Monthly Archives: August 2011

You could knock me down with a (insert object here)

Ok, here’s how it is, I finished work on Friday and set off to Hythe to drop into the shop to see Sue and collect this month’s copy of White Dwarf, it’s always nice having something to read on the journey to Ashford. Hang on a minute I need to rewind a bit, Monday night I set about my semi regular web trawl in search of a particular person who I haven’t seen for over 17 years, every time I do this I’ve had no luck. As a result I get a bit disheartened and leave it for a few months before starting again. I go through the usual channels, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and other social sites, each time to no avail. I also try Google and other search engines. This last time was slightly different. This time I found two people who are possible links to the person I’m looking for. So armed with this new information I contact my sister for some sage advice and her thoughts on my next course of action. To my surprise and shock she had been contacted by a third person who could be a possible contact. She tells me that she’s had a text from her contact and whilst she’s looking for the text we have a catch up chat bringing each other up to date on the recent events in our lives. Eventually she finds the texts and asks me if I want her to tell me what it says, me being a bit of a pessimist I’ve already got it into my head that the text says that the person I’ve spent the last 17 years searching for doesn’t want any contact with me and not to bother looking for them. My sister, being the voice of reason tells me to stop being so stupid and listen to what she’s about to tell me. It is, in fact, the exact opposite of what I assumed it to be and my quest could soon be at an end as the person concerned does want to contact me. So after a brief moment of blubbing I compose myself and thank my sister for the news. She then tells me that she will pass my number on when she can. All I can do now is sit back and wait. So there you have it and I can now carry on with Friday! So, Shop, Anemic Stunty and I’m on a bus heading for Ashford. The journey’s just over an hour so I have plenty of time to read through WD and both of this month’s Astro magazines, well I say read, the run to Ashford is a bit of a bumpy one so I rarely read them properly. This Fridays trip was slightly different, usually I get to Ashford and head to some friends house and head to Woodchurch from there, but as the friends were away camping this month I would be getting the bus from Ashford to Woodchurch.

On arrival at Astro club the sky was, to be honest, awful and I was pleased that I hadn’t taken a scope with me as it would have been a waste of effort. This month’s Astro meet was our summer social and featured a brief talk by the chairman about telescopes and the rest of the evening was dedicated to allowing the members to get to know each other and stuff. A few of the members ventured outside and noticed that the sky was clearing and this resulted in a couple of chaps setting their scopes up. At this point I was wishing I’d taken my scope, fate’s a fickle thing! That evening I saw the Ring Nebula, M13 better than I’d ever seen it, the Pinwheel galaxy and I could just make out the supernova in it plus I saw the Andromeda Galaxy and Neptune. As always with looking through a scope the view were awe inspiring and made me long want the longer Autumn and Winter nights to hurry along, apologies to those of my readers who like the Summer but you have to admit it has been a bit pants this year, what with global warming and all that, maybe one of those oiks in London made off with the summer!

Because of the incredibly clear sky I left Woodchurch later than usual and was given a lift in the Mankey Mobile through to Ashford station to wait for a train. Whilst waiting I called herself and let her know that I would be back for midnight. I walked through the door, after opening it of course, bang on the hour.

A quick stroll with Ronnii and off to bed for an early start as Sue’s taken a couple of days off and I’m minding the shop for her so Saturday was spent behind the counter with the occasional excursion to see how the lads were fairing with their games. Despite the low footfall on the high street I didn’t have a bad days trade but it wasn’t as good as last year. Never mind though as I still have Tuesday and Wednesday to go yet.

Sorry but I need to rewind again, Smiffy came over on Wednesday and we set about painting Tau battle suits, this was interrupted momentarily as he had to nip to Dover to collect his Daughter and her friend and bring them home. We were soon painting again and we almost finished four models, which is cool!

Saturday evening and I had to attend to my adoptive moggies, I say adoptive but one of them is Obikat who now resides with my bro and his girly type and their second moggie who is a rescued stray. Where Obi is concerned he couldn’t be in a better place as he is totally loved and cared for which is brilliant.

Once the kittehs were fed and watered I headed up to herself and settled in for the return of Doctor Who, I’m going to have to watch it again as during the day I got a call from my sister saying that there had been further developments ad she would be passing my number on later in the day. So although I watched the Doctor I didn’t take it all in as my head was in the early stages of meltdown wondering if I would be getting a long awaited phone call. After Who I switched over for Confidential and within moments there was a knock at the door, I answered it to be greeted by a mate that I haven’t seen for a while so I made a cuppa and decided to look forward to the chance to catch up with a mate. This catch up never really happened, no sooner had the tea been made my phone rang. I didn’t recognise the number or the area code and realise that this could well be the call that I had been waiting for, it was! I spent the majority of Saturday night talking to my long lost daughter. There was another momentary blub but that was rectified by my good lady thrusting tissues and a glass of mead at me.

We talked for about five hours and it seems we are very alike, right down to the trend of intentionally wearing odd socks. She came across as very pleasant and she seems to have a sense of humour similar to my own, that could make thing interesting when we get together.

She told me about her life and we spoke about the all to short time I had with her and we asked about each other, she wondered if I’d had other children, I told her that she almost has a step brother but I don’t see much of him now that he has grown into a fine young man. I asked if she had any brothers or sisters, she doesn’t it’s just her, she has a fella who sounds like a sterling chap and she has a young son who she would like me to meet. The thought of being a Granddad is an odd one but I’m sure that I will get used to it. It was bound to happen one day so why not now when I’m still young enough to enjoy it?

All in all it’s been a good first couple of days of a week off that will carry through until next Sunday although I’m really looking forward to Saturday 3rd of September as I’m off to The Natural History Museum with friends. Tuesday and Wednesday I’m in the shop and I’ve suggested to some of the Saturday lads that they could come down and have a game on those days, if nothing else the company would be nice. So far the only unfortunate incident is that my laptop threw a complete hissy and refused to start up after a severe software failure, and because I’ve put a new HDD in the thing there’s no restore partition so I couldn’t reinstall the original software and I now have XP pro rather than Vista pro, it’s a shame really as I quite liked Vista and was just getting used to it. I shall have another go at putting Vista on later, maybe in a few weeks, although it may be that the laptop’s seen its better days and is starting to give up. It’s not a particularly good one and came free with a phone contract. Maybe a new one is the way to go; I shall have to have a look at the best way of getting hold of one.

So there it is, the first two days of a week off, although it’s only Saturday and since I don’t work Saturdays it’s not actually my week of yet, but it’s a bloomin’ good start.

I’m writing this sat on the sofa with a pup on either side of me, if they were any closer they’d be part of each leg, my daughter is probably working on one of her gaming projects and the missus is snuggled up in bed, which is where I’m off to soon.

So ta ta dear reader, I’m off for a good nights kip and a busy day as we have another mate and his youngsters visiting tomorrow.

I leave you with this little snippet, sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is a chap coming to tell you good news.

Where there’s tea, there’s hope!

what happened to law and order?

It’s been an eventful week thus far, Monday we had to take Ronnii to the vets as she’s had a cough that seems to have worsened over the last few weeks. She got a thoroughly good going over by the nice vet lady who said that her heart was strong, that’s a relief, her chest sounded ok, phew! then nice vet lady decided to not be so nice, well as far s Ronnii was concerned, and took her temperature. The thermometer went in and Ronnii struggled a bit. well wouldn’t you? I watched as the numbers on the display rose above 50, 80, 90 and finally hit 100.5! My response to this was one of alarm and then the nice vet lady said, “I’ll have to convert that to Celsius” upon seeing the converted reading, a little over 38 NVL said that her temp was perfectly normal. With Ronnii being a Yorkshire Terrier they are apparently prone to having a collapsed trachea, her throat was checked and again NVL couldn’t find any problems. She suggested that there may be a possibility that Ronnii may have asthma, but to be on the safe side she recommended that we take her to the animal hospital in Ashford to have an x-ray, this has been booked for Tuesday and hopefully it will show nothing to worry about.

In other news, what the heck is going on with the country? Those who know me well are fully aware of the pride I take in being English, I’m not an extremist, I do not support the views of the BNP or EDL, I am just a person who takes pride in our nation and it’s people. England, The United Kingdom or Great Britain, call it what you will, was built through a long history of multiculturalism. If any person who calls themselves English were to trace their family history back far enough they would find that they have Norwegian, Roman, Norman, German, Scots, Irish or Welsh blood flowing through their veins. I personally have Scots/English heritage but I’m sure there other stuff in there. Trudes and I were away at the weekend and we were fairly cut off from sillyvisation, I only logged into Farcebook to update status and check on friends so I didn’t really get any news updates until Monday. What I saw shocked me and made my stomach turn. People were, for reasons probably unknown to them, destroying property and stealing from shops that they had broken into. Now I don’t want to be seen as pointing a finger or directing blame, but in the majority of interviews I’ve seen that feature the offenders, the most commonly used word is “Innit!” A fair proportion of these criminals, for that is what they are, were young men and women who saw the events taking place in our capital city as nothing more than an opportunity for wanton destruction and theft and a chance to “stick it to the man”. Various reasons were given for the crimes being committed from poor living conditions to deprived childhoods, the government was blamed, then the police then the people who own the shops they were looting. Some of the looters even appeared proud of the vile acts they had carried out on their own communities. When asked if they thought it would happen again, the response was “’opefully, issa larf innit!” this nation is an ASBO state, the problem is that those who receive one view it as though it were a badge of honour, the problem is that these people, and I use the term loosely, have no real concept of honour. I’m all for the expression of the freedom of speech and peaceful protest and I’m sure that the initial event that many have said led to the events of the last few days started out as a peaceful protest and that it was a minority of people who turned that into the mayhem that ensued, as is generally the case. The same happens at football matches, I’m not a football fan but I know a few of my friends are and they go of once or twice a year to watch Westchester united play against Liverton FC and they have a good time despite the efforts of the die hard hooligan who go out of their way to spoil the event with violence.

The question on every ones mind is, What can be done about it? well to be honest, I don’t think anything can be done until we overcome the issue of what is fast becoming a thug culture. I see it everyday at the local bus station, groups of teens loitering around intimidating people with abusive language and boisterous behaviour. What they’re lacking is respect. Is it the fault of the parents? in some cases most probably, but in most I think it’s down to peer pressure. The strong leading the weak and if the weak don’t fall into line they are bullied into running with the pack.

Many are calling for harsher penalties and for national Service to be reinstated, will it work? probably not. Yes the bored youth will be taught a trade and taught how to drive and maybe, just maybe they’ll learn a bit of self control, but when it comes down to the bare bones would those with the “gangsta” mind-set just be being taught a more efficient way of being violent? Yes I suppose it’s been brewing for some time, over the last few years there does seem to be an increase of young people on the streets late at night, yes alcohol is more freely available. but I was young once and I did go through a period where I was a challenging teen. But I learned from my mistakes and made new ones that I learned from. I grew up on a council estate but I never vandalised property, I may refer to the law enforcement community as “Rozzers” and at times I do think that the police are harsh in the way that they deal with people, but I respect the work that they do, without a police force the incidents we have witnessed recently would be a regular occurrence and we would have mob rule in a more intense form. What people need to realise is that cities like London, Birmingham and Manchester have millions of people from all cultures residing in them and out of those millions only a small percentage are accountable for the unrest that has taken place. The majority of teenagers are polite respectful people who will, one day, inherit this nation as their own. It is the responsibility of every British person to instil the virtues that they will need to keep this country free from the tyranny of those who seek to bring it to it’s knees. The vandals and thugs can do there utmost to demoralise us and keep us living in fear but as long as the people that respect our nations laws stand proud and maintain peaceful objection order will prevail.

It’s not about Human rights or even human wrongs, it’s about educating the wrongdoers and making them realise that they cannot act as they wish without repercussion. Perhaps those that have destroyed property should also be held into account when the repairs are made and the communities are rebuilt, maybe that way they would have put a part of themselves into the places they call home and would think twice before damaging it. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m just a poor misguided fool who can see a positive at the heart of something very negative. but I really do feel that if these people are incarcerated they will learn nothing, they must, at least be given a chance to repay the debt to society that they have incurred. Those that refuse should then be dealt with in a less lenient manner.

Do we blame the music they listen to? should we levy the blame on the manufacturers of the computer games that are played? Should we take into account that these people come from deprived backgrounds where they have had to struggle every day for a meal? these people that wear designer clothes and have the latest smartphone. Should we pass the buck over to the corporations that make the needful things like mobile phones and LCD televisions? Perhaps it is the fault of the retailers for the high prices, or the banks for the high interest rates. Perhaps, just perhaps, it is simply the greed of those who want the things they can’t afford and feel they have the right to just take them. The events of the last few days have had no real political agenda, there was no “cause” to uphold, it has been about selfish mobs running riot for no other reason than greed.

Disagree with me if you wish, you live in a country that gives you the right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression, but bear in mind that those rights should only be yours until you disregard the laws that as a resident of a country that I, and many like me, believe to be a good place. We take much for granted and as a people we are very easy going but how long will it be before we as a nation stand up and say we will take no more!

This is not about race or belief, this is about making the streets of this sceptred isle safe, and whilst I truly stand by the rights that each and every one of us are entitled to I will not condone the actions of a selfish few who feel that they can flout those rights and cast them aside when they become an inconvenience, the Human Rights Act is there to protect each and every one of us, the Police are charged with ensuring our safety and maintaining order, when act like animals you forfeit those right and you should be be entitled to nothing more than the most basic provision of that act. Through out the world there are those in much greater need than those who feel that not having the latest technological wonder is unfair. Consider those in the third world who have no idea of when the will get even the most simple meal, or if they will awaken the next morning. Think for a moment how easy it is for us to get a meal that satisfies our hunger or a drink that not only quenches our thirst but doesn’t carry the added risk of poisoning or killing us, consider this the next time you stroll past Currys and think about the 42 inch plasma TV that you could be watching Jeremy Kyle or East Coronation Dale on and spare a thought for the poor souls that are living in real poverty and genuine fear for their lives. Next time you feel compelled to kick your way through a shop window for a packet of value basmati rice stop and think that if you were to buy the rice and give to someone who truly needs it, you would make a difference, however slight, to a persons life that is positive and probably a lot more rewarding. Besides which, you’re less likely to receive a severe injury as the broken glass severs a major artery and lacerates the skin on your leg.

I will close with a thought that I borrow from a certain US presenter, take care of yourself, and each other.

Weekends away are always too short.

I haven’t blogged in a while as nothing much has happened to write about, but we’ve had a couple of events this week. It started on Monday when we took young Uji to the vets to be chipped. Considering what a little chap he is and the size of the needle thing the vet used to put the chip in him he made very little fuss, just a couple of whimpers. We also asked if his claws could be trimmed. So after the chip was done he was ready for a manicure. Dear lord you’d have thought he was being murdered, he screamed and squirm and screamed some more, then he tried to give the vet a “get off me” nip. Fortunately our vet is very patient and held no malice toward the poor boy and carried on, finally the job was done and little man now has blunter claws.

Not much happened for the rest of the week until Friday. I had the day off so that I could help Trudes with the final preparations for our trip to Bowood Country Show. Much planning had been done the week leading up to the event. We were due to leave at 17:30 on the Friday hoping to arrive at about 20:30 ish, I say “ish” as we would be hitting the M25 at rush hour and you can never tell how these things will pan out. Then a bit of panic set in when we were told that if we weren’t there by 21:00 the gates would be locked and we’d be locked out, that was a bit of a pain. Fortunately our designated driver arrange to collect the car we would be travelling in an hour earlier, Woo-hoo! Friday arrived and after that rarity that is a lie in on a weekday I got up and we set about the efforts of sorting out and packing and a trip into town to collect a few last minute overlooked bits. Whilst getting ready to head into town I received a text from the chauffer saying that he would be another hour early and was looking at a 15:45 set off. Oh lord, panic set in! I contacted the youngest member of  of our party saying that I would be helping her bring the last few bits they needed and we’d head up to the departure lounge, namely Trudes’ house. For the next bit I need to clarify that the original plan for transport was a three door Ford KA, this had been transmogrified into a Zetec which meant that there would be more room for the gear we were taking. Parker arrived and we set about filling up the car. All I’ll say is, it was a good thing that the car had been up graded as we wouldn’t have got half the stuff we were taking in the KA.

So at 16:00 we hit the road, an hour and a half ahead of the original schedule, the worry of the nine o’clock lock out banished from our heads thanks to the kindness of a certain Mum, muchos appreciation for that, To be honest our belaying of the worry wasn’t very long lived. As we approached the M26 the idiot map squealed an alert saying that there was a problem on the M25, the radio went on to an announcement of an over turned lorry that was blocking the clockwise and slowing down the anti-clockwise, uh-oh! This transpired to be resulting in a minimum four hour delay. So our driver made the executive decision to take the northern side of the M25 to the M4. we had a bit of a slow run through the Dartford Tunnel, but it only added about thirty miles to our journey. The M4 was a bit slow in places, but eventually we arrived at Bowood Country Estate at 20:00. we immediately got down to the business of setting up camp, Much thanks to the Manky one for the loan of camping equipment. Camp set up and laid out. after a hike to fetch water, which was made longer by a stupid security bloke sending me in the completely wrong direction, meant it was now well past beer o’clock so a couple of bottles were given a stern talking to, then up to the beer tent to sample some of the local ales. By the time we got to it the locals had reduces the ale supply to one barrel, it wasn’t all bad as the ale in question was a fine drop of stuff called Robin Hood, an odd name for a beer brewed in Wiltshire but it was rather good. A spot of socialising and back to base for more of the same and a quiet chat under the clouds and stars, plus a spot of makeshift astronomy. Finally to bed at about 01:00 but a few comments about feeling a bit sick and multiple excuse me journeys, one of which nearly resulted in a squished Uji. We didn’t get much sleep that night, Uji took his revenge on being nearly flattened by peeing on the bed at 5 in the morning, so we were up! At seven thirty I kicked our two snoring companions into action with the suggestion of a full English, after which it was agreed that we’d do our own the following morning.

Saturday was spent taking in the stalls and sights of the country show, pony racing, fly fishing demos, dog handling, birds of prey and all manner of country living activities. Unfortunately Trudes didn’t get to see much of the show itself as she was helping out on her friends stand. The main even for us was the Gillies Leap Fun Dog Show. We’d entered Uji and Ronnii in a couple of classes including best Pedigree, prettiest bitch and best Rescue over nine For Ronnii and best Puppy and prettiest eyes and best rescue under 9 for Uji. Ronnii came third in best rescue over 9 and poor little Uji didn’t get placed, oh well there’s always Sunday! Now those that know me well know how fond and proud I am of our pups and I’m not shy in admitting that when Ronnii got her third place award I did have a bit of a blub.

Saturday night was quieter than Friday, we all decided to have nosh of fish & chips and planned to have a couple of beers later in the evening. However our companions were rather exhausted, especially since one of them had been on the go since the early hours of Friday morning and then had to do a near 200 mile drive. They decided to have a bit of a snooze, apparently they woke up at 3 am on Sunday morning wondering where the night had gone. As for my Saturday nights kip, well it was better than Friday night except for the fact that every time I’d just dozed off I was woken up again by a finger jabbing me in the back of the head. Apparently I was being blamed for the noises being made by a wild boar that was near our tent, the bloomin’ cheek!

A lie in Sunday morning, well sort of, Trudes and I both got up as we needed an excuse me and we agreed that we’d give the pups a chance to do the same in the hope that Uji wouldn’t mark the bed as his own again. Everything went as planned and we managed to get a lie in, much needed after the torrential down pour during the night. Another day of country living displays and entering the pups in competitions, this time Uji went in best pedigree and best rescue under 9 and Ronnii went in best veteran and best rescue over nine (again), Uji got two special awards, in best pedigree for entering the event naked, bless him and best rescue under nine for being a rescue dog. Ronnii came fifth in best veteran and FIRST (woo-hoo) in best rescue over 9, I will be honest and say that there were only two entrants for this class so it was a joint first, but it’s a first all the same so I’m extremely proud of my little lady.

The human highlight of the weekend, aside from spending it with brilliant mates and a wonderful misses was the fact that our junior member changed her mind about the type of dog she would like. she started off wanting a pug, she then said she wanted a spaniel before saying that she wanted a wolf hound. Wolf hounds are huge, Google them, you could put a saddle on the thing and ride it.

All to soon the weekend came to a close and we headed home. Not too much trouble with the traffic, a bit of a worry early on but it wasn’t a bad run. Four hours later we were home and unloaded and we said fond farewells to our friends.

It was a brilliant weekend, Ronnii spent most of Sunday off the lead as we walked around and Uji spent a high proportion of the weekend being doted over as he was the only Chinese Crested at the event. The pups are shattered as are me and Trudes so I’m off for a shower and Bed before work in the morning.

G’night all.

PS, I didn’t take a great deal of pics but those that I did will be posted in the usual places.

PPS, I forgot to say a bloomin’ mahoosive thanks to my bro for driving us to and from Wiltshire, without him we wouldn’t have gone. A special thanks also goes to my Boo for entertaining with her indecisiveness over the size of the dog she wanted.