Archive for February, 2005


Monday, February 28th, 2005

Today I had to venture to Gloucester. This is not something I do lightly.

If Bristol (Brisdurl) is the Chavdom of the United Kingdom then Gloucster (Glawster) is its capital city. It seems to be populated by all of Vicky Pollard’s friends and relatiommmmph *MMM is dragged to the floor by a group of girls clad in white trainers, white capri pants and short puffy jackets with fur trimmed hoods*

…right but yeah but no but yeah but no but glawster is like the bestest place ever and its not true like wot they say wot everyone being inbred although my mate did say she did it with her cousin in the disabled loo in mothercare but shes a liar cos my other mate said she saw her with that bloke from barton street shagging under the ramp in the skate park but i reckon if people think theyre too stuck up for round here they can go stuff it or i’ll rip their eyes out like what i did with that slapper in the club but it wan’t me anyway it was sabrina cos she’s like a total tart and she fancied the bloke what was with her and that securty guard in woolworths is a right tosser and he chucked us out and we wasn’t even doing nothing well i might have had a few pick and mix down me bra but yeah but like he sooooo needs to get over himself just cos he’s got a flash uniform we all know he’s having an affair with that lady on the bacon butty stand…

Evidence of Spontaneous Metamorphosis in Mammals

Monday, February 28th, 2005

As guest blogger for tonight I had intended to deliver an informative, yet witty blog about something, but I didn’t have time, so you’ll have to make do with this.

Many believed that examples of metamorphosis only occurred in insects, examples being the beautiful butterfly (Lepidoptera), gnats (Bradysia coprophila) and bluebottles (Calliphora). These are all ‘born’ as a grub-type insect, unable to fly, which spends its time feeding. These then pupate, to emerge some time later in their ‘adult’ form, ready to re-produce. It is an often-made assumption that this only occurs in the insect family.

A little known fact about the common cat, Felis Domesticus, is that a small percentage of these creatures (approx 3%) mutate into rabbits during a full moon. This is due to a rare, recessive genetic trait, passed down through the ‘Y’ chromosome of the male cat and appears to be more prevalent in the Manx breed. This lapinis state is often referred to as the ‘Cabbit’ phase. Photographic evidence has been obtained (as documented here), although much is historical.

This strange behaviour can be seen in many different and diverse species, such as the werewolf – who once a month turns from a normal, docile homo sapiens into a mad, flesh eating wolf and the female homo sapiens, who from the ages of approximately 14 to 55 turn into mad, hysterical, moody psychopaths for a few days once a month.

It is safe, therefore, to conclude that this metamorphic state is not restricted purely to the insect world.

And Another Thing…

Sunday, February 27th, 2005

OK, this will be the last blog before I go on the course…

Swivel your eyes to the right, and under “My Links” you’ll find a link to the Geograph Project. Go and take a look, it’s good stuff. And several of the photos there are mine!

That is all.

Facial Hair part 2

Saturday, February 26th, 2005

You’ll recall that I haven’t shaved for a week. As requested, a photographic progress report – I’ll try to keep them coming: I’ll also try to take some better pics than this in future.

Today was a good day: I slept late, then tootled off to the barbers this morning. Apart from being a Southampton supporter, my barber is a good bloke and we kept up a fair stream of barberly conversation, covering all sorts of subjects. Then I met my good chums Gill and Geoff for lunch: They live in Tunbridge Wells but are down visiting Southampton for the weekend, and unlike some friends of mine (cough MMM cough), they told me they were coming. Anyway, we had a nice pub lunch and Gill (being a district nurse) was able to advise me on what I could eat. Guess what – I can have ice cream! Not, I suspect, for every meal, but it followed the turkey quite nicely. Then we went to a hobby shop that Gill wanted to visit, followed by a less successful outing to another shop (it was shut when we got there). Finally, an hour wandering around Romsey, before they took me back to the pub where I’d left my car in the car park. I hope they got back to the hotel OK – I last saw them going the wrong way at the traffic lights, but that was ages ago and they haven’t phoned me for help, so I presume they’re OK.

This will be my last blog for a while – I’m off on a course tomorrow, and although the hotel has wi-fi, the last time I tried to use it, it didn’t work all that well (for which read, “at all”) . However, a stunning array of guest bloggers has been lined up to entertain you – treat them gently and play nicely while I’m gone, and I’ll see you all soon.


Friday, February 25th, 2005

A lot has happened today.

As far as life-changing events are concerned, the main one was the phone call from the doctor, telling me that my blood test results show that I’m diabetic. Oh joy. The good news is that it’s very early stages, and is the type that can be controlled with diet – no need for drugs or anything – so there’s every chance that I’m not going to find I get bits dropping off or anything. I went straight off to Amazon and found a book called “Diabetic sweets, treats and fun eats”. It’s got a picture of salad on the front. SALAD??? If that’s their idea of fun things to eat, I may be asking for my money back.

The better news is that after work I did several sections of the giant multi-cache South Downs Shenanigans. I’ve got all the clues now, and I’ve worked out where I think the final cache is – just got to return and collect it!

Stuck Pig

Thursday, February 24th, 2005

I had my blood test this morning.

Sadly, because one of the tests is a cholesterol test, I had to not eat (or drink anything other than water) since eight o’clock last night, which was a real bugger – it meant I had to survive the SimonG chatroom without snacks, do without my bedtime bikkit, AND forego my first-thing-in-the-morning cup of tea. Anyway, somehow I managed, and at half past seven was sitting in the waiting room at the local NHS drop-in centre. There was a huge queue in front of me, but luckily they were all in for blood tests as well, which don’t take very long, so by ten past eight I was reclining on Liz’s couch.

I explained to her that I’m a HUUUUUGGGEEE baby where needles are concerned, and she told me that I wasn’t the first or the last. She then told me I had fantastic veins – “I bet you say that to all the boys”, I riposted wittily, but unfortunately she’d left her sense of humour at home this morning. Once the needle was in she took three test tubes full of blood and sent me on my way.

First call when I got to work was the canteen, where I stuffed myself stupid. And once again I’ve avoided the controversial blog subject I originally intended for yesterday.

PS – yes, it did hurt.


Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

What is your weird quotient? Click to find out!


Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

I saw my doctor this morning.

He’s a nice man – he’s the doctor who looked after my Dad when he was dying, and Mum and I were so impressed with his professionalism that we moved surgeries to register with him. We’ve both continued to be impressed ever since. Anyway, he says my blood pressure is indeed a bit high – but not as high as the stupid hospital said1 – and if I continue with my newly-self-imposed regime of sensible eating2 and exercise, it should come under control, maybe with a bit of help from appropriate medication. He wants to see me again in two weeks for another reading, and we see where we go from there. You’ll have noticed, however, that that’s getting horribly close to my operation date…

In the meantime – and maybe he’s not such a nice man after all – he wants me to have a blood test. If only he knew how much I hate having needles stuck in me. I wonder if my friend Sally would do it? She’s a practice nurse over on t’other side of Southampton and she claims that her assistant who does all the children’s immunisations etc (a glove puppet called Hobo) does painless needlework. Hmm.

Oh – I seem to have blogged about something different to what I intended. Ah well…

1So yah boo sucks to them and their stupid broken sphygmomanometer.
2Did you notice how I avoided using the word “diet” there? I hate the way that word’s misused – but that’s for another blog.


Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005

So far I have the following volunteers for guest blogging duties next week:
Loretta – Sunday (hope that’s OK Lorry)
MMM – Monday
Jenny – Tuesday
Mallingtoneroonie – Wednesday

One more (plus a reserve maybe) required!

Facial Hair part 1

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005

I forgot to shave on Sunday night.

Not a disaster, and normally I’d have buzzed the electrickery razor round my face before heading off to work on Monday morning, but I had an early start (which was a right waste of time, but that’s another story) so once again I forgot. Then Monday night and Tuesday morning I failed to shave, this time on purpose. Manoevering a razor round your face, when your dominant wrist doesn’t work properly, isn’t easy, and I always either miss a bit or cut myself, so I’m experimenting to see what happens if I just let it grow. It’ll be a bit of a pain at work – I’ll have to wear a face mask thing every time I go into the production area – so I doubt if I’ll keep it once I’ve had my wrist done (assuming that ever happens), but it’ll do for now.

I’m just a bit worried that if it grows too bushy I’ll look like I’ve got my head on upside down.


Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005

No blog tonight.

Today ran away with me a bit, and I ran out of time: It’s now late, I need a shower, I have important e-mails to send, and all I really want to do is go to bed.

Instead…*Clears throat noisily*…


There are vacancies for guest bloggers on the evenings of Sunday February 27th to Thursday March 3rd inclusive. Our client runs a blog of great humour with a high entertainment value, combined with the occasional bout of total gibberish. Applicants should be fluent in “Old Toot” and will have a proven track record in blogging…or at least in reading blogs…well, in reading anyway…

Apply in no confidence whatever to Mr Paul Gottlegog through the comments function below.


Sunday, February 20th, 2005

I’ve met a real-life hero!

It’s not often a Church of England Bishop appears in the press in a positive light, but in this story which appeared in the week, the Bishop of Lichfield tackled a gang of kids he discovered on their way out of burgling his garden, detained one and called the Police. Not only have I met Bishop Jonathan – when he was Bishop of Southampton – but I’ve pinned a radio mike on the episcopal breast. I’ve also got his autograph on my Licence to Assist with Administration of Holy Communion, so I think I’m perfectly entitled to call him my mate.

Needless to say there have been some bleeding heart liberals asking if detaining the little ratbag was in line with Christian principles – pesonally I think the church needs a few more like him, and a few less people prepared to lower standards through the floor in the name of all-inclusiveness.


Saturday, February 19th, 2005

Today’s main activity has been in the kitchen.

As well as a batch of fudge, I knocked up – for the first time in ages – what I shall, in deference to the person who gave me the recipe, call…

Jenny’s Choc-Chip Cookies
100g Chocolate Chips
100g Soft Margarine
50g Caster Sugar1
125g Self-Raising Flour

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease a baking tray.

Cream the margarine and sugar together, then add the chocolate chips. Beat in the flour slowly, until you end up with a large dough ball.

Divide the dough ball into 16 small balls and arrange on the baking tray. Flatten the balls with a fork, then bake for 15 minutes. If your oven is rubbish as mine they may take up to half an hour :(

Arrange on a wire rack to cool, then neck ‘em down with a cup of hot chocklit for your supper. They’d probably keep for a while in a biscuit tin, but no sense in taking chances, eh?

1Yes, I finally found a use for that caster sugar I bought by mistake.


Friday, February 18th, 2005

I stitched myself up a little bit today folks.

Those of you who’ve checked out the Chelsea TractorTracker will know that as well as a map of my last known location, you get my course and speed at the time I was in that place. All day today it’s been showing me close to work, heading 199 degrees and speed 23MPH. And the only place anywhere near there that I’d have been heading south-ish, is within the company car park 10 MPH speed limit.

And I’m in charge of Health and Safety. I must give myself a severe gerbilling.

In other news, congratulations to Jenny who became officially a homeowner today! She texted to tell me while I was crawling through a holly bush looking for a geocache, but I managed to stay cheerful and ring and congratulate her anyway!

The two caches I did after work today were View Over the Bunker, a nice gentle stroll along a decomissioned railway line, and Pole to Pole, another nice walk across Wickham Common.

Progress Report

Thursday, February 17th, 2005

I thought you’d all be interested in a progress report on my Lent Discipline.

And anyway, I can’t think of anything else to blog about, so that’s what you’re getting. As you’ll remember from last week, my contribution to the Lent fast is “I will not buy chocolate to eat at work“. That sounds like a cop-out, but given how addicted I am to chocolate i thought I’d be doing pretty flippin’ well to stick to that, never mind giving it up altogether. Anyway, we’re six working days into Lent and so far I’ve eaten one chocolate bar – and that was bought for me, so technically doesn’t count. I nearly weakened yesterday after that phone call from the hospital, but kept it together – just. Next Monday will be tricky, I’ve got meetings all over the place and the temptation to grab some convenience energy food on the go will be a bit strong. The following week will be even harder – I’m away on a course and will technically be at work from mid-afternoon Sunday to mid-evening the following Friday.

Anyway, not really relevant to Lent, but I’ve also given up my morning bacon sandwich for breakfast1, I’ve started eating vegetables2, and I’ve almost given up caffeine. I just wish I could stay awake.

1Where “given up” = “Only had one this week”
2Not at every meal, obviously


Wednesday, February 16th, 2005

Today chums, I have mostly been pretty cheesed off.

You’ll remember that last week, I had a phone call from the hospital telling me that my pre-op checks had revealed a problem with my blood pressure and that I should see my GP: Then I got home that night and found they’d sent me an operation date. Everything in the garden was rosy, I assumed that the call was only advisory and the blood pressure wasn’t a block to the operation, and started to make arrangements pertinent to a March 17th operation.

Today the hospital rang again, to ask why I hadn’t been in touch to tell them what my GP said about my blood pressure: I explained the above, to be told that the operation date had obviously been sent to me by mistake, and that the operation couldn’t proceed until I’d had three weekly readings and my GP had put me on the appropriate blood pressure medicine. I got a bit annoyed with the woman on the phone, wanting to know why all this hadn’t been explained at the time: She explained that I’d been very dificult to get hold of, she’d tried to phone me at work several times, but before 9 AM there’s no-one on our Reception (well duh!), and when she’d tried during office hours she’d consistently been put through to the same wrong number. That wouldn’t be too unbelieveable – our receptionists aren’t the brightest lights in the harbour – if it weren’t for the fact that everyone else seems to get through to me OK.

Anyway, I’ve got a GP appointment next Wednesday – the earliest he could see me – and for backup plans I’m trying to decide between getting a sharp knife and doing it myself, or phoning her next week anyway and saying I’ve seen my GP and he says there’s nothing wrong with my blood pressure. And while at first glance neither of those may seem like a good idea, if you’d been waiting seventeen flippin’ months for an operation that takes about half an hour, you’d be seriously considering both those options as well.

Those of you who are good at maths will have realised that starting next Wednesday, plus three weeks for the tests, plus time on medication, means there’s no way we’re going to hit March 17th. I could cry with the frustration, and probably will before this day is out.

And another thing

Tuesday, February 15th, 2005

I have a new reader of my blog. When I sent him the URL, I recommended that he first read links like “Who’s Who” and “What is Geocaching”, so that the rest of it would make sense.

I had an email from him today saying he enjoyed the blog, and next time he sees me upside down in a bramble bush he’ll know what’s happening. My first thought was “Ooh good, he’s read the Geocaching explanation“.

Then I thought “Hang on, what does he mean, next time?


Tuesday, February 15th, 2005

I had a really great blog planned for this evening.

Then, in circumstances I won’t go into here, I thought of something else: It has great blog potential, but I decided to write it up and save it on file for one of those days when I just can’t think what to write about: This decision made, I let my mind wander over what a magnificently humorous blog it would be, with just the right amount of laughing-at-myself, combined with a little pathos, and some turning-out-all-right-in-the end.

Now I can’t remember what I was going to blog about originally, and I don’t want to use the standby subject, because it has such potential that it deserves rather more work than I can give it at the moment. So instead I’ll just tell you that at the gym, they’re giving away free samples of “Elveve Hair Thickening Shampoo for Men”, so needless to say I had to try some – although I think it will take more than one application to do any good, but “free” is my favourite price and I’ll try anything once. It was as I was rubbing it in that I had a thought – all these “Make it look as if you’ve got more hair” products – you rub it in with your hands, right? So how come there aren’t loads of people wandering around with luxuriant heads of hair, and palms like JoJo the Dog-Faced Boy?


Monday, February 14th, 2005

Valentine’s Day – doncha hate it? The world is full of smug couples posing around and taunting the rest of us with their “I’ve got a significant other and you haven’t so nyer”. A couple of years back Jenny circulated a gushy Valentine’s poem which I tried to find to post in this space, but it’s vanished: I did however find the less-than-gushy one I penned in response. Sorry some of the verses don’t scan very well, I had to change some bits to anonimise the laydeez concerned.

It’s Valentine’s Day? Well big hairy deal!
I shan’t be romancing, or out for a meal.
My postman’s not struggling with sacks full of mail
This year once again, it’s the same sorry tale.

The shops full of cards, that I won’t be buying
(though my lack of a need, isn’t through lack of trying).
The florists can keep their bouquets and their posies
There’s no-one who wants my two dozen red roses.

There once was a lady – you know who I mean
Who married another, and no more was seen.
Then there was one, decided she’d rather
Take up with a man the same age as her father.

Then I met her on the beach in the sun,
I really liked her, thought she was the one
and romance between us would blossom and grow,
But like many others she didn’t want to know.

So on Valentine’s night, I hope you’ll enjoy
an evening of romance with your girl or boy
But spare just a moment to think there are some
With no-one to share in the Valentine’s fun

Cold. Colder. Coldest.

Sunday, February 13th, 2005

Today I was being an Important Raynet Person, manning one of the checkpoints on the Meon Valley Plod. This is a twenty-mile cross country run, starting and finishing in Clanfield and climbing some of the biggest and muddiest hills the Meon Valley has to offer – and as anyone local will tell you, it was flippin’ freezin’ in Hampshire today!. Luckily I was on one of the later checkpoints – in fact the last before the finish – so I had some time to go geocaching before I was due on station.
First for the day was South Wind, one of a series owned by my caching chums Anne and Brian – you visit the four caches in the series, and at each of them pick up a clue to a fifth cache, “Force 9″. Anyway, after this one I went on to East Wind. It started snowing while I was driving to the start point, but by the time I was trudging up the muddy hill it was just bitterly cold with a freezing wind.

Then it was time to go and stand on my checkpoint for four hours in the freezing gale force wind and watch the runners go past.

When I was stood down (makes a change from being stood up) there was still some daylight left, so I went and found West Wind: There are some great views on the walk to this one, and I’m sure on a day without horizontal rain and when the mud has dried out it’ll be really nice! Then on to North Wind, the easiest of the series, particularly bearing in mind that the information you need to work out one of the clues is on the OS map, so you can work it out in advance of visiting!

So, in theory I have all the information I need to find “Force Nine”, but when I tried to work it out, I didn’t trust the result, so brought it all home to do the maths again. Leaving just one dilemma: Chinese or Indian takeaway?

The Chinese was very nice.

UPDATE: I had indeed ostriched up the maths. I now have a much more believeable result.

UPDATED UPDATE: The more believeable result later transpired to be correct!


Saturday, February 12th, 2005

Today’s challenge was to attend two weddings.

The first – and I’m sorry about the rubbishness of the picture, if someone takes pity and e-mails me a better version I’ll replace it – was my friends Mike and Julie, at my church. The church was pretty full, Julie’s son gave her away, which was nice, and there was a communion afterwards. The ceremony was performed by not one, but two vicars, and the worship band provided the music. AND unlike Christmas Eve the sound system held together with very little howlround, so that was a bonus too.

I had to leave during the final hymn, in order to zip over to Above Bar Church in Southampton, where Geoff and Sarah were getting married: Geoff goes to the same house group as me, and most of our group were there. It’s a lovely modern church with a decent music group, and all the songs were recent ones, which was even better! As you can see, i managed a better picture of this happy couple.

Then I went home to prepare for tomorrow’s business.