Archive for the ‘Diet Buddying’ Category


Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Well apparently I’ve let another whole month go by without a blog post. I considered being sneaky and back dating this by a day, but I am, as ever, honest with you my readers.

There’s still no news on when our Eggheads appearance is going to be on TV – it’s likely to be around Easter, so stay tuned and I’ll let you know as soon as I do.

2012 was another exciting year – my beloved directed her second major play, which kept us busy for much of the first half of the year, between her doing all the things that go with being a theatre director and me being her sound designer – which itself involved me learning more than I expected about SurroundSound. We still managed to fit in a fabby holiday in Florida, hitting all the Disney parks, Kennedy Space Center (spelling americanised in honour for the fact it’s in America!) and GatorLand, as well as swimming with manatees – or at least swimming in manatee poo.

In Summer we grabbed a late deal on a holiday in Lanzarote and had a lovely week in the sunshine, visiting volcanos and animal parks, swimming in the pool and scuba diving in the sea! Oh, and of course I’d done my two weeks working hard at New Wine earlier in the month.

We’ve had some lovely weekends away – uppermost in my mind without reading back are Abbotsbury Swannery during the cygnet season, tank driving with MiniFred near Leicester, and a weekend in Bath almost visiting the Christmas Market. Then there’ve been theatre and cinema trips (we saw The Hobbit last week), and all sorts of other stuff.

I promise I’ll try to blog a bit more often in 2013 (and I know I said that almost exactly a year ago…)

Loose End, and a Problem

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

One loose end that I forgot to mention after our Florrie Holly…and a valuable lesson for anyone coming home from temperatures in the high eighties…is that arriving at Gatwick at half past six on a Saturday morning in April, dressed in only T-shirt and shorts, probably isn’t a good idea.

That totally aside, I’ve spent the bank holiday weekend at the ancestral home of the family of Purple Fred (whom I love very much). Soon after we arrived, we were scanning the local paper for exciting “What’s On” items, and as well as a murder mystery play showing at a local theatre, we spotted an ad for the local MP’s constituency surgery. “Come and meet your local MP”, it announced, “and discuss your problems with him”. Now I don’t know what your instinctive reaction is, to an invitation like that, but I’ve always wanted to go along to one, and when he asks me what’s troubling me, say something like “My car misfires at about fifteen hundred revs, but when I take it to the garage they can’t find anything wrong”.

On this occasion we didn’t go to the MP’s surgery, but we did go to the theatre, where the murder mystery was jolly entertaining, and PF(WILVM) guessed the right murderer but the wrong reason, and I guessed the wrong murderer but the right reason – so neither of us won the bottle of wine. And then PF(WILVM) engaged the playwright in conversation, and came away with a catalogue of his plays available for other companies to perform.

The rest of the weekend was pretty good, too.

Oh, and if anyone has any ideas about my misfire I’d be pleased to hear them. It’s a Jeep diesel engine in pretty good nick, and the misfire around fifteen hundred is intermittent, and goes away completely above eighteen hundred revs.


Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Gosh, it’s been a while since I last blogged, hasn’t it? Still, I’ve got a good excuse…here’s a clue:

Gottle at Cinderella’s Castle

Yes, we’ve been to Orlando to visit theme parks! That’s me in the silly hat, by the way. We had a fabby time, and visited all the main attractions, as well as taking a drive across to the East coast for the Kennedy Space Centre (clicky the piccy for bigness)…

Space shuttle Discovery

…and to the West coast (of Florida) to swim with manatees, have an airboat ride and wrestle with fierce wild creatures…

Paul, ‘gator wrestling

…(I know what this looks like but I’m not really strangling it…that was how the handler told us to hold them). We also visited Gatorland, which the guidebook described as a good way to spend the morning, if you’ve got an afternoon flight. We’d have happily spent all day there, especially as there were not only alligators…


…and white alligators…


… but also turtles,


…baby birds of extreme cuteness…


…and even what my ornithologist friend Mark the Buddhist would’ve called “Little Brown Jobs” (and no, that isn’t a euphemism for manatee poo, although we saw plenty of that as well)


Of coure we also did all of the theme parks, and my favourites were Epcot (for the sciency stuff), Animal Kingdom (for the safari ride, which I could’ve spent the whole day going round and round), and Disney Hollywood, especially for the stunt show


We stayed at the Lake Buena Vista Resort and Spa hotel, which we selected for no better reason than that it has a pirate ship in the swimming pool, and contrary to what we later read on Trip Advisor, we really couldn’t fault it.

American food needs a mention…although to be fair these comments obviously only really apply to public eateries available in the Orlando area and not to the whole of the USA)…it’s a carnivore’s dream, although I was a bit upset when Purple Fred (Whom I Love Very Much) told me up front that I wasn’t allowed barbecue ribs three times a day for the whole fortnight…she knows me so well…so I had to vary the menu a bit. For the Vegetarian In You Life (Whom I Love Very Much) it was a bit of a nightmare, and she was in danger of surviving the whole fifteen days on Caesar Salad and cheesy chips, until we discovered that Frankie Finlays Authentic Irish Theme Pub (which was about as Irish as the Statue of Liberty, but there y’go) did a Portobello Burger which she liked – basically a beefburger but with a giant portobello mushroom instead of the meat.

Oh yeah, and I got four caches while we were there. I wasn’t trying very hard.

So there we are…I may not blog so often these days, but when I do, it’s a good one.

Oh, and hello to my work colleagues Bellend and Dumbass, who discovered this blog by some means while I was away!


Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Well, as some of you will already know, I’ve been on a fabby cruise, with the lovely Purple Fred (Whom I Love Very Much), and the excellent MiniFred. We went around the Western Mediterranean, as this display from channel one on the cabin TV shows:


We went with P&O on the good ship “Azura” and really had an excellent time. We visited

  • Cadiz, – with a visit to a sherry producer and the Royal Spanish Riding School
  • Barcelona – where PF(WILVM) sang the appropriate Freddie Mercury song quite a lot
  • Cannes – where we walked down the red carpet, found a geocache, saw the place where the film festival happens, and were charged film star prices for Croque Monsieur
  • Pisa – where the tower was leaning spectacularly
  • Florence – which was really pretty and old, and we visited an art gallery, found a geocache and ate genuine Florentine pizza
  • Rome – where some scumbag nicked my wallet, and we saw the coliseum and the forum, and threw coins in the Trevy Fountain
  • Alicante – where we went on a coach trip to Guadaleste, a pretty mountain village which was our favourite destination of the holiday, and we met a friendly pair of cats and found a geocache
  • Gibraltar – where we met the famous Barbary apes and one of them tried to do to PF(WILVM)’s glasses what a Roman scumbag had done with my wallet
  • We also enjoyed the facilities of the ship, including the theatre, the casino, the bingo, the pools, the open air cinema, and of course the five-course silver service meals every night.

    And an important added feature – for people who like minimal fuss – is that it all started and finished in Southampton, a mere fifteen minutes from home :-)

    There’s a good chance of photos at some point…


Thursday, June 24th, 2010

You really were going to get the Lord Young rant today…but then he went and spoiled my fun by saying something sensible. I can’t prove it because the forum where I found it is down for maintenance, and although I’m sure it was in the Daily Telegraph, I can’t find it on their website anywhere.

The gist of his comments was that the problem with Health and Safety seems to be peoples’ perception of it, rather than the law and practice itself. Which of course is what this blog, and most of the rest of the Health and Safety profession has been saying all along.

We’re not out of the woods yet, and he’s still saying some incredibly daft things – earlier this week he was quoted in The Scotsman as saying “”Every piece of electrical equipment in an office has to be checked every five years. There are risk-assessment officers all over the place. It’s nonsense.” (see link). Yes, it’s nonsense – I thought I’d seen most of the Health and Safety myths going round, but this every five years is a new one even to me. And of course, this very blog debunked ages ago, the idea that there’s any legal specified frequency for electrical testing (see link and follow the link within that for even more info). As did the Health and Safety Executive in their Myth of the Month web page (see the July 2007 myth).

So since my blood pressure remains dangerously normal on the “Lord Young” front, I thought I’d share this with you. And note to Purple Fred (whom I love very much) – don’t worry, I’m not really going to cook it. I’d love to try a tiny slice, though…


Sunday, April 25th, 2010

My car is gleamingly clean :-)

That’s not totally true, but it’s needed a wash for a while – I’ve kept meaning to do it, but other more interesting important things have come along so it hasn’t been done.

So yesterday, I was driving back to PF’s from working on the caravan when I spotted that the local fire station were having a charity car wash. The two off-duty watches had come in and were cleaning cars, to raise money for the memorial fund for Alan Bannon and James Shears, two firefighters who died in a fire just up the road from where I live. That was a good enough cause to liberate some folding spondo from my wallet, so I joined the queue of cars going in.

Having given the fireman on the gate my money, I was still winding the window up when the first fire hose struck. The car had possibly the best rinse any car’s ever had, then it was on to the main wash: Five firemen with sponges and buckets. Then another rinse from two more fire hoses and I was on my way.

I was telling PF and a friend of ours about it last night – they both seemed to think what I’d paid was worth it for being surrounded by firemen, without getting the car cleaned as well.

And today, PF and I went geocaching in the New Forest and found my 1300th cache!

Catching up

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

So – I had a fabby Easter weekend with Purple Fred and Mini-Fred: we went away to Dorset – one of my favourite counties – where we went to the Royal Signals museum, won a bingo competition, hunted (and found) dragon eggs, cuddled guinea pigs and stroked goats, and discovered a new favourite tea room. Oh, and found a geocache, of course.

And then yesterday was the birthday of Mini-Fred, with much food to be consumed – including, of course, birthday cake. I’m going to have to find a new name for Mini-Fred soon – it won’t feel right to call him that once he’s taller than me!


Friday, March 12th, 2010

…to new reader Chris, who confessed just t’other evening that he’d become a follower of the Gottleblog. Chris is originally a drama friend of Purple Fred (whom I love very much), in fact the first time I met him he was playing one of her husbands (the imaginary one) on stage. He’s now playing the bloke who says “Good grief!” when he first sees me on stage, and PF is directing us. How things come full circle, eh?

Speaking of which, rehearsals for our entry in Totton Drama Festival are going very well – and my advice to our opposition is to give up now.

Even Warmer Glow

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Well firstmost – mega congrats to our chums Rockin’ Rob and Sally-J, who got engaged on Valentines Day. Aww! As they’ve now both blogged about it, I guess the news embargo is lifted :-)

And yes, as Sally has already blogged, the happy couple were at our murder mystery dinner party on Saturday, along with Jenny and Chris. You’ll remember Purple Fred – whom I love very much – gave me a murder mystery dinner party kit for Chrimbo, and on Saturday we assembled chez PF to find out whodunnit and why. And a good time was had by all, along with a good meal, thanks to PF’s catering skillz – and no-one drank any wine, so I’ve got two bottles to myself, as long as I get in before PF next hosts a committee meeting :-) .

We’re going to do the same event, with different friends, again soon.


Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

There’s something about train travel that’s been puzzling me…

When the train pulls into the station, the guard opens the nearest door to him, gets out and looks up and down the platform. When he’s satisfied, he unlocks all the other doors and the people can get on and off.

The thing is…what’s he looking for? I can understand him checking before he shuts the doors, to make sure he’s not shutting anyone’s leg in or something, but unless he’s looking out for Ghengis Khan and his ravening hordes about to invade the train, I can’t see what he’s checking for before he opens them.

Peter Hedgehog – I look to you for sensible suggestions. And everyone else – I’m relying on you for some daft ones.

In other news, PF (whom I love very much) and I have been working on the website for her amateur dramatic group. It’s still nowhere near ready, but there is at least a holding page there now with a bit of information. So in an attempt to start the page moving up the Google ranking, why not click on this link and see what we’ve done so far. In fact, why not click on it lots of times?

Busy Busy Busy

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Well, I’ve been hugely busy.

I wrote some Chrismas cards this evening – I know many of you will agree with Purple Fred that it’s insanely early to be writing Christmas cards, but I want to get the ones that need to be posted done nice and early in case the Communication Workers start playing silly devils again. Oh, and I’ve started sorting the gear I need to take on the big Raynet in a couple of weeks time. As I explained to PF – whom I love very much – packing gear usually involves at least a couple of hissy fits running around and yelling “Where have I put that, and why can’t I find it?”. If I’m going to do that, I’d rather it was a couple of weeks before the event, and not half past eleven the night before!

And I’ve bought three Christmas presents and I’m partway through sorting out a fourth.

Meanwhile there are some longer term projects that have been on the back burner for rather too long that I need to get sorted –
– getting Evie B fitted with a towbar
– getting the caravan booked in for the annual service
– making a start on the winter caravan jobs before it gets too cold to want to get over there
– studying for my environmental qualification
– sorting out my application for Chartered status
– finishing the stats for New Wine that I promised about six weeks ago.

And that’s why blogging’s been a bit sparse lately :-)


Sunday, November 8th, 2009

M’lovely Purple Fred – whom, as you know, I love very much – has persuaded me to play a role in the latest dramatic epic wot she is directing. I’ve only got about six lines, but it’s a melodramatic character, so I get to do plenty of arm-waving and shouting. And I’m playing a tramp, so I largely get to wear my own clothes.

So I’ve learned my lines and now PF is teaching me how to say them. And we spent part of today shopping for a rubber chicken, which has to be dressed up to look like a duck.

Amateur dramatics is a strange, exciting new world…

Oh, and at this morning’s weighing, I’ve lost just over two pounds since last Sunday.


Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Yesterday I said “Hopefully after 6 PM Thursday, the old number – the one ending 748 – will be the only one.”

I don’t know what I was thinking there, but I should have said, the number ending 783. Anyway, I’m hoping that by this time tomorrow the whole number-moving-across thingy will be done and dusted.

Right, I promised you a blog about Jersey, didn’t I? The whole trip – with Purple Fred, Mini Fred and Aunty of Fred – was based around a sepcial thingy to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Durrell Wildlife, what used to be called Jersey Zoo. They’d arranged a package deal including the hotel, behind-the-scenes tours of the zoo, a sepcial dinner and show, the whole nine yards. The days at the zoo were certainly full – there was plenty to do, maybe even a little too much – and we saw gorillas, orangutans, meerkats, snakes bugs and creepy crawlies.


Here you see a creepy crawly sitting on PF’s hand.

We also went panning for gold, at a place where we also saw this rather famous car.

James Bond Aston Martin

We visited a castle and saw falconry…or more accurately, hawking

Me and a hawk

And then before coming home we found some caches! A tirung, but greatly fun, five days.


Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Well, thanks to those of my readers who’ve sent birthday wishes – and sepcial thanks to the texters, who haven’t had a response yet :-( . The change over of phones is dragging on, so those of you using the old number come through to a tatty old phone which doesn’t display names: As I’m rubbish at remembering names and numbers, I’m having to guess – but I think those texts are from Jenny (easy from the context), Sarah T (easy from the syntax), Rob and Sarah (easy from the use of the term “Duuuuuuude”), and Jan and Andy (easy from the fcat that they signed it “Jan and Andy”).

It being my birthday, I went to Krispy Kreme at lunchtime to get duffnuts for my colleagues: I picked up two boxes of twelve KK doughnuts and went up to the counter to pay.

“Are these to take away or are you eating them in the store sir?”

OK PF…now I really know I need to lose weight.

Sveden. Tiring, very Tiring

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

The lovely PF and I spent the weekend building Swedish flatpack furniture. It was knackering and we both feel a bit past it – but I think the results are worth it…(and yes, we know it still needs doors)


And then the lovely Purple Fred – whom I love more and more all the time, and I’m not teasing when I say that – put everything that was worn out and no longer any use, out for the council rubbish men to collect…


And then we went caching and had a lovely time :-)

New Experiences

Monday, May 18th, 2009

I had a new experience on Sunday.

Thanks to the lovely Purple Fred, I had my first experience of…

**suitable doom-laden backing track**

…clothes shopping with a girlfriend!

I was told I needed a new pair of trousers. To me, a new pair of trousers means a visit to “Man at Matalan”, finding a pair of black trousers that are the right waist size, trying them on to make sure they’re the right waist size, and buying them. Then giving them to my Mum and saying “Please can you cut two inches off the legs”.

Clothes shopping with a girlfriend starts with going somewhere more upmarket than Matalan, and getting at least three almost-identical pairs off the racks. Trying a pair on, and discovering that you’ve been a bit optimistic about the waist size, and starting again. Trying on at least five pairs, agreeing on two of them that you both like, asnd buying them.

Mind you, when I say “…that you both like…”, the decision also seems to involve the other three wives/girlfriends waiting outside the fitting rooms, who critique each other’s menfolk as well as their own. And the “buying” bit includes handing over a shedload of cash to the lady who does in-store alterations.

And then we bought PF a dress, a process made more traumatic than it need have been by the scary lady assistant, who whipped PF’s choices off her with a sweeping “Oh you CAN’T wear that! Go over to that section there, and I’ll be with you to help you in a minute!”. Mind you, I did like the one we finally got, with scary lady’s help :-)

And then we went to Homebase and looked at power tools, which was nice.

And on the subject of new experiences, I went to the gym on the way home, and one of the student types in the changing room was bragging about his own new experience: Apparently the night before, he’d had sex while sober for the first time.

Eurothousands…well, Hundreds Anyway

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

I’ve been trying to sort out my Euros for the forthcoming Lanzarotty trip.

The Post Office sell them on line, which sounds like a jolly good idea: you purchase through the web site and they’ll either deliver your Mickey Mouse money to your home by post, or you can call into the Post Office branch of your choice and pick them up. And any Euros you don’t spend, they’ll buy back commission free!

But the minimum pirchase is 350 worth! As I said to the lady PF this evening, “Who needs 350-worth of Euros for a week away?”

“You do”, she replied.

Oh. I’ll get on and buy my Euros then :-) .


Friday, May 8th, 2009

There’s still one story from last weekend I’ve not regaled you with…

We’d done the two caches we intended to, and were on our way back to the caravan site when we spotted a hand-lettered sign advertising “BLUEBELLS”.

“Wanna go and look at some bluebells?”, I asked, knowing that PF especially likes bluebells.
“Sure, why not”, she yawned enthusiastically.

After a mere several hours down tiny country lanes, we reached a Forestry Commission enclosure which they’d opened to vehicles for the weekend, in exchange for a donation to the Lions Club: Instead of having to stop at the car park, you could drive anywhere you could get your car to, and enjoy the bluebells.

We stopped at the car park and had drinks from the Lions Club stall, and I browsed the map, only thinking of finding a more interesting route back to the caravan than using the main road.

“Hang on…there’s a geocache in these woods…” I started
“…and it looks like we can drive right up to it!”.

And that’s how, thanks to the Lions Club, we did West Woods as a drive by!


Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

The lovely Purple Fred has pointed out that in a fit of modesty, I failed to tell you yesterday about my courage in the face of a herd of rampaging wild animals.

Doing the cache Chocolate Box Cottage on Sunday, we had to cross a field with a herd of young bullocks in, animals of which we’re both a bit nervous: cattle won’t deliberately hurt you, unless they’re cows guarding small calves, or some species of bull, and even then they’d rather you just went away. But young cattle are quite capable of crushing a human in play, or just out of curiosity, and when you’re laying on the ground with a crushed ribcage it’s not much consolation to know they were only leaning against you to see what happened.

So anyway, we were crossing the field (National Trust property and open to the public), and the bullocks in a fit of curiosity were ambling closer and closer: PF, exhibiting great courage, told me to stay between her and them. I think this was also about the time she asked “If you die, can I keep the pullover?”.

Mark Wallington, in Five Hundred Mile Walkies1, describes arm-waving and shouting as a pretty effective anti-cattle technique, so I thought I’d try it. All but one shoo’ed as instructed, and he followed his mates when I added “AND YOU TOO! GO ON, BUGGER OFF!”. PF was impressed at my bravery in the face of danger…come to that, so was I. The direction in which they ran was a bit more of an issue, as they were now standing exactly where we wanted to go, and the clever one I’d just annoyed was stamping his foot at us and snorting.

We retreated to a safe distance to see if we could work out an alternative route, and by the time we’d decided we couldn’t, they’d moved on. So we found the cache (well, PF found it…just another reason why I love her), and we’re still in one piece (each). So that’s OK :-)

1 Incidentally, if by a staggering coincidence the person who borrowed my copy of Five Hundred Mile Walkies about six years ago is reading this…could I have it back please?

Mayday Mayday!

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Well I hope your Bank Holiday weekend was as good as mine :-)

The lovely PF and I joined the millions of other caravan-draggers on the country’s highways, although luckily for us we were going against the flow of traffic in heading away from the New Forest and south coast. We don’t dislike the New Forest – we’ve just decided it would be a bit daft to take the caravan somewhere within half an hour of home!

Anyhoo, we found a site where we could pitch among woodland scenery…

…and those of us who were up early enough could watch the baby rabbits playing. At least, that’s what PF told me.

We visited touristy things, we saw bluebells, we had pub lunches, we even found five geocaches on Sunday afternoon. PF doesn’t have much caravanning experience but she’s putting a brave face on things and getting on with it – guess that’s just one of the reasons why I love her so much :-) . In summary, a lovely bank holiday weekend.

New Experiences

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

I had a couple of new experiences today.

The first – and least pleasant – involved a visit to the hospital, where I had to have various bits and pieces prodded and poked by a doctor – at least, I hope he was a doctor. It would be even worse if he was just a passing porter who fancied a bit of prodding for a laugh. Anyway, the poking and prodding was done and although there’s a bit more to follow, all seems well so far :-)

Anyone see Billy Conolly’s stand up routine on telly last night? Just a little clue there.

Oh, and on the way to the hospital, I had a few spare moments to divert to a cache!
Lord’s Dale Greenway – More Trees
I must do the rest of that series soon.

At this point I could have jumped on the train and headed off to work, but the lady Purple Fred had a better idea, so we spent a happy hour or so browsing around Southampton’s new Ikea store. By which I mean, she enjoyed the browsing, and I enjoyed the bit on the way back to the car where she bought me a hot dog!

The bad news is, it just whetted her appetite for Swedish flat-pack, and we have to return. AND my Mum wants to go too! Still, next time I’ve been promised one of their magnificent breakfasts, so I guess I’ll survive :-)