Sunday, July 13, 2008

Blackheath Race for life 2008

Messages of remembrance

Jogging along nicely

Are we there yet??

5K - pah! No tassel!


First KM over with

Lots and lots of people

Is that an emu in your pocket or ......?

You put your left leg in

Personal messages of dedication

Stand by yer hat

Bobbing along

Don't mess with our tutu

Tu-tu'ing along nicely

Pink Ladies

Tu-tu intend to walk or run?

Ear, look at this

Barbie Curly lives

Hut -two-tea-foooooorrrr

Saturday, April 19, 2008

An ideal husband

My birthday was in December, I was 33.

When asked by my husband what I wanted for my birthday, I eagerly nominated a newly released anthology of Edgar Allan Poe's short stories which I had been eyeing up as we drank coffee in one of our haunts the week before. To this date, that book is still sitting on the shelf in Waterstones in Greenwich where I first saw it and not on my bedside table where I imagined it.

I just remembered this (again) today as he talked about getting someone else a birthday present Someone he has not seen in months.

Then I remembered about the Hitchcock films DVD collection I asked him for on my birthday the year before. We currently don't have the Hitchcock films on DVD in the house if anyone is wondering.

Hypothetically, If I did have the time and energy to complain to him and tell him how I was feeling, he would properly tell me that it is this person's 40th birthday and therefore "special". Then I would remember how I asked him to organise a party for my 30th, a bit over three years ago. The result was a suprise party. As in, "you know that party? Surprise! there ain't one!"

You might like to notice (as I just have) that the responses to his question "what do you want for your birthday" have got darker in nature as the years have passed. Next year I expect I shall ask for "The Dummies guide to burying your husband under the patio and getting away with it"

The thing I don't mind, not really. You cannot force someone to consider you and remember every promise they made to you. I mean, that would look like a loving, devoted, considerate, romantic husband, wouldn't it? And when we grow up, we realise that sort of husband only exists in Hollywood films of the 1950s.

When I was little my ideal husbands in no particular order were; Cary Grant, Burt Lancaster and Spenser Tracey. Demon lovers and raging romantics in every film they were in. To me, that was the sign of a real man. Now, I realise those sort of husbands are only provided by screen-writers and not real life.

There will be no services for the little piece of me that died over the past three years. It is probably best unmourned anyway.

Oh he did get me something for my 29th, when he asked me what I wanted, I said a decent draughts board we could use together. So he got me a cardboard one with the price still on from a toy shop.

Men, eh?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Vacancies open

News on the BBC News-site that Crocodile blood may be the source of powerful antibiotics to use in the fight against human infections.

Australian Adam Britton and US expert Mark Merchant spent the last fortnight combing the Northern Territory for salt and freshwater crocs.

It has been known for some time that these animals heal serious injuries rapidly and almost without infection.

Recent tests have shown alligator blood has strong antibacterial powers.

Ok, so just one issue - who is going to run the donor station to collect the blood? Anyone seen this man lately?


Friday, March 28, 2008

Man's inhumanity to man

When we first looked around the current Fiennes' towers, it smelled very strongly of damp. There was even a slimy black plant growing on a wet patch above one of the kitchen cupboards. "Nothing to worry about" said the Estate Agent "the last couple who wanted to buy this house had a survey done and everything came back fine, there is nothing to worry about, this house is ready to move into"

So four months and several tens of thousands of pounds later, the builders moved out. They had removed the mould, the damp, the rotting floorboards, the damp joists, the cracked damp plaster, the dangerous electrics, the near-dead boiler, the leaking bath, the inadequate plumbing, and the broken windows leaving behind a house that was fit for humans to move into rather than ducks.

Unfortunately, I never got the little weasel's statement about the house being "in perfect order" in writing. Silly me that I didn't. We did get our own survey done by an expert in old houses but even he only identified half the problems "it is impossible to know what you will find until you take up floorboards" is a quote that will haunt me for life.

I had thought such bare-faced and expensive lies were as bad as estate agents/letting agents got.

This appeared on the BBC News today:
Dead girl's rent 'must be paid'

A County Armagh couple whose daughter died while at university in Liverpool have been told they must pay for her accommodation for the rest of the year.

The letting agent involved is claiming that because the girl's parents acted as guarantors on the lease, they are liable for the debt.

Sinn Féin's Mickey Brady said the agent's demand was "very unfair".

Mr Brady said the Bessbrook family had received demands for rent owed since her death and threats of legal action.

"The agent is quite clearly arguing that the young girl, because of her sudden death in January, has breached the lease agreement and is demanding that the rent be paid in full," he said.

How fucking low and despicable is that? Even the IRA, sorry Sinn Fein, think it is a shit thing to do and there goes a group who are not aiming for the Nobel peace prize.

That Letting agent is someone's son or daughter and I tell you something, if they were mine, I would disown them out of pure shame. They say what goes around comes around and if that is true, there is something awful coming around for that little toad and that whole letting company and the sooner the better.

Oh and if my Mum reads this, sorry for swearing.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Conversations of note

Some conversations motivate us, some scare us, some force us to look into ourselves in ways that make us feel uncomfortable, some challenge us and some make us deeply happy or sad.

Here is an example of a conversation I have just had:

Me: "Are you loading the dishwasher before bed?"
(What I really mean: "It is your damm job and I have washed and folded all your previously stinky jocks and socks this weekend")

Him: "If you want"
(What he really means: "Eughhhh, buuuuuuttttt, I am watching a Bond film that I have ONLY seen four times before")

Me: "Ok" (Exit front room stage left)
(What I really mean: "Aaaaaaaaghhhh, I do the clothes washing without being reminded, I cook the dinner without being reminded, so why do you turn me into your Mother and make me ask you so load the damm dishwasher? The blooming dishwasher wouldn't work either unless I had called the engineer out to fix it but was I thanked? - oh no!")

Me: (Returning to front room a few seconds later) "No of course, I don't want you to do it. I want you to sit in front of James Bond all night. Feel absolutely free to leave the washing up there for me to do in the morning as well as dressing and feeding the kids"
(What I really mean: "Do it or I will dump the whole mess of dishes and the washing up bowl on your head in the morning")

Right now, I can hear the dishwasher being loaded. I guess that was a motivating conversation then. To think some men think they don't understand what a woman is saying. Tsk.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


In 1969, a Roman Catholic priest called Eamon Casey was ordained Bishop of Kerry. He was known as a good man who championed charities helping Irish emigrants in Britain, he loudly supported the supermarket workers who refused to handle produce from apartheid South Africa in the 1980s. He was also a ferociously loud critic of US foreign policy in Nicaragua and as a result refused to meet Ronald Reagan when he came to visited Ireland. He, working alongside Des Wilson, founded the homeless charity Shelter.

I said 'was known'.

Unnnnnnnnfortunately, as well as a publicly moral persona, the Bishop also had a private sexual persona. This private self had a relationship with an American woman. This relationship produced a son, Peter, born the same year as me.

As the Irish joke went at the time, at least he didn't sin twice and use a condom. That would have been hypocritical.

In a completely unrelated story with Catholicism at its centre, the Vatican has updated the traditional seven deadly sins by adding a further seven modern mortal sins it claims are becoming commonplace in what it calls an era of "unstoppable globalisation".

Those newly risking eternal punishment include:

Drug trafficking and consumption (So I guess there is no room here for the difference between the drugs produced by AAPharmacuticalsLtd for pain relief and the little old lady growing a bit of something for pain relief

Scientists who manipulate human genes (I think this is a subject which should be open to educated debate without the hysteria of religion)

Violation of fundamental rights of human nature (Hmmmm, WHO gets to define what the fundamental rights are?)

Those who commit environmental pollution (According to the standards of China, America or the UK? Again, who decides what constitutes environmental pollution? I once took a poo behind a hedge a few hours after eating instant noodles, would it have been less of a sin had I eaten organic vegetables for my preceding meal?)

Inflicting poverty (Can't disagree with this one)

and now my own personal favorite; Accumulating excessive wealth.
So I am guessing, the Vatican will be quickly shedding the estimated $10-$15 BILLION dollars of assets that it pays no income tax on then.

After all, who wants to be accused of hypocrisy?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that "immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into Hell". So either, there will be the sale of the century in Rome soon or a rush to the confessional that will make Roger Bannister's four minute mile look like the effort of a toddler who has just learned to walk or hell is going to be the party destination for those who like to party in pointy hats.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Sunday, March 02, 2008


Happy Mother's day :)
Is there a phone call you have to make?

Why Mother knows best

David invited his mother over for dinner. During the course of the meal, David's mother couldn't help but keep noticing how beautiful David's roommate, Helen, was.

Over the course of the evening, while watching the two react, she started to wonder if there was more between David and Helen than met the eye. Reading his Mum's thoughts, David volunteered, "I know what you must be thinking, but I assure you Helen and I are just roommates."

About a week later, Helen came to David saying, "Ever since your mother came to dinner, I've been unable to find the beautiful silver gravy ladle. You don't suppose she took it, do you?" David said, "Well, I doubt it, but I'll send her an e-mail just to be sure.

So he sat down and wrote:
Dear Mum: I'm not saying that you "did" take the gravy ladle from the house, I'm not saying that you "did not" take the gravy ladle. But the fact remains that one has been missing ever since you were here for dinner.

Several days later, David received an email back from his mother that read:
Dear Son: I'm not saying that you "do" sleep with Helen, I'm not saying that you "do not" sleep with Helen. But the fact remains that if Helen was sleeping in her own bed, she would have found the gravy ladle by now.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

French military victories

Enter French military victories into Google

Hit 'I'm feeling lucky'


Now look at the address of the page you have opened

It is not Google

It is the web-page of someone who will never get laid in France .... ever!

Ireland really wants to win the Eurovision this year

and I write that with all the sincerity of Mark Anthony's insistence that Brutus was an honourable man ...

"But Brutus says he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honourable man… "

Ireland has won the annual glitter and sequins fest seven times since it was started in 1956 and it was rumoured at once point that the national television station was pulling its hair out wondering how to afford to stage yet another lavish spectacle.

Yes Ireland is this year putting forward a turkey as its entrant and I am sure Ireland really wants to win.

Most of the world will be blissfully unaware of who Dustin is. Even I, who grew up watching him on Irish children's television, sometimes feel the need for an on-screen translation for his thick Dublin accent.

Yes Ireland is this year putting forward a turkey as its entrant and I am sure Ireland really wants to win.

In Ireland, Dustin has a distinguished pop career and has already released 14 singles and 6 albums but it in politics that he has made his strongest impact.

There is a strange rule in Ireland that you can only be a turkey in human form in order to enter politics. Turkey birds and turkey puppets are not allowed although this has not stopped the irrepressible beaky Dubliner. He has run mock campaigns to become the next president of Ireland and now a custom has built up of people, unimpressed with the candidates on offer to enter 'Dustin' or 'Dustin the Turkey' on the ballot paper.

Yes Ireland is this year putting forward a turkey as its entrant and I am sure Ireland really wants to win.

You may think spoiling your vote in this way is an immature way of giving the fingers to the political parties but when you heard that Dustin once promised (if elected) to make sure every young boy in Ireland got to go on a date with the Spice Girl of their choice, you can kind of see the logic.

Yes Ireland is this year putting forward a turkey as its entrant and I am sure Ireland really wants to win.

It is just that I am not sure that other countries will get the joke (or the accent) and I think that is what the thinking behind Dustin "winning" (cough) the public (choke) vote (ahem....) was. I think it is someone stealing a plotline from a comedy, namely the Father Ted episode 'Song for Europe'. Let's rig the vote, pick the biggest turkey (literally) and let some other country (suckers!) worry about putting the sacred mess together. Ok, I'm joking. I have to say that or I might be sued for libellously suggesting that the organisers of the vote were corrupt.

Be funny if I was right though, wouldn't it?

But as I have said many times before: Yes Ireland is this year putting forward a turkey as its entrant and I am sure Ireland really wants to win.

If I am right (and I am sure I am not if there are any solicitors who specialise in libel reading this) in fairness, it is a slightly less transparent plan than the ruse to lose they employed last year when they chose a stinker as opposed to a fowl to represent Ireland.

Can you imagine what Terry Wogan ,who once said of a particuliar pair of Eurovision presenters, "Thank God we've all had a few drinks - if anyone can kill a crowd these two can", is going to say about this one?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Did anyone see the total lunar eclipse this morning?

A full lunar eclipse only happens when the earth passes directly between the sun and moon -- a spectacular sight that won't happen again until December of 2010.

I got all excited when I read it was on Feb.21st then I read time it was due to happen at and realised, dammit! I missed it too :(

So courtsey of the NY Times, here is what we all missed:

It doesn't really look like it is made of cheese, does it?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Business is slow

I knew it!

See this post I wrote a few days ago giving out about companies replacing technology and standards in electronics almost as soon as they are in the shops. Then guess what has happened today? Toshiba has announced their decision to no longer develop, make or market high-definition HD DVD players and recorders. See here for Wired article.

I love the way it is presented as all being in the interest of the consumer. The article says:

"In making the announcement, Toshiba Corp. President Atsutoshi Nishida said
he wanted to avoid confusion among consumers. The decision was relatively
quick, coming just several years after the competing technologies arrived."

Yes, "relatively quick" is now redefined as "just several years" in corpospeakedness so that is all right then.

All right for everyone who bought blu-ray as their choice of film player. Not so all right for those 1 million North Americans who went with HD-DVD players.

So under the circumstances, the decent thing would be for Toshiba to recall all HD DVD players on the shelves of major retailers at the moment as in time, there will be no newly released DVDs released on compatible media to play in the players. It would also be gosh-darned-super-duper-ickle-fairy-darn-tooting-moral of them to take back the HD DVD players already sold to soon-to-be-disgruntled customers.

Well neither of those is going to happen.

"Toshiba said shipments of HD DVD machines to retailers will be reduced and
will stop by the end of March."

I suppose it is some sort of improvement on the Betamax/VHS battle where it took Sony 10 years to stop making the players.

Like I said. Business is slow ... to be fair to the consumer. Not so slow on charging a premium for emerging technologies though. Nor not so slow to keep money for recently redundant technology. No sireee.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A tale of pot-bellied pigs, a night in a pub, ploughed fields and friendship.

I lost a very good friend Sybil to cancer a few years ago. She was German and survived growing up as a small child in post-war Berlin.

In her mid-40's she moved to the Cork countryside where she was the terror of every local Romeo who came into the flower shop she worked in. "You are buying ROSES for your girlfriend? Wat hav you done - had ze affair or lost ze imagination??"

My favourite memory of her is seeing her standing on Middleton High Street, surveying the chaos of a typical Saturday around her and yelling out in a very loud voice "these DAMM Irish, zey do not park ze cars, zey ABANDON dem!"

For all her exterior toughness, she had a heart of gold, a wicked sense of humour and was one of the best dog-handlers I have ever seen.

She was not so hot however with pot-bellied pigs. Hers escaped and had to be chased across several muddy fields by torchlight.

How could you not love a woman who greeted you on the walk home from the pub with the words "get your torches, the pigs are out!”? A few Friday night pints of Guinness only carries your good mood across so many ploughed fields and ditches. Typical of Sybil though, she had whiskey indoors that night which was distributed with Irish generosity to the pig-chasing posse once the bandits had been recaptured.

I am still wondering who was the tall handsome middle-aged man was who came to see her in hospital when she was there in her last days. I thought from the look of him he was a farmer. I even went as far as to speculate he was someone who she was very intimate with. I only got as far as looking him up and down before I was shoo-ed out of the room for his visit. When I came back, I never asked and she never told but she had a very naughty glint in her eye.

Everywoman is allowed to keep her secrets but I would give my eye teeth to know what the story was there.

So in memory of my friend, the well-loved one-woman German scourge of a small Irish community, I am going to do a sponsored race to raise funds for cancer research. I am just grateful there are no pigs or coverts involved. Unless the Blackheath race for life organisers have some very perverse ideas for race routes!

Anyone wanting to give a £1 can use the link above and it would be very much appreciated.



Monday, February 11, 2008


My Aunt's radio from the 1940s needs a small piece of bell-shaped china to work which is no longer manufactured.

My first laptop bought in 1998 is not of a high enough spec to run the Windows operating systems for sale today.

If I bought an analogue television in the 1990s, it would not work with the new digital standard which everyone will have to use come 2012.

The mobile phone I was upgraded to 2 years ago will not work with the mobile phone charger that I had three years before that even though the company that made them is the same one.

The Video tapes of the last 30 years will not play in DVD players of the last 10.

In a united assault on the consumer pocket, the big boys of the consumer world Apple, Dell, Hitachi, HP, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, TDK and Thomson have come up with the new Blu-ray technology. Naturally, DVDs will not play in the Blu-ray players unless you install a "DVD compatible optical pickup unit" (price as yet unknown). Blu-ray disks will not play in playstations or Wii players.

Sod.the.lot.of.them. I'm sticking with lego.

Did you know that the first batch of lego was produced over 50 years ago and pieces made in that year will still interlock with pieces made yesterday? Now, that is futureproofing.

I am also keeping the DVD player until it falls to bits. The video player still works and I bought that as a first year in college (14 years ago)

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Facebooking the awful truth

Dailymail article on facebook in which they blab on about the site being addictive, time-wasting, playing to people’s insecurities, yah yah yah.

1) If a person has an addictive nature, they will find their fix in something, be it a TV show, gambling or facebook. You cannot stop all the horseracing events in the world because ‘Micky’ spends all his wages betting on them nor should you shut down social networking because GROWN-UPS haven’t got self-control or a sense of proportion.

2) It is time wasting. NO. It is something which passes the time, as is TV, going on holiday, having a drink, running a race. All things we do in order to facilitate the inevitable march of time until we are buried or cremated. Getting sanctimonious because someone isn’t spending all his or her time chanting or saving the world must be a very boring exercise. If people want to wile away the hours between now and death on facebook, good luck to them.

3) If you are so bloody insecure that seeing a photo of your partner on facebook beside someone else is going to send you into jealousy orbit; Stop looking at facebook, ask your partner to deny having any past relationships and don’t open any of their old (on or offline) photo albums. Now, you will be happy. You are also an idiot but some things are beyond my advice.

4) Boy/girl friend tracing your every move on facebook? Close your facebook account and open a Bebo or myspace account. Better still, do the former and not the latter. Take a train to somewhere miles away from home and go on a cycle from there. Smile as you imagine them twisting their tail trying to ‘track’ you. Enjoy the feeling of not being tracked and give up on social networking. If it bothers you that someone can trace you, then don't do it in the first place.

After all, we could use IM to send messages to each other until 2 in the morning wasting hours of our lives but we don't ... because we have facebook inboxes and walls to post messages on.

We could use profile sites like MSN and Yahoo to check out the stats of boys or girls we like, but we don't because we have facebook profiles to browse.

We could use sites like photobucket or flickr to check out the photos of the lives of our friends but we don’t because we have Facebook photos to peruse.

We could waste time in work by going to talk to our colleagues about something work related which descends into a one hour chat about our families but why do this in person when we can do it through facebook?

We could waste time on the sofa expanding my arse in front of the telly but instead we do in front of the computer on my desk chair logged into facebook.

I could sit beside my husband on his laptop all evening not saying a word except the occasional acknowledging grunt to something I have said which he didn’t really hear anyway because Xanan67 (Los Ang) was typing something crucial into his real-time IM at the time but I don’t as I now have facebook.

Facebook – just like real life except no-one ignores you. It is just that some of those wanting to pay attention to you are twits.

You can restrict your profile you know. It is so funny that so many of us have caller screening on our mobile phones and landlines but we allow any idiot to see deeply and intimately into our lives on social networking sites but we do not take advantage of the ability to do the same online.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Why I love my kids - reason no. 344567892

So, this is a jigsaw of 2200 pieces which Jack's G'pa (Grandad F.) was doing with the help (and hindrance) of many family members over Christmas. It lived in the drawing room of their house.

Jack (5) was in the room when the jigsaw was in about 1987 pieces.

He managed to put two pieces correctly together. Then he tried to add a third piece which clearly couldn't fit into the slot he was attempting to enter it into.

"Bollox" he said.

I thought to myself in my Egyptian river way "there is no way he said what I thought he said" I continued to think this until he repeated it again ... 10 seconds later.

"Bollox!" he said in a high 5-year-old voice as clear as the Midday bells from Wells Cathedral.

His Grandfather looked up from the jigsaw as I ushered Jack out of the room 'for a chat'. (I have a policy of not ticking the children off in front of anyone who doesn't live in our house)

So we sat in the television room. "Jack" I said. "Where did you hear that word?"

" 'Schoolfriend' says it all the time" was the reply. 'Schoolfriend' has an older brother and two older sisters so all sorts of things get carried from their bedrooms to the schoolyard Jack runs around in. I accept this as it is the way of the world.

"You can't say that word" I said. "It is a very rude word. Do you know what it means?"

"Nooooooo..." came the big blue-eyed reply.

So I told him about the body part that b-ox referred to, about how people hated children saying bad words as it made them think they were naughty children and how talking like that would make G'Pa sad as he would not want to have a rude grandson.

Yes, trowel, it was laid on, with a.

I ended it by saying "You have to go back in there and say 'Sorry' to G'Pa for being rude Jack'

He pouted but marched back in to where his Grandfather was sat over the jigsaw. I followed him and watched as he stood for a moment, drew his shoulders back and sucked in his breath.

"Sorry for saying bollox G'Pa" he announced.

I stopped dead, backed out of the room and dropped to my knees giggling helplessly in the hallway.

There is nothing as guileless or beguiling as a child.