In stark contrast to the beginning of the week the weather has been awful, not cold, no snow just dark, grey and miserable. Inspiration has just seeped away over the last few days. Its not as though it has been spirit crushing like the depths of winter, but imagine if you will that you have a bucket and that bucket is full of hope and inspiration however it has a leak. Try as I might I cant fill the bucket back up again faster than it it is leaking away. My good friend and work colleague, “Commander Riker” and me have tried all week to lift our spirits but it has not been happening. Worse still is the news from the BBC that the weather is not going to get any better over this coming weekend.

Anyway I have written out a few birthday cards and popped them in the post. One is for Commander Riker and the other is for an ex colleague and another close friend “Legs”, so called because she has legs that go all the way up there……….. This evening me and the beancounter are off to see the Beast and his wife, yes she has forgiven me for the late night last week, Phew…. That is one of the good things that have happened this week, another is that I managed to purchase tickets to go and see “Whole Lotta Led” in a few weeks time and tomorrow morning tickets go on sale for a series of Rush concerts around the country. I am hopeful of getting my hands on a pair of them. I have missed out on Hyde Park Calling this year because it clashes with family commitments. A pity really because I dont think I will have the opportunity to see Aerosmith again and it would have my first chance to see Peter Gabriel headline at an outdoor venue. But on the plus side I have managed to get tickets for Bo Diddley and the beancounter has got me tickets to see Ray Davis. It would appear that this year is going to be a musical year which makes up for my inability to go away for more than a night at a time.

The exercises are on hold and the push bike is still in the shed just waiting for the first rays of sunlight to emerge. Things will definitely pick up with some sunshine and some good music. I often think how different things would have been if I had of been born into the Adams family and been able to enjoy moonbathing.

The sounds of summer

The aches and pains have subsided and the garden is actually looking pretty good, all in all I am quite proud of myself for the amount I have achieved in such a short time. Its funny how the sound of summer differs from the sound of winter. On the first sunny day of spring there is the almost simultaneous high pitched sound of dozens of electric mowers starting up. Then there is the sound of people cranking two and four stroke engines with much muttering and cursing as they try and coax some life into small bore petrol engines that have been laid up for almost six months. To me that is one of the funnier sounds of spring and summer, the crank, the put put put, then silence followed firstly by curses, questions, recriminations, then threats.

For example, “Oh shit its not starting, did you put any petrol in this thing?, Its your fault you should have cleaned it before it was put away last year” and “well it wasnt me who used it last” and finally, “You bastard, if you dont start, your going to the fucking scrapheap”.  Then there is the altogether different sound of cogs and chains meshings as the carbon neutral mob get their “green” push and cylinder mowers out. You can almost hear the smugness oozing out of every pore. It goes along with the sentence followed shortly after of ” I say darling lets get the cycles out and go for a ride along the prom”. This is in stark contrast to others who are popping tinnies, bottles or muttering “Comon, shove the kids into the four by four and lets go for a drive in the country”. In general though its not long before the air is filled with the smell of newly mown grass followed by the tradional sound of bottle tops being popped.

It was while I was pondering such thoughts that I realised my antipodean friends, the Tiler, the Printer and others would be turning the clocks back and preparing for Autumn down under as their own summer finishes. Would they be emptying swiming pools and getting fleecy thermal underwear out as the weather turns to a bitter 18c or less? Would they be worrying if they had enough lagging to prevent burst pipes this year? Somehow I doubt it but here’s to absent friends, you are sorely missed and may we all meet up again one day soon.

The start of the season

Events seem to be somewhat hampered so far, I have not been able to find any one who can cut up the gas bottle and circumstance has postponed the spit roast. On the plus side the weather is now good enough to clean down my grill and the weather forecast for the weekend is very good. I hope to be cooking something outdoors on Saturday, it wont be a "proper" barbecue but it is the start of the seaon.

What hit me?

Well… a few mates turned up on Saturday afternoon as planned and we had a few drinks before moving onto a club to see my mates band make their debut. Five of us set off and arrived at the club at around 11-30pm. After numerous hellos, hugs and air kisses we sat down and watched the band who were spectacular and after numerous beers we said our goodbyes and arrived back at my house at around 4-30am (The clocks had gone forward by this time) Being in party spirit we carried on drinking until Little Miss Sunshine collapsed on the Beancounters (my long suffering other half) ample bosom. We made her comfortable on the couch (see photo in gallery) and carried on drinking. That was until around about 7am when the beancounter went to bed and I passed out. The decorator woke up miss Sunshine and got her home in a taxi.

Sunday morning came and at around 12 midday I tried to get out of bed. My legs didnt work, my back would not move and a nation of tin mining dwarves had moved into the place where my brain had previously lived. My prediction that I would feel awful after a day spent in the garden was becoming all too true. I decided it would be better for everyone if I stayed put and so I did until 7am this morning when the horrible realisation that it was time to get up get and go to work. It was at this point I discovered my hot water and central heating boiler had packed in and after a phone call to the repair people I was given the grave news it was too old to repair and I would have to get a new one. I am still in shock at this news, probably because the cost is about three time the price I had expected for a new one, but I have decided I have to get another one and now its just a matter of who can fit one the quickest.

It was a great weekend but I am still trying to fathom out what hit me!

Another beer

What a difference a few rays of sunshine make! I woke up this morning and pulled the curtains back to see the sun shining and immediately felt like doing something. Plans to get the push bike out and start a keep fit plan, get into the garden and tidy it up, spring clean the house, the possibilities almost seemed endless. I got into the garden and started work and after what seemd like 5 minutes discovered the day had gone. Standing back to admire my handiwork is when I first noticed the twinges in my back. The awful truth that I am no longer a young or very fit man set in. Welcome to middle age….

It was after a few beers to cheer myself up that i decided I was not going to give in gracefully to the advancing years. Oh no not me, I am going to grow old disgracefuly. I accept that I am no longer going to be strutting my stuff on the beach in shorts and sporting a six pack to die for, I know I am not going to get another motor bike and relive my youth blazing down the highways and byways of the UK leaving strips of rubber on the tarmac. I accept I will never be a rock God and my collection of guitars has now become my pension fund.

But……… The clocks go forward in a few short hours, British Sumer Time will soon be here and I am going to get fit. Well fitter than I am and that cant be too hard can it? I suspect that after a few more beers and trip to see my mates new band make their debut this evening will have me waking up unable to get out of bed or walk. But that is a challenge and I am determined to hone this ageing and creaking body into a lean mean knobbing machine. Well after settling back to watch England play Israel and knocking back another beer or may even a few more beers at least……

Ziggy and the spiders

I had never heard of blog spiders till I started this blogroll and apparently I have to place some line of text in a posting somewhere for technoratis spider to see it. What will this achieve I have no idea but here goes.

Blog Spiders? more like Ziggy Stardust and the spiders from mars

Oh Bugger

It had to happen… Some one has asked me what marinades rubs and sauces I used on the ribs the other week and I have forgotten. The words "Oh Bugger" spring to mind. Each time I cook something I am going to write down on this blog, the names of the various treatments each cut of meat gets in future just to remind myself what I have used.

March winds

The March winds have arrived with a vengeance and the oil drums have been rolling around in the garden. There was snow and blizzards forecast for the coming week but we seemed to have missed out on the snow. Yesterday I decided to see how I could cook a leg of lamb with different marinades and rubs and after 4 hours it came out of the oven smelling wonderful. Four of use ate the whole damn thing in under an hour, it was that good. The house still smells like a Bombay spice market but I am getting used to that now and I am even beginning to like it.

With the weather the way it is it will be some time before I manage to do anything in the garden or construct any smokers with the oil drums. Even the logs I had stored and drying have been drenched because the fly sheeting I had covered them with has blown off and probably sailed across several gardens. It may be some time before I make another post due to the bad weather. Not that it stops me from typing you understand its just because there is nothing to write about unless some one turns up on my doorstep offering to cut some propane bottles open for me!!

The Borderline

Friday came and went and nothing of any note happened, I went to bed early. Pretty much the same happened on Saturday even though it was St Patricks day. Thats her in the photo. As it was Mothering Sunday the following day I was going to take mum out but the place she wanted to go to was on a road that was closed due to the high winds and an unusually high incoming tide. The BBC had forecast snow so I battened down the hatches turned the heating up and prepared to stay in. My mate "The Beast" turned up at about 7-30 with the intention of staying for an hour or so. I have known the Beast since 1994 and we got together through our mutual interest in the live music scene.

During an evening of talking bollox and drinking, we discussed the education system, apprenticeships and carreers officers. There are many things schools dont inform you of when your about to leave. Many of them are the type of job you wont be able to get until your too old and you discover them by accident. For example no school carreers officer ever told me that it was possible to make money from taking photographs of naked or semi naked women and yet all the red mast newspapers in the UK have a scantily clad model on page three. Some one makes a living from taking those photos, why didnt they tell us that at school? No one told us about porn films either. The list goes on and I realised what Pink Floyds another brick in the wall was all about. School wanted to churn out bricklayers tradesmen, people to work in factories and shipyards. Put babies in at one end and churn out automatons at the other. God forbid that they should ever guide some one into a job they might like. It was almost Aldous Huxley and Brave New World.

So the Beast and myself sat down and thought about all the ways we could make some money. Ambergris if you didnt know is whale vomit and worth a fortune to perfume makers. So all we needed was a preganant whale with swollen fins and morning sickness and Bobs your uncle. There are a couple of drawbacks to this plan and the first is getting hold of a pregnant whale and a fishbowl big enough to keep it in. You cant actually buy either at the local pet shop so that idea was scrubbed and we had another beer. Being in a band and managing one was something we had already tried and we knew that didnt work either. Running a bar was also out of the question, we would both be dead of cirrhosis within a year or two. So we had another beer…………

It was going quite well and we had come up with some novel ways to make money only to discard them when we had given it some thought. Then disaster struck and the beer ran out. The hour had turned into five. Where had the time gone? I rang him a taxi at around 1am. I guess his wife wont be speaking to me for a few months. I had had a great night and, as we discovered, the difference between madness and genuis is only borderline.


The scrapyard

Another oil drum was kindly delivered to me last week and I was told that I could have as many as I wanted and a supply of empty butane bottles was mine for the asking. My garden is now starting to resemble a scrapyard but if I can get the cutting gear I can start to assemble a prototype smoker. If its successful I might even try and sell one or two. This would be a great way to make a living if it all comes off. I figured that all the pieces I need I can acquire or "purloin" for less than 30 pounds and should take no more than 10 hours to assemble and paint. Oh well……..

After a really bright start to the week weather wise its gone cold and grey and some of the shoots on the trees and plants are starting to wither. Worse still is the news that we have imminent snow on its way in less than 24 hours. My plans to get the grill out next weekend are not looking good but I still have high hopes for Easter and I have a huge piece of Lamb to practise my marinades on rubs on for tomorrow which is Mothers day. Mum will be pleased I am sure. (probably not, she mentioned last week that the house was starting to smell like an Indian curry house and this was not meant as a compliment!)