Thursday, 28 February 2013

Goggles and Pens

Two things that you don't tend to put together. But I will explain.


But first, I'm going to have to apologise for my appalling lack of blogarithms these last few days. Un-for-givable.

I do have an excuse though. I have been really busy.

What with the Victorian swimming meeting, work, buddhist meetings, work, the Artists' Hangout, work, the Mad March Steampunk Tea Party, work and work, it's been kinda ker-azy.

So where do I start?

Hanging out. At the hangout. Writing stuff.

It took quite a lot of organisation and co-ordination with Nina, but nothing we couldn't handle. We were running a creative writing table, you see. A first for the hangout. I think we did rather well, even if I do say so myself. I know that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Almost the best Hangout ever!

(I say 'almost' because I remember Hallowe'en!)

We had a constant stream of pen pushers busily jotting all evening. On post-it notes, on paper, on the table and on each other. We even had one person who was willing to read their poem out!

Brave soul.

To help the thought process, we had The Chest of Inspiration full of bizarre objet d'art, a picture box full of expertly [* :-) *] laminated photos, Nina's old books without their jackets, the wonderful artworks on the walls and (my personal favourite) a book donated by Ian called the "Writer's Block". I used that to write a peice. If I remember, I'll post it tomorrow.

I'll need lots of 'Likes' for encouragement, so get your clicking fingers ready.

But what, you say, has all that got to do with the title?

Well... I'm glad you asked.

It kind of covers the 'pens' part of the title - although there's a less happy story there too. You see, I took my best writing pen to the Hangout. It was a present that I particularly liked. It was one of those pens that you can use to write a space opera when actually in space! Designed by NASA. Astro-tastic.

That pen and I spent many a happy hour together. [* sigh *]. It went to the Hangout, but didn't come back. I searched frantically but could not see any trace of its liquid silvery sheen.

Oh well, it's only a pen. And pens don't write stories, people do. And word processors ;-)

I saw Francine at the Hangout. She brought me a cane for the Steampunk thing. Huge thanks if you're reading this, BTW.

She was expecting something back from me to help with her costume, but, alas, the message asking for this had become garbled en-route and I didn't know. Me fail.

She needed some cogs 'n' stuff and her internet ordered goggles were looking less and less likely to arrive from Eastern Europe in time. So I promised to help her make some new ones.

I went out and got the stuff today - they'll be slightly smaller than my pair. Francine is coming round tomorrow evening to help make them. Given that they need a few coats of paint, I've already done most of the work on the frame. I've also given them a primary coat of spray paint. They just need perspex lenses, 'leather' eyecups and a strap.

I am hugely looking forward to the tea dance just to see the hard work everyone's put into their outfits.

If you're lucky, I might post photos! It's on Sunday.

Oh - one more thing. Cherie and I are on holiday from work next week. Feet up. Can't wait.

I'm not sure what that means for the blog. I think it's a good thing.

I also have some more material for another entry in my technical blog "Strongly Typed". I'll probably do that tomorrow, so you brainy drainers will have to wait.

Missing you already.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Getting Excited

I'm all excited now. Fired up for the creative writing group at the Artists' Hangout.

It's going to be really good fun.

Please, please come down and visit us at Cafe Cargo on Wednesday. We'd all love to see you!

Not much of a blog post today, but it's been another busy day.

Virtual hugs.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Good Times

Had a mental weekend. Whoa!

And I reckon it's going to be a fairly mental week! Followed by another weekend of wonder and mirth.

Started off yesterday trying to strip the paint off two radiators. How is that mental, you ask. Well, it isn't. It's dull. And hard work. Notice I said 'trying' to strip two radiators. The paint was stuck like brown smelly stuff to a blanket.

I rubbed and I scrubbed and no paint came off. And no radiator genies offered me three wishes.

I wonder what I would wish for? I wonder what a radiator genie looks like?

[*Ash, stick to the point *]

Oh yes, blankets.

So, off I go to Homebase for some paint stripper. Applied it as per instructions. It bloody reeked. Waited the required 40 mins and began the stripping action. Did the paint peel off effortlessly as the blurb on the tin said it would?

Nope. Blankets.

I tried about 6 coats of the smelly green snotlike substance. Still no luck.

So, William and I watched a movie.

Cherie had been out in Heysham glass fusing. She came back wearing a teal coloured turban and a huge smile. I think Cherie, Caroline and Nina had been entertaining each other.

I saw Caroline's photos. Loved the 'Rock Dog'.

Then we went to the movies to see Cloud Atlas. Nina and Nat's girlfriend came with us. It was absolutely dead! Only about 20 people in the cinema and we were six of them. There were so many of us we'd had to travel in 2 cars!

Cloud Atlas was terrific. We all loved it.

It was late, so I took Nat's girlfriend home before going to bed.

Today we had the first "Buddhist Basics Brunch" at Kerry's. We didn't expect anyone to show, but Kerry's very inspiring friend Katya was there and so was Venessa. Katya is new to the practice and although Venessa has been coming for a while, we hadn't seen her at a meeting in months due to holidays and illness.

We listened to chapter one of "The Buddha, Geoff and Me" by Eddie Camfor-Dumas. I love the simplicity of it. I've heard it before but I took so much more out of it today.

When it was over we talked about swimming and diving suits. Katya offered to talk to William about his interest in becoming a marine biologist.

After, Cherie and I went to a rehearsal/planning meeting for the "Weather or Not" event. We're doing a wild swimming thing in a Victoriana style. Basically, it involved chatting and doing silly dances.

I can remember a time when I would not have believed that I would spend an afternoon doing silly dances in preparation to doing it in full in front of a crowd.

But, blimely, how my life has grown.

I remember when I started going to Buddhist meetings, someone asked me if I was ready. Yes, I said cynically. Well, why wouldn't I be? What is there to be ready for?

He explained to me that I would notice two things. That my life would grow until I wondered how I was going to fit everything in. I can tell you now that the guy was right.

The other thing he said is that unexpected things would haunt me from the past. By stirring up the still pond of your seemingly placid existence the sediment hidden at the bottom would churn and make the water muddy before gradually settling to leave a crystal pool.

Another way of looking at it is to imagine a garden hose left outside over the winter. You come to use it in summer and when you turn on the tap out comes all the crap before any of the clear water.

That's the bit you need to be ready for.

And it happened. Within the second year of chanting, I became a company director, something that I'd always wanted, and found I hated it because I was not cut out to be a corporate shirt. But, it was too late. Make or break.

I broke. Things went pear shaped.

But I addressed the problems, and now, workwise, things are looking up. I'm still not where I want to be, but I feel less trapped and more likely to get there eventually.

Also, Cherie and I hit hard times. I won't go into the details, but we had our own muddy waters to swim in.

We both took action and that particular poison became medicine. I'm a better husband because of it.

I'm a better person because of it.

At the moment, my life is richer than it has ever been. I hope it stays that way.

I've started writing this blog every day. Well, most days. I missed yesterday's because Cloud Atlas was about 3 hours long.

And this Wednesday, I'm running a Creative Writing group at the Artists' Hangout with Nina. Again, something I've always dreamed of being able to do but never imagined that one day I'd actually be doing it.

There's the Mad March Steam Punk Tea Party next Sunday (which I double booked with a visit to Taplow that I've had to cancel), another Weather or Not practice on Saturday afternoon. Men's meeting on Monday. Chapter planning on Saturday morning.

Still got the bloody radiators to strip. Then tile the bathroom floor. Paint the walls. Put up the new towel rail and toilet roll holder.

How I am going to find time to go to work?

Friday, 22 February 2013

Broken Tile

Hello there! Always a pleasure.

I've been trying to think of a subject to write about this evening adnd kinda coming up blank. What's been the highlight of today? Did anything in particular stand out?

William came to stay this weekend. And I was lucky enough to see my elusive yet wonderful daughter.

I bought some tiles. Nice ones. They're for the new floor in the downstairs loo.

They were quite cheap too. When you added in the cement, grout and tools the price doubled! I'm looking forward to putting them down.

But, worryingly, I broke one of the tiles. The guy in the shop replaced it for nothing. It practically just crumbled in my hand. The thing that concerns me is how easily it broke. I just picked it up and it fell into pieces. Cripes, I hope that doesn't happen to the rest of them.

Or worse, they go down fine and break when you walk on them.

Let's see.

Adrian called tonight. Was good to have a chat - not spoken properly for ages. Need to plan a boys' night out. Grrrr!

Going to go now - I've left it late again.

Hugs n stuff.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Top Hat

Yes, my top hat arrived. The one I managed to win on eBay.

It fits, as Ace Ventura would say, like a glove. A head glove.

It's fairly awesome.

We had some really bad news at work today. But I'm not going to say much about it.

It'll bring us all down.

So I'm concentrating on the good bits of today. Like the hat.

This evening, Cherie and I cuddled on the sofa watching a film called The Good Night. It was about a man who felt unfulfilled because his other half was unhappy. He started having lucid dreams of a fantasy woman. He eventually met her. What he hadn't realised was that all of the negativity was coming from him. This was affecting his real girlfriend who eventually left him. It also came out to the dream girl. And she buggered off too. In the end, he tried to make a go of it with real woman but ended up in a car accident which left in unconscious and stuck in his dream world.

The music was lovely. The cast was quite stellar.

This weekend we're going to see Cloud Atlas. Now there's a cast - must have cost a fortune!

So, drainers, it's another late school night and I'm off to bed.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

A Poem

These are things I like to do,
When I am spending time with you.

Walking in a frosty wood,
Doing what two lovers should.

Feeling sun upon my face,
In some exotic far off place.

Laughing at each others jokes,
And maybe those of other folks.

Holding you so very tight,
Throughout a chilly winter night.

Collecting shells from off the sand,
Playing, running hand in hand.

Watching films on the big screen,
Then chat about what we've just seen.

Driving places far away,
All through the night and through the day.

Loving you between the sheets,
Doing acrobatic feats.

Eating in a cosy pub,
Munching on each other's grub

Dancing to a rhythmic beat,
In a club, then in the street.

Relaxing in a steamy tub,
Maybe give your back a rub.

Chilling with our closest friends,
Who hope the party never ends.

Smiling warmly all my life,
Cos I'm so proud that you're my wife.

Oops - bad me.

Sorry. Didn't post yesterday.

I iz well bad, innit.

It was a very busy day - and not an entirely happy one. So blogging was last on the priority list.

But today's a different day. It is 5:30pm and I'm still at work, killing time before going to pick up William for his guitar lesson at 6:30.

So what shall we talk about? The news? The weather? Food?

Let's stick with the last one. The other two are fairly tedious. Food's not so exciting either, I hear you shout. But, oh no, how wrong you are. How wrong.

I have something to say about food. Or the lack of it.

I've decided that I'm going to eat more healthily and much less. So it's carrot sticks and celery for me. Soon, I'll have the body of an athlete. [* Ash, I've told you before, stop being dramatic - body of a sofa jockey, more like *]

You see, when I was single I used to regularly cut back on my food to keep myself in shape. It becomes much harder when you're not cooking for one. And then there's a knock at the door - and it's Mr Belly bringing his gift of middle aged spread.

But Cherie is on a special diet, and Nat tends to just have his vegetarian stuff. So - back on the salad for me!

Looking forward to a life less tubby.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Note to Self

It was the Ceilidh yesterday. Awesome fun with awesome people.

When it was over, in true Wild Swimming style, we went back to someone's house for a bit of a do (thanks Franci).

Like you do.

But my headache came back. And I started getting tired. And hungry.

And grumpy.

Not wanting to upset anyone by having to leave early, I tried to stick it out. But the grumps built up.

I'm hugely sorry if I let my grumps rub off onto anyone - please accept my apologies. You see, that wasn't me. I'm a bit like the hulk but without the tight trousers. When David Banner was angry (in my case grumpy) he'd transform into a creature of power and emotion, devoid of logic and compassion.

My green menace came up and I'd had enough. I hope that not too many swimmers had to bear the brunt of it. You're all so lovely.

But hulky did say some stupid things to some people and I want to take it all back. And I want to change my karma so that he never shreds any shirts in future. Or at least if he does, he doesn't upset anybody.

So I've written a questionnaire that I'll keep with me. In times of stress/grumpiness/anger/over-tiredness I'll make a point of filling it in.

Please fill in the following form
Delete as appropriate

Do you feel tired?Yes/No
Do you feel hungry?Yes/No
Have you had too much coffee?Yes/No
Do you feel overly and irrationally emotional?Yes/No

If the answer to any of the above questions is Yes, 
then please, 


Saturday, 16 February 2013

Late Post

Evening everybody.

Don't feel up to a post tonight I'm afraid. I've written quite a lot today already!

But it's late and I'm cream crackered. And I have a headache.

Moan... moan... moan....

So rather than bring us all down, I'll just sign off by saying that I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone at the Ceilidh tomorrow.

A drum and bass Ceilidh.

What'll they think of next?

Friday, 15 February 2013

Steaming Ahead

Blimey, are you back again?

Didn't expect to see you so soon. You're a glutton for punishment; letting me drain my brain all over you.

Want some more? No, you say?

Tough. Pin back your lugholes and let the tsunami that is today's brain drain wash you swirling down the plughole of experience.

Is that a good thing? [*Must. Work. On. Positive. Imagery*].

I've been a proper busy wittle bee today. Which is surprising, given how knackered I thought I'd be after yesterday's complete mad-a-thon at the One Billion Rising event in Manchester.

What larks! [*understatement*].

Singing, dancing, smiling. Lots of smiling.

Can I just say that Ailsa is incredible at getting people to feel at ease. I was really nervous about doing the whole "Something inside" thing. Me? Sing? In front of actual people?

Avin a larf, int'cha?

Well I did it. And I loved it.

The buzz afterwards! It kept me going for the rest of the night. Well, that and the espresso.

Whirling dervish comes to mind. If you think Franky and I battle-walzting was bad - think again. They had St John's Ambulance on stand-by. I was like a man possessed. Not by a demon, but by the spirit of some African tribal shaman. [Ash, stop being dramatic]. Let's call him Shaun; Shaun the shaman.

I proper loved the whole evening. Thanks to Meg for making it all happen.


Which brings me back to today. How did I manage to function? Not entirely sure; but I was full of a creative energy which was almost entirely due to Shaun and his shamanic influences.

I cleaned. I tidied. I put things on walls. I changed walls. I shopped (a bit). I read a couple of chapters of my book about the philosophy of artificial intelligence. I drove around with the roof down (it was 14C in the sun at one point today, folks!).

But, most importantly, I Steam Punked! And, yes, it is a verb.

No, please, sit back down. Don't go to get the dictionary, just take my word for it.

OK, fine. It's not an actual word. I blame Shaun again.

I steam punked. I fused bits of leather, studs and chains into various accessories for my costume.

Hang on... I've just read that back. I'm concerned it gives the wrong impression.

It reads a bit, well, pervy. For those of you who don't steam punk, it's not what you might think.


My costume's almost complete. I just have one more article that I need - and there's one on eBay. I've got my beady eye on it.

A top hat. A proper victorian one.

Fingers crossed. The auction ends tomorrow. Really, really excited - I've never really done eBay before. I'll let you know how it goes.

And don't go bidding on it! I'll know. Shaun the shaman can read your mind with his voodoo ju-ju. And he's probably much better at eBay than I am.

The sun's gone down and I think that my brain is well and truly drained. I feel, [*deep inhale*], cleansed.

How was it for you?

I think Shaun enjoyed it.

Who's a Naughty Boy, Then

Eep. It's true. I'm naughty.

I'm having a lardy breakfast at the axis of evil.

Must. Whip. Self. Soundly.

When I've finished my McMuffin.


One Billion Rising

Ok. I'd love to write pages and pages about today's events, but they've taken up so much of the day that there's no time left!

We've just come back from performing, dancing, spectating at the One Billion Rising event in Manchester raising awareness of violence towards women.

I'd taken two days off work for this. One to prepare and one to recover.

What a terrific evening. I was singing as part of a choir in front of an audience. And doing African dancing.

Mad or what?

Anyway, drainers. It's way past bedtime for this old man.



Wednesday, 13 February 2013

On Writing

Hi there drainers. Glad you could make it.

I've switched from typing this on my iPad to using a laptop. At least, until I get the iPad back. It's gone on a little holiday. Someone from work has borrowed it.

Oddly, words flow better when you're using a tactile keyboard. Go figure.

I've been mainly cooking today. Well, at least, that's how it felt. Cooking and washing up. And working, but just ignore that last one.

After all the cooking I went round to Nina's to begin the organisation of the very exciting event we're due to host at the Artist's Hangout this February.

You see, we're doing a writing workshop. It's a first for the Hangout; there's been visual art and performance art but not really any creative writing. So it's all a bit new and exciting.

I'm going to be doing more writing tomorrow - I'm on holiday from work - and I'll try to make tomorrow's post a really absorbing read. But tomorrow's writing will be mostly about the plan for the workshop event and the associated website blurb.

They say writing's like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. Using that analogy, my writing muscle needs to pull its finger out and get down the gym more often. It needs to stop sitting in front of the TV, get up off its arse and make itself useful for a change. And while its at it, it couldn't hurt to put the washer on a few times a week or help with the recycling. And will it put its bloody guitar away - it'll only go blaming everybody else when it gets damaged because it was left on the sofa and somebody sat on it.

Erm... Got carried away a bit there. Took the metaphor a bit too far and got lost in a world of messy teenagers.

Like you do.

Anyway, fun as this is, I should go.

Hugs n stuff.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Him and Her in Harmony

Very little to post tonight. I've taken up all the precious writing time with equally precious singing time.

Me and wifey have been practicing the song ready for the One Billion Rising event on Thursday in Manchester. Cherie sounded really good.

Sorry, got to go. The cat's throwing up.

I didn't think we were that bad.


Monday, 11 February 2013

A Story. Part One.

The dawn sky is lightening in the east; pale lilac fading into a gentle orange glow over the grey blue Pyrenees mountains on the horizon. Lazy wisps of mist rise from the verdant carpet of forest and disperse in the clear morning air.

Imagine we are looking through the sharp eyes of a hawk as it hovers on high. We are searching for a tasty breakfast in the patches of rock and deep red brown soil that are scattered here and there amongst the trees. We hold still in the cool, fragrant air, keenly watching for movement in the scrub below. Swifts and house martins scoot above the tree line, but they are too quick for this hungry hawk. After a while, with no sign of rabbit or mouse, we move on.

Lazily we soar, gliding over the acres of lush Occitan woodland. We can see the sun rising behind the mountain silhouettes.

Coming nearer is a large clearing among the trees from which radiates a jumble of tracks and paths winding into the forest. In the clearing we can see a serene medieval village. There are squat straw-coloured buildings with tiled terracotta roofs surrounding a high square tower with a bronze bell hanging within it. We approach the little town following one of the rutted tracks which is riddled with puddles of muddy water from recent rains that briefly reflect the sky as we pass.

The air is not as fresh now, there are scents of man; woodsmoke, cooking and a tang of hot metal. We are so close now that we can hear the ting-ting sound of a blacksmith's hammer echoing through the quiet streets.

The trees fall behind us and we are over the first buildings. The air feels slightly warmer here as it rises from the sun baked tiles below. We are pushed upward on a lazy thermal.

The town is criss-crossed with tight cobbled streets. The stone houses jostle together; their red roofs almost touching; their fronts adorned with flowering hanging baskets or clad in clinging ivy. Most of the buildings have brightly coloured shutters covering the windows and doors waiting to be opened when the sleeping townsfolk wake.

We fly above a wide street and follow it with the tower straight ahead of us. The cobbles are bordered on either side by lines of shady olive trees. A row of ornate troughs sprouting colourful flowers and fragrant lavender runs down the middle. We see a stocky bearded man turn onto the main street carrying two pots of lumpy vegetables chained to a yoke over his shoulders. From his simple clothes we can see that he is a farmer or a labourer.

The street in front of us widens into a great open square with the tower at its centre. The man is trudging towards a market set with wooden stalls with all manner of fruit and bread and meat. The stall holders have set them out early ready for a morning of business before the hot Meditteranean afternoon.

We pass over the market towards the bell tower in the central square, flying low enough to see that the bronze bell has been dulled by years of weathering. It has a date engraved upon it, 1036. The tower is not part of a church as you might expect, but is connected to a wide building with a jutting wrought iron balcony which could be the town hall. The building's main door is painted the colour of lavender and stands open.

Waiting on the cobbles a few paces from the door are two black stallions. The early morning sunlight gleams from their well groomed coats. They have ornate leather saddles with bright brass buckles and studs. One is drinking from a stone trough at the roadside. It must be thirsty after the long ride through the night. The horses have brought strange visitors from out of town. The riders must be inside the town hall with the local officials.

We glide over the street towards the sun, now fully risen.

Behind us, the dull bell tolls, a deep mournful sound. Our hawk is startled and reels noisily in alarm. In that brief moment we catch another glimpse of the horses behind us. One is still drinking but the other is rearing up in surprise.

Our hawk swoops lower, gaining speed. We are almost touching the leaves of the trees lining the street as we race past.

The bell tolls and tolls again. Ragged people begin sleepily opening their shutters and peering out towards the sound. We hear shouts from behind us and somewhere a woken baby wails. A shopkeeper with a huge moustache drops the wicker basket of lettuces he was carrying and begins to run up the street towards the square. The metallic hammering abruptly stops.

The gloomy tolling continues and there are more shouts. A woman shrieks, a high pitched, piercing sound not unlike that of our hawk. The locals are coming out of their houses onto the streets. We can see their dazed expressions and hear them murmur worried questions.

We are approaching the other side of the town now. There are fewer buildings on the street below and more trees on either side. The cobbles begin to merge into a muddy lane and we see a small donkey pulling a cart of melons led by a shabby young boy. He has a half eaten slice of melon in one sticky hand and the weathered rope that serves as the donkey's harness in the other.

We glance back and can see a woman running down the cobbles towards the donkey boy. She is wearing a lacy pinafore and has her hair in a pale red scarf. Behind her the crowds of people are slowly shambling their way to the centre of town.

Our hawk glides on, carrying us once more over the lush forest and away from the haunting sound of the town bell.

The riders have brought news and it warns of doom.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Chinese New Year, Indian food and London fog.

It's been wonderful today. We went to Manchester to witness the Chinese New Year celebrations. It's something I've wanted to do for years, but it's never been a priority.

I think you know what I mean by that. We plan to go, but then other things come up. Other things that seem more important. Small things; family things.

So it was a real success to actually get there and watch the celebrations. I was there with Cherie and Nina.

It was raining and cold. But that did not dampen the spirits of the street vendors with their tasty smelling noodles. It didn't affect the colourful smiling performers dancing, singing and mock fighting. It didn't put out the noisy fire crackers or stop the acrid smell of the gunpowder smoke. The traditional Chinese dragon and lion still marched to the metal beat of cymbals, gongs and drums.

The weather did, however, chill us to the point where we needed to find somewhere warm. Somewhere indoors.

And we found Oklahoma. After the dragon, this was the most memorable part of the day for me. Oklahoma is a little cafe/shop just opposite the Buddhist Centre on Turner Street.

It was a place of character and charm serving hot drinks that were uniquely different to those served by the corporate money grabbers like Starbucks or Cafe Nero.

Nina had a drink called London Frog. Sorry, fog. Cherie had camomile tea. And I had hot apple juice - with cinnamon and cloves.

We went in cold and came out fulfilled. I'll be going back.

We tramped back to the car and drove to Rusholme. We'd arranged to meet Ian Longstaff in Shere Khan. Three of us had fish curry in various sauces and Cherie had a cauliflower and spinach dish made to her request. Cars bustled noisily through the snow on the garishly lit street outside.

The bill paid, Nina and Ian went on to an evening of music; one of Ian's friends was performing. Cherie and I left for home.

We drove contentedly along snowy motorways.

Thank you all for a wonderful day. Having met such wonderful people through the wild swimmers, my faith in humanity has been restored. It makes me happy to know that there are others in the world who genuinely want to, as Bill and Ted would say, "be excellent to each other".

Location:Home. Sofa, actually

Saturday, 9 February 2013


Hello happy people. Nice to see you again.

I really hope you've had a good day. And if you haven't, I'm sure whatever it is will be alright in the end.

It's been fun today. I've met Eddie the author. I read for him. I lead evening Gongyo for the chapter. On the whole, I'm fairly happy with myself.

I'm sitting on the sofa with William and Cherie watching the last ever episode of Lost. We said we'd watch all the episodes and it's been quite an ordeal. Series 1 was brilliant. Series 6 is, well, appalling.

But I have to watch to the end. You know how it is.

I'm waiting for the oven timer to sound. Our tea will be ready. I have not eaten all day. This make me sad.

And grumpy.

I'm sure I'll be fine after I've tucked into my grub.

Off to Manchester tomorrow for the Chinese New Year. Something I've always wanted to see.

I'll let you know how that goes.

See you later, happy people.


Friday, 8 February 2013

Lazy, lazy bones

I keep having to blog in bed. Not good enough. I'm leaving it until the last thing before sleep takes me.

Which doesn't give me much time, does it.

Yawn. I'm really tired.



Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Man with the Golden Gun

Getting into this steam punk thing. My goggles are coming on. I need to get some bits this weekend and then they'll be all finished. Will I post a picture of them or wait until the day?

What do you think?

People have been talking about modifying nerf guns into Victoriana weapons. I've seen pictures of people doing this on the Internet and it looks cool. But I promised I would stay clear of all weaponry and my steam punk character would be all peace and happiness. Make love not war, man.

However, the five year old child inside me won in the long run and I have now made a pistol. And it's way cool. Very Jules Verne, I think.

On another note, I read a book recently called The Buddha, Geoff and Me. I really enjoyed it. (I didn't actually read it though - I listened to the audio book. What a cheat!). It's written by a guy called Eddie who also writes for TV.

He's coming up to Oswaldtwistle this weekend and I've been asked be the reader for his presentation. I am really excited. And challenged.

As a youth, I was regularly asked to act/perform/present etc in front of an audience and never really had a problem. School debating team, head boy, every school panto, technical presentations etc. In later life, I've found this to be much MUCH more of a challenge.

But one that I really love. I get such a buzz when it all goes right.

So thank you Eddie for the opportunity and see you all on Saturday!

And if it turns out well, I might post a picture of my pistol.


Wednesday, 6 February 2013

East is East

Cherie shouldn't dig holes in the east, apparently. It's in her Chinese horoscope. They're very specific, aren't they?

Wonder what mine says...

I've been a busy boy today. Went to work to plug memory leaks. Like you do. Took William to his guitar lesson. Did a bit of shopping. Did some more work on my steam punk goggles. Really awesome, by the way. Fitted a shower, including wall mount for head and shower curtain. Tidied up.

Oh, and if you're wondering about the horoscope, apparently the year of the snake will be very rewarding for me.



Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Piece One

I'm being lazy. I'm not going to write anything new this evening. Well, apart from this bit telling you about it. No, I'm going to post something I have written and the past. And maybe another at a later date.

I wrote this in a five minute span at a writers workshop. We had to pick a piece of art from a book. Mine turned out to be a dark corridor with a single chair against a wall.

It's not great, but I thought I'd post it anyway. Just for practice.

Here goes...

The headmaster's office is a scary place thought Francis, sitting in the corridor. He was looking at his shoes moodily and swinging his legs back and forth.

He always managed to get into trouble on sunny days. Outside it was warm and clear but in the stillness of the corridor there was an icy chill.

He could see the others from his form playing in the yard through the window. Their excited shouts and giggles echoed down the gloomy corridor.

It wasn't even his fault. It had been Thomas whispering at the back of the classroom.

Stupid idiot, he thought, darkly.

A door creaked open somewhere. Francis looked in the direction of the sound but only saw dark moving shadows. Whoever had opened the door left the room noisily, letting it bang shut before clip clopping away to some unseen part of the old school.

How long was he going to have to wait? He checked the dusty yellowing wall clock. He'd only been here ten minutes. It felt much longer.

As he stared idly down the corridor into the murk, he became aware of a darkening of the light. Maybe a cloud had blotted the sun or maybe someone was just standing in front of one of the windows.

But was that it? Something told him it was not.


Monday, 4 February 2013

When is a Monday not a Monday

Mondays. The Boomtown Rats were right.

But, I thought, we make our life our own, so I should do something to transform the day.

So I did. I got busy.

Morning alarm went off. Got up with a particularly excellent start to the day.

Work was meh as usual these days.

Got home. Mopped the floor.

Like you do.

Went to visit someone I've not seen in ages. Good times.

Snow. Lightening.

Made the basis for my epic steam punk costume. Tried it on.

Looking dapper.

Wrote this. And next I'll read my new book about artificial lifeforms until I zone out.

Monday, sorted.

Note to self. Stop writing boring shite about your day and write a story.

Point taken.


Sunday, 3 February 2013


It's been one of those days. Things have just fallen into place against all the odds. I didn't expect that to happen.

You know what it's like when the small things come together to make big problems. Each thing on its own might not be anything to worry about, but when they gang up on you they are a formidable force for disaster.

I feel that today could have been like that. Lots of small to medium annoyances that could have put quite a dampener on our weekend when taken all together.

But somehow, they didn't. Somehow the problems weren't, well, a problem.

I just smiled my way through.

Maybe problems are just defenceless when faced with a grinning man. Some would have said grinning idiot if they'd seen me today.

So, like the ubiquitous and highly annoying phrase goes; keep calm and carry on.

And I did. And it worked.

For those who are interested, here's what happened. For those who aren't, you can skip to the end. I won't mind and you won't miss much.

You see, I had a flat tyre.

In Whitby. On a Sunday.

Nothing open for miles. Had to fit the spare in the cold wind. Then find where to go for repair. Scarborough. Packed, set off.

Kwik-fit only.

Oh dear, oh dear.

Mechanic sucking in his cheeks. Not cheap. Not quick. Had to be home for wonderful birthday party. We were taking the chilli. Time ticking. Need to be on the M62 by now.

It's done. How much? HOW MUCH? Ch-ching.

On the road, some singing. Sorry.

Cherie wants to sleep in the car; can't. Roadworks on M62. They've closed a lane - but why? Miles and miles of slow for no reason at all. A cone invasion.

Arrived at party. Oh my god, we're early? To the shop - extra party supplies required. Quick under the table art deal before I go. Nudge nudge etc etc.

Back to party. Beer explosion in boot. Mmmm beer... People. Chat. Playful hugs. Laughing and eating. Great plans afoot. Empowering
Home. So much done with so little stress. How?

So my lesson for today is that when faced with adversity, it's not the problems themselves that cause a person to feel unhappy. It's all about your perspective and how you approach them.

My lesson for tomorrow will be to remember that.


Hearts and Fish

We're in Whitby. Beautiful.

I'm going to make this a quick post. From my bed.

You see, there's something exciting I have to tell you. I think you'll like it.

I've been blogging here off and on for quite a while. But you may have noticed, that recently there's far more off than on.

I have been inspired by a few things and I'm going to write a short piece everyday. Make it like a bit of a ritual.

That's fairly exciting, isn't it?

Back to Whitby. I am lying here typing noisily on my iPad. Cherie is next to me on hers. Techno couple. She's eating an apple.

It's 7am.

We had a sunny and windswept day yesterday. On many levels. The sun came out for both of us and the wind whisked our cobwebs away. A tornado of events swirled us through the sights, flavours and hospitality of Whitby.

We felt like it was our third first date.

We ate lobster. We drank wine and real ale. And coffee.

We danced. We laughed. We made promises for the future.

I like smiling, me.

Location:Bagdale,Whitby,United Kingdom