Archive for Feb, 2010

Global Warming?

Posted in Uncategorized on Feb 21, 2010 by David Palmer

My opening paragraph, containing a well constructed argument about the nonsense of of global warming has just been deleted. The new me does not grump about tax rises/rates/carbon offsets any more. I won’t point out that the temperature has hovered around zero or below, since before Christmas and that there has been a carpet of white stuff on the driveway for much of that time (and it is still snowing now). Or, that my log pile has nearly gone. I am not annoyed about it, and there is a silver lining to it all. Isn’t there? It’s just not in my pocket.

Sue has been busy around the house with a cleaning fervour only seen in the best NHS Hospitals with an MRSA problem. It is half-term and she has had no distractions of a schoolish nature to focus her attentions on. She travelled up to Newark last Monday to have lunch with Charlotte and Lucas. I got the impression I wasn’t invited, so I rang Roger and pointed out that he owes me lunch and we went to Rothwell. Sue picked up Sarah on the way north, as she had been staying at Lee’s for a couple of days. I think they had a nice time and engaged in lots of girly talk. Roger and I had a nice time and talked a lot about rugby.

Charlotte had day off work this week as she wasn’t well, she spent all day in bed. If I remember correctly, pregnancy does that to women (it is quite hard on the men). By all accounts she is better now, but Sue has just received a text from her saying that they are snowed in and she is not getting out of bed (it is quite hard on the men).

Jamie has been busy at work. He still smells when he gets home from work, but the Freesia squirter is doing its job, so the atmosphere is tolerable. We had heavy snow on Wednesday and Harborough was cut-off from the rest of the world (according to HFM). Jamie rang at 6.05pm and said he was in a lay-by, his windscreen wiper fuse (and electric windows) had blown and he couldn’t see out. He asked if I could fetch him. He was not impressed when I told him that I couldn’t get out of Harborough. Ten minutes later he rang back and told me that he had swapped the heater fuse for the  wiper fuse and it now worked (but it was very cold). He asked if I could get him some replacement fuses. I felt surprisingly ‘chuffed’ that he had worked it out what to do on his own. I drove over to Halford’s to get his fuses. I should have walked, HFM were not lying. The roads were lethal. ABS didn’t work, and when you had stopped you couldn’t get moving again. Luckily, there were very few vehicles on the road, so I got there and back unscathed. Jamie finally arrived home at 8.45pm. He looked shattered but was obviously very pleased with himself for managing to get home. Despite snowing over night, he was up and gone at 5.30am the following morning, to work.

Lee came down on Thursday to stay.  On Friday, Sue and I took them to see a very good film called ‘The Lovely Bones’. We drove to Kettering in a blizzard, but luckily it had stopped when we came out of the cinema, and the journey home was uneventful. Lee went home on Saturday morning.

On Wednesday I went to see if the owner of a huge mountainous pile of wood in the field across the road wanted it.  He ran a small Cruck building business from some buildings in the corner of the field. He said they were moving premises next week and that I could have the wood. I returned after lunch with my chain saw. As soon as I started to cut the wood, it started to snow. After half an hour and a big pile of logs, I gave up. It was blizzarding and my pile was getting covered in snow quicker than I could cut wood. I haven’t been back as the snow is too deep, and the wood pile (as high as a house) looks like a ski slope.

I set about organising the finer details of our Asian jaunt in  April. As we are catching a taxi to our hotel in Shanghai I thought I would check out how far away the hotel was from the airport. There are two airports. Virgin fly into Pudong Airport. Having sorted that out, I needed to find the location of the Crowne Plaza Hotel. There are 6 of them in Shanghai. After more research I found out which was ours. Next, as we were arranging our own transport to the pier, to catch our ship, I had to find out where the pier was. After much more research, I eventually found it. I checked all the distances on Google Earth and luckily they all seem reasonable (we shall see). At the week-end I had sent our passports to the Chinese Embassy for Visas. They rang on Monday and explained that because of the Chinese New Year, we wouldn’t be getting our passports back until March. I was planning to go to Bulgaria in March, so I hope they are back, with no complications. The Visas cost £230!!! Luckily, UK citizens don’t require Visas in Japan or South Korea.  Didn’t we let the Chinese have Hong Kong back, free of charge? Jokingly, a friend mentioned that our passports could be used to bump off a few enemies of the State of China, well I supposed we all get 15 minutes of fame.

On Saturday as the matches in Harborough were all cancelled (more snow) I went to watch the Tigers play Gloucester. I caught the train in Harborough and it was absolutely packed (I didn’t think I could squeeze on, but years of playing rugby solved the problem). Some one had thrown a brick through the previous train driver’s window, and all the passengers were moved onto ours. We then stopped further down the track because there were trespassers on the line and they were checking for damage. We eventually got there, and because of numbers we all had a very friendly journey. The match was brilliant. The Tigers won, and it was even more satisfying as next to me were some Gloucester fans and they had to listen to my witty repartee throughout the match. I cracked the best joke I have made in years, but I can’t write it down as it is isn’t PC. On the way home, the trains to Harborough had been cancelled as a train had come off the tracks near the Langtons. A bus was provided, which we duly caught and arrived home not that much late.

The snow has just stopped.

Only a week.

Posted in Uncategorized on Feb 7, 2010 by David Palmer

Having just read through the last blogg, it appears to me that I have joined the ranks of the ‘Grumpy Old Men’. I came to this conclusion earlier in the week, after watching ‘Grumpy Old Women’ on the TV  and finding myself agreeing with most of their grumps. However, I think I have taken this ‘grumpiness’ one step further as the following day I started to harbour thoughts that I couldn’t be blamed for such an attitude, as nowadays, young people don’t do things the right way, the way it should be done, the way it was once done, the way I would do it. Also, society loves to hear bad news, news where things have gone disastrously wrong, news about huge mistakes being made and no one being responsible. This coupled with TV programmes concerned with wrinkly people airing views on any topic they care to, because it irritates them and probably you as well, has made it socially acceptable to grump and do nothing about it. Well I am going to. I now refuse to watch any programme with the title ‘Grumpy’ in it, even if they include Meerkats! I now refuse to read any news article that contain the words Disaster, Nuclear, Afghanistan, Royal Bank of Scotland, Election, Sleaze, Ministers, Pirates, Salt,  Floods, Global Warming or John Terry. To this end, yesterday I watched a film called ‘Hustle and Flow’, having read a synopsis of the plot on the internet, it epitomised everything that I hated about the film making industry. A slow degradation of the morality of our society to the effect that the lowest common denominator is the norm.  So I watched it. Terence Howard’s character, Djay, is a drug dealer and a Pimp to 3 ‘Loose Ladies’, one of which was pregnant. He had the desire to be a Rap artist (I hate Rap music). All the un-niceties of life were treated in such a way as though this was the way things are and so acceptable. Absolutely everything about the plot would have been rejected by myself (in my grumpy days) as a definite no-no to watch and enjoy. However, Terence Howard is a fine actor and had me empathising with his character, the supporting cast were superb and I was held by the storyline until the end. The music was enlightening, as I found myself Rapping along with Djay and I now understand that the words in a Rap song are nut just inane drivel but carry a message about the way people live their lives. I am converted.

Sue is back to work and enjoying whizzing around again. She has missed the companionship that you can only get at work, and you can see that being busy is her Nirvana. Being a teacher ensures a day full of variety and unfortunately a lot of paperwork. But, a supply teacher’s day is only full of variety and companionship. She and Sarah went last night to see Darwin at the Film Club on Friday and by all accounts it was very good. Sue worked 3 days last week and is booked for 3 more this coming week.

This week Sarah had a day off school while the sixth form had interviews for ‘Target Setting’.  Today, she went walking with the Air Cadets, the weather was cool, but ideal for walking. She does enjoy getting involved with such activities.

Jamie has been getting himself up for work and appears to be enjoying himself driving a fork lift truck around the works. This week I bought one of those electronic air-fresheners and placed it by the back door. When it senses you entering, you get a squirt of Freesia.  It frightened Jamie when it first went off, I think the noise it makes sounded like a ghost to him. The upside is that the house smells so much nicer now, when he gets in from work. How he explains to his friends why he now smells of Freesia all the time, is a subject we don’t go near.

I have been getting muddy each morning, cycling around the countryside, frightening rabbits and pigeons. I came to a sludgy halt in the middle of a field on Wednesday, the wheels were locked with gooey mud and wouldn’t turn. I had to drag the bike to the hedge and clean it up, only for it to happen again two fields further on. I only just managed to get the bike to the nearby canal tow-path before my energy and strength gave out. Luckily, due to the drizzle, no-one witnessed my embarrassment. On Saturday I went to Worcester to watch Harborough 1st Team lose narrowly to Worcester Wanderers. Afterwards, we watched Worcester Warriors against London Irish and then retired to the bar to watch England against Wales. For anyone remotely interested in Rugby, that is an ideal way to spend a Saturday (if you can’t play anymore).

The Newarks seem to be fine as I haven’t heard directly from them this week. Sue is planning to go up and see Charlotte a week on Monday (if not working).

Nan is still nice and warm. Though she did have to bay over £100 for a new battery charger for her batmobile last week as it wasn’t charging up properly. That does seem rather extortionate to me. You do have to be careful when you get old. Not looking forward to it!