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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.

Saturday, May 31, 2003 The Best Photo Opportunities....

...happen anywhere, anytime. If you go here you'll see a whole range of my photos, with comments from various friends and neighbours on the www. It's become quite fun uploading photos......seeing what people think about them, and also looking at what they are doing as well.

I'm trying slowly to lead up to the photo you can see below....:)...I carry my camera around with me everywhere, (much to the annoyance of Sue sometimes!), and take snaps as often as possible. Well, last evening, the picture below presented itself to me....and what's a guy to do - take the pic of course! :) . Right, enough of the waffle - here's the explanation. I call this pic The Indie Lamp.

The Indie Lamp

Sue was phoning her Aunt Debbie in the USA, so I paused the movie........just at the scene as Indiana Jones enters the inner temple to find the Holy Grail. I got involved with the phone call at the beginning, but then glanced over at the TV, and saw that magical TV-photo-opportunity jump right up and bite me! I quickly scooted into the office, grabbed the camera - and snapped. He looks great doesn't he

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Friday, May 30, 2003 Dorkey Liverchunks says...

Sometimes, when you have a stressful day or week, you need some silliness to break up the day. Here's your dose of silliness taken from a children's book, Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants by Dave Pilkey. The evil professor forces everyone to assume new names, so follow the instructions below to find your new name.

Use the THIRD letter of your FIRST name to determine your new first name:

a = Poopsie, b = Lumpy, c = Buttercup, d = Gidget, e = Crusty, f = Greasy, g = Fluffy, h = Cheeseball, i = Chim-Chim, j = Stinky, k = Flunky, l = Boobie, m = Pinky, n = Zippy, o = Goober, p = Doofus, q = Slimy, r = Loopy, s = Snotty, t = Tulefel, u = Dorkey, v = Squeezit, w = Oprah, x = Skipper, y = Dinky, z = Zsa-Zsa

Use the SECOND letter of your LAST name to determine the first half of your new last name:

a = Apple, b = Toilet, c = Giggle, d = Burger, e = Girdle, f = Barf, g = Lizard, h = Waffle, i = Cootie, j = Monkey, k = Potty, l = Liver, m = Banana, n = Rhino, o = Bubble, p = Hamster, q = Toad, r = Gizzard, s = Pizza, t = Gerbil, u - Chicken, v = Pickle, w = chuckle, x = Tofu, y = Gorilla, z = Stinker

Use the FOURTH letter of your LAST name to determine the second half of your new last name:

a = Head, b = Mouth, c = Face, d = Nose, e = Tush, f = Breath, g = Pants,
h = Shorts, i = Lips, j = Honker, k = Butt, l = Brain, m = Tushie, n = Chunks, o = Hiney, p = Biscuits, q = Toes, r = Buns, s = Fanny, t = Sniffer, u = Sprinkles, v = Kisser, w = Squirt, x = Humperdink, y = Brains, z = Juice

For example, George W. Bush's new name is Goober Chickenshorts. Enjoy :)

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Thursday, May 29, 2003 Bob Hope is 100 years old today

True. Unlike the news story of a few years ago who said he had died. My favourite Bob Hope movie scene was from The Lemon Drop Kid when he was escaping from some villains. He ran up some steps of an apartment block and pressed all the buzzers on the intercoms and said "Hello honey it's Joe!" over and over again. All that could be heard from the intercom was dozens of women's voices saying "Oh hi Joe - c'mon up!" and the door buzzer was opening the door continuously as he ran in. Very funny :)

And on a completely separate issue - it is now a $190 fine to spit in the streets in Hong Kong, since the onset of SARS in the far east. This fine is TWICE what it used to be.....$95 dollar fine for spitting in Hong Kong - that's tough for them tobaccy chewing Mandarins. Maybe they have special 'Oriental Spittoons' set up in bars - tastefully done, of course, in the shape of dragons with big gaping mouths (!).......sorry - it's unnaturally warm weather here in the UK. I think we'll take a trip to Brighton today :)

Anyway - I suppose it's just as well they didn't film Road To Morocco in Hong Kong - that would have hoisted the budget up a bit ! :)

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Wednesday, May 28, 2003 Kentwell Manor

Bank Holiday Monday, (here in the UK - Memorial Day to y'all over the pond), we went to Kentwell Manor. It's one of them Old tudor type bulidings which has.......historical re-enactments :). Now don't get me wrong, we haven't become 're-enactment freaks', just because we've been to one before , and I happen to right about it twice.

But this weekend it was a 1940's re-enactment...with the help of a Dads Army display...

Home Guard Display

They were quite good. They put on a good display. Here's another photo of the square they were marching on. I've done this because I have just discovered a strange craze for putting my camera on the floor and taking a photo :)

"The Square"

Okay, so after much wandering around soaking up the Tudor atmosphere etc - we went out to catch the action - Germans being shot!

"Hande Hoche!", or something?!

The Germans finally surrendered, but not without a funny walk....

A good time was had by all :). So, have you taken up my recommendation yet and got yourself to one of these historical re-enactment places yet? C'mon - drag the whole family there - the kids will love it! :)

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Tuesday, May 27, 2003 File Box Management

Who decides how the alphabet is split in your box file? Y'know - that box file by the desk - that one with all the house bills in? Who decided that the alphabetical file index separators should be split like this:

A, B, CD, E, F, GH, IJ, KL, M, NO, PQ, RS, T, UV, W, XYZ

- as they are in mine? If you lived in between Kirksville, Missouri, (get a map!), and La Plata, Missouri.......and at a guess - you'd then be living out in the middle of nowhere, (stay with me on this!) - you might not get many bills - and you might want to put them all in the 'KL:' section. Of course, you may want to put the 'Desert Tax' form in the 'CD' section, as it's so important. There is a Desert Tax, isn't there? I mean, the US has Town,City,State & Federal Taxes, plus all the usual utility bills. There must be a Desert Tax. Answers in the 'comments' box please :)

Is the 'B' section left by itself for 'bills'? Then the rest of it wouldn't be much use, would it? :) Or maybe 'bank', or 'brats' (children's bills!). Okay, here is the list of insane filing references I have in my file box:

A is for 'Armed Assault' - a summons from the police.
B is for 'B******s!' - bills from people I owe money to.
C is for 'Care In The Community' - my release.
D is for 'Debtors' - a big bulging section!
E is for 'empty' - I like to keep at least one section empty :)
F is for 'F*****g B******s!' - bills from people I owe lots of money to!
G is for - 'Go Away' - bills I can safely ignore :)
H is for 'Hospital' - see 'C
I is for 'Indian Territory' - bills I don't want to know about. Like Custer - i don't want to go there!
J is for 'Jail' - see 'C
K is for 'KILL the F*****g B******s!' - bills from people I owe serious amounts of money to!
L is for 'Loans' - lists of people I've lent money to.....this list has yet to be written :)
M is for 'Murder' - lists of ways to rid myself of people in 'B' & 'F' sections.
N is for 'No Way!' - unbelievable bills that turn up out of the blue, i.e. Desert Tax for my town apartment.
O is for 'On Your Marks...' - bills for whom I'm ready to climb out of the window and shin down the drainpipe for, should they come debt collecting.
P is for 'Pay Now - Or Die!' - debt collectors from 'O' section who caught me at the bottom of the drainpipe!
Q is for 'Queer' - debt collectors from 'O' section who caught me at the bottom of the drainpipe - and they're dressed in a French maids outfit!
R is for 'Receipts' - for debts paid...........another large empty
S is for 'Saved By The Church' - bills paid for by local religious organisations who think I'm a miracle worker. I'm still working on this scam - this space remains very much empty at the moment :)
T is for '.....The Next Train Out Of Town' - bills with death threats on them!
U is for 'U Still Here?!' - bill reminders from 'T' section.
V is for 'Vengeance Is Mine!' - debt collectors who no longer return after drainpipe snaps - see sections 'O', 'P', 'Q' !
W is for 'W**kers!' - stupid bills that are never going to get paid :)
X is for 'Xerces - It's All Greek To Me' - bills I don't understand.
Y is for 'Yangtze - It's Chinese!' - more bills I don't understand.
Z is for 'Zed' - like in 'Pulp Fiction' - 'Zed's dead.....' - any other bills not in the A - Y.....that I'm still not going to pay ! :)

Now I bet you're nodding your heads saying 'Yup - that file system looks similar to mine'......(!) And remember to keep an eye out for the Desert Tax bill - in comes in a buff covered envelope :)

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Sunday, May 25, 2003 When Bus Trips Go Wrong

Munchkins - how are you? I know I said I'd be away from here for some of the weekend, but I thought I'd share this little adventure with you. Sue & I went on a little day trip to France & Belgium yesterday. It was essentially one of those trips for UK citizens to buy cheap booze, (in France), and then cross the border to buy cheap tobacco products in Belgium. An option was not to go to the tobacco buying part of it, and go to the local historic town of Veurne. So me & the missus went for the day out to Veurne.

Veurne was nice, and even the stop at the Auchan supermarket at Dunkirk had it's plus points. But the actual bus journey was not a pleasant experience. Below is a copy of a complaint letter that will be winging it's way to the travel company. I'll warn you now - it's not pleasant reading. So if you are of a nervous disposition....look away now :)

Dear Sir,

I have a serious complaint about the conduct of several passengers on one of your bus excursions, and the inactivity of your bus drivers to do anything about it.

......the only two seats together were towards the back of the bus - three sets of seats past the side door/toilet. Some of the occupants of the seats behind us, (a crowd of about seven '30 - 40 somethings', who were also spreading across double seats with one person only), had left the bus to use the toilets in the service area. As they returned to their seats & passed by my wife & myself it was clear they had been drinking, as you could 'smell it all over them'. They also had a 'cool bag/box' containing bottled and/or cans of alcohol with them.

On the journey outwards the group behind us were loud, crude, lewd & generally obnoxious. We got to know their names - because they were shouting & cackling in very loud voices. If I could be bothered to write down the details of their conversations, I would - as all the bus could hear them anyway.

The excursions first main stop was at the Auchan supermarket in Dunkirk, where many of the passengers did what they intended to do here - buy cheap alcohol & other goods. The "drunken mob" behind us,(who had been constantly drinking on the bus), may have also been drinking in one of the bars at the Auchan Centre. They returned to the bus in a more drunken state than at the time they left it. They also brought on board a crate of glass bottles of beer.

At the next stop of the excursion my wife & I, (plus three others), got off at Veurne instead of going to the shopping centre to buy tobacco products. Veurne was quite a nice place, and we enjoyed our two hour visit there - particularly because we didn't have the "drunken mob" shouting & ranting in our ears. On returning to the bus in Veurne, we, like many of the other passengers on this trip, were appalled & shocked by the behaviour of the "drunken mob". By this time they had visited bars in Veurne and were all very drunk. One man was totally paralytic, and could hardly stand up. Their voices became so loud, and their conversations & chanting became so foul-mouthed & disgusting I was amazed that alleged 'adults' could actually behave like that. Their conversations reached very,very loud levels, but very low subject matter of perverted sex acts. It was disgusting. It was extremely fortunate that there were no children on this excursion.

One of your bus drivers 'knew' this "drunken mob" - as either 'friends' outside of the company, 'acquaintances' from the number of times he'd met them on these bus trips, (and they have done several of them, as we heard from their very loud conversations), or as 'like-minded-individuals' he'd met on this particular trip. (One of the women in the "drunken mob" had said that the bus driver.."..likes to do tricks?" but she wouldn't say what . So the "drunken mob" did know him to some extent. In any event, he, apparently, did nothing to curtail their 'activities'? least up to the point where the bus was embarking on it's return leg on the Euro Tunnel Train.

Just before arriving at the Euro tunnel Train, one of the women from the "drunken mob" said she wanted to be sick. Once the bus boarded the train, my wife & I left the bus to use the toilets on the Euro Tunnel Train. On returning to the bus we learnt that someone had been sick. (In fact the bus driver, passed us with a bag of 'something' muttering to anyone that would hear "I don't get paid for this". On the contrary, I thought, you get paid for not letting it happen in the first place). We also learnt that the following incident had allegedly taken place:
"An elderly gentlemen who said he had asthma had complained to the bus driver - or his co-driver, about the spraying of aerosol air fresheners in & around the toilet area of the bus, by some of the women from the "drunken mob" ".
When everybody returned to their seats on the bus before it left the Euro tunnel train, the bus driver came down to the back of the bus & told the "drunken mob" that the police had been called & that they, (the police), would be waiting to meet the bus when it returned. This enraged the "drunken mob" a bit, who then assumed, (verbally - and loudly), that it had been the elderly gentlemen who had contacted the police before the bus had got on the train. Thankfully, when the bus emerged back in England, and the sun was shining heavily through the bus windows - some of the "drunken mob" 'passed out', and the bus became quieter.

Z - One of the "drunken mob" - who was sitting directly behind me & my wife, had made the reference on the outward leg of the journey that she would be 'making a collection' for the drivers. (This was part of the usual loud conversations she was having with her other drunken friends). As she, and her friends got drunker, it seemed to me that she should not be a fit person to be collecting anything, let alone money for the drivers. When she finally came around from being passed out, and started the collection, every time she came to someone who wasn't going to donate anything, she would shout back to her friend X - "X - here's another one!" It was an extremely oppressive atmosphere. Once the collection had been made, Z and her drunken friends alluded to the fact that there was little money collected - in their usual loud voices.

On arriving home, as everyone disembarked, Z, stopped at the seat of the elderly gentlemen and leant over him and said - "Are you happy now?" - she said it in a soft-toned voice, not loud or abusive. However - that is till harassment. I felt sorry for the gentlemen concerned.

Once my wife and I, (plus the three others who had originally opted for the two hour stay in Veurne, as opposed to the tobacco buying spree), had transferred to the feeder bus to take us back to our home town, we learnt through conversations that other people were equally appalled & shocked by the "drunken mob's" behaviour. And to top it all off - one of the men from the "drunken mob" had urinated in his trousers either on the bus, in the car park, or on his way to the service station toilets.

What we would like from 'Your Travel Company' is:
? An investigation into this incident.
? An explanation of the rules & responsibilities of a 'Your Travel Company' bus driver.
? An explanation of the policy of the consumption of alcohol on a 'Your Travel Company' bus.
? An apology.
? An assurance from 'Your Travel Company' that incidents like this will never happen again.

We await your reply.

Yours faithfully,

Paul & Susanne

Now don't get me wrong - it was a good trip. And I'm not the sort of person who complains about stuff all the time....however......when things need to be said - I'll say them. I'll let you know the outcome of the letter.

I did get to take various little pics along the way while we were there:

This was a typical canal thingy flowing through Veurne

And, of course, one can't go to Belgium & the Netherlands without seeing any of these chappies:


One, obviously, (as far as I'm concerned!), cannot go to such exotic places without getting those once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunites captured forever:

Euro Tunnel Train Toilet, Saturday 24th May 2003

You know you have to snap those piccies...don't you? Or is it just me? :)

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Friday, May 23, 2003 Weekend Break

We'll be popping off to Belgium tomorrrow & then off to some historical re-enactment place Sun/Mon - so I won't be around here much. So - have a nice weekend y'all - if it's your first time here - click on some of the fun/trivial links for a laugh etc. Also, go to my friends and their weblogs & journals - they're all here by the fact they are all very interesting/funny people etc etc - and we get on well :)

Before I go, I'd thought I'd leave you with an arty B&W photo I took on Upminister Tube Station the other evening - around midnight - it was the best part of the Matrix Reloaded night out :)

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Thursday, May 22, 2003 Matrix Unloaded

Words cannot begin to express how underwhelmed I was with last night performance of Matrix:Reloaded ,(no there is no link there - I don't want to make you suffer the way me & my brother suffered!). It was 2.5 hours of almost, complete & unadulterated rubbish. I say almost, because there was half a dozen 'movie moments' which leave you with that warm feeling when you leave a cinema that you've seen a great movie. But these 'movie moments' are usually a subconscious thing, and you can usually only remember about two or three of them - because the rest of the movie is usually so good that you can't remember all the highlights. Not so with this movie.

Oh how I weep for the movie going world. I don't normally 'do' movie reviews here - and I'm not going to go into that much detail except to say: DON'T GO AND SEE IT:).Lets deconstruct it for a moment:

* It's 2.5 hours long for Gawds sake! The average movie lenght is 1.5hours

* A correctly structured movie should be split into a three-act play. An introduction of charcters & plot. The plot development. The resolution of the plot. This movie failed on all three levels here.

* Pace. A movie such as this needs pace. And I don't just mean breakneck speed action. This movie was disjointed with rambling speeches/conversations & too little action.

* As a sequel, a movie should not have any hugely unexplained gaps in the plot between it and the first movie, nor should there be any guesswork involved as to why the second movie is where it is now. The Matrix:Reloaded was a hopeless sequel.

If you liked the first movie, (and I loved it), you'll be bitterly disappointed with this sequel. Wait for the dvd. At least you won't be too disappointed to walk out of your own living room to do something else - but I was sorely tempted to walk out of the cinema at one point. The popcorn was good, though :)

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Wednesday, May 21, 2003 Dutch

Ik zal net zoals hello aan alle mijn Nederlandze bezoekers te zeggen:). Gisteren kwamen deze heren bezoeken hier en aangezien dan er vele mensen geweest is, die van zijn webpage aan mij verbinden. Heeft niemand gestopt om 'hello' te zeggen - misschien bent u alle verlegen? Zeker niet? Het Nederlands - verlegen? Nr. herinnert in ieder geval, aan zich u deze pagina of onderdelen van het door gaan te hier altijd kan vertalen. Geniet van je bezoek - en zeg 'hello' in de opmerkingen of guestbox:)


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Tuesday, May 20, 2003 MATHS PROBLEM

Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100 We have all been to those meetings where someone wants over 100How about achieving 103Here's a little maths that might prove helpful.

What makes life 100

is represented as:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.

8 1 18 4 23 15 18 11 = 98
11 14 15 23 12 5 4 7 5 = 96
1 20 20 9 20 21 4 5 = 100
2 21 12 12 19 8 9 20 = 103
So, it stands to reason that hard work and knowledge will get you close,attitude will get you there, but bullshit will put you over the top.

And look how far ass kissing will take you.

1 19 19 11 9 19 19 9 14 7= 127
Now go to work on it :)

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Monday, May 19, 2003 One Thing You Must Get Right In An On-Line Resume

I got in this evening with several ideas milling about my head - like scavenger crows picking at the remains of my brain. It's not been a hard day, just a varied amount of stuff - enough to want to make you reach for the headache tablets when you get in.
But as I opened the browser up, the first headline that jumped out was the title of this piece :"One Thing You Must Get Right In An On-Line Resume". The homepage of the browser is set to Netscape, and they always have some jaunty little headline in the centre of it. This then needs to be clicked on to follow the rest of the story...

* George Bush likened to Hartlepool Mayor - click here for details.
* Is Saddam really a nice guy? - read full story here.
* Arkansas man marries horse - honest

And all the usual blather that goes with them. And now, of course, I have to resist the temptation of clicking on the link to find out exactly what I do need to get right with an on-line resume. I suppose if I had to take a guess at a few things they would probably be :

* For God sakes don't submit it to a porn site by accident!

Actually, that would be my worst nightmare - I think anything else I could cope with :). But I'm just going to have a quick look at what the Netscape news item actually said. In the meantime - have a look at this sign I saw in London the other day:

"MacDonalds In-Store Chemist"

There - now that made you stop and think didn't it? :) Okay - here's what Netscape had to say about 'One Thing You must Get Right In An On-Line Resume'.....It went on about what information to put in the 'additional information' box on the on-line resume. Oh - looky there, I guess I couldn't have figured that one out for myself? I mean - these on-line resumes look so different from the printed ones - the questions themselves look like a foreign language, don't they? I guess you have to be a real genius to fill one of these things in - I better read this Netscape article really well?!

OKAY - STOP RIGHT THERE! In case you didn't get it - that was sarcasm......what we British are good at :) Obviously we are suffering from post-war syndrome here. There is nothing new in the news - the war has ended - dogs are still biting men, (although Man Bites Dog stories are always good for a laugh!) - so now we make up the headlines......' One Thing You Must Get Right In An On-Line Resume' - it's not very original is it? No depth of inventiveness there?

So - here's your first exercise for the day - how many good headlines can you come up with? I'll send the best ones to Netscape, and lets see if they can make a news item out of them :)

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Sunday, May 18, 2003 After all that time (

Go back to here :scroll down to Nov 15th onwards I wrote about a site called ''. It caused quite a stir in the internet world back in October/November time when the phenomena first appeared on the net.

Basically, since October 2002 the publicity campaign for the project quickly got attention and stretched around the globe. Bringing characters to life from a novel onto the internet proved a great success in generating interest for the release of this publication: The Shift of the Ages by J?an Nemeyeth. Articles were written about it in newspapers and magazines in the USA, UK and even Russia. Radio stations read out the information from the sites, creating much debate about its method and purpose. Including me.

And after all that time - it's a book. Still, it kept a lot of us amused for a while, eh? :)

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Saturday, May 17, 2003 There's an English comedian......

Called Peter Kay. These are some of his observations...

1)Triangular sandwiches taste better than square ones.
2) At the end of every party there is always a girl crying.
3) One of the most awkward things that can happen in a pub is when your pint-to-toilet cycle gets synchronised with a complete stranger.
4) You've never quite sure whether it's ok to eat green crisps.
5) Everyone who grew up in the 80's has entered the digits 55378008 into a calculator.
6) Reading when you're drunk is horrible.
7) Sharpening a pencil with a knife makes you feel really manly.
8) You're never quite sure whether it's against the law or not to have a fire in your back garden.
10) Nobody ever dares make cup-a-soup in a bowl.
11) You never know where to look when eating a banana.
12) Its impossible to describe the smell of a wet cat.
13) Prodding a fire with a stick makes you feel manly.
14) Rummaging in an overgrown garden will always turn up a bouncy ball.
15) You always feel a bit scared when stroking horses.
16) Everyone always remembers the day a dog ran into your school.
17) The most embarrassing thing you can do as schoolchild is to call your teacher mum or dad.
18) The smaller the monkey the more it looks like it would kill you at the first given opportunity.
19) Some days you see lots of people on crutches.
20) Every bloke has at some stage while taking a pee flushed half way through and then raced against the flush.
21) Old women with mobile phones look wrong !
22) Its impossible to look cool whilst picking up a Frisbee.
23) Driving through a tunnel makes you feel excited.
24) You never ever run out of salt.
25) Old ladies can eat more than you think.
26) You can't respect a man who carries a dog.
27) There's no panic like the panic you momentarily feel when you've got your hand or head stuck in something.
28) No one knows the origins of their metal coat hangers.
29) Despite constant warning, you have never met anybody who has had their arm broken by a swan.
30) The most painful household incident is wearing socks and stepping on an upturned plug.
31) People who don't drive slam car doors too hard
32) You've turned into your dad the day you put aside a thin piece of wood specifically to stir paint with.
33) Everyone had an uncle who tried to steal their nose.
34) Bricks are horrible to carry.
35) In every plate of chips there is a bad chip.

There are lists......and then there are good lists. That was a good one:)

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Friday, May 16, 2003 One Morning In Essex

"Early one, just as the sun was"

Somewhere up the M11 around 4.30am

I was on my way up to Northampton - about 2 hours or so away. I was impressed by the sunrise, and carefully pulled off the motorway onto a slip road to take this sneaky-arty piccie before jetting off on my way again. However, the glorious sunrise didn't last very long.....!!!

It shouldn't surprise me really. The motorway cuts a swathing trail of concrete through the English countryside, linking the A1M with the M25 on the east of the orbital motorway. I do vaguely remember it before it was built. Me and mate hitch-hiked down through Essex, (from the North East of England), on our way to Dover. And I remember going through all these exotic villages like Chipping Norton etc etc - because the motorway hadn't been built yet.

Even funnier was the time in France when I was hitch-hiking by myself. I was using a map that was a few years old. I had previously been dropped off in the middle of nowhere in the luscious French countryside - that's a separate story. My map told me there was a motorway under construction, and a small town on the other side of it. Off I went towards the town. I walked over a hill - and there was a bloody big 4 lane French motorway definitely constructed! So, I got my rucksack secure and started to run across two lanes - TWANG !! - that was the twang of a rucksack strap! The damned thing broke on my left shoulder, the back swung to my right, I went with it - and was left sprawling across the inside lane of the motorway - WITH A BLOODY BIG TRUCK HEADING FOR ME!!! Self preservation, it's a wonderful thing isn't it? I don't know what near-death experiences are supposed to be like, but it was a lovely warm summers day - and I got really, really COLD - I did freeze in motion for a microsecond, but the sudden rush of noise/air/blaring of the driver's horn jumped me into action, and I scrambled onto the hard shoulder - just dragging my pack out of the way before it could have been disseminated and transported on the wheels of a truck to Holland, or God knows where.

Fun days, eh? :)

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Thursday, May 15, 2003 The Squirrel, the Cat & the Pidgeon

Whilst picking Sue up from work the other day I remarked on how the tree lined avenue seemed to be alive with wild life. We know there is a cat that lives down there, because it sometimes comes out to say hello. And, just as I was pulling away from the kerb - a squirrel skipped across in front of the car and up a tree, and as it did so - the pidgeon that was in the tree flew from there to the chimney of the house that the tree was in front of. Oh what a Disney film this would make.

Yes. Exactly. What kind of animal Disney film would it make? What heart warming crazy, wacky adventures could a cat, a squirrel, and a pidgeon get up to? Okay - lets do a short 'movie pitch'. Imagine the scene, we're in a big Hollywood movie producers office. He's there to listen to the pitch for our new movie :"Fluffy Flies South"..

"This is a movie about the life & death struggle of a 28th Century Jedi Warrior sent back in time and placed in the body of a cat. His mission, along with his two friends, a pidgeon & a squirrel, is to go from New York to Florida in search of Mitzi - a Siamese kitten, who really is the 28th Century Jedi Warrior Queen sent back to our time by an evil scientist..."

- okay, perhaps we'd have been shown the door by the end of the first sentence. But I think we should stick with the title, and perhaps make it a bit more up-to-date. How about: "Fluffy Flies South - to Basra"..

"This movie is the story about the life and death struggle of a US Marine Corps cat in deepest Iraq. Separated from his unit in Kurdistan, Fluffy is befriended by 'Tariq The Talking Squirrel' and a wounded British carrier-pidgeon - Walter. The three companions traverse the wild deserts of Iraq, through minefields & roadblocks to reach the safety of the UN Aid Forces in Basra..."

- hmmmm? Sound a bit more credible? I think it has a certain appeal to it. But it still lacks the 'bums-on-seats' appeal, and the all important blockbusting opening weekend. The only way to achieve this is to bring in some STARS!!. Okay, here we go: "Fluffy Goes To Basra" (- catchier title)....

"This is a movie about the heroic friendship of Butthead Mohawk , (Harrison Ford), and his faithful cat, Fluffy, and how Fluffy saves Buttheads life whilst he is undercover as a CIA operative in Iraq, just a few days before the war starts. With his faithful companion 'Tariq The Talking Squirrel', Fluffy discovers that Doctor Death, (Jennifer Lopez), the Iraqi poison gas maker, is planning to gas her own people. With the help of her pet pidgeon - Bushy - who believes that Iraq would be a better place with a full & democratically elected US run govt. - they foil Doctor Death's deadly plans, save Butthead, and lead the Marines into Saddam's secret bunker where they capture him."

Yes. I know it's gone a little astray from your standard Disney movie, but throw in a couple kids, an upbeat soundtrack, perhaps a love/hate angle between between Butthead & Death, an amazing dune buggy chase through the desert (!), and a top of the world ma! finale with Doctor Death being blown up atop her own evil chemical laboratory discovered deep in the desert..........(phew!)...........and I reckon we have one helluva movie there!

Anybody want to write the screenplay with me? :)

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Wednesday, May 14, 2003 Euros For The USA?

Gosh almighty! The USA is using peach on it's new $20 bill. Oh. Pardon me if I don't fall to the floor in shock. For a country whose money is all the same size - AND GREEN (!) - I suppose this could rock the foundations of everything that is normal. I remember tipping a guy once who guided me from the Greyhound Port Authority Bus Station in New York to my hotel a few blocks away. I pulled out a twenty by accident - because they all looked the damned same - you should have seen the smile on his face, but I quickly realised my mistake, and slipped him five bucks instead :)

And I wonder who decided that they should all be the same size? Maybe it was these chaps at Wookey Hole Paper Mill, Somerset, England. Bank notes and 'special papers' were supplied all over the world from there during the 19th Century. The mill was know as 'Hodgkinsons' and exported consignments of paper for Confederate Bank Notes issued at Richmond, Virginia, from 1861 - 1864. They were produced using 100otton hand-made paper.

But the whole idea of you guys across the pond getting all confused over having different coloured, and different size bank notes, might not be as daft as it seems. The rest of the world has different size & colour bank notes, and most of Europe now has the Euro. And with economic ties between Europe and the USA being so tight, whose to say that in 10 - 15 years time that the USA would not be using these exotic notes as well? :)

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Tuesday, May 13, 2003 When Kids Grow Up

When do kids stop being kids? I can't seem to remember any particular defining moment - can you? Okay - it may not have happened for me yet (!) - and you might be all sitting there shaking your heads saying -"Yeah, I remember it well. It was when......."

* I got bored with 'Kerplunk!' and discovered girls/boys (delete as
applicable...and please delete the right one!).
* I tidied my room because I thought it looked untidy.
* Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches did not constitute 'a meal'.
* I first thought about mortgages & credit ratings.
* I worried about the state of the nation.

Maybe it just happens in degrees. Perhaps we just adjust & adapt and concern ourselves with other childish things:

* cars.
* computers & the internet.
* seeing how many peanut butter & jelly sandwiches we can eat after a
'night out on the town'.
* seeing how many credit cards we can collect.
* postal voting when you live less than half a mile from the polling

I'll know when the little darlings from next door will have grown up - there'll no more drumming from the garage, and no surprise trampolinists catching me off guard when I go walking naked past the kitchen window :)

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Monday, May 12, 2003 "You're SNORING !!!"

Of course, this was news to me. I mean, I never hear a thing. Y'know what I mean? There I am minding my own business - ASLEEP (!) - and all of a sudden...."You're snoring..." - but it isn't just as simple as that, is that? There is one salient point here that I think the men folk - and the women folk, in particular - have to understand. In order for me to hear those immortal words.....I had to be awake! Naturally, (and I hope you know where this is leading), I didn't just wake up by myself to hear those few little words from my darling wife at around 3am this morning. Oh no. I have no self induced waking ability to enable me to reach consciousness when Sue is about to 'whisper' to me in the wee small hours of the morning. I think there is a more simpler explanation as to how I reached my waking state.
Now we could all wonder about this couldn't we,eh? What simpler explanation could be for me being awake at 3am? I had a little think...

* alien abduction: ...and with a slight 'thud' I was placed back in bed again?
* a rip in the fabric of the Space-Time Continium causing a slight pulling of the duvet?
* a ripple in 'The Force' - around about my head?

None of these seem to explain it. I found out this morning. Apparently, when I snore, (a fact I've still yet to hear the audible proof of!), Sue just usually 'lays a hand on me', (her words), - and then I stop. Well, that all sounds a bit biblical to me. I mean, Jesus cast out devils from people by 'laying on of hands' , and I've seen plenty of Evangelist TV channels where it happens everyday - so it must be true (!). But I've never heard of the 'Wife-Laying-On-Of-Hands-Stopping-Husband-Snoring' story before. Have you?

Reckon I'll set a tape recorder going one night......I reckon Sue woke herself up with her own snoring, and then thought 'Well, if I'm awake - he might as well be as well'. Watch this ......zzzzzzzz.......zzzzzzzzz....zzzzz

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Sunday, May 11, 2003 Tourist Kinda Day

Okay, we had a lovely day out today. We went to a place called Audley End, just outside Saffron Walden, Essex. And it was really....really nice. But of the 91 pictures that I took, (I know, it seems a tad excessive, but you should see the results - some here, some on (My Photos), one of the best was this one:

"Are you looking at me? Eh, ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME?"

This guy was amongst a gaggle (?) of ducks that came over to us when Sue started throwing the bread around. he was the ring leader, and chased all the other ducks off until he had had his fill of the bread. Definitely worthy of a bit part on 'The Sopranos' :)
And I could have shown you the wonders of the park we walked around, but the best thing we came across was a circus that was packing up. Along the end of one of the vehicles was this alternative superhero:


I have no idea what used to go in the van at the circus, but it did leave me to think what this blokes super hero powers could be:

* the ability to reveal his upper colon by the twist of a handle?
* having no control of people spontaneously appearing through his midriff - as if he were a door in a wall?
*'s it!

If anybody has any other ideas about what this chap could do........answers on a postcard to the usual address, please :)

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Saturday, May 10, 2003 How Not To Park Your Petrol Tanker

This happened yesterday on Lakeside Retail Park, West Thurrock, Essex. Now, normally I carry my camera with me everywhere nowadays, in case, well, something like this comes along. However, today I left it at home. So, figuring that it would take a long time to clear up several 1000's litres of spilt petroleum and move a bloody big tanker........I nipped home at 'lunchtime' to get it. And here is the result.

So, if you ever get in a traffic accident, and some guy, (looking like me - that is a new piccie of me on the side of the page here !), jumps out of his car and starts snapping photos.....just hit him :)

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Friday, May 09, 2003 Leg Stretching

As I stretch my legs out under the desk, lightly hitting the pile of plugs & wires that connect me to you, I am reminded of a little incident that happened a couple of years ago at work. Before we moved depts. we were cramped in the corner of one floor of one of 'these open floor plan' office set-ups. Y'know the type - with electrical outlets placed at supposed strategic points in the floor, where desks would then be placed around to covet them and never let them go.........(sounds like a country and western song "Your My Darling Electrical Outlet & I'll Never Let You Go"...!). there I was talking to one of my colleagues across the desks, and I did exactly what I just did a few minutes ago - and stretched my legs out. In the hi-tech world we live in, and allegedly under the guidance and expertise of 'IT professionals', I would not have expected my feet to collide with a place where duct tape & electrical cable come to die - a bit like the "Elephant's Graveyard" for PC wiring! Well, 'The Lights All Went Down In Massachusetts" then (!) - all the PCs and monitors that were on the block of four desks I was sitting at - all mysteriously'went off'.
Of course........(because I had to act was shocked at what had happened. Not as shocked as the guy opposite me who had just spent ages creating a database for a project he had been doing. Isn't it surprising how much extra hair can be puled out from a seemingly balding man? ......well - he did. Needless to say, more duct tape was applied and the offending wires were pushed in a hole in the floor - best IT traditions :)

Do want a moral for this story? Okay, here it is - get those 'cable tidys' out now and clear up that mess of wires at the back of that PC. Hell - it'll give you a chance to vacuum behind there, and you'll realise you haven't got a two-tone carpet :)

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Thursday, May 08, 2003 USS Abraham Lincoln v Irish Regiment

I watched Fox News the other day and saw the USS Abraham Lincoln return home to West Virginia after 10 months at sea and heavy involvement in the Iraq war. It was a fantastic sight to see. 100's of relatives, 1000's of people cramming the shoreline whilst the heroic troops disembarked.

Allowed off first were the fathers whose pregnant brides had given birth whilst they were away. Lots of tears and cuddling. Then, in no particular order , the remaining bulk of the crew set foot on US soil again...thankful to be back....grateful to have returned unharmed to this rapturous welcome.

Camera crews, cables and microphones were everywhere. Wives & sailors in floods of tears blubbed messages into the lens of national & international TV cameras. It was all very moving. Like a glimpse back to yesteryear with returning forces from WWII on black & white cinema Movietone, or Pathe, news programmes.

Today I was in Canterbury. A lovely historical town in Kent. It is also the home of the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment, who fought out in Iraq also. They have three months salary in their pockets, and the town is booming with the increased business.

What of the rapturous welcome back for our brave lads? Here is a conversation overheard in Boots between a till assistant and two uniformed soldiers from the Irish Regiment:

Till Assistant: "Oh, that's a nice tan you've got? Been on holiday? Been anywhere nice?"

......only in the a Boots near you :)

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Wednesday, May 07, 2003 Hitch-Hiking: "The Lost Art of The 20th Century"

Where, o where, has Dishforth gone?
Hitch a ride and the move on.
Is that what life is all about?
Demolish my favourite roundabout?

- that was an ode to my favourite roundabout. Strange? Yes, definitely. But 'in my youth', hitch-hiking got me around the country, (England), and I had a couple of major European excursions thumbing my way along the dusty backroads of Spain, France & Belgium. Later this year is the 20th anniversary of a hitch to the South of France which myself and three friends did. I'll be posting a special 'Hitch-Hiking Edition' to commemorate the event :)

Dishforth Roundabout was the most hitchable spot on Earth. I mean - A MAN WITH NO ARMS could get a lift there. Positioned quite nicely at a junction with the A1 and the A19, (going towards Teesside), it was always the final marker from a long hitch from somewhere. I almost felt like I was home by that point. True, it was another 30 - 45 mins drive to get to my home town...but that all depends on the type of lift you got.

And did I have some lifts! I really should have gone on Mastermind with the amount of knowledge I gathered on splinter gear boxes, chemical tankers, articulated lorries, and sundry heavy goods vehicles. Lorry drivers were the best. I remember once, when I was at a Merchant Navy Radio Officer's college, (RMS Wray Castle), up in Ambleside in the Lake District, I went to hitch down the M6 to Newcastle-Under-Lyme to see one of my brothers who was at uni there. So, decked out in my uniform and cap, off I went.

This was also during the 1980's at the time of the Falklands War, so everyone was keen to lend a hand. It was bizarre. Like courier service. On two different occasions at motorway exit ramps, as I was getting out of one lorry, another one just entering the motorway would see the uniform.....stop...and wait for me! I don't think I did any hanging around that day. Naturally, everyone wanted to talk about their experiences in the armed services, or their relatives in the current Malvinas conflict. But it was good crack :)

What happened to Dishforth roundabaout? Like many a thing - it got bulldozed over and made into long sweeping entrance & exit ramps when they widened the A1 to make it a motorway 'A1M'. All the hitching spots were gone.....along with all those great hitching memories :)

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Tuesday, May 06, 2003 Dang!

By popular request, and for no other reason than ..."I can" are a couple of other 'shots', (little joke there!), from the Wild West activity the other day. Okay - this one has a running close up of a cowboy's butt.....but hey, when I shouted 'Action' they just started a whoppin' and a hollerin'.........

Then, when it looked as though the baddies were winning...........

It was quite funny. One of the cowboys - a real old timer with a grey beard, came over to his wife who was sitting next to us in the crowd and asked if she would lay about ten feet behind in the battle so that when the explosions blew him up.......he would have something soft to land on...! She politely refused :)

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Monday, May 05, 2003 Cowboys in Kent!

Well, I've never been to one of these 're-enactment' things before, but this one at Hop Farm, Kent was great. It was part of a 3-day Americana weekend. There was all kinds of stuff going on. One of the main bits was a North/South re-enactment.

They did it a few times a day, so each time it differed - and the other side won. Not quite like real life!
After having hotdogs, ice-cream, and enjoying the lovely English weather, we ended the day seated right upclose to the Wild West Show. Ye-ha!

It was very well done. With cowboys getting shot left, right & centre. All in all, a good day was had by all. It may not seem the kind of thing you might want to go to, but look in the local papers at the next Bank Holiday weekend, and go to one. You'll enjoy it :)

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Sunday, May 04, 2003 Dirty Den is back!

Oh yes - it's true! I'm not a man who normally would spend time gossiping about TV soaps , (actually that Richard bloke had it coming in Corrie though, didn't he?), but there is some momentous news just been released - DIRTY DEN IS ON HIS WAY BACK TO EASTENDERS. (Okay - not until September, but get yourselves prepared!) This news will be of particular relevance to those of you browsing from the USA, as you're probably just seeing those early episodes on PBS & BBC America. I believe UK Gold is also showing some at the moment.

I am really pleased about that. I always thought Eastenders lacked that pizzaz once Den departed. I was going to write to the BBC earlier this year with a plot line they could develop for Easter 2004. Basically:

* Gangsters come to Walford.
* Phil Mitchell gets out of his depth with them.
* Peggy gets kidnapped.
* Frank Butcher returns from Manchester to help.
* Phil, Frank, Billy take on the gangsters, and just about mess it all up, when.....
* Dennis Watts Senior arrives and saves the day.

Oh yes - there is one final twist to the tale. And, this is a rip-off of The Long Good Friday, (Bob Hoskins etc)...

* As they arrive back in Walford, driving into Albert Square.........the 'Queen Vic' explodes in front of their eyes.

- now that's entertainment :)

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Saturday, May 03, 2003 France April 2003

So far so good. I've achieved two first time mile posts. The first was my first ever 'Airport Bus Stop Conversation at Heathrow...I was too busy sorting my case out when a bus arrived, and only mw and one other bloke got on. There was a mumbled conversation between him & and the driver when I learnt that this was the Terminal 4 Bus only - not to T's 1,2 & 3. So mw and the other guy got off in a hurry. It was then that the brief bus stop conversation took place:

Him: Nobody reads the numbers on the front.
Me: Yes. When a bus rolls up in an airport car park, you just expect to get on it & be taken to the terminal.
Him: Hmmm.

We then got on the bus behind with the other passengers. It wasn't a momentous conversations as far as bus stop conversations go, (nothing about the weather, frequency of buses, fares etc), but it was unique for it's location & content.

Air France. Excellent empty check-in desks. I just walked up and got refused on the flight! Was it my ugly passport photo (!)? Was it that they'd seen the Monty Python Quizilla image at the bottom of this page? Or was there something far more sinister or technical?...Okay, it was technical. I got a new passport in February. In March, as you might recall, I went to Bordeaux. But for some reason this electronic airline ticket had been booked with the old passport number and they would not let me on! Oh la la! After a little debate avec l'homme at the Air France ticket desk, I ended up buying another ticket at about four times the price of the plume de ma tente!
Whilst waiting to board in the rather thin, (and toiletless & foodless), Gate 11 I see that the flight is only about one fifth full...or is that four fifths empty? Anyway, it consists of exactly the characters you?d want in an airplane disaster movie....
? A Chakka Khan look-a-like in a Navy hat
? A denim clad 'dumb blonde'(not French)
? An oriental businessman ( - who, in the movie, would be soon to find out that he's on the wrong flight)
? A nervous first time English passenger with bulging overhead locker case
? Complimentary couple with screaming baby, ( - who, in the movie, is of unknown nationality, and sadly usually the first to get rescued & survive all plot twists thrown at them)
? A tall black air steward ( - but unlike his stereotype, I feel this one would be more at home in a 'Victoria Secrets' sale than at a WWF Title Fight)
? Nondescript Stewardesses rather like the red-shirted security guards on the?landing party in 'Star Trek' never know their names, but you know they were going to get killed while Capt. James T. is knobbing off with some peculiarly coloured skinned alien bird
? A French pilot - okay, there won't be much drama least not getting himself into any trouble or anything...y'know...WARS(!)...that kind of thing!
Needless to say I can see this flight going unremarkably to plan.

And it did. We all disembarked without a 'La plume de ma tente' being utttered. After a hop, skip & a jump I collected my colleague, (actually he tapped me on the shoulder), from the other terminal, & we jumped into a taxi in Versailles.
Good old Versailles. Palace of the 'Sun King' Louis IV, etc etc. (I felt like saying 'Home of the Whopper' as well, or perhaps that should be 'Le Whopper'. Anyway, there?s only MacDonalds in Versailles - two of them. And yes - they do serve beer in them, and occasionally have 'bouncers' on the doors. So, whereas you?d often hear: "Do you want fries with that?" when you order a burger, it?s part of the staple diet of the town drunks - "Un 1664 avec grande fries!" is the usual early morning & late order from "l'homme du parc".

I know you're wanting to hear about "Chez Caesar" - the karoake bar. First let me show you what passes for chocolate sponge cake & custard over here:

- not exactly school dinner proportions is it? What a joke! Anyway, Chez Caesar's looks like this:

But the karoake didn't start until late ? 10.30pm, and we'd had a hard day in the saddle riding the range...or a long day at work actually, and we were too knackered to stay awake...maybe next time, eh?

Fly through Terminal 2F if you can what a place:

The Main Concourse

Well - unaccustomed as I am to expletives! There appears to be some really good technical reason why I'm not being allowed to upload more than a few piccies into this blog entry. So, on that happy note, it's Bank Holiday Saturday morning here in the UK, and having slept through most of it - it's time to go shopping! :)

I'll say hello to y'all later on over the weekend. Have a good one :)

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Friday, May 02, 2003 "Waiter, waiter! There's a finch in my cheese!"

Bonjour, bonjour - savez mes amies? On my recent return through Charles De Gaulle airport - which incidently is an incredibly racist place - Air France, (which I flew by this time), in Terminal 2F, keeps the newest & poshest part of the airport for itself, whereas if I'd been travelling by British Airways, I'd have been slumming it in one of those terminals that looks like a tribute to "Interior Concrete of the Late 1970's".
Anywayyyyyy.....there I was trolling around the duty free stores, and I find myself in the smelly cheese & sweetie store. But not just me, I found this little friend with me...

At first I thought it was a member of staff, as I seemed to understand him better, and he was a bit more receptive & attentive than the 'humans' that were dressed as staff...:). But the French staff didn't seem to mind that it was probably breaking every health & hygiene law in the country. Ah - but that's the laws in the UK. Who knows - maybe the French let birds s**t on cheese in their stores?

However, it's good to be back. I'll fill you in on some of the trip details a little later. Au revoir :)

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