Saturday, 2 October 2010

And the news that isn't is...

I love my job. It's ace. I've been there a month, the rot will set in soon I'm sure. For now: happy chapette. Free time is now zilch, as I've gone all domesticated and joined a cleaning cult.

Explanations may be forthcoming. They may also not be.

Boys are all settled in at school and being ever so grown up. And astonishingly clever. Well, not THAT astonishing, being mine and all, but impressive all the same.

New most needed: a Kindle.
Yes, I have the Kindle app. I like. It's not so kind on the eyes. Yes, an iPad would probably be better. They cost a LOT more and are less handbag friendly. Oh, and the Kindle isn't made by Apple and so it may still work after a year. Grrrr. Ongoing 3G trauma. The general solution appears to be: upgrade to an iPhone 4.

I quite like the Sony Ericsson X10 Mini. It would do my head in due to its lack of iPhoneness within about an hour, I think, but a concerted perusal of phones yielded but one contender for anything beyond "meh": the X10 Mini. Not Pro, which is less Mini and loses the appeal. Keyboard Schmeyboard. If it gets Froyo, and I am such an Apple deserter for even knowing what that is.

I think my 3G operating issues are punishment for siding with the Androids. iOS 4.01 was unusable. 4.1 was hunky dory for a bit. Now: a bit (big bit) SLOWWWWW. But usuable, if sigh inducing. Number of sighs is directly proportional to desire for an N8. Oops. I know.

So. Therein lies all anyone would need to know about the Kindle.

I do like books. Lots and lots and lots: they have words in them. I like to go back to them as and when I feel like it. I have 1000s of them, and that's after serious culling (to charity, I will not bin a book, not even a Michael Moore). They take up a lot of room and have the following failings:
They're not that easy to hold.

If you want a book asap, you have to get a giant format (hardback or pointlessly big paperback). If you want to take such book anywhere while reading it, you need a small suitcase to carry it in.

They go yellow.

They take up a lot of room.

They cost more in print format than in ebook format.
Yes. That is correct.

All hail Amazon. Which we have been doing since ever they started but really, huzzah! The Kindle is (probably) a marvel.

Other reasons to love Amazon: Universal Wish Lists. Marvellously fantastic for deluded moments. You Never Know.
And, more realistically, useful for spouses who have "no idea".

This is (almost) the best time of year. Digging out warm clothes, dark evenings, the anticipation of Halloween and "goodness ME the shops have got Christmas in very early this year. Of course, I've started buying already..." and a stupendously grand TV schedule. Autumn TV rocks. I love it all, that fizzing almost about to think about being winter time of year. Brilliant.

I am particularly jubilant as I wore my down filled jacket today. I heart that.

Voici. Every thought I've had since last time I thought. All for you to enjoy.

A bientot. It is time for the sleeping.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Since I've been gone...

Ah yes. Blogging every day has slipped a teeny tiny microtad. July happened, indeed it did, as has much of August.

Since my last bloggage, I have done the following (which I shall ponder upon wordily at a later time):

1) watched a lot of Big Brother. Yes, I know.

2) ate the most sublime meal I have ever had the privilege of tasting.

3) did the unthinkable and proved myself employable after all.

4) went to Legoland.

5) got further confused by politics.

6) read some books, and formed many opinions about writer types.

7) hated people some more. One reason: being a victim.

For now, some sleep.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Time thieves

It may come as a surprise but I don't rate summer much. I prefer winter. Autumn rocks.

One of the things I hate most about impending summer is the loss of an hour when the clocks go forward to BST, or GMT +1 as I think of it, the +1 being stolen.

There is talk of NOT GIVING IT BACK. The clocks would stay forward in October, keeping my hour forever, and then go forward again in March. Preposterous! To put us in line with Europe. Presumably they'll be robbing Portugal too, or do we not mind about that?

Supposedly it is better to be light in the evening, so commuters can get home in daylight. It'll be fine to be dark until 9.30 in the morning though, people are tireder in the evening and more likely to crash.

I beg to differ. I am awake in the evening, this is barely true of any morning. I have long hoped for the abolishment of BST, it being an outdated practice since the advent of electrical light. But this is Not On.

GMT here means it gets light around 8.30 and dark around 4.00 in mid December. Those times correspond with school times. Children travel to and from school in daylight. If it gets light at 9.30, they will travel in the dark in the morning for a couple of months a year. Not exactly ideal.

I have heard further rumour of a different time zone in Scotland. I most sincerely hope that means we get our hour back. If I can't trust in the UK government, can I trust in the Scottish one? I don't care much if we share a time zone with England, I do actually care if my children get to school safely.

Seems Mr Cameron is keener for independence for Scotland than most of Scotland is. Way to annoy the Scots, again.

I read an argument for the new time saying that the rising sun is dangerous for drivers. Well, don't drive your kids to school! Simple. Solves soooooo many problems. The other argument being that we are being dinosaurs. Yes! Abolish BST!! BST + 2 is just wrong.

I just want my hour, Charlie.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

England the Brave

We're racist apparently.

So said the people who complained to Fife Police, resulting in HMV Kirkcaldy being subject to the police removing their "Anyone But England" merchandise.

Ok! Way to incite hatred.

We don't want England to win. We don't. Not because we are racist, because they would be insufferable bores if they won. We don't hate them. We don't have a line in racist slurs. We don't attack the English, we have a light hearted banter about long standing rivalries.

Why don't we support the Home Nations? We do, the others, just not England. Why? Mostly because they are infinitely better than the rest of us. Scotland has never qualified for the second round, other than the time we did by some technicality and said no. We haven't been at the last three World Cups. And it's a bit galling to see the expectations laid upon England and a complete inability to enjoy the fact that their team are THERE. The unshakeable belief that England should win everything and any failure to do so is the fault of some fall guy, or down to cheatery and being robbed. Be like the Dutch, enjoy the experience and go for it. They've never won, they're not bitter. The bitterness of the English support rankles. Where's your Tartan Army equivalent?

The English football fans have, I'm afraid, created a bad impression historically. Very few other nations have the same record of violence and discord overseas.

Necessary disclaimer: Scottish opinion of the Old Firm, and support thereof, is somewhere largely below that of the English support. They are indefensible.

Now, I can accept that 99% of English footie fans are far, far removed from those that cause discord abroad. But there's a difference in attitude between that of the English and that of, erm, everyone else.

Example A: World Cup 2002. I explained to my colleague why I would be supporting Belgium, because they had qualified from our qualifying group and so theoretically would be in Scotland's place. He was baffled, he couldn't comprehend why this didn't make me hate Belgium and wish them the worst run possible for "stealing" our place.

Example B: In 1465, when Raith Rovers last played well, they were put out of the UEFA cup by Bayern Munich. The Raith Rovers support thus wanted them to win. Each team that they beat by a lower margin than they had beaten the Rovers was equivalent to Rovers beating them by the difference. By Bayern Munich winning the cup, it would have technically made Rovers the runners up. An English flatmate could not comprehend why Bayern Munich were not Most Hated, they would have wanted them to be defeated 18-0 in the next round, and in all matches for ever more.

On more general Scottish/English rivalries:

It's not generally PC to call people by names, however accurate, that are used as an offensive term. You know the obvious ones, you wouldn't use them. Historically, we were the Scotch. Why aren't we any more? Because a certain country landlocked to us used it as a derogatory term, and so we became Scottish. Except, sometimes, it slips in. And rarely
from genuine ignorance. It annoys, always, as does the equally humorous "jock".

See, there are a few facts. We accept them. As a nation, we do drink more, we do eat more fat, we do achieve less as a country. We are much less affluent, and there is a constant exodus of the great and the good to England.

But we have a better health service, a better education system, a better legal system and we are fiercely proud of what we do well. And we don't really like being teased about being Scottish, because it's not something we're ashamed of. It's not ok, actually, to say "what??! You're not drinking??? But you're Scottish?" Yes, I am. Listen to all my vowels. Ha.

Don't. Call. Me. Jock. And actually, I'm quite generous but will be utterly offended if you come into my house and turn down my food.

Andy Murray is British when he's doing well, Scottish when he loses. Always true. Donald Dewer's death was an incidental report in England. In exchange, we have a wonky map that ends at Newcastle. We can be insular. Heh.

We have an (unofficial) anthem. It glories the fights we won against England and has a veiled threat that we will have victory once more. We happily sing that at the English, who don't have their own anthem, the sods. Not that we resent them using the British one, it's rubbish! Other nations have rousing passionate anthems, the English/British have funereal dirge. Adopt Land of Hope and Glory and be done with it.

Yeah. Love them. But really, it's banter. We don't discriminate against the English, as they don't against us. We don't incite violence or nastiness. Jock is never used to hurt, nor is Sassenach. It's all a chip on our collective shoulders and harmless banter based on years of battles. Most people don't want independence because we're not daft. Yet.

But please. We will never support the national team. Those that do, don't care about football.

Thursday, 17 June 2010


I'm in a mood.
Because I'm self obsessed. Obviously, or I wouldn't have a blog dedicated to nothing except things I done thunked.

So. A little quiet. And a little bit ginormously insecure about complete lack of interesting topics/anecdotes/observations.

Had some crisps today. Mmm. Oh, you discovered the cure for AIDS? That reminds me of a cup of tea I drank on Friday. Do let's talk some more about the tea and we'll forget to go back to the AIDS thing.

What? You're going? Oh.

Last day of work: 27/10/05
I think it's having an effect.

There'll be more. There always is.

Saturday, 12 June 2010


It's verrrrry exciting. It is. I adore the World Cup, always have. In 1998 when Scotland played Brazil, I nearly burst. So did most of the rest of Scotland to be fair. Several times. We own the 1998 World Cup Monopoly, which I do believe used some impossible ranking to ensure the teams that were there were in the game. Like, erm, Scotland. Scotland is Whitechapel, Switzerland has the humiliating position of being Old Kent Road. That's the Switzerland that's, erm, at South Africa. Unlike...

*Our* group is blatantly obviously group G. With Brazil and Portugal. Oh to qualify for something to move up a seeding. So we're not always THIRD seed. Bah. Blame Craig Brown, and Walter Smith a bit. For this reason, and this alone, Scotland's performance shall be played out by North Korea.

I may add the decision between North Korea and Ivory Coast was a) arbitrary and b) not mine.

So, expect North Korea to beat Portugal, perform surprisingly well against Brazil and fail to get the solitary goal against Ivory Coast that would have got them through.

England has quite a nice group. They always do, because they're quite good. Damn them. If we could get nicer groups, we'd do better. Gah.

In 1998 World Cup Monopoly, England is Oxford Street. Nobody will buy it, because we're so damned mature. Although that was then, we are all scarily much older now and hence more competitive. Winning is more important than imaginary principles.

The real World Cup? Yes? Huh? Oh.

The groups:

Group A
South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay and France.

I'm still in 1998 so France are my pick for this group. South Africa are hosts so may do better than they should. Yes. It does happen. Yes. Mexico and Uruguay, both been good. Could be any of them.

Group B
Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea and Greece.

Argentina are the obvious favourites to win the group, with runner up being any of them. Nigeria: unknown. S Korea I cannot forgive the 2002 cheatery, but they did do quite well. Greece, I'd pick them myself. So. Greece for no good reason (apart from that wee win at the Euro Championships in 2004).

Group C
England, USA, Algeria, Slovenia

England's group, they're going to win it, with USA runner up. There's no point in pretending otherwise.

Group D
Serbia, Ghana, Germany, Australia.

Germany to win group D. And probably come second as well. Erm. Australia second! Because I like 'em.

Group E
Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Cameroon.

I always support Netherlands. (I always call them Holland as well because I am really quite ignorantly British.) But I do also love Denmark, based on having several smashingly great Danish relatives; also a bit based on their 1994-6 ish squad. Schmeichel and the Laudrups. Erm. Mostly Schmeichel actually. So, either good. I shall decide either way which one to properly support (and thus jinx) having seen them play each other on Monday. Obviously t'other will come second in this group.

Group F
Italy, Paraguay, New Zealand, Slovakia

Italy and someone else to go through. I don't know!!

Group G
(Scotland's spiritual group)
Ivory Coast, Portugal, Brazil and North Korea.

Brazil to win this group. Because you always predict them to win. Because they usually do. Runner up: Portugal.

Group H
Spain, Honduras, Chile, Switzerland.

Spain to win this one. Because they're quite good and because (sorry) they are always the most aesthetic. And in second place: Switzerland. Because if THEY can, WE could.

For the rest, in cloud cuckoo land, second stage would be entirely predictable, leading to semi finals of Netherlands v England, and Spain v Germany, with Netherlands and Spain being victors. England lose to Germany in the third place playoff and Netherlands take the cup.

And now for something completely banal.


The Walkers World Cup ones.
I have selflessly tasted these (most of them. Not the Haggis or Welsh Rarebit ones because we're not there) and can exclusively reveal the following outcomes of the tournament, based on said flavours.

Firstly, France will win, their garlic baguette flavour is best. They will beat Italy (spaghetti bolognese flavour) in the final. South Africa (chutney) will do surprisingly well, and England (roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, tastes of gravy and Not Nice) will do unexpectedly badly. Netherlands (Edam cheese) will fail to meet expectations and do nothing bad, but nothing like as well as they should.

Australia (BBQ kangaroo. I know!) will do ok, but fail to leave a lasting impression. The Japanese (teriyaki chicken) will be another team that will dramatically outperform expectations.

The other countries/flavours are kind of meh and will do nothing memorable.

And a lesson there is that writing a blog before falling asleep means for editing to make sense.

The crisp prediction matches past form more accurately than cloud cuckoo prediction. Ah well.

Saturday, 5 June 2010


An investigation into the wonder that is Irn Bru yielded some information that I feel compelled to share.

However, much of it comes from Wiki, naturally, which begins with:

Irn Bru (pronounced Iron Brew)...

Nooooooooo! It is so not!

Irn. No second vowel. And the oo of Bru is a shorter sound than the oo of brew. Irn Bru. Unpronounceable too. Remember?

But still. Onward.

Previously acknowledged facts about Irn Bru:

1) World champion hangover cure. Best served as a can, opened upon going to bed, drunk (down in one) a few hours later when the thirst of death awakens you. Should inebriation prevent this lack of preparation, then once the near death stage of hangover has passed, Irn Bru can be drunk and full health can be grasped at instantly. If full planning has been neglected, being able to journey to the shop to get Irn Bru and consume same will indicate that recovery has begun.

2) The only adequate accompaniment beverage to a chippy. In a glass bottle, which you save till you have about 18 empties and really need cigarettes, then you exchange them shamedfacedly at a different shop than you bought them in for cash/credit.

3) Nothing stains like Irn Bru. It's not so good for your teeth either. But ssssssh. It tastes smashing.

4) Irn Bru adverts are phenomenal. They are. Remember the ones from the 80s, I think I posted them before? Ahhh, the insanely strong red haired wee boy bending lamp posts and lifting a steamroller? The Forth Bridge, constructed from Irn Bru? The Coke advert parody? And newer ones... The cheery Goths? The cow that wanted to be washed down by Irn Bru when it became a burger? The Snowman parody? Brilliant, all of them. Hugely complained about which just confirms their brilliance.

5) Vodka and Irn Bru is very nice, never ever, ever order it for yourself.

So. New facts.

A.G. Barr was Andrew Greig Barr, brother of the original founder Robert Barr, and head of the factory in Glasgow where they began producing Irn Bru in 1901.

The name supposedly comes from being produced as a drink to stop steelworkers drinking so much beer. Hence Iron. And when it was changed from Brew to Bru on account of not being brewed, it became Irn Bru.

It may or may not outsell Coke in Scotland. Many tell that Scotland is the only country anywhere that Coke is not the best selling soft drink, but sources disagree. Whatever, it's either the best selling or nearly the best. And wiki tells me it's the third best selling (after Coke and Pepsi and ahead of 7up and Fanta etc) in the UK. Which is good, it used to be hard to source in England. I got distinctly excited in about 1990 at being able to purchase a can in Windsor, only to be told sniffily (as is the way in Windsor) that everywhere sold it. They probably thought we always sold Sprite too.

Robin Barr (great grandson or thereabouts), chairman of AG Barr, was/is one of only two people to know the recipe, and he mixed the essence once a month, which he was to continue after he stood down as chairman. In time he intended to pass the recipe and mixing duties to his daughter, Julie, which may or may not have happened by now. The other person who knows the recipe is not documented; they are not allowed on the same plane as Robin Barr. The recipe is written down and stored in a bank vault (just in case), presumably someone else has access to that or that's all pointless. There's a film in there. Been done? Not Scottishly enough if it has. Sean Connery could play Robin Barr.

There's more, but I have to return to my drink: a can of Diet Irn Bru. It's not the same, but it is nice.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Without reason

Sometimes things happen for no reason whatsoever, they are genuinely random things. They just do, but something in human nature makes us demand to know "why?".

Actually, that's not true. We only want to know why when it's a bad thing. We don't spend ages wondering why it was that the £10 note was in the gutter, why it was you that happened to be there to find it and why not someone else. No, the need for reason is reserved for the awful.

The shootings in Cumbria are one of those diabolical news items that chills you to the bone, that makes you hug close your loved ones and shudder at the thought that something as random as that could happen to anyone, anywhere. It's horrible. The immediate thought is as to why the perpetrator couldn't have taken his own life without the shootings of other people first. But we cannot ever know why, and to dwell on it is unhealthy. Justice cannot prevail, for the man is dead.

I read a blog just now as to the reason we need to know why, for peace of mind. It states that different explanations as to why will help other people find peace. And that religion will be of great help to many.

I have issues with that.

It is unexplainable; any explanations are made up. We cannot know why he did it. What possible purpose is there in surmising invented motivations?

It doesn't affect most people. It didn't happen to them, their loved ones are safe. The grief and suffering by those who were affected is none of our business. Other people would have died outwith Cumbria yesterday, some of them horrifically. Their loved ones will be devastated just as much, but will be allowed to grieve in their own way, privately.

There's a disgusting hierachy of death and how sad it is. Really, the only factor relevant is how the deceased relates to you, and I don't believe for a moment that the way in which they died makes it easier or harder to deal with. Had your loved one been gunned down in Whitehaven, would that have been worse than if they had been run over in Kendal? Or killed in Afghanistan? Or died of natural causes?

I'm not for a moment suggesting that the shootings are other than devastating, don't get me wrong, but there's something slightly sickening about the mass claiming of grief. Having seen the effect the shootings in Dunblane had on a community, it's utterly wrong to presume any level of understanding.

And religion? How? Did God not like the gunman and his victims? How can religion explain that?

There's no follow up news. The man is dead, there should be no ongoing investigation or justice. We can't know why and we have no business to make up possible reasons. The loved ones of the victims need to be left alone to cope.

NB I do know his name. I am not recording it.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Why Social Networking May be GOOD for Some People's Health

Pah. Pah, pah and pah.

Oh, self satisfied popular rich busy people, how you mock!

This week I have tripped over the headline "social networking is bad for your health" in some way, shape or form at least 256 times. It's annoying, because every time I have to think to myself "well, no actually, I don't agree". Which gets wearing after the first 100 times.

What these items/articles/self opinionated rants suggest is that all people who partake in social networking are eschewing "real" activities in favour of social networking.

Yeah, right. Because people do that: "No, thanks, I don't want to go out tonight, I would rather stay in and update my status. Cheers!"

This goes back to (pet rant alert!!) the whiners that complain "don't you have anything better to do?" to which the answer is always "if I did, I would be doing it, stupid".

Why do we go out less? Dunno. The smoking ban has a bit to do with it, I'd guess, as does the recession. In my case children have a lot to do with it, but there's a high chance that my own procreation has had little impact on statistics, unless they are doing a 10 year survey of social habits of 25-35 year olds living in my postcode.

Anyway. Social networking does not replace real life. It replaces voids. It fills empty, lonely times (or times when your only companions are idiots, for example: at work) with friendly words. Blogging is chattering to nobody in particular and sometimes somebody in particular comes along and responds. Which is rather nice when you don't have anyone else to talk to, particularly if that person shares interests and tada! A new friend! How incredibly unhealthy!

Personally, some of the best friends I've got, and some of the best real life times had as well, have been through meeting people online. Social networking I think that's called. Hmm. It also allows me to keep in contact with ex colleagues etc that I had lost touch with, family that live far away, and even close friends that selfishly work during the time I'm free. I "know" people that I don't really know thanks to facebook.

It would be nice if all the media lovelies that probably haven't spent a day alone since they were 15 stopped to consider that those using social networking sites are benefitting from human interaction in lieu of NOTHING.

Yes, face to face probably is much better, but it is a teeny bit patronising to suggest that people choose not to be out there.


Friday, 21 May 2010

Childishly brilliant

How to feel clever: compare yourself to children and/or idiots.

The most spectacular job interview I have ever done followed an hour or so of watching the videos of unsuccessful Big Brother candidates.

And therein lies the appeal of such programmes, the viewer is assured that no matter how rubbish they may have suspected themselves to be, they would obviously be better on camera, do better in tasks, relate better to people etc. Except the viewer is WAY too sensible to be on camera.

But then you get programmes that the participants have to display a level of skill. Which can be daunting. Mastermind, how stupid not to know the 18th century history of tablemaking! And Masterchef, baulking at the sight of fish heads probably wouldn't look too great. By the time the latter rounds arrive the level of skill is quite sobering. Top Gear are still not doing "completely unknown person in a very expensive car". The cads. So in imaginary world, the one where you take part in tv shows, do better than anyone previous, but fail to be broadcast, there's little chance to shine.

Roll on the Juniors. I can tolerate about one episode of Junior Mastermind (on account of the precociousness) but that one episode is generally self affirming. The specialised topics may be Tracy Beaker or something else chosen entirely to make very young adults like myself feel elderly, but mostly one can do rather well overall.

Junior Masterchef I could definitely do. I can identify tuna! And wrapping chicken in bacon seems to be the dish du jour - the scallops and black pudding for young uns. I could do that!!

I am 3 times the age of some of the participants. That aside, I could definitely do well if I was allowed to take part. Sadly, the attachment of "Junior" seems to allow for serious ageism. Scandalous!!

Having said all that, there are some programmes that it doesn't matter. At all.

So you think you can dance? No, not really. Thanks for asking.

I guess it's time to write that novel...

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Alan Sugar, eaten by a phone

So I typed a thing about tonight's Junior Apprentice. It disappeared.

In a nutshell:

Hibah: good riddance. Me me me me me me me me me I know best me me I'm so clever me me me I am blameless it's not my fault all don't bow to my sheer brilliance.

Zoe: tediously up herself. You're not all that kiddo.

Adam: shortly to be adopted by Alan Sugar. If he doesn't win I'll eat something much more edible than a hat. Yeah.

Cardboard? For a) anything, but especially b) camping???? Are you nuts? Oh, yes, apparently you are.

And that is it. Blame Apple.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

I think...

Lists. They're nice, aren't they?
And this is a list of things I have argued about recently, other things that I care about and some general ponderance. None of this is new.

1) I like being married and I don't really understand why people don't want to. That's not to say that it's wrong not to be married or that marriage is right. I just think it's nice and would therefore recommend it. I do think it should be separated from the religious thing, also the whole concept of ownership where daddy hands his daughter over. It's very old fashioned and as someone rightly pointed out to me, it should be known as a legal step and not dressed up as being about values. As I said before, you stay together for love, you marry for legal rights. And in a lot of cases, for a big wedding.

2) I like being girlie, and I like men being manly. At the same time I think we are very lucky that men can be nannies and women can be engineers and it's only the narrow minded that object, not the industry.

3) Everyone should have the same opportunities. Age, race, gender and disabilities should not be an issue. If you can do, you should have the chance to do. All things should be made accessible to anyone it can be. Positive discrimination should never be required.

4) The media sucks big time and people really ought to think more for themselves. Evidence, evidence. Particular reference to: MMR and anyone who didn't get it because of the fake scandal.

5) Medicines are subject to testing and regulation. Natural/alternative remedies are incorporated as medicine if they work. Quinine, opium, physiotherapy. All brillian. Sure, try a plant based homepathic thing if it works for you, but don't reject conventional medicine (wheatgrass doesnt cure cancer, sorry) and find out as much as you can about anything you take.
St John's Wort, for example. Can cause photosensitivity so severe that a person can be unable to be in sunlight at all. Can also cause contraception to fail. Not good.

6) Mocking people isn't nice. Whether it's printing photos of celebrities' cellulite or telling people they can't sing, it's cruel.

7) Apple are scumbags. But I love my iPhone and would sell my soul for an iMac

8) I do think my Vauxhall Astra is the benchmark by which all cars should be judged. Luckily this is easy as most cars are actually Vauxhall Astras.

9) The coalition could be actually all right. My main issues with the Tory party are that they hold some outdated (bigoted) beliefs. But if the LibDem influence can mellow those beliefs, then right wing ain't all bad. Some Labour policies were quite wrong, so we should wait and see.

9) As I rarely finish an interaction without feeling the need to apologise, sometimes it's easier not to interact. Lack of contact from me doesn't mean I don't love you any more, it means I'm feeling unlovable.

10) I miss going to work. I don't miss Monday mornings. I do miss Friday afternoons.

11) Something wakes me each morning at 5.34. I hate it, whatever it is. Probably either the sun or birds, both of whom I hate anyway. Grr.

12) 220 days till Christmas.

13) This is a crap post. Ah well. I'll post some blossom:

Monday, 17 May 2010

Ok, ok

So, I'm not going to manage one-a-day.

And it doesn't matter that much.


Sometimes it's nice to share, to jot down thoughts and ideas and opinions.

Other times, I don't want to.

So, it's unrealistic to expect to feel significant and shary 365 days a year. (check: 10 does not divide by 4. Good).

Some do, and manage it fine.

Or maybe they don't feel the need to question why they write stuff when 99.9% of people who read their blog pretend that they don't (or in actuality, don't).


Naturally, I shall now think of lots to say, so will spout forth profusely.

But if I don't, that's ok. It's my blog and I'll neglect it if I want to.

A picture:

Friday, 14 May 2010

Entertaining children

There's a lot of kids cropping up on my limited TV watching at the moment. First there's Over The Rainbow, where many of the potential Dorothys (and two of the semifinalists) are teens. Not quite children, but young. They're all terribly nice though.

And then there's Junior Apprentice. Precocious brats before they achieved triple firsts at the age of 22. Marginally younger and less arrogant than in the grown up version, but still vile and vastly overly confident. In the first episode Alan Sugar was jolly nice to them and should be commended for not firing Jordan with the send off "you are a revoltingly annoying brat".

Junior Masterchef has actual children, 11 and 12 year olds. Also precocious, but flatteringly presented to be less so.
What 12 year old states that they are fantastic at anything though? John Torode and Nadia Sawalha treat them all really nicely, none of the criticism the adults get. Very nice TV, although it should be as it's broadcast on CBBC. John Torode is very sweet on it and it's always a joy to watch him cook rather than just taste.

One does wonder what sort of parent produces that sort of child with unwavering self belief. Is that good? Will they go far or fall flat on their face when they first face failure? And the sheer brattishness of some of them is offputting before they do a thing. The height of audaciousness is the snotty brats that appear on Junior Mastermind. Boy do those kids love themselves! Which makes you wonder (shudderingly) what their parents are like.

I did used to marvel that any parent could push their children into modelling or acting at a very young age. However a reason for it came to me this week: childcare. If your precious is in a studio being filmed regularly, then that takes up a lot of time. Definite bonus.

So I am currently shaping up my own children. Twin one is going to go on Junior Masterchef and make an orange. And Twin two is mastering slapstick. Untold riches and free childcare await!

Thursday, 13 May 2010


A question that is NEVER good to be asked, unless the answer is affirmative, is the old chestnut "are you pregnant".
No, but obviously I'm looking really fat today, thanks.
The really friendly grandparent from school (you forgot? what? this one) asked me today if I'd had the baby yet, because some people clearly have the ability to feel no discomfort whatsoever while offending people.

3 stones lost last year. Not overweight any more. Not pleased by any comments pertaining to belly and largeness thereof.

However, all is not right with the world. A call today to "pay your unreasonable fine here" number was answered by a POLITE person who was HELPFUL and managed to get the RIGHT INFORMATION. I found myself saying "thanks ever so much for your help" (phone voice, I am compelled to go a bit posh) rather than "can you tell me who can answer me, can anyone help me?" which is what is more usual. Particularly astonishing as I was calling to say "see your fine? no chance" and he concurred that it was ok, I can ignore it for now and somebody will be in touch.

Parking ticket, in case you are wondering.

Which I object to, being ostensibly a Very Good Girl. Including dutifully returning a half read and most interesting book to the library as it was reserved by another. So, when placing another reservation in order to get it back, I sort of expected it in a matter of weeks. No.
Reservation placed 21 October.
Book arrived back at library 13 May.
For a book about parenting twins that was published in 1990 or thereabouts.

Having decided to apply for a job, it is most irksome that the email address keeps sending it back. Irrevocably, no promises of trying later. Nope. Nada. Refusal. So I am going to have to go in person about 45 minutes before the closing date and hand deliver the application. Stunning impressions, it's not a letter box effort, it's a ring-the-buzzer-and-see-a-person. Hello, yes, employ me please, not only do I have no experience whatsoever of the job and quite probably won't be able to take it even if you were delusional enough to employ me, but I can't operate email either. Also means I have to go to school tomorrow dressed for giving an employable impression.

Lesson learned: no interaction with others. Safer.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

What they said

More of other people's words.
Because it's important.
Because their words are more coherent than mine.
Because that's what's in my head.
Sorry. Bloggage of the drivelly norm tomorrow.

(copied and pasted from the LibDems' info, I take no responsibility for grammar)

Wed, 12 May 2010

Agreements between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Party was reached May 11, 2010.

This document sets out agreements reached between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats on a range of issues. These are the issues that needed to be resolved between us in order for us to work together as a strong and stable government. It will be followed in due course by a final Coalition Agreement, covering the full range of policy and including foreign, defence and domestic policy issues not covered in this document.


The parties agree that deficit reduction and continuing to ensure economic recovery is the most urgent issue facing Britain. We have therefore agreed that there will need to be:
a significantly accelerated reduction in the structural deficit over the course of a Parliament, with the main burden of deficit reduction borne by reduced spending rather than increased taxes;

arrangements that will protect those on low incomes from the effect of public sector pay constraint and other spending constraints; and

protection of jobs by stopping Labour’s proposed jobs tax.
The parties agree that a plan for deficit reduction should be set out in an emergency budget within 50 days of the signing of any agreement; the parties note that the credibility of a plan on deficit reduction depends on its long-term deliverability, not just the depth of immediate cuts. New forecasts of growth and borrowing should be made by an independent Office for Budget Responsibility for this emergency budget.

The parties agree that modest cuts of £6 billion to non-front line services can be made within the financial year 2010-11, subject to advice from the Treasury and the Bank of England on their feasibility and advisability. Some proportion of these savings can be used to support jobs, for example through the cancelling of some backdated demands for business rates. Other policies upon which we are agreed will further support job creation and green investment, such as work programmes for the unemployed and a green deal for energy efficiency investment.

The parties agree that reductions can be made to the Child Trust Fund and tax credits for higher earners.


The parties agree that a full Spending Review should be held, reporting this Autumn, following a fully consultative process involving all tiers of government and the private sector.

The parties agree that funding for the NHS should increase in real terms in each year of the Parliament, while recognising the impact this decision would have on other departments. The target of spending 0.7% of GNI on overseas aid will also remain in place.

We will fund a significant premium for disadvantaged pupils from outside the schools budget by reductions in spending elsewhere.

The parties commit to holding a full Strategic Security and Defence Review alongside the Spending Review with strong involvement of the Treasury.

The Government will be committed to the maintenance of Britain’s nuclear deterrent, and have agreed that the renewal of Trident should be scrutinised to ensure value for money. Liberal Democrats will continue to make the case for alternatives. We will immediately play a strong role in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, and press for continued progress on multilateral disarmament.

The parties commit to establishing an independent commission to review the long term affordability of public sector pensions, while protecting accrued rights.

We will restore the earnings link for the basic state pension from April 2011 with a “triple guarantee” that pensions are raised by the higher of earnings, prices or 2.5%, as proposed by the Liberal Democrats.


The parties agree that the personal allowance for income tax should be increased in order to help lower and middle income earners. We agree to announce in the first Budget a substantial increase in the personal allowance from April 2011, with the benefits focused on those with lower and middle incomes. This will be funded with the money that would have been used to pay for the increase in Employee National Insurance thresholds proposed by the Conservatives, as well as revenues from increases in Capital Gains Tax rates for non-business assets as described below. The increase in Employer National Insurance thresholds proposed by the Conservatives will go ahead in order to stop Labour’s jobs tax. We also agree to a longer term policy objective of further increasing the personal allowance to £10,000, making further real terms steps each year towards this objective.

We agree that this should take priority over other tax cuts, including cuts to Inheritance Tax. We also agree that provision will be made for Liberal Democrat MPs to abstain on budget resolutions to introduce transferable tax allowances for married couples without prejudice to this coalition agreement.

The parties agree that a switch should be made to a per-plane, rather than per-passenger duty; a proportion of any increased revenues over time will be used to help fund increases in the personal allowance.

We further agree to seek a detailed agreement on taxing non-business capital gains at rates similar or close to those applied to income, with generous exemptions for entrepreneurial business activities.

The parties agree that tackling tax avoidance is essential for the new government, and that all efforts will be made to do so, including detailed development of Liberal Democrat proposals.


The parties agree that reform to the banking system is essential to avoid a repeat of Labour’s financial crisis, to promote a competitive economy, to sustain the recovery and to protect and sustain jobs.

We agree that a banking levy will be introduced. We will seek a detailed agreement on implementation.

We agree to bring forward detailed proposals for robust action to tackle unacceptable bonuses in the financial services sector; in developing these proposals, we will ensure they are effective in reducing risk.

We agree to bring forward detailed proposals to foster diversity, promote mutuals and create a more competitive banking industry.

We agree that ensuring the flow of credit to viable SMEs is essential for supporting growth and should be a core priority for a new government, and we will work together to develop effective proposals to do so. This will include consideration of both a major loan guarantee scheme and the use of net lending targets for the nationalised banks.

The parties wish to reduce systemic risk in the banking system and will establish an independent commission to investigate the complex issue of separating retail and investment banking in a sustainable way; while recognising that this would take time to get right, the commission will be given an initial time frame of one year to report.

The parties agree that the regulatory system needs reform to avoid a repeat of Labour’s financial crisis. We agree to bring forward proposals to give the Bank of England control of macro-prudential regulation and oversight of micro-prudential regulation.

The parties also agree to rule out joining the European Single Currency during the duration of this agreement.


We have agreed that there should be an annual limit on the number of non-EU economic migrants admitted into the UK to live and work. We will consider jointly the mechanism for implementing the limit. We will end the detention of children for immigration purposes.


The parties agree to the establishment of five year fixed-term parliaments. A Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government will put a binding motion before the House of Commons in the first days following this agreement stating that the next general election will be held on the first Thursday of May 2015. Following this motion, legislation will be brought forward to make provision for fixed term parliaments of five years. This legislation will also provide for dissolution if 55% or more of the House votes in favour.

The parties will bring forward a Referendum Bill on electoral reform, which includes provision for the introduction of the Alternative Vote in the event of a positive result in the referendum, as well as for the creation of fewer and more equal sized constituencies. Both parties will whip their Parliamentary Parties in both Houses to support a simple majority referendum on the Alternative Vote, without prejudice to the positions parties will take during such a referendum.
The parties will bring forward early legislation to introduce a power of recall, allowing voters to force a by-election where an MP was found to have engaged in serious wrongdoing and having had a petition calling for a by-election signed by 10% of his or her constituents.

We agree to establish a committee to bring forward proposals for a wholly or mainly elected upper chamber on the basis of proportional representation. The committee will come forward with a draft motions by December 2010. It is likely that this bill will advocate single long terms of office. It is also likely there will be a grandfathering system for current Peers. In the interim, Lords appointments will be made with the objective of creating a second chamber reflective of the share of the vote secured by the political parties in the last general election.

The parties will bring forward the proposals of the Wright Committee for reform to the House of Commons in full – starting with the proposed committee for management of programmed business and including government business within its scope by the third year of the Parliament.

The parties agree to reduce electoral fraud by speeding up the implementation of individual voter registration.
We have agreed to establish a commission to consider the ‘West Lothian question’.

The parties agree to the implementation of the Calman Commission proposals and the offer of a referendum on further Welsh devolution.

The parties will tackle lobbying through introducing a statutory register of lobbyists. We also agree to pursue a detailed agreement on limiting donations and reforming party funding in order to remove big money from politics.

The parties will promote the radical devolution of power and greater financial autonomy to local government and community groups. This will include a full review of local government finance.


The parties agree to phase out the default retirement age and hold a review to set the date at which the state pension age starts to rise to 66, although it will not be sooner than 2016 for men and 2020 for women. We agree to end the rules requiring compulsory annuitisation at 75.

We agree to implement the Parliamentary and Health Ombudsman’s recommendation to make fair and transparent payments to Equitable Life policy holders, through an independent payment scheme, for their relative loss as a consequence of regulatory failure.

The parties agree to end all existing welfare to work programmes and to create a single welfare to work programme to help all unemployed people get back into work.

We agree that Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants facing the most significant barriers to work should be referred to the aforementioned newly created welfare to work programme immediately, not after 12 months as is currently the case. We agree that Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants aged under 25 should be referred to the programme after a maximum of six months.

The parties agree to realign contracts with welfare to work service providers to reflect more closely the results they achieve in getting people back into work.

We agree that the funding mechanism used by government to finance welfare to work programmes should be reformed to reflect the fact that initial investment delivers later savings in lower benefit expenditure.

We agree that receipt of benefits for those able to work should be conditional on the willingness to work.



We agree to promote the reform of schools in order to ensure:
that new providers can enter the state school system in response to parental demand;

that all schools have greater freedom over curriculum; and,

that all schools are held properly accountable.
Higher education

We await Lord Browne’s final report into higher education funding, and will judge its proposals against the need to:
increase social mobility;

take into account the impact on student debt;

ensure a properly funded university sector;

improve the quality of teaching;

advance scholarship; and,

attract a higher proportion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
If the response of the Government to Lord Browne’s report is one that Liberal Democrats cannot accept, then arrangements will be made to enable Liberal Democrat MPs to abstain in any vote.


We agree that the British Government will be a positive participant in the European Union, playing a strong and positive role with our partners, with the goal of ensuring that all the nations of Europe are equipped to face the challenges of the 21st century: global competitiveness, global warming and global poverty.

We agree that there should be no further transfer of sovereignty or powers over the course of the next Parliament. We will examine the balance of the EU’s existing competences and will, in particular, work to limit the application of the Working Time Directive in the United Kingdom.

We agree that we will amend the 1972 European Communities Act so that any proposed future Treaty that transferred areas of power, or competences, would be subject to a referendum on that Treaty – a ‘referendum lock’. We will amend the 1972 European Communities Act so that the use of any passerelle would require primary legislation.

We will examine the case for a United Kingdom Sovereignty Bill to make it clear that ultimate authority remains with Parliament.

We agree that Britain will not join or prepare to join the Euro in this Parliament.

We agree that we will strongly defend the UK’s national interests in the forthcoming EU budget negotiations and that the EU budget should only focus on those areas where the EU can add value.

We agree that we will press for the European Parliament only to have one seat, in Brussels.

We agree that we will approach forthcoming legislation in the area of criminal justice on a case by case basis, with a view to maximising our country’s security, protecting Britain’s civil liberties and preserving the integrity of our criminal justice system. Britain will not participate in the establishment of any European Public Prosecutor.


The parties agree to implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties under the Labour Government and roll back state intrusion.

This will include:
A Freedom or Great Repeal Bill.

The scrapping of ID card scheme, the National Identity register, the next generation of biometric passports and the Contact Point Database.

Outlawing the finger-printing of children at school without parental permission.

The extension of the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to provide greater transparency.

Adopting the protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database.

The protection of historic freedoms through the defence of trial by jury.

The restoration of rights to non-violent protest.

The review of libel laws to protect freedom of speech.

Safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation.

Further regulation of CCTV.

Ending of storage of internet and email records without good reason.

A new mechanism to prevent the proliferation of unnecessary new criminal offences.


The parties agree to implement a full programme of measures to fulfil our joint ambitions for a low carbon and eco-friendly economy, including:
The establishment of a smart grid and the roll-out of smart meters.

The full establishment of feed-in tariff systems in electricity – as well as the maintenance of banded ROCs.

Measures to promote a huge increase in energy from waste through anaerobic digestion.

The creation of a green investment bank.

The provision of home energy improvement paid for by the savings from lower energy bills.

Retention of energy performance certificates while scrapping HIPs.

Measures to encourage marine energy.

The establishment of an emissions performance standard that will prevent coal-fired power stations being built unless they are equipped with sufficient CCS to meet the emissions performance standard.

The establishment of a high-speed rail network.

The cancellation of the third runway at Heathrow.

The refusal of additional runways at Gatwick and Stansted.

The replacement of the Air Passenger Duty with a per flight duty.

The provision of a floor price for carbon, as well as efforts to persuade the EU to move towards full auctioning of ETS permits.

Measures to make the import or possession of illegal timber a criminal offence.

Measures to promote green spaces and wildlife corridors in order to halt the loss of habitats and restore biodiversity.

Mandating a national recharging network for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Continuation of the present Government’s proposals for public sector investment in CCS technology for four coal-fired power stations; and a specific commitment to reduce central government carbon emissions by 10 per cent within 12 months.

We are agreed that we would seek to increase the target for energy from renewable sources, subject to the advice of the Climate Change Committee.
Liberal Democrats have long opposed any new nuclear construction. Conservatives, by contrast, are committed to allowing the replacement of existing nuclear power stations provided they are subject to the normal planning process for major projects (under a new national planning statement) and provided also that they receive no public subsidy.
We have agreed a process that will allow Liberal Democrats to maintain their opposition to nuclear power while permitting the government to bring forward the national planning statement for ratification by Parliament so that new nuclear construction becomes possible.

This process will involve:
the government completing the drafting of a national planning statement and putting it before Parliament;

pecific agreement that a Liberal Democrat spokesman will speak against the planning statement, but that Liberal Democrat MPs will abstain; and

clarity that this will not be regarded as an issue of confidence.

What he said

The following is the speech from
Nick Clegg, deputy Prime Minister, who says everything I hope for and want to believe in, and says it eloquently:


Tonight the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party and the Federal Executive of the Liberal Democrat party have overwhelmingly accepted my recommendation that we should now enter into a coalition government with the Conservative Party.
Before I say anything more about that coalition government I would like to express my thanks and admiration for Gordon Brown.

He has been a towering figure in British politics for well over a decade.
And the manner in which he has acted over the last few days has demonstrated immense dignity, grace and a profound sense of his public duty.
We are now going to form a new government
More importantly than anything else, we are going to form a new kind of government;
I hope this is the start of a new kind of politics I have always believed in.
Diverse, plural, where politicians with different points of view find a way to work together to provide the good government for the sake of the whole country deserves.
That was what we were asked to do by the people of Britain in the General Election last Thursday and that is what we will deliver.
I want to thank David Cameron for the very open, constructive and workmanlike way in which we have come together to make this agreement on how we can come together in this coalition government.
We are obviously politicians from different parties
I believe we are now united in seeking to meet the immense challenges that now face the country and to deliver a fairer, better Britain.
Of course there will be problems along the way; of course there will be glitches.
But I will always do my best to prove that new politics isn’t just possible – it is also better.
I’d like to say something directly to the nearly seven million people who supported the Liberal Democrats in the General Election last week.
I am now acutely aware that I carry your hopes and aspirations into this coalition agreement.
I am sure you have many questions, maybe many doubts.
But I can assure you I would not have entered into this agreement unless I was genuinely convinced it was a unique opportunity to deliver the changes you and I believe in.
Fair taxes.
A fair start in life for every child.
A new approach to our discredited banking system and the prospect of green and sustainable economic growth.
And new, open politics which you can trust once again.
So I hope you will now keep faith with us let us prove to you that we can serve this country with humility, with fairness at the heart of everything we do.
And with total dedication to the interests and livelihoods of everyone in this country.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Get on with it!

Ugh. It's going on a bit. So I shall too.

LibDems have still not made up their mind. LibDems and Tories can't agree, they are poles apart on beliefs. Yeah, a tempered Tory government would be a great thing and LibDems would have achieved a miracle if they got concessions towards their policies under Tory rule. But for an entire term, could a coalition between Tories and a party that the majority of voters presumably see as primarily Not Tory ever work? I don't see how.

Yet, a coalition of all those that lost the election is wrong, even if it does make a infinitely more palatable government. I don't often agree with David Blunkett, but I do on that.

Whatever happens, the Tories will want what they want, and the others will want what they want.

Letting the Tories form a minority government is fair, albeit vile, and then the parties have their usual voting power. Which after all, is the whole point of MPs and parties having seats and whatnot, each seat should represent a vote on issues in the Commons.

Simplistic, yes. Am simple.

Should a coalition go ahead, then at least two parties are in a position where they have to compromise their principles. Which means all who voted for them are being let down. Should the LibDems ever abstain on anything the Tories propose, they are not doing what they were voted in to do. Should the Tories make concessions to the LibDems, they are not doing what their voters believed them to do. If the Tory voters are opposed to PR and tax relief for the poor (which is hard to comprehend, but they did vote in the - presumed - knowledge of the policies) then they are being denied that by the very party they voted for.

It's not democracy, it's compromise all round and nobody getting what they wanted. Parties sticking to their beliefs and a fair vote (if such a thing does exist) is how it should be. The distribution of seats should mean that the Tories can't push through things the others would oppose. Should.

Naive, yes, everyone's for pretending it's not all corrupt.

I wish they'd just decide to do nothing.

For posterity, for the 18th time, the leader of the Labour Party? DavEd Milliballs.

Yeah. I know.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Confused and a bit more confused

I don't think I know anything today.


So, I'm not entirely sure what's happening with our government. Or our potential government, as I THINK we don't have one just now.

And our PM quit, or he will soon, when he thinks he's not useful any more (I think the consensus is now tbh).

So. Lots of things I don't know. I don't think we're getting a Tory government. We may be. I'm not sure. Basically it seems to have split into two groups: Conservatives and Everyone Else. Either Everyone Else will form a NonTory coalition, or the Tories will form a minority government and get nothing through because Everyone Else will veto. So it's all good really.
I think the LibDems did actually say "nein danke" to the Conservatives, citing something along the lines of "we don't agree on anything that matters".

Which amuses me LOTS. Either way it goes now, there's more of not them than there is them. Ha. And I want to have all the LibDems' babies. Maybe just Nick Clegg's.

- as everyone keeps taking me literally, can I just add: not literally, they're just back to godlike status. -

While it may not be fair on Tory voters, that's ok. They're Tory voters.

I learned(ish) today what different types of proportional representation are. I'm not sure how they are exactly proportional, that's not how I'd do it. But at least I know what they're on about. A bit.

I read this:

And no, I can't do links from here.

I think if we have Not Tory in charge, then we have one of those. According to some facebook thingy that keeps telling me to protest about it (it's ok, Nick Clegg's doing that), STV is the best. AKA getting the most seats for LibDems. But lots of people seem to (correctly) think that it's a good thing, so that suggests "lots of people" should be represented. Proportionally.

Huh? I feel stoopid.


Sunday, 9 May 2010

More Over the Rainbow

I've lost count of weeks. And posts. Ah well.

After this weekend's double eviction, there's four left. Danielle is the best, but I am warming more and more towards Sophie. She has a quality that I think deserves to go far. Steph and Lauren are both talented, but I don't think the public will vote for either of them. Lauren sings horrible songs and the panel rave about her voice, but they're not pleasant to listen to and she doesn't come across well in the (edited) clips. Steph is pretty good and quite professional, but somehow just not that interesting.

Of those that have left:
Amy: was utterly wrong and should never have been there
Bronte: was good, went far too early
Dani: was pretty good, not sure what she did wrong
Emilie: thank goodness she finally went, was there far too long
Stephanie: shock exit! I expected her to win, but she was getting annoying.
Jenny: was carefully edited to show all her failings but has an amazing voice. No surprise that she left
Jessica: good riddance. I originally thought she was good, but she annoyed me more and more as time went on with her "I'm dead quirky me, ooh look at my funny face" 

Have I missed anyone? Meh.

The panel are actually being too nice and rather repetitive.

And the Toto thing? Mad people. I can't imagine anything worse for a pet dog, and the owners are all bonkers. It seems cruel somehow, but there you go. Cute doggy footage, huzzah.

Saturday, 8 May 2010


Well, Dr Who seemed marvellous. Steven Moffat is brilliant, Matt Smith is the Best Doctor Ever, and Karen Gillan is a fabulous companion. The first stories were compelling and interesting, including revisiting the weeping angels. It transpires that Blink was written by Steven Moffat, so that explains a Lot. According to wiki, he also wrote Press Gang and Coupling so he should clearly be forced to write everything Charlie Brooker doesn't have time to write.

And it seems that David Tennant isn't all that attractive after all. Matt Smith is quite clearly an ugly man, but now he is as attractive as can be. Thus proving that it is the Doctor that's attractive.Ok, David Tennant's quite pretty. And he is Scottish, which is irrelevant in a mattering very much manner. But I'm *liking* Matt Smith now. Even though he's a child and it is very very wrong.

Tangent. Or two Sorry.

Back to Dr Who, series 5 (ignoring all pre-ecclestonian episodes). What was this week's episode? It was very reminiscent of the previous series (plural) with David Tennant. In other words, it wasn't all that good. Amy's fiance Rory(?) was a poor actor, and he seemed to drag the others down to his level. The story was ok, but a bit silly, and the effects were back to traditional Dr Who quality -  rubbish, while still probably being Very Expensive.

Here's hoping it bounces back next week. It promised to be something different, and it will be very disappointing if it slips to normal standards of tedium.

Friday, 7 May 2010

And the result is... pending.

How disappointing. The people of England voted for the smug one. Presumably they're either bigots at heart or swayed completely by the media.

The people of Scotland did not. One Tory seat in Scotland. One. Which actually makes me proud to be Scottish, and newly open to the idea of independence.

I had a moment of over excitement at 1am and trotted off to the college at which the Kirkcaldy result would be declared. And stood outside for a while, got fed up, came home, and watched as Gordon Brown overwhelmingly held on to his seat. It looked promising for a while, as the seats that were always going to be Labour came in as Labour holds. But this morning, the news was bleak. Admittedly less bleak than it might have been, given the media annihilation of Brown/Labour, the people didn't actually all vote Tory. So there is a streak of independent thought throughout the electorate. Conservative do not have the majority, Smug Cameron isn't PM and there isn't a result yet.

Nick Clegg is the man of the moment. Who probably should/would be PM if we had a fair voting system and a less mogul controlled media.

Initial shock as Clegg stated that Cameron should have the first opportunity to form a government, spent some time feeling let down and appalled that he could even consider any co operation with the Tories. It seemed that anyone that had voted Liberal Democrat had in fact voted for a Conservative government. How disappointing to discover that the hero who championed what I believe in (mostly, but it's nice not to be a freak that thinks differently from the entire population on all issues) had sold out in the name of having power.

But then it dawned (admittedly probably NOT "today") that he may in fact be the ultimate hero. He could in fact be the key to the party who received the most seats getting to form the government, which is after all "fair" under the current system, but be in a position to get them to rethink some of their policies.
Except, Smug's comment on Electoral reform stated quite categorically that they don't want Proportional Representation.

PR seems to be the issue most people (that aren't Tory) care about. I am certainly furious that voting for what I believe in is akin to not voting, because the vote would count for nothing in the constituency of the PM.

So, it remains to be seen. The only "fair" outcome would be for the Smugs to govern, but fingers are crossed in fervent hope that a Tory government is avoided. Alex Salmond has stated firmly that a) they support Labour and will do anything to help Labour remain in power and b) that Scotland will not willingly support a Tory government.

If Nick Clegg gets a Tory government that backs down on some issues, he will be a hero after all. And he will allow the Tories to be the most unpopular government in history (again) and thus safeguard against any future Tory rule. Much as I hate to admit it, I think that would be the fairest and most logical solution. A Labour government that so many people voted against would have no chance against the media and public opinion would swiftly fail to support them. Which isn't exactly healthy, even if it keeps the b'tards out.

Why am I writing this? One thing I have learned this week is that nobody fully agrees with anyone else on political matters, and nobody should talk about politics. I think that may be it.


Thursday, 6 May 2010

Election Day!!

Never in my life have I cared so much about an election result.

Why? Because I wholeheartedly do not agree with Tory policies.  Because I don't want what they propose for the country, for the economy. Because I really really dislike David Cameron and feel ill at the prospect of seeing his smug inhuman face pulling his "Sincere" expression every time I turn on the TV. I hated it when Tony Blair was plastered all over everywhere, and he wasn't hell bent on implementing everything I despise.

David Cameron stated that he "shares values with Sun readers", which makes me think:
1) No he does not, he has very little in common with any Sun readers.
2) What a blatant bid for Sun readers' votes.
3) If that is in any way true, then he's lied so far about his values. Either way, lies.
4) Ugh. It's that face again.

I have liked the various parodies of the nauseating Sun front page.

It is somewhat reassuring that everyone I have contact with (apart from some relatives!), or have had the opinion of, will not be supporting the Tories. But will that be enough? I sincerely hope so.

I voted today. I hope everyone else did too. I hope they voted with their brain intact and didn't listen to the media...

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Voting sickness

I feel ill. Literally ill. I am so very nervous about the result of the election. And so this is going to be mostly a flow of incoherent consciousness...

I found this interesting website today: (handy how I don't make links be links, huh?) which has taken up a large chunk of my day.

Unsurprisingly, I came out as matching Liberal Democrats. I think they're rather marvellous, I like pretty much all they say and, erm, yes they could promise the moon on a stick. But still.

Unsurprisingly, I don't agree with the Conservatives at all. 6% concurrence, and I can be sure that the matter on which we agree (for there is but one) is that it'd be nice if people started to get married again. Unlike them, I'd extend it to any couple, but that wasn't asked.

Surprisingly, I matched rather well with the Green Party, other than on the small issue of environmental issues.

SNP also, except I'm not passionate about getting rid of Trident and don't particularly have a burning urge to be independent.

Labour: mostly I agree, but I don't have the anarchist streak required to be a true Labour supporter.

UKIP: relatively sensible on SOME things. Don't agree with them on, erm, Europe, which is a bit of a sticking point.

BNP: I am convinced they must be a joke party. Really. Have a read of their manifesto, it's amusing.

Or, it's quite terrifying that people think like that, get away with it and have supporters. They make appalling statements and actually seem to think it's ok. They use the term "from the third world" as if this is the most despicable thing of all. Some people clearly don't realise that some immigrants actually came from parts of the world we wouldn't want to go on holiday to!!! And I'm not entirely sure where they draw the line at who they classify as immigrants. Anyone who isn't caucasian and a native English speaker is my guess. And I think "from the third world" is a search-and-replace effort for a nonPC term.

But they say it. And get votes. Not very many. But here's the scary bit. On many issues, the Tories share the exact same viewpoint as BNP.

For example, they both think that anyone convicted of a crime that wasn't born in this country should be deported. I have heard this genuinely justified, without even qualifying "crime" as serious.

Tonight I listened to a Tory MP state that we "have to stop Labour's open door policy".

Why is this?

I haven't actually heard a single reason why it is a bad thing that we have immigrants in this country, legal or not. It is merely stated that they are here. They use our health service! As they would expect to. As they should. They take our jobs! And pay taxes. I don't see the problem. I don't understand why it's a key issue.

Ok, I am from Scotland and any incomers are welcome due to our declining/aging population. We have NHS dentists again! We have cool delis! Alex Salmond loves stating how cool we are about immigrants.

Most of us.

So, maybe it's different down south. But it would be nice if people could explain the problem, I just don't get it.

Aside from immigration and the BNP/Tory crossover, I don't agree with anything else the Tories say (apart from marriage). I don't want a Tory government. I detest David Automaton Cameron.

And people are going to vote for them, because they have been brainwashed by the media into hating Labour. Who aren't that bad. Really, they're not.

There's a LOT of "anything but Labour" about. Which is why I feel kinda sick. If we don't vote Labour then that means...

I dream (in a futile manner) of a Liberal win, (in a hopeful
manner) of a Labour win or (in a semi-realistic manner) of a hung parliament, and console myself that if the Tories do win, Scotland will be swiftly independent.

Wittering over. I remember now I'm not meant to talk about politics because I'm an idiot. Ah well.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010


A truly unneccesary paragraph from entry for the origin of the phrase, "sent to Coventry":

This phrase was common in industrial disputes in Britain in the mid-twentieth century. Anyone who was considered to be unsupportive of the workforce was in danger of finding that his/her workmates refused to acknowledge their existence. Co-incidentally this was centred on the highly unionized car industry and especially British Leyland, which was largely based in Coventry. That gave rise to people who had in fact lived and worked in Coventry all their life being sent there figuratively by their workmates.

Ba da boom.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Non blog

So I have days when I have lots on my mind, when there is lots I could say, and I wouldn't utter a word.

Frivolous nonsense.

Like now. And so, in a "clever" keeping of a promise to myself, I'm hiding in the past.

Today my mind is filled with little more than a full and frank analysis of all the men who have entered my consciousness today. When I say full and frank, it's more of a yay/nay thing.

Disturbingly it seems to be mostly
Yay. Including Kevin Bacon, who I have seen on screen many's a time and never once thought mmm. But tonight he had a gee tar. And gee tars are very sexy.

David Cameron is a definite nay, and indeed so is Gordon Brown. And William Hague, and Peter Mandelsohn, and David Miliband (no brain: nay, really), and Ed Balls and all of the other vile looking politicians. I've always had a thing for the LibDems. I have by the way, I distinctly remember wearing an SDP Liberal Democrat rosette to school in the 1987 election. And I definitely wouldn't yay to David Steel, its not all based on aesthetics.

I remind myself of a broken record sometimes. It's the circular grooves.

Huh? Yeah? So what! Oh, right, it's ok, nobody reads these ones. Really.

Thursday, 22 April 2010


dearie me this is difficult. backdating and catching up, I'm ever so tired.
promises promises, I shall do more later...

Wednesday, 21 April 2010


One of these days I'll start selling things on eBay. But for now as I like/need to have far more stuff than I have space or use for, I shall content myself with purchasing. It's much easier, and it does allow the purchase of otherwise unaffordable things.

And as Early Learning Centre determinedly discontinue their best toys, sometimes eBay is the only way to buy. Specifically, they have discontinued most of their Wooden World Road range, except the small section of road that we have, which helpfully has a picture of the entire old range on the box. So, as one 4 year old now desperately hankers after a zebra crossing and a bridge, I spend my time getting outbid on eBay. Again and again. I have set my new stepdad onto the case, he is a seasoned eBayer.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

iPhone and Nokia and being very boring

Having met a rather nice Nokia 5800, I am now contemplating the next phone, for a tedious nonchange. Which shouldn't be too soon because my iPhone is after all only 9 months old, despite being contractless now, and I'm not actually an idiot. The next logical step would be another iPhone, because despite many failings, I do love it and I do especially love all my apps. But there is the huge fact that I can't afford another one, unless the current ones survives until the mythical compensation and/or job time. I couldn't really afford this one; despite having a refund on my last PDA to enable the purchase of the actual phone, the 18 months at £35 have crippled me. And as David Cameron is clearly going to win the election and stop Child Benefit (my only income), I need to think cheap and functional, two adjectives that are never applied to the iPhone.

Current contender is the Nokia X6. Which is sadly lacking in iPhoneness, but is cheap.
Sometimes. And it is a Nokia. I like Nokia.
Why didn't Nokia go with Android? A while ago so they can make affordable Android phones like Samsung?
Could I live with a Samsung? Do I really need a Radio Times app? Can I stop going on about it?

Monday, 19 April 2010

Sore throat

So, my notes put the title of "sore throat" for today.
Did I have a sore throat?

Ah yes. An endoscopy. For my stomach complaineth as to the amounts of painkillers applied to it, and so the gastroenterologist recommended an endoscopy. Yuk.

I didn't have a sedative because a) I'm not a fan of anaesthetics of any type, I don't like meddling with the nervous system if not required (painkillers aside) and b) they reckoned the neck thing might make me uncooperative if I wasn't all there. So, no sedation and boy, was that an unpleasant experience. Swallowing a tube you really, really want to throw up is so against every instinct, and it was horrid. But it didn't last long and I am not ulcerated, merely irritated. So all's good and fine, and I got to go home straight after due to being non-sedated.  So I'm a little bit sore and I cheated myself out of a day spent lounging around hospital. Duh.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Over the Rainbow week 4

So I stopped taking notes on this, because that was sad saddery.
Tonight Dani and Danielle were in the singoff, I'm not sure why, neither were rubbish, and Dani went home. The other girls were quite dry eyed compared to last time, or to be precise, the editing team didn't see fit to focus on the tears this week.

Opinion from expert Me, which changes weekly:
Emilie is rubbish, I don't know why she's still in.
Lauren is quite good but there's something not quite winning enough about her.
Steph gets better and more likeable each week. Her mam is/was Baby D, but that's not her fault.
Sophie, I can't decide, she's never all that great in her individual performances - bad song choice I think - but totally stands out for me in any group performance. The panel don't like her much, even Charlotte who battles with her Welsh solidarity.
Jenny is growing on me, but she drew attention to her own lack of dancing and I can't help being critical of her dancing now. Her voice is really good.
Danielle is the most talented, she deserves to win. If I ever watched this before the lines closed and if I was the sort of person that voted, I'd vote for her.
Stephanie probably will win. I don't think she's the best, but I think she'll win.
Jessica I am liking less and less as the show progresses, her voice isn't as good as the others and she's a bit odd.

And that will suffice for this week.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Planes and venus

Since the volcanic eruption in Iceland (I nearly typed Venus there, confusedly. That WOULD be news!) the volcanic ash has grounded all the planes. The skies are empty.

I like it. Selfishly, as I don't have any need to fly, it's rather nice. I think flying is rather unnecessary in most cases. To travel long distance, it is necessary. To travel within the UK, it is silly, but ludicrously often cheapest. To go to another country merely to increase the likelihood of skin cancer is moronic and should be banned. To see the world and soak up culture: acceptable (but not the be all and end all of life); to visit a hot(ter) country and lie by a pool getting fried is one of those peculiar things that obviously comes from the same part of the brain as liking Heat magazine. So, flights being off is generally quite good from a grumpy point of view.

As we are on the flight path to just about everywhere from just about everywhere else, there's always planes in the sky. But now, there's nothing. No trails, no plane sounds. And at night, any bright light doesn't immediately start moving across the sky. A bright light quite probably IS a planet.

And so, tonight, I saw Venus and Mercury and was satisfied that neither were about to land.
Which was very exciting.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Homeward Bound

Home again.
Home is rubbish. Home has lots of stuff to do.
Miss companions already.

Getting home, via Carlisle once more, was good. Love car.

Otherwise:disgruntled. The trouble with having a really lovely time with really lovely company is when it's over, normal life seems a bit rubbisher.

But still, it will pass when I remember the lovely company I can have here, and look forward to the next holiday.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Anniversary and mammoth stupidity

Today is the anniversary of my car crash. And of course, I am fully recovered.
Or not. Fully mobile and outwardly healthy, but utterly dependent on massive amounts of painkillers and pathetically restricted still on activities. But getting there, can now drive for an hour or so, and can do MOST things as long as I'm painkillered up and accept that some things sure can hurt. And don't swim or have a bath, or have a drink.

Today we visited the Hull and East Riding Museum, of which better descriptions than mine can be found here.
Really interesting again, lots and lots to see, even if a certain 4 year old's toilet fixation meant I spent an unnatural time journeying between facilities. A huge Woolly Mammoth was in the first room, to which the genius to my left exclaimed "ooh, that's a big elephant". Hmm. Not, incidentally, any of the people I was with, although the children could have been excused.

Hull itself, which we explored a little after, is a fascinating city. Last time we unfairly compared it to York, which is magnificent, but it is still rather fantastic. A little sad, it is lacking the lustre and glory of other cities (for example,York) but it still has a lot to offer. McDonalds and Lush in our case, but that's not Hull's fault. The whole Museum Quarter, where the Hull and East Riding Museum is (cunningly) located, has several museums of interest, including William Wilberforce House. Hull is, understandably, very proud of William Wilberforce, but slavery is perhaps not best presented to small children.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Strange Fortresses

Today's travellage took us to a place called Fort Paull.

A most peculiar place, you can read all about it here. It is a Napoleonic Fort, but that is completely overlooked as it is quite definitely a museum of World War II. Verrrrry interesting, and we were there for a few hours, the kids loved the fabulous adventure playground. They have a WW2 plane that you can climb right into, which is amazing, and more than a little discomfiting. Lots and lots of displays, with model people that were like slightly battered mannequins. Freaky faces, some missing facial features. Quasimodo was in one display, and another which I did not see but which I saw a photo of, of a juggling midget emerging from a birthday cake.

Truly fascinating, but a little sad as it was in a state of almost disrepair, desperately needing an influx of cash to restore the glory. Go, visit, help it rejuvenate.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Lighthouses and not being places at the weekend.

Hmm. Yorkshire. Around Hull, specifically.

Last time we visitated, the cool dinosaur museum was shut. Open weekends and school holidays.
Guess what? Same again. Not holidays here, even though it is the holidays in Scotland and Wales.

Withernsea has a famous inland (reasons for the inlandness were not made apparent) lighthouse.
Which was shut.
Except at the weekend, and from June to September.
Closer examination of the literature revealed the inside to be a museum dedicated to Kay Kendall, famous daughter of Withernsea, and not of any interest whatsoever to our party.

But the lighthouse was jolly nice from the outside, and the beach at Withernsea is very nice.
If a bit windy.

Monday, 12 April 2010

To the south

And so the family D travelled to the country in the South, to that place they call England, to a place by the Humber.

And they travelled via Carlisle, and the lady of the family was conceded to be cleverest of all.

And the people who were there when they arrived were as lovely as they had been 7 years before, even if they had doubled in number.

The joy of having nothing to do of an evening is immeasurably wondrous.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Over the Rainbow week 3

OK, so noone cares about this, but like some saddo I took notes. Oh yes.
So here's the notes:

Charlotte's hair big, Sheila's very voluminous too
"Good lord" nickname to keep
Giant slippers freaky,why have giant ruby slippers?


Sophie Evans, Jessica Robinson

Sophie, bla, in school 4 weeks ago. Good reminder. Trying to be fun,
seemed about 11, singing "don't impress me much". Not well. Judges

Jessica thinks she's different. Uh huh. Only seen quirky side, wants
to show she's got the voice to match. Song?? Sang nicely, not that
powerful. Alw looked impressed.

Alw reckoned both would go further. Rules state: don't vote these two off yet.

Bronte Barbe and Dani Rainer

Bronte, lovely voice. Likes being quirky reckons song shows she is
Sings: "Suddenly I see". Looks uncomfortable in slightly ridiculous outfit.
sounds good.
John mean, charlotte liked. Sheila thought she did well, but not well

Dani, can connect with song. Wants to show charlotte she can be
dorothy. Homesick. Home by michael buble. Nicer than original. Sounds
angry rather than wistful. John and Charlotte liked. Sheila really

Alw likes dani. Called bronte barbie. Heh. Hinted bronte may go. Prob
coz she's blonde.

Jenny Douglas and Steph Feyron 

Steph isn't going to go far.
Jenny - looks funny. Like craig from joseph. We're not all wonky in Scotland.

Steph - It's o so quiet. Looks even wronger, v grown up. Made good job
of song and performance. Not fair if she is in sing off. Charlotte
liked lots. Sheila thought good. John liked but not as much.

Jenny - Songbird. Boring but pleasant. Managed not to squeak. V grown
up, odd in someone so young. Charlotte v impressed with. Sheila liked,
john loved.

Alw thought steph wonderful. Jenny bla, bla adoration. Liked lots.
Neither in sing off or Lordie will kill.

Something amusing about jodie prenger guffawing to who let the dogs out. She's not the classiest chick in the world.

The girls look like babies in practice, unmade up.

Danielle hope, Lauren Samuels.
Danielle: may be quiet, doesn't mean she's rubbish. sang "Just a little
girl". Comes across as little stroppy girl on stage - not bad thing,
dorothyesque. Liked. Sheila thinks she's great. John liked.
Sophisticated, huh? Charlotte loved too.

Lauren: very smug, not good for votes. Looks like katie holmes. sang"I'll
never fall in love again", ooh I'm a diva, me. Overdoing it. Sheila
liked. John loved, her ego will explode. Charlotte called her
arrogant. Indeed. Love Charlotte.

Alw loved danielle. Knew she was like dorothy. Not so keen on lauren
but def wants to keep her.

Emilie Fleming and stephanie davies.

Emilie: gap annoying in teeth. Public relying on you - overstate
Clean slate, as good as others.

emilie: don't know song. Didn't like performance. Looks all grown up.
John quite liked. Charlotte didn't like so much, said vocal was iffy.
Sheila wasn't too complimentary, suggested she was led by rhythm, not
in good way.

Stephanie sang lovelily. Smile? Charlotte loved, john thought was
great, sheila thought she picked up as song went on, bad start.

Stephanie: sure she'll win. Erm.  Little kid (brill for dorothy) wants
to be taken seriously.

Alw def loves stephanie. Really liked her performance. Doesn't rate
emilie much but reckons she'll get votes. Er, maybe.

Predict: emilie and bronte sing off, bronte saved.

Vote now (or forever hold your peace)

Night 2, results.
Hair flat, really filmed next night?
Toto: don't care. Weird people. Dogs do not have star quality. Why do
that to your dog? Freaks.

Stupid mash: material girl and emilie is guff.

Experts: Star potential in a dog? Nuh uh.

Jodie prenger animal fanatic. Heh heh. Jodie Prenger: reality TV addict.

They're not painting stephanie very well, badly edited to show
negative comments.

Danielle coming out as strongest this week, also Jenny but she looks
funny. Funny looking birds never do well. Acting thing showed Emilie
and Lauren as good as well as J and D.

D's don't have a scoobie, don't think they like danielle. Quiet?

Panel asked who was not Dorothy for them:
Sheila: not sophie
John: not jessica
Charlotte: not emilie

Think emilie out, except public voted her IN.

Stephanie, jessica and jenny through
Bronte in singoff
Dani and sophie, steph,
Danielle, lauren and emilie...
Danielle through
Emilie through, lauren in singoff

Lauren def will be saved!!! voted off for arrogance. Bronte lowest.

Want bronte to stay. Lauren loved by panel, will be surprised if she

Bronte lovely voice. Lauren more polished not as pleasant. Dopey grin,
bronte more acty, less pitch perfect. Lauren better voice, bronte
better performer. Lauren quite punchable, but why edit show her
blowing her own trumpet.

Girlies sniffling. Make them friends with each other, then watch them suffer. Top telly. Grr.

ALW saved lauren (obviously, panel LOVED her) after long ramble. Bronte ever so pretty. Lauren
hopefully less cocky but yawn. Arrogance is the only thing against Lauren.

Bronte much nicer on floating moon than Amy was. Alw moved. All girls except lauren

Aww bronte's lovely. But blonde. Girls looked shocked, she really is
good to be leaving not like slutty amy.
Almost cried. Want to adopt bronte.

Why did the dim public vote for emilie?do they like the gap? mibbee I
should vote, but don't generally watch before too late.