Sunday, July 31, 2005

Not quite what I was expecting

So as a new home owner I expected to spend my first weekend wandering around the grounds gazing proudly at our new purchase. However, Ali suggested that we might want to consider decorating the downstairs loo. Given that the wallpaper is so bad it would make Barbara Cartland think it was a little bit too pink, I foolishly agreed. Now as I have been living in rented accommodation for the last 15 years you have to understand that I haven't done any decorating since I was 14 and painted my bedroom black gloss. Incidentally, my old bedroom is now my dad's office and it is still black gloss.

"So anyway" I thought, "whip off a bit of wall paper and tosh up a splosh of paint. How hard can that be?". In short, very. The wall paper appeared to have been attached to the wall using molten lead. It took me seven hours to get the wall stripped. I was sweating like a scouser in a spelling test. "Still", I reasoned, "just need to slap on the paint and the jobs done". But I hadn't taken account of the other things I find I have to do. I need to wash the walls and then rinse them. Then I need to fill in any imperfections with Polyfiller. I didn't think there would be any imperfections but now I understand where the phrase "papering over the cracks" comes from. At this point I have to sand the bloody walls. Then I have to paint them in primer before I can eventually get round to putting the paint on. I'm just glad it is only the smallest room.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

We own a house!

Or perhaps more accurately, we own a very large mortgage on a house. But either way, we have now completed and the house is ours. It took just a shade under 3 months to go through which might sound OK but it seems rather a long time to buy the house you already live in to us. The speed has not been helped by both sets of solicitors accusing the other side of being incompetent! I think I agree with them both.

Anyway - that is all behind us now and we just have to worry about repairs, decorating, improvements and living with no money. And I have developed a previously unheard of fascination with the Bank of England interest rate. Renting seems ever so simple now.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Next version of Windows named

As my mate Tony spotted, Microsoft have announced the official name of the next version of Windows. Following Windows XP we get Windows Vista. This reflects the fact that Vista will, apparently, bring clarity to your digital world. Seems to me that perhaps someone in Marketing needs a lie down.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Filthy habit update ...

Several people have been asking me lately how I have been getting on with giving up smoking. Gah! You're missing the point. I haven't given up anything. I have simply stopped smoking those disgusting things that I shouldn't have been using in the first place. Unfortunatly a mixture of childish bravado, naivete and the cynical manipulation of the criminal Tobacco companies got me hooked 25 years ago and it took the Allen Carr book to break the brain washing and remind me that I didn't even want to smoke. If you are interested I have gone through the 3 week mark which some find a symbolic victory but I don't care. I don't smoke.

Obviously I have moments of weakness, for example last night when I got home to find that we had not if fact exchanged contracts to at last buy our house as promised by our solicitors (don't ask). Clearly I had an urge to kill the solicitor but then I have been getting those a lot. Of course I also had an urge to smoke. But it was brief as I told myself "but that would only make you feel worse, you oaf".

Anyway, why focus on the negative! As my kind reader may recall, I was influenced to stop smoking by my good friend Brendan. Well I'm pleased to say that it has begun a trend. Ali and I were up in Boston, Lincolshire with our God Daughter Milly a couple of weeks ago. Her Mum and Dad, Simon and Sally quickly noticed that I was no longer a pathetic smoker and congratulated me and explained how they were going to give up - as they continues to puff away! Well I got a brilliant message from Si yesterday to say that they have followed my (and Brendan's) lead and knocked the ol' woodbines on the head. Good for you guys :-) Fantastic. You really won't regret kicking that monkey off your backs.

Right - who's next?

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Don't let Marcus order your food

It was Marcus and Ellen's wedding anniversary on Saturday so a group of us went to the Eel Pie pub in Twickernham to celebrate. Prior to this I had rather foolishly neglected to eat any tea leaving me slightly more susceptible to the frothy wallop than normal. Add to this the lovely evening sun and the convivial company there was a inevitability that the fine Hofbrau Premium would have it's wicked way with my sobriety.

So after a very funny boozy evening Marcus, Ellen, Ali and I find ourselves in the Twickenham Tandoori. Now I'm no expert at Indian food mainly because I don't really like spicy food. I tend to go for a nice mild korma or if I'm really pushing the boat out, perhaps I'll brave a medium chicken curry. However, in my less that focused state I simply couldn't decide on a meal so Marcus very kindly recommended the Garlic Murgh Chilli Masala. Whilst it may be milder than a vindaloo, to me it tasted like the burning fires of hell. But because by this time I was half crazed by hunger I ate every burning mouthful. Of course I totally forgot that if it hurts when it goes in then it sure as heck is going to hurt when it comes out. If only I'd remembered to pop some loo roll in the fridge last night :-(

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Highs and Lows for London

So yesterday there was euphoria as London came from behind to secure the 2012 Olympics which promises regeneration for the East of London, pride for the entire country and 7 years of focus on sport that may encourage kids to do more exercise so they don't turn into tubbies like me.

And then the horror of this mornings terrorist bombings. Mirroring the atrocities in Madrid last year these were cowardly attacks with no warning at rush hour aimed at the innocent. As Live8 showed, there are proper democratic ways to object to the leadership and of course some communities have every right to resent the G8 leaders. But this wicked carnage and murder is no answer and those responsible will only have galvanised the people of London into defending freedom and democracy. I have been very impressed by dignity and lack of panic that most Londoner displayed today.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Live 8

I remember the Live Aid gig quite well. I caught The Quo opening with Rocking All Over The World but then missed loads because I had to go to the St. Johns Church Fair. Whilst I wouldn't be so ungrateful as to blame St Johns Church who had arraged their Fair months in advance of the Live Aid stuff being announced, I thought they could have at least put a television there or even just a radio. But no. Fortunately I managed to make my excuses and get home having only missed a few hours. And in fairness I had missed Howard Jones and Adam Ant. Every Cloud ....

So today I expected to be able to watch the entire show. But I was only really interested in seeing The Who and Pink Floyd. Having watched the excellent Coldplay, U2 and a couple of others, I thought everything was going well. But then my sister in law Niki and her bloke Mark turned up because it was "her birthday". How selfish ;-) So we had a BBQ but as luck would have it, Niki and Mark nipped off to bed just before the Floyd played an exceptional set. Nice to see Waters and Gilmour together again even if it is a one off.

P.S. For fag spotters, I'm still off the fags even though it is getting harder and I do seem to have more wibbles. At the moment every time I have a wibble I just say to myself "Thank goodness you don't smoke". Seems to be working so far. Just.