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.
29 Sep 2012
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20 Aug 2012
We all went on holiday this weekend. Well something of a holiday anyway. Well at least the best we could manage this year what with everything.
We went to the “Just So” festival in Cheshire. Sort of like a juggling convention but with tons of stuff for the kiddies to do and that. We were camping so needed to check our tent out after it had been rained on hard in Skye last September and we’d not had chance to air it since. This meant we had to zoom up to R’s sister’s place to erect and air it. Everything seemed in good nick and no horrible moulds nor smells. Great.
So Friday came. I was working in the afternoon but R went with the kids to set up and met friends who helped. I got there very late after discovering on the way from Ashbourne that my car had a flat tyre. Nice start.
Once there R told me where to park and I unloaded what I was carrying. Then we sat and chatted for a mellow evening with a bunch of kids running round. Until we headed up to the music stage bit and watched a barn dance band taking people through their dance paces. Kids loved it. And to bed with only 2 howling tired children. A good start.
Saturday started with the dawn chorus. But this was different. Instead of birdsong it was toddlers and babies yelling. And screaming. And whinging from tents all around. My god there were a lot of children. And many weren’t happy. one in particular just screamed non-stop for what seemed hours. We heard one parent desperately pleading with her charge “Shh, we’re in a tent”. Didn’t work.
After a slow get-up and breakfast etc we headed up to make lanterns from out of Willow and paper. N bless her decided to do hers with no help whatsoever. It worked quite well but me and R had to spend ages getting glue on our hands finishing it off as N zoomed off to play with mates. After food we meant to meet up again with the other families but struggled to find them on the site. Phones not very useful either (3′s amazing vanishing coverage again). I headed back to the tent with J to give him time for a nap. He did sleep but not for long. Then everyone came back to the tents for a bit of scran.
In the evening we went back to the lantern making tent to pick up our lanterns for the grand lantern parade. We stood around for ages but nowt happened beyond huge numbers of terribly middle-class folk (see later) standing around. We gave up and headed for the woods. Once there we headed back to see the parade start off. We joined the front and walked a mile slowly. Well actually that’s not quite true. The parade went forward a bit, turned left and headed over the grass before curling back to the start of the parade. It was so little distance that, as we neared the start there were people in the parade that still hadn’t started moving along the route. Ah well, off to the music stage instead.
At this point I should mention the general attendance at this event. You’ll never have seen a more resolutely mono-cultural middle-class enclave. Phil and Ted’s double buggies were there in abundance. Very few ethnicities, very many papooses and ethnic skirts (when it wasn’t raining). You could smell the falafel from a mile away. On the Saturday I noticed a newspaper hawker; selling the Guardian only. At one point I saw a little girl squealing “Graaccee!” as she ran to meet a friend. The next moment her little sister shouted “Scarlett!” and ran to greet another little girl. At this point I started making notes of names I’d hear around the site. There were a couple of Wilfreds, an Austin, a Rain (?sp), Inigo, Jasper, a brace of Willows, Skye, Esme, an Arcadia and finally, Ptolemy. Overheard phrases such as “Benjamin’s doing a capoeira workshop” were ten a penny. One monotonous drumming workshop included the line “Sing along to this, it’s in Portugese”.
The weather had been quite changable. The awful British thing of having to bring along sunny weather gear as well as rain coats and fleeces. Sunday started with heavy rain. Always fun camping in heavy rain. N’s fairy wing making workshop was rained on and we all got a bit soggy. We ended up sitting in a tent with musical instruments being banged and tooted tunelessly by toddlers. Urgh. Still it was better than the drumming workshops. you know the sort of thing – earnest people banging the same rhythm endlessly for no apparent purpose musical or otherwise.
Then there was the circus tent. Oh dear. Fair enough, workshops for kids are never going to have great kit but this place had about 3 juggling clubs (old beard ones by the look of them) and a few balls. Poi, wheely-go things and hand-held stilts seemed to be the main fun for the kids. All of this was overseen by a humourless tosser grumbling at stuff and then spouting inane platitudes that can only ever be uttered by those who’ve only lived in the company of people with no aims in life. “Don’t be negative; it’ll rebound on you” (after grumbling that they had capacity only for about 24 kids at an event with thousands of children) tedious hippy shite.
Anyway they had trapeze workshops. We missed them on Saturday but went early on Sunday to book the girls in for them. They were already booked out by the time we got there. Nobody bothered to tell us whilst the queue stood there though. A few grumbled. Most, being British, mumbled and shuffled off. On the Sunday there was a “show” to be presented by people who’d learned stuff over the preceding couple of days. Considering the quality and chaos surrounding the circus tent I’d be surprised if anyone had learned anything whatsoever. N was to be in the show despite, as far as I know, not having attended any of the workshops, so she went to take part with R there to watch as I took J off to a toddler’s thing. Turns out that the grumpy old codger in charge was the MC and got N to do a tightwire thing. She’d done a bit of tightwire at Lestival before so was apparently too good. Therefore, half way across, he made her wobble and fall (slightly hurting her). This she found a trifle upsetting, after all she wanted to do the best she could and he made her look rubbish. Now to us he was just injecting a note of jeopardy, to her it made her fail. And before the show started I did see him bodily yank a kid off a wheely-go thing.
And the toddler thing I took J to was rubbish. Six tiny tepees that were wet through each with a colour theme. Well originally they had a colour theme. By the time we got there the themes were all the same; “mud”. Speaking of which there was a workshop for babies involving clay. R went to find out if J could do it. Bloke said it was for babies up to 18 months. J is 21 months. On pressing the point his response was a solid “I could have sold this workshop out 5 times over”. Great. another selling point way to small to mean anyone had any hope of getting in.
The food there had been good. Popcorn was excellent as were the pies. There was a proper wood fired pizza oven. But the main hassle here wasn’t the quality but the waits. I don’t mind waiting for a bit for my food to be cooked properly but waiting in a short queue for over half an hour just to get a coffee for R was pretty galling; and it was the same pretty much at every food stall.
On Sunday we decided that we’d had enough and packed to leave. The others we were with were already leaving and had packed up their stuff. After packing up we dumped all our rubbish into our one remaining bin bag. Once all packed up in the car we took the bag to the bin area. As expected nowadays the number of bins had multiplied to allow recycling of all kinds of stuff. We’d been pretty good about dumping stuff where it should have been. As we got there this time a couple of girls from the team were arriving. I gave them a cheery “Are you picking up now?” and mimed dumping my bag on their trolley. I got a grumpy non-commital response. So I dumped it in the “Landfill” bin.
“Is that all landfill stuff?” asked one of the grumps.
“Are you sure?”
And then they opened our bag and started digging through it!
“Oh and this is landfill is it?” one yelled as she pulled out the one plastic bottle in the full dustbin bag.
“Oh and this is too is it?” yelled the other showing us a small bit of paper.
After the weekend we’d had including packing up a tent while dealing with 2 babies, not getting into any workshops, getting wet through, this wasn’t quite the thing we needed. Rather than give them what we really thought we walked off. Frankly the smug sanctimoniousness of them didn’t do them any favours. But it did sum up the weekend wonderfully. Smug folk being terribly caring and tolerant despite there being no-one or nothing there to be tolerant of.
Verdict? Pah. maybe if they put on half the amount of stuff but doubled the capacity of everything it may have worked. As it was we could have had a couple of weeks camping for the same price and been able to buy food at not-over-inflated prices. I mean really! £5.50? For a pie?
Oh yes, then we got home to discover that someone had smashed through the window above our front door. Nothing stolen as far as we can see though.
Oh yes 2 and my foot got bitten and now looks like this:
02 Jul 2012
I’ve tweeted this but for a more permanent record thought I’d write it here too.
My iPod Touch has been a bit wobbly recently. The number of things wrong with it (and iTunes – the loatsome piece of cack) keeps ever increasing but recently one problem became too annoying. The headphone socket seemed to have worn out, or a wire was loose or something. Sound would drop out of one side (usually the left) with a minor wiggle of the wire eg when walking with said wire coming out of your pocket. In practice this meant that the whole point of the iPod was lost. How can you listen to music when the sound is forever dropping out?
I did a bit of searching on the net and found a bunch of people who’ve had the same problem. Answers given on forums included “take it back to Apple”, “No don’t take it back to Apple”, “Mend it yourself by taking the thing to bits and putting in a new bit” to “Noooo, don’t do that, you’ll bust it”.
I wasn’t about to pull the thing to bits so I tought I’d do my own irl research. I was in Leicester city centre one day so dropped in to the Apple Store. “How much for his to be mended? “I’ll go and check.” tum tee tum…. “It’ll be £120″. “Eeek!”
Forget that, I’m not about to give Apple any more money after te crap they’ve sold me so far.
I googled a mending service and they said £50. Still too much.
A slightly dodgy looking repair shop in Derby market quoted me £35. That’s nearer the mark but I still wasn’t sure as they did look a tad untrustworthy.
The other day I was chatting with Uncle D and h told me that a boss of his had the same problem and was grumbling at Apple for being rubbish (as all good and proper folk should) but D tthougt of a different possible solution that I’d not heard of before, nor did I find it anywhere online.
“There be fluff down t’ole”!
A pick and a waggle with a paperclip sorted it apparently. I tried it on mine and it’s worked a treat. Ta D.
I wonder how many have spent £120 only for Apple to clean the socket out for them?
20 Jun 2012
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07 Jun 2012
Some odd people are around these parts.
A couple of weeks back we had family down to visit the new arrival. One event involved us heading into town to a fairly nice Italian restaurant for a meal. We were actually the only ones there for lunch and all was well until a rangy and slightly twitchy bloke came in on his own.
He loudly announced that he wanted “One Italian Beer” a few times. He was provided with one and then came and sat with it at a table next to ours.
Then he started trying to get conversation going. We didn’t want him to and carried on ignoring him and behaved in a terribly British way (IE treating things as if he wasn’t there).
Unfortunately he started bringing the kids into his chat. Oh dear. More oh dear when he asked R:
“Your baby keeps blinking at me. Stop him blinking at me.”
Oh dear. And then:
“It’s not a camera is it? I don’t want anyone filming me.”
Oh deary dear.
At this point the brusque Italian chef stomps down and asks him to move nearer the bar away from us. This wasn’t taken well.
“You made me move. Nobody makes me move.”
Oh deary deary dear.
Once he’d finished his drink he left but not before throwing empty fag packets at us. Nice.
And then not 3 days ago he goes and pops up in our local shop, claiming to be MI5 on the lookout for someone. Well you’ve never seen so many shop security staff keeping an eye on someone.
I think someone’s not taking his meds as he should. Poor fella.
22 Feb 2012
There was a health news story in the local rag yesterday. In short there’s young woman with paralysis via a non-physical cause. She’s been in hospital for ages both in the US and Nottingham and Leicester. The doctors can find no physical cause despite plenty of looking.
She’s in no acute danger so they quite reasonably wanted her to stop taking up a bed in the hospital. All good so far.
The hospital got to the point of asking for the best part of £300 a day if she continued to take up space unnecessarily. Still all good.
The bad seems to be that the family are outraged. Why?
When I worked in a hospital we had a bed-blocker whose son wouldn’t let her be discharged on the basis of “Well what if she falls again?” Well if that happens she either gets up and dusts herself off or comes back into hospital.
These people seem to want to use the hospital as a care home. That’s not what it’s for. The saddest thing is that this latest story should really be a non-story. All she’s doing is parading her mental health issues through the media which will likely have 2 effects.
1 is for other people to give unwarranted reinforcement to her delusion thus locking her in to it some more. And 2 is to allow plenty of us to say “£300? Is that all?” I found an Irish study that suggests a stay on a ward in Ireland would be about €850. A US study suggested an overnight stay in a Swiss hospital would be US$617 whereas one in the US would be around $3600.
I think £300 is pretty good value for unnecessary acute medical care.
Anyway here’s hoping she gets the help she needs. Best wishes.
30 Jan 2012
We went on a little jaunt last weekend. The four of us in a car up into the Peaks to a place called Cressbrook.
The ominous weather didn’t stop us. Didn’t even cause us pause. We parked up near’t mill and got ourselves ready in a howling gale. The walk started well with a small hill and tarmac. Eventually we ended up near some old lead mining houses and passed onwards into a dark wood.
The main issue seemed to be that it was muddy. Then J started howling.
He was sat in a kiddie backpack thing behind me. Turns out I was passing under tree branches but he wasn’t managing to avoid the odd snagging. Poor thing got very upset.
Then we headed upwards to a ridge and exposure to the wind (which had been nicely minimal under the cover of the woods). The gusts nearly blew N off a ledge at one point and then J just kept howling every time a heavy gust came his way.
Would you believe that we picked now to have our lovingly prepared picnic? Well we did. Exposed to the wind and rain. Was great fun.
But should we return and carry on. Carrying on meant miles further in the exposed wind and rain. Returning meant getting J through the thorney trees. We went back in the end but it wasn’t without incident involving mud and loss of balance. But we all got back in one piece.
Might do it again on a better day.
See this: here
Ultra-nerds! And good for them.
03 Dec 2011
I’m in the middle of 2 weeks jury service. The first week saw me narrowly miss getting a case that was expected to last 3 weeks. Thankfully I cried “NHS clinic is full for the 3rd week and patients won’t get seen til January if I get that case” and they accepted that.
But then I’m picked for a week long case of assault.
I’m not going to go into any details but blimey it was so banal. Tedious male ego thing that should either have been ignored or dealt with by a handshake and a “that’s the end of it”. And it ended up in court. Actually the second court as they’ve already been through the civil courts with this. What a waste of money and now 2 people’s lives. Two previous decent folk now have criminal records. They weren’t underclass scum, just ordinary folk who over-reacted. Over-reacted quite badly it must be said but still.
So they’ve now blotted their copybooks to say the least. One of them was just about to start his adult life and this is now hanging over him. Just awful.
And how guilty do I feel sitting there and proclaiming them “guilty” knowing that the experience of being dragged through the courts would probably be enough to stop either of them doing anything even remotely dodgy again; and then making it worse for them? Just a hideous feeling. But then they did, quite nastily, beat a bloke up. Sentencing’s not til January though and they are generally decent folk so I’d be surprised if either of them get too long a stretch in choky. I think that’s the right outcome.
Urgh. Wonder what the second week will bring…
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