Wednesday 31 December 2014

Nearly New Year

Happy New Year - spelt out in CDs
Well it's the last day of 2014, and I've been working today, but will glad to be finished. 2014 has been very good with lots of great things happening. I've posted in various blogs the ups and downs of the year and really there have been a lot more ups than downs.

Have met and socialised with lots of wonderful people, been up and down the country on various premises , had some great holidays , seen some great places and done some great things. I read books and listened to music, been to gigs , been dead on my feet from various things and always bounced back.

It's a big thanks you to all my friends and family all over the world and close to home, and I think 2015 is going to be just amazing for me and I hope for all of you. Life is often what you make it although there are times when it tries to knock you off your feet , or so it seems, but often it's how you approach situations that determines what you make of it.

I find joy in lots of things and seeing and talking with a friend means so much to me, better than any physical possession. Was talking with a guy from the car hire place and was saying that since they were kids my girls have had £30 spent on them , and they have always appreciated that, and I do feel for families who need to top last year's £400 iPad for their 6 year old.   It's people , hugs , love and fun that make life good. Possessions are are only good if they make sharing better.

Anyway this is just a short Happy New Year to you all. I'm including my "Happy New Year in CDs" picture , and possibly my favourite single of the year , "What" by Broncho.

Happy New Year to all of you!!

Sunday 28 December 2014

Frozen But No Snow But Some Otway

Well woke up this morning to a frozen landscape, frosted rooves and cars, footpaths like a skating rink but still no sigh on snow. I was quite surprised to see someone saying "Right that's Christmas Over" around mid day on Christmas Day, well not in our house , there#s twelve days of Christmas I seem to remember, and I will keep the spirit of Christmas going all year round , caring and helping where I can , friends family and those less fortunate than myself, and let's face it , I am fortunate.

Grainger Market
I'm still suffering from a cough , cold , runny nose, sneezing etc etc but am coming out of it and tomorrow will be a day back at work, clearing all the stuff I've not looked at over the past four days.

I managed to get out for a couple of hours yesterday and get some food at the Grainger Market and some CDs at Reflex.

I suppose my only disappointment was that John Otway didn't hit number one (you can buy it here) , instead some faceless X-Factor contestant hit number one. I do feel sorry for the contestants because who even remembers who won last year's on the years before. The only talk is of the the judges and Simon Cowell, which is all that matters really, anyone can be a contestant.

Anyway , it's Sunday Morning, the sun is shining and I am looking forward to another relaxing day as I sip on my nettle tea and sign off this post. Have a most excellent day everybody.

Friday 26 December 2014

The Day After Christmas Day

Well it's the day after Christmas , and I'm "Still Ill" to quote The Smiths, although it's essentially nose cold , running into my throat causing and tickly cough which then can go on for quite a bit. Dealing with it with , paracetamol . drink and chocolate.

Seen and talked with family over Christmas , exchanged presents, great to see people getting perfume they want , no chocolate , I got some clothes including a Kelly's Heroes T-Shirt, a totally not over the top Christmas.

Manage a few films and the Christmas Doctor Who and even caught a bit of the Queen's Speech which focused on the 1914 Truce when the French and German soldiers stopped fighting and played football in a brief interlude before going back to slaughtering each other and the behest of the paymasters safely enjoying a drink and mince pie back in London or Berlin. These days David Cameron, Ian Duncan Smith and George Osborne would have had them shot while Nick Clegg, Ed Milliband and Nigel Farage gave their backing. Remember it was your "working man" who called that truce, not the officers and it does make me sick to hear it romanticised as it is now. We should remember for the right reasons, as a beacon for peace , not a glorification of war.

Oops don't know where that came from, but it's how I feel.

Anyway, I've had and am still having a brilliant Christmas, and I hope you all are too. This Christmas we have four days of being off before having to go to work and clear up the mess on Monday. Have another brilliant day my friends.

Sunday 21 December 2014

Now That's What I Call Christmas Entertainment.

Christmas is certainly upon us and there's a media tradition of Christmas films. I'm still quite amazed that the atrocious tripe served up that is Home Alone is presented as an acceptable example of the genre. I know we all have different tastes and it would be wrong to stop other people from enjoy what they want to watch , especially if the children love it. So stuff like Polar Express , Arthur Christmas , Elf and many others leave me cold and unmoved like a modern Ebenezer Scrooge . They're just corporate tripe to me and my time would be spent better doing something much more interesting.

This year  the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle put on a showing of "It's A Wonderful Life" along with a performance by The Cornshed Sisters, now that's what I call Christmas Entertainment. Tonight they're showing Die Hard which unfeasibly I do associate with Christmas along with The Great Escape. Steve McQueen trying to clear a barbed wire fence on his motorcycle , how much more Christmassy does it get.

Then I love Bill Murray in Scrooged featuring ex New York Doll David Johannesson as his most excellent taxi driver,  and really I thing that Charles Dicken's Christmas Carol really is for me the perfect Christmas Story that all others can only hope to aspire to, with it's lessons , horrors and story of redemption. There have been lots of adaptations over the years and I am yet to see the Jim Carrey version, but think when I do it will score well.

If push comes to shove I'll go for The Muppets Christmas Carol as my all time favourite, I never tire of watching it and has a brilliant balance of humour and sentimentality with a cracking turn from Michael Caine, although my favourite Scrooge or all time is Alistair Sim

I also enjoyed the remake of Miracle on 34th Street with Richard Attenborough which is very sweet.

So everyone enjoy your Christmas , find someone to have fun with ,  whether you are in Newcastle, Sunderland , Darlington , New Zealand , Australia, The USA, Tanzania, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, just have a totally brilliant , brilliant Christmas.

Saturday 20 December 2014

THe Dangers of Decent Music Ring Tones

It's 2am on the Saturday before Christmas, and I'm still suffering from the current UK novovirus, but after going to bed at seven , woke up at eleven, managed to do most of my online Christmas Card sending from Moonpig , plus a few Christmas Presents which means that tomorrow will be a little less physically stressful. Sunday will not be a good idea for a shopping perambulation as it's the Newcastle vs Sunderland derby, so Sunday will be stay at home.

Anyway I'd been meaning to write this post for a while , but due to being laid low, have not really been up to writing it, but here goes. I like many other people assign favourite songs as ringtones for friends and colleagues. One of the benefits of this is that you immediately know who is trying to contact you and you can answer or ignore as is your predilection:

Here's a few that I have set up:

You can click through to listen to the samples if you so desire, but all of these are excellent pieces of music, not sure why I chose Andy's but he's got it anyway. So the thing is if someone rings you when you're in work or out and about , that's absolutely fine and it serves it's purpose, but and here's the punch.......

...when I work from home I usually have Radio 6 or a CD on, which generally means good music while I work, but when one of these people call I just think it's the Radio, so a couple of weeks back Sue was wondering why I was out of breath as a suddenly sprinted across the room realising Faith No More were coming from my phone and not my radio. Earlier in the week it was the Smiths.

So something to be aware of if you have music ring tones and work from home while listening to music.

Right I'm now going to listen to some classical music music and hopefully drop off into a deep sleep.

Sunday 14 December 2014

Health Report and Yakuza Fast Food Delivery

Since Thursday I've been feeling full of a cold, Friday was a very long day with lots of waiting at bus stops and train platforms , freezing wearing nothing but a light suit, the result of which was yesterday I spent all day bar five hours in bed, hot and not feeling too good. It's not 'flu because I think I'm getting better, with the help of lot's of drugs like LemSip, Paracetamol and Chocolate. Yesterday throat felt like I'd swallowed sandpaper and every time I coughed really did hurt. But the main thing is I seem to be a lot better this morning although still full of a cold.

The lump that I was worried about after returning from holiday is now almost gone, so it probably was an abscess and the antibiotics that I finished yesterday seem to be doing their job, though I'll have a wander over to my doctor's surgery this week to make sure all is ok. Thanks got I'm in the UK and have the NHS so my first thoughts aren't "Can I Afford this?".

The final thing is that last night Fiona had a Chinese Take Away for tea. At 9:30 last night there was a fairly insistent knocking on our front door. I stumbled downstairs , managed to open the front door and was confronted with a shaven headed stocky Chinese guy telling me in no uncertain terms that I had ordered a meal and I owed him £15. I said he must be mistaken as we'd had one earlier, so they must have duplicated the order or something. He then showed me the printed bill , which I took about a minute to focus on, then pointed out that he was on the wrong road!! His demeanor changed and he was very apologetic, after which I went back to bed to continue my recovery.

I've just thought Warren Zevon's Werewolves of London has a beg section on Chinese Food , so that's the song for this post.

Sunday 7 December 2014

...and another chance of Snow

OK, it's Sunday Morning, cold, there's a forecast of snow, and it's back to work next week. However this week has been great , lots of great things happening and there lot's good things going to happen this week.

Last week I had a relaxing holiday, the weather was good, if cold, but no snow and little ice, and Ampleforth is just a lovely place to stay.

Blyth Spirit
After getting back there was the football , with Blyth Spartans beating Hartlepool away, Newcastle United disposing of Chelsea in an incredibly exciting and entertaining match and Preston North End progressing to the third round of the FA Cup.

I then got the news that my eldest daughter Juliet has got a promotion after several interviews, so lots of good things coming up.

There's birthday celebrations this week for good friends, another friend has finally got a phone after two weeks of rank incompetence from her phone company, and on Tuesday I'm getting a new boiler fitted, and , if all goes to plan this will be a four day week, with a visit to somewhere called John Snow House in Durham on Friday.

At the moment things look cold outside but there's no sign of snow yet. I need to nip out to get papers soon , take lots of drugs and make breakfast before enjoying a relaxing Sunday. Al
though it's just starting to rain now, and the wind is getting up.

I hope your day goes brilliantly, and what better song than the Small Faces "Lazy Sunday" to remember Ian McLagan who we lost this week, but who's life was full of fun and happiness and that's the way to be. A smile on your face produces as many endorphins as eating a bar of chocolate without the calories!

Pearl Harbour ... with a chance of snow

Art of War
Seventy three years ago today the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour , although the Americans insist on calling it Pearl Harbor, which caused the Americans to enter the war. It's ironic that the media now push the attitude of  "attack someone before he even thinks of going for you" these days which is roughly what the Japanese did, and there's probably something in Sun Tzu's Art of War which was the first book I read end to end on my phone. The thing is war and destruction is a terrible thing and should be avoided. The people who cause it are seldom involved in the fighting , and those who are sent to fight are really just seen as cannon fodder for the perpetrators.

Actually I wanted this post to be positive, but following those thoughts with anything is just going to dissipate any fun , and you can't talk about war , hate and destruction and then follow it up with a smile. So I'll just choose an appropriate song then start a new post. So War by Edwin Starr it is.

Saturday 6 December 2014

Frozen ... December Is Here

Just got up and all the cars are frosted up. Looks like I got back up the road just in time (not a fan of driving on ice).

 Reminds me of a couple of years back when in a William Hill's shop a couple of old guys nearly came to blows because the racing had been cancelled at Newcastle. They blamed the Council. they left the shop moaning and under protest and probably better off than they would have been on a normal day. The thing is there was still racing going on elsewhere , but that wasn't acceptable to them. It is strange how sometimes people have to have something exact when there perfectly suitable alternatives.

Ice Road Baby
Also driving on Ice makes me think of The Ice Road Truckers program. I don't follow it but will watch the odd one and am still amazed to see these people will to drive articulated heavy lorries across frozen, but very deep lakes, Amazing stuff.

This week I also started watch Disney's Frozen which is well up to their normal standard and everyone has heard Let It Go, I've been subjected to it ever since the film came out from certain people who shall remain nameless who were hooked from day one. I'd love to inclde the video but we know Disney won't allow it on Youtube so I'll take Madonna's song of the same name for today's video.

So you all wrap up well and stay warm and enjoy your weekend.

Friday 5 December 2014

Those Naughty Lumps - An NHS Interlude

Back from a great holiday, but on Monday noticed a small lump on my pelvis, where te leg meets the torso. By today it has become much bigger. It's not painful or anything but obviously needs seeing to. So went to local walk in centre on Ponteland Road , combining it with a small shop at Aldi. The nurse wasn't sure but though it was an abscess, and suggested I saw my own GP, but if there were any problems to come back and see them as they are open til 8 pm and all weekend.

I took up her suggestion and my own practice (Thornfield Medical Group)  got me in to see someone at 5 today, amazing considering I walked out of the walk in centre about 2. The GP had all the notes taken from the walk in appointment and reckoned that it is an abscess and said I should get on anti biotics straight away, and then if things aren't right to go back on Wednesday.

How bloody brilliant and efficient is that. You walk in and get sorted out straight away. This isn't an emergency, but just an example of how brilliant the NHS is at looking after us. i could go into a rant about certain things, but I wont, just have to say how brilliant our NHS is.

So now it's weekend so everybody enjoy themselves.

I chose this Warren Zevon song , which makes me think of the attacks the NHS is under from the money men. The NHS is not a marketing opportunity it is a service.

Wednesday 3 December 2014

Still Feeling Great

The Sugared Butterfly
Today I had the best Hot Chocolate I've ever had at Sugared Butterfly in Helmsley. It used to be The Old Police Station, but is absolutely lovely and, as I say, brilliant Hot Chocolate, and I just had the basic one. Chances are I'm going back tomorrow , the people were really pleasant, and it is the sort of place you can feel totally relaxed in and get a choice of both traditional and unusual food. This place is just one of many in Helmsley which is just such a pleasant village. My only criticism of the place is that they have space for an Edinburgh Woolen Mill shop , but still no Chemist! I've been holidaying in the area for about five years and still can't believe that situation still exists.

The holiday is continuing on in a relaxing fashion, not going very far, watching Breaking Bad and Boardwalk Empire, both extremely worthy series. It's amazing these days how much advertising you can dodge with catch up TV options. I'm surprised they let you fast forward through the adverts, although if you use 4OD you don't get that option. This is why I don't mind paying my TV License, I'm amazed at the number of people who complain about the £130 a year TV License while forking out £100 a month for a Sky Movies and Sport package without batting an eyelid.

Anyway another problem I had today was my phone not connecting to the Holiday Cottage Wifi. I tried lots of solutions on the web and finally solved it by switching the router off and on, nice simple solution, though I wish I'd done it this morning.

Today we've had blue skies, although it's been very cold, but still an excellent day, just good to be well away from the rat race.Thought I would leave you with a bit of Faust , sort of relevant to the holiday, not your average Krautrock , but then I don't think ant Krautrock is average, and if you don't enjoy this then listen to it until you do. It is very good.

So again I've managed to link up a relaxing holiday with some extreme music, but that's just the nature of things, everything is connected if you look for the threads

Tuesday 2 December 2014

The Greatest Feeling

One of my friends posted this picture the other day and at first I thought that's not very nice, although it is funny, and in that situation that exactly what you need. Social Media allows us to interact with so many people, offend people, and also make people smile as well. I much prefer making people smile and a laugh.

Then this morning I saw this great animated video which lots of people like, is not offensive and just makes you happy. Some friends were unable to see this so I found it on Youtube, I hope it's visible now

Really the greatest feeling is different depending on the moment. I love it hearing from friends , even just a line by whatever method is available.  A few weeks back I had lunch with Juliet , Kirsty , Fiona and Mark at that was just great everyone talking to each other, being positive and enjoying each others good feelings.

Sometimes it might be writing, sometimes it's hearing a song you'd forgotten about, having a meal in a great restaurant like the Black Lion in Thirsk yesterday, there's lots of things that can be the best feeling ever, it's just whatever feels perfect in the moment.

We're into December know with the run up to Christmas, and yes I'm still on holiday and relaxing and resting. I hope your week is going well and you are having a good time, don't work too hard and do everything you can to feel good.