Month: March 2011


Dont forget my birthday on the 7th of may.

Potatoe cakes for Pancake Day. 

My proud potatoe cakes.
My long time friend and cooking Guinea pig, Steve came around the other evening, to celebrate shrove tuesday.

In most homes, there are piles of cooking books, that never get opened (or worse, read, but the contents never actualy get cooked). The sollution I have found, is to go through each book, select various recipes, then put them in a list, laminate it, and bluetack them to your kitchen unit doors. I have 30 + recipies like this, and mark them off, as I’ve done them.

I decided this evening, that I would make Mexican style potatoe cakes, and you can see what they looked like.

Steve was recently featued in the Chester Chronicle (I had to fish it out of the bin, as it normaly goes straight there, from my doorstep, without being read).

Steve is doing well with his allotment project, and is at the forefront of the Big Society idea. He commented that some school children had visited the allotment, and some “beds” had been prepared for them.

I commented, that they should have gone to sleep earlier the night before, but it turned out, they were plant beds, made of soil (I know more about football, than I know about gardening !).

I keep trying to talk Steve wearing a tweed jacket, commensurate with his status around the city, but he wont hear of it.

Migration plans put back and potential business oportunity.

The Rohan Shop in Hale/Altrincham

Have decided not to emigrate. Saw a lot of things while unemployed, and just couldnt get them out of my head. Decided to emigrate, which has been my plan now for some time.

Thing is, stuff seems to be working out okay, life at home is comfortable, things are really picking up at work, I go walking regularly, and I’m just starting to get out adventuring.

Work have agreed to pay for a superb course, that will see me with a VCP, in VM Ware. Thing is, I have to sign a document which says I will pay back most of the money, should I leave within 2 or 3 years. Would it really be so different leaving the UK 8 years from now, rather than 1.

The irony is, I really enjoy working at Phonak/Unitron, and if I’d stuck to my original plan and I could have ended up living in Australia doing a job I hate with people I dont like.

New series of Dr Who. I cant wait.

New Series of Dr Who
The new series of Dr Who will be out soon. I have found a trailer for it here.

No Problem !.

America. A truly great nation, with the odd annoying nuance.

I like America, and have lots of friends there. Problem is, some parts of their culture are annoying and silly, and they allways seem to be the parts that contaminate life here in the uk.

Take the other eveing for example. A friend an I went out for something to eat. I entered the Resteraunt, and asked for a table for 2 people (it was early evening and the place was practicaly empty).

No problem comes the reply. Well, why would there be a problem. I want some dinner, and have some money, I’m a customer, what sort of rubish, is no problem stuff. I’m trying to get a table, not join the freemasons !. A simple “yes of course” would have sufficed.

The ZX81 revisited.

ZX81 setup at home.

Saw this brilliant article about the ZX81 . I came runner up in the Granada power game, when I was 14 and the school bought me one. Okay, compared to modern computers, its pretty un-inspiring, but the hours I spent programing mine, were the foundation for all the clever things I can do today.

One statement in the article stuck in my mind. We convinced our parents, they were educational, when that wasnt teh case. Thats absolutely right, a couple of years later, David and I managed to get a commodore 64 under the guise of learning to type, but ended up gaming it to death.

ZX81 used as a doorstop.

One other thing about the zx81, was how I learned to use it from a manual. I learned about integers (rounded numbers) because there was nobody around to teach me, I got it into my head, that it was pronounced Inteeger. It would be a decade later before someone pointed out it was pronounced Intejer !.

I’ve changed my mind about Lisbon, Munich and Helsinki. Instead, I’ve decided to visit Lisbon, Jerusalem and Helsinki. The first 3 destinations on the 2nd Blue List !.

Collegue of the week – Marie

A pregnant woman with brown hair.

It was pointed out by one of my collegues (the lovely Marie) that other members of staff had been featured on, and she had not.  She also said that I had been insensitive.

The picture above, isn’t actually a picture of Marie, its some random person I found on with web, who like Marie, is pregnant, has brown hair and has a pretty smile. I think this counts as a featurete, so clears up the first one.

Earlier today, Marie was discussing Caesarian birth. The conversation continued as to the practicalities off the operation. I commented (in my usual bullish style) that the small scars were normally reserved for footballers wives, and that she would look like a Shark had, had her by the time the NHS were finished.

I’d like to apologise sincerely to Marie. My attention grabbing attempts to shock, can sometimes hit the wrong target and this was one of them. I’d also like to apologise to anyone who works in the NHS and performs these kinds of operations, I really didnt mean it.

While I’m on the subject, I may as well clear the air completely.

Later that day, I said I would like a CD made up of different tracks, featuring Noel Edmunds being tortured. The idea was the CD would feature different tracks reflecting different kinds of inflicted torture, which I could listen to while relaxing.

I didn’t mean that either (although I’ll be damned if I’m apologising to that tool).

I hope this clears things up.


Good friends, Untidy wires.

Well, with the Blue list completed,  its back to normal blogging. I’ve committed to catching up with and keeping up to date with old friends this year, so its fairly friend intensive this week.

Sponsorship from Antique Pine Imports.

Glenn hard at work.

I’ve been making a few extra quid doing evening deliveries with my mate Glenn. When we were on the plane to Budapest (budapest 1, budapest 2) Glenn asked me if I had ever been approached with sponsorship of Suffice to say, I hadn’t. I know it’s a cliché, but if somebody paid for the running of my site, then they might one day try to change it, and I could never let that happen.

As it is, Glenn’s offer, didn’t actually involve money (in fact, it didn’t involve anything, apart from me advertising Antique Pine Imports out of kindness). I’ve decided therefore, that it would be okay to accept “sponsorship” on this basis, and would therefore recommend Antique Pine Imports where I helped out for a couple of days, last year.

For the purposes of full disclosure, Glenn has invited me around to his house and cooked steak twice in the last 6 weeks, and when I helped out delivering furniture, it paid for 2 trips to the pub.

From the mouths of babes.

Little Elephant statue in Chester Town Centre

I was at work the other day, and the subject of what is your favourite animal was raised. My favourite has always been the elephant.

The reason: well, its been proven by zoo’ologists (or whatever their called) that the elephant is the true king of the jungle and in a fight could beat a lion or tiger with ease.

That said, its still a graceful and wise animal, and the traits of power and dignity are what inspires me.

Lisa in our office, commented that she had seen an elephant “taken down” by some Lions, and that my premise was wrong. I was a bit surprised until she pointed at it was a baby elephant, and there were 3 or 4 lions. Its hardly the same is it.

Tone heads for Morocco and solo walking.

Tony and I walking the 3 Peaks in Yorkshire.

Well, my walking partner Tony is off to Morocco at the moment.

He will be climbing Toubkal (>4000m, the highest mountain in North Africa). I wish I was going, as I have always loved Morocco (4hrs flight, yet you will meet people who live as people lived in the bible).

In the meantime, I will be walking on my own for the next fortnight, so if anyone want to some along, then give me a shout. I’ll be starting this Saturday, with the Baker way, from Chester to Delamere train station (13 miles).

I’m going out running on Sunday. I had committed to run 4 times a week, but injured my leg (I told the Dr I had injured it descending Striding edge, but in reality I fell off the train pissed, on Christmas eve !)

Tidying up my house and un-cluttering my mind.

My work table with untidy wires.

A book I always enjoy reading – Your pocket life coach recommends finding 3 things each week, that irritate you slightly.

The logic is that ultimately, important/serious things in your life will be/have been dealt with due to urgency. Carole argues that the less important things, bang around in your mind, and over time take days off your life.

A significant problem (in a small way) was the untidy cables under my work table at home (I probably spend more time sat there, than I do on the sofa). I had all the tools and equipment to sort it, just never got around to it. When I actually got to doing it, it took about 45 minutes, and looked like this.

My work table, with the cables organised (oh, and I painted as well).

My computer and other peripherals don’t perform any faster or more reliably, but my overall experience is significantly enhanced.

My trusty whiteboard, soon to be taken down.

On the subject of sorting things out in the house, I polled a few friends about the continued presence of the whiteboard in my living room.

A few comments I received:

“It’s never updated so you obviously aren’t using it”

“You say its useful for explaining things, but you live on your own, are you talking to yourself”

“If I went out for a drink with someone and ended up back at his house and found a whiteboard, it would be the end of the evening”

Tragically, the whiteboard is toast, it will be taken down, and ill use the one in the loft from now on.

Phonak’s own Laura Croft prepares for Adventure.

Someone that looks like Lyndsay in an adventure travel photo.

My friend Lyndsay is going to the Amazon, and to do the Inca Trail.

I have been advising her on what equipment to take and stuff like that.

Lyndsay is doing a creative writing course. You can read some of here stuff in Lyndsay’s Blog

I finally buy a spoon knife.

Me chopping down a tree.

Its been a while since I did any sort of bushcraft course, although I bore Tony for hours, as were out walking through the woods, explaining what each plant can do (I probably get half of them wrong, and I’ve told him he risks poisoning himself if he ever acts on any of my suggestions.

I also point out tracks and explain what animals have passed this way (he was baffled when I saw footprints and said a heavy drinker in his 70’s with an Alsation dog. He asked how my tracking could be so accurate and I reminded him of the fat man with whisky breath who’d passed us 10 minutes before with his dog !).

After much procrastination, I’ve finally purchased a spoon knife. A lot of people don’t realise, that although you can carve 60% of a spoon with a conventional knife, the bowl requires a crook knife (unless you want the bowl to be square, or something like that).

When I’m doing the baker trail on Sunday, I’m going to find an appropriate piece of wood, and begin the creation of my spoon collection.

A visit from Dave Littlewood, and I find out about Quidco.

Dave Littlewood.

My old friend from IBM, Dave Littlewood came down last Saturday. We had a cracking time in some of Chesters more traditional pubs, and a hearty feed at the all you can eat Chinese buffet.

In the evening, we visited the Frog and Nightingale. A shadow of its former self, the band consisted of more members than there were customers, on a Saturday night.

On a practical note, he told me about a website called Quidco. Basicaly, it uses pay per click linking, and allows you to pay yourself (so if you buy a flight from Expedia, the money actually goes to you, as a percentage. Im going to have a go, and tell you all how it works out).

Its still 2 months away, but I’ve been planning my birthday on the 7th of May. I hope you can all make it.

Near and far, the search for adventure continues…