Tuesday, 31 March 2009


I'm not going to bore you with in depth details of my holiday - so I will try to be brief. My second trip to Morzine was pretty good - I last went around 15 years ago!

I went with one of my brothers (I have 2 brothers, have I ever mentioned that?) and 2 of his 3 sons (one is 13, the other 10). The kids were hyper most of the week and the 4 of us were sharing 1 room! The chalet that we were staying in with 14 others was "OK" - but could be really nice with some thought. However, the food cooked by our chalet maids (though one was a guy) was amazing - top marks to them for producing 5 star meals.

The ski area is huge around Morzine and I really enjoyed the snow at the start of the week. It also snowed heavily for a couple of days. Towards the end of the week it had warmed up and even rained a bit - but it didn't stop me from attacking the toughest slopes. Me and my brother managed to stand on the four highest peaks - though he didn't like one of the chair lifts as he hates heights!

And as for the cute French guys!!! Wow... they look so good and so fit. And when you consider that some are ski instructors, that makes them extra cool in my book.

France can be expensive for drink and food, and when you add the "ski resort" tag, expect to pay a further premium. Soft drinks are the same price as beer, though my idea of the kids having 3 Euro beer instead of 3 Euro Coke was not taken on board.

In the next posting, I'll mention some "people watching" while in the chalet and some anti-gay comments that has festered for days.

It's back to work now...

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Holiday ends today

I am back from skiing at Morzine in France. I will blog about this soon, including some interesting people watching stuff. But for now (as I am so so tired), here is a video clip I took of a Sheepdog stalking and then trying to catch a cable car last week! He was having so much fun and must have done this a dozen times!

Monday, 23 March 2009

One Hundred Posts

This is the 100th entry on my blog! Who'd have thought I would have got this far?! It started out with rants and moans and has developed into something else - something more positive, challenging, entertaining (for me anyway) and a place to collect my thoughts.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far: the guest bloggers, those who commented and even those who just visited. Here are links to some of my favourite entries.... and here's to the next 100!

To celebrate this fine day, here are some random and dull facts about the number 100 as filler!

100 is the number of tiles in a standard Scrabble set
100 is the atomic number of fermium
There are 100 pence in an English pound
100 is the minimum distance in yards for a Par 3 on a golf course
The 100 Club is a music venue at 100 Oxford Street in London
The year 100 was a leap year starting on Wednesday.

Friday, 20 March 2009

That Friday feeling - blog entry 99

So the week draws to an end and I am rather happy as I am off on holiday for a week. I am going skiing on Sunday with my brother and 2 mad nephews - leaving Pete 'home alone'. I will pre-post my 100th blog, but in the meantime, here are some unanswered questions that have come to mind over the past few days for you to mull over:

Will a four piece Barenaked Ladies work?

Will I sell a photograph from my "portfolio" some time soon?!

How did anyone think that the pile of crap that is Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was worthy of a release at all?!

Will Fleetwood Mac come to the UK this summer?

Would I look good in a waistecoat as I like the slimming style?

Will Fernando Torres strip off after a game if I asked nicely?

Whose idea was it to put an 'S' in the word 'lisp'?

Why did the ancient Britons put a big white horse on top of a hill for the birds to see?

Will the Beatles ever release remastered tracks

Will I ever be able to find a cheap 500mm mirror lens on eBay?

Will someone buy me one of the new Dell Adamo laptops?

Was the crappy meeting this week a sign for me to find a new job?

How can some say that Simon Jordan's time at Crystal Palace has been a success? - he took a club sitting in the middle of the second tier of English football, that was financially poor, had a bunch of below average players, didn't own it's stadium and had low attendance and turned it into a club sitting in the middle of the second tier of English football, that is financially poor, has a bunch of below average players, doesn't own it's stadium and has low attendance .

Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?

Why is it that no matter what colour bubble bath you use the bubbles are always white?

Answers on a postcard.


Your help please... On the 30th April, it's "honesty day" - so I thought I would produce a blog entry on or near the day to honestly answer anything you have to ask! Anything!!! So, drop me an email at the address shown on the right or leave a comment.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

I hold the record!

I had a very unusual meeting today and I now hold the record within our team for the shortest meeting with a client... ever!

I arrived right on time and met Mr Client with a view to discussing some specific areas of our service as had been agreed. Colleague X, who is the main contact from my company was not attending but hadn't bothered telling Mr Client. This upset Mr Client a lot and he then started on about how unprofessional my company is because he sees a different person every time (not true), so I tried to explain that my role is a specialist one and that was the reason for the meeting. This didn't calm him down at all and he then went on to moan about other service issues he has had recently. He then paused... and said... "I am bringing this meeting to a close" and gave me back my business card!

The meeting had lasted 2 minutes! The secretary was quite shocked as I walked past her down the stairs as she was bringing me coffee.

Although I appreciate some of his views were valid, there are better ways to deal with problems. I certainly would never have acted like this when I used to do Mr Client's job.

He is obviously the type of person that you work with for months and even years, enjoying what you think to be a good business relationship and when one thing goes wrong, he throws a temper tantrum and says "I am never working with you again".

What a great day!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Pete's birthday

Last week was Pete's birthday and as he takes such things far more seriously than I do, we decided to go away for the weekend. The usual trip to France was replaced by a credit crunch busting trip to Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds.

We had booked 2 hotels (1 for Friday and 1 for Saturday) ages ago, making use of a special offer. We travelled to Witney on Friday morning and, to ensure my employer paid some of the fuel, I met a client for a couple of hours while Pete looked round the shops and filled himself with lardy cake.

We then drove to Oxford and had a look around the city. Neither of us had been there before so we did a few tourist things including climbing the old church tower, looking round the shops and enjoying the architecture and general feel of the place. After a break at the hotel, we went back into Oxford for the evening. We started at the old castle, which was also a prison, but now a top hotel. It's a very impressive building. We had a couple of drinks in a bar that used to be the visitors room - a 3 story high space all painted black. It is a great place to relax and enjoy the cute waiters. After dinner in a packed, buzzing restaurant (with 50% discount using an internet voucher!) we had a couple more drinks.

Early on Saturday we drove to Uffington to climb the hill to see the white horse on the hill. For a chalk horse that is potentially 3000 years old, the design is stunning. One amazing fact is that you cant get a good view of it without seeing it from the air - what did our ancient relatives have in mind?! There is also the remains of a hill fort there.

We visited various places including Faringdon and Stow On The Wold before arriving at the second hotel in Burford. Could this be the most beautiful little town in England? We saw Kate Moss out shopping (though Pete had to point her out to me).

On Sunday, after a brisk walk in the sunshine and a crap breakfast, we headed back home via the outlet village.

It was a tiring, but enjoyable weekend.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Giving someone a bad name

Pete and I have been away for the weekend in Oxfordshire. I will write a bit about that later in the week as I am knackered! In the meantime, here is something funny I saw online. According to some research by TheBabyWebsite.com , there are people with some really awkward names in the UK:

Justin Case
Barb Dwyer
Stan Still.
Terry Bull
Paige Turner
Mary Christmas
Anna Sasin (my favourite!)
Doug Hole
Hazel Nutt
Stan Still
Rose Bush
Joe King
Barry Cade
Carrie Oakey (another good one!)
Tim Burr

Your help please... On the 30th April, it's "honesty day" - so I thought I would produce a blog entry on or near the day to honestly answer anything you have to ask! Anything!!! So, drop me an email at the address shown on the right or leave a comment.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009


I have been in London for a couple of days on a 'communication skills' course - an area I struggle with. The focus for much of the time was on NLP, something I would seriously like to learn more about. I learnt quite a lot and am keen to try our some of the approaches. I hope the results don't set me back!

Anyway.... I took my camera with me, as I usually do and was told off by a security guard for taking a picture of a building. I was so shocked at his pettiness and I didn't really have a good come back - so I ignored him - the pathetic little man. I have hundreds, if not thousands of photographs of places and people in London. So, I have put together a collage, pretty much with a random selection. for your delight. Click on the images to make them larger.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Hudson river landing

I am not one for just adding random links to my blog, but I found this so fascinating that I thought I would break my own rule! This is a computer generated recreation of the Hudson River landing, complete with the actual recording of air traffic control.

Your help please... On the 30th April, it's "honesty day" - so I thought I would produce a blog entry on or near the day to honestly answer anything you have to ask! Anything!!! So, drop me an email at the address shown on the right or leave a comment.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Tommy who?

These one liners were sent to me by a friend and some made me laugh out loud. They are said to be in the style of the late Tommy Cooper, who was a famous English comedian (for those who are young and/or outside of the UK). Although he died over 20 years ago, he is fondly remembered for his (purposefully) bungled magic tricks and one liners that were so silly, they were funny. So in the style of Tommy...

I met this bloke with a didgeridoo and he was playing Dancing Queen on it. I thought, 'That's Aboriginal.'

I told my girlfriend I had a job in a bowling alley. She said 'Tenpin?' I said, 'No, permanent.'

My mate is in love with two schoolbags. He's bi-satchel.

I met the bloke who invented crosswords today. I can't remember his name, its P something T something R.

I was reading this book today, The History of Glue. I couldn't put it down.

I phoned the local ramblers club today, but the bloke who answered just went on and on.

The recruitment consultant asked me 'What do you think of voluntary work? I said 'I wouldn't do it if you paid me.'

This cowboy walks in to a German car showroom and he says 'Audi!'

I fancied a game of darts with my mate. He said, 'Nearest the bull goes first' He went 'Moooo' and I went 'Moo' He said 'You're closest'

I phoned the local gym and I asked if they could teach me how to do the splits. He said, 'How flexible are you?' I said, 'I can't make Tuesdays or Thursdays.'

I visited the offices of the RSPCA today. It's tiny: you couldn't swing a cat in there...

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Music ain't what it used to be

Here's a bold statement for you: we don't appreciate music like we used to.

I believe that most music lovers today, including myself, don't treasure the purchase like we used to, because music is so readily available. Bob Lefsetz on his
Lefsetz letter podcast (which I subscribe to via iTunes) described it well. He said that when he went to college in the early 1970's he had more LP's than any other person on campus and that was still only a fraction of the albums on the average iPod today.

Growing up in the 1980's, I had around 15 LPs and then got into CDs - but even then, it was a couple of years before I amassed more than 25. A CD used to cost more than today - if it had kept pace with inflation, a standard single CD would now be £20-25.
Each LP or CD I bought was listened to carefully and studiously. I knew every track of every release I owned: the reasons why I liked or disliked a song. I listened out for each nuance, sound, idea, structure and feel within each piece of music and I read and re-read the sleeve notes. I certainly appreciated the music more than I do today.

Having thought about this since listening to Bob's podcast, and considering how I love music, I am perhaps enjoying it less due to the huge choice (I have nearly 5,500 songs on my iPod). I now buy a CD or download an album, listen to it... and move on. I don't have the personal interaction with every song on an album I used to have and I miss that. So my aim is to revisit some of the music I have purchased lately and truly appreciate it... or at least understand why I don't like it.

While on the topic of music, I have recently figured out why I don't like rap music.

Rap doesn't work for me for 2 reasons: (1) Rap lacks humour and (2) they rant about completely false situations. The rap guys who claim to be gangsta doods with their ho's are full of bull. They are acting a part and are unlikely to risk losing their privileged lifestyle by getting involved in crime. They sing about stereotypical scenarios and I don't have an interest in their immature, exaggerated and aggressive stories. This leads impressionable youths to think that crime is cool and anyone who gets in their way has to be dealt with.

So why is rap popular? In my view, partly the rhythms are good and very occasionally a rapper goes off course and produces some original lyrics, but mainly I think it mainly appeals to people who aren't interested in melody and get something from the lyrics. That's no bad thing and I am not saying that rap can't be appreciated in addition to "real" music. I can enjoy the beats (but don't really like the rapping part), but as for the anger, bravado, anti-gay slurs and sexist views - you can keep that (c)rap thanks.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Sunday and movies

A relatively quiet weekend, but I managed to get a few things done around the house and garden and still have time to eat rubbish and drink beer and wine.

It's been a while since I told you about the films we have received by Lovefilm.com and also on TV - so here's my summary from my movie list on
IMDB with my ratings:

The Untouchables 8
[An oldish film I missed first time round, but good all the same]
Happiness 5
[shocking and although tried to be funny, I found it distasteful]
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 8
[I hate Jim Carrey, except when he actually acts! - very good film!]
Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon 3
[oh dear James Bond! - arty claptrap]
The Living End 4
[I like a good gay film - this isn't one of them]
The Darjeeling Limited 8
[A quirky film, but really enjoyed it]
Scoop 6
[Woody Allen has made some awful films in recent years such as Matchpoint, this as just about OK]
Mysterious Skin 7
[shocking, but thoughtful gay-ish film]
Silent Running 6 [I had hoped for a classic, idea great... acting awful]

Eagle vs Shark 5 [Pete liked it, I just found it annoying]
300 4
[Stupid and childish]
Air Force One 4
[Really unbelievable and so over the top pro-America that it was funny]
Leatherheads 7
[Not bad, but didn't need to silly chase scenes]
Lars and the Real Girl 4 [Another annoying film, I gave up before the end]
Latter Days 6
[An OK gay film, but needed more story before they fell in love]
The History Boys 6 [typical play that doesn't quite work on screen]
The Savages 8
[thoughtful and worth seeing]
The Family Stone 2
[absolutely crap story and annoying characters]

On Sunday, Pete and I took out the bikes for the first time this year. We cycled down country lanes and dirt tracks and I was knackered! My fitness level is so low and I had to push a few times. Pathetic! I may be going skiing with my brother in 3 weeks and if I cant manage a bit of cycling, the skiing could be tough going. It's not helped by the crap we ate yesterday... toast, scone, doughnut, hula-hoops, twix, dinner, cheese, beer and wine.

On a negative note, a significant number of my colleagues were "placed at risk of redundancy" this week at the company I work at - that basically means that in 3 months they will be out of work. I am fine... for now, but some of these people had worked there for over 10 years and are obviously upset. We shall see what happens with work over the coming weeks and months.