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Showing posts from July, 2010

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We got back from the short holiday in Jersey today... to this wonderful cake that our daughter had baked for us. Here is a shot of St Aubin harbour - I took three shots my son then "stitched" them together in PhotoShop... clever isn't it?

25 years!!!

Yes murderers get far less I know... but Mrs F and I have been married for 25 years. Unbelievable but true - well as long as we get to Tuesday :-) To mark this amazing feat we are off on a holiday sans kids. Yes totally kid free - apart from the odd weekend and we haven't had one of those for years we've never had a holiday like this. 6 years back we went to Dublin for a couple of days for Mrs F's 40th - however that was the last dark days of drinking and one brilliant fun day was ruined by me being an arse on the subsequent day - getting my sulking drinking head on. Anyway in the past that now. So we are off to Jersey for the best part of the week - why Jersey? Because that is where we had our honeymoon - see romance isn't totally removed from my arsenal yet :-) The kids? Well now there is the worrying bit - they are being left to their own devices! Nan has offered Sunday lunch and a dinner in the week, one day they are off to Bluewater to see a film etc. and

Gordon Giltrap gig review

Gordon Giltrap Chatham Brook Theatre - Thurs 22nd July 2010 I went to see the absolutely excellent Gordon Giltrap play at the Brook Theatre in Chatham. The Brook is actually the old Town Hall - long since no longer a civic building since first Chatham merged with Rochester and then it all merged with Gillingham to become the Medway unitary authority some years back. Anyway the building which is an old Victorian building of some stature is still in use as a Theatre. It is a great little venue. I met up with Dave an old work colleague - now enjoying his retirement and my son came along as well. Mrs F was first of all going to come along but the Year 6 leavers disco straight after a day trip to the beach made her pass. Anyway - what of Gordon. Well this is the third time at least I've seen him at the Brook and I've seen him before including a great gig and workshop I took part in at Margate some years back when Kent Council used to organise the Kent Guitar Festival. As e

UK/USA relations

My last rant today... apologies but this stuff needed to come out. The release of Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi was probably a mistake - that mistake being that his release was based on the expectation that the poor man had only 3 months to live. He has survived now nearly a year more. Had he died in a week of release then I doubt we'd even remember the event. Was it a mistake to release him on compassionate grounds - I feel not. I always feel it is important that society rises above the retaliation "eye for an eye" kind of retribution those directly affected by something like this understandably feel. As a whole society should to my mind always be above the acts of those that they then show compassion to. This is why I can never agree with a death penalty for anything. Hold people in prison for their entire life if necessary but never sink to the depravity we supposedly are punishing them for in the first place. In this case though I personally think he should have die

Graduate tax/tuition fees

Could this be the thing that breaks the Lib Dem/Tory partnership? So Vince Cable (Business Secretary) recommends a graduate tax - the Tories instantly distance themselves from it - to them no doubt it's subtitled "Loss of middle class vote". Two things about this... firstly it shows the holes in the coalition along with Nick Clegg's mistakes when standing in at PM question time this week (Word of advice Nick - you cannot give a "personal opinion" when standing in for the PM - you have to stick rigidly to the "party line" else we all get confused and think that you don't actually agree with the policy that you are supposedly implementing - a quick learning curve here for what it means to be in the government not on the opposition benches I feel). If Vince is the Business Secretary he shouldn't be making public statements about potential policy for it to be debated openly. This is ok if we are in a public consultation but surely the gover

Time for some rants... NHS reforms

Okay I've been holding off on some of this stuff but there is a load going on in the world that I just need to let off my steam about. So a bunch of posts to follow... NHS reforms So hang on - the government have hardly warmed up their newly acquire leather seats and are no doubt still cleaning out the 4000 paper clips at the back of the drawer left by the last encombant and they come up with this load of nonsense! Firstly - where the hell was this in the manifesto? Really bugs me we elect people on a set of "promises" and then they either don't do that or come up with some totally new. If this was in the plan why wasn't it debated in the election campaign? If they've only dreamt it up since being in power that is even more worrying - you can't take something like the NHS and dream up a reform of this magnitude over night. My issues with it? In principle the putting the money closer to the patient sounds sensible but... how will you make big fu

Book Review - The Chosen One by Sam Bourne

I've so far liked all Sam Bourne's books. His first was "Righteous Men" which was excellent. This is his fourth effort. He has had some recurring characters in some of his novels since then and this one features a character from The Last Testament his second novel. The plot of this one is more typical thriller than his previous books which I thought did stand out a little in the crowd - I'm sorry this one doesn't. Central premise is that the returning character (Maggie Costello) is an advisor to a brand new USA president who has just won a surprise landslide victory. Maggie has worked with him in his campaign team and then on the White House staff. However soon after he comes to office he is attacked by a series of revelations about his past to oust him from office. These come from one man who then dies in an apparent suicide before the final killer revelation. Maggie goes investigator to track down what is happening. So it is okay a fast paced typica

Back from Wales... and painting

We popped to Wales to collect the key for Son-of-Futheron's new flat. He has come up trumps. It was only marginally more a month than his old place but much much cleaner and nicer. It is smaller too only 2 sharing rather than 6 which in the old place meant the kitchen was something of a bottleneck. Anyway he was really chuffed with it and hopefully he'll be there at least two years - that is the plan anyway with any luck maybe a third. The lad he is sharing with this coming year will be in his third and final year but has talked about staying on for a masters which if that happens will be easy then for the two of them to stay on in the flat for 2011 - 2012. The next year will be his final year on his masters and he'll need to find a new roommate potentially but hopefully that'll not be an issue. So back home and back to the routine... only I don't really have a routine at the moment what with being unemployed. So mid morning I thought - I could paint the bac

Too busy to be unemployed

So where does the time go? I'm trying my best to be a good "house husband" for the moment. For many years I've been up, scoffed my breakfast and left the house before 7am, done the work thing and then arrived home at about 6pm to a meal waiting on the table. Oh yes the house is clean, the washing has been done, the washing up dried and put away and the ironing done so when I open the wardrobe there was always a selection of shirts etc. So I appreciate that my wife has done all that whilst still working herself. So I'm doing the washing up in the mornings, helping with the washing (provided useful written instructions on the intricacies of washing machine programmes have been left for me) and have been cooking in the evenings. So I have this list of stuff I was/am going to do whilst not working... looks to be a "slow burner" activity frankly. Still I am having the time to go swimming regularly - I've moved pools since the one I was using was mo

New Gordon Giltrap signature guitar

Gordon Giltrap has had a few signature guitars in the past - I played one of the Flyde ones of his some years back at a guitar show and that was a stunning instrument but with a hefty hand made price tag to match. How however he has teamed up with Vintage who are imported via JHS to this country and have been getting a good reputation since Trevor Wilkinson began working as designer/consultant to them. The list of endorsees makes them appear to be punching well above their weight in the sub £1000 bracket. Well into the acoustic arena they now have a Gordon Giltrap model - the VE2000GG. Based on a model that Rob Armstrong made for Gordon some years back, Rob has been involved in the development of this production verion. There is a 12 string version available as well as the 6 string. It has Fishman electrics fitted - namely a Sonicore pickup and a Presys Blend preamp. So any good? Well good enough for Gordon who in this YouTube video is playing it at a recent JHS event. Thought

Stag weekend

We have returned from the stag weekend! Well let's be fair it was hardly the most raucous affair in the world :-) My son and I accompanied by brother and his younger son on a weekend in Hastings. We played "adventure golf" - I lost and my son scored a completely improbable hole-in-1! We went up the refurbished East Hill Cliff Railway , had a great curry and found a great live band Loose Moose in a pub in the town center - away from the night clubs. Whilst the boys were away... the girls went on the Hen Do - which was my sister, my nephews finance, Mrs F and Daughter-of-Furtheron together with the bride to be, her daughter and her sister-in-law and her daughter. They went to London and caused chaos in their cowgirl hats on the London Eye and at Planet Hollywood. Great time had by all. Almost can't wait for the wedding now - which is in August :-)

Over and out

So that is that. I spent today deleting everything off my laptop, handing back my blackberry, credit cards etc. and shaking a good number of people's hands as I finally left the company. Very odd feeling. I'm happy to go as I've not been satisfied in work for a while but suddenly something that has been such a huge part of my life for so long won't be there any more. That is really really odd. It'll take some time for me to stop thinking things like "I must mention to ...", "I wonder if so and so did..." etc. I was again very touched by some of the parting comments from people. I often struggle with self image, see I see myself as this person who just pretty much bumbles through life hoping to not do too much damage and maybe help out somewhere along the line. To have people compliment me is frankly a bit painful - I cringe inside thinking but this could be better, or if only you knew how I felt about that inside etc. I had a coffee with

Counting the hours....

So on Friday my colleagues treated me to a terrific "official" send off. I think I got off lightly in many ways given all the dirt they could have dug up on me :-) However many of the people there were still at school - actually some of them may not have started school when I joined the company in 1991 so a lot of the jokes that were about the dim and distant past probably made little sense to them. Some of my old cronies also came along, friends who've left in the last couple of years, that was very touching that they wanted to come back and wish me well. I was very touched by the polite speech given by one of my old bosses and someone who has been quite a friend over the years I've been here and then a somewhat irreverent one by one of the comics of the department, however I was flattered the last time he did one of those it was our old big boss who'd gone on to be a VP I think or something stratospheric anyhow. He was there as one of the cronies and that w

Real Tears

One of my Father's Day gifts was Marillion Out of Season - three DVD pack of all three nights they played at the 2009 convention in Holland. This is one of many many highlights. Nearly 6 hours worth and I was still left thinking... but Beautiful wasn't on the set list or Man of a Thousand Faces... etc. Anyway as a taster here is 8 mins worth of the great Real Tears For Sale.

Surprise party

Last night we had a surprise party for my sister and brother-in-law to celebrate their 30th anniversary. My niece had done all the arranging. They had been invited to a meal with some friends ostensibly to celebrate at a small dinner just the four of them. However there was a large chunk of the family (sadly my brother couldn't make it through work commitments) and lots of their friends. Some of those I knew from old but haven't spoken to for years so that was an interesting catch up as well. Anyway we were all in the garden and told to be quiet as they were spotted walking up the road. They were then lead through and us all cheered. They were completely bowled over. Also we'd dug out loads of old photos etc. and my nieces partner had made up a movie with them all which was terrific fun... even the photo of me with long hair at their wedding :-) Fantastic night - all enjoyed it.