Friday, 31 December 2010

In With The New

Let me take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy New Year.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas Lights

Makes me feel Christmas has finally arrived.

From tonight's tour with LL.

Very Nearly Christmas

Have a great Christmas everyone. I hope this festive time brings you joy and happiness.

Must remember tonight to leave something out for the Fat Man so he feels welcome...

This should help keep the cold out.

....but what to leave for the reindeer?

Monday, 20 December 2010

Cold Snap

Woke this morning to find once again we were without water. Seems the mains pipe has burst. Again. This time due to the extreme cold. Thames Water are on the case but how long it will take is anyone's guess...

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Snow Returns

Wintry weather put in another appearance today in the south of England, bringing airports to a close and causing chaos on road and rail. (Other parts of the UK have had it far harder and for much longer and we shouldn't forget that fact).

I had planned to take LL to see the Fat Man at a nearby garden centre, where he had thoughtfully brought two of his reindeer apparently. That's the Man had brought the reindeer, not LL LOL. Sadly the council hadn't seen fit to grit the roads (including the main A4 Bath Road) overnight, despite having had advance warning from the Met office. Major roads were just about passable early this morning provided drivers were happy to keep speeds below 20 mph (about 32 kph) but you could pretty much forget the minor thoroughfares.

So we had a bit of a play outside instead, before tucking up in the warm. Here's a few images from our day, enjoy.

Both top front teeth are loose. Eating Christmas lunch next week may be interesting.

The birds have stripped most of the berries but this tree still looks lovely.

Racing was cancelled today, due to the course being under snow LOL.

Part time angel.

I'm just thankful that at present I don't have to worry about commuting to work in these conditions. Unemployment does have certain advantages. Just don't think too hard about the money running out...

Elsewhere only around seven Championship matches went ahead because of the weather. The Royals travelled up to Derby (yesterday) for today's 3pm kick-off. Unfortunately most of the travelling fans (and half of the radio commentary team) got stuck and missed the match entirely. Which is a shame given Reading were finally able to break their recent run of draws with a pretty good effort from the start.

 Derby County 1 - 2 Reading

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Don't Look Now...

...the sky's falling in!

Well to be precise I discovered rain water has got into the kitchen ceiling and it looks like it is about to come down. Take a look at the picture below, I've put a yellow line to mark where the ceiling should be...

This close to Christmas I don't rate my chances of getting a builder out but I think I will start by trying to drill a hole in the plaster, seeing if I can drain it. As you would with a boil I guess LOL.

As a diversion, take a look at the following images of my latest experimental work...

Rim detail.

Oh look: it's another ripped pot LOL.

Autumn Shades over Yellow Brown glaze.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Holidays Are (Not) Coming

Am I the only one concerned by the rather cynical way (in my view) a certain well known manufacturer of a sugary carbonated drink keeps trying to link their product with the season of goodwill?

Yes, their red Artic' Lorry* has been in the area this past week. You know the one with a trademark ribbon device and a picture of the Fat Man on the back. It was parked up near the centre of town trying to entice children inside with the promise of speaking with the man himself and the offer of freebie sugary-ness.

There are plenty of places you can take the young and innocent- so they can tell him their wishes- without having to be exposed to such overt marketing. 

Don't get me wrong I have nothing against this particular product and do in fact drink it from time to time. Have you guessed which one it is yet LOL? Everything in moderation as they say.

I am aware they claim the modern day depiction of the Fat Man owes a lot to their advertising bill boards and so forth but that's not the point. I object to this type of marketing to the impressionable young, in the same way I object to the deliberate placement of sweets and snacks right by the checkout at the supermarket so an already harassed parent gets hassled by an insistent child. The message is clear to me: Kids tell mum and dad to buy our product or you won't have the best celebration or worse still you won't get a visitor down your chimney, leaving you gifts. Ho Ho Ho.  

Oh and I know I bang on about this every year but it's called Christmas, not Holidays. The UK is a largely, for want of a better phrase, Christian nation. So why do some people do everything in their power to try and remove every last trace of the season's true traditions? There was even a report in one of the newspapers yesterday stating that most UK supermarkets seem to have removed almost all seasonal greetings cards with a Christian theme...

Are we ashamed? Is it that we don't want to cause offence to those of other or no religion? If other faiths want to hold celebrations of their own I don't get offended nor do I expect them to hide their traditions or feel embarrassed by them. So why should we pretend that Christmas isn't about the events depicted in the Bible?

And I know the argument there was a Pagan festive at around this time of year long before Christ and that early Christianity hijacked it for their own ends. It's probably very true and I won't stop anyone who wants to hold a Pagan celebration for their family and friends. Or if you truly have no religious belief, you can be free to do as you wish too.

That's what being in a free and fair society is about. So can we please have the word Christmas back and not be afraid to utter it's name?

Recent Royals football results, for any who might be interested:

20 Nov
Watford 1 - 1 Reading

27 Nov
Reading 0 -0 Leeds

11 Dec
Reading 0 - 0 Coventry

* A type of truck. 

Wednesday, 8 December 2010


From a Bear last year to a Camel this time round. Must be the school Nativity season...

Monday, 6 December 2010

Cake Challenge

Dad has (finally) finished baking his Delia Smith cake and (even more finally) got round to emailing me an image. Let the bake off begin!

Dad's cake, with added Walnut-ness!

My effort, in case you need reminding.

I think on balance his looks better although I do suspect he had some help. Sour grapes, me? Never LOL!

Next up: in a couple of weeks, the taste challenge...

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Blue Christmas

This year there will be a mostly blue theme about the house.

Blue and white tree lights in front of a blue lit conservatory.

I think LL might be impressed.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The Way It Shatters

One of the reasons I just don't seem to be able to shift the excess weight at the moment LOL.

Best cold from the fridge.

It's a good job this is only available in the UK (as an expensive import) from a few select retailers, else I would be buying a bag each week.

We just won't mention Sam Adams beer. That can't be responsible for weight gain surely LOL?