Friday, 3 December 2010

White Wine in the Sun

I've been to the Top of the World, I've been to Rochdale, I've been to Brighton (in case you're wondering, 1-1, replay on Wednesday night, live on ESPN), and I've walked 1,777 miles (slowed down a bit lately, due to the snow).

That's me done for this year.

I'm off on my holidays!!!

I'm going to be warm.

I'm going to be happy.

I'm going to be far, far away.

I'm going to be like Tim.

I'm going to be drinking white wine in the sun!

I really like Christmas
It's sentimental, I know, but I just really like it
I am hardly religious
I'd rather break bread with Dawkins than Desmond Tutu, to be honest

And yes, I have all of the usual objections
To consumerism, the commercialisation of an ancient religion
To the westernisation of a dead Palestinian
Press-ganged into selling Playstations and beer
But I still really like it

I'm looking forward to Christmas
Though I'm not expecting a visit from Jesus

I'll be seeing my dad
My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum
They'll be drinking white wine in the sun
I'll be seeing my dad
My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum
They'll be drinking white wine in the sun

I don't go in for ancient wisdom
I don't believe just 'cos ideas are tenacious it means they are worthy
I get freaked out by churches
Some of the hymns that they sing have nice chords but the lyrics are spooky

And yes I have all of the usual objections
To the miseducation of children who, in tax-exempt institutions,
Are taught to externalise blame
And to feel ashamed and to judge things as plain right and wrong
But I quite like the songs

I'm not expecting big presents
The old combination of socks, jocks and chocolate is just fine by me

Cos I'll be seeing my dad
My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum
They'll be drinking white wine in the sun
I'll be seeing my dad
My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum
They'll be drinking white wine in the sun

And you, my baby girl
My jetlagged infant daughter
You'll be handed round the room
Like a puppy at a primary school
And you won't understand
But you will learn someday
That wherever you are and whatever you face
These are the people who'll make you feel safe in this world
My sweet blue-eyed girl

And if, my baby girl
When you're twenty-one or thirty-one
And Christmas comes around
And you find yourself nine thousand miles from home
You'll know whatever comes
Your brother and sisters and me and your Mum
Will be waiting for you in the sun
Whenever you come
Your brothers and sisters, your aunts and your uncles
Your grandparents, cousins and me and your mum
We'll be waiting for you in the sun
Drinking white wine in the sun
Darling, when Christmas comes
We'll be waiting for you in the sun
Drinking white wine in the sun
Waiting for you in the sun
Waiting for you...

I really like Christmas
It's sentimental, I know...

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Friday, 26 November 2010

On the top of the world

As mentioned earlier (here and here) I have been walking. This year I have now walked 1,760 miles.

If I was to walk this distance in a straight line, how far would I get now?


What do we know about Svalbard?

Here is a map:

Although it is rather lovely, there is quite a lot of information missing - so I wouldn't suggest using this map to plan a holiday or anything. And if you were thinking of going by boat, be careful - watch out for all those whales and seals and assorted sea monsters.

His Dark Materials is one of the finest children's stories ever written, but Svalbard is probably not inhabited by armoured bears. (Wouldn't it be good if it was though?!)

It does, however, have some magnificent skies.

Click on the pic to see it full size - and click here to see more.

Svalbard is a very long way north indeed.
It is so far north it is On the Top of the World.
Here are some very happy people who know a little song about being on the top of the world:

In fact Svalbard is probably just about as far north as any normal human would want to go. So I'm not going there. Instead, this weekend, I will be heading south. All the way south to Brighton.

Because FC United are playing Brighton & Hove Albion in the Second Round of the FA Cup!!

And look, they've got a Boardwalk!

We know a little song about that too, don't we?

Good luck lads!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Fun with Meat

From the Gallery of Regrettable Food.

Really, the picture says it all - I can't think of a single thing I can say that will make it any better.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Remember, Remember the 5th of November

and tonight is a night we are never, ever going to forget!

Originally, Guy Fawkes Night was all about gunpowder, treason and hoo haa:

but tonight we are off to Rochdale - and the scenes are going to be remarkably similar:

(photo by Alastair Adams)

For the first time in our short life, FC United are in the
FA Cup. Proper. - and I am already so giddy I am making myself sick.

Here is a little taster from ESPN for those of you who, like me, just cannot wait.

Giddy giddy giddy giddy giddy giddy. Oh dear. I need some pharmaceuticals and a little lie down.

Get out your rattles and get out your rosettes and get on that train to Rochdale. This is going to be the best night ever!!!

Good Luck Lads!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Dev's Eclair

As promised, and with thanks to The Weatherfield Librarian.
Here is the wrapper dropped by Dev at the theatre:

Isn't it crumpled? He must have really enjoyed it.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Dr Faustus

Last night The Weatherfield Librarian, who sits at the other end of the office from me, was at the Royal Exchange Theatre attending a production of Dr Faustus (The Weatherfield Librarian being a rather erudite young man).

Here's a fine photo of the Royal Exchange, nicked from Photo Camel.

Good, isn't it?

Anyway, this post is not an architectural critique, or even a theatre review. It turns out that The Weatherfield Librarian was seated next to Dev Alahan! Here is his report:

1. Dev Alahan was dressed in a somewhat foppish manner, a la Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.
2. Sunita was not there (presumably at home minding the twins).
3. Dev was eating Cadbury's Eclairs - and dropping the wrappers on the floor! What a dirty boy.

The Weatherfield Librarian now has in his possession one of these wrappers - and has promised to get me a photo of it to post on this blog. In the meantime, here is an artist's impression of how the floor of that lovely theatre might have looked after Mr Alahan had finished stuffing his face.

What a grub.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Red Balloons

When I was walking past the Corrie set this morning I noticed that they were blowing up bunches of red balloons. No idea what story they will be for; surely it is too early to be filming next year's valentine episode?

Anyway, the effect of the red balloons against the early morning cobbles and the misty grey sky was rather fetching.

Here's a tune about red balloons that you may remember from the olden days:

And here is a jigsaw which you might enjoy piecing together while you listen to the music.

That's enough about balloons for now, I'm off home to cook my tea.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Modern Manners

It has now become quite acceptable to separate from one's partner or sack one's employees by text message. UR sackd. This apparently is Yoof Culture, and therefore a good thing.

The Pope has been visiting Britain over the weekend, and this got the Crab wondering: does the Catholic Church excommunicate its members by text? Because if they do, the word EXCOMMUNICATED would involve quite a lot of button pushing. Even if you substituted 8, as in EXCOMMUNIC8D it would still involve a lot of clicks - and I'm guessing the Catholics have more manners than that anyway.

Does anyone know what you have to do to get excommunicated? I don't either, but here is a papal beer mat from the recent tour:

I don't know very much at all about religion, so my mind wandered on to other long words.

Here's a big one: somatoparaphrenia

I looked it up on Wikipedia (naturally) and it appears that this is a "delusion where one denies ownership of a limb or an entire side of one's body. As an example, a patient would believe that her or his own arm would belong to the doctor, or that another patient left it behind."

That's really rather sad isn't it? I am delighted to have a full set of limbs and fingers and toes, and I hope they are as happy to be with me as I am with them. There's something quite forlorn about trying to leave one's leg on the bus.

(These are from this blog. I've read it, and still don't know what it's about.)

Anyway, back to the Pope. He went to Scotland and he went to the South but he didn't come here, and thus I am none the wiser. Pretty well everything I know about the Catholic Church I have learned from multiple viewings of Father Ted, and what I have learned is:

As a place of employment it is shambolic, largely pointless, and layered in petty jealousy, greed, ignorance, spite and aggression, and most of the time, a bloody good laugh. So, all in all, very much like working in a Library.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Northern Lights

I have been walking again. (I'm not sure why I say "again" like that; it's not like I ever really stopped walking.) Anyway, I have now walked 1,300 miles so far this year. To be exact, 1,306.

If I was to set off in a straight line, how far would this get me?


It's a long way north isn't it?

To be honest, I don't know a lot about Tromsø, so maybe I should go there. I do know they have an internationally renowned botanic garden, which I would love to see:

There's another lovely photo here.

And of course, who can forget the famous game between Tromsø and Chelsea in 1997? Oh how we laughed.

I shouldn't laugh too much, we've played in some pretty poor visibility ourselves. No, actually I should laugh, we've always won in the fog. Here we are, at home to Hednesford a couple of seasons ago:

and at Nantwich earlier this year:

(I'm in that fuzzy haze somewhere - bet you can't see me, he he.)

Many more marvellous Mick Dean photos here.

Anyway, enough football and fog for now. Back to Tromsø.

Here is the most compelling reason of all to visit that lovely northern city:

How stupidly, gobsmackingly beautiful is that!

Friday, 20 August 2010

Senseless Beauty

Isn't this lovely?

YouTube Original here,
and lots more Richard Hawley here.

Now you are all happy and relaxed - have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, 13 August 2010

Happy Birthday Sea Monkeys!

Hurrah! Today is the Sea Monkeys' first birthday!

Who can imagine it is one whole year since the first little fellas hatched out? How time flies.

To be honest, today would have been the Sea Monkeys' birthday, except they are currently all, ahhh ... let's see... how can we put this delicately?

Possibly Dead.

That's a shame, isn't it? We could have had such a lovely party for them, with cake and balloons and party games.

I think these Spongebob party hats would have been perfect.

Happy Birthday little guys. Please don't be too dead.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Board Rats

As I have mentioned before, but not very often because it doesn't crop up much in the natural course of events, I am a Librarian. As such, this means that from time to time I need to do some research.

Today I have been researching RATS and STRESS.

You would not believe just how stressed rats are. It would appear that pretty well everything stresses out a rat. On Scopus there are currently 75,564 articles on rats and stress.

75,564. That is a lot of stressed-out rats. They reckon that if you live in London you are never more than seven feet from a rat. Fortunately we do not live in London, but I reckon there a still a lot of rats here.

I would guess there are probably two or three rats for every person, so in this University alone there may well be 75,564 rats - living in the basements, living in the wall cavities, eating in the canteens... (There was that rather famous incident a couple of summers ago when we had a bit of an infestation in the Library, when someone left a half-eaten pizza under his desk while he was on his holidays. I won't name names, but he was of course an IT Boy.)

Anyway, it saddens me to think of all these fraught rodents living so close to my desk, so I got to wondering - is anyone doing anything about this? Do, for example, rats ever get to do anything nice, maybe have a holiday, go to the beach?

Yes they do!!!

Look at this:

Isn't that great?! You can see more pics and read all about it at Your Local Surf.

The Internet is indeed a powerful search tool; a few clicks can take you from the depths of despair to a joyous day at the beach.

I love being a Librarian.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

On the move

Probably my all time favourite hobby is walking. Walk, walk, walk. I love to walk. Most days my only motivation to come to work is the nice walk home I can have at the end of it.

This year I have been keeping a tally of how far I have walked. Proper outdoor walks, mind, not just up and down the stairs at home, or around the office. By the time I get home tonight I will have walked 900 miles since the start of the year.

Another thing I really like is Googling. I've been playing with Google Maps, and they have a nice new feature which lets you measure route distances. This got me wondering: where would I have got if I had walked that 900 miles in a straight line, rather than back & forth to work, and round the Peak District on weekends?

My first couple of efforts weren't that successful - a construction site in Poland and somewhere in the Atlantic. Then I headed South East - and look where I ended up!

Faenza! It's rather lovely isn't it? (This photo has been nicked from Wikipedia - I didn't actually walk there and take it myself. Not yet.)

Obviously if I was to walk to Italy I would hit a few obstacles - the English Channel being the first. I also did a bit more research on Google and discovered I would have to climb this:

Which I must admit does look like quite good fun, although I've never tried ice-climbing and my rock-climbing days are well behind me.

I have always wanted to visit the Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche in Faenza so on my arrival that's what I would do. Not immediately; I reckon I'd need a shower and a nice lie-down if I'd just walked 900 miles through seas and over mountains.

They make some lovely things in Faenza.

(Jadranka Bentini)

Ahh. Isn't it nice to plan adventures? Back to work now, sigh - but soon it will be time for me to go for another walk.


Tuesday, 29 June 2010

World Cup

Isn't the football getting good now all the rubbish teams have been knocked out?

I don't know whether it's because I'm watching too much football and not enough Corrie,
or whether it's because it's actually true,

but I am starting to think Kaka has something of the look of Tracy Barlow about him.

Can anyone else see it?

Okay, I know Kaka isn't wearing lipstick or earrings, but you know what I mean.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Frank Sidebottom

A man who did so much for Timperley

and will be most sadly missed.

There's so much more here, at Franksworld.

Rest in peace.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Blister on a Blog

Today I thought I would share the sole of my foot with you. When I say "foot" like that I don't want you thinking that I've only got one foot. I have two, it's just that this is the only one that is annoying me.

Here it is:

Sorry, the picture quality isn't great. It's not that easy to take a photo of your own foot you know.
Don't worry, the dotted red line isn't another skin disorder, I drew that on (the photo, not my foot) to help you locate the blister.

Look at the damn thing! It started on my heel and it's heading for my big toe. The cheek! Are you wondering what it feels like? Like walking on rusty nails. Bent & broken rusty nails.

Anyway, I am hoping that, by naming and shaming it on my blog, it will feel so ashamed it will shrivel up and die.

Friday, 11 June 2010

A Very Good Friday

What a jolly fine day it is! Gail McIntyre is out of prison, the scant remains of Tony Gordon have been wheeled out of Underworld in a bin bag, and Underworld itself is a blackened and smouldering wreck of its former self.

All is good in the world.

Come to think of it, the remains of Tony Gordon were very scant indeed. Is he dead, was it really him? Someone here (who shall remain nameless) has suggested it may have been Eccles in the bin bag.

Oh dear.

Tina McIntyre is still an angry little harpy, but no doubt the scriptwriters will give her a makeover in the next few weeks and she'll forget her poor old dad and her rage and become a completely different person.

In real life, the actress who plays Tina was (maybe still is, for all I know) going out with Bradley Howard, who used to play for FC United. There's a little story about it here.

Now here's a strange coincidence:

As you no doubt know, the World Cup starts today (yet another reason why today is a very good Friday indeed).
And, if you've not already seen it, this is today's Google Doodle.

Look at the defender. He's wearing a FC United kit!!!

In case you were wondering. The last we heard of Bradley Howard he was starring in a Tampax commercial, which is not an obvious career path for a young footballer, is it?

I really, really hope that wasn't Dead Eccles in a Bag.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010


Stuff happens when you go on holiday. You don't have to get up so early, and when you do finally get up you can do nice things all day, and just when you think life can't get any better, Corrie goes High Definintion.

We got our first look at the new look last night, and to begin with I thought HD was something so amazing and clear that everything had to be filmed in fuzzy focus.

(pic source and more interesting stuff about Corrie credits over the years.)

But it turned out this was just the arty new opening credits. At our house we don't have HD TV, but a couple of times a year I have a go at the screen with Mr Muscle and some kitchen towel, which removes that strange black scum that always seems to stick to TV screens and which I think is largely nicotine stains of my own making. Anyway, the effect of the clean is remarkable, and I can't imagine real HD is any better.

Also in the new opening credits is one of the new yellow trams.

I'm not terribly keen on the new trams. The old trams had a lovely tootly TOOT!; the new ones don't toot, they SNARK!
It is quite ugly.

PS I walk past the Corrie set every morning and today I noticed that it really was in fuzzy focus. However it was quite misty earlier - it has burned off now; lovely day.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Woman in the Woods

Today I was going to have a rant about how much this university's policy on toilet-paper rationing gives me the shits (so to speak). You'd reckon with all the redundancies they've made over the last couple of years they would be able to afford an adequate supply of toilet-paper for the few staff who are left.
I don't think our consumption is excessive.

But then, to cheer myself up I had a browse of my favourite library blog - the wonderful Awful Library Books.

And I came across this book:

Looking at the cover, you'd guess this would be all about how to climb a mountain, ford a raging river and wrestle a crocodile. But a quick scan of a couple of pages suggests that instead, this book will teach me how to "nag, complain, feel queasy, squeamish or faint to get my own way".

That's a novel approach to the outdoors, isn't it?

Anyway, I was so intrigued that I was straight on to Amazon to order my own copy (which I imagine is the very same copy that was just weeded on the above blog). I can't wait!!

I am going to learn HOW TO FEEL FEMININE OUTDOORS. That's one of the chapters.
No doubt I am going to learn a whole heap of other useful stuff too.

Today is my last day in work for a couple of weeks, I am taking some holidays. When you next see me, I will be a changed woman.

Bye-bye everyone, see you in June!

Friday, 7 May 2010


oh when, will my life be like this?

Friday, 30 April 2010

Call for Reviews

Some reworked classics have recently crossed my desk. Should anyone care to review any of them please get in touch.

(I really like this last little guy - somehow he reminds me of me.)

Monday, 19 April 2010


Anyone care to guess how that might be pronounced?

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Is this the end?

There is a cloud of volcanic ash drfiting across the UK, from recent eruptions in Iceland. Here's a picture from the BBC, which makes it look rather lovely.

It isn't all lovely though, it has been bad enough to suspend flights across the country. This might sound like an over-reaction, but I've been reading about this and apparently if the ash particles get into a jet engine they melt and clog the engine with molten glass. That's got to be a bad thing.

There's worse to come. Look at this picture:

See how happy the dinosaurs are, scampering about in the prehistoric sun? See those volcanoes in the background? It was volcanic ash that finished off the dinosaurs. All gone. Extinct.

Dinosaurs were great big burly beasties. What chance have a bunch of puny humans got? How long have we got left?

I do hope I last until tea-time, we're having takeaway tonight. Perhaps I should start heading home now.

Volcanic ash and the potential loss of life as we know it is not the only gift this country has received from Iceland in recent times. Last winter, after hearing a news report about the deprivation suffered by pensioners in Hull, the kind folk of Iceland sent a container-load of jaunty knitwear to that city. Doesn't it look snugly?

And isn't it good to see that not everyone wastes their knitty skills creating spare body parts?

PS I'm not the least bit apologetic about nicking photos from the BBC. All that licence-fee money they get, and then they squander it on a gang of hard-faced Dorothy-wannabes? Pfft!

Monday, 12 April 2010

I have been to the hills

I have roamed far and wide, oohed at the views, and now I have loveliness burned on the backs of my retinas, there to delight me whenever I close my eyes (which is frequently as work is a bit on the dull side today).

(More from the lovely Judy Horacek here.)

Actually, there was one descent that was every bit as steep as in this pic. Except for about the last four metres, which was a sheer drop. I'm brave but I'm not stupid - in the end I crawled to safety through some strangers' back garden, which was very small, very steep and very overgrown. Doing this sort of thing is quite cute and funny when you are seven years old, but in one of my advancing years it is undignified, and perhaps even a criminal offence. For this reason I cannot tell you where I went walking yesterday. You will just have to trust me that 1). it was lovely, and 2). I had a lot of fun.

About five miles earlier, before things all became tangled and desperate, I met one of these little fellas:

He was as surprised to see me as I was to see him.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Two weekends back-to-back

Isn't Easter great?! Two bank holidays with a weekend sandwiched in between - brilliant!

Those of you of a religious bent can spend Good Friday with a rock rolled in front of your door. Worthy folk can go to B&Q, then spend the rest of the weekend painting their kitchens. Others may wish to make an early start on their chocolate eggs.

We spent Good Friday in a time-honoured and traditional manner - a road-trip to the seaside.

And in the way of all great traditions, it pissed down all afternoon, clearing just long enough for a quick scamper on the beach.

Dunno where that tiny little dog came from.

In case you are wondering: 1-1. Robbery!
Fish & chips for tea. Of course.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Happy Easter

Isn't Easter great? A special holiday just for eggs!

Sadly, as with most things in life, even eggs suffer some unnerving moments:

Oh dear.

Best of all, no-one has to come to work for the next four whole days. Hurrah!!

Happy Easter everyone!