Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A sorry tale of a man and his car

A man's relationship with his car seems to me echoes his relationship with women. It all starts when he is young as he tires of those childish pastimes - playing chicken on the railway lines, jumping out of trees, holding your breath whilst crouching down and then leaping up so that your mate could make you faint (I did it in the doorway of Millets in Weston-Super-Mare - Oh yes the memories and the scars are still so vivid!)

But then one day something catches your eye, something beautiful, something gliding along like a panther, something with 4 wheels and a hooter, yes a car! Oh how they taunt you in those years before you can get a license. You put their posters up on your bedroom wall and look longingly at them while you fiddle in your pajama pants. You inhale their smell as you walk down the high street. They tease and taunt, you can't wait to be a man and get inside of one!

You first car is beautiful, you caress it and treat it soooo nicely, you polish her bumpers every Sunday whether she needs it or not, you spend money on trinkets and baubles to make her even more beautiful, you fill her full of expensive liquids and yes you are rewarded. She goes like a tiger, 0 to 60 in 6 seconds, so fast she has you flat on your back gasping ogasmically.

Your friends are jealous, they all want to go in her, but you guard her jealously, you won't allow them to even touch her, its you who wipes her down with a clean chamois, getting soapy and wet together is your idea of fun.

But soon she starts to be a little tame, doesn't want to get going in the morning, little moaning noises are emitted as you try to turn her on, especially on those cold and chilly mornings of Winter. She also has started to look a little old, bits of her start to sag and rattle. Little pustules breakout all over her body work and you, well you start looking at sportier models.

Something with a little spring in its step, something a bit ahem, racy! You go out one day and pick one up, run her through the paces, just to see what she can do and to prove that you've still got it, still got some lead in the old pencil as you accelerate around the curves, va va vooming through the tunnels as you put your foot down and she responds to you like a harlot on anthetamines.

But somehow deep in the back of your mind, there's still that itch of foreboding, because you know that one day she too will be tired, she'll have lost her get up and go, but she'll still be costing you a wedge as she now spends her time with an oily mechanic underneath her doing improbable things with a torque wrench and a grease gun. Oh yes he'll be giving her a 50,000 mile service and be greasing her nipples before you can say Aston Martin and you'll be paying for the pleasure.

But what can you do, you can't live without her and you can't live with her. You can't just leave her, send her to the scrapheap, you've invested so much into the relationship, you have even started to trust her, understand her moans and rattles, she even excites you once in a while, like when the brakes failed going downhill or that time when you both forgot you were driving in Europe and drove on the left for a little bit until the petrol tanker turned up.

Yes you've both reached that age when the folly's of youth are naught but distant memories, now I don't mind a bit of crumpled bodywork, the faded countenance, that's all right with me as long as there's a spark under the bonnet and she can shake that ass with the best of them. Yes she's just cost me a pretty penny these last two months and she is still in need of some restorative work down there (her plumbing you know - well she is French and you know there plumbing is atrocious!)

But there's a few miles left in the old gal yet!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Last Post (possibly)

Today could be my last post.

Why you ask?

Becuse it is barely midday and so far I have fallen down the stairs whilst carrying a rather large box. It transpires that some idiot (ahem!) unthinkingly left his box of screwdrivers on one of the stairs. So when I was struggling down the stairs I trod on said box of screwdrivers and it being plastic scooted out from under my foot like a snow board on the most dangerous ski slope and so I went down about half a dozen steps, strangly not as amusingly as one of the characters in Home Alone.

Then after recovering from that trauma (slightly brused foot I think) I was sat in my new 'office' cunningly created (just yesterday - hence the screwdrivers) out of the mouldy cupboard under the stairs. I got up quickly and banged my head quite hard against what used to be the door frame - i think I am suffering from only a minor concussion.

I am about to go into the garden to help my wife plant daffodils, a little late, but I know what dangers lurk there in the great outdoors. I expect at a minimum to at least tread on a hidden rake and get whacked in the nose in true comedic fashion, perhaps I'll stay away from the fork and anything electrical.

Pray for me - I might be gone some time.....

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Snow Sense

Yesterday I was mainly driving in the snow from Plymouth to Bristol. Having set out at around 7 a.m I was immediatly enveloped in the snow storm which made driving quite difficult.This was compounded by the fact that it took me about 40 miles to work out how to get the heating in the car to work as it was a rental and of a foreign make I had never driven before (Nissan) plus it was an automatic!

By the time I got to Tiverton the snow was quite thick and the outside lane of the motorway way undrivable and about 6 inches deep in snow and slush.The two lanes that were moving were doing so at about 20 miles an hour.

But of course we forgot about the 4x4 drivers, that intrepid band of urban explorers who as soon as they see a bit of snow switch on the traction control engage 4 wheel drive and then think that they can drive down the empty lane a 70 miles an hour with impunity safe in the notion that they are driving in 4 wheel drive and the laws of physics that make snow and ice slippery do not apply to them

That the only vehicles I saw buried into the crash barriers were 4x4's seems to substantiate my thesis, which is 4x4 drivers are idiots and have snow sense at all!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The view from my new office

Posted by Picasa Today at my esteemed establishment I moved office. Not that I’m counting but this is the 6th office I have moved to in the 6 years I have worked in this department. I have never spent a whole year in one office yet!

Once again I am on my own. I wonder if it’s a sign that my personal hygiene needs to be addressed or maybe my inter-personal skills need honing. It must be some measure of my worth to this employer that once again I am situated in what was once the photocopier room! Now don’t get me wrong this room is about twice as large as the cupboard I inhabited two offices ago, and my last office was like a suite in the Hilton compared to that, but I shared it with a colleague which was a bit of a downside.

But with every downside there is an up and my colleague has been on long term sick since about 2 months after moving in with me and for the last 6 months I have had the vast room to myself. Now I guess I have to ask myself is the fact that my colleague has been off for so long something to do with me or his job and the real reason for my move? I hear mutterings around the office about his stress and depression and how the Doctor is signing him off for more time, he needs more time – what from me or his job, wife maybe?

Perhaps my managers have now told him I have moved, if he reappears in the next few weeks I think I might have grounds for suspicion and have to start searching the yellow pages for a life coach to help me re-programme my behaviour and how I interact with my fellow human beings.

But being on ones own in the office isn’t so bad. I can blog in peace for example; check my eBay whenever I want and those padded envelopes make handy pillows if one needs a quick snooze mid after noon, a power nap, of course. The downside is not having someone handy to chat to or make the odd comment when something amuses, or maybe mention what was on tele last night or to get me a coffee when I don’t want to get up off my arse, it’s a bit isolating and the fact that my new office is outside of the fire doors which delineate our department from any others seems to do more than underline my exile from the mainstream of office life.

I feel a bit like Napoleon exiled from his beloved France to Elba or somewhere isolated except I’m not short, don’t wear my hair in a kiss curl and have never ever invaded Spain. Yet here I am all alone, so lonely, with just you loyal readers for company.


Thursday, November 17, 2005


While I was out and about this week I was listening to a radio programme in the car which was focusing upon girl bullying at school. Over the past few weeks there have been a couple of high profile cases in the news where young girls have been attacked and injured by girls at their schools.

Of course a lot of the discussion is taken up by a lot of soul searching along the lines of ‘why o, why o, why?’ and ‘what can be done’. Often these answers come from the listeners who phone in. Some will blame the parents; some blame the teachers and some blame society as a whole. Others demand the reinstatement of corporal punishment into schools to instil a bit of discipline into the chav and chavettes who seem to want to disrupt the normal course of things.

This demand for the re-instatement of corporal punishment of course got me thinking about my own school days back in the swinging sixties. I call it the ‘swinging’ sixties because for me the only thing swinging about it were the various implements of punishment swinging towards my backside.

If my memory serves me correctly the first thing I was hit with at school was the 12 inch rule (not a ruler as kings and queens are rulers these things you measure with are ‘rules’) I am not sure that is why I was hit across either the knuckles or the palm of my hand but hit I was, and this is just a primary school, I am sure slaps across the back of the legs were handed out as well.

It wasn’t until I had moved to secondary school that the implements of choice varied in both their efficiency and size. I will of course name that school should any of you have been there and remember. It was Walliscote Secondary Modern School for Boys in Weston-Super-Mare.

I guess that most people my age will have been punished at school through the use of the ‘slipper’. The ‘slipper’ in my school usually meant the rubber sole of a tennis shoe; it was also called a plimsoll. Sometimes it was just the rubber sole other teachers seemed to prefer to have the rest of the shoe still attached; perhaps it gave added grip and weight. But it still stung whatever version was used.

Usually the chosen victim was paraded out to the front of the class and was then asked to bend over and touch the toes; six of the best was then applied to the arse. At the end of the session it was usually the done thing to have to say ‘Thank you Sir’ to the teacher that had done the whacking.

One time the teacher whacked the whole class, 30 boys, for making a noise while he was out of the classroom.

Of course the slipper isn’t the only weapon used by teachers, I have also been hit by cricket bats and fencing foils. Obviously these were used by the games teacher. While the cricket bat is sore the fencing foil leaves a deeper red mark. And the fact that the teacher used to lie in wait for us as we came out of the showers and whack us across our naked arses makes me wonder if I still have grounds to sue the perverted bastard.

The woodwork teacher had plenty of different shapes and sizes of wood like doweling etc to use on us but if we got him really wild he would resort to throwing the first thing at hand at us, one time he threw wood chisels at us which whizzed past our ears and embedded themselves in the walls of the room.

Other teachers preferred to throw the board rubber which if you were lucky got you with the cloth soft covered side rather than the wooden bit, but if you were hit you carried the chalky mark around with you all day on your blazer. Sometimes it was used across the knuckles as well.

The worst and most pervey punishment though has to be laid at the feet of the deputy headmaster. He had a metal arm and if you needed punishment he would lay you across his lap and wedge you down by laying his metal arm across your neck so you couldn’t escape and then he would start pinching the inside of your thighs, I think he called it ‘German Measles’ after a few minutes of this you would have to jump off, stand to attention and say ‘Thank you Sir’.

Bring back corporal punishment they say, it never harmed me. Well I suppose it never did harm me per se but I guess I still remember it and at the time it was humiliating and I do feel that some of the punishment did border on the pervey, but that was only in hindsight.

I am just glad that I am not a teacher in a comprehensive school.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Its a beautiful day hey hey

Well here I am with fifteen minutes to blog, just a few minutes to fill up some space as I have been busy, yes busy working – would you believe it.

Anyway yesterday I was out and about as usual driving up and down the motorways of this fair land, and let me tell you, those of you who have yet to visit this country, the landscape yesterday was glorious.

Blue skies, a low golden sun sparkling through the yellow leaves of autumn, it was wonderful to be out on the open road enjoying this beautiful countryside, why there were even lambs skipping about the fields. Bliss.

Later as the sun started to drop everything seemed to have been dipped in liquid gold such was the intensity of the colours, each tree dripping in sunlight, in fact the quality of the sunlight shimmering heavily was very similar to the liquid sunshine I found in my glass later that evening. The Western Australian Chardonnay I was sipping had that same languid quality that was in the air yesterday. As if the sunlight had been trapped within the air molecules and had somehow turned into something else, something that resembled a viscous liquid that oozed out of the sky and draped itself across the landscape, throwing the distant hills of Dartmoor into sharp relief such was its clarity, but at the same times throwing long long shadows across the hard metallic road, that somehow was softened in the diffused light.

It’s really difficult to find the words to describe the air yesterday as I was driving.

It’s also good to know that the service stations along the motorways are doing their thing to promote healthy eating. They were selling sandwiches and flashed on the sandwich packets was the message, go on have some chips as well, just 99p!

Got to go, busy busy busy!!!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Cunning Linguists


I'm a bit busy today doing some work, yes that stuff I'm paid to do between the hours of around 9 to 5!

So have a look at this its funny: http://www.engrish.com/

You cunning linguists will like it a lot!

Friday, November 04, 2005

A poem for Simply Clare and Dr Joolz

Looking through other blogs (Kates to be exact) I came upon a bit of language Simply Clair and Dr Joolz seem to use and I thought it was nicely satisfying so I wrote this.

Well to the jay-bad-unbad-goodbad
Yakking on the myriad language launch pad
Banging on a mouse pad, stamp pad, like mad
Talking bout a hot pad, hip pad, scratch pad
You got the linguistic jay-bad sketch pad
I got the well mad, like bad, mossad
Spying on the language, bad lad, big dad
No fad, shabad, send me back to riyadh
Don’t get mad, get on the pad
Listen to the lingo that makes you glad
Word plaid, strictly rad,
Well to the jay-bad-unbad-goodbad

Weeing in the Bath - a discussion

Last night as I was waiting for my bus home from work I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation being carried out by three young women. (I admit I did sidle a bit closer once I had heard the gist of it – they probably thought I was just some old perv, but then again they obviously didn’t notice me at all – sob) Anyway these young lovely’s were probably in their late teens early 20’s, although it’s getting harder for me to judge and they were having a conversation about the relative merits of having a wee in the bath!

They got quite animated and into the whole subject and it was also the subject of much hilarity and humour on their part. I was mesmerized if that’s the correct word for listening hard in astonishment.

It seems that for these girls the jury was out on whether it was ok or not ok to wee in the bath and it seemed for them to rest upon the circumstances in which they found themselves. One girl said that the actual process of running the bath made her want to pee anyway so she usually went before getting in the bath so she never, she swore, peed in the bath. The next admitted that it was only when she was in the bath that she felt the urge to pee and often she couldn’t be bothered to get out so she went, and while the other girls made uuurrrggghhh sounds, she also mentioned that of course if the water was getting cold it was a way of heating it up a bit, which also caused gales of laughter, which of course was the whole point in saying it.

I didn’t really catch what the third girl was saying as she had her back to me and was a bit muffled but I think she was also denying weeing in the bath. But it seems that it was OK to wee in the shower to which the other girls concurred.

So it seems it’s not ok to wee in the bath but ok to wee in the shower, if you’re a woman, I am hoping that this piece of research data is correct because its not been unknown for me to jump into the bath after my wife has used it, especially a few years ago (pre Ukrainian wife) when I lived in a house where the water took ages to heat up. She always swore to me that she had never wee’d in the bath and I believed her and of course men always wee in the shower – why not!

But this also does have consequences for other areas of our lives such as the public swimming baths, with 1 in 3 women weeing in the pool, and probably all of the children it doesn’t bear thinking about does it swimming around in all that wee, thank god I find swimming in a pool a bit boring so I don’t do it that often.

I prefer to swim in the sea which of course is mainly wee; you just have to taste it to believe. I mean there’s all those surfers and divers weeing in their wetsuits to keep warm (this is the truth), not to mention all those gallons of fish wee that fills up the oceans of the world, and remember I’m not even counting the seagull wee that must drop into it and of course whales must pee gallons and gallons of the stuff adding to the whole concoction.

Actually I believe (and I am sure Dr Hawking will back me up scientifically on this) that the denuding of the oceans of all its living things by the deep sea trawlermen of this world is actually doing us all a favour. Once the sea is empty of everything that pisses, farts or shits, the oceans of the world would be a much nicer place. We could go to the seaside and paddle a bit knowing that we are not up to our ankles in other peoples piss. That image needs to be left on those old 14th century woodcuts of Hell by Albrecht Dürer and not bought to mind while I’m waiting for the 5 o’clock bus home thank you very much.

I’ll piss off now – have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A little something wot I wrote

Hello all.

I've just had something published on www.subter.com you can find it here

Its called 'Meditation on the Two Moors Way' which is a long distance path I walked a while ago between Ivybridge and Lynmouth here in the South West of the U.K.

Hope you like it.

I got Cable and there's nothing on......

I bought a maisonette in the Plymouth hills
With a nice garden but rotten cills
Man came by to hook up my cable TV
We settled in for the night my baby and me
We switched 'round and 'round 'til half-past dawn
There was a hundred and fifty-seven channels and nothin' on

Well now home entertainment was my baby's wish
So I hopped into Lidl for a satellite dish
I tied it to the top of my French car
I came home and I pointed it out into the stars
A message came back from the great beyond
There's seven channels in Russian and loads on

So I bought a big hammer it was solid steel cast
And in the blessed name of Elvis well I just let it blast
'Til my TV lay in pieces there at my feet
And they busted me for disturbin' the almighty peace
Judge said "What you got in your defense son?"
"Fifty-seven channels and nothin' on"
I can see by your eyes friend you're just about gone
Fifty-seven channels and nothin' on...

Sorry Bruce Springsteen for mangling your song but now I’ve entered the digital age I’ve found that life ain’t as rosy as they promised.

The verses above are not in strict chronological order. Initially we had a Freeview box at home. There is an old saw that tells us that you ‘don’t get owt for nowt’. And that’s just what you get with your freeview box, more channels of dross TV. My Ukrainian wife despaired when she first came here and saw the paucity of the quality of the shows we watch. She couldn’t understand why our TV was full of reality shows and documentaries. Where was the entertainment she asked? In Ukraine the TV is still heavily entertainment based. They have shows where people, ‘stars’ get up and sing songs that the audience can sing along too, and to show how important this is, after a performance, the audience stand and applaud and the performer gets presented with a bouquet of flowers. They have a great comedy show where students from Universities across the former soviet union all compete with their own comedy sets. Its very funny and my Russian is crap! They show films regularly.

She cannot understand why we want to watch programmes about people living in filthy houses, or cockroach infested restaurants, people beating each other or Chavs screaming at each other for sleeping with their best friends, mothers or sheep.

So I went to lidl and bought their satellite dish and receiver (it cost about £70) stuck it on the side of the house and pointed it at the Sirius satellite and bingo, wall to wall Russian/Ukrainian TV. My wife is happy. But I don’t get to see a lot of TV, which in many ways is a good thing, cos after all there’s not a lot on.

Even so there are a few things on British TV that my wife likes, such as Strictly Come Dancing and the X factor so we were using the freeview box a bit (and mainly for Cbeebies for my daughter).But we had a problem when the wind blew the picture pixilatted and was annoying.

So now we’ve got cable! We have the superior service free for the first month, loads of channels and yes nothing on….its still crap T.V.

Who watches this stuff and apart from being a bit of Time Team fan (although even that’s got a bit boring) on one of the channels and that programme about American Choppers, which seems to me after watching three or four episodes to be more about these guys yelling at each other than about the bikes and is getting tedious very quickly - there is really nothing on. (Oh I forgot about the music channels, that one with the RnB videos with loadsa sexy foxs undulating around two bob or what ever these rappers call themselves - I watch that a bit!)

To be honest the Russian channels are better despite the fact I can only understand about 0.5% of the dialogue.

Yes so 157 channels and nothing on – progress hey?