Thursday, 31 March 2011

All the news that's fit to print.

I know this is going to make me sound very very old, but I remember a time when the BBC news was read by a slightly cross looking elderly gentleman/lady with a plummy Oxbridge accent and a vaguely superior air about them. They didn't give me their opinion, or ask me to look at their blog, or leap about in front of fancy graphics. Their job was to disseminate the facts to the viewer. Nothing more, nothing less.

I liked that, it was how the news was supposed to be. There was no sitting on the edge of the desk in a matey "How you doin' " fashion, no slightly risqué flirty chats with their co-presenter (yes, they've turned into presenters now), they just sat behind a desk and told me about things that had happened. The responsibility of opinion was on me. Lovely.

As a result of this I haven't really used the BBC as my main source of news for a while. I know that they all pretty well follow the same format now, but it somehow seems so much easier to deal with when it's not the BBC that is talking to me like we're old mates.

Having said all of that, I was led via a link earlier this morning to the BBC news website. It's worth a look today for entertainment purposes alone.

On the right hand side of the page are a couple of interesting features:

The "Top Stories" box includes news that the editors of the BBC site (I guess) think are particularly noteworthy. Today these include stories about the Japanese nuclear meltdown, concerns over prison procedures and skulduggery in the G20. Pretty much what you'd expect.

Further down the page is "Most Popular". Most of the above appear in this list as you would expect, at position 4, 9 and 3 respectively. So what is the number 1 most popular story on the BBC website?

"Vandal attack on Clarkson fence."

Despite all that's going on in the world, the thing we most want to hear about as a group is the strife poor old Jezza is suffering at the hands of the local hoodies.

And then it occured to me that maybe the BBC is just having to give us what we want. Innit.


Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Napoleon Dynamite.

Last night The Boy Wonder stayed over at Reality Towers. There was laughing and pizza and den building a go-go.

What follows is a classified transcript of the campaign briefing in the command centre* at Reality Towers, 19.05hrs zulu time.

++++Personnel present:++++

Commander Vert Wheeler (AKA The Boy Wonder)
Agent Bumblebee (AKA Daddy)
Corporal Doggy (AKA Doggy, a small soft toy)


Agent Bumblebee - OK Commander Vert, what's the plan?

Commander Vert Wheeler - Well, we'll drive around in our cars and then we'll drive into a big storm and fly and then we'll find the baddies and then we'll stop them from being badddies.

AB - That sounds like a brilliant plan, Commander. How will we stop them being baddies?

CVW - Well, we'll tell them that we don't like baddies and that we'll take away their cars and that we know Doctor Who and then we'll drive into the big storm and our cars will turn into robot planes and we'll fly away from the baddy boys.

AB - Sounds foolproof commander, let's go!

CVW - Yes! And then when we've beaten the baddies we can have a nice picnic.**

Corporal Doggy - Woof.

++++SitRep ends++++Classified+++++Eyes Only+++++

I'm no military expert, but I think as campaign strategies go this one was unorthodox to say the least.

Although, and maybe this is just my middle class upbringing, I do think that perhaps more of the world's conflicts would be settled more expediently if The Geneva Convention had a clause stating that all combatants would be taken on a picnic after hostilities are concluded.

After all, who wouldn't get a wiggle on to get to sit on a tartan blanket in the sunshine eating quiche a little bit earlier?


* - OK, the "command centre" was actually a kingsize duvet and 2 towels hung over a clothes airer.
** - At this point Agent Bumblebee almost forgot his military training and collapsed into a fit of giggles.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Normal service will be resumed shortly

I had planned to write something up for tonight, but today has been a rum old day and I simply can't be arsed.

Today was just too meh for words, it was a crap day generally, too many minor failures, disappointments and tribulations. I didn't even get to see or talk to the lovely FMA today.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't have to deal with any reactors going into meltdown or have to fend off any tinpot dictators today, so I'm ahead of the game compared to a fairly sizeable chunk of the world's population.

But, in short, today has been a day that I am glad has passed from the future to the past via the pinch of the now.

Yes, I know that there are an alarming quantity of swearwords peppering this post (and yes, I know I am posting despite saying that I couldn't be arsed), but that does pretty well sum up the day.

Tomorrow will be another day, the sun will shine and Wednesday 23rd March 2011 can just jolly well feck off. And I feel so much better for having written this.

And now I am going to bed with a good book, a coffee and a biscuit.


Monday, 21 March 2011


Well well well, first of all it's the census and now Auntie Gwen is getting all governmental and wanting to know stuff about her bloggy neighbours.

The main difference is that I know the lovely AG won't eventually sell my details to BigBusiness Inc., resulting in me being bombarded with 'Tailored Marketing' for stuff I don't want to buy. (although I suspect The White Company might get my details out of AG for the small consideration of soft furnishings. Every woman has her price).

Anyhoo, on to the nitty gritty;

3 names I go by:
Andy (most everyone calls me this), Andrew (my Sunday name, it still makes me nervous) and MFN. Don't ask.

3 places I've lived:
North Leicester, South Leicester and Cloud Cuckoo Land. Adventurous sort, aren't I?

3 Places I've worked:
I've worked in the UK, France and Germany (amongst others), although the non-UK places were all a few days at a time.

3 things I love to watch:
The start of Formula One races, Films that involve car chases and explosions (if the cars explode whilst being chased, so much the better) and drunk people.

3 places I have been and loved:
La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, a small restaurant on the edge of Lake Vattern in Sweden and the Purist Route on Bristly Ridge.

3 people that email me regularly:
My business partner, a chap who apparently has a lot of money that he'd like to get out of (insert African country here) and will reward me handsomely for my bank details and a company in Russia that is very concerned about the girth of my penis (ahem).

3 things I love to eat:
Bosciola olives, freshly baked ciabbatta and a really good bacon sandwich (with tomato sauce, naturally)

3 things I am looking forward to:
April 17th (the London Marathon), April 18th (no more training for the London Marathon) and a much needed holiday somewhere sunny.

So that's it. You now know more about me than you did before. Is that a good thing? Well, you'll have to decide that.

And I'm quite restricted on the people to tag in this part (gimme a break, I'm new to this blogging malarkey!), so let's go with Laura, The Colonel (yeah, right!) and O.Bliss


Friday, 18 March 2011

The Seventh Deadly Sin

Last night was parent's evening, the first since The Boy Wonder started 'proper school'.

He and I had spoken about it briefly on the phone a couple of nights ago and there was great excitement in his voice. I asked him if his teacher would say that he'd been a good boy. There was a pause. Quite a long one. "She might say I had a time out* once or twice".

I hoped for the best and prepared myself for the worst.

After waiting an interminably long period of time on unfeasibly small chairs in a room at the school that could only be described as Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen's nightmare made real (Small children do love primary colours, don't they?) we were summoned in see the teacher.

As we wandered through the door I looked down at TBW. I could see the look of apprehension on his face. and realised that the fun and games we had been enjoying in the holding pen had evaporated from his mind. I remembered my less-than-stellar school career and the sinking feeling of parent's evenings, squeezed his hand and smiled at him.

His teacher is fantastic. She was warm and freindly and clearly has a huge amount of time for TBW. He is doing incredibly well and is way ahead of the game in reading, writing and 'rithmetic.

When I started writing this blog I thought that it'd be nice for him to read one day when he's older. I'm now concerned that I've already set the reading age too low for his current abilities.

Yes I know that it's one of the seven cardinal sins, but I don't care. I honestly think I might burst with pride.

You, Sunshine, mean the world to me. Fact.


* - If you have kids under 8 you will know what this is. 
For those of you with kids between 8 and 15 think equivalent to  'The Naughty Step'. 
For those with kids between 16 and 20 think equivalent to  'A Good Telling Off'. 
For those of you without kids and older than 35 think equivalent to 'A Clip Round The Ear And Bed With No Tea'.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Got ma lip busted fightin', now there's blood on my top.

No, not me.

I refer of course to the wonderfully talented Plan B. I'm going out running in a short while (not just in daylight, but in actual sunshine!) and 'Always Stay Too Long' (the song from which the lyrics in the title are lifted) is my favourite track to run to, by an 8 minute mile.

It's been a long winter of runs. The ever increasing distance needed to stick to the training schedule is starting to get tedious. When you have been running for 3 hours even being shouted at by hookers is a welcome distraction (although I could have managed without seeing a fat man in just his pants watching television thankyouverymuch).

Yes, both of these things actually happened to me. On one run.

I'm hoping that now the nights are getting lighter and the weather is getting warmer I can summon up a little more enthusiasm for the training, find some of the spark that has gotten me this far. I know that come April 17th it will all be worthwhile, but right now a bit less time plodding along the mean streets of LE and a bit more time sitting on my arse with a glass of vino and the right company is a very appealing concept.

Despite the best efforts of Plan B, prostitutes and portly persons, my resolve is waning.


Edit:- This was due to be fired into the ether at 5.20pm and I was intending to be running by 6.30ish. Cue one stressy phonecall and voila! Post left hanging and I'm running in darkness at 7.30. Joy.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Facebook Lunacy.

I have a facebook account. Every now and then I post something to it. Usually it is fairly vacuous (stop sniggering at the back), sometimes it might be vaguely amusing and very, very occasionally there may be something useful in what I post.

Generally I use it to keep up with old friends, just to see what is happening in their lives. I suspect I am a fairly crap facebook friend because I read way more than I write.

But I have noticed a worrying new trend. People are now setting up facebook accounts for their pets. Admittedly I may have missed something on the news, some genetic breakthrough that has, for the first time, allowed Tibbles to operate the keyboard and therefore share their thoughts, opinions and concerns with the world via social networking. But I doubt it.

I doubt that Tibbles would really post "Just come back from the vet's with less than I went with. I am cross with mummy and daddy. Me-ow!" *

I suspect it would more likely be "Just had my nuts chopped off and it was sanctioned by those two feckers that I just about tolerate because they feed me."

I can't wait for HRH's corgis to share their first status update.

"If I get caviar for dinner one more time this week, I swear I will crap in Liz's slippers."

Andy likes this.


* - this is an actual, genuine post. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

I Need To Get High

Today my MBX and general raggedy-edged partner in crime sent me an email. The subject line merely contained the question "Need a break?". The body of the email just contained the picture at right.

It was enough.

It made me realise how long it's been since we were in the hills. He has had a few problems with his heel (because he is very old) and I have had a huge amount of time taken up with training runs for the London marathon (because I am very stupid). Roll on May, when the running will be done.

I miss the singlemindedness of a day on the rocks. The sharpness of the ridge doesn't care if you are concentrating or not. The weather does not give a fig about your happiness, or comfort, or welbeing. It is a beautiful contrast to the cotton-wool wrapped life that we all live.

The pic was taken last year on Bristly Ridge, in the Lakes. A day of adrenaline soaked sunshine, punctuated with incendiary smiles and manic laughter.

And for the record, I am the one with the unfeasibly pasty legs.


Monday, 7 March 2011

Because It's There.

Early start at the office for me today.

I was sitting at the main office PC, coffee in hand, trying to resolve an accounts problem hung over from Friday when the Business Partner breezes in.

BP is a man of few words. Conversations are a means of getting from A to B as quickly as possible. There should be no shilly-shallying or meandering. Any deviation from the original purpose of the exchange (and boy, there'd better be a purpose) is generally met with silence or, if he's really feeling chatty, a grunt.

Last week I managed to find out that he was planning to head to the Peak District for an organised walk over the weekend, so I thought I'd ask how it went;

Me - "Morning."
BP - "Morning."
Me -"How was the Peak District?"
BP - "Crap. It pissed down all day."
Me -"Oh dear. So not fun then?"
BP - "No."
Me -"Ok,"(by this point it's become a personal challenge to keep it going...)"Well, it does rain a lot up there, maybe next time the weather will be better."
BP - "Oh, I don't mind the rain, but I fucking hate walking uphill."

And thus we arrive at point B.


Sunday, 6 March 2011

Sid Vicious will be spinning.

Glasvegas, a Glaswegian post-punk outfit are playing Rock City in Nottingham in May. They sing about fighting and shagging and being angry about stuff. They also swear a lot.

The lovely Future Mrs Adventures is a big fan and decided that it would further my musical education to see them live. We decided to book tickets.

£7.00 a pop, so we decide to take along the family.

To a Glasvegas gig.

The youngest (who went to see Justin Bieber on Friday) was warned that crowd surfing was off limits.

At this point I desperately wanted to email the frontman of this hard drinking, foul mouthed, system-smashing group to tell him his gig was the subject of a full on family outing. He would have cried into his cocaine*, I'm sure.

Luckily for the mighty Glasvegas, it turned out that due to an advertising error the tickets were in fact £15.00, which was a bit pricey.

After all, we'd spent rather a lot over the weekend on an iPad and some rather lovely soft furnishings.

Sorry Sid, it looks like it was all for nothing.


*- This is purely for comic effect. I'm sure he's never touched the stuff.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Talk Wrench

I am a bloke.

This is a fact. I know this for certain because I have just returned from taking a wizz standing up and I still have dry shoes (there is other supporting evidence too, but I'll keep that to myself thankyouverymuch).

I also score very highly on the "engineer" spectrum.

These 2 contributory factors have served me pretty well throughout my life. If something needed fixing (and assuming it didn't rely on the evil black magic that is electricity), I would fix it. If something didn't need fixing I would probably take it apart to see why not and then just 'fix it' for the sake of it.

In short, life has equipped me well. The ability to take stuff apart (being a bloke) has been balanced with the ability to put it back together (being an engineer). Inanimate mechanical objects are my playground.


When it comes to human beings (particularly those of the opposite sex), the rules change.

I know that I can't fix every problem. I know that even if I could there is not a requirement for it in every single situation. I know that sometimes I just need to STFU and listen.

Knowing these things and actually enacting them are two very different things. Does anyone know of a good manual?

Or should I just fiddle with my toolbox less?