It’s payback time

It seemed like a good idea at the time and so I spent part of Thursday evening thinking about an exercise programme having already gone swimming with the Prince of Darkness only the night before. And so before I knew it I was on the floor attempting press ups. I managed two before my stomach decided it did not want to do this and I crumpled into a heap and stared at my cat that was looking at me with bemusement and contempt in the way that only cats can do. What had I done to deserve this contempt I can hear you asking.

A week ago Genghis came into the house with blood pouring from his chest. As it was bleeding over the carpets and showed no sign of letting up me, Roger Moor and the Traveller investigated. There seemed to be a single puncture mark which was where the blood was coming from. After a beer or two we decided that boxers when they are cut use Vaseline to stop blood flow and after a few more beers we decided that an application of Savlon would not only stop the blood flow but would disinfect the wound at the same time. Wrapping the cat up in a towel I held him on his back and with RM stroking him under the chin to soothe him the Traveller proceeded to apply disinfectant cream. Satisfied with our attempts at first aid we all had another beer and marvelled at how good a job we had done. Genghis licked off the cream and started bleeding again. I did what any normal person would do and let him lie on the reddish carpet in the living room in front of the fire. The blood would not show up as much and the fire would make the wound scab over. The three of us agreed that this was a brilliant plan and that neither Christian Barnard nor Sans Frontieres could have drawn up and executed a better plan. We had another beer!

Fast forward a few days and it was apparent that Genghis was not at all well and he would not eat or drink and wanted to sleep a lot more than usual. I made an appointment for the vets and after an investigation it was revealed that he had six puncture marks on his chest and that they were from a cat bite. It had become infected and this was compounded by the fact he had licked off the Savlon cream and the cream was toxic to cats and not for ingestion in any way shape or form. A couple of injections of antibiotics and 50 quid later I took him home. He perked up in a matter of hours and I fed him a piece of raw sirloin I had bought especially for him. By the following day he was back to his old self. The vet had suggested I took him back in a few days for a check up and to give him his booster jabs and worming tablets.

As I walked in cat box in hand the vet said he looked fine and that it would be a good idea now he was here to keep him at the surgery and perform THE OP. I was horrified, I mean I always knew that he would need it but I was not going to be the one who took him there and that is exactly what I had done. It felt like I had taken my best mate out and led him to a butchers shop with sinister intent something along the lines of the butchers in the League of gentlemen. I mean I had always figured that if responsible cat owners put lady cats on the pill then Genghis would not have to have his bollox chopped off and all because some brazen hussy could not keep her tail between her legs.

I picked him up several hours later and he looked sorry for himself. I do not think he knew what had had happened as the anaesthetic had not yet worn off but I figured it would not take him long to figure out that something was missing. So not only was he looking at my pathetic form with utter contempt but he must have been thinking it’s payback time.


Only two items left

And so to cheer myself up during the long cold winter months I splashed out on my credit card and bought a raft of goodies. I now have too much gear but I am in the enviable position of deciding what not to take instead of saying I wish I could afford that. Not to crow but just to re-iterate I have managed to collect in a period of just 18 months what some people take a lifetime to acquire. It helped that as I owned much of the stuff many years before; I had a damn good idea of what I wanted this time around. There have been many mistakes along the way and some items have just not been fit for purpose but as I did not know anyone with the same equipment and few shops sold the items I was looking for before I purchased then the internet was the only way to go. The biggest mistake was the satnav. Yes the infernal navigation aid that did not aid at all and seemed hell bent on getting me lost. Sue me Garmin I will happily see you in court!

So I took the plunge and have invested in a new one. Another Garmin but this time all singing all dancing and with expansion slots to take extra maps and information. It is also wide screen and should not present such a problem as trying to view it with my glasses on as the old satnav did. It has all the maps I should ever need including city navigators of all the major towns in Europe. It can also take phone calls and play MP3’s. So to make the most of this piece of electronic gadgetry and to realise its full potential I purchased some other goodies to go with it.

Now perhaps I am naive or I do not understand the instructions but I cannot get the Scala teamset to work as I thought it would. Again as I do not know anyone who has one of these and there do not appear to be any shops locally who sell this item I purchased off the net falling for the blurb that accompanied the product. The idea was to have a head set that would enable me and Bean Counter to communicate with each other instead of us both digging each other in the ribs to attract each other’s attention. Reading the blurb then if I have go this right, both of us should be able to listen to separate things for example she should be able to listen to the MP3 player I bought to accompany her headset. I should be able to listen to the MP3’s stored on the satnav while looking at the map and when we speak to each other both sets of MP3’s should be cancelled out until we stop speaking when they would come on again.

I do not know if the equipment is broke or it was never intended to do this. For now BC and me can speak to each other and not listen to music or we can listen to music to brighten up the boring motorways and not speak to each other. Both include tapping various buttons on the headset which I am not too happy about doing while riding the bike. Of course when I am on my own and have no pillion to communicate with then this will not be a problem. However for now it seems that yet again I have bought something that will not do the job for which I believed it would.

I also failed to realise that the headsets need charging from the mains and cannot be charged from the power supply on the bike. If I am camping then I will have no power to recharge the batteries and the headset will only last for seven hours before it needs more electricity. It will not be an entire waste but 600 quid for all the bits is a lot of money. Maybe I should have just bought the satnav as that does seem to work and a ride out camping in Yorkshire in just two weeks will either confirm that I was justified in spending so much on a single piece of equipment or whether I have been ripped off again. Bark Busters and crash bar panniers are now the only two items missing from my comprehensive list.


Maybe things are looking up!

And the news is…. Yes, Commander Riker, on bended knee, finally proposed to Miss Décolletage on Christmas day and she graciously accepted. The happy couple are now engaged after an eight year romance and set to tie the knot sometime in 2011. Of course the idea of a private wedding on a beach somewhere in exotic lands has for now gone out of the window with the world and his dog wanting to attend the ceremony. I have of course come up with a proposal that will meet all of their needs and at a budget they can afford. As most people know I am a Bona fide Jedi priest and as such I have offered to perform the ceremony for them on the local shore at low tide and throw in a hog roast on the local common and all for only 2 cases of Stella. To my surprise this did not provide the undying gratitude I had initially hoped for but they have said they will get back to me.

So what else is new? Well Roger Moor knocked at my door the other day clutching a bottle of Jack Daniels and said take a look at this. He had the bottle in one hand and the top in another. The top had a spike in it and the bottle smelt of fruit. Emails to JD headquarters in Lynchburg Tennessee resulted in a phone call from the top man at the UK head office. It would appear that the latest wheeze is for someone in the distribution chain, IE at one of the supply warehouses in the UK, to implement the brilliant idea of drilling through the stopper of a bottle of JD. They then siphon the JD out of it, replace it with apple juice because it is the same colour and seal it up with a section of cocktail stick and disguise the offending wood with black marker pen. The end result was that RM received two bottles of JD as compensation and the offending bottle was taken away for forensic examination.

This is hardly a new idea but the ingenuity of disguising the hole that was drilled is. I well remember someone telling me a long time ago about bottles of whiskey that had the same treatment. As the top was a cork that did not need drilling a syringe was all that was needed to draw out the contents of a bottle. Cold tea was then injected into the bottle to make up the contents and the cork would self seal. It is the reason why many bottles now have metal caps with a tamper proof seal however it seems JD has stuck to time and tradition and is still using cork with a plastic cap.

As I mentioned in my last post I am now back at work and after four weeks it feels as though I have never been away. This is in no small part thanks to my colleagues who have been wonderful. I still get pains in my stomach and I think it will be some time before they subside if they ever go completely. I finished off the work in my shed at the weekend just gone and as I was putting the tools away I lifted a toolbox to stow it in its home and I felt what can only be described as a tear in my belly and I felt sick almost immediately. The pain went a couple of hours later and I decided that I could not let it run my life for me or dictate what I could or could not do. So I arranged with the Prince of Darkness to go swimming last night. The first length was ok and the second one was not bad but after that it went downhill. I got out of the pool after only 20 minutes and came home. This morning I could hardly move and my stomach muscles felt as though a cannon ball had gone though them. The pain is easing off as I write but I think only a course of gentle exercise will toughen me up. I intend to go swimming again and it may turn out to be a regular event. I will know more in a week or so.

So far the year has gone well and it has certainly been an improvement on the last few years even at this early stage. As usual I have splashed out on my credit card as I always do in the January sales. (More about that in the travel section) A plan of work for the house and dates for that work to be implemented has been completed and work has already started. The shed being one of the many jobs to be completed by the end of September has already been finished. It is now leak free and tidy. A gutter goes up around the shed this weekend coming and new blinds are being fitted to the windows in a fortnight’s time. The Traveller who has just gone back to the South of France has a drawn up a plan and timetable of when each room is being decorated and that will start in March.

In spite of the pains in my stomach I feel good about myself and the prospects for this coming year. I feel full of hope and things that would have got me down last year now seem like a challenge that can be taken on and completed. With the news that the recession is finally over in the UK maybe things are looking up!


fate and the gods willing of course.

And so after one of the longest and coldest periods of winter we have endured over the last 20 years or so the snow has finally cleared. Unfortunately the big thaw has also produced localised flooding and the dreaded burst pipes. The garden shed had a few plumbing leaks and the past weekend has generally been spent trying to repair and replace old piping. The event should have taken only an hour or two but the old pipes are made from imperial measurements and the new ones are from metric. The two do not always marry up and it may be a few days before I can turn the water on again.

Of course the news about bins not being emptied and roads being blocked and schools and commerce being shut is nothing shocking in a country where the trains stop running because of leaves on the line or the roads being closed because of the wrong type of snow. It all pales into insignificance though when faced with news from around the world of earthquakes and mass graves totalling over 70,000 bodies so far. Our society may be far from perfect but a quick look around the world shows it to be a Shangri-La in a maelstrom of chaos and confusion. No wonder so many people want to get in.

With talk of getting in, imagine my surprise when out of the blue a phone call from a number I did recognise turned out to be my old mate the Printer. He was calling from the UK and had unbeknown to any one come home from Oz for a holiday with his wife and their two children. We arranged to meet up for a few hours and he and his family landed on my doorstep on Sunday Jan 10th. It was great to see him and he had hardly changed over the years. I have come to the conclusion that for all the times he has told me he was homesick the trip has proved to be a shock for him as the UK is such a different place than it was when he left. He no longer recognised many aspects of the country he once knew and he said the streets were quieter than he remembered and the social life was not the same. I think it will be a long time before he ventures back onto UK soil again. Oz may have its problems but they are different from the UK.

Thanks to my impairment I have not started Rhonda up for a few weeks and as the cold snap had me worrying about whether or not she had enough anti freeze in the cooling system I disrobed the protective swaddling and fired her up. I was half expecting to see the radiator leaking a sieve and the cylinder heads shatter but god bless her she ran like a dream and after 20 minutes I so I closed her down again. That’s when the problems started. Getting her back on the stand was not as easy as taking her off it. My muscles and especially my stomach are still aching from the strain.

I am now back at work and have been for two weeks. Although things have changed as you would expect them to over so long it still feels as though I have never been away. The first day or two were strange but thanks to my wonderful colleagues I seem to have settled in nicely. My scribings may not be up to speed with all of the events that have taken place over the last few weeks, especially the festivities but at least I am now getting there and I expect to be back up to speed very shortly fate and the gods willing of course.


we can be heroes

I cannot remember the last time I was so delighted to see a year out. 2009 was not the worst year in my life but it was far from the best and 2010 has come in roaring like a lion. The weather is awful and I am finally back in work. I have a lot of catching up to do both work wise and socially. The past year has also treated various close friends in a similar manner to me although it would not be fair to put names to ailments even if most of them are Nome De Plumes. It is just best to say here is to 2010 and I hope everyone out there has a wonderful year ahead of them.

For me the coming year will be a busy one if any of my dreams are to come to fruition. There is still a lot of work to be completed on the house before the “for sale” sign goes up and I hope to have this ready by the end of September. Hopefully the economic situation will have recovered enough by this time to encourage the banks to lend realistic amounts of money to would be home buyers. There is no shortage of people who want to and can afford to buy. There is a shortage of banks who will lend them the money to do so.

It has also been noted and commented upon that the posts in my blog have been lacking in both regularity and frequency. Sad though it is while there has been a great deal to comment upon I have not always been up to the job of blogging. I mean to say who would have thought that Tiger Woods would have become a hero and a true aspiration to many young sportsmen. I can hear the gasps of incredulity from here but allow me to explain. One marital indiscretion may seem like being cold hearted, two maybe a bit caddish and three definitely a bit of a rake, but 13 and still counting! For god’s sake if I was the chief exec of Pfizer or Red Bull I would be banging on his doorstep with cheques for endorsement.

I can see the adverts now, Tiger Woods sponsored by Red Bull and Viagra. The advert for Gillette would definitely be along the lines of Even Tigers love a smooth pussy, Gillette the best a man can get. So how come Tiger has become a hero in my eyes? Well it shows what you can do when you get to the top of your game. How many adolescent males with far too many hormones running around them would dedicate themselves to sport if they thought they could earn loads and be banging porn stars, cocktail waitresses and hostesses instead of rioting on the streets and selling drugs.

Think about it, England would have won every world cup since its inception if all young footballers thought that would be a reward for practise, hard work, long hours and dedication. Our entire Olympic team would become gold bearing Olympians with monotonous regularity. As Dave Bowie sang we can be heroes.