Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy Old Year!

We are trusting the humble abode of the FftS to HWWGTA for the New Years celebrations and spending the evening with friends. Such great friends that they have even asked a very kind teetotaller to do the driving. Thus TMTDUB and WFBOJ are in the hands of HWWGTA and (Now what will her acronym be? for the time being it will be HWA). They are holding a Murder Mystery Dinner with an Italian theme. Wonder if they will play the "Mafia" game after they have figured out who the murderer was?

Happily HWA arrived just in time to get the two legs of lamb into the oven. Yes, two and there are only 6 of them. Hope they like meat! She had asked me just after arriving; how organised HWWGTA was I nearly split my sides!!! He is after all his father's son!

Must go and get ready .... must be ready for our lift!!!

Puppy Bath Photo Blog

Early one morning WFBOJ needed a bath. Not that she wanted one! But for reasons that I won't go into here we knew that she did! As you can see from her very forlorn look.
Unfortunately she wasn't able to tell us just how bad we were at giving puppy baths. Though I suspect her attempts to frantically scrabble out of the sink was a sort of clue.

Finally the liberal application of a hair dryer produced a very interesting out of focus fuzzball effect!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A resounding success!

It is sadly not often enough that the FftS meets up with the FfY. We did get a full set together, though the specific instance of full-set-ed-ness was unfortunately not long lived, must be something to do with the half life of the resulting element.

This occasion was the first introduction of TIBF to the "Full-Set". First impressions were that he was smart, clearly proven later in the evening to be an understatement. As an example he spends his spare time correcting the English in the latest QI book,.... I swear I would never have spotted the misused apostrophe it's indeed! Stephen how could you let the side down so badly by allowing your name to be connected to such badly constructed English book!. Being apparently so smart, is totally congruent with him being the (Ex) Italian boy friend of TBA.

The evening progressed onto food which of course, for TEIBF was surely the main trap, as being Italian (did I mention that?), and bound inexorably to the stereotypical model us Brits have of the Italian Male, he had to uphold his Mother's cooking at all costs.

The trap was neatly executed by TGSWAES, (who for my reader is TBA's mum) as she had cunningly decided to serve "Lasagne". What she was actually serving was the traditional 14th Century English dish Loseyns (pronounced Lasan). which in turn is likely to have originated from the Scandinavian "Langkake", popular from the Viking ages, a multi-layered dish consisting of flatbread, meat sauce and cheese.. (I wonder if TBA has already found Archaeological proof of all this.)

Any how.. back to the neatly executed trap, TEIBF shewn earlier to be not short of a braincell or two, had spotted the trap and on being asked (a little too blatantly for my taste in traps) by TGSWAES "How does it compare to your mother's Lasagne?". He replied with a perfectly executed and very simple "It's different!". The tone held enough to clearly convey that his Mother's culinary dominance had not been assailed, certainly not equalled, and the very thought of it having been surpassed, not even a remote possibility!. To have the grasp of English tone to execute in 2.5 simple words so much, had me in awe. The effect on the table was quite interesting, as the various parties bound to support the slighted one. At this point TEIBF executed another blinding verbal pirouette by helping us understand that the execution of most foreign cooking by the English was "different", "take for example" Indian food in England. We all pictured in our minds eye the Chicken Tikka Masala dish that we had come to understand had never been cooked in India, until arriving English tourists demanded it! As TEIBF had said "diferrent"!

It is so easy after the fact to see how simply he lead us all neatly away from discussing the true origins of Lasagne. Clever really how we never really got to prove that Lasagne was English, before it was Italian!.

The latter part of the evening involved playing a most interesting Parlour Games, called variously Mafia or WereWolf. The rules we played can be found here, originating from Russia it is one of the most recently invented parlour games. For its history and other rules check the Wikipedia entry

HWWGTA was the Narrator, and he had the challenge of selecting a Detective, a member of the Mafioso. He had to make it difficult to guess, but how? So his selection made the game began... The individual playing the Mafia moved in quick and took out the three eldest Males of the village , assisted by the villagers in their lynching selection. His second strike took out the Detective, who had correctly identified him just before his demise. He spoke little but when he did it always resulted in a shift of blame and his survival.

One by one the innocent villagers fell to the power of the "Mafia", the game came to its inevitable conclusion. I will never forget the spine tingling comment of TIBF on our departure. Paraphrased his comment simply recognised that the result was not unexpected given the experience of the person that HWWGTA had selected to be Mafia. I was still numb from the fact that HWWGTA had chosen to double bluff and select TEIBF, after all who would suspect he would choose an Italian. So when TEIBF shared the inevitability of the result, I of course shivered! I just hope he reads this and then smiles benignly! If this blog comes to an abrupt end, you will know he didn't!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Dastardly Multi Letter Acronyms

My "reader" has given me clear feedback about my DMLA's, they are apparently too dastardly, despite the fact that I pepper clues to their meaning throughout a blog in which they are introduced, often just plain spelling them out! Well for most of them ,of course HWWGTA is not going to get any clues! None, NARDA, just ain't happenin'!

So I am going to use this Blog as the key for all those who do not have the desire to wrestle with them... of course I fear I am putting myself in mortal danger by publicly declaring an order to my Surrogate Daughters, but they were created in a very strict time dependant order, so hopefully they will not pillory me for being a clock watcher!

I will add DMLA's a few at a time and keep them in Alphabetical order for ease of reference.


AFGF A DMLA that for the time being shall remain lost in the history of the old millenium.

FftN A simple one to start including lower case to signify "little words", this one means "Family from the North". An indicator of the current geographic location of one of the Families mentioned in the Blog.

FftS Clearly the opposite of FftN

FfY this one means "Family from Yately". Comprising TREE, TGSWAES. TBA, *****, HWINKU.

HWA this one is a temporary one that means "Her Without Acronym".

HWINKU another silent DMLA disclosue {insert Evil Laugh here} which means "He Who Is Never Knowingly Uncool". You have to see, to believe!

HWWGTA this one gives me insane pleasure in silently publishing as it means "He Who Will Get This Acronym". He is getting closure, so by publishing I can at least claim he could have read it here!

SDO Ever feel like the sword of Damacles was suspended above you, this one stands for "Surrogate Daughter One", it in NO way is intended to rank by any means other than time-based, things like their downright cussedness, the power of their eminently powerful laser looks (although I can secretly disclose here that there have been not a few incidents that have been put down by officialdom as being caused by "Natural Disasters", when in fact it was simply me riling one of them a step too far!!) Not to mention things like Weight, Height Beauty etc., for clearly any SD of mine is perfection personified.

SDT I am simply not telling you!

SGM Speedy GrandMa after one GrandMa that we know, who "got done" for speeding which clearly scored her MANY brownie points with the young of the FftS and the FftN.

SWDNFT She Who *** Wait ... for .... it!

SWHWMD She WhoWants More Dogs The old DMLA for SWHAND

TBA "The B******** Archaelogist", She knows who she is, and her brothers will be making up words beginning with B until they find one that finally gets under her skin!

TGSWAES "The Good Samaritan With an Evil Streak", despite the fact that it sounds harsh, to those who don't know her, she knows I'm right! It also one of her most loveable aspects, if only she didn't keep it under control! I have to be carefull here as I can feel an urge to gush... Phew! Nearly complimented her, that was close!

TEIBF "The Ex Italian Boy Friend", Like you needed this one explained!!! Yeah right! (Though it turns out he wasn't as bright as I thought he was! Perhaps he was kinder and more generous than I can imagine.)

TREE "The Real Electronic Engineer, I knew as soon as I met, him many moons ago that he knew about electrons and I would always be feeling in the dark. Happily his IQ does n't stop him having flaws, like the urge to eat chips before arriving to dine.

TVBNL "The Very Bright Northern Lad" the father of AFGF (not sure I am ready to disclose that last Acronym.)

TVBNLSSL "The Very Bright Northern Lad's Sweet Southern Lass" the Mother of AFGF (still not sure I am ready to disclose that Acronym.) (This acronym care of SWHAND)

TMO "The Messy One" also known as the Trundling Grunt whose Blog is known as Secrets and Lies ((Magnificent indeed!!!))

WFBOJ "White Furry Bundle Of Bundle Joy" The old DMLA for the latest addition to the FftS household, selected before we knew better.

WFT "White Furry Terrorist, the more apposite DMLA for the latest addition to the FftS household.

***** DMLA Wildcard. Normally means that I have had to veto most of my DMLA's for the individual referred to using the wild card, or that I have not had that AHA! moment yet.

I wonder if this will appease my reader!?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Blogs! Who has time for Blogs with a new puppy!

This will be short terse and hopefully as sweet as the new puppy! She arrived in a flash of white fur and introduced herself to TMTDUB, who didn't even know she existed as an extra member of the household, by sneaking up behind him and running under his belly to poke her head up under his chin! Well! To say he was enamoured would be a downright lie! He jumped about 4,000 feet into the air, all the while spinning round to check out what this alien being was, and then landed paws splayed, snarl at the ready and took his first snap at her, but she must have been expecting it as she wasn't where his jaws snapped shut. We had hoped just maybe he was just playing, but he hasn't stopped snarling since!?

Well between then and now we have been introduced to this amazing phenomena, a tiny white furry bundle that just KNOWS she is in charge! Which does not serve to increase TMTDUB's sense of well being and calm, and has done a lot to have him perfect a terrifying lip curling display fo fangs. He seems to have a permanent snarl with a continuous low pitched rumble coming from deep in his belly. Which appears to be intended to communicate to WFBOJ, that she should stay well clear. What she actually does is simply ignore him. Which only serves to wind him up more... Puppies are supposed to be subservient to older Male dogs that bare their teeth right....??? Not WFBOJ!

After all she owns the place already! Charlie just hasn't got accustomed to the fact yet!

But neither have we, it seems a little weird coming to the realisation that something so small can take instantaneous control of 4 adults and an older male dog.

So hourly trips into the garden, which is after all a wonderful new place to explore is a requirement for many reasons not least that it's best to tire her out as quickly as possible so that we can get something done! But actually it is quite entertaining, the first time she tried to walk across the pond was quite a sight! The netting, there to protect the fish from the dratted Herons. served to stop her sinking to the bottom of the pond, but as luck would have it she still had her hind legs on terra-firma so with a complicated fast reverse coupled with a body roll to her left she avoided drowning....

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

12 Days of Hogswatch

You Terry Pratchett fans should be pretty excited about the upcoming Sky One event on the 17th and 18th of December Hi Def too! Yippee!!

Unless of course you don't get Sky One! :-)

So as a teaser, watch "Death" in the '12 Days of Hogswatch' here..

Be quick they are already on day 2...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A new cocktail to celebrate: KT's Surprise

After the news last night I designed a new cocktail to celebrate.

Glass: Martini Cocktail Glass

2 parts Golden Cayman Island Rum
1 part Roses Grenadine Syrup
1 Maraschino Cherry

Chill Glass to achieve frosting (increases the chances of the surprise)
Half fill shaker with crushed ice
Add liquids to the shaker
Shake well till ice forms on the outside of the shaker
Remove glass from freezer
Drop Maraschino Cherry in the bottom of the glass
Pour in the Pink liquid over the cherry to "hide" it!

Serve and Enjoy

Cayman Island Golden Rum reminds me of the best of holidays
The cherry disappears beneath the pink liquid and emerges from the depths as the drink progresses.

Friday, December 01, 2006

YIPEEE!! great news...

"I have never heard HWWGTA squeal as high pitched, it was really sweet!", said SDO.

I will remember that line for a while, but not as long as I will recall the squeal just after he had picked up the phone. What! I said.... and he passed me the phone... I just managed to avoid beating his squeal! So sad how age affects one...

All triggered by the purchase of 29 pink roses, 2 bottles of pink champagne and a circle of metal with what are rumored to be terribly well cut and polished oxides of aluminium colored by iron and titanium. The human units have a penchant for digging up objects out of the dirt and turning them into attractive shiny objects to adorn the orifices and digits of the female units of the species, primarily.

The first time I met TSO, now presumably better known as FSSILO; was in SDO's college room, and like her Mum, it took me seconds to realise he was hooked. Well, 5 years on he has proposed and SDO has said yes! YIPEEEE!

It hasn't really sunk in yet but I suppose the backlash will hit me far less than it will PoSDO. Surrogacy has a diminishing effect on the pain I'm sure. At present I am still just plain chuffed and even more convinced that I want to go up and see them in their new abode. I suppose the other thing that is keeping the pain at bay is the fact that I have had 5 years to prepare for this day.

Weird that it occurred on the very day that I was feeling guilty for not sending the bits to put in the HMAC. The relief is palpable, FSSILO now has the official duty of filing up the said advent calendar. So, some rules to help him get it right...
1) Don't put the same thing in every pocket!
2) Mix the value, at least 60% can be chocolate or other silly things
3) The rest different surprises, one of which needs to be of a higher value of the others... OMG! he wouldn't have been that clever would he? He already made me look stingey with SWWMD, Pink Roses and Pink Champagne indeed! "Girls like that sort of thing you know" With the knowing look that signifies now you have to get me something more than Millie for Christmas!

So with that thought bouncing round my head, I will sign off this blog, with a final congratulations to the happy couple! Can't wait till 2008, that's if I can persuade them that I deserve an invite! As this first metal band signifies that another band or two will be required, along with possibly some other banns being read.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Wow hope for me yet!

I may yet get to improve my blog template with this super blog

Tis late but I will be figuring out all the tricks over time especially love the little url book icon!

Monday, November 27, 2006

The first three Christmas Light Gremlins

1) The Transformer Gremlin
This tricky little gremlin uses the ploy of hiding the transformer stored with a more demanding string of lights and swapping it with a weaker transformer, of the correct voltage of course so the lights do light, for a while at least before the poor under powered transformer goes into permanent melt down. The result is a double whammy two light strings out of action!

2) The Spare Lights Gremlin
One of the tricks that this gremlin uses is to provide copious supplies of different types of replacement bulbs, that one never remembers purchasing that fit none of the strings available. He gains much pleasure from watching his victims trying in vain to make any of the different bulb types fit any of their strings of lights. Another of his tricks is to retreive previously discarded dead bulbs and reinsert them into a seemingly new pack of spare bulbs. (His cousin the "Dead Match" gremlin uses a similar ploy with matches.)

3) The Invisible Dead Bulb Gremlin
This gremlin has many tricks up his sleeve, his favorite appearing to be the hands on "Swap the dead bulb" trick. Which due to his invisbility he can do during his favorite time, which is when his victim is swapping their spare bulb in a string of lights that clearly has one dead bulb stopping it working. There are many who will not have realised that it was not the fact that they lost track of which bulbs thay had not tested. It was the IBL Gremlin's greatest pleasure to swap two broken bulbs into a string that had just been proven to work. Another of his tricks is to carefully move the string of bulbs beneath the feet of his victim so that they crush at least one more bulb than they have spares.

I am sure many of you have had the misfortune to have been visited by these gremlins....

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Hot Press: Indian Ocean not safe for seals!

For those of you lucky enough to watch BBC TV, you will have realised that you "DON'T" want to come back as a seal in the Indian Ocean.

I was going to blog about my first meeting with the "Christmas Lights" gremlins, but then I read TMO's blog and as I had only just started with one set of lights and have thus far only met the Transformer Gremlin. I thought I would wait until I had met and identified a few more of them.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Grapevine Blog: about the Professional Lady

I know a professional lady, and I asked her what she would do for half her going rate, her response was :
"I wouldn't even get out of bed for that!"

Which was a good start!


There are some that will remember the "professional lady's" ability to fill the UniS, as it is now called, "grapevine" with her utterings! It was a section in the weekly student mag to capture the various unfortunate sayings that folks utter before they have fully engaged brain and checked for double entendre or unfortunate inuendo.
(The profession in question was in fact Counselling)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Emotional Stop-Press

I interrupt this important ethanolic rambling.... to share an emotional experience.

Some background.... three years ago I was standing in front of a body that was broken, it was my friend of many years standing... TOACC. He had had a stroke. Worse from a selfish point of view, I was standing with his wife and children. So I couldn't just cry.

We were in a hospital and this shell in front of me was not TOACC! It was one of the lowest points of my watching. A demonstration of the human units at their frailest.

Over the weeks and months on each of my returns across the pond, TOACC made amazing progress. With the support of his family, friends and faith; he became TOACC again.

But that is not the reason for this Blog...

Today, I met him in the cafeteria of our mutual place of employment.

He was BACK @ WORK!! Here I have to stop as I do not have words to convey my joy!
(PS Happy Birthday TEG, who is the son of TOACC)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Scotch is NOT Whiskey! PART 1

In my early days of exploring the vagaries of the human units, I came across a noxious substance known as Alcohol, an arabic word meaning "finely divided". It was named in 5,000 bc by the alchemist Paracelsus, of Harry Potter fame. A general formulae for a simple acyclic alcohol is CnH2n+1OH. The specific alcohol of interest to the human units is ethanol (CH3CH2OH), which is created by fermenting sugars.

The earliest known use of ethanol beverage was some 9,000 years ago in Jiahu, in the Chinese province of Henan, where it has been proposed that a beverage fermented from a mixture of rice, honey and hawthorns was created.

Why would they imbibe these substances, the answer is found in their brain chemistry, for ethanol is a psychoactive substance, with sedative hypnotic and depressive effects. OK, so they are whacky. The human units find it easier to socialise after partaking of this poison, which is also unfortunately for them addictive.

The yeasts that break down the sugars cannot survive readily in liquids containing more than 18% Ethanol, and die above 25%, so the human units invented a means to purify the ethanol to make the ethanol based beverage more toxic, this method known as distillation was invented by Islamic Alchemists in the 8th or 9th century.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Bonemeal and Bulbs, good idea or bad?

It all started with TPoSDT visited, they spoke of a structures as tall as 11 Red London Buses piled on top of each other! Biomes built into a sixty foot crater, it sounds and is, other worldly. Actually, it's anti-everything I have observed in the human units. Words like ecology and conservation flow from the crater in abundance, they are even researching "Green" surfboards!. The place is the Eden Project, so given the urgings of "TMO" I visited with SWWMD. Unfortunately we visited in the spring, at a time called Bulb Mania. When the air must be imbued with some form of mind altering narcotic gas, or perhaps it was the bubonic plague, argued to be the real origin of TulipMania. We ordered hundreds of the things. I must explain that I saw it as an investment! After all there was a time not too long ago in the history of this greeny blue planet (1637) that bulbs were sold by weight, and one weighing about half an ounce could be sold to purchase: eight pigs, four oxen, twelve sheep, twenty-four tons of wheat, forty-eight tons of rye, two hogsheads of wine, four barrels of beer, two tons of butter, a thousand pounds of cheese, a silver drinking cup (as well as clothes, bed and mattress, and a ship! ((Now, you don't think me so stupid eh!!))

As usual the above may or may not bare any resemblance to that thing called reality, which one human unit recently described as "just a crutch for people who can't deal with drugs" but I digress. As hinted at earlier, some see the whole TulipMania thing as an artefact of a mass histeria caused by the bubonic plague.

Well months later, after having visited BulbMania, just as promised, the said bulbs arrived in a distressingly large box. (Goodness knows how many hogsheads of wine they would have cost in 1637!) Needless to say we practised a few weekends of bulb procrastination. However I did do my research, on how to make the bulbs grow in weight during their planting, for after all this is how one makes money, every aas counts! (0.0018gm).

It seems the answer lies in allowing rapid root development, which in turn lies in the right feed: which according to the web is Phosphorous, which can be found in Bonemeal. Bone meal helps develop sturdy root systems and stimulates plant growth. As luck would have it the previous gardening season, I had purchased enough bone meal to plant thousands of bulbs.... Serendipity is such a wonderfull thing, as well as being a great spaceship, if you take out the "dip".

Just imagine the hogsheads of wine I will be able to buy now I have found this money spinning trick!

The saturday was sunny and both SWWMD and I focussed on the massive undertaking, OH Yes! did I mention that SGM had also chosen to add to the fun by buying us an additional 60 bulbs. Pits were dug and appropriately sprinkled with copious amounts bonemeal, pots were filled, again with generous dollops of the ground stuff! I was positively salivating at the thought of the resulting "aas".

Anyone spotted the flaw yet?

Many will have! And no it wasn't the downright disingenuity of the internet, for while researching for this blog, I came acrooss this link The best time to feed bulbs? When you plant them! You may think "and???" that's what you have been telling us. However, embedded deep within the reinforcing article, is this question: What about bonemeal, the old favorite? The answer a very disappointing:

Because changes in commercial processing have affected the nutrient quality of bonemeal, it's no longer the best fertilizer to use when planting bulbs.

That just served to rub my nose in it! Which unfortunately is part of the root of the real problem. For a certain TMTDUB has a nose that is very good at determining where he planted his bones, well most of the time, as he knows he has lost a few!

IMAGINE!, the next morning that he prances out into the garden anticipating the blessed relief that emptying a canine bowel can bring, when POW!!! his olfactory nerves start firing 10 to the dozen a garden FULL of BONES! Yippee.... where to begin!

Hence his DMLA, The Mutt That Digs Up Bulbs!

His disappointment is only matched by that of the merchant who lost his Semper Augustus to the sailor to whom he had just rewarded a red herring breakfast, who thought it was an onion and nicked it to eat with his free breakfast.

Now we have the fun game of reburying hundreds partly chewed bulbs.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Millie's Christmas Holly

The visit to choose our new puppy felt a little like visiting the dentist. I hoped it might be good for me, but I also knew I wouldn't like the smell and expected it to be painfull.

Good for me?..., due to the fact that SWWMD had a permanent smile on her face as we walked toward the momentous decision of choosing "which" little girl was going to be added to the FftS. For the gender was pre-determined, the ratio in the FftS household was to be re-balanced. As luck would have it, 2 of the 4 puppies matched the gender criteria, and due to TMTDUB's Kennel Miles, and SWWMD's friendliness we had first pick of the litter.

Zena, the Mum of the puppies is a West Highland White Terrier. The family of Tina, the breeder, traditionally names the puppies and then incorporates these names into the Kennel Club Registration Name. For as you may have guessed female members of the FftS always come with a certain pedigree! :-) Zena's puppies were named Holly, Annie, Bubbles and Squeak.

We chose Holly based on her being presented as the calmer and quieter of the bunch. After much discussion we agreed to try for Millie's Christmas Holly as her Kennel Club name. With Millie being selected as her family name. (When "TMO" reads this he will undoubtedly feel a sense of amused victory, as it was he who initiated the inexorable slide towards naming the innocent pup after a horse. At least I avoided the initial choice which was Lillie, heaven fore-fend! )

HWWGTA was mad as heck that he missed out on the visit to select Millie. So look out for future Blogs on his visit, as well as TMTDUB's visit to meet Millie.

To top it all off, the dental visit turned out very different to my expectations, and providing no-one blabs to SWWMD...
...I actually found myself totally smitten by the little white bundle of fur and all that in less than 5 minutes, imagine how I am going to be after a few months.

Now I am REALLY afraid! :-) But the canine unit I really feel sorry for is TMTDUB! He won't know what hit him as a quick read of the WIKI will disclose.

A goodly part of our virtual family visited...

Many moons ago... in a time when whole holidays, including flights and full board, could cost less than the boys last holiday bar bill! (Yugoslavia was that low cost!) We met the Toyotas. Mum and Dad Toyota were there at the same time with brilliant and musical offspring (girls and boy)

T3 arrived for Sunday Lunch with NQBF, we celebrated her partners recent qualification and then went onto discuss their future life plans. I found myself having to stop my selfishness coming to the for, as they talked of moving their lives to the antipodean provinces.

Then amazingly T4 called to say he was in the area, visiting some friends, and wondered if he could visit with us, which of course he could. So he arrived with his partner and we proceeded to an extended afternoon of Scotch tasting.... but more on that later... these human units have invented a drink so potent that they name it using an adjective meaning "of Scotland"!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Celebrating 80!...

A join of two families, and two complete sets too! We had achieved miracle of modern teenagers all were available, but then it was for their SGM!

We had SGM, the FftN and the FftS joined to celebrate SGM's 80th, which coincidentally was not the speed she was doing when she gained the appelate SpeedyGrandMa, after being nabbed by one of the more dastardly pieces of technology that the Human Units have developed, namely a "Speed Camera".

As an aside it is quite interesting to experience the weird juxtaposition of horror and celebration that occurs when one passes a recently burnt out Speed Camera. Such acts of vandalism in any other context would have created nothing but horror and loathing for the unthinking miscreants. The blackend Box clearly no longer operational, one gets a small sense of victory against the forces of oppression.

TBMHSE chose the meeting location halfway between the South Coast and Bawtry. Clearly he used an ancient map with the standard scale distortion that used to accord the proper import to the South of England. On such a map Matlock would have looked to be exactly half way! To be fair the location did turn out to be all he had promised. We arrived at the Red House Country Hotel in the afternoon and true to their word we were served Tea and a home made fruit cake, whose fruit had clearly been soaked endlessly, to create that difficult to achieve moistness.

Our superbly appointed room had a magnificent view of the National Park with a balcony. The only minor complaint and warning to future guests is that the hot water is not available to exhausted walkers who return from a hike in the early afterrnoon. (I would suggest an extra layer of foam around the tank and a commitment to keep the hot water hot!)

Later that evening we began our sorry slide toward gluttony, that most dastardly of the sins. The evening dinner is a four course affair, not including the coffee and mints at the end. The chef should rightly proud of his offerings, though super-tasters beware, as the flavours he conjures up are not for the faint of heart. The fish soup on the second night was sublime. The pepper sauce that accompanies the steak is not shy of shouting "PEPPER", and my rather picky description of the way I wanted my steak cooked, as the French would say "at the point" was taken very seriously and delivered to perfection.

SGM celebrated her birthday on the Saturday, and after a day of visits to Matlock and the surrounding area and sundry visits to various retail outlets, apparently a necessity when one is blessed with daughters ;-), we finished off the evening with a game of "Famous People".

Which will be the subject of a future Blog...

We all decided that we had fun and had thoroughly enjoyed the locale and establishment.

Before I sign off I must also acknowledge the true gem of the RHCH, ie Sylvia!. Her experience in the hotel industry has given her the ability to read a guest

A questionable cache...

'Tis but a short?! walk from the Red House Country Hotel in the Peak District to the Stanton Enclosure geo-cache. At least according to my new way of finding caches, somehow on a 2D Map, the hills are less of an issue!

The walk starting with a footpath down by the side of the hotel, continues across a rusty railway line occasionaly frequented by harumphing steam trains, takes you towards a set of green fields in front of Darley Bridge. I started a little late and my first mistake was to decide against an early lunch at the pub at the muddy exit to the fields. It is amazing how muddy a herd of cows can make the exit to a field.

Following my trusty GPS enabled Personal Navigation Device (PND), I was taken past an Industrial site, on the left apparently still working, on the right mounds of disturbed soil, being used by children on bikes and marked as "Contaminated Land Unsuitable for Recreational Use". Clearly the human units have not yet grasped the fundamental tenets of the things they would call "Conservation" and "Safety". Found at the very edge of a National Park called the Peak District, it is interesting how the parks boundaries bend inwards to accomodate this blot on the landscape.

Walking a little further I approached the cache from the same direction that many other GPS directed hunters had done before me, namely the "wrong" direction. It was here I made my second mistake. My "you can't get there from here" alert did not trigger effectively until I had reached the point where I couldn't! There had been a clear track up the steep hillside until then, where had it gone? I was faced by what looked like a stone built escarpment built into the hillside to block my path. So I struck off to the left, to find a place where I could clamber up it. On top of the escarpment?! I found a track up the side of the hill, which took me away from the cache. I followed it some way until I decided to strike out into the 4 foot high ferns, to make my own path back to the cache, my third mistake. Had I continued some 200 yards I predict I would have found the proper path back to the cache.

I eventually found the conventional path, having forced myself through the ferns. It felt like miles but was measured in a few 100 metres on the PND. The path went right past the cache location. The cache was in an old stone built enclosure, I started hunting for the cache on and around the enclosure, when my conservation alert did trigger very solidly! I started noting upturned stones with the moss underneath, the tops of the recently disturbed wall with no lichen or moss, cache hunters before me had started the slow but sure destruction of this enclosure. At this point I stopped my search and decided that I would submit an archive request to the fellows at on my return.

With a mixture of pride and sorrow I started my journey home. As I had left my rain gear at the bottom of the "you can't get there from here" hill. I decided to head straight back down the hill toward it, my final mistake! The journey while steep was relatively safe as the heather and ferns were very forgiving and also made a soft cushion that protected my knee on the journey down. I was approaching the area that I thought was the escarpment keeping a sharp?! eye out for the track that was atop it, when I found a secondary escarpment! The manner by which I found it consisted of a violent spin to my right, with a flailing left arm and my right arm hanging onto my PND for dear life. The protective heather and ferns had protected my eyes from seeing a 1.5 metre drop off this secondary "escarpment". Happily they re-asserted their more positive protective qualities as I landed on them in a heap! Nothing but my pride was bruised, and I continued down the hillside mentally berating myself.

Back tracking, I amused myself by selecting which of the pubs I would stop at for lunch, remember that first mistake? Having chosen and arrived at the Square and Compass I met the publican who was happy to estol the virtues of his liquid refreshments then told me that lunch stopped at 2pm, and no amount of pleading on my part would persuade him to part with even a slice of bread, let alone toasted! So my lunch consisted of a pint and a packet of crips and nuts. Not that I am bitter, but I would not be moved to recommend the pub to hungry hikers. Though to be fair he did open the back door to the pub garden so I could sit outside. (I have to say though if you haven't already click on the link to the pubs website it is something else! I suspect it was developed by one of the younger locals for a free pint!)

The walk back to the Hotel was uneventful.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

What do they get from these puzzles???

The human units seem to enjoy puzzles and games, so when NITRAM emailed this link... I could not but try.
Especially as he declared himself to be stuck on Level 11, while TDoMB was herself stuck on level 16. My silly mistake was to share the link with HWWGTA! I admit to doing my usual trick of getting a few levels ahead before I did, but it still only seemed a matter of minutes before he was ahead of me.

The unfortunate side effect was that we then got into a competition and lost sight of the fact that SWWMD both cooked the evening meal and cleaned up after it.

I was gutted to hear HWWGTA, tell me the total number of puzzles in this particular 3D Logic Game another example of his cerebral proficiency, though perhaps not his subtelty. He may as well have shouted I won!!! :-)

It tickled me to transmit that number to NITRAM, I didn't state that I completed the puzzle, that would have been fibbing! Though I can now "proudly?" state that I have completed it!


Monday, October 16, 2006

Canoeing ....

I suspect that the pre-launch discussions regarding the last canoe trip, which involved a "C"apsize, here-in-after known as the "C" word, were the reason for my nervous-ness. The act of boarding was in itself a vision, the slippery mud bank adding to the fun. We launched onto the river at high tide. My white knuckles the subject of much mirth, were kept white by appropriately timed repeats of the "C" word. The highly efficient paddling of my crew mates helped us achieve a wake, at times I felt we were exceeding the rivers speed limit! We soon pulled out of sight of the village and turned the corner into sublime wilderness.

We passed through a section of water that had a thin floating layer of brown sludge, identified by our captain (PoSDO) as his own output! The predictable increase in the use of the "C" word created the equally predictable change in my knuckles colour! A vague reference to needing the water testing skills of a previoulsy "C"apsized crew member, whilst creating some mirth, only served to firm my grip. Happily we soon left the sludge layer behind.

The mists clearing, we soon arrived at our destination a small spit of land where we intended to partake of the bacon butties being carried overland by the less intrepid, or was that more intelligent!, explorers of this glorious wilderness.

We arrived as a female swimmer chose to exit the water. Presumably she had not spotted the three male canoeist paddling feverishly toward her, for she started to change with the occasional use of a covering towel! She would not have known our goal was bacon butties as she turned to see us hit the bank at speed, only yards from her changing spot. Luckily the con-current arrival of the all female over-land party calmed her somewhat frantic towel clutching activities. Our captain gallantly reversed from the bank and reinserted the canoe 6 yards further from the partly changed swimmer, an act which I am not sure did much to calm her further. We all rapidly exited the vessel averting our eyes apart for the odd glance to check for brown sludge, as after all the offending layer was only a few 100 yards up the river??!

The bacon butties in crunchy baguetes, justified our haste, though perhaps not our lack of gallantry!

I reluctantly?! let others experience the return journey, surely driven solely by my sense of fairness!, not the need to let my knuckle muscles rest! I was actually too much of a landlubber to realise that the turning tide and the wind would make the return journey much harder!

This blog was just a small part of a brilliant weekend that felt like we packed in the activities of a week! As usual the location exerted it's power. I felt the word "Relax" hit me as we drive into the village, very similar to the effect Orkney has on me. Needless to say the village is a BlackBerry free zone.... NO SIGNAL! BLISS!

Few DMLA's this blog. I have not spent the time to consider them for this previously unblogged group... the FoSDO! SDO was not there on this occasion, though her sister (SoSDO?) was.

Monday, October 09, 2006


The human unit: TMO, had clearly fondled the marinaded raw pork in the plastic bag long enough, as "The Canon" was prompted to ask; "How did you keep the meat so tender!". The kebabed (sp?) Thai Pork was in fact del.ic.ous!

If only I could understand...

... the complex interactions of Family and Friends. Perhaps writing of it will help.

TMO has prompted me to start the blogging more seriously. Mostly due to his penchant for assigning DMLA's to his Blogged victims!

I was privileged to once again experience the welcome and hospitality of the FoSDT

As usual I left with too much to Blog even if I had unlimited hours.

From the surreal offer of the opportunity to fondle a plastic bag containing raw pork in a Thai Marinade. What was TMO thinking? He had just got it from the fridge! Where's the fun in that?

To the coincidence(s) of just having visited Moscow and St Petersburg, which the visiting Canon had also done. Except "The Canon" was a gourmand who had found a number of excellent Russian restaurants (Would that I had met him before we visited). Both of us had visited at a historic moment, he at the time of the Theatre Bombing, Us at the Re-Burial of the Swedish Mother of the last Czar in St Petersburg. (I wonder if I did understand that correctly?)

This occasion was the second time, this year, that I was present at a full family get together. As usual the love was demonstrated by full-on ribbing. "TTO" (the current partner of SDT, I use ""'s for DMLA's when they are not mine!) demonstrated his ability to survive the FoSDT by responding instantly to a challenge, that in an instant switched topic and dissed the Brits. It was a masterpiece! The question of who was the best Doctor Who had been raised. Rather unfair given that the dinner was taking place in Indiana and not all guests would know who Dr Who was let alone the list of actors who played him. So his instant response: "George Lazenby!", (this punctuation should get me an "F") was truly a classic.

TOWCC also had his current partner at the dinner, she impressed me as much at this dinner as she did the first. I am always left thinking how few braincells I have in the company of the FoSDT, so it feels totally unfair that the two partners add so clearly to the IQ of the FoSDT. I am still working on a DMLA for her, so for the time being she will be TPoTOWCC

The double sighting of a starving Humming Bird, and the comparison of TMoSDT to a Russian circus Bear trainer for not having the feeders out, prompted an instant feeder. Despite observing closely for the rest of the afternoon, I did not see the Humming Bird partake. Although I did see lots of bubbles, I suspect that he was drinking from the Dark Side of the Feeder, Grrrr. I really WILL super glue closed the feeder hole on that side one day, I am convinced they sneak in and drink from that side on purpose...

In short, another glorious and pleasurable visit to the FoSDT!!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Effects of Terrorism or the desire to bolster Government Units

The recent "clamp down" of atmospheric travel of the human units by the societal unit calling itself Great Britain was ostensibly due to the capability of a young group of terrorists to cleverly mix ink gel, baby food and a selection of pungent ointments, that the female units like to smear themselves with, in order to blow air transport units from the atmosphere.

A VERY minor amount of observation shows that there was a higher likliehood that the Goverment Unit was in trouble with the population units. What better way than to use that favorite of magicians the Universe over: Distraction!

First arrest a group of highly dissatisfied muslim units, who were starting to discuss the means by which they could do harm to the Governments that have been supporting the attacks on their fellow muslims.

Then over secure the air ports so that they can not operate effectively. Stopping even the transportation of, reading material, writing implements, in addition to any electron entertainment devices. This at a time when most of the human units like to burn liquid carbon fuels to pollute the very atmosphere.... but that is an entirely differnt observation...

The results are relatively clear major distraction, and loss of revenue... little increased actual safety.

In the beginning... not really... I watched before then!

Before there was a puff of smoke observed on the Red Planet. I watched!

Observing the crazy goings on of the human units.

This blog is dedicated to the continuing observations of the complex interactions of these units and all the other units, processes and organisations on their greeny blue planet.