    You sip one farewell benedictine
    Before your Au Revoir
    A right funny nun you are

    Admittedley her hands are big and hairy
    And embelished with a curious tatoo
    Admittedly her voice is on the deep side
    And she seems to shave more often than the other sisters do

    Oh Sister Josephine
    Founder of the convent pontoon team
    They're looking through your bundles of rare magazines
    After Sister Josephine

    While you sister Josephine
    You give a goodbye sniff of benzedrine
    To the convent budgerigar
    A bloody funny nun you are

    No longer will her snores ring through the chapel during prayers
    Nor her lustful moanings fill the stilly night
    No more empty bottles of alter wine come clunking from her cell
    No longer will the cloister toilet seat stand upright

    Oh Sister Josephine
    Slipping through their fingers like vaseline
    Leaving them to clutch your empty crinoline
    After Sister Josephine

    While you sister Josephine
    Sprinting through the suburbs when last seen
    Dressed only in your wimple and your rosary
    A right funny nun you seem to be.

  • National Poetry Day

    Here's a Haiku for National Poetry Day (thanks for pointing that out Isadora)- this years theme is Identity

    Who I am
    by Me

    Some days I wonder
    Just who I really can be
    Other days I know

    (I probably haven't written a poem for 25 years)

  • The last three days

    Been out and about the last couple of days - here's some photos

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    The Fog on the Tyne is mine all mine

    It's so weird passing through Newcastle knowing that you are only a few miles from your family. I took this on the train to Edinburgh. All I got to see of Edinburgh was the walk up the steps from Waverley Station to the Balmoral and the walk back down again the following day - oh and the views from the hotel window.

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    03-10-06_0756

    From Edinburgh back through Newcastle to York and then over (or rather under) the Pennines on the Trans Pennine Express to Manchester. We were supposed to be staying at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel but someone booked us in on the wrong night and we ended up staying at the Britannia instead which has the most impressive staircase I think I've ever seen.

    03-10-06_2013

    04-10-06_0704

    These were taken from the fith floor looking down!!

    When we got to the hotel to start rigging we found another crew from our company de-rigging another event. We gave them a hand to get their equipment out and then they promptly buggered off leaving us to get ours in on our own - nice!

    We finished about midnight and then spent 45 minutes driving around Manchester looking for somewhere to park the truck. Eventually we found a carpark that didn't have any height restrictions and left it there taking up 4 spaces!!

    04-10-06_0812

    Three Wise monkeys - Radisson Edwardian, Manchester

  • Spooky beyond words

    Saturday morning 4am I was setting off to work and had just started my car engine. It was a chilly morning but up to that point it wasn’t raining. I slipped off the handbrake and reversed the car up to get a better angle to aim at the open gate. Once I was happy with the position I edged my way through the open gate checking to make sure I wasn’t going to hit the sides of the car (again). Once I was through I looked up towards the main road and that’s when I saw them and my heart skipped a beat.

    Standing in a doorway opposite were two men and they were staring at me. I looked again thinking it was a trick of the light but no they were there. They stood there side by side motionless staring across the road at me. I only saw them for a brief moment before I moved the car into the street and drove away towards London but there were two things that unnerved me.

    Firstly the doorway they were standing in didn’t seem wide enough for two people to stand side by side. It is always possible that they were standing one in front of the other but why would two people stand like that? And why were they there, it was 4am and it seemed strange that two people would stand in their doorway staring out at that time of day. It could be they were having a cigarette but again it was strange that two people would want to smoke at that time and if they were surely they would be facing each other chatting not staring into space. I reasoned that it could be two people sheltering on their way home from a night out but it wasn’t raining. My final thought was that they were up to no good and I started to worry that having seen me leave they might attempt to burgle my house. However there was one more thing that worried me….

    They were grey, stony grey like statues, not a single ounce of colour. I know it was still dark but street lights illuminated the street and the colours of the houses were able to be seen. But there they stood two grey, motionless figures, staring stone faced into the early morning. I passed other people on my way out of town, they were colourful animated full of life whether it was a young couple walking home arm in arm or a gang of lads returning from a night out there was movement, colour, emotion but not those two.

    As I drove on the thought of them played on my mind, what if they were burglars? Should I phone Sarah and tell her I had seen some dodgy characters outside? I didn’t think she’d thank me for waking her up so soon after she had gone to bed and probably wake all the kids up too. But what if? What if?

    As the miles passed the memory of the two figures passed from my mind. The day went on and I had other things to occupy my mind and I slowly forgot all about them. I spoke to Sarah later and she didn’t report any break in or attempt to break in and soon I forgot all about them. Until this morning! As I drove out of the same exit to take the two bodies of the animals that died to the vets for cremation I looked at the doorway and the memory came back. Two figures, two dead animals and suddenly a connection was made in my mind that I simply couldn’t shake. What had I seen standing there that morning?

  • It never rains but it pours

    Bloody washing machine has packed up now!

    The drive belt has come off and I can't get it back on. Luckily Sarah knows someone who might be able to help. Just as well as I'm off to Edinburgh tomorrow morning.

  • F*ck, Sh*t, B*llocks

    So we stayed at Sarah's mums last night and when we retruned home today we had a nasty suprise. Sarah walked in and spotted Nigel the budgie who flew in through our window a few months ago dead on the bottom of his cage.

    While we absorbing this shock Sarah looked out of the kitchen window and spotted Baz the rabbit lying dead on the floor of his hutch.

    Cue hysterics from the kids, lots of tears and whys? A question we just can't answer. The rabbit was very old and we don't know the history of the budgie. The best explanation we can think of for both of them dying at the same time is a huge thunderstorm this afternoon.

    baz5

    RIP Baz the bonking bunny

    nigel

    RIP Nigel

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