Frozen birdbath

frozen birdbath

We spent the weekend up in Yorkshire with Karen’s mum. This is the birdbath in her garden.


Like father, like son

Bernard is one year old, and the approved method of descending the stairs is for him to crawl down backwards, whilst I stay a few steps below him.

On a couple of occasions, he has reached the penultimate step with the mistaken belief that he has reached the bottom. Probably distracted by some exciting item that he is eager to get to.

At this point, he turns around and starts to walk/spring away, completely oblivious to the fact that his next step will take him over a lurking six inch precipice. I do what I can to catch him, but when this occurs at 6:30 in the morning, I have the reflexes of a remarkably sluggish pat of butter.

The poor little guy is somewhat surprised at this point, and may wail a tad, but no permanent harm is done, and within minutes we are happily playing as if nothing had happened.

The reason why I have related this anecdote is that two nights ago, I did exactly the same thing. Well, not quite exactly. I was walking down the stairs in the conventional manner, and the lights were off (because it was late at night and I did not want to disturb “her upstairs”). I miscalculated, and down I went.

No serious injury was suffered, though my left food did come down in a slightly awkward way, and a certain discomfort was felt in my second toe. Not painful enough to be a break, maybe some kind of stretched muscle. I limped throughout the day yesterday, but this morning I was back to full health.

I’ve had a slightly farcical few days actually. As well as the tumble two days ago, I spilled a mug of tea yesterday. I was putting it down on a colleague’s desk, and as I pulled my hand away, my finger must have still been engaged in the handle. Some tea spilled on his desk, and the rest fell to the floor, where the mug broke. I was quick enough to announce “shit” before it hit the ground, but not quick enough to catch it in any way.

No tea landed on my colleague, which was somewhat of a relief. The puddle did lap at the base of his keyboard, mouse, and telephone, but no permanent damage seems to have been done.

As I was clearing up the broken mug, I stabbed myself in the left index finger. Not a serious injury, but enough to give me a mild discomfort whenever I try to use that finger for typing etc.

Additionally, Karen has an impressive spot growing at the base of her spine. I think she’s going to let me pop it for her when it is ripe, but I’m not allowed to take photos. I might have to set up a secret camera to record the footage.

So yeah, we’re not at peak physical condition right now.


This year’s Christmas decorations

christmas tree


As talked about here.

Food Photos

Mince pie

mince pie

I’m clearing up a backlog of photos, and I’ve discovered this delicious treat from a few weeks ago.

About Me

Crikey! Meme alert!

Karen told me to meme. I am to give you 8 random facts about me.

1. I live in a semi-detached house in England with my darling Karen and toddler Bernard
2. I am eighty feet tall
3. I am made entirely of titanium
4. I have rocket launchers for forearms
5. I have laser beams for eyes
6. I carry a satchel of kung po chicken on my knee.
7. I write computer software for a living
8. I do all sorts of things in my spare time

Of course, anybody who has read my About page will already know these things.

Now here are the rules:

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write a post on their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog, Chose people to get tagged and list their names. Or don’t. Who’s going to check?

If you are reading this and you have not already done this meme, then consider yourself tagged.

Stunt 2007

Christmas Decorations

*This is a companion piece to a similarly-themed article on Karen’s site which, all things being equal, should be published at roughly the same time.*

Once upon a time, not so long ago, I was a fan of extravagant Christmas decorations. I came from the *if you can see green, it needs more decorations* school of tree-dressing. I was just continuing the traditions that had been established in my childhood.

But time has taken its toll. Encroaching curmudgeondom, environmental awareness, and Karen’s influence have all combined and changed my view. I still like to drape long strands of tinsel along the top edge of picture frames, but I’m no longer the lightoholic that I once was. The majestic exterior displays that some of our neighbours have implemented seem excessive and vain. I’d be happy to have one or two strings of low-power lights around the house, but Karen would rather that we don’t, and I’m cool with that.

We haven’t put up my 6′ artificial tree this year. We were concerned that Bernard would be unable to resist the urge to pull it down on top of himself. In retrospect, perhaps we were unnecessarily paranoid, but so it goes. While digging through bags of decorations (for tinsel, see above) I did discover the old foot-high plastic tree that I used to have in my bedroom back when I was a teenager, so we’ve put that in the middle of the dining table. That’s our tree this year.

The thing that baffles me is that “tradition” can make people do such irrational things. We install cavity wall insulation and loft insulation to reduce our heating bills. We replace our incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent alternatives. We turn the TV off instead of leaving it on standby. We worry about carbon footprints, and petrol prices, and all that jazz.

Then December arrives. Suddenly, it’s time to cut down a tree, decorate your house in unnecessary lights, throw the switch, and it’s all okay because (a) it looks pretty and (b) it’s tradition. I look at the aforementioned lightshow adorning the exterior of my neighbours house and imagine them saying *Kids, we can have extra lights this year, because Pete next door has been so careful with his energy consumption over the last eleven months! w00t!*

You know what I want to do? I want to walk up my street at 2am in the morning, ringing the doorbells of all the people whose Christmas lights are glowing brightly. And I’ll say “Excuse me, but would you mind switching your lights off? Oh, whoopsie, were you sleeping? Sorry, I assumed that you were awake, because YOUR LIGHTS ARE ON.” Maybe I should just head out with a pair of secateurs and switch those lights off in the old-fashioned way.

At the end of the day, I appreciate that the tradition of Christmas is very important to some people, and they will defend their right to be as wasteful as they like. And I have to respect that, because I know that I am not perfect either, and there are still probably thousands of ways that I could further reduce my negative impact on the environment. After all, what’s the difference between the people at #40 draping their house with enough lights to land a jumbo jet, and me leaving my computer on overnight to download the latest Ubuntu release?

*UPDATE: some photos*

*Next week’s stunt post will be entitled “What I want for Christmas” – look out for it on Monday.*

Displeasure Guidance

How To Leave Pipex: Part 3

Your changeover date will arrive. You can monitor the progress of your order using your new ISP’s “Order Status” page, and they will probably also email you when the migration is complete. Oh, and your Pipex connection will stop working.

At this point, enter your new connection details into your router’s setup page, and watch in wonder as Internet connectivity returns! Joy!

Now cancel your Pipex Direct Debit. Barring any mishaps, our work here is done.

*Continues here.*

*Part 1, Part 2.*