Saturday 30 November 2013


Woke up at 1:30 am. I am really tired but my brain is in overdrive. No particular reason , but my body can't accommodate what my mind wants to do and I know that I have to sleep. Anyway thought I would make some hot chocolate and I know that will help me sleep, but as i was watching the milk boil I noticed the lights in the cooker hood. Since I moved here I've never actually replaced them, and they are still incandescent bulbs. The only two in the house that are not eco friendly!! And probably the most awkward to replace, but that will have to be done tomorrow morning. The think is once replaced I will probably never replace them again , if incandescent bulbs have lasted ten years the eco bulbs will last at least five times that if not more so that's good.

Anyway I'm feeling a bit tireder , but after lots of nice party invites this week and at least one task for the day ahead I'll publish this post with a wonderful song Eric Clapton covering Jimi Hendrix. I love the Hendrix original, but Clapton's was the first time I heard Little Wing. Enjoy my friends .....

Tuesday 26 November 2013

A Rather Good Day .. so far ..

Well a lot of good things have happened today. I ran into a good friend who I hadn't seen for ages and got an invite to a 50th birthday party next year (to go with a wedding invitation from another friend) so probable lots of great things going to happen tonight I'm sure.

I then got a call from Screachtv who told me I'd won a £25 voucher to spend at The Strawberry ! That was unexpected and a nice surprise.

I watched a program and a film "Rescue Dawn" (well it's a Werner Herzog film with Christian Bale, what's not to like) on BBC iPlayer on my Samsung Note phone, and was majorly impressed with the quality and experience.

I've had some minor surgery, well half of it, resulting in 10 stitches , which need removing next week, so that was slightly worrying , but the doctor was brilliant and didn't spill too much blood. The NHS is brilliant.

And I managed to find the Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix version of Signal 30 by Public Service Broadcasting. Just how good is that

Still Dark

..but leaving home in the dark means I can seen dawn rise on the East coast. And it's not raining or snowing (yet). Don't have anything to report today apart from just feeling in a good mood. Maybe it's because I'm listening to Radio 6 which is always good.

I've also got my application in for 2014 World Book Night with a suggestion for a book that I will give away, although that's nearly six months OK. I'm just wondering if they have one in Australia or the USA, if not they should , it's very good to read. This is also probably the first time I've mentioned 2014 in this blog.

Well there's one song that comes to mind by the wonderful Julian Cope and the Teardrop Explodes. Have a brilliant day everyone, though I am having very minor surgery later on so may be in some pain so I've been told, but all will be fine.

Monday 25 November 2013

Not As Cold Today

...but winter is here, and so am I. While I love snow, it's only when I can get get into the warm and admire it's beauty from a position of comfort. I now have to leave to go to work , so need to wrap up and brave the elements. So thought the Dean Martin performance was an ideal soundtrack, because according to the Mail and Express two weeks back we are due six inches of snow (naughty joke for Game of Thrones fans). But if they keep saying it one day they will be right.

We are closer to Christmas, and although it's Monday there are lots of things to look forward to. Have a brilliant day everyone.

Friday 22 November 2013

Slippin' And A Slidin' into Leningrad

Well looks like winter is coming. I was coming home tonight, cars were frosted up and the footpaths had a layer of frost and were , in parts very slippy. Had been out to The Strawberry and caught up with a lot of friends before getting a taxi home via ABC .

So this is just a short post before I go to bed as the frost bites outside.

The eponymous video is by may favourite Finnish Rock band , the wonderful Leningrad Cowboys featuring Maya Paakari. I was going to go for the Little Richard original or maybe the John Lennon or Buddy Holly cover but you can't knock back the Leningrad Cowboys. Brilliant stuff. Have a brilliant weekend , really pleased at discovering this!!

Here Comes The Weekend

Nothing much to say apart from it's Friday and a dark November morning, but the weekend is almost upon us so we can have time to do what we want and recharge our batteries.Always loved this, and many other Dave Edmunds songs, and always gives me and lots of others a lift.

So just a short message for you to have a great day, and an even greater weekend!

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Walking On Sunshine

Yes I know it's pouring down , wet , cold and dark here , but it's always sunshining somewhere and it always will come back to you. For some reason this phrase has been going through my head. It's not that I'm a great fan of Katrina and The Waves, but I am a great fan of being positive and looking for the positives in situations and I know a lot of people who feel the same way as me, and they do really help to inspire me to write things like this.

Nothing comes to you for free, and you may have to work for things, but if you lay some foundations in one way or another then you will benefit from them eventually. It may be as simple as reading a book, planting some seeds , helping someone out or sending off that job application, any of those things can create a result that would not have happened if you had not taken that first step.

Anyway just sending out good wishes and positive thoughts to all my friends around the world , some having good times, some not quite as good , but all will benefit from their own positive actions.

As I say if you're feeling slightly down , pick up a phone and call a friend, watch a film , listen to some music , read some poetry. It will lift your spirit. I've included a song from my favourite Nazareth album for you to enjoy, just for you.....

I'm going to bed soon so all of you have a brilliant night,

Monday 18 November 2013

Have FUN

Lot's of people miss this point and having fun can make you laugh, and making yourself laugh makes you happy and being happy makes you feel good. I was talking to someone about having fun and they had just discovered a comedy club in their town. In Newcastle we're lucky , we have lot's of comedy nights all over the place from pubs that put on comedy nights to the actual comedy venues such as the Hyena Cafe and The Stand.

I've seen my friends Gavin Webster and John Scott at both venues and always come away feeling better than I went in. So if you are looking for fun you can do worse than a decent comedy gig. I'm showing three videos in the post. The first is the brilliant John Scott , the second is Gavin Webster's take on the Gateshead Third Reich , and the third is not funny at all but just a wonderful song called Comedy by the brilliant Liverpool group Shack.

So I expect you all to have smiles on your faces , find something to laugh about and go forward into the week and have lots of fun.

Saturday 16 November 2013

Unexpected Things

This week has been extremely tiring, but yesterday I forgot to take a book on the train. I've just finished Simon Armitage's Gig , very good for my point of view, he's a poet writing about music that I like , we have similar tastes I  can see a lot of parallels in his book and the one I'm writing.

Anyway I was aware I hadn't posted for a few days , not that it's going to change the world, but I hadn't watched any TED talks for a while, and as usual chose a random one by Hetain Patel and Yuyu and I thought it started badly. It looked serious and pretentious. By the time I had finished I was uplifted , had guffawed a few times on the train much to the consternation of certain passengers (probably). Anyway I've included it in the post and think you really should watch it, you WILL enjoy it and get something from it.

Added to that I got some good news from my daughter about her hospital visit, more good news from a  friend about her son graduating, and another friend showed me her original Live Aid program from 1985. So really this week has ended with lots of great news , leaving me feeling rather positive. My leg seems to be fine , with the odd twinge of pain at odd times but I can run for a bus now. Have a great day everybody and keep the good news coming!

Monday 11 November 2013

Pain and Being Positive

Today I had to make a doctors appointment, however a lot of things were thrown in my way which seemed to be making me miss it. First of all my bus was late followed by trains. But while I was thinking this may go wrong , I thought as long as it's not too late I can do it.

I got into Newcastle and walked across town to catch a bus which I jumped on, but as I was walking to my seat a car pulled out in front of the bus, causing him to slam on. I was thrown backwards , but managed to catch a hold of a pole and steady myself with a my right leg , rather too hard resulting in a jarring pain in my right leg, I informed the driver and said I'd report the incident just in case , and told him to do the same. It wasn't his fauldt and it could have been much worse.

Next off we got to Byker Bridge and there was a major accident requiring the bridge to be closed off and the bus to be redirected. I phoned the surgery and told them the situation that I may be late. Amazingly the redirection only added ten minutes to the journey and the doctor's surgery was running ten minutes late so it all worked out OK, and I need to go back in two weeks to have some minor surgery.

So basically I kept thinking positively throughout this and eventually in all worked out. So even when things seem to conspire against you , keep going and the chances are you will get a good result. Although after an early start I'm going to go to bed early tonight. So have a good evening everybody and keep being positive.

Oh and I watched the first two episodes of Yonderland, and it is very good. Made me laugh several times.

Sunday 10 November 2013


Back from holiday finished by an excellent night seeing Public Service Broadcasting (and buying a T_Towel) , but absolutely shattered. The house was freezing but is now warmed up, and this morning saw the first frosty rooves of the year. The sun is out and melting the frost away and then a friend posted the TED talk above. It's only ten minutes , and I knew of Fibonacci numbers, though if you had asked me yesterday morning I couldn't have told you , but this talk reminded me, and despite it being short it is wonderfully uplifting and inspirational.

This afternoon I am hoping the weather will stay sunny allowing me to hoover the garden and dispose of the autumn leaves. Having said that there is still a lot of green leaves on the trees. Looking out the back window I see trees and blue skies, it could be a summers day apart from the fact that it's so cold.

James Spader
Anyway I am getting myself motivated and feeling less shattered by the second, and have lots of things I can do, Last night I finally started watching The Blacklist with James Spader, and rather excellent it is too, although still have a lot of stuff on the DVR to watch.

I'm still annoyed at Facebook's image processing software which just put's my google image up for all posts, which means I have to change it with every post otherwise people see it as just more of the same, which it isnt.

So I all hope you all have a great day and enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Thursday 7 November 2013

Keep Taking The Tablets

I'm surprised at the number of advertisements for tablets and the horribly named "phablets". Tablets are gret for looking at things generally, but not that brilliant for keyboard based creativity. I have an iPad and mainly use it for watching downloaded programs on BBC iPlayer and TED.

I actually bought it because a friend showed me Garageband on it, and I've manged to create two pieces of music on it and actually put one on commercial sale just to see if I could do it, so it's brilliant for apps that are customed towards it's strengths, the Artrage app is another good piece of software that is great on the iPad.

I also have a Samsung Note 2 phone which allows me internet and other access as well as having a screen that allows me to watch downloaded programs.

So it just strikes me as overkill the amouth that these devices are being pushed at us, maybe it's the run up to Christmas, but I now just see another tablet. Is it my attention deficit disorder and I want something else to stimulate me? I'm also worried about young children who have these and then ten minutes later are bored. Which is why I thought the Raspberry Pi was such a brilliant concent as it would get kids (and adults) into actually doing things rather that passively expecting to be entertained.

Anyway that's enough and I'm sure a lot of you will have tablet's on you Christmas shopping list for either yourself or your loved ones. And I'm sure you will find a use for yours. Below is a video featuring  my first published piece from Garageband.

Another Beautiful Day in National Sausage Week

Sausage Week
A good friend told me it was National Sausage Week in the UK and there's at least one website with all the details at LovePork a website name straight out of the Carry On canon! Although this theme carried through into the final episodes of series 3 of Game of Thrones, though not exactly rib tickling fun for the victim.

Ironically I've spent a lot of time in Helmsley in Yorkshire and there's been no high profile promotion of National Sausage Week. I think there is only one butcher there but there's a few "artisan" food shops but no prominent sausages! Earlier in the week I did sample some very hot ones from Pern's of Helmsley .

Yesterday I had fish and chips from the excellent Scotts though I should have gone for their small portion as I couldnt't finish the normal, and the also have a jumbo one, no way for me.

Any the weather is again beautiful, there was a frost , but it's blue skies and sunshine here. It's been a week of almost total relaxation, not going far and just enjoying myself. Tomorrow is a drive back to Newcastle for the Public Sevice Broadcasting gig, it's amazing how bands can still come up with new takes on how to make original music so even though it's National Sausage Week I'll post the last PSB video as a header to this post. Have a brilliant day everyone.

Tuesday 5 November 2013


This is my 200th blog post this year, so I can still obviously use a keyborad. At some point I want to try and dictate a post into my phone on some microphone and put it up unedited to see if it makes sense. I've still got around sixty days left this year so possibly expect to finish on 240 or 250 posts.

I was hoping to do the Pickering to Whitby steam train run , but just checked the timetable and the winter one kicked in this week, which means no midweek trains. C'est la vie.

Either Facebook or Google have stopped allowing the use of Youtube or embedded images when I post a link to Facebook, which is annoying. I didn't want an image of me for each post, I wanted something relevant to the actual post. I will research into why this is happening.

Anyway, the holiday is continuing with much relaxation, watching The Wire, Game Of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire. I now have lots of technology at my disposal so I can download stuff off BBC's iPlayer so I caught up with the excellent Orphan Black on my iPad as well as a program on The Who's Quadrophenia.

Orphan Black
As I type this I'm listening to the J Geils Band using my Samsung Note phone as a music player, though just switched it to the wonderful Penguin Eggs by Nic Jones, an album that should be in everyone's collection.

The thing is where I am in Ampleforth I don't have a mobile signal, so that means another form of total relaxation. It's sometimes nice to just cut yourself off, although I'm obviously posting this, and keeping abreast of the times using the BBC site and posting on Instagram as well so people can see what I'm finding interesting. Well I'm going to put an image on here and a John Cooper Clarke song that I loved from the first moment I heard it, with some great lines and a soft porn soundtrack, take a listen. Everyone have a wonderful day everyone.

Sunday 3 November 2013


Apparently last night we had storms. There was thunder and rain here and the weather here was a bit miserable during the day, but it's November in Yorkshire. You can always enjoy whatever you get. I love sunshine , but I love rain  as well although not too much of either , one will burn you the other will drown you both not what we would want.

The whole point of this week is total relaxation so there may be not too many photographs or even posts. I sure my friends in the sunny antipodes would love to see pictures of a grey rainy day here, and I've posted great pictures of around here on previous Ampleforth and Oswaldkirk (both villages are adjacent) posts. Although I would like to get a photograph of the massive wooden cross at Ampleforth College although I am sure there are many of them online.

Anyway it's always good to take time out to totally relax and it reminds of a TED talk about doing nothing so I thought I would include that for your entertainment. It is very good and makes some great points on how in our modern lives we feel we have to be always doing something. If you take time out then you will be able to do things you want and need to do so much better.

Saturday 2 November 2013

4AM In Ampleforth

I'm sitting here writing this at 4am because I can't get back to sleep. The main reason for this being I went to sleep at 8 pm last night so I've had eight hours sleep.

There's also so something very odd about theis place. I'm scared of the dark. Not darkness as such, but being somewhere with absolutely no visual point of reference. I need a chenk of street light or moonlight from a window, or a light from another rook or something just so I can find my way if I get up. This place isn't like that. It's pitch black, 100 yards from the quiet street and it is pitch black, no light from outside. Obviously I have lights on to post this, but in this place I am fine to negotiate the place in total darkness. Maybe it's because I've been here before and know my way round. You can see the place here.

Anyway I was in bed for a while thinking about things (usually it's worry that keeps people awake) , but good things just kept coming into my head , ideas of nice things to do, places to go , thinking about friends and family near and far away. It's quite amazing how global our friendships can be. Just offhand i have lot's in the USA, around Australia and New Zealand , Tanzania and various other bits of Africa, Germany and probably lots lots more. And these people bring lots of great things into my life in the form of art and music and stimulate ideas in me and cause me to write things like this.

I watch a lot of TED talks which are usually interesting and I've put relevant TED links on a couple of the countries above so feel free to follow and watch. The Australian one is particuculary excellent.

Well have a brilliant weekend and I've include a brilliant Steve F
Steve Forbert as a child
song. I think he was touted as the next Bruce Springsteen, he wasn't just the first Steve Forbert and he has written some wonderful songs.