Friday, August 31, 2007

Good start

Work has been hectic all week. I finished late today however, my wife had the foresight to load the oven with vegetables to roast - so we decided to take the kids to the park much later than usual. We had it all to ourselves. I'd been working indoors all day, so getting out into the fresh air to play with the kids in the park was great - it really blew the cobwebs out! I had awoken this morning with such a headache for some reason.

I just also want to thank all of you who read this blog and comment, I just want to let you know it means so much to me and it's probably not often enough that I say that.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


We had a Bank Holiday on Monday this week. My wife is preparing lots of work at the moment, she monopolises our home PC, so I decided to take the children to the woods while she worked. My kids love to listen to Enid Blyton Famous Five audio books at bedtime, so while we walked through the woods they play-acted as the children from the stories. My kids love adventure stories and it makes me happy to listen to them playing. I remember doing similar play-acting as a kid. I actually think its good for learning improvisation techniques. There were lots of picnic spots and we set up our small pop-up tent in one, stretched out our blanket and I got the wine gums out and apple juice out. I played football with them and a noisy kind of tennis game (the rackets had a clear thin vinyl material stretched across which make a noise like a biscuit tin lin: infact I'll christian the game now - Biscuit Tin Ball! I lay on the blanket, looked up at the sky framed by the tops of trees and suddenly a glider swooped around low over the trees. It was a great sight. Gliders can often be seen when out walking on the hills near us, I even drive by the airstrip where they take off to see if I can catch a glimpse quickly. There are several nice things about having the day off and taking the kids somewhere like the woods: they get fresh air, they get to run around and use up lots of energy, they can be as loud as they like, they get a chance to discover things about nature, it gives them some dedicated time with me, they can watch other families and it all costs next to nothing. Finding something good to do as a family is not easy, most of the time pressures of life and work compete. But I'm glad that this Bank holiday we did something that was enjoyable for me and the children and got us out to experience some nature.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Room to Grow

Our house is full. We need to move. Individually, we're just a lot of hoarders and too many hoarders in one family is not good. I had to get something from the loft (attic) this week and I got up there and my heart just sank. Finding out how much you've actually got to move when you do decide to go for me has been deeply upsetting. I'm telling you folks, we've got issues to address and stuff to chuck out. House prices are ridiculous, there is no way we could afford a four bedroom house in the area - they're like 400,000 pounds. That's not far off half a million, I remember when I had to think of the largest number I possibly could as a child and it was usually a million. Well, a million ain't like it used to be (it's still completely unrealistic an amount of money though).

Changing the subject completely, I learned over the weekend that the Chupa Chups logo (below) was originally designed by Salvador Dali. That would make a great trivia question, perhaps its already been used but I'd have thought it was a joke before reading the truth.

On another note, the wall clock in our dining room is running out of battery and nobody can be bothered to change it yet. It is disconcerting to realise I had less time than I thought to finish this post! Guess I'll have to change that battery now...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Gamer Days

This week has been fairly busy. I've still managed to find time to get some gaming in though, especially because last Sunday I used my voucher and reward points up at Game on buying the Xbox360 system bundled with the Gears of War and Forza Motorsport 2 games.

I'm going to try and use the Xbox Live service, haven't been that adventurous yet but I'll do it since I might as well take advantage now I've finally bought a next generation console. The games are brilliant, Gears of War just looks like a film to me the graphics are so good.

I'm still managing to find pleasure in playing my Playstation 2 games, I'm making progress with Conflict Desert Storm 2. It's not an exceptional game by any standards but I'm close to finishing the storyline and it's getting harder and more addictive. I was playing up until 2am this morning. This probably explains my current headache!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fruity topic

Is a nectarine the same as a peach, except with different skin? They taste much the same to me. If I had to choose a favourite fruit it would be a pineapple because they are so juicy and mouthwatering.

I found this quiz on Tara's blog and what do you know?

What Kind of Fruit Are You?

You are a Pineapple...the traditional symbol of friendship, you embrace everyone as a are loyal, kind and always there for a friend in need...
Take this quiz!

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TV Thoughts

The new series of the UK version of X Factor began last Saturday, the viewing figures were something like 11 million. This is very good for a UK Saturday evening show these days, long gone are the days when figures were much higher for Saturday evening variety shows. My wife looks forward to the X Factor not for the show itself but the knowledge that it begins the run-up to Christmas (when the series traditionally finishes). The show itself began with a tension between the judges, Brian Friedman (US dance expert) was eventually replaced after the first week with Louis Walsh (who was unceremoniously sacked after the last series). We are led to believe that "the chemistry" is right again and miraculously the acts started improving and more were let through. I'm not sure I would have let some of the acts in that they did but they're the experts. What I didn't realise and what is never made clear is that the judges only see a proportion of the acts that are let through by the shows producers. This knowledge ruins for me the parts with truly terrible singers, it just feels exploitative: I know (newsflash: music industry exploits the young!) but combined with lowering the age limit to 14 year olds I feel more and more uncomfortable. Perhaps I'm just being a grumpy old fart.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hello again, hello

It's good to be back! I feel refreshed and reinvigorated. It's probably down to spending a week away from work and home last week - we all went to the seaside for a week. Even though the weather was mixed we had a good time, did I mention we managed to walk about 40 miles in total during the week? Pretty good going I think. My left calf muscle has been aching a bit last couple of days but tonight it seems to be OK. It's good to be home but when you're away and the day when you have to return home is approaching there's a feeling you get that is half-glad and half-sad, sad because it's nice to do things different for a while. Even the small things like the changes you have to make in how you prepare your food can seem like quite big. It teaches you that changing behaviour is not that hard and that change can be good. Having to live differently is also good to demonstrate how adaptable you can be. Don't get me wrong, I'm talking about small changes here - we stayed in an apartment so the only major differences beside location for us were the facilities available for washing, cooking etc. It's not like we were living in a remote island or anything. Being somewhere else, in someone else's place without making it your own, is like living as a different person for a while. That's probably part of what I needed. Something to think about, anyway...