Monday, September 25, 2006

Stranger, stranger in a strange land ...

I've got an accent - apparently.

I went into a local aerial shop, inquiring after a new aerial so's I can get Freeview. This is, of course, irrelevent. I got chatting with the bloke there and after a little while he asked my whether I was from "round here". No, I said. I told him I was born some 30 miles away but that I grew up on the south coast. "Oh, yes", he observed, "I thought you had a bit of a twang."

A bit of a twang? Aye doon't think soo. Doock.

Meanwhile this weekend we enjoyed the fair weather and took the dog for a long walk along the track. The kids took the opportunity to vent some frustration and yell at the top of their voices how much they hate Derbyshire. To put this in context, the middle two had a chat with some old friends on the phone that morning. I guess this rakes up some feelings of displacement.

In the afternoon we (nearly) all contributed to making a good ol' Victoria Sponge - which we ate with jam and custard. Which was nice.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Stormy weather ...

And the rain, rain, rain came down, down, down
In rushing, rising rivlets ...

[I have to stop here for Copyright reaons. Bloody Disney - I'm sure A. A. Milne wouldn't have minded.]

Pah. Overcast, indeed. They weather soothsayers know nowt. Just as well I come prepared, with waterproofs 'n all - else I'd get rather damp on the bypass [and that's the last place you wanna get damp. Boom , boom. ;^) ]

I had a weekend away last weekend and I already need a holiday ... :^(

Grump, grump; moan, moan. Talking of which, I've got'em on DVD - that Rick Wakeman and Arthur Smith an' all. Must go watch it, Mebbe it'll make me feel better.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

In the morning ...

We started this morning with the most impressive 3-year-old stop I have yet seen. A full-blown, screaming, floor stamping, wall hitting tantrum. We have a policy of not rewarding such behaviour with any attention, so it escalated into shouting "I HATE You Mummy!". This was also ignored, so was followed by "Did you hear me, MUMMY! I HATE You!". I love children. In fact he's a lovely and loving child (except, perhaps, when denied a "Crunch Corner" for breakfast). I do, however, wish I'd had my video camera to hand so I could post it here.

Right now it's unseasonally warm and Richard Hammond is fighting for his life in hospital .. which puts it into perspective, really.

... you know it’s gonna be alright

Monday, September 18, 2006

And they called it puppy love ...

Car seats. Boyfriends. Weekends away. Public Performances.

So this week sees the introduction of more stringent legal requirements regarding the provision of car seats for children. When I was a kid .. we had no seatbelts in the back. Yes, yes, I know that there are certain sections of society which have to be protected from themselves .. and I know that there are more cars going faster these days .. but do we all really have to be so controlled? If they're going to make these laws I would be happier if they were enforced. What's the point, for example, when every day I see many drivers yakking on their mobile phones, weaving about on the road. I guarantee that parents will be victimised for failing to adhere to a confusing law, and business types will continue to cause a danger and flout a simple one.

Last week introduced a new phenomenon into our household. Boyfriends. Well, boyfriend singular actually. No, sorry, the daughter in question says "just a friend .. who's a boy". Rather scary either way. I mustn't grumble, though - we wanted them to fit in and make friends. (Talking of which, number one son returned from an evening out toasting "twizlers" with the Scouts full of glee, and could at least name all the kids in his patrol.)

Meanwhile, the Mrs and I somehow managed to wangle a weekend away. Without children. There is a life out there ... and we lived a little of it. It was lovely. We mooched round museums and stuff and popped into the occasional pub for a "quick drink". Anyone into art, and the likes of Picasso and Chagall would've liked an exibition by Matt Lamb.

Last night I made my debut performing a warm-up spot at my local folk club, supporting Mick Ryan and Pete Harris. I say debut: I've gigged for years in bands and doing the odd song or two, but never a "proper" solo spot before. I don't think I embarrassed myself - though I did make a few mistakes (experience is a wonderful thing .. it's amazing what you can cover up if you keep going). Fame and fortune here I come ... OK, perhaps not.


Monday, September 11, 2006

When I get older ...

... losing my hair

It's not every day you're 41. Not a particularly momentous age, I suppose, but I'm reasonably up-beat about it. More so than 40, anyhoo.

I don't hate birthdays. I know people who do. I sort of enjoy them .. though I don't like to make too much of a fuss about them. My family make sure my day is a happy one - though having them being nice to me all day is a bit wierd.

I would insert the song "Happy Birthday" at this point, but given recent legal action against so-called CopyrightPiratesTM, I won't.

Meanwhile, this explains it all. 'Nuff said.

Many years from now ...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Wake me up before you go-go

Another academic year starts, and this time we're actually part of it. We've been home-educating for a little less than two years, but it seems like a very long time ago that our kids went to school. Emma spent last night "getting ready for school" (picking her outfit, listening to her music and chatting online with mates - situation normal). I assume she got to school on time ...

Today the kids have been taking the initiative a little and deciding what they want to explorer / learn about. It's gratifying that this is begining to happen as it's one of the biggest leaps of faith with home educating. I have believed for many years that leadership is about facilitating, rather than forcing .. by which I mean that the leader's job is to create the right environment for the right things to happen - as opposed to imposing their ideas on everyone. This applies as much to "teaching" as to management. It's a shame that the necessary trust for this to happen effectively is so rarely given.

Meanwhile, I'm eagerly awaiting the return of Danger Mouse to the Beeb. Hurrah! I can still remember the rather shoddy ZX Spectrum game ...

Friday, September 01, 2006

Well, I thought my pickin' would set 'em on fire ...

But nobody wanted to hire a guitar man

Now this hits a bum note: the MPA mafia has started directing its evil machinations at the hapless guitar tab sites. Can these people not see that they are stifling the creativity of our youth? It's the kids who sit at home copying their heroes who grow up to be tomorrow's performers. Well-known sites such as and have already fallen prey to the money-grabbing fun-suckers.

Somebody please explain to them that by reducing the number of people who can pursue an interest in music, they are ultimately doing themselves out of a job. The real problem with the music industry is too many middle-men are making too much money out of it.

FWIW, I recommend the WayBackMachine as a temporary solution.