Monday, August 18, 2014


Yummy meal at the weekend for Mum's birthday. Phil treated us to a blow out at the Fox and Goose at Fressingfield.
Top food, top service, middling prices, beautiful building: Boffo!

Petrea, when you come over I'll take you and John there as you'd love the building (c.1503) as much as the food.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Whistleblower Writes …

Please read this article from the Guardian.

For any non-English readers, the Tories have been trying to replace state education with so-called "academies" (run for profit by corporations rather than for the education of students).

The OFSTED results (schools inspectors) gave the "academies" terrible reports, with good reason.

Suddenly, however, this spring, the "academies" were getting startlingly good reports and the right wing press (the Torygraph and the Daily Mail) were trumpeting their success.

Gosh! Maybe it's a GOOD thing to replace our free state education with profit-raking greed …

So what was happening?
By law, schools are only allowed half a day's notice of an OFSTED inspection. A friend of a friend who knows I love doing this kind of thing passed me this document, which I sent on to the Guardian's education department as well as local papers and other like-minded Tory-baiters:

It appears that the Tories, being a (cough) open and honest government (choke … gag) have been secretly giving their "academies" two weeks notice (sometimes more) of OFSTED inspections and parachuting in better teachers (only for inspection day), removing disruptive pupils, plastering over the cracks and slapping on a fresh coat of paint; in fact doing everything they can to fake a great report.

I had asked the Guardian to run with this and see where it went and it seems they have done just that.

Now all we have to do is kick the fuckers out at the next election and perhaps we can return to a decent education system, not one run for profit by filthy Tory financial donors.

Whistleblowing is a wonderfully rewarding hobby. I'd recommend it to anyone.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Beware Saggy Old Men in Lycra

Hey, laydees … Saggy old men in lycra are waiting for YOU!
Please note, I'm the only one present with sufficient common decency to cover my lycra padded undercrackers with baggy shorts.
Meet the newly consecrated office road race team about to set off on our first practice run for next season's Tour de Broads. The gels are kitting themselves out with new bikes and Emily and Corrina should be joining us next time around.
Tragically, the boss has designed some company cycling clothes (bright orange!) which should arrive before our next ride.
Here's where we went. A lovely sunny evening with much banter and some wicked hill climbs and sprints en route.

 We managed to get back in time for beer …

… and sunset.
Amazingly, no aches and pains today and having done the long distance meant I knocked five minutes off my time cycling home this evening.

Dammit … I'm becoming a cycling bore.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

New Toy

Boardman Team Carbon Road Bike. Hot damn!
Upgraded Shimano bits and bobs.
Computer training doohickey.
First time I've been road riding in twenty years. Ten miles to the orifice. Starting out at half-an-hour each way; average 20mph. That's gotta improve.
The thing weighs about as much as a rice cracker. Fuck, it's fast on a good road.

Yes, I know it's in my living room and not my garage. It's my new baby and I want to cuddle it and talk to it.
And no, I do NOT wear lycra (sheesh).

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

At Last!

Sheesh! It's been hanging there in my sidebar for months (even longer than I've been suffering blogger's block), but at last, the splendidly literate Altadena Hiker (hi, Karin) of Petrea's Pasadena (and thereabouts) Posse has solved the Sidebar Quote Quiz.

Yes, "A way a lone a lost a last a loved a long the riverrun …" is indeed Joyce, being the end and beginning of the everly oroborosness that is Finnegans Wake (no apostrophe).

So now I'd better set another one …

Friday, June 27, 2014


Woah Nellie!
Summer's here …

Hailstones the size of fricking ice cubes,
Lightning like a goddamned rock band's light show,
Flash. Crack, BOOOOOOM …
Road a raging river.

But just get outside and breathe in that air …
Ain't nothing like it.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Breakfast of Champions

Teeny tiny little lemon curd tartlets made by the girl behind the counter at Jarrold's bookstore coffee shop. Intensely lemony. Washed down with a couple of ristrettos from my favourite of their roasts: fresh Honduras beans, short roasted to leave a glorious fruit tang and a complex aftertaste to the coffee; perfect with the tarts.
Little things that make life worth living.
How was your morning?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Ray Gun

Well that was fucking weird …

Hokay, so you may recall I had a cataract op in my right eye a couple of years back. Well things were beginning to get a little fuzzy so I got my eyes checked for new glasses and they told me I didn't need them; instead I had a disc of scar tissue built up behind the pupil (something common with cataracts).

My optician referred me to the hospital's eye clinic and Saturday morning Phil drove me there to get it sorted (yay free healthcare).
There were three of us sitting there at eight-thirty, a couple of older guys in for the same thing (David and Mike) and your's truly, chatting up a storm and laughing with the nurses. I like the temporary friends you get in hospital waiting rooms; everyone comforts one another by telling the most horrific medical tales they know. Weird but somehow helpful.

So anyhoo … Doctor S-, a lovely young Indian woman, dilated my pupils and tested my eyes thoroughly, explaining what she was about to do and giving me the opportunity to run away if I didn't want to go through with it.
Hell, it sounded fun and I was getting annoyed with the fuzziness in my right eye, so let's do it.

Right … Next room. Dr. S- sits my chin on one of those doohickeys you see in opticians, where they shine lights in your eyes while you look at the optician's earlobe.
Doctor S- has really cute earlobes.

So … if any of you have to have this procedure carried out and are worried about it, read on.
We got my head positioned correctly (after Dr.S- had to go back to her office and get an adjustable chair as I'm tall and she's somewhat petite) and then she opened fire.
You know that scene in the original Star Wars, where Luke Skywalker is in the gun turret of the Millennium Falcon firing laser beams in all directions? It was a little like that.
What she had to do was shoot lots and lots of tiny holes into the disc of scar tissue from around the edges (avoiding the lens) until it broke apart and floated off into the eye-jelly where it will eventually dissolve (though I've got some pretty spectacular floaters at the moment).
The machine even makes a kind of pow/zap/zing Space Invaders noise as she lets off volley after volley of laser beams into my eye. Fun!

The mountain of tissues Dr. S- had stuffed under my chin and right cheek now came into their own. What happens is your eye tries to defend itself from the ray gun assault by making a waterfall of tears. Sheesh! I mean a real waterfall! I didn't know I had that much water inside me. The tissues were mush in minutes.

Five minutes was all it took. Then she stepped back from the ray gun and asked me what I saw.
I covered my left eye and could see bugger all: a faint grey around the edges but totally black across most of my vision, decorated with a scattershot of bluey-grey splodges where the laser had punched holes in the scar tissue and temporarily overloaded the cones in my retina.
So if that happens to you (and it will if they do it right), fret not. After a couple of minutes my vision began to clear and after five minutes I could read every word on the fire extinguisher across the corridor. I can see better than I have in years. Woohoo!

Phil picked me up from the hospital and - because I'd missed Breakfast Club - Dawn (being an angel) bought me a prezzie of my favourite cave-aged Gruyère and my regular Saturday honey and walnut sourdough from the baker.

Of course, everything was painfully bright with my pupils dilated so I've been away from the monitor all weekend, but now things are returning to normal I'm taking the week off to hang around in coffee shops and bookshops in the mornings and watch Wimbledon in the afternoons.

So how was YOUR weekend?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

What was YOUR Teen Bible?

I was at the Blickling Hall Rare Book Fair today and - blesséd be the hairy red arse of the god of all things cool - found me one of the original pre-publication bootleg copies of the daily Bible of my teenage years, Dylan's Tarantula.

Rubber stamped and mimeographed and rusty-stapled and cool as fuck.

So now that I'm happy, let me know what was the book that ruled your teenaged years back in the days when we knew nuthin' about nuthin'?