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March
1 - Woke earlier but managed to snooze on for a while until woken by Sally just before 8am . . . walked in the drizzle. Feels much milder out . . . PCd this while recording more cassettes on the living room machine . . . ate mushrooms, two sausages, two eggs, half a tin of beans and four slices of bread and butter for an early afternoon lunch . . .napped . . . walked. . . PCd . . .touched base with BB . . . TVd . . listened to music . . .ate bowls of cornflakes . . . TVd until bed around midnight. ps
2 - Woken by Sally not long after 7am. Ok - so much for milder out! More snow sprinkles on everything . . . walked and found a lighter . . . PCd and ended up surfing on line looking at the prices and different specifications of DVD players. It's SO tempting to 'force' Mum to have one, now I know I can produce MP3 music CDs from records and tapes, AND can make up and burn my own little DVD movies and such from the family photos, etc. Dare I - as a mothers day gift? It’d be SUCH a hassle getting her to have one. She is SO resistant to change and definitely isn’t good with new fangled gadgets that she has to ‘learn’ – but, oh, the possibilities are SO exciting. I SO want to share some of this with her. . wow – the varying specifications of all the different DVD players that are on the market are confusing as hell. I guess like it or not (and I don’t!) I’ll have to concentrate on ‘Sony’ machines. Dad was strangely convinced that Sony stuff was the business – and everything she currently has (video, TV etc) is Sony. If I make it a Sony, that should sit ‘reasonably’ well with her, ESPECIALLY if it kinda ‘matches’ looks wise – and maybe it’d make the connections, compatibility and functionality a little more seamless (possible!!) than otherwise? All SUCH a minefield and a worry, when it really shouldn’t be – but I know what Mum is like! I’m gonna be taking a hell of a risk – I could go and buy her one, only for her to refuse to let me disturb her current video/TV setup! Damn it – it’s gotta be done!! Eventually decided that the Sony DVP-NS 355S model was the one to go for. As far as I could tell, it WOULD be able to read ALL the different types of discs I can currently create on the PC. Typically of Sony, it was more limited and more expensive than many others on the market, and given a free hand I wouldn’t have entertained buying it, but I had to, in the hope of Mum being more easily convinced to accept it. Surfed on line and found it was for sale at Argos for an extortionate 69.99!! Yikes!! Slightly better at Dixons and Currys and the same at Comet for 59.99 (even cheaper on line, but I haven't time). :o( . . . left Sally at home and drove to the Comet store at Longwell Green for a look. . they had one in a box on the shelf but it seemed pretty critical to me that I’d need to see the on screen graphical menu system, to assess whether or not Mum would be able to handle it. Typical – they didn’t have one wired up and working on display. The assistant was happy to hook one up, but pointed out he had no computer created DVD-R or CD-R discs on hand to put in it anyway!! Damn – knew I should have brought some to test it out on!! Headed back to the car – ummd and ahhd in the car park – but eventually just took the chance and went back in and bought one!!! What cheap skates – it didn’t even come with a SCART cable to be able to connect it up, and they wouldn’t throw one in, so I had to spend another 7.99 on their ‘cheapest’ one of those! Ouch - 67.98 in total!!!! Rushed back home, unpacked it and quickly hooked it up to the TV and experimented with various different discs . . experimented for hours and managed to learn enough about its functions to get a feel for what it DOES do. . It DID do most things, but not as much as I'd hoped!! Rather disappointed – even briefly considered taking it back. :o( I don’t rate Sony stuff very highly at all. . . ok – that’s the machine – the ‘easy’ bit. The more difficult bit is gonna be producing enough music CDs and home made DVDs to capture Mums attention and MAKE her want it!!! Dug out ALL my old photographs and sorted through every single one looking for old pictures of the family and particularly Dad. The pressure I now felt under enabled me to mostly keep any emotional responses at bay! Ended up with different sorted piles ALL over the house! I KNOW that I CAN create some DVDs of slideshows with musical backing tracks – I’m just not sure how! Ended up being a crash course in learning and experimenting with – um – three? - different software packages on the PC!!!!! Ouch! . . skipped food, scanned in photos and eventually succeeded in knocking up a rough and ready slideshow of a handful of humorous photos of Dad, to accompany the Nat King Cole song ‘Smile’ – the one we had played at his funeral!!!!!!! Burned it onto a test DVD to play in the new machine. Blimey - yep – I think this is gonna work :o) . . . Sis1 called to touch base and confirm she wouldn’t be popping in as she’d planned to. Ok – just as well – I’m BUSY!!!. . .walked. Stopped for 2.10 sausage and chips takeaway on the way home, just to get food out of the way. . .PCd more until the national survey guy turned up at 8:30pm as I’d agreed the other day. Warned him I definitely wasn’t your ‘average person’ and then answered all his questions. Actually had some pleasure in answering the ones about law and order and how bad the local area has become etc. Amazing to hear that other people he’d surveyed had said the area was ok!! Just goes to show, they don’t walk around here much doesn’t it! If I didn’t walk the dog twice a day and see all the bad stuff going on that I do, I too would probably be none the wiser and would think the area was mostly ok. :o( BB called in the middle of things. Finished the survey around 9:30pm and then called BB back . . . straight back on the PC and experimented more for ages, until way into the early hours. p
3 - Woken by Sally around 6:30!!! That's early!? Maybe she needs to use the garden? Dashed down in just my underwear and let her out. Big mistake. Oh my god was it cold!!! Ice on the pond! BRRRRRRRRRRRRR! And on top of that, she didn't need the garden at all - she just went outside, lay down and looked back at me turning blue! Grrrrrr . . got her back in and went back to bed to try and warm up a little until around 8:30am . . . walked . . .dug out the couple of 'gold dust' audio tapes I have of Grandma talking and one from Christmas 1965 (yikes - is that me?) and set them recording onto the PC . . . walked with Sally up to the little local PC store and bought 10 worth of 25xDVD+Rs, just to make sure I'd have enough for every eventuality, and plenty of test burns . . .dismantled the living room setup, dragged out the old video I've not used for the last couple of years and set it up next to and connected to the PC. Brought down all the old VHS video 'master' tapes I've had safely stored away, since I hired that camera to record Dads retirement 'do', and set about trying to play and record those onto the PC as well. (I MUST be able to get those onto DVD, to prove to Mum a DVD machine is the way to go - and just in case if the worst comes to the worst, the setup with Mums TV dictates I have to disconnect her video to attach the DVD player!!!) Yikes - bit emotional watching all that old stuff! God, WHAT a pratt I was back then - although at least I had some hair, and SO dark in colour compared to the current thinning grey!!! . . left the videos running downstairs and did more stuff on the machine upstairs. Scanned in a bunch of old photos (VERY carefully chosen and ordered) and made up a slideshow to go with the Johnny Mathis track 'The Way We Were', which we also had played at Dads funeral. Eventually had it all more or less done and sat back to actually watch it to see how it played. That did it!!! Ended up crying my eyes out!!!! Boy, did it work!!!! Haven't cried like that for ages - but somehow, it wasn't in a 'bad' way!!! After all, that emotional impact was precisely what I'd been aiming for, to capture Mums attention. Well - if I get nothing else acheived, those two slideshows I've already done, should be enough to 'present' to her on the machine as a surprise. . . paused long enough to cook up a pepperoni pizza with extra topping some time during the afternoon. . . videod until around 5pm. . .developed a BIG headache and had to nap, until woken by Sally barking at a catalogue pushed through the letter box around 8pm . . . touched base with BB to say I was running late and wouldn't be calling at 9pm as usual . . . walked after setting another video recording. . . called BB back whilst recording and swapping videos . . videod until 11:30 . . PCd a bit of this . . .PCd into the early hours again! Uh oh - think I'm gonna struggle manipulating those videos on the PC!!! Is it my imagination or is there some sort of lipsink problem where I've converted them??!!! Edit-convert-test-burn, round and round and round!! pas
4 - Woke. . . walked . . . PCd all day again I think!?? Did I stop to eat? I don't think so - not sure - it's all a blurr. . .used a lot of the painful photos of Dad 'in sickness' to knock up another emotionally charged slideshow to go with the Julian Lennon track 'Saltwater' (which Mum'd mentioned had become one of special significance for her). Ouch!! Yeah - that works too! . .discovered on the Xmas 1965 tapes, that Dad had said a few words to me when he'd copied them for me. Just stuff like 'that's the end of this side, turn it over etc etc' but it suddenly occurred to me that I could maybe cut up the audio with the PC, cut and paste and make up a different sentence!!!!! Oh my god!! I ended up with a picture of dad (the best close up, looking straight at you smiling, portrait of him I have - which I thankfully insisted on taking in my conservatory once) with him saying "Sorry about the abrupt end. Well, there you are, that's it. Something to keep for history. So - goodbye, lots of love - cheerio." Spooky - but it seemed like a perfect little footnote to go on the DVD for Mum - like he'd had a hand in what she was gonna see and kinda like he was apologising for 'his' abrupt end! Hard to explain - but it had to be done and included as the last little thing on the DVD menu. . . walked. On the way back from the field near the chip shop, a group of kids were assembled. I'm pretty sure one of them was that same nasty half cast girl who's given me trouble in the past and seems to delight in throwing her litter 'at me' because she's seen me picking it up around the field. As I walked by on the other side of the street, all up tight and wound up and engrossed in planning more music and photos and DVDs and wondering why I had a lip sink problem with the videos, one of them started jeering at me and calling out "Tramp. TrAMP!" Boy was I NOT in the mood for some stupid brainless child to start giving me greif. I ended up stopping, crossing the road and pursuing them into the chip shop as they fled from me!!! Childishly they all denied having shouted it. I gave them some (yes I admit it - a little foul mouthed) abuse, before walking out and home!! :o( . . . BB called for a few brief words before I carried on slaving away over a hot PC until I don't remember when in the early hours. This has all turned into an absolute HARD work, up against a deadline, nightmare - with no guarantee that Mum will actually let me instal the machine down there, let alone actually have it all work if I do!! Arrrrrggghhhhh!!! :o( pas
5 - Woke after only a few hours sleep . . .walked . . . set a DVD burning around 9am of one of the videos and the couple of slideshows. Oh my god - it took around five hours to complete!!!!!!!!????? What the hell am I doing wrong - that can't be normal?!! All plays on the DVD ok though. . . . what's this?!!! Oh NO!!! I don't believe it!! A leaflet from Sainsbury's that came with the local free newspaper, was advertising the very same Sony DVD I'd just bought, for only 49.99!!! 10 cheaper!! Made me feel sick! :o( I was by now, so deeply 'stepped in' to my little 'got to get it done in time' nightmare, I couldn't face the idea of having to try and take it back and get a refund and then drive to Sainsbury's to buy the cheaper one. Oh well. :o( I'll keep the purchase receipt and Sainsbury's leaflet and maybe on Monday when this is all over, I'll see if Comet do some sort of 'price promise' deal, and go back and have a go at complaining. Wish I hadn't started all this now! :o( Nightmare!! I don't think I have EVER worked so hard at anything on the PC before - not even when I was doing all that programming for work! . . . spent quite a time on line surfing. That new DVD player will happily play MP3 files while automatically showing a slideshow of any JPEG images in the same directory. Seemed like a neat idea to grab as many Johnny Mathis images as I could find, to include on the disc, to show on the TV if Mum ever listened to any of the albums I'd put on there. Just one more trick to grab her interest and gain acceptance of the idea. Eventually ended up with around 70 different photos of him - copies of which I dumped into each album directory!! . . walked and stopped for sausage and chips. The friendly guy behind the counter asked about what happened last night and was very understanding when I told him and apologised for storming into their shop and using a bit of bad language at the kids. He too had experienced problems with that particular girl - something along the lines that she'd order something, go outside and eat half of it, and then return and demand that he replace it with another lot because she had in fact ordered something else. Yep - she's a bad sort indeed. He went on to say that one day he will move on from that shop, and when he does, he will take great delight in telling several of his customers to just F*** *** and what he REALLY thinks of them. (He unfortunately has to put up with a lot at the moment because he needs the business). . .ate my chips as quickly as possible and got straight back to the PC. Figured it was high time I knocked up a few MP3 music CDs for Mum. I'd left this till last because I pretty much knew it wouldn't be a problem. WRONG!!! Turned out that the Sony DVD treats directories differently to how mine does. When it displays the menu of what is on the CD that has been inserted, it ignores any directory that doesn't contain MP3 or JPG files!!! Everything I have done on my PC is neatly sorted and stored in a meaningful directory structure. Top level is the artists name, and subdirectories just show the album names. Because the artist name directory doesn't actually contain any files (only sub directories), the stupid DVD didn't show it. That meant that a disc containing multiple artists albums, simply showed the album names and not WHO had done them!!!! Useless!!! What IDIOT at Sony came up with THAT idea??!!! I tried various dodges with empty 'placeholder' files, but it was all pretty unsatisfactory - and definitely not something Mum could have handled. I ended up having to laboriously select which albums I was going to do for her - copy them all on my hard drive to a 'staging area' and then rename all the directories, before burning them onto the CD!!!! ARRRRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! . . BB called at some point and was very understanding when I said I was up to my neck in it still and would have to talk some other time . . . eventually at some time in the early hours I'd succeeded in burning and labelling four CDs full of different artists MP3 albums - including of course, her beloved Johnny Mathis. That should be enough to get her going. . . eventually lay down to sleep, AFTER having put another DVD into the PC to burn while I slept, containing just one of the smaller of the old family videos!!! Getting used to this sleeping next to a noisy PC. :o( pa
6 - Mothers day. Woke before the alarms around 6:15am!!! Well - at least the DVD finished burning sometime in the night. Went straight down to 'Mums' DVD and the TV to play it and confirm it was ok. It WAS. WHAT a relief. Oh well - I didn't get done all that I wanted, but those couple are better than nothing. They'll have to do . . . walked, planning the best (devious) way of presenting Mum with the DVD player, most likely to ensure acceptance. . .disconnected Mums DVD player and carefully repacked it in the box, together with the small pile of discs I was giving her. (the ones I'd burned, together with the DVD of 'The French Leutenants Woman' and some of the CDs she'd got free with her weekend newspaper, but which she'd given me in the past because she had nothing to play them on.) . . .loaded the car up with everything and then touched base with Sis1 and warned her I was on my way . . stopped for petrol (28.78 ltrs @ 23) and a couple of cans of Red Bull drink (2.70) to help keep me awake on the drive home later . . dashed in to Sis1s and tested out one of my (many!!) throw away, test burn DVDs, on her DVD player. It played ok, so that proved I could do HER copies of stuff, if she wanted them in the future . . . set off down the motorway. Cold but beautiful clear blue sky, sunny day. Good to be 'out' after the last few days (weeks/months!!). Sis1 chatted all the way but I was SO anxious about everything working out ok, I can't recall much of what she said. God I was SO uptight!!! . . . not long after we'd arrived and said our hellos and Sally had been given some scotch egg treats and Mum had started making coffee, I put my devious plan into action. 'Shall I go and get it out of the car now?' I said in front of Mum to Sis1. Mum asked what and I replied - 'the puppy'!! Mum was immediately plunged into a shaking nervous panic. She'd made it abundantly clear in various conversations where I'd suggested she should get a dog, that she absolutely definitely did NOT want one!! I quickly made it clear I was only joking about the puppy - but my plan had worked. Mum was SO relieved that I hadn't done that to her, that when I came back in with the large DVD box and demanded she trust me and just 'let me do it', she didn't raise 'that much' of an objection. She was just SO relieved not to have been forced to have a puppy. lolol Ain't I manipulative!! lolol :o) . . Mum mostly busied herself making the coffee in the kitchen, but her concern (distress?) about what I was doing to her living room and familiar way of life, was tangible. I desperately tried to get whatever had to be done, over with as smoothly and quickly as possible. Sis1 helped by engaging in a bit of 'interference' conversation with Mum. lol . . uh oh - there was only one SCART socket on the back of the TV and that was occupied by her video! Damn! Hang on though - there is a second unused one on the video? Franticly read through the video manual and discovered after luckily reading some small print, I should be able to plug the DVD into that - with a minor alteration to the power save setting on the video menus, it SHOULD enable whatever was connected to that socket, to 'play through' on the TV, even when the video isn't actually turned on. Ooohh, oohh - fingers crossed. Wow - look at that!! The DVD player was pretty mcuh EXACTLY the same width as the video, matched pretty well, and 'just' fitted perfectly on top of the video on the slide out shelf of the cabinet. WHAT LUCK!!!! Perfect! Even Mum would HAVE to admit that was neat. . caused Mum a bit of concern (now sat watching) when I couldn't quite reach the new plug I'd fed through to the back of the unit. Had to use a pair of kitchen tongues to reach it. As luck would have it, there was a spare socket hidden behind the TV to plug it straight into (only ever used for Xmas lights). Cool. That all went about as well as it could possibly have done!! But - does it work!!! . No!! <masked panic> . . re-read the Video manual small print and eventually managed to change the power save setting to what was required. I think Dad had turned that off because the video is hidden in the cabinet and there wasn't much point in having the clock display on all the time. It is now. Right - so - does it work now? No!!!!??? Oh jeeze! Ok - so it didn't switch over automatically like it does when the video is playing - where the hell is the 'video' channel on the TV? Eventually in a panicy sweat - I bumped into the video channel on the TV. Channel '0'. That's good - easy for mum to remember - and YayyyyyyyyYYYYYYY! The DVD welcome screen! GOT IT!! EXCELLENT!! Hey - that was actually relatively painless. Couldn't really have gone any easier. Oh thank goodness. And because it is all Sony stuff, the volume control on the DVD remote will happily automatically operate the TV volume. Very cool (although I couldn't get the standby/on button on the DVD remote to turn on the TV like it allegedly should. Never mind - Mum refuses to have the TV on standby anyway, and always turns it on and off at the button on the front of the set!). . once I'd recovered from the stress, it was agreed we'd have a bit of a look at the stuff I'd brought. Kinda like a showman I started off with the simple stuff (regular music CDs and DVDs) and then moved on to the 'special' stuff I had done on the PC. I paused when we came to the DVD menu (thumbnails of Dad etc) of the emotional slideshows I'd done, plonked the tissues on the settee next to Mum, and asked her and Sis1 if they were sure they wanted to do 'this' now. They said they were up for it (although of course had no idea what was coming - I hadn't even warned Sis1 on the way down!). .I figured there was an appropriate sequence to things, to ensure we all wouldn't be a blubbering mess when it was time to go for our meal. Start with the 'Saltwater', do 'The Way We Were' next, and finish off with the 'Smile' followed by the little made up snippet of Dads voice saying sorry for the abrupt end and cheerio and all that. That's what we did. Mum got wet eyed but remained composed. I went out for a cigarette in the garden (with Dad!! I'd toyed with the idea of bringing one of my test burn DVDs and burying it out there for him - but that would have been just silly!) while they watched 'The Way We Were' cause I wasn't sure if I could sit through it without crying again myself - and it was cool to be able to watch Mum and Sis1s reaction through the window. Sis1 was as much a blubbering mess as I'd been the first time I'd watched it! lol I directed them through the window to move on to watch the 'Smile' one next. Tears in her eyes but, Mum laughed here and there. Not sure about Sis1 - I think she was still recovering from the previous one. Finally I rejoined them to play that last little Dads 'cheerio' snippet. Mum looked as though she couldn't believe it and I had to explain at length how I had acheived it. It was replayed more than once. . well - that's it. :o) I felt EXHAUSTED!!! I think it all worked out ok. I think I found myself sat at the bottom of their garden with a cigarette at one point (where we'd scattered Dads ashes) kinda thinking to myself with a satisfied smile on my face "Well Dad? Whatdaya reckon?" . . . all drove down to Battery Gardens to give Sally a quick walk before heading to the restaurant on the sea front with the view. Very cold. Ewwww - someone had put someones ashes in front of one of those seats again. They hadn't even sprinkled them around - they'd actually poured them out in the shape of a cross!! Weird how the old guy sat at the seat who we all exchanged a word with, had no idea what they were. He was happily throwing a ball for his dog and it was running back and forth through that someones remains!!! lolol . .found a spot in the car park right next to the resteraunt and all (including Sally - 'Dogs and Children Welcome') went in for our meal. Predictably very busy (being mothers day) and we were squeezed in on a small table. Bit difficult with Sally taking up so much floor space but everyone managed. She was, as usual, so VERY good (better behaved than the screaming children that were in there!), and just calmly lay where I told her to, with waitresses and people stepping over her. Before our meal arrived, I couldn't help noticing the people on the next table who were soon going to be finished, were leaving lots of their food - most noticeably, a sausage!! Dunno how I had the nerve, but as always, Sally comes first - I leaned over and said I hoped they didn't mind me asking, but I couldn't help noticing - were they leaving their sausage - and if so, could I please have it!!! Outrageous!!! Luckily they took this quite well and the woman handed over her plate and I took the sausage with thanks and fed it to Sally. They shortly produced another. Lucky dog. :o) . . . all ate our excellent Sunday roast beef/turkey and sticky toffee pudding with cream before eventually all heading back to Mums late afternoon . . . poor Mum. I just HAD to - I HAD to lay down for a nap - Sis1 as well!!!!!! lol Mum furnished me with a pillow and duvet and the couch in the spare room - and Sis1 lay down in the living room. Her excuse was the glass of wine she'd had with her meal. My excuse was the amount of work I'd been doing on this DVD thing - the little sleep I'd had in the last few days - and frankly the stress of it all, particularly this morning!!!! Mum ended up doing washing up chores as her guests slept around the place!! lol . . . only slept for maybe an hour or so before being woken by the phone ringing, inches from my head!! Mum picked up in the hall and I could hear she was chatting to Sis2. Tried to 'come to' a little before reaching over for the phone and joining in with a bit of the conversation. Sis2s plans about going to work in Baharain seemed to make a little more sense when she explained stuff. . . walked Sally down to Battery Gardens and back, in the dark cold. My painful foot thankfully held out pretty well. A cold clear evening - actually very nice out - but very cold. Sat for a cigarette looking out over the ocean and the bay - couldn't stop that damned 'Saltwater' track from going round and round inside my head!! . . Despite the fact that the thermometer in the garage (still hung there from when I tied it to the roof when I was sleeping out there with Sally, when Dad was doing his dieing thing) showed only 2 degrees C above freezing, by the time I got back in all my layers, I was overheating badly and had consigned my hat and gloves to my pocket and had undone everything! Fed Sally and left her to eat it in the garage before going back inside for a coffee and to wrestle with the TV and DVD player and try and write out some 'dummys guide' instructions on how to use it all, for Mum to refer to, rather than wrestle with the complicated instruction manual. Seperate instructions for regular music CDs, regular DVDs, my PC burned MP3 music CDs, and my PC burned DVDs!!!!! Took a while - my coffee got cold. . had something of a difficult argument with Mum where she absolutely INSISTED on knowing how much the DVD had cost, and then proceeded in giving me the money for it - AND money for petrol!!! I put up as much of a fight as I could without it getting too nasty. Ridiculous for me to buy her a present, only for her to then pay for it!!!! Sours it all a bit for me. Grrrrr!!! Unfortunately there was no winning the argument with her (as always!!) - and - well - frankly there was some truth in Mums argument about how she could afford it and I couldn't! Still - it isn't right - I wasn't happy to be suddenly forced to accept 90!!!!!! I think I've profitted from the deal - again!! Grrrrrr. :o( . . . By the time I'd finished and insisted on Mum trying out my instructions, I think we'd all reached our limit. Enough. Enough!! Just turn it all off and don't touch it for a while!!! . . Mum pointed out that it was getting late and we really should be going! lololol Actually what she meant was that Sis1 had work in the morning and she was concerned about how late it would be us getting home - but it was funny and almost like being told she'd had enough and wanted us to go now please. lolol Reminded me of how Grandma used to be - she really WOULD say such a thing when she'd had enough of us all visiting her - and frankly, why not. lololol :o) . . . eventually loaded everything into the car, locked up the garage (after oiling the small door hinges), hugs and goodbyes around 10:30pm . . . cold clear stary sky drive home, drinking red bull to keep awake. . . dropped Sis1 off and eventually got home and unloaded around 12:30am. Touched base with Mum to confirm safe arrival and to ask her to have a look for my torch which I now couldn't find. I last remember having it when I returned from walking Sally at Mums and went back out and put just a dab of 'ease it' oil on the rusty breaking hinges of her side gate. . . touched base with 'eager to know' BB, and told her that everything seemed to have gone ok with the DVD thing at Mums . .SO exhausted - didn't even finish my coffee before falling into bed. .still all wound up and despite feeling oh so VERY tired, I couldn't sleep and tossed and turned for ages. Eventually gave up and got up and PCd just a little, surfing the local news and such. Ended up eating the couple of buttered hot cross buns Mum'd sent me home with, at around 3am with a coffee! Eventually, at last, to sleep some time after 4am!! pa
7 - Woken by Sally around 7:30am. Very slow getting going after so little sleep. . . called the doctors surgery trying to make an appointment to see ‘my’ doctor, but once again he wasn’t in – not in all week! Oh well – I’ve lived with this for so long, there’s no hurry. The guy on reception who answered the phone DID reveal that the X-rays were back, and that the computer system he was looking at did say someone had discussed something with my GP, and it mentioned something about a possible arthritis around one small bone in my foot! Uhuh. Oh well – guess I’ll wait until next Monday when he’s back and ring again and make an appointment to see my doctor and hear whatever there may be to hear, ‘from the horse’s mouth’. Actually – I’m SO tired and in need of sleep, I’m rather glad he isn’t there today. . . walked and found 2p. Another group of kids were all hanging around playing truant - before heading off in the direction of the nearby wooded valley 'to light a fire' according to what the old dog walker had said he'd overheard. (The same guy who lives in the nearby bungalows that are constantly under attack from truanting vandalising kids). He was gonna go home and call the police - again (waste of a call of course). I couldn't help myself - figured it was worth maybe having some 'fun' (??!!) and messing with those kids minds a bit. I hooked Sally up, crossed the road and headed down by the bungalows and down along the wooded footpath. Haven't done that walk for a while - jeeze WHAT a mess everywhere!! HUGE amounts of rubbish, vandalised stuff, debris and the remnants of stolen stuff all dumped down there!!! Couldn't see the kids or smoke (although could smell burning something) and ended up walking a large circuit before heading back. On the way back I DID see the kids and had my 'mess with their heads fun'. I took my camera out, asked them why they weren't in school ('cause we're not!') and took photos of them as they walked by me pulling their hoods up and hiding their faces. Ha! . . as I headed home past the school, that same group were running up the road back towards the school. Funny bit was, a teacher out on the sports field doing a PE lesson saw them and started hollering - there was no point in running - he'd seen them - he knew who they were. lololol :o) . . . PCd and went on line looking at the Comet web site searching for details of any 'price promise' they may have. They DID have one!! Read it, re-read it and ended up being pretty sure I DID have a perfect case for succeeding in a claim . . . while I was engaged on line, Mum'd left an ansaphone message saying she'd looked all over but couldn't find my torch, I hadn't left it there, and suggesting I should check the car again! Went straight out to the car and thankfully found my torch in the door compartment. . . drove with Sally to the Comet store. Marched up to the desk armed with my receipt and the Sainsburys leaflet and said I was a disgruntled customer and put my case. Wasn't long before I was getting angry. The 'kid in a suit' said they wouldn't honour the price promise unless Sainsburys confirmed they had one in stock, for that price, there and then RIGHT NOW when he rang them up. So - according to him - if Sainsburys had 'just' sold out earlier that morning, or indeed five minutes ago, he would NOT honour the price promise!!! That didn't seem right to me. He cited the phrase "We only ask that the same product is immediately available.." with the emphasis on 'immediately'!!! That really looked like trying anything to weasle out of the deal. So - I had to sit there and wait, anxious as hell like awaiting the outcome of a trial, while he rang up a local Sainsburys store and asked if they had them in stock and how much they were - never mind the fact that I'd furnished him with their leaflet! And what if THAT store was sold out? How about the rest? No - no way was I gonna simply roll over and accept it if Sainsburys were sold out. I was well up for taking it further - especially since I had time to study a copy of their 'promise' on the counter in front of me, and rather thought what he was saying was 'at odds' with the next section which stated "This applies - Where the offer can be verified, either by written evidence (e.g. advert, quotation, dated screen print etc.) or verbally from our competitors.". After an awful anxious wait, luckily Sainsburys still had them in stock. Without any words of 'apology' to keep the customer happy, my card number was credited with my 11 refund. I won't - but it IS tempting to complain to Comet about all that! T'aint right! . . . stopped off at the Jolleys pet food store and bought 48 tins of Winalot for 16.20 . . stopped off at Lidls in Hanham for some groceries. Had to help a woman in some expensive looking powered wheel chair, to get through the turnstile barrier. Turns out, if you just lift the whole thing up and walk forward, it'll swing out of the way and allow a wheelchair through. As I limped away I felt 'obliged' to make some joke about how with my bad foot, I figured I'd be in one of those pretty soon. She called back after me that she'd been doing twenty mile walks only a few years ago! Bloody hell! Me too, I told her, and said something about my foot and possible arthritis. She said that was exactly what she had!!!!!!!! Bloody hell!!!!!!!! Bloody HELL!!! :o( . . . touched base with Mum and told her the good news about the refund and joked (again) at how I'd made a tidy profit from it all, thanks to her, and maybe I'd have to buy her something again!!! :o) . . . fried up half the 'Breakfast Pack' I'd impulse bought in Lidl for lunch. 2 Black Pudding Slices, 2 Lorne Sausages, 2 Hash Browns, 3 Pork Sausages, 3 Scottish Recipe Sausages, all with four slices of bread and butter!! Felt a bit queasy by the time I'd finished!. . . napped all afternoon until around 6pm . . . LB called to touch base. Apparantly I'd missed all the action yesterday. A nearby house (the one that once had it's windows all smashed in the night - and then had a police raid) was the scene of a big asian wedding. Lots of expensive cars parked all over with the brightly dressed attendees spilling out into the street with people out watching etc etc!!! Blimey - that would have been interesting. . .walked . . . Mum called to touch base and tell me she'd sat down for much of the day and actually used the DVD player to listen to some of the Johnny Mathis MP3 music CDs and to watch again (over and over) the music slideshows I'd done of Dad. It was 8pm and she hadn't even done the washing up from her tea yet. Good gracious!! lololol Yayyyyyyy! EXCELLENT! :o) Oh I was SOOoooo pleased to hear that she had, and had got on ok with my 'dummys guide' instructions. I was convinced she wouldn't touch it for ages - if at all! EXCELLENT! :o) She even seemed just a little 'buzzy' about it and certainly now had an understanding of what 'could' be done with bits of music as a backing sound track, and all her old photos (yes - all those old 'projection slides' are gonna be difficult to convert). Yayyyyyyyyy. :o) WHAT a relief. Oh I'm SO relieved and pleased. . . briefly popped up LBs and returned the couple of her CDs I've had laying around for days . . . touched base with BB . . . the PC was on upstairs but I just couldn't face going up there and doing my long neglected journal. I definitely VERY MUCH need a bit of break from the PC after the last few exhausting days of CONSTANT PC work and hardly any sleep! All a bit of a nightmare - but I NOW feel as though it WAS 'maybe', 'almost' worth all the effort. :o) . . . TVd . . . ate ham sandwiches made out of the ham scraps Mum'd bought for Sally and given me to bring home. FAR too good for Sally - and 2s worth!!! Nice sandwhiches - sorry Sally. . . TVd . . . PCd this - almost but not quite! I SO need a break - and the house needs some serious sorting out and tidying up! Looks like a bomb has hit it with stereos, video recorders, scarts, patch leads, cassettes, videos, CDs, DVDs and piles of photos laying around absolutely everywhere. . .tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow . . I think these last few days - I overdid it rather. I really feel burned out! To bed some time after midnight. pas
8 - Woken by Sally staring at me around 8am, but managed to snooze on for just a little while. Very stiff and achey legs!!? Not sure if they really are that stiff and achey or if I'm now just kinda 'dwelling' on it all the time. The only saving grace about it all, is that pain killers (my usual Annadin) seem pretty effective at dealing with it. :o/ . . . walked and found 2p . . . PCd some of this as best I could recall (Actually - typing this - I could no longer find any trace on line of that DVD player on sale at Comet!!?? Weird.). . .ate masses of ham sandwiches (six pieces of bread and butter!) with two bags of crisps followed by a little chocolate for lunch around 1:30am. . . napped right through until woken by Sally around 6pm!! . . .PCd a bit of this. Walked and found a penny . . .TVd . . . BB called . . . TVd . . ate the last of the ham in more sandwiches, bowls of cornflakes and chocolate . . . to bed just after 11pm. pas
9 - Woke just before 7am . . .walked and found 2p. As I was about to cross the 'Emergency Vehicles Only' road, I had to quickly stop as a moped 'screamed' through at speed, a couple of feet in front of me. Grrrrr! Dunno why I have to get SO indignant about non emergency vehicles using that road all the time?!! Couldn't help myself - I instinctively kicked a plastic milk carton that was laying at my feet (amongst the usual mountains of litter) and succeeded in getting it to hit the side of his engine/back wheel as he went. He took exception to this and then proceeded to come back and 'buzz' me a couple of times as I walked along the pavement! I guess he has yet to learn how he'd come off MUCH worse if there was any such 'contact'. Ho hum - just another day of delights in the ghetto :o( . . . PCd this all morning . . .fried up the rest of the cheap Lidl breakfast pack together with 3 rashers of bacon and ate it all with bread and butter . . . slept through until early evening. . . walked. . . touched base with BB . . . PCd, experimenting further with converting the couple of old family videos to DVD. I just can't quite get a grip on the software I'm using and what settings are best for the conversion. If I use anything above the minimum quality, it ends up being SO big in size it won't fit on a DVD!! Somehow ended up going round and round and round trying this and that until - oops - all of a sudden it was almost time to walk Sally!! Guess I'd better do that before sleeping then!!!!! pas
10 - . . . Walked and found 21p. . . PCd some more. . . at last - slept for a few hours while the PC buzzed away burning another DVD test . . . ate warmed corned beef, mayo, onion and tomato sandwiches with bags of crisps before going straight back to sleep! Slept until woken by Sally around 7pm . . .a bunch of raucous noise in the street but I couldn't see anything much through my front door spy hole. When I went out to walk Sally, there was a strange mass of debris in the middle of the street and blowing all around, making cars slow down and pick their way past!!!??. . just down the road, a group of young yobs were messing around in the beer garden of the still closed and fenced off pub. I was gonna ignore them until I noticed large burning things flying through the air!! Over the high wall in the beer garden, is a palm/reed like plant that sheds many long dry branches. The idiots were setting fire to them and throwing them over the wall!!! I marched over with Sally and my torch and shouted over the wall and demanded they 'get out of there' - and sadly ended up calling them "F*****g IDIOTS!". Incredibly they did as I told them, and all walked off down the street in front of me, without giving me 'too' much abuse at all. Very suprising. . walked . Nearly back at home, I passed a vacuum cleaner all broken and laying in the street. I guess it had been put out with the rubbish by someone for tomorrows bin collection, and some passing idiots (most probably the same kids who'd been burning stuff in the pub beer garden) had decided to smash it up and throw it around. Aha - so THAT is what all that horrible debris was, heaped up and blowing around in the middle of the road - the contents of the vacuum cleaner! Blimey - must have been jam packed full!! I wonder if it stopped working just because it was SO full of dust and animal fur etc, and it was thrown away in error? Oh well - all smashed up now. The street was too nasty a dusty mess for me to start getting involved in clearing it up. I turned a blind eye to it all and left the cars and the wind to do the job . . . called BB. In the middle of the conversation IHB popped in for a brief coffee and chat. He seemed to be doing ok and happy enough - even coming off his prozac - down to one every three days or some such . . . briefly touched base with Mum after he'd gone to confirm exactly what bits of those old videos she actually had on tape - so I could attempt to put exactly the same onto DVD. Blimey - she's been using here DVD player quite a bit. WHAT a surprise!!! :o) She'd watched the film and listened to different bits of my MP3d music, and even had a question about how to negotiate the DVD software menus to play individual tracks. Cool. :o). . . PCd and converted Dads VHS 'retirement video' to a low quality DVD. Bit too low quality and grainy for my liking! :o( . . PCd more and ended up working on a Sally slideshow (photos to acoompany Eric Claptons 'Lay Down Sally') until around 4am!! ps
11 - Woken by Sally around 7:30am . . .walked and found 2p . . . left Sally at home and drove to the doctors to hand in my fluoxetine repeat perscription form. Drove to Lidl to see if they had any of the cheap 250gb hard drives they'd been advertising, but no sign of any left (if they'd ever had any at all!). . drove to Kingswood, drew out some money, toured the charity shops and bought a couple more CDs and then shopped for a few groceries . . . ate six pieces of bread and butter sandwiches of mashed up melted corned beef and grated cheese, onion, tomato and mayo and two bags of crisps then some chocolate . . . lay down to nap only for the phone to go. Mum calling about a charity shop body warmer she'd seen, and did I want her to go buy it. No thanks - not enough pockets. . . slept until woken by Sally not long before 8pm!!!!! . . . briefly touched base with BB to say I was running late . . . walked and found 6p. . . briefly vacuumed around the living room a little. Carpet was getting very hairy and starting to get 'crunchy' under foot! . . touched base with BB . . . PCd more video and ripped a CD until bed, after bowls of cornflakes, around 2am. Dave Allen died this day. pas
12 - Woken by Sally around 6:30am . . .walked, did 'litter duty', and found a penny. Something weird going on - ALL the nearby rubbish bins I pass seem to be full, with tied carrier bags of rubbish? Had a job cramming mine in!. . . PCd and re-recorded the cassette of the 1965 family Christmas, after having manipulated and optimized the output with the Media Player graphic equalizer. Yep - I think that definitely makes it just a 'little' easier to distinguish what is going on, on that awfuly distorted and almost unintelligble old 'reel-to-reel, copied-to-casette' recording. Sadly, I have no old family photos to make up a slide show to go with it! Ended up surfing on line looking all over the place for anything that would be useable as a bit of a slideshow. I had in mind maybe old newspaper headlines or some such. Surfed for ages but ended up finding absolutely nothing of use!! Weird - I'd have thought (microfiche of?) old newspapers etc, would be freely available on line! Ended up grabbing sets of images of old Radio and TV times covers from that year, just in case that would do. . . did laundry and managed to mostly dry it all out on the line in the sunny spells. Found (actually Sally did) a poor frog stranded on the patio! Didn't look well (half frozen?) - and was also missing one hand and one foot! Relocated it to the pond. . . ate three defrosted and oven cooked sausage rolls with three bags of crisps before laying down to nap for a couple of hours, until woken by PS leaving an ansaphone message saying 'tonight?'. . . called PS back and said yes, and would he be bringing his puppy again - I had no objection. . . walked . . . briefly touched base with BB . . . PS popped round with puppy Ruby again. :o) He'd rented a DVD ('Starship Troopers II') which we 'watched', but frankly it was absolute rubbish, and I was more interested in just watching Sally and Ruby messing around. Oh dear - definitely not fully house trained yet - at least a small dog makes for a small clear up. Pretty much a re-run of last time, with a bit of playing and Ruby kinda taking over and stealing all Sally's food, bones, chewy thing and toys!! :o) . . . ate three cold sausage rolls and bags of crisps. . to bed shortly after 1am. ps
13 - Woken by Sally around 7:15am . . .walked . . .PCd continuing to try and get to the bottom of what are the best settings for doing videos on the PC. I just can't figure it out no matter how many tests I do!! . . . ate corned beef, onion, tomato, cheese and mayo sandwiches with crisps . . .determined to try and stay awake all day without napping, to try and get back to a slightly more normal night time sleep pattern, because I figured I'd be phoning early to try and make an appointment to see the doctor tomorrow. . cut my hair . . . vacuumed . . . TVd/PCd . . .walked . . . touched base with BB . . . ate bowls of cornflakes . . . recorded another VHS video to the PC until early. Messed up and misjudged how long it was and had to desperately struggle to stay awake until it was finished. At last, to bed around 1:30am. ps
14 - Woken by Sally around 6:45am . . .walked . . . phoned the doctors surgery to make an appointment to see 'my' doctor to get the results of my X rays - and simply ended up having an argument with the receptionist!!! 'My' doctor was not in until tomorrow, so I couldn't make an appointment. I was told I'd have to ring up again tomorrow morning (from 8:30am - from which time of course the line is almost constantly engaged!) and try and get one of his 'slots'. You HAVE to ring up on the day and try and get one of the available slots of whichever doctor can see you - you can no longer 'book' an appointment for some future time to see 'you're' doctor!!?? I just couldn't believe what I was being told. Part of the reason I've stuck with my doctor (who I really don't like at all) is because he once gave me some nonsense about consistancy and 'the relationship' (Hah! Is that what it's called?) we'd built up over the years! I never DID reach an understanding of the nonsense during the argument. There were inconsistancies like, each doctor only had a few free slots per day. Then who the hell are they seeing the rest of the day? How did THEY manage to get a slot beforehand - and why couldn't I? Why can't I just put my name down for one of the slots tomorrow - or the next day - or anytime whenever is convenient to the bloody doctor?!! And what about people who are in full time employment - how can they arrange time off work to go and see 'their' doctor for some follow up consultation or similar, when they are unable to book an appointment for a specific time and date, and must simply hope to get a slot on the day by ringing in the morning? . . You can see what's going on can't you - it's all about politics, and cutting down waiting times and all that 'we've improved things' propoganda. The new system gets patients 'seen by A doctor' in no time at all - on the day, more or less on demand - so it looks as though the system is working great. In reality, the personal patient-doctor relationship and the high level of care which that afforded for years, has been sacrificed. I despair. Seems like everything's going this way. It's all kinda like putting a fresh new coat of masonary paint on a crumbling ruin. :o( So - I'll have to be ringing up again tomorrow morning then! Grrrr! . . . left Sally at home and drove to Rajanis to see if they had any cheap re-recordable DVDs (which they didn't) and then on to Emersons Green to see if Lidl had the cheap digital camera's they'd advertised as todays special deal (which they didn't)!! Pottered around looking in a couple of stores, spent a couple of s on some empty 'jewel' CD cases, and then shopped for some groceries in Sainsbury's. Ended up also buying a pack of three DVD-RWs (damn - would have been cheaper in Argos!) to save on all the disks I'm wasting with all my 'test' burns. . eventually realised that I'm actually feeling a bit 'down' - and it seems to be getting expressed in a terrible short temperedness!!! Returned home. . . cooked and ate mushrooms, chips and two beefburgers with two slices of bread and butter for lunch. Haven't done any chips for ages - I have a whole sack load of potatoes in the kitchen all starting to grow!! . . slept until woken by Sally around 6:30pm . . . walked. A sign has been affixed to one of the lamp posts near the school - "For your safety, police operations in this area"!! Oh yeah - right - that'll make ALL the difference! That's about as convincing as having a cardboard cutout of a policeman propped up on a street corner! Now if 'I' was one of the local anti social yobs - I'd make a point of climbing up that lampost and tearing the sign down, or setting fire to it - just because!!! :o/ . . . PCd . . . BB called. . . ate bowls of cornflakes . . .PCd . . . to bed around 2am. paa
15 - Woken by Sally around 6:45am . . .walked and found 7p. . . phoned the doctors surgery (at least a dozen times before getting past the engaged tone) and seemed to find it necessary to continue yesterdays argument!!?? Despite that, I managed to get a 'slot' for 'my doctor' for 9:20am. Left Sally at home and drove to the surgery. Got there around ten minutes early so figured I'd pop into the adjacent chemist and pick up my repeat fluoxetine perscription - which should by now be waiting on the shelf for me (because I'd filled out that piece of paper a while ago requesting that my perscriptions be taken straight through into the chemist once authorised by the doctor, to save me always having to wait twenty minutes or more in the queue while the pharmacist made it up). It was NOT sat waiting for me. It wasn't even made up yet! Almost had a short tempered argument - but eventually said I'd have to return later because I had a doctors appointment to keep. . waited in the waiting room - and waited - and waited! Eventually summoned in to see the doctor somewhere around 10am! I couldn't figure that out either. Lets say the doctor started seeing patients at 8:30am - each patient has a ten minute slot - some take longer, some are quicker (at least two or three patients before me, were in and out well within five minutes) - how in the hell could he possibly be THAT far behind in his slot times, THAT early in the day? ARRggghh!!! . . and the results of my x-rays? They could see nothing wrong with my foot apart from possibly a little arthritis in my big toe (which is NOT something I have ANY problem with - if it actually exists at all!!). There was nothing more he could suggest apart from returning to his suggestion it was all linked to my back and scoliosis and that I could maybe go and see a chiropractor or similar - but of course that isn't covered by the NHS! So - there we go - EXACTLY my worst fears realised! They could see nothing wrong, there was nothing more they could do, bye bye. :o( Made me feel like shit! Like I'd just made it all up and was one of those 'poor me' types who wastes a doctors time all the time with trivial nonsense!! :o( Painfully limped back to the car and returned home. . . got round to doing a long overdue e-mail reply to DS which somehow took the whole rest of the morning! The simplest of little e-mails seems to take me hours to do - that's pretty much why I hardly ever do any, anymore! . . . . cooked and ate mushrooms, chips and two beefburgers with four slices of bread and butter for lunch. . . slept until around 6pm . . .walked. On the way out with Sally, just down the road, was a frog crawling on the pavement. Figured it would have to just take it's chances. . Blimey - someones been doing some work over the field. Tracks in the grass revealed a JCB or some similar large piece of machinery had been used to put back into position, all the huge boulders that line the edge of the field near the cycle path (to stop stolen cars being driven onto the field), that had long since been moved aside by the vandals and car stealing yobs. How long before they are shifted aside again I wonder? Why doesn't, whoever is responsible for them, have the intelligence to know they should be just 'slightly' partially buried to prevent them being moved again! You just can't get the staff these days can ya! . .Detoured on the way back from the field and returned the way I'd gone and had a scout about with my torch to see if the frog was still there abouts. Some little distance ahead on the other side of the road, a couple of women and a small child were just about to get in ther car but had paused to remove a frog from the road, to save it from being run over. Must have been 'my' frog. I called across to them - "I'll have it." They must have thought I was a real weirdo, but I explained I had a pond and ended up carrying it home in a poop scoop bag and putting it safely (like it or not) in my back garden. . PCd experimenting with video some more . . . touched base with BB . . .laboriously experimented on the PC yet more until the early hours . . . defrosted and ate a couple of pasties . . .eventually succeeded in constructing a WMV file of my 'Lay Down Sally' slideshow with a 'reasonably' acceptable 'cut down' quality, with a file size 'just' small enough to maybe e-mail. . took the chance and e-mailed a copy to BB and DS before bed. Big mistake - took the best part of an hour on my slow dial up!!! Boy did I want to sleep! Eventually it was sent and I went to bed in the very early hours, absolutely tired out - again - still!! pas
16 - Woken by Sally around 7am . . .walked. Right outside the house, between next doors car and mine, was a squashed frog!! :o( I guess next door must have unknowingly driven over it as she parked up, some time last night. Funny how feeling a little bit more down these last couple of days, I'm also aware I am prone to increased paranoia. It occured to me that maybe those women from last night who'd been about to save the frog from the street, who'd then had a weird guy run over demanding they let him have it, would maybe see the squished frog outside my house and think I'd rushed off with 'their' frog, only to go and stomp on it and squish it further up the road like some anti amphibian psychopath!! Which brand of fluoextine am I on right now? Is it working? Then again - I guess fluoxetine isn't a remedy for insanity is it!! :o/ .The field was littered with more debris. Packaging and peices of 'click lock' flooring! More stuff being dragged out of that closed builders yard. Detoured slightly away from the cycle path to walk along the perimeter fence (near where the stoeln motorcycle had been dumped the other week) and sure enough, the bottom rivets from two of those fence slats had been removed, enabling them to be swung to one side to allow enough room for people to squeeze through. All the brambles and grass were trampled down, and in fact the grass had turned to mud in places where so many people had been coming and going there! :o( . . PCd the day away . . . oven cooked a couple of pasties and ate them with bags of crisps for lunch . . . slept . . . walked in the damp night with just a hint of drizzle in the air. Definately frog mating weather - plenty of squished ones in the road! :o( Took a carrier bag with me just in case. . blimey - a fox over the field! Sally had smelled something in the air and paused a little further up, but she hadn't seen it, even though it was hiding in the undergrowth only a few yards from her. As I drew level it bolted from its hiding place and disappeared straight down the nearby burrow. SO - that IS a fox hole. Cool. :o) . . Kept a good watch out for frogs on the way back from the field. Blimey - didn't have to look to hard - ended up arriving back home with at least half a dozen of them, all rustling around in the bottom of my Sainsburys carrier bag, after having been rescued from the roads. Blimey - dunno how many my garden can support!! Wonder where they were actually heading for - hope they don't mind being encouraged to settle for my pond. It'll be a huge detour for them if they have to try and make their way out of the garden, down the lane and back up the road to where I picked them up. Worry, worry . . . touched base with BB . . . ate bowls of cornflakes . . . exhausted, 'early' to bed before midnight for a change. pas
17 - Woken by Sally around 7:15am. Luckily had a quick look out at the patio and discoverd two 'piggy back' pairs of mating frogs all stranded. Quickly picked them up and relocated them to the cold waters of the pond - without them even breaking their embrace. Blimey - a whole bunch of fresh frog spawn has appeared in the pond!! Nice one. Did I play froggy cupid? :o) . . . walked . . . PCd and tried to make some progress with burning some of the DVDs etc. I'd done for Mum. Horrible laborious job - spending seemingly hours watching (are they ACTUALLY moving?!!) progress bars, telling me how incredibly slowly they were doing things!! ARRGGHHH! . . . cooked and ate a pizza with extra cheese, early afternoon while the PC carried on processing something or other! . . carried on PCing all day and eventually started messing around going through all the digital photos on my hard drive, seeing what other slide shows I could maybe knock up. Developed a BIG nasty headache that the annadins wouldn't shift. Ended up scanning in some old paper photos of my old dog - Sheba! :o( Blimey - that Michael Jackson track Mum said she liked, from his 'Off The Wall' album - "She's Out Of My Life" - wow, that'll go with those old photos! Spent ages putting it all together and then finally sat back (more or less without the critical 'producer's eye') and just played it. Ouch! Ended up having a cry again!! It is SO weird how a few photos and a bit of music can have SUCH an emotional effect! Strangely powerfull stuff. I want to do more of these! . walked. Something was on fire somewhere - I could smell it for quite some distance. Rounding the corner down by the shops, it turned out to be the contents of one of the refuse bins. It wasn't all fully aflame, but was definitely smoking a whole bunch. Doubtless thanks to the bunch of young swaggering kids I'd just passed. I popped into the nearby chip shop and the guy there gave me a big jug of water and I went back to the bin and poured the water in. It WAS a big jug - but not really big enough to fully do the job. It was all still smoking a whole lot - and of course, no smoke without fire (later). Ended up managing to pull the metal inner-part of the large bin, out to one side, and then got my right foot in there and stomped it all down until the smoking had mostly stopped. Ended up with a very messy, charcoaly wet, shoe and sock! Just another day in the life of mild mannered 'BIN MAN'!!? Grrrr! . . walking in the field (all the rugby players were out practicing - as usual completely oblivious to the world around them) I could see something in the hedge near where the break in the builders yard fence is. Wandered over in the dark to look. Oh for goodness sake - it was a zimmer! Just thrown in the hedge!! How in the hell did THAT come to be there! I shudder to think. Bizarre. In the builders yard perhaps? Extremely bizarre - and I couldn't help laughing to myself. It really IS enough to make you wonder about 'hocus pocus' stuff isn't it. If 'hocus pocus' stuff DID exist, it sure has a sense of humour. Like - the minute I started MP3ing all my music cassettes a few months back, I find carrier bags of cassettes dumped in the hedge. Now I have a bad painful foot and trouble walking, I go and find myself a zimmer!!! Almost gets the hair on the back of your neck standing up! lololol :o) I was gonna just leave it there. But then I got to thinking about the sort of people who sadly end up needing such a thing, and ended up remembering the difficulty and unpleasantness of getting 'equipment' for Dad when he was dieing - and - well - I ended up walking back to salvage it and then had to carry it with me as I walked Sally around the field. And no - I did NOT 'use' it - I carried it! lol :o) . . walking back down the field, a bunch of kids had appeared at the hole in the builders yard fence, and seeing my sillouette in the dark in the distance started shouting out into the yard for 'Charlie' to 'come back'. Obviously one of them was in there. I did my usual walk but had to detour on the way back up to avoid the rugby players, so I headed back towards the far end of the cycle path intending to walk back along it. Zimmerdy doo dah, zimmer dee day!Just before I reached the cycle path, some guy (the (iresponsible) father?) and a couple of little kids on miniature motorbikes appeared and started riding up and down at some speed - in the dark!!!!! For goodness sake! The guy DID at least make some sort of a 'show' of calling for the kids to stop when he saw me heading straight towards him, armed with a zimmer and with Sally running loose. I walked past them and then deliberately became very wide and 'filled' the cycle path (the zimmer helped) so there was no chance of them carrying on riding up and down until I'd left the field. I have turned in to SUCH a grouchy old git! If it were within my power, I'd see those motorcycles confiscated and forfeit! . . the kids who'd been hanging around near the break in the builders yard fence had all moved off, looking back at me as I approached - a couple had even run off !! Further on up the road a handful of them had stopped and I had to walk past them. I couldn't resist asking if they knew where the zimmer had come from. They knew nothing. It amused me to ask who Charlie was. They didn't know a Charlie. Yeah, rrrrright. :o/. . . briefly touched base with Mum just to have a laugh about the zimmer. Actually, it is a little bent in places where the kids had been throwing it around, but I think it could still be used by someone. I tried it out - yeah it works - but there IS a design flaw - it needs an extra bracket for the laptop - and maybe a handful more for the 5.1 surround sound speakers!! lolololol :o) . . . BB called . . .TVd but mostly PCd again until finally to bed somewhere around 2am. paaas
18 - Woken by Sally around 8:15am. No stranded frogs on the patio so I guess the tile steps must have worked ok. . . walked and found 5p. Blimey - forecast said it was gonna be real mild today - that's a painfully cold wind!! More debris and a couple of fire extinguishers dumped around the field! I dunno how much stuff can be left in that builders yard, but sooner or later it's all gonna end up strewn around the field at this rate! :o( As I was leaving the field, a large bunch of kids (truanting?!) were coming along the cycle path in the distance and all headed towards the hole in the builders yard fence! (I have to admit - from a kids point of view - what an amazing 'playground' that place must be. I myself would love to go in there and have a 'loot' about! ) There was a young guy nearby doing some sort of surveying work for when the builders yard is levelled and the new flats are built, so as I left the field, I mentioned the lack of security of the site to him, in the hope that he would contact whoever actually now owns it and maybe they'd come and improve things. I know it shouldn't be that way - but given how society has gone these days, and how we all know it - I DO think (big companies especially) MUST now accept some responsibilty for their own lax security measures and thereby 'allowing' such things to go on unchecked. :o( . the survey guy was from a different company and I got the impression he really couldn't care less, so I doubt very much that he contacted his clients to hassle them about it. . as I passed the school, a couple of teachers were walking in the yard, so I couldn't resist mentioning it to them. They said they'd tell 'someone'. . . all that new frog spawn in my pond - I KNOW it won't survive. Dare I try intervening? Can I handle the guilt when it doesn't work? Yeah - DO it! I filled a plastic bucket with pond water, secured it partially immersed in a corner of the pond, and put some of the spawn in it together with a little of the oxygenating weed (with all signs of anything else alive carefully washed off). Right then - now nothing can eat them or harm them. A creche? If they make it through to being tadpoles, I've been told you can feed them lettuce. It's worth a shot - although experience suggests, I doubt they'll 'hatch' or survive for some unknown reason. Acid water maybe? Lack of oxygene? Who knows. Such a shame. :o( . . . packed and wrapped up the DVDs and CDs for sending to Mum. Included a note saying 'no more for a while - I need a break'! Boy - do I!!! . . . set off with Sally around 10:30am heading for the nearest sub post office (some distance away across the rugby field). . .As I walked towards the field carrying my parcel, up in the distance I could see a couple of people, parking up in their car near the entrance to the field/end of the cycle path. It's not the sort of place people 'normally' park, so it drew my attention. (Occasionally someone WILL park near there to get out and walk their dog - but not often, and then only briefly. More usually, at night, cars stop there under 'suspicious circumstances' - I've seen what I firmly believe to be more than one drug delivery/deal being made there before now.) I may have slowed my pace a little. As I got nearer, a guy and a girl got out of the car, opened up the rear hatch back and took out the remains of an old 'typists' chair - an absolute piece of junk without any upholstery left - just the metal frame and wheels. They then took out a large black plastic dustbin and placed this on the seat of the chair. The guy then proceeded to wheel this contraption up the grassy slope between the boulders, into the field and started wheeling it across the grass towards the cycle path!! Weird. It looked to me as though he was quite possibly gonna just dump the stuff in the field - which of course got my back up! As he was wheeling it across the grass, the girl was closing the hatchback of the car. She started calling out across to him that she'd just broken the window!! Presumably something in the back of the car had been poking up, and as she closed the hatchback, it smashed the glass!! Now - if 'I' had just accidentally done that to 'MY' car, I would have been absolutely distraught and dismayed. Difficult to explain how I knew, but somehow the girl wasn't as concerned as she 'should' have been!? The guy didn't seem to give a toss and seemed more concerned in getting the chair and bin across onto the tarmac of the cycle path. Once he had done so, he DID 'saunter' back to examine the damage to the car, leaving the chair and bin on the white line, absolutely in the very middle of the cycle path! Once again it is difficult to explain, but there was something about that guy's behaviour - the way he moved - the strange 'jittery', dancing way he walked across the grass (not to mention those very weird and noticeable, almost zebra print, black and white trousers!) - it just SCREAMED out to me, DRUG USER! No - this was all too weird - I couldn't resist delaying my trip to the post office, just to see exactly what they were up to, and to watch as they 'at the very least', just left the chair and bin dumped there. I tried to become the 'invisible' dog walker. I let Sally off her lead to run around and took a seat on one of the large boulders and rolled myself a cigarette. .with little ado, the broken hatch back was closed and the guy hesitated there on the pavement as the girl moved the car the short distance up a nearby side street and parked it up half on the pavement facing me. As the girl got out of the car and paused doing something or other at the door or hatchback, the guy wandered over to join her. 'This is it', I thought, they're gonna just drive off leaving that rubbish behind!! Grrrrrrr!! I was FAR too close to them to be inconspicuous, but I REALLY wanted to try and maybe get a picture of them (for possible use in my 'ranting' journal, if nothing else) so I held my camera down between my knees and attempted to point it more or less in their direction without being able to look through it at what I was maybe getting. My aim actually turned out to be pretty good, but unfortunately the pictures were near useless and all blurred. Yep - definitely something going wrong with that camera - definitely gonna have to be replacing it pretty soon. Can't complain though - it's been terribly abused and carried in my pockets and in daily use since I bought it. Certainly had my monies worth (and then some!) out of the poor worn out little thing. . I confess I was rather surprised when they left the car, crossed the road, walked back across the grass to the bin and chair and then started wheeling it along the cycle path. All very weird but I figured if they carried on along and out of the field, I'd forget it and just continue on my way to the post office. . hang on! They did NOT carry on out of the field! They pushed it along to a point exactly level with the break in the builders yard fence, left it on the grass to one side of the cycle path, and then both made a bee line the thirty or so metres across the grass, and down the slope to the fence!! The B******S!!! They've come 'equipped' to have stuff away out of that builders yard!! The wheeled chair and bin was how they planned to haul their, 'whatever', away!!! Now THAT is taking the piss! It's one thing being an 'opportunist looter' - it's a whole nother thing 'planning' and coming 'equipped'. And they were SO brazen about it - in broad daylight!! I wasn't gonna ignore THAT! No way! . . With them some distance away, almost out of sight down the slope by the builders fence, I figured I was in the clear to call the police and report a (looting type) 'burglary' in progress. Because it wasn't a proper 'break in' as such, and because I've become all confused about just exactly what warrants a '999' call these days, I called it in on the local 'non emergency' number. The woman on the phone who ended up with the call, DID seem to be interested. I was able to give a detailed description of what was going on, was extremely precise in my location (the convergence of three roads, the names of which I have learned to remember because of all the calls I've had to make!!), I was even free to wander across the road and give the make, colour and registration number of the car they were using. As I continued wandering around in the street near their car, rather worryingly 'noticeably' making my phone call, I could see the two people starting to head directly back towards me across the grass of field!! Uhoh!! The girl was hurrying along ahead, as the guy behind her was dragging a huge blue nylon bag (a 'ton' bag - the type large quantities of builders sand are delivered in) wrapped around whatever it was they were taking, across the grass! I needed to move - quickly!! I headed off, still talking on the phone giving a running commentary of events, and walked back up towards the school gates, and ended up 'innocently' leaning against the rubbish bin that is there - making my 'innocent' mobile phone call. As I made this manouver, the woman on the other end of the phone had to ask me to hold on, whilst she conveyed some of what I was telling her about to someone else. Ordinarily I think I would have been put on mute, but she didn't, and I heard her saying to someone " . . and it's a stolen car." That got my adrenaline going a bit more!! When she came back to me I said "It's a stolen car then is it?". "You shouldn't have heard that" she replied. (Goodo - a stolen car is a lot more serious than a bit of derelict builders yard looting - I didn't feel so guilty about having called them - again!) Leaning against my bin, I watched as the girl crossed the road and headed for the car, and began a detailed description of her (distinctive crop of pink hair) and what she was wearing (trousers, black mostly), etc etc. She drove the car across the road and parked up next to the field and waited for the guy to drag the ton bag across the grass and down to it. Plenty of time for me to give a detailed description of him too thank you very much. Actually, at one point he 'danced' back across the grass and eventually picked something up, as though he'd dropped something on the way. I carried on with my commentary as they stuffed the ton bag and its contents through the broken hatch back window. Actually, they didn't apppear to be in as much of a hurry as one may have expected, and I think even got in and then back out of the car at one point to push the ton bag, in a little more. I was starting to get a bit frantic now, and made it clear to the woman on the phone they would be getting ready to leave pretty soon - they would be heading in such and such a direction - you'd better be quick - and - and - oh - you've GOT them!! My commentary to the woman on the phone included how a blue flashing light police car had just emerged at speed from the 'for emergency vehicles only' road, and had pulled in directly behind the car, the policemen leapt out and they were caught! YAYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :o) Weird, but I felt absolutely ELATED! Kindof like - at last! After all these times of seeing stuff going on and calling the police and them not bothering to attend and people breaking the law left right and centre as they please, etc etc - at last, I've scored one small point back on the side of 'the good'. Got them caught - red-handed - in the act! NICE ONE! HA! :o) I conveyed my joy and thanks for a job well done to the woman on the phone and eventually hung up. Another speeding police car shortly turned up. I was all a shaking. . Didn't quite know what to do now. I still had to walk past all this and cross the field to post my parcel. Anyone with the slightest bit of sense would have put two and two together and probably figured out it was that dog walking guy hanging around who'd called the police. Uncomfortable feeling! Figured I'd brazen it out and just walk straight by, showing a 'normal' passer by level of interest. What I hadn't planned on was all the school kids round the corner, watching from near their sports hall. "Hey mister. Was it YOU who called the police?" they shouted!!! "No - not me! What's going on? " I called back. Grrrrr. . The guy and girl were sat on the grass looking real miserable - in handcuffs, before being moved to the police cars. That's ruined their day. I'm 'fairly' sure I overheard one of the policeman saying "So - have you done any this morning?" - which suggested my suspicions about them being drug users was accurate. As I headed off down the cycle path, I think unnoticed, I just couldn't resist pulling the camera out of my pocket and putting it up at arms length above my head and pointing it more or less in the direction of 'all the action' behind me. Suprisingly 'just' caught a little bit of the scene as the handcuffed guy was being put into the back of the front police car - the girl was already in the back of the one behind. The blue ton bag poking out of the broken hatch back window was 'just' in shot on the left. . . carried on along the cycle path, past the typists chair with the bin on top, and walked to the post office and mailed the small parcel of disks to Mum for a couple of s. I was 'SO' buzzy about things, the poor woman behind the counter had to hear all about it! lol Popped in a nearby charity shop for a look, but found myself SO absorbed by all the goings on of the last quarter of an hour or so, I couldn't concentrate on searching the shelves for bargains, and soon just headed back home, with maybe just a little bit of a bounce in my limp. :o) Surprisingly as I came back across the field, a couple of police cars were still there and now an ambulance had joined them! Yeah - I bet I know why. Ain't that just typical of those low life scum bags! One minute they are fine to rampage around and try and break the law and do whatever they want - the minute they are actually caught, they start whining about not feeling very well and want everyone to run around and care for them! Grrrrr. . By the time I (slowly) reached the end of the cycle path, the police cars had driven off with their prisoners, leaving the ambulance, the stolen car, and a foot patrol officer standing guard and filling out some paperwork. With the coast clear, I had a quick word with him, told him it was me who'd called it in, and pointed out the significance of the typists chair and dustbin still in the middle of the field. (I actually just rather hoped he'd include that as evidence so it wouldn't remain littering up the field! He did not! Someone (I WAS tempted) eventually had the dustbin, the chair was still laying around over there days later!) . . And what was it they'd been stealing? What was it that had (temporarily) lost them their liberty and got them a cooked police dinner? OLD bits of copper pipe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The ton bag and back of the car was all full of old bits of copper pipe!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not even shiney new pipe. Old broken and bent bits - tarnished and green - presumably actually torn off a toilet wall from somewhere - saleable only for scrap!!!! Good grief!!!!!!!!!!! Surely they'd have made more money for less effort out of selling bits of the stolen car? Oh well - I guess that's what drugs'll do to ya! . . . returned home and couldn't resist calling Mum and telling her about it all - I just HAD to tell someone, and BB would be asleep still! . . . ate a large, six pieces of bread and butter bunch of tuna, onion and mayo sandwiches with two bags of crisps for lunch . . . napped . . . woken around 3:40pm by Sally barking at the doorbell. Turned out to be a policeman to take a ("doing a section 9 at the moment - (over)") witness statement of this mornings events! It really shouldn't go that far, but would I be prepared to be a court witness if necessary? YIKES! Well, I guess, on principle, I HAVE to don't I. Blimey - if I actually ever DO have to be a court witness, I'd be a shaking, gibbering, nauseus, nervous wreck and probably end up losing the prosecution their iron cast case - because I can't remember last night, never mind cross examined details of , whenever, months ago (and who knows the implications of having typed and uploaded THIS!) !! :o( . . fresh in my mind, I tried to be as accurate and precise as possible with my account, but it was all pretty much a formality I think, and my statement- which HE wrote, ended up being 'reasonably' close to what had happened. He couldn't really tell me much, but DID reveal they were well known to the police - the police were much more interested in the 'stolen car' aspect of the case than any 'looting' of the builders yard - my suspicion/suggestion they were likely 'druggies' was not denied - and apparantly "they shouldn't even have been there"(whatever that meant??). He said he'd convey my request to his colleagues that they should give them a a good beating! :o) . . . PCd a bit of this . . .LB called to ask me if I could 'do the animals' over the Easter weekend. :o( . . .walked. Very beautiful clear sky - and it's starting to be just a little lighter in the evenings. Couldn't resist sitting on one of the boulders at the entrance to the field and having a cigarette - or two actually, because it was rather amusing to watch shadowy figures in the darkness showing such interest in a certain part of the builders yard fence! I tell ya what - since that builders yard closed, I think they've had more 'customers' than they did when it was open! . . . PCd and tried to catch up with my journal, but just wasn't in the mood for 'the work' (again!) and ended up just listening to a little music . . . touched base with BB - after having first mistakenly dialled the wrong number and spoken to her father!!! YIKES!!! . . . PCd/TVd until bed around 1am. paas
19 - Woken by Sally just before 7am . . .walked in the mist and found 6p. Did litter duty and filled up three carrier bags worth!! Also spent a while coopied down in the mud picking up a bunch of three quarter inch rubber tap washers to add to my washer collection. Obviously a box full thrown there after having been removed from the builders yard by someone! . . .sat in the garden with a coffee for a while. Definitely feels like spring is in the air somewhere . . . Mum called to confirm receipt of her parcel. Oh BUGGER! Her DVD won't play the CD-R MPEGS I laboured over! Damn! :o( . . .PCd this - at length, for hours, but ran out of steam with a headache with it still unfinished! It's sunny outside - I need outa this room for a while! . . . 'jacked' myself up on as many annadins as was safe, and headed out with Sally to walk down to Eastville and along the river - or at least that was the plan, painful foot allowing. Boy WHAT an amazing day for March! I was only walking in a long sleeved shirt and open padded shirt on top, with the sleeves all rolled up, but I was far too hot. Summers day hot! Amazing weather for the time of year. It'd brought everyone out - the paths were all full of people out walking - some even wearing shorts. I didn't see them actually IN the river, but I'm pretty sure some of those kids down by the weir in Oldbury Court had been swimming!!! Jeeze that must have been freezing! The only thing to spoil the walk for me was the worry about whether or not my foot was suddenly gonna give out somewhere along the way and give me a big problem getting home. Thankfully the annadins did the job, and I managed without too much discomfort at all - even in just one or two places (because of the gradient and angle of my ankle or something????) almost forgetting I had a problem, just for a few yards. Phew - thank goodness for that! :o) VERY nice to be out and about after all these dark winter months, mostly stuck in front the PC! Walked slower than usual of course, and stopped here and there to sit with a cigarette - think I'm a bit out of condition, not having walked any distance for so long. Sally too I suspect - or maybe she's just getting older? She seemed kinda 'calmer' than usual - less inclined to so 'franticly' go running around the place. Found a penny along the way. Eventually back home around 4:30pm (with a pocket full of new screws picked up from amongst the grass of the local field), feeling triumphant that I'd managed it with my dodgy foot. . . ate a big, six pieces of bread and butter, pile of tuna, onion and mayo sandwiches with crisps, fully intending to have a MUCH needed sleep afterwards. Oh no ya don't - Mum called to touch base. She'd been sat down since around 1pm watching all the DVDs and things I'd sent her. She'd been intending to walk down into town, but hadn't and hadn't even stopped for her tea yet!! Good grief! :o) Cool. I think it is fair to say that the idea of 'forcing' Mum to have a DVD was, in the end, a TOTAL success. I am SO relieved and delighted. :o) . . . PS called to say 'tonight?' Ok. . .too late for a nap!! :o( . . . walked. There had been a rugby match over the field earlier, and empty bottles and debris littered the place all around the sidelines! You'd have thought they would have more pride in 'their' pitch, than to just use it and then walk away leaving such a mess behind! They'd even left four plastic 'no parking' bollards in the middle of the field!!?? Sheesh! (Although - considering the number of stolen cars that are driven onto the field and abandoned there, maybe they 'meant' to leave them there!!! lol ) Of course they wouldn't have stayed there long if they'd been left there so I wandered over to the middle of the pitch, collected them up and then walked them over to the rugby club 'compound' and threw them in over their security fence. My 'payment' for this, was to find yet another baseball cap on the grass nearby - a white Nike one that I'll never wear. By the time I got back home I was feeling so, SO tired, I actually called PS back and said 'not tonight after all'! . . . PCd a little . . . BB called . . . ate bowls of corflakes . . . PCd and felt a little more awake and somehow ended up messing around doing another slideshow ("Welcome To The Jungle") on the PC until early! Oh YEEEESSS - I like how that one turned out! :o) paaas
20 - Woken by Sally at 7:15am . . walked and found 5p and a nasty large kids hooped earring. . . couldn't help myself PCing and experimenting some more with another 'MTV' slideshow . . LB called. Her rabbit hutch had all rotted away and collapsed and she wanted help trying to shore it all up!!! Uggghh. :o( Finished my coffee and popped up to have a look and maybe lend a hand. Yep - completely rotted out and falling apart and collapsing! Of course in MY opinion it is due to the fact that they aren't ever cleaned out properly and because it is always wet with urine under the layers of old straw and debris, it was bound to rot away!!! (Apparantly she had someone building her a new one, so wasn't overly concerned for the time being!) LB wanted to just lift up the collapsing mess and stick an old rotting piece of another cage under it, to stop the rabbits getting out of the hole that had developed beneath. Seemed to me, that just wouldn't work. In the end I persuaded her to take the huge great thing off its legs and just have it sat on the floor. Ideally of course it would have been on some sort of raised brick foundation, but - well - I just didn't want to have to spend all day messing around up to my ankles in wet straw and rabbit pooh!! Eventually we managed to pick it up off the legs and dump it down at floor level. LB seemed happy enough (promised me a cooked lunch later) so I was out of there back to the PC . . . did dishwashing (all of them!) chores . . .Sis1 called about her broken chain saw which she thinks may have burned out. Said I'd have a look at it if she wanted to drop it in. Now? Ok. . . did a little vacuuming and clearing up . . . Sis1 popped in with her chain saw. She ALSO brought her digital camera - she's gone and bought herself an expensive new one and is looking to sell her old one. What a coincedence - I said I was DEFINITELY in the market for buying a new one, but wasn't sure I wanted hers. I'd SO set my heart on getting a much better one with higher resolution and video with sound etc, I'm not sure I could stand having to settle for her old 2.1 megapixle one - even thoughit IS a much better quality one than I've been using. Persuaded her to leave it with me for 'comparison testing' before I decide. .LB called in the middle of chats with Sis1 and I dashed up and collected my free roast lunch. Put it safely away from Sally in the mircowave until Sis1 had gone. . at last (I'm starving!) - microwaved and ate the LB donated roast beef meal. Mmm - mmm. :o) . . . just enough time for a MUCH needed nap, so lay down for just a couple of hours until around 7pm . . .walked . . . touched base with BB . . . PS popped round for coffee and chats till early. To bed after 1am. Moodwise I strangely felt MUCH better today - actually felt like I had a little energy and - um - I guess 'up'. That's the difference a little sunshine will make I suspect. Roll on summer. ps
21 - Woken by Sally at 7am . . .walked and found 3p . . .PCd this. . Yet again, couldn't face spending so much time typing and ended up having a go at Sis1s broken chain saw. As luck would have it, a small metal pin which formed part of the safety switch mechanism inside had apparently just come adrift. Luckily it was still inside the machine stuck up in all the oil and debris. Cleaned it all up a little, slid the pin back in place (although I can't see what stops it falling out again some time), and it was back working. Shortened the dangerous looking power lead by about a metre to dispose of the length that appeared to have been chewed up by the saw blade, reconnected it all and that was that. Figured I really should test it out on something, so popped up into LBs front yard and retrieved the Christmas tree trunk which she had dumped up there. Successfully cut it up into bin sized chunks and popped it all in my bin. . briefly touched base with Mum to get Sis1s new mobile number (again). Mum mentioned a video Sis1 had taken during the time when Dad was ill. Don't think I've ever seen that one!? . . called Sis1 and said her saw was ready for collection - and then left her an ansaphone message asking about maybe borrowing the video of Dad . . . ate mushrooms, four beefburgers and four pieces of bread and butter for lunch . . . napped until woken by Sis1 calling in to collect her chain saw, and with ALL her videos for me to sort through, because they were all mixed up!!!! Ugggh - more 'work'!! I also agreed to have a look at her garden strimmer some time, which she was worried was starting to break down - it just so happened she'd brought it with her!! Uhuh. :o/ . . .did a 'pre-sort' through all Sis1s videos and made a pile of those I think I need to copy to the PC. Good grief - there is a brief snippet of me and my back yard about fifteen years ago - just after I'd planted all the long gone fir trees, and before I'd changed the bathroom round and built the conservatory!!! Amazing. Didn't know THAT existed!! . . . walked and brought a toad home for relocation to the pond. . . PCd the videos all evening - didn't even put the TV on! . . . touched base briefly with BB . . . ate bowls of cornflakes . . . carried on MPEGing the videos until bed around 1am. ps
22 - Woken by Sally after 7:30am with a head/back/foot ache. Annadin, coffee and cigarettes for breakfast as usual. .walked and found 2p. AO (JO from work days wife) was over the field walking their new dog. A tiny little highland terrier thing called 'Finlay' - even younger and smaller than PSs Ruby. Very cute. :o) Hmmmm - dare I think that imperceptably slowly, my foot 'may' be trying to get a little bit better? Oh gosh I do SO hope so! . . half a dozen of the school sports hall windows near the entrance to the field have been smashed - aGAIn! :o( . . .PCd this until around midday and my headache was worse! . . . hey - does this work? Beware - they're big if you're on a slow dial up (like me!!!) Right click each of the links in turn - save target as - then run from your hard drive? They are horribly stripped down, clunky versions, but 'just' about work and able to be run full screen I think. Gives you the idea. :o) Welcome To The Jungle (4.72MB) , The Big Gig In The Sky (3.21MB) , Lay Down Sally (5.05MB) , She's Out Of My Life (3.4MB) . . . took a few photos on my digital and then the one Sis1 is looking to sell, and did a 'proper' comparison test. Hmmm - I hadn't realised just exactly how bad my camera has become!!! I'm not 'particularly' impressed with Sis1s, but it's better than the current results from mine, so I guess it's the easy answer for us both if I buy it from her for the 50 she wants. . . ate a couple of disgusting cheep beef pastry things with crisps mid afternoon . . . napped until woken by Sally around 6:45pm . . . walked. A police car and fire engine were parked up near the field. Yet more 'happenings' in the builders yard apparently! Found 2p . . .burned DVds until early before giving up waiting and then left the PC running through the night!! Ate biscuits - to sleep around 2am. ps
23 - Woken by Sally around 7:15am. Immediately set another DVD burning for hours . .walked and found 2p. Looks like yet another of the school sports hall windows has been smashed (next to the others which have been borded up). The amount of money such nonsense must cost the tax payer - it's frightening!! . . .did laundry and got it out on the line to dry. . . touched base with Sis1 - oh dear!! Her 'cruising the Nile' holiday with her new man friend (who was supposed to have organised the tickets) didn't happen!! She only found out a day before they were due to leave (after she'd packed!!), when she called him up to find out what was going on. Outrageous. All he had to do was be up front and honest about it. Guess that relationship is over then. Why oh why is it SO acceptable for people to try and lie their way through life these days? I don't know what part of my upbringing was responsible for it, but with extremely rare exceptions, I WILL NOT lie - and I absolutely demand the same from anyone I have anything to do with. Lie to me - I've no time to waste on you. Nothing else you ever have to say can be relied upon. You're history. . . took Sis1s flymo thing apart and cleaned it all up only to find the coil was shorting and burning out. No repair possible. Left her an ansaphone message giving her the bad news and sought her agreement to putting it straight in the bin. . . AT LAST the DVDs were all burned. Walked with Sally to the post office and posted the latest DVD offerings to Mum. Found a penny. Sally 'wallowed' in a stinking muddy puddle on the way back and had to be hosed down out on the patio! (Arrrghhh - do NOT shake near the laundry!!) Grrr . . . ate a couple more of those disgusting cheep beef pastry things with crisps and then lay down to nap around 4:30pm . . . woken by Sally around 8pm!! . . . walked. Oh dear - the local pub has definitely re-opened! Shame. :o( . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd . . . cooked up mushrooms and four sausages and ate with four pieces of bread and butter around midnight as torrential rain fell . . . to bed some time after 1am. ps
24 - Woken by Sally before 7am . . .walked and found a penny. Work HAS started on that builders yard. Lots of the overgrown trees and undergrowth are all being cut away and removed, and someone has replaced the missing rivets in the hole in the fence with a couple of nuts and bolts to stop people getting in. . . PCd just a little . . . left Sally at home and drove to Emersons Green to shop for groceries, to make sure I have enough in the house for me not to have to go out at all over the bank holiday weekend. I'm kinda the exact opposite to 'normal' when it comes to a bank holiday weekend. Most people look forward to it and plan to get out and join the crowds and go places and do stuff. I go out of my way to make sure I have everything I need before the holiday so that I do NOT have to go out - at all! . . stocked up on a bunch of stuff, including impulse buying a huge leg of lamb for 9!!! Oh dear - I'm still in a weird short tempered mood - found it necessary to have an argument with the guy on the checkout!! He refused to allow me to buy the four packets of annadin tablets I'd put in my trolley. I could have two packs, but not four, in case I was going to commit suicide with them. It's 'the law'! What absolute bloody nonsense!! I'd just spent 66 on groceries - how likely was it I'd suddenly succumb to the temptation of four packs of annadin tablets and go home and commit suicide with them? The world's gone mad. Here I am - an adult of forty something years of age - but not 'allowed' to buy four packets of annadin tablets when I want, in case I'm a danger to myself. Really gets my back up. It's enough to make you WANT to commit suicide - specifically in Sainsburys car park by way of your secret store of annadin tablets - just to 'show them'!!?!! Grrrr. . . ate bowls of co-co pops, trimmed my hair and then slept until woken by PS calling the anasaphone around 6pm . . . walked and stopped for sausage and chips takeaway on the way home. . . touched base with BB . . . PS popped round for chats till early. Touched base with BB before bed around 1:30am
25 - Woken by Sally having a noisy barking dream around 7:45am . . .walked and found 76p . . . lots of life in the bucket tadpole nursery! . . . PCd . . . ate six pieces of bread and butter corned beef, onion, mayo, cheese and tomato sandwiches for lunch with crisps . . . napped. Shouldn't have slept on such a full stomach - woke feeling unwell! . . . walked . . . felt in a 'restless' mood. . TVd/PCd/guitarred/sat in the garden with the MP3 player etc etc, but nothing I did seemed to give me any relief from feeling bored - with 'life' really!! It WAS nice to see a great tit sneak into the old rotting bird box, still sat on top of my old line post at the bottom of the garden. I think it roosts in there overnight. :o) . . .briefly touched base with BB . . . bowls of co co pops before eventually to bed in the early hours. ps
26 - Woken by Sally around 6am!!! "Sunrise wrong side of another day . . . "Why so early? Grrrrr. - although, it WAS a beautiful sunrise with the forecast for a nice warm sunny day . . . crunched annadins (to deaden my painful foot in preparation for a decent walk) with coffee and cigarettes for breakfast in the cold garden . . The renovated Purdown monumentwalked and found 5p and a plastic baggie with just a few grains of cannabis residue left behind. Carried on walking down to Eastville Park, along the river and, with my foot holding out pretty well, even the extra up onto the hill at Purdown. Wow - it's been a while since I walked up there. They've removed all the scaffolding and finished their work on the monument! Hmmmm - seems to have been made into a big square block!? I thought it was originally more of a pinaccle kinda? Bit disappointing in my opinion - but better than just letting the vandals erase all trace of it. Wonder how long it'll last? Already someone has carved their name into one of the stones. :o( . carried on along the river into Vassals and then back home via Fishponds etc. Found a lighter. Home by 10:15am . . . held my breath (god what a stench!) and fed LBs animals . . . ate doughnuts . . .Sis1 called . . . napped . . . Mum called to confirm receipt of the latest DVDs etc . . . messed around with my 'found lighter collection' and made up working ones and threw away all the useless bits. . . walked. Spotted a couple of mating, clinching frogs sat in the road (in the 'squish zone') on the way back. They needed to be moved, so I figured I'd relocate them to my pond. Pulled a poop scoop bag out of my pocket, reached down and picked up the pair of frogs, popped them in the bag and then carried on walking. Just exactly what that bunch of people coming up the road thought about that I can only guess. It MUST have looked as though I was doing poop scoop duty, but had happily picked up the pile of poop with my bare hands!! lolol . . . fed LBs zoo . . .meticulously cut open and scraped out all the bits of 'dust' from all the plastic baggies I've been picking up and collecting, and did what I regard as my civic duty - and burned the contents. :o) There have been a lot of reports on the news recently about how recent research has 'proven' a link between young people smoking lots of cannabis and the subsequent development of schizophrenia!!! There are suggestions that the recent downgrading of the drug should be reviewed and its use should once again be made a more serious offence. Whilst I absolutely agree that young people should most definitely NOT use the stuff at all, and anyone else only in moderation, I can't understand how anything more than a 'correlation' can be proven. How can you prove such drug use causes mental illness, rather than a predisposition to mental illness is more likely to lead to drug use? Seems a bit 'chicken and the egg' to me?! I wonder what are the long term psychological effects of early age binge drinking?! If they ARE right - with all the really young kids that are regularly smoking that strong stuff these days - the future is gonna be a real scary dangerous mess! We'll ALL have to be on drugs to cope!! :o(. . . TVd . . . BB called . . .ate something or other but can't recall what - besides a bunch of biscuits and chocolate of course. . early to bed around 11pm. Ex PM Jim Callaghan died this day. pas
27 - Woke at - um - err - some time or another. Not sure - the clocks changed last night didn't they. . . walked and found 2p. Did litter duty and filled and emptied at least four carrier bags!! Came home with a pocket full of rubber washers/grommets and yet another lighter!! . LBs neighbour was coming out of his house as I returned home, so I rushed over and asked if he had an outside tap with a hoselock connector in his garden, and would he mind attaching my hose to it for a while so I could clean out LBs polecat house. He was very obliging so I dashed home and grabbed the hose and then went up LBs garden to hand the end over the fence. Popped back home to put on some overalls and wellington boots. Fed the cats and rabbits and then spent the whole rest of the morning cleaning out the polecat house with the hose. I don't care what LB says - NO WAY has that polecat house EVER been cleaned out properly since I built it!!!!! Every single square inch of their home was covered in a layer of poop - in places, literally an inch or more thick!!! Absolutely disgraceful. Poor animals. :o( Disgusting unpleasant job, up to my ankles in poop and getting splashed with all sorts of nastiness as I scraped and brushed and hosed everything down. Huge amounts of fly egg cases all over everywhere!!! How on earth those poor little polecats have survived is beyond me. They appeared to appreciate my efforts and had a good explore around once I'd put them back in. I treated them to some of the cat food too. Cleared up a little of the mess in the garden as best I could and even chiselled out a little of the rotten wood doorframe to make sure it closes properly and can be properly locked again. I don't understand LB having all these animals and neglecting them like that. Wish I had the nerve to report her to the RSPCA and have them all taken away from her - for the animals sake!! . . so - I spent half of MY Easter Sunday shovelling someone elses s**t, and getting all covered in it!!! Eeewwwww!! Grrrr. . eventually called a halt and retrieved the end of the hose from the neighbour. . . put my overalls and all the rest of my clothes in the wash and had a long, hot, much need shower - with a scrubbing brush! . . .returned her ansaphone call and touched base with Mum to hear about how she'd already watched ALL the DVD stuff I'd sent her!! :o) . . .peeled a BIG bunch of potatoes and put them in the oven with the 9 leg of lamb around 12:45pm. Drank the tin of cider I'd found over the field some time ago . . . ate a HUGE plate of roast lamb, potatoes and peas with almost a pint of gravy around 3:30pm. Hmm - not sure that lamb tastes quite right! I think I should NOT have had it covered in foil for half the cooking time. Potatoes were good - I think using potatoes that are starting to grow in the bag, is a good thing for successful roast potatoes! lol :o) Plenty left for more meals in the fridge . . . eventually fell asleep until around 7pm . . . walked. As I headed towards the field, plainly audible in the distance was the sound of much smashing of stuff from the builders yard. Just then a police car drove past and down the emergency vehicles access road. Damn - what a shame - if I'd been a little earlier I would have flagged them down and directed them to the builders yard. Hang on though - just down the road they pulled in and parked near the rugby club building and got out of their car. Aha. Hurried down the road to where they were and suggested they needed to go look at the builders yard just up the road. They got back in their car and quickly drove round, just as a dog walker was hurrying across to try and catch them. Turned out he'd called them - some kids had been smashing up the builders yard for the last 15 minutes or so - and from the sounds of it, boy were they smashing stuff up!! As I wandered across the field to have a look across into the builders yard, one of the policemen crossed into the field and walked up to the fence and called out to the group of youths - "It's the police. Walk across to my colleague at the gate. Do NOT try and run away, or I will let the dog loose." lol He did NOT have a dog! I hung around a little distance behind him with Sally, just in case that would make his empty threat more believable. He must have left his cardboard cutout of a dog in the back of his car! lol The bunch of kids did as they were told, although I bet they just got told they were very naughty and not to do it again. :o( . . carried on walking around the field until I became aware of some weird noise coming from the road by the rugby club building, which demanded further investigation. Cut back across the field and through the hedge and was confronted by three kids rolling a metal beer keg down the road!! It just so happened that as it rolled down the road in front of them it stopped up against the kerb, only fifteen feet or so from the front of a parked car! I didn't 'think' - I walked over to them and demanded they return it to where they got it (which was obviously up near the rugby club building, although the entrance gates were locked shut). They refused of course and there was a bit of argument between us, and then finally a stand off where I said I had all night and just stood there with them! All this nonsense has turned me crazy hasn't it!!! Eventually I figured if they weren't going to, I'd try and move the keg back up the street on my own. Yikes - no way - it was a VERY heavy keg - MUST have been full!! Somehow the ugly situation 'came around' (I'm not skilled in the right way to deal with such idiots - I blunder into immediate confontation!) and I managed to persuade the two kids to help me carry it back up the street and dump it half hidden in the grass next to the rugby club yard gates. Eventually thanked them and wished them a good evening and shook their hands and walked away - in the full knowledge they probably had it away again the moment I was out of sight. Oh well. Picked up a toad for relocation to the pond on the way back home. . BB called . . .TVd . . . ate bowls of co-co pops and finished the packet . . . eventually to bed some time in the early hours. psd
28 - Woken by Sally around 7:45am . . . walked and found a lighter and 16p. Predictably, the beer barrel from last night had disappeared. The builders yard looks like a bomb has gone off. . .fed LBs animals and carried another load of the old rotten wooden fencing back home and crammed it in my bin. . . sat in the garden for a while . . . PCd this while downloading 'Quicktime', which as far as I can tell, I MUST have to view the ('.MOV') movie files this camera of Sis1s makes - but even then, I don't think I can convert them to MPEG (for viewing on the DVD/TV etc) without having to buy some software, so a fat lot of use that is! Not impressed. :o( . . . cooked up four sausages and a bunch of mushrooms and ate with four pieces of bread and butter for lunch . . . napped until woken by LB calling in to hand me a freshly roasted chicken as a thank you for 'doing the animals' + . . . walked and found a penny. Sat around over the field with a couple of cigarettes watching in some satisfaction as a police car in the area was kept busy with kids on illegal mopeds. :o). . . sat in the garden briefly . . . Mum called to touch base . . . listened to a little music but didn't seem to be in the mood for any of it . . . BB called . . . listened to music/TVd . . . ate both chicken legs with four pieces of bread and butter . . . TVd until bed around 1am. I think on balance, I'm going through a bit of a down at the moment. That unpleasant familiar feeling of everything is rather pointless, and wanting to sleep all the time. It seems to have become SUCH a struggle to force myself to sit and type a journal entry of late. Ho hum - bring on the summer sunshine. :o( ps
29 - Woken by Sally around 7:15am . . . walked in the drizzle and found 13p . . .PCd this as torrential rain fell all day . . . ate reheated lamb and roast potatoes with gravy for lunch . . . napped . . .split a few WAV tracks and converted them to MP3. . .walked in the drizzle . . . BB called . . .recorded a couple of Sis1s albums . . . PCd/TVd . . . ate all the rest of the cold roast chicken (it WAS a smallish one) with four peices of bread and butter (YUMMY) and then loads of chocolate. . .back to bed around 11:30pm. pas
30 - Woken by Sally around 7:15am again . . .walked in the drizzle and found a penny. . .recorded more of Sis1s records. Good grief - what on earth?? I'd thought I was recording John Lennon records but a couple of them turned out to be nothing more than Yoko Ono 'screaming' - for ages - at length!! WHAT a con that record was!! No wonder someone shot Lennon - anything to stop him bringing out another 'screaming wife' disc!!!!! . . . attempted to do some overdue dish washing as records recorded, but the flow of water coming out of the hot tap had slowed to barely a trickle!? It's been getting less and less for a while. Ended up having to turn the stop tap off at the boiler and dismantle the tap. Turned out to be just a build up of 'rock' on the moving parts that had jammed it all up. The penalty of being in a 'hard water' area (that'll be responsible for the premature death of my boiler some time for sure!) . Scraped and cleaned it all up and put it all back together and succesfully improved things no end. :o) Completed dish washing and vacuuming chores etc. . .ate corned beef, cheese, onion and tomato sandwiches with crisps for lunch . . . PCd . . . Mum called . . .briefly touched base with BB. . .walked . . . PCd just a little music . . . called BB . . . TVd . . . ate bowls of cornflakes before bed around 11:30pm. pas
31 - Woken by Sally around 7:40am . . .walked in the cold drizzley mist and found a penny, a lighter and a cheap 24" gold necklace! . . .PCd music . . . Sis1 called needing help with her PC which she'd moved up into her attic room and now won't go on line . . .left the PC running burning some music onto a DVD-RW, left Sally at home, and dashed up Kingswood to bank a couple of 50 PSB wins and to draw some money out so I could pay Sis1 the 50 for her camera. Quickly shopped for just a little, since I was up there anyway. . . bought some petrol on the way home (23.83ltrs @ 20). . briefly stopped off at home and then drove with Sally to Sis1s. Turned out it was her phone line extension that was at fault. Drove her to a nearby store where she bought a replacement and that was that all sorted. Copied some of the music onto her small hard drive . . Sis1 prepared a lunch of smoked salmon stuffed with half a pack each of philadelphia cheese stuff and a little salad! Blimey - how the other half live!!. . . napped for just a couple of hours. . .walked late in the 'mizzle' . . . touched base with BB . . .TVd/PCd. The 'remainder' of Terri Schiavo died this day. There was a relevant quote from President Bush on the BBC news website - Mr Bush urged those who backed the Schindlers to "continue to work to build a culture of life where all Americans are welcomed and valued and protected, especially those who live at the mercy of others". "The essence of civilisation is that the strong have a duty to protect the weak. In cases where there are serious doubts and questions, the presumption should be in the favour of life.". well - I dunno - but - well - given the policies of Bush, the abscence of free health care for it's citizens, erosion of pensions and other benefits, invading countries for 'questionable' motives, Guantanamo Bay, Kyoto, etc, etc, etc, - that seems like THE most blatant, disgusting hypocrisy!!! :o( ps
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