Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Homeless

We are homeless. At Christmas my girlies don't have a home. OK, so it's not as bad as it sounds, but thanks to the incompetence of various solicitors and estate agents we have now moved out of our old house but not yet into our new house.

It all began when we saw a house we liked back in February or March. It was on sale with Blundells Estate Agents so we decided to put ours on the market quickly in the hope that we could buy it.

Mike Blundell came round to value our house and told us it would sell in no time at all. He said that we should put our house on the market with his company as then both houses would be with them making negotiations easier. He also said that if there were any developments on the house we wanted to buy we would be immediately informed. We signed up that day.

The next day we spoke to the Dronfield office of Blundells and were told that the house we wanted had been sold 3 days ago!

I was livid to say the least. I called Mike 'I sound like David Dickinson' Blundell and told him that he had better not hold me to the contract I signed and that I wanted my cheque back. He didn't argue. This is the first example of how useless estate agents are.

We decided to put the house on the market anyway, this time with Winkworths. They offered us a 1.2% commission and if they didn't sell in 8 weeks it would halve to 0.6%. Idiots! :-)

We finally sold out house in late October. Strangely enough to the same person we bought it off. She apparently loved living there so much she wanted to move back. It's just a 3 bedroom semi in Dronfield. There are hundreds. For fucks sake have some imagination!!! Still her money was as good as anyones so we didn't really care. £50,000 is a lot to pay for a new kitchen and bathroom though!! :-)

So, we had found buyer, we had found a new house we wanted and everyone wanted to move in December. What could possibly go wrong? :-)

Well, firstly there seems to be an old landfill site 40m from the new property we want to buy. This is well known by everyone in the area we want to move to. It had not been used for 32 years and is full of concrete, glass and other inert materials. Nothing to worry about. I did some research online and found the information that we needed to prove it was fine on the environment agency website and thought that was that. Er, no. The lenders for our new mortgage wanted proof from the Sheffield City Planning Dept. Unfortunately they just say that they have not looked at the site yet and will get to it in the next 10 year. Useless. How bad can it be when there have been houses built on top of the old landfill site for 25 years?

Anyway, to get it sorted I decided to just pay for contaminated land insurance. We were in rush don't you know!

So, what else can go wrong? Well, firstly the solicitor working for the person we are buying the house from didn't mention to him that we were anywhere near exchanging and didn't mention any specific dates. Blundells had also told us that the house we were buying was a deceased estate which they also told the vendors solicitor. When they then asked the vendor for a death certificate and there was none due to the house actually belonging to the two sons of the previous (now dead) occupier they went into 'money laundering mode'. When it turned out that one of the brothers lived in Australia and could not be contacted they thought it could also be a scam to con him out of his half of the house. Not a problem, Blundells told us that the UK brother had power of attorney over the property. What? They lied? Surely not!

So, this all needs sorting out before we can exchange.It is all quite innocent and is mainly caused by the vendors solicitor redefining complacent and the total and utter uselessness of Blundells estate agents. The even told us the property was freehold when it was leasehold which caused another delay. USELESS TOSSERS!!!

On the other end of the chain the people buying our house wanted to move ASAP, and the people buying their house were threatening to drop out if they didn't move on the 18th Dec so we made the effort and moved out. All our furniture is in storage and we are living with my mother in law.

We are hoping to sort this out very quickly in the new year. Meanwhile I don't have to pay a mortgage/gas/electric/water/buildings and contents insurance etc and so will at least have lots of beer money over Christmas.

This is a long post but I think it is worth it just to warn you about Blundells and Winkworths estate agents. I post the links to their sites above only so that you know exactly who I am talking about and I warn you not to ever deal with either of them unless you have no choice. They have both shown incredible incompetence and terrible customer service. Saying that all estate agents are probably the same. I would have thought that the credit crunch would have made them improve their service but no. Personally I hope they all go bust and if we ever move again (unlikely after this experience) I will be selling my house without the help of an estate agent.

Anyway, I am sure it will all be sorted at the beginning of January. Fingers crossed. :-)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Airport security guards kill -- literally kill -- a MacBook

Airport security guards kill -- literally kill -- a MacBook

One less mac in the world can't be a bad thing. I think we should all take up shooting macs. ;-)

Santa 5K Run - 13th December 2009

Last Sunday was the Santa 5k run in aid of Amy's Retreat. As the name suggests, this involves dressing up as Father Christmas and running 5km for charity.

There were seven of us from work competing and we managed to raise £325 for this worthwhile charity.

We all met at the Nottingham House at 11am to register and collect our outfits. After we got changed and laughed at each other we made our way down to Western Park.

This was my first ever race and I was a bit worried that I would finish dead last, including being beaten by the 10 year old girl and the granny pushing a baby laiden buggy! I need not have worried! I was indeed beaten by the rest of Team SDL but I was by no means last.

I actually found the run harder than I expected. I can easily run 5km normally but I was really struggling at some points (the uphill bits!!) and was knackered at the end. Maybe I didn't pace myself at the start or maybe I should have stretched more. I also maybe need to vary my route more when I run so I don't get used to it. Whatever, I found it hard but I finished which is the main thing!

At the end of the day we all had great fun and I think we will all be doing it next year as well.

Thanks to everyone who donated and shame on those who didn't (Tim!!!) :-) You can still donate by the way by clicking here.

Pictures taken by Victoria can be found here and Phils pictures can be found here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Abu Dhabi gets 2010 F1 season finale

Abu Dhabi gets 2010 F1 season finale

Bugger.

Originally Brazil was going to get the finale. This would be a much better end to the season as Interlagos is a great track and Brazil has a huge love of F1.

Abu Dhabi is a dull track designed by Herman Tilke who designs all new tracks to be equally boring (Singapore, Malaysia, Bahrain, etc etc etc) which host races nobody goes to watch. This years race at Abu Dhabi was dull, just like all F1 fans knew it would be.

What a crappy way to end the season. Fingers crossed that the championships are decided at Brazil like they were this year.

BBC Sport - F1 - F1 drivers to help race stewards adjudicate grands prix

BBC Sport - F1 - F1 drivers to help race stewards adjudicate grands prix

Oh thank god for that!! Maybe this will be the end of stupid decisions made by the morons they usually send to be race stewards!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Jools Holland And His Rhythm And Blues Orchestra - Sheffield City Hall

Last night we went to see Jools Holland at the City Hall. He was as amazing as ever.

We first went to see him 2 years ago and his superb performance was somewhat ruined by having Lulu as a special guest, but there was none of that tonight.

3 trumpets, 4 trombones and 5 saxophones is apparently the classic big bang (according to Jools) and they were accompanied by an amazing drummer, an organist, a guitarist, bass player and a couple of sexy backing singers. Finally there was Jools himself on piano/guitar/vocals and the superb Ruby Turner singing about 6 or 7 songs.

What an amazing sound they made. They were all just so god damn talented. If you have the slightest love of R & B, jazz, big band or just 'proper' music you should book for next year. I know we will be.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Silverstone saves British GP - Planet-F1 News - from planet-f1.com

Silverstone saves British GP - Planet-F1 News - from planet-f1.com:

Thank god!! How embarrassing would it be to have 2 British world champions driving for the same British team and not to have a British GP?

This deal is for 17 years which is good because by the time the contract expires Bernie Ecclestone will be dead, which is also good. :-)

Pity moving house has taken all our funds this year as I would love to be there once again in July. Still, see you there in 2011!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

BBC News - Irish Church accused of abuse cover-up

BBC News - Irish Church accused of abuse cover-up

Yet more proof that the Catholic church is the most evil organisation on the planet. Not only are they the richest organisation on the planet who horde untold riches while a large percentage of their followers starve but they also condone child abuse.

Not only are they sanctimonious hypocrites but they cover up the rape of children by their members.

The only thing that makes me smile is that by their own belief they are all going to burn in hell. A cheery thought indeed! :-)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

On The Scrounge

As you know I have taken up running over the past few months. I was asked at work if I was entering a 10k race and I said no but I would enter a 5k race if I could find one.

I should have kept quiet!

G-Man managed to find a 5k race in Sheffield where you have to dress as Father Christmas while you do it. I hate fancy dress but it now appears that I and several others from the office are entering.
The real reason I an entering is because of the charity itself. Amy's Retreat helps families with children suffering from cancer and when I read the founders story it made me think of my own kids and how I would cope if they got ill. Very badly I suspect. I hope I never find out.

Anyway, the run is set for the 13th of December and is around Western Park in Sheffield. Feel free to come and watch and laugh as I stumble around the course but also please dig deep and sponsor us all by clicking here. You know you want to!!! :-)

If course, out of everyone entering I will come first and they will all be left in my dust. Looking at them they all look so weak and pathetic I would be surprised if they make it across the start line let alone the finish line. I on the other hand will probably win the entire race. ;-)

That link again in case you missed it : http://www.justgiving.com/sdlsantas

Now go. Donate!!!!

Arkansas cop tasers 10-year-old girl • The Register

Arkansas cop tasers 10-year-old girl • The Register

A perfect example of great parenting.

Actually, I wonder where I can get a Taser? Just for emergencies you understand. ;-)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

US data firm blows s**t out of server

US data firm blows s**t out of server

All the people in this video have a very small penis.

McLaren confirm Jenson Button will join Lewis Hamilton for 2010

McLaren confirm Jenson Button will join Lewis Hamilton for 2010

Dream Team or a nightmare for Button?

Personally I think Button should have stayed put. He had a team he was comfortable with and he will be the new boy at Mclaren.

Mclaren have also been Hamilton's team for the past 3 years and it will be difficult for him to join them as an equal.

I would say his best chance would be to beat Hamilton next year but I really can't see that happening.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me

Yesterday I was 40 years old. I got whisky. Yum. :-)

I had a nice day and in the evening Victoria and I went out for a little drink around Dronfield and I drank too much Guinness.

Happy birthday to me. :-)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Whedon's DOLLHOUSE Put Away For Good!! -- Ain't It Cool News: The best in movie, TV, DVD, and comic book news.

Whedon's DOLLHOUSE Put Away For Good!! -- Ain't It Cool News: The best in movie, TV, DVD, and comic book news.:

Once again, Fox TV are such a load of wankers! They have cancelled Angel, Firefly, Sarah Connor Chronicles and now Doll House. They also cancelled Family Guy but brought it back because the DVD sales were so good, and Futurama, recently brought back for the same reason.

They seem to commission great shows and then cancel them way before their time. It's hardly worth starting to watch a new series these days as you will get a maximum of 1 or 2 seasons before it is gone.

Idiots!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Last Day In My 30's

Tomorrow is my birthday. I will be 40 years old.

Yes, I know it is hard to believe that someone as good looking, youthful and cool as myself could be anywhere near 40 but it is true. Today is my last day in my 30's.

Am I sad, bitter, distressed or angry about being 40? No. For a start there is nothing you can do about getting older so why worry about it and secondly I count the last 10 years as the best of my life.

On my 30th birthday I was living alone in a batchelor pad. It was good at the time but when I look back at what has happened over the last 10 years my life has changed almost totally, and I mean for the better.

Firstly, Victoria and I got back together soon after I was 30 after several years apart. We got married a couple of years later and had Alice a couple of years after that. We then had Amelia almost 2 years ago. I love my family more than life itself. How can that possibly be beaten? It can't. My 30's were superb!

Don't laugh but I also consider myself 10 years wiser (you should have seen me a decade ago!!). I have better taste in music and films, discovering a love of American Folk and blues music and widening my love of foreign films past France and Germany. I also have excellent taste in wine and a huge love of good food. I have even started cooking myself recently and am mostly pleased with the results.

I have also (2 months ago) started running. I think it is a good way of losing a few unwanted pounds and it keeps you fit. I can now run 5km and do so 3 times a week. I consider that a great achievement and I'm proud that I can do it. I am going to increase my runing so I can go further and I am even entering a 5km race in December. OK, so I will be dressed as Father Christmas but it's still a 5km race. :-)

Let's just say that I have grown as a person in the past decade, and I don't just mean my waistline. :-)

They say life begins at 40 but to be honest if it continues as it has for the past decade I will be happy.

So, goodbye 30's and hello 40's. I welcome you with open arms.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Manchester - 7th November 2009

It's my 40th birthday on Thursday. I know, you can't believe I'm even 30 but it is true. I am 40 this week.

Victoria and I spent quite a while deciding on what to do to celebrate. I was originally going to have a party but decided against it when I realised I would rather spend my money on me instead of my friends. :-) Sorry folks!!

What we decided upon instead was a trip to Manchester for a night out. Victoria and I plus my brother and his wife Claire booked into the Arora hotel and headed there at about 9am Saturday morning.

Claire had booked lunch for 2pm so we checked into the hotel and headed out into town to do a little shopping before lunch.

Victoria and I didn't buy anything because we are moving house and need to save as much cash as possible. It was nice to window shop though and I saw some very nice yet very expensive watches. Maybe next time. :-)

After a couple of hours wandering around shops we decided that beer was required. It was 1pm after all. We headed for the local Vodka Revolution and started on the Guinness........and didn't stop until about 1:30 the next morning.

At 2pm we had a table booked at San Carlo. This was an Italian restaurant that I had never heard of before but word on the street marks it down as being fantastic, and the word on the street was right. The restaurant was packed. There is no way you could just pop in and hope to get a table. The place had a great buzz about it. A really good atmosphere. The staff were quick, but not too quick and nice an friendly, and the menu had a big selection complemented by a big specials menu. The food was superb. The best Italian I have had for ages. Everything was obviously made fresh on the premises and all the ingredients were also obviously fresh. Everything has so much flavour.

This large and excellent lunch was washed down by Peroni for the boys and champagne for the girls.

We then pub crawled our way back to the hotel, sat in the hotel bar for a couple of hours, got changed and headed out again.

We headed for Canal street and had a few beers before moving on to somewhere less 'fruity'. :-) Then Justin and I pushed everyone into a taxi and said to the driver 'Take us to where they are showing the David Haye fight'. It worked! He took us to a local casino where they had a massive projector showing the fight. The girls were not impressed! They left us too it and went back to Canal Street.

After the fight Justin and I met the girls in some pub and carried on drinking until we were all VERY drunk and had to go to bed.

We all had a great day. Children are fantastic but they prevent you from going out and getting hammered so it is nice to be able to let rip like this every now and then. The next morning though we all felt very poorly.

I am pleased I was not driving back to Sheffield. :-)

Anyway, Manchester is a great place to go out and San Carlo is surely the only place to go for lunch.

I had a great day and I am sure you all agree that me telling you all about it is just as good as if you can the the party that I never had. :-)

My actual birthday is Thursday. Make sure all presents and cards arrive on time by posting early. :-)

Alice's 5th Birthday

I have finally managed to upload the pictures from Alice's 5th birthday. I know it was a week ago but what with trying to sort out the mortgage and other such fun things required to move house I have just not had time to sort them.

Anyway, The pictures are available here.
Alice had her actual party at St Peters Church on the Saturday which was also Halloween. This obviously required a Halloween themed party and all the children dressed up accordingly and Victoria provided sweet ghosts and bat buns to eat.

The 32 children attending were entertained by 'Sparky Marky'. Personally I was not impressed with his act but it was not really aimed at me and the kids loved it, so I guess it was money well spent.

The next day was Alice's actual birthday. She got the ususal massive pile of pressies including a bike from me and Victoria. Unfortunately it rained for most of the day so we could not go out and ride it.

Anyway, Alice had a great weekend which is what matters. I still can't believe she is 5 already. Time is certainly flying by.

Friday, November 06, 2009

BBC NEWS | Scotland | Edinburgh, East and Fife | Morrissey is 'best musical poet'

BBC NEWS Scotland Edinburgh, East and Fife Morrissey is 'best musical poet'

What a load of crap. Morrissey just is a miserable twat who should have hanged himself years ago and done us all a favour.

He is also the worlds most annoying vegetarian. Robert Smith once said that he would become a vegetarian but Morrissey is one so it is never going to happen. :-) Got to love Robert Smith!!!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Bernie: Silverstone has two days to sign

Bernie: Silverstone has two days to sign - Planet-F1 News - from planet-f1.com

Three words......

Fuck you Bernie!

BBC NEWS | Magazine | The rise of the non-veggie vegetarian

BBC NEWS Magazine The rise of the non-veggie vegetarian

Good news for Vegetarians!!! Most of you are not actually vegetarians and are therefore not as big a loser as you thought. :-)

Remember folks, meat is tasty, especially pig meat in all it's many forms. Pigs are now thought to be as intelligent as dolphins and chimps which makes them even tastier in my book! Who wants to eat a dumb animal when you can eat a clever one?

I wonder how hard it is to get dolphin meat.......?

;-)

Monday, November 02, 2009

Red Bull duo start Button wedding rumours

Red Bull duo start Button wedding rumours - Planet-F1 News - from planet-f1.com

This is funny. It's worth a read. I watched it on the TV and I think Jenson was really getting wound up by Vettel and Webber. :-)

Friday, October 30, 2009

I Fucking Hate Unions!

As we all know, the postal workers are currently on strike for 48 hours, just as they were last week.

I REALLY hate unions. Firstly, they are all run by idiots with overly loud shouty working class voices which makes me think of all that 'power to the people' shit from the 70's. The only thing any of them say when I hear them on Radio 4 is what a bad lot they have and how the management of which ever company they 'work' for are screwing them over. You will never hear anything constructive said. They never have any real arguments.

I don't know about you but if I am not happy in my job I look for another. I don't decide to stop work until I get more pay/longer tea breaks/more overtime. If I did I would be sacked! Are all these postal workers so thick that they need their idiot union bosses to speak for them? Can they not look for a job? They can't all be that pathetic!

Do the postal workers think they are fighting for a worthy cause? The Royal Mail (which I agree is total shit these days) is trying to modernise as they are losing 10% of their business every year. Since the postal strikes started the list of companies changing delivery company is huge, including M & S, Argos, Play.com, Amazon, John Lewis.....I could go on. These companies are NEVER coming back. That is lost business forever. These union retards are killing the company they work for.

Unions were once a good thing. When people were sent down unsafe mines or under looms to clear out stray cotton they had a purpose. Stop people dying or we won't work. Now, in 2009 they do not. They are redundant. I think the union leaders call strikes just to make sure they keep their jobs!

Talking about union leaders, how much do we think the leader of the CWU is on? While the postal workers are losing money while they strike this wanker is on £97,000!! They all pay their union dues to keep this prick in luxury? Maybe they are all a bit thick after all.

Unlike Maggie Thatcher with the Miners strike, Gordon Brown has already given in once to these twats and I am sure he will do it again, ruining the postal service even more than it already is and leaving an even bigger mess when he gets booted out of office next year. I personally think we should lynch the twat.

Anyway, rant over. Just don't ever ask me to join a union as a kick in the balls really hurts.

To be fair, not all posties are on strike. Ours was delivering last week and when Victoria said 'I thought you were on strike' he replied with 'I want to work, it's nearly Christmas'. Good lad!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

autosport.com - F1 News: Ten facts about Abu Dhabi

autosport.com - F1 News: Ten facts about Abu Dhabi:

Ten facts about F1's newest track. It does look amazing but that does not change the fact that there are only 50,000 seats available, which reflects the love of F1 in the country.

I am sure that in a couple of years the cars will be playing to empty grandstands just like they do in China/Malaysia/Bahrain and any other track that Bernie Ecclestone thinks is 'important to the future of F1'.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Of course the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is sold out, they’ve only got 50,000 seats

Of course the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is sold out, they’ve only got 50,000 seats

Why oh why does Bernie insist on having Grand Prix's in countries that don't care about F1? Money is the reason.

Silverstone had six time as many people through the turnstiles over the GP weekend this year and yet Bernie says F1 does not need a British GP.

I think he needs to remember where F1's root are and where most of the teams are based. Oh yes, he also needs to remember where most of the fans are, here in Europe.

Friday, October 23, 2009

BBC SPORT | Motorsport | Formula 1 | Todt elected as Mosley successor

BBC SPORT Motorsport Formula 1 Todt elected as Mosley successor:

No surprise here then.

This is about as fair an election as the vote not to kick Herr Mosley out of office after his roll in the hay with prostitutes.

Still, at least I don't have to see as much of that wrinkled, zombie like, mouth breathing twat's face anymore.

Monday, October 19, 2009

What A Great Weekend.

Friday started well with me managing to run 2 miles. I have only just started running and so this is a milestone (pardon the pun) and I feel very pleased with myself.

Friday evening Victoria and I went to see Spandau Ballet at the Sheffield arena. This was my wedding anniversary present to Victoria and myself and we had a great time. They were brilliant and essentially sang all the old hits with just one new song. Exactly what people wanted to hear!

Saturday night I decided to cook for Victoria and I as Sunday was our 7th wedding anniversary. I cooked Sea Trout wrapped in parma ham with a salad coated in a vinaigrette I made for a starter. It was really nice. For a main I cooked beef fillet with a mushroom gratin, sauteed potatoes (cooked with garlic, rosemary and butter) and creamy spinach with horseradish. It was really good. I was very pleased with myself. The beef was VERY rare. Just how I like it.

Victoria and I then sat up until 3am drinking wine and talking while listening to music. A great night spent with my lovely wife.

Sunday was our wedding anniversary. Seven years have flown by. We were feeling a little tired having been woken up by rug rats at about 7am and decided that a day doing nothing was required, which is exactly what we did.

Just to finish off the weekend we watched Jenson Button win the F1 world championship (see below) in Brazil. What a great ending to the weekend and the F1 championship.

Unfortunately all this excess means I feel rather groggy and bloated today. This mornings run was no fun at all! :-) It was of course well worth it.

Happy anniversary Victoria. I love you. :-)

BBC SPORT | Motorsport | Formula 1 | Button savours dream world title

BBC SPORT Motorsport Formula 1 Button savours dream world title

Jenson Button clinched the F1 world championship yesterday afternoon in Brazil. He started 14th with his main rival on pole which was a bad way to start any race. However, he cut his way through the traffic and drove a perfect race to finish 5th and give himself an unbeatable lead with 1 race to go.

This was one of the best races I have seen for a long time. Excitement from beginning to end. We also have another British champion, and the first time we have had back to back British champions in the history of F1.

Well done Jenson!!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

How To Connect a PS/2 Keyboard to the iPhone

How To Connect a PS/2 Keyboard to the iPhone

One has to wonder why you would want to attach an old PS/2 keyboard to an iPhone, especially when it is connected via a rather large PCB powered by a 9v battery but I suppose the answer would have to be 'Because I can'. :-)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Oh Dear!

From Formula One to Toyota trucks - Planet-F1 News - from planet-f1.com

If it means going to NASCAR I think I would rather quit racing all together! :-)

Monday, October 05, 2009

Stupid Politicians!

PunterNet thanks Harriet for massive upswing • The Register

Why are the people who run this country so frickin stupid? It does make for a funny story though. :-)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Restaurant Review - The Old Vicarage

As it was Victoria's birthday we decided to try The Old Vicarage at Ridgeway in Sheffield. We had heard good things about the food and as it is Sheffield's only Michelin starred restaurant we were keen to give it a go.


As we arrived a waiter greeted us at the door and took us to what is best described as a drawing room. Sofas and chairs for you to sit while you had a pre meal drink and decided what to eat. We had a G & T to drink (words finest drink? Possibly!) and were served canapes while we enjoyed it. Onion marmalade parcels, cheese puffs, quails egg scotch eggs, cheese straws and olives. A lovely way to start a meal as you can see by the picture.

We then decided what we wanted to eat and were then brought the wine menu. They have 600 wines!!! This means that we were asked questions about what sort of wine we liked so that they could narrow it down for us. I said that we like French Bordeaux, something in a St Emilion or a Pomerol. When I had been shown the section for me I looked at the prices and was quite shocked. The cheapest wine was £42 a bottle for Lalande De Pomerol. Then it went up to £58 for a St Emilion and then up to £80, then £110 and then £150 a bottle. The prices topped out at about £400! We obviously chose the £42 Pomerol, not just because it was the cheapest but because we have had the exact wine before and loved it. We bought it for about £12 per bottle though!

After a while we were taken to our table and were served our (decanted) wine, bread and our 'surprise appetizer'. This was a white bean and cauliflower purée with ducks liver and it was superb. We then had our starters. I had Saddle of Ridgeway Hare on pickled red cabbage with gin and tonic jelly and Victoria had Smoked Eel Ravioli with Salmon Fillet. Both were once again amazing.

For mains I had Cod on a Parmesan and Beetroot Risotto and Victoria had Partridge with various veg. Once again, stunningly good food.

For dessert Victoria had a chocolate mouse with hot chocolate, mocca ice cream with hazelnuts and a coffee creme brûlée. I had a selection of extremely nice locally made cheese.

We then moved back to the 'drawing room' for coffee , petit fours, and I had a whiskey (16yo Lagavulin) to finish off the night.
The food was exceptional. Everything was perfect. I can think of no way that any of it could be improved. We seriously loved it.

The Old Vicarage was not perfect though. It was a bit quiet for our tastes. I know it is supposed to be formal fine dining but everyone seemed to be talking in a whisper and when Victoria and I were laughing as we were quaffing our second bottle of Pomerol in between courses we felt we were making too much noise. I would not go there with the rest of my family as we have a habit of drinking too much wine and making lots of noise.

The other problem was some of the other diners. I hate sounding like a snob but the place was full of chavs. It's as if they went there because it had a Michelin star and was expensive, not because the star meant that the food should be superb. For example, there was a party of four sat near us. Men in shiny suits and women in flowery frocks. During dessert one of the women had a jug with cream or something in it and the jug had a crack in it. She proceeded to berate the staff in a broad Sheffield accent, saying 'I think this is terrible. It's spoiled our night. I don't expect this from a Michelin starred restaurant!'. Blah blah blah. Utter tossers. Victoria and I really became fond of her when her mobile rang and she had a loud ring tone of Tarzan swinging through the jungle. This was explained by her friend saying in a loud voice 'er names Jane, funny init.' Er, no.
The third issue was the wine prices. Now I don't mind paying for a good bottle of wine but when they only have 1 bottle of Bordeaux at under £50 I think they are pushing it a bit. The first page I was taken too had bottles in the £220 range. Crazy, and obviously way beyond my price range!
Still, these small issues aside, we really loved our meal at The Old Vicarage. I thought that the meal was excellent and at £60 a head for 4 courses I thought it quite reasonable for the quality of the food. Obviously the wine prices were totally mad but everything else was quite reasonably priced. I won't tell you what the bill came to because I can't stand the flack I would get from Rachel. ;-)
In a word, try it if you like seriously good food. Highly recommended!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Spa's operating licence suspended - Planet-F1 News - from planet-f1.com

Spa's operating licence suspended - Planet-F1 News - from planet-f1.com

Bit harsh I thought. I'd like to know how long the people complaining have lived there as Spa has been hosting races since 1924.

Also, how can they revoke the operating licence for 17 years!! Sounds a bit mad to me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Baroness Scotland fined for failing to follow own law • The Register

Baroness Scotland fined for failing to follow own law • The Register

This is so funny.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

McLaren MP4-12C road car revealed

McLaren MP4-12C road car revealed

"Hello, Ron? I'd like to order one of you your new MP4-12C road cars please and can I have a BIG lifelong Mclaren fan discount?"

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Pictures Uploaded

I have uploaded the pictures and a few videos from Wales. Pictures are here and videos here.

As we returned early from Wales we took the kids to Canon Hall Farm. It was great. Cheap, fun and Alice and Amelia loved it. Those pictures are here.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Wisdom Of Alice - Part 12

I was helping Alice put the furniture back into her dolls house after Amelia had removed it all and thrown it all over the room.

One of the rooms in the dolls house is a study with a desk, drawer, computer, mouse, office chair etc.

I put the printer next to the computer and Alice said "No, it does not go there, it goes here" and she moved it to the other side of the room.

"But if it is over there the cable won't reach" I replied.

"Don't be silly," said Alice, "it's a wireless printer".

Touche!!! :-)

Early Retreat

We are home from camping earlier than originally planned. Initially we had great weather but on Tuesday night North Wales was hit by hurricane Bill and the 50mph winds were too much for us.

If it was just Victoria and myself there we would have no problem as the tent was fine, wind and waterproof as ever. With Kids though you can't really just sit in the tent all day as they get bored.

So we decided to head home. We packed up the tent in the pissing rain. We have never been so wet. :-)

We are a bit miserable about our holiday being cut short but these things happen.

Pictures of the good days will follow shortly.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Gone Fishing!

OK, camping in Wales rather than fishing but we will be away for 10 days.

Follow our amazing adventures on Twitter/Facebook if you wish.

Don't miss me too much. :-)

Friday, August 07, 2009

RIP John Hughes

John Hughes died yesterday of a heart attack while walking in New York.

He created some of the best teen movies of the 80's many of which are still watchable today. 16 Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Pretty In Pink and many others , including his greatest film, Ferris Buellers Day Off.

Time for a retrospective I think. :-)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Official: Michael Schumacher to return for Ferrari in the European Grand Prix

Official: Michael Schumacher to return for Ferrari in the European Grand Prix

Yay!!! Should be fun!

Hamilton always said he wanted to race against Schumacher. Now he gets his chance.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How hard was Massa hit?

How hard was Massa hit?

An interesting article discussing how hard Massa was hit last Saturday.

It looks like he is getting sight back in hs eye as well so here's hoping he will be able to race again.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Surtees dies after F2 race crash

BBC NEWS England Kent Surtees dies after F2 race crash:

This goes to show that no matter how safe they make motor sport it is still a very dangerous thing to do.

I was watching this race on Eurosport and didn't think that the impact was enough to cause serious injury but how wrong was I.

Henry Surtees, 18 year old son of the 1964 F1 champion John Surtees died last night at about 22:00.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Review : iPhone 3Gs

I have liked the iPhone for a while. In fact I kind of liked them when they were first released but they were only 2G and there was no GPS as well as a serious lack of memory.

Last June Apple updated the iPhone with the iPhone 3G. Can you guess what the main difference was between the original and the 3G?

As well as supporting 3G networks, rather essential in an Internet biased phone if you ask me, the 3G had built in GPS and the option of 16GB storage. Nice but not enough.

Having a go with my mum's iPhone about 6 months ago really made me want one. It was fast, it looked cool, it was easy to use. It was a smartphone that even my mum could use to browse the web and send emails.

Then in April I bought Victoria one. She needed a new phone so I thought I would treat her. She loved it. I also loved it but still wanted more memory as this would allow me to replace my phone AND my dying old 20GB ipod.

Then in June Apple announced the iPhone 3Gs. This is a 3G with a faster processor, more advanced graphics, a digital compass and most importantly, the option of 32GB storage. It also allows you to record video and it adds voice control. Time to buy I thought.

I really wanted to go to an O2 shop on the launch day to buy my new phone but we were on the way to Silverstone for the Grand Prix so I called them on the way there. The phone was delivered on the Monday.

I have now had it for about 10 days. Do I still like it? Oh god yes!

The only feature in the 3Gs that I really want is the memory. I have 15GB music, 20 or so apps and it is only half full. This is just what I wanted. Loads of music and room for more.

The other new features are a mixed bag. The compass may seem useless but when used in google maps to orientate the maps to the direction you are facing it is an excellent addition. The voice control is a bit hit and miss. "Play Bruce Springsteen" caused it to reply with "Calling Work". Maybe I need to play with it more.

The faster processor/graphics seem to make a difference. My iPhone does load applications faster than Victoria's but once loaded there is little difference. Maybe I will notice this more when 3Gs only apps arrive.

The video recording is very good for a phone. You can apparently edit the video on the phone but I have not bothered trying.

So what do I think of the iPhone as a smartphone? It is fantastic. My previous phone was a Windows Mobile model and the iPhone is streaks ahead. It is quick, the browsing experience is fantastic and a credible alternative to a laptop/pc. It is great for texting and email and can now connect to an exchange server, and there is the app store.

The Apple app store is accessed through iTunes and allows you to download new software for your iPhone. Some is free. Some is not. Some is crap and some is excellent. Whatever, it brings your phone alive by allowing you to customise it to your liking. In a word, amazing.

It is not all good though. There are some really stupid omissions. For example, as well as setting up an email account for my personal mail I also connect to the Exchange server at work. This means I can look at the phone in the morning and see possibly hundreds of new mails. I would previously just have marked all the mails as read but you can't do this on the iPhone. Why not I don't know but it is really annoying.

You also can not add your own text message sounds for some reason. Crazy! I like my CTU phone sound for text messages and I can't have it.

There are a few other small things like this that should really be fixed/added.

The only big issue I have is the battery life. It JUST lasts a working day. I can turn the phone on at 7am and it will be dead by 6pm. I think this will get better when the novelty factor wears off and I am not playing with the phone so much but I have to make sure I can charge at home, work and the car to make sure I never run flat.

OK, gripes over. This is easily the best phone on the market. Small complaints aside this beats any of the competition to a pulp. I have not used an Android or a Pre yet but from what I have read they don't equal let alone better the iPhone.

Would I recommend you get one? Oh god yes! In spite of O2 ripping off UK buyers with the price just go and get one. You will love it!

Genius


This is much better than the usual crap that both Microsoft and Apple come out with, and yes, it is a genuine Microsoft advert.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

British Grand Prix - June 19th, 20th and 21st 2009

Last week Victoria and I went to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. I know it was a week ago but I wanted to upload my photo's before I added this post.

As usual we went for all 3 days. On the Friday morning we dropped the kids off at my mums at 06:30 and set off for Silverstone. As soon as we had left the kids we enjoyed 10 minutes of unfettered swearing which we like to do when no kids are around. When you have to mind your language all the time doing this is a great release. :-)


Victoria drove as on the 19th June the new iPhone was being released. I could not go to an O2 shop to get one so I rang them up and ordered it on the way there. I got my phone ordered and I didn't have to drive. I was winning already!


We arrived at about 10am, just in time to watch the first practice. We had a walk around the entire track as usual and after doing this for the past 3 years we now really know where to watch a Grand Prix from at Silverstone. Pity it is probably moving to Donnington. :-)


We had some lunch, watched second practice and then headed to our hotel. We were staying at the Northampton Hilton. Very convenient but it is a standard Hilton hotel which has no soul, catering for corporates in the week and charging as though we were on expenses (£13 for a burger, £15 for a Lasagna - I don't mind paying for food but it has to be good!). It was a good job it was convenient! We also had wild rabbits outside our room all the time. In fact there were hundreds of rabbits all over the area. They were very cute, especially the babies, which made it hard to see them splattered all over the road!


Friday evening we went into Brackley for a curry with Tracy and Chris. This meant a 50 minute round trip as the A43 was closed to anything but Grand Prix traffic but it was a good curry and it's always good to see Tracy and Chris. They were heading to the GP on Sunday in a corporate box the gits. They would not get the full atmosphere of course but they do get to go into the pit lane. Again, Gits!!


Saturday was qualifying. We got up at 05:30 and headed for Silverstone. This means you get there very early but we would rather be at Silverstone early than leave later and spend hours in traffic.


We watched practice 3 from Luffield and then moved to Pit Straight A to watch qualifying. We moved for qualifying so we could see the drivers getting out of their cars after. Good choice by me. :-)


After qualifying it was back to the hotel and we hit the bar for a few hours before going to bed at 21:30!! Rock and Roll!!


Sunday was race day and we got up at 05:30 again to avoid traffic. Once again a good idea as the traffic would be even worse today. We had some breakfast and sat in the stand to watch the Formula BMW, GP2 and finally the F1. Before the race we soured the grid for celebs and managed to see Kasabian, Richard Branson and Fergie amoung others. We also had the great pleasure of seeing Max Mosley. If only I had brought a high powered rifle.......


Even though it was not a good race for Button and and even worse day for Hamilton, the atmosphere was amazing. As Button is doing so well this season I thought that all the applause would be for him but no, it was still mostly for Hamilton. Maybe the British F1 fans are not as fickle as I thought they might be.

I took 920 photographs this year but managed to whittle them down to 279. A new record I think. :-) You have to remember that as a car drives past I will take 5 or 6 shots and 4 of then will be rubbish as the cars go by so fast so it's not as bad as it sounds.


After the race we even managed to get out of the car park quickly which was a miracle.


So, now it is all over. The event we have been so excited about for the past 10 months as been and gone. I have to say I was feeling a little down for a few days after but I think that shows what a great experience going to a GP really is. I highly recommend it.


So, on to next year. We would have booked tickets already if we knew a) when the race was, b)where the race was and c)that it was not at Donnington as it will be a disaster.


Let's hope it is at Silverstone again and for years to come.


Pictures of all three days are available here.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

More Mother-Frickin-Nature.

Every year we have a wasp nest somewhere in our garden. Last year we had squirrels in our roof. Our house seems to be a magnet for nature!!


So, what's next I hear you ask? Well, this morning I noticed the mole hill pictured here right in the middle of my lawn!

What am I supposed to do about frickin moles?

Anyone got any ideas?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It Gets Better!!! :-)

'Max to step aside with immediate effect' - Planet-F1 News - from planet-f1.com:

The god of Formula 1 is in a good mood this week. :-)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Formula 1 | F1 resolution found, says Mosley

BBC SPORT Motorsport Formula 1 F1 resolution found, says Mosley:

So the FOTA teams have agreed to sign up for next years championship and Mosley has agreed to step down. This is excellent news as Formula 1 is safe and Herr Mosley is going to finally fuck off.

All the dodgy penalties from the FIA should now stop and we can get back to racing.

All we need to do now is get rid of Ecclestone.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Finally, someone has identified the problem within Formula 1

'Teams want Mosley ousted to save F1' - Planet-F1 News - from planet-f1.com:"

I have always said that the problems currently within F1 are the result of two men. Now the teams have realised that Mosley has to go. About time!

I saw the whore master yesterday at the GP. If only I had a high powered rifle with me........ :-)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | ITV 'to gain licence fee share'

BBC NEWS Entertainment ITV 'to gain licence fee share': "ITV 'to gain licence fee share'"

NO NO NO NO!!!!

I don't want anyone but the BBC to get the licence money.

The BBC are, in my opinion, the only broadcasting organisation that consistently provides excellent TV both on terrestrial and digital channels, backed up by an unrivalled online presence.

ITV make crap that nobody ever watches so their advertising revenues drop and they bleat on about not being able to complete with the BBC because they are funded by the tv licence.

Even Sky make better original content than ITV. Now that they have lost the Formula 1 I NEVER watch any of their channels.

Keep the licence for the BBC.

How Grown Up?

This picture of Alice was taken when she was all dressed up for the Ballet. Victoria and her mum too Alice to see Angelina Ballerina in Buxton.

Alice wore her best dress and I can't believe how grown up she looks in this picture. It does not seem long since she was born but it was 4 1/2 years ago!

Of course in all the other pictures she looks like a 4 year old but in this one she just looks beautiful.

Maybe it's me seeing her with a parents eyes. :-)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Finally!! What All SatNav Users Have Been Waiting For.

Homer Simpson speaks out on satnavs • Register Hardware:

I might actually buy this. :-)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

How Middle Aged Am I? :-)

I have finally fitted my roof box and I am really pleased with it. For some reason I think that this is a really exciting purchase.


I bought the box a few weeks ago but it has taken me a while to bother getting the roof bars. I finally got some Thule ones from Halfords on Tuesday and fitted them that afternoon and today I finally fitted the box itself.

I took it for a ride down the bypass to make sure it was not going to fall off at speed and there was not a rattle. Alice was a little alarmed though when I threw a few of her stuffed toys in before we left so they could have a ride. :-)

As this is my first roof box I have made one small error in my purchase. The box I bought will only open on one side which means I need to grow my arms by 6 inches to fit the side with the hinge. If anyone has any hints on fitting let me know.

All together though I think it looks quite stealthy, for a roof box.

I'm so middle aged. :-)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Futurama back from dead again • The Register

Futurama back from dead again • The Register:

Huzzah!!!

The 4 specials were OK but not great. I am sure Futurama will get back to it's best with a proper series of 30 minute episodes.

I for one can't wait. :-)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Should I Buy A New iPhone, Even Though O2 Are Ripping Off The UK?

I have wanted an iPhone ever since I bought one for Victoria a few months back. I was very impressed with everything about it, and as I knew they would be announcing new models at the beginning of June, and my current T-Mobile contract ends on the 21st June I thought I would make one my next phone.

As predicted the new models were announced. Better camera, compass and some other rubbish but most importantly, a 32GB model which is what I really wanted so that the phone would also replace my old and dying ipod.

The US prices for the 32GB and 16GB models were the same as the 8 and 16GB models last year so I guessed that they would be the same price as the old models in the UK.

er, No.

The 16GB model is more expensive than the old 16GB model and the 32GB model is around £275 on an 18 month contract! This is almost $450! $150 more than the US price. What a con!

I could always buy the 16GB model for £180 but I really want the 32GB model. Should I pay £275 for the phone? Should I buy the 16GB model? Is it really worth paying £6.25 per GB for the additional memory when we all know memory prices are really low at the moment? I just don't know!

To tell the truth I do know. I will probably pay the money for the 32GB model, but while I am handing over my cash to the drone in the O2 shop I will be muttering something about robbing bastards under my breath!

Black flag at the ready for Max and Bernie's gravy train | Richard Williams | Sport | The Guardian

Black flag at the ready for Max and Bernie's gravy train Richard Williams Sport The Guardian:

"The vast expanses of green sheeting that covered the empty grandstands around the Istanbul Park circuit on Sunday symbolised the disease attacking the world of formula one as the era of Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone draws, with agonising and hugely destructive slowness, to its close."

"Button's success, a long delayed reward for talent and patience, is just about the only thing formula one has going for it during a year in which the corrosive effects of Mosley's political machinations and Ecclestone's insatiable greed have become fully apparent."

Two quotes from an excellent article that hits the nail on the head while discussing what is wrong with Formula One at the moment. Mosley and Ecclestone.

Surely they can't both be around much longer.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Max Mosley is wrong - Again

Max Mosley is wrong. The only split F1 needs is a break away from him

Mosley really has lost the plot recently. He really does need to step down as president of the FIA if he is advocating the 9 FOTA teams leaveing.

All he is doing is arguing for the sake of it.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Halfords Bargains!

Halfords have a 50% off sale at the moment including on roof boxes. When we went camping last year the boot was VERY full and the kids were packed in with the sleeping bags and various other bits and bobs for company.

We decided at the time that this year we would purchase a roof box to prevent overloading again but for a reasonable sized one you are talking almost £500!!!

Luckily I happened to see an advert on TV for Halfords which specifically mentioned roof boxes with 50% off!! Brilliant!

I order this little beauty. It will be here in the next week and I have saved over £220!

I realise that this is a very sad thing to post about but as I stride towards 40 these are the things that get me excited. :-)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Snack Review - Doner Kebab Pot Noodle

You may remember that in March I blogged about the release of 'The Ultimate Post Pub Snack'. I was of course referring to the Doner Kebab Flavour Pot Noodle.

I promised to try this snack as Phil has stopped providing us with his snack reviews and although it took me a couple of months to find one, I have finally tried the Doner Kebab Pot Noodle.

Just to set the scene, I believe Pot Noodles are best either post pub or during a bad hangover. To give the Pot Noodle a fair chance I have first consumed four bottles of various ales from the 'Badger' brewery. This beer comes in 500ml bottles and it between 4.5% and 5.5% alcohol. I believe this will inebriate me enough to be fair.

As you can see in the picture the neon light style writing on the pot is attempting to conjure up a feeling of being in a dodgy kebab shop. It does not really work but I would say that the packaging was appropriate for this product.

Once you rip off the lid you are greeted with the normal site of an 'uncooked' pot noodle. Dried noodles and dust topped with a sauce packet. This time though it looked a little more grey than normal.

After removing the chilli sauce packet you get to see the pre-water pot noodle in all it's dusty glory.

I have to mention that when you open this pot noodle you get hit by a smell that is almost like lamb flavouring but with a little plastic added for good measure. I think that this demands points for at least trying to get a kebbaby flavour. Don't try to get a better smell though as trying this means you will just get a nose full of kebab flavoured dust.

Next I added the hot water, waited the required amount of time and was left with this. It looks like a normal Pot Noodle except it was a slightly different colour grey to denote the flavour. :-)

At this point I was actually excited. Obviously the texture of a kebab is impossible to recreate in a pot but maybe, just maybe the flavour and hot chilli sauce could give the same effect as the real thing.

I took my first bite.

It tasted of........nothing.

Any lamby type flavour indicated by the initial smell had obviously been soaked up with the water and diluted to the point of not being there anymore. It really did taste of nothing. Warm, slimey plain noodles with some lumpy bits in it.

I then realised that a kebab is not a kebab unless it has chilli sauce so I emptied in the sauce packet.

I took another bite.

This time it tasted like warm, slimey, plain noodles with chilli sauce. The heat was there but there was still no flavour. The chilli sauce also had the effect of instantly giving me really bad hiccups!

So would I buy another Doner Kebab Pot Noodle? No.

Did I finish it?

Yes of course I did, I had just drunk 4 bottles of strong beer.

Did it fulfill my post drink needs?

Yes, but no better than any other pot noodle.

Personally I would stick to Chicken and Mushroom if these are your thing. This pot noodle really does nothing for the brand.

Taste : 2/10 (0 without the chilli, 2 for the heat of the chilli)
Texture : 2/10 (it had some)
Packaging : 9/10
Over all post drink satisfaction : 4/10 (All Pot Noodles get 4 if you ask me. A real kebab would get an 8)

Total Score : 4/10. Quite sad when you think most of this score came from the packaging. :-)

Just to please Rachel, the Pot Noodle cost me £1.59. :-)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

BBC NEWS | Politics | 'Duck island' claim MP to retire

BBC NEWS Politics 'Duck island' claim MP to retire:

This gets funnier every day. What a twat this bloke is.

Personally I think they should be prosecuted but I guess that when you make up your own rules you can get away with such things.

Maybe we should storm parliament. I can see an elaborate plan very similar to the one seen in V for Vendetta. :-)

I am hoping the Telegraph are saving the best for last. I want to see Gordon Brown's claims and I want to see something really embarrassing for him.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Stewart: The FIA has no right - Planet-F1 News

Stewart: The FIA has no right - Planet-F1 News - from planet-f1.com: "Stewart: The FIA has no right"

Jackie Stewart tells it like it is. I like this man because he was a brilliant driver, multiple world champion and most of all because Herr Mosley hates him. :-)

Keep it up I say.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

BBC NEWS | Politics | MP admits mortgage expense error

BBC NEWS Politics MP admits mortgage expense error: "MP admits mortgage expense error"

How can you keep claiming expenses for a mortgage that ended 18 months ago? The espenses are not automated are they?

Start building the gallows I say. :-)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Could This Be The Greatest Film Ever Made?

No!

For some reason though I still want to see it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

BBC NEWS | Politics | MPs 'claimed for swimming pools'

BBC NEWS Politics MPs 'claimed for swimming pools': "Conservative MP Stewart Jackson has confirmed that he made a claim of £304.10 for the upkeep of a swimming pool.

But he added: 'The pool came with the house and I needed to know how to run it. Once I was shown that one time, there were no more claims. I take care of the pool myself. I believe this represents 'value for money' for the taxpayer.'"

This made me laugh. How can this be value for the taxpayer? I think we should all turn up for a swim!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Polly Scattergood - Please Don't Touch


As I posted previously, I just can't stop listening to Polly Scattergood's excellent debut album. On Monday her latest single is released and the video is above.

Seriously, buy this album. Your ears will love you for ever.

OK, so the video is a bit cheap, but she is only just starting out on a small label, and it's the music that counts I am sure you will agree.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

FIA In Fair Punishment For McLaren Shock!

Today the FIA decided on McLaren's punishment for lying about what happened in Australia under the safety car. For once the result was fair!

Mclaren will get a suspended 3 race ban which most people think is about right. I was worried they would get a 4 race ban and not be at Silverstone this year!!

Full story is here.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

More Cooking - Focaccia

This weekend I decided to do some more cooking. I decided to have another attempt at a quiche which failed last time due to my crap pastry making skills and I decided to make some more bread. This time a Focaccia bread.


The pastry was once again crap. I seem to have real problems making it. It all goes together fine and feels nice and soft but when I try to roll it out it all falls to bits. Anyone with any suggestions they will be welcomed.

Bread however it a different matter all together. My first attempt at a white loaf was a great success and this weekends Olive and Rosemary Focaccia was also a big success, as you can see by the picture above.

I love making bread. I hate making pastry. Can you guess which one I will be making more of? :-)

Alice's First Cinema Trip

I have been off all this week. I thought I would extend the Easter weekend to a full week as I had not had any time off since Christmas.

Alice and I decided that it was about time she went to the cinema to see a film instead of watching one at home so as I was off we decided that last Tuesday was the time and Monsters vs Aliens was the film.

It may not seem like a bit thing taking your four year old daughter to the cinema but as Alice is a total wuss who is scared by the dark and by loud noises it was a big thing for her.

I decided to pay a pound extra for the posh seats so that there would be plenty of room in case Alice wanted to sit on my knee. Good job I did too. :-) I was also the only parent who paid the extra and we were the only ones sat in the posh seats. It obviously means that I love Alice more than they love their children. :-)

The lights went down and all was fine. Alice was very brave indeed. It was only when the giant robot was attacking San Francisco that it all got a bit too much for her and she moved from her own seat to my knee. That was where she stayed for the rest of the film.

She said she really enjoyed her first trip to the cinema but when I asked her if she would like to go again she said "No. It's too loud". I am sure she will get over it eventually.

I also asked her if she would like to watch Monsters vs Aliens on DVD when it is available and she also said no because it was too loud. I explained that at home we could turn the volume down and she was much happier about the prospect.

All in all a good trip. Alice was very brave and the film was surprisingly good. Recommended.

Well done Alice.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Wisdom Of Alice - Part 11

Alice and I were watching the second practice session for the Chinese grand prix on the BBC red button this morning.

Alice : "Who is first?"

Me : "Jenson is first at the moment"

Alice : "Is that Jenson Button?"

Me : "Yes"

Alice : "Then I will call him Chocolate Button"

Too much easter chocolate me thinks! :-)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Making Children Look Stupid.

Children are funny. They are hilarious in fact. This is mostly unintentional on their part when they are very young but they become natural performers as they get older, and due to their clumsiness and general daftness they continue to be hilarious.


However, they are also a massive burdon to their parents. We have to endure sleepless nights, tantrums, food thrown all over the house, precious things broken, houses that look like a terrorist has blown up a Toys R Us in our lounge, having to disconnect the power and reset buttons on your PC after children discover pressing them makes the screen go blank when mummy or daddy are just trying to read their email, and many other hardships.

We think that they odds are stacked in the favour of the child and that they are not funny enough to make up for all the pain they cause. It is therefore imperative that we as parents balance out the funny/pain levels.

There are many ways to do this but Victoria and I have always gone with the 'Make you child look stupid and take pictures for showing people in later years' approach. Sometimes it goes a bit too far but most of the time it is great fun.

Anyway, the point of this post....

We are off camping in Wales in August and have already been buying the things we will need. We went to CCC yesterday and found the lovely rain suit that Amelia is wearing in the photo above. The picture does not show it but it even has fluorescent strips on the hood and back. Classic!!!

Yet another classic example of making your child look stupid. If any parents out their have any of their own examples I would love to see them. :-)

Easter

We had a really nice Easter this year. Alice had of course been excited about it for weeks and was looking forward to having lots of Easter eggs. Last year when people asked if they should get her an egg we said 'No, she will have loads' to too many people and she didn't get very many. We felt guilty about that so this year we made sure she had loads of eggs.


We have also convinced her that the Easter Bunny is working with Father Christmas and that they have a shared naughty/nice list. If Alice is not good the Easter Bunny will know and reduce the egg count. It worked a treat but we now need another mythical character to cover us over the summer. Any ideas?

Easter Sunday was just the four of us. We started the day with an Easter egg hunt which Alice loved and Amelia wandered around oblivious to. Great fun.

Victoria and I decided to have goose for lunch as I have strangely never tried it. It was delicious if not slightly expensive (£55 for an 8.5 lb bird!!!)

The only bad thing about Easter was that I had a stinking hangover all day after going out for a few too many beers with my brother the night before.

Pictures are available here.

Friday, April 10, 2009

What Is Wrong With Formula 1? - Part 3 - Bernie Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone owns the commercial rights to Formula 1. This means he can sell the TV rights and advertising to whoever he wants as well as deciding on who hosts a race and how much they pay for the race. He also pays the F1 teams when they score points. Essentially he holds the F1 purse.

The first way he is ruining F1 is by whoring his shares in Formula One Management to a company called CVC to raise money for himself while promising CVC vast profits after a few years. To make good on his promise he only puts 50% of the profits back into the sport and he is continuously increasing the cost for a track to host a GP. This means that it is increasingly difficult for circuits that do not have government backing to host a race. He charges the circuits around £100 million a year for the race and the circuits take on the gates is around £100 million. They don't even get the advertising rights as they go to the FIA. The only profits they make are food and drink vendors paying for pitches and car parking.

He also seems to have some sort of vendetta against Silverstone. He has been threatening for years to take the race away from them unless they improve the facilities and how can they do that when they make no profit from the GP as he charges so much? I think he just does not like the people who run the circuit but then he seem to not like anyone. The facilities at Silverstone are not at all bad and I have heard that other circuits (Brazil) are much worse and he does not continuously threaten them with losing the race. Anyway, he has finally done it and 2009 is the last race at Silverstone. From 2010 it is moving to Donnington who really seem to be struggling with getting everything ready. If they fail there will be no British GP for the first time since F1 began.

Silverstone is not the only historic circuit to be dropped. France has lost it's race, Canada have lost their race and 2 years ago America lost their race. They are increasingly replaced by boring circuits in Asia and the Middle East. Bahrain, Singapore and now Abu Dabbi. Soulless circuits with no racing history and half filled grandstands. These countries pay Bernie the most money and so get the races at the expense of the classic circuits. The fans don't like this as the races are boring. The teams don't like it because the races are not held in their markets. The people in these countries are indifferent due to not following F1. Abu Dabbi only has seating for 30,000 people which shows how many people they expect!

There really should be an effort to protect the classic GP's.

Recently Bernie has also tried to make more of the races night races. The first night race was last year in Singapore. On the one hand the FIA are saying that F1 needs to be green and on the other Singapore is lighting 3.5 miles of track to be as bright as day for 3 days! Crazy.

The reason for this is that while Bernie is moving the races away from their natural home he also knows that the key audiences are in Europe. Therefore he wants these races to be held at peak viewing times in Europe. First we had Singapore and this year he wanted Australia and Malaysia to become night races. They refused.

Instead Bernie said that the races has to be started at a later time. This mean that the last part of the Australian race was too dark for racing and could have been dangerous and Malaysia was held at a time when it ALWAYS rains at the same time of day, the race halfway mark. The teams knew it was going to rain, the locals knew it was going to rain and I knew it was going to rain. Guess what happened? It rained. So much that the race has to be abandoned. Bernie will not however admit that he is wrong.

The funny thing is that the European fans don't mind the races being a funny times. We are used to getting up at stupid times to watch the race and we all have some method of recording them if we want a lie in.

I'll stop my rant now.

The only thing that can fix F1 of for both Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley to leave which I can't see ever happening. Therefore, and I know it sounds harsh, I am, shall we say, hoping they don't live to be 100.

I still love F1. The racing is as good as ever even with the evil troika of Mosley, the FIA and Ecclestone trying their best to spoil it I will still watch and enjoy it and look forward to better days.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

What Is Wrong With Formula 1? - Part 2 - FIA Stewards

Lewis Hamilton has been disqualified from the Australian GP, 5 days after it was run. This is something else that is ruining F1.

After he was penalised in Spa last year for actually racing I would have thought that the FIA would stop messing around with stupid penalties and changing the results after the race has been won, but oh no.

FIA stewards are not F1 experts. They are people that suck Mosley's dick the most. Track owners, FIA members etc. Many of them have never been to an F1 race before they are stewards for a weekend. Within the FIA it is considered a perk to be a steward.

When will they realise they can't keep changing the result after the race.

Read the report here is you wish.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What Is Wrong With Formula 1? - Part 1 - Max Mosley

Last weekend the 2009 Formula 1 season started with a fantastic race in Australia. Brawn GP who were until recently Honda F1 before Honda pulled out were first and second and Lewis Hamilton was third after starting 18th! A superb race!

However, there were controversies before and after the race that could have easily been avoided.

Firstly there was a question about the diffusers on the back of the Williams, Toyota and Brawn cars. Diffusers help the air travel under the car and can have a big impact on performance.

The differing designs were know about months ago and have developed due to the rules being somewhat ambiguous. What has happened during the Australia weekend is that several teams have made a complaint to the FIA about the faster diffusers and it has to go to the FIA appeal court in the middle of April.

If the appeal court say the diffusers are illegal then the race results for Australia and this weekends Malaysian race will be changed due to any teams running the possibly illegal component being disqualified.

This of course will not happen but it did not need to go this far. If the rules were clarified months ago there would be no need for all this. I am 100% sure that the FIA will rule the diffusers legal but it makes the sport look stupid and it need not happen. It also means that while Herr Mosley has been harping on about cost cutting for the past year the teams with the slower diffuser will now have to develop a new one to stay competitive which will cost them a lot of money.

The second controversial issue from last weekend was Jarno Trulli being given a 25 second penalty for overtaking Lewis Hamilton while the safety car was out. Trulli went off the track at a corner allowing Hamilton past. Hamilton then gave him the place back as you are not allowed to overtake under the safety car which meant that Trulli over took Hamilton, earning a penalty for doing just that. How stupid is this? There are many grey area rules like this and it really needs sorting out. It once again makes the sport look stupid.

The rules have got to this state because of the FIA (Mosley!) continuously tinkering with them. Rather than making silly changes such as a medal system for scoring he should create a definitive set of regulations. The sport is 60 years old for God' sake. There should be definitive rules!

Another example of needless change was when Mosley introduced KERS. This is essentially a battery on the car which is charged by the brakes and this energy can be used to give the car an additional 80bhp for 6 seconds. It has cost the teams on average £70 million each to develop these systems and they add practically nothing to the race. All this while Herr Mosley is saying that the teams must cut costs.

The teams have recently formed FOTA (Formula One Teams Association) and have been trying to rectify these issues. They have all agreed on a plan and have asked F1 fans all over the world what they want to see happen. They then presented the results to the FIA who promptly ignored them and decided on their own changes. This is wrong. The FIA need to listen to teams and fans as we are all far more important than they are.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Don't get me started on tyres!!!! ;-)

To summarise, the first thing wrong with Formula 1 is the FIA and more specifically Max Mosley. The rules are ambiguous and when people interpret them differently the results are variable. They seem to be ignoring what teams and fans want and seem to be working their way down some hidden agenda.

Mosley's tenure as FIA president is over this year and he says he will stand down. Unfortunately he is a born lair and I do not for a moment believe he will not run for office again. He likes the power too much.

Last weekends race was amazing and F1 is not for the scrape heap yet. How long though can it continue to be ruled by these self serving idiots before becoming permanently broken?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Daniel Hannan Says What We All Think.



Hands up if you want to smack that smirk of our retarded fuckwit of a PM's face?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Say Hello To Christian The Jaffa.

As I reported in November, I went for the unkindest cut of all, the snip.

A few weeks ago it was finally time to take in a sample and today I finally got the results. My sample apparently 'contained a complete absence of sperm'.

HUZZAH!!!!

I will be taking Jaffa Cakes into work for all tomorrow. :-)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Ultimate Post Pub Snack?

We have all had a Donner kebab on the way home from a 'busy' night out at the pub and at the time they taste great. It is only the next morning when you realise you dribbled chill sauce down yourself, you stink of mystery meat and you feel like your hangover has doubled thanks to the massive salt and fat intake that you regret your drunken choice.

There is now another choice! Pot Noodle, those purveyors of food that only tastes good drunk or with a hangover have gone the whole hog and released a Donner kebab flavour pot noodle!!

Genius!

No matter how much crap there is in a Pot Noodle it can't be as bad a a Donner so you are winning in every way.

As Phil seems to have ended his superb snack reviews I will take it upon myself to purchase and try this new pot noodle and to review it properly when I have done so. Of course I will have to get totally pissed before I do so as to have the proper 'post pub' experience.

They are released this weekend so watch this space.....

Friday, March 20, 2009

F1 Teams Tell FIA To Go Fuck Themselves.....

OK, so they didn't actually say that, but this is my website so I can put what I like. :-)

What the F1 teams association (FOTA) have actually done is explain to the FIA that according to their own rules they can't impose any new rules less than 20 days from the start of a new season without all the teams agreeing. All the teams think that the new 'winner takes all' rule is is a rubbish idea so the FIA have graciously decided to defer the plan until next year, explaining that they thought all the teams agreed. This is of course bollocks as FOTA actually put forward their own ideas which were instantly rejected for the rubbish 'winner takes all' plan.

This has made me as happy as my post on the new rule made me sad. Herr Mosley was so keen to force his will on the teams he forgot to read his own rules. Very funny if you ask me.

You can read a much more accurate account of what has happened here.

Now all we need to do is hope Mclaren can pull themselves together for next weekend.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More Crazy Catholic Fun

Looking at the BBC website today I came across this little gem. Apparently the pope thinks that "handing out condoms can only worsen the crisis of HIV/AIDS." It will apparently promote promiscuity.

Surely the fact that you are using condoms in your promiscuous lifestyle will help prevent aids. Let's face it, people are going to have sex with or without condoms so they can't do any harm.

His popeship made these comments while heading for Africa. Does he not also realise that many of the aids victims are children conceived by loving parents unknowingly carrying the aids virus? Is that why he does not want condoms given out because as Monty Python so brilliantly put it 'Every Sperm Is Scared'?

I'm sick of the catholic church saying such stupid things about condoms and contraception in general. There are thousands of people all over the work living in poverty and having more and more children because a bloke in a frock tells them they can't use contraception. It's ridiculous. The catholic church need to take a more responsible attitude towards their 'flock'.

I say we storm the Vatican and kick the pope out on the streets!! Who's with me? :-)

UPDATE : A new article is available here. My favourite quote is "...the president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo - have insisted that HIV inevitably passes through holes in the latex from which condoms are made,..." LOL

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

FFS. More FIA Formula 1 Meddling

The FIA have just decided that the driver with the most wins will win the drivers championship this year. This means that the second place driver could have more points than the winning driver.

They did this to encourage drivers to go for the win. It's not going to work. It is just another attempt by Max Mosley and the FIA to ruin the sport I love the most.

The F1 teams association wanted to change the points system to encourage drivers to go for the win. They ran a survey and the results say the fans liked their idea. What the survey also said was that the fans did not want a situation where the driver with the most wins gets the championship. However, the FIA (Mosley) ignored this.

I hope this is not the beginning of another year of pointless rule changes. What with Mosley ruining things from the FIA side and Ecclestone taking away all the classic races because Asian and Arab nations pay him more money, F1 is in decline. Both these twats need to leave the sport to people who actually like it and want to see it grow.

The story is available here.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Steak Ale And Mushroom Pie

As you may have read below, this week's cooking extravaganza is Steak Ale and Mushroom Pie. You can see a picture of it above this text.

This is the first time I had made pastry and it turned out great. The pie filling was also delicious. It was really rich and lovely. :-)

Once again I am really pleased with the results of my cooking. So far I have had no failures so I am expecting one soon. Of course I do have a cooking encyclopedia of a wife to ask whenever I have a question or two so I'm not exactly working without a net but I still think I am doing quite well.

The recipe for the filling is available here and you can find the pastry recipe here. Gotta love the BBC food website.

More Cooking

Today I am making a steak and ale pie for tea. I have just been to the local farmshop to buy the steak and I will soon be making the pie. Having never made pastry though I am wondering how it will turn out.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Polly Scattergood

While driving home from seeing Watchmen on Wednesday night I was listening to Radio 2 and Steve Lamacq was on playing little known or unsigned artists.

One of the songs he played was 'Please Don't Touch' by Polly Scattergood who I had never heard of but who I took an instant liking to.

I came home and listened to some of her music on her web page before ordering her album. It's really good and I recommend you having a quick listen.

Too Much Too Soon?

Here is an article on the BBC website about an 8 year old boy who got a grade A at maths A-level, the youngest person to do so.

Well done, very clever.

If you keep reading however you will see the following line :

His ambition is to work in the City as an actuary specialising in pensions and insurance.

What?

He's 8. When you are 8 you want to be either a spaceman, a racing driver or a train driver, not working in the city specialising in pensions and insurance!

Hands up if you think his parents have been feeding him lines. :-)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Who Watches The Watchmen? I Do!!!!

Last night I went to see Watchmen. The very fact that I went to the cinema speak volumes about how much I wanted to see this film as I usually avoid the place like the plague. Full of other people, sound usually wrong, sticky floors, too expensive etc etc.

Watchmen however was different. I had first read the book around 22 years ago and since then have read it many many times. It is the story of a bunch of dysfunctional ex-masked superheroes, only one of which has any superpowers, and how someone is killing them.

This film was pure genius. I would have never thought that they could successfully turn it into a film but they have done it.

If you want to see a very clever, intelligent film that just happens to be about superheroes, go and see this one.

Close enough to the original book to please the fan boys? - Check
Cool throw-away one liners? - Check
Extreme violence? - Check
Very sexy girl wearing latex? - Check

Looks like it ticks all the boxes. :-)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Max Mosley: I'll never recover lost dignity

Max 'Whore Master' Mosley says here that he will never recover his lost dignity.

Good.

Maybe he should not have been doing things that cause him such a loss of dignity were he caught.

I still can't believe he kept his job.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Bakers Man

I love food.

I love eating out at expensive restaurants and I love eating in as my wife is the most AMAZING cook.

I have been meaning for ages to make an effort and cook myself and since new year I have been doing exactly that.

I have cooked fish twice followed by the worlds best curry (including home-made pilau rice) and today I thought I would try home-made burgers.

Obviously it is no fun to just make the burgers so I decided the bake bread as well so that we would have home-made breadcakes.

I have never baked bread before and I have to say it is the most amazing thing to do. You start with flour, yeast, salt and water and as you mix it in a bowl it suddenly changes into a totally different mixture when it is properly mixed. Then you kneed it for 15 minutes and it totally changes again. Amazing!!! Then after you leave it for 2 hours it is suddenly twice the size. Superb. Payback all the way through the process.

Finally, after all this fun you get bread!! The best bread ever because it is home made and oh so fresh!

I decided to make 6 breadcakes and a loaf. That way we had bread cakes for tonights burgers and a loaf for sarnies tomorrow. You can see the picture of the loaf above and the breadcakes here.

The burgers were also brilliant and really simple to make. The meat was from a good butcher and not supermarket crap and so was rather healthy. Everyone is a winner. :-)

Anyway, I have had a really good time today baking bread and making burgers. Everyone should try it.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

BBC Formula 1 Coverage announced

Today the BBC announced details of their formula 1 coverage for the season ahead. There is lots of excellent red button stuff and online video streams etc. You can read all the details here.

The most exciting thing that was announced though? The theme will be Fleetwood Mac's 'The Chain'.

Yay!!!

Dum, dum dum dum, dum dum dum dum dum dum.

Stupid People Are Everywhere - Beware!

Alice watches some real crap on TV. She loves it but sometimes Victoria and I would rather throw the TV through the window than sit through one more second of Dora The Explorer or The Backyardigans.

One of the channels we do like her watching though is CBeebies, mainly because it does not put 15 minutes of toy adverts in-between each tv show like Nick Jnr does. Instead CBeeBies has presenters doing links in-between it's shows. They sing songs, read stories etc. Much better than adverts and we don't have to listen to Alice saying 'I want that' to each one.

Recently the presenters were changed on CBeebies. The previous two had been there for at least a couple of years and I guess they thought it was time for a change.

The new female presenter is called Cerrie Burnell and she is perfectly good at the job, moderately attractive in a children's TV presenter kind of way and Alice thinks she is great. She does however have only one hand.

Victoria and I think this is a great idea for children's TV. The world is full of different looking people and we think that if children see many different types on TV they will accept everyone as being 'normal' if there is such a thing.

Unfortunately not everyone thinks the same. The CBeebies forum has been flooded with parents saying how disgusting it is for there to be a disabled person on TV when their children are watching. They are saying that Cerrie is scaring their children and giveing them nightmares.

How stupid are these people? Children don't think anyone is different unless they are told they are different. Alice accepts that Cerrie had one hand immediately. I don't even think she noticed.

If these parents can't explain something like a disability to their children how will the explain something like death? What if someone they know gets injured?

Children are the easiest people in the world to explain something to. They accept whatever you tell them and if you take the time to explain things in a proper manor they will go away happy.

I pity these children who have such moronic parents and I applaud the BBC for employing her.

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