Tuesday, 31 December 2013


My one and only resolution for 2014 will be to recycle more, to do just a little bit more for our precious environment.

With this in mind, I'm recycling this image from 2009 LOL.

I wish everyone all the very best for the coming year.

Monday, 30 December 2013

December Blues

December has been a disappointing month for Royals' fans; Reading will finish the year outside the promotion play-off zone.

7 Dec Reading 1 - 2 AFC Bournemouth
14 Dec Huddersfield 0 - 1 Reading
21 Dec Reading 1 - 2 Wigan Athletic
26 Dec Leicester 1 - 0 Reading
29 Dec Middlesbrough 3 - 0 Reading

Perhaps the New Year will bring better fortunes. Reading will host Nottingham Forest this coming Wednesday 1 January.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Getting Stoned*

*or Damn Those Girls And Boys In Marketing.

Anything with a Union Flag.

For Snow Globe lovers everywhere.

My Mate.

Some people know me too well LOL.

Saturday, 28 December 2013


While checking an old telephone/answering machine, which I thought had never been used, I came across a message Mum had left in 2007 a year before she died. Wasn't exactly expecting that, it took me unawares and I had a little cry.

How it got to be on there I will never know but you can be assured all twenty-five seconds of it has now been safely saved in a more secure location. You never know when I might need to hear her voice.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas

Best wishes for the season, everyone.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Closing Down

Within a few days, Christmas Eve to be exact, well known local department store Jacksons of Reading  will shut up shop, citing falling sales and high maintenance costs on their Kings Road site.

This family owned business (officially E Jackson & Son Ltd) was opened in September 1875 as a gentlemen's outfitters (such a lovely old fashioned term!) by Edward Jackson. One Hundred and 38 years later his great grandson Brian Carter is the last Managing Director of this iconic shop, which has remained at the same location throughout those years. In my lifetime it has been renown as the place local parents visited for all their children's school uniform needs, for its extensive choice of up-market ladies and men's clothes and huge range of cross-stitch and related craft supplies. But of course what most people will likely remember is the pneumatic pipe system for transferring cash between the sales desks and the accounts department. It seems impossible to imagine how every customer transaction would involve an invoice and cash payment being sent via this system to the accounts department and then an awkward wait until the handwritten receipt and change would appear back in the tube. Very old fashioned service but that was the Jacksons way.

Jacksons has been overtaken by more modern ways of shopping on the high street and by the internet age. Nevertheless it will be missed.

One Sunday in May 2013, happier times for Jacksons although closure had already been announced.

Things haven't really changed...

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Five For Silver, Six For Gold

Many are familiar with the rhyme* involving Magpies but what do I get for counting over twenty at one time?

Trust me by the time I got my camera, they were taking it in turns (in small groups) to do circuits above my garden.

*One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret never to be told.

Saturday, 14 December 2013


While in the music and dvd section of a well known supermarket today (where "every little helps"), LL proudly announced he didn't like One Direction.

Good boy.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Deck The Halls

Every year I try to buy one new Christmas decoration. Do you like this one?

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Not My Birthday...

...but why is the birthday girl or boy expected to provide the cakes for the whole office? Or buy the drinks in the pub?

Shouldn't it be the other way round? Just a thought.

23 Nov Blackburn Rovers 0 - 0 Reading
29 Nov Nottingham Forest 2 - 3 Reading
3 Dec Reading 1 - 0 Chalton

Sunday, 1 December 2013


I am such a sucker: those girls and boys at Tate & Lyle's branding and marketing department must have seen me coming a mile off LOL.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Is It Time..?

I made this at the weekend, so it must be nearly Christmas LOL.

Glazed with honey and dusted with desiccated coconut mmm.

Saturday, 23 November 2013


What could be better than seeing the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode in 3D at my local cinema..?

Tickets for the night of The Day Of The Doctor.

The Moff = Genius.


From the pages of listing magazine Radio Times, November 1963...

50 today.

An Unearthly Child and her Grandfather.

Happy Birthday Doctor!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Radio Times

How the new issue of Radio Times is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who...

12 front covers to choose from. Which one to buy?

Tuesday, 19 November 2013


Visited my GP today for my annual free Flu injection.

Sadly it won't protect against Man Flu LOL.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Seven More Sleeps To Go

In one week the longest running Sci-Fi series in the world will celebrate 50 years on our screens.

Doctor Who- "The Day of the Doctor" will be broadcast simultaneously across the globe but before that, the BBC have released a 7 minute prequel mini-episode. Called "The Night of the Doctor" and featuring the welcome return of Doctor number 8 in the form of Paul McGann, enough to whet your appetite for the main event.  

I'm sure this episode can be found in many locations on-line, including (obviously) on the various BBC sites but also on YouTube, so if this link will not work for you it's worth searching for. Enjoy.

Can I also assume those lovely people at Big Finish Productions must be very pleased..?

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Getting A Life?

After far too many months of simply failing to get there, I finally made it to West Forest Potters last night. Yeah actually got out of the house for something other than work or LL! Not that I'm complaining about the latter and the former is... well necessary.

Our guest speaker was the entertaining Devon potter Doug Fitch, who turned this...

Into this...

And finally into this...


Doug then demonstrated how to make a hollow handle and turn this pot into a puzzle jug.

Good fun was had by all.

26 Oct Reading 1 - 1 Millwall
2 Nov Sheffield Wednesday 5 - 2 Reading
9 Nov Reading 1 - 1 QPR

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Wednesday, 6 November 2013


The replacement of this part has today cost me over £200 (around US/AU $340) but at least I now have a working heating system. Handy now the weather is turning a bit chilly.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Seborrhoeic Keratoses

Yeah I had to look it up as well.

Apparently, like mine, sometimes they can be difficult to distinguish from skin cancers. The hospital will arrange to remove (shave) it in the next few months- while uncomfortable it is non-urgent. They did find a smaller second one but this they will leave alone; it's on my back and not causing any issues.

The consultant said I can blame my parents- it's most likely genetic LOL.

On My Own

Today is my hospital appointment.

I don't know what's in store for me and I'm feeling apprehensive, if not very worried. This lump I have is probably nothing but at this point in time I can't know that for sure.

I haven't told too many what's going on, just those I consider closest to me, with the exception of LL- he worries too much already. Just wish some who do know would actually show their support and weren't too busy wrapped up in their own little worlds.

Stupid me- should have learnt that lesson when mum died.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Literacy Of The Daleks

Today Reading Central Library hosted a "Doctor Who Day" so LL and I thought we should pop along, see what it was all about. We stopped for a couple of hours or so and took part in the themed treasure hunt spread across two floors and in amongst the book shelves. There was also an opportunity to stop and see a re-enactment of the very first episode (An Unearthly Child) from November 1963. Good fun.

The Special Weapons Dalek and the aptly named Black Dalek.


Thursday, 31 October 2013

31 Oct 13

Happy Halloween everyone!

Tate & Lyle's Black Treacle. Mmmm!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013


I have had for a number of years a quite nasty looking lump or flap of skin. Most people don't know about it (OK publishing this Blog, they do now!) but I have been keeping watch over it.

Recently it has become infected and quite sore so I'm now in receipt of prescription medication to deal with this. However my GP is concerned it has grown dramatically since it was last checked by a medical professional. Looking back I think it has enlarged in the last couple of months to be precise, it certainly wasn't the size it is now (about 1.3 cm) back in the summer. I'm now waiting on a fast track referral to my local hospital.

Have to admit to feeling a little worried by this turn but also relieved I have acted rather than ignore the matter, hoping it might go away of it's own accord.

Watch this space as they say...

Saturday, 26 October 2013


Took a trip out today with LL to the RAF Museum London, to have a look at well... Aeroplanes. In particular he was interested to see some planes from WWII; which is part of a current school project. Spread across three hangers, they have a fair number of mostly British (and Commonwealth) built military planes, with a few European and American models thrown into the mix.

The business end of the Avro Lancaster Bomber.

Sunday night through to Monday we have a severe storm warning with hurricane force winds and rain hitting the south of England and up into the Midlands and Wales. Time to batten down the hatches!

Friday, 25 October 2013

Time Is Running Out..?

The countdown to the biggest television sci-fi event in the last 50 years has truly begun, with the sale of cinema tickets for the 'live' 3D screening. Cinemas across the planet as well as many television channels will carry the event at the same time it is broadcast on BBC One.

Mind you, you have to feel sorry for the Kiwis and Aussies who will have to get up at stupid o'clock on the morning of the 24th Nov in order to join the fun!

Visit the BBC Worldwide's official Doctor Who web site here.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Funny Faces?

You can't better a day at the seaside (visiting Dad and SM), no matter the time of year...

28 Sept Reading 2 - 0 Birmingham
1 October Barnsley 1 - 1 Reading
5 October Burnley 2 - 1 Reading
19 October Reading 4 - 1 Doncaster

The Royals move to 6th in the Championship.

On a less joyous note, this past week Dad has been diagnosed with early stage Parkinsons' disease. Bit of a blow.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Cover Story

SFX magazine. Not to be confused with other three letter words.

Who's that on the cover?

Loving the latest issue, which plopped through my door recently, and also the 18 or so pages devoted to the best television show on the planet. All rather good and (maybe) gives some hints about what to expect in the 50th anniversary episode, The Day of the Doctor.

While not covered in the above issue, I'm reasonably pleased that some nine previously missing second Doctor- Patrick Troughton- episodes have been recovered, am I the only one a bit curious over the timing? It's great the number of missing episodes is now below 100 and that the stories The Web of Fear and The Enemy of the World can now be seen again more or less intact, did the BBC hold back this news until just over a month before the big day? Seems a little too coincidental to me. Just a thought.

Thursday, 3 October 2013


One of my favourite authors died yesterday aged only 66.

I loved (and in fact still do love) the Jack Ryan series, which I used to read avidly as soon as they came out. Stories well told, with enough technical description to please me and good characterisation and observation. Who else would point out that in Britain a particular military rank is pronounced leftenant rather than the American lootenant?

The early Op-Centre books were also very enjoyable. Although it was when reading some of those that I realised Clancy had started co-authoring some with (often) uncredited writers and the later books in this series were simply ghost written. Needless to say I was saddened by this turn of events, that his previous high standards had slipped in my view. You could tell in the writing and Tom Clancy had to a degree become just a franchise.

One from later entries in the Jack Ryan series.

There are still a couple of the Ryan books I am yet to buy, which the critics claim is a return to form. Although now I buy in ebook format not pulped trees. I even understand there is a new film scheduled in cinemas for this coming Christmas.

I can only hope his estate and publishers will realise this man's worth, he had an ability to tell a gripping tale, and they should leave it at that. I'm afraid that the current trend for posthumous novels written by other authors would only further tarnish what is on the whole an exceedingly good reputation.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Mutant Biscuit

Today I'm sharing this image of a recent home made ANZAC biscuit alongside the normal, standard size version.

Do you think someone got carried away LOL?

Of course the advantage of these mega biscuits is that when asked, you can always deny over eating and say you only had one...

Friday, 27 September 2013

Cakes And Coffee

We took part in a home made cake and coffee morning at work today in aid of MacMillan Cancer Support. There were so many delicious looking cakes of many types on offer, all at £1 (about $1.60) per cupcake or slice.

Needless to say I had no trouble doing my bit for charity LOL.

Monday, 23 September 2013


Just one example why the UK should never adopt the Euro. A real thing of beauty, don't you think?

Limited edition silver proof £5 coin.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Getting Better

31 August Yeovil 0 - 1 Reading
15 September Reading 0 - 0 Brighton
18 September Reading 1 - 0 Leeds
21 Derby 1 - 3 Reading

The Royals are 7th in the Championship on 15 points, equal to Watford and Nottingham Forest.

Friday, 20 September 2013


Lardy Cake. Wonderful but not so good if you're on a diet.

Somehow I felt like treating myself today. Can't think why.

Anyone care to join me for a slice?

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Stocking Up?

A little bird told me recently that in readiness for Remembrance Sunday in November, the supermarket Sainsbury's have been carrying my favourite branded Aussie biscuits. It would be rude not to buy some, won't it LOL?

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Not On Holiday

One consolation of having to travel for work is visiting places like this...

It's a tough life sometimes...

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Message To All Voters

Our colonial cousins the Aussies have just been to the polls in a national election and will soon have a new Prime Minister and Government.

Given that most politicians- of all persuasions- the world over are often viewed as being just a tad dodgy to say the least, I'm reminded of this quote:

"Don't vote for politicians, it only encourages them."

Wise words, don't you think?

Monday, 2 September 2013

Great Fire Of London

On this day in 1666- in a London Bakery- a fire got out of control and changed the Capital forever.

The Telegraph has put together a quite nice slide show of 10 of the buildings which survived. Take a look here. Of course Wikipedia also has a very good article on all things Pudding Lane, here.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Figs And Fennel

Just a quick posting of two images from my garden.

My Chilli Peppers aren't doing so well though LOL.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

A Grand Day Out

Took a trip up to the Big City and visit to Baker Street yesterday to meet with friends, who had arrived in the UK in the morning and were doing their stay in some considerable style.

I so wanted to hail a taxi and tell the driver "221B Baker Street and don't spare the horses" but I suspect most London cab drivers have heard most variations on that one. Besides there's a Tube station not far away.

Despite the rain which was forecast only for Saturday (grrr) and other plans not quite going as intended, I think it's fair to say we had a great time. We all got to use the aforementioned Victorian era underground system (hadn't realised previously how many steps there are to descend/climb), before taking in the Tower of London and the Crown Jewels. Brilliant day.

Thank you D & T.

17 August Reading 3 - 3 Watford
24 August Blackpool 1 - 0 Reading

Saturday, 17 August 2013


Can a sequel or prequel ever be as good as the original? Yes it can if you're talking about Monsters University. Most Excellent- the two of us had a ball.

Awesome and totes amazing, as the youth of today might say LOL.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is in fact an oncoming train.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Playing At Doctors And Nurses

Spotted this letter in the latest print edition of the Radio Times listing magazine...

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Four Points

We're now in week two of the new football season and life back in the Championship has far been OK for The Royals.

They earned a full 3 points for last week's win and and one for the draw yesterday, visiting Bolton Wanderers. So far so good, at least on paper but in both games Reading came from behind due to their opponents making a much more impressive start. Not a position in my opinion they cane rely on in the coming months- they must be sharper than the opposing team from the outset if they really want promotion back to the top flight. But what do I know?

3 August Reading 2 - 1 Ipswich
10 August Bolton Wanderers 1 - 1 Reading

For the record Reading are currently sitting in 7th out of 24 clubs. Next Saturday The Royals entertain Watford.

Monday, 5 August 2013

End Of The World

How good was the new Simon Pegg/Nick Frost film, The World's End? Very funny in deed.

Having recently seen the Una Stubbs edition of Who Do You Think You Are? it was lovely seeing Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City's being used to such great effect as the setting for the fictitious home town of the main characters.

Mind you I don't think I'll ever view the prospect of a pub crawl in the same light again LOL. 

Sunday, 4 August 2013


At least the actor named tonight to take over the lead role in The Best Science Fiction Series In The World* is a little closer to my own age than the current occupant of the blue Police Box. If you don't wish to see who I am referring to (really?), don't click here or for that matter on this LOL.

*Said in the style of Jeremy Clarkson, Top Gear presenter.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Day Of The Night Flowering Triffid?

Actually it's a so-called house cactus growing in my garden, that I just happen to take a picture of at around 9.30 last night. I rather liked the look of it and thought you might too...

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

In The News

As joyous as recent news has been, am I the only finding the media coverage of the Royal baby just a little bit excessive?

Can I also suggest Prince Cuthbert would be a really good name for the little fellow? Can't quite see that happening though...

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Born To Be Wild

Shush... Don't tell his Mum LOL.

(This is my Razor MX500 electric bike- I think someone has designs on it, don't you?)

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Cousins At War

Am really enjoying BBC One's Sunday night series The White Queen, an adaption of Philippa Gregory's novels about the Wars of the Roses.

I suspect I really should brush up on my history though; took me a while to realise one of the characters depicted would become King Richard III. D'oh!

Sunday, 7 July 2013


Got a whole bunch of these growing in my garden...

Enjoying summer!

Thursday, 4 July 2013


Like many I have a few pet hates.

One dislike is when going out for a meal either in a group of men only or as a mixed group: why do the waiting staff feel compelled to be a bit overly familiar and address us as "guys"? It just gets my goat.

Am I sounding terribly prim and British LOL?

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Skipping Under The Rainbow

Have just heard the new track from Julia Fordham. Somehow I knew I'd love it.

Good to hear she's touring the UK again and by all accounts is sold out. Been years since I saw her in concert- happy days.

Geese And Spuds

With Dad and SM up for the weekend, I brought LL over to see them on Saturday. Among other activities we dug some of my early Potato crop, as you do. Here's how we got on...

It's serious business, dontcha know.

Earlier in the day we'd made the most of the good weather to take a stride around the university lake and feed bread to the ducks and geese. There were quite a number of rather hungry mouths to feed, I can tell you.

Canada's finest find out if there is enough food to go round.


Walk like an Egyptian LOL