Saturday, 4 June 2011


Hi Drainers! It's good to see you again. What are we all up to?

I'm sitting at the front of Tesco in Accrington holding the dog with my new cubasa. Cherie is inside buying something for Nathaniel to have for his tea. Because we're going out.

It's our wedding anniversary you see. 6 amazing years.

We're eating at Sapporo Teppenyaki in Manchester tonight. I have a feeling it will be quite an experience!

Why have I got a new cubasa you ask. It was an unusual gift from Cherie. Quirky. Apparently this is our 'iron' anniversary. And the cubasa is, well, a bit irony. (not the sarcastic kind, you understand).

I haven't got Cherie anything, but I'm sorting the meal. Sushi has iron in it.


- Posted from my iPhone

Location:Eastgate,Accrington,United Kingdom

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

Well, hello again! Good to see you.

It’s always a pleasure to have you come to visit. But I’m slightly embarrassed to say that I haven’t written much in a while; so there’s not a lot for you to read, my friend.

But as you’re here, I’ll make a special effort, like when your gran makes those special buns you love because you’ve unexpectedly shown up at her front door.

So. What to write? Let’s start with a catch up, I suppose. That might take a while because I’ve been busy.

I’ve been really busy… [cue Scooby Doo flashback]

Remember the last time you came? The one where I’d just written the rant to Greenpeace? I got a response. It was emailed to me. The person who wrote it was not appreciative of my comments. They didn’t explain why they thought that their policy was appropriate in all regards but rather steamrolled over my comments with a ‘we’re just right’ attitude. I had tried to make my post as constructive as I could; but the response was just neg-a-tive. My wife read it and added that she was surprised it was so ‘unprofessional for a worldwide organisation’. Even the language the writer used was childlike. Maybe they think I am a child. With the next letter, I’ll add my age.

From Ashley (aged 41 and three quarters)

I’ve been chanting. Yep, the whole SGI Buddhism thing. It’s been an eye opener. I am a different person. No, really; let me explain.

Chanting started for me not as anything mystical or supernatural (it’s still not as a matter of fact) but as a way to help mould my mind into what I needed it to be. I wanted to concentrate on promoting positivity in my personality and banishing any destructive traits. A daily chant would help me to remember this each day and focus on achieving it. Out with the bad air, in with the good.

It was a logical choice to be a better person. Someone told me then that my life would expand so that I’d be going to bed wondering how much I’d managed to fit in that day.

And if chanting wasn’t for me, I can always stop.

Months later, I’m still at it. My life truly has expanded. My personality has changed. I am doing new things I would not have imagined before. And the logical choice to chant is not about logic anymore. It’s made me different and I don’t know why.

I have great new friends who help me and whom I have helped. I am more tolerant (less grumpy) and happier. I have new ideas and the power of will to act on them.

It has helped me to lose weight and get fit. I now wear contact lenses and not glasses. I am more confident at work. I have started a creative writing course. I am more in contact with my children. I have learned how to help others in need (a hands-on approach).

Buddhism has changed my personality. Changing my personality is changing my life. Nothing supernatural, just self empowering.

Like I said, I’ve been busy.

Saturday, 16 April 2011


Saving the planet is a noble cause. But I don’t know why Greenpeace thinks their latest campaign against Facebook will achieve this. I’ll explain why in a minute, but first, I think you need a bit of background about my thoughts.

I strongly feel that green issues should be highlighted to everyone and we should all be striving for a future with clean, renewable and safe energy being sourced with a carbon footprint no bigger than the palm of an amoeba giving a high five. New technology is paramount to achieving this but so are economic, political and sociological factors.

Each of us can do our part; in small ways and not-so small ways. But we must remember that we all cannot change overnight. By that, I’m not saying that we don’t want to change, rather that preparations may be needed first.

Here’s a couple of examples. First, a personal one.

I cycle to work. This has many benefits, like, I get fitter. I can feel that little bit more at one with the world; feeling the breeze on my skin and watching the beautiful Lancashire countryside roll by as I pedal along the canal towpath. Of course, by doing this, I am not using fossil fuels during my commute.

But I can’t do this every day. One reason is that I’m not that fit yet! I will be one day. Another reason is that it’s too bloody cold and dark during the winter months.

Before I could start proper, I had to invest in parts for my bike. My employer had to look into extra facilities (bike rack, shower, changing rooms, locker etc.).

Eventually, the cycling began. Initially, it was just me. A lone green warrior fighting for what I believed in. Some of my colleagues thought I was a weirdo. Some of them still can’t understand why a man in my position doesn’t have a fancy car and ride in luxury to work each day. They scoff, and somehow feel superior.

Yet, soon after, others began. The company promoted the government cycle scheme. By autumn last year, there were probably eight people out of the fifty or so employees who were cycling each day.

That’s one way I have found to convert people to a greener way of living. Show others the way by doing it yourself.

Another example for you. The company that I work for creates electronics and software for supplying fuel for fleets of vehicles. I am now the Development Manager, actively figuring out the best way that our systems meet people’s fuelling needs. In the past, our software was based around stopping fuel theft by controlling who can take it.

But this is changing. The equipment is becoming more and more focussed on driving down the usage of fuel (and hence the environmental impact). We are creating systems that link to government initiatives to reward the companies that are environmentally responsible and help those that are not. We produce systems which can isolate individual drivers that are not behaving as frugally as others so that a company can target training requirements.

Our latest creation is still in the development pipeline. When it is ready, it will be available for all to use. That means you, too. It will be able to help you drive your own fuel costs down by comparing your average MPG to others with same vehicle model.

In short, when it comes to green issues, we are working on it. Everyone, is working on it.

Including Facebook.

They have just revealed the results of a project they started about 12 months ago to reduce the power required to run their servers by up to 38% (and hence reduce their costs). That’s good.

But they go further. Rather than sitting on this new technology, they are opening it to the world. If they had kept it to themselves then they could have run their servers with an operational cost advantage over their competitors. But, they are willing to share. That’s not just good, that’s great!

My beef with Greenpeace is that they are the only campaign group that do NOT applaud this. Instead, they have created a cause called ‘Unfriend Coal’ (ironically, on Facebook) which is slating Facebook for still using coal derived power sources.

Since when has chastising those who do right been a way of getting others to follow? Facebook have started down the greener path and all Greenpeace do is groan about it.

All this will do is turn people against green issues. They will stop listening to those who constantly moan. The approach of mumbling ‘this is not good enough’ is wrong. It makes people think that Greenpeace are not focussing on the goal of an environmentally responsible future, but rather are just moaning for the sake of it.

It’s always easy to protest. The hard bit is actually doing it. We should be positive to those who have done the right thing and help those who have not.

My wife spoke to me about this earlier. She thought it was a great idea to start a campaign to get Facebook to be greener. I agree, on the face of it. But when I showed her the back story, she thought again.

This just puts Greenpeace and other organisations into a bad light. Whoever thought of this within Greenpeace has some questions to answer.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Springing Forward

The time has changed; the clocks went forward an hour last night. That’s great because it means we’re running in BST.

Yes, folks, that’s British Summer Time!

Summer. The one with the warm sunny days. With the lazy walks in hazy meadows. With the rushing waves on hot sandy beaches.

I like this time of year. We’ve had a small taste of it this past week with temperatures topping 17C and bright sunshine from dreamy blue skies.

There are still pessimists who view putting the clocks forward as losing an hour of sleep. I think of it as gaining a season of smiling faces.

We’re springing forward with the clocks; springing into tomorrow, which is the start of the rest of your life and a great time for positive change.

Oh yes, BTW, I’ve lost two stones now! Woo hoo!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Getting Thinner

I’ve lost weight. Don’t worry, it was expecting to. I’m on a diet you see. WeightWatchers. When I started it seemed to be rubbish. I didn’t think it would work.

But it did. I’ve lost 1 stone and 5 pounds in three weeks. Not bad, eh? I’m not so fat now! My clothes fit better and everything.

Watch this space as I gradually fade away.

Monday, 7 March 2011


An old friend once said to me,

“Don’t do that. It is bad. It is wrong. It is bad and wrong. It is badong.”

And he was right.

He was a wise one was old friend. An all knowing guru of all things, including the “Great Circle of Stuff”.

Oh no, sorry. That was a movie. (Kung Pow if you’re interested).

Anyhoo. Today is badong. Monday. Work. Again.


Sunday, 6 March 2011

I’m Back

And I am. Hello!

I’ve not written for a while, and for that I am truly sorry. May I flagellate myself soundly and strikest out mine eyes with ye red hotte poker.

Sorry, I went all Spanish Inquisition for a while there. But now I’m back.

I mean, again. Back again.

Sitting here, talking with you, my friend. So tell me, what have you been up to these past six months? Did you have a nice Christmas? Lots of turkey? How was New Year?

I made resolutions; maybe next time I’ll post them for the world (well, you) to read. But for now, I’ll just say that there’s a lot and many won’t be easy. There’s some more that have crept in since New Year too. And I will definitely blog about them in the very near future.

For example, there are two new ones that leap to mind. One is to lose weight and get fit. I’m already all over that one. I’ve lost over a stone so far. [Pauses for effect and waits for applause].

The other is to bring back my old self. My real self. At times, I get melancholy and lose self esteem. A very good friend of mine helped me to see that. My goal is never to allow that to happen again in future.

I awoke one morning with a headful of realisations and I wrote it all down. One day, I might post what I wrote, but for now, it’s private.

But I’m not going to let myself down again.

I’m back.