Tuesday, 24 March 2009

When I fell over the peacock

I had the worst news EVER today! OK I exaggerate a touch, but I mailed playback video, the publishers of McM&W and got this very nice reply telling me that have no current plans to publish any more then the first series.

Now that's just teasing me and all fans of 70's kitsch... BUT their minds can be changed, so if you feel really nicely about me and my latest obsession do please contact them here and nag! I mean they've got all of Magnum PI and while I really wish I had Mr Sellecks chest hair you can't tell me it's better then McMilan and wife!

Today was supermarket day. Does everyone get really attached to their regular shop? Yesterday we were forced to go to the local Tesco and the experience was not a good one. How come people in other then your chosen shops seem rude and miserable? And you can never find anything...

Coming back we found no less then 4 peacocks wandering around the garden. We'd been visited by two of these exotica a few weeks ago, but this time they seemed to have brought a couple of friends. Judging by the calls of the little b****ers still further up the hill I think there are still plenty more to come.

Aside from winning a fortune on the lottery and buying some huge palatial heap ('darling are the peacocks still on the West lawn?') kind of thing, I never thought I would be woken in the early hours by the over sexed birds getting up to whatever it is they do when it's dark and making such a racket over it.

Monday, 23 March 2009

I hate Mondays

Actually I don't, and haven't for a long time, in my last Job Monday was my day off... But this one's not been so great.

The weather has turned grey and chill, I know that's fair enough it's only March, but we'd got used to it being like summer, only nicer as it's not too hot and the kids aren't on school holidays, but it's back to regular weather now, so I guess I should cancel the order for orange and lemon trees..

And I've been waiting in all day for Parcelforce (like UPS only rubbish) to collect a dehumidifier I sold on eBay yesterday. It seems that while I was given a time between 9AM and 2PM (!) they were only given the order at 1.55 PM. I wouldn't mind if I'd known, but you know how it is, you can settle to nothing while waiting in for delivery men. And we need to go shopping, we need wine, oh yes and food too..

And I found the ideal outside lights, but I cant bring myself to actually buy them..

You see that sort of day, if it gets fun I'll report, but I wont hold my breath if you don't..

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Jade Goody


There are things living under rocks on Mars that have heard that Jade Goody died early this morning. Typical of Jade's sense of publicity, she did it on Mothers day, the showman to the very last.

Star of (but not winner of) Big brother three Jade had nothing at all. She wasn't good looking, she had no talent, she had the most appalling chaotic background and for want of a better word, family life. She was loud, pretty obnoxious at times and had no academic abilities of any sort.

But she had this one chance and she grabbed it with both hands and hung on for for all she was worth.

Her life since has been lived on the pages of the tabloids and cheap checkout magazines and any TV appearance she could get. I don't pretend to know even a fraction of it, I know next to nothing about 'celebrities' But you knew Jade Goody, you couldn't miss her.

And alone of the 'type' I admired her. She lived a life I couldn't even begin to imagine always thinking up some new angle to get herself publicity, she had cunning and 'smarts' she used the celebrity 'culture' for all it was worth and she won, she was the exception that proved the rule.

Jade I really really hope it was all worth it, and yes, I will miss you.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

the mystery of the plaid sofa

While staining the new gates dark brown (and it's amazing how your mind will wander on a job like that) I was remembering my dad taking me in about 1971 to see the new wonder of the electronics division there at the British Steel Company, a video recorder.

The thing was the size of a fridge and recorded about half an hour of program (just long enough for last nights Top Of The Pops) on 1" tape held on 10" open reels, in black and white.

Of course, hard as it is to remember, we only had a black and white television. They might have broadcast colour but we certainly didn't have it. (I have a feeling Carolyn something or other down the road had a set which they always watched with the colour control turned to the max, but they were loaded, and weird, and he always used to mow the lawn wearing a jacket shirt and tie, and she was an only child.... )

The POINT of all this faffing about is, although I remember it in colour, I must have seen McM&W in black and white, which is why I remember the sofas as cream (I'm sure the second one will turn up eventually) and why the yellow kitchen units were a bit of a shock and that gorgeous brown fridge......

Like I said, painting gates makes your mind wander, and mine certainly likes a holiday. One day it won't come back..

38 years late

Well before I launch into another 70's TV show critique, way more important Dolly the cat is very pleased to be able to step outside.

Far from being constrained by the small space available she seems to be quite happy to sit on the doorstep in the sun, or even inside on the doormat with the door open. She keeps nipping in anyway to make sure all is still alright. I'm thinking now of flooring the area with decking planks, and I've been looking up small trees and climbers that will do well in pots (I fancy a fig) but it's for me, she's not bothered.

SO last night I watched the first 'proper' episode of McM&W :-) I'm glad to say that Mr Hudsons hair is way improved (a little less heavy on the nice'n'easy) and the jackets aren't quite so bad. But horror of horrors, my memory has been playing tricks, the sofa isn't cream at all but a sort of Dralon plaid and there is only one of them..

Of course this was the moving into their new house episode, and none of their furniture seems to match what they had before, barring only the bedhead, (she was lucky the fabric was still available for the new matching blinds) so I guess they might change in later series...

I am glad to say that I still like the sunflower painting by the front door and they have that that I *always* desired, a two door chocolate brown fridge/freezer! The rather weird kitchen units would have to go though, but the shutters in the dining area are very nice and I am sure that designer Anne Maurice now has one of the houses across the street..

Oh the story was quite fun too...

Friday, 20 March 2009

70's TV

Last night after watching the nightly episode of Stargate, (and how disappointing it got, I remember now why I lost interest in it, Ben Browder is no Richard Dean Anderson, and political stories - yawn)

Anyway time for the pilot episode of McMillan and wife. I don't think I could ever have seen that one, the first I remember is when they move into their new house (I fell in love with the matching sofas either side of the hole in the wall fireplace). I think that and Sylvia Anderson's sets for Thunderbirds is where I got the idea of how decorating *should* be done :-)

Back in those days baddies were baddies (and usually wore hugely eye magnifying glasses, this was before they invented goatees..) and I loved the extended sequence where commissioner McMillan chases the bad guy up and down the hills of San Francisco on a bicycle (I'd love to see any of our commissioners do that) the chase getting slower in the upsides of the hills... SanFrancisco looking surprisingly less glamorous then you would expect today.

Back then Saturday night was McMillan and Wife, Columbo (my mum loved him, still does) and McCloud, later in the decade it was Streets of SanFrancisco, Kojak, Ironside and the kings of them all, Starsky and Hutch. My sister and I always had a special Saturday night watching them all and having treats to eat while Mum & Dad went out for the evening with Auntie Connie and Uncle David.

I know it seems hard today but you wouldn't believe how exotic those shows were to a kid living in Wales and I still have this gut feeling that SanFrancisco exists only as a stage set and isn't a real place at all.

I wasn't convinced by Rock Hudsons hair and some of those jackets were diabolical :-) but I can't wait for the first 'proper' episode.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Thursday already

Not been great at blogging the last few days and I've decided that's a *bad* thing, it gets to be like that e mail you keep meaning to reply to and suddenly you realise six months have gone past! Actually I think the trick is the more of it you do the better you get at it, or at least quicker, like most things really :-)

So as to shattering events : the last couple of days here have been lovely, so sunny and warm, and I've been putting up a couple of gates outside the kitchen door in this rather narrow alley so that Dolly the cat can stop whingeing and go out there, but will be safe and not able to wander off. She may be big and scary looking, but actually she is a total wimp with no sense whatsoever.

Actually stick a few pots out there and it'll be a really nice if tiny garden, and something nicer to look out on then next doors garage..

I've also been filling and rubbing down woodwork, I don't mind doing it so much, and once it's been done once, and well, it'll never need doing like that again. But I hate the mess it makes everywhere. As you may have realised, I'm not a big fan of dust..

If any of you have seen 'how clean is your house?' I have this fantasy of Kim and Aggie coming around and telling me the place is great (anyone who knows them will know there is fat chance of that, but I can fantasize..)

Friday, 13 March 2009

Like a rabbit

You know that feeling when you seem to have so much to do that you don't know which way to turn, what to do first and so you just don't do anything? Well that's been me this week, like a rabbit in the headlights. I couldn't even rouse a blog entry.

The weather while very wet is getting warmer and the evenings really are lighter, and doing something to the garden is looming, but the house still needs decorating and frankly this dark green patterned carpet in the living room and landing and unrelenting shabby beige walls throughout are making me suicidal and the brighter light just makes it all look worse.

So finally I woke with a decision, the doors are finished (well except the bathroom and that's a whole other story) and the difference is vast, a whole layer of tattiness gone, they look great. I shall make a start on the woodwork, I'm a bit of a psycho for woodwork, it has to be right.

But I have decided rather then lining and cross lining the walls, I shall fill, a bit of sanding and a couple of coats of matt white emulsion. It'll be clean, crisp and I can always do it again it later when I decide whats wanted, and white is a statement after all isn't it? At least its not 'going to sell the house' cream.. :-)

And that carpet WILL go, next room on the list!

So to get over feeling frazzled and having actually decided something (which with me is way more then half the battle) I have just gone completely mad and ordered the first series of Macmillan and Wife from Amazon. I loved that series... back in the '70s....

Monday, 9 March 2009


When I was little Monday was the day for washing, my mum would get out the washing machine. She was posh like Eunice Price next door, they both had Hoovermatic twin tubs with *spin dryers* rather then a finger crunching mangle. Admittedly both machines seemed to spend more time leaking from perished rubber hoses rather then actual washing but it was modern.

The water would be boiled in the washing tub, together with the soap powder (or even new fangled detergent) and I'll always remember the clothes swirling in that steaming water(very like Go'ulds waiting to be implanted now I think of it) to be hooked out with wooden washing tongs bleached white with use.

The clothes would then be slurped out into the said spin drier which would then propel the machine around the kitchen with such violence it would terrify me. IF you were lucky the water would be spat from the curious shepherds crook shaped pipe into the sink. If you were not the machine would have developed another leak and it would be all over the floor.

The whole house would be steamy and smell of boiling soap powder and wet clothes.

I hated Mondays.

Which is why I always do the washing on a Sunday even though, lets face it chucking washing in the machine dirty and dry and getting it out again clean and dry isn't *quite* the same challenge. .

I seemed to spend the rest of the day putting junk (sorry treasures) on eBay to sell, I've been putting it off for ages so this will be a Sunday job for weeks and months.

That's what this post was going to be about, but I seem to have gone off at a tangent..

Saturday, 7 March 2009


I have started down the slippery slope..

The hall ceiling has a crack in it (in the loft there is actually a boot print on the back of the plasterboard where someone has slipped off the truss and stood on it). The last people seem to have tried to cover it, but the ceilings are artex it's impossible to repair invisibly so it just draws attention to it.

I'd been considering this action for some while, but I know once you have started you can't stop so for months I have resisted.

But there I was yesterday in Wickes (they seem to be doing pretty well out of me of late) had to have a couple of gates and some posts delivered anyway as there are limits to what even I can get in a Fiesta and it was beckoning with it's siren call. Yes, I am talking pine cladding...

Now the 70's die is cast, give it 18 months and the whole place will have pine ceilings as well as cork floors, I can just feel it, and I have a sudden resurgence of interest in macrame....

Friday, 6 March 2009

Time travel makes your head hurt

That's about it, just a general observation.

Sitting in Sainsbury's waiting for lunch trying to work out last nights Stargate (last two episodes series 8) Where the team go back to ancient Egypt using a recently found Ancient time travel device (that's Ancient with a capital 'A' not small 'a') and excitingly mess up

Using the 'trouser leg of time' theory we had three Jack O Neils, ditto Sam Carters and Teal'cs but only two Daniel Jacksons (one having been shot by one of the Teal'cs for having a go'uld in his head).

Did we end up with the 'right' ones? I figured in the end we did, even if not quite the ones we started with.

But like I said it made my head hurt.. These writer Johnnys must be very clever, or take a lot of Ibuprofen..


Reading about my friend Scott's new shopvacs, I had thought about telling you about mine, now I will!

In a somewhat different league (to put it mildly) I am still pretty pleased. Not that it stops me drooling over the big proper jobs..

For home use I use two very good and expensive German cleaners (Sebo if you're interested) One upright and one Cylinder they are superb and great at what they are designed to do (get the house CLEAN with no fuss). Designed for the the Bavarian Hausfrau, like them they will stand for no messing about..

However I have recently found one thing the cylinder is no good at at all, namely clearing up building rubble and detritus. Oh it makes a manful attempt but within two minutes the scientifically designed multi phase filter paper bag is clogged, the big orange light comes on and it's goodnight Vienna. Expensive and inconvenient (and then no good at what it's meant for)

So I did a quick bit of research (a flash way of saying I looked up a few websites) and came up with the Wickes wet'n'dry. It looks like R2D2's low budget idiot cousin on a VERY bad day and makes the average Air Force jet sound quiet. But it's under £40 and will suck up anything.

Rude and crude it's just a big motor in a plastic bucket with a few badly made tools. When you switch it on it actually kicks around in the direction of the motor rotation and the exhaust from it is so extreme you really can believe it is some sort of secret jet weapon, a *man's* cleaner :-) Nothing is safe from it's voracious appetite and it fits the bill perfectly. I love the thing. .

And now my refined German cleaners can heave a sigh of relief and go back to what they are meant to be doing..

Thursday, 5 March 2009


Like Kate and Jim suggested I have been thinking about it, and every one of you are right, I can't let some half wit win, he doesn't like me? Tough! Sincerely thank you all for your comments, I shall try and thicken the skin. I'm thinking I'm a bit mid life crisis-y anyway and it's time I pulled myself out of it.

This decision was come to last night while two thirds of the way through a bottle of Australian Riesling and while listening to one of my four favorite David Bowie albums (Diamond Dogs) A bit of death madness and genocide always puts me in a good mood :-)

Also yesterday was partly a lovely day (apparently it showed while I was in the garage refinishing yet another door, but I didn't see it so it doesn't count)

Earlier on I had been cleaning out the gutters as water was pouring from them in all the wrong places whenever it rained heavily (this is Wales, it's a miracle when it *doesn't* rain heavily).

I can see that many would not be keen on this, but it's so close to making mud pies I think its fun and really cheered me up. Apart from being up a ladder and the bright red boiler suit (I wanted a convict style orange one but couldn't find one on eBay) I could have been a kid again though I have heard kids don't make mud pies any more...

When I clean down all the outside 'paintwork' (it's all upvc but 'plasticwork' doesn't make any sense) in a few weeks, I shall have to reinstall all the said guttering as someone doesn't seem to have grasped which way it should slope, but in the meantime it's reasonably clean and hopefully the water will no longer cascade from the wrong end.

Hopefully now I can get back into the swing of posting but in the meantime I *must* do some work..

Monday, 2 March 2009

So Long

This is my last post, I had thought I was doing a fun blog, just a bit of light hearted chat, but after a rather unpleasant mail to John I see that is not the case.

I may be thin skinned but I get really upset by comments like that by people who don't even know me. My fault, I see it now, but it won't happen again.

And for you nice people, thanks it was nice knowing you.

Computers, a short whine.

I would have posted over the weekend, I intended to. I'd written what I thought was a pretty good post on Roxy Music and early glam rock.

Then in spite of supposedly 'autosaving' every minute or so it went, just disappeared, gone, finito. Maybe I really should write in Wordpad then just copy it to blogger when I'm done.

But this computer is going through one of it's flakey periods, it does this every now and then, you ask it to do something (like open a browser window, something difficult like that...) and it just sits there, and sits, and sits.. eventually I get bored and restart, then it loses the mouse so you restart again. This time it's the keyboard. By the time I'm on the 5th restart I've got bored and gone off to watch TV.

I tried Linux, but command lines just aren't me (I can't remember even the simple ones). 

Ubuntu (it just works) doesn't. It fell at the first hurdle, it won't work with my ultra exotic (not) Netgear WiFi card, that's pretty basic. 

I'd rather chew earwigs then use Vista. (I'd need a new computer to give me a marginally prettier desktop and a supernanny attitude, I'd end up booting it).

I guess I could go Apple, but they always seem so smug (though I'd put up with that for an updated Cube) and I refuse to buy from a company that charges the same in Pounds as they do in Dollars (we're not at parity - yet) especially when the goods are made in China anyway.

I'm stuck with my flaky XP for now I guess.  Of course there is the new windows. I won't hold my breath.

One of those days

I love those days when I have planned exactly what I am going to do, it's all listed in my head and I get through the lot. The sense of achievement is amazing :-)

Actually when I *have* a list I do usually get through it, it's just the deciding on what goes on it in the first place that's the problem, and when I don't? Then I end up flopping around for the day like a grounded fish.. or so it seems.

But yesterday all the washing was done (I wash on Sunday, no idea why, or perhaps it's truer to say Mr Miele does, but that's splitting hairs).. the house is clean..

And I have made a good start on the internal doors.

This place has that love of the 70's, Sapele doors (kind of like teak). It's pretty unusual in having them throughout, they were only normally used in the hall/reception space the rest being standard painted doors to save cash. One of the cool things about them of course is the fact they don't need painting ( painting flat doors is a real skill in itself if you wanted to avoid drips and runs and for them to look any way decent)

These things are real quality, while the sapele is a veneer they are solid throughout, no egg box filling here, they weigh a ton. I absolutely horrified my neighbour by telling her I like them and was keeping them. Hers have long since gone down the dump to be replaced by pressed hardboard moulded to look like panels (and *grain* for some reason) like 99% of modern houses. Admittedly sapele looks a bit corporate and office like, but they are absolutely of the period - like me!

Of course after 30 years they have picked up some biffs and scrapes which is to be expected, what isn't is getting paint from doing the frames on them (and not even trying to remove it). But 60 mins each with my cheap new half sheet sander and three coats of matt lacquer and they are looking good. Two down 14 to go...