Thursday, 31 December 2009

Retox



Happy New Year everyone. Hic.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Too Much Turkey?

The Royals seem to be on a downward spiral towards life in a lower division. Perhaps the club should pay their players on some sort of 'pay by results' basis..? 

26 Dec 09 Reading 1 - 1 Swansea

28 Dec 09 Plymouth 4 - 1 Reading

Friday, 25 December 2009

Tweet!


Have just unwrapped a lovely hand-made tree hanging.
Thank you.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

One More Sleep...

Seperated at Birth..?




Santa Claus (aka Father Christmas)
















The Hogfather (aka The Fat Man)














Have a great Christmas.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

I Quit

So I've just handed my notice to my boss.
A shiny new job awaits 25 January...


Tuesday, 22 December 2009

A Nightmare Before Christmas?

Yesterday afternoon the snow returned with a vengeance with all told about 4-6 inches (10-15cm) falling very quickly. Needless to say the country came to a standstill. At around 3pm most folk in the office decided it was best to leave and try to get home promptly. The fool that I am had work that needed working and opted to stay with a couple of others until just before 5. Big mistake.




Nearby Arborfield Garrison (honest!) last night.










 
I live about 8 miles from the office and this normally takes under half hour during so called rush hour times. Yesterday by 6.30 I'd gone about half a mile and managed to get the car stuck on a moderate hill, with no chance of getting up it and the prospect of more hills to follow. Plus the clutch was getting a tad smelly and the last thing I need is for it to burn out.




Spencers Wood today.















Fortunately I had hat, gloves and boots with me (as well as my coat) so I grabbed these, abandoned the car safely on the roadside and walked home, taking the opportunity to make a few calls and catch up with some people until the battery on my phone gave out. Finally got home cold, hungry and back aching just before 9pm, where upon I went more to less straight to bed. Of course many others were less fortunate and didn't get to their destinations for several more hours, I understand. 


More Spencers Wood.











Thank goodness I was able to rescue my car this morning, even if I did discover I'd left one of the windows fully down over night and the front passenger seat is now soggy LOL.




View from my attic window.










Nevertheless I'm reminded just how special winter can be (if you don't need to travel) and perhaps I could suggest a song for today? How about Kate Bush (who else? LOL) "December Will Be Magic Again."



19 Dec 09 Bristol City 1 - 1 Reading

Friday, 18 December 2009

Winter Wonder

Woke this morning to find this, there's a car in there somewhere LOL.



















And this was the scene having 'battled the elements' to get to the office...



















Gotta love snow!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

First Snow!

Not much and it probably won't last long but it's still exciting to this big kid!



Hogwood Lane, Finchampstead












 




(It's about time it snowed- temperatures were down at -4 degrees Celsius when I woke this morning.)

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Doo-Hickey Too

My final two finished pots of the year are home. Please let me know your thoughts.



Manganese Dioxide with Bright Blue (sponged) glaze.












Bright Orange Red and Porcelaine Green, both sponged.









I'll upload a couple of images of each to Webshots shortly.

The Big Day Is Nearly Here...

Six pm Friday 25 December 2009 BBC One, "Doctor Who- The End Of Time, Part 1."





Three wise men?










Oh yeah, there might be something else happening that day as well. Now how many sleeps until Santa?


In other (mundane) news, yesterday I was given a clean-ish bill of health at my annual optician's visit. The haemorrhage that was detected in early January has cleared up and my general eyesight remains unchanged. Oh and I've moved over to daily disposable lenses and into the 21st centuary LOL. Next up was a visit to the dentist where I was severally taken to task by both the hygenist and the dentist for not flossing regularly. They've found some gum disease you see and this gives them the opportunity to sell flossing equipment. And it appears I might have a problem with one of my wisdom teeth. Grrrr. 

To return to the festiveness, here's a picture I took yesterday around 3.30pm. This is one of the main streets in Reading, decked out for Christmas. It was a tad early for most of the lights to come on but it doesn't look too bad does it?

Sunday, 13 December 2009

It's Nearly That Time...

Took Little Lad out to see some of the local festive light displays yesterday, including this one at a house in nearby Sonning. The owner goes to great effort and expense every year to put on an original display and collects donations for a local children's charity. One year he even had an artificial snow machine going believe it or not...





























Earlier in the day the Royals hosted Scunthorpe at the Mad Stad. Please can someone tell me how a team that two years ago beat the mighty Liverpool, managed to dominate a match for more than 75% of the play and still not get a win and a vital three points? Reading are now in 21st place, only one above relegation.

Reading 1 - 1 Scunthorpe


Also I thought I should mention the following, perhaps a contender for Product of the Week (assuming there is such an award). It helps. Does that make me sound old? LOL

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Little Seats And Nativity Bears

This afternoon I had the chance to sit on a tiny chair and see Little Lad take part in his first school nativity play. It was pretty good although this being the fifth show of the week, the wee little ones were all looking quite shattered.

Bet you didn't know there were bears present in the stable to witness the birth of Christ...? Well I guess the school had to make sure every child had a role, no matter how obscure. Could have been worse I suppose: you have to feel sorry for the child playing the Christmas dolphin LOL.


This is what all modern bears are wearing apparently.








On the ceramics front, I have to say things can only get better. Tuesday night I got this pot back from glaze firing. Once again the Glossy Rusty Amber hasn't really worked at all well: it seems to be extremely thin in places and on the whole far too brown, not the rust red I was expecting. Don't feel inclined to use this glaze again. Ever. Ho Hum.














And yes before you ask, it is meant to be ripped. It's experimental dontchaknow.


Reading 2 - 4 Crystal Palace.

Monday, 7 December 2009

If Only...

Many will know I'm not a fan of reality tv, you know I'm A Celebrity..., Strictly Come Dancing (also known as Dancing With The Stars), Britain's Got Talent and of course X Factor to name but a few.

Apparently a local fella has been doing quite well on the current series of the latter show. Until last night that is, when he crashed out of the semi finals. All morning our local Heart radio station has been carrying- as the top news item- the story of his exit and a sound-bite from an incensed fan: "I was fuming. I was straight on Facebook and a massive complaint to the X Factor."

Now if only the Internet really was that powerful. I shudder to think! LOL


5 Dec Sheffield Wednesday 0 - 2 Reading

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

New Pots

Have just up-loaded images of a couple of new pots to my Webshots page.

The first is a small casserole glazed with Rusty Glossy Amber. It's amazing how much this glaze can vary from one firing to the next, previously it's come out quite red. The other is an open carved bowl in Yellow Brown glaze and a small amount of Red Brown on the rim and centre.


















Had quite a bit of fun last night creating some new forms. More on those shortly...

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Man-Flu Free!



Got a letter this week calling me for both Swine and Winter Seasonal Flu jabs today. You wouldn't believe the queues at the surgery. Now feeling a bit sore and very much like a pin cushion, with one in each arm.

No Man-Flu for me this winter! LOL





Derby 2 - 1 Reading

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Give Thanks

It's Thanksgiving in the United States today and I understand Americans wherever they are will be getting together with family, friends and colleagues to celebrate.

So what about the rest of of us? Shouldn't we also spend some time giving thanks for everything good we have? On the whole I'm sure most people reading this Blog probably have a pretty good life, I don't think it would hurt to acknowledge that fact.

Once again heavy flooding is affecting large areas of the north of England and Scotland, with the Cumbrian towns of Workington and Cockermouth receiving heavy media coverage as the worst hit. Perhaps I should give thanks that I don't live in either town?

How about never really knowing what it is to be hungry? Or that a fresh water supply is taken for granted?

But maybe what I am most thankful for is that Little Lad is a healthy, happy fellow who loves life and makes me proud every time I see him.



I too can do this LOL.











Anyone else want to share?

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Weekend

Thought I'd post a brief update from last weekend.

Saturday started in the usual fashion with a certain young man going to Gym club, which he loves. He'll never be the best by a long shot but the important thing is that he always seems to try his best. Later we went along to Dad's church where they were holding a craft sale and Dad was attempting to drum up interest in some pottery pieces. In the end he sold about 9, three of mine and the rest his. To be honest, based on those sales, I'm not ready to jack the job and become a full time potter LOL but it was a good exercise.

The annual Southern Ceramics Show was also being held at The Maltings in Farnham, so I popped along there Sunday to see how the professionals do things. Made the wise decision to leave all but ten pounds at home, so couldn't be too tempted LOL.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Better Still

7 Nov
Reading 1 - 1 Ipswich

21 Nov
Reading 2 - 1 Blackpool

Nice.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Racism In TV-Land..?

**This is just a bit of fun but perhaps there might be a grain of truth somewhere here?**

Really loving Flashforward on Five, screening only a few days behind the US premier but am I the only one concerned by blatant anti British undertones?

Joseph Fiennes is an excellent British actor in the lead role as our "everyday" FBI agent, thrown into the drama and trying to solve the riddle of the Flashforward. Only trouble is Fiennes tries to put on a ridiculous American accent and in my view fails spectacularly.

Opposite him (perhaps in more ways than one, we'll see) is Jack Davenport another Brit. However, he plays a bad guy or at least a shady character who has more than a passing involvement in the cause of the future visions. Guess what? Jack gets to use his native English accent.

Has 'British' become something of a dirty word in US TV-land? Will those of us from The Old Country forever be portrayed as suspicious and as a nation not to be trusted? LOL


A much younger looking Jack Davenport with the cast of Steven "Dr Who" Moffat's BBC comedy series Coupling.





Consider this. In Star Trek: The Next Generation, although using something like his natural speaking voice renown actor Patrick Stewart had to play the role of a Frenchman! The heroic Tracey brothers in Jerry Anderson's Thunderbirds were all American and the bad guys were definitely non American. Even though this was a British production it was playing with an eye to an American audience and had to conform to the set standard.

And while we're about it, how often are the British "sports stars" portrayed in an unfavourable light, as untrustworthy monarchy loving cads on the WWE and similar? LOL

Now don't even get me started on The Fantastic Mr Fox, where all the heroes have American accents and take part in American pastimes (like baseball), while the naughty people are... you've guessed it... LOL

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Doo-Hickey

Current work in progress, for those interested. I'm reliably informed the little round indents on my pot are called "Doo-Hickies." Ummm... right..?

Anyway, it's now waiting to be bisque fired and then I can decorate with glaze and maybe an oxide or two.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Brrrr?

A sure sign Winter is on it's way: the temperature at 8am was 3 degrees Celcius (around 37 degrees F) and I found a layer of ice on my car windscreen. Nearly time to get the coat, hat and gloves out LOL.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Remembrance Sunday

For all those who have given their lives in the name of freedom.






Nearby Finchampstead war memorial.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Ummmm...?

Since when did it become Disney's A Christmas Carol?

I thought Charles Dickens wrote it. Just goes to show how wrong you can be LOL...

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Cracking Good Google Doodle

Is it really 20 years since Wallace and Gromit first appeared, in A Grand Day Out? Only seems like yesterday to this big kid LOL.









Thanks to Google.co.uk for this lovely doodle on their search page. Happy 'birthday' to (creator) Nick Park and Aardman Animations and of course the plasticine duo themselves! Read more at the Telegraph on-line.

Pass the cheese and crackers please.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Bwah Ha Ha

Have a spooky night...


































Coventry 1 - 3 Reading
Wow!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Warthogs Express?



Old style rail signals and control box.










The local schools are on half term break this week, so today took Little Lad here to look at the steam trains and a ride up the line. Of course despite the time of year I hadn't realised the whole place would be teeming with ghosts and mini witches and wizards. And Owls LOL. Anyway we had a good time, except him getting trapped in a toilet cubicle but that's another story for perhaps another day...



A lovely old train built in Scotland, used in South Africa and now back in the UK.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Take Courage

Out drinking in a pub on a Monday night? Naughty me LOL.

Mind you, it's been a long time since I've had the pleasure of drinking Directors bitter and draught at that. Although the bottled stuff is pretty good too dontchaknow. Mmmmm.





Both Courage Best and Courage Directors bitter used to be brewed in my home town but the "brand" has now been sold to another brewer. Still tastes fine though.













Kind of makes up for some truly appalling recent football results:

20 Oct QPR 4 - 1 Reading
26 Oct Reading 0 - 1 Leicester

Dare I even go look at where the Royals are in the table now?

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Something Special


There's really something special about rainy afternoons and a first ever trip to the cinema...

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Ponder-ance

In a variation of a popular joke...

Why did the office chair cross the road?

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Not Good At All

Recent footie results:

3 Oct Reading 0 - 2 Middlesbrough

17 Oct West Brom 3 - 1 Reading

Thursday, 15 October 2009

A Kick Up The Arts!

Last night our potter's guild hosted Neil Brownsword who grew up in Staffordshire. He trained at some of the house-hold name ceramic factories (such as Wedgewood), most of which have sadly now disappeared. In the late 1940's there were around 70,000 people directly employed in the pottery industry in that area, now the figure is closer to 5000 and the factories have been bulldozed.

Neil gave an overview of his work and motivations as well as a small demonstration of how to print onto clay using coloured slips. This is very quick work but as you can see from the images below, it can be messy work. Excellent!

Neil paints a plaster bat with a base colour of slip. He then scratches out his desired design in reverse, which he paints over with different colours.



















A piece of clay is rolled out to the desired size and shape. It is then painted with a base colour slip.


















The clay is then pressed against the plaster bat for a short time. Hopefully the image in the coloured slip will transfer to the clay...















The image is reveled! Not perfect but for the purposes of a demo, you get the idea. Once glazed, the image will show much more clearly.

















Maybe I can take some inspiration from this and use in my own work...

Monday, 12 October 2009

She's Back

The wonderful Elizabeth Sladen returns to our screens later this week in The Sarah Jane Adventures and the BBC have thoughtfully released a trailer for the third series. Readers outside the UK may not be able to view this, sorry.




Can we expect more farting aliens? LOL

Thursday, 8 October 2009

By The Light Of The Moon

Please don't ask me why but I always feel there is something special about seeing the moon during the daytime.



If you squint you can just about make it out, but it is there, I promise.







Hasn't it been chilly recently? A sure sign winter is on it's way, with bracing walks and hearty meals something to look forward to.

Update: Strange that after posting the above I found the Daily Telegraph chose to run this story today, ahead of NASA's attempt to crash two spacecraft into the moon's southern pole. Let's just hope it doesn't somehow spell the end for us all! LOL

Friday, 2 October 2009

Drink NCIS

Regular visitors to this blog may recall I am rather partial to NCIS. So much so in fact, I'm currently managing between 5 and 6 repeat episodes per week thanks in the UK to CBS and Five. Repeats of this excellent series are usually far better than anything else on TV and that got me to thinking why exactly that is.

As far as I can see it's success is perhaps closely related to the fact that it sticks to a very strict formula, more so than many other series. You always know what to expect. Not that it isn't inventive or at times shocking just that there are certain signposts that get checked most episodes. So I thought how about turning this into an interesting challenge..?

So without further delay, ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce the NCIS Drinking Game.

1 Grab yourself a bottle of your favourite and a shot glass.
2 Pour yourself a measure and consume every time one of the following occurs:

  • Someone is referred to as "Probie"
  • Jimmy Palmer gets lost on the way to the crime scene
  • DiNozzo mentions a scene from a well known movie
  • Abby throws her arms around a co-worker or gets to show off her latest body art
  • Someone spills Gibbs' coffee
  • Ducky starts to reminisce on his past glories. Pour a double if he finishes the tale
  • Gibbs spends a moody but pivotal moment with his boat
  • Tony gets head slapped
  • Abby's farting Hippo makes it's presence heard
  • Someone makes an ill-timed reference to Jethro's private life
  • It is mentioned that the female agent used to guard the President or work for Mossad
  • McGeek is used as a substitute for the Timothy's surname
Hic. LOL

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Better

Preston 1 - 2 Reading.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Still Not Very Good

Reading 1 - 1 Watford.

Apparently the idea behind football is that your team is meant to score more goals than their opponents. Obviously something the Royals have yet to grasp this season.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Cheap 'n' Nasty

Just to prove you only get what you pay for...

The other day I managed to foolishly drop my Mobi (Cell fone) onto a rather unforgiving surface. The back cover over the battery popped off (no biggie) as well as a small piece from the front cover. Of course the back was easy to find but despite spending perhaps half an hour crawling on the floor on my hands and knees (please don't laugh too loudly), I couldn't for the life of me find the little piece for the front.

Now my fone is a tad ancient and perhaps not the most glamorous but I'm kind of attached to it and don't want to replace it over a silly piece of white plastic. Sad aren't I?

You can therefore imagine my delight when I found on a well known auction site a third party replacement cover kit. Yes it was a different colour but I thought ringing the changes would look so cool. And at only £3.99 (US$5.99, AU$7.18) I thought I couldn't go wrong.

How wrong could I be? Yes when assembled it looked great. The problem being that a good number of the buttons wouldn't line up with the membrane on the fone. If I pressed the wrong key either I would get no response or the fone would lock up. Guess I should have known better.

So I'm now back to square one* so to speak...


And before you ask, that is Kate.


* Something to do with a well known board game perhaps? "Do not pass go, do not collect £100" LOL

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Don't Panic- It's Just Another Day

Have now achieved the answer to the ultimate question of Life, the Universe and Everything as Douglas Adams would have put it. Now all I need to know is, what was the question..? LOL
















Happy Birthday me.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Going Down..?

Recent football results haven't gone The Royal's way:

12/09 Reading 0 - 0 Doncaster
15/09 Reading 0 - 1 Cardiff
19/09 Peterborough 3 - 2 Reading

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Name Of The Rose

Spent a very happy day at the historic dock at Portsmouth and also taking in the views from the Spinnaker Tower. Perhaps in a day or so, I'll post some pictures on Webshots. Until then...






Images from the Spinnaker Tower, the hull of the Mary Rose and HMS Victory.