Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Earache, Awkward Kisses and an Amazing Aircraft Thingy

Kids are bloody amazing they are.

Last night at 1am, there I was minding my own business and sleeping, when my bedroom door was suddenly flung open.

Standing in the doorway (like ET's dad did when he came out the spaceship), was Izzy .... and she was crying.

"What the bloody hell is wrong with you?" I asked jumping out of bed and running across the room.

"Don't say 'bloody', it's a rude word," she sobbed as I knelt down before her.

Good to know that she has standards even in the face of adversity. That's my gal.

"Ok, sorry," I replied, "what the bally hell is up with you?"

And then she wailed the words that every parent dreads to hear at 1am in the morning ..... after being awoken from a deep sleep ....... and a dream where Tom Berenger was hand-feeding me grapes ........ "I've got earache!"

Awwww shit. As you probably already know, earache is a parental epic which generally has the following cycle:

child does painful cries ..... administer Ibuprofen ..... sleep for 5 minutes ..... child develops fever ..... administer Calpol ..... child dozes for 5 minutes and then wakes up too hot ..... give child fluids ..... child dozes for 5 minutes ..... then wakes up too cold ..... cover child up ...... child dozes for 5 minutes and then wakes up too hot again, and ear has started hurting again.

Then repeat the above ad infinitum until 7am arrives and the alarm commences it's incessant beeping.

That's what I did last night. As justice goes, it was rougher than a badger's arse.

But to add insult to extreme tiredness, literally the minute that I dragged myself out of bed this morning (after no more than two hours kip), Izzy suddenly dropped off into a deep, contented sleep which lasted for the rest of the day.     

How do they do that?

All kids seem to possess the superhero power of 'inconvenient illnesses' (as you can probably tell, I am not cut out for working in the 'caring' sector). That's why I am not Mother Annie of Calcutta.

Anyway, you will be glad to hear that I managed to cheer myself up by finding this video of an awkward kiss. Prepare to cringe ..................... it's the dog's danglies.

Vid.No.1 The most awkward kiss ever?

And if that wasn't cool enough, my chum Robert, from the blog 'Awkright Around the Railway', sent me the following clip, because it has got an aircraft in it and he knew that I used to work in aerospace. 

It's awesome. In prelude, basically an airliner was preparing to land when the front nose-wheel (landing gear) failed to deploy properly ..... and this is what happened next ...................

Vid.No.2. The ultimate in speed and timing ............ executed by a bloody nutjob

So dahlink, what have you been up to this week? Have you been striking like all the chaps in the UK? Or maybe you have indulged in a spot of Christmas shopping ..... pray do tell!

Monday, 28 November 2011

And the winner is ................

Look at me .......... I am all over the place at the moment. I have got some new work projects coming to fruition, which basically means that every day throws up a new set of cards which keeps me very busy. Hell, if I want to keep on top of my gadget acquisitions, I need a source of income, even if it means that I can no longer be hand-fed grapes on my chaise longue.

And in the melee of work, I nearly forgot to announce a winner of the caption competition ...... you know the one .....

Pic.No.1 Kids toys are not what they used to be

I got my mate Clare (from 'Yes his Name is Gary' and 'Savvy Squirrel') to be a judge because she hadn't entered a caption and thus, should be theoretically neutral.

You are probably wondering why she didn't submit a caption herself, and it's because she is now addicted to 'extreme couponing'. And I swear that six months of Serotonin surges (50% off Weetabix, 76% off Vitamin B6, and 14% off Panty Pads etc) have left her with a slight facial tic, and a wild-eyed look. Or maybe I just read it a bit wrong.

Anyways, she eventually decided on a winner for the caption competition, which was no mean feat given the quality of the entries, and without further ado, I would like to annouce the winning caption:  

"I'm sure this isn't how the doctor took my temperature last time!"

The caption was submitted by Masher, who's blog can be viewed here: Masher's blog. I must say that I am pleased with the result because he writes a blog that makes me laugh a lot. And there is no one in the western world who can handle cream crackers like he can. He virtually breathes them and lives in beds constructed from them (ok I made that last bit up).

And as an added bonus, you can also read an interview with the mighty Mash himself. Here is a transcript dahlink ...............................

Name: Masher

Age: Getting on

Height: Currently about 45mtrs ASL

Location: 52.72043 -1.76293

Significant others: The current and long-suffering Mrs Masher

Occupation: Bit of this. Bit of that. Absolutely none of the other.

What do you secretly dream about doing for a living?: I secretly dream of being Dr Anne Dickens and being fabulously wealthy.

What are you a self-declared expert at?: Humility. I'm bloody brilliant at that. Possibly the bestest ever in the whole world.

What can't you seem to get enough of?: Satisfaction.

What kinds of people are you drawn to?: The kind with big magnets.

Favourite colour: Sorry? Favourite colour? How old do you think I am... ten? OK, blue. No, green.

Pets: All dead.

If money was no problem, where would you go on holiday?: Bognor.

What was your proudest moment?: Eating five cream crackers in one go.

What's your favourite movie?: Sons of the desert.

Have you ever lived in other places, if so where?: For years I lived with my parents in the next street. It was very different to where I live now.

What do you consider your biggest achievement?: Erm, five cream crackers. Thought I'd mentioned it.

What things annoy you?: Small things annoy me. And big things. And those things with the raffia-like base that I keep losing.

What hobbies do you have?: Photography. Electronics. Radio. TV. Geocaching. Science Fiction. Collecting cheese labels.

Name the three websites you visit most often (excluding blogs!): bbc.co.uk bbc.co.uk/news bbc.co.uk/sport

Have you ever broken any bones (if yes, how?): Yes. I once broke my wrist. Not saying how.

What car do you drive?: Honda CRV

What car would you like if money were no object?: Honda CRV with a roof rack.

What character traits annoy you?: Genocidal maniacs can be somewhat irritating.

What are you going to do once you have finished this questionnaire?: I might have a go at breaking my other wrist... or I might just go to sleep.

What are you doing this coming weekend?: I shall be parachuting out of a hot-air balloon to raise money for Children In Need.

Please give one random fact about yourself: I fib a lot.

P.S. Hey Masher, congrats on the five cream crackers ..... were you a Ghurka at any point?!

P.P.S. On a totally unrelated note, apparently today is the day when 'online shopping' reaches it's peak as people try to sort out Christmas. Is this true? The news says that there is a phenomenon called AWOL (which means 'absent from work whilst online - i.e. you are internet shopping whilst at work).

Friday, 25 November 2011

The Big Reveal - Yep it is my new car!

As you know, this week I bought myself a new chariot, but I didn't tell you what it was because I didn't have any photographs. But you will be pleased to know that I have now remedied this state of affairs, and without further ado, I would like to introduce you to my new car ................... it's sex on wheels.

Pic.No.1 Come on me homeys ...... and meet my shiny new Range Rover Sport HSE. Woof! It's got 22" alloys and privacy glass and everything. I am so excited that I could puke

Pic.No.2. This is the dashboard. It's got so many different buttons that I didn't know what to press (it's a bit like a man in that way)

And you will be pleased to hear that my beauty is fully loaded with gadgets for me, including: Onboard computer, built in Sat-Nav, Harmon Kardon sound system, fridge (yes fridge), voice command functionality, heated seats, leather upholstery, and full bluetooth connectivity for my iPhone gadget. Rarrrrr.

Pic.No.3. And the gadgets continue into the back of the car .............

And because I am like Mother Theresa (except that I don't need ironing as much), I made sure that I got some gadgets for Izzy to play with too ...... and I think I excelled myself ....... hence I am the gadget queen: The rear seats have TV's (with infra-red headsets) which are also hooked up to a DVD player. And if she ever gets bored of watching DVDs, she can use her remote control to switch over to the built-in PlayStation (complete with full PlayStation controls).

How totally bloody BLING is that?

Pic.No.4 This is me pretending to be an alien in front of my new car

Steve and Izzy were particularly eager to see my new car when it arrived, so I called them the moment it was in my driveway. Their reactions were ......

Steve exclaimed: "Jeez! Nothing shouts 'wanker' louder than a Ranger Rover."

Izzy screamed a lot, and shouted "Woo Hoo" when she saw the DVD and PlayStation stuff, before adding, "Can we give our new car a name?"

"Erm, I suppose so," I said, "but it's only a chunk of metal."

Izzy ignored my lack of sentimentality completely: "I want to call it the Girls-Only Gang Car," she replied.

"It's not very snappy as names go," I pointed out.

"But I can't think of anything else," Izzy said, looking a bit forlorn.

"How about, John the Motor?" I asked, clutching at the first straw that entered my head.

"Yes! John the Motor!" she shouted, as satisfied as a bollock-licking dog.

So dahlink, I am still figuring out how I will park the bugger, and what all the buttons do ...... but I can safely say ..... it is abso-bloody-lutely amazing. It is like driving around in your living room. Except your living room doesn't have as many gadgets.

P.S. I just had a thought - I wonder what the all-time best feature/gadget of a car is? What is the best feature / gadget in your car? This could be really bloody interesting .................. We could run a feature called the 'most important features in a car - as rated by the drivers'.

Monday, 21 November 2011

I've got a new car! Only read this post if you like cars ...

I bloody love cars I do ..... it's because they are the ultimate gadget. Yes sirree.

I love motorbikes too, although I haven't had one since Izzy arrived on the scene. It seemed a bit reckless ferrying a newborn baby around on the pillion of a superbike ... even by my relaxed standards. I worked out that she would have to be attached to the bike using her car seat and a heady mixture of gaffer tape and bungy cords, which was immediately a big no-no. Gaffer tape plays hell with your paintwork.

So now I stick to cars. And I have noticed that my car buying predilection has fallen into two distinct categories: BI and AI (Before Izzy, and After Izzy).

BI, I would never have purchased a car that did 0-60 mph in greater than 8.5 seconds. Hence I bought cars like these .....

Pic.No.1 This was my BMW Z3. It had a straight-six engine and growled like a bear (and it was by far the funnest car I ever owned). The colour was 'British Racing Green' with cream leather interior

Pic.No.2 This was my Audi TT. Nearly as much fun as the Z3 but not quite (it had a turbo engine to generate the speed, so there was a 'turbo lag' unlike the Z3 which just had sheer grunt). The turbo whine did sound rather lovely though. It was black with a black leather interior

Not only that, I also simultaneously owned 'sensible' cars for work (with four doors because I had to take clients out for lunch etc.)  .... like an A6 Audi Quattro, and a Mercedes E240 and a BMW 325i. You see what I mean  - I love cars - it's what I spend my money on. Some people like clothes shopping ... I like my motors (and gadgets). 

Anyway, I digress ..... Ignore the cars that I used to have. For the purposes of frugality (i.e. raising funds to set-up a new business) I have spent the last year or so driving around in a shit heap ..... that is, a thirteen-year-old Peugeot 306 ('L' registration plate).

And even though I have only washed the Peugeot once since I bought it (and it is covered in green mould), I have to admit that it has been as reliable as hell. It has started every time, and does an amazing 550 miles to a tank.

But that's not enough for a gal who relishes her cars and gadgets.

Last weekend, I had a spare half hour so I decided to idly browse Auto-Mart (the car selling website) to see what was knocking around (after all, my business was starting to do well and I could afford to look).

And then out of the blue, I found my perfect PI (Post-Izzy just in case you had forgotten) car ....................

I had a few chats with the seller over the phone, and before you could say "don't do anything rash", I had agreed the sale.

And today I went to pick the car up - bloody marvellous!

It's a shame that I don't have a photograph, but it was too dark to take one by the time I got home. But man alive, it is a beast ..... rarrrrr! (that was me being a beast). I am not going to do a 'Big Reveal' just yet, because I have forgotten to take photographs .... how annoying am I? So once I have got them ..... I shall post them on here.

So dahlink - what is your dream car? ..... and is there a discrepancy between that and what you really want to drive?

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler - In Concert 2011

I bloody love going out I do. Staying in gives me cabin fever, because I always feel like I am missing out on stuff. It's pretty sad given my age. Really, I should be sitting on the sofa in my comfy slippers, watching the 'Antiques Roadshow', drinking cups of tea and moaning that the youth of today don't know they're born.

But because doing that would result in crap blog posts, I try to inject a bit of tenacity into the proceedings. It spices things up a bit you see - a bit like dusting your morning breakfast cereal with chilli powder, but not so minging, and it doesn't dissolve your stomach lining.

"Stop banging on, and tell us what you have been up to," I hear you cry.  

Well, I have been to see none other than BOB DYLAN AND MARK KOPFLER in concert. Huzzar!

Yep, me and three chums had tickets to see those two icons performing at the MEN Arena in Manchester.

As I drove up North on the night of the concert, I was shaking like a Scouser in a sport's shop. Yep, I was properly excited. 

Ok, so I wasn't so much a fan of Mark Knopfler, but hell, Bob Dylan had been a constant theme whilst I was at University; his sounds had wound their way through my years there. At the time, I had wanted to look all windswept, interesting, and rebellious - all in one go. And the only way to do that was to (1) buy a powerful hairdryer; (2) listen to Bob Dylan and (3) wear Doc Marten boots, respectively. 

Anyway, I digress again ...... back to the concert ..... I have got pictures for you ..................

Pic.No.1 I have to say that I was a bit perturbed to discover that the average age of concert-goers was about 50 which made me feel like a foetus

Pic.No.2. This is a view of the stage. As you can see, I didn't have the best seats in the house. Even worse, I was sat apart from my chums because I was tardy in booking the ticket. It looked like I was a norman-no-mates

Finally everyone was seated, the couple next to me were arguing in hissy-whispers about the route they had taken to the arena, when the the stadium lights dimmed just as the stage lights burst into life ........... and before you could say 'he's skimped on the set', Mark Knopfler sounded his first cord.

So here are my opinions on the performances dahlink....................... because you know I have opinions on everything.


Pic.No.3 This is Mark Knopfler on stage with his band. He was obviously a good guitar player, but all his songs sounded the same. [What I just did there was probably the equivalent of someone visting the Tate fine art gallery and saying "I could paint that"]

Pic.No.4. Except for the two new songs that he played (which were pretty bloody good actually), I have never been to a concert before where I wanted them to play more of their new stuff

So how was Mark Knopfler? Well, you would never call him a showman. It was like he was rehearsing in his mate's living room - he just stood at the front of the stage playing his guitar in a minimalist way (i.e. you had to strain to see him moving).

And he had no engagement with the audience whatsoever (most of whom wanted him to play his old Dire Straits tracks, but he didn't).

But he did go a good bit where he did a 'play off' with a double bass and a violin. It was spectacular, and he g'eed everyone up by moving at least two feet to the left in as many minutes. 


So how did the great Bob Dylan (aged 71) fare? Well, he made the most rubbish entrance I have ever seen. Imagine a TV reality show called 'Rubbish Entrances' - Bob would have been crowned winner.

Get this: Whilst he was still back stage, he shouted the names of his band members down the microphone, and then sneaked onto the stage in total darkness, only to be already singing once the lights came on.

It took me a full five minutes to figure out where he was on the stage. Talk about lack of showmanship - Michael Jackson he was not.

During the interval, I suggested to my chums that maybe he should have dressed as a devil and 'flown' onto the stage using a zip-wire whilst simultaneously letting off fireworks. They said that I didn't 'get' Bob Dylan.

Anyway, back to Bob Dylan's performance ........................

Pic.No.5 It took me a while to realise that the dodgy-looking bloke in the hat was Bob Dylan (he's the one playing the keyboards)

Pic.No.2 Bob Dylan is the bloke to the right of the stage, standing on one leg

I have to say, that Bob was right when he said that a performer can become successful with an 'unconventional' (i.e. crap) voice. Do you know that film, Rawhide? Well Bob Dylan sounded exactly like the chap who sang 'Rolling Rolling Rolling' - you know the one that I mean.

He basically just growled out all the lyrics and you couldn't make out any of the words. Every song sounded like: rurrrrrrry bur burrrrrry, rurrrrrry lurrrrrrrry grrrrrrrrrrrry ....... I sey ...........rurrrrrryy wurrrrry lurrrrrrry meeeeeeeeee.

BUT, lack of diction aside, his music was kick-ass foot-tapping stuff. You can actually sample a bit of it in the video that I took below ...................... actually scrub that ................... this was a sub-standard version of like a rolling stone (one of my all-time fave songs).

Vid.No.2 This is Bob Dylan's modern interpretation of his classic 'Like a Rolling Stone'. Talk about shit

So that was the concert. And I really enjoyed it even though Bob sounded like Rawhide. His music was banging and I can now say that I have seen an icon perform, albeit it like a hermit on diazepam.

Pic.No.3 This is a rubbish picture of me outside the MEN Arena in Manchester. I hate this picture. What am I doing posting it?

P.S. Apparently Bob Dylan does not like audiences looking at him, which is why the audience was kept in dark throughout his whole set - so he couldn't see them

P.P.S Apparently, Bob Dylan once turned up to do a concert, only to find that he could actually see the audience. So he performed the entire set at the back of the stage, with his back to the punters. Nob

P.P.S. What is the best concert that you have been to?

P.P.P.S. I found out after the concert that photography was banned. That'll explain some of the dirty looks I endured.

Monday, 14 November 2011

It's all about moving house and a man 'turning' gay

Blimey, I have not had access to an internet connection for a few days now. It's a bit like suffering from dehydration and then having your IV drip removed. Probably.

The reason behind my internetless state is because I have been oop North, helping my chum Sarah move into her new house ..... compounded by the fact that telecomms companies are twats - it always takes them at least a week to get new telephone and wi-fi packages up and running.

It's a bloody good job that utilities companies aren't so tardy .... otherwise they would leave a trail of dead hypothermic geriatrics in their wake, and that gets quite messy. I should imagine.

So I have spent the last few days humping furniture about, doing DIY jobs on Sarah's new house, and eating Subway sandwiches for every meal (there was a Subway within 30 seconds walk of her house - excellent). In fact I started to look like a Steak and Cheese melt with Jalapenos if you looked at me in a jaunty angle.

But unfortunately, I totally forgot to take many pictures, in fact I only took three because I was so busy ..... here goes ...............

Pic.No.1 That's Sarah and Gary in the picture. Here we were wallpapering her kitchen wall (we hung up the stripey stuff), and putting up shelves

Pic.No.2 This is a picture of the conservatory before Sarah moved in (Sarah sent me this picture)

Pic.No.3 And here is Sarah's new conservatory after two days of unpacking bags and boxes FULL of stuff - not bad eh?

So, after three days of hard work, I am now back in Oxford. And following the events in Leeds, I have got a small blister on my right little finger, and bruises down both shins and inner arms (from lifting large pieces of furniture). I probably look a bit like a heroin addict except for the fact that Subway stopped me looking emaciated. 

What did you get up to this weekend my dear?

P.S. I found this article on a news website and it made me laugh my head off ....... how bizarre is the whole scenario?

Burly rugby player has a stroke after freak gym accident … then wakes up gay and becomes a hairdresser

  • Chris Birch loses eight stone and transforms himself from skinhead to 'preened man'
  • Gives up job in bank and retrains as a hairdresser
When 19-stone rugby player Chris Birch suffered a stroke during a freak training accident, his family feared it would be a life-changing injury.

Yet while his recovery certainly brought about a transformation, it seems to have been in a way no one could have expected.

For when he regained consciousness, the 26-year-old – who was engaged to his girlfriend – claimed he had become gay.

New life: Chris now works as a hairdresser and lives above the shop with his boyfriend
New life: Chris now works as a hairdresser and lives above the shop with his boyfriend 

Mr Birch’s astonishing change saw him break up with his fiancée, ditch his job in a bank to retrain as a hairdresser and lose eight stone in weight. 

He has now moved in with his  19-year-old boyfriend. 

The now ex-rugby player, a flanker with his local amateur reserve side, had been attempting a back flip in front of friends on a field when he fell down a grass bank, breaking his neck and suffering the stroke.

Before the stroke: Mr Birch worked in a bank and played rugby
Before the stroke: Chris Birch weighed 19 stone, worked in a bank and played rugby

He was taken to hospital where his fiancée and family spent days waiting anxiously at his bedside before he delivered the shocking news.

Mr Birch recalled: ‘I was gay when I woke up and I still am. It sounds strange but when I came round I immediately felt different.

‘I wasn’t interested in women any more. I was definitely gay. I had never been attracted to a man before – I’d never even had any gay friends. 

‘But I didn’t care about who I was before, I had to be true to my feelings.’
Before the accident Mr Birch, of Ystrad Mynach, South Wales, had spent his weekends watching sport and drinking with his mates.

But he said: ‘Suddenly, I hated everything about my old life. I didn’t get on with my friends, I hated sport and found my job boring.

‘I started to take more pride in my appearance, bleached my hair and started working out. I went from a 19-stone skinhead to an 11-stone preened man. 

‘People I used to know barely recognised me and with my new look I became even more confident.’
How a stroke can re-wire the brain

Mr Birch sought advice from his neurologist and was told it could all be down to the stroke opening up a different part of his brain.
Two years ago it was reported that Alan Brown, from Malvern, Worcestershire, woke from a stroke to find he was able to paint and draw in incredible detail, despite no previous evidence of the skill.

The father of three said the experience must have ‘flicked a switch’ in the creative part of his brain.

And Mr Birch certainly has no regrets about his transformation. ‘I’m nothing like the old Chris now but I wouldn’t change a thing,’ he said.

New life: Chris Birch with his boyfriend Jack
Transformation: Chris Birch with his boyfriend Jack. He said: 'I think I'm happier than ever, so I don't regret the accident'

Awww, but don't they make a lovely couple? But (and I am not qualified to comment on this at all, but that never stops me), I have a sneaky suspicion that he was gay before the accident but didn't want to come out.  Or maybe I am wrong ........ what do you think dahlink?

Monday, 7 November 2011

It's 'Caption Competition' time again!

I had too much time on my hands today.

What's that saying? ...... 'Idle minds are the devil's workshop?'

I decided to create a 'caption competition' for you, using Izzy's toys. You see, I am always making sure that you are entertained. I am a bit like Ghandi in that respect (except that I don't wear unfashionable glasses).

So here goes ...................

To make the caption competition more difficult, I have added two pictures instead of one becase I am contrary like that. But you only need to submit ONE caption which covers both scenarios.

The winner will be interviewed via email, and the interview will be published on my blog. I will also select a neutral third party to do the judging ....... be careful it might be you!


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The Worlds Scariest Roller Coaster - Stealth?

Imagine my sheer delight when a few weeks ago, a relly gave me a couple of free tickets to visit Thorpe Park.

"What the blazes is Thorpe Park?" I hear you cry. 

Well, it is a theme park specialising in extreme thrills, which basically means that it is full of totally mental roller coasters. Including one of the (allegedly) scariest roller coasters in the world, called 'Stealth'.

I couldn't possibly pass up an opportunity like that, especially as I love fast stuff. So today, Steve and I took the day off work (I am working on his website with him) and made our way to Thorpe Park to use up the tickets and soak up a bit of adrenalin. Aaah, sometimes it's great being your own boss. Not so great when you need someone to blame ..... but anyway, I digress.

Back to the Stealth roller coaster.

Did I go on it? Well first of all, here is a picture of it for you .................. and it looks a LOT bigger in real life.

Pic.No.1 The roller coaster starts by accelerating up the ramp from 0-80 mph in 1.8 seconds before reaching the top

Pic.No.2 After reaching a height of 205 feet, it drops almost vertically, producing G forces of up to 4.7

Of course I bloody went on it! It's me - Lady M, the feckless adventurer (as I like to call myself when in a fanciful mood). And I have to say, I have never experienced anything like it before - and I have been on a lot of roller coasters.

The initial acceleration completely took my breath away, but that was nothing compared to being dropped 205 feet in a nearly vertical fashion. I was screaming like a herd of monkeys who had spotted a lion, and even when I reached the bottom, my stomach was still up near the clouds.

The whole ride only lasted about 30 seconds, but what a 30 seconds it was - my whole body was heaving from the adrenalin by the time we finally came to a stop. Now that's what I call a roller coaster.

Anyway, when I got home at the end of the day, I was researching the physics of roller coasters, when I accidentally stumbled across a bloody funny You Tube video.

It basically featured a TV programme where the presenter had invited an 71-year-old lady to ride on the Stealth roller coaster with him. Man alive, did I laugh my head off .........  and it gives you quite a good idea of what the ride was like .... enjoy.

Vid.No.1 Vernon Kay takes 71-year-old lady onto the Stealth extreme roller coaster at Thorpe Park (1min 57 secs)

I especially like the bits where she was shouting 'please god, please help me god!' towards the end.

So dahlink, will you come on the Stealth roller coaster with me next time I visit Thorpe Park?

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