Thursday, 31 July 2008

Howdy Stranger!

Oh, blimey! A year has gone by so now I'm appearing again on Diamond Geezer's annual "who has me on their blogroll" feature. Which might mean that one or two new people stumble by my blog, stare slack-jawed at the lack of anything interesting, and continue on their merry way, looking for something worthwhile to read.

So, I'd better post some new and original content today...

Thoughts for the week:
  • Ten-Pin Bowling is actually pretty good exercise, if the pain in my arms, shoulders and thighs is anything to go by this morning.
  • It's much better to have the first read-through rehearsal of a play in the beer garden of the local pub, rather than a chilly church hall.
  • The moving walkways in the Andoverbranch of Asda are incredibly patronising; telling me to hold on to the handrail and stand still.
  • Next week I shall be drinking more Dry Blackthorn cider than is good for me.
That is all. See you next year!

Wednesday, 30 July 2008


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Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Books Books Books

Here's a meme which I saw over at the rather fabulous Cocktail Party Physics (great reading if you love science but hate wading through equations - Jen's a great writer).

Anyway, the rules are, from the list of books below:

1) Bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you have started but haven't finished.
3) Place an asterisk by those you intend to read/finish someday.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee *
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens *
11 Little Women - Louisa May Alcott

12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare *
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger [hated it, couldn't finish]
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald *
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
[odd bit of duplication re: #33]
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres [Slogged my way through this]
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown [oh, the shame of it!]
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving *
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan *
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel [DULL!]
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth *
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon [Never heard of it]
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov *
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac *
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie *
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville *
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce *
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad *
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Ooh, only 33%. But I've read LOADS of books. Mind you, there's no Stephen King up there. Only one Iain Banks. No Murakami. No Zadie Smith; Carl Hiaasen; Lee Childs; Grahame Greene; Anthony Burgess; DH Lawrence; Agatha Christie; Michael Connelly; Robert Crais; Harlan Coben; Dennis Lehane. No Spike Milligan. No PG Wodehouse. No Nick Hornby. No Roddy Doyle. No Raymond Chandler or Dashiel Hammett.

I would go on. But I'm running out of virtual ink...

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Saving Millions

I had a great idea this morning, while walking to the office from the car park. I was chewing gum and looking for somewhere to dispose of it. Then it struck me...

If all gum-chewers threw their used gum into potholes in the roads or pavements, then very soon we would have filled all the holes. And anyone who has every tried to remove gum from under a desk, or chair, will know how hard it can set.

This could save a fortune in road repair bills and will lead to fewer people turning up to local A&E departments with twisted, or broken, ankles.

Now all I need to do is wait for someone in power (Gordon Brown or Boris Johnson, maybe) to notice this brainwave of mine and then I will be rich beyond the imagining of the rest of you mere mortals. Soon, the world will be mine! Bwah-hah-hah-hah-hah!

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

There's Only One Fido

I'm stunned.

I was walking up Andover High Street after purchasing my luncheon just now, when I glanced into the window of one of those "market" shops. You know, the ones that sell every kind of tat you would never need, but nevertheless you sometimes have to go in because you don't know anywhere else that you can buy clothes pegs, or cheap wool.

Anyway, there in the window was a collection of glorious items: dog and cat bowls. But with a difference. Because these dog and cat bowls come decorated with the colours, and crests, of your favourite football teams.

Well, I say "your" favourite football teams. Actually, I assume that these are actually the teams followed by the pet in question. Perhaps your dog is a fantical West Ham supporter. Or your cat has been following Manchester United all its life (and not just for the past few years like some other bandwagon jumpers).

So, how would you know? Eh?! How? What is it in a cat's behaviour which alerts you to the fact that he's really not happy with the Tottenham Hotspur collar that you've put on him? Perhaps that's why some pets scratch the hell out of the furniture?

Monday, 7 July 2008

Stuff Happens

A round-up of news and views:

Doctor Who. How disappointing was that?! Eh?! Setting up everything for a load of shock and awe, then paying off none of it. My biggest question is: Why did the daleks bother landing on Earth and exterminating a load of people when all they needed was to get the planet in the right place to create their "Reality Bomb" weapon? And don't say it's because they needed guinea-pigs to test the weapon on - they could just have pointed the ray-gun thing at another planet somewhere... But it's typically sloppy writing. Now whenever we're told "sorry, I'm going to wipe your memory/exile you to another dimension and you will never, never, ever see me again" we'll just remember this episode and conclude that it's just not true.

Rafa Nadal. AKA Dogtanian. How good was that?! Eh?! I haven't watched the Wimbledon men's final for a few years, but that was fantastic. And the record 6 consecutive victories, held by, yes, an Englishman, is still secure. Rule Britannia! :-)

Lewis Hamilton. How good was that?! Eh?! Massa might not be out in front on his own anymore, but I think he should have had some bonus points for those very graceful pirouhettes that he kept executing. I tried spinning my car around while driving in a straight line this morning and I just couldn't do it.

Peter Crouch. Apropos of nothing else, I read today that the Liverpool footballer is "poised" for a move to Portsmouth. They always say "poised" when a footballer is going to change clubs. It makes me imagine the player waiting just inside the door, in a semi-stooped, er, crouch, waiting to bolt out to freedom.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008


Welcome to another edition of "Where The Hell Have You Been?", with your host... Me!

I've been taking it easy recently and neglecting my blogging duties. But as my little sister has commented about her lack of recent posts, and as it's the first of a new month, I thought I would give myself a good kick up the backside and try to get back into the swing of things.

So, here's what I've been up to recently:
I think that I need to write about some of that. There's definitely a whole post brewing about the rudeness of concert-goers!