Friday, April 28, 2006

Tis a funny thing - language

I like this, and I liked it so much I stole it from Cary who you can find here and also because I am half planning to take my wife to Stratford upon Avon to see Romeo and Juliet by the RSC for our 2nd Wedding anniversary which is coming up soon - (romantic hey?) So hail to the chief! (And it was his Birthday on the 23rd!) and I'm pretty sure Bill would've have a blog too!

If you cannot understand my argument, and declare "It's Greek to me", you are quoting Shakespeare; if you claim to be more sinned against than sinning, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you recall your salad days, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you act more in sorrow than in anger, if your wish is father to the thought, if your lost property has vanished into thin air, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you have ever refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy, if you have played fast and loose, if you have been tongue-tied, a tower of strength, hoodwinked or in a pickle, if you have knitted your brows, made a virtue of necessity, insisted on fair play, slept not one wink, stood on ceremony, danced attendance (on your lord and master), laughed yourself into stitches, had short shrift, cold comfort or too much of a good thing, if you have seen better days or lived in a fool's paradise - why, be that as it may, the more fool you, for it is a foregone conclusion that you are (as good luck would have it) quoting Shakespeare; if you think it is early days and clear out bag and baggage, if you think it is high time and that that is the long and short of it, if you believe that the game is up and that truth will out even if it involves your own flesh and blood, if you lie low till the crack of doom because you suspect foul play, if you have your teeth set on edge (at one fell swoop) without rhyme or reason, then - to give the devil his due - if the truth were known (for surely you have a tongue in your head) you are quoting Shakespeare; even if you bid me good riddance and send me packing, if you wish I were dead as a door-nail, if you think I am an eyesore, a laughing stock, the devil incarnate, a stony-hearted villain, bloody-minded or a blinking idiot, then - by Jove! O Lord! Tut, tut! for goodness' sake! what the dickens! but me no buts - it is all one to me, for you are quoting Shakespeare.- Bernard Levin

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Bird Flu

I'm waiting for the virus
I'm waiting for the cough
I'm waiting for the Bird Flu
Just to pop me off

I'll have a runny nose
And a roaring red sore throat
I'll want a pound of grapes or two
I'll probably start to bloat

So bring me heinz tomato soup
And a mansize box of tissues
Books and mags and lucozade
Write this down now, I've got issues

Send all the swans to Swanage
The ducks to far Peking
The geese re route to Canada
Get the chickens on the wing

Turn the emus into handbags
Smash all the ostrich eggs
Fill the Blue Mosque full of turkeys
Please heed these word I beg

Before I get the sniffles
Send all the swallows home
Send a hundred million pigeon pies
To the Monsegniours in Rome

Lets burn the feather dusters
And spoil the birdsnest soup
Lets send the seagulls out to sea
Before I get the croup

I'm just waiting for the virus
Ducking the sparrows sneeze
I'm feeling rather heady
Hush - Is that a wheeze

I'll give me just a week or two
Before the virus hits
But before the bastard gets me
I'm offing all the tits!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Illness and Fame

I have been away awhile because I have had the dreaded virus, not once but twice, hardly a week or so after the first attack a second virus got me and placed me on my back over the easter Holidays. So while everyone was enjoying the sun I was sneezing into tissues in my crumpled and sweaty bed. God help me if the bird flu does arrive in my enfeebled state I'll be one of the first to go.

However, despite that I have become famous albeit for probably less than the fifteen minutes promised me by Andy Warhol. I have been reading many blogs by people who are achieveing wonderful things. Jonny B in Norfolk is bring up a baby, I wonder, if like the Norfolk Chavs highlighted on a documentary on TV last night the child too will need subtitles to be understood - innit! Various bright and brainy academics are also on my list of reading and they all seem to be doing wonderful things in their fields of expertise and of course Vit is an artist par excellent and lives the good life in Portuglandi. What more could one want? Well I would want to live here and have Jamie make me wonderful cakes

But until then there is an article nearly all about me in the Guardian online and you can read about it here.

I am waiting now to be headhunted!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I may have to kill you now

Isn't it wonderful that we now live in such an open society that even MI5 can advertise openly for spies, although they call them 'Senior Information Professionals' - well we all know what that means don't we - a job with a double 0 prefix!

Senior Information Professional Posted by Picasa

Although as I've mentioned before £25 - £33 grand don't seem much for a spy, one wonders how one will be able to afford the vodka martinis (shaken not stirred), the gambling, the beautiful jet setting women and the Aston Martin on £33 grand a year? I would imagine its a bit tight. I suppose though that there's a bit of 'back pocket' cash flying around to suppliment the income. You know the drill, brown paper envelopes stuffed with cash left at remote 'letter boxes' in Regents Park in exchange for the negatives or the top secret plans.

I would guess theres a bit of foreign travel thrown in as well, so there should be some expenses to claim back, I expect its a bit pricey getting to the Bahamas and staying in the best hotels and rolling the dice in the casinos, so that you can ingratiate yourself with Mr Big and theres always a bit of excitement to look forward to, to tell your mum about when you get home, the pools filled with Piranha, the crocodile lakes, the exploding underground HQ's and such!

I'm not sure that I want to apply I'm not too sure whether a white tux suits me and my wife would probably kill me if she caught me flirting with Moneypenny! And anyway I've a strict NO Sex in the Office rule! It messes up my desk!

This blog will self distruct in 30 seconds, if not please eat it!

Senior Information Professionals
Location: Central London
Salary: £25,826 - £33,428
Date posted: 10 Apr 2006
Closing date: 12 May 2006

We can’t afford to know half the story. With access to the very latest information sources we can carry out research vital to national security. Without it, we can’t. Don’t let that happen. That’s why we place the importance we do on our Information Bureau Team and the intelligence they supply. After all, having the right information, at the right time could mean the difference between obstructing terrorism, espionage and other threats to security – and the unthinkable. It’s that vital. Put simply, you’ll drive the development of our service. Based centrally or within a specific department, you’ll need to be able to perform a range of duties such as research, procurement, evaluating of sources and training. You’ll need to be able to build customer relationships and be proactive in marketing your capabilities. Innovative thinking, a flexible approach, CILIP qualifications and experience within an information role are essential to enhancing our knowledge base. Up-to-date with all the latest online and hard copy information sources, you’ll also have experience of business development and resource selection. You will be eligible to apply, you must be a British citizen and one of your parents must be a British citizen or have substantial ties to the UK. Candidates must normally have been resident in the UK for 9 out of the last 10 years; this is particularly important if you were born outside the UK.

Due to our vetting procedure your application may take up to 8 months to process.
Closing date to request an application: Friday 12th May 2006. Closing date to return your application: Friday 19th May 2006.

Discretion is important to the Service, so please only discuss this application with your partner and/or immediate family. The Security Service is committed to reflecting both Equal Opportunities and the society we protect.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

10 things a guy should know by the time he's 50!

Now I’m 52 it has become clear to me that there are certain things a guy should know by the time he is fifty, now this isn’t a definitive list and you might want to make additions, they are not in ranked order either!

1. Use chopsticks
2. Know where and what a clitoris is and how to use it
3. Know how to change the oil on your car and have done it – this doesn’t mean you know to take it to Kwik Fit when the red lights on!
4. Order 2 beers in at least four different languages not counting your own
5. Fix a dripping tap
6. Be able to cook a reasonable meal – cheese on toast or pizza do not count!
7. Use a washing machine
8. How much alcohol it takes to get you pissed and generally stay below that limit
9. That tight snow washed jeans a waist size too small are a fashion mistake
10. Know instinctively where the best bluebell wood is, the best beach, the best tearoom in a strange town, the nicest walk, the best view - when the wife wants a day out.

What else should be here?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Only Cowboys cause the blues

It seems that my plumbing fame has travelled and that I am in demand by my wife’s Ukrainian Girls! So with spanners, hammers and assorted screwdrivers I attended the scene.

One bathroom. The problem is explained to me, the water isn’t draining out of the bath. So out comes the tried and trusted solution – Caustic Soda – Two bag full and loads of boiling water later the bath still isn’t draining properly, in fact, as is demonstrated to me, when the sink is emptied, the water comes back up out of the bath drain – huh?

Obviously more drastic plumbing action is needed. So the side of the bath has to come off and the inner workings have to be viewed. While my sink plumbing may have been put in by someone named Heath Robinson, I understand that this plumber was called Shane Clint Rowdy Maverick Doc No Name Cassidy and apparently he had turned up for work on a Palomino chewing on a ceegar, whilst whistling Dixie having come from his homestead in Missoura.

Yes it was that obvious this was the work of a cowboy! Had no one ever taken it upon themselves to explain the inner workings of plumbing and perhaps just an inkling of how gravity works, perhaps a short example, like dropping a large brick onto the guys head! It was obvious to see why the bath wasn’t draining, it was because the drain pipe rather than being fitted so that the water would flow downwards (hence the gravity lesson) the drain pipe to this bath had a distinct upward slant away from the trap. This is what gave it away to me.

Plus the pool of water under the bath was also an indication that something else was wrong. A quick examination shows that this lonesome cowboy had fitted the plughole but without making it water tight by using putty or silicone or something that would stop the water from leaking out of the bath.

Closer examination bought about by the fact that when the water came up out of the drain it bought with it what seemed to be granules of sand and cement suggested the pipes were still blocked, ah, its obvious isn’t it, that’s why the Caustic soda didn’t work. This rhinestone cowpoke had let the tile cement fall into the bath and then just swilled it down the plughole and as there was no gravity to push the cement down the pipes, it has probably solidified on the upwards portion of the piping.

There gonna be a showdown in the old town soon, I’m going up against this mangy dawg on Saturday and see if I can solve the doggone problem.

Aw shucks, I’ll keep you posted Kimosabe! Hi Ho Silver awaaaaay! I'm off to Nottingahm for a few days to a conference I've organised - nothing to do with plumbing or DIY related however.

Monday, April 03, 2006

DIY Time

This weekend it has been DIY time again – there is never any rest!. This time was the kitchen tap. We had one of those mixer taps in some sort of moulded plastic that matched the sink, both were in a foul creamy brown sort of colour. And both seemed to attract stains. Tell me this Mike Da Hat, don’t the people who make these things ever ever test them for staining? I mean throw an old tea bag into the sink and there’s a brown stain that never seems to disappear!

Anyway the also seem to have failed to test the tap for longevity. Unusually rather than the tap mechanism failing what happened here was that a split actually appeared on the ‘neck’ of the tap and water started spurting out of it, so that every time we turned on the tap we had a little replica of the Mannequin Piss! And as Murphy’s Law dictates whenever we had the hot water on the spurt cascaded across the hot water tap, so if one forgot to add cold water then scalding water would leave red marks on the back of your hands.

So it was on to ebay to find a replacement kitchen tap, this was easy enough as there are loads of them at reasonable prices, we got quite a modern one to match our modern, stylish lives. The next job was to fit it.

Of course by now you know me, I laugh in the face of the tradesmen and women in this country, you will remember that you are reading the words of a man who single handedly repaired his washing machine, plumbed in the dishwasher and rebuilt the bedroom window, replacing a tap would of course be a matter of a moments work to a man such as I.

That was until I looked into the cupboard under the sink!

I now firmly believe that the plumber who did the plumbing in our kitchen was called Heath Robinson, the maze of pipes under there was remarkable, fortunately not a soldered joint could be seen, at least this genius used Yorkshire fittings.

Anyway still undaunted I set too. Now I don’t know about you, but when I do this type of work, I like to be sort of close to what I am doing, by that I mean I find it very uncomfortable to have to do all the work at arms length. Despite the fact that having to do the work at arms length is like some torture devised at Guantanamo Bay where they are hoping to turn the former Jihads into socially useful plumbers, if the ever let them out.

The other problem with working at arms length is that everything is outside my vision, the focal length of my glasses places everything at about that distance fuzzy, I mean they are good enough to drive, I can see the TV, read books, and so on, but doing something under the sink at arms length seems to render me semi blind, so I even try taking my glasses off, but still no dice, maybe one of the consultant opticians reading this blog can come up with some sort of rational explanation!

So I eventually go the old taps off, with few problems, I still had all my fingers and marbles. All I had to do now was reverse the process and get the new tap on. Which I did, got it all connected up, but of course there was a minor problem which meant dismantling it all again and going up to B&Q to get some more olives, no I wasn’t peckish for a salty Mediterranean snack, I mean the brass olives that one uses with the Yorkshire fittings.

But of course I did it, no doubt saving myself a huge fortune in plumbing bills and increasing my credibility with my wife. The tap looks great and works like a dream pouring out hot or cold water at the flick of the stainless steel handle.

Of course it looks the sink still looks like shit and I should have bought a nice stainless steel one while I was at it, but then the cabinets would have looked worse than they are and of course our boiler is old and need replacing, but not where it is, so it has to be moved on to the wall where some cabinets are, and then we would need to strip off the horrible artex (who was the imbecile who invented that and how does one get it off the wall, without actually demolishing the wall – and why o why do people actually think that Artex looks nice?)

O I also fitted on of those pot racks that hang from the ceiling to hang our saucepans from so that our kitchen can look like a professional kitchen where the likes of Jamie and Hugh would cook. _ I’ve only banged my head on the pots three times – I suppose I’ll get used to them – once the concussion has gone.

Next time, fitting laminate flooring in the bathroom, but the question is, should I buy a new bathroom first and get ride of the horrible avocado suite that’s in their now before I do the flooring?