Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Explosion

Update: WPC Dee came to see us. She was at the scene. Apparently the driver of the car committed suicide. He deliberately drove straight at the lorry. She confirmed he was alone in the car. She also confirmed Shotgun cartridges were in the back of the lorry, causing great concern to the firefighters.

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The Explosion

It's funny how I never know what I'm going to write about, when I sit down here and start. I know some people have each and every blog planned to the last word. But I log on and I haven't a clue what I'm going to write about. It all just comes out. I stare at the blank screen and it's a stream of consciousness that comes out.

Today however is different. Today I was sitting at work at this desk when the whole building shook. A fucking huge boom! My first thought was "Oh Shit! The fireworks factory has gone up again." It's happened twice before. We ran out of the shop and looked out as a plume of smoke rose above the houses. Charly turned up. We stood in the street looking east at the smoke. Wondering what had happened. Then we heard the crackling noise, like a load of firecrackers going off. Like a damp bonfire on an autumn day.
Within three minutes we heard the sirens. That was bloody quick.

500 yards from our shop at the roundabout members of the public were blocking the road, stopping people going toward the parkway. It was serious. A friend of mine drove past in his car and shouted to me that a cars petrol tank had exploded round the corner near the Boongate roundabout. Cars don't explode. They only do that in American films. The plume of smoke grew and drifted towards us. The shop filled with smoke. My brother said "That's the smell of a burning car. It's unmistakeable."

I am aware that our normal road is dead quiet. Not a car moving. It's like a hot summers sunday afternoon. I imagined I could hear Crickets calling above the crackling sound coming from the direction of the smoke. There's sirens coming from all directions. Everyone is asking everyone what's happening. No one knows. It's only speculation. We're all out in the street and no one knows anything. Slowly facts start emerging. It's a car crash.... It involves a lorry, someone has seen a dead body in the road. A helicopter hovers over the site.

Then nothing for a while.

More intelligence trickles through. A car has hit a lorry. It fractured it's tank and burst into flames. The driver is killed, but there could be a child in the passenger seat. The flames engulf the car and the petrol tank explodes. This is the explosion we hear. It's horrific. The crackling we can hear from just under half a kilometer away is the contents of the lorry.

Meanwhile the police have turned up and blocked off the road they're diverting traffic suddenly our road is gridlocked. No one is moving anywhere.

It turns out the lorry is carrying shot gun cartridges, which in the flames are exploding. People are evacuated from their houses, and moved to a safe distance.

The explosion blew a hole in the road. The road was kept closed to allow the council to retarmac the road.

This afternoon the papers came out. There was no mention of the shot gun cartridges. They mentioned a possible child in the car but that was not confirmed. The driver was confirmed dead. The lorry driver and his mate escaped with minimal injuries.

So this is todays blog. I haven't a clue what I was going to write about. I never know. You never know what's going to happen. Today there's one more dead person and another unconfirmed. There's explosives on the roads of our country and no one knows where or when they are travelling. This lorry was an everyday removals lorry. "Kimes removals". You will never know what's being carried in the truck in front of you.

It makes you think.

Rock on dudes

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Wild flower weekend


It's amazing what you can find when you start looking for stuff. This is a bracket fungus. Don't ask me which one because I'm no expert on fungi. But it's pretty cool anyway. My children and I are planning an on line flower identification website. You can get your collins guides, but it's a nightmare to find stuff. So we're planning a site where you click on various factors. Like "Month of the year", "Colour of flower". Etc. By doing this it will narrow down the options. So when you click "find" you have a selection of flowers to choose from. If you're still not sure you can push the "more" button and get alternative photos showing leaves and other views of the plant to make sure of identification. So far I have taken 800 photos of wild flowers. I haven't even scratched the surface of the subject yet. I started of taking photos of the obvious flowers. Then the more rare. I've had to start travelling to far off places to find particular plants to photograph. Witness tourists wandering around picking posies of rare flowers to take home for their mums. I've seen people walking around picking these rare flowers then dumping them at the gate of the reserve. What are they thinking? So this is what I'm doing. I'm photographing wild flowers for you. So that you can, maybe appreciate what we have in this country. So that while you're walking the dog (or the children) you can say "I know that flower" it's.... A lot of flowers have medicinal properties or are poisonous. At a later date I hope to put on a website all of this stuff as well. So below please enjoy a few of the highlights of this weekend. It aint Rock and Roll I know, but this is nature. Appreciate what you've got while you can. It may not be here next year. Actually it probably will. But maybe one less than last year. If you and I don't care enough to protect what we've got. Today I met a man and his boy. The boy was intent on snapping a tree trunk in half. I collared him before he managed it and showed him some "Deadly Nightshade" the boy said "Cool" The father said "Maybe I should take more notice of what's about." I thought "Result!" So enjoy the following.

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So this weekend I've spent my time flower hunting. I started off at the Board walk Friday evening in Peterborough. This is Gypsywort. So called because it's juices contain a dye and Gypsies used to use it to dye their skin a darker brown.

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Travellers Joy AKA Old Mans Beard. So I went to "Hills and Holes" at Barnack. Here's "Travellers Joy" also known as "Old mans beard". You've seen it loads of times I'm sure.

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I tell you that the flower season is almost over but then up comes Autumn Gentian. By next thursday they'll all be open and in bloom. I'll try and get you shots of them if the weather is nice.

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White Autumn Gentian. There's also a white version.

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White Briony. This is poisonous. The berries go red after a while.

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This is Carline Thistle. It seems to be a living dried flower when you see it. Most strange.

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Sunday I went to Brampton Woods. This Common Centuary. Common? Only common where it's found.

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This is Figwort. I guess it's past it's best. The flowers are all gone and all that's left are the leaves and "fruits".

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Devils Bit Scabious. I found this one at Wood Walton Fen. It's off season but there's still loads of stuff to find.

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So today I went to "Hills and Holes" at Barnack. It's an ancient stone quarry. It's also a special site of scientific interest. The amounts of plants here is incredible. Seven different types of Orchids. I never tire of visiting this place. Oh yes this is Scarlet Pimpernel. It's very small. I found this at the edge of a farmers field. Just outside Hills and Holes, although I've found them on the site itself. Edges of fields are a great place to find stuff.

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You get butterflies by the dozen, here at Hills and Holes. This one is the Woodland Brown -Lopinga achine. Taking photographs of butterflies is really difficult. It's rare that they stay still enough to find time to focus on them. So this one is a bonus.

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Blimey! Jews Ears. I hope I'm not being politically incorrect here but this is what they're called. So any incorrectness I blame on the person who named this fungus. Pretty cool though.

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Friday, August 26, 2005

Peterborough Beer Festival Part Deux


Tonight I went to the beer festival again. It would be rude not to. I mean they went to all this trouble to put it on. The least I can do is accept their kind invitation to attend. Now this is embarrassing, this is a very good friend of mine, he spent a year going round the world and I can't remember his name. He got mugged in Ecuador (I think). But he had a great time travelling the world. Now he's back and at the Beer Festival. This beer festival Part Deux is mainly due to Cattiva. Who wanted to experience the fest vacariously. So on her behalf I've had a fucking good time. And to all my other blogger friends, Doctor Rob, Alan, Andre,
Zoe, Debs, steve, Natalie, Annie, Alf, Mick, Scary, Nica, Bromman. This is for you. I wish you all were here. There's nothing like a beer festival.

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I met friends. I went to the guy on the rights 21st birthday party many years ago. I was the only white guy there. It was brilliant. He's a drummer in a rock band. I can't even pronounce his name never mind spell it.

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I met cute girls.

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There was a band again. They were great. I had to fight my way to the front to take this photo for you. I hope you appreciate the effort I went through.

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The lovely thing about the Beer Festival there is never any trouble. No fights. Just everyone being really friendly. This is my Brother in law a Staunch dyed in the wool CAMRA member. Last night he had a couple shagging over his Tombola stand. The security guards threw them out. While he was relating this story to me This guy dropped his trousers and ran around the beer tent for all to see. By this time I was pissed and the Lens cap was on. Sorry.

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Proper Cornish Pasties are on offer.

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This lady came up to me and said "You're that musician aren't you?" I said "Depends on which musician you are referring to." "You of course. My husband played on the same bill as you." Doh! And there was me thinking I was irresistable.

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Thursday, August 25, 2005


I met very cute girls. This is Leslie or is it Lesley?

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I met random girls who seeing my camera insisted they had their picture taken for this blog.

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Very nice people served me beer.

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You get things to eat. Olives. Eeek hold me back. I love olives.

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Finally I found Simon who is a Keyboard player. He was on last night with the Pogues tribute band who were great.

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Then we had to go home and this nice man emptied our pockets of loose change "For the life boats." Actually he really is a nice man. I've known him for years.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Peterborough Beer festival Part one


Here's the Janet and John version of my night. I went to the Peterborough Beer festival.

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I went with Del.

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The band was great.

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I met friends.

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It was very busy. The peterborough beer festival is currently in competition with London Olympia for the biggest beer festival in the UK.

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There were loads of interesting people at the beer festival.

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Stout walking shoes were the order of the day.It's been raining something aweful recently.

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There was a band, this is Mick on Mandola. The band were great it was a Pogues tribute band

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Just doing it


I had my music club tonight. A new guy turned up his name is Andy. This is him in the above photo. He is an unashamed exhibitionist. I first met him a few years ago at Genevas bar. He was playing a Fender Stratocaster through a fuzz box. He was terrible. He couldn't play, he couldn't sing but he was great because he had the balls to get up there and do it. He didn't care what people thought, he just played and everyone cheered because he was so bad. One night he played Britney Spears, "Baby do it to me one more time" it was so bad it was brilliant. We all cheered like mad fuckers. This is entertainment. Tonight I talked to him about it. He's been playing for five years, I've been playing for twenty five years. He will get up and play something, knowing he hasn't a clue but he gets away with it. I need to know I'm going to get it right or almost right.
He said "It's confidence, that's all. 100% confidence and 10% ability."
That made me think. Of course I get away with murder because I'm confident in what I do. For Chrissakes! I'm the one getting paid to do it. So I should have confidence. I'm being paid to put myself up for public ridicule. Knowing that little gem of information gives you carte blanche to fool around in the name of your art. You don't apologise you just do it they way you want to do it. If you cock it up well that's how you play it. The punters mostly don't give a shit as long as they are being entertained.
Tonight Andy proved himself that he has improved beyond all doubt. Due to his perserverence he can now play and sing very well. He has a repertoire of 136 songs. Respect.

For a while a few years back I was in the Art business. Not as my main job but as a sideline. This is where I found out about hype. If a painting doesn't sell you don't reduce it to the sale price. You put the price up. By valuing it more the buyer perceives the work of art as higher value. It is coveted more. It's all down to presentation. I've been to galleries and seen some abortions of art, stuff that a two year old could produce using finger paints. But it's sold. At first I used to complain and remonstrate with the gallery owner that a piece was an insult to my intelligence. As I got to know the dealers, and they knew me, they let me into the secrets. You can sell anything as art, you just have to present it properly. They themselves knew it was a lot of old bollocks. But the punters didn't. They foisted off all sorts of tosh onto the unsuspecting public in the name of investment in art.

It was when I learnt this fact that I was offered a job in France as a manager of an Art Gallery. That's a million miles away from what I do now. For reasons I don't want to go into right now it all fell apart and I couldn't accept the job. Its one of my great regrets in life. I couldn't even speak fluent French. Just enough to get by. But the job was mine.

So what's the message tonight? Just do it. Sod what anyone thinks.

By the way we played our game tonight in the car park, of kicking the empty coke bottle into the skip. Andy was shit at it got close a couple of times. Paul wasn't much better. So still the champion is Charlie. Although tonight I kicked a home run. Result.

Rock on dudes.

PS Del if you're reading this we're gonna put "Two Princes" into the set. By the Spin Doctors. But then you know that already dontcha buddy?

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Ants

I thought I'd escaped it this year. I've got all the way through to late August and no Ants. The other day my kitchen worktop was covered in the little beggars. I'm not overly bothered but they are a nuisance. This made me think of the cycles of the year. It's getting towards late summer. Very soon the Ants will be flying. It happens every year. A lot of people panic over this, because of the flying Ants. But there's no reason to be worried they're totally harmless. What you've got to look out for is a hot sultry day. It will be still, very humid and warm. It happens every year. On this day the new Queen will fly followed by all the male Ants. Thousands of them. Only one will get the chance of a good shag. So when you're shutting your windows and closing the doors so they don't come in think about those thousands of male Ants gagging for a shag and the probability that they'll die not knowing what it's like. It's going to happen soon so watch the skies. Think yor self lucky that the male female ratio in humans is about 50:50. Unless you live in China then there's a thirty to forty million deficit in females due to their policy of one child per family. And their predeliction for male offspring who are going to look after them in their old age. I can think of forty million chinese boys who are going to be really pissed off about the status quo in years to come.
When you get to these sort of numbers, we might as well be Ants. You can't fight nature. So live with it. Go with the flow.

Here endeth Mike da Hats lesson in biology today.

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Monday, August 22, 2005

East Anglia Mountain Rescue Team


This is a "drain" not a river. It was built to drain water away from the fens. Which as you can see is very flat. We have our own Mountain rescue team here. But it's a joke, our mountain rescue team raises money for Charity because there aren't any mountains to rescue people from. There aren't even any hills. It's just mile upon mile of flat. The land is not much above sea level so the water is drained into a tidal river with the aid of locks that stop salt water getting back onto the land at high tide.

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Lizard


A lot of people don't even know we have lizards in this country. They associate them with foreign holidays in hotter climes. But we have our own here. I found this little fella at Chippenham Fen near Newmarket. The photo isn't as sharp as I'd like because this guy is fast and I didn't have a lot of time to catch him. Chippenham Fen is a nature reserve. This is one of the few true Fenland areas left. By Fenland I mean peatbogs. A lot of East Anglia was covered in peat bog, until they decided to drain it. People making a living off the fens catching eels and harvesting marsh reed for thatching were a tad upset and started a guerilla war against the engineers who were building the drains. Acts of sabotage occurred. These "guerilla" fighters were called the "Fen Tigers". They lost the battle and now it's all farm land apart from a couple of places still undrained. They are a haven for all manner of rare plants. And lizards.

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Saturday, August 20, 2005

This aint botany this is rock and roll


To do something about my image as "hard-man-of-pub-rock" which has taken a battering due to my passion for wild flowers. We're going Rock and Roll in our flower hunting, and for your delight I've chosen some rather nasty flowers for you to look at. This first one is Deadly Nightshade - Atropa Belladonna. The flower itself looks so sinister. It wouldn't be out of place in a vase chez les Adams family. Here you see the young berries while they're green. Don't let your kids play with this stuff. It's nasty. Actually years ago they used to use preparations of this as eye drops to make the eyes brighter. It dilates the pupil. Hence the Italian name of Belladonna. Beautiful woman. Alice Cooper eat your heart out this is rock and roll goth style.

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This aint Rock & Roll this is regicide


So you want to kill someone. Well this will work. Just two berries will kill a child, four will kill an adult. These are the ripe berries from the deadly Nightshade plant. Note the star shaped sepals. It's lethal. The berries are full of atropine and there are historical precedents for using this to murder people.For instance Livia the wife of Emporor Augustus and Agrippina, the wife of Claudius both use Atropine to kill their victims. Agrappina tried to kill Claudius himself but he got suspicious and didn't eat the specially prepared meal. So she injected figs while they were still on his trees with the poison. He fell for the ruse and died. This aint rock and roll this is regicide. (OK he wasn't a king as such).

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Botany and the living dead


Continueing the theme we get on to Broomrape, you may have seen this plant and dismissed is a dead flower. It does in fact look dead at first glance. But really this is how it's supposed to look it's the living dead. It's unusual, as is the theme for this set of photos, in that it is a parasite and sucks it's life from the roots of the Knapweed plant (in this instance). Other varieties grow on other species. It's the Vampire/Zombie of the plant world.

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Piles cure for Rock Stars


This is Toadflax - Linaria vulgaris
Apparently you can stuff a load of this into your kecks and it helps piles. Although what people are going to say when they spot a wadge of Toadflax poking out the back of your trousers I don't know. How do they find this out? OK imagine you've got piles. I would guess your first thought would not be to stick a load of Toad flax up your back passage or any other plant for that matter. Now then stop it..... there could be a few exceptions depending on your orientation. But generally you wouldn't. So how do they find out that Toadflax is a good piles cure. Just like how did they know to boil Toadflax in lard and use it as an ointment to cure skin problems including some cancers (allegedly).
PS I don't have piles.

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Friday, August 19, 2005

Chutzpah

I went round to the ex wifes gaff to pick up the children. I say children they're adults 19 and 17. Anyway they're children to me. And the ex was dressed up real nice. I say nice, she was cute.
"You going out?"
"Yes M's going to pick me up soon but first he has to do a pick up."
"oh yes?"At this stage I must tell you that her new boyfriend M is a funeral director. I don't think I need to explain in graphic detail what a pick up means.
"Yes he has a pick up just down the road and then he's going to collect me."
"What? You mean to say he's picking up a stiff then coming to get you?"
"Yes."
Well Ladies and Gentlemen. Here is living proof that romance is not dead.How many of you girls would not feel that frisson of excitement, knowing that the man of your dreams was picking you up with a dead body in the boot?Yes I know, it's exciting isn't it? I bet you can't wait to hear those magic words "Darling there's a body in the boot."

I am so going to catch hell if she reads this. My life wont be worth living. My children read this blog. Will they grass me up? Right now I don't care because it's the funniest thing I've heard in years. Respect. Don't the Jews have a word for that. "Chutzpah". M has Chutzpah. He's the man.
If this is my last post. You know why.

Rock on dudes and keep on rocking without me.

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I couldn't resist posting this, Del and Charlie lining up for the big shot. Posted by Picasa

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Can kicking


After an unprecedented performance at The Starlight, Charlie arrived hyped up and ready for the "can you kick it" competition. Star performers on the night were me, Del and Charlie. Charlie would like to thank staffkatieporridgebeckystuchoppershaggy
tashdavecarlodankev and the best of the rest for their support! With a special mention for MessyNatAndyTanyaNiceasha. The can kicking competition involved us drinking several cans of beer and kicking the empties into the skip. It ended as an honourable draw. Cans were kicked! (Can you kick it? Yes you can)

Rock on dudes.Posted by Picasa

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Mickey Mouse Nude Exposé

So how come last night I get home to find blood all over my back door? Hmmm that's a bit gruesome. No bodies lying about. No tales of police chases. I check next door at the chicken shop. No, no fights while I was away. So I shrug my shoulders and toddle off to bed. No doubt the police forensic unit will be on the scene later today.

So the experiment with Jamie Lee Curtis Nude didn't come up with anything. Not even a blip on the Richter scale that is the google listings. Perhaps I aimed too high. She's too famous. I'll have a think. What about Fran Godfrey nude. Ok Maybe not. Terry Wogan nude would be a laugh, a bit scary though, and would that be with or without the hairpiece?

Anyway I've better things to do than this so.............

Rock on Dudes

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Jamie Lee Curtis Nude


So Del and I (This is Del by the way, as if you didn't already know) had a leetle rehearsal tonight. We tried out "Stray cat strut" I think it's gonna work. Then he hit me with the bomb shell.
"By the way Mike I don't want to worry you but we're gonna be doing "My Sharona" by the Knack."
Cue scared rabbit look. Eeek! I Know it but I don't know it if you know what I mean. There's a lot of du du dud da duh duh duh duh du da. In it. So that's Del on Bass guitar then.

Anyway my little girl (yeah OK she's 19 now and not so little) asked me to get rid of a TV for her. It wouldn't fit in the wheely bin. So I brought it back to the shop and stuck it my yard for the Eastern Europeans. They are my latest save money weapon. I put stuff out and they take it away. So I don't have to pay to get rid of the stuff. As planned, the TV disappeared overnight. This morning I was about to open the shop when Eastern European refugee man walked up to me.
"That TV."
"Yes?"
"I dont work."
"No it's rubbish."
"So, you fix the TV yes?"
"No."
"Why no?"
"Because it's rubbish."
"it was heavy I carry a long way."
"Well done."
"So you fix for me."
"Why should I?"
"I got it from here."
"You took it from here."
"So you fix."
"What part of Fuck off will you not understand?"

Then later Mrs Stupid came into the shop.
"I want a cheap kettle."
"This is cheap it's a cordless kettle. Only £10.95."
"Show me."
I show her the kettle she picks it up and says "Where do you put the batteries?"
Duh?

So we're on a roll today and this time Mr Stupid walks in wanting a belt for his 'otterpoint washer mashin'. I sell him the belt and he goes outside. he stands on the pavement carefully scrutinising the belt, then looking at me daggers like. Then looking at the belt some more then looking through the wiondow at me some more. I go outside and ask what's his problem.
"I asked for a belt for an otterpoint washer mashin you give me two smaller belts. I want one bigga one belt."
"Yes that's what you've got it's twisted into a figure eight and folded in the pack."
"oh!"
Duh?

Then Mrs Crazy women comes in with her beige trousers and the very suspicion brown stain down the back. "I want a bulb....... don't look at me!..."
"Sorry I'm not looking at you."
"Don't come near me."
"OK I'll stay right here. What sort of bulb do you want?"
"it's a bulb."
"What sort?"
"To go in my lights."
"How bright do you want it?"
"I don't know it's for my sitting room."
"How about 100watts?"
"DON'T LOOK AT ME!"
"I'm not. I'm just trying to help." So I'm trying to have a conversation with Mrs Mad Woman while staring at the wall.
"I'll call the police." she screams at me
I don't need this for a 40p bulb. So I stare at her hard. She runs out the shop screaming. Result. God I'm so callous sometimes.

I've got to say today was unusual most of my customers are quite normal. Even very nice. But you get days like today now and then. I often wonder if it's anything to do with the phase of the moon.

You may have wondered about the header for this post. It's an experiment. JonnyB is currently rated No: 8 in the google search for Kirstie Allsop. So I'm going for Jamie Lee Curtis. As she is a favourite of mine. Don't tell Del. She's far too thin for his taste. He's gonna hate my Helene if she ever turns up. If you don't already know she's French petite and slim. But still no joy on that front. Check out "My novel" if you don't know what I'm talking about.

That's it for know

Rock on Dudes. Posted by Picasa

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Monday, August 15, 2005

It's Hardly Rock and Roll


So it seems I have an image problem. I'm supposed to be a hard drinking, hard playing Rock star, but there I am taking photographs of wild flowers. It's hardly rock and roll is it. Del wants to take me on a week long training course on how to be a hard drinker. Aberystwyth was mentioned. Huh? Aberystwyth? Have they got any hotels worth trashing there? That's not to mention the potential training in cocaine binges, the steady flow of marijuana, and rolling a fat one on the back of mescaline and speed. Now then Hunter Thompson I'm not. I'm no gonzo journalist. In my spare time there's nothing better than putting on my walking boots grabbing my Ordance survey map and camera and taking to the country. I'm trying to think of other rock and roll greats who were less than rock and roll in their spare time and all I can think of is Bill Oddie Ex-Goodie who is now making a living presenting wildlife programmes for the BBC. Dare I mention Sting who is heavily into Tantric sex? That's where you have sex but don't actually touch each other, and Roger Daltry keen fly fisher man. Maybe I have a case. Maybe I have found some precedents who are going to let me off the hook for having such a wussy hobby.
I could be Walter, Dennis the Menaces arch nemesis soppy Walter who skips about the meadow collecting flowers for Mumsie, much to Dennis's disgust. No I need an image makeover. How can I present myself as a Rock Star with this hanging over me? What will the fans say when they discover the hard man of pub Rock is into wild flowers. I'll fall hard. Bookings will dry up. I will become persona non grata. Del will roll his eyes for the last time and find someone younger and more unreliable to play with.
I tried to disguise my flower hunting expeditions by telling him I'm going "Dogging". He saw through that instantly. Maybe I'll survive as long as I don't start drinking Pink Gin, or cocktails with umberellas in them. So if you've any suggestions how I'm going to improve my image as a Rock Star there's a comments box below. Max Clifford eat you heart out I've got friends who can help who won't cost me thousands.

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Sunday, August 14, 2005


Saturday night we had a typical English Barbecue at Dels house. It pissed down with rain. We huddled under the Gazebo eating our Barbeque spare ribs and shish kebabs while the rain came down in torrents. Moving on...... Today Del and I played The Whistle Stop at Tallington. It was a long gig. We kicked off at 4:15 and played with one half hour break until 8:45. I think it went well. Petal came to see us play. I'll let her tell you if we passed the audition or not. We were effing great and no mistake.  Posted by Picasa

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