Month: May 2011

Bhw and farewell FB.

Farewell to Facebook.

Last year, I decided to stop using Facebook. I have never liked it, and believe it brings out the worst aspects of the internet. It has some good features, but these are offset by its culture.

Unfortunately, a small number of my friends (about 4) don’t use email or text, and only use this medium so I maintained a presence there.

I unfriended all but the 4, and tried to stop using it. Problem is over time, I ended up re-friending, made new friends and all the rest of it. I’ve done some thinking this weekend, and about an hour after this post, I am going to decommission my Facebook presence.

In the end, I believe it takes more energy from my life than it gives. If you find your unfriended, please don’t think I’ve fallen out with you (I would have emailed you personally if there was any problems) and to those who remain on Facebook, you have my best wishes.

Talking of internet communication, I saw the quote bellow recently:

nabed4t at 2011-03-01 08:01 CET:
“@ zerosk8a, dude stop trying to flame a perfectly good conversation. The Show is Greys Anatomy, NOT Scrubs. Now relax, take a step back and Literally fuck your own face!.”

I wasn’t sure whether to put that on my website, for fear of offending people. Honestly though, that’s the kind of things that I see every day. I wonder if Burners-Lee would have worked so hard designing the web, if he’d know it would be used like this ?.



On Thursday, still smarting from the end of Chicago code, I decided to cheer myself up and go out for dinner. Finances aren’t great, but a meal at Pizza hut for £5 looked promising. Unfortunately, the place closes at 9pm and I dragged Glenn out, so was feeling bad.

To the rescue,  Bar 15. Run by the excellent Jackie and staffed by one of Chester best Barmen, Nathan its got rid of its reputation from a few years ago, and has the right mix relaxing and fun. After this we got a Hotbox of Singapore noodles from Wok & Go as we walked home. Sometimes impromptu social events are the best.

On Friday I attended Lyndsay’s night out in Stockton Heath (the sort of Disbury of Warrington). The area seemed to buck the recession trend as all the pubs and bars were busy (and seemed to become progressively busier and louder).

I found the place quite upmarket. There seemed to be girls trying to be models everywhere, and a nearly fight broke out, with one of the protagonists, adopting a traditional boxing stance (I’m from Newton Heath, I couldn’t stop laughing).

Suggestions of clubbing (and frankly I would have preferred Seal Clubbing) in Warrington were dismissed, as we headed home.

On Saturday, Dan and I headed into Chester to visit our old haunts (I was busy with work earlier in the day, so had to miss the Chester Globetrotters talk, which was bitterly disappointing).

The staff in the Temple Bar provided the electric hospitality which we had both missed to often.

Joined later by Brett (who’s punctuality made Amelia seem like a sergeant in the army) we headed to 15 to watch United play Barcelona in the champions league.

Afterwards we went to Asia fusion for a curry. I haven’t been there in over a year, when my friend Dave Littlewood “took one for the team” and burned his arm to get us all a free meal :).

Beer, curry and old friends – good times. I think were all glad that we don’t do that kind of thing every week any more, but as a one off, it was great fun.

Natural Justice is done.

Many of you will know (if your unlucky) that a Gorilla war has been going on in my back garden. Some pigeons have nested on my sky box and window sill, and put droppings into the garden which infuriates me.

I was overwhelmed by the council’s offer to send someone around to “look at it” for the bargain price of £25 (when the amount of council tax I pay would comfortably have seen Richard the Lion Heart returned to his home shores !).

One useful piece of advise I did get, was not to shoot the said birds (shame really, would have given me a chance to purchase an air rifle, which I was denied as a youngster). Citing various health and safety “essentials”, he finally commented, that If you shoot it, another bird will be passing, see the nest and occupy it almost immediately.

I have some of those spiky sheet things (I opened the box without paying full attention, and trust me, they are vicious). Problem is, I don’t have any ladders, so for the time being, the pigeons hit and run tactics seem to be working.

I have put a lot of hard work in the garden (well kind off) and this has lead to much ill feeling.

As the quote from the film Colours goes – there’s all kinds of justice in this world. I awoke this morning, to find that a cat had taken one of them out (and I don’t mean for a meal).

That’s why, the picture above is not the actual pigeon (although I don’t like them, children may visit this site). It does however capture some of the arrogance of the original bird, as it used to eyeball me from the satellite dish I paid good money, to have installed.

Well, hatred aside, its no excuse for losing standards of decency. I wanted to reward a fallen foe, so was going to construct a boat from chippy trays, and give the creature a Viking burial on the Shropshire canal (with a camping stove cartridge, to supply the pyrotechnics).

Alas, Steve pointed out, that a ceremony wouldn’t be needed. The antics on the canal would see you charged with fly tipping, and Ill put it on the allotment compost heap.

Brilliant picture by Julie.

My friend Julie B is going through a lot right now.

Since were on the subject of Animals, I couldn’t resist sharing this picture that Julie put up on her Facebook page, hilariously titled Tortoise Porn.

Take care of yourself Julie, and to everyone else, near and far, the search for adventure continues…


The White Lion comes to Chester.

My Birthday comes around again.

It was my birthday again, and loads of my friend came down to spend the day with me.

As well as my usual friends (a noted absentee being Jon Mallet, who had previously booked a holiday) a contingent from my home town of Newton Heath. Not only did all my friends visit, but they even brought the landlord and landlady from the White Lion, my one time second home.

Loads of friends from work visited and a late visit from Chris Auty of Unitron. We went to most of our usual haunts, and both started and ended at 12, lunchtime and 12 midnight in the Mill Hotel.

Unlike last time, nobody got burned in a curry house, so no free curry was on the menu (in fact, no curry at all. I wanted to end the evening with a curry, and the 4 remaining stalwarts, suggested I go on my own !).

A couple of revelations. Lyndsay met someone on the train home, and Steve now knows his other moniker, FBI Steve.

Although I’m not exactly thriving at the moment, I’m well out of the woods. I said before when things were really hard, that I’d be nothing without my friends.

After seeing Glenn, Dan, Steve, Ralph and Aud, Lyndsay Lisa, Julie, Nick and loads of others at my birthday, I’d like to repeat that sentiment again.

A few things I’ve been thinking about lately.


Two of my suppliers at work are fantastic (Gary and Vaugn). The rest just dont seem to get it. I phone up to purchase an item or to get some work done (with money to pay for it) and they treat me like the old auntie who says nobody ever visits her.

Do I have to wave £20 notes underneath their noses. It infuriates me. When I am working in customer services or order entry in my own company I hear how well our customers are treated.

Minutes later I call our suppliers. Either the receptionist will try and get rid of me, as she thinks I’m selling something or I get promised whatever will get me off the phone the quickest.

I remember a conversation while at school. We were talking about the Police (fairly topical, for Moston Brook). It was the age old debate, about whether the police are any good (they must have been good at something, as they caught several of the people in my class, but that’s another story). Someone piped up with that Old Chestnut “you criticise them, but who do you call when your house gets robbed”.

A visionary of his time, Darryle Shaw replied. There is only 1 police force. The question is, if there were 4, would you call THAT 1, or 1 of the others ?

There aren’t 4 people who could manage our mobile phone estate. There are more like 400 or 4000….

BBC Drama and the world according to Gene Hunt.

I wash watching Banished. Instead of mucking about with reality TV and Eastenders, why dont the BBC make more propper drama like this one (Did I just say that. I’ve just had a birthday, am I getting old that quick…).

But seriously, it was a fascinating show, and reminded of the show that really launched Jon Simm, Life on Mars.

In one particular scene, Sam is talking to Gene, who is about to plant stolen goods on a crook. At this, Sam comments that” its like Guantanamo bay in here”.

Its nothing like Spain replies Gene.


I wont pretend to know about football, I’m writing about common decency. I watched with utter disinterest a few months ago, the world cup country selection or whatever its called (with all the attached sleaze).

The pretentious Sepp Blatter talked about taking football to new (lucrative) countries, referring to unity, and commenting that “only football can do this”.

I went out last Saturday, to watch the Manchester City Match (it was the first time in years and years that City had won a trophy). The venom and bitterness I heard from United Fans (who’s team had already won something else, and City’s victory would cost them nothing) shocked me.

The energy, depth and creativity of the critique, wouldn’t have been out of place (and would have been far better used) in a debate against racism.

I spent time in South Africa (even before the film Invictus was made) I saw first hand, how Rugby unified that country. In a bar, minutes before the match, different groups stood separately talking. Many different tribes, a group of gays, cape coloureds and 10 old Afrikaners. A cross section of the  nation.

As the match started I watched, with my own eyes as the group converged into 1.

Ill be out this Saturday with another friend to watch Manchester United play in the Champions League. I have no doubt, supporters of Manchester City and other clubs will be there, elated when United concede a goal and bitterly criticising their fans, history etc throught.

Only football can do this…

Opening my memories box.

About 13 years I got sick of always being disorganised, and having clutter everywhere I went. I read Organisation from inside out, by Julie Morgenstern (its so good, the book is sitting on a shelf just a few feet from where I’m working, as I refer to it frequently).

Of the many excellent ideas in there, one of them, was not to hoard memories. She argues, that you should have something around the size of a shoe box, fill it with memories. When its full, if you want to put something new in it, something old has to go (her exact principle when referring to books. Buy a bookcase of the size you want, then its one in, one out).

I have to confess, that mine is about twice that size, but still manageable. I have souvenirs and pictures all over my house, celebrating the things I’ve done, the friends I’ve made, and the places I’ve been. The box contains special personal things which I can easily connect with.

An old friend Andy Gepp, once said, Always take your birthday as holiday (if its Monday to Friday obviously). If you don’t, it just becomes an ordinary day, like any other.

I opened my box again this year on my birthday (I also open it on New Years day). Its invigorating and mellowing at the same time.

If you don’t have one, think about making one up and making time to open it regularly.

I finally go out on a “date”.

I’ve been single now for over 3 years. I’m not jaded or anything, I just really like the simplicity of being on my own.

I’ve taken 1 or 2 people out in that time, but never a anything serious and nothing that could be called a “proper” date. An old friend who I’ve always liked came to my birthday, and we arranged to meet.

We ended up going to the Chester Tandoori (I hoped it would go well, but if not, at least I would get some good company for a curry !). I shouldn’t have worried, we ended up having a really nice time.

Such a nice time in fact, that I forgot to ask the waiter to take a picture, until we had eaten all our food !.

Nice things and Prostituting my technical skills for furniture.

My excellent friend Glenn came around the other week, with some technical things for me to do (I am building a collection of fine furnature items, trading them for the repair and optimization of computers).

Since it was Easter, he brought along an Easter Egg to keep me going, and I wanted to thank him, and mention how nice it tasted.


Peter Norton (one the original exponents of pc technical support, before it was even a profession) described a computer/server room as an engineers operating theatre. He argues it should be tidy, have spares enough spare, have everything labled and have nothing in it, that isn’t completely essential.

I am half way through clearing up the 3 server rooms I use at work. I am so pleased with 1 of them, that I have broken one of Nortons cardinal rules (rules that have served me well, over the last 20 years). I decided to buy a nice clock from deal extreme.

Its not essential by any means (every operating system seems to have ahas a nuclear connnected clock these day) but makes my working environment feel more homely, and I’m sure Norton would approve.


Students. I told you so.

I think age is just a number, your measured by your achievements and not your years. That said, I have had to put up with “Yoof” in many of its forms, and the one I hate the most, are professional students.

Their tiresome oratory about how the world works and the problems of society (when most of them have never worked a day nor cleaned a bathroom) iritates me like cold weather attacks my bones.

I’ve often said that in my universe, Student is another word for stupid bastard. I hope the picture I took above, taken of some students having a ” train party” without anyone elses agreement proves this.

Before anyone posts a reply about students being the future and all the rest of it, look at the right of this picture. This poor woman had to pick up her young son and move away, as she was worried the fool clambering above them would fall and injur him.

There were 2 other groups with Children in the carriage, but they both had men with them. Funny how he didn’t start climbing around there ?. Shame he wasnt on the train with my friends from Newton Heath 🙂


The Wedding Bus.

Dave Littlewood gets married.

A year or 2 ago, I got in touch with an old friend I hadn’t worked with in about 15 years. We had been friends at IBM (where he remained, and still works).

I was delighted to be invited to his wedding. I got the train into Manchester, and then another train to Sowerby Bridge. It was about 4 miles up hill to the Inn where the wedding was being held, and since it was the countryside, they were “proper” miles.

Once I arrived at the venue I had a quick pint and relaxed with a book. The bar was empty, everyone was upstairs getting ready. A few minutes later, this bus arrived, and thing got going.

Turned out, they were getting married at the Gibson Mill, near Hardcastle Crags (owned by the National trust). We all got on the bus, and off we went.

Driving across the moors.

The bus drove across the moors. Some people don’t like moorland, but I love the piece and tranquillity of this empty environment.

I realised that the vintage bus, didn’t have any power steering, and I wondered how our driver (and the generations before him) had managed to steer it for hours on end.

We arrived at the car park, and there was a walk to the Mill, where the wedding ceremony would be held.

It was supposed to be a mile, but seemed to take about 45 minutes, which would make a nonsense of Naismith Rules !.

I got chatting to the brides mother. We discussed travel, and it turned out, she had been in Las Vegas, when it snowed. I was there at Oliver and Jess’s wedding at the same time. It was the first time in 24 years that it had happened, and hasn’t happened in the 11 years since. What a co-incidence.

We walked along a beautiful country path, with a forest on each side. After a while, I saw a building, in the middle of the forest. I commented, that if you lived there, and had trouble with your central heating, it might be difficult to get an engineer out. One of the other guests said it was used by the scouts, and it didn’t have central heating or water 🙂

The Wedding Venue.

A sort of get to know you test had been written up. It described people like “has met the queen”. By the time we arrived, most of the answers had been worked out, apart from “has climbed a mountain”. Turned out it was me, and I showed everyone the photo from Borneo, when I did the 4000m Kinabalu.

The ceremony was really nice (I’m not a professional writer, so cant think of a poncy way to say that, except that it was really nice). There was music, and some poems were read, before vows were exchanged.

It should be pointed out at this point, that although I have been married twice (I’m going through my 2nd divorce now) I have the greatest respect for the institution of marriage.

As my personal trainer said once. Going to the gym is great, but not if your a lazy person. I reckon being married is great, but not if your selfish, and I know that I am !.

There was Champagne, and some sandwiches, and the king of afters, Black Forest Gateau.

As we wandered back, I got to know a few more people. I was really enjoying myself, and the day/evening event hadn’t even started.

Everyone dances (except me).

In the evening, I got chatting to Dave’s son Dan. The buffet served spag bog, chicken balti and beef and ale pie. They were all just too good to choose between, so I made a “fusion” dish of all 3, and went back for seconds.

Later, the evening buffet featured Pizza and other delicacies. Overall, I thought a superb wedding. My only regret, was I never actually got to speak to Jen, but hopefully will, the next time I meet up with them on my birthday.

I changed out of my suit, into some more suitable clothes and got a few pints down me. That accursed thing happens, which always seems to blight me, when I’m having a really good time. It felt like no time at all, and the evening was ending. Still, better to have good times, even if they feel brief, that not have them at all.

Most of the other guests, were actually staying at the hotel, but I was staying at Turnpike. I jumped into a taxi with a few other people. we had to go in the back way, and our keys had been issued to us in envelopes.

The helicopter responds to an accident.

I woke up the next morning with the sun beaming in through the window. I couldn’t believe it. The hotel was up on the moors, miles from anywhere, and my room had spectacular views for miles around.

I went down for breakfast, and everyone was really friendly. I decided not to go for the full breakfast, but instead had scrambled eggs on toast. Washed down with tea, a fantastic start to the day.

Back to my room, I packed up and filled my bag with complimentary tea, coffee, shampoo etc (its a British tradition after all).

As I checked out, told the manager how impressed I was with the hotel. He asked if he could call me a Taxi, as it was 6 miles to the station. On a beautiful day like this, it would have been a crime not to walk.

About a third of the way down the hill, there had been an unfortunate road accident. I was surprised to see that they had even scrambled the helicopter.

Back in Sowerby Bridge, I grab a bag of chips, then jump on the train. Then I realise. Its Franks birthday (my friend Frank lives in Thailand, and has done so for the past 6 years).

Before leaving, we used to celebrate his birthday by visiting Hebden bridge. I realised the train was passing through there, so got off, and had a pint in his absence at the White Horse (or the White Lion, or something white anyway).

Congratulations to Jen and David. It just goes to show, that weddings don’t have to be tedious and “go because you have to”. With a bit of imagination, they can be turned into mini adventures, as this one was !.

New faces at Phonak

On the work front, looks like Lyndsay, is going to be moving to another department. I’m happy for her promotion, but ill miss her company.

I will now have limited access to knowledge and information from the sporting world. My Brother David, has probably guessed that I have an adviser, and frequently ridicules me for my footballing “revelations”.

Phill, who professionally mithers the shit out of you, until you pay.

But it isn’t all bad news. There are some new faces around the office. Phil has started working with Lisa in credit control (who I call the finger nail pullers, although their really nice).

Louise, who does some accounts stuff (dont ask me, I dont understand it).

Another new starter, who will be replacing Lyndsay, is Louise. She is also friendly and helpful (and photogenic), and overall, we have quite a good “community” spirit at work now.

On the left of the picture, is one of our auditors. I don’t know her name. There were 2 auditors, and one was Scottish. I therefore called them Scottish auditor and the other auditor. This is other auditor.

They work for PWC, and when I told them I had worked at Andersen, they mentioned Enron !. Just in case their reading this, I would like to say:

1. I left before Enron.

2. Who was it who audited Nick Leason in Singapore and gave him a clean bill of health ?. Oh, it was Coopers and Lybrand, one of the 2 companies, that merged to form PWC 🙂

We also have a new person called Laura. Quiet and decidedly lovely, I unfortunately, don’t have a photo of her (sorry).


Went to the cinema with Glenn. Thought the preview of Your Highness looked really good. It was terrible, unfunny, and filled with crudeness for crudenesses sake.

Worse, I paid for my ticket with Tesco clubcard points. I spent hundreds of pounds of food to “pay” for this rubbish.

Talking of things that are rubbish. The Chicago Code, arguably the best cop show I have ever seen, has been cancelled by Fox. What were they thinking !. Other films I’ve seen recently…

Film – Source Code. Trailer is misleading, this is a superb film.
Film – Made in Dagenham. 200 Women brought Ford to its neese and forced a change in the across the developed world.
TV – Game of Thrones. Sean Been at his very best.
Book – Those in Peril by Wilbur Smith. Not as good as his old stuff but exciting, detailed and compelling.

Film – Limitless. Great premise, they just did nothing with it.
Film – Sucker punch. If ever a film was sold on a dishonest trailer, this was it.
TV – Fringe. Got a bit daft this season.
Book – Lost Symbol, Dan Brown. The only thing that’s lost is Dan Brown losing his way.

I’m presently watching House and Dr Who out of loyalty. Were the recent story lines written during a night on the p1ss ?.


Update 2.



Well, I made as much use as I could of the good weather, and Tony and I have been out walking in Warrington, Delamere Forest and the Baker way from Chester Railway Station to Delamere Railway Station.

We even managed a pint in our favourite walking put, the Helter Skelter (I’m not much of a Real Ale Tw@t, but I’ve grown really fond of Frodsham ales Iron Man.

Unfortunately, during all of this, I forgot to take any pictures, so the photo above has ice on the ground, as it was taken in January !.

My brother bought me a GPS for my birthday (far more accurate than the one I had previously) so occasions of getting lost, should be reduced.


In no particular order, a few things I’ve found/been sent, from the internet.

Really good article about power napping here.

What your facebook photo says about you here.

The 4 lies of social networking article

People say I look like Adrian Chiles.

Office chair race in Germany.

This amazing Lego Aircraft Carrier.

The Royal Wedding.

Called into work on Bank holiday friday. Was suprised at some of the vitriol of the other passengers on the train. There was real hatred about the royal wedding. Despite my feverent hatred of the idea of high birth, I can’t say I feel the same.

In the end, its 2 people that want to get married, and why not. Personally, I just don’t care. I don’t mean that in a negative way, I simply mean that some people who I don’t know, are getting married. I have loads of things going on at the moment which are more important.

It does amuse me, when people on the other end of the spectrum, keep referring to “Kate” and “William” as though they know them. do you know them ?, I mean really ?. Any anyway, its not like their going to invite you around to their house for tea or anything.

Best wishes. Now get off the telly !.

My evening visit to Newton Heath.

Week in Manchester and catching up with friends.

I spent the week in Manchester recently, attending a VCP course (if you don’t know what that is already, you’d probably be bored if I told you, so we’ll leave it there).

On one evening, I walked to Newton Heath (Retracing my steps. For several years, I worked in Manchester and walked home up Oldham Road). I met Nick and Gary, and we had a pretty cool time, catching up. I jumped on the bus home, then got the last train back.

On another evening, I spent the time with Lee and Susan. We went to our usual Chippy, and then had a couple of pints. Toast in the morning for breakfast and a lift to the tram stop. Just like old times.

I met my brother for Coffee one lunchtime (throughout the week, I had burgers for lunch, from the burger van I used to frequent while working in Town) and met Julie Dermody for lunch (which she bought, thanks for that Julie).

Julie was in amazing shape, and goes to the gym, 5 mornings a week. I committed that if she could do it then so could I, and I’m busy getting back to the gym now (as soon as the Dr will sign of my blood pressure !).

Oliver and Hugo

I made the most of the 2 long weekends, and during my 11 days off, I went over to meet Oliver and Jess. I was introduced to their son Hugo.

I also caught up with Oliver’s mum, dad and brother who I havent seen since their wedding in Las Vegas. After the pub, they invited me home for dinner, which was superb.

I didnt manage to catch up with Jo Crawshaw, but hopefully Ill see her the next time I’m in Manchester. I’ve been working on a website for Andrew Ganley, my old psychology friend from Prestwich Hospital. When he’s happy with it, ill publish the details on-line.

Steve has nearly finished my Japanese Garden. We only have one more item to put in the Garden and I’m really excited.

Amelia is well, and 5 months pregnant, with a due date of September (for those of you who can’t add 5 and 4 together).

Repairing Rob's Netbook.

Fixing computers and saving money.

Phonak are good to me, but leather arm chairs, don’t pay for themselves. I’ve therefore prostituted my technical skills and started fixing people home computers for money.

I was approached recently to fix a computer infected with malware, from a drive-by-download.

It didnt look complicated, you usually slave the infected hard disk onto the dvd connection of your computer, and run the relevant software.

The basic idea, is like Thesius and the Minotaur. In the legend, Thesius has to go into a labyrinth, and find and kill a half man/half bull creature, without getting lost and starving to death.

Some of you are probably reading this and wondering what the hell its got to do with computers and malware. Well, wouldn’t it have been easier if the bull was asleep !. Let me explain.

A computer can operate with around 4 + hard disks, but will normally boot from one. The boot disks operating system and associated programs (and therefore the malware) will all start working, the moment the computer becomes active.

Trying to remove an active piece of malware, from a running operating system, is like the bull, as it can move around, hide and literally strike back.

But hang on. What if you took a normal working computer, and hosted the infected disk as a 2nd one. You might think, the malware would spread and infect the “safe” computer ?. Well not if your careful, you see the files aren’t active, and its a bit like finding and killing the bull, while its fast asleep.

Drive by downloads.

Money Saving Ideas.

As Alvin Hall says, most people want to change their financial circumstances by increasing their income. They will find it much easier to reduce their expenses.

Two things I did recently, I thought worthy of mentioning.

Trainers. I have worn Merrill Moab ventilator trainers through 4 consecutive pairs. They were looking a bit goose’d and I decided to replace them. Instead, I washed them in the washing machine, changed the laced and bought some new insoles. Good as new, and its saved £85.

Hugo Boss shirt. Some years ago, I had a brief relationship with a girl at work called Stephanie Ho. She gave me a Hugo Boss shirt as a gift. I Loved that shirt. I wore it for work, as a contractor. When it lost its looks, it was worn on nights out, and gradually, found its way being worn in the garden, in the days when I mowed the lorn.

Stephanie is happily married now with a little boy. I hope she wont be offended, if I say honestly, that I miss the shirt, more than her. Problem is, it cost £150 (10 years ago) so I couldn’t afford to replace it.

Someone suggested ebay. I got a nearly new one, for £2.95 and its even nicer than the one I had.

 back online.

Apologies for no recent updates.

I had a problem with wordpress, where I couldn’t put new pages up. I’m sorry for people coming back and back, and there being nothing new to see or read about.

The heroic Henrik took matters into his own hands and repaired it, so thanks once again for your help.

The good news, is I now have about 8 pages of content to put up, which should be completed by Saturday morning.

Once again, thanks for reading. Near and far, the search for adventure continues…

My Birthday.

My Birthday.

Birthday Celebration

Well, only 7 days to go, before my birthday. I’m really looking forward to it this year. Loads of people are coming down, and the weather promises to be superb, here in Chester.

One thing I should mention, is parking. Lately, people have been stung for parking in streets where it appeared ok, but after receiving a ticket, realised there was a hard to see no parking sign nearby. My own street is on of these “local stealth tax zones”, so If your coming by car, best to park in a pay and display car park, for peace of mind (or better still, just get the bus or train).

If you want to stay over, there are basically 3 options. Top end, the Mill Hotel, next to my house, which is lovely. Middle option, one of the B&B’s on Hoole Lane. Bottom option (but no less friendly) is my floor !.

Also, lots of you have been asking what I’d like for a present, so I’ve taken the liberty of making up a list, which is taken from the treats section of this years Mindmap.

Brown Mirror – I’ve often been accused of dressing in the dark, and I’m determined to do something about it.

Socks –  Some of the old Auntie Marjorie favourites are badly needed.

Photo frame – I want to finaly put my X files poster ( 10 things I like ) in the living room but it doesn’t have a frame.

Bandana Game Board – Recommended by Simon Calder, will really cut the mustard, when I get back to travelling.

North face tent slippers – Slightly expensive. Tested on Everest, but remains to be tested in my living room.

Brown cords – I’m 38 inch waist. I had a pair of these as a teenager, and I miss them badly.

Bottle of Jack – Not being a spirits drinker by nature, I can make one of these last a whole year.

I’ve invited everyone by word of mouth, email, text and various web 2.0 things like facebook. If (for whatever reason) you haven’t received an invite, consider yourself invited, details can be found here.

See you all soon.