Tuesday, 27 July 2004

Monday, 26 July 2004

Paignton Zoo have got a new tiger. Looks like a bit of a poser to me.

Sunday, 25 July 2004

Hello. Got half an hour to kill before pubbage at the Great Western, so I figure I might as well try blogging this weekend a little early.

I had a very tiring week, coming in early every day - out of reasons of efficiency in the first part of the week, and out of habit in the second. I was very ready for Friday when it came, and I engaged in a little not-getting-changed-out-of-my-dressing-gown action for a good deal of Saturday. I woke myself up though, and had a go at weeding the garden with some chemical aid, which I bought. It only covered about quarter of the gravel though, so I started to do it the old fashioned way over the other side, hopefully not going to near the treated area. Had another shop at Alphington Sainsbury's with Norris, and we managed to clear out a whole cupboard of plastic bags that we didn't want to throw out because they're recyclable. Norris kindly lent me his track-pump to do Irene's tyres with. This apparently puts me under the obligation to say that it's very good,and not rubbish. It's true, but he seemed terribly defensive.

Went to 11 o' clock mass at south street. S'good. That new curate seems to be doing all the services. Wandered home via the train station to get some idea of a place I might want to drive in Irene's car. Remembered that I like castles, so we drove to a place called Berry Pomeroy near Totnes - that's Norris, Dan and myself. They have a castle. It's very pretty. It had an audio tour. They're quite good if you can blank out the cheese, and crappy history-by-bad-accents approach that tends to be taken. I'd recommend it. Once you get to Totnes, head for Paignton - we had a little trouble with that.

Chatted to Nina on MSN, and I realised that I can use the car to visit her as well. Bonus! It's certainly been a little under-utilised really. Should sort that out in a bit.

Saturday, 24 July 2004

"Andrew" is blanking me on MSN.

We hates Hancoxes forever!

Well, not really. 'spect he's got some more urgent conversational transaction to attend to.

Friday, 23 July 2004


Guess who provides our water? I must have words...

Thursday, 22 July 2004

New cliche:
Who's she, the cat's mother?
Well it's relatively new to me anyway, but today I used it in conversation. It's like being a part of history - aaaaah.

Wednesday, 21 July 2004

Ooh. For practically the first time in my entire web-browsing life I stumbled across something sensible by chance. Some one searching for "where is dad i have his s.s. number and his d.o.b." found my blog. This is obviously a very sad thing, and smacks of desperation as well as naivete. So I had a sympathy search and found, with the same terms, one Blog O' DOB, not a Dobson, but a "Danny O'Brien [who] is a junior majoring in Comparative Religions at The Ohio State University", and maybe was once grieved, as I was, to find the domain name doblog.blogspot.com unavailable. And his Dad has written, for the laudably named Plain Dealer, an article saying that Catholics must make a choice. Which seems fairly sensible.

Now try saying that ten times fast.

Tuesday, 20 July 2004

each day we die a little more says:
if only my arms were 200 miles long, i'd slap you
Mark D (or not) says:
these would be the arms that remain stretched out to me, right?
A few interesting things to come back to work to discover.
A couple of barometer part-jobs, one completed and collected by a happy customer.
The old bakery behind the shop being demolished, interesting to watch especially yesterday when a workman levered out a piece of concrete that fell on  the scaffolding, bending it and then puncturing a cutting torch gas line. Watching large chunks of building falling down has been quite cool to watch.
There's a possibility that I may move into a single person bedsit, however getting the form required is taking a little time, oh well. I'll just keep asking the person who mentioned it to me.
I was going to help with the IT suite at the Foyer, but the chap I would have been working with changed his day off to the same as mine, so nothing happened.


Monday, 19 July 2004

Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets. I'm not sure when though, so I swept the porch and tidied the front room a bit.

Good TV today; University Challenge, Coupling, Half of that documentary about pagans, while A Pint of Lager and a Pile of Arse is on, and Keith Barrett. Nice.
Oh dear. Things are not going well at work today...
Hey, hey, hey! What's going on with this new interface? It looks absolutely horrible as I type it - hopefully my CSS will sort it out.
... I made the wrong person a leaver, messed up the shared print queue (although I'm sure IT services would be able to sort that out pronto if they were any good), and I think that I am about to discover that I've massively overpaid someone, i.e. me personally.
So that's a fairly pleasant weekend undone. I did some tidying on Saturday, Rob's old room is now minty fresh, and it provisionally has my computer in so that Norris doesn't have to break into my room to use the internet. Kitcehn looks quite good at the mintue too, but I somehow broke the vacuum cleaner, bending one of the pins of the plug dramatically out of line. This is both astonishing and frustrating.
Had a dramatic haircut from Norris - no. 2 all over. Looks alright. Sarah at work said it looked quite nice, and then that I looked like a thug. Make of that what you will. And we went shopping in Irene's car, on which I am now insured - huzzah!
I can't make up my mind what mass to go to on Sundays at Sacred Heart. I never liked waiting round till 11:30 in term-time, so the 09:30 is quite tempting, with kids and old people aplenty. On the other hand, when I went to the 11:00 last week, I thought it was an absolutely rocking service aesthetically, and I gather there's more chance of running into Lisa that way too. Hmm. Decisions, decisions. First confession in a confessional on Saturday. Weird things they are. Prefer the face to face approach. They've got a new curate at Sacred Heart, seems like a nice chap. 'nother convert. Asked him about intercessions. Was considering going to Sacred Heart on Sundays in term-time too. Hmm.
In the evening, much texting resulted in Dan, Norris, Will, Rosie, Luke and I going to the Eagle at various times, where we drank, except for those of us who don't drink, and heard "She's Electric" on no less than four occasions.
And now it's Monday. What are the odds.
Update: Oh good. I never overpaid nobody, right?


Wednesday, 14 July 2004

To info@ryvita.com:
Dear sir/madam,

I would be interested to learn what the singular and plural of Ryvita might be.

Thank you.
Your search - ryvitum - did not match any documents.
No pages were found containing "ryvitum".


- Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
- Try different keywords.
- Try more general keywords.
Also, you can try Google Answers for expert help with your search.

Sunday, 11 July 2004

Got the new council tax bill on my return. I notice they've removed my 25% discount, presumably on the assumption that everybody's graduated. So I was just preparing to write a boring letter to reapply for it, when it occurs to me that Dan isn't a student anymore, so theoretically we should split it 50/50. I wonder if he thought of that. Still got to tell them that Rob's left though. Booooring.

Friday, 9 July 2004

I have to say in my opinion Friday was great. First thing me, Ade and Nicholas went horse riding at East Norton Riding Stables. I've never been on a horse really before but I thought it was wicked! At first it was a bit scary being on a big huge horse. Every time the horse shuffled while I was waiting for everyone else to get on their horses I felt like I was going to fall off. Then we set off and I think the horse was more in control of me than the other way around. After a while we got to trot as well. Although I think what happened was that my horse saw that everyone in front was troting and went "oh we're trotting now, I'd better trot" rather than me telling it too. I also understand why horse riders do the ponsy bobbing up and down thing while trotting. Its so you don't hurt your arse basically. IF you get it right its a lot nicer and I expect that the horse is probably alot happier too with you going with the horse rather than just being bounced about in the saddle. After a while I got the hang of it although I think it took the lads a little longer. Towards the end I think the horses got hungry as both mine and Ades decided that they were going to eat the greenery at the side of the path and had to be pulled back into walking along. Also I managed to get my horse to trot without it seeing the others trotting up front a few times. It was great anyway.

Later on we all went down the beach in Broad Haven and all but Neil hired out some kayaks. I hired out a wetsuit as well as I'm always cold and had some trouble trying to get into one which was too small for me and had to get a bigger one. Neil offered to look after our stuff on the beach and we went for some fun sea kayaking. Once we were all eventually out at sea we kayaked along the coast for a bit. Mark found a cool cave to go into and I followed him through an archway and through this dark cave that got smaller as you went through it and as a result the waves got stronger as well. It was fun. We headed back as most were tired especially Nick.

After that we then headed down to Dale where Ade had booked us all on a boat trip to the offshore islands to see the wildlife. We went out on this really fast speedboat which was cool but very cold, espcially as Ade had forgotten to tell us that we were supposed to wear about four layers and a waterproof. It was ok though as they lent us some waterproofs which kept the wind out at least. There were tons of birds, I don't think I've ever seen so many around cliffs like that before. There were puffins and other small birds and seagulls and puffins and maybe other birds. The puffins were quite cute with their bright red beaks. We also saw some sealions lazing on the rocks.

We then headed back to the cottage to warm up. Neil decided that he knew the way driving back and ignored Ades directions even though Ade had the map. That resulted in Neil driving a long way down some rather narrow and interested roads while we all took the piss.

After all that I was rather tired, I don't know about the rest. That was probably why I slept most of the way back to Manchester the next day.

Thursday, 8 July 2004

The only day with even slightly iffy weather in the whole holiday. We were going to go on a boat trip to some islands where there are lots of birds but it was gale force winds over there so we had to skip that one. Instead everyone but Neil headed Pembrick Castle. it was a fantastic castle, made better by the fact you could use student discount. It was a massive castle and most of it was still in good shape so you could explore most of it. the first bits had historic stuff but I think they gave in and accepted that most people just want to go and see a castle... There was even a cavern under the castle that you could go int, presumably it was for supplies. There was a chapel (I think) that had very good accoustics. I would've been awesome as a place to play hide and seek but it was a bit knackering with all the steps.

A friend and Emma's (and possibly Adrian's, I'm not sure on that count) had said there was a cool Lily Place in some grounds that were open to the public so we headed to that. Had more fun on the beach really as there were lots of cool caves to explore. Mark and Adrian decided to attack me to test my jitsu. We don't really do defense from a rugby tackle but I managed to get a Towara Geishi off on Mark...

Wednesday, 7 July 2004

I woke up early this morning, big surprise with the thin curtains, and watched TV for a bit before checking the weather forecast. On returning to the bedroom I discovered an awake Mark who was wondering if he had missed doing a cooked breakfast for everyone, he hadn't and I'd already had a bowl of cereal.

Once everyone was ready, I drove us to Heatherton, an activities centre, I accidentally took the turning just before the car park entrance and headed down a narrow country lane until I could turn around.

We started out trying the laser clay-pigeon shooting followed by archery, which I did far better in . Perhaps my disapproval of firearms, even fake ones make me feel uncomfortable. We had a game of croquet, which Adrian won, mostly because the first hoop was very difficult to do. I came third, after Mark.

The others went go-karting, I felt rather uncomfortable about wearing the helmet and decided I'd watch. It was quite entertaining to watch the 12 year olds being turfed out of the 14+ line, they didn't even attempt to lie, one even wrote down her age to the sign up sheet. Emma turned out to be a proper speed maniac quickly lapping everyone at least once, but at least she drove safely, unlike some of the other (non-Dobson) drivers. A bit of bad overtaking by one driver ended with one plowing into the edge tire barrier while the other one knocked over some of the central watertank barrier, no-one was injured and so everyone soon resumed racing around.

We has lunch next, then the others had a go at the baseball practice. We went over to have a go at the "Maize Maze", however it hadn't yet grown tall enough to provide any challenge so it was closed. Adrian and Nicholas played draughts on a giant board while we watched.

Last of all for me we all when on the bumper boats, where Emma somehow managed to get enough speed up to splash me, a difficult feat on the hard-to-steer boats. I was getting tired the presence of so many 14 and under children was a little wearing so I went back to the car for a break for the rest of my time there. Emma had evidently enjoyed herself and dozed off on the way back, I wouldn't have minded if she hadn't been my navigator!#

The forecast was for icky weather for the next few days, and I hope to see a good (thunder)storm from the house's patio door overlooking the bay.

Tuesday, 6 July 2004

How may this be? I am the only person who has not blogged their allotted day in the holiday. What's the emoticon for a head hung in shame?

As Adrian saith, today was basically a big 'ol walk. Adrian and I were, like, hardcore, and decided to walk about twice as far as Nick and Emma, but in the same direction. Apparently, after the latter drove to Dale and walked out to the main path, Adrian and I had pretty much caught them up. This was rather downplayed, but I thought it meant that we won. Us, us, us.

It was a ridiculously sunny day, with lovely views and some very unspoilt looking beaches. Looked like photos of mediterranean beaches. Magic.

Fortunately, blogging walking is fairly self explanatory. We walked along a coastal path, said hello to the middle-aged people, and nodded to the younger people.

We probably drank in the evening too. Can't remember. Perhaps we played Risk...

Monday, 5 July 2004

We finally got round to doing a shop. I'm not sure that I can do Tescos in Haverfordwest justice here, so I'll leave it to your imagination to experience the five of us looking for food in a supermarket.

After some lunch back at the cottage, we headed for "The Biggest Aquarium in West Wales", in St. David's. For this to have been an accurate description, all the other aquatiums in West Wales must contain only goldfish. Really only about half an hour's entertainment to be had, which is quite poor for half an hour's drive. Highlights were the somersaulting ray, and some nice (edible looking!) flatfish, but there were really only a couple of good tanks. The rest were kind of empty looking, or just a little dull.
We then popped up to the Tourist Information office. I went via the car, as I'd gained a nice red neck (nose, arms, feet, forehead and legs), and wanted some aftersun.

St. David's Cathedral was a much more worthwhile affair. It's in a very nice setting - approached from above down a steep hill, which makes it very scenic, and you don't see it until your virtually on top of it. There's a cute little river separating it from the ruin of the Bishop's Palace. Only the upper level seems to be ruined; the lower level - apparently for storing beer and servants - appears mostly intact, but is ill-lit and ought to be very creepy. Unfortunately the scariest things were the stairs between the two levels.

After some tea, we drove up to St. David's Head and, leaving Neil with Emma's new stunt kite on the beach, walked a couple of miles around the headland.
The scenery is fantastic. It's all grass, flowers and heather up to the cliffs, followed by rocky landscape and very blue water. I'm not sure exactly what we're doing wrong in England, but the Welsh seem to have all the clean water.
Emma got quite dehydrated, and was suffering towards the end, so a few drinks were required before we returned for an excellent stir fry, apple crumble and custard (courtesy of Mark & Nick, Mum, and myself respectively).

Sunday, 4 July 2004

I aim to blog what happens at the weekend on Monday usually, so in catching up, here's Sunday. There's not much to it really.

Firstly, mass. It's going to be a little weird to switch places of worship for the summer, but as I was in a little bit of a hurry, it was somewhat like a one-off anyway. Oddly, Dwight Longenecker, of whom I have heard via the internet turned up to talk. He talked about an organization he's involved with which supports church leaders coming into the Catholic church. I was gearing up to be pleasantly surprised by this, but he replaced the homily, which rather countered this. I'd like to think that the author of Adventures in Orthodoxy might politely decline to arse about with the liturgy. Still, such things seemt to be endemic rather than calculated, and I gather that he does good work.

Ran into some RCIA people and the SVP lady, who mentioned setting up something wih students at the chaplaincy next time.

Went home, said tata to Rob, and then wandered up to the chaplaincy to say tata to Fr. Paul for a bit, though I gather I'll run into him. I expect I'll pop round to borrow Laudate &c., but best let him alone till he's got tired of it being quiet I guess. He was noodling on his guitar, the congregation not being particularly present, so I left him to celebrate, and wandered over to the coach station.

There was a ridiculously drunk chap at the coach station. He was speaking an unintelligible version of Scottish, but seemed cheery enough. He asked me if I liked coke, which I'm not sure that anybody else has ever done. He then got less cheery, accused someone of staring at him, and was encouraged to leave by a fluorescent-jacketed person. Other than the fact that I went to Haverfordwest on a coach, nothing much happened after that. It took about eight hours too.

Haverfordwest doesn't have a coach station. It has a bus stop. Fortunately, Emma and Neil still managed to find me.
Got up a little late I suppose and went walking on a coastal path not too far from Broad Haven. Neil dropped us off and the path lead back to Broad Haven. Well, we actually didn't get on the path until a little late, having gone too far and so we went off the beaten track as't were... Had to climb over a barbed wire fence and walk through some spiky plants but found the actual path quickly. Pretty hard to miss it really but we got back pretty quickly.

Headed down to the beach where Emma got a Kite and the rest of us went swimming in the nice, clear, freezing cold water. It must have been clean, we saw some baby jellyfish and dead one I later found out to be a compass jellyfish. We had fish and chips on the beach, very nice.

Got back, Neil and I watched Scooby Doo. It was a terrible film, lacking most of the charm of the original series... I suppose they got they were fed up with Crappy Doo as well though.

Emma got the BBQ going again and Adrian and I settled down to watch the match. Part way through, Emma and Neil went to get Mark, he went to bed pretty quickly. The rest of us stayed up to watch Versus, a fantastic Zombie, Martial Arts film.

Saturday, 3 July 2004

Was toying with the idea of sending the permalink for this to The Radar Station, but this isn't a proper gig review, so I shan't bother. I didn't note down the playlist or anything. Anyway, getting ahead of myself really.

Dan asked when we were going. I said about half seven. He said that seemed a bit late. I looked quizzical, as I am generally rather punctual, and retired to bed very much inclined to wake for about half seven anyway. We left a little after half seven but it weren't my fault. I had a little chemical (taurine) stimulation, as I thought I'd probably need it. I asked for another at the Phoenix's bar, and received red wine. Felt a bit common, but then I remembered.

The warm-up band were ludicrously average. I think they were called Tribe. A three-piece, the drummer and the lead-guitarist looked quite normal, but the bassist looked cool with a capital F. He had a guitar strap apparently made from bullet cases or whatever they're called, and perched his (ironic?) lucky dildo on top of his amp. He played as if he really meant it, thought what he meant didn't strike me as being very interesting. Oh, and the guitarist wouldn't turn the delay off on his mic for some reason.

So... the Magic Band - well they were great, I'm pleased to say. No Vliet, naturally, but John French, in addition to being a fantastically funky percussionist, does a very serviceable Beefheart impression, complete with harp and actions, but unfortunately no sax. He looked pretty cool too. Where exactly does one purcheas a white trenchcoat? He made an excellent bandleader. Gary Lucas was predictably awesome, and seeing "Evening Bell" performed in front of me was very impressive. It sounds incredibly difficult to play, and now I know that it looks it too. Mark Boston was also fantastic. He was wearing a Residents t-shirt and he looks like Father Christmas. The was a stand-in drummer too, who didn't stand out, but I gather that the drum parts are all fairly tortuous, so big up on him. Dennis Walley was generally fine, but he didn't look very happy, and I wasn't so sure about some of his solos. They did a retro version of "Electricity", which wasn't so very different to the later one, but it was quite interesting to hear it with harp. Generally speaking, it was fantastic end to end, and everyone (hyperbole) was having a good time. They said they weren't going to do an encore, but we weren't having that. I went home feeling good.
I write this on Monday evening, and type it some other - Sunday mebbe. At any rate, I am scribbling first so that a (hopefully) interesting week is not lost to my consciousness. We had an idea that we should spread the week's blogging out, so watch this space.

I shall start with Saturday, though it beseemeth very distant to me now. This day in history, Rob, Amy and I went to Paignton Zoo to see some animals. Rob had seen the animals before, and apparently found them very enjoyable.

After getting off a train we headed for the tourist information centre, where a nice lady who was dressed as a pharmacist filled in a form to give us a discount. We then wandered around in circles until we found ourselves at the bus-stop. They had a bus with the roof missing, so we thought we'd go on that.

Rather fantastically, though I suppose it should not be unexpected, I could Gift Aid my entrance fee, giving the zoo an extra 28p per pound. This was especially marvelous, as I used my card to pay for all three of us.

It was a funny old day weather-wise, with both umbrellas and refreshing beverages being necessary at distinct stages. You should probably go to the zoo if you want a blow-by-blow account. I am both too lazy, and too aware of the inadequacy of the method to attempt it, but I shall say what I shall. There're a lot of ducks in the zoo - just seemed a bit silly, but I guess it must be an education for our local water-fowl. The big cats were mostly just lying about, but the cheetah perked up at something which proved tricky to identify. We saw a rhinoceros walking a perpetual figure of eight. We're not sure whether it was trying to tell us anything. There was a young bongo which seemed to be frolicking, if not gambolling. It's all a lot more fun to look at than write about, or indeed read, presumably.

It was a lovely day with lovely people. I think Amy and I may have exasperated Bob by being low-brow and amused by defecation. Toilet humour is the highest form of wit and the sincerest form of shattery.

My handwriting is very bad indeed.

I rather think I spent too much money - what the train far, bus fare, zoo fare and zoo fayre. Pasties sandwiches and ginger beer. As per the statutes, I fed none of this to the seagulls.

Departed with much more nougat than I started with, on the open-top bus, which helpfully woke us up, zombified, as we were, by an early start. I needed sleep, but I had some forms to fill in with Rob to do with the phone bill, so I did that first, before going for a nap.

This is a very apt place to stop, and stop I shall, as it is getting late, I have not read my bible, and exciting, exotic music is coming to my ears courtesy of Shaheera Asante, Late Junction and Radio 3. More on exciting music later.

Friday, 2 July 2004

Finished off at work yesterday OK, ran out of work at the end of the day, so David very kindly let me finish 3/4 hour early. Left my bench tidy and swept the floor.

Got off to a lovely start today, woke before the alarm went off, got ready and left with plenty of time, arrived dry and got a nice seat on the train. Helped a middle-aged couple make sense of their seat reservation, and helped when the wife was stuck on her crossword puzzle clue "golf peg", my answer "tee".

I arrived in Surrey and things slipped a bit, it started to rain just as I tried to cross the busy road to get to the bus stop.
I'd forgotten how stupid people in Surrey can be about transport, three examples on my way home.
1) Lorry parked so as to block the uphill A30 between the always busy Meadows roundabout and Frimley road.
2) Pissing down with rain, lots of people waiting to get into the bus, not a single person other than me had money or their ticket ready. Morons.
3) Car in front of me up the back of a bus, they had to brake sharply each time the bus stopped.

My career seems to confuse the travel company, apparently my profession is Zoologist, the only possible overlap would be a watchdog. Sigh, a Horologist's lot is to be misrepresented by the world.

Dad's bought a new tent which he seemed happy with, however the flexible struts suffered from having badly done knots on the stretchy cord inside and had to be redone. One even required the attentions of a power drill to destroy one of the knots that had slipped inside the tube.
I just accidentally got £110 out of the cash machine.


Oh, and here comes a leaver's form for someone who left on 25th May, after both the June deadlines. Pillocks.