Wednesday, 31 December 2008

It's New Year's Eve

Hope all the apostrophes are where they should be. Apparently the mobile phone company Orange are expecting to process 112 million texts . Thats a lot of texts that should help pay for their excellent Goldpot adverts , the current one featuring Dennis Hopper below , but if you can find them check out the McAuley Culkin and Michael Madsen ones!!




By the way the Partycam for tonight is here

Monday, 29 December 2008

John Scott - Brilliant Comedian

A couple of months back I went to see John Cooper Clarke at the Carling Academy and he was MC'd by a great Scot from Byker . Emailed the Carling and got sweet FA back, but at a birthday bash at the Hyena Cafe in Newcastle on Saturday night he was the support (should have been the headliner. Anyway found this quiet vid on youtube , turn up your speakers , enjoy and if you get the chance to see him , GO!!



Cant find any DVDs or recordings so just go and see him.

"Easyjet , Primark with Wings!!"

Apparently he runs the Horses Mouth Comedy Night at The Chillingham Arms in Newcastle according to this two year old BBC article. And here's a bit more about him.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Christmas Decorations..

It's Christmas Eve, we've got a few decorations up so thought we'd put them on here. Have a good one y'all. The music for the soundtrack is Troika from the Lieutenant Kije Suite by Sergei Prokofiev and available for download here:


Thursday, 11 December 2008

It's A (Not So ) Wonderful Life

A first Christmas JibJab starring some usual suspects , Hodge as an Angel and Jan as Zuzu. Enjoy!!


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Also we can follow that with one of the greatest ever Christmas Songs by the Raveonettes picked up by Dobbies for the Christmas push!!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Adventures in A Yorkshire Landscape 3: Castle Howard

The first attempt to visit Castle Howard was stopped by snow and ice on the approach road , but we got there eventually. The huge country pile is the setting for the TV production of Brideshead Revisited and recent film (DVDs , soundtracks and books available here). I must admit I far prefer the series "Brass" with Timothy West which managed to do for Brideshead and every Catherine Cookson book and mini series ever made.
Took some video of the impressive Atlas Fountain, the peacocks and several photographs , soundtracked by the original theme to Brideshead Revisited by Geoffrey Burgon available here.




The grounds are massive with a couple of lakes and follies and are well worth a visit, we shall be going back. The House is interesting too , while still bearing the scars of a 1940s fire. The Official Castle Howard website is here.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Adventures in A Yorkshire Landscape 2: Fire and Snow

The second installment of the holiday entry. We approached Oswaldkirk on a Friday night in the dark and fog , with ice on the roads , not helped by the fact that Sutton Bank on the A170 is a one in four hill (ie steep). The benefit of this is that during the day you can get some excellent views, though towards the end of the week anything but a main road was very dodgy for our renault Clio, seen below at the far end of our snowbound car park.

Once we were in Oswaldkirk we had an excellent meal in The Malt Shovel , and meant to get back there but weather and other commitments meant it will have to wait until our next holiday.

The short video below starts with the chimeniere (we have two in our garden and they are fantastic) outside the excellent Star Inn at Harome near Helmsley (A Michelin Star pub apparently , and the food is excellent). The place is run by Andrew Pern who's published a history of the restaurant cum cook book called "Black Pudding & Foie Gras" , available here.


The following section sees birds behind the Fox and Hounds in some village that I cant remember then a lot of snowscapes. The music is "Adventures in a Yorkshire Landscape" by Bebop Deluxe from the album Axe Victim and can be downloaded here should you wish to purchase it!

Surely They Didn't Mean That!!!

Many years ago I was working in Scotland and stopped in the village of Carnwath to get some cash from the bank there. I got the money and turned to go back to my car and saw something across the road that I thought must me a mistake. It wasn't , in the window of the local Post Office cum shop , bold as you like was this:


After some research a mate of mine found a web site that confirmed that :

"TWATS (Tarbrax Woolfords Auchengray Theatrical Society) use the hall for their production of an annual pantomime."

It's here

While I've got no problem with innocent mistakes and the like , you would think that someone would have noticed the acronym was in fact a very naughty word!! Maybe their costumes could be supplied from the Ann Summers catalogue , well they are responsible for the excellent advert courtesy of Tellyads!! Watch here.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Adventures in A Yorkshire Landscape...The Start

Just to say we're back from a week in Oswaldkirk , Yorkshire , which included being cut off by snow, not being able to get a mobile phone signal , a public phone box that didn't take cash , a most excellent pub called The Malt Shovel that does excellent food , and has very friendly clientele.

The cottage we stayed in in called "Honeysuckle Cottage" at the details are here and below is the road the cottage is on.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Energy Efficient - Well We're Getting There

About two months ago our energy supplier E-On sent us and electricity monitor. These things look quite impressive and are very easy to set up. The main thing I discovered was that leaving the PC on all day cost about a quid, so it's something I now dont do , thus saving a bit of money.

However about two weeks back I noticed that the meter was about 33% up on its normal running level (£40 a month instead of £30) . Thought what was running at the time, two five live chandeliers (energy efficient bulbs) , the fridge , the heating , two PCs and the cooker clock, and....

a hallway light that used a standard 60 Watt candle bulb which was causing the increase . In theory replacing that with an energy efficient bulb has saved me about £5 a month. The new bulb did cost £1.99!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Some Snow

First winter snow, this end of 2008 , it's cold but all gone by dinner time. Took a few photos and bit of video then realised that I'd lost my battery recharger .

Also found out how slippy it can be as well , not looking forward to the journey to Darlington tomorrow. Anyway here are the pictures soundtracked by the Excellent Teenage Fanclub doing "Christmas Eve" from the excellent "Cool Cool Christmas" album available here.


I-POD Therefore I AM (a Pod Person)

I've never really liked Apple. Yes they're stylish , yes they're innovators (well good and nicking other people's ideas and selling absolutely idiotic ones). Apple products are easy to use use, do what they say on the box , but as soon as you step away from that box you're scuppered, as illustrated in this brilliant spoof:




I saw an advert recently on a bus , the prize offered was an I-POD. That's what it says in big letters and then in small letters it admits it's actually an i-Shuffle , and 1 in 100 CORRECT entries were guaranteed to win. Entry is £1.50 by Text. A 1 GB i-Shuffle costs less than £50 , you do the Maths, The kids in the ad look as though they couldnt even breathe withhout assistance!! Also the the with Apple is the Carrier is more important than the content , and it seems to me that is how most of it's target market act.

I hate the duo coloured i-Pod Ads , but theres been the odd decent spoof such as this Met Police one:



Don't we all feel like doing that!!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Seven Days In The Premiership

Being a Preston North End supporter, I don't have much to do with the Premiership, though living in Newcastle it's unavoidable. There's been a couple of incidents that have struck over the past week.

The first is Arsene Wengers rant against Stoke City's so called physical approach. He managed to fool even me. Failing to mention Adebayor's high challenge on DeLap and Robin Van Persie's sending off he went off on one about Stoke trying to injure his players. Everyone was focussed on Wenger's rant, NO ONE was thinking about the Arsenal team (with a bad injury list), and their current bad run. What do they do against a rampant Manchester United? The win and put their Premiership challenge back on course. Again Wenger shows his genius , taking all the flak while the team sorts itself out and returns to winning ways. The guy is a veritable god!!

Secondly the Referee's Ruling body want to get their Respect Campaign back on track following run ins with Joe Kinnear of Newcastle and Alex Ferguson , to name but two. They seem to conveniently sidestep the fact that respect must be earned , and regard any form of criticism as an attack on them. When they screw up there seems to be no comeback and and anyone who dares say anything is pilloried.

Take the goal that never was in the Watford vs Reading match. No action against the officials but Adrian Boothroyd , the Watford manager was censured for his criticism of the officials.

The latest is the situation with Barnsley's Iain Hume being hospitalised in the match against Sheffield United, the referee refusing to take action against some very physical action.

In and Everton v Liverpool derby Jamie Carragher wrestled Jolean Lescott to the ground on three occcasions and the referee di nothing, but was quick to red card Tim Hibbert after he'd touched Steven Gerrard in the area (after a word for Stevie G).

Until referees get it right and stop acting as though they're infallible they are not going to get respect , unless their name is Pierluigi Collina.


And now we have the Maradonna "Hand of God" thing raising it's head again. Maradonna got away with it , the referees / officials should have taken action at the time . They didnt because FIFA / UEFA encourage cheating, simulation is rewarded with free kicks and cards for the opposing team.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Supposedly a Real B& Q Application Form

Dont know if this is real or not, but is still very funny.

This is allegedly an actual job application that a 75 year old pensioner submitted to B&Q in Tunbridge Wells. They hired him becausehe was so funny…..

NAME: Kenneth W (Grumpy Bastard)

SEX: Not lately, but I am looking for the right woman (or at least one who will cooperate)

DESIRED POSITION: Company’s Chief Executive or Managing Director. Butseriously, whatever’s available. If I was in a position to be picky, Iwouldn’t be applying in the first place - would I?

DESIRED SALARY: £150,000 a year plus share options and a Tony Blair style redundancy package. If that’s not possible, make an offer and we can haggle.

EDUCATION: Yes.

LAST POSITION HELD: Target for middle management hostility.

PREVIOUS SALARY: A lot less than I’m worth.

MOST NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT: My incredible collection of stolen pens and post-it notes.

REASON FOR LEAVING: It was a crap job.

HOURS AVAILABLE TO WORK: Any.

PREFERRED HOURS: 1:30-3:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL SKILLS?: Yes, but they’re better suited to a more intimate environment.

MAY WE CONTACT YOUR CURRENT EMPLOYER?: If I had one, would I be here?

DO YOU HAVE ANY PHYSICAL CONDITIONS THAT WOULD PROHIBIT YOU FROM LIFTING UP TO 50 lbs.?: Of what?

DO YOU HAVE A CAR?: I think the more appropriate question here would be “Do you have a car that runs?”

HAVE YOU RECEIVED ANY SPECIAL AWARDS OR RECOGNITION?: I may already be a winner of the Reader’s Digest Timeshare Free Holiday Offer, so they tell me.

DO YOU SMOKE?: On the job - no! On my breaks - yes!

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE DOING IN FIVE YEARS?: Living in the Bahamas with a fabulously wealthy Swedish supermodel with big tits and who thinks I’m the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Actually, I’d like to be doing that now.

NEAREST RELATIVE….7 miles

DO YOU CERTIFY THAT THE ABOVE IS TRUE AND COMPLETE TO THE BEST OF YOUR KNOWLEDGE?: Oh yes, absolutely.

Whether or not your next application is like this is up to you, but dont blame me if you don't get the job!!

Blue Harvest, Star Wars and The Family

Just think that this is one of the greatest spoofs ever. Leia recording the help message is one of the many spot on hoots in this 46 minute episode , which you can only get as a stand alone DVD:






The cover is brilliant containg the disc featuring Peter as Han Solo, Bryan the dog as Chewbacca and Stewie as Darth , a must have artefact for every household.


Though if you want to go even more extreme there's always American Dad






Three series so far and still not ben pulled!!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Guards, Guards ...Public Service Please

I'm not trying to avoid paying , I really want to and I dont want to shut down all the local Post Offices.

But can someone tell why theye have up to six ticket inspectors on Darlington Station every morning (this has been the situation for six months , and recently they also have them on Newcastle Station.

By this time you would think they could have some kind of simple permanent barrier (like Durham) to stop potential fare dodgers.

Another thing is Post Offices . There's a huge furure over potential closures , but it took me thirty minutes to post a CD to Italy , thanks to one clerk behind the four positions. That's a guaranteed way to lose custom!!!

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Halloween....

It's that time of year again , and parties and events are happening all over . There was a queue for costumes outside the Magic shop on Percy street , so your as well going online somewhere like this:



Local radio will be playing all the cheesey scarey records , and there'll no doubt be lots of film nights featuring slasher classics such as Halloween and Scream.




The Goths will be abroad in Eldon Square.....

Is There Life On Mars?

Been revisiting Life on Mars and Ashes To Ashes via the thoroughly modern medium of DVD , and find both series entertaining to say the least . Youtube is full of clips such as this one of Sam Tyler and Gene Hunt as Camberwick Green figures:



The BBC has a page with various cartoons and soundclips to download here for Life on Mars and here for Ashes To Ashes.

Currently looking forward to the Abominable Showmen gig at the Centre for Life in Newcastle tomorrow and the Alabama 3 gig at the Carling Academy in December.

Oh and the youtube thing reminds me of the a couple of brilliant Mitchell and Webb sketches which are hanging around. The Doenitz thing is apparently almost exactly what happened in reality:

Are We The Baddies?:

Fuhrer Doenitz:

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Gourmet Scran Half Price!!

Well not quite , but I've just signed up with the Gourmet Society which gives you loads of two for one deals , and you can save your initial outlay within two sittings. Think it's based around the North East, Midlands and The Smoke at the moment but is spreading and well worth the investment if you eat out.

As well as the posh places such as Secco and The Living Room, you also have the more basic locales such as Curry Capital and the Ho Buffet , so all tastes , and price ranges are catered for.

Money Saving Expert usually publish discount codes here , so you can get even more of a bargain!

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Shakespeare in Stratford or "There Is Nothing Like A Dane" or "You Can't Make A Hamlet Without Cracking Some Heads"

Just back from another week in Upton Snodsbury, wherein we managed to take in two of the Bard's plays , "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Hamlet", at the Courtyard Theatre, temporary home of the RSC during the redevelopment of the main theatre, the frontage of which is displayed below.

Both plays were excellent , though I enjoyed the former more , as it's not so depressing. The cast was virtually the same for both productions, with the additions of Patrick Stewart and David Tennant for "Hamlet" (which ensured a full house and more besides). A number of nubile young ladies I'm sure were only there because of the presence of the latter actor.

"Hamlet" is the one with the body count , while "Midsummer Night's Dream" is a little more light hearted but not without it's darker side.

Would recommend the RSC productions to anyone with a penchant for that sort of thing.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Music For Nothing

A short post this , just about downloading. There's some folk still think that they shouldn't pay for music they download , then complain if it ain't pristine or contains a virus when they get the
stuff off limewire or wherever. WE7 pays for downloads by advertising , so you can get free downloads , with no DRM , no virusses and the artist gets paid. This is a widget thing that should allow you to listen to People Get Ready by Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart:


However this has to rate as one of the worst albums of all time: It even has Chris Waddle and Glenn Hoddle's "Diamond Lights", I think you'd be better getting a Retro England Shirt from TOFFS!!



But they have a lot of good stuff should be supported in their efforts.

Friday, 15 August 2008

The "Last Supper" At The Free Trade

The Free Trade Pub has one of the greatest views in Newcastle , about to be destroyed by Taylor Wimpey by raising a block of flats in front of it, details here. The Government deemed that the view had no merit , especially where cash was involved. This is the same lot that put 75% on fuel , tell us to tighten our belts when energy bills increase by up to 60% , expect a 2% pay rise to be observed by the country while awarding themselves 9.4% . Gits. It's also one of the few pubs in the area that get's a thumbs up from The Burglar's Dog !!

Anyway this is the sort of thing we're going to lose to the builders:

And heres a short video with pictures , soundtracked by Lindisfarne's "All Fall Down":



On August 14th an impromptu pub trail was instigated , which was rather well attended . Not naming names as some folk value their privacy , but the pictures are here , and thought this was reminiscent of a certain famous painting:

And here is the jibjab version...

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And here's the rest soundtract by Terraplane's Beer and Cigarettes only available as far as I know on the vinyl 78 compilation The Akron Complication on Stiff Records!!


Tuesday, 5 August 2008

A Short Rant - Mainly against the old and the young

There's a couple of sure signs that you're getting old:
  • You tell people age doesn't matter (it shouldn't)
  • You go into HMV or wherever and you already have evreything you want
  • And lot's of others...

But one thing I never understood is that you can never get past the tiniest old man or lady on a footpath no matter how big the footpath. I finally worked this out. Normal people squeeze to make room to let let you past, while certain members of the older geneation just refuse to give an inch... The other day an old guy gets on the bus and gripped the handrails at the front of the bus and refused to let anyone pass as "he was only going one stop" !!!

Worse than the students who congregate ant the front of busses despte the rest of the bus being empty , for fear they may miss their stop.

And then the people on trains who insist on blocking doorways and aisles while they adjust , pack and unpack their luggage and laptops, totally mental.

..and the people who block doorways while they have a conversion or tab regardless of who wants to get in or out.

I suppose you can include the drivers who hog the middle lane of the motorway driving at forty miles an hour when the road is virtually empty. There's a reason for the inside lane.

Oh and then there's the charvers with puchchairs who seem to think that it's OK to block the suprmarket aisles while they decide on whether to go for the Lambrini or the Concorde , or block the footbath while trying to juggle their Gregg's pastie and light a tab at the same time spilling ash all over the unfortunate kid being pushed around!!!

Grrr.

Friday, 1 August 2008

New Bath and Carpet!!

We finally had the carpet delivered after much trauma , and people have asked to see the bathroom , so thought the easiest thing would be a short video , which is here:



It's the first day of August and the weather is mad as a fish going from monsoon to tropical sunshine in a matter of hours , still it could be much worse.

Most of the stuff in the bathroom was supplied by Newcastle Bath & Plumbing Centre in Fenham who are both reasonably priced and provide great service.

After the first video , people want to see the garden and front room, so that's here now. Apologies for shakiness , but still bgetting used to video camera thing , and should give you an idea of how things are going!!

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Spiders , Bees and a dog called Keegan!!

The garden is coming on well , though we're getting a bit of wildlife in the form of frogs, bees and spiders. Fiona insists that the spider webs should be cleared though I point out that the kill the real nasties such as bluebottles and the like. This guy seemed to be quite happy sitting on the water feature!!
We've also had lots of bees visiting but they are very reluctant to be photographed or filmed. We may get a picture at some point.





While drinking Cava during the afternoon , we noticed the family at the back had aquired a new yappy , black and white puppy ......they called it Keegan!!!

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Mouth of Tyne Festival 2008

No rain this year but not much sun either. That didnt stop the bands or people enjoying themseleves . We started the day in South Shields watching the Excellent Bessie and the Zinc Buckets run through a great rockin' set including Stray Cat Strut , Ubangi Stomp and Jolene, much to the delight of numerous small schildren running around the circular paved area th the front of the stage .Took some video with the new camera but the sound was distorted so I added a Gene Vincent soundtrack!!



Then we went into Tynemouth to the Priory to see various Salsa bands who were perfect for the occasion , not only that but the bar was incredibly efficient despite running out of various ciders towards the end.


The Priory looked great bedecked with weird looking flags and stuff.

Here's the main stage:

On leaving the Priory we went past the jazz stage and encountered this rather excellent sounding band:
I'll leave this post with a phone photo of a double rainbow over Tynemouth last night:

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Worrying Times At The Local Record Shop

A short one this but verry worrying . Went in to the local Zavvi shop in Newcastle this Saturday just gone and the main floor has been cleared of CDs , bar a couple of cardboard boxes in their so called sale.

In the basement , half the floor is taken up by books and magazines , and staff seem to get less knowledgeable by the visit.

HMV , while not as bad , seem to be pursuing a similar route with DVDs, games and books encroaching on the music bits.

While downloading and the internet can be partially blamed for this with likes of Amazon and itunes , it still is worrying to think that in the foreseeable future you wont be able to buy music in your main shopping street unless the Baghdaddies are busking and hawking copies of their latest release.

Even worse the models that HMV and Zavvi are pursuing may lead towards WH Smiths and Woolworths which are looking more like pound shops every time you go in with their DVD For A Pound and Buy One Get One Free sales.

Don't know what the answer is but you have been warned!!!

Addendum: 24th December , Woolworths have gone bust , Zavvi , who are supplied Woolworths are running low on stock , and WH Smiths are looking unsteady.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Good Technology

Named after a track by the rather excellent Red Guitars.

Not posted for a month and the house is still short of a carpet but there have been a few developments.

Firstly my old PC started acting very dodgily so I replaced it with a new Vista based PC . That has been a nightmare. Vista is atrocious , but can be made slightly more palatable by applying a few changes as detailed here. This was at the same time as adding a Wi-Fi router this now functions fairly well. I was amazed ot the number of insecured routers in the area which prompted me to buy another piece of technology...

The rather excellent ASUS Eee. It's small enough to go in a handbag , comes in a variety of colours (we went for the pink one) , and WORKS!!! It's great for internet surfing and basic office functions , runs on Linux but you can install XP , contains a web cam and is generally brilliant. Well worth the £220 I paid for it. I got mine onlne from Currys within 3 days.



Then came the replacement of the Home Cinema amp , back to Richer Sounds, so we now have decent sound in the front room and are now considering a new television, folling the new TV Unit and stuff that were eventually delivered by the Cotswold Company!!

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Newcastle Observation - Clayton Street Redevelopment

Was surprised the other morning to be on the way to work through Newcastle centre's very own skid row to see this new Delicatessen. Well they've shout down one pub that wasn't conducive to the image of the incoming tenants across the road (Debenham's et al) and it looks like the classier establishments are trying to gain a foothold:

"Fine artisan cheeses and charcuterie"
Charcuterie? That's cooked meats to me and thee.
Makes a change from the Cheap Tab Shops, Pound A Pint Pubs, Out of Date food places and Two For One Shoe Emporia!!!


Anyway a couple of doors down the Black Garter looks like it's trying to stave off the inevitable with this quickly knocked together sign , after all if the powers that be have the slightest excuse to get them out , they undoubtedly will.

They'll just have to hope that the regulars and are able to read and understand the sign, though I reckon in a couple of years this and the other less salubrious watering holes in the area will have been moved on and replaced by Starbucks
, Wine Bars , Tesco Metro's and the like.

You have to wonder whether that's necessarily a good thing

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Wild Life - Nature Will Find A Way?

The garden is looking better , but last weekend we had Bill , Nick , Lesley and Matt down for a great weekend ....and found we had a frog in outr new water feature!!! Given that we are in an enclosed block of houses surrounded by roads and more houses and the nearest parkland is half a mile a away and god knows where the nearest open water is!!!

Anyway some pictures of our visitor:




















The following day we were in Alnwick , again with lots of wildlife in the Castle , including a falconry and owlery display , which was most entertaining , some more pictures here:











The Knights Quest and Dragon's Quest are well worth a visit , especially if you are a child. Some of the displays are here , but there are some great surprises.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Can Manchester Really Be That Bad Part 2?

Well , again no. On finding the car park we caught a bus into Picadilly and from there went to the shopping centre, featuring the done up Arndale , Marks and Spencers , Selfridges , Harvey Nichols a big wheel , The Triangle , The Printworks (equivalent of Newcastle's Gate Complex , wonder what THEY destroyed) which does have a Cafe Rouge , but to it's detriment contains a Hard Rock Cafe (Very Expensive Burger Joint).

These are some views from the Wheel:




This is a view of an odd Wigwam , the other side of the Triangle. and the old square and big church thing. and theres a picture of the Wheel itself!!



Sunday, 11 May 2008

Can Manchester Really Be That Bad Part 1?

On the Wednesday we were off to see
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
at the Manchester Apollo. In these modern times , and being used to the civilised venues in Newcastle such as The Sage , City Hall , Tyne Theatre and even The Metro Arena we expected a pleasant area with onsite or nearby parking.

Wrong!!!

The Apollo is a great old Auditorium that has definitely seen better days , and is in an inner city wasteland, with no car parks obvious . Luckily the local chemist directed us to Grafton Street NHS car park , which is multi story , manned 24 hours and 15 minutes walk from the Apollo, and at the time of writing not marked on multimap.

There's a few pubs on Grafton street , the Bowling Green was most pleasant and served some of the most exotic burgers I've seen on sale anywhere including Reindeer!!!

Practically Peaking

Just returned from a week in the Peaks so to speak, and a rather nice part of the country it is. On the Sunday it was pouring down and we listened as Leicester , Sheffield Wednesday, Coventry City and Southampton tried to avoid the drop from the Championship, and Stoke and West Brom easily went the other way.

The week's only blackspot was getting caught returning from the Robert Plant and Alison Krauss gig at the Manchester Apollo by speed cameras in some suburban backwater, however if a letter comes through I'll be challenging it as apparently you have to have well lit warnings. More information on how to challenge courtesy of the Sunday Mirror here

Buxton , Bakewell , Manchester and the scenery are all excellent and this is an area well worth visiting , plus some funny tourist moments such as in the Monsal Head pub when the guy asked if the Cod on the menu was "local" ...... Hmmmmm

An excellent part of the country to visit and here's a list of cottages in the area just in case you fancy it.

The one that we stayed in was Barn End Cottage in Blackwell in the Peak and you can check it out here

Sunday, 20 April 2008

It's The Tyne Wear Derby

..and absolutely nothing hangs on on it!! . At the start of the season hopes were , in Toon, that this would be the match where Newcastle put Sunderland down. The Mackems dont look like they're going anywhere , and until three weeks back there talk of relegation in Toon.

Anyway, there's nowt riding on this bar pride (which is very important, as Ruud Gullit found out to his cost. Hopefully we'll see a lot of goals and given so I'll just have a punt of four or more goals in the match or maybe both teams to score.

Have a bet here if you fancy it:



As an addendum to this I had to tke a trip down Clayton Street, and had to weave my way through the overspill from Thr Black Garter and The Clock , very scary indeed. On Derby Days it's a good idea to avoid areas like Clayton Street , in fact it's a good idea to avoid any day!!

See the Toon won 2-0, keeping another clean sheet and ruining my bets (though I also had Owen to score so not all was lost).

Saturday, 19 April 2008

As It Was


I've posted lots of photos of the house as the garden gas been developed though there isnt any of what it was like. So here's the front:





And then we have a couple images of the "wild" back garden , which was not too bad really!! We didn't really know what to do with it but the planning guy came up with some great ideas for front and back and applied the transformations that you see documented in the rest of the blog. Apparently we can put video up here as well but I've not got that far but we'll see what we can do!!







Another thing today , PG Tips have a great promotion featuring a PG Tips "Munky" T-Towel and DVD , so get yerself down to you local supermarket and get yourself one!!! Watch it here

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Back To Front

The house is coming on slowly (or it seems slowly) however the front , driveway and garden is now complete . The back just needs tidying , but the front now looks quite presentable , and a lot more manageable than it was before. Also the wall between us and next door will stop the postie from skipping over what was there before. It's brilliant not to have to take a run up to get the car over the 3 inch concrete lip that was there before, and feel your car exhaust is not going to be taken off every time you leave.



One of the selling points on this was the lifetime guarantee , and annual maintenance which will save us doing it. A house further up the street had theirs done , and is now the possessor of two rather obvious grooves where their car goes!!!. Anyway here's a couple of pictures of what the drive is like now.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

The Drinks Display From Hell!!

Short one this. The cash machine wasnt working so went to the Post Office Counter which has the drinks cabinet adjacent. THIS DRINKS CABINET:



Three types of Lambrini , Both White Lightning and White Strike Cider , augmented by Stryke lager and Blue Nun wine, it's a veritable Charver Harrods!!

Needless to say I left after getting the photograph!!

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Seven Days (Waiting For) Grass

We now have grass and a water feature (looking like the monolith from 2001) and lots of plants in our back garden. It's almost there!!!


A couple of views , firstly from an inebriates perspective, on virtually on the floor:

Then we have our relocated holly bush:



And the patio corner with monolith!!


And another view of the garden:

And the front looks far nicer now as well!!




And thats it for today, time for a drink methinks!!

April 19th is National Record Shop Day

National Record Shop Day is a celebration of independent record shops , so show your support and buy a record from your local independent shop . If it wasn't for places like these you would probably be only to buy the latest Pop Idol release and Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston compilations.

The ones I can think of in Newcastle are:

Theres a Rough Trade article here

So on the 19th go out and do it otherwise you'll only be able to buy your music from Woolworths and Tesco!!!

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Being Prepared!!!

Whenever you do something , you tend to plan things out and ensure that all things are in place in order to reach you particular goal. If you're going on a car journey you make sure you know where you are going , have enough petrol and a spare tyre.

In our latest installment of home improvements , we've decided on a new bathroom , so part of our preparations was the fact that we have a second bathroom to wash, shower and have a wee!! All was fine .... or so we thought. What we hadn't counted on was the plumber accidentally cutting off the water supply to the second bathroom. Oh sugar we thought , no hot water , no flushing toilet , no shower.

Still it was only one night , but the lesson to be learned is that there is always something else to go wrong even when you think you've thought of everything!!!

On a far more pleasant note an artist friend of mine has just been featured in Artists and Illustrators Magazine with a very impressive spread. His website is here and has a link to the article as well as many examples of his excellent paintings, such as the one below.