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Blogging With Dr P... Blogging When I Can - Honest!
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Welcome to Blogging With Dr P... blogging when I can - honest

Your Blogging With Dr P... search result is below this annoucement.
In April 2008 Blogging With Dr P... moved to Blog Bypass.

If you're using the Blog Studio Search Facility to find a link to a previous blog, then I've been very generous, and NOT included an automatic re-direct which would take you there.

So, what this means is you have to use this link: Blog Bypass to find more Blogging With Dr P....

Thank you to Blog Studio for all the help over years! :)

(Feb 2010 Update): Haloscan is no more. Therefore the comments on this blog are no more. Sad, but true. I'm not paying $12 a year for the occasional comment with Echo. Apologies to all those who have commented. I have saved them and may well stick them somewhere else at some point.

Sunday, April 27, 2003 Guestbook Junkmail

I had this little beauty dropped in my guestbook yesterday..

"Every living being must be a peace activitist ,Mostly a christ follwer,the aggression waged on the irag government was thus successful since it is base on truth and peace keeping.thank GOD for America and British government.the peace has thus extended to mid east , the hositility between the isrealis and palestine .Hence, i am not a political activitist but rather a welfare Rev. who has 23 iraqes refuges in my pentecosta church and surprisingly promising to convert and cristene has a christain even promised to extend the doctrine to their respective countries. Moreover, I am looking forward to your support both morally, christain tracts and above all financially .Any cheerful donation will be appreciated our church mobile line is 234-8023415212or get accross throgh my email box .this message can be extend to church and other humanitarian. organisation.
from Gabriel"

I can't be bothered to give his email address out, (it's in my guestbook if you really want it), but it did raise an interesting question. Does this look as though it has been extremely badly translated from another language? It has all the hallmarks of something that the Altavista Bablefish might do to a foreign language webpage when it converts it into English. Ultimately, it is a damned fine piece of 'junk guestbookmail' - the first I've had. So I decided to do some investigating.....

By some strange coincidence someone had just searched, and reached my weblog by searching in Google under: "2002 christainity email address in...". I was on the third page, about three quarters of the way down. (Strangely, a website called Teach In China was the first on the first page....?). Anyway I tried to find out some more about this - but failed tragically. But if anyone does come across anything about this dude - please stick it in the comments bit at the foot of this blog entry - I thank you.

But it is Sunday morning, I do have plane to catch, so it's off round the M25 for me, for a 11.15am flight, (Air France, not British Airways this time - boo..!), from Terminal 2. If you do happen to be there - I'll be wearing a red rose and carrying a copy of yesterday's Times newspaper .

See y'all back here next Friday-ish.

A bientot, comme ils ditons :)

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Saturday, April 26, 2003 Ship In An Antarctic Bottle

I really should leave it there , but the more I thought about this concept......the more I had to to talk about it. Lets face it, there could be a whole range of these type of 'novelty mantelpiece dust gatherers'. Think of it:

* Sand & a twig = "Desert In A Bottle"
* Heated bottle of water piece of cotton towel = "Sauna In A Bottle"
* Sand a small toppled statue of Saddam = "Iraq In A Bottle"

But for absolute bizarreness in bottling (!) - try Bonzai Kitten - a truly remarkable website. To find out much more about them - go here - I think it will explain it :)

Anyway, enough of all that nonsense. I've got a small bit of packing to do - plug adaptors for those Frenchie electrical outlets, - that's it. Oh yes - and my digital camera to catch those 'interesting French moments'.

Look after yourselves, I'll be back on Friday or Saturday next week.

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Friday, April 25, 2003 The Eye Of The Tiger

When you have nothing else to do, stick on VH1 or MTV, or one of the other myriad of music channels out there, and just let it soak in. I mean - SLOUCH ON THE COUCH. It's a great way to relax. And really 'go for it' as well. First, make sure they are are enough cushions to support your soon to be collapsing body, let your arms and legs go limp - leaving only enough energy to operate the remote control - and wallow in it.

Music is a great soother. So why am I getting so much enjoyment out of the punk rock channel - p.rock tv? You'd think it was a bit of a nostalgia thing wouldn't you? But it's not. The alledged 'punk rock' being played here is all clean-cut American 'new wave' punk rock - if such a genre exists. It's not the snot & spittle unintelligible garbage of early UK late 70's punk. You can actually understand these mommies boys :) That's not punk!? That's just a smart education, long weekends, an empty garage - and oodles of dosh from mater & pater to back you up. None of the bands look as though they'd stand a chance in a good old spit n' sawdust pub. One "You're crap - get off!" from the crowd......and....they'd get off! However, there are some notable bands on there - whose music I've yet to trawl Kazaa or Winmix for - in no particular order Reel Big Fish, Off Spring, Blink 182, Tuuli - to name a few.

But whilst playing on here last night I heard the strains of 'Eye Of The Tiger' by Survivor eminating from the TV. I couldn't help but smile as it reminded me of one of my favourite lines ever from one of the 'Rocky' movies. ......

Paulie - "Yo Rocky. Now that you're rich and famous you should think about
investing some of it"
Rocky - "Uh huh."
Paulie - "Yeah - what about condominiums?"
Rocky nervously shuffles for a moment and then utters that immortal reply:
Rocky -"Oh don't use them."

Thank you the 'Great God of the Movies' for allowing me to hear this line and share it with my friends :)

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Thursday, April 24, 2003 Holocaust Remembrance Day....

.....begins at sundown, (an American calendar), on Mon 28th April - next week. This also coincides with the day we put our trash, (sorry, rubbish)out - due to the Bank Holidays at Easter effecting the garbage, 'dustbin'), man's collection 'schedule' (.....I'll be checking your pronunciation of that word later!)

Sundown next Monday will also see me potentially entering the grand establishment of 'Chez Caesar' - Versaille's finest grill & karoake bar. Yup. You read it right. French karoake. (I have written about this place before when we first discovered it on a business trip in February.....this time......I'll have a camera with me!). I'll be off to Paris on Sunday and won't be back until Thursday night. I'm taking a new colleague with me on this little trip  - he's from Wales......and doesn't speak any French......they should get on famously :) . Versaille just happens to be approx. central to the two locations we have to go to - Plaisir & Villebon. The taxis aren't as spectacular as they are in Lille - you must go back to Feb 2003 to read about the Lille taxi drivers. Versailles taxi drivers have a habit of just not turning up, and then giving you some old tosh in some incomprehensible foreign gibberish about 'le traffic' - oh, mon Dieux!

Oh yes - thank you for your words of help & support (!) following the slagging off I got at 'The Real Diary Critic' website. But I am Northern Man and made of the sort of materials that were torn from the earth, smelted together, and riveted into huge ships and other great manly lump hard type things....and it was cold as well ! Your kind words are much appreciated, and the cheques are in the post...:)

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Wednesday, April 23, 2003 Rating out of 10: 1

This was the result of my weblog here Blogging With Dr P... being reviewed by the people at The Real Diary Critic. It was published on Sunday 20th April - Easter Sunday.......the day that Christ rose from the dead to save the world......and apparently my weblog should die for it as well :)

Layout etc: (2: 0)
There is absolutely nothing I like about this layout; I despise everything all the way down to the comic sans font. And speaking of font, I wonder if 'Dr. P' knows that the profile thing on the left side not only clashes in color scheme, but in font as well. The background color is blah, the pictures are blah, and the link colors are the Frontpage default. Did you expect me to be impressed?

Let me just say that everything that I have to say about this diary is going to offend someone. That is how these reviews can go.

I assume that the three images at the top of the blog are meant to be all on the same line, but for some reason the second image drops down to the second line on my screen and looks weird and out of place. I don?t really understand the pictures anyway.

Unique: (2: 1)
This is not possible. It gets a one actually for being one of the worst diaries I've been forced to read in ages.

Annoying writing habits: (2: 0)
Even when I am not forcing myself to read an entry or two because I need something to quote in this review, I can still see all the ellipses staring at me from the screen.

Quotes from the Diary: (2: 0)
(There then was about three quotes from the entries below entitled " Osteopathy - A Plaque In The Kitchen, Please", "Digital Camera - And Where To Put The Piccies", and a further quote from the 'old' Pitas weblog about a job I had in Brussels.)
I can't even come up with comments.

Would I go back for another read? (2: 0)
Not just no, but hell no. I couldn?t be bothered reading much just for the review. I was more than bored I was in a comatose state. I usually like to give every diary a fair chance, but when it becomes that much of a chore, I just can?t be bothered. My only advice is this: If you like it good, just don?t expect to see me there ever again.


Well...I don't know about you, but I had no idea what ' ellipses', (singular="ellipsis"), were. So off I went to one of those dictionary places to find out...

An ellipsis [...] proves to be a handy device when you're quoting material and you want to omit some words. The ellipsis consists of three evenly spaced dots (periods) with spaces between the ellipsis and surrounding letters or other marks. Let's take the sentence, "The ceremony honored twelve brilliant athletes from the Caribbean who were visiting the U.S." and leave out "from the Caribbean who were"

The ceremony honored twelve brilliant athletes...visiting the U.S.

More of this description can be found here.

I did query her about the technical bit to do with the images at the top of page, as they look okay in Netscape & IE6. So reply....

The upshot of all this is, after reading more of the critic's page, is that she/they have 'a thing' about ellipses. Oh. Well, that makes it all right then. As the critic said about me " of the worst diaries I've been forced to read..." - I thought I'd throw in another ellipsis for her, for when she comes back here to find out why she has so many people linking from here to her site :)

I was trying to find a mature way to end this....but I couldn't. So here's a picture of my butt:

Thank you darlings - I love you all....MUAH XXX :)

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Tuesday, April 22, 2003 Pidgeon Post?

He looks a little nervous, doesn't he? I tried to get closer - but he didn't like the look of me and buggered off in a flurry of wing beating :)

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Monday, April 21, 2003 It's a Tough Old World Out There

Yup. I man's gotta do what a man's gotta do on Easter long as he takes his wife along with him, because he won't be able to bring home just any old junk. In fields and pastures, tents & awnings, sports & community centres across this fair land, (and maybe Wales,Scotland & Northern Ireland as well), this weekend was the first big weekend for car boot sales. A strange phenomena I know. Why on earth would you want to buy someone else's junk stuff? Because we are British. It's quite simple :). Where on earth would you find carbooting taken so seriously as to find one of these....

fluttering over a pitch? This guy had seen some rough 'campaigns'in recent carbooting expeditions. Still - it is Essex, isn't it :)

But we managed to get around a whole field, and a sports hall and find absolutely nothing to buy. Sure - if I was a Victrian red glass collector, thimble enthusiast, or hoarder of incredibly crap furniture - I would have had a boot full of stuff to add to the garage of my own junk which I keep promising to take to a sale. (Guys - you know the psychological pressure we are put under when you're wife/partner does not except the fact that 'that thing' really could 'become useful at a later date'. But will they listen to )

"Fancy coming back to my place for a bit of monkey business?"

"Oh my word - I most certainly would not!"

But, it wasn't an entire waste of a day. I did learn that I have to buy another battery for my digital camera, so it doesn't die on me when I'm taking classy photos like these :)

p.s. Still having Squawkbox probs. 'Blah' all you like in my Guestbook. Some Bank Holiday Weekend for the Internet, eh?!

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Sunday, April 20, 2003 One of those quaint English Villages

Having discovered some new super drugs from the doctors, enabling me not to cough my chest up whilst I'm moving about & driving, (please don't tell me you're eating whilst reading this - I do apoligize...!), we decided to take a trip into 'the country' to find an outrageously looking 'typically English village. Hmmmmmm.......


All very nice I think you'd agree, but a bugger for keeping warm during winter. There was a plaque on the wall in one building, (the village is Lavenham, Suffolk, case you were wondering), which listed the occupations of people back around 1860. One of them included a 'silk throwster', (not a spelling mistake), and I thought - "Quoi?", ( as they say in provincial rough areas of France). So I did a bit of digging and found a useful definition : "Silk throwster, one who twists or spins silk, and prepares it for weaving". Nice job if you can get it. But hardly the life & soul of the local country public house on an evening. Imagine all these farm workers, cattle herders, millers, bakers etc comparing callouses on each other hands, or swapping great working stories such as: "..........oooooo arrrrr - we had a boy from the next village working with us today. Lost his right arm in a threshing machine! But he was left-handed, so he could still eat his lunch!" Now that sort of story would get a lot of back slapping & maybe a free pint of ale from the tavern owner. But what kind of story is the 'silk throwster' going to come up with after a hard days'throwing silk':"Do you know I snagged a nail on that cheap imported Indian rubbish that came up from London today? I stamped my foot I did!"..........(tumbleweed blowing slowly across the scene in complete silence)......not very effective in the social climbing, right? Except with the ladies. Lets face it - where else are you going to get made-to-measure silk knickers in the heart of the Suffolk countryside :)

As ever, in a quaint English village, one has to have a cup of tea. And we came across the exact place......

A lovely little place with original hope-you're-insured warped staircase & flooring, traditional beams showing everywhere, and as many tables & chairs as you could throw into a 12' x 10' room. But the food was superb - so go there!

Oh yes - there's also a Co-op at the end of the high street. Marvellous :)

p.s. There's still a problem with Squawkbox - the comment box people I use here. So "Stick it in my 'Guestbook'!" - normal service will be resumed as soon as possible, when you see a 'comment' link at the bottom of an entry. Remember now - not too many Easter eggs! :)

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Saturday, April 19, 2003 Drum Rolls In The Toilets

In the flat where we live, (the middle one of three), we overlook the huge back garden of a very large house. Very large. There is a permanent full-size trampoline out in the back garden for the 'little darlings' to play on. Occasionally, I have the kitchen blind rolled up, and have a tendency to walk stark bollock naked in there on a morning to get a glass of Evian from the fridge. (Nobody in their right mind drinks water straight from the tap in London, as I have strong reason to believe it is 'recycled', and had passed through seven other people before it comes out of the tap. I have no proof of this, other than my own belief. Isn't that what religions are based on - belief? "First Essex Church of The Crap Tap Water"?.........hmmmmm......could be a few tax dodges & grants in there as well!) Anywayyyyyyyyyyy, the first time the 'Bouncing Munchkins' sprang into view one Saturday morning, I was semi-clad, chugging on an Evian, when one of the little buggers appeared momentarily over the top of the fence....then appeared again - trying to get a better look at me......then appeared again, ( at a slighly lower height, while trying not to bounce back up again. I understand that bending the knees on impact can reduce the uplift :) ),with a shocked expression on their face. Then they never appeared again, but I did hear the sound of kids running to the house. I wonder how that conversation went with the parents.

The son of the incredibly rich people has a drum kit. It is in the garage at the end of the to the trampoline. As the kitchen & bathroom of my flat are next to each other, any sounds eminating from the large back garden can be heard through both the kitchen & bathroom windows. Yesterday morning I decided to avail myself of my toliet facilities. Just I 'finished' what I was doing, before I flushed.......I got a drum roll - :) I thought - "Well, it was good, but it wasn't that good!".

But I'll give him ten out of ten for his comic timing :)

p.s. There appears to be a problem with Squawkbox - the comment box people I use here. So if you left a message on a particular diary entry - it is still 'here'..just somewhere in the WWW ! If y'all do have anything to say about anything.....stick it in my 'Guestbook' - normal service will be resumed as soon as possible, when you see a 'comment' link at the bottom of an entry......phew....have a nice Easter :)

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Friday, April 18, 2003 There's Only One Cops & Robbers Programme :)

And Jack & George and the rest of the crew were always so well behaved, and followed police procedures down to the last letter...

And for the benefit of our British satellite/cable viewers - you can see it all again on Granda . It's a shame there is no longer a weblog called 'iamjohnthaw'. It was the funniest thing I've ever read. If anybody knows who the writer was, or if he/she is going to surface again in another disguise, please let me know.

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Thursday, April 17, 2003 Addendum To Yesterday's News...

Reading yesterday's nonsense here reminded of the time that I used to work for the Royal National Institute For The Blind, (R.N.I.B), in their 'talking book' service. I was a sound engineer. I re-recorded, edited, copied 'talking books' which were done by people in their own homes on special, (quite basic), tape recorders we lent them. Occasionally, I worked on the sound booth section in the studio we had. We had three recording booths which ran off one desk. One retired chap who used to read for us would always sit in his favourite booth on the left. Unfortunately, from the control desk I could only see just inside the glass window, and not see the old soldier sitting at the table. The booths used to get very warm, and the readers would take several breaks throughout their recordings. But the old soldier just wanted to talk-on-through. So we used to monitor him on the desk speaker. One day, during a hot summer spell in the UK , (a rare event then!), he started to get slower & slower in his speech, unitl he eventually fell asleep. All we could hear was snoring through the desk speaker! He was an excellent reader with an immaculate Eaton English accent. He just couldn't stay awake :)

Them were the days :). It was quite a laff working there.'There' was on Goswell Road, Islington, North London. It closed down shortly after I left many moons ago. Bill was my supervisor. He was a right gay blade - and he wouldn't mind me saying so :) Bill was the last of the 60's Benylin Cough Mixture Addicts. A really nice bloke actually. I had two other colleagues working there with me - Gareth, and a guy who played saxaphone & went off on a tour of Ireland with a band. Most importantly I met my good friend Paul W there. He is an American chap. (Originally from White Plains,New Jersey - now living in Granada Hills, just norh of LA, Ca, USA. The photo of me sitting on Point Dume, Malibu - which sits either side of the top of this page - was taken whilst on hoilday over there with Paul back in 1988). Gareth supported Arsenal. Oh well. And his one claim to fame at that time was having been chased around the flats where he lived by Tony Hadley, of Spandau Ballet, because he said something about Tony's sister.

Ah - the '80's, eh ? What a time :)

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Wednesday, April 16, 2003 God Bless the National Health Service......Again

In keeping you up to date with current health status of yours truly, I will stop at nothing to bring you cutting edge, concise, in-depth reports about the internal workings of the British NHS. I'll point out one obvious fact that some of you , (my Colonial cousins across the pond!), may not be aware of. IT'S ALL FREE HERE ! We have private health hospitals and insurance schemes, where, for a premium you generally get quicker & better service than using the free NHS. And, sad to say, the NHS is in a bad way - and desperately needs medical attention itself. But hey - it's free, and we get to take part in that quaint Olde Englishe pastime of 'cueing'.

So there I was coughing & wheezing my way to the hospital in the car. It wasn't exactly the safest ride (!), but it was the only way to get there. And what a nice place! Really. It was tucked away in a part of a town where you wouldn't expect a hospital to be. Lovely grounds. A nice spring day. Birds twittering in the trees. (Side thought: What do birds call the way we humans talk?). And off I skipped with a 'Hey nonny-no'...........actually I just walked damned casually across the car park - into the hospital............straight into Victoriana Time. It looked about 1930's-ish from the outside, but some of the fixtures & fittings had definitely been installed by 'Messrs Joshua Arkwright & Son - Purveyors & Architects of The Newest Electrical Apparatus. By Appt. to Her Royal Majesty Queen Victoria Empress of India'. And after a trip to the toilets I surmised that they had, indeed, been installed by Thomas Crapper himself. (Side Note: I stayed in a hotel in Bath once, many years ago, that had an original 'crapper' in it. True. It was a very old toilet, one of the first, flushing toilets, built by Thomas Crapper himself.......yes....I did take a photo of it at the time............sadly, (boo!), no, I don't have it to show you....ha).

The man at the x-ray dept advised me to go down to the Blood Test Dept. and 'take a number' and come back to see him first for the x-ray. Slightly bemused from not knowing what the Hell, (Side Grammatical Note:How should one use the word 'Hell' ? With a capital 'H' if describing the place, and a small 'h' if the word is used as in the previous sentence? Not one of life's great mysteries I know, just one of those things rattling around inside my head!), he was talking about, I trundled, (this is what one does in a hospital.....'trundle'...), I trundled down to the Blood Dept. Oh - 8.50am - and a full house already. On the wall was a ticket machine like at the deli counter in Tesco's. Hmmmm. Seemed quite appropriate really. Except this time we're queuing to give blood, not get fresh meat! :) Remember Bonnie Tylers "Total Eclipse of the Heart" video? When all the kids look up at her when she walks in the room?.............yup..........just that like. Or "American Werewolf In London" when the guys walk into the pub on the moors, and everything stops and all the locals turn and look at that as well. Get the picture. (I hope so - I can't think of a third example!). I took my ticket and was pushed out of the room by the power of the eyes drilling holes into the back of me as I trundled at a greater speed back to the x-ray dept.

The nurse/radiologist/National Miserable F**ker of The Year Award Winner, in the X-ray Dep., will not be changing her career to stand-up comedy. Neither will she be entertaining at children's parties. I seriously doubt whether she's ever cracked a smile since being abandoned on this lonely rock after the mothership left without her....:). She was not a happy chappie - and was proud to show it. My BUPA, (private health insurance scheme), card was throbbing in my wallet...........I should have gone 'private' for this. The details of the x-ray event are meaningless, except I left feeling depressed for mankind in general. But 'Hey!' - I was about to trundle back down the corridor for a prick in my arm.......(no visuals, please!) .

They must have been twin sisters, separated at birth, because even at that early age the doctors recognised that two such miserable people could not be bound together for life - not just for their own sake, but for anyone who was likely to come in contact with them. What a coincidence, that many years later , they should be just a spiteful comments throw away from each other, working in the same building. And in the caring medical profession as well - now there's irony for you :). Yes, the nurse in the Blood Dept, was gifted with the same social skills & communicative abilities as her sister/colleague in the X-Ray Dept. I left the building feeling clinically depressed. I guessed what the birds were saying....."Ha - look at him - he's been to see those two miserable f**kers - d'you think I should crap on his head and make his day?". I was in the car too quickly for them.

But, there was one ray of sunshine, one slight piece of amusement while I was there. The walls of the hospital, particularly at every office window, were covered with A4 size white notices with black lettering. These notices were all fairly nondescript - "Office closed between 12pm & 1pm for lunch"......."Please use other door"...etc etc. But there was one notice that stood out from all the rest. It was H....U...G...E, and covered half a notice board in the main corridor. It was fluorescent yellow with massive black marker pen lettering on it. It read - "HEARING CLINIC - THIS WAY...." with a little arrow. Okay, they may be deaf, but.........:)

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Tuesday, April 15, 2003 "Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends.......

Ladies & Gentlemen - Emerson, Lake & Palmer" - that famous firm of show biz lawyers. Remember them? When I were a lad I remember my older brothers having some of their LPs. Yes, it is a bit of a history lesson. This was in the days of vinyl acrylic flat discs which were scratched with a diamond tipped needle to reproduce the sound - ha - God it sounds so primitive :). "Tarkus" was one of their albums. It had a track on it called "Jeremy Bender" - not lot of words to it, but one that sticked in my head. No - I may be a man of leisure from time to time......but I shan't be partaking of any other activity in the song :) All those albums you now find for a ?1 at junk sales etc. Okay - they are now over 30 years old (ouch!), some of them, but that doesn't change the fact that they were part oof yourchildhood memories.

The best 'older brother/childhood memory' album was on the morning after one of my older brother's 21st birthday parties. (I have five older brothers & a younger sister - good Irish Catholic origins! :) ). Anyway, I can't remember whose birthday it was, but I was shipped off to bed early. They must have been out somewhere, then came back. I remember - (lots!) - of noise/music etc. But the one defining image was the following morning. I crept downstairs to see bodies strewn over every available piece of furniture & floorspace, (a real 70's party!), and in the centre of the room was a HMV record player. Tinkling away on it's lowest volume was a song that seemed to set the scene perfectly........Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Waters". Yes - they were 'weary & feeling small' - hung over actually (!) And this was probably the first time I appreciated a combo of sight & sound together, (excluding the farting & grunts going on in the background!), long before Samuel Barber's Adagio for strings in G-Minor was used in the scene from "Platoon" when the troops are getting shot to pieces as the helicopters pick them up. (On a side note - this piece of music was played at Grace Kelly's funeral, Princess Grace of Monaco to you, as it was one of her favourite pieces of music).

Anyway, that was a delightful little trip down memory lane wasn't it? :) Now what am I supposed to be doing

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Monday, April 14, 2003 Unaccustomed As I Am To Public Speaking

I felt it was about time I redressed the balance here. In this high-techhie - 'Oh help me move my blog' world that I'm currently trawling through, one must never lose sight of the fact that the only reason we are all here sitting in front of our PC monitors at the moment is to see just what the hell is going on here? It's only when I look back on some of the feeble attempts at blog entries down below that I realise - "Yup - I'd been changing channels too." I wonder if there's any kind of stats software that tells you how long someone visited your weblog? I know in the early days of rock n' roll when all that mattered was how many times my hit counter clicked over, I joined a myriad of webrings, (down at the left hand column if you're interested), just to get the hit rate up. As it turns out, there are actually only about two or three of those two dozen or so webring society things where people actually come from to say hello..........well, it's not even that - my Freestats thingy just tells me that they've been here....say 'hello' someone - ha :)

But it's quality, not quantity, that matters. It's true - I did watch some of Cliff Richard in 'The Young Ones' last Friday morning after coming back from the doctor's - but that doesn't make me a bad guy does it? You see? Following 'streams of consciousness'..........idle thought..........verbal diahorrea.....basically whatever leaps into your tiny mind - and sets your fingers typing, can quite often be the only way to get that blog entry filled :) I like to think of it as 'Neuron Work Out' time. Lets put it this way - if your life depended on it - you'd do it, right? Although the chances of being approached in alley by a guy with a laptop/sat link/knife - demanding that you update your weblog or he'll rip your throat out - are, indeed, pretty slim. (If this has happened to you - then I do aplologise.........and perhaps you should consider moving?)

So what about the war in Iraq? It'll be there tomorrow........why waste good typing time on it now - and that's how I handle current world political affairs. There are plenty of weblogs with people ranting on about Iraq/USA/UK - and, no, I'm not putting a link to any of them, that's your job to find them. That's not what you're here for - right? You're here because you want to know about....know

FISH ! - yes, that's right - fish. As the song goes - "Now a fish is an animal that lives in a pool, they don't write a book or go to school......" - which I think is an incredible slur on all the smart fish out there. Obviously, I'm not talking about your average 'cod' that ends up dangling from the bottom of a Whitby fishing net. That kind of fish got there a bit like this:
"Alright Dave..." - (one cod to another, they have names as well y'know...)
"Yes Jim - I'm alright. How about you?"
"Yes Jim. I'm fine thanks" (Cod are also known as 'The Gentlemen of the Sea ' fish in their own world...or is that mine?)
"Yes Dave"
"Is that a net ------"
- and it's like that every day of the week. Cod - they great to eat, but a bugger for a decent conversation.

Before I go - I know what your thinking - 'Dolphins' , right? But they're mammals not fish - c'mon, I learnt that in junior school.......or did a cod tell me?

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Sunday, April 13, 2003 Copy To Your Resume

I was sent this from a friend some time ago. It's an alledged application from a student received at a university on the south coast of England.......

3A. ESSAY: In order for the admissions staff of our university to get to know you, the applicant, better, we ask that you answer the following question:

Q: Are there any significant experiences you have had, or accomplishments you have realised, that have helped to define you as a person?

I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Kenyan refugees, I write award-winning operas, and manage time efficiently. Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row.

I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru. Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I had trials with Manchester United, I am the subject of numerous documentaries.

When I'm bored, I build large suspension bridges in my garden. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of charge.

I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie.

Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear.

I don't perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have appeared on Through the Keyhole and won the gold plaque. Last summer I toured Eastern Europe with a traveling centrifugal-force demonstration. I run the 100m in 9.65 secs. My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles.

Children trust me.

I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy.

I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed several covert operations for the CIA. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me.

I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down.

I have made extraordinary four course meals using only some vegetables and a Breville Toaster. I breed prizewinning clams.

I have won bullfights in Madrid, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and chess competitions at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis.

But I have not yet gone to this University.

...........and, so the story goes, he got a place on the course he was after. Please feel free to claim any parts of this as your own life to enhance your dwindling resume :)

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Friday, April 11, 2003 God Bless the National Health Service

I've not been feeling myself recently............yes, I know it's a filthy habit...arf arf! But seriously, it's been a funny old few weeks - hilarious, in fact, on the health front. This time of year I tend to get some sort of mild chest/sinus infection brought on by hayfever. Anddddddd......every year I go to the doctors and get 'the usual' antibiotics, and the same old story - menthol steam treatment, finish the course of tablets - and stay off the dinosaurs.......okay - forget the last bit.

However, this year is different - oh yes. I finished the first course of drugs about three weeks ago, and the bugger hadn't gone away - the infection, not the doctor. He's a nice bloke - we'll let him stay :). I went back to him again, coughing and wheezing like old Ebenezer Scrooge - and thankfully it's on the National Health so I don't have to pay for it anyway :) The doc gave me some funny looks, (more than the usual I get when I'm out in public), and he wrote a script for another round of slighter stronger anti-biotics......menthol steam treatments.......lay off the pterodactyls, (- no spell check there - can someone do it for me? I think that's the right spelling - I was remembering the picture on the back of the Brooke Bond Tea picture card set I had many years ago). And off I staggered out of his office. Another return statistic for him, another cue in the pharmacy for me. Hell, I should get my own chair there at this rate.

Unbeknown to myself and the medical physician treating me, my nasty horrible plague like virus thingy just does not want to go away. So yesterday, (...all my troubles seemed so far away....), I was up at Head Office in a couple of meetings - and I could not stop myself wheezing and coughing like something possessed. (What possessed? I'll let you decide.) And although just sitting down, like I'm doing now, doesn't require a great deal of effort, the drive home was a every bit 'a bit of a wheeze' - literally! (Interesting thought - does everyone sit down when working at their computer? Maybe there's some 'bat people' who hang upside down and use the keyboard?...hmmm........these drugs are strong!)

Anywayyyy.....this morning I peddled my car around to the doctor. And the funny looks he gave me before ? - that's actually his normal expression - so I was paranoid for nothing all week. Now this chesty, wheezy, sinus problem is getting serious. To use his own words, ( - and these really are his own words - ): "It's time to get the shotgun out of the cupboard".......... So with true dedication we struck at it once again. Now I'm loaded up with two lots of tablets, one inhaler, one bottle of syrupy stuff, and an appointment at the hospital for a chest x-ray & blood tests - charming! He thinks I've got a slight rasp of bronchitis now - oi! - and the x-rays etc are just as a precaution a precaution he could send me to Antigua to recover in a warmer climate as well - but he won't. I should have gone private :)

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Thursday, April 10, 2003 Is Your Property Contents Insured?

I don't want to get you worryied or anything, but is your house insured? It started a few months ago with me. The desk, which if you check out this Daft Photos link, will show you the state it gets into from time-to-time, was heaving with the weight of household bills, flyers, and other general blah. (Blah ='stuff'). And somewhere in there was a notice from an insurance company offering me the moon on a stick if I take out insurance with them.

Of course I was already insured...........wasn't I? Well, I'm sure I's just one of those things isn't it? One of those things that you always have sorted out. So I began to dig into the 'Big Black Bill Box' - that's the highly organised (!), flexi-folder-bendy-rigid--black-box containing everything 'housey'. Y'know the one - you've got one as well tucked on the floor behind your chair :) I'm fairly certain I could organise humanitarian aid into Basra, a heads-of-states meeting regarding peace in the Middle East or Northern Ireland, and I'm sure that by changing the traffic light sequence on the edge of town, I could get off & on the M25 motorway in no time at all. But.......for some strange reason I couldn't find anything relating to 'house insurance' in the Big Black Bill Box.

Naturally, I was a bit alarmed. Not only did this mean that my stuff wasn't insured, but also that my brain was slipping because how could I not be insured?! I'd generally paid it in one lump sum. So I went and checked my bank statements over the last year or so to see if any names jumped no. I even phoned up a few places and said....." I insured with you?" 'Imagine my surprise when they then tried to keep me on the phone to sell me some insurance' - ha. Yes - I was not insured.

Just in case anyone reading this knows where I live...(!)....I now am insured. But the moral to the story is: Even though all those junk emails coming through at this time of year offering mortgage renewal, debt counseling, tax form help, maybe a real annoynace.....just have a quick check in the Big Black Bill Box, because I don't want to be reading this kind of sorry story on your weblog.....:)

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Wednesday, April 09, 2003 How to Keep a Healthy Level of Insanity

Having had my sanity questioned recently......:)......I thought I'd let you in on this useful little guide.....

* At lunchtime, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hairdryer at passing cars to see if they slow down.

* Page yourself over the intercom. Don't disguise your voice.

* Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.

* Put your garbage can on your desk and label it "IN."

* Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has gotten over their caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.

* In the memo field of all your cheque butts, write " FOR SEXUAL FAVOURS."

* Finish all your sentences with "In accordance with the prophecy."

* Don't use any punctuation

* As often as possible, skip rather than walk.

* Ask people what sex they are. Laugh hysterically after they answer.

* Specify that your drive-through order is "take away."

* Sing along at the opera.

* Go to a poetry recital and ask why the poems don't rhyme.

* Put mosquito netting around your work area. Play a tape of jungle sounds all day.

* Five days in advance, tell your friends you can't attend their party because you're not in the mood.

* Have your co-workers address you by your wrestling name, Rock Hard.

* When the money comes out of the ATM, scream "I Won!", "I Won!" "3rd time this week!!!"

* When leaving the zoo, start running toward the parking lot, yelling "Run for your lives, they're loose!"

* Tell your children over dinner, "Due to the economy, we are going to have to let one of you go."

And the final way to keep a healthy level of insanity...

* Send this list to everyone in your address book, even if they sent it to you or have asked you not to send them stuff like this.

You know it makes sense :)

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Tuesday, April 08, 2003 Iraqi Sight & Sound

Do you remember back in the 'major famine years' in Africa when some clever news journalist was listening to 'Drive' by the Cars, and linked it to pictures of starving children etc. Well, just read these lyrics below, and tell me you couldn't piece together in your own head an appropriate video from what we've already seen in Iraq......

Hotel California (or you could re-title it: Hotel Baghdad)

On a dark desert highway
Cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas
Rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance
I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy, and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night
There she stood in the doorway
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself
This could be Heaven or this could be Hell
Then she lit up a candle
And she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor
I thought I heard them say
Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place
Such a lovely place (background)
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year
Any time of year (background)
You can find it here
You can find it here

Her mind is Tiffany twisted
She's got the Mercedes benz
She's got a lot of pretty, pretty boys
That she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard
Sweet summer sweat
Some dance to remember
Some dance to forget
So I called up the Captain
Please bring me my wine
He said
We haven't had that spirit here since 1969
And still those voices are calling from far away
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely Place
Such a lovely Place (background)
Such a lovely face
They're livin' it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise
What a nice surprise (background)
Bring your alibies

Mirrors on the ceiling
Pink champagne on ice
And she said
We are all just prisoners here
Of our own device
And in the master's chambers
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives
But they just can't kill the beast
Last thing I remember
I was running for the door
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before
Relax said the nightman
We are programed to receive
You can check out any time you like
But you can never leave

It's not difficult, is it?

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Monday, April 07, 2003 Digital Camera - And Where To Put The Piccies

Okay - I'm just entering the digital camera - and you can see my first effort of myself in the left hand column! That piccie was put there via my good friends at Flexwindow. The banner piccies across the top of the page are placed in the same way.

What I want to know is : Can I 'place' piccies in the diary entries on pitas ? For those of you who have one of these weblogs, you'll know you put your diary entry in a particular 'box' and click a button - and it updates your page. But that's about it. Text only. I have no storage place elsewhere on the web, so no place to directly link an image source to.

Or/ and equally - can I take the HTML format of my page, stick it into some clever piece of webpage making software - and then be able to upload back to my webpage - but now with the facility to put piccies in entries?

And - is there an easy-to-use, and free (!), photo album website place - where, at least, I could directly link to?

Questions, questions, I know - but I need expert help from y'all - thanks :)

p.s. I've also been playing here with the camera as well - tell me what you think :)

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Sunday, April 06, 2003 From RICHARD EDWARDS, The Sun Newspaper with 42 Commando in Southern Iraq

This was published in The Sun newspaper, in the UK, yesterday - I thought it was great :)........

ROYAL Marines challenged the Iraqis on the football pitch in the battle for the nation?s hearts and minds. And Our Boys emerged clear winners ? despite a 9-3 defeat. Thoughts of war were set aside as the men of Juliet Company, 42 Commando, swapped weapons and helmets for T-shirts and trainers to toil in the dusty streets of Khor Az Zubahir, Basra.

As cheering supporters gathered to watch beneath a searing sun, they lined up against the local first XI ? whose captain turned out in an immaculate Arsenal strip. Once football hostilities commenced, the soldiers were roundly beaten by the gleeful Iraqi team.But the result paled against the significance of the match, which marked a turning point in relations with a people whose city has been under siege for the past two weeks.

The Marines described the game, staged on Wednesday, as a ?marvellous confidence-building measure?. CO Major Kevin Oliver, 35, said: ?When we first arrived here there was contact with armed groups. ?A patrol came under fire. But we responded firmly. We rounded up people identified as Ba?ath Party activists and closed the party headquarters. We want to show we are liberators, not conquerors.?

Abdul Salim, a community leader who refereed the match, said: ?We challenged the British because we wanted to show we can have normal relations with them. There is a lot that might keep us apart, but football is something we share.? The sporting scenes were repeated yesterday in Umm Khayyal, where Marines again took on the local soccer team ? this time losing 7-3. On this occasion the opposition outflanked Our Boys by arriving in full strip, complete with squad numbers and Astroturf rubber-studded boots.

A thousand spectators came from all ends of town ? throngs of screaming men and children marking out the boundaries of the pitch. Leading Airman Dave Husbands, of 42 Commando?s K Company said: ?We turned up to play and there were just a few kids. Then out of nowhere came this kitted-up football team, a ref and two linesmen. ?The boys thought they must be the Iraqi international side or something. In truth, they thrashed us.?

To the soldiers? amazement the referee even had a whistle and cards in his pocket, while his two linesmen proudly carried flags. Hundreds of children chanted ? some sporting the red shirts of Manchester United or Arsenal and carrying playing card pictures of David Beckham and David Seaman. Behind them lay old defensive military positions, trenches used two weeks ago by the Iraqi army. Now they were sandpits for kids.

On the pitch, the Umm Khayyal XI made merry ? skipping around the Marines? robust tackles and joyfully passing the ball around. Meanwhile, the crowds on the sidelines grew as news filtered through the town of the Iraqi triumph. Beckham is best, Beckham is best,? shouted Mohammed, a 21-year-old spectator. ?You need him,? laughed his pal, pointing to the pitch. ?You lose bad.?

Unit commander, Lt Col Buster Howes, tried to be magnanimous in defeat. ?We want a rematch,? he said with a smile.

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Saturday, April 05, 2003 I Had a Dream.....The Case of The Seal Thingy

Not to be confused with the ABBA song I Had A Dream. I did actually, have a dream last night. I have many dreams...on many many nights..............anywayyyyyyyyy.........about last night's dream - The Case of The Seal Thingy. It was very straight forward. There I was with a few people who I knew. (But in reality I've no idea who there were). In my dream world, when I 'know someone' in a dream, but don't actually know them in real life, I don't recognise their face as someone I know, but more that I associate with them as someone that I feel comfortable with - easy to be around.(.....these things need explaining y'know!). Soooo......there we were digging around in the 'floor' of a room. The floor was made up of sand or dirt. (This could have been influenced seeing something on the TV news regarding the war in Iraq, when coalition troops came across a building with a sand-pit in the middle of it where there were flags & 'sand doodlings' from the Iraqi officers who had been planning their campaigns there). And one of my friends produced an orb shaped thing from the dirt, brushed it off, and it was silver....

Orbs. I believe Living TV has a lot to answer for here. Including the Most Haunted people. The word 'orb' had never really featured in my common parlance until I started watching programmes about ghosts. Apparently, (!), an orb is the first manifestation of a ghost before it takes a recognisable human shape...........yup. So, in the beginning, (nice biblical touch there, don't you think?), - in the beginning, when watching these orbs on Most Haunted, I kept thinking - "But it's just blobs of light caused by light refracting in the lens...." - I know that's one Hell of a thing to think,(!) but I did. Anyway, as time went on, I became more of a 'believer'. And, sure enough, the more you believe, the more the 'orbs' start making sense.......Orb Sense...or is that nonsense? :)

But I digress...........lets get back to the point at hand. The hand back in the sand-pit holding the silver orb..........

It was rounded on one end, but a cube shape on the other. Not really a true orb......more like an 'orbe' .....have I invented a new word? Anyway.....It had inscriptions of some sort on both the rounded hand, (which was handy as a handle), and on the flat side of the cube end. By common suggestion, the orbe was deemed to be a silver stamp, or seal - like the olden time ones where the Sheriff of Nottingham would melt some wax from a candle onto a signed death certificate for some poor peasant (!), and seal it with his official stamp. Nobody knew what the inscriptions meant. And before anybody could do anything with it - it disappeared out of my friend's hand. This would have been alarming in 'the real world', but nobody seemed that fussed in my dream. Then my wife's alarm clock went off and woke me up............!

So - where was I in my dream? What was the mysterious orbe all about? Will I ever see it again? How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man ?

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Friday, April 04, 2003 The Song In My Head Is....

For the Longest Time Billy Joel ....." woohoohoohoo for the longest time........woohoohoo for the longest time...." etc etc. Don't ask me why. It wasn't even on the radio, or anything. And I'm not a great Billy Joel fan either. Nothing wrong with the bloke, I'm sure. Although ditching Christie Brinkley did raise some questions about him.......yes......such as: What the hell were you playing at?! Okay - she might fart in bed, or something, ( Disclaimier: At no time is there any intention to suggest that Ms Brinkley did fart, has farted, or will potentially fart, in bed with Mr Joel, or anybody else...or by herself), but you could just overlook these minor indescritions to stay hooked up with one of the most beautiful women in the world. He wrote Uptown Girl about her. They divorced in 1994. Two years later he married a horse and moved to he didn't!.......It was a mule! - it wasn' was Omaha - no! - It wasn't anything like that. God knows what he did. But if I can bring the tone down just a fraction more......he didn't do it with CB anymore :)

The other day the song in my head was Sing If You're Glad to Be Gay - Tom Robinson. Now there was a bloke who knew what he was about..... Hopefully these antibiotics will wear off soon, and the haze will clear, and light will shine once more. But for now......"Just sing....sing a la la la la la la la la la la la...."

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Thursday, April 03, 2003 I Read the News Today Oh-Boy.........

It was actually a sign in a farmer's field. It read: " Logs by the load - ?10...........Horse manure by the load - ?7." I was going slowly up hill in a traffic jam, which gave me time to think about this..........

Perhaps there maybe some local trade agreement between woodsmen, farmers etc whereby a 'load' of logs, (as opposed to a 'bundle' of sticks, or 'bag' of wood splinters ), does, indeed have an accepted size/shape/weight. And this measure of logs is then the scale to which larger quantities of logs collected together, are measured by. Equally, the pricing of said 'load of logs', could also be agreed. This price, may be seasonal, (less wood in winter etc....), and be effected by D.I.Y. places selling machine milled 'log briquettes' for barbecues in the summer. And I think that any sane person reading this might well agree with me...right? But......

I have grave concerns over the second part of that sign - "Horse manure by the load - ?7". On the understanding that this great nation is now part of a united Europe, with various trading standards and equalities, I would like to assume that a sign such as this may well be stuck in, shall we say, a French farmers field as well. " Engrais de cheval par la charge - 10E" - it will say. And, if you're wondering, like I was, our 1966 World Cup Soccer Finalist Losers might have a similar sign in one of their fields, which would say "Pferd D?ngemittel durch die Last - 10E" - and we're going with the fact that there is some kind of balance of trade incentives here to allow both countries, as well as the UK to be selling horse manure by the load at ?7/10E.
However, there are several issues that I simply cannot get to grips with. I think the main one is quite straight forward, and it is this: What, exactly is a load of manure? Where did this standardising of horse-shit come from? Was it discussed in Brussels, or Bonn, by men in suits around desks.........with examples of different "mesures de merde", as the French would say, slopped all over the translation tables? Or did they go out 'into the field' as it were, to gain first hand, (blah!), experience of this most useful of garden commodities?

There are various other angles that one can come at with this particular measurement. For example, if a 'load' of horse manure is measured by the one of simplest indicators - volume, then one has to ask, ( - and remember, I had a long wait in the traffic jam to formalise these queries...), does not the effort involved by the horse to produce such a volume, surely have some sway in the pricing levels? In days gone by, manure was a by-product of farming. However, if you're going to be sticking signs on your property selling the damned stuff - then you better make sure you can meet the potential demand from the rose growing community. Are horses now being breed just to produce manure? Are they fed anything 'special' to can I say this - 'better quality horse shit' ? I believe the Portuguese say it more eloquently..."Merda do cavalo da qualidade melhor...".

My mind did also wander onto horses' rectal design and the manufacturing of appropriate snug fitting detachable 'baggies' which would 'ping' when full, and drop on the grass ready for collection. The traffic began to move before I could make any quick sketches........!

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Wednesday, April 02, 2003 Osteopathy - A Plaque In The Kitchen, Please

He's a great bloke is my osteopath, and he's got a great kitchen as well. In fact, over the years that I have been going to see him, he's also had several changes of cars as well. Not that I object to all his wealth he's been getting from twisting my neck & arms on a regular four weekly basis. I'd never been able to move, otherwise! But, since moving to his new house in the country I have steadily heard the progress of the bathroom renovation, and then the kitchen conversion. You'd think he could have had a plaque in there for all us twisted & madly contorted fools who have been coming to see him for so long. But wait! Maybe it's only me! Maybe I'm the only one whose been paying the plumber, the builder, the electrician for all this time. If that's the case, I think I'll just ask for a small memorial statue on a shelf above the fridge in the corner....what do you think?

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