Archive for July, 2004


Thursday, July 29th, 2004

Well, all being well I’m off on holiday tomorrow.

Of course I’ve not been organised enough to arrange any guest bloggers: The site I’m staying on had an internet café last year, and while I don’t propose to spend my entire holiday on line, I’ll be calling in every so often to check my (non-work) email, so I’ll probably send a couple of blogs up the line as well. I’m going to a Christian event called New Wine, where there will be 11 000 or so Christians from all over the country, camping on the Bath and West showground – this is the ninth year I’ll have been, and I’m really looking forward to getting there.

I don’t just go for holiday – all of the event staff are volunteers, and I’m going to be one of the first aiders on the medical team, looking after the delegates and dealing with the inevitably little things that go wrong. We work together as a team of first aiders, nurses, paramedics and doctors and it’s a lovely group to work with. As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, I really enjoy it but it isn’t restful!

Don’t miss me too much, folks…

Treasure Hoard

Wednesday, July 28th, 2004

Last week I blogged about the potential consequences of someone trying to psychoanalyse us from our blogs: Today I’d be interested to know what an analyst would make of what I found while clearing out one drawer (yes, only one drawer) of my work desk this morning:

Contents of My Drawer, by Paul GØTLG

Three books:

  • Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynn Truss
  • An Outcast of the Islands by Joseph Conrad
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

A cat toy and a cat collar
Three empty Altoids tins, plus one with Altoids in and one with Aspirin in
Two payslips
Assorted medical supplies:

  • Three sachets of Blackcurrant Lemsip
  • Two Lemsip capsules
  • A pill bottle containing six Flupenthixol tablets dated April 88
  • Another pill bottle containing seven Pharmaton tablets
  • Four Beechams throat pastilles
  • Two Natracalm tablets, probably of the same antiquity as the Flupenthixol
  • Nine Enterocalm tablets
  • Four Gaviscon tablets
  • Two “Throaties??? throat tablets
  • Six “Strepsils??? throat tablets

A twenty year old notebook, with notes of my New York adventures
The callout list for my Raynet group
A KFC clean-up tissue
Seven mysterious keys
Three sachets of tomato ketchup
Two sachets of Demerara sugar
A stapler and staple-removing tool
A Pritt “Roller??? correction fluid thingy
An eighteen-inch ruler
A plaster
Two identical Pizza Hut menus, and a Pizza Hut special offer leaflet
An electric razor
A Filofax (not used for 4 years)
A cassette tape labelled “Native Heath???
Six trim panels from a walkie-talkie radio
An A5 envelope stuffed with postcards (unwritten)
A plastic container which would will make a good geocache


Tuesday, July 27th, 2004

Many of my readers already know that I’m a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists – and I suppose now the rest of you do as well. And before we go any further, let’s clear something up: The IAM isn’t an organisation of perfect drivers, or of people who think they are: Rather, it’s for people who know their driving isn’t perfect and want to do something about it.

And as an aside, to prove that I know my driving isn’t perfect (and before Jenny tells the story in the comments)…Yes, I did this…

Anyway, the reason why I mention it is that yesterday’s post brought my latest copy of “Advanced Driving??? magazine, in which the Chief Examiner, Brian Lunn, discusses this whole thorny issue of “merging in turn??? – when approaching roadworks or whatever, where the road goes from two lanes down to one or whatever, everyone will get through a lot quicker if everyone uses all available lanes right up to the cones, then everyone merges one from the right, one from the left, one from the right and so on. Of course what currently happens is that nearly everyone moves into the correct lane as soon as possible, leaving one lane with a queue of slow moving traffic, and the other lane empty for a handful of BMW drivers to scream up at 90 MPH and then bully their way into the clear lane.

But I think Brian’s missed the point here: what matters is not what happens on the approach to the restriction, but at the restriction itself. If the first couple of hundred yards of the restriction, because of temporary speed limit, road condition or whatever, can only pass sixty cars per minute, then that traffic rate will apply all the way back down the queue, and whether you have two queues each moving at thirty cars per minute, or one moving at sixty cars per minute, only the same number will get through.

What will speed traffic – but not by much – is for everyone to do the same thing, be it zip merging, merging early or whatever. Anyway, rant over…back to normal tomorrow with a bit of luck.

*I don’t want to make generalisations here, and let me stress that I only know a few BMW drivers. But with the exception of our chum Lordhuttonqc, all the Beamer drivers I know are arrogant, selfish testosterone-overdosed prats who will be first against the wall come the revolution**

**In a loving, Christian kind of way, obviously

Money for Nothing

Monday, July 26th, 2004

Today I renewed my car insurance. This evening I sat outside Tescos, playing the guitar and passing a hat around, until the manager came and chased me away. I suppose since my only previous experience of guitar playing was a few strums while lining up a sound desk, I was being a bit hopeful.

But it’s funny how we spend so much money on something we hope we’ll never use: Car insurance is a particular rip-off, we have to have it if we want to drive legally so the industry can charge us whatever it wants. In return we get rubbish service, and insurers wriggle out of paying up at the slightest provocation.

I have a lot of contact, in my working life, with our employer’s liability insurers, and I’m always amazed at how they work: Cases where I’d happily say “Yep, we did it, we’re going to lose, so save hassle and pay up”, they want to fight tooth and nail, thereby racking up the costs. In other cases, where it’s obvious to me that he claimant is “trying it on”, for want of a better term, the insurers try to persuade me to admit liability (on behalf of the company, not personal liability!).

Of course, what’s good about what I do for a living, is that when I sue the company over my Carpal Tunnel Syndrome…I get to manage the company’s defence!

Criminal Record

Sunday, July 25th, 2004

This morning I attended a Child Protection Awareness Session at church.

All those of us whose work in the church brings us into contact with children, vulnerable adults, or elderly people, have had to submit to a Criminal Records Bureau check: Basically this means that our details are compared with the Criminal racords database to make sure we’re not paedophiles, granny-bashers etc. I have my own opinions on that – all it really does is make sure that none of us has been caught, not that none of us has ever done anything wrong, and I think that it can lull parents, carers etc into a false sense of security.

Anyway, I’ve now been CRB checked by the church, by New Wine, by Hospital Radio, and by Raynet, so I think we can be pretty sure that I’m a Good Bloke. The next stage in the process is to attend an awareness briefing session, and that’s what we did this morning. Amongst other things, a load of advice was handed out relating to taking photos – I suppose it’s fair enough that you shouldn’t take photos of children without the parents permission, but it really annoys me that when I’m taking pictures in a public place, I have to make sure that no-one thinks I’m photographing kids or they’ll think I’m a weirdy perv. It also annoys me that if I happen to include a couple of kids while photographing a view, I have to think carefully before posting the picture on my website incase I’m creating an attraction for paedophiles.

I know that it’s really important to protect all vulnerable people – not only children – but we’re in danger of creating a world where everyone is so protected that common sense becomes a redundant capacity, and every innocent action has a sinister interpretation.

Sunny Evening

Friday, July 23rd, 2004

Today, I was going to blog about the patronising prat Bliar, doling out sinecure jobs to his buddies again, but I’ve had a lovely evening and I’m in too good a mood to get angry enough to do the subject justice. Maybe tomorrow, after I’ve had a stressful day holiday-packing and I haven’t won the lottery…

Anyway, remember I mentioned a few weeks ago, that I failed to find a geocache which subsequently turned out to have been stolen? Well, this morning I had an email from the cache owner saying it had been replaced, so after work I went and found Cache with Stile. Then, as you may have noticed from the picture at the top of the entry, I did a trigpoint on the way home as well. The block itself was a bit pants, but this was made up for by the group of deer I spotted on the walk from the car.

Oh, and my missing holiday tickets arrived.

Choo Choo

Thursday, July 22nd, 2004

As previously recorded in these pages, it’s my buddy’s birthday in a few weeks. This not only involves me buying cards and pressies, I also get to travel to the far frozen north* for the giant birthday barbecue. I don’t expect I’ll be allowed to cook this year – last year Jan and I shared the cooking duties and set fire to the back door**. I also suspect I won’t be allowed to spirit Jenny’s man away to the shops in the afternoon…last year we came back with really horrible shirts*** which we insisted on wearing to the party.

Anyway, this party comes after two weeks of holiday (I do a semi-working holiday in the Summer, and although it’s enjoyable it isn’t restful), followed by a week back at work trying to catch up. Three hours driving on a Friday evening isn’t really what I’m going to want, and luckily some research on Trainline has revealed that I can ride in more-or-less comfort for a little less than the cost of the diesel I’d use in driving! It also means that I’ll arrive back at home on Sunday fairly rested and having eaten****, rather than stressed, hungry and tired.

Anyway, what I was going to say was that after ordering on Trainline, they asked me to complete a satisfaction survey: In the “About you??? section, I was asked what leisure activities I enjoy. The nearest I could get for geocaching was “Extreme Sports???. Oh well, the direct mail should be interesting.

*Well, Nottingham anyway
**In the unlikely event that Jenny’s landlord is reading this…um…it wasn’t me really!
***In Jenny’s opinion
****Railway catering permitting


Wednesday, July 21st, 2004

So, I see speed camera detectors are going to be made illegal.

I’ll probably still get away with mine: It’s so useless at actually detecting speed cameras that I expect I could claim that it doesn’t fit the definition of what’s banned. It’s good at warning me of those little radar things at temporary traffic lights, or telling me when the shops I’m passing have got automatic opening doors, but it’s supremely useless at detecting speed cameras. I’ll whip the back off sometime, see if I can re-programme it to detect something else – any suggestions as to what I should try for?

Apparently what the guvmint is complaining about, is not people knowing where speed cameras are, but knowing when they’re switched on. So the add-ons that you can get for satellite navigation systems, that tell you when you’re approaching a known speed camera location, will still be legal. Maybe I’m just being cynical, but I wonder if it’s anything to do with the fact that it’s possible to detect speed camera detectors* (in much the same way that TV detector vans can tell whether you’ve got a TV), whereas the sat-nav add-ons can only be detected by getting in the car and looking for them.

So why would anyone want one? Apart from the obvious reason, there’s also the factor that our wonderful caring government only allow these cameras to be placed where excessive speed has been a factor in accidents (cough gerbils! cough). So by knowing you’re approaching a speed camera, you know you’re approaching an accident black spot, and take more care.

Of course, this isn’t true: If cameras were only placed where it’s not safe to exceed the speed limit, they wouldn’t catch very many people. They make far more money where it’s quite safe to go a few MPH above the limit, because then there are more people to catch. And if there’s still anyone in the world who believes that speed limits are the ultimate definition of safety, consider this: Do you feel safer doing 75 on a motorway in good weather and visibility, or 65 on the same motorway in thick fog?

*In fact, it’s possible to detect the devices used to detect speed camera detectors: Many detectors sold these days have built in speed camera detector detector detectors.

Read my Blog…

Tuesday, July 20th, 2004

I’m a huge fan of the BBC series “Waking the Dead???*. I find it moderately inconvenient that the second part of each two-parter is broadcast on Mondays, when I’m at Hospital Radio, but I find that by failing to concentrate on what I’m meant to be doing, I manage to follow the action fairly well.

I have to say that I don’t find the programme remotely believable. In this week’s programmes, Dr Frankie Wharton, the forensic pathologist, revealed that she’d done a course in bomb disposal. Of course you have, dear. And a couple of weeks ago she just happened to have a couple of spare dead bodies hanging around in her lab. Spencer’s promotion was turned down, but his boss had a word with a mate, and it was all sorted.

Of course, what’s most unbelievable is that the Police would spend so much money on high-tech facilities to solve crime. Think how many speed cameras they could have bought with that money…

Anyway, what I was going to blog about was that in this week’s episode, the psychological profiler Grace Foley produced a character assessment of their dead body, based on his diaries. Can you imagine if anyone ever tried to profile us lot from reading our blogs? The Milk Monster would come out it very well, she’s very advanced for a six-month-old, but my profile would have me down as a serial mobile phone thief and compulsive geocacher…and what a psychiatrist would say about my love for my huge car is frightening. Mort’s Mom, of course, is bonkers in a friendly kind of way, and they’d have SimonG locked up for his own protection in seconds…

Maybe it’s not such a bad idea after all

*To be strictly accurate, I’m a huge fan of Claire Goose


Monday, July 19th, 2004

A good chummington of mine has a birthday soon.

Because I try to be organised (even if I often fail) I went looking for birthday cards this morning. We have this card shop not far from me, which in spite of being full of cards, never seems to have an ideal one. The ones with perfect words have pictures of footballers on them (she doesn’t like football, she’s a Brighton supporter), and the ones with perfect pictures tend to have words like “…and I’d like to cover you in great sloppy kisses???, which she probably wouldn’t like. Anyway, I eventually found a card I was happy with, although I’m pretty sure it’s a duplicate of the one I sent her last year.

I remember being astonished a few years ago when I noticed card shops selling cards saying “Happy birthday from the cat???, and later “Happy birthday to the cat???, but this morning I spotted cards saying “Happy birthday from me and the houseplants???, so I guess the market is developing. It’s only a matter of time before Hallmark start making “Happy sprouting day to my favourite geranium??? cards.

Anyway, I got Jenny’s card four whole weeks before her birthday, and I’ve had one of her prezzies for ages. All I’ve got to do now is remember to post them in time…

Parp Parp

Sunday, July 18th, 2004

As many of you will know, I love my Gruntmobile.
There’s just one thing I don’t like about it*…it’s got a really wimpy horn. A car that weighs two tons, and is described on the V5 as being fuelled by “heavy oil???, should go “BLAAAART??? when you press the horn button, not “peep peep???. It should be the trumpety equivalent of Jack Regan in “The Sweeny???, not Rodders in “Only Fools and Horses???**. It meets the legal requirement for being able to make a noise, but frankly I’d do better to just rev the engine, or maybe lean out of the window and shout.
So, I’m investigating suitable replacements. A pair of air horns, with compressor and fitting kit, will cost me fifteen quid from our local branch of “Bolt-On Goodies Inc???, and will certainly rack up my BLAAAART factor. I might be able to adapt the compressor so it also pumps high pressure air into the air intake, although I can’t think of any reason why I would do that. More usefully, it may be possible to blow up the tyres with it.
Mind you, the same fifteen quids will buy me a replacement set of electric horns, which ought to be easier to fit, and which are advertised as “Really Loud???.
Of course, if I wait until the next time I’m in Nottingham, fifteen quid will probably buy me a big gun, so I can tell the cyclist to get out of the way, and punish him for not doing so, all at the same time.***
Anyway, today I manned a checkpoint on the Basingstoke Big Wheel Sponsored Cycle Ride, then on the way home did the geocache Up A Lazy River, which was very nice. Now I’m very tired, so I’m going to have a Chinese takeaway, shower, and go to bed. I may even miss The Archers.
*OK, two things, if you include the really crap fuel consumption
**Sorry to our American readers, some things just don’t translate
***Bean – could you start wearing a T-Shirt that says on the back: “Don’t shoot me, I’m part of the BlogRing????

Saturday, July 17th, 2004

Our Long Eaton correspondent recently inquired “What is a sea magnet?” –  if I’d been thinking a bit more quickly, I’d have said “It’s like a fridge magnet, except you stick it to the sea, not your fridge“. But I didn’t, so there we are. Anyway, my new sea magnet wot I won on eBay arrived this morning, and here it is. As you can see, it’s manfully rescuing a bunch of keys from the living room carpet, so it should be perfectly capable of dredging up tools, gold doubloons etc from the sea, or from the bottom of the Earwash Canal*.
Guess what happened after I blogged last night? I had a text message on my shiny new mobile, saying “From Vodafone: Your new mobile is now in stock and will be with you in a couple of days“.  I hope to goodness that’s just a duplicate of Thursday’s, or I can see a kind of Sorcerer’s Apprentice scenario developing, with an endless line of Business Post vans outside the house, delivering an endless number of increasingly high-spec mobile phones. The neighbours will start to complain that the vans are blocking the road, and I’ll have to build a bigger garden shed to accomodate the phones that have arrived that I haven’t yet managed to sell on eBay. Of course, a shed full of mobile phones is a high security risk, so then the neighbours will start complaining about the barbed wire fence, the floodlights and the guard dog patrols. I’ll have to take on an assistant to help me move all this stuff about.
Before long, the council will be round, wanting to know why I’m running a business in an area zoned for residential only. I’ll be forced to move, to the delight of the neighbours who will at last be able to park outside their own houses, and of course my new home will have to be in the middle of an industrial estate, because of the constant stream of delivery vans, which will now be arriving around the clock, seven days a week. I’ll have to take on yet more staff, build a bigger car park, start a pension fund and a social club – the list is endless.
I wonder if my staff will accept payment in surplus mobile phones?
*Tee hee. That’ll wind her up.


Friday, July 16th, 2004

Well, as predicted yesterday, I now have a new phone. It’s the one I originally ordered, the one Vodafone told me they didn’t sell any more. It’s been suggested that I should ring Vodafone and tell them what’s happened – I suppose that would be the honest thing to do, but frankly I’ve had enough experience of their customer services phoneline for this lifetime, and if I was to ring and tell them that they’ve sent me two phones when I only wanted one, they’d probably apologise and send me another two; if I then rang up about those I’d quickly end up with phones arriving quicker than I can sell them on eBay.  So I’ve decided to keep the bonus one safe for a couple of weeks* and see what happens.
I also received in today’s post some travel bug tags I ordered (it’s a geocaching thing), and my ticket for the second week of New Wine, the Christian camping fortnight I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. All I need now are the week one tickets and I’ll be happy. Oh yes, and I had a session in the gym tonight, so now it’s time for a lay-down before the Dressing Up Game. Goodnight all.
*The games on it are pretty monkey anyway

Ring Ring

Thursday, July 15th, 2004

I was just sitting down and wondering what to blog about, when an incoming text message on my mobile diverted me. It came from Vodafone, and read thus:
From: Vodafone
Subject: From Vodafone – your phone is now in stock and will be with you in 48 hours.
To: (my mobile number)
Message=from Vodafone – your ph

That was it. Apart from only being half a message, it’s a little bit intriguing isn’t it? You may remember that I recently acquired a new mobile phone, having lost my old one while out geocaching. The one I originally wanted wasn’t available, so they sent me my second choice instead.

I wonder what’s going to happen now? The most likely explanation is that they’ve simply sent me this message by mistake and nothing is going to happen, but it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that a new mobile phone will arrive – possibly the one I ordered originally, possibly a second one the same as the one I received, or maybe some other possibility altogether. I hope they’re not going to want the two-week-old one back, as I’ve thrown the packaging away…also, I seem to have spilled something sticky and brown all over it. Oh, and it’s got my name and home postcode written in permanent marker on the inside of the battery casing. And on the battery.

If they HAVE sent me another phone, thinking that they’re fulfilling my original upgrade request, it also raises the interesting possibility that Business Post will attempt to deliver it to work (where the original went) on Saturday, when there’ll be no-one there to sign for it. That means it’ll go back to the depot, initiating another cycle of confusion.

It’s also just occurred to me that this phone came with a SIM card programmed with my number, so presumably any replacement would as well…which means I could end up with two phones apparently on the same number. Anyone who understands how the cellular network operates will see the endless possibilities for entertainment in that!

Watch this space.


Wednesday, July 14th, 2004

Today I didn’t go geocaching after work, nor did I have a church meeting, and it isn’t my Hospital Radio night until tomorrow. I went to work, but as usual nothing exciting happened there (except for the shetland pony from head office, who came to see me and waltzed off with a ream of confidential paperwork that isn’t supposed to go off the premises.

I did go to the gym, but apart from a go on the treadmill until my knee gave out, followed by ten minutes in the steam room, not much happened there either.

So, dear reader (and this is where the story really starts), since there’s nothing to see here, go and read Henry the Thirst’s blog instead. I know some of you will have done so already, but some of my readers don’t, normally. It needs to be read.

Oh, and a big “up” to Mark the Buddhist: I should have been seeing him and June this weekend, but Mark’s Dad has an infection, and Mark’s at that stage in his chemo where he can’t risk infection, so they’re wisely staying at home.

You still all here? GO AND READ HENRY!


Tuesday, July 13th, 2004

You’ll excuse me if I’m a bit distracted at the moment…there’s much excitement going on over in the chatroom (Omally is about to behead Simon); An eBay auction that I hope to win ends in a few moments, and my neighbours have just learned the hard way that their new motor-caravan won’t go through their back driveway gates!

Anyway, in all the excitement of other things going on, I didn’t tell you that I went geocaching last Friday, doing a big multi-puzzle cache around Winchester. Because I was due to do a talk at the Radio Club, I ran out of time to finish it off, and I went back tonight after work. The cache is called Winchester Treasure Hunt, and while I can’t say too much, because it would give too much away to anyone reading who hasn’t done it yet, I puffed up and down a nice couple of hills!

Because I’m too cheap to park in the middle of Winchester and pay £1.50, I parked in a free car park at the foot of St Catherine’s Hill, and had a nice riverside walk into the City. I took this pic near where I was parked:

Night night all.

(PS…I won the eBay auction and am now the proud owner of a sea magnet…watch this space)

Matters Arising

Monday, July 12th, 2004

Regular readers will no doubt recall that a couple of weeks ago, I lost my mobile phone while unsuccessfully searching for the geocache “Cache with Stile???. Since then, four cachers have failed to find the cache, so it looks as if it’s been stolen, and while I don’t feel such a numpty – there’s no shame in not finding a cache that isn’t there – it’s flippin’ annoying that people feel the need to nick geocaches.

Caches going missing isn’t unknown – indeed, my own cache “Waterside Wander??? (the link is over there on the left) went missing not long after it was first planted, and I replaced it with another in almost, but not quite, the same place. I’m amazed that “A Walk In The Park??? has stayed unmolested for so long, since it must have been spotted by one of the council gardeners by now. On New Year’s Day this year I took two friends geocaching, and the first one we went after had been stolen.

Oh, and my mobile phone was found by one of the unsuccessful hunters, and although I’ve now replaced it, we’ve made arrangements for him to return it to me. Being geocachers, it’s a rather roundabout method so it could be a while before I get it back!

Sometime this week, I hope to finish a big multi-cache that I started last Friday – but more about that if and when it happens!


Sunday, July 11th, 2004

A summary of today’s achievements:

  1. I overslept, yet somehow still made it to church in time.
  2. I fitted the new air filter (which I bought yesterday) to the car
  3. I put the new bed linen (which my Mum had made to measure) on the bed in the caravan
  4. I tested some equipment which had been donated to the Raynet group
  5. I got some order into the shambles that masquerades as a hobby room round here.

It doesn’t sound much, but now I’m very tired and my bad wrist is very sore, so I’m going to spend the rest of the evening in front of the telly. Hopefully better blog tomorrow.

Oh, and I made the inside of the fridge much tidier by eating all the chocolate that was hiding there…


Saturday, July 10th, 2004

It’s been a full day.

First thing this morning (9 AM, which is first thing enough, for a Saturday) I had an opticians appointment down in the city centre. The last few times I’ve had my eyes tested, I’ve seen the fat, old, ugly optometrist who’s scared me monkeyless by telling me that my test results are a good indication of incipient glaucoma, and I should be careful to have regular checkups. This morning I saw the young, attractive optometrist who told me that my test results are typical of someone who hates eye tests, and that I have no signs of glaucoma at all.

She also told me that in time I’ll need to consider varifocals, but I’m too young to think about that at the moment. I can’t remember the last time I was too young for anything!

Then on my way back to the bus stop, I passed through Matalan and bought a new pair of shoes! Four bloody quid…but I suppose you have to pay that kind of price for quality.

The rest of the day was spent at a 4×4 show in the New Forest, where I spotted my next car:

To give an idea of scale, I’m 5’7″ tall (170 cms), and the top of the door mirror was on my eye level. Unfortunately it was £37000, which was rather more than I had with me at the time.

I rounded off my day with a visit to a trig point, near which I found an odd metal stud set into the ground: Anyone know what this is?

Finally, I was busy on the phone with Jenny this evening, as a result of which I missed seeing the gorgeous Katie Derham in a swimsuit on the telly. Wombat!!!


Friday, July 9th, 2004

…but first, a correction.

Rich said, in the comment to my blog of yesterday, “There’s absolutely no way that site is comparing your name with 2001 Census material. All 2001 Census individual records are confidential.” And he should know, what with him working for The Office of National Guesswork. In fact, they don’t claim to be using the 2001 census, it’s the 2001 electoral role (sic), so sorry about unintentionally misleading you all there.

And so to today’s offering…

My feet keep getting wet. I suspect that this may be because my shoes each have a big split in the sole.

Y’see, I really have only the one pair of shoes. I’ve got my walking boots, for when I go geocaching, and I’ve got trainers which I wear in the gym. I’ve got another pair of trainers, but I rarely wear them because they’re white and I don’t want to spoil them. So basically, I have this one pair of suede slip-ons that I bought in the Clark’s factory outlet shop when I was on holiday last year.

Jenny, Jenny’s man and I were recently discussing the fact that Jenny has more shoes than anyone really needs: She was saying:
“You have good shoes…???
(I point at my suede slip-ons)
“…work shoes…???
(I point at my suede slip-ons)
“…comfy shoes…???
(I point at my suede slip-ons)
“…going-out shoes…???
(I point at my suede slip-ons)

This went on for some time. The truth is that when it comes to clothes I’m pretty minimalist, and as long as I’ve got a pair of shoes that work, I don’t really see the need for another pair. I’ve got dozens of pairs of shorts, but always wear the same ones – those of you who’ve seen my shorts may say “that explains it???. About the only thing I keep buying is polo shirts – I like polo shirts, and since my employers relaxed their dress code I can wear them to work, so rarely wear anything else, above the waist at least.

In the meantime the splits in the soles of my shoes are growing. Still, I’m on holiday, back near the Clark’s Shopping Village in three weeks. I think they’ll last.


Thursday, July 8th, 2004

There are seven people in the UK with the same name as me…presumably, I’m one of them. The reason I can be so sure of this is that I looked myself up on this website, which checks any name you type in against the 2001 census data and tells you how rare your name is. Apparently being one of seven makes me “as rare as a wombat’s wingnut???, which I suppose is pretty darned good. One friend of mine has an absolutely unique name – AND he’s the partner of someone who I know reads this (hint – because you’re comparing with census data, you have to type in a full name, e.g. Christopher, not Chris).

The reason I mention this is because something I occasionally do to pass the time, is type my friends’ names into Google, to see what comes up. Recently in an idle moment I Googled the name of a young lady I knew years ago, with whom I’d been developing a friendship until she suddenly had to abandon her university course and go back home because of a family problem, and we kind of lost touch. Anyway, she (or someone of her name) came up as the author of a book, on a subject which I know she was interested in. Further research, on the site mentioned above, tells me that there are only two people of that name in the UK, so it seems likely that it’s the same lady.

Spooky, innit?