Friday, 2 June 2017

I feel the need - the need for speed

Business trips to Newcastle. They are so boring and laughs are few and far between. After the excitement of a 5 hour train journey is over you find yourself sitting on the bed with a lukewarm Pot Noodle and a packet of wine gums. The only entertainment I have is flicking though media packages and perusing the DVD covers of the movies that I daren’t pay per view for the shame of having to settle up the next day in reception. 

So one of the things I like to do to alleviate the boredom happens way back at the start of the journey – filling in the Accommodation booking form. Boring enough I grant you. But there is always that little box at the end that most of you probably just skip right past without giving it any thought. Think again amigos – this is a rhapsody between your imagination and the reciprocation of the hotel staff. It also serves to determine whether or not the hotel staff actually read your special requests.

Most of the time they are ignored but ever so occasionally as my hand opens the door with trembling anticipation, a gem is revealed and you are justly rewarded for your efforts. My heart gives out a little “Yay!” and a leaping high five. (Back of the net!)

The most highly recommended Royal Station Hotel in Newcastle - I salute you and your wonderful staff.


Thursday, 30 March 2017

Goosh! Champion of the invertebrate world!

Homeless snails -The “Ugly Duckling” of the invertebrate world -Phlegm of the Devil and sworn enemy of the gardener. Someone has to stand up for those poor saps. As the days lengthen and warm up, a daily desperate struggle for life starts anew. Slugs frantically race across the tarmac pavements trying to reach the safety of the grass verge before they are baked alive on the tarmac.
Poor bastards.

And as for why birds haven’t cottoned onto this probably explains why they are where they are on the evolutionary pyramid.

Knowing these slithering gastropods are facing a hideous end and that I, with a nonchalant flip of my wrist, have the power over slug life or death weighs heavy on my mind. Shall ye live….? Or shall ye die? Thumb up….? Thumb Down? As Spiderman’s dad said – “With Great power comes great responsibility” So armed with my un-used flexi gym card, it isn’t uncommon for me to have to stop several times on my walk into work to quickly stoop down and flip these critters into the long grass.
Enter Goosh – Slug Warrior.

During the summer last year I forewent my passion for pretty flowers at the front of the house to allow cabbage white caterpillars to strip my nasturtiums to the ground. As each plant was steadily eaten from leaf to stalk, the little wrigglers would wait patiently and the bottom of the stem for me to return home each evening and then carefully pick them off and carry them to the back garden so they could continue destroying my nasturtiums in the back garden as well.
Enter Goosh – Caterpillar Champion.

Slugs....bees..worms ...anything really that's a bit close to death and down on it's uppers. And so , let me take those of you still awake and reading on a journey of a rescued bee.

I was wandering home from work one summers evening when I happened upon a huge bumble bee struggling through the grass, totally out of bee fuel. I immediately went into ‘Bee Rescue’ mode. I put the bee inside my laptop case and carried it home. I burst through the front door and paused momentarily, fists on my hips, superman style. Back off you excited children running to greet me! back off wifey desperate for some manly loving! I have an emergency here!

The kids were shooed out of ‘theatre’ whilst I used a pair of salad tongs to take the bee out of my laptop bag and put it into the ‘Recovery unit’ (aka a Chinese takeaway box with some honey and water in a jam jar lid) and left her to convalesce in peace.

Next morning my patient was vastly improved - buzzing about and looking eager to return to her honey making duties. A quick brew of tea and we both went outside ready for discharge. I put my tea on the window sill and the takeaway box on the patio.... Lets just step back out of the way against the conservator…..splat!!! No more gentle buzz - just silence. I had only gone and stepped backwards and trodden on the poor soul with my size nines. One squashed and very definitely dead bee.

Moral of the story? Dont waste your time with the bees, they are too needy. Not like those street-wise cousins the wasps who are a little bit exciting and well hard. Hey! Bees! Be more like the wasps you big saps!

Wifeys hand rested gently on my shoulder as I washed my hands silently at the kitchen sink staring blankly out of the window.
‘If you work with bees long enough something like this is bound to happen'.
'It's not your fault.... '
You're the best God-damned Bee King I know!’

My fingertips met hers…..
Hattie crept into the room… ‘Is the bee ok Daddy?’

‘Yes’. I said. ‘Yes'.
The bee is fine’

(queue the ‘Casualty' theme music)

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Love is all Around

Its baking hot in the UK right now. The mercury hit 34 degrees on Tuesday afternoon. It was so hot I didn't get to sleep until 05.30. That was only after I had finally skulked off downstairs, pulled all the cushions off my homemade sofa (see blog post How to build a DIY sofa parts 1 and 2) and kipped on the floor of the conservatory. Despite the birds best attempts at a raucous dawn chorus, I finally fell asleep just as I was about to wake up. 

So to all intents and purposes I should be in bed asleep now. 

That was of course until I stumbled onto IVT2 showing "Love Actually" whilst nonchalantly flipping through the TV channels. 

Could it get any better? Yes it can. It was also on ITV2+1.

Bed? Whats that? I have 2 cups of tea on the go and I'm flipping back and forth between ITV2 and ITV2+1. I don't care that I have it on HD DVD upstairs and I don't care that I have to suffer the interminable adverts every 30 minutes - I must watch it - ads and all. 

Ooh and Hugh Grant is just about to do "that" dance ....... 

Quintessentially British and I love it (actually)