Thursday, 31 March 2011

A-Z Eve

Twas the night before A-Z April, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The Laptops were ready, the notebooks were there,
In hopes that our followers, would all come and share.....

Yes its A-Z Eve. 800+ bloggers plan to post every day but Sundays for the month of April basing posts on ascending letters of the alphabet. To quote something I read recently, but cant remember where (sorry)

"Blogging, never have so many said so much about so little

Hand in hand with this hairy mammoth of a task, we will all be trying to read as many of the other bloggers posts as possible! We must be mad, under worked or just have to much time on our hands, else we just enjoy this form of expression know as BLOGS

Just to make you smile

Some people are like slinkies, not really good for much, but bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

A-Z Blogging at the home of RJR

To all the A-Z bloggers out there, I have been spending the last couple of days trying to work my way around as many of the list of A-Z bloggers that I can. I would like to have visited every body by the end of April but that might be a bigger task than blogging every day !!

To aid me in this task I have added a static page to my blog with the Linky list of everyone, so its to hand (see tab at the top), it also helps that visited links stay a different colour so I can keep track of who I have seen.

Some of you may have made the connection that we have two family members in the challenge, my 12 year old daughter Ruth aka RuthitootieWishes is also listed, she has probably already visited you, as she is keen to collect more followers than her ageing dad. If you have followed her, thank you for taking the time, but do the decent thing and FOLLOW ME AS WELL I have my credibility at the dinner table to think about!

Ruthie in action....(after each new follower)

Rules you wont learn in School

When at school I was taught a RULER was a King and you drew lines with a RULE. today's post is about a different set of "rules" entirely so don not be deceived by the picture !
Often miss-attributed to Bill Gates as an Urban Myth the following "rules" are  more rightly from Charles J Sykes book "Rules you wont learn at school" Either way there are some gems to be had in these lines !

Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it

Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect
you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $40,000 a year right out of high school. You
won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents
had a different word for burger flipping -- they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes,
learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now.
They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites
of your parents' generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not.
In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as many
times as you want to get the right answer.This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off
and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have
to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Fairy Tale

I remembered today that a long long time ago, I for a brief foolish moment thought I could write a story book. As strange as that last sentence may sound, they do say we all have a book inside us, its just harder for some of us to lever it out !!

Well it was 8 years ago my illusions of grandeur struck, the children were much younger ( 8 years !) and I guess it was for them I started. I didn't get very far and stored what I had in the dreaded "my documents" folder. of course I had to protect my masterpiece so I added a password to the Word document.

Over the past years I have attempted to reopen the file, but could never remember the password. Today I decided enough was enough and downloaded a password cracking piece of software and set it to work... it took 17 seconds to crunch though all the permitations, the password....JOHN. Yes I now feel stupid !!! Anyway I read my attempts for the first time in a long time and decided I would share, which is something I may well regret !! It is was a collection of real incidents that I blended together in a fairy tale type story. the centre of the plot was to be the overused climbing frame at the bottom of the garden. this shabby piece of play equipment was to have magical properties that would transport the kids through time. Well here we are 8 years on ....

The Magic Climbing Frame

It was a cold wet Saturday morning. The children woke at their normal time, which in Dads opinion was always too early for a weekend, in fact Dad could never work out why on school mornings nobody wanted to get up, and at weekends nobody wanted to sleep in.

Jacob was sat up in bed reading a chapter book, his favourite hobby. Jake as he liked to be called was not particularly sporty, due to recurring spells of illness. An inward sense of acceptance had made him realise some things, like sport were not meant to be. He looked around his room, the smallest of the three bedrooms, but at least he didn’t have to share it. In an attempt to make the north facing room cosier, the top half had been decorated with a warm orange colour. As he peered down from his extra high cabin bed, herds of dinosaurs roamed freely on the mural around the bottom half of the walls. It was a long way down but not for a seven year old, if only Dad would let him have a rope to climb down! Or better still a fireman’s pole!! Jake thought for a moment, perhaps the incident of monkey hanging from the shoelace was enough to put any parent off ropes?
The best part about sleeping higher than the wardrobe was the view, from up here looking one way he could see over his door onto the landing, and the other way, out of the window onto the drive and beyond to the road. Needless to say, at seven on a Saturday morning, the road was empty.
“JAKE! JAKE!” A small girl wandered into his room shouting, ”What Ruth?” Jake was not in the mood to be bothered by his younger sister. He wished he had hung the do not disturb sign he had made, on the door, then realised it wasn't very successful at keeping four year old's out. A smile broke his lips as he remembered the glue stick plan, then he stopped smiling as he pictured the look on Mums face when she had found him painting a glue line across the doorway. Glue kept his sister out, but it wasn't worth the hour of cleaning it up, he had been made to do. “DO YOU WANT, WATCH TELLY WITH ME AND RACHEL?” As always Ruth felt the need to shout everything. In fact the family knew Ruth only stopped shouting when she was eating and sleeping. “DO YOU WANT, WATCH TELLY WITH ME AND RACHEL?” The lack of an answer had not put her off the question, just caused mild annoyance. Jake knew if he didn't answer before the question was asked three times, his sister would cry loudly and get him into trouble. “No Ruth, I’m reading my book” Jake hadn’t realised yet; Ruth actually did want him to watch with her. He assumed she asked stupid questions to wind him up, but the fact of the matter was, she liked him around. There was a sense of security having your big brother near you that a big sister couldn't give. Disappointed Ruth tried the next door; she quietly opened it and sneaked into Mum and Dads room.
Approaching Mum without disturbing Dad was daring stuff, like rescuing a princess from the fire breathing Dragon, but even more dangerous. The room was the biggest upstairs, a warm red colour on two walls, cream on the others. Light came through the Hessian curtains and dimly illuminated the prize. In the centre of the room was Mums Bed! Wide, tall and soft, it was by far, the best bed in the house. Once upon a time the Dragon slept on the side near the door, but recently life had got a little easier as they had changed sides. The new carpet was warm and soft, there was a temptation to stand and dance bare foot, but there was no time to take extra risks. It was a long way to the bed, at least one meter! Every step was a step closer to the goal, a cuddle, but also a step closer to danger. The dragon sighed, Ruth stopped, and stood as still as any 4 year old she knew. Forward another step, then she spotted something even more interesting, a toy catalogue!!! As quiet as a mouse she picked it up and snook back out. She was like a cat that had got the cream, but who could she tell?
She stood on the landing thinking about her choices, Jake was reading and she had tried him once. She thought about the obstacles to get up to Jakes bed, three rungs on the ladder and a scramble at the top, all while carrying a catalogue. The other option was Rachel, Princess of gossip, Miss Style. Would it seem cool to show a toy catalogue to the girl that you always wanted to impress? The final option was to start crying and see who came, that must prove who was interested! That could also attract Mum and Dad, best not.
“JAKE!” Look what I’ve got. “JAKE!” Jake lifted his eyes from his book and was about to tell her he was still reading, but then the catalogue caught his eye.” Where’s that from?” “MUMS ROOM” Ruth’s answer gave away the deep desire to impress. Jake thought about how he could get down from his bed without Ruth knowing just what a prize she had got her hands on. He knew if he seemed too keen to look, she would change her plan to show all, into one which was much less fun, the hide and run game! The secret was to get her to want to come to him, like trying to attract a kitten………………………..

If you have made it this far thank you ! The funny thing is, as I re-read the story, I could remember the incidents that inspired each part, and the kids characters have not really changed that much either ! Who knows one day you may see more.

An Award

 Well what a surprise. Today out of the blue,I received  a lovely award from another blogger I didn't know.

So I trotted of and visited the issuing blogs pages and would highly recommend you go take a look as well !

Well written and beautiful art work, all in all a blog worth your time !

A Storybook World

Friday, 25 March 2011

A-Z blogging challenge

I must be mad, but I have decided to enter the A-Z April blogging challenge.

How does the Challenge work?

"The premise of the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge is to post something on your blog every day in April except for Sundays. In doing this you will have 26 blog posts--one for each letter of the alphabet. Each day you will theme your post according to a letter of the alphabet.

You will only be limited by your own imagination in this challenge. There is an unlimited universe of possibilities. You can post essays, short pieces of fiction, poetry, recipes, travel sketches, or anything else you would like to write about. You don't have to be a writer to do this. You can post photos, including samples of your own art or craftwork. Everyone who blogs can post from A to Z". Quote

Maybe along the way I may meet some new blogging friends or perhaps some of my regular readers may find a link to a different blog they like too ?? I'm guessing the first week should be quite easy but when it gets to X,Y and Z I may need some ideas folks !

Finally I'm really grateful to all my regular and occasional visitors that call in and read my rambellings, I hope at least occasionally you find something that makes you smile or at least think. Perhaps before you leave today you can hit the like button

and pass on that I'm here, go on you know you want to !!!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Rain means excitement ?

I listened to the radio with interest today, all about a proposal by the man up at the top of the Motor Racing elite. He feels that the addition of artificial rain will help to "spice up" racing. As someone not overly excited by motor racing I assume by spice up he means, make interesting.

The theory is that dry racing is too predictable, which results in a procession of cars just following each other round. The introduction of artificial wet conditions will force pit stops, tyre changes and differing tactics. I cant comment on whether this will impress the sports followers, but I can imagine a lot of arguments if the fake rain starts at the wrong time for someone who has the lead !
Perhaps if the rain is applied in the form of water canons by the opposition in a "total wipe-out" style even more interest could be added?

This all got me thinking, what other sports might I find more interesting if some artificial weather was added?

Would a sudden artificial breeze help out audience figures for divers for example ?

Yes I know darts is an indoor game (can't quite bring myself to call it a sport) but I can image a sudden dowsing with a hose pipe aka "artificial rain" would add some interest. On the down side a lot of the crowd might get upset if their beer gets watered down !

How about a snow storm at the snooker finals, again traditionally an indoor game, the snow would certainly alter the run of the ball ! Only problem I can see is would the white cue ball be visible? I understand that in snowy conditions footballers use an orange ball, but this would be silly in snooker as it would be too confusing with the other colours on the table !

Yes, I know I got a bit carried away, but it made me smile ! 

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Comedy Night !

For tonight's post I have trawled the net for some classic British Comedy, now at the best of times what is funny to one is not to another. It will be interesting to see if those that pop in here from "overseas" find this as funny as UK residents may.

Of course some of my closest may not always share my humour....

Here goes nothing.............................

First up is some classic Python, which I have a feeling Jake might end up quoting at me for weeks !

The second offering is the 2 Ronnies, even if you don't laugh you have to admit its very clever !

Next we have some early Lenny Henry, Never ask for salt !!!

Finally, Only Fools and Horses CLASSIC ?

I hope you found at least one amusing and you have at least half a smile before you go to bed !

Monday, 21 March 2011


As parents, we can't really complain about the work ethic of our children, although at times we do !

Eldest, Rachel, started a Saturday and weekday evening job as soon as she was 14, working for a local sweet shop. When the shop changed hands she moved to American Soda, a food importer and has worked in their shop since.

"The Boy" Jacob, followed into his sisters footsteps and on turning 14 took up employment as a "Director of media distribution" which is his rather grand title for a paper boy. In fact he is a triple round paper boy, doing weekday mornings for a local news agent and an additional Saturday morning round for them as well. His third round, is a Thursday night delivery of free papers (250 of them) As a consequence of all this experience they are both developing an understanding of the importance of work and money.

Youngest Ruth is not quite old enough to send up the chimneys yet, but is champing at the bit.

At home we have a very complex, 3 week rolling rota on the fridge that shares the duties connected with our evening meal. Each night 2 jobs always need doing,

Setting and siding the table. Putting out cutlery, condiments drinks, plates and food then putting them all away stacking used dishes for washing.
Kitchen duty. Washing,drying and putting away dishes. Cleaning worktops, cooker and general tidying

So on any given night we have 2 children "on duty" and 1 "off duty".  Now I'm not a totally Victorian Dad, the kitchen chores are a big job for one person, so I share that every night. There are no set rules for the kitchen duty, so whoever is on duty with me gets to discuss which bit each of us does. I must say I prefer to wash than dry dishes, but I am flexible, well usually anyway !

So why should we complain you may ask, well Monday night is Ironing night. Joanne and I share this thrilling task, then distribute the nice piles of clothes to the girls room and the boys lair.
Now is it just our kids, or does the next step of the process take days for all teenagers ?
How hard is it to put the pile away, how frustrating is it to find a neat pile of cloths, buried under other things on Friday ???

I know people that would say, stop ironing for them, well that's okay if you don't mind going out with kids in creased clothes. Stop their pocket money I hear you say, well the amount of this our self financing kids receive is not really an incentive if removed! Take their phones of them, tough when they have bought their own and put the credit on themselves! Ground them ! Possible I suppose !

Well I have another plan, as they all read my blog, I am going to write an entry about my life's challenge, the difficulty in getting clothes from the desk into the wardrobe! Yes that's what I am going to do ! In fact kids you have just read IT !!!! Perhaps one day soon I can write another blog about the blessing of having kids that put their stuff away straight away :)

Sunday, 20 March 2011

March, the month to start Crusades ?

I don't consider myself a politically motivated individual, in fact apart from at home, I cant recall many conversations I have had about politics. That's not to say that I think "it" a Taboo subject and I know many people would avoid discussing "it" or religion.

So as I thought about the content of this blog post, I wondered if it would reflect me as a person correctly or the themes which my blog is often about. That said, in years to come, I would hope my blog will be more than just a string of humorous stories, so here goes..

It seems from history that March is a popular time for the western world to start, or become involved in conflict. As far back as March 1095 the first Crusade took war to the Middle East in the name of Christianity. March 1854 marked the start of the Crimean War. In more recent times NATO became involved in Yugoslavia on the 24th of March 1999. It is almost bizarre that the first Cruise Missiles fired on Iraq were sent on the 20th of March 2003 and here we are today again on the 20th of March 2011 as 120 Cruise missiles have been launched at Libya.

Our current Coalition government has been very keen to point out the errors of the former Labour party fighting an illegal war in Iraq. We have been told that this time, the UN had a valid mandate for action, supported by the League of Arab States, yet watching the news today I hear the leader of the said League has been outspoken against the West, for going further than the mandate allowed. Our politicians are being very careful to say that any action is to "enforce the will of the UN" which is of course made up of those very same politicians.

Perhaps I am getting cynical in thinking we didn't step in to Egypt, Bahrain, or any of the other recent Middle Eastern "revolutions" because they don't have any "black gold" wheras Libya does.
Perhaps I am getting cynical in wondering why so many world leaders have been photographed shaking hands with Colonel Gaddafi in recent years only to call him a tyrant now.


Perhaps I am getting cynical to think the weapons the Libyan State is using against its own people were probably bought from us.
And perhaps its just me that thinks it strange, that when David Cameron visited Egypt after their revolution he took a trade envoy of 9 weapons manufacturers ?
Or perhaps the word I am really looking for is Hypocrisy ?

Or then again, in my simple way, I just don't get diplomacy and world politics ?  I'm not of course suggesting that it is right that a man can repress and destroy those whom he should represent, I just struggle to see the Western Worlds justification for "cherry picking" the conflicts it chooses to get involved in, are we really defending the average Libyan or our own interests?

I don't have the answer to that last question, and I am not a conspiracy theorist that thinks there is some secret intent relating to starting wars in March. I'm just an everyday guy with a family, that wonders sometimes what are leaders are thinking.

Why we can afford a squadron on Typhoon fighters at £100million each but are cutting our NHS?
Why in a time of cuts, we can't afford to pay our policeman, but we can pay our army to police the world?
Why we can afford to fire 120 Cruise Missiles at an average cost of $1million each but we cant provide mosquito nets to African children?

In 1595 William Shakespeare wrote in King John

Be stirring as the time; be fire with fire;
Threaten the threatener and outface the brow
Of bragging horror

Maybe this was the first written origin of using fire to fight fire, but maybe one day, we will all learn that we really cant fight Fire with Fire and not get burnt ourselves?

Or are these things just "Signs of the Times" ?

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Pots and Pans

This afternoon Jo and I went for a walk up one of the local hills known as "Pots and Pans" its not a hike more of a energetic ramble. We live in Saddleworth on the edge of Oldham which is to the North East of Manchester.

Its wonderful to live 5 minutes drive from such beautiful places but we tend to not make the most of them. On countless occasions we have gone to places on Holiday and ended up walking in areas not much different than this.

We were childless for the afternoon, Rachel at Work, and Jacob on his PS3 in his room. Ruth had gone out with her friend for the afternoon, on their bikes. While at the top of the hill Ruth rang to say they had gone the opposite way to us and were on top of a hill 3.5 miles away called Hartshead Pike. Needless to say 3.5 miles is a long way to see with the naked eye but we took a picture anyway !

At the top of Pots and Pans stands a lone obelisk, built as a memorial to the soldiers of Saddleworth who died in the 2 great wars. Here are a couple more pictures from the top..



In the first picture that is bottom right of the four, you can just make out Jo in her black coat walking towards the memorial. The memorial itself has the names of local fallen soldiers and several, now faded plaques. Poppy's are still there placed on remembrance Sunday last November.

Finally to get a better perspective here is a 360 degree video we took while up there.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Something for the Laydees

Its Friday night and I thought you might like some movie clips.. Now I could have picked the best quotes from Rambo, or perhaps moving moments from the Dirty Harry series, but I decided to go for something for the Ladies. In particular Mrs RJR. So get the tissues out and watch all the clips. (All the clips Rachel !)

So its out I'm a hopeless romantic, or perhaps hopeless at being romantic.

You may have others that you would add to your romantic wall of fame ? If so feel free to add them in the comments.....

I'm a Mummy Blogger !

The very observant amongst you, may notice a new "badge" down on the right hand side bar, a bit like the one above ! Now you may be thinking, why is a man a member of Mummy Bloggers ? Good question, the simple answer is Mummy bloggers is really a network of Parent bloggers, although mainly female there are a few males signed up, their is even a sub group for "Daddy bloggers"
I joined because I came across it via one of the several blogs I read and thought Mmm.. I sometimes blog about being a parent, perhaps other parents may be interested. Going forward nothing will change here, but if a specific blog post is parent centred, I will also post it on the Mummy bloggers network. Simples !

If you have arrived here today from a link on Mummy Bloggers, welcome, feel free to browse and stay a while! Its not all about being a parent but family life is often what motivates a posting.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011


I have a couple of hobbies that I enjoy pursuing. Theoretically I guess you could say I favour the right side of the brain, as I am quite a creative person. (prompt correction from family member who knows more about brain function !)
The obvious hobby is blogging, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this !
I  have a very nerdy / anti-social pastime which involves disappearing to the shed at the  bottom of the garden and building scale models of trains.
I also like to take photographs, mainly of the things I have spent hours making.

In the photography department my efforts can improve, that's fine I love working towards improvement !!!
The opening picture, I have to admit to stealing, from my Brother-in-laws Flickr page, my justification ? Well it illustrates that some people are excellent photographers and even have certificates to prove it (creeping) I also justify the theft as although it's his picture, their my daughters :) I would strongly recommend popping in to his Flickr page (tonyp67) and being stunned by some of the art.

One of the things that impresses me, as I browse blogger is the amazing array of photographs I come across, which inspires me to improve and catch better pictures. In the meantime here are a couple I prepared earlier..

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The day after the day before

My last post was to mark the passing of Mrs RJRs Gran, Emily Platt, a little lady with a big heart and a bigger family. Born in July 1914 she passed away peacefully last night. Gran was a gran to lots of people, including many who were not even slightly related, most people adopted her, like me, even before I joined the family 19 years ago.

Mrs RJR (Jo) had a special bond with her Grandmother, forged in early teenage years, Gran was often the carer when Jo's dad worked nights.
In these last couple of years as health failed and round the clock care was needed Jo amongst a band of siblings, cousins, Aunts and Uncles stepped up and returned the care each had been given freely in years past.
Last night, one of those dedicated Aunts phoned Jo, while she was with our girls at netball, suggesting she might want to come and see her Gran. After dropping the girls back at home, Jo made the trip down to Grans house and had the privilege of spending the last hours with her Gran and being with her, when she left this mortal world to pass over to a better place.

Emily started life as a Moss and became a Platt after marrying Thomas in 1937. As those left on this side of the veil are left remembering her as she was, I'm sure Thomas is thrilled to have the chance to be reunited with his wife, having gone on to the next life 19 years ago, at around this time of year.

I have considered this post and if I should hit the "Publish" button. It may be considered too personal, by some, I hope not. I have in laws that are regular visitors here, to them I'd like to say thank you for sharing your Gran with me, I have no real memory of my own.

Life is wonderful, Live it to the full, I'm sure that's what wonderful Gran's everywhere would want for us...

To finish Id like to leave with Gran's favourite passage of scripture..Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I awalk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:
for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Gran, I'm sure you will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.


I am standing by the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch until at last she hangs like a peck of white cloud
just where the sun and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says :
- 'There she goes!

Gone where?
Gone from my sight - that is all.

She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
as she was when she left my side
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the places of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says:
- 'There she goes! ',
there are other eyes watching her coming,
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout :
- 'Here she comes!'

for Gran who past to the other side 
1914 - 14/3/2011

Parable of immortality by Henry Van Dyke - 1852 - 1933 

Monday, 14 March 2011

Blogging vs Facebook

I came across the question today "Why is everyone blogging, isn't it just like Facebook?"  Well I have touched on this before, in particular my thoughts on the short stilted comments often seen on facebook, in a previous post about "social networking" and also about why the creative element of blogging appeals to me in a post  entitled "Creative" but if the question is raised who am I not to answer ! So today's post is especially for my Facebook friends who drop in and visit, in particular emylou123 who has bit the bullet and decided to blog !

Well first up for me is the whole creative outlet that blogging allows, its a chance to play with pictures, videos and words. Often when I create a blog I spend as much time messing with how it looks as what its says. The Bart image above for example, I put together from 3 different images found on Google, that was fun in itself.
I also find it helps me improve my writing style (It hasn't yet I hear you say) but its good to write, read, correct and improve yourself.
I also like being to able to share an opinion and explain why I hold that opinion, not just a single sentence status entry.
How about some of the excellent example of blogs and what hey offer like Grumpy Old Ken and his satirical take on life, or Lynn and her self challenge to do something that scares you every day. Then there is John that prepares cracking lesson supplements for his Sunday School class and dozens of others that I follow.
Then there is the ability to link all these great blogs together, if you hadn't realised clicking on the coloured words in the text above takes you to the persons blog ! Plus the more you link the more people will find you !

How about sharing some info and pictures, like our family recipe for Yorkshire puddings..

Pre-heat oven to gas mark6
Using a pudding tray add a drop of olive oil to all 12 holes and place in oven
Mix 1/2 pint milk, 4 oz plain flour and 2 eggs
Add mixture to the tray in each of the 12 holes when the oil is hot
Bake for 20-30 minutes

I know that was totally random in the middle of a post about blogging but it illustrates the point that a blog is a bit more than a facebook page, doesn't it?

Perhaps you have some profound thoughts, that just don't fit in a Facebook status line or maybe you just want to ramble.

Of course this is not to say Facebook is not useful, its a bit like comparing a quick test message to a good old natter to a friend on the phone... Of course I can only make an assumption that this last parallel works, as Mrs RJR will tell you, when placed on a phone or face to face I hardly talk !!
So perhaps blogging is just my outlet ??

So to my non blogging Facebook friends dip a toe in the water, but be warned you WILL get hooked. Its easy just visit bloggers home page and create a free account

For my blogging friends, add a comment and help me out with this one ....

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Spider in the bath !

Memories are funny things, you entertain one and before long you have also sorts of others tagging along too.
A few days ago I posted about Sesame Street, and before that Nursery School and while I have been sat tonight my mind wandered to another TV classic, but this time not from my youth. In the early 90's the BBC ran a series of short kids cartoons about a spider. Rachel hadn't been born so Mrs RJR and I either watched these "kid flicks" on our own (I can show a girl a good time !), or we saw them as re-runs a little later with children in tow. My memory isn't good enough to determine which. 
We have the series on VHS video tape, remember them ?? They take up loads of room ,often get stuck in the player, take forever to fast forward to the bit you want and were worse quality than Beta-max that we as a public rejected. Anyway I digress, back to spiders... The Spider Song is such a simple but motivational 5 minutes of film. The story of a little boy who doesn't give up because he sees the ever persistent spider, perhaps inspired by Robert the Bruce most kids stories are recycled from history. I have used it years ago as part of a lesson but not watched it for such a long time ! So tonight I googled Spider song and found it on YouTube, isn't technology wonderful !!! 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, yes its aimed at kids, but watch with an open heart and mind, with the eyes of an adult perhaps you will connect and take something away for this coming week ?


History lesson

Today's post takes the form of a history lesson, I'd like to say I wrote this myself, but I didn't !

On the plus side this means if you find fault, don't blame me :)

I present it for you now purely for your entertainment and mirth !

Most people got married in June, because they took their yearly bath in May and still smelled pretty good by June. However, as time passed they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odour.
Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water; followed by his sons, and other men living under the same roof. Then came the women and finally the children. Last of all were the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it, hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."
Houses had thatched roofs, thick straw piled high-with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the dogs, cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof into the house, thus came the saying, "It's raining cats and dogs."
There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house either. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could really mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.
The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt, hence the saying "dirt poor." The wealthy had slat floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they kept adding more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance way creating a "thresh hold."
In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lighted the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables without much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight, then start over the next day. Often times the kettle contained the same stew for quite a while, hence the rhyme, "peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old."
Families that could obtain pork considered themselves quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was an outward sign of wealth that a man could "bring home the bacon." Another indication was to cut off a sliver of bacon to share with guests and sit around to "chew the fat."
Those with money had plates made of pewter. Unknowingly at the time, food with a high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning and death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.
Most people did not have pewter plates, but had trenchers, a piece of wood with the middle scooped out like a bowl. Often trenchers were made from stale bread, which was so old and hard that they could be reused for quite some time. Trenchers were never washed, and worms and mold got into the wood and old bread. After eating off wormy, moldy trenchers, one would get "trench mouth."
Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or "upper crust."
Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination would sometimes knock them out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the roadside would often take them for dead, and prepare them for burial. The "deceased" were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days, and families would gather around, and eat, drink and wait to see if the party would wake up, thus began the custom of holding a "wake."
England is old and small, and the locals started running out of places to bury people. They would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a "bone-house" and reuse the grave. When reopening coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside. Realizing they had been burying people alive, there came the thought of looping a string around the wrist of the corpse, through a hole in the coffin, and up through the ground attached to a bell. Someone had to sit in the graveyard all night (the "graveyard shift") to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be "saved by the bell" or was considered a "dead ringer."
And that's the truth, folks. Who said history was boring?

Friday, 11 March 2011

Where is the Love ??

Today I have driven up to the Lake district, Cumbria, Kendal to be precise. Work related I had a damaged water pipe to repair in a church building which in itself wasn't a hard job, but the day did involve a 180mile round trip.
As a consequence I have listened to a lot of radio !!! The main discussion point on the more "wordy" channels, was last nights earthquake in Japan, mixed with a little bit about the current troubles in the Middle East. Just for a little light relief, the news threw in some home news relating to Job cuts and austerity measures  "Work Harder, for Longer, For less" is the new mantra.

It could be easy to get depressed !! So I did some channel hopping to lighten the mood ! Two classic anthems caught my attention which inevitably means turning the volume and bass up high to get maximum effect !

First up....... "You got the Love"  Florence and  the machine 2009

Second up.......   "Where is the Love" Black Eyed Peas 2003

One of the things about driving is you get time to think, what was it about these two songs that had me singing along, Yes they are classics, yes I'm sure crowds at concerts go mad when they strike the first bars, but what makes a hit a hit ? More to the point why are they the 2 songs that stood out to me today. Then I started to think about the lyrics..

You Got the love isn't actually a love song, its not Florence singing to her man...Take a look

Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air
I know I can count on you
Sometimes I feel like saying "Lord I just don't care"
But you've got the love I need To see me through

Sometimes it seems that the going is just too rough
And things go wrong no matter what I do
Now and then it seems that life is just too much
But you've got the love I need to see me through

When food is gone you are my daily meal
When friends are gone I know my Savior's love is real
Your love is real

Then in the middle of  "Where is the love" is a plea

People killin', people dyin'
Children hurt and you hear them cryin'
Can you practice what you preach
And would you turn the other cheek

Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
'Cause people got me, got me questionin'
Where is the love

Now at the risk of offending those who follow this blog and don't have a faith, perhaps their is some inspiration to be gained from the lyrics? Perhaps, just maybe, when we watch the worlds events there is a bigger picture? Just because we don't understand it, doesn't mean its not there. I have to say my personal faith does get me through the bad news, in fact with out it, I would be really concerned about the future for me and my kids.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Can you tell me how to get to ........

If you are of a "certain age" chances are this program played a part in you early life, in fact its been running that long you dont have to be too old to remember it !!!

I used to love Sesame Street, everyone has their favourite characters, mine would have been Cookie Monster closely followed by Bert and Ernie .... "Hey Bert !" In fact I would go as far as blaming Cookie Monster for my bad habit of being able to eat a full packet of biscuits/cookies in one sitting. At this point you need to watch the following video.

Now I bet your smiling ??

Over the years nearly everyone, that is anyone, has appeared on the street, It was probably the sign that you had made it. There have also been loads of songs and weekly features that everyone remembers.

Admit it, you have at least once been tempted to, or even done, an impression of  The Count  " ...1 blog post....2 blog posts ....3 beautiful blog posts .. HA HA HA "

If not, ever seen 4 items on the kitchen worktop and 1 was different, never been tempted to break out with a song ??? "One of these things it not like the others, one of these does not belong!"

I bet you all have different memories than me, but that's the joy, there is something for everyone. If you have time, click on all the links in the above text to see a video of each of the things mentioned.

And to bring us up to date how about a bit of Will-I-am of Black Eyed Peas fame doing his bit down in "da hood"

Today's post was brought to you by the letter P and the number 4 ..........................

Monday, 7 March 2011

Molly And Pepe

While digging in my archive of files, stories and one liners that I have been collecting from various sources over the years, I came across what's going to be today's post.
Its dedicated to Molly, my little sister and brother-in-laws doggy and Pepe my parents hound.

A few weeks ago Molly had to undergo emergency spinal surgery at a specialist veterinary surgeons and is recovering well but will take some time to get control of all those legs again ! Meanwhile Pepe has had steel pins in one of his back legs to correct a faulty knee joint and is not far off fully recovered

So if we are sitting comfortably lets begin

The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Racing me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort, however. Dogs can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other, stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out on the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is no secret exit from the bathroom! If, by some miracle, I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge in an attempt to open the door. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years - canine attendance is not required.

The proper order for kissing is: kiss me first, then go smell the other dogs butt. I cannot stress this enough.

Finally, in fairness, dear pet I have posted the following message on the front door:


  1. They live here, you don't.
  2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. That's why they call it "fur"niture
  3. I like my pets a lot better than I like most people..
  4. To you, they are animals. To me, they are adopted sons/daughters who are short, hairy, walk on all fours and don't speak clearly.

Remember, dogs and cats are better than kids because they:

  1. don't ask for money all the time
  2. are easier to train,
  3. normally come when called,
  4. don't smoke or drink,
  5. don't want to wear your clothes,
  6. don't have to buy the latest fashions,
  7. don't need a gazillion dollars for college and
  8. if they get pregnant, you can sell their children...

Get well soon Molly and Pepe !!!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Concerts - who have you seen ?

Ever sit and think its about time you went to see another music concert ???

Perhaps you have fond memories of an outstanding night or can still feel the goose bumps from listening to a certain track live

I've seen a few acts live over the years..  But by far the best has been U2.

When I was 14, way back in 1982, U2 were new to the world of music and appeared at Manchester Apollo on their "War" tour. A couple of my friends went and I didn't, little did I know I would end up waiting 26 years to see them live !!!

In 2005 they played Manchester again, this time on their "Vertigo" tour, but by then they had progressed to stadiums ! My friend Brian and I talked about going but couldn't justify the expense, so we cheated. The city of Manchester Stadium has a large 'Asda Wallmart' next door, with a BIG car park. Brian and I drove down in his pick-up truck and spent the evening sat in the open back of it, drinking Lucozade, eating chocolate and listening to U2 live, booming out from the stadium. It was a bit of a party atmosphere as several others were parked up too. Imagine a drive in movie without the screen.

Finally Brian and I got tickets to U2's "360" tour at the open air Sheffield Don Valley Stadium. Now this could have been make or break, after 26 years of waiting it could have been a massive let down... but it wasn't !

The stage was magnificent, it apparently took 40 articulated trucks to transport and days to erect. it certainly stood out as you walked into the natural bowl that is Don Valley.

Elbow performed as support during the late afternoon and as this clip shows the stage really dominates.

You can make out the lead singer on the stage just higher than  the crowd, but everyone got a good view thanks to the HUGE 360 degree screen under "The claw"

As the evening moved on the atmosphere increased until U2 were due on stage then it just became Electric !! I guess due to how long they have been around most of the crowd new all the words to all the songs and yes I came home with a sore throat !!!!

I have spent a while looking for a suitable YouTube clip to add at this point and although there are dozens of live videos to show, I have chosen this one that shows the entire event in one (different venue), including the preparation we didn't see on the day ...

Would I go again.... YES, was it the best concert ever YES, so back to the opening line , I'm in the mood for a concert !!

Feel free to comment and share !
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