Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve!

The shops are just about to close and it's gone dark outside on Christmas Eve. In a few hours time we'll all be tucked up in bed. Ready to start the day tomorrow in our pyjamas with sleepy heads and tired eyes. We have a quiet night tonight, maybe doing some preparation around the house for the guests we have coming tomorrow. If we don't get around to it tonight, it'll be done in the morning.
We have some present wrapping to do before we go to bed. Not so many now the children are getting bigger though, thankfully. It shouldn't take much time. I don't like wrapping presents very much, only because I'm not a very good present wrapper. I've sometimes received gifts that I felt bad about opening because they had been wrapped so well. They can be wrapped so beautifully with ribbons and bows. I sometimes put ribbons and bows on my gifts but ... mutton dressed as lamb... is all I can say.

Whatever you do tonight, I hope you stay safe and have a very pleasant evening and a wonderful Christmas Day tomorrow! 

My dear fellow bloggers, I hope you get the presents you wanted! Eat and drink whatever you like tomorrow because if you can't do it to excess at Christmas, when can you?

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Holiday movie: Home Alone

Last night we had a family outing to the cinema to see Home Alone, we have it on DVD and my children and I have watched it many times over the years. Funny how having it on the big screen makes you notice little details you've never noticed before. Like how beautiful Catherine O'Hara was as the mother. I love the sequence of traps that Kevin lays for the burglars. It's a feel good film.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas anticipation

I've just finished work for the holidays and am on my train home. It's a good feeling I have to say. I'm going to be busy for the few days but its all good family fun.

I used to get so excited about finishing school and waiting for Christmas day. Now, I'm just rather glad I don't have to think about work for over a week.

I hope that I can make the most of my days off.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

How Much More Can We Take?

I wake to another day of mourning for innocent lives lost. I was working yesterday and didn't see the news. I opened the door to my wife as she came home and she told me about the shooting in Connecticut. Kids as young as five. I just thought Oh No Not Again.
It makes me sick just thinking how someone could empty a gun on someone else for no reason. Take your own life but don't take other lives, especially ones so young who have their whole lives ahead of them. The next president of America could have been killed yesterday or the next Albert Einstein or a doctor who could have saved many lives, it's just such a tragedy!
Something has to be done about the access to weapons these crazy people seem to have. I don't see any reason why anyone who isn't a policeman or in the armed services requires a lethal weapon. If the argument is to protect yourself surely there are non-lethal alternatives?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Street Entertainers

The other night I was out after work doing some Christmas shopping. It was cold and dark but a lot of people were around. A street entertainer was playing his guitar and singing. I liked his take on the songs I knew and I liked his song choice. I actually felt like his music made me a tiny bit happier. So I dropped some coins into his open case. I felt it was right and moral to do that because he was working and entertaining me. I was only walking past so it wasn't like I stopped to listen but there were a few shops close together and whenever I went in and out I heard him.
It's a fairly rare thing for me to do. Usually though, street entertainers are not very good. That sounds uncharitable I know. It's not that I don't appreciate their effort but equally I don't donate just by default. They probably don't expect that either to be fair but I feel slightly uncomfortable when walking past someone who's trying hard to sing or play to entertain but isn't doing it for me.
In a similar vein the talent shows like X Factor really do contain mostly dross. The audience seem to whip themselves up into a frenzy over something that really is quite poor. I don't understand it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

DIY Catflap (or rather not DIY)

Our kittens are early risers, unfortnately a bit too early. My wife bears the brunt of it because they seem to like sitting on her in a morning, waking her up, wanting to be let outside to go hunting and exploring. I manage to sleep through it, much to my wife's irritation, so for the benefit of marital harmony I have purchased a catflap in the hope that the kittens (8 months old now and looking like proper cats) will be able to let themselves in and out. However, I'm not really a DIY man. I can just about handle a screw driver, some drilling (though I hate it) and very simple electrics (replacing light bulbs and light switches) but for most DIY maintenance jobs I don't have the experience to know how to handle problems and am generally too cautious in case I cause a bigger problem.
I remember a friendly neighbour who, once as I was leaving the house, shouted to me through his kitchen window. When I went over to investigate he had his thumb in a pipe and said he couldn't take it out because water would spray out. At the time, we were fortunate enough to know someone (not close enough to really call them a friend but getting there) who was a plumber and my wife called and he came to the rescue.

Knowing that trying to do things yourself can cause even worse problems, I have hird a man to come and fit it for us. I hope it all goes smoothly, I would like to think the kittens will use it but I suppose that's another ball game for another day.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

A Close Shave

I was returning to my hotel after having some food this week when I remembered I had to text a friend to get her new address. The street was fairly busy even though it was almost 8pm, a lot of shoppers were returning to the train station near the hotel. Suddenly, quietly and quickly a teenager on a bike grabbed my iphone as I was texting. My grip was good though and in the seconds the attempt lasted I had a strong enough grip to hold on. I guess he had to control his bike at the same time as trying to get the phone and my grip was too strong. Fortunately I didn't have my woolly gloves on, which would have been slippier. The rubber bumper around the phone also helped although it got broke in the attack. Seconds later he let go and rode off giving me an evil look without my phone. Nobody around me stopped to help and I didn't have presence of mind to shout out or do anything other than hold on. If he had of got my phone it would have been awful. I had photos of my children and it could be used to buy stuff. Aside from the personal side the phone was an expensive gift from my wife. How dare a stranger just try to get it by passing me in the street! I feel affronted!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

First snow of Winter

I woke up to snow falling this morning. On my commute the roads were jammed and traffic crawled. It's only light snow as well. Don't think much of our chances if the snow gets much heavier. Here's a photo of some fields I pass. I'm heading North for work and it is snow free. I wonder for how long?

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Mid-life and happiness

I was reading a magazine feature that suggests there have been research studies that demonstrate similarities between humans and animals when looking at a dip in happiness in the mid-life period. I find that interesting. What is that all about?
I wonder whether it is something to do with awareness in middle age that life is actually quite short and fragile? And that the clock is ticking on you having the means to support yourself later in life whilst also having dependents (maybe) who are your children and your elderly parents?
Or that you realise you are not young and hip, no matter what you do to your appearance or the lifestyle you lead?
I don't consider myself unhappy but at the same time I would agree that I am much less carefree and happy go lucky than I ever was. I am much more measured in what I do than when I was young, less spontaneous and much more conservative. I guess as you get older and can think about retirement I can imagine you do feel a bit more carefree and less responsible for others - a bit like being young again.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Royal Pregnancy

William and Kate are to have a baby! Funnily enough my wife saw a photograph of the Duchess of Cambridge just a few days ago and said she thought her face was looking puffier. She casually, almost jokingly, put it down to being pregnant and it turns out she was right. I think that's either luck or what I call an excellent process of deduction.
So there it is, another member of the royal family. It's great! Something to look forward to in August or September.

Sunday, December 02, 2012


I like advent calendars. Always have. The ones I had as a kid were simple and basic and there was no chocolate or gifts inside them. Still, I liked opening up the little windows to see what was inside. So to remind me of those days, here's a candle...