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1 - Up around 6:30am . . .walked and found a penny. This mornings offering by the local yobs was a burned out motorbike dumped right in the middle of the cycle path!! Weird how there seemed to be no trace of a carburettor?. . .left Sally at home and stopped off at the local post office for BB to mail a letter. Drove on to Argos and managed to return the fan and get my money back. Got a bit awkward when the woman at the desk pointed out that we could only return stuff if it hadn't been used! Seems a bit rediculous with an electrical item - how can you know it doesn't suit your purpose if you haven't plugged it in? Thankfully she relented and ended up pretending it was damaged to justify the refund! . accompanied BB into more shops and awkwardly hung around near bras and such as she perused!!!!! . . intended to head for the Mall but ended up detouring out to the shopping centre at Yate on the way. Popped in a couple of shops with BB but I VERY soon had my fill and ended up sitting on a seat outside as BB went into another (retrieved the 5p from behind the seat that BB had spotted). I guess it is what women need to do with the choice they have and fashions and such, but by the time BB had been in that one store for around 30 minutes or more, my nerves were SO frayed and I was SO uptight in the middle of all the crowds, by the time she returned (with a couple of shirts) I had something like a childhood tantrum and made it very clear I'd had enough of shopping (FOR EVER!!) and needed to go home - NOW! . . . back home by early afternoon feeling rather unwell with a terrible headache! Tried to make myself feel better by cooking up a 4 cheeseburger lunch. Didn't work and ended up laying down to sleep for a couple of hours until woken by BB just before the alarm around 6:45pm. Difficulty waking and felt really rather unwell!! BIG rain fall outside. The new modified bird table needs extra drain holes - all filled with water and awash! . . . all walked between showers and found a penny. Briefly detoured for BB to pop in a store and buy some Branston pickle . . .eventually felt a little better and ate a big meal of left over roast beef, yorkshire pudding and potatoes . . . TVd till early.(_/10)a
2 - Woke a little earlier but got up around 7am . . . PCd this . . .late getting going. All walked the long walk down to Eastville Park and along the Frome Valley walk to Vassals Park and back. BB mostly set the pace like she would walk for her keep fit walks at home. Very surprised at how fast a pace she led! Bloody hot, hard, painful work and less than enjoyable!! Stopped off at the sandwhich bar in Snuff Mills for a coffee. Found 2p. . . ate and fell asleep for a couple of hours . . . walked - returned home to find a strange hairdressers type smell throughout the house and BB in the middle of dying her hair ( - , part of one of the living room throws and much of the bathroom as it turned out!!!!? Hmmm!! :o( ) . . . TVd until early. At some point during the evening BB had called home and had mistakenly not hung the phone up properly!!! Uh oh!!!! Two or three hours of an international call rate?!!!! Yikes. (_/10)as
3 - Disturbed sleep and eventually gave up and got up just before 6am!! . . .not sure why but seemed to wake in an awful mood where everything got on my nerves - especially all the apparantly non removable hair dye on everything!! . . .PCd briefly. Received an E-mail from the Acquisitions Editor at Greenwood Publishing letting me know that Dr. Martin Kantor's upcoming book - Avoidant Personality Disorder, Revised and Expanded - will be out in October and that he may be willing to do a 'preview essay' for my site!!! Oooer!! I need to reply - feel nervous about doing so just in case the've changed their minds about suing me for my original breach of copyright!! Also feel a strange 'weight of responsibility' and kinda guilty that my site is so high on the list of returns of search engines looking for AvPD stuff!! I'm no 'authority' on anything (other than how to cut and paste other peoples work)!!! My site is in a terrible mess - I SO need to spend the hours sorting it all out and bringing stuff up to date. For better or more likely worse - I'm not the person I was when I started it. :o| . . . walked . . .BB said she needed some fresh food supplys and was going to walk up Kingswood to shop. Figured I needed to replenish this and that and didn't like the idea of her having to walk with loads of shopping, so suggested we may as well drive to the shops - again! Stopped off in a local cheap warehouse type place (Rajanis) just for interest. Ended up buying a couple of bags of sweets that were being sold off real cheap because they were well past their sell by date. Is that legal? . . drove to the big Sainsburys at Emersons Green that was open again after a major alteration/refit, for groceries. I HATE shopping and will normally do anything (including go without nice/fresh food) in order to shop as infrequently as possible. All this shopping every other day was really getting to me and I was showing it!! Couldn't help myself applying pressure to BBs choices, suggesting she should buy all the cheap stuff that I normally go for! Hard to break out of the 'watch the pennies' habit of the last few years. Think I upset BB somewhat! I upset her some more in my horrible grouchy mood when we went through the check out and the bill came to nearly £100, and I ranted and raved about how I couldn't afford to live like that, and how many pizzas I could have bought for that!!!!!!! What an idiot. headache/lack of food and sleep maybe? First manifestation of 'difficulty' suddenly living with someone, after SO many years of selfish solitude. Other than this episode, it's been really rather ok. BB is real easy to get along with (not to forget it must be REAL hard for HER being here - I suspect I am pandered to, too much) - since she's been here I've not 'rated' my days as normal - I think that is a good sign of how 'ok' things have been - just been 'living' - not self analysing :o) It's gonna be real weird when she goes back home. . . slept for a couple of hours. Woke in a 'somewhat' better mood . . . walked and found 3p . . .ate the big meal of pork chops and rice concoction that BB had prepared . . . TVd till late . . . LB called just after midnight asking if I had any antiseptic stuff because she'd just been bitten by a mouse she was putting out, that one of her cats had brought in!! Um - no!? Weird - I wouldn't dream of phoning someone that late at night!. . . eventually to sleep after 1am! (_/10)ad
4 - Woken by Sally barking at something around 5:30am!!! Seemed little point in trying to sleep on so got up . . .walked . . . grabbed some breakfast and then did a few washing chores, whiling away the time. . .cleaned my teeth, took a couple of annadin tablets just in case, and then left Sally and BB at home and walked to the bus stop a little after 9am. £2.20 return ticket and arrived in town around 9:45am - popped in an electrical store to briefly look around then sat in a park for a cigarette before making my way to the dental hospital for the 10:15am appointment. Arrived early and surprisingly was called in for an x-ray very soon after. Waited in the waiting room trying to be calm and watching fish in an unusually tall fish tank swimming pointlessly up and down. Eventually called in to sit in the dentists chair. As suspected the woman asked me some medical questions and filled in a form, had the briefest of looks in my mouth, looked at the x-ray and then announced that theyd have to book me in for a surgical appointment for some time in the future! Back at reception they told me theyd write to me with my appointment details, but that may be up to nineteen weeks away!!! Out of there around 11am and almost immediately on the bus and off home. Felt really VERY angry SUCH a complete waste of everybodys time!! Why on earth didnt they just book me straight in for the procedure? Couldnt my dentist actually have let them know what I was going there for and given them the x-ray shed taken?? Had to wait three months for a mutually agreeable appointment date (and pay the £2.20 bus fare) all for nothing! If Id had to have taken a day off work I would have been even more angry! Now I have to wait maybe another three months!!! No wonder the NHS is in a penniless mess when they are SO unbelievably inefficient! Grrrr! :o( . . Slow trip home due to what appeared to be an accident in St George. Seemed as though whatever had happened may have happened a while ago and may have been a lorry and a pedestrian since only the lorry was left parked up in the middle of the road with chalk marks all around marking its position. Seemed ridiculous that there were three police cars and two police bikes all in attendance (one car and a bike arrived as we passed) with groups of police all stood around chatting. No wonder there arent enough police to go round! . . .back home to find BB had been indulging in a cleaning frenzy in my absence and had been trying to vacuum and de-hair the kitchen, and most of all the living room carpet where she occasionally does her keep fit exercises and gets COVERED in Sally hair!!! She admitted that shed had to give up because the vacuum wouldnt lift all the dog hairs. Felt really guilty AGAIN, that shed come all this way only to spend so much time cooking and cleaning!! I insisted she leave it for me to do and definitely did NOT come across as very thankful for her efforts!! . . .grabbed a big lunch of left over pork chops and rice stuff. BB retired for a nap (cleaning the huge dusty mess in my house IS exhausting!). Felt guilty about the mess Id forced BB to live in and sorry Id not displayed more appreciation for her cleaning efforts and ended up putting the kitchen seat covers through the washing machine and then putting on my Sally hair scuffing shoes and scuffing and vacuuming all over as BB slept. Hot and exhausting!! . . . seemed appropriate since I've been such a pratt these last couple of days (years?!) - took Sally and rushed across the field and headed for the flower shop across the road at the top. Nothing much left so late on a Friday so had to detour half way to Kingswood to the other flower shop to find an appropriate flower!! Felt a bit cheap asking the price and saying I only wanted one! Rushed back home and stuck the rose in BBs chair for her to find when she awoke . . . finally lay down to sleep for a couple of hours but difficulty sleeping because of the noise from local playing (screaming!) children and Sally woofing at noises . . . woken by BB around 7:30pm . . . all walked a little later than usual. Very cool out. Sallys stomach seems upset again! Perhaps unsurprising considering all the tit bits and treats shes been getting from us both but mostly BB. :o) Sat for a cigarette amongst all the litter and watched weird cloud formations shining and changing shape in the setting sun . . . TVd . . . used up most of my 'rose brownie points' and persuaded BB to make some pancakes with maple syrup for my evening meal. Very filling. :o) . . . TVd till bed after 1am. Barry White died this day. (_/10)aas
5 - Woken at 4am by Sally needing to visit the garden with her 'glass stomach'!! . . . got up at 7am and hosed down the garden . . . walked. Another stolen burned out car by the field. Nice looking 4x4!! SUCH a waste! :o( . . . PCd this as BB slaved away in the kitchen (I just cannot believe that she finds that enjoyable!) making home made bread?!!!!!! Neat. :o) . . .ate fresh bread with loads of butter and then yet more of the pork chops and rice! Huge lunch - I'm not used to eating SO much especially midday! Ended up laying down and sleeping away the rest of the afternoon . . .woke to find BB asleep. Quietly left her to sleep and dabbled with my accounts and then PCd a little more attending to a couple of the missing months of past journal entries . . . all walked. A couple of kids were sat on the seat a few yards away from the refuse bin which had been set alight yet again and was still blazing! Couldn't resist walking up to sit on the seat next to them, just to make them feel uncomfortable. As we walked up I asked them to budge up so there was enough room for BB and I to sit. They did so but it was a little difficult for them because the eldest, who can only have been around 14 years of age-the other around 11, was in the middle of rolling a joint and had all his paraphernalia spread out on the seat!! I unusually couldn't keep my mouth shut and asked if they'd set the fire. They denied it. I said something disapproving about his rolling a joint and his arrogant reply was to ask if I had a problem with that!! Grrrrr! Thankfully sitting right next to them in silence did the trick, and they soon scooted off on their pushbikes. Despair! :o( . . . ate mostly more bread . . . TVd till early. (_/10)as
6 - Woken around 7:30am by Sally. Nice cool blue sky and birdsong morning . . . all drove in the car down to the Avon at Hanham for walks. Sally seemed to be in a rather subdued mood. . .stopped back at home for a quick coffee and some bread and marmalade before all walking round to the rugby field to see what the advertised 'fun day and car boot sale' was like. Fully expected an embarassing failure like I've seen there before, but there were actually a fair number of people there and enough car boot tables to be quite enjoyable. BB ended up buying a Windsor bone china 1953 Queens coronation cup and saucer souvenir for £1 and I bagged a few kitchen knives for 50p. Walked to a nearby store for BB to replenish a couple of supplies for the kitchen and then returned home for BB to start slaving away in the kitchen yet again!!! . . . PCd this watching the French grand prix . . . BB produced a spongey 'Cobbler' concoction using one of the tins of pineapple rings that PS gave me that I STILL have lying around. Excellent . . . all walked . . . BB cooked up a big omlette for tea . . . TVd till early. (_/10)as
7 - Disturbed night of only around five hours sleep!! . . . all walked. Kept up a fast BB pace and headed through the fied and down to the next rugby field down, round and back, trying to work out a decent hour long walk route for BBs keep fit walks. Felt all up tight and grouchy - desperately need more sleep. . . lay down for a nap and slept for around four hours or more!! Woke just as BB was getting back in from having walked up Kingswood to shop . . . walked and found 3p. Stopped off for milk and finally got round to buying a can of that 'Red Bull' drink that I've seen people talking about on TV. Over £1 for a tiny 250ml can!!!!! They seem to think it is some sort of energy drink that can keep you going long hours when attending a rave or disco or such!!? Admittedly they did also say they took it with vodka and ecstasy and all sorts of other self medication, but I figured it was worth at least trying the drink, to see if my ever present feeling of utter exhaustion could be alleviated. A large bunch of kids were playing in the field. The game seemed to consist of getting one of the girls down on the grass and then all standing around laughing as the dog they had with them, jumped on top of her and started making 'mating' movements!!!!!!!Eeeewww!!!. . . drank the Red Bull drink. Not sure if it had any effect - if it did at all, it was SO subtle as to be of little use. May have to give it a better test when I'm really tired - maybe when I drive BB back to the airport? . . . ate a huge roast beef dinner . . . TVd but still very exhausted so left BB watching TV and making phone calls and such and retired early to bed around 10:45pm. (_/10)a
8 - Disturbed sleep waking a couple of times in the night then finally got up around 7am . . . all walked around 8:30am at BBs brisk pace down to St Georges park and back. Hard sweaty work! Found a penny. . . all drove to Devizes intending to have a look at the Kennet and Avon canal and the famous flight of locks up Caen Hill. Considering it is something of a tourist attraction it seemed to be rather poorly signposted and we ended up going round and round and back and forth through the town before eventually stumbling across a car park and visitors centre. Paid the few pounds at the pay and display booth for three hours or so parking, checked out a map on a nearby information sign, and all headed off across the nearby bridge and down the tow path in search of the locks. Kinda grey overcast sky but boy was it HOT! Turned out to be quite a long walk, along the tow path, up and over a busy road and then back down onto the tow path on the other side and along lots further before the Caen Hill locks stretched out and down before us. All pretty busy with people operating the locks bringing canal narrow boats through in pairs. Must have been exhausting for the people doing all the winching and lock gate pushing and running back and forth! . . Grabbed a poor woman passer by and asked her to take a couple of rare photos of BB and I together, with the view in the background, but of course the pictures didn't do the scene justice. Despite the distance and exhausting heat of the day, we just HAD to walk down the hill - or at least I persuaded BB that we had to, since I was determined to find the photo spot where every photograph of the locks seems to be taken from. Apparently the Caen Hill section of the Devizes flight of locks lifts the canal by 237 feet in two and a quarter miles. It was a long walk in the heat and we were very happy to reach the road bridge at the bottom and find a seat to sit on for a few cigarettes and to takes photos. Left BB sitting with Sally, jumped a fence and ran up onto the road to try and get the best picture I could but none of them did the scene justice. Couldn't resist taking a stupid picture of the vandalised police sign mounted on the bridge wall! I suppose it was inevitable someone would do 'that' eventually! . . I guess my little digital just isn't THAT good. Also disappointingly learned that the digital zoom just isn't worth using - too blurry for distance shots. :o( I may have to revisit at some point with my proper SLR and try and reproduce the professionals shots of that view. At least the little tripod/self timer shots worked out okish. Eventually headed all the way back up the hill after Sally tried to get on board the narrow boat that had just moored up! They were making sandwhiches on board, before the hard work began. I'm not sure if I'm right about that being the origin of the saying 'put your back into it' - but having seen how those people swing those huge lock gates open by pushing them with their backs, I wouldn't be surprised! Those gates were incredible - great old lumps of wood all leaking water and overgrown with clinging greenery. . Rather annoying to spot another car park near the top that would have been a much better place to have parked - dunno how we'd have found it though? . SO hot by the top of the flight of locks that we stopped off in the lock keepers cottage that was there, for a quick drink and a couple of biscuits that BB inisisted on buying because she was starting to suffer from lack of food! My usual 'don't stop to eat while I'm out' rule causing her suffering. Oops. . .eventually walked back to the car and after a quick stop in the visitor centre for BB to buy some postcards and such, headed back out into the small town centre for BB to grab a photo or two. Luckily managed to find a parking space and parked up for a quick touristy walk around . . . drove back passing through Castle Combe on the way, and arrived back at home just after 5pm . . . reheated roast beef, potatoes, peas and gravy feast . . . left BB recovering at home and walked. Found 2p. A bunch of a dozen or so young kids were over the field 'playing'!! The boys were being encouraged by the girls to show them their 'naughty bits'!!!!! . . . Very, VERY hot humid evening! . . . to sleep after 1am.
9 - Up just before 7am. Apparantly BB'd heard a phone call in the middle of the night but I'd slept through it and there was no message left . . .walked in the early heat and sun. Conferred with BB and suggested a drive to Wales, to have a look at some of the scenery I'd seen when I went off roading with ML a year or two ago . . . collected together some things to eat and made a couple of cheese sandwhiches and then all headed out in the car around 10:30am. VERY hot and sunny again!! Too hot for my liking - BB said it was similar (but cooler) to being home! . . filled up with petrol (23.32 ltr - £17) and bought a Red Bull drink (£1.35!) for later, just in case it would help with the tiring drive home. Out on the motorway and completely screwed up getting to the 'new' Severn bridge - ended up going out past Avonmmouth and having to drive all the way back!! Eventually across the bridge and paid the £4.50 toll fee and then headed off the motorway for a quick service stop for BB. Unbeleiveably hot, waiting in the car. Started to worry about poor Sally stuck in the back in the heat, and did so for much of the day! . . . headed North across mid wales through Abergavenny and Crickhowell, past the 'Sugarloaf' hill, surrounded by the scenery of the Brecon beacons. No relief from the heat with the windows and sun roof open! Wales is a beautiful green country. If I had to choose a place to be my 'spiritual home', it could well be Wales. . . uh oh - the car developed a weird rubbing squeaking which seemed to come from the front left brakes, especially on right turns!!!!!!!!!!!! Nothing much I could do about it - I know nothing about cars other than it is vital to have RAC rescue cover for when they break down! Stopped and had a quick look in a layby. Couldn't see a damn thing but did notice that the front drivers tyre was WELL worn on the inside!!??? Something definitely not right here! Decided to just carry on till it broke - or didn't. Checked the map on several occasions (I've only ever been that way as a passenger with ML and really didn't have a clue where I was going!!) On through Builth Wells to Rhayader and turned left to follow the scenic route through the Elan valley past the Caban, Garreg-ddu, Penygarreg and Craig Goch reservoirs. I don't recall having done that route before! AMAZING, FANTASTIC scenery! Beautiful! Stopped a couple of times for token photos but none could do that scenery justice. The Penygarreg dam was particularly amazing with the water spilling over the top in a huge waterfall. .started to feel guilty about how long the trip was taking and dabbled with the idea of cutting it short, since it was getting pretty uncomfortable having been stuck in the car in that heat for so many hours, and I was sure BB'd had enough. The scenery we'd just been through was probably better than I'd been aiming for anyway! BB seemed game to carry on and because we'd come SO far it seemed silly to miss out on what I'd been aiming for - so we carried on. Through Devils Bridge, without stopping in the tourist trap, and on through the hills to the narrow sheep lined road with cattle grids that leads across the dam and around the Nant-y-moch reservoir. After the scenery we'd just been through, it didn't seem quite so impressive to BB, but there is something about those barren hills that draws me. Stopped briefly on the way to take a series of photos for a panoramic photo - worked out rather well I think. If I ever fulfilled my fantasy about maybe one day getting a camper van - that is where I'd park it for a day or two. :o) Only trouble with that idea is Sally - she was almost going frantic with excitement as we passed all the sheep. No way could I let her out to run about. Poor dog spent almost the whole day couped up in the back of the car! . . . stopped at the head of the valley on the road down to Talybont for a few 'aerial' photos and then headed off to the beach at Borth. Stopped in a half empty car park right next to the sea front only to see signs everywhere saying dogs were not allowed on the beach at all from May to September!!!! I DO understand why, but still seems outrageous to me. . waited with Sally in the boiling car as Bb popped into a store for postcards - she emerged bearing two '99' ice creams. Cool. :o) . . drove on round to Aberystwyth. Surprisingly quiet along the sea front for SUCH a perfectly seaside, beautiful day. Got a parking spot on the front and in the abscence of any 'no dogs' signs, all walked down onto the beach. Sally paddled and played with pebbles - and embarassed me by having a poop, which I had to take care of and carry around for a while!! Ewwww! . .all walked along the front and around to the castle ruins, taking pictures of this and that on the way. Managed to grab a nice series for another rather successful panoramic. BB seemed to be fascinated by the most bizarre of things and, since her camera memory was full, I was instructed to take pictures of this and that including a street sign and the legs of a sea front bench seat!!? Walking around like that in the sun was far too hot for my liking and I was SO relieved when BB spotted me looking at my watch around 6:30pm and suggested we'd better be off home pretty soon because of the long journey. . .VERY fast winding roads - difficult driving, made all the more difficult by worrying about the car maybe breaking down or a squeaking wheel falling off!! . . andstopped on the way in Builth Wales to use the rest rooms at a Burger King. Got Sally out of the car as I was waiting for BB, and let her have a bit of a stretch and a drink. Started to get worried about how long BB was, but eventually she turned up bearing a cheese burger and chips. All sat and ate. BB seemed surprised it tasted exactly the same as at home. Sally was torn between eating some french fries and pursuing the sound of bleeting sheep that suddenly drifted across from the nearby petrol pumps. A huge transporter full of three or four layers of sheep had pulled in for gas. Seemed awful - to think of the life those sheep'd had, freely roaming the hills, and then to suddenly have the nightmare of being herded and crammed into a lorry for some horrific journey - perhaps their last!!! Enough to make you give the last mouthfull of your burger to Sally! . . . pulled up for petrol and got out and had the pump in my hand only to find the petrol station had just closed. SO weird that the young girl behind the till cashing up, tried to avoid eye contact with me! Why didn't she call out they were closed?! Pulled straight across the road to another station only to find that too was just closed. A farmer type guy at the pumps with a 4x4 towing a 'sheep shower' (??!!) suggested I should plead with the cashier - thankfully the woman allowed just one more customer and I was allowed to top up the tank. (21.17 ltrs - £16:50) . . . back on the road, almost immediately getting lost, before turning around and driving back past the Burger King and on. . . got lost a bit more here and there (terrible sign posting over there!) before eventually happily back on the M4. Hummed along nicely in the dusk, drinking my Red Bull drink to try and pep me up. Tried to take a couple of shots of the Severn Bridge at dusk as we drove along to cross it, but just then the camera ran out of memory - 60 shots in all - not bad. . Very tired . . . home around 10pm to find the road full of cars and nowhere near the house to park. Parked down the road and had to unload and walk everything back up . . . walked in the dusky dark. Still incredibly hot. Ended up feeling a bit woosy and rather unwell by the time I got back - been a long hard day of 'concentrating' on the driving almost non stop for very near 12 hours - just over 300 miles!! I'm REALLY not used to that! A space had opened up a little nearer the house so I quickly moved the car . . . TVd and ate several bowls of cereal with lots of cold milk before collapsing into bed around 12:30am. (_/10)a
10 - Woken by Sally around 7am. Snoozed on for half an hour or so before getting up to another roastng hot day! . . . left BB preparing to go out on her brisk hour long walk down to St Georges park and back, and took a gentle stroll round the local field with Sally. Found 2p. A pushbike appeared to be dumped in the hedge at the top of the field. There were lots of dog walkers out and about, I wasn't SURE it was dumped and didn't want to be seen to be showing too much interest in it, so I carried on walking and went and sat on the seat at the bottom of the field and had my usual cigarette. Walked back up and figured it was too good to just leave there despite the fact that it was a girls bike and looked a bit ropey and rusty. Ended up walking back home with Sally on one side, the bike on the other! . . . BB soon returned home (covered in sweat!) and persuaded me to join her in eating a bacon and fried egg breakfast . . . PCd this and messed around for hours with the photos we took yesterday, as BB did all the washing chores!! Somehow ended up PCing pretty much all day!!? . . .ansaphone message from the Argos store to say the clothes BB had ordered the other day were ready for collecting . . . ate a mass of BBs excellent salmon croquets . . . walked and found 21p. A middle aged woman was sat on the grass near the trees at the bottom of a field. It was a strange place to sit and I was tempted to ask if she was ok as I walked past, but she looked ok, so I just carried on. The seat was occupied by kids, so I headed for a piece of grass atop a slope to sit for a cigarette. I was sat there smoking when I suddenly realised the woman had retreated into the trees next to someones garden fence, but still very much in the open, had dropped her trousers and was having a pee!!! Strange behaviour!? . . . TVd watching the film 'Se7en' until late. Boy was it hot in the house!! . . . eventually to bed after 1am.
11 - Up near 8am after broken sleep. VERY hot and sunny again . . . walked and found 2p . . .left Sally at home and drove BBs one hour walking route down to St Georges park and back, just to check how far it was - almost exactly three miles as I'd thought. Briefly stopped off at the local tyre centre to ask how much a new set of fitted brake pads would be - around£40!! An advert on their wall announced they did FREE bake checks! Hmmmm?. . Drove to the Argos store to pick up the clothes BB had ordered, and then shopped. The intermitant nasty squeaky grinding noises from the brakes seemed to be getting more constant! Typical!! Ending up with a problem only a week before the stress of me having to get BB back to the airport on time for her flight! . . . grabbed a bite to eat and TVd before mustering the energy to start having a look at the car! Phoned the local car parts place and was told a set of brake pads for DIY fit would be less than £20. Precariously jacked up the car out in the street, with the weak unstable jack, and popped the left hand wheel off. Some difficulty because the thread on one of the wheel nuts, seemed to be stripped!!! Jammed the wheel under the steering rack to stop the car wobbling worringly on the unsteady jack and threatening to crash down on me. As far as I could tell there was still a bit of wear left on the pads, but the brake disc certainly looked a little worn. Couldn't see any reason why it was rubbing and squealing like it was. Figured it was best not to mess around trying to do it myself, with the approaching flight deadline. Put it all back together and, around 4pm, drove round to the nearby Manor Tyres place, intending to book it in for a free brake check as soon as they could. Happily they said they'd fit it in later and give me a call to confirm their findings, so I left it with them and walked home in the blazing sun to await their call. They called with the bad news - the pads AND discs both needed replacing and they also mentioned the badly worn tyre on the front drivers side, the somewhat worn tyre on the passenger side, and said the tracking needed doing too!!!!! Uh oh - ££?!! Bit the bullet and told them to do it all with the cheapest parts they had - said I'd have one 'cheapest' replacement tyre and asked if they could swap the part worn passenger side tyre with the spare. They said they'd be done by around 5:30pm and it would cost in the region of £150!!! . . transferred yet more money out of my ever dwindling savings. Big unexpected expense!! :o( . . Walked back round to pick up the car. A short wait after having paid, and I was soon back home with it all done - new pads, discs, tyre, wheel balance/alignment, etc - £155.80!!!!! Interesting that I was charged 95p for 'tyre casing disposal'? Guess that is all part of the new pay for environmental impact stuff? . . While I was gone, BB had managed to get photographic evidence of how when I go out and leave Sally behind, the minute I'm gone, she'll get up and try and cram herself into my chair! Of course I never get to see that - only occasional muddy prints on the throw. Funny dog. Wonder why she does that? . . . all drove to Portishead to see the sun set - but mostly because that is the only road I know that has that road sign that BB wanted a photo of - 'Beware - Low Flying Owls'!!! Found the sign but it was on a real dodgy bit of road and we couldn't get a photo as we flashed by, so we ended up having to drive a mile or two down the road, round a roundabout, all the way back, round another roundabout and stop dangerously in the road on a blind bend!! Got the shot - but I'm not sure why! :o) . . parked up on the Portishead sea (mudbank!) front. Briefly walked Sally in the cool breeze as a large ship suddenly appeared round the point, from the direction of Avonmouth docks. Sat in the car for the next hour or so as the sun set in front of us, BB sipping on a bottle of strong cider getting typsy, and listening to classical music on the car radio (mostly just to drown out the loud radio being played in a nearby car - inconsiderate b******s!). . .inevitably ended up taking a bunch of photos. Tried my hand at my first full 360 degree panoramic. Right in the middle of holding my breath and rotating on my heels trying to keep on the same plane as I took around 22 overlapping shots, some little kid insisted on walking up and wanting to talk - about who knows what?! In a calm, low, mildly threatening voice I asked him to stand behind me out of shot and then explained as I carried on, what I was trying to do - in some considerable detail. Thankfully he got bored and wandered off by the time I'd turned full, click-beep, click-beep circle. lol The panoramic worked out nicely in the end, but is far too big to be of any use on the website. The full blown high quality .EXE version with a built in viewer ended up being 4,562kb in size!!! (Low quality version 695kb!). . . home around 10:30pm after a quick stop off at the motorway services. Intermitantly during the evening drive, the disc brakes had started rubbing and squealing again and at one point seemed to be slightly on when on full steering lock!!!!!!? Hmmm - gonna pretend it's all ok and see if the settle in. . . TVd till early, exhausted to bed.
12 - Woken by Sally barking at the postman around 8am . . .all drove to the river Avon at Hanham for hot sunny walks and lots of photo taking - BB wanted lots of photos of the flowers on various plants!? BB found a lighter. Stopped off for dog food on the way home . . . ate a huge BB cooked bacon and homemade hash browns brunch . . . hid away from the heat of the blazing sun and TVd . . . slept for a couple of hours . . . walked . . . TVd . . .sat in the cool of the conservatory till early. Some lunatic letting off really loud fireworks at 12:30am somewhere near . . PCd briefly only to find out the close up/'makro' photos I'd taken this morning were all blurred - I was too close!! Grrr.
13 - Up after broken sleep around 8:30am. Another incredibly hot sunny day. . . walked Sally leisurely round the field as BB set off on her three mile 'power walk'! . . . did chores . . . PCd this for hours as BB slaved away over a hot stove yet again!! <guilt> . . . ate a huge portion of the chicken 'and dressing' thing BB had prepared, together with a bit of yorkshire pudding. Sadly BB decided to try a bouncing juggling act in the kitchen as I watched, involving the rest of the yorkshire pudding and the oven door!! The yorkshire ended up very hairy - after hitting the floor and getting covered in Sally hair! I beat Sally to it nevertheless, and dehaired and salvaged some for later with the mountain of left over chickeny thing. . .all drove to Eastville park for walks and to feed some of the now stale homemade bread that BB had made the other day, to the ducks on Eastville boating lake. Tried feeding the bread to the swans (with young) and ducks but strangely they seemed little interested - figured they must be overfed by everyone who goes down there. Sat having a cigarette on a bench still clutching a bag full of bread, we watched as a couple came waking along and fed the swans, who all couldn't seem to get enough of their bread!!? Well - I guess it WAS the wrong flour BB had used and I HAD to admit it DID taste a little weird. lol :o) . . . ended up driving around and down town to make sure the reproduction of the Mathew ship, which BB said she wanted a photo of for someone, wasn't there. Drove down by the docks on the road opposite the SS Great Britain, and was just about to announce to BB "that there is where the ship should be and see, it isn't" when lo and behold, there it WAS!!! Weird. Must have been out on some trip or other and come back since we did our ferry boat trip. Parked up the car and all walked over to the waters edge to play with the cameras. Daylight was fading, the cameras couldn't do the scene justice, and we both ran out of memory, so after sitting on a bench for a cigarette or two we were back in the car and off home . . . TVd till bed around midnight.
14 - Up around 8am after disturbed sleep . . . all walked Sally gently round the field. Found 4p and an 'almost' empty lighter. Even hotter and sunnier today!!! . . . left Sally at home and drove to the Mall to let BB shop for souvenir gifts. NOT my favourite pastime - and it showed! BB treated me to a sandwhich and a bag of crisps - probably figured my grouchiness was maybe once again food related. Only succeeded in getting me more grouchy about how much it had cost!! At long last we returned to the baking car (which smelled of melting plastc!!) and headed home. Drove home past Filton aerodrome where one of the buildings has a thermometer display - showed as 35C/95F!!!!!!!! I can't handle this heat - this is an amazing summer - for here! . . . TVd feeling too hot and sticky. Idiot moped riders racing across the lawless field again! . . . PCd this as BB started work for me yet again, in the oven hot ( 27C/80F !!!!!! ) kitchen. Ate a huge plate of chips and homemade beef burgers . . . walked . . . .sat in the garden trying to find some cool . . . TVd till early. s
15 - Up around 8am . . . all walked Sally round the field. Found a penny and a bunch of keys on the grass. No indication of who they may have belonged to so it seemed easiest to simply attach them to the fence next to the entrance to the cycle path. . detoured on the way home for BB to have a look in a couple of local sweet shops, looking for souvenir gifts of weird foreign sweets for everyone she knows. Ended up in the local newsagents buying up half his stock - a pound of glacier mints, a pound of humbugs, a pound of clotted cream fudge, etc, etc!! Don't envy her having to carry that lot through the airports - bet her case is overweight again! . . . around 10:15am all walked up Kingswood in the blazing sunshine and stifling heat, me carrying my new big rucksack, ready for carrying all BBs buys back home! I tried as best I could to keep Sally in the shadows as we took it in turns to look in each of the charity shops, but at times her fur was almost too hot to touch!! . The Salvation Army shop had a box of old books and magazines outside with a sign saying 'Free'. Sorted through them all and bagged a couple of old books fr BB to take home - a nice old straight forward 'Radiation - New World Cookery Book' (actually designed to go with the Regulo New World Cookers, but quite useable for good old english fare nonetheless - if BB didn't want it I would have liked to have kept it!), and a weird old 'Enquire Within Upon Everything' book. Neat. . bought a couple of other knick knacks here and there. BB scored some shoes for £10 and I succumbed to the heat and rashly bought a pair of shorts for £4!! Shopped and shopped and shopped with me mostly waiting around outside shops with Sally, who put up with it far better than I did. Not sure how we managed it but the quick shopping trip turned into a three and a half hour outing!!! Eventually struggled back home carrying the heavy rucksack, overheating badly! Found 60p along the way. . . did some washing chores (before the forecast rain storms arrive tomorrow) ate left over chicken and dressing, and then left BB watching TV and managed to grab a couple of hours sleep, despite the heat. BB got me up around 7pm . . . all walked around 8:30pm. Didn't seem much cooler to me despite wearing my new shorts, which seemed like a good buy. Can't recall ever having gone out and about wearing shorts before - it's just not something I'm comfortable wearing - felt weird and I wanted to scratch my lilly white legs all the time!! . . . TVd watching the 'zealous' reporting of the case of the 31 year old Americam marine who has run off to France with a 12 year old English school girl he met over the internet!! Resisted the temptation to ask to see BBs passport and proof of her age! :o) . . . BB knocked up a couple of huge bacon, lettuce and tomatoe sandwhiches. Excellent - hmm, maybe I'll have to start buying the odd tomatoe from now on. Funny how tastes change. I suspect Bbs visit is going to leave me with the legacy of wanting to do more cooking - then again when it's me having to slave away over a hot stove, maybe not! . . . TVd till 1:30am feeling real uncomfortable and hot. Bedroom turned out to be like an oven!! Terrible nights sleep - just TOO darn hot!!! Gave up tossing and turning around 3am and went and sat with a coffee in the garden for a while, but not much cooler! Dabbled with the idea of a sunrise walk but figured BB wouldn't be too keen on being woken so early with such an idea. Soon be time for her return flight and getting up at the crack of dawn and all that, so figured the more sleep we get over the next day or so the better. s
16 - Up around 8am. Sun and blue sky but cloud moving in - forecast is for big rain storms! . . . left BB to walk up to the shops again on her own - walked Sally and found 2p. Seems like someone has had the keys I hung up yesterday - they're gone. Still VERY warm but an overcast sky and a hint of a drop or two of rain in the air. . . did a few dish washing chores. Threw away the uneaten homemade bread that has been sat untouched on the birdtable for the last few days!? . . . PCd this . . .BB arrived home from her shopping expedition around 12:30pm. I hadn't realised she'd taken the huge rucksack with her - she arrived all overheating with the almost too heavy to lift bag on her back! Grrrrr! If I'd known she was planning to do THAT much shopping I'd have picked her up in the car!! Seems like too much to carry home to me!! . . . BB spent a while doing a test pack of all her luggage, under the watchfull eye of Sally. Weighing me, and then me and her big suitcase on the bathroom scales, confirmed her bag was 'just' below the maximum weight. Plenty of chcocolate bars and bags of crisps left over that wouldn't fit! Dabbled on the internet and sussed out the US Airlines website to confirm BBs flight details and such . . . lay down to nap for a while but only managed to sleep for around half an hour before being woken by the sounds of BB ironing some of her clothes and roasting up some nuts to snack on, on the plane. . .all walked and detoured to a couple of local stores for BB to buy weird flavoured bags of crisps to take home for everyone. Also attempted to get hold of some £2 coins but they always seem few and far between and we couldn't find any anywhere. The poor woman in the local chip shop didn't seem to understand at all and embarassingly started trying to give us several pounds of 10ps before we finally managed to get through the language barrier!! Found 2p along the way. . . BB made up some more delicious bacon, turkey and lettuce sandwhiches for tea and also made up another big pineapple cobbler for me to eat over the next day or so. Very delicious. . . TVd until bed after 1am, after having set both alarms for 5:30am!! Should have been a pleasant 'last evening' together, but I just ended up getting in my usual 'up tight' mode prior to having to make a cross country journey (especially around the nightmarish M25 'car park') to meet a vital flight departure deadline!!
17 - Disturbed sleep and then up before the alarms around 5:15am . . . walked Sally in the drizzle. Far too hot for wellington boots and rubber! . . . all packed and loaded into the car just after my target of 7am. Left Sally at home, stopped for petrol ( 20.3ltr-£15 - BB insisted on paying!) and headed out on the motorway. Some DREADFULL weather with lots of rain and spray and some near zero visibility. Very unpleasant up tight driving. Brief 'splash and dash' stop at some services and straight back on the road - drank a tin of Red Bull I'd brought, to try and wake me up a little. Still forty or so miles from London and we ended up stuck in some stationary traffic as I'd feared we would. Typical London nightmare. Eventually onto the M25 and remarkably the traffic wasn't too bad and we made good time and arrived at Gatwick South terminal a little after 10:30am. The pressure of my obligation to get BB to the airport on time had eased. . inside the terminal building it very soon became clear we had walked in to a nightmare! For some unknown reason the check in for all the US Air flights had an enormous queue. A HUGE snaking queue that stretched ALL around the terminal, out of sight!!!!!? There was no choice but to find and join the queue and stand and wait, and be jostled, and be on guard for queue jumpers, and occasionaly inch forward - very slowly!! BB understandably got a bit up tight and panicky - I ushered her off to the smoking area a couple of times, to calm down as I retained her position in the queue. I succeeded in getting all uptight - convinced that BBs suitcase would be overweight and wed have to take everything out and try and repack it all lighter, like had happened last time and also convinced that the paperwork BB had, instead of an actual ticket, wouldnt get her on the plane!! Up tight for nothing - all turned out ok . . Felt like an anticlimax - like the last couple of hours of our time together (this visit) were denied us by having to stand in that awful queue! Didn't get a moment to sit or talk freely together at all! The flight was due to leave around 12:30pm - BB (who was NOT the last in the queue by any means) didn't get to check in until after midday!!! Not sure how that flight could possibly have left on time!! . we said our goodbyes and I watched her go through the departure gate and get frisked and then walk out of sight . . . paid the £5.80 for two hours parking (ouch!!), in the car, and back on the road around 12:45pm. The M25 was largely a car park and it took me over an hour to do just thirty miles or so!!! The trapped panicky feeling BB got at the airport, is kinda how I get when stuck in such traffic!! Hellish!! SUCH a relief to eventually reach the relative sanity of the M4 and head home at speed without stopping. . . arrived home around 3:30pm after around 300 miles with a wicked head/neck ache (real difficulty moving my head - dodgey lane changes!!) and feeling real tired. Cooked up a quick BBs left overs bacon and cheese sandwhich, ate a bowl of pineapple cobbler and slept for a few hours . . . woken by the alarm around 7:30pm. Walked and found 2p. Sat for a while on the seat over the field feeling a bit weird and on my own and back to my 'real world' of aloneness!!? Still very warm but a heavy threatening sky. Kids near the rugby clubhouse were in the process of breaking up the garden gate that has been laying there for the past few weeks that I'd had my eye on. What a waste - I SHOULD have 'taken' it and replaced my front garden gate - I just couldn't face all the work involved. Too late now. . PCd this for hours waiting for the phone call from BB to confirm she was safely at her stopover in Charlotte - paused to go down and shoo Sally, who was happily sat in the garden in the drizzle, back inside! . .checked the US Airways flight status around 10:30pm and discovered the flight hadn't actually left until 1:18pm!!!! Poor BB!!!! The excuse offered on the site was "The flight is operating behind schedule because of delays during aircraft fueling" - hmmm - no mention of big check in queues - wonder how truthful that is! . . .TVd . . . BB called just after 11pm to confirm safe arrival . . . TVd until bed around 1am.
18 - Woken by Sally around 7am . . .walked and found 4p. Laying in the grass in the middle of the field, apparantly still in one piece, was the garden gate the kids had been trying to break. I just couldn't leave it there - again - so I ended up walking home with it! As I'd thought, it's too wide for the existing opening so I guess I'll just have to keep it in storage for some gate widening/replacing project in the future. More junk laying around!! . . .left Sally at home and set off in the car intending to go to Lidl to maybe buy some of this weeks special offers. Just up the road the bins were out for the refuse collection, and the bin I'd seen the other day with several pairs of 'too good to throw away' boots on the top, was sat on the sidewalk tempting me!! I tried to ignor it and was half way to the store before deciding that if I didn't go straight back and have a look just to be sure they were no good, I'd regret it and it would prey on my mind. Turned round and drove all the way back, parked up and knocked on the door of whos bin it was, intending to ask out of courtesy. There was no answer, so I embarassingly opened the bin lid, helped myself to the two pairs of boots and one pair of shoes, and quickly drove off! Drove to the Lidl store only to find I'd got it all wrong and the special offer items I'd gone there for, weren't actually on sale until next week! Wasted petrol! . . . spent a while cleaning, polishing and examining the boots and shoes. Both pairs of boots, although at first glance like new, did actually have 'some' minor faults from use, which did make them 'disposable' to someone with money. I however, figure I can get quite a bit of use from them (rotting them out by walking the dog round a muddy field twice a day in winter) before that is entirely necessary. Need to buy some laces. The shoes seemed to have absolutely nothing wrong with them at all (just damp from the rain) and fit well! I 'crossed a line' today - I'm NOT gonna make a habit of going through peoples bins!!!!!!! It IS however rather pleasing to have scored a free pair of very good leather shoes for the effort. :o) I think I may have enough shoes and boots to last this lifetime!! . . . slept all afternoon . . . did dishwashing chores and had just finished when Sis1 popped in to touch base. Some discussion of 'family matters'!!! -/ /- . . treated Sis1 to a portion of BBs pineapple cobbler - she confirmed it was REAL good. :o). . . walked late - feeling pretty down about the 'guilt trip'! . . . touched base with BB . . .TVd till around 1am. (<4/10)
19 - Woken by Sally around 7am again! . . . walked . . .moved the imitation pine chipboard TV stand the guy up the road had thrown out (26/6), up into the bedroom and put the TV on it, liberating ready for return, the small pine cupboard I'd borrowed from Sis1 . . . PCd this. Ended up spending a large portion of the day messing around with some of my 'missing' (post 19th April 03) old journal entries and going through them and trying to 'censor' as appropriate before getting them back on line!! :o( Finally bit the bullet and replied to the Acquisitions Editor at Greenwood Publishing, explaining I was VERY interested in Kantors new book and a possible preview essay' for my site, but was 'concerned' about how much the book will be, and whether or not I'll be able to afford it . . . ate all of the frozen left over BB cooked beef and roast potatoes, followed by the last of the pineapple cobbler. BIG meal. . . slept until evening and woken by the ansaphone taking calls but no message. LB had also called and posted the latest Makro leaflet through the door at some point, for me to look through . . .called BB back but loads of hassle with dodgey phones running out of power her end. Some chats before eventually giving up trying to call back, again! . . . walked and found 2p. The music from the Ashton Court festival which is on this weekend was quite audible in the distance!?! Jeeze that must be loud!!! . .Ended up sitting with a cigarette or several, chatting for some time to a woman who was walking her dog. Turns out she is a teacher but is currently off work because she is an alcoholic! She admitted to having been the target for stone throwing kids whilst out walking her dog on occasions, because they knew her to be a teacher!! Funny how matter of factly she revealed all that. She invited me back to her place for a drink!!! I definitely declined! Made me feel sad and very sorry for her. What sort of a world do we live in?!!!!! Much news on TV about Dr David Kelly, the scientist implicated in allegations that the government 'sexed up' (blatantly lied I suspect) the dossier on Iraqs weapons of mass destruction. He was by ALL accounts, a decent, honest, loyal man - he cracked under the pressure of the political b*****t and press intrusion, and walked off and committed suicide. Before he went he allegedly e-mailed someone saying there were 'many dark actors playing games'. So sad. . .returned LBs ansaphone call. Briefly popped up LBs to return the Makro leaflet, to donate BBs left over cherries from the fridge, and to have a look at a couple of stereo speakers she may be getting rid of. Unfortunately once found, it turned out the speakers were being used to prop up her broken bed, so I couldn't take them after all!! . . . PCd. A reply from Greenwood saying they would send me a copy of the book and 'chalk it up as a marketing copy'!! Wow. Blimey. Excellent. First 'reward' I've received from the website! lol Can't wait. :o) . . . Think I'm missing having BB around (went without food lol :o) ) - resisted calling again. . . TVd and watched a little of a 'Macbeth' production, screened on one of the obscure BBC channels. Eventually to bed with daylight in the sky! . . todays 'TV quote of note' :-
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out brief candle!
Lifes but a walking shadow; a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing. (4/10)as
20 - Up late not far off 9am! . . . walked and found most of a lighter. . . messed around with the lighter and the collection of parts I have, and made it useable - a decent refillable one. Discovered that they actually come apart more than I had realised - could have salvaged many more if I'd known, but then again do I really need SO many lighters!! Strange 'hobby'!. . . PCd this . . .haven't eaten for 24 hours!! Jotted down the instructions BB had left about how to make pancakes, and had a go at making some for lunch. Turned out ok-ish with the maple syrup but somehow didn't taste as good as when BB made them. . . TVd and watched the British Grand Prix from Silverstone. Much round and round - then a crazy guy in a skirt started running down the track amongst the cars - just as the stupid ITV coverage went to adverts!!!! Apparantly he survived. Typical that this country puts on such a show! . . . touched base with DS and somehow got on to the subject of those damned nuisance spam type messenger pop ups I get every time I go on line (which isn't much these days). He pointed me in the right direction. . PCD and eventually found a site with some nice concise guidance on how to stop them. Can't think of any such service I use or see any reason why I shouldn't turn it off. (How to stop Messenger SPAM: Disable Windows Messenger Service) Free at last from those damned 'AnitaGirl seeks UK guy' pop ups. Cool. :o) . . .TVd . . . walked. Another lunatic on a moped racing down the cycle path across the field. Pulled out my camera as I often do, and as I took aim at him realised he was racing towards and past me, with one hand covering his face!!? Guess I must have tried to take a picture of him before and he was ready for it! Idiot. . . PS popped round for chats till early. (4/10)as
21 - Woken by insistant Sally around 7:30am . . . walked and found a penny. Sally got spooked by something hanging on a fallen tree limb and ran over all barking and hackles up!? Turned out to be a set of padded, quality, workmans overalls?? Removed the snails that had made it their home in the overnight rain, and ended up carrying it home. Really nice quilted overalls - unfortunately with an embroidered 'Carpet Express Ltd.' motif, and an old pay slip in one pocket with the name David Allan Hollis on it. Guess I'll have to pursue that and attempt to return them then. . . Put the overralls in the wash, left Sally at home and drove to the 'Lidl' store in search of this Monday's special offers which had caught my eye. Doing all the building work of late and having to have everything unplugged and moved about, it has become noticeable and a nuisance, that I don't have a simple straightforward little battery powered radio. I do now. Picked up a 'Tronic - PLL-FM/MW/LW/SW, LCD display of frequency-calendar-date-time-world time, two alarm settings, sleep, snooze, 40 memory presets' etc, etc, etc, in black for only £14.99!! Also picked up a '3 in 1 wood, metal and voltage detector' for finding concealed in the wall, gas pipes and wiring etc. for £4.99 - been meaning to get one of those ever since I drilled through the shower cable that time! Impulse bought a couple of new plastic trays for eating my food on my lap in front of the TV - and a couple of tubes of UHU super glue that were going for 79p. May be able to make those boots I got hold of last week, last a little longer with a touch of glue on a split seam. So - total spent, £23.76. Not bad. . . temporarily fitted a few of my rechargeable batteries (from my old digital camera) and played with the new radio. Actually VERY impressed with it. :o) SO impressed, I tried to think of someone who may want one, so I could go and buy another, but I don't know many people these days . . .put the overalls out to dry and glued up the boot seam . . .latest phone/cable bill in the mail!! Held my breath as I opened it, but was happily suprised at the £49 total, up to the 7th of July. . . . balanced my accounts etc. . .walked with Sally up Kingswood to deposit my latest £50 premium bond win. Shopped a little. Had a desire to eat more bacon, lettuce and tomatoe sandwhiches like BB'd made me (despite not being keen on tomatoes all these years), so for the first time in my life as far as I can remember, I went into the grocers and bought three tomatoes! . . . just starting to make sandwhiches when the phone rang. I almost never answer the phone these days, but it took me by surprise and I picked up - turned out to be Uncle TJ asking about financial investments (premium bonds)!!?? . . . ate big bacon, lettuce, tomatoe, cheese and mayo sandwhiches. :o) . . . touched base with BB . . . slept for a few hours as heavy rain storms passed by, until woken by the alarm on my new radio. VERY nice radio. . . walked and checked around near where I'd found the overalls but no trace of anything else there. . . PCd briefly and looked up the phone number of Carpet Express Ltd. No trace of a number for the Hollis character. Guess I'll give them a call tomorrow. PCd this until late . . .grabbed a late bite to eat, TVd and then PCd looking at property until the early hours. (5/10)
22 - Woken late by Sally around 9am . . . called the Carpet Express number and was told that D.A.Hollis works in the warehouse and wont be in till around 1am - they said they'd get him to call me . . .walked and found 7p . . . wrapped up one of the overgrown date palms that I've banished to the garden, which Sis1 said she'd have. Wrapped it up in clingfilm and made it possible to squeeze it into the car. Left Sally at home and drove to Sis1's (stopped for petrol 13.53ltr-£10) with the palm and the pine cupboard and brass effect fireplace surround she'd lent me. Put the palm in her conservatory and left the rest on her back porch . . .cooked up more 'BLT+' sandwhiches for lunch . . .did dishwashing chores . . . dabbled in the conservatory with the pushbike that has no chain, cleaning and adjusting this and that, pumping up the tires and making sure it was worth thinking of getting a chain for. . BB called briefly in the middle of oily hands and a bad mood caused by a reverse thread that I didn't realise was one. I was less than chatty! . . . called Carpet Express AGAIN after 5pm and once again they said they'd get the Hollis guy to call me straight back - he didn't!!!? Annoying/ignorant - I think I'm gonna keep that overall - wonder if the emboidered motif can be picked out? . . .TVd . . . walked wearing the superglued work boots as a test. Seem ok and really rather comfy. . walked round to the little local shop for some butter. Prodded the butter in the fridge in the store only to find it was all warm and soft! Uh oh - the guys fridge seems to be on the blink - and all full of food and milk and stuff!! Despite his panic, he still went out of his way to cut off some roast beef from a joint retrieved from the freezer, and gave Sally her treat. Some people are just nice. Felt obliged to buy some of the soft butter (still 'slightly' cool in the middle of the pile) and unusually fancied a bottle of beer. . TVd/guitared a little/listened to an interesting Radio4 program (All In The Mind) I bumped into about mental health!. . . BB called and accepted my apology for being all grouchy and short tempered earlier . . . ended up feeling unusually content with my lot. I really am in what surely must be 'the' most unique of positions, where I am able to continue to 'exist' in 'relative' comfort and fully indulge my reclusive schizoid/avoidant behaviours. Right now, all I lack is the ability to retain this feeling of contentment! :o\ (5/10)as
23 - Woken by Sally around 7am . . . walked and found a penny. Walked to the nearby bike shop intending to see if I could take the bike in for a new chain, but it was closed - hung around in the field wasting time until after 9am and then walked back to the shop only to find it still closed. Asked in a shop next door and told it doesn't open on a Wednesday! Typical! Walked home via a nearby dentist that I'd thought may be worth changing to because it was more local. All the dentist names on the plates outside looked foreign and apparantly they all went to dentist schools in Sweden!??? Think I'll give that a miss . . . put a couple of loads of white towels through the washing machine after having soaked them in bleach in the bath . . . PCd this. Ended up listening to last nights radio program again, on line - and then a couple of past programs for an hour or so, and then - and then - surfed for ages looking at all sorts of nonsense. Downloaded updates for this and that, stopped for a bite to eat, touched base with BB and then surfed some more looking at everything to do with the area she is currently working in. Ended up surfing property by zip code for everyone I know in the US. Wow is property cheap in those more rural places! I could swap my house for 42 acres of woodland in Mississipi, or a three storey apartment block somewhere else!!!? Inevitably ended up surfing French property as well. What a waste of a day! . . .walked in the rain and found 2p . . .TVd till bed just after 11pm.(4/10)
24 - Woken by Sally around 7am again! . . .walked hung around in the field until around 9am and walked to the cycle store to ask about having a new chain fitted. The guy said it would be £18.50 and hed do it while I waited. Actually rather expensive I thought, considering you can buy a cheap whole new bike with all round suspension for £80!! Figured Id take the gamble so walked Sally home and then walked back round the shop wheeling the bike. The shop was shut!!!? Huh? Waited until the guy returned and within five minutes was paying up and leaving. Gingerly mounted the bike round the corner and rode down the cycle path across the field and home. Seemed ok, click stop gear changes and all. . . recovered with a coffee, checked the weather forecast was good, and decided to go and give the bike a proper test down the Bristol to Bath cycle track. Left Sally at home and set off, intending to just cycle as far as the tunnel at Staple Hill for a photo or two before returning home. Funny how keeping the website journal can now actually affect what I do I probably wouldnt have gone for that ride if not for wanting to do some photos for the journal!? Is that good or bad? . Tried to get clever taking action shots of myself with the camera on the tripod left in the middle of the cycle path, but too risky and too much like hard work. Must have looked a right weirdo kneeling down in the middle of the cycle path trying to see through the viewfinder a concerned woman cycling by, enquired if I was all right!! More used to walking that route, by cycle the tunnel seemed to be very much nearer than I remembered, so I decided to go on a bit further. . .very pleasant whirring along in the sun with lots of gears and no traffic to worry about, so I decided to go on a bit further. Stopped for a drink and another photo opportunity at the elaborately sculptured water fountain. Suddenly occured to me that I'd not brought any tools or puncture repair outfit, and if I had any trouble - I'd be in trouble! Figured I'd walked a lot of this route many times (when I did those long fifteen mile walks when I first left work and started taking prozac) and knew I could walk back from a point some distance out past Warmley if needs be, so I decided to go on a bit further. Uh oh - something wasn't quite right with the gear change mechanism and the chain kept slipping under load!! Didn't seem 'too' bad a problem, so I decided to go on a bit further. Reached the familiar point of a walkable return (although if that turned out to be necessary, it would take at least three hours!) and stopped on the bridge over the River Avon to admire the view and watch a narrowboat chugging along. Weird how since the last time Id been there, a big jetty/mooring point had been constructed in the river together with a new wide footpath up to the cycle track! Must have cost a fortune and for who/what purpose?!! Had a cigarette and some sips of water from my bottle and soon felt all recovered and satisfied with the achievement of getting that far - so I decided to go on a bit further. To cut a long story short, I kept on deciding to go on a little further, and ended up succeeding in cycling all the way to Bath! . . Seething masses of people everywhere!!! Yuk!!! Found a penny hang on? No it isnt turned out to be 5 euro cents. Cosmopolitan Bath! . .found my way to Bath Abbey and collapsed on a seat in the adjacent square. A sick woman was laying on one of the benches surrounded by attentive Samaritans an ambulance and paramedics soon rolled up. In my exhausted, shaky legged state, I was sorely tempted to go and lay down next to her in the hope of getting driven home in the ambulance!! . . recovered with a couple of cigarettes and watched the world (much of it American) go by. Accosted the poor man next to me and persuaded him to take a photo of me and the bike in front of the abbey, as proof Id made it. . .was entertained by watching the old loony guy intimidating Japanese tourists with his shouted ranting (or was it singing?!!), and by some brave busker guy inaudibly playing guitar and singing! . . . happily left the seething crowds of Bath at 12:15pm and headed straight back the way Id come. The gear change problem seemed to get a little worse as I went, but it hung in there enough to keep up a reasonable pace. Im not sure, but it certainly felt like it was more up hill on the way back. Stopped for a couple of cigarette (collapse!) breaks on the way. Felt more relaxed once I reached the I can walk from here point. Really started to feel exhausted and aching but carried on, and was soon back through the refreshing cool of the tunnel at Fishponds. Not long after that, all of a sudden something fairly large and heavy whistled by my nose and thudded into the bank alongside me!!!!? Turned out to be some missile or other (maybe an apple?) thrown by some yobs, way up in the woods!!! Jeeze - if that had hit me (or anyone else) that really would have caused some injury and definitely a crash!! Bastards. They ran off as I stopped I was too shakey and exhausted (and old) to give chase. Arrived back home before 2pm. Pretty good time I thought, considering all the collapse breaks and the fact that Ive not been on a cycle for years. My shakeyness was by now quite extreme, aggravated by not having eaten yet all day. Took two hands to drink my cup of coffee reminded me of how I used to get in stressful situations at work. I once went for a job interview where I was offered a glass of water during the interview I needed it bad but was SO embarassed when I had to hold the glass with both hands and drink it rather nearer the surface of the table than was normal!! Arrrrrggggh! . .drank coffee and ate chocolate biscuits until Id settled down. Parts of my rear feel bruised from sitting on that hard saddle, with 40psi in the tyres!! Don't think I'll be repeating that excercise!!!!. . . I've agonised for days over whether or not I should ignore it, but finally decided I'd better observe it in some way before collapsing into sleep, so dashed round the local newsagent and bought a birthday card for Mum, wrote it on the spot, and dropped it in the postbox. . . exhausted and aching - slept for a few hours . . . walked and found 10p and another broken lighter with parts enough to bring a broken refillable back into service . . . BB called . . . TVd till late . . .PCd till early as the forecast heavy rain, poured. Dunno how it's possible for time to speed by like that, but by the time I looked at the clock again it was light out and only a couple of hours till Sally's walk time, so didn't seem like much point in going to bed!! Ooops! . . . TVd till later.(5/10)s
25 - Grabbed a bowl of muesli breakfast and then walked in the rain round 8am . . .collapsed into sleep from around 9:30am until 2pm! . ..the weather had cleared into sunny spells between showers, so took Sally and a large tupperware over the field and went blackberry picking along the builders yard fence at the edge of the field! Ripe earlier than normal? Got all scratched from brambles and stung by nettles but succeeded in getting a respectable haul - around a pound and a half. All I need to do now is decide just exactly what I'm gonna do with them . . just washing the berries when Mum called to touch base and say thank you for the birthday card I'd sent. Called her back and chatted for a while catching up on 'news' - but there really wasn't any. First words for around three months! . . . tried cooking up some 'croquets' for tea. BB had left me the recipe and instructions for the salmon croquets she'd done when she was here, but I didn't have any salmon in the upboard (expensive!) so tried doing the same using pilchards in tomatoe sauce!!! Sat down and ate a platefull. Hmmm - wont be doing that again! :o( . . . touched base with BB . . . walked and found 40p and another broken lighter with parts enough to bring a broken disposable back into service. . . PCd this for ages . . .spent a rediculous amount of time trying to pick out the emroidered 'Carpet Express' motif on the overalls I'd found the other day. Very difficult - gonna have to return to that again! . . . to bed around 2am! Felt a lot cooler - put the duvet back over the bed. (4/10)a
26 - Woken more than once by Sally but managed to snooze on until after 9am . . .walked and found 2p. As I walked around the field I could hear an alarm going off somewhere for ages. Back out on the main street it turned out to be the alarm on an armoured security van that was parked up!! Some passer bye made eye contact with the driver and from his body language there was no problem. Just then a siren in the distance announced a fast approaching police car. It came tearing up the road and screeched to a smokey halt in front of the van (very nearly crashed into a wall!) like something out of Starsky and Hutch! They meant business nice to see. :o) Their body language soon indicated it was a false alarm . . . left Sally at home and drove here and there to shop. Managed to buy another radio (slightly different and not quite as nice design) which I think Mum will benefit from. Sat for ages flicking through the latest Argos catalogue, drooling over all the stuff I can't afford . . . messed around doing dishwashing chores and such for ages! Finally got round to looking at and cleaning up the electric blender LB had given me. Turns out Im missing loads of the attachments, without which it isnt much use! Tried calling LB to ask her to look out for them, but she wasn't in . . . BW called to touch base . . .Finally summoned up the courage to have a go at doing something with the some of blackberries. Dunno why trying such things is such a big nightmare to me. Something to do with being a guy (and a spoilt man child where food just magically appeared on the table always after Id complained at how long it was taking) and never really having learned how to cook anything. That and I really cant bring myself to throw food away so no matter how bad it turns out, thats what Ill be eating until its gone! Spent a ridiculous amount of time looking through the few old cookery books I have, just to get an idea of how that magical cooking is done before I started! Cooked up a couple of cups full on the stove with some water and plenty of sugar and then mixed up the 'cobbler' ingredients as per BBs instructions and eventually put it all in the oven. Unfortunately it didnt work out too well. I know what I did wrong FAR too much water and sugar when I cooked the berries. FAR too much! Ended up with pretty much a dish of oh SO SWEET stewed blackberries, with a bit of the spongy cobbler floating on top!! Gonna have to have another go at that and modify what I do. I can see Im gonna be sick of eating blackberries by the time Im through I may be already! :o\ . . . touched base with BB several times to ask cooking/recipe advice, etc. . . . walked in the rain. . . returned IHBs ansaphone call and wished him a good time on his family holiday to all points east and finally Russia!!! . . . ate more blackberry cobbler . . . spent another hour or so trying to pick out more of the embroidered motif on the overalls. Laborious chore. . . TVd/guitarred/listened to CDs till early. (5/10)s
27 - Woken by Sally before 8am! . . .walked the waterlogged field in the sun. Just about to leave the field and it became apparant that the little dog Sally was making friends with, was there on his own!!? He wandered straight out across the road!! Followed him and grabbed hold and read the address on his collar - a man getting into his car nearby confirmed the address was just up the street and that the dog often runs off!!? Hooked his collar to the short strap I carry and escorted him back home. The owner saw me entering their yard and came out saying he'd been looking for him. Hmmm. Irresponsible. . . ate the rest of the cobbler for a late breakfast. Actually not bad once the excess of liquid was eaten. Sally cleaned up. . . messed around on the PC for a bit tidying up, housekeeping and such. Ended up PCing for hours and got round to sorting out and 'censoring' my 'missing' journal entries and getting them back on line. . .grabbed a bite to eat mid afternoon and then slept until around 6:30pm. The minute I woke Sally made it clear she needed to 'use' the garden - and boy did she! Could she have had an upset stomach because of my cobbler cooking?!! Hmmm!! . . . BB called to touch base . . . walked . . .dashed up LBs and picked up the rest of the mixer attachments she'd found. Sadly it turns out that the mixer bowl bit doesn't seem to be working, so I can see it all being thrown away yet. . . threw together another cobbler with slightly modified preparation (more batter, less water, less sugar). PS popped round for chats till early. Poor chap had to endure a dish of blackberry cobbler and lots of talk about cooking!! The latest cobbler cooking attempt was much more successfull although still not as good as what BB made - but I'm on the right track. Think it needs more butter next time - need to find out what a US 'stick' of butter weighs! Ate a couple more bowls cause it wasn't half bad. :o) Seem to be mostly living on cobbler at the moment!! Can't be healthy. . .TVd/PCd till earlier.(5/10)as
28 - Woken by this and that and noisy roadworks but managed to snooze on until around 10am!! . . . walked late and found 4p . . . ate the last of yesterdays cobbler, microwaved for a late breakfast. Not bad at all. . . felt all headachey and lack lustre and ended up PCing property pages for hours but I don't know why! . . . grabbed a mass of lettuce and marmite sandwhiches to eat mid afternoon . . .BB called . . . fell asleep for a few hours until woken by the alarm at 7pm . . .BB called . . . walked and found £1. Saw 'another' police car driving down the street - second or third time recently? Could it be they are actually starting to patrol the area? Do hope so. . .TVd/PCd till the early hours. Bob Hope died this day. (4/10)as
29 - Woken after only a couple of hours by Sally needing to use the garden. Uh oh - I guess she needed the garden because the conservatory floor was full!! I thought she was strangely wanting my attention when I went to bed - should have paid more notice to her! Yuk!! Cleared up and then hosed down the garden! Also ended up removing a dead frog from the pond!!! . . . TVd . . .walked and found 4p. Stopped off in the local newsagents and managed to bag a couple of empty boxes that I need for mailing stuff . . . left Sally at home and drove to draw some money out of the building society and to shop a little . . . spent hours making up and labeling the boxes to post. Drove round the local post office in the heavy rain and mailed the parcels (both to the US). Couldn't believe the prices!!!!!!! One 'light' one by air mail for £28:30 and the other rather heavier was SO expensive it just HAD to go by surface mail, and even then was £34.35!!!!!!!!!! Jeeze!!!!!!!!!! And the contents were only worth around £20 at most! Never again!! I can't believe I've just thrown away that much money! :o( . . .missed an ansaphone message from AA . . . ate and fell asleep for a few hours until woken by the ansaphone just before the alarm . . . BB called to touch base . . . walked in the rain and found 4p. . .TVd till early. Need to get back to a 'normal' sleep pattern and start thinking about getting back to the house rebuilding project/nightmare, although I really, really don't want to have to bother! (4/10)
30 - Woken more than once by Sally as I tried to snooze on. Up around 8am . . . walked and found 2p . . . packaged up the radio and posted it to Mum . . .felt all exhausted all day and couldn't motivate myself to get on and do much! Finished picking out the last of the motif on the overalls I'd found . . . messed around taking apart the broken blender/mixer LB had given me but couldn't figure out what was wrong. I'm not the first person to have been inside that machine - I suspect a part is broken and or missing. . . AA called from 'a couple of weeks in Australia' to touch base!!!! . . . TVd/PCd. . . walked and found 2p and parts to fix another 'clipper' refillable lighter. . .BB called to touch base . . . touched base with LB and confirmed she had no objection to me throwing the blender/mixer away . . . did chores and TVd till bed around 1am. (4/10)
31 - Woken by the ansaphone taking a call from LB around 7:45am! Tried to sleep on but then another call!? By the time I'd got up LB had gone to work, but the calls informed me she'd put a 'saved from her cats' frog in her washing up bowl in her kitchen, with a tea towel over the top because it was a bit lively! Dashed straight up with a tupperware and relocated the two little frogs to my pond to take their chances . . .walked. The school caretaker seemed to want to chat as I passed by - about all the portacabin classroom demolition work that was going on. I joked they should leave it and just let the little local hooligans and yobbos do the job and went on about how bad things had become. He told me some time ago while doing his evening caretaker round he'd been beaten up by some of the kids and had ended up with broken ribs and such!!! Guess that explains why he seems to keep a low profile when kids are smashing the school up! I despair! . . . had a guestbook entry on the website asking about the cobbler recipe - BB mailed me to say she'd obliged. I HAD fully intended to include the recipe/instructions on the site at some point, so other people could enjoy it - but only after Id practiced lots and actually managed to make a really good one (like BBs). Cooked up another blackberry cobbler (before the blackberries go 'off') and tried to tweak my preparation and recipe again . . . LB called to see if I'd rescued the frogs. Apparantly when her cat had dropped one in her living room, it had sat there with it's hands covering it's eyes again! 'So cute' she said - not so cute when you consider it was facing imminent cat death!!! An interesting behavioural adaptation though - can't see what benefit that would afford in evolutionary terms? . . . balanced my accounts . . . ate some cobbler . . . PCd . . .TVd . . . cooked up a BLT sandwhich for lunch and ended up taking photos of it for the site!! lol . . . slept for a few hours . . . PCd . . . BB called . . .walked . . . I'd intended to do it at some point - so prompted by an entry in my guestbook, I went through my journal entries and totaled up all the money I've been finding in the street. Weird - but I'm not complaining! Wonder if that's taxable?!! :o) . . .popped up LBs briefly to exchange a latest Argos catalogue for a look at her latest Makro leaflet. . .TVd/PCd till early. A brief e-mail exchange with CC in the early hours - she's been put on lofepramine!!! Oh dear! :o( . . . Steve Hislop (motorcycle racer) died (in a helicopter crash!) this day. (5/10)