Abandoned in autumn and left outside all winter

The other day I got very excited at the prospect of doing some gardening over the weekend. I hadn’t expected it to be quite so cold. However, on Sunday afternoon, after having been party to the sun’s rays for a few hours, the back garden finally warmed up to a bearable temperature, and I ventured out for a couple of hours before the light faded and I was forced back inside.

I raked up leaves on the lawn, and swept up leaves on the patio. I also discarded the remains of a few potted plants which had been abandoned in autumn and left outside all winter. I cut back the ivy on the fence, and dug up some of the larger areas of weeds in the borders with myWell, my dad’s new Okay, technically they are 30 years old, but they are in immaculate condition spadeSome people call a spade a shovel. That’s fine and forkAt this point, I’d usually make a joke, but I’m at a loss.

The compost bin has gone from full to… well, I don’t know what comes after full. It’s not overflowing, it’s just intensely dense.

Top Photos

Four Candles

Four Candles


Bitten in the posterior by an abstraction

My New Years Resolutions are always stealthy buggers. They lie in hiding for a while, generally until late-January, and then BAM! They up and bite me in the posterior.

Here’s one: I’ve been living next door to these people for about two years now, and barely made contact. We’ve said hi a couple of times, and a few weeks back I went to the gym without my key, so they loaned me their mobile phone so that I could wake Karen up to let me in, and then yesterday they took delivery of a parcel for us.

Earlier this evening, the fella brought it round to drop it off, and I said hi, and I assured him that I was the person with the name on the parcel, and he said that his name was Steve. I already knew this… ish. Two years ago, we invited them round to our housewarming party. They politely declined, but we briefly had their names. Forgotten them since, it seems.

But for some crazy reason, while he was stood at my door, I didn’t really make much in the way of charming conversation. It would have been a fine time to say “Got any exciting plans for tonight? Fancy a beer sometime?” but I didn’t. No idea why not. I could come up with a million possible reasons, but I anticipate that a contributing factor is that Steve and his significant other (whose name I probably once knew, but have forgotten) are not particularly forthcoming either, which gives me little to bounce off of. I am also a much more lazy conversationalist than I used to be, as I have mentioned before.

Either way, we have a resolution. I resolve to make contact with Steve this year – to actually find out who the hell he is. It would be daft not to.


A fool with a comfortable tongue

An update on [Opal Fruit… or Terrorist?][] follows.

[opal fruit… or terrorist?]:

This morning, after three and a half days of agony, I awoke to find my tongue feeling significantly better.

Okay, yes, agony might be a slightly strong word. Perhaps I should rephrase it a tad. For the previous three and a half days, my tongue had been very conspicuous. Periodically I’d feel a small jolt of pain as the swollen portion interfaced with the sharp edges of my lower teeth, reminding me of my ordeal. I’d try to pull my tongue down and back into the dark warmth offered by my lower jawspace, but the human body is clearly not designed in such a way as to facilitate this unnatural positioning for long, and when my concentration slipped I would suddenly be assaulted by this small jolt of pain once again.

This morning, evidently the swolling had dropped significantly, probably largely due to some clever, and repeated, use of [Bonjela][] yesterday. This begs the question, why didn’t I employ it sooner? Alas, I am a fool.


But a fool with a comfortable tongue once again.

So I have created a new category called *Illnesses and Maladies, oh Woe is Me!* Writing about one’s ailments requires surprisingly little effort, and is therefore a perfect topic for those who have surprisingly little effort to donate.

(Waves sheepishly) Hi.

About Me

Monsters and Dust

> At any given moment, I am probably reading about seven books at a time. This isn’t a boast, either; some I intend to finish, some I am struggling through, some I am racing through, others I have stopped reading but think I am still reading but will not shelve because that would admit defeat.

By Cliff’s standards, I suppose I could be considered to be reading three books at the moment. There are three books underneath my bedside table, with bookmarks placed about a dozen pages in, but they are well and truly abandoned. I can’t remember their names, and if I had any sense I’d put them out of their misery. Fortunately, I’m not quite *that* much of a tidiness-freak.

In realistic terms, I read one book at a time. I rarely fail to finish a book, for the same reason that I rarely abandon watching a film partway through, and I can’t recall ever walking out of the cinema. It might be out of respect for the artist, perhaps a belief that these things should be unbroken entities, but it’s much more likely that it’s a naive optimism.


My Chlorophyllic Nemeses

I hit the garden today. Thump – soil flew everywhere!

Damn – I promised myself that I wouldn’t stoop to such a poor gag. I am weak.

The temperature hovered somewhere around the 5°C mark, and it didn’t seem horrifically unpleasant. I took the decomposables out to the compost heap, and peered into the gloomy rotting contents, trying to imagine in my head what the stuff at the bottom must be looking like by now.

Due to the absence of any leaves on the bushes, this might be the right time to do some tidying up of the borders. I’d be able to reach to the back to extract the aliens, without needing to fight off a combo of attacks from my chlorophyllic nemeses. If the weather isn’t too horrific at the weekend, that would be an ideal way to pass the time. Thank God that Celebrity Big Brother will soon be finished – I made a mistake in sitting down in front of that show a few weeks back. If I had swiftly turned the television set off, I wouldn’t have formed any sort of interest in these people, and I wouldn’t find myself making time at 9pm every evening to watch them.


More Dragons

Some dragons that I’ve produced over recent weeks.

Could be a chicken

This fella is definitely related to a chicken in some way. I would not dare speculate on what that exact relation may be, for it would be to leave myself open to allegations of libel.

Slightly rabbit inspired

The caption reads “I wasn’t always this lazy a conversationalist.” It has nothing to do with the drawing, it just happened to be very nearby on the page.

The drawing itself appears to be of a somewhat spaced-out rabbit-dragon, with a carrot conveniently placed to avoid me the task of having to draw his hind legs. It was sketched during a frenzy of rabbit-dragon hybrid-drawing, as you will see below.


This dragon (above) is not a very likeable chap at all.

There was an old dragon called Gerald,
Whose insults would leave thee in peril,
He wore a top hat,
And badgered a cat,
And did something else that rhymes with Gerald.

Not my greatest work of art, I’ll agree.


There was a foul dragon,
Who lived in a hutch,
He ate lots of carrots,
And argued too much.

Food IAMOWIM Peril Photos

Opal Fruit… or Terrorist?

I unwrapped the green Opal Fruit and tossed it lightly into my mouth, assuming that this would be an Opal Fruit like any other Opal Fruit.

Opal FruitsIn my complacency, I allowed my attention to wander to other tasks. This turned out to be my greatest of errors, for the Opal Fruit moved around in my mouth in a non-obvious fashion, exploiting my moment of least concentration to make a dive for the left cheek as the teeth came down.

Searing pain. My hand shot to my mouth. I left the room abruptly, aiming for the bathroom, where I could suffer my ordeal in sweet sweet solitude.

I spat into the basin. Blood.

I had bitten my tongue and made it bleed.

Being away from my desk, I didn’t instantly have Google to hand, so I had to improvise the treatment for a bleeding tongue. I applied some pressure with a clean forefinger, and when the flow had been staunched, I used cold water to wash my mouth out and remove the excess.

The pain eventually dulled to an irritating ache, and 24 hours (or so) later, I’m starting to feel a bit more human again. No segments of tongue were permanently lost, and I have faith that I will make a full physical recovery.

However, my ordeal still haunts me, and the Opal Fruits taunt me, and a flaunty thing flaunts me. A strawberry flavoured Opal Fruit sits, unwrapped, on my table top, beckoning me with its soft curves.

“Hey there,” she says, “Do you think you can handle me?”

I jibber and jabber back incoherently.

“I know what you are thinking,” she says, “If I succumb to her fruity wiles, will I be vulnerable to that pain all over again?”

I splutter and clutter.

“Oh, you silly boy,” she laughs, tossing her hair and fluttering her eyebrows, purring seductively from somewhere deep in her throat, “I don’t bite.” She laughs at how incredibly fucking witty she is.

Incensed by her cockiness, I toss her lightly into my mouth.

Holiday Top Photos

A series of photos from my holiday on the Isle of Wight

Ventnor Beach

Ventnor Beach.

The Needles

The Needles. After taking this photo, we walked round to the old Battery (the building you can see on the top of the headland). However, by that time, the mist had come in, and visibility was lost.

Red candle

When these little fellas turn and stare right at you, you can feel their eyes boring into you. Terrifying.

Out to Sea
Fish and chips

Lunch, obtained from the seafront at Sandown.

Sunset over Wight


Windows XP won’t boot after replacing motherboard

These words, “Windows XP won’t boot after replacing motherboard”, were what I repeatedly typed into [Google][] many many times, with slight variations (such as replacing “replacing” with “new” etc etc). I had replaced my computer’s motherboard with something rather different, and though my Ubuntu Linux installation was booting fine, Windows XP wouldn’t work. I’d get the following messages from [GRUB][], as usual, and then it would freeze.


rootnoverify (hd0,0)
chainloader +1

Not a major problem – I only ever used Windows for playing games, and even that wasn’t frequently. I can’t really justify spending shedloads on a fancy 3D graphics card, so the games in question tend to be things like the original [Half-Life][], [Max Payne][], and [Worms 2][].

[max payne]:
[worms 2]:

Most of the responses that I got were “Make sure that you have enabled LBA in the BIOS” but I knew that this couldn’t be the solution, as I’d already tried that.

Or… had I?

It seems that I had made some major mistake, most likely only enabling LBA for my master hard drive, and not for the slave drive. For when I was at my wit’s end, contemplating completely reinstalling Windows, it struck me like a lightning bolt. I tried it… and… success!