Sunday, 30 October 2005


Calum and Jemma stayed on Friday and Jemma and I formally watched a film rated "15" together - don't anyone get the idea that she's not watched 15s before but now she can watch them properly. Thus we spent Friday watching "The Life of Brian" - great fun.

Saturday was rugby and Jemma really didn't enjoy it but Canterbury were superb and brushed aside Worthing in a really tough game. As a payback for making her go to watch we had a couple of hours shopping in Canterbury first and I upgraded my mobile so that she could have the old handset, she had damaged hers in a "phone down toilet" incident - I'm now the proud user of an SPV C550! Next weekend Canterbury play London Welsh in the cup and that's going to be very tough and the weekend after Richmond visit Cardy Field for a top of the table clash (see how I can drop into sports journalise?? :-))

Friday, 28 October 2005

The lady who wouldn't stand up

My eldest sister has mailed to ask why I haven't mentioned this and the reason is simply that I missed it!

On 1st December, 1955 a man demanded that Rosa Parks stand up and give him her seat. She stood up by not standing up. This was post-war Montgomery, Alabama and Mrs Parks was black. The law required that the colour of her skin made her a second class citizen but she decided to take a stand against this racism and was fined and jailed. A year later the Rev Martin Luther King Jr organized a boycott of buses in Montgomery and the nascent civil rights movement was born. MLK and Malcolm X didn't live to see the results but Rosa died on Monday, aged 92, with an Afro-American woman in a position of power in the government and being touted as a possible Presidential candidate - without Rosa Parks the world would be a very different place.

Thursday, 27 October 2005

George is..........

Best, Dennis is Law. That was a graffiti I used to pass each day on my way to school in south Manchester. Mercer and Allison built a team that were feared throught the football world and while we had Bell, Lee and Summerbee they had Law, Best and Charlton. They won the European Cup in 1968 - that season we won the league. In 1970 we played West Brom at Wembley and won the League Cup, later the same month on a cold and rainy night in Vienna City won the European Cup Winners Cup to become the first English team to win domestic and European honours in the same season. Football was still innocent and the working man's game. Players would stop to sign autographs and often played their whole career for the team they supported. And Best was part of my youth. Now he's a damaged man being gawped at and ridiculed as he lies gravely ill. He suffers from a disease that afflicts thousands of people who don't get the same publicity and who try to deal with their demons alone, Best's mother was also an alcoholic in a time and place where drinking was an escape. My thoughts are with Best and his poor family. You were a good player George but King Colin was better!

Wednesday, 26 October 2005

From a friend

A friend in the North sent me this. Check it out and enjoy :-)


Sorry if I've been quiet - busy ATM. Sunday was the girls' birthday (yes that punctuation is correct) and other assorted small but time consuming has been getting in the way (including earning some shekels). Anyway - the question; Maverick or Zack Mayo? Which character would you prefer to trust?

Thursday, 20 October 2005

Things that go........

Slow time work wise so I've been doing my "Domestic Goddess" impression; vacuuming, carpet shampooing, four loads of washing, going through some of the piles of stuff that may be useful and determining that they are not as useful as I first thought - you know the jive. Anyways, about midnight the rains came - biblical proportions - and I'd just finished watching "The Negotiator" and "White Sands" had just started. I've not seen this before so I thought I'd watch it. Thunder and lightening, donner and blitzen, the full jive going off outside when there is an enormous crash from upstairs. Now this isn't a large house and there isn't anyone else here but it still made me jump! Finally found that my careful filing had collapsed (the back bedroom is my office) and the industrial strength hole-punch had slowly obeyed Sir Issac's main law and taken with it the folder it had been sitting on. I think I'll give up tidying up because it only causes trouble!

Wednesday, 19 October 2005

Well then! 18th October is the anniversary of me moving to Bishopsbourne! A year that seems to have flown by in some ways.

I spent part of Saturday evening at a splendid party celebrating a friend's 60th birthday. It was at the village hall and there was live music (not Status Quo but some friends of Mark's played some smashing folk music), dancing (not me!), food and a bar. A good time was had by all! Who would have thought, five or so years ago, that I'd be spending a lovely evening watching people dance "Stripping the willow"? I was working for an IT company, being paid big bucks to travel all over the country as a Technical Consultant. Now I don't schlep up to Warrington regularly or spend hours talking in acronyms and trying to pretend that the scren was supposed to go blank and the system reboot when that "feature" was invoked. It's taken a long time to find out that I'm better suited to a slower world :-)

Sunday, 16 October 2005

Optical illusion

This is one of those weird optical illusion things. Look at the image here for a few moments and let your vision "relax". And then you'll see a giraffe! Amazing isn't it?

Saturday, 15 October 2005

33 - 12

Magnificent game! Canterbury (in black and amber) beat Hertford in a pulsating game. Even 10 minutes, in the second half, with only 14 players didn't stop Canterbury and they beat a team to whom they've lost in their last four meetings. The next round of the cup sees the big teams involved so we might see the mighty Harlequins playing at Merton Lane. Only downside was that my flask of coffee leaked all over the place - sofa (before I went when I didn't know it was leaking), back seat of the car and programme and jeans jacket and and shirt!

Friday, 14 October 2005


The wonderful people at the Open University - may their camels be fecund - have changed the way they fund courses for OU tutors who wish to study with them. Until this year there was an upper cap on the course fee waiver but it's been lifted as long as the course is clearly one appropriate to the tutor (they might think it strange if I wanted to take a course on basket weaving for example). Thus my studying has been restricted to courses within the fee waiver limit. This wasn't a problem, I've really enjoyed the last two courses I've done and the next on the list looked funky too but now that the cap is gone I've had a look at the rest of the courses and found "H806: Learning in the Connected Economy". Now, I ask you, was there every a scrummier looking course to finish this bit with?


I think I mentioned that Canterbury were in imperious form last weekend and here's the match report on the CRFC web site. As always where reading a report from any sporting event we've attended there are bits I may disagree with - had the Canterbury full back not had a lift home he'd have been stuck, on the showing during the game I doubt he could have caught a bus! Tomorrow it's another home game and it's Hertford in the Powergen National Cup.

For those living in a different time zone (and that includes Annarid who I know to be about ten years behind everyone else because of the children) rugby is the game from which some have suggested American Football evolved but that's rubbish. Everyone knows that American Football is the product of intelligent design!

Wednesday, 12 October 2005


I decided to learn how to play Backgammon and so, as you might expect, I went around the web looking for some software to play against. And here it is! It's available from GNU Backgammon and has different play levels from beginner to expert and also has a tutor mode which flags up dubious, bad or very bad moves so that you can play unaided until it thinks you're setting off somewhere daft. It also uses a doubling cube and offers advice about that too. A final bonus, the playing area can be shown as 2D or 3D and the board and pieces selected from a smashing range of sets. It's free and if anyone plays or wants to learn it's a smashing toy.

D*ckhead spammers

Lunacy, sheer lunacy. There is a new meme in spamming - spam archived posts! I use Mailwasher to get rid of email spams and it checks my accounts every three minutes. It flashes a little icon to say I have mails and when time allows I check them. Otherwise I wouldn't know that there are great offers on property in Cyprus, a great site for exchange trading or a super new spyware remover site. You, dear readers, are unaware of these blog spams too because they have been posted on messages archived long ago! Sorry if you feel robbed of the chance to check out Susan's brilliant site related to road construction (I kid you not) but if you wade back through everything since this blog started you should find the links - I can't be faffed going back and deleting them.

Tuesday, 11 October 2005

Free personal organiser

I use a PDA, it's a Palm Tungsten T3. It's my life away from the PC, it stores contact deatils, my diary, photos and MP3s. It has Word and Excel and I'm teaching myself Backgammon on it. It comes in at a few hundred quid though and thus not a cheap purchase. Now I've found a free personal organiser! It's at PocketMod and looks great!


This is a test post using Blogger for Word.

Monday, 10 October 2005

Me! Provider!

Of course like all Alpha males I need nothing more than an opportunity to get out and provide for myself using just my native wits, strength, guile and some meaty powertools. For a long time I went out and fought the other rats in the race but since shifting my lifestyle to one slightly more precarious one I have more opportunities to rely on skills other than driving for hours in appalling traffic so that I can sit and play Solitare until the wheels come off some piece of kit that I can't fix. Being an IT Manager can be well paid but it's not unlike Russian Roulette at times.

Anyway. Now I have different opportunities to be a hunter gatherer. During the spring a lightening strike took down an old tree along the lane and it hit one of the overhead powerlines. (Hum "Wichita Lineman" for effect now) and the South East Electricity Board (SEEBoard) sent out the linemen to sort it out - the lights flickered but didn't die which was good as it would have been dark in the pub which is where I was at the time but I digress. They shifted the felled tree and left it at the side of the lane so a few days later I went out with my trolley and dragged back the tree and branches and left them on the log shelter to dry out. A few weeks ago I let them meet Mr Chainsaw and after a few hours of hard (but fun) graft I had a nice big pile of logs, an aching back and a garden covered in sawdust.

Now, as the nights draw in and the drafts gust under the doors I have a fire all set and waiting to light - stocked with logs that I went and found and cut and split myself! Photographic evidence with a basket full of hand-crafted logs is shown and you'll also spot the canalware bellows, candles (who ever thought I'd own a candle plate?), the champagne bottle isn't there to be flash - it's full of water as I use it to top up the iron, a pile of newspapers on the right and above it the triangular basket with the matches.

So there you are. Even in this knowledge economy there are times when the world is a little wilder and sustinance can be hewn from the countryside (a bit over the top perhaps? :-))

Sunday, 9 October 2005


I thought I'd posted this shot - it's one of the little streets between the High Street and the cathedral. I'm enjoying a coffee hence the pole in front of the lens (must get some photo taking tips from Pyk!). The pub on the right is The City Arms and given to be one of the best town pubs in the county and there are a number of cafes and eateries along this lane. At the top is the High Street. Notice the cobbles and the way the first flooor rooms overhang the ground floor frontage in order to "steal" a little more space, this is one of the older parts of town and luckily survived onslaughts by Goering's town redevelopment plans during the 1940's and later and far less sympathetic work by the local council town planning department - evidence of their handiwork is sadly available elsewhere.

Independence Day

Independence Day was Calum's film of choice this weekend and we watched it last night after seeing Canterbury RFC destroy Tabard RFC (named after the inn in Southwark where Chaucer's pilgrims set off for Canterbury). If anyone hasn't seen it it's a great "boy's" film, lots of shoot 'em up action and a few laughs and in jokes; a computer that boots with a sound clip of HAL saying "Hello Dave" and a character saying that it was a bad day to give up drinking.

Today we went to Lydden Hill for car racing - not as exciting as last time as there were not many cars racing but different types (single seater open cars, Caterham Sevens, etc) so still a good day.

This pretty car broke down close to where we were standing so it was easy to photograph. My digital camera isn't the best for high speed shots because of the delay between pressing the button and capture , trying to get the bikes or cars at racing speeds leads to a lot of shots of a back wheel!

Friday, 7 October 2005

In dispute

I've already mentioned that a sizeable group of Open University tutors disagreed with the outcome of pay negotiations but were ignored by the union, the Association of University Tutors. This dispute continues but is with the union rather than the OU!

The OUAUT represents full time staff as well as part time staff (tutors are generally part time and some full time staff are also tutors in addition to their full time OU work). For details of the latest in this saga check out It's a sorry tale of intruige and misdeeds.

Thursday, 6 October 2005

Husband of the year awards

Yes it's the awards season and here are the winners of the coveted "Husband of the Year" award. In third is the Albanian entrant:

Second place went to this great guy in Serbia:

But the clear winner is this true romantic from Bavaria:

Who said romance was dead?

Wednesday, 5 October 2005


I'm struggling with this one. A guy borrowed a few quid from his employers and left a note, an IOU, for the money. That's an advance on wages isn't it? Okay he should have asked but he worked on his own in a small office and we've all been caught short of brass on a Friday and wondered whether the boss would sub us a 20 spot for the first round while we go to a hole in the wall. Okay so GBP 7 million is a tad more than most of us need for a few beers and a curry but at least he left the note and admitted it (after they caught him - not surprisingly he took some time alone, on the run, to consider things before the heavy hand of plod landed on his shoulder). Full details are here.

Of course there are some real crooks and villians in this country and I'm glad that we clamp down hard on them. Owing the local councl GBP 700 is a terrible thing and being 71 and a retired vicar cannot excuse this behaviour - lock 'em all up! Those who missed this story will find details here. I bet the forces of good were gutted when they couldn't lock up 73 year old Sylvia Hardy for the GBP 53.71 that she owed - what is this world coming to? Next we'll be using the full force of the law to eject 82 year old hecklers from political rallies- it's clear that Walter Wolfgang is some sort of lefty activist so why he found himself in the New Labour party conference is beyond me. According to the government we need to forget retiring in our 60s and work longer - if these geriatric troublemakers had jobs instead of hanging round in gangs on street corners, terrorising teenagers and forcing mothers with prams to step into the road to go round their zimmer frames, Britain would be a better place.

Local facilities

I'd hate anyone to think that we only have a pub in Bishopsbourne - here is a photo of another local amenity (which is actually beside the pub). I've already posted photos of the church and I think there's one of the phone box somewhere too.

Of course posting letters in Bishopsbourne is expensive because whenever I go to the letterbox Steve waves from behind the bar and it would be rude not to pop in and say "Hello!" and that usually leads to at least one pint.

Tuesday, 4 October 2005


The web is all about interactivity and delivering customised information which is personalised for the user. With this criteria in mind I must recommend this wonderful idea on This must surely be what the web is for!


This may help.

MCIVTA is Manchester City Information Via The Alps - although the site is actually in Norway now! It's the source of real news to exiled City fans around the world and takes the form of a twice weekly electronic fanzine delivered free to subscribers and written by people who have been to matches, watched them on TV or simply want to gas about City. It has regular contributions from New York, Florida, Australia, Manchester and the People's republic of Hyde. It's the best place to find out what is happening in the Blue world under the Blue Moon. According to Rich Fenton in the latest edition (1161, 03/10)
Prior to kick-off today, City introduced Helen Turner's family out to the centre circle as part of the commemoration of the passing of one of our most famous and best loved supporters.
Back issues are available on that site (as is an explanation of the name) and this one also has more stories of Helen's exploits as she shepherded young City fans through the back doubles and ginnels of towns across the footy world on away game days. They also have a "Why Blue" feature which invites supporters to try and explain why they follow a team which enjoyed its zenith over thirty years ago and has since visited Grimsby (big game - fans wishing to buy tickets had to answer a quiz about Grimsby before they got tickets) and Wycombe. I watched Lincoln at Maine Road, only a very small number of the very small number who read this will understand what that means! We sang "What's it like to see a crowd?". If anyone wants to find a City fan in Brisbane or simply see another way the Internet is used to create communities of interest should plug into MCIVTA - and it is usually a bit of a laugh too, an Anorak's Prediction league (postgrad applied maths on mind altering drugs?) and tales of City fans turning up to the last game in pyjamas because the kick of was so early last Sunday. As City fans are often heard saying to each other - Keep the faith!

Well then!

I went out this AM and invested in a new laptop. I couldn't carry on using webmail rather than Outlook, I hadn't been able to synch the PDA or download photos from the camera and I was working in a room barely large enough to swing a kitten and with no room to look at a book while typing. So today I've been grappling with the wireless LAN that I never managed to tame with the Sony and also trying to remember what applications I really ned rather than the rubbish I had loaded. At least as the previous PC was dead I wasn't able to try and simply copy everything but the downside was finding install CDs and registration details for everything! The upshot - I'm now back typing in a nice warm room with the TV to distract me as needed, it's also not far to the fridge for the next beer! I can use both this laptop and the aged Win 98 desktop to surf (that's still in the spare bedroom upstairs) and I can use the wireless LAN to print to the laser upstairs too!

Time for bed so I'm just chilling to some Dylan
as he seems to have been all over the BBC for the past few weeks.
The image? Calum and I went to Lydden the weekend before last and these guys are the current sidecar world champions - and they are local and very fast! They gave everyone else a start of nearly a mile and caught them within four miles (the track is a mile long). It was a smashing day and I can really recommend it if anyone is in the area, a tenner for 15 races and a smashing track with great visibility all the way round.