Saturday, 31 December 2011

Goodbye 2011

There's quite a lot I wanted to say today regarding this past year- my own personal highs and lows and in fact I've been formulating ideas of what to say for a couple of days. The truth is that I've left it all too late and only now have time for a brief entry. I guess I could blog something in the coming days but I suspect it will all seem so "last year" by then LOL.

To business, I took LL out today for a trip to Henley on Thames, which was lovely. Very few people out and about by the river and the weather was quite kind. We even came across this lovely black swan, who was very keen to make our acquaintance and eat the bread we were carrying. The other ducks, geese and mute swans didn't really get a look in!

You don't see many of these around here.

And later we found out that his new LEGO boat really did float (in the bath). Until that is we learnt a new word: capsize.

Elsewhere Reading FC have put on a good show over the Christmas period and have moved nicely into 5th in the Championship.

17 Dec Leeds 0 - 1 Reading
26 Dec Reading 3 - 0 Brighton and Hove Albion
31 Dec Reading 1 - Ipswich

The Royals travel to Cardiff on Monday 2 Jan.

All that remains is for me to wish everyone a happy New Year.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Nearly But Not Quite Christmas

LL came to visit today and spend some time with Dad and SM, who are staying for a few days. We all had lunch together and exchanged some gifts afterwards. This evening we had a go at tracking the progress of the Fat Man, here. Excellent fun. Maybe bookmark for next year..?

Don't you just feel all festive?

Only one more sleep to go...

Friday, 23 December 2011

Seasonal Greetings

I'd just like to wish everyone a peaceful Christmas and all the very best for 2012.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Getting Round To Christmas

I know I've been a bit "Blog-lite" of late and haven't posted a great deal. There's no need to send out the search party- I'm still alive (and well), just very busy at work. Ah the joys of employment- long may that continue (at least until I win the Lottery).

Having made a start helping LL yesterday to decorate the tree where he lives, I thought it was about time I did similar here. I've spent today tidying up and then doing my best to make the place look festive, although I think I might have gone a tad overboard, with the lights throughout the house. Another story for another time perhaps.

You might recall last year the tree was treated to blue lighting, this time I have picked mostly reds. What do you think?

I have positioned the tree to the left of the chimney, for ease of pressie delivery LOL.

No word yet about whether the office will be open over Christmas grrr. I hope it will be: I could do with working Wednesday to Friday that week and saving my leave for next year...

Elsewhere, the Royals have hauled themselves to 10th in the nPower Championship on 30 points from 21 games, after a mixed bag of results:

19 Nov Reading 1 - 2 Cardiff
26 Nov Ipswich 2 - 3 Reading
29 Nov Reading 3 - 2 Peterborough
3 Dec Blackpool 1 - 0 Reading
10 Dec Reading 3 - 0 West Ham

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Check. Out.

Have you ever tried one of those self service check-outs at your local supermarket, where you scan your own items? I have and I don't know why I bother. They're supposed to be quicker and easier to use than the traditional staffed till, right? Wrong. More often than not the queues seem to be much longer and when you get to the check-out, in my view they are far from straight forward. 

For example my trip tonight to my local ASDA for a handful of the weekly items was just so stressful. No less than four interventions were required by the poor harassed assistant before I was able to scan all my purchases. First off despite telling me the till was ready for me to place my own bags in the bagging area, that wasn't good enough. So I had to wait to be manually authorised grrrr. Then there was the stress of the scanned item not being registered. Another visit, override code grrr. And... well you get the picture.

I certainly wasn't the only one having issues from I could see. On one level you have to feel sorry for the staff who I imagine receive a good deal of grief and it really isn't their fault, is it? Ho hum.

Oh one last (unrelated) thought: I've been hearing lately a lot in the media about the "Innernet." Repeat after me "In-Ter-net." There, that wasn't hard was it?

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Hands Off?

There's been mixed reaction to the news BBC Worldwide (the commercial arm of the BBC) are planning a big screen film version of Doctor Who. Apparently Harry Potter director David Yates is one of the prime movers behind this announcement. Now I don't know about you but I thought he did quite a decent job with the later instalments of that franchise. However Andrew M Brown in the Telegraph even went so far in his blog to seemingly list many of the reasons often cited as being behind the series cancellation (in the 1990's) as reasons why "Hollywood" should keep well away. So because it used to be seen as fairly low budget- and I guess against the average episode of say Battlestar Galactica it still is- Hollywood money shouldn't be used to (possibly) improve these things? I dunno.

But this is not the first time Doctor Who has appeared on the big screen. Those two 1960's Peter Cushing films weren't too bad. Surely?

 Yes that was the Bernard Cribbins co-starring.

For me the jury is still out and I'll wait to hear more information before passing judgement. Perhaps a new film will be a welcome addition to the canon and assuming they move quickly maybe even a fitting 50th anniversary celebration in 2013...

1 Nov Nottingham Forest 1 - 0 Reading
6 Nov Reading 1 - 0 Birmingham

Tuesday, 15 November 2011


I think I am in danger of becoming addicted to BBC's Strictly Come Dancing (or Dancing With The Stars, as it is known elsewhere). Read more here.

Star Chelsee Healy and professional dance partner Pasha Kovalev. Can't see what the attraction is myself LOL.

So how come with all the great British talent in the series, why is it two former Aussie soap stars seem to be leading the field?

But seriously I'm finding it rather good and quite unmissable. Must be getting old...

Sunday, 13 November 2011


To the brave men and women who have given so much so we all might enjoy freedom, thank you. We will never forget you.

Friday, 11 November 2011

11:11 11/11/11

Today marks the anniversary of Armistice Day.

A depiction of the signing of the Armistice.

Saturday, 5 November 2011


Gonna be a tad controversial now but I'm not trying to offend...

A few years back the previous UK government created "civil partnerships" as a means of recognising same sex unions and putting them on the same legal footing as a civil or religious marriage between a woman and a man. This was well intentioned I don't doubt, although some campaigners argued that even the term put it on a lesser standing to marriage. And oddly only same sex couples could have a civil partnership; if you are heterosexual you are currently only permitted to have a marriage, civil or religious. So one hardly equals the other.

The current coalition government has sought to equalise matters by announcing recently that by 2015 or thereabouts they intend to make it possible for same sex civil marriages to be held in places of religious worship. Such as a church, mosque or synagogue. The proviso being the people running a particular religious building have to be in agreement. Fair enough I guess. So far so good.

Now at this point I don't want anyone to think I am anti- this or anti- that. I'm not for one moment making any sort of comment on the preferences, lifestyles or choices made by others.

My concern is that a campaign group will find a religious building- say a church where the vicar does not agree with gay marriage- and they will attempt to force the issue via the law courts, claiming it is their right under the Human Rights Act to marry wherever they wish. I know there are likely to be a great many churches of various denominations who will welcome the opportunity to conduct same sex marriages, there will however be some where the leadership will feel that for them it is not in line with teaching and conviction. So while it might be your right to live the life you choose and with whom, is it not also the right of others to express their beliefs? As we approach Remembrance Day I think it is especially important to remind ourselves of the sacrifice made by many others so that we all can enjoy freedom of speech and thought. Enforcing one will or opinion on others is just not right.

And finally one last thought. If say this hypothetical vicar was so against same sex unions, why on God's Green Earth would you wish to be married and blessed in a building where you would clearly not be welcome?

Monday, 31 October 2011


LL and I spent some time Saturday carving a pumpkin in time for Halloween. I'm not sure looking at this image which one is more scary...

I think he might go out tonight with some little friends "Trick or Treating." Or "Demanding with Menaces" as perhaps it might more accurately be described. To be honest at his age it's just innocent fun and they don't go further than a few houses in the immediate area, where all the children are well known anyway but you get my point.

Have a ghoulish (and safe) evening everyone...

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Big Bang

It's got round to that time of year again when the UK goes mad on fireworks to mark Guy Fawkes' attempt to destroy Parliament on 5 Nov 1605. The anniversary of this event is celebrated with fireworks and a bonfire on which a "Guy" is usually burnt.

As is tradition where LL lives, they celebrate on the nearest Saturday a whole week early, don't ask me why, so usually around Halloween. It seems to work and a great time is had by all. Here's a couple of images from this evening...

Great fun.

29 Oct Crystal Palace 0 - 0 Reading

Sunday, 23 October 2011


Here it is, as promised....

Don't worry- I did wash the holly first LOL.

The Smell Of Christmas*

Some readers may recall last year I had a go at baking a Christmas cake based on the Delia Smith kit sold in a well known supermarket. If you need to, you can refresh your memory here and here LOL.

Now if ever there was an example of how imitation is one of the best forms of flattery, may I present exhibit "A" below?

All that's missing from this image is 170g of unsalted butter.

At £10 (the same price Delia's was offered for last year) you can understand that I couldn't refuse the chance to give it go. And in fact it requires fewer additional ingredients; how can I go wrong? It's in the oven now and should be finished after 3 and a half hours at a relatively low heat, so a couple more to go. There's whole almonds in the mix so I'm thinking this year perhaps I might leave it totally plain and adorn it with some holly from the garden...

Either way I might post an image later as it cools. Do check back soon to see how it went.

18 Oct Reading 2 - 2 Derby
22 Oct Reading 1 - 1 Southampton

* Don't you just love the smell of spices and mixed fruit that has been soaked in a generous portion of Brandy? I know I do LOL.

Sunday, 16 October 2011


Extra minutes and extra teeth.

LL has been feeling very much under the weather this weekend, complaining of headaches and a sore throat. It seems the route cause is a number of adult teeth pushing through. As you see, at least some of the new ones appear to be a little off target...


Meanwhile yesterday the Royals travelled to Burnley and ended up playing an unheard of additional 9 minutes, in lieu of injury time. Substitute Jem Karacan managed to score the only goal of the match right before the final whistle (at 99 minutes), winning Reading a vital 3 points. Following their no-score-draw at home to Middlesbrough last Saturday (1 Oct), Reading's unbeaten run now stretches to 4 games but they remain mid-table at 14th out of 24.

Saturday, 1 October 2011


Who would have thought the first day of October would see us out in the sunshine picking strawberries and raspberries? In fact at 29.9 degrees Celsius (about 86 degrees F), today has been the hottest October day in Britain on record. Wow.

Now where shall we start?

Did we pick enough?

* Pick Your Own. Just so you know.

Thursday, 29 September 2011


Those clever marketing girls and boys at Kellogg have excelled themselves. Recently they left on my doorstep a full size (390g) box of cereal to try out. Lucky me.

It's claimed to be a great start to the day and high in fibre. That'll keep me going LOL.

...And it was actually about 2 degrees higher than forecast. Perhaps the BBQ will be coming out for one last gasp this year...

Wednesday, 28 September 2011


It's all about the numbers tonight...

  • Twenty-Six degrees Celsius (about 79 degrees F) is the forecast temperature for the south of England tomorrow. Can you believe it? The end of September and we are experiencing better weather than in some summers. Go figure. The good weather is expected to last at least until Sunday.
  • I'm loving paying tax at the moment (You what?!? I hear you ask). Well my tax bill this month was 40 pence, about $0.60 of anybody's persuasion. Last month was better at a big fat zero. Just adore the tax free allowance. Or will I just get hit with a huge tax bill later LOL?
  • The Royals seem to have remembered how to play "the beautiful game" at last. Saturday (24/09) saw them travel to Coventry and gain a vital point from a one-all draw and on Tuesday (27/09) Bristol City were the hosts. Reading came home with all three points, having won by 3 goals to 2. Well done.  
  • 33% is the amount my local water company wanted to increase my bill by this week. We've agreed an 11% rise, based on what I am likely to use, not what they want me to spend.
That's all, TTFN.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011


I've been growing peppers again this summer and recently decided it was time to harvest them. (I guess it's not rocket science to work out why Harvest Festival has always traditionally been held in September/October). Anyway here they are all lined up on the kitchen window sill a couple of days back.

And what do you know? They've started to ripen in the late Summer (or is it now Autumn?) sun, mmmm...

Sunday, 18 September 2011

At Last

I've been waiting a good while to publish Reading FC's results, in order to actually mention a win. Well here it is:

23 Aug Charlton 2 - 1 Reading
27 Aug Hull 1 - 0 Reading
10 Sept Reading 0 - 2 Watford
17 Sept Reading 2 - 0 Doncaster

The Royals are now in 14th out of 24 in the Championship.

Elsewhere, yes I admit Torchwood: Miracle Day didn't quite resolve itself as I had expected/predicted. Nevertheless it was still pretty poor, with key moments conveniently occurring off-screen so as to manufacture suspense for the viewer. Can't see the point of the cliff hanger "surprise" ending- unless Starz secretly intend to make a US-only version with their own not-so-unique central character- because I don't see Torchwood itself returning for a 5th I'm afraid.

A friend and former work colleague has also this week shared some news of a not so good kind. I'm thinking of them all.

Oh and finally have you noticed I've avoided mentioning how poorly some countries are currently doing in the Rugby World Cup? Oops think I just have LOL...

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Time For Snow?

The lovely Kate Bush has announced the release of her next album- "50 Words for Snow," which is due on 21 November. Would you believe I already have a copy on order? LOL

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

All Grown Up

Today was the first day back at school for LL. And in fact his first day at Junior School, having spent Foundation and years 1 and 2 at the nearby Infant establishment. He seemed to have been looking forward to it this morning when I accompanied him and perfectly happy this evening. 

Ready for school, lunch in hand.

Waiting for the school bell to ring.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Dog Suit

How funny is the Elijah Wood starring series Wilfred, currently showing on BBC Three?

Mind you, I can't help but wonder why we are getting the remake rather than the two seasons of the Aussie original..? Both versions co-star Jason Gann, who also co-created the series, who is fantastic as the wise talking man/dog or whatever he is.

Fox Television's remake of the original Aussie version (SBS One).
Oh and hello to my new Aussie visitors to this blog. Pleased to meet you, hope you've found something interesting to read while you were here.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Maris Piper

With a little help (LOL) I dug my final crop of spuds today. Don't they look tasty?

Monday, 29 August 2011


I've been thinking of late a little bit about the latest series of Torchwood, subtitled Miracle Day.

It seems to me that when Torchwood was smaller, ie made exclusively by the BBC, it was somehow bigger and far more creative, had better aspirations than this new Startz co-production incarnation. I mean eight episodes in (and only two remaining) and we've mostly had exposition and run of the mill conspiracies which to be frank almost border on villain-of-the-week standard; there's not been a compelling narrative which has built the story week on week. Torchwood used to be about the aliens and monsters that lived amongst us, in the underworld and just out of sight or the occasional glimpse of the monster living inside each of us. We've had none of that. Just an undefined plodding lecture on how despite medical advances we really need people to die or else we face population explosion and all the hardships, strains on resources that will bring.

So what of the central character, Captain Jack Harkness? He's meant to be around 2000 years old, quite possibly immortal and above all a humanoid alien with quite different sexual desires to us. To be exact Jack is meant to be omnisexual. Not a word you tend to hear outside of the world of Torchwood and Doctor Who but basically means he is attracted to men, women and aliens and will bed any and all without a moments thought. Something of a sexual predator; he will happily stop in the middle of an adventure if someone/thing catches his eye. What exactly does this have to do with Miracle Day? Well he suddenly seems to have become exclusively Homosexual and us viewers have been "treated" to some pretty graphic sex scenes and references.

And do you know what? At the conclusion of episode eight the villain behind the so called miracle is revealed as a- conveniently just invented- spurned (homosexual) lover from the 1920's. Not very original and to be honest I'm not quite sure what the openly gay writer, Russell T Davies is saying here. Don't cross a gay man because he will never forget and will set out to wreck havoc in your life for years to come..? Please!

Team Torchwood as it used to be. Note the giant Phallic structure in the background. Made by BBC Wales dontchaknow.

Now what of some of the other characters in the series? The excellent Bill Pullman has produced a compellingly creepy character in the form of convicted paedophile Oswald Danes. Whether this character is essential to the story arc and part of the conspiracy or just a diversion is at this point unclear. Having escaped execution in the first episode and having travelled on some sort of personal journey towards public adulation (within the plot) it seems likely at the close, death will catch up with him. Equally Rex Matheson, played by Mekhi Phifer seems largely redundant and only there to serve as a moral opposite to the promiscuous Captain Jack. Having turned himself into a human kebab in the opener, he too will expire I am sure before the final credits. This much was obvious from the beginning therefore I haven't been able to invest in either of these characters.

The supporting female cast members seem to have come off worse. Eve Myles returns as Gwen Cooper playing the "heart and soul" of the piece and reminding us all that Torchwood is Welsh but has very little else to do. She frets over her baby and worries about her father who has had a fatal heart attack, so I think we can guess where that is going. Finally Alexa Havins seems largely along for the ride as CIA agent Esther Drummond. Obviously meant to be the new "eyes and ears" of the viewer to ask the who, what and why questions, she's avoided not dying but as an actress should be feeling poorly served by this opportunity.

All in all I think you can gather I'm not impressed with Torchwood: Miracle Day. To be honest the only miracle here is that anyone, myself included, is still watching.

End of Rant.

Oh by the way, wasn't it great to see new Doctor Who back on our screens this past weekend? That's how to tell a compelling story.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Soap Dodgers

Thank goodness very soon the great unwashed and other undesirables will be leaving the area for another year. Yes I am referring to the Reading Music Festival, held annually on the last weekend of August. 

Many residents find the town centre at daytime to be a no-go area over this period, myself included. This year the noise at night has been particularly unbearable until quite late. I live around 5 miles (about 7 km) from the main site, yet I could hear it all very well, thank you.

Despite Reading Council's annual protestations that they will be tough on the organisers, that the costs of policing and clearing up will not be met by Tax Payers and that sound levels will be closely controlled and monitored, I can't help suspect the Council find this event far too lucrative and nothing will change.

I think next year I will go away for the weekend.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Cowboys And Buses

My recent life in brief...

  • Last night I met a friend at the cinema and we saw Cowboys and Aliens. Absolutely brilliant concept and really well executed. Couldn't quite believe it had such a low certificate mind you. Ford and Craig, almost but not quite a movie dream team.
  • Love the new series of "Who Do You Think You Are?"
  • College beckons again. Seems like ages since I last had my hands in some clay.
  • I've recently found someone really important.
  • I have resumed work on the loft hatch cover. I intend to be snug this winter no matter how cold it gets.
  • After 8 months out of work, just like buses, two different job offers come along in one go. For the record it's not all about the money but the prospect of having to drive 200 miles (about 320 km) each way at least twice a week sure had something to do with my choice.

Sunday, 21 August 2011


Picked my first crop of dwarf runner beans this afternoon and cooked a handful for dinner. Very tasty- the best way to eat produce is straight from the garden and into the kitchen. Of course you do realise you're invited round sometime if you fancy. Just let me know when you are free...

Oh and what's happened to Torchwood: Miracle Day? Six episodes in, lots of exposition and still no sign of a monster or alien. Mind you, finger's crossed for episode 7...

16 Aug Portsmouth 1 - 0 Reading
20 Aug Reading 1 - 2 Barnsley

Yesterday was the anniversary of mum dying. Miss her.

Friday, 19 August 2011


Have discovered this week that one of the office units near work has sub-let space on the ground floor to a Costa Coffee franchise. A couple of us paid a "fact finding" (LOL) trip this lunchtime. A large Latte is only £1.75 (about $2.60 US, $2.80 AU) and taste just great.

You shouldn't drink near expensive electronic equipment- don't worry this one was empty.

They even tried to ensnare me with the promise breakfast bacon butties. Sneaky don't you think? Given I drive past this unit on my way to the office, I think this might become a regular if I'm not too careful! Mmmm.

Sunday, 14 August 2011


Friday saw me take a day off from work (so soon?!?) and take LL down to Highcliffe to visit his Grandad. Unexpectedly  he got to spend some quality time with one of his step-cousins (is there such a term?), very noisy and full-on. Later we cut over to Swanage where he is currently spending some time away with his mum.


13 Aug Leicester 0 - 2 Reading

Saturday, 6 August 2011

So Soon?

The new English football season started today.

It seems like only yesterday the whistle was blown in the final match of the 2010/2011 competition. Used to be football was a winter sport along with rugby, while in summer we had cricket and athletics. How things change.

Anyway the Royals kicked off their campaign at home to Millwall and a final score of 2 a piece.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Vales Emerald

I had a little helper yesterday assist me removing these from their container, while the sun smiled down on us.

Come supplied with dirt, at no extra cost LOL.

It's not quite The Good Life but it certainly is great growing your own food and knowing exactly where it came from, what is in it. Mmmm.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011


Have just seen the final Harry Potter. Wow.

Can't believe it's all over now (sniff).

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Saturday Night Thoughts

A few comments and observations:

  • 27 is far too young to die. It sadly didn't come as a surprise to hear Amy Winehouse has been found dead but nevertheless you have to concede that despite her troubles she was extremely talented.
  • As of yesterday LL is on summer holidays for around 6 weeks. He's now finished at the Infant school and in September, the start of year 3, will transfer to the Junior school.
  • I've been offered a job, after so long looking. All being well I start this coming week. Am feeling excited at the prospect, although starting early once again may come as a shock to my system.
  • Still not quite sure what has happened to the summer weather. Downpours one minute, glorious sunshine the next.
  • The death toll from Friday's Norwegian bombing and shooting spree now stands at over 90 confirmed. Can't imagine the horror.
  • I've heard rumours the rent-a-house round the corner is due to be filled with students again from September, grrrrr. Please can we have some quiet, sensible ones this time?
  • Just as I feared, the new series of Torchwood has so far proved to be a poor shadow of it's former self.
  • I've been eyeing up Kindles, iPads and similar of late. Is that bad of me?

Today at the park.

Thursday, 21 July 2011


How sad the Space Shuttle program has now come to a close after 30 years.

In my younger years I had a poster of one of the Shuttles sat on it's launch pad over my bed (next to the life size one of Kate Bush, naturally); like many I used to dream about space exploration and the brave new era it promised. Not quite the fully reusable craft to make Han Solo envious but still an incredible vehicle. I guess now I can add to my list of unfulfilled ambitions: to fly Concorde, to see in person the Space Shuttle take-off and ...  oh maybe I'll cover those in another posting...

At least the crew completed their mission and returned home safely. Truly historic.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

A Plot Is Hatched...

I know I have been a bit quiet of late, here's something I have been up to...

Some will know I have an attic room in this house. It's quite nice and roomy although at the moment it is only used as a store, it could easily be used as a bedroom. During summer it's really handy to open wide the window up there and allow the heat from the house a means of escape through the stairway. There's no door and needless to say that last winter, even with the window fully closed, I felt too much heat was escaping by the same route, therefore contributing to rather excessive fuel costs.

This coming 12 months fuel costs are set to rise by between 15 and 20% depending on supplier and the only way to realistically curb this is to use less. Last winter was pretty harsh admittedly but I'm preparing for the worst, particularly when you consider I don't have an income.

To this end I have constructed a light weight cover or hatch to the attic room which can be easily lifted into place in time for the cold. It's not quite completed yet: I'm yet to stain it to match the existing woodwork before adding the insulation.

Here's a couple of work-in-progress images, what do you think?

From below.

There are pictures of me as a baby sat on this carpet.

Anyway, I'm just doing my bit to save energy.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Potter Fest

I seem to have a little time on my hands at present so I'm thinking perhaps I should re-watch the first 7 Harry Potter films in readiness for the final. Maybe not all in one sitting; that might be considered a tad extreme and I wouldn't want to come across obsessive in any way LOL.


Have I mentioned I can't wait until The Deathly Hallows part 2 comes out..?

Friday, 1 July 2011

How Could I Resist?

Why can't more products have cool and descriptive packaging?

Thursday, 23 June 2011


I've just uploaded images of my final (for the moment) two pots. They can be found on Webshots here and as ever will be at the very end of the folder.

Now before you say they look rather wonky, they were thrown on an angled wheel head, as I've previously mentioned. It's pretty b****y tricky I can tell you. Having thrown a nice regular pot, the effect is that when placed to a level surface, the pot leans at a pleasing angle. If I return to ceramics, I think I'll give this another go...

Friday, 17 June 2011

Deathly Hallows

I've just seen the latest trailer for the final instalment of the Harry Potter series. It looks great.

It's due for release on 15 July and based on part one, it should be a good one even if it has the shortest running time of all 8 films. To be honest I thought the final book was flabby and somewhat unfocussed; thankfully the screen version- at least of the first part- corrected matters and was a much tighter affair, so I have great hopes Harry and co will leave the silver screen on a high. 

What exactly is the deal with Pottermore, I wonder?

Thursday, 16 June 2011

The Sky At Night

I found this image today and couldn't resist posting it. This is the United Kingdom as seen from the International Space Station. While I feel it looks rather cool, it does highlight just how much light pollution there is. Most of it I expect is unnecessary.

The view from 230 miles (around 370 km).

Read the full article from the Daily Mail website here.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Rocket. Man.

Further to yesterday's posting, I dug my first crop of spuds. A modest bowlful of Rocket variety yes but not bad from only four seeds potatoes. Can't wait to give them a scrub, cook and eat with a little butter mmm.

The next batch won't be ready for digging until August/September time.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Let's Talk About...

One of the things us British are famous/notorious* for is our obsession with the weather and that we seem to devote a disproportionate amount of time talking about it.

Is there, you might ask, any reason for this state of affairs? Let's consider the following: This past week vast areas of the east of England have been placed under a severe drought warning, with farmers being told to expect restrictions on the amount of water they can use to irrigate crops. At the same time here in the Thames Valley we've had rain for probably 24 hours (putting a halt on my plans to dig some of my potato crop today) with daytime temperatures down at around 12 degrees Celsius, a marked contrast on a few weeks ago. Oh and over in Wales they had snow on Thursday.

We're only a small country- in fact the British Isles will fit into most US or Australian states several times over- yet our weather conditions can vary so wildly. This is meant to be summertime; is it any wonder we're obsessed LOL?

* Delete as applicable.

Thursday, 9 June 2011


So I had to go into the attic the other day and noticed about four wasps harassing the strip light in a rather demented manner. I didn't think anything of it, merely treated them to a good dose of aerosol wasp and fly killer and left it at that.

Today there were many more and I don't think they were too happy to be honest. They're entering via gaps in the exterior wall tiles up high on the side of the house and have built themselves a cosy home between the roof tiles and insulation (I can hear them buzzing around under the insulation).

A British wasp nest in a Sussex roof space. My visitors may have constructed something similar.

The good news is the wasps won't reuse the nest next summer but I can't wait that long and I have to admit to being unsure quite how to deal with it. Answers on a postcard or back of a sealed down envelope to the usual competition address. Or you could just email your suggestions.

Friday, 3 June 2011


Thought I would share this picture I took in my front garden around 8 this morning. For some reason my poppies seem to be a little behind those in the surrounding area but it's good to see the first couple flowering.

It's been said poppies only really grow on former battlefield sites; something to do with corpses making for good manure. Well I'm not sure about that and although Reading has seen it's share over the years, I'm not convinced any skirmishes were held at my exact location. Maybe there's just a body down there somewhere following a grisly murder LOL?

Thursday, 2 June 2011


How much do I love the cover of the new addition of Radio Times, the BBC's weekly listing magazine?

Enough to publish a cropped, spoiler free, version of the Doctor Who themed cover, that's for sure.

Amy Pond (played by Karen Gillan) and some sword wielding fellows.

This coming Saturday the BBC broadcasts episode 7 of the current excellent series and with it a mid-season finale. Viewers are promised a spectacular episode (extended to 50 minutes) and cliffhanger to ensure we all tune in for the next episode.

Those wishing to see the entire Radio Times spoiler filled front cover can click here to view, together with a collection of past Doctor Who covers dating back to 1964.
The sixth series returns in the Autumn. Can it come back soon enough?

*As Alex Kingston's character might say LOL.

Monday, 30 May 2011


A thrilling match at Wembly stadium today saw Reading FC make a valiant attempt but in the end Swansea were the better team on the day. The final score of Reading 2 - 4 Swansea sees the Welsh team promoted to play Premiership football next season.

Maybe next year.

Sunday, 22 May 2011


Further to my last posting where I mentioned the Olympic torch would be visiting Reading.

Dad told me recently some interesting things about the 1948 games (he was 10 at the time). Not only was the marathon held round what is now the Reading University campus but his brother D, being slightly older, got to carry the torch (as part of a group from Boy's Brigade) as it made it's way through the town towards London.

How cool is that?

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Ten Pound Challenge

I've been set of the task today of trying to get my weekly shopping for under £10 (about US $16,  AU $15).

You can't get much but here's how I got on:

  • 2.27 l (4 pints) fresh semi-skimmed milk, £1.25
  • 500 g butter, £2.00
  • 925 g apples, £1.61
  • 1.02 g bananas, £0.80
  • 140 g sliced corned beef, £1.75
  • large wholemeal loaf (sliced), £0.47
  • 750 g cornflakes, £1.28
The total comes to £9.16, well done me. Dad and SM are due for a visit next week, I may therefore find my larder, freezer and fridge gets depleted but I intend to give this a go again next week.

And elsewhere...

I've had quite a lot of interest in my CV this week, you never know it might lead to a job!

Reading has been announced as one of the venues to be visited by the Olympic torch next year on it's way to the games in "that London." Might have to take LL along for a look-see.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011


The Royals dominated their away leg in Wales with a 3 - 0 win against Cardiff. Next up they will play (former Reading manager) Brendan Rodgers' Swansea at the end of the month, for the right next year to play in the Premiership.

Well done.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Curly Fries And Other Thoughts

  • Have you noticed the current trend of saying "Up Coming"? If we mean "Future" why not use it? It takes fewer letters after all.
  • I got asked yesterday by the lady living across from LL to help apply some eye drops to her poorly cat. Those beasties have sharp claws- I very nearly lost my left raspberry*. No really.
  • I now have three different varieties of potato growing in my garden: Rocket, Vales Emerald and Maris Piper. These are due to crop June, Aug/Sept and Aug/Oct respectively.
  • Ever heard someone say "I've not heard from you in ages"? If they were that concerned, why weren't they the first to pick up the phone or write an email? It works both ways don't you think?
  • Heard today that my great aunt (on Mum's side) died on Friday. She was the last living sibling of my Grandad.
  • As requested I returned to the Surgery for another Asthma check. This time I saw someone different and apparently "lung age" is a load of rubbish. Go figure.
  • The Royals need a win away at Cardiff on Tuesday if they are to proceed to the play-off final at Wembly. The no score draw at home last Friday in the first leg wasn't a good start.
  • Whoever dreamt up curly fries should be given an award. Oh so tasty and brings to mind some very fond memories.

King of the road (or path)? 

* Rhyming slang for... you can work it out, think about ice cream LOL.

Sunday, 8 May 2011


The Royals finished the championship season proper with a mixed bag of results. Possibly having worked their way into the play-off zone, they rested on their laurels just a little too much...

22 Apr Leeds 0 - 0 Reading
25 Apr Reading 2 - 3 Sheffield United
30 Apr Coventry 0 - 0 Reading
7 May Reading 2 - 1 Derby

Reading will take on fourth placed Cardiff for the chance to play the winner of Swansea and Nottingham Forest in the play-off final. The winner will be awarded promotion to the Premiership along with Queens Park Rangers and Norwich.

Npower Championship table

1 QPR 46 39 88
2 Norwich 46 25 84

3 Swansea 46 27 80
4 Cardiff 46 22 80
5 Reading 46 26 77
6 Nott'm Forest 46 19 75

7 Leeds 46 11 72
8 Burnley 46 4 68
9 Millwall 46 14 67
10 Leicester 46 5 67
11 Hull 46 1 65
12 Middlesbrough 46 0 62
13 Ipswich 46 -6 62
14 Watford 46 6 61
15 Bristol City 46 -3 60
16 Portsmouth 46 -7 58
17 Barnsley 46 -11 56
18 Coventry 46 -4 55
19 Derby 46 -13 49
20 Crystal Palace 46 -25 48
21 Doncaster 46 -26 48

22 Preston 46 -25 42
23 Sheffield Utd 46 -35 42
24 Scunthorpe 46 -44 42

Monday, 2 May 2011

Book Worm

Now I don't usually do this but may I just recommend a thoroughly good book?

It's "Empty Cradles," Margaret Humphreys 1994 account of her work uncovering the scandal of the Home Children scheme. You may recall I mentioned it here after I had seen the film based on this book.

A compelling read that tells how Margaret first became aware that over several years children had been removed from this country without parental consent. She details how they lost their identities, were split from brothers or sisters and often ended up living in worse conditions than those the so-called "orphans" had left behind in the mother country. Many told of abuse at the hands of the individuals entrusted to look after them.