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.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Gordon Brown in Kirkcaldy

So, Gordon Brown visited Kirkcaldy today.
The town he grew up in.
So he's not going to be convinced by:
the shiny shiny litter free streets
the jolly happy people
the spirit of joy captured by the marching band

But still, nice to make the effort. Security at its finest: bin bags over bins. Without meaning to be picky, could a potential assassin/terrorist wanting to place a device in a bin possibly overcome a binbag? Maybe not. Maybe if they see a bin bag over a bin they move onto the next one, then the next one, then the next one, then get narked and give up the whole idea and have a cup of tea and a piece of shortbread instead. Maybe.

There was much muttering of "last time you'll see him as PM".

Yes, because the people of Kirkcaldy are really going to vote for anyone else. The last tory vote in Kirkcaldy was recorded in 1765.

The choices of the candidates will be:

Sonny Somebody from the Liberals.
Thingy Smugbutquite-Scared from the Tories
GORDON BROWN, your local Prime Minister
Weirdy Funny Party Candidate from a party that you've never heard of
You wouldn't sleep if you voted for the BNP candidate
Oh that one. What's UKIP all about again?
ISN'T SCOTLAND NICE?? Scottish McScot from the Lovely SNP.

So, two candidates have a fighting chance, and 90% of the voters (aka 16% of the entitled to vote population) just trog on down and stamp their X next to Labour Regardless.

I know who I want as PM, and it annoys the HELL out of me that if I can't just vote for him. No, I can vote for a candidate, and if he/she doesn't win this seat, my vote counts for NOTHING.


I am sorry to say that if I had bumped into Snr Brown in Kirkcaldy today, my actions would have been sycophantic. And I may have told a big fib. But I didn't bump into him.

Friday, 9 April 2010


Essentials for packing:

phone charger
credit card

everything else can be sorted later.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

iPhone 4.0 and other reasons to be in a bad mood.

Yips. iPhone 4.0 announced today.

Main points that I got from this much anticipated reveal:

1) Multitasking - the biggy, the inevitable - won't work on iPhone 3G. That's right. My one. The one I got 9 months ago, albeit as an insurance replacement (and before you ask, home insurance, not rip off phone insurance) and so 9 months into my contract (now complete) and so am not remotely ready to replace. Gah.

2) iAds. Oh goodie. So ads can run within apps, so you don't *have* to click them. Because you *really* want video ads playing on your iPhone screen when you're using an app. The joy.

3) Folders. Real genuine joy now, folders. Not littered icons, folders. Apple decreed folders, but folders.
Must work on 3G or I'll, I'll, I'll... go and buy a 3GS or something. Grrrrrrr.

Don't have money for 3GS, or I'd have one. Huh.

There are 7 new things, supposedly. Yeah. I got 3 and stopped caring, mostly through being in a big huff about the 3G not multitasking thing.

Making a device that doesn't do all it can because of software limitations, so new software can be leaked later as a reward for being loyal (duped) customers, is just evil/genius.

Apple, I hate you. Hate hate hate.

But you do make very nice things. Damn you.

More reasons to hate Apple:

Aforementioned iPhone 3G has been iffily iffy for a while. So I did a restore to factory settings.

5 hours. 5 hours!!! 5 hours it took to backup, format (or whatever it does) and restore settings as before. Why? Is it JUST because I'm running iTunes on a windows PC? Is it really? And why does iTunes decide which settings I want and which applications to restore? Shouldn't that be up to me? How many times do I have to tell it that I don't have Outlook, and shouldn't telling it NOT to sync contacts be enough to stop it trying to fecking install Outlook?

(no, and no)

iTunes/App store. Leaves you logged in. So if you accidentally tap a "buy" icon in a shit app, you immediately upgrade!!! Hurrah! £1.79 on a shit app! The joys of iTunes are unending.

I don't want/need/have any use for an iPad.

But. I do really want one.

Why? Because I use my phone incessantly and would like a nice big version. Because it's shiny. Because I am a fool.

What I really need is a MacBook. Or an iMac. Yes. I want both of those too.

See? Hate. Subliminal messages telling me I need an iPad. My sons refer to Comet (nearest Apple merchant) as "Mummy's computer shop". They try to sell me stuff, I tell them they don't have to, I don't have any money, I just like looking. And touching a bit.

I am at the end of my contract. I could be free. Nope. iPhone Simplicity, here I am!! Until I eke some money from somewhere and gets me a new iSomething.

Save me Nokia, please?

Typed on iPhone.
Researched on iPhone.
Admittedly not exactly researched but the knowledge vaguely imparted above was gained via iPhone.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

mp3 CD

And this, the first of the catchup. The title I have written is mp3 CD. And so this is what I thought, then.

Wires have been bought and tried, old technologies (iRiver) have been tried and found to conflict with idiocy of driver. So mp3 CDs have been made.

Oh wow.



Once upon a very long time ago, I was given my first tape recorder. The mix tape became a reality/obsession for me.
Then I discovered CDs, once they were available and stuff.
Music listening was fantabulouso, mostly because random was now a feature of my life.

yes, I do know it's immensely annoying. and yes, some albums have to be played in order. mostly - random. I like the surprise/guess/predict element.

Then. CD burning. On my very own computer.
Mix tape. On CDs. Faint.
I still have my very first compilation CD, cunningly entitled "Compilation 20.07.00". It is remarkably good. It took me an entire evening with a large pile of CDs and painstakingly copying the track that I wanted off each CD.

Then. mp3.

yes, I know the quality isn't the same. I'm not that discerning and I certainly don't listen to music on that sophisticated equipment.

Playlists are a joy. Playlists are easy. Playlists are in fact everything the compilation random taste free music-murderess ever dreamed of.

In these days of children having, I mostly listen to music in the car. And a CD is disturbingly limited.
The new car has an mp3 CD player.

Many, many, many songs on one CD. I have no idea how many, but it's something like 200. The display tells me the song. And it does random. And I can "next" it - my singular most annoying and perpetual habit, or so I have been led to believe - from the steering wheel.

iTunes does it all nicely. Unless of course I want to use any of the songs I have purchased from iTunes because they wouldn't play.

Do Apple do a car music player that's built in? I don't think so. Steve Jobs probably thinks people don't listen to music in the car. Yes, I know Jobs invented iPod; iPod has wires and I have never yet got over my love for CDs, even if I break them by filling them with nasty inferior mp3s. Still, it'd be nice if they did.

My collection of bought-from-iTunes is regrettably ok to be missed off. Things I would never share my love for. It's a nostalgia thing, and when you genuinely only like one song off an album, generally the rest of it isn't all that great.
Whatever. I'm sure other people have recently bought songs by the Christians and Runrig.



CD joy, in the car, steering wheel controls, 100s of tracks on one CD = one happy camper.

And if it's raining? cup overfloweth.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Sloppy blogging

So, there's been a lack of blogs.
So what? you say. Well, I promised myself a blog per day, which means 30 for April, not, erm, 6.

Notes have been taken, being an incredibly sad sort of person, and a promise is a promise even if only to oneself. Titles will be as incredibly sad notes decree.

Sick chiddlers, being away on holiday (yay!) and now exams mean no time for bloggage.

They will follow. One per day, even if most of April arrives at once.

Monday, 5 April 2010


Easter. Bank holiday extraordinaire, being Friday AND Monday.

Except, sorry, did we not have 2nd January instead of Easter Monday? Having it anyway, goodo.

So. I don't really "do" Easter. Which probably makes me a hypocrit as I defend Christmas so much. But I like to argue that's about winter and family and all what not, and if you want the Jesus aspect, it's celebrating his birth. Easter is about eggs, mostly, and commemorating Jesus' betrayal and execution. Yeah. Ok. Resurrection. Uh huh. Spring, doesn't need celebrating as the whole world goes bonkers every time the sun comes out. Family. Yeah. This one does go to friends, I think.

But chocolate does taste marvellous when egg shaped, even if Easter cake is rubbish. I've never done anything for Easter, since I got too old to don a bonnet and go to church, probably never will. Massively appreciate all the eggs we get given and feel oafish for generally not reciprocating, especially when the kids get proper presents. Should I do that? Oh. I got eggs/bunnies for the kids I remembered. And mine. That's good, right?

Bah. It's all very confusing.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Over the Rainbow, wk 2

Never done one of these before, bear with me.

Reality TV. Meh. Stupid people, being stupid and edited to look stupider. Entertainment void. X Factor is extraordinarily cruel. Auditions are purely an excuse to openly laugh at people who are deluded about their own talent. Oh ha ha ha. And to shatter dreams with a cruel comment? What joy! But, yeah, addictive. You watch, you care, you want to know what happens... So, best avoided.

Unless it's on the BBC. They do a special line in Nice. (as in Very Nice, not Southern France). People encourage talent and editing shows the best of people, not the worst.

The latest BBC Very Nice Reality Big Brother Rip Off Talent Show is 'Over the Rainbow', following the format of 'How do you Solve a Problem like Maria?', 'Any Dream Will Do', and 'I'd Do Anything'. All seeking the star of a West End show, auditioning 1000s of nobodies and ending with 10/11/12 people in the studio, voted off weekly by audience phone ins, with one of the bottom two saved each week by Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Oh, and we don't forget he's a Lord. Oh no.

Anyhoo. Here we are, down to the 10 girls picked by the panel, and one wild card selected by the public vote.

---whoever this is, I can't quite figure who actually votes on these things---

A new panel:

Sheila Hancock, who is quite marvellous and appears to believe that talent entirely depends on understanding lyrics. Who cares who can sing, it's all about the understanding. Pah. Next she'll be suggesting it's all about acting.

Charlotte Church. Who is so very nice and knows how to sing so can comment on singing, nicely:

And John Barrowman. No, sorry, another John (Partridge) that is charmingly gay, an ac-tor (Eastenders this time) and star of the West End. Less easy on the eye than the first John Barrowman but an awful lot easier on the tolerance. Also very nice, thoroughly encouraging comments with huge apologies for hints of negativity.

Graham Norton presents, with his usual simmering double entendres desperate to escape. Quite perfect presenter, incidentally, doesn't take it too seriously, or seriously at all in fact. Marvellous.

The girls...
(in order of performance this week)

Stephanie - looks the part. Stood out as an obvious Dorothy from first (edited of course) audition. Aged 17, which seems to be a requisite, the panel loved her. Slightly perturbed as to why her head held on by scarf at the *hilarious* task of looking after pigs on a farm. Peculiar things, teenagers.

Lauren - meh, nothing special. Bit past it at 22, one of the "older" ones. Not bad.

Dani - is basically Dorothy. Awestruck and 16, which is even better for this show than 17, she also, according to the Good Lord (which Graham Norton DID say), looks like a Dorothy.

Steph - another ancient contender at the ripe old age of 21. Sheila likes her, but Lordie said she didn't look anything LIKE Judy Garland so she was wasting her time. Or something like that.

Amy - the "glamorous" Dorothy. Yup. Glamour. Stated she has a very successful modelling career, oh really? Supposedly 22, looks older, No Chance! And blonde? Does Dorothy have blonde hair? Lordie said she would good for Legally Blonde, in other words not good for Wizard of Oz. She said she would take on board comments, sadly not in time to not wear hot pants for the second show.

Danielle - looks kinda Dorothyish and - whoop - is 17. Not hugely tuneful, but not necessarily awful. Lordie said she would paint the road ruby one day, so the dark hair/being a teenager thing is working. Bizarrely wearing two belts, which is just odd,

Emilie - the one the panel didn't think was good enough but that the public liked. Annoyingly gappy teeth, which Dorothy definitely didn't have. Main drawback however is a seriously ouchy voice. Almost out of the running at 19, has mentioned a few too many times to stomach that she's "back!!!!!" yup. Enjoy it while it lasts, you didn't make the grade. No chance.

Bronte - clearly all wrong on account of being blonde, and performed in her nightie, but has a really nice voice. At 18, she's doing ok. She's my favourite.

Jessica - trying quite hard: is 18, darkened her hair. Good at the acting bit, but doesn't have a fantastic voice. Or so the panel say. Someone on Twitter said they didn't like her, which in my mind means all the public.

Sophie - 17 and wholesome, so quite Dorothyesque. She sang with a strong welsh accent, then went all squeaky. Not great last week either. If you keep the singing-doesn't-matter going, she's great.

Jenny - looks like Barbara Windsor. Not a good look, but she is 18 so can -maybe- be forgiven. Crap song, and not too good at throwing off her imagined RockChick look. Ha. Lordie actually shuddered when she was singing, then the panel said she was great. Which was a lie.

The panel were asked who was "not Dorothy" for them:

Sheila: not Amy
John: not Sophie
Charlotte: not Dani. Charlotte clearly hasn't read the brief.

And to the results:

Bronte, Dani & Stephanie all announced as safe. Jenny, Danielle and Jessica all through. As well as, after a pause... Lauren. Amy in sing off (hurrah), Emilie is through. Steph is also in the sing off, so Sophie is safe.

Public voted least votes for Amy. Shocker.

The sing off begins. Amy turns out to have a lovely voice, she might have shown that before. Steph not so good, and Amy's confidence grows and she reverts to type, then Lordie saves Steph as she is slightly younger and less blonde. I think that's the reason he gave?

Camera cuts to Dani crying, thus ensuring she's staying in a couple of weeks. And a sniff from Sophie, proving that she's lovely too and deserves some

Amy comments that she's been judged for being a model. Nuh uh. Judged on being completely up her own posterior, and going on ever ao about the being a model, and for failing whatsoever to try to fit the part she was auditioning for.

Song of goodbye is Somewhere Over the Rainbow, predictably, instead of the more fitting Goodbye Yellow Brick Road I hoped for. Amy gets carted off on a giant moon, getting her true princess moment. Byeeee! Do hope you become massively famous some other way. May I suggest bagging a footballer?

Chosen Dorothys by the expert panel of me: Stephanie, Bronte, Jessica and Dani. Everyone else is Just Wrong and Dani should win.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

A view to a drive

Hawick: meh.
(For foreigners, idiots and Englishmen: pronounced "Hoick")

Car: magnifico!

Rain sensitive wipers: probably the most exciting thing I have ever had ever, ever. I clapped
them the first few times. That's true. And I wasn't driving at the time. It infuriatingly didn't rain today, but the relentless sunshine melted enough snow - I know!!! Getting away from the sea results in astonishing climate changes - to cause puddles on the way home. Whoooosh goes the water off the tyres of the inevitable 4x4s. Wipe go the wipers, wipingly and automatically. Clap clap bounces the mad woman in the passenger seat.

Yes, because of course it didn't work when I was driving. But that did leave me free to clap, so that was good really.

Oh, and next time there's freakishly bad snow, don't drive on the A7. One would guess that in times of freakishly bad snow, you don't drive on the A7 unless you have to, ie you probably live thereabouts and know it well. So the stretch of about 1.5 miles with about 5 cars clearly skidded off the road and abandoned in a snowdrift, plus the one wrapped round a telegraph pole, didn't inspire confidence.

So, remember, bad snow: no A7. If you live in Galashiels/Selkirk/similar then stay at home. If you live in Hawick, sorry about that, but don't try and escape in freakish snow. I'd add "by car" but that would be unnecessary. There is no other way out other than the annual bus.

Yeah. Central Scotland is the height of sophistication. I know this. I am vastly superior even if their houses are much prettier. We have broadband. Huh.

Did I mention my car is brilliant?

"Road test":

The brakes work properly. The driver's window goes up and down smoothly. It glides over the road confidently and is only a little sluggish on steep inclines. The rest of the time it is responsive and good to drive. I like driving Vauxhalls so I am an unreliable witness, but it's jolly nice and new and shiny and gadgety and it does what you ask it without wheezing or bits falling off. Gearbox sound, suspension effective but without making the ride too dull, rain sensitive wipers amazing, very shiny.

I can't do it properly. It's new, obviously I like it; it's not a deathtrap and it's my 3rd Vauxhall so it does what I expect. It was also v cheap and the salesman put a silk sheet over it so as to unwrap it. (I fear there may have been more clapping, and at least some squealing. I don't usually clap or squeal). Which was quite wonderful and I do <3 him for that.

Grumpypants likes it, a lot, and not just because of the wipers. He has more discerning taste than I, despite driving a Fiat 500. Which is cool. We are the family that sense/taste/untold riches forgot.

Ooooh, I nearly forgot. The indicators are fabuloso, but odd. The lever returns to the start position and the cancel is automatic, but you don't think it's going to cancel and start wildly indicating the wrong way. But, once you adjust the steering wheel up so you can see the whole dashboard, and get the hang of it (took me 10 mins, so far has taken grumpypants in excess of 2 hours as he's not got it yet. I don't think. He never took back the rude names he called it) it's rather cool. A swift flick and it does the rest. Atta car.

I don't care if swift flick sounds rude. Go away.

Yeah. Purpose. Hawick will be route of choice if weather good and departure time isn't delayed.

C'est moi moi. Encore une fois. Mais maintenant, c'est tout.

Friday, 2 April 2010


In just over a week, we are to journey to Yorkshire, which involves one of the following choices:
1) driving directly via (famously bad) A roads
2) driving indirectly via mostly motorway, with a short section on a very bad A road. 10 miles further, 30 mins quicker.
3) motorway all the way. 67 miles longer, not sure on time.

The sensible woman of the household thinks 3 but would accept 2. Grumpypants thinks 1 is the only way.

Argument from me: the A7 (option 1) is atrocious. Anyone who has driven to Hawick can testify to this.
Also: it takes less than 2 hours to get to Carlisle for options 2/3.

Solution, coupled with the new (splendidly wonderful) toy: we are driving to Hawick today. Tomorrow, we're off to Carlisle.

Whichever is less arduous wins.
Or we take two cars on holiday, which could make sharing the driving difficult.

There's not a lot to do round here on a bank holiday, right? Many's would love to drive through the Scottish Borders. Very pretty. Very hilly. Very dull.

Thursday, 1 April 2010


Incorrect titling there, it's not actually under Vauxhall's Swappage scheme, which is Very Good in normal circumstances, but when you're getting a car for nearly free, you don't necessarily qualify for other discounts. Yes, thank you for buying a new car, we shall now credit you with £3000.

Anyway. Today, at 5pm, as just triple confirmed, I shall be exchanging the old car (not pictured, just the same):

Vauxhall Vectra 1.8 LS, Satin Red
First registered: 15 September 2001
Mileage: 100,500.
Brakes: intermittent
Drivers window: opens 4 inches.
Suspension: does not appear to be present
Insurance group: 9
CO2 emissions: 178 g/km
Fuel consumption (combined): 38 mpg
Output: 113 bhp
0-60: 11.5 sec
Torque:170 Nm 125 lb-ft Nm
Cylinders: 4
Valves: 16 
NCAP rating: ***
Airbags: driver and passenger

I shall be leaving with the following:

Vauxhall Astra 1.4 Active, in Sovereign Silver
First registered: 31 March 2010
Mileage: 0
Brakes, windows & suspension all under 3 year warranty and presumed to work. Brakes have cornering control (!)
Insurance group: 5E
CO2 emissions: 146 g/km
Fuel consumption: 46.3 mpg
0-60: 12.8 sec
Output: 90PS 
Torque: 125 Nm 92 lb-ft Nm    
Cylinders: 4
Valves: 16
NCAP rating: *****
Airbags: Driver, passenger, side impact and full size curtain.

Nifty stuff not present on old car:
RAIN SENSITIVE WIPERS!!!!!!!!! Old car doesn't even have variable intermittent wipe. I get mildly psychotic about any raindrops on my windscreen. And yes, that is important. 
Aux input! although I will probably still use iRiver as, erm, haven't got a wire. May get wire. Also has MP3 CD player so may just use that. The choices!
Automatic lights: because it's very hard to differentiate between light and dark.
I am also hugely excited about the windows having one-touch-up, but the old car has that, it's only down it has issues with. Still: exciting.
Multi function trip computer: so I can be a proper pleb.
Steering wheel mounted controls: admittedly present on old car but disabled due to replacement stereo 
Foldable key. No, I don't get it either. Ooh, wouldn't scratch phone/make holes in pocket. Yeah, good. 

Other stuff like aircon, remote central locking, power steering, ABS and stuff are all present on the deathtrap and still function. Nice, but not new. Despite maintaining that all cars should be black, and decreeing that the other car in the household MUST be black, this is now my 4th non black car (satin red, admiral blue, satin red, sovereign silver)

And so ends another yawnsomely tedious post. I do apologise.