Monday, January 30, 2006

Do you promise not to tell?

We had such a good idea of something really funny to do in a few weeks' time, but I don't think we dare. So I can't tell you till afterwards. But if we've done it you'll know already.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

... some sunny day

What a fabby weekend, seeing so many of our lovely chums, and meeting new ones as well! The second annual MongFest in Oxford was great; I was rescued from caddish clutches by a valiant, stout-hearted but very small hero-in-the-making armed with a fearsome cutlass, who repelled the foe the length of the bar, stapping his vitals good and proper.

Unfortunately I never managed to get a picture of Sam's marvellous pose; cutlass brandished in one hand with the other resting on his hip - sheer Hollywood! He and his moll (the Monster) were later restrained from making an attempt on the north face of the bar and consigned to Maddy's creche.

Ned was delighted to receive a shipment of comestibles from the Far North (all right, some black pudding from Bury market) - thank you Sparkle Princess and your mum (would she be Sparkle Queen?). We gave Simon some maltesers for being a pal, which he later scattered to the four winds - no doubt some strange arcane Leicesesestershire ritual; and he was presented with an award for having the most entertainingly rubbish website:

The Trivia-game machine drew a lot of attention

even though it blatantly cheated and said we were wrong when we weren't (a B-52 was an aeroplane, not a hair-do). Team Clever-Trousers will have to do better than that to become rich and famous, despite being partway there already (I bet Rich hasn't heard that before, hahaha).

Loads of brilliant pics can be found at Stu's place.

Then it was time to come home so we abducted Mally and Maddy and brought them home for supper and beer and to go caching in a tunnel this morning. Which we did, and it was fun but very cold and very wet and very dark and very dirty.

Back to reality tomorrow, I suppose.

Friday, January 27, 2006

... the birds began to sing

AvianOcular have replied to the letter I sent the other day about the lack of filling in their pies. They were very apologetic that their quality control, which is designed to ensure the ratio of meat to gravy remains within specified tolerances, seems to have failed them in this instance*, and they enclosed a £3 voucher, which is accepted in payment for ice cream as well as other frozen food. Hurrah!

*Unless of course the pies are meant to be practically empty.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

You're in my soul*

Am I the only person who, when you can finally get to the loo after being terribly busy and distracted, wonders what volume had been passed?

*think about it

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Atishoo, atishoo, we all fall down


Sunday, January 22, 2006

Pride of our alley

That wasn't me. At all. I think it safe to say I'm pants at bowling. And doesn't it hurt when the ball rips your thumbnail off?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

When the pie was opened ...

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to express my disappointment with one of your products: an AvianOcular ‘Steak and Ale Pie’ which I bought recently.

I’m well aware that images on packaging involve a degree of artistic licence, but the image on the box for this particular product is very misleading in that it suggests that the pie within contains more than 4 pieces of meat and 6 tiny slices of mushroom; it didn’t.

I suggest you rename this product ‘Gravy Pie with Small Lumps’ so as to avoid misleading your customers.

I enclose the Best Before End panel in the chance that I bought part of a faulty batch.

Yours faithfully,

Friday, January 20, 2006

And made the graduation into the banking business

Someone forgot to take their bank card when they went to withdraw some money in the early hours from the cash machine at the bank in the village. So a couple of tractors were ‘borrowed’ to help. Where the hole-in-the-wall machine used to be, there’s now a ... erm ... hole in the wall.

Ooh! I wonder if Ned will come home with unexpected riches?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Pick yourself up, dust yourself off ...

Today's addition caught me on the blind side. The Boy's bank statement arrived.

Oh yes, I nearly forgot. Those lovely people at the Inland Revenue have decided that they overpaid our Child Tax Credit a few years ago, and they want it back now. It just gets better and better.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Travel down the road and back again

My faith in 99.9% of humanity was restored today after our shopping trip. We went into Banbury and bought more meat for the dogs, then went to Tesco. Ned had his daily optimistic bank-balance check at the hole-in-the-wall (no, nothing yet; grrr) then we shopped for the essentials, paid and left.

When we arrived home the answering machine was flashing its little red light. A message from Tesco Customer Services for me - I'd left my bank cards at the checkout, and they'd been handed in; would I come and collect them?

Thank you to the honest people who handed them in. Thank you to Tesco for being so efficient as to let me know they were safe before I even realised they were missing, thus saving me agonies of panic and trouble cancelling everything. Store loyalty cards have more benefits than mere points - they'd traced me so quickly because of it. How do I know? They'd replaced it in its pocket the wrong way round!*

*Whaddya mean, 'obsessive'?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

And now, the end is nigh ...

... well actually, it's arrived. I've finished Qwyzzle. There were two or three tricky puzzles in there, but when you consider it takes me about 6 weeks to complete 100 PuzzleDonkey questions, and Qwyzzle took 12 days, I think it's fairly clear which is more challenging. Mind you, it's quite entertaining; And at least it can be completed by one person without too much need for help - just pointers along the way - the Donkey can be somewhat OTT in the difficulty stakes, and there's no chance that it can be completed without help. A puzzle somewhere in between the two would be ideal - but then, I'm not a genius! However, their Forum badly needs the services of a good Moderator with a sharp pair of scissors. It's chock-full of spoilers which ruins the fun.

Back to FreeCell, I suppose.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

That ring of fire

No, nothing to do with curries! We've both been suffering from achy backs recently, which is liveable with until they start to give the occasional twinge of reminder when you do something strenuous - such as put down a cup of tea. Yesterday Ned got just such a reminder so at bedtime he searched out the lavender wheaty-bang thing I made some time ago and nuked it up good and hot to lie on in bed, rather than risk popping a hot-water bottle and scalding his back as well as soaking the mattress. All was well and the heat started to seep into the muscles and relax them and we both dozed; until he suddenly squealed. In response to my tired-yet-caring "Wassup?" he deposited a handful of redhot grains of wheat onto my tummy - the cover had split.

A tip to anyone who may find themselves in this situation: do not react to your belly being burned to a frazzle by sitting up - gravity means that all the scorching particles descend to one's nethers ... now that's a real emergency.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Things can only get better

The latest rumour from the Fun Factory is that December's salaries aren't going to be paid at all.

Friday, January 13, 2006

It's no surprise that they're giving none away

Did I tell you that Mr Effing Lying Bastard Boss promised faithfully and guaranteed that the salaries would be in the bank by today at the very latest? Silly us - his lips were moving again, so he was lying. He also was 'unavailable'. Oh, and even more joy - the pension contributions haven't been paid either.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Gone fishin'

As we're still waiting for Ned to be paid December's salary, it was deemed sensible to start eating some of the stores from the freezer, to make a change from the pauper's meals I've been producing (lentils and rice are nourishing and tasty, but bad for the ozone layer). So I burrowed down and emerged clutching some sardines in tomato-and-pepper sauce. "Yum!" we'd thought when we bought them, and "Yum!" I thought when I put them on to cook. They smelled jolly nice, if somewhat fishy, as they cooked and I prepared the accompanying vegetables.

Then "Yuck!" we thought as we scraped the barely-sampled fish into the bin. I don't think they were real fish. I think they were blocks of salt cunningly designed to resemble fish. Totally inedible. Too salty even for the dogs. And the few mouthfuls we managed are repeating ...

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Where's the spirit gone

What's wrong with the following ingredients?

Contents: Sloes (50%), Sugar (50%).

Nothing, you might think. But the product is called 'Sloe Gin Preserve'. There seems to be a vital ingredient missing from the list ...

Monday, January 09, 2006

Silence is golden

Sometimes there are serious things that need pondering out loud to try to make sense of them and work out the right path. But some subjects are simply too important to be thrown open and exposed to strangers, so blogging about them, although probably therapeutic, is out of the question. So they'll carry on going round and round and round in my head till it feels like it's going to explode.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Do you really want to hurt me?

Yucky sleety snow all the morning made dog-walking less of a pleasure than it can be. It didn't help that I'd had a rubbish night and woke up with a throbbing headache, all due to the bloody poxy MD where Ned works; a man whose honesty is easy to tell - if his lips are moving, he's lying. I'm very nearly at breaking point with him - I badly want to either phone him (or even better, see him face to face) to tell him what a misery he's making our lives, and when he's going to pay us the money he owes (nearly three grand would come in handy); but I don't know whether it'd make things worse for Ned. Hard to work out exactly how it could be, though.

On another theme, while scouring the Qwyzzle fora (Good for lack of spoilers, but badly in need of the zillions of whingy "Can someone PM me the answer? I've been stuck for nearly two minutes" posts to be removed) for hints I came across this interesting quote:

"Hmm... at least these have *mostly* been easier that the dreaded donkey so far..."

I think I may be persona non grata among certain of my chums for introducing this - sorry! ...... Nah, I'm not!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

My favourite waste of time

is currently Qwyzzle.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

All day long I'd biddy biddy bum

The last day of Ned's break was totally wasted. We waited in because the garage was going to phone when our car was ready. They didn't. We phoned them, several times, and they eventually 'found the paperwork'* at 4pm, when we were due to collect it. It needs a complete new dash unit, which will set us back Three-hundred-plus of our Great British Pounds. Fabulous.

*Got off their backsides and looked at the car

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I will cast the spell, Be sure I'll cast it well

Busy busy busy. I remembered to order some heating oil (blimey, that's got expensive) and got The Boy's clothes ironed and draped over the radiators to air for him to take back to Uni. We loaded both cars and he set off to collect his room keys while I bought his groceries (hmmm - he's getting cunning). We got him settled in then the three of us went to the Plaza so he could take our picture to log the Warwick Union Cam cache. Our computer won't allow us to access the proper webcam, but other people have had this problem and have taken ordinary shots of themselves there, and it's counted. So we got into position, I handed the camera to The Boy and its battery promptly died. Bugger. And I didn't even have Gottle's mobile number to beg for computer assistance. Stymied. It'll have to wait for another occasion.

Then it was time to rush down to Banbury to deliver the car to the garage for mendification. When we bought this one the rev counter was erratic, but that was okay because we never use it. Then a couple of weeks ago the fuel gauge started playing up, the needle pointing way beyond full. Over New Year the dash went completely haywire and started acting like a thing possessed. Every couple of seconds all the needles flicked between both extremes, all the digital figures vanished then reappeared set to zero, the milometer froze at its current total, no matter how far we drove, and as a final touch the speedo was convinced that we were travelling at 120 mph when parked with the ignition key removed.

I feel this may be an expensive mend. Bum.

***Stop Press***
Just heard on the local news that a body has been removed from the River Leam, not a quarter of a mile downstream from where Jack MacLeod was last seen a month ago.

Monday, January 02, 2006

And who knows which is which

The Boy saw the New Year in with a bang.

Don't worry, it was self-inflicted. Apparently there's a stage of inebriation where, when you trip up, you fail to put out your hands to break your fall, and use your face instead.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Three steps to heaven

Which today - the first of the year - meant being First To Find three caches! Hurrah! Aqueducts One, Two and Three (the most challenging) were just what we needed to start the new year off well. The weather was beautiful - sunny and not too cold - and the marvellous secrecy element of the hobby came into play when we had to pretend we were ordinary walkers with no ulterior motive when all the 'muggles' (non-cachers) strolled by. It can be difficult to look inconspicuous in a ditch with brambles clutching your hair!

Aqueduct 3 was the greatest fun. When we printed off the details it hadn't been approved (but had been mentioned in the details of the other two) but we decided to give it a go anyway. The co-ordinates were literally miles off (the parking co-ordinates were for Althorp when the cache was near Stratford) so we disregarded those and used logic and the clues mentioned in the waypoints (if 'at the church' is mentioned, you probably need to be near a church and not on a towpath ;)), which was enough to get us there. The satisfaction of finding the eventual cache was immeasurable! And we logged the find a minute before the cache was finally approved!!!