Archives for the month of: April, 2011
Apparently these are the two most pressing questions in the world this morning. It’s got to be a good day when questions like that are the things we’re most concerned about as a nation.

For my part I am a very British royalist. That is to say I’m supportive when they’re good and derisive when they’re bad but like all Brits I believe that the continuity of our historical traditions is the one thing that sets us apart from the rest of the world. We may not be the oldest country in the world but for such a small island there isn’t anywhere that we haven’t had an impact (good and bad).

Ultimately this continuity is maintained by having a monarchy that flexes and changes to fit it’s role into whatever the world may be expecting of it. 30 years ago, could you imagine the Royal family allowing trees in the church for Charles and Diana’s wedding? It seems our Monarchary learned some big lessons from that era and while the change may not be something that they’ve found particularly easy, it is something they’ve suceeded in doing.

The eyes of the world are upon us – 180 countries have taken the live feed of the events and there are over 6000 journalists in the capital. There’s a whisper that Her Maj may bestow a new title on the current Miss Middleton, and if I was a gambling man, I think a flutter on the queens hat being blue, and Prince Charles not becoming King would both be worth a flutter. But I digress into rumour and conjecture.

We’re having a street party, but unlike these buffoons, ours won’t be until about 1pm after the wedding itself and is likely to involve beer and bar-b-q’s.


I mean it’s 7.30 in the morning for heavens sake!!!!

All that remains is to thank the lovely bridesmaids for being, so, Ermmm, lovely? And to wish the happy couple all the very best of British luck for their future together. So ladies and gentlemen, charge your glasses and please be upstanding for their royal highnesses, William and Kate. Here’s to a great time for one and all.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

My deep seated fear of dentists comes from an event in my formative years that has left me deeply scared and general afraid of having my teeth prodded or poked in any way. While I was in hospital having my wisdom teeth extracted at the age of 17, I woke up on the operating table. I still have a vivid recollection of blood, my blood, and lots of it, and a general commotion amongst the staff involved. It wasn’t for long, seconds rather than minutes, and when I awoke in my hospital bed it seemed rather like a bad dream. My recovery was long and slow, and I’ve never felt less inspired by professionals since that moment.

I’ve had the odd brush (no pun intended) with dentistry in the intervening years. Some how I managed to maintain two of my milk teeth and about 10 years ago had to finally loose one of them (I still have the other and he’s doing just fine). That called for a visit to a dental chair, and not one that I enjoyed. The pain was long lasting and only served to reinforce my feelings on the subject.

Alongside the physical pain of dental work, there’s the financial pain as well. This is something that really grates on me. Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand that a trained professional deserves to be remunerated appropriately for their skill and execution of what is really minor surgery. What I don’t understand is why we bother getting the NHS involved ? It seems to me that NHS dentistry is a lost cause.

If you can find one (and it’s a big if), your friendly NHS dentist will be possibly the most overworked man on the planet. Because the cost of the service is subsidised by the taxpayer (via the government) it’s very reasonably priced, and as such in great demand. In fact, in some areas, mine included, demand is so high that the first available appointment may not be for a month. Of course, if it’s an emergency, there is a system in place for this too. A special number you call where miraculously they’ll find you a dentist. Of course, a pre-requisite for this is that they answer the phone. I’m sure you’re starting to understand the frustration. In the end, I’ve sadly thrown in the towel on the NHS dental system and shelled out the big bucks. There’s only so much pain one can take. I did some background research for good local dentists and paid 35 quid to talk to a receptionist. That said, a hour later I was sat in the chair and an hour after that I was back home with a wad of cotton wool in my gums, half a numb face and £100 quid and two teeth lighter.

They were a pleasure to deal with and I think this tiny dentists surgery tucked away a few hundred yards from home might just be the people to restore my faith in the dental profession. I’m sure the fact that they’ve alleviated my pain is clouding my judgement somewhat, but for now that was the best money I’ve spent this year.

I’ve kept the monster tooth, just to scare the kiddies with a Christmas and birthday parties. I might have it mounted.


Take care, and brush your teeth.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

…they come not single spies, But in battalions.
Stand well back…
<Grumpy Old Man Mode: ON>
Which is Shakespeare’s (Hamlet) way of saying – it never rains, but it pours. As years go, 2011 would so far, easily be, as the queen once so famously put it, our Annus Horribilis (“horrible year”).  We’ve had the daughter broken arm/lost job debacle and we’ve had the Starfleet bufoonery, and we’ve had the loss of my cousins wife to the Big C.
We now have Great step-garandmother-in-law (Its complicated – don’t ask) moving out of her flat and into a home which has begun a spate of cardigan theft. The imminent loss of our very close friend L’s father – also to the big C. Mrs G’s friend, S’s discovery of a “lump” and finally my near death experience with tooth-ache that is prooving a right royal bar steward to get sorted out.  Don’t get me started about NHS dentists and how much of a rip off in general the denitstry system is. I you’re wondering – I’m still in significant pain without any sign of a thieving dentist.  Never looking a gift horse in the mouth isn’t something that phases these findividuals (and yes, that F is intentional)
On top of this we have a mix of government that are cutting everything while charging more via the back door and on the surface don’t actually appear to be fixing anything. The cost of everything is going through the roof. I packed up smoking last year – and thank god for small mercies, having recently seen a packet of 16 (yes only 16) cigarettes in a vending machine priced at 8 quid!!!  8 QUID???!!  What the be-jesus is that all about?  That means, one cigarette would cost you 50p!  For a 19 year old apprentice, that means almost 4 hours work without putting a roof over their head or eating anything!?  What happened to the simple pleasures – even if they were bad for you?
On a global scale, Japan, Libya, & Syria… in fact, the whole of the middle east!  I’m not one to swear in my blog often, but fecking hell… this is getting stupid now.
In short I am not a happy bunny!
<Grumpy Old Man Mode: OFF>
.. and so, instead of being a GOM (sorry, but I had to vent a little), let’s try and focus on the good stuff.  What’s positive that’s been happening or is on the cards ?
I’m on holiday (even if I am spending it with my hand clamped roughly to my jaw) as we’re now almost precisly in the gap between bank holidays. There’s the fothcoming flag waving of the royal wedding to look forward to – that should help shouldn’t it?? No? .. well, OK, but I am on holiday still.  Sort of.
“The Pooh” and I are still awaiting news from the front, but it’s a bit slow in coming. I keep checking, but it’s like the proverbial “watched pot”, and is never boiling. At some point, it will boil over and then it’ll be all hands to the pumps and manning the gas tap as it’s bound to wash the burning ring out.
The previous weekend has been a cracker though – and no mistake.  Mrs G and I took a trip to North Nibley.  “Where?”, I hear you ask.
View Larger Map
It’s a beautiful little village near Dursley in Gloucestershire. What drew us here was a recent news story regarding the people of Nibley and their monument.   It starts with an uphill struggle through the woods and eventually to a gate that opens out onto a field atop the hill.  And there before you sits the 111-foot-tall monument.

It says here:

William Tyndale was born in Gloucestershire around 1490. He spent much of his early life in Nibley, Stinchcombe and Slimbridge before going on to Magdalen Hall, Oxford, from which he graduated with a BA in 1512. After this he spent some time in Cambridge before employment as tutor to the children of Master Walsh, a Knight of Sodbury Manor, Gloucestershire.
It was while as Sodbury, William Tyndale seriously began to consider translating the New Testament into English. At this time, the doctrines preached by Martin Luther on the continent were being discussed in England and Tyndale accepted them and preached them in Sodbury and villages around.
After some time he went to London and there, continued studying and preaching. But persecution was too strong and he made his way to Wittenburg, the home of Luther and joined an enthusiastic band of students who had gathered there. Here he prepared his translation of the New Testament which he had printed in Antwerp and then had copied smuggled into this country.
Shortly after this William Tyndale was put into prison by the Emperor of Germany on a charge of heresy. At his trial he pleaded that the doctrines he taught were contained in the Bible and that the Bible ought to be in a language which everyone could read. His defence was of no avail and subsequently in the courtyard of Vilvorde Castle near Brussels he was chained to a stake and burnt.
The date was October 6th, 1536.
A facsimile of the Tyndale New Testament can be seen in the lobby of North Nibley Tabernacle.

The monument was built between 1863 and 1866 to commemorate the work of William. The land around the monument as always been freely accessible to the public, but now the landowner wants to sell up.  The villagers have an apeal going to raise the £46,000 needed to keep it as it is today.  It’s a beautiful area with a cracking pub – something we don’t have enough of anymore. I’d highly recommend a couple of hours here to anyone should you be passing. Proper smashing.
Right then – it’s time to find a dentist that won’t mug me….   That will be a struggle.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

This sunshine seems to just keep on giving which is very disturbing when you’re British and it’s still April. However, not wishing to complain we can do naught but make the very best of it. Make hay, as the saying goes.
With that in mind, Saturday saw Mrs G and I taking to our two wheeled friends for a six miler out and about the city. Gloucester has more than it’s fair share of roughneck areas, but it also has one or two gems. The docks and the cathedral are the two most obvious ones.
Even though I’ve lived around here for nigh on 10 years I have yet to step foot in the cathedral proper. Given that I’ve got the week free, and as it’s a religious time of year (although I should point out that I am not the most religious person on the planet by any stretch of the imagination) I might well try and pay the place a visit in the coming days. Expect photos should that come to fruition. Of course those of you that are familiar with “The boy who lived” will already have espied the cloisters of the cathedral as it’s been the location for many Hogwarts scenes for Harry Potter 1 through to 6.
On a related note I’ve been catching up with Mr Potter’s goings on by having a Potter fest of movies and am now ready to take on part 7a, although I suspect I may wait until 7b is available too. Just want to add though, that the franchise has got better and better as it’s gone on. 5 and 6 are my favourites having finally got sone proper meat on the bones of the story. If you haven’t seen the full set, it’s recommended viewing for anyone who likes a bit of fantasy/adventure/type stuff.
To get back to my point… Mrs G and I’s hunt for Easter eggs. That’s what we were doing out on the bikes in the first place. We trundled into town and after searching high and low failed miserably to find exactly what we were looking for in any of the big-name retail outlets. A lickle corner shop came to our rescue though and all was right with the world.
The return trip was via the docks and it was particularly beautiful on such a sun-shiny day. Even the dry dock was filled up and ready to re-launch it’s most recent guest.
Once we’d arrived back at the ranch plans were laid for today’s BBQ spectacular at BBB’s house. All very confusing, but then it is Monday. Or is it Wednesday? Could be Sunday. Frankly I have no idea.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

To quote Lebowski:

The Big Lebowski: Are you employed sir?
The Dude: Employed?
The Big Lebowski: You don’t go out looking for a job dressed like that? On a weekday?
The Dude: Is this a…  what day is this?

It’s a good point, and to be honest over the next week or two is going to become a well asked question. With no less than 4 bank holidays either side of the next two weekends we really don’t have a cat in hells chance of knowing what day it is from one sunrise to the next. Right now, it could be a Friday, or a Saturday, or at a stretch it might be Sunday. Hmmm it’s all very confusing.

Anyway, whatever day it is, it seems I can treat it as if it were a Saturday, so I’ve started it off with a mowing of the lawn. Bit of a walk to the local shop (for local people) with Mrs G and drive to “Countrywide” to pick up some growbags with daughter. Back at the ranch and positioning and planting of said bags brings us nicely round to mid afternoon. Strawberries and tomatoes if you were wondering.
Got a sausage casserole on the go in the slow cooker for this evenings dinner, other than that, it’s all about the sunshine. What a gorgeous day.
Finally, just a little geek news…. Seems that the behemoth that is the Playstation Network (Sony’s equivalent of X-Box Live) is off line and has been for about 24 hours with no articulated reason.  Some people pay for the premium level service on this network. I imagine they’re extremely upset and the result could well cause long term damage to sony’s mostly unblemished record to date.
And secondly, just how green is the iPhone (you know, the one that tracks your movements)

Geekaphone’s How Green is the iPhone Infographic

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

While this may not be the Easter bunny, it’s definitely Simon’s Cat. Enjoy

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Taken at Hing Tai

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Me and the Pooh have been strolling round the edge of the 100-acre wood with plenty of malarkey again today.  We’re both sure there’s a style around here somewhere that will enable us to get in there and round up a few pheasants. Sadly, even if we found it, Christopher Robin won’t let us climb up and over it and venture into the forest…. at least not yet…  but that time is fast approaching and no doubt.

Looking down the hill from our vantage point towards the old village, we can see a couple of other woodland folk chasing rabbits along the hedgerow. But that’s rabbits for you, even if you catch them, they’ve mostly got mixi.

For those of you that don’t know about such country ways let me explain by way of a short tale regarding a rabbit that I once knew.  This particular rabbit was fond of the good old croque monseuir (brevelle / toasted sandwhiches to you and I).  He’d often be seen hanging around the tea rooms in the village and sneaking in for a swift snack.  He’d often have a cheese one around 11am, and then a ham one around midday, only to be back in again at 1pm for a tuna one (should Mrs Miggins have her larder up to stock). This way of things was fine for a little while and our friend (let’s call him Ron) was happy with his lot – as was Mrs Miggins with the carrots that she was recieving in payment. I digress…. 

After a couple of weeks, Ron fell ill and completely lost his appetitie.  Off he went to see his local quack (a duck obviously) who listened carefully and then presented him with the diagnosis.  Feeling blue and miserable he moched off home to the warren and shared his woes with Mrs Ron.  “So what’s up ?” said she.  “Ahh, I’m not well” he replied. “And what does the quack have to say?” she enquired…  “Well, I’ve had it” said our Ron. “I’m doomed and life will be short for I have…..” wait for it……    MixingMeToasties!!

Anyway…   Sorry about that.

Back to the Malarkey…..


malarkey – noun

silly behaviour or nonsense<

I like the socializing but I can’t be bothered with the dressing up and all that malarkey.
View Larger Map
View Larger Map


PS: Sorry about the comedy Tag – First rule of comedy???….. Be Funny.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Viddy is Instagram for Video. And now has 15,000 new users a day, without advertising or press. Why not check out this application on the App Store? Early days for good ratings and possibly too much take up too soon?

Cover Art


Viddy, Inc.

Category: Social Networking

Updated: 02 Apr 2011

21 Ratings

A bit more on the subject here:

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

This post originally appeared here: Posterous