Showing posts from 2015

It's that time of year

It's the time of year when everyone seems to look back at the past twelve months, and quite often attempts to draw a line in the temporal sand, step over it and make their lives better. I doubt, no matter how long I live, that I'll ever have a perfect year.  That's probably true for most of us.  Nobody is ever doing to look back at their year and name all the things which went too well and resolve to make them worse, so it's only natural that we hear so many people talking about how "bad" the past year was, and how they will move on in 2016. My 2015 hasn't been bad.  I've had worse years and I've had better.  I had an amazing holiday which I doubt I'll ever repeat in either the sense of retracing the route nor in scale.  Yet, I find myself about to leave a job which I've enjoyed for the past four years.  I've not lost the weight I had planned to lose in 2015, but I have vastly improved my French. I've certainly not written in

It's been a while

It's been a long while since I've written in here. Probably so long that I should consider this a new blog rather than just skipping over the gap like nothing happened.  Well not much has happened.   Well not in my life anyway.  Oh, well I went on a really long holiday, but not much besides that.  The holiday wasn't the length of the whole gap away from this blog though.  So I don't really have an excuse. Anyway, like many people, last week I updated my Facebook picture to include a French flag.  I didn't use one of the in-built overlay things; I found a picture of a French flag in my own photos and used that.  But now I'm stuck with it.  It's made me realise when I never usually do these things.  No Pride flag, no Red Ribbon on World AIDS Day. It's not because I don't care, it's to avoid the awkwardness of when you take it down again. It's a bit easier when it's a particular day.  You can take it down as soon as that day is over. But

Disappointing dreams

I find dreams interesting.  Not in any sense of believing that they reveal innermost desires, nor that they can in any way predict the future or wander into the distant past.  I've always found my dreams to be a strange mix of real things from the day, and other things which have wandered into my mind from books or from snatches glimpsed from whatever is on the TV. But sometimes my mind will come up with something rather lovely, and it can be a disappointment to wake up in the morning and find that it was just a dream. Last night I dreamt of a Victorian building in Belfast.  It was a brick building with huge arches along the front in yellow and red brick.  Inside was a long hallway, looking like a brick-built canal with a viewing gallery along the side.  Crowds would gather along the edge and wait for the tide.  When the tide came into the harbour, a series of tunnels brought the water up and a rush of water would fill the canal violently throwing waves over the crowd who roare


I enjoy shopping.  I enjoy the process of going and looking at nice things and coming home with more nice things than I had before I left the house.  I guess I'm a bit of a magpie.  Although not everything I buy is shiny. Many things are shiny though. Today I went over to Canary Wharf.  I remember years ago when nobody was there at weekends and there was a Tesco Metro and a few sad-looking shoe shops.  But these days it's a proper shopping centre. I thought I may look for some new shirts.  I don't actually need any - in the traditional sense of the word - but it's always nice to add a little more variety into the wardrobe. But shirt shops are so intimidating.  Why do they need quite so many staff?  Why do the staff always follow you around silently, hovering just out of sight waiting to pounce if you should show any interest in a shirt.  I don't tend to buy "plain" shirts, and so it often takes me a while in shops to find the small section where th


I never really remember my dreams, and so it's unusual for me that I do recall quite some detail about last night's dream. I was in my office.  Not my real office, of course. But there's a tall, square-sided glass building which seems to function as my office.  I was looking out of the window at the planes flying overhead.  The "dream" office is definitely in London, although not in Chiswick where my real office is.  More likely in Edgware Road where my first office in London was. And then I saw a missile fire up from amongst the low buildings and into the sky.  Suddenly, the engine of a plane came drifting down. Yes drifting - not falling - and hovered outside the office window for a few minutes. It was close enough that the office was shaking.  The flight number (SK996 for those who care) was written on the engine. And so this concerned me, as I was flying to Las Vegas from Heathrow that evening, and I wondered whether the airport would still be open.  It

A sad loss to the guinea pig world...

We lost one of our guinea pigs recently.  My lost, I mean "she died" of course. We didn't put her down somewhere and forget where we'd put her. It's a strange situation when a pet dies. Obviously there's an emotional connection, and it's sad. Although at the same time, it's important to retain some perspective.  It's OK to feel sad, but I'm not going to be taking any days compassionate leave from work to grieve.  Which is why it is strange that we did manage to give a complete stranger the impression that we were grieving heavily.  Let me explain. So of all our guinea pigs, Marmalade was one of the special ones.  She had an operation for bladder stones around two years ago.  Guinea pigs don't cope well with general anaesthetic   She recovered well initially but then her weight started to drop. With guinea pigs, this is a bad sign.  So we were hand-feeding her and eventually even giving her daily injections of subcutaneous fluids.  At so


From time to time, I find myself descending into a spiral of clicking on Wikipedia.  You go to look for one thing, such as "what's the name of the brewery who own the Queen Vic in Eastenders?  I can remember the one from Corrie but not the one from Eastenders".   And so, I find out that the brewery sold the pub many years ago, and it's passed through the Mitchell family lots and is now owned by Danny Dyer. Apparently. But then curiosity takes me into clicking on the production of Eastenders. Ever since I was a kid I've had a fascination with how TV shows are produced.  Back in the day, I went around Granada Studios Tour in Manchester several times.  I wasn't interested in the immersive parts - you know, the bits where an "East German Guard" got on the tram and everyone had to pretend to be scared. I found that all a bit silly, and embarrassing - but I absolutely loved the parts where they showed you cameras and told you how things were made. So a

In My Liverpool Home

To the untrained ear, my accent sounds Liverpudlian.  And to a certain extent, it is.  Whenever anyone asks me where I'm originally from, if I'm giving the very high level answer, I tend to say "near Liverpool". Which isn't untrue; it's just maybe a bit vague. Accents in the North West of England are very specific.  In the distance from Liverpool to Manchester, you cross many different accents and all in the space of 40 miles or so.  But if you're not from the area, you tend to just think of accents such as mine as "Scouse". Of course, growing up I didn't think I had an accent.  Just as growing up in a family where every household was a smoking household you become immune to the smell of cigarette smoke.  Nowadays I can smell the smoke on my clothes long after leaving the smoky place, but back then it was just normal and as everything smelled the same way, I never noticed. But nowadays I hear the accents up here, and then sound Liverpu