Showing posts from September, 2013

Meeting a fellow blogger...

I've met a few fellow bloggers over the years - but never one who's travelled thousands of miles for the meeting.  Well that isn't strictly the main reason for Pandora Viltis ' trip to the UK, her husband's stunning achievement of swimming the English Channel was probably higher on the trip itinerary I suspect. Anyway I had the chance to meet up with PV (nee Vicariousrising ) and her husband today.  It is so odd in some ways to meet someone who you already know so much about via their blog but who you've never met before but we sat in a lovely cliff top cafĂ©'s garden nattering away like old friends (which we are) over a cup of tea.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Not much to say... A quite time for me.  Unfortunately the course I was planning to start hasn't started in the way I'd hoped for. I'd planned to do an intensive one day a week course starting in September, which would have meant cutting a year off the overall study time.  But sadly at the last minute the company running the course had too many drop outs/non payers and had to cancel that.  They run a less intensive evening course starting in October and I should have a place on that but it is a little disappointing and frustrating. This issue has sparked off some irrational brain activity as well since I'm not earning as much as we generally pay out each month.  Now I knew this when I went part time, although one of the principal reasons has gone i.e. the course is no longer a day time commitment the studying around it is still needed and I need to look for some relevant voluntary work once I start.  But the fear of economic insecurity has not left me - I'm not real

There's a parakeet in the tree

We went on another university open day with Daughter-of-Furtheron yesterday. Usual stuff, registration queue in the rain, rubbish coffee machine, accommodation tour by students who tell you it is all "awesome", daft questions from some parents, getting lost finding a room, talk in a different room to that advertised and lecturers who may be top in the subject but drone on and on in the subject pitch - all of which now have the same format regardless of institution. However I stupidly noted a parakeet in a tree outside during one of these and pointed it out to Mrs F with a whispered aside that titles this post who then only paid attention to the gathering of others nudging me throughout with an updated count! (post publishing update - I looked them up and they have a page on Wikipedia no less. It claims at least 6000 of them nest near there. One fanciful theory blames Jimi Hendrix for it all!!) Still it was a nice place and Daughter-of-Furtheron liked one of the courses so

Gardening Successes

I'm not a knowledgeable gardener and to be fair not a very good one.  In my old drinking days I had a massive resentment with gardening, you'd plant something, it died, you'd prune something to a neat shape, it'd grow up in an odd shape, you'd mow the lawn, next week it'd grown back.  I had no concept that it is a constant work in progress it is a journey and wherever the garden is is wherever it is on that journey but you never reach the destination. Now I don't mind pottering about in the garden.  This year I cut back an old Hebe that had got way too big and had gone rotten in some places and planted some new flowers there - that has been successful, both those took and one flowered well.  I planted a Buddleja which flowered and attracted butterflies to the garden.  I also got our sweet peas to grow tall and flower. Finally two I'm really pleased about.  First a Passionflower plant we've had for a number of years, well I was sure it was dead af

11th September

9/11 - you only have to say it and people know - they go right back to that day, where they were.  One of those days where millions of people across the world can remember vividly the events, the weather etc. I happened to actually be in NYC that day.  My old job required a lot of travelling from time to time although mostly to our divisions HQ which was in CT and I normally flew via Boston.  However one of the projects I was involved with was holding a big meeting with people from all over the company and NYC seemed the place to hold it in one of the building on 42nd street that formed the hub of the overall HQ for the company. That morning the Brits - there were about 10 of us as the entire development team had flown over - this was a big meeting to nail the initial prototype for a new global system.  I was programme manager for the whole thing.  Also several from the business side of our European customers were with us - hence the large Brit contingent.  But we had people flying

Why have one blog when you can have two!!!

I created a Wordpress blog a while ago, more to grab before any bugger decided to impersonate me! Recently though I've seen most people are using Wordpress, I've also seen some very impressive sites with huge functionality developed in Wordpress and finally - it is the blogging tool of choice at my employer and we have a new web site launch in the offing with a desire for us to blog more about our work.  So I started to play around with it.  Then a friend asked whether I could help them set up a web-site.  After a chat I thought a blog was the best kind of site for them given the plan for their work.  So I agreed to show them what to do to set one up.  In the end I've learnt a ton of stuff being pushed by the person new to it, which has led to me improving my own Wordpress blog although it has still much room for more improvement. But now I'm stuck with a dilemma - continue here or move and direct everyone to there or just have t

London Acoustic Guitar Show

I went to said show today - lock up the credit card!!!  A good show, these days trade shows like this are on a much smaller scale than the old days but plenty of the big names there like Yamaha, Taylor and favourites like Lowden and Avalon with others like Vintage Cort etc. Other than buying some strings I was restrained. Got to try out a load of guitars. Yamaha were universally good. I liked the Tanglewood I tried but thought it a little overpriced to the Vintage models I compared it too.  I didn't dare try the redwood topped classical on Lowden's stand the £6000 price tag worrying my clumsy hands! I tried out some classical guitars firstly Ortega which were nice but I was really impressed with Sandarac a new company to me they were good prices and a model with walnut back and sides really sounded nice. Saw great performances from Tom Baxter and Antonio Forcioni as well as Dan Walsh's brilliant banjo playing over my lunch. Good day out! Here is a picture of the goodies

Geddy Lee - Slipping

Been listening to this album and this track in particular a lot lately ...  Enjoy

Gripping TV dramas

Currently there are (have been) some gripping dramas on TV.  I watched the very dark Southcliffe recently, it was slightly disappointing as there wasn't a really good conclusion and really never got completely under the motives of the killer but then given he killed himself I suppose it reflected real life in that sense, how can people come to terms with the loss of a loved one to a random act of madness?  Exactly - I pray I never have to discover that personally. Now I'm gripped by "What Remains" which is another murder mystery with a body found in the loft of a block of flats and you follow all the occupants on the flats with flash backs as the poor detective who is carrying on with the case even though it's not official and he is retired.  Frankly almost everyone has now displayed enough to be a serious suspect.  Well written and gripping stuff. Top Boy is great as well - I only saw part of the first series but this second one has me hooked from the start.

What is the point of advice if you ignore it?

There is advice given by NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence - the people who advise the NHS on the most effective treatments to be applied) that states. "...should routinely provide people who misuse drugs with information about self-help groups. These groups should normally be based on 12-step principles, for example, Narcotics Anonymous and Cocaine Anonymous".   Mark Gilman who is the Strategic Recovery Lead Substance Misuse working for Public Health England states in a recent interview that this advice has "been roundly ignored". I read this with an ironic smile on my lips, indeed a small mirth-filled chuckle may have escaped them.  The irony of good advice like this being ignored by the health professionals supposedly helping people who spend a great deal of their energy in avoiding/ignoring/countermanding the advice from those around them that care, family/friends/colleagues, that they should really do something about their problem i

Jon Gomm - Sittingbourne Avenue Theatre 1st Sept

Last night Mrs F, I and a couple of friends went to see Jon Gomm at the Avenue Theatre in Sittingbourne.  Firstly the Avenue Theatre is a great little intimate venue available for community hires etc.  It was an ideal venue for seeing Jon up close, we were in the back row but still closer to him that you'd be in many venues on the first row.  Sound quality was superb throughout. Jon started with a couple of new songs off his new album "Secrets Nobody Keeps" firstly the excellent opening track "Telepathy" and then the superb instrumental "Wukan Motorcycle Kid" - which has an interesting tale behind its inspiration.  If you want to know... go see Jon on the tour!! HAHA! Jon was a bit nervous starting with new songs as clearly they aren't so engrained in the memory bank as his older material, but he needn't have been they were executed in his unique style with total aplomb.  Jon then ran through a set of older material and newer material off t