Bank Holidays

Obviously there should be more of them.   Especially more like this weekend.   Wonderful weather and a houseful of family and friends enjoying a bit more outdoor living.

Anyway, the main point of this post is to wax lyrical about local produce.   It is nice that we are lowering our carbon footprint by eating local lamb and veg from our garden although, as Big Mike pointed out, as soon as he starts his Rolls to head back to the Smoke, we’re busted.

So the best thing about local produce is that it is fresh and tastes so much better.   The latter point is of course moot, but I’ll stick my neck out.

This weekend was full of home grown pumpkin, corn, corgettes and lamb from our fields roasted with our own garlic.  We also feasted on local crayfish and fresh caught brown trout, with home made mayonnaise from our own chickens.

Sound like the good life?   Sure.   And back to work on Tuesday morning with a big bump.   C’est La Vie.

Harry Potter – worth all the fuss?

Well, is it?   They hype, the fuss, the late night book sales?
Is the story worthy of all this drama?
Does the plot and character development warrant all the media attention?


And how do I know?   I have only read the last chapter at about 1 a.m., but the smile on Ash’s face when she saw her copy, purchased from Tesco in Trowbridge just after midnight by big Mike, said it all.

When she’s finished I might even get to read the rest.

Career advice

I have to share this note recieved via e-mail last week……who knows if it is true.   I hope so…

Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a High School about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it!

Rule 2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

I particularly like, 2, 4 and 8.   Much of the yoof of today would be well advised to listed.   However, like us, they will make their own mistakes.

Good advice.    More of the yoof of today should take it.

Purple prose

Big Mike alerted me to the fact that today is Bill Watterson’s birthday.


Bill Watterson, creator of the greatest cartoon strip ever: Calvin and Hobbes.   The six year old boy with the stuffed tiger alter ego ran in the South China Morning Post (amongst many others) and, when withdrawn in a ‘revamp’, attracted so many complaints that it was reinstated the following week.

To understand the mind of this genius you only need to know one quote:

I won’t eat any cereal that doesn’t turn the milk purple.


Postal strike

The lack of posts in recent days should not be interpreted as anything other than the practical consequence of the overwhelming amount of work that seems to have come my way recently.

It should in no way be linked to the current postal strike afflicting these shores.

Unkind people have suggested they did not actually notice any perceptible difference in the service of delivering letters.

But I couldn’t possibly comment.

Three Castles 2007

OK, it’s been a very long time since I managed to post an update or a whinge on anything…. well, we’ve been busy.

Last week was half term so, after a few days at home in the rain, Shivs and I went off to do the Three Castles Welsh Classic Trial in Llandudno.    This was the same format as last year and despite the promise of terrible weather, we had a practically rain free 4 days of fabulous driving.

Toolkit Tim was also entered and purely through luck and a bigger engine he managed to beat us into 31st place overall and 2nd in class.   He was 25th and won our class.

The pic above was taken on the way home at the head of Horeshoe Pass with rally friend Derek and daughter Aimee in convoy with their MGA, 5 minutes after we’d stopped for an hour to fix Tim’s cars’ broken throttle cable.

If only it had happened during the rally, the results would have been so different……..

Ah well.   There’s next year.

HIP hop flop

My cynical blog the other day regarding the impending new Home Information Packs, seems to have turned out to be at least partly true, as their imposition from June 1st this year has been deferred to August due to a lack of adequate inspectors.

Well, only party deferred.   I suspect in order to save a little face – and of course raise money from us to pay for the investment to date in more state funded bureacracy – the HIP’s will be required for homes with more than 4 bedrooms.

This part volte face was announced by Communities (sic) Minister, Ruth Kelly, just one week after her sidekick Yvette Cooper denied there was any shortage of inspectors and all would be well.

Spin spin spin.   You couldn’t make this stuff up.

It’s worse.   In what seems to have been a decision taken on the hoof as they walked to the House, the idea that only 4+ bedded houses will be included at this stage means that every estate agent in the land will be reaching for the euphemism handbook for new ways to describe Bed’s 4, 5, etc. as there is no definition for what constitutes Bed 4.

Expect to see a lot of marketing guff for 3 bed homes, with studies, boxrooms, playrooms, dressing rooms, store rooms, wine stores, libraries, attics etc. etc.

Government.   It violates the Trades Description Act in my view.   But then, what would I know… I have a 3 bed house with 2 studies, a boxroom and an attic.