Monthly Archives: September 2007

Defending the borders!

Today, with a bit of help from Dad, I built the prototype fence panel we’d been planning – and it’s a success!  For those of you unaware/who haven’t been whinged at about it – we have a property adjoining an open area where the local kids gather and play football, which is fair enough, but as you can see from the adjacent fence panels, it has taken its toll on them since we moved in.  So rather than just buy new panels I decided I’d rather have a more sturdy solution.

After investigating panels made from recycled plastic, which would’ve done the job, they were expensive, not particularly attractive and only available in metric measurements – our fence posts being set out in good old imperial dimensions.  I also checked out if there are such things as sturdy pre-made panels, but frankly, there aren’t – they’re all flimsy, stapled-together with painfully thin featherboard planks.  So I decided the only solution was to actually make them from scratch.  I’m hardly a master joiner, but how hard can it be to make rectangles of wood?

As it turns out, after a trip to Wickes I found probably an even easier solution than I originally envisaged.  They sell precut and pretreated gravelboards that fit the fenceposts perfectly, which enabled Dad and I today to slide them in place, then screw on the vertical supporting timbers, which are the same width, to make a panel that sits snugly in the posts and offers a much more robust solution to standard fence panels.  We screwed in the two edge verticals first until we’d got about half way, before adding the two intermediate ones.  They’re screwed from both sides too, so hopefully it should prove sturdy!

All that remains is to decide what kind of coating to put on them – for subsequent panels I’ll pre-coat the wood before assembling them, I think – and also something to place on the top, whether we opt just for a smallish bit of timber, or perhaps some trellis to try to dissuade the local scamps from climbing over in order to retrieve errant footballs.  After that’s all sorted (which may be some time – but the beauty of the scheme is we can very much ‘pay as you go’ and do a few panels at a time), hopefully the council will be running a border down the other side of the fence and planting shrubs to afford extra protection.

So there you go – a quick DIY lesson from a most unlikely source!  Should you have problems with flimsy fence panels and want a strong and sturdy solution, then you could do a lot worse than utilising premade gravel boards to make up your own panels.  It’s very straightforward and whilst it just looks like a fence, it doesn’t look too unattractive either, I don’t think – particularly once we get it coated, and the rest of the panels finished!

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This nearly made me piss myself…

… spotted this on Ray‘s blog, which made me chuckle mightily, so thought I’d pinch the idea and post it here, with the actual video, since I can! 🙂

Can’t believe how quick time’s going – it’s less than 13 weeks ’til Christmas, you know – what a terrifying prospect!  Although given that I spent time in store last week helping put the Christmas stock out it shouldn’t be so much of a shock, I suppose.

I’m feeling quite smug at the moment, as I’ve had three games of football this week – and won all of them, contributing a diminishing but significant number of goals, four in the first game, three in the second and two tonight!  I think stepping up to playing regularly three times a week has really benefited my overall fitness so I’m able to keep up the pace a bit longer.

The garden’s all done and planted with assorted shrubs (which I suppose will get added to over time – but that’s Cat’s territory!).  One glaring “thing to do” though is to sort out our fence panels, which get battered by footballs during the summer (God bless the rain this year!), but fell outside of the budget for the work we had done.  I’ve found some wooden gravel boards at Wickes which I reckon I can form into some sturdy and not unattractive fence panels though.

So that’s the plan for tomorrow – to pick up enough to make a ‘test panel’ – to see if it doesn’t look too hideous, and does indeed prove to be sturdy… maybe I’ll need to take a football over onto the field adjacent to us and spanner a football at it once I’ve finished or something!  Hmm, maybe not!

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Robbing Council bastards..

Incase you don’t know what I’m about to rant about, Nottingham City Council are proposing to introduce a new not-so-stealth tax on workers who commute by car.  It’s called the Workplace Parking Levy, and frankly, it’s the most transparently unfair and ridiculous fundraising exercise in the guise of addressing congestion I’ve ever seen.

The propaganda has you believe that the scheme is to encourage employers to reduce the number of employees travelling to work by car, and the funds raised will be pumped into the public transport infrastructure – most notably ‘phase 2’ of the tram system that will connect it up with Wilford and Beeston.  But there’s a few flaws in the logic really, I’ll list three of them.

1. It will be a factor in businesses not locating in Nottingham.  Imagine if you had a few hundred employees, and needed a new location – would you have it where you have an additional fee to pay (you see, it’s the business that will get charged, not only with paying it – which they can pass on to their employees, but also for administering it).

2. The public transport system remains all-but useless for many commuters.  Self included – for me to get to work via the public transport system it involves two bus rides, two to three times as long, and more money than it would cost me to park at work if this ludicrous scheme comes through.

3. It unfairly targets only a proportion of the causes of congestion.  No allowance for the school runs (isn’t it funny, the traffic is always fine when the schools are off!), there’s no allowance for those commuting through and out of Nottingham, and those who are targeted are taxed, and that money spent on something that they’re unable to benefit from!

It seems incredibly unfair to me that the council plan to target people who go to work, pay income tax, national insurance, road tax, car insurance, car maintenance, fuel tax etc etc in order to make up for the evident shortfall in their budget for providing a suitable public transport system to encourage more folks to leave the car at home.  That’s the crux of it, really.  They acknowledge the system isn’t good enough, yet before it is improved, they plan on taxing those who can’t use it!

It makes my blood boil to think of it – fortunately there’s a sizeable campaign lead by many businesses around Nottingham to stop it.  If the City Council were serious about addressing congestion then they would introduce a congestion charge – this could be varied by time, it would impact on all road users in and around the City, and would be a much fairer means of going about things.  They would also budget appropriately for improving the public transport infrastructure – and make the cost of public transport more affordable – so that people have a viable choice rather than getting in the car.

Carbon footprints and congestion are all the vogue at the moment, but I can’t believe that this absurd scheme has the nerve to offer itself as a solution to these problems.  It is a cash making exercise and nothing more.  If you oppose this too, then write to your MP about it and lodge your complaint before it gets passed through.  If it does, then I guess we’ll all have to start parking on the street outside the site at work instead, or in the third of the site that does not fall within City Council boundaries!

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Busy week!

I spent two days working in a store this week, and bejesus my legs are aching like hell!  It’s amazing what a couple of days on your feet lifting and carrying stuff can do to an office-softened numpty like me!  Still, we got lots done, rather alarmingly, as ever, adding Christmas products in September… it will be a sad day when I no longer think . o O ( Christmas stock?  September?  What the fuck? ).

Elsewhere this week we’ve been having our garden revamped – it was a surprise to get home on monday and find no lawn at all… they’ve been making quite rapid process over the course of the week and it should be done but for a bit of planting that we can add at our leisure.  It is starting to look rather good, and hopefully will give us not only a smaller lawn (yay – I hate lawn mowing!), but also a flat one with borders, rather than going right against the fence/tree/etc.

Yesterday was very productive indeed too… I had a bit of an eBay-fest the other week, buying up some bits and pieces I’ve been meaning to for a while.  On the way home I also picked up a new desk for the desktop PC under the stairs – so combined with my eBay purchases we now have a large network storage drive (which runs on it’s own – so no need for the main PC to be on to use it), as well as a permanent network connection for the XBox 360 – so the next job is to work out how to best utilise the console to stream music/photos/videos from the network.  Yay!

Which brings today, which is a sad day – it’s the 3rd anniversary of the death of Brian Clough.  Of course, as time passes it becomes more appropriate to just reflect on the memories and the impact he’s had both on me and my surroundings – and the world of football, but it’s still a sad time, so if you do nothing else today, take a moment to reflect on a true legend – in a time when the term is applied to mediocrity or downright lunacy.

Rest in peace, Sir Brian.

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My fingertips are holding on to the cracks in our foundation..

Today is a day I spent working in store in Sheffield.  We periodically get called to arms to go to help our colleagues in the stores to merchandise for Christmas (no, really!) etc, which is what we’ve been up to today – and it’s bloody hard work for us office softies who aren’t used to a day on our feet lifting and carrying stuff – but it’s good to get out and remind ourselves what working for a big retailer is really all about at the sharp end!

Getting there was a bit of a ‘mare – the traffic just outside Heeley Park (just south of Sheffield proper) was mighty sluggish, but once there we cracked on and did quite a bit in the day.  Back again to finish off tomorrow hopefully, and then it’s back to the relative comforts of the office from wednesday.  It does make you appreciate just being able to make a tea when you fancy it, and spending plenty of time sitting down, even if you end up with eye strain from all the computer time!

Meanwhile at home the garden is getting a makeover – and I must admit after getting home today I was very impressed with how much graft our two garden designer types have gotten through – they’ve managed to completely remove the lawn at the back and the side of the house as well as consign lots of other rubble and stuff into the skip on the drive, as well as clearing the leylandii remains we’ve had in the garage for a while – it should be very exciting seeing how it develops over the week!

In half an hour the game between Newcastle and Derby kicks off, it should be entertaining seeing how many goals a resurgent Michael Owen can bag against the hapless sheep botherers, although now I’ve written this it will end up a dull 0-0 draw or a shock first win for the Rams.  Hmm, maybe not, eh?  The replay to Forest vs. Leicester in the Carling Cup is tomorrow evening, despite being 1-0 up at half time in the abandoned game, I fully expect us to lose the replay.

Not that the cup is of particular importance, although it would be nice to keep our 30-odd year old record against Leicester at the City Ground intact, and of course, to get one over on a certain former ginger manager of ours.  That’s about as exciting as it gets for this game, I’m afraid!  One thing I have learned today has prompted me to pick up some cobs and some bacon for preparation of a decent breakfast tomorrow – I was starving by the time lunch arrived today!!

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Karma sutra candy?

At work we’re quite big fans of Haribo sweets, and the strangely-named offshoot of them called ‘Maoam’ – which geniusly they sell in our staff shop, and allow you to have them as the snack part of a Boots meal deal too.  But it’s become apparent that some of the graphics seem to feature a strange green cartoon character in a number of slightly sexual looking poses with fruits representing the different flavours.  Check it out!

It’s definitely a bit dodgy, even considering the fact that I can probably be said to have somewhat of a dirty mind!

Anyhow, we had a work night out last night – which involved much drinking in the Canal House, which was splendiferous – lots of cherry beer was consumed by me, anyway!  After the pub started closing, we headed for some dirty burgers followed by a stint in the casino, since they only had space on the expensive Blackjack tables I had a few quid on Roulette and ended up winning a bit, not sure how much – but counting up the cash I had on me upon getting home, I only had £6 less than when I left the house earlier – so all in all a successful trip!

Today I aided my recovery with a Morrisons breakfast, which did the trick!  And I’ve since been ordering a few bits and pieces from eBay to give us a network drive to store media on independently of any of the computers, as well as a couple of widgets to enable me to expand the network and let the XBox 360 have a permanent network connection without a huge cable trailing across the room – as then I can explore the possibilities of the XBox’s ability to play music/video files from the network.

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A picture tells a thousand words..

I forgot to mention before, but I’m going to be published next year!  Or rather, a photograph I took back in 2002 is.  In 2002 I twice went to Stonehenge for a ‘private’ viewing, where – if you apply to English Heritage, you basically get to wander freely beyond the fences either first thing in the morning, or in the evening.  The first time was part of a group, the second time just myself and Cat went at dawn just after midsummer – which was where the photo I took came from.

It’s basically a picture taken from in the middle of the monument, looking back towards the horizon trying to capture the sun rising just behind the heel stone and casting a shadow right into the middle of the structure.  It only does this precisely at midsummer, you see – and there’s a probably fanciful theory that this was part of the purpose of the place – to symbolise the Sun (an ancient symbol of masculinity) coming together with Earth (ancient symbol of femininity) to fertilise the world for another year.  Or something.  It’s all very Freudian.

So yes, anyway, ages ago I posted a few photos on a website devoted to all things megalithic, and since have kind of drifted away from the subject somewhat, only to be emailed out of the blue by the website owner asking if it was okay if one of their members used the photos in a forthcoming book – which is ace, so naturally I agreed!  Hopefully I’ll be able to get hold of a copy of it too, so that I can revel in my photographic prowess or something!

Other than that, it’s been a whole lot of working – although we did take a trip to Cat’s folks at the weekend, where we discovered the existence of a herb called ‘grains of paradise’ – which would have to live upto their name indeed, since the recipe that contained them also consisted of ‘pig lites’ – which are presumably named because you wouldn’t want to know which bits of pig were precisely included in the dish!

We also went on a trek to Northampton on monday to pick up a TV corner unit I won on eBay – which is quite a long way, but it was for a bargainous price.  We had a glass/chrome affair which went well with the telly, but not our other furniture – plus Phoebe saw it as a climbing frame, and one with easily accessible cables to chomp upon – so replacing it was a sensible option really, and I’m quite pleased with the outcome.

Speaking of Phoebe, after her over-zealous preening/molting rendered her flightless, she’s been on a campaign of feather-regrowth and is now pretty mobile in the air again – although a little lacking in range and confidence still, but she’s well on the way to full menacing capabilities again, which is nice to see as she was rather a forlorn little bird when she couldn’t really get around herself very easily.

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Words are very unnecessary, they can only do harm..

I’m sure I read somewhere that time seems to go faster as you get older – in which case I’m worried I’ve aged about 10 years in a month or so. No sooner am I heading to work on a monday morning it seems to be friday again! It’s true a new project I’m involved with has started to kick off, but I’m no busier than normal, and whilst it’s interesting, it can hardly be described as having fun – so I’ve no explanation for time seemingly flying!

This week (on tuesday – it seems like only a day ago!), I had the pleasure of meeting Stan Collymore. He was doing ‘An Evening With..’ in The Approach which Rich and I had decided to attend, it was an entertaining night – as well as his amusing on-the-stage antics and stories, the highlight for me was him popping outside the venue for a quick cigarette, and ask for a light. Sad really, but I’ve always been in awe of people who I’ve literally worshipped as a footballer. He was very genial and we had a nice chat, including getting the opportunity to ‘out’ “the other” Rich as the originator of the LTLF petition to get him to come back to Forest as a player! Arf.

On Wednesday afternoon we spent the afternoon in Via Fossa, which was a pleasant change with the sun out sat on the balcony, alas I was the only person with enough foresight to not have my car with me, so there wasn’t to be any sneaky drinking sessions to be had. I suspect that I would have regretted this come thursday morning anyway, so I suppose I should be pleased that fortune smiled on me, really!

Thursday and Friday evenings were football – I seemed to have a dreadful game on thursday, not sure why – although I did score thanks to a helpful deflection off Rich, and I did flatten Ross in revenge for him not being flattened last time I collided with him! I dunno, when I were a lad there were nowt wrong wi’ a good ode shoulder-barge! Arf. Friday footy was better. Since my side seemed to have no defenders I stayed back – it was about 8 vs. 7 (we were the 7 until Dave was taken poorly), so we were outnumbered and it was quite crowded, not optimum conditions for me as I like to have at least a bit of time on the ball!

I think we won in the end – which was good! So that’s another week gone! Forest aren’t playing tomorrow laughably because we have so many international call ups! So at least they can’t ruin my weekend, as is their way. I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about England anymore, since McClaren has taken over it’s sapped my interest to beneath-my-already-low-interest-when-Sven-was-in-charge levels, which is certainly an achievement of sorts. Fucking Heskey. What was he thinking?

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Milk? Urgh!

For those of you, like me, who have been hankering after re-living the pinch-faced wee Scouse scally and his mate discussing the merits of milk-drinking – with particular reference to Ian Rush and Accrington Stanley, then hanker no longer – for thanks to Rich it is below!

It’s still a genius advert, certainly it retains a fondness because when it was televised I was too young to realise that Liverpool FC were part of the axis of evil, so perhaps I can forgive myself my indulgence just this once!

On a more ‘blog’ note, my feet absolutely kill from a couple of games in the new boots. Cat has very kindly acquired me some ‘Compeed’ today, which apparently is like an uber-plaster that you stick over blisters and basically wait for it to fall off/disintegrate/rot/whatever it is they do, by which point the blisters should be gone – huzzah! So hopefully I’ll be more comfortable soon.

Won on thursday, played quite well – lost on friday, played quite badly owing to only being able to run in a manner that made me look like I really needed a poo. Still, them’s the breaks! Last night was Ruth’s 30th drinking session, and I got fairly trollied yet seemed to be able to get up this morning quite easily (odd!), it was a good night, though!

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