08 Nov 2013
I love the BBC, it’s brill. People whinging about the licence fee don’t know what they’ll be missing if it goes. Mind you there are always problems with an organisation like it.
Years ago there was a complaint that it was too left-wing. Unfortunately for the righties the problem for them is that most people are naturally left-wing and reality also seems to be. There was a study done last week that suggested that somwehere around 60% of tory voters would prefer the railways and public utilities to be re-nationalised. Makes me wonder if they really know just how loathsome the venal creatures they’re voting for are. Goodness knows what they’ll think about the dismantling of the NHS that’s ongoing now, when it becomes more apparent.
Good job they’re kicking public finances into shape then.. Oh what’s that? The budget deficit has risen? Quite sharply you say? Oh..
So the BBC. Some tory moron suggested the usual “the BBC is left wing” thing and darkly threatened it via ideas such as cutting the licence fee.
Anyway this left-wing bias tag. Question Time was on last night. One of the guests on has been on more Question Times than any one else in the last 3 years. Must be a leftie then. Maybe Tony Benn. No too old. Must be Dennis Skinner or one of the current shadow cabinet, or possibly Alistair Campbell maybe…
No it was Nigel bloody Farage (bloody is his middle name). Rarely will you find a more left-wing agitator…
30 Oct 2013
Bloody kids eh? Who’d ‘ave ‘em? Eh? Eh?
This week is very very hard going. J’s now properly toilet trained and is without nappy at night now. This is great. However this does mean that he occasionally wakes up in the night and needs the loo.
Two nights ago he woke up mildly distressed and needing a wee. I got up (it was 2:30ish) and helped him. Now L was asleep and I wanted to keep it that way so I carried J to his bedside to reduce the possibility of excess shouting and banging around. J immediately ran off away from his bed to the far corner of the room, in the process banging into a big chair and a wardrobe. Then there was a “daddy where’s the bed? Ow!” natter ongoing. The room was dark so I couldn’t see him at all and needed to put the corridor light on so I could help him back into bed. And of course by this time L was awake and crying. A bit of a cuddle and rocking to sleep sorted that out (for a bit). And back to bed for me.
But then I was wide awake. I tried to sleep but there was no chance so I headed downstairs for a bit of a catch up on Pointless (I won the one I saw) and Dara OBriain’s School of Hard Sums. And then back to bed for 2 hours of poor sleep ended by J getting up again at 6. It also turns out that N had a nightmare that involved the death of L, poor thing woke up very scared and also struggled to sleep afterwards.
Then last night L woke up crying. Cuddles didn’t help so more milk required. This kept her quiet for maybe 5 minutes. She did eventually drop off tho. Then J was up at 5 wanting to come into bed with us but not wanting to sleep. He did keep quiet but did keep jiggling. And then I’m up not long after 6:30 anyway.
I’m a bit tired and I’m sure R is too.
17 Oct 2013
Right, quick one here.
R parked yesterday and thought she’d have a look at naybore’s car to see if there was any damage she could see. She couldn’t. This was yesterday when she got back from work, ooh about 6 o’clock.
Last night when I put stuff in the bin and locked up (just after 10) I saw that the numberplate from the front of her car (the only end I could see from the door) was missing. R phoned me up this morning on her way to work to let me know that the numberplate wasn’t there this morning either.
Hmm? Taken in for forensic analysis maybe? Taken in to be damaged and then shown to us as proof of prior damage? Hmmm?
11 Oct 2013
Well one of them anyway. Came home from a long day at work to find that the woman obsessed with parking to the millimetre has been round again. Seems R had the temerity, the bare-faced cheek, the sheer gall to park about 1 foot into “her” space. I repeat the info that this is a public road with no parking spots drawn on it nor inferred by any markings. R was, at that time, holding L and dealing with the end of day jobs necessary with 3 kids. Hence she said no. The request wasn’t actually a request, more a demand.
There was no call for R to do anything at this point but; apparently, we’re “awful neighbours”, “there’s a rule in this street”, “no-one else living at that house has been a problem”, “we’ve hit her car” etc. etc… So then she threatened parking right up to the line.
R’s response “You do that anyway.”
Her’s : “Your car is too big for the space, if you’ve got kids then that’s your problem”.
R: “Well clearly the parking issue is your problem”.
And then she stomped off with “I’ll show you!”
R: “That sounds like a threat.”
And that was that.
As I came in and parked where the 2nd car always goes (over the road so as to leave this woman space to park), what did I see?
That’s right. A line of cars. Ours in front of our place, hers in front of hers. R hadn’t moved anything but somehow this woman still managed to park directly in front of her house; and STILL managed to get upset about this imagined slight.
I really don’t understand some folk. Is this really worth getting angry about? We already only park the big car there when there’s space. If she’s there we have someone spotting to make sure we don’t hit her; and we occasionally park it the other side if there’s not enough room or a spotter isn’t available. And we never park both cars on this side of the road specifically to leave her space to park in front of her house. I’m not sure what else we can do to try and “play nice”.
Any ideas gratefully accepted. I think I may go and have a chat tomorrow morning once the anger has gone.
23 Sep 2013
We went to the Space Centre in Leicester yesterday. We’d planned it as N is doing space as her class topic this term. We’d also pre-informed P&C that we were coming and they’d decided to meet us there.
It was a lovely day. Apart from the crowds. Oh the crowds.
Turns out it was a special day with it being the 30th anniversary of “Return of the Jedi”s original release, so they’d organised a day of props and costumed folk and even some stars of the fillum (Ewok actors indeed). It was interesting but we’d have preferred just a normal day with no special events so we could have looked around unimpeded. Ah well.
The highlights were L disappearing, lunch in the garden of a poo museum (next door), N losing her camera, ice creams all round and a fillum narrated by the ginger one off of Harry Potter. Was fun. Cheers to the P-B’s for their company (and hi to d and r).
The kids all slept on the way home, bliss. Unfortunately we had to wake them up once home to give them food and so they wouldn’t wake up overnight. N was ok with this. J and L unhappily weren’t.
So there was a lot of crying and yelling and tantrumming. J at one point hurled my iPod to the floor earning himself a visit to the naughty step. He cried a lot. Me and R were actually quite sanguine about it – it was merely a straightforward thing – he’s done something bad, he sits until apology is forthcoming.
Once his dinner was ready he finally relented and said sorry to me. Fine, well done J, now have your pizza. And then to bed. Done and dusted.
So we thought.
I was at work this afternoon and evening. R phoned me to say that the police had been round to see her. Apparently there’d been a report of screaming at children around the time we got home. Really? Does a 2 year old’s tantrum warrant a police visit now? We’d certainly not been screaming back at him. Really? R guessed it was the grumpy old woman next door who’d reported it – I’d put something in the bin at one point and heard her going back in her house grumbling to anyone who’d listen about “the noise”. The police didn’t particularly disabuse R of this notion (mind you they rightly didn’t confirm it either). Once N had responded with disbelief and R pointed to the fact that 2 year olds have tantrums they went away saying it was clearly not a call that needed to be made. Done.
Or is it?
Child protection rules now mean that calls are logged even if there’s nothing to worry anyone. Thanks Mrs Nextdoor. CRB check going to be clear now? No idea. I’d guess so but what about the full enhanced CRB check? No idea.
Did I mention we really don’t like this woman?
09 Sep 2013
Everybody needs good neighbours, apparently. Well it would be nice.
We moved back in December last year into a terrace. The neighbour to one side is a grumpy old woman who chunters away about all that’s wrong and glares at us and tells N off for playing on the street (she doesn’t do this often) when there’s a garden and a park available. It’s a public street, kids can play there if they wish! So N doesn’t like her. Truth be told we don’t either, she has no interest in being nice. So stuff her.
The lady on the other side is an asian lady. Seems to live on her own but occasionally has kids round. I assume they’re her kids and they live with their dad or some such. Shortly after we moved in we met on the road outside and she informed us that “We all keep a space in front of our own house, that way we always have a place to park”. OK then, that’s your opening welcome gambit is it? I guess that we’d one day had 2 cars there and it’d mildly inconvenienced her – having to walk from the other side of the road indeed; who would credit it?
Ah well so there it is 2 tedious neighbours whose lives aren’t going to enhance ours nor blight it particularly.
Ah but then. This 2nd one does keep her car parked very much in front of her house. To the millimeter. The old lady also does this which has, on more than one occasion, left us unable to get our big Galaxy parked in front of our place. Both of these women always have space to the other side of their cars, so they could park and give us more room. That would be a nice neighbourly thing to do. Neither have 3 kids to get in and out without having to go on the road with them all, neither have anywhere near the coming and going that we have. It really doesn’t take a lot to get on with folk does it?
Once we were packing the car for a holiday trip. No car behind us so rear door was up and open to allow packing. Lady 2 comes home and parks so close that we not only couldn’t get the door closed but we couldn’t even stand behind our car to pack it. I can’t begin to count how many times she’s parked so close I’ve been unable to open the rear door; and all the time there’s tons of space at the other end of her car which, if she moved about 1-2 feet along, would give all of us plenty of room.
Well yesterday. I’m busy feeding kids when there’s a knock at the door. It’s this lady asking whether I’ve reversed into her car. Now if I win the lottery this is a fantasy of mine – I’d love to watch her face as I deliberately reverse into the damned thing causing a few hundred quid worth of damage (I’d pay for it of course). I go outside to look and there isn’t anything obvious to her bumper. As far as I’m aware I’ve not banged into her before. I’m sure R would have said if she had. But whatever, the point is that this bloody parking is all she ever seems to care about. How tedious. I did pointedly tell her that we generally reverse with someone guiding as the gap is often so small. Later on I thought of telling her that there have been times where we’ve had to park over the road because there’s not been enough space.
Anyway whatever I said would have been ignored because she’s going to think that we did it whatever. Bloody miserable woman.
R actually did have a different exchange with her once apparently. We noticed some kids toys in our garden which we assumed were her’s so we put them back over the fence. They came back again a day or so later so we returned them again. They came back again. So we left them in our garden. Apparently she shouted over the fence, probably in a haughty tone, that “could you throw our toys back” (or similar). Yes we can. Now how about telling your kids not to chuck them into our garden?
Everybody needs good neighbours. Apparently we’re the scum of the earth for having the temerity to move somewhere and not be silent people who never talk, play music, keep our children silent and most of all insist on having a car that occasionally needs to go somewhere other than in front of the house.
Really don’t like some people.
24 Aug 2013
N’s folks both hit a big age with a 0 at the end of it this year so a couple of their children organised a do in a farmhouse in Wales for as many of the family wot could come. In the end I think there were 27 people there at peak attendance. Not all stayed for the week. We did.
The week was Friday to Friday so we headed off after I got home from work last week. The journey was pretty uneventful until we reached the last leg where we appeared to have arrived at the road to Narnia. The house was around a dozen miles along a single track road with high hedges either side. We’d already been warned that there was lots of reversing back to passing places to be done but we were there late so we didn’t see any other traffic. The road weaved and wound around, we passed through tunnels of trees and alongside sheer drops. Great fun. At the house they’d put out a lantern for us so we’d know when to stop along this road. Made it for 10pm. Not too bad.
The house was lovely. Big and inviting. The children were pretty much all staying in the barn in bunks. We had the babies in with us in the bedroom adjoining the kitchen (complete with adjacent bathroom).
Pretty much everyone was already there. In long there were: elder statesfolk D and A; Uncle M with gf A and children b, t and c; Uncle P with wife R and kids s and s; Sister B and husband J with son a; Sister F with bf I and kids L, F and e and L’s bf S; me and R with n, j and l; and dog M. Later in the weekend came eldest sister M. Not a bad crowd, we were only missing one sister out of the entire direct family and assorted hangers-on.
That first night was catered by a number of folk bringing meals for us all. I remember eating a lot of a lovely chicken and pasta thing that A brought along. The curry that “I” had made (that’s the person “I” not “me” saying that I brought it) was also very nice indeed. After food and welcomes we went to bed.
Saturday was the big day. M and B with help from others were cooking for the party. B had made a cake for the parents too. The prep meant we were excluded from the kitchen most of the day but the smells from there were marvellous. A small bunch of us took the opportunity to go for a walk up the hill opposite the house. It was a tad muddy and over-grown and there was no path for a lot of it. And we didn’t get very high up BUT it was a nice walk which did include time spent watching L and S running for their lives away from a galloping herd of cows.
Come the evening the crowds gathered for the birthday celebrations. Food was delivered and cake was proffered. I can’t think of any of it that wasn’t at least pretty good. There were speeches, there were songs and lots of chatty noise. At one point during the meal sister M arrived after a nightmare journey which included someone running into the back of her car. And so the party was as complete as it would get. I think a memorable evening was had. I ended up washing up with P’s wife R, for what seemed like 2 hours but the conversation was good and people popped in with beer and more conversation so it didn’t seem such a chore. And once it was done then more beer was had. A good evening.
Sunday started slowly. We were up at 6:30 when the babies woke. Others didn’t get up ’til much later. Breakfast seemed to go on for hours and hours. So did the prep for a country run that M and A had decided upon. I can’t remember exactly how long it took for them to get out of the house but it was at least 2 hours and involved at least one instance of them saying they were going and then moments later them sitting down with coffee. Re breakfast I suggested we do a B&B thing and stop serving it at 9. It didn’t go down well, particularly with the teenagers in the group.
A bunch of folk went walking again. I had 2 babies and P’s daughter s (aged 6) to keep an eye on so we took the car to the end of their walk and met them there. Once we were there we saw no sign of them so sat down for a snack. 20 minutes later one of their group pops round a rocky outcrop and spies us. They’d been just round the corner for about 20 minutes having snacks apparently. Sigh.
The rest of the week consisted of more slow starts, more communal meals and occasional trips out. I went with D and A to the local priory one day with babies as R and n went horse riding. Apparently R had an undersized critter that “doesn’t like other horses”. It kept biting the bums of the other horses whenever it could.
During the days the children played anything from poker to football to connect 4 etc. But then, with acres of countryside and long hours of daylight available I did often find them sat in the darkest room of the house watching tv (invariably Takeshi’s Castle bizarrely). One evening we grown-ups were in the dining room chatting for a while before one of us noticed that they were all watching Shaun of the Dead. A great fillum indeed but hardly one aimed at n (aged 8) and s (6). Cousin L put n to bed and apparently n was absolutely fixated on zombies for a good half hour. Thanks be to cousin L tho for calming her down so well.
The evenings were usually spent in front of a roaring fire either in the house or outside on the fire pit. One night a couple of our resident pyromaniacs (P and J) put on a firework display for the guests. Possibly not the greatest display ever but it was fun. Talking of pyros cousin L’s bf S turned out to be a demon fire starter.
A couple of days later we went canoeing. It was great, if eventful.
There were a good number of us up for it. I think there were 15 of us in the end who got into boats. My turn this time as R looked after the kids. I was in a boat with n, P and his lass S. Once the life jackets were on we were off. It took but a little practice to get adequate at steering and paddling. All was fine until m the dog went overboard from his boat. Lots of yelling and frantic paddling from both the dog and the owner before he was bodily yanked out of the water back into the boat. Phew. We saw and heard birds of prey including one rather large one which we decided was a Red Kite. And lots and lots of swallows or martens or summat.
Then, just as we got to some pretty quick rapids (at least compared with the rest of the journey) s and n decided to have a little contretemps about who should sit where. They were side by side in the middle seat and I think one had decided that she wanted to sit on the other side for a change. Both me and P were a tad distracted by the boat wobbling as this discussion wasn’t simply verbal but included them moving about such that both were on one side thus making the boat tip unexpectedly. So we needed to get them to sit back down and shut up. They did eventually. But we were now far too close to a big tree sticking up out of the river to avoid it. We tried but all we managed was to turn the boat sideways and hit the tree broadside on.
Cue lots of screaming and the boat turned over to the tune of more screaming. At this moment I realised that my idea to leave my wallet and phones with R was a good one. We ended up in the drink with the current carrying the boat along. I was in front of the girls and thought I’d seen one of them hanging on to the outside and having their legs dragged along under the boat. N was hanging on to the outside of the canoe with her eyes tightly shut. Despite her yelling I managed to get her to understand that we were only in about 6 inches of water and she eventually let go and stood up when I offered her my hand. P had stopped the boat continuing on its way and s was standing up on the bottom too. We were right next to a shale island so we hauled the boat to that and took stock. Nothing hurt too badly, all safe, canoe undamaged but upside down. S and L came back to help out and between us all we emptied the canoe and righted it. About now I realised that I’d lost my fleece in the incident. I started the trip wearing it but had taken it off as I got hotter. I wasn’t sure just what was in the pockets but I think it was only a couple of quid in coins. Certainly there was no car key nor work keys nor phones nor wallet. Phew. A pain but only a minor one. Physically everyone was ok, I ended up with a bruise under one arm and on one knee but I couldn’t feel any aches or pains at the time. The main physical effect was one of overwhelming dampness. P then told me that he’d had his phone on him and it’d been under the water. Poor thing.
A few minutes of calming the girls followed and we set off again chatting about how we’d had the biggest adventure out of all of the boats today and that there’d be lots of things to tell people when back at school. n agreed but also admitted she wasn’t going to highlight the bit just before the impact.
Once the canoeing was over and the story had been told a few times we headed back (via the shops).
There were more evenings spent chatting and eating and drinking. We’d been asked to take games along which I’d done but nobody played them. I even bought them for such an occasion, ah well. I bought n the game Mastermind for the trip and she enjoyed that one even going so far as to try and teach s it (she’s 6). At least one was successful.
On Thursday the GCSE results came out. Not normally a notable day for me but there were 2 grandchildren expecting results. Both of them did extremely well, garnering well-deserved congrats from all and sundry. Well done to you both b and a.
And then sadly it finished. People drifted away for one reason or another from the end of the first weekend so there were only around a dozen or so of us there on the last evening. We ended up at a pub after bedtime which was a nightmare for us. The babies behaved very poorly which meant that me and n had to spend most of the time chasing them around and snatching bites of food as and when. Not a highlight for us sadly. But the nocturnal journey back across a high plain filled with sinister sheep was quite fun. Actually that route was interesting all week, one day we’d been to Hay on Wye and we came back along that road to discover a small herd of 14 pigs just wandering along it with no signs of any human in charge.
We’re back now. Lots of washing done. Photos to come.
08 Jul 2013
03 Jun 2013
Bad news for the young me. Graham Grumbleweed has died – I think he was the immortal Wilf “gasmask” Grimshaw in the radio show (as well as plenty of other characters).
At least I have discovered that there’s a website devoted to them including some old episodes of the radio show – the first one of which (from 1983) I recognised so well it slightly bothered me. No doubt I recorded loads of them at the time and just heard it lots. Me and my mate Stephen, the only people who’d heard of them in our year at school (that we knew of) and both huge fans.
A sad piece of news.
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