Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Review of the last week or two

I'm coming to the end of decorating our
downstairs cloakroom – it’s taken four coats
of paint to cover up the previous owner’s
hideous 1970s wallpaper – sepia brown colour,
terylene-shirt like finish (feel and sheen to
it), plus an anaglypta-like design. Mrs C
removed a mushroom coloured, fitted wardrobe,
(that took up a lot of space), revealing bare
plaster/bits of old wallpaper, which we then
wallpapered over with thick lining paper.

The end result looks very nice – just got a
bit more gloss paint to put on the radiator,
and the door edge (where one of our cats
brushed herself against the wet paint).

I’ve also been busy with web design (at a
fairly amateurish level). Learning how to
add bits and bobs of HTML code to this Blogger
site, mainly by trial and error, has been
helpful too - helped build up my confidence,
and a feeling of "Well, let's give it a go".

I’m not one for making lists of things on
this blog, but I thought you might be
interested to see what I’ve watched (or have
videoed to see later), in the past week.

Tuesday, last week…
The last part of “In Search of Mozart” – dealing with the
last few years of his short life. Familiar
stuff to me, as I’ve seen documentaries on
him before, but I thought this production and
the music were excellent.
Alternative Medicine” – interesting
documentary about the Chinese practice of
acupuncture. One amazing sequence was seeing
a young woman having open heart surgery, under
light sedation and with the use of acupuncture.
Again familiar subject matter, but
fascinating to watch. I don’t fancy having
loads of needles being stuck into me – I’d
prefer to have acupressure instead.
Shameless” – brilliant anarchic comedy – the
only person missing is the gorgeous actress
Anne-Marie Duff, currently appearing in “The
Virgin Queen” – a fabulous costume drama, we’re
watching too.

Wednesday… “Who do you think you are?”
Stephen Fry’s look at his own family history
– fascinating stuff, but some sad scenes when
Stephen found out the full story of what
happened to his mum’s family in WW2 – they
were killed in the Nazi concentration camps.

Thursday… catching up on stuff we’d videoed.
We gave “Hotel Babylon” a miss, having watched
the first episode the week before. Well done,
but trite. We thought Max Beesley was
brilliant in the recent medical drama,
Bodies” – the best hospital drama we’ve seen.

Friday… a re-run of “A touch of Frost” – the
first ever episode, which we vaguely recall
seeing in the past. Excellent.

Saturday … a few glimpses of “Battlefield
Britain” (Boyne), which didn’t grab our
interest. Also, about 10 minutes in all of
Dancing on Ice” – looked good.
The Romantics” – fairly good look at the
British poets in the late 1700s to early
1800s, plus Mary Shelley of“Frankenstein
fame. I disliked all the computer graphics.
Unfortunately, I slept through the bit on
John Clare. The poetry reading is brilliant.
And I heard a new slant on “Jerusalem”, the
traditional British song. William Blake wrote
it as a protest against the horrible
industrialised cities of our country (and the
conditions the workers had to live and work in).
Now it’s sung to glorify where we live.
Rabbit Proof Fence” – videoed. We missed
it at the cinema when it came out in 2002.
Dave Allen At Large” videoed too.

Sunday…Videoed “Boris Johnson & The Dream of
Rome” and “Lewis”. Watched “The Virgin Queen
– brilliant

Monday (earlier this evening) … watched
Life on Mars” – very good. Videoed “Northern
i” and “The thick of it

I don’t usually listen to much radio, except
a bit of news on Radio 4 and some Classic FM,
but I really enjoyed listening to R4 while
decorating. I heard lots of interesting
stuff, and even listened to one episode of
The Archers” (one episode every 5 years is
enough for me).

Mrs C managed to watch yet more TV in the
week than myself – all the episodes of “Coro”,
Judge John Deed” (he's too pompous and
patronising for me), “Desperate Housewives
(I watched all the last series, but I’ll give
this series a miss – I’m not desperate enough
to watch it), and “You are what you eat” – I
watch only a few minutes of it, towards the
end, to see how people take to their new
diets. We try out some of her recipes from
time to time.

Now wasn’t that interesting.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A sign of our times

Someone I know, Mrs A, went to see her GP the
other day. She’s slightly older than me, and
had noticed slight ringing in her ears when
reading at bedtime (when it was quiet).

She thought it might be related to ear wax,
fluid in her ears or tinnitus (which she was
more worried about).

So the consultation went like this. He asked
her what she’d come about, and then had a look
in her ears. He said there was very little wax.

She asked what he thought about the ringing
in her ears (hoping for some advice on
diagnosis and what to do about it).

He said, “Well, it’s tinnitus. Look it up on
the internet !”

End of consultation.

Definitely a man of few words, but he was
probably right – you can often find out more
about a condition by doing a Google search,
than asking your GP.

I don’t like his attitude, though (and neither
did Mrs A who went away feeling miffed).

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A new disease – computer addiction

Mrs C reminded me today of various things
she’s like me to do in the house and garden.
She’s been badgering me for months to get on
and do things, but then asks why I haven’t
got round to watching this and that on video
(stuff I’ve recorded from the TV some time
ago). Well she can’t have it both ways … I
can’t be dead-heading the hydrangeas while
watching my video of Paul McCartney singing
some of his old hits.

She’s right of course (women are always right
– this is one of first rules a man must
learn if he is to have a long-term
relationship with a woman).

What am I doing a lot of my time? Yes, I’m
on this computer, surfing the net, messing
about with websites (I’ve just adopted
another one, which is why I haven’t done much
blogging of late – sorry about that, folks),
and emailing family & friends, etc..

Sound familiar? It should do, as if you’re
reading this, you are probably as addicted as
I am to the machine.

I start to get computer withdrawal symptoms,
whenever Mrs C & I go away on holiday,
especially to places like Spain where the TV
is crap and all in Spanish (which I can’t
speak/understand very well).

One good thing about going abroad on holiday
(apart from the warm sunshine, and the fab
scenery, food and wine), is that it’s the
only time I get down to some serious reading
- I can read one or two novels in a week when
I’m away – fewer distractions. We also take
some books of simple crossword puzzles or
Sudoku with us, especially for train or air
travel… and a pack of cards.

Last summer we went by train to Austria and
had a great time doing puzzles on the train,
and looking at the scenery passing by ....
I can recommend the travel company, “Great
Rail Journeys”, if you enjoy travelling by
rail, and having lots of brilliant guided
tours, and good accommodation too.

But I digress … as Ronnie Corbett used to say.
Today I suddenly felt the urge to get on with
some house-decorating … at long last. Well,
I did make a start last week, filling in a
few holes in the walls in our little
cloakroom, with Polyfilla-like stuff.

Anyway, Mrs C and I went off to Homebase this
morning and got the paints, shelving, etc.,
and this afternoon we set to on wallpapering
the room. We put up some lining paper for me
to paint over in the next day or two.

I usually get the urge to do things around
the house and garden as Spring approaches. It
feels as if I’m getting everything ready for
something important ... a bit like birds
building nests in the Spring.... a feeling of

I think I get a mild form of seasonal
affective disorder in the winters …… I slow
down a little and feel a bit low, but now
with the longer hours of daylight, I’m
starting to perk up.

So, now I’m a perky saddo.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Counter change

You will see that I've just changed my hit
counter. I got fed up with the last one as
it logged on all my visits to this site,
inflating the number of hits.

So, I'm using another free hit counter -
this one is with Statcounter.com. It
enables you to block your own visits to
the site, and also to block people's
revisits to the site (within a specified
time period). I've chosen 6 hours - after
that someone logging in again will clock up
another hit.

I think the new counter looks better too.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

On Ilkley Moor baht' at

Mrs C and I have just come back from a very
enjoyable weekend with in Yorkshire. We stayed
over with one of our daughters in Leeds.

Yesterday afternoon we all went a walk round
part of Ilkley Moor … my first visit there.
It was cold, bleak and uninviting to start
with, but when we got quite high up onto the
moorland, we came across a gorgeous sunlit
vista. I took several photos of the crags
there, including the above shot.

I was not “baht’at” on the walk – I wore my
usual green tea-cosy.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Personality test results revisited

I thought I'd reply here to Reluctant Nomad's
queries about my personality test results.
I think my results are fairly accurate, which
is not surprising really, as the system is
designed to mirror back what you tell it.

Mrs C & I have had a chat about some of the
results and what they mean... for example on
the subject of being materialistic, I am
careful with money, preferring to save it
rather than spend it. So I tend to know the
cost of things (as I do most of the food
shopping), and when my favourite tea was on
offer in Asda / Wallmart at 78p rather than
the standard 98p, I bought up 16-20 packets
of it .... I get through one packet of
Twinings English Breakfast tea each week.
Now, is this plain common sense or am I being
(in the words of one of my neighbours), a
"tight bastard"?

I don't crave for the "good" things in life
.... luxury holidays, fast cars, etc., and I
don't attempt to "keep up the Jones" as
regards our neighbours. So I don't regard
myself as a status-seeker, though Mrs C
pointed out that I often tell new people we
meet about my past working life. She thinks
it's status-seeking on my part (and that it's
off-puting to others). Though I disagree
with her as regards my motivation, she's
probably right as regards how others would
react. So I'm keeping "mum" about by ex-job.

Sunday, January 08, 2006


Mrs C and I are fond of doing crossword
puzzles, Sudoku, playing cards occasionally
(especially a Dutch variation on Whist,
called “Oh Hell”), and a boardgame popular
abroad, called “Settlers of Catan” … that’s
when we feel we’ve watched enough TV and
want a break from it (we watch loads of TV -
drama & documentaries mainly).

The Settlers game is great fun and very
socially interactive …. best played with 4
players or more. Each game last about two
hours, and then you feel as if you want
another game straightaway, it’s so addictive.
It’s difficult to get hold of in the shops
in town unless you go to a specialist games
shop, but you can buy the basic set for about
£24 via Amazon, and add-ons too - for example
to expand the game for 5 or 6 players.

Last night Mrs C and I watched “Three Men in
a Boat”, which we’d videoed from the telly.
This was excellent comedy … three of our best
comedians chatting while rowing up the River
Thames in boat (with a dog on board). What
I’m building up to is a funny play on words
made by Rory McGrath, when he renamed
“Sudoku”, as “Sad-bloke-oo”. That’s further
evidence that I’m a saddo.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Fancy doing a personality test?

Would you like to do a personality test?
This is the sort of thing you commonly see in
women’s magazines, entlitled, “How romantic/
sexy/bossy are you?” … Mrs C and I usually
have a go at filling them in, and then
compare notes for a laugh.

Well, following on from Reluctant Nomad’s
good example, I’ve had a look at this
website, and have completed two of the
personality tests. I thought the longer
(advanced) version was easier to understand
and gave me better results.

Anyway, here are the results for you all to

Extraversion ..…..... 43%
Stability .......…….... 46%
Orderliness ...…….... 56%
Accommodation …... 50%
Interdependence..... 70%
Intellectual..……….… 50%
Mystical ......... …....10%
Artistic ........……......50%
Religious ......…….....10%
Hedonism .......…….. 36%
Materialism ...…..….. 70%
Narcissism ....…..….. 56%
Adventurousness .... 30%
Work ethic .......….... 36%
Self absorbed ...….... 63%
Conflict seeking .….. 16%
Need to dominate ... 50%
Romantic .......….….. 70%
Avoidant ......…...…...50%
Anti-authority .……... 63%
Wealth ...........……... 56%
Dependency ......….. 30%
Change averse .….... 56%
Cautiousness ...….... 63%
Individuality ....….…. 50%
Sexuality ......…….…. 63%
Peter pan complex . 23%
Physical security .....70%
Histrionic .......……... 43%
Paranoia .....……...... 43%
Vanity ........……...... 43%
Hypersensitivity …... 70%
Female cliche …...... 36%

(Sorry about the above layout, but I haven't
yet worked out how to tabulate the results.)

"Stability results were medium which suggests
you are moderately relaxed, calm, secure, and

"Orderliness results were moderately high
which suggests you are, at times, overly
organized, reliable, neat, and hard working at
the expense of flexibility, efficiency,
spontaneity, and fun."

"Extraversion results were moderately low
which suggests you are reclusive, quiet,
unassertive, and secretive."

"trait snapshot:
changeable, in the middle, suspicious,
somewhat traditional, dislikes chaos, down to
earth, group oriented, practical... you
scored in the middle on the overall factors
of this test."

The results are fairly accurate. However, I
think of myself as being a more intellectual
person than a practical one, and I'm not very

I do tend to avoid conflict … I tend to “run
a mile” or look for a peaceful compromise, if
someone threatens me verbally or physically.
I am fairly orderly, but you wouldn’t think
so, if you were to look at the state of my
study … orderly piles of stuff everywhere,
i.e. a mess.

I don’t think I’m “changeable”, but as I’ve
got older I’ve become more flexible - more
helpful towards other people.

Oh, by the way, I should have a score for
nerdish behaviour .... 88%.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

tulips in Nottingham

These tulips are gorgeous ... isn't it
amazing that we can get tulips at this time
of year?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Having a pee and a crap

Have you ever seen a cowboy film where they
show one of the characters having a pee or a

I've thought of that for many years now, but
was reminded of it when I watched the late
comedian Dave Allen on TV this week, who said
exactly the same thing.

The closest bit of realism I've seen was when
I watched one of Clint Eastwood's westerns,
the one where Clint rides into town and makes
a bee-line for the nearest whore-house ...
he meets up with a woman who insists he take
a bath before they have sex.

After a few weeks in the saddle rounding up
cattle, those cowboys must have been very
smelly in real life.

And what did they use for toilet paper out on
the range, or when crossing very dry areas
(when water was scarce)? If beans were a main
part of their diet, they must have had to crap
a lot, resulting in very itchy and sore

I've often thought that makers of high fibre
cereals are in league with those who make
toilet paper .... I use lots of it! I'll
spare you the sordid details.


A doctor on the radio this morning said that
detox diets were crap. He reckoned that all
you need to do is to drink some water, get
some exercise and fresh air, and allow your
body to recover by itself. Sounds like
common sense to me.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

This year's resolution

Who really gives a fuck about NY’s resolutions?

Well, I suppose I must do, or I wouldn’t be
writing about them.

My resolution a year ago was to have some

In the past year, I’ve had a lot of fun
creating some simple websites, including a
photogallery, taking lots of photos as well,
and doing a lot of fun things … for example
playing electric guitar and singing along to
old Beatles numbers and the like, with a
couple of my mates. The words "Last of the
Summer Wine" spring to my mind.

I’ve joined an adult education group in Nottm,
to get me out of the house a lot more … to
meet other people mainly. One of the groups
I’ve joined has been great fun .. wine-tasting
and getting fairly merry/pissed in the process
… in the morning too!

Another group I've joined is the oral history
group, where we hear and share some very
amusing stories about our lives. The theme of
the current series is holidays.

So my main resolution this year is to carry on
having fun.

I’ve got a few long term projects in mind,
which include doing a lot more on my family
history. I’m not so interested in going back
through the centuries finding out who my
ancestors were … I think this is somewhat like
train-spotting (and rather dull). I’m more
interested in collecting as much info as
possible from the current older generation
about their lives, and what their family life
was like.

I often wish I’d started all this in my early
twenties when my grandparents were alive. This
is what people often say when they get going on
their family history later in life … “Well,
what could have motivated him to do that” or
“What led up to him separating from his wife”,

One of my other long term projects is to write
some children’s fiction … in the style of
Roald Dahl. I have given the matter some
thought in recent years, but I've found it
very difficult to come up with ideas that are
truly original.

The idea of creating Harry Potter came to JKR
on a train journey from Manchester to London
… an amazing flash of inspiration, which is
just what I need. As a kid I was spellbound
by horror stories like “Hansel and Gretel” and
“The Tinder Box”, and later by adventure
stories like “Treasure Island”. I’d like to
write something equally fascinating for
present-day kids.

So I’ll carry on blogging for the time being,
until I dream up a blockbuster (some hope!).