Saturday, October 23, 2010

Back in Business

I went through a bit of a bad patch in September/October; one that I'm coming through now.
The compand for which I had worked since 2000 went into insolvency at extremely short notice - in fact, I arrived at work after a dentist appointment one Monday morning and half an hour later was out of work (along with everyone else in the company)
Everything went on hold (apart, that is, from the new glasses which I had ordered whilst still employed and which I badly needed - luckily I had set aside the cost of the glasses and I qualified for all the various NHS vouchers so the costs were covered!) and for a while I did think I would not be able to do any more podcasts or work on other projecte.
Luckily, I was only out of work for a few weeks - I do now have another job that, I hope, will become something permanent.

In the meantime, I produced a 'book' - really a booklet, containing a couple of rarely seen out-of-copyright E.F.Benson short stories plus one of my own (a pastiche or piece of fan fiction set in the world of Mapp & Lucia) and it is currently available for sale at my E.F.Benson website online store
(or directly from my Cafe Press store HERE)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fame at last! (well, sort of...)

I've been a fan of the Reduced Shakespeare Company since I saw a production of "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)" at the Criterion Theatre, Piccadilly, London some several years ago; I have the audio recordings, I have a DVD of "The Complete History of America (abridged)" and I hold out the hope that I might get to see one of their other productions one day, in some form or other.  In the meantime, I listen to their weekly podcast, which is entertaining, informative and, above all, short.  Ish.

Today, I downloaded the latest episode (189 to be precise) and listened to it on my way home from work - it's about the right length for the cycle ride home and as Austin Tichenor was doing the traditional closing bit, I got to my front door.  And then I heard my name.

The podcast always features what the RSC calls "A Random Shout Out"; as Tichenor always states, "No reason, it's just random".  The shout out is usually of someone who has signed up to the RSC newsletter, or joined their website forum, which I did some time ago.  I never actually expected to hear my name on the podcast though, and it felt good - especialyl as Mr Tichenor actually used the correct pronounciation (you would be surprised at how many variations people find to pronounce my name - I used to get quite shirty about it; in case anyone wants to know, it rhymes with "Lines" or "Vines" and not "Bins" or Tins"
Thank you to the RSC and to Mr Tichenor, for bringing a little light into my day!  (It doesn't take much!)

Moving on, I have now harvested a second batch of spuds from the garden, and I'm having some of them for my dinner tonight...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I've been installing OS's on different machines - iOS4 on the iPod Touch (it's settling down at the moment, and I'll have to get used to some things, but so far, so good) and Ubuntu on a spare PC I had doing nothing.

The latter will take some getting used to - at least with the iPod, it's more-or-less the same interface and I can work out how do do most things; with Ubunto, it's a whole new way of doing things and I'm going to have to concentrate for a while.
So, I now have multiple operating systems again!  Confusion, as ever, is waiting to see if it reigns...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Records, Veg and International Men of Mystery

It's been a busy old weekend - the weather has been nice, there has only been a couple of light aircraft (flying low-ish) to disturb the peace and I've been out and about doing things for different reasons.
Yesterday (Saturday 17th April 2010) was Record Store Day and, as a friend had asked me if it might be possible to get a couple of UK exclusive 7" singles, I bussed it down to Adrians in Wickford.  This is where the International Man of Mystery comes in - I found a stall in Wickford selling second hand DVD's and CD's and picked up Austin Powers in Goldmember, which completed my Austin Powers trilogy, for £2.  Bargain!  Made for entertaining viewing on Saturday night (after the obligatory Doctor Who session - of which I can only say: iDalek.)
Upon my return (with the requested records!) I decided to repot and plant out some of the various plants that have been littering my various windowledges over the last couple of months.
Here are some pics I've taken:
My garden table, covered with various pots and tubs taken out of the mini-greenhouse for a bit of direct sun and fresh air; the looking slightly dead thing in the middle is an old mint plant that I left out all winter - it seems to be reviving!  The other plants are Tomatoes, Sweetcorn and Peas.  Behind is the refurbished mini-greenhouse, containing the first of the chillies to sprout, plus yet more tomatoes and some more peas.

Slightly in shade, these are some runner beans - my first go at growing the things.

Another first, some peas!  I have more in the mini greenhouse, and another tub of similar size waiting for them!

The first of the sweetcorn to get planted in the ground - I've had success growing sweetcorn in this particular patch in the past and, as I haven't deliberately planted anyting here for a couple of years, I thought I'd give it another go now.

I've also done something I saw in a gardening programme (the first I've ever deliberately watched!) "The Edible Garden" - I've pulled up as many of the nettles I can find in the garden, bunged them in a bucket and drowned them in water - in a few weeks, hopefully, I'll have a nice rich nettle 'soup' for the tomatoes!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Catching up

First of all, I have the lurgi.  Again.  I just got over this last week and started getting set up to record some more interviews for my non-sport trading card podcast when I had to postpone due to one of my interviewees being lurgied; no sooner had I recieved the email telling me this than I started to feel that back of the nose tickle...  Meh.

However, I do feel well enough to update the blog.
Easter was fun for me as far as TV and Family was concerned - I got to have a nice roast dinner with my parents and sister on Easter Sunday, and also to watch brand new series of Ashes to Ashes (s3) and Doctor Who (s5) on Friday and Saturday respectively.  Plus there was a new feature length Jonathan Creek on the Sunday and the box set of the first 4 series (and two Christmas specials) of the same show turned up on Saturday (an Amazon bargain for which I exchanged some of my ill-gotten gains from having associate links on my various websites!)

Gardening news (for which I have started a Twitter hashtag of #vegcrop2010 - though no-one seems to have picked up on it!): Most of the seeds I started planting in pots on my various windowsills have started to grow and (fingers crossed) flourish; some of them have been moved into the mini-greenhouse on my patio.  So far, three different types of tomato, sweetcorn, two types of pea, runner beans, radish, chillis and sweet peppers have sprouted, along with one plant that is either a globe courchette OR a butternut squash - the only thing that seems to have sprouted from the seets I took from last year's crop - the plants look much the same at this stage and I haven't a clue which it is (and won't until it starts to fruit!)
I have also started a run of potatoes and there are a couple of onions that seem to have been left over from last year's planting that have overwintered and popped up!
The garlic (from The Garlic Farm was mostly planted when I got back from the Isle of Wight in October last year and is doing terrifically well - all in tubs and troughs and all looking nice and leafy.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


I was starting to wonder if I had imagined the whole thing.

Way back in the very late 70's/early 80's, I went to the local council run theatre (the original Towngate Theatre if you must know) with a friend to see a double bill of "Blazing Saddles" and "Life of Brian".  Leaving the cinema, my sides hurt from laughing.  That, however, is not the main point of this post - this YouTube link is: Away From It All - it should be noted that there is some increasingly strong language used (mostly in the second part)
The quality is not so good, but if you watch both parts of this short film, you'll get the gist.  The film, a travelogue of the sort that used to be a popular 'filler' in cinema programmes, was a typical example - full of cliches and terrible punning links between scenes - until, that is, you realise who it is performing the narration; the fun really kicks off in part 2, but you HAVE to sit through part 1 to get the full sense of the joke.
My thanks to the noble souls who found and posted this on YouTube and provided me with crucial proof that I HAD seen it - the internet is a wonderful thing...

Monday, January 18, 2010


First of all, a belated Happy New Year to anyone that might actually read this (I don't know if anybody does; to be honest, I very much doubt it given that I don't update very often, don't publicise and rarely have anything of real interest to say anyway!)

Secondly, about this time last year I made my first post of 2009 and noted that I had lost my Swiss Army Knife - I had search high and low for it and it hadn't turned up.  It was replaced shortly there after with another knife from the Victorinox range, and that was that.

Until this week when, as a result of having to clear out some stuff (I'm having the house insulated this week!) the original knife turned up in my bedroom (it had somehow found it's way under a pile of stuff that I hadn't tried lifting when looking for the thing last year)

It now has a new home - I gave it to my Dad as it might be useful in the long car journeys he sometimes makes!

Work is quiet still, and I have been taking a break from my podcasting activities for a while (though I will probably resume recordings next month - I possibly have a rather interesting interviewee lined up for the trading card podcast!)

The only other thing to say at the moment is that I have started to work on the outline for a longer piece of creative writing - I've been pondering a plot idea for the last few years (it's that legendary 'one book' that everyone supposedly has in them) but in a low period over the Christmas/New Year break I sat down and started to actually write an outline - something I haven't done before.
Now all I have to do is write the bits inbetween the 'bullet points' in the outline...