Showing posts from April, 2010

D Day

Well nearly. D Day of course is 6th June but my D day is now 1st June. i.e. the day I leave my employment after 18 years 11 months. So the last couple of years I've found difficult - I like many of the people I work with - they are funny, intelligent, loyal etc. I get paid a ridiculous amount of money esp when you look at what those in developing nations get paid. The buildings are nice etc. However I seem disconnected from the main purpose of our business, I don't disagree with it which was my issue when I moved on from a defence contractor once many years ago but in the job I do now I'm just more removed from the "real work" of the company - I've become an IT outsourcing account manager just on the side of the parent company not the outsourcer. Also the company in the UK is contracting and has been for some time... all manufacturing has gone to Ireland and elsewhere (better corporation tax) buildings have shut other bits are being relocated to mainland Euro

Love and Acceptance

This post was inspired by a post by Suburbia... Back in the old days I used to drink. Seems like very old days now, I'm about 2 weeks off hitting 6 years sobriety - amazing! You know I look back sometimes and it's almost like watching an old movie with some bloke I used to vaguely know in it. Odd. True though that I do feel at times very disconnected from that old persona of mine. Here's one little example. Back in the old days when I used to drink I often used to say "I love you" to my wife. However just as often and I think on occasions more than I'd say that I'd say "Do you love me?" . Early on as I was sobering up I realised how dumb this was. Why did I need to keep asking? Insecurity; obviously but also because the relationship was all about me not about her and not about a partnership of love. I had blinding flash one day - well sort of - which was all I could do was love her and hope that the love was reciprocated but if not there

What day is it?

I had a rubbish start to today. I opened my eyes and looked at the clock which said something like 5:48am. So I got out of bed and went to the bathroom. When I got back into bed my wife said "Why'd you do that - you're getting up in a few moments". "It's only just before six" I replied. "It's Monday" was her reply. WHAT! I thought it was Sunday - I'd lost a whole day. Never mind just as the resentment was taking hold the alarm went off and I had to drag my arse out of bed whatever. I then got to the swimming pool and the lady on reception said "The pool is a bit warmer than usual. We are trying to fix the problem". Too right it was I have baths cooler than that! It was a bit of an effort to complete my 50 lengths frankly. However all such trivial issues and my wife did cheer me up saying that I can have a lie in next Monday as it is a Bank Holiday! My son also cheered me up with him texting me a photo of a new guitar he has

New profile photo

From a photo shoot with my son the other day... I like this one. :-)


I've got tickets to see them in October at The O2... yipeee!!! So two threads to this post... the first is about the group and me... Supertramp were a hugely important band to me. In 1974 I'd just moved from primary school to the large grammar school which was a bus ride away (I was only there a year as then it merged with the school at the bottom of my road and became a very odd bi-lateral comprehensive with both grammar stream and non-selective streams - it is like that now still an oddity in Kent which still has the horribly divisive 11plus system). Anyway I was already pretty music mad and was probably also searching for something different, not in the mainstream which I could identify mnore with than the pop stuff of the time and something different from my siblings I suppose as well. Supertramp were a huge part of that growing process for me. After hearing Dreamer as a single I bought Crime of the Century - which I still rate as one of my favourite ever albums and find

British Music Experience

The BME exhibition is a permanent exhibit in the "bubble" at The O2 (old Millennium Dome) in Greenwich. We went last summer and I really enjoyed it... what do you expect with my interest in music. So last week we blagged some free tickets for an evening entry so we trooped off there again. There are "pods" off the central core area that are based on various eras in music since the second world war. In them they have lots of museum like exhibits and other stuff to look at, listen too, etc. Basically after a couple of hours it was obvious the rest of the family were flagging... well my son had wondered off to the guitar studio where you can play various Epiphone guitars... there are some Gibson's on the wall but you can't get them down... including a Dusk Tiger or whatever it's called but I wasn't impressed with the look of it... so we came away but again I think I need to go back and spend more time there. Although you get a ticket with a code on i

Some people just oooze talent

Roll up and feast your ears and eyes on my great friend Sue Menhart in her new video. This is "The Choice" a great great song from a great great singer...

Hey Big Spender!!!

... that was one of the highlights of my first ever "gig" sober playing with other musicians. Sat night was a mate's celebration - very odd a private party for alcoholics in a hired bar in a small local theatre - my daughter found that we were in the bar the funniest bit. The mate in question is a bass player and in a trio with a singer and keyboards... somewhere along the line he asked me to take part. So I turn up about an hour before everyone else - we run through Green Onions (in G not F which I knew it in!) and talk about a couple of other things. Then we were into the "show". Most of the time I was sight reading over the shoulder of the keyboard player. What a nightmare! However I did get through it - several people commented that it was good and when I told them it was all without rehearsal they were surprised, so I suppose that is a compliment.

Back from Wales

We've been over to Wales to drop my son back off at university. Lovely weather for a couple of days. Makes a change in Wales. Not a bad drive - M1 a bit stuffed up with ghouls rubber necking what looked to be an awful crash on the north bound carriageway. Gillingham - can't beat Brighton but can beat Leeds - go figure! What chance we do actually avoid the drop? I also think a Red Bull will win in China tomorrow.

Oliver! Birthday celebrations

Yesterday was Mrs F's fortysomething birthday. We went to London to see Oliver! Very good I have to say. Obviously it has to be one of the best know musicals is there anyone who doesn't know Food Glourious Food, Pick a pocket or two etc. or the Oliver Twist story. Griff Rhys Jones was playing Fagin and played it very well he did. Enough of "him" in it for himself to shine through but keeping the much loved characterisation popularised in the film. Pretty much the cast especially the boys playing Oliver, Dodger and the other urchins were brilliant. One thing that really impressed me though was the scenery. There was much use of bits going up and down to create Fagin's Den but also bridges etc. However it was the back scenes and use of brilliant side scenes that made the stage look to be miles deep and really added hugely to the atmosphere. We had a meal in Covent Garden - gave my Mother-in-law and daughter their first trips on the new "high speed ser

Jeff Beck - Emotion & Commotion

I've been listening to this via Spotify and have had no option but to order the special edition with a live set DVD included. Absolutely and utterly simply stunning. Jaw droppingly beautiful. His version of Nessun Dorma is amazing, Serene floats you away to a colourful river under a pink sky where it is warm and the world is at one with you and you with it. The bluesy I Put A Spell On You with Joss Stone is ace... but the opening Corpus Christi Carol and the unbelievable closing Elegy For Dunkirk completely restore your faith in music and how there are some a very small number of humans (or maybe they are alien :-)) who can connect to your emotional inner self through the medium of music so directly so forcefully it blows you quite simply away. So difficult to classify is it rock, blues, jazz or classical? Yes! The man is quite simply a blinking genius. BTW until today Slash's new solo album had shot into my consciousness as one of the best albums of the year... which it

Just what I didn't need...

I had a letter to post this morning. So as I do on many days when I need to do that I leave my house turn right at the end of the road go a hundred yards or so and pull up on the right next to the post box. I jump out to put the letter in the post box - noting that a car was pulling off the drive just up from where I was parked. As I put the letter in... smash! I turned back to see that the lady backing out had clearly not seen my car and reversed into it! Brilliant! It's only superficial damage to the bumper and as currently it is still a company car on a lease scheme it is now their problem to fix and does't cost me a penny. But something I could really have done without thank you very much!!!

My Thumb hurts

It was a "pleasant valley Sunday" yesterday. I actually forgot I was supposed to go somewhere for an AA workshop... oopps! Never mind I can catch up on that later. Anyway - I had to put a new "soil spike" in - it's the thing in the lawn that is the hold to put the new washing line into. Hell's teeth! I think there was more bricks under our lawn than in the house! Much swearing, a couple of pieces of broken wood an it was in. However it is distorted as it has had to find a gap in the bricks under my lawn - the pole still goes in but the cover will never close now. Then I tried to help Mrs F re tie a wire that holds a bush thing up against the fence. The nail came out so I put a new one in... and hit my thumb... me and hammers don't get on! Highlights of the weekend... we went to Rye for the day Saturday, lovely little town with nice cafes etc and a load of junk... sorry antique shops to look at. There's a good guitar shop there as well so my son an

One of the many old photos of me ....

To answer some of the questions... Where - Ramsgate Model Village (long since sadly departed) When - I think summer of 68 or 69 I liked it cos I look so obviously in the mode "Stand there and I'll take your photo". The kids have spotted that many are taken in model villages, at steam railways or on the beach. All the things we did as a family when our kids were younger... maybe there is a lot to the nuture side of parenting... :-)

Lucky man

Who is? I am that is who. Why?... Firstly the house is a buzz just the moment, Easter Hols means that both the kids (kids!? one of them is 20 later in the year!) are at home without school worries for one. My son has turned his bedroom instantly into a Physic students paradise... i.e. it looks a tip! His desk is strewn with books, papers etc. No idea what he is working on at the moment but he at least posted on Facebook that he made some progress yesterday. He is also busy catching up with his old mates whilst he/they are back from uni. I've not sold him on Planet Rock yet which is my latest rave to have playing in the kitchen... normally as things like Yes are followed by Bad Company etc. is to say... "Jeez Dad this is like your old vinyl collection". The battle to keep it on that station and not Radio 1 or Kiss is a constant one with my daughter. Having her off school has great benefits... namely peanut cookies!!! Lemon Meringue pie!! Mrs F is busy spring cleaning as w


So the redundancy timetable slowly ticks forward. Or rather not, the company "reset the clock" yesterday. Some legal technicality so I'm back with 30 days "consultation" before being served notice. To be honest it makes little difference time wise I was expecting to go about late May / early June anyway and this makes no difference to that which my boss has asked/agreed to. My job has been split into three bits and all but one of the new players are in place to take over so I'm beginning to plan what I need to hand over to who and actually have got some of that underway. Suddenly though not surprisingly I've had a couple of waves of panic! "What the hell am I doing? Giving up this high paid job etc. with nothing concrete on the horizon"... etc. All daft really. I've long come to the end of my relationship with my company - they are a really good company to work for and I've really enjoyed my time here but the company, the peopl

Pictures to look at

My brother, his fiancee, our nephew and soon to be step-niece (can you have a step-niece?) came over yesterday. Now when my Mum passed away a few years ago we found loads of old slides that my Dad had taken with his old Kodak camera. My brother took them and has painstakingly been scanning them in. He gave me a disk with them all on yesterday. Huge memories of happy family times when we were kids. And much laughter at my fashion sense... or lack of it... the old haircuts etc. etc. Holidays in Herne Bay and later Isle of Wight, days out at Broadstairs and Ramsgate. All brilliant stuff. We only got through a small amount... I need to spend more time with it. Also old photos of my Mum and Dads wedding which was great and also others of the family including "spot the relative" which are old photos that we have no idea who is who in them. I reckon one of them was our great grandmother and father from the facial features but who knows.

Tom Edwards' Poem "Why I don't drink anymore"

Thanks to my friend DeeJay for pointing this out to me - it was on a BBC2 show. An excellent summary of alcoholism I changed because I have the sickness of alcoholism, alcoholism doesn't come in bottles it comes in people. You should have seen me. I drank for happiness and became unhappy; I drank for joy and became miserable. I drank to be out-going and became self-centred; I drank for sociability and became argumentative and lonely; I drank for sophistication and became crude and obnoxious. I drank for friendship and made enemies, I drank to soften sorrow and wallowed in self-pity; I drank for sleep and awakened without rest. I drank for strength and felt weak. I drank for masculinity and it sapped my potency; I drank medicinally and got sick. I drank because I thought my job called for it and lost my job. I drank to stimulate thought and blacked out. I drank to make conversation and got to where I couldn't talk at all; I drank to forget and became haunted.


I was pointed to this story by Candy. Please take time to click the link and read it. In it a Jew who survived the Nazi final solution talks about how great his freedom is within America where he settled after the war. It got me thinking - this guy really knew the meaning of freedom didn't he? Freedom is one of those words that has got lost in the nonsense soundbite nature of today's politics and press. On the one hand politicians are telling us that new laws to restrict this or that will protect our freedom, our soldiers die in dusty lands which few I doubt can find on a map or know much about other than these soldiers are "protecting our freedom"... etc. etc. We should be grateful for freedom, I have the freedom to write this and apart from somebody who thinks I'm a berk posting a critical comment there is little it will cost me. We have little suppression of expression or opinion in this country. Good. Sometimes though I see people complaining about others