December 05, 2006

Beware Of Cheap Imitations.

I can be a bit of a sucker for things that 'appear' to be free but as a friend of mine said recently "If things appear to be too good to be true then they probably are. The worst example of this that I've come across recently was the purchase of a very cheap sandisk memory card from e-bay.

It appeared to be fine at first everything seemed to work and there was no reason to question whether it was genuine or not, that is until we put it into a different camera! the holes at the bottom of the card are slightly larger than the holes in a genuine card, and not as accurately positioned consequently when we swapped it from one Canon to the other it bent the pins in the card slot and broke the camera. It went from bad to worse when, oblivious to the reason the camera had stopped working, we put the memory card back into another Canon and it did the same thing to that as well! Fortunately Matt's 350D appears to be ok for the moment, despite losing a pin that fell out after using the fake card however my 300D didn't come out of it so well and is now in for repair with a bill of £140 to face - Happy Christmas!

There's a great article here all about the fake cards and how to spot them so if you use sandisk CF cards be very very careful where you buy them from, it may cost a little more but it's worth making sure you've got the genuine article.

Extra Information

Although the sandisk sale has now ended the person we bought the card from is a regular seller on ebay so think twice about buying from wand3r3r19

November 27, 2006

November 21, 2006

Past It's Best?

Jim the Halloween Pumpkin is starting to look a little worse for wear now. I know I should have thrown him out ages ago but I've got quite attached to him, and besides if someone had eaten your insides, filled your head with candles then used you as a prop for photographing sparklers you probably wouldn't look so hot either. :)

Mmmmm? I wonder how long it will take for him to turn into a complete pile of mush? Maybe I should just leave him where he is for a little bit longer and see :)

November 20, 2006


Imortalised forever in the style of Andy Warhol and featuring on Cat-A-Log, is there no end to this cats talent? could he become the most famous cat on flickr?

November 18, 2006


Despite a really, really wet, miserable Friday the weekend turned out to be really nice again. the uncharacteristically warm weather for this time of year seems to be showing no sign of stopping. Although understandably it's pretty cold in the evenings (possibly something to do with the sun going down?) the days are still mostly bright and filled with that really annoying low autumn sun that gets in the way of both driving and photography! I can't get my head round the fact that my sunglasses are still out in November!

I resisted the urge to stay in, to watch the England V South Africa Rugby match on Saturday and gave in to a drive/walk locally to play with cameras and find a nice country pub. Despite all good intentions and a bit of an aimless drive we ended up back at The Chequers in Well, which is rapidly becoming a bit of a fave at weekends. It's a really nice, friendly. relaxed pub with great food, both bar snacks and a full blown restaurant if you want it and we seem to be ending up there a lot. We drifted upon it by accident a few weeks back and despite a very surreal conversation with a local man about the virtues of rolling your own cigarettes and just how many different types of rolling 'backy there is we've been back a few times now.

When it came time to leave I was surprised to find a Bee had settled on the sunroof of our car, convinced (although since corrected) that Bees hibernate in winter. Apparently they just cluster together to keep warm, taking turns to be on the cold outside, either way I'm sure this one shouldn't have still been buzzing round a pub garden! I'm not sure this was a very well Bee, it seemed very docile. So much so that I could get up quite close for a pic (Dear Santa, if I'm good can I have a macro lens please?). I like the effect of the reflection in the roof and shall continue my quest for the perfect bee pic next summer.

November 17, 2006


flickr says I'm interesting, so I must be :P

November 12, 2006

Remembrance Day

Today was Remembrance Day and across the country wreaths were laid and ceremonies held to remember the people that lost their lives in wars throughout history. With the main focus on World War 1 and World War 11.

Odiham held a traditional ceremony with wreaths laid by RAF Odiham, The Royal British Legion, The Fire Brigade, The Parish Council, the Odiham Society, Guides and Scouts followed by a March along the High Street

Remembrance Day is held on November 11th to recognise the end of World War 1 on that day in 1918. The tradition of observing two minutes silence at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month marked the time that the armistice came into effect in Britain and the two minutes represent the two World Wars, prior to 1945 only one minutes silence was observed.

The poppy's significance to Remembrance Day is a result of Canadian military physician John McCrae's poem In Flanders Fields. The poppy emblem was chosen because of the poppies that bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their red colour an appropriate symbol for the bloodshed of trench warfare. Last year over 5000 veterans, servicemen and women and their families were helped by the support of the poppy appeal every month but there are still many more out there in need.

There was a record turnout for the ceremony in Odiham today, maybe not that surprising given the current terrorism threat and the present war situation and in conjunction with the Royal British Legion this was the second year that Odiham marked the start of the two minutes silence with the firing of maroons and a short ceremony at the War Memorial.

November 11, 2006


News Flash! Elvis is alive and well and performing, for one night only, in Ewshot in Surrey.

November 10, 2006


Who's been a naughty girl then? One of Hampshire's finest took offence to the fact that wearing my seatbelt seemed to have slipped my mind on the way back from seeing Borat at the cinema - oops!

I wasn't too concerned, apart from the possibility of a fine for not wearing my belt I knew I hadn't done anything else wrong. He asked me to blow into the breathaliser and that was all clear, checked my driving licence on the police database, no problems there, but when it came to the insurance the car came back as uninsured - and it's definitely insured! Although he was concerned that he couldn't find a record of the insurance he let me go with nothing but a telling off and an order to produce my documents within seven days. The only problem I've got now is catching our local Police Station actually open. We only have one policeman in the village so tracking him down is not an easy task, still I've got a week, I should be able to find him by then.


Found him, showed him my documents and I'm now officially off the hook! :)

November 09, 2006


Today has been a bored day! One of those listless, don't know what I want to do, can't be bothered with the things I know I should do, generally fed up sort of days!

In an attempt to snap out of my gloomy mood I decided to go for a wander with my camera. Even that was a little half hearted, I couldn't be bothered to drive anywhere so I ended up roaming the same old places in Odiham, and believe me when I say it's not a big place so there's only so much to see.

I decided to see if I could capture any of the Autumn colours that there are around at the moment, especially as it seemed like we'd almost skipped Autumn this year. The weather seemed to suddenly go from summer to winter, t-shirts and sunshine one moment and then dark evenings and winter coats the next.

As is so often the case, I soon got sidetracked from my original quest and spotted a flock of birds on the church roof. I'm not sure what sort of birds they are but they're always there. They sit there for ages then fly off and circle around landing occasionally in a tree or a field then returning to their perch on the roof.

The falling leaves and Autumn colours that I expected to see seemed very sparse, I was surprised at just how green everything still is but I managed to capture a few of the changing colours none the less and the walk and a dose of fresh air helped clear my head and lift my mood ready for a few hours of late afternoon/early evening work.

Remember Remember...

The fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot. I love fireworks and always make the effort to try to get to a see a display if at all possible. I was even more determined this year as I have a new toy to play with - a Canon 300D, although I've obviously still got a lot to learn about using it, I still didn't get any really good pictures of the fireworks. Despite the fact that I spent nearly all of the half hour display looking through the viewfinder of the camera fireing of a barrage of 369 shots and with my back bent at a very unnatural angle. Did I pay for that over the next few days in back pain or what! Note to self - get a tripod - soon.

November 01, 2006


This years effort at pumpkin carving!

And in the nature of the sudden realisation by councils across the UK that recycling is a good thing and therefore should now be enforced at every opportunity. To the point where Hart Council has now introduced a well meant but utterly confusing list of what can and therefore must be recycled the rest of the pumpkin was expertly recycled by Matt who turned it into a very tasty Pumpkin and Chicken Stew.

It's been a strange Halloween for me this year I had to put my business into liquidation on Monday, due to reasons (mainly) beyond my control so instead of selling Halloween balloons and general tat to the residents of Odiham from my little gift shop I was doing the graveyard (if you'll pardon the pun) shift at the local Wine Rack.

I was also deprived of my usual partner in crime for Trick or Treating by virtue of the fact that she's moved to Lancashire. And lets face it, without a child to drag along with you knocking on strangers doors dressed as a Vampire and asking for sweeties seems a little desperate!

So instead we had a chilled out Halloween, drank a bit of wine (Red - of course), listened to all the clich├ęd Halloween songs that Radio Paradise could churn out and ate delicious pumpkin stew.

Happy Halloween


October 04, 2006

Time On My Hands

At the risk of starting to sound like a total flickr bore (note to self – blog about something else soon!) I thought I’d have a go at actually getting everything on the list for the October Flickr Scavenger Hunt.

I like October, not least of all because Halloween falls at the end of it which is always a bit of fun, and in the heady world of retail it’s always been one of my favourite seasonal days.

This years going to be very different though, for reasons that I won’t go into (yet) my little shop on the High Street is currently closed, and unfortunately it looks like it’s going to have to stay that way. All I’m going to say are three words – Inland, Revenue and Accountant! So, over the past week or so I’ve found myself with a little more time on my hands than normal – and I am going out of my mind with boredom! I’ve got a second job, which helps to keep me sane, pay the bills and keep the wine flowing but I’m still going crazy, so time to spend a little time enjoying my hobbies methinks!

So in honour of Halloween the October list has a horror movie style, with the additional challenge of trying to submit all entries in black and white/high contrast as an homage to all the corny horror movies that have been made (manipulation permitted)

So without further ado, the list please…

1. Scream
2. A Murder Of Crows
3. Haunted House
4. Hell Hound
5. Spirits
6. Now, She Should/Could Be The Bride Of Frankenstein
7. Vamp(ire?)
8. Black Cat
9. Cemetery, At Night
10. A Grotesque
11. Scarab
12. Organ
13. Unlucky 13
14. Rosemary's Baby
15. Scarecrow
16. Full Moon
17. Skull
18. Fog Or Mist
19. Bat(s)
20. Evil Eye

My mission is to…

(a) Get a photograph of all 20 things
(b) Not to use too many photo’s that I’ve already posted to flickr (although there’s bound to be at least a couple of oldies in there)
(c) Go for quality not speed and come up with twenty interesting shots (well I can but try)

My weapons of choice for the month will be a slightly dated, but interesting Olympus C-2020Z and if I’m lucky a Canon 300D. I’m off to start hunting.

Wish me luck :)

October 01, 2006

September 01, 2006

August 03, 2006

Fame at Last?

As anyone who reads my blog has probably guessed by now I’m a bit of a flickr addict and I defy anyone who likes to take photographs or get a bit creative with images not to get hooked on it. Apart from being a fun way to show off your skills (?) with a camera it’s a great community and a brilliant way to make some new, like minded, friends and once you start to get feedback and comments from other people about your photographs you can’t help but want to both take and post more and more.

Occasionally, if you’re lucky other people want to use your photographs, an opportunity for your 15 minutes of fame. For instance my housemate Alison has now been approached twice and asked for permission to use her pics, once for a Christian groups e-card and another for a video for a Church Sermon about farming. (Quite ironic really as she's hardly a regular churchgoer!)

I was really chuffed when a flickr user approached me recently from Hawaii who is working on a guide book about the surviving ships-of-the-line and battleships and want to use some pictures that I took of HMS Warrior and HMS Victory in his book. Of course I said yes and hopefully I’ll get a copy of the guide so I can show off (I can feel my head swelling now!)

With the advent of the digital age and Photoshop there’s a chance for people to get even more creative with images. I was really impressed with a couple of manipulations by flickr fans to a photograph that I took one bored afternoon of some Halloween toys we had in our shop. They were plastic eyeballs, suspended in a ball filled with liquid that lit up when you moved them. There are three different coloured LED lights in it so the colours change every time it moves, I took loads of pics and posted the one that I liked most on flickr they were then manipulated by two different flickr users Oyvind Solstad and flickrwegian/Sweet Lisa Jay so one simple photo turned into two more fantastic images.

There’s also the chance to play with some toys designed for flickr by John Watson aka fd. They’re really simple to use and give those of us who aren’t so skilled at Photoshop a chance to try out any artistic flair we may have, or just to have a bit of fun with photos. So what are you waiting for – go get your camera and have some fun.

August 01, 2006

July 13, 2006

Well Fry Ma Hide!

I stumbled across a great website if you fancy wasting a bit of office time. the Dialectizer turns text and websites into different dialects, including Redneck, Jive and Elmer Fudd. Here's how The Elephants Child translates into Redneck, hours of fun :)

Th' Art of Ahideg Quesshuns

ah keep six honess servin'-men
(They tought me all ah knowed);
Their names is Whut in tarnation an' Whuffo' an' When
An' How an' When an' Who.
ah send them on over lan' an' sea,
ah send them easy an' west;
But af'er they haf wawked fo' me,
ah give them all a rest.

ah let them ress fum nine till five,
Fo' ah's busy then,
As fine as bustfast, lunch an' tea,
Fo' they is hungry men, as enny fool kin plainly see.
But diffrunt folk haf diffrunt views;
ah knows a varmint small-
She keeps ten million servin'-men,
Who git no ress at all! Fry mah hide!

She sends 'em abroad on her own affairs,
Fum th' second she opens her eyes-
One million Hows, two million Whars,
An' seven million Whuffo's!

Fum Th' Elephants Chile by Rudyard Kiplin'.

July 10, 2006

Essential Office Equipment?

I want one of these :)

July 06, 2006

The Continuing Saga Of THE Light!

I fear I may be getting a little obsessed with 'The Light'. It's been flashing on then off, then on, then off etc etc outside my bedroom window for over two weeks now and sleep deprivation is making me a tad grumpy!

Apparently they need a part to arrive before the council can put me out of my misery! (Just how many parts can there be in a light?). We tried to break it a few nights ago but no one was quite tall enough to reach it, but if I get my hands on a bigger ladder....

However, I had to smile about it today when one of our customers dropped these into the shop for me! Gotta be worth a try :)

July 03, 2006

The Flickr Monthly Scavenger Hunt - July

I've been very lax with my attempts to get all the items in the flickr monthly scavenger hunt lately so I thought I'd better pull my socks up a bit and go for it in July. After all, the sun is shining and summer has arrived with a vengance so there's no excuse not to get out and about and play with a camera. I'm aiming for a full house, for the first time, this month - so watch this space.

Here's this months challenge, if you want to see all the entries just go to the flickr monthly scavenger hunt group.

Here goes...

1. 37
2. Blue Sky Thinking
3. Childrens book from the library
4. Deep
5. Evil
6. Flyer
7. Grave
8. Hot pink
9. Jumping
10. Loud
11. Most exotic animal for your location
12. Oh, what a tangled web we weave...
13. Pest
14. Road sign with wildlife on it
15. Silhouette
16. Stare
17. That should have been thrown out looooong ago
18. Think
19. Walking on air
20. Yawn

July 01, 2006

June 29, 2006

Dreaming Of Sleep!

I’ve always been an incredibly light sleeper, and I’ve always found it hard to get to sleep in the first place, I don’t think I count as an insomniac because around about 3.30 on most afternoons I could probably sleep standing up given the chance, but it seems that the slightest little noise can disturb me at night. So when I moved from a busy street in South London to a sleepy little village, in Hampshire I thought my problems would be over.

So imagine how I felt when I realised that I’d just moved into a house next door to the local wannabee Rock Star. I inhabit the loft of our little communal home; I thought it was quite cool when we first moved in, my own living room (or should that be lounge?) and a separate bedroom, almost the loft apartment I’d always aspired to when I lived in London – well with a bit of imagination it could be! The wall between my bedroom and his room is paper thin, so much so that we can hear each other cough! (Which makes life a little uncomfortable if either of us have a – shall we say – more intimate moment!) So I was captain happy when I first heard his guitar, drum machine, organ, bass guitar and, wait for it, Violin! However after the first few months of sleepless nights, a bit of banging on the wall, a couple of rants and a letter from the Environmental Health we finally reached a truce and he agreed to stop playing his guitar/stereo/whatever at 11.30pm, and in return I agreed to text him if I stayed at a friends so he could go wild once in a while. And it worked. For a couple of years I managed to sleep most nights. Then he moved out! I crossed my fingers and hoped to get a bookworm with no TV or stereo as a new neighbour, but no – what do I get? A 19 year old hip hop fan, with lots of friends who clearly still live at home because they just love to go round to his place and sit up for most of the night, talking, watching TV, listening to music and generally driving me insane!

We’ve talked, I’ve shouted, I’ve threatened and I’ve pleaded, we’ve come to a similar agreement about texting him when I’m not going to be in but he’s still prone to the odd night of noise, thankfully I also have a sofa bed in my living room, so at a push I can normally grab at least a few hours.

Then just as I thought things couldn’t get any worse, the local Council stepped in and ruined what little hope there was of me ever getting 8 hours of deep, uninterrupted, blissful sleep. They fixed the light. THE light is in an alley at the back of our house, which my bedroom overlooks. THE light is bright enough to give Blackpool a run for it’s money and when it’s on it’s like trying to sleep under a floodlight! It didn’t work for years apparently so some concerned citizen complained about the dangers of walking down an unlit alley in a sleepy little village in the dead of night and they fixed it! Now, I could live with it being on all night, eventually I’d get used to it and get to sleep but it’s not on all night! If only it were that simple! It’s on for about 30 seconds then it goes off, then it comes on, then it goes off, then it comes on… you get the idea don’t you?

So now, just as I’ve managed to block out the sound of The Streets blasting through my bedroom wall and start to drift off to sleep a light comes on outside and casts a very bright silhouette of my bedroom window on the wall. Then it goes dark and I drift off again, then the light comes on and wakes me up, then I drift off again and so on and so on, all f%&*king night! Is it too much to ask to just be able to sleep? I’ve spoken to the Council several times about it now, and a very nice, but obviously ineffective man called Julian from ‘lighting’ keeps telling me that they’ll get someone out there to fix it ASAP! I’ve started to look into just how much the fine would be for damaging council property and if all else fails I find that a liberal helping of red wine makes a pretty good sedative! Anyone got a quiet darkened room I could borrow for about 8 hours please?

June 25, 2006

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes...

I couldn't help but laugh at this conversation between my housemate and her five year old daughter (my goddaughter) over dinner a few nights ago...

Mum - So who did you play with at school today?
Daughter - Archie
Mum - Is Archie your friend?
Daughter - Yes
Mum - Is Archie your boyfriend?
Daughter - Yes, but he doesn't know it yet!

Maybe I should try the same tactic :)

June 19, 2006

Fame At Last?

I found a company that makes T-shirts named after my Blog - infamy at last :)

I can feel a present to me coming on.

June 14, 2006

Where Have All the Cock-Knees Gone?

So it’s the World Cup again! I hate football! IMHO it’s boring. I know there’s a fairly large amount of the world’s population that would disagree, very strongly, with me, but there it is, I’ve said it – I hate football!

I’m not against ball games per say – in fact I’m a huge Rugby fan (my Father was Welsh – it’s sort of compulsory!) but even then I don’t want to watch all the games, just the one’s that matter but in the spirit of live and let live and all that I don’t mind putting up with wall to wall football on the TV schedules for the next four weeks (please tell me it’s only four weeks!). However, I do object when it’s at the cost of something I want to watch every week, 52 weeks of the year. Put it on later, put it on BBC 2, put it on BBC 3 but just give me my Eastenders fix!!

It’s got as far as Wednesday and not even a sniff of Albert Square antics. It may not be the most intellectually stimulating programme around but it’s a ritual that my life is incomplete without. I have a theory that I have, to date, never been proved wrong about – if the phone rings when Eastenders is on it’s always either a double glazing/energy supply/whatever rep, or a man. Women just don’t phone you when ‘Enders is on, unless it’s to discuss an integral part of the plot line, even then it has to be really important to be worthy of interruption.

Eastenders is Valium for the working woman. It’s that half hour between coming home from work and going out again/working again/doing chores etc that you can just leave your brain on the coffee table and unwind without any need to tax your mind – and right now I’m going cold turkey all because of football!

So – BBC, if by any chance you happen to read this, spare a thought for the licence payers out there that don’t give a *@^k who wins the world cup and give us back our soaps – trust me the world will be a happier place for it.

June 06, 2006

The Drink Of The Devil?

The Drink Of The Devil?
Originally uploaded by Cathy G.
Well.. what else could you drink on 06.06.06!

"The legend began more than 100 years ago, when Don Melchor de Concha y Toro (try saying that after a few glasses of it!) founder of the winery, reserved for himself an exclusive batch of the best wines they produced. To keep strangers away from this special private reserve, he spread the rumor that the Devil lived in that place. Hence the name Casillero del Diablo - Cellar Of the Devil.

A very drinkable Cabernet Sauvignon and a few too many glasses of this and you'll have one hell of a hangover the next day :)

Go To Hell?

Hell is having it's busiest day today.

The town of Hell in Michigan is expecting a horde of revellers to visit today, to mark the date which echoes the Bible's 'number of the beast' .

Mayor (and souvenir shop owner!) John Colone will be selling mugs, T-shirts and deeds to one square inch of Hell for $6.66.

He said "Everyone who comes will get a letter of authenticity saying that they've celebrated June 6th, 2006 in Hell".

June 04, 2006

Wise Words #1

Most people are about as happy as they make their mind up to be.

Abraham Lincoln

June 01, 2006

May 29, 2006

Fette's Vette

I have been looking for a copy of this for ages! Fette's Vette - MC Chris

May 27, 2006


I’ve been doing a bit of ‘hands on’ research into hangovers recently so I thought I’d investigate the subject further. Why does alcohol make (some of) us feel so rough the following day? Even the Bible makes reference to the problems of the morning after! "Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink" (Isaiah 5:11)

A Hangover is also called a veisalgia - from the Norwegian word for ‘uneasiness following debauchery’ (kveis) and the Greek word for ‘pain’ (algia) and the term is used to describe the unpleasant side effects of too much alcohol or heavy consumption of drugs. The most common symptoms are dehydration, tiredness, nausea and a headache. Other symptoms of an alcohol-induced hangover are difficulty in concentrating, irritability, sensitivity to light and noise, and trouble sleeping.

Not that it’s news to any of us but alcohol causes more than one problem when it comes to hangovers. Ethanol (alcohol) has a dehydrating effect on the body, which causes the dry mouth, lethargy and headache. However one of the most disturbing factors in my opinion is why I get a headache. Apparently dehydration causes the brain to shrink away from the skull slightly – yuck! This is because the other organs in our bodies are trying to save themselves by drawing water from the brain. This triggers the pain sensors on the outside surface of your brain. A suggestion to help to avoid this is to drink plenty of water in between and directly after drinking alcohol (or maybe to just drink a little less alcohol). Just to add to the appeal alcohol is also a metabolic poison which impacts on your stomach lining and causes the nausea. Then just to round off the damage nicely your liver, assuming it still functions, turns alcohol into acetaldehyde and this metabolite is probably even more toxic to your body than the alcohol itself. So it’s really no surprise that you feel ill the morning after a heavy session is it?

One thing that I did find quite interesting, and a little worrying is that some of the nervous effects of a hangover are exaggerated by products of the alcohol fermentation process, such as methanol and fusel oils, which are also called congeners. However when it comes to distilled alcohol, in particular Vodka (a favourite of mine) this doesn’t happen - which is why I don’t feel so bad after a heavy night on the Vodka as I do after a red wine binge. Which prompts the obvious solution, drink more Vodka!

Other factors which are believed to worsen the effects of a hangover are sugar (Found in sweet cocktails alchopops etc), Nicotine poisoning (There is a tendency to smoke more when you’re drunk) and good old fashioned genetics – some people just don’t get hangovers. However if you’re one of those people, before you get smug about it, remember just because you don’t feel rough the morning after it doesn’t mean you’re doing yourself any less any harm when you drink to excess. Lastly there’s also a certain level of psychosomatics with a hangover – if you expect to get one, you will!

So… Suggested Cures/Prevention.

  • Drinking a sports drink (not an energy drink) such as powerade or Gatorade to rehydrate your body
  • Drinking a large amount of water before going to bed and during the night to rehydrate your body
  • Eating mineral rich foods such as pickles or fish
  • Drinking pickle juice, i.e. the juice that cucumbers eggs etc are pickled in, in the morning (apparently very popular in Poland)
  • Eating something substantial before going to bed to soak up the alcohol (kebabs, pizza etc)
  • Drinking coffee (although not too strong as caffeine itself can cause dehydration)
  • Drinking orange juice, which is rich in vitamin C
  • Eating cabbage leaves or drinking tomato juice
  • Cysteine, which is available as an over the counter supplement (N-acetycysteine (NAC)) assists is processing acetaldehyde and is best taken while already drinking and/or before going to bed. Egg yolk is also rich in cysteine, which may be why many traditional remedies contain eggs.
  • And finally - the most obvious of them all - don't get drunk!

So it would appear that the urge for a kebab after a heavy night is not so much that it’s the only time one tastes nice but a subconscious effort to prevent a hangover. My personal favourite is still the tried and tested remedy of drinking water before sleeping, works for me - if you can face it that is. Or alternatively just don’t get quite so drunk!

May 10, 2006


I've been playing with photoshop and now I can make moving buttons! I have absolutely no idea what use that particular skill will be but I'm sure I'll think of something. Until inspiration strikes I'll just leave you with this big, red, umm moving spot! Or then again - maybe not!

I give up, my spot will not move - so instead I leave you with a big red spot - exciting huh?

May 01, 2006

April 22, 2006

Ladybird Ladybird...

Ladybird Ladybird...
Originally uploaded by Cathy G.
In Medieval England farmers would set torches to the old hop (used in flavouring beer) vines after the harvest in order to clear the fields for the next planting.

This poem was sung as a warning to the ladybirds that were still crawling on the vines in search of aphids. The ladybirds' children (larvae) could get away from the flames, but the pupae, referred to as "Nan" in some versions, were fastened to the plants and thus could not escape.

Pupae are the larvae when they have formed a cocoon and are changing into adults. "Nan" was originally an affectionate form of the name "Ann" (but it is now generally used as a short form of "Nancy").

Ladybird, ladybird fly away home,
Your house is on fire and your children are gone,
All except one,
And her name is Ann,
And she hid under the frying pan.

April 01, 2006

March 26, 2006

Size Is Important!

This piece of modern art can be found around the urinals in the 5-star Sofitel Hotel in Queenstown, New Zealand. Whereas 5-star hotels are normally better known for their opulence, their design or their cuisine this particular Sofitel is gaining notoriety for their men’s room!

The design plays on our fears of being watched in the loo – and for the men who use this particular restroom not only are they being observed, but the girls seem to have no qualms about measuring, photographing or just having a laugh at one of the most ‘sensitive’ parts of the male anatomy (and ego!)

Apparently, apart from being the most popular room in the hotel, it’s also attracted a couple of complaints from Churchgoers and a few hundred people who just want to have a look!

Hotel Manager – Mark Wilkinson, says that the idea behind them was just to ‘put a little levity into a posh hotel’

March 20, 2006

Odiham's War

Someone told me a while ago that it pays to whinge! I can't say I'm going to argue with that, as a nation it's something that most of us Brits are quite good at, and in a world where customer service should be the backbone of any successful business (in my view) if you're not happy about something you should speak up. As someone who is trying to run their own business it seems obvious - whereas we are always looking for new customers what's the point if you can't hang on to them when you find them? So we do everything we can to make our customers feel good about giving us their money and when we do mess up, because lets be honest, everyone does at some time or another, we do everything we can to fix it and make that customer come back to us again, even if sometimes that means going the extra mile or two!

Business is hard at the moment for a million and one reasons, but as a consequence I find that I'm turning into a right miserable old cow! The upshot of that is complaining about things comes so much easier, and has a certain therapeutic effect! I can't fix the things that I need to fix overnight; so making a mountain out of a molehill over things I can do something about makes me feel better.

The latest victim was the location manager of the Foyles War film crew that visited our sleepy little village recently. We were given a few days notice of their intention to spend around half a dozen days/nights over a two week period filming in our village and very close to our home. So close in fact that we had a huge klieg light hanging over our garden wall, bouncers outside our front door, a myriad of cables to navigate our way around every time we wanted to leave our house and numerous, very inconvenient, requests to turn various lights on or off in the house depending on the shot that they were after.

If I was in a happier place right now I may have got a little excited at the thought of a film crew at our front door, and our house (and business) making it onto the small screen but on another of many bad days they seemed like fair game for a complaint.

I wrote a very sternly worded letter to the location manager and enquired about compensation for the business's affected by their disruption (they closed off just about every public parking space in the village in the process of filming so we may as well of not opened our little gift shop on the days they were there for the amount of customers there were!) So he came to visit to say sorry, which I had to admire, and it was worth it for them because for the sake of letting me have a ten-minute rant and presenting me with a free Foyles War DVDand a signed photo of the star of the show my anger was sated. Which just goes to show how easily people can be pleased. I have a DVD of a TV series that I've never shown any interest in before (and I'm sorry to say but beyond the episode that features our house I probably never will again) and a signed photo of someone I had barely heard of before but I'm happy now. I guess complaining isn't so much about what you get from it as what you get out of it. Sometimes all you need to do to make someone happy is to listen to them.

So look out for an episode called 'Bleak Midwinter' due to be shown in the UK in September, featuring the sleepy little village of Odiham and the back of our house! Fame at last?

March 09, 2006

New Icon I Have

Adium meets Star Wars, meet Yoda Duck.

March 06, 2006

The Return Of The Flickr Monthly Scavenger Hunt.

I bombed on the February hunt, I only managed 1 item, which had a lot to do with a general air of apathy for anything creative in February which was bought on by the combination of dark depressing days and nights, a prolonged and alcohol fuelled celebration of my birthday and a deeply ingrained cynicism towards anything romantic!

However with spring just around the corner, the mornings and the evenings are getting lighter and a little more optimism than of late for life in general I'm back on track again.

Here is the list for this months challenge -

1. A Lion
2. People Dancing
3. Empty
4. Something you made (can't be the same item as #19)
5. An animal doing something funny
6. Someone playing a guitar
7. Pink Flamingos
8. A spelling mistake on a sign
9. "I know, it's bigger than the last one."
10. A mural (like on a wall or the side of a building)
11. Far far away
12. A boat that won't float
13. A public toilet
14. A picture of yourself as a teenager (or younger if you are a child)
15. A delivery person
16. Something with a for sale sign
17. Someone blowing a bubble
18. Multi-colored graffiti
19. A hand-drawn sketch (you draw it! Can't be the same as item #4)
20. A lamb

Good luck to everyone who's playing the game and if you like taking photographs and fancy a bit of fun check out flickr and the monthly scavenger hunts, but I warn you, it's addictive.

March 01, 2006

February 19, 2006

A Letter To Our Pets!

I was sent this by email and it just reminded me of a few of the many reasons why, on days like today, I like animals more than I like (some) people!

Dear Cats and Dogs,

The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note that placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not make it yours and I don't find it cute!

The stairway is not a race track! Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king-sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Don't think I'm going to sleep on the sofa to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm and disrespect.

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If, by some miracle, I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or stick your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. I have been using the bathroom for years - canine or feline attendance is not mandatory.

The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's bum - NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. I cannot stress this enough!

And just to keep the pets happy these are the rules, for people who don't cohabit with a Cat or Dog, visiting our house!

Rules for Non-Pet Owners Who Visit.

1. They live here. You don't.

2. If you don't want hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. (That's why they call it "fur"nature )

3. I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.

4. To you, it's an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter who is short, hairy, walks on all fours, and does not speak clearly.

Remember: Cats and Dogs are better than kids because:

1. They eat less

2. They don't ask for money all the time.

3. They are easier to train and usually come when they're called (for Cats read sometimes come when they are called, if they are hungry at the time!)

4. They never drive your car.

5. They don't hang out with drug-using friends and don't smoke or drink.

6. They don't worry about having to buy the latest fashions.

7. They don't wear your clothes.

8. They don't need a "go-zillion" dollars for college/university

9. If they get pregnant, you can sell their children, and nobody arrests you!

February 18, 2006

Badger Or Frog?

I can't decide which is the more annoying, but I am certain that the 'crazy students at the Technic University Delft (holland) playing the famous (?) Badgerbadger cartoon' need to go out more!

What do you think?

February 01, 2006

January 22, 2006

A Few Of My Favourite Things.

Voted for by the flickr community

Wanna see the slideshow?

January 18, 2006


Another extract from my Bad Cats Book. If you like these then have a look at My cat Hates You.Com .

January 16, 2006

Ding Dong The Witch Has Gone!

I had some great news today, my neighbour is going away, only for three weeks admittedly but that's three weeks of sheer bliss for me! Don't get me wrong he's not a bad neighbour really; in fact he's quite a nice guy. Twenty something young lad, works as a KP in one of our local restaurant, quite polite in fact he's only got one flaw - he wants to be a Rock Star!

Now I've got nothing against that but my problem lies with the fact that in order to get anywhere in his dream career he needs to practice, and practice and practice, and his bedroom is right next to mine. Which means that HIS AMP IS RIGHT BEHIND MY BED! Add to that the fact that the wall inbetween us is paper thin and it's not a recipe for a good nights sleep.

He has Guitars, both electric and acoustic, a Keyboard, a Drum Machinejavascript:void(0) and even a Violin! There's only so much any normal rational human being can take of Final Countdown being played over and over and OVER again! We had a little chat about his noise levels when I first moved in and when that didn't work I had a little chat to the Environmental Health! We eventually reached an agreement (that is still occasionally ignored) that he shut's up by 11.30pm, and in return I call off the noise pollution brigade and let him know if I'm going to be staying away for the night so he can let loose once in a while.

He sent me a text today to let me know he's off to London for three weeks to do a Music Producers course, I wish him well - no I really do! I don't hold a grudge, in fact I generally feel bad about moaning at him mainly because it makes me feel like I'm turning into my Mother! I can still hear the Echoes of her wailing at the bottom of the stairs '"turn that music down"! Besides he's coming back eventually and if he makes it big it's always worth keeping on the good side of a backstage pass source (I didn't say I didn't like Rock did I?) However, I am looking forward to the best three weeks sleep I have had in the last two years :)


So now I feel really bad for moaning about him. My old neighbour has moved out, after nearly two and a half years of being moaned at by me for all the noise he makes, but before he left he made me a CD of the songs he's been writing and wrote a very sweet letter which he posted through my letterbox on the day he left.


Sorry if I've been a bit of a pain in the arse the last couple of years with my music! But you'll be rid of me soon! Not sure when my official moving out date is yet, but around the 15th March.

My last day at work is 10th, which is a Friday night, so we're going to be having a late night party, I imagine it'll be downstairs so it shouldn't be too bad!

Well here's a CD of stuff I've written, I thought you might like to hear it from the right side of the wall! A fair share of Rock Songs, ballads, instrumentals and classical pieces..! All remastered since my return from London, don't be afraid to turn it up loud, it's professionally done so no glitches! All mastered to the same volume as a normal CD so no messing around with CD player required!

Thanks also for all the inspiring tapes you gave me! Sex and Religion (Stevie Vai) was the last album to complete my collection. When I met him in October he also gave me a rare CD (1 of 2000) not available in the shops!

Well all the best, hopefully next time you see me it'll be on the front cover of a guitar magazine - but don't hold your breath!


Chris Howard

(The noisy neighbour type)

January 15, 2006


A little bit of fun, thanks to Garrett for pointing this out to me. I warn you though - you'll never get the song out of your head :)

January 08, 2006

Of Mice And Mogs

I had to do something yesterday that I hated having to do. Having never knowingly killed anything larger than a bug in my life (Oh and a pheasant that forgot to look both ways when he crossed the road!) the idea of setting anything other than a humane mousetrap was something I found abhorrent. However we’ve had a bit of a problem with them over the last week or so and unfortunately even I had to agree it had to be done. Cute though I think they are I don’t want to share my home with them.

We’re fairly certain that as opposed to having mice in our house, the mice are being bought into the house by Smodge - my cat. So why has he suddenly decided to start bringing his victims home with him, and what’s more bringing them home alive!

I did a bit of searching around to find out about the whole cat/mice thing. Apparently it’s all about the Mother cat teaching her kittens to hunt. The first stage is to bring home a dead mouse and eat it in front of them; eventually they get the idea and join in. Next she brings them a dead one all of their own and lets them tuck in. Once they’ve got used to mice on the menu mummy then brings them one that’s maimed but still moving and lets her brood have a go at catching it themselves, then eventually once they’ve got the idea she brings them a nice live one and lets them take their hunting test.

So is Smodge trying to teach us to hunt? If he is then he must have sussed out that we’re crap at it by now! We’ve only managed to catch one out of about half a dozen, give up Smodge – we are never going to get the hang of it!

Or is it nothing more complex than the fact it’s winter and he prefers a little warmth and home comfort whilst torturing his prey? Either way after finding one of my lipsticks and a couple of dusters had been eaten and spending two nights trying to sleep whilst listening to the rather disturbing sounds of little feet scrambling around somewhere beneath my bed I’d had more than the humanitarian in me could take.

I had set the humane trap for two nights in a row and I’d actually seen the mouse run into it, get a nice chunk of the Mars Bar bait and leg it straight back out again, unharmed but also uncaged! I had a long chat with it, I explained that its last chance for mercy was to get in the humane trap and stay there before I went to bed, but did he listen? No! So very reluctantly I set the nasty one before I went to bed.

I was prepared to hear it snap in the night, I was prepared to find a dead mouse in the morning, but I was not prepared for what happened! I caught my finger in the trap when I first set it and it really hurt so I felt a little consolation in the thought that he probably wouldn’t know much about it, or so I hoped.

The reality was very different. I was woken up at about 3am this morning by a strange sort of nibbling sound, followed by a sort of dragging sound. I listened for a while then put the light on and was horrified to find the poor little mouse was caught by one of it’s back legs and tail in the trap and was dragging itself and the trap along the floor, it looked very much still alive and very very frightened.

I can’t stand to see animals suffer, not even annoying mice but there wasn’t much I could do. If I released it now it was going to die anyway, its leg was practically hanging off, and besides it was three o’clock in the morning and I sleep in the loft! I was not going to get dressed, walk down two floors and out into a freezing night for a half dead mouse! I couldn’t bear the thought of just leaving it there to suffer, any more than there was a hope in hell of me putting it out of its misery. So I did the only thing I could, I opened the bedroom door and gave Smodge a call! He did the job with his normal aplomb dragging the trap with the mouse towards the garden. The trap fell off eventually, thankfully without any bits of mouse still attached and so far there are no signs of any more. I am going to have nightmares about zombie mice for weeks!!