Sunday, July 19, 2009

Matt and Jules’s wedding 

My nephew and his very long term girlfriend got married yesterday. I was there and helped to upload photos from various cameras onto Matt’s laptop so that they could be projected onto a wall of the marquee during the reception.

That was a bit of an experience. Let’s just say I don’t like Vista.

It was great to see various members of the family I hadn’t seen for a while as well as various members of Matt’s dad’s family (including Matt’s dad himself) that I hadn’t seen for even longer, even though one of them told me that I am now the spitting image of my father.

On that last note, I was going to write a whole blog entry about that and how I felt about that and about my father but that turned rather long and directionless and I decided to delete it. Yes, I do look like my father and, yes, I behave like him in a distressingly great number of ways. I have though managed to avoid heterosexuality and fatherhood and alcoholism. I am as pigheaded as he is and I also hate to admit I am ever wrong. Which I am not, of course.

I think I have inherited his early love of photography which he sadly to dropped in later life. He took some stunning shots of my mother – clearly he loved her to bits while my brother and sister were kids and when they were both in their seventies. My tastes run more to landscapes and flowers.

I wish I’d his practical skills but, sadly, only enough to know how to wield a paintbrush and to know which jobs not to tackle. I wouldn’t know how to work on my car and I can’t bang bits of wood together to make anything other than two bits of wood rather than chairs and tables and fitted wardrobes.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Modern day myth 

The BBC are currently touting this on their website as news:


Yet again they are pointing the finger at men and labelling them as lazy, ignorant, macho idiots who don’t bother going to their GP when something is obviously wrong.

This story was “reported” a few months ago and has only resurfaced due to the recent disclosure that the footballer John Hartson has been diagnosed with advanced testicular cancer.

I have every sympathy with Hartson: he is younger than me, has to be a lot fitter and has a wife and young family. It is a tragic case and I wish him well.

I do, however, take exception to the BBC again perpetuating the myth that it is always the man’s fault that things like this are not caught in time. Reading further down the article reveals a comment that perfectly illustrates why I feel this way:

Frankly, if you're a male of working age, doctors also assume there can be little wrong with you. I asked for a general check-up when I reached 40, and as well getting a slightly frosty response, was asked "well, do YOU think there's anything wrong?" It's not embarrassment, it's being made to feel you're wasting the time of NHS staff.

I have had to make two or three trips to see one of the GPs at my surgery before I am taken seriously and have some action taken. One of my friends has had the same experience at a different surgery.

Undoubtedly there are men who do not go to the doctor because it’s not something “blokes” do but those that make the effort often feel that their GP considers them a waste of time. If you get that feeling often enough you begin to think that a visit to the GP is in itself a waste of time.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Swine 

One of my colleagues, a woman who has a reputation for staying off sick for the slightest reason, has today come into the office with all the apparent symptoms of Swine Flu.

She refuses to go home, citing lots of work that needs to be done and claiming that most people on her floor are already ill.

We think another colleague of mine has it as well but she, a rather more sensible and sensitive woman than our inconsiderate friend, has stayed home.

It is probably only a matter of time before we all get it although probably a lot less as of today.

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Monday, July 06, 2009


I had a real sense of achievement over the weekend. I felt like I had really done something worthwhile. Something good.

What had I done? Had I sorted out my debts?


Had I worked on my novel?


Had I taken the most fantastic picture ever?

As if.

Did I finally paint my bathroom ceiling?

Yes, and it looks very nice, thank you very much for asking.

And did I clear my entire backlog of ironing?

Yes! Hahaha.

Now, when exactly did I turn into my parents?

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Friday, July 03, 2009

Late Eurovision blogging 

Regular readers will know that my feelings towards Eurovision have gone from hate to disinterest to interest and finally to full-blown fanaticism in the space of a few years.

I have seen it every year since 2003, the year David and I began to see each other, and have nearly all the albums. Last year and this year I actually bought the CDs before the contest so that I would be more engaged on the night.

I was missing the album for 2005 but I recently bought it from someone on eBay. Normally I can listen to these things and find one or two songs that I actually like enough to add to my favourites playlist on my iPod. This year, 2009, contributed quite a few to my favourites playlist as have 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008. They are still there and still enjoyed.

2005, however, now that I have listened to it, doesn’t seem to have any that I like that much. There are no tracks that catch my ear. There’s lots of bland poppy ballads and tons of clones of 2004’s entry for Turkey (including the year’s UK entry) although Turkey’s 2005 song dares to be different.

I don’t remember 2005 being that bad but it does put me off trying to track down 2003 a bit.


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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Facebook friend suggestions 

Facebook has had a habit recently of suggesting people I used to know. I find this amazing because none of these people should have links to anyone I know and Facebook has never, to my knowledge, had access to any of my email address books.

It still suggests people I don’t know from Adam, of course, but at times it gets it right surprisingly well.


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Wednesday, July 01, 2009


A couple of years ago, the A21 between Bromley Common and Bromley itself was rearranged slightly to make it easier to turn right into Magpie Hall Lane. The road was widened so that there were two lanes (one for through traffic and the other for the right-hand turn) and a traffic island put in place between the on-going lane and the turn-off. It is sort-of L-shaped to prevent cars from the other direction getting in the wrong lane.

You can see what it looks like here: http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?sourceid=navclient&rlz=1T4GFRC_enGB212GB212&q=map+%22bromley+common%22&um=1&ie=UTF-8&split=0&gl=uk&ei=lyxLSryMOJO8jAfHh6xm&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=title&resnum=1

Last night, when I was driving to Bromley to see David, there was a stream of traffic ahead of me which included a Police van so everyone was keeping to the speed limit. A white van somewhere ahead of the Police van was trying to turn right into Magpie Hall Lane and was waiting for a suitable gap in the oncoming traffic.

Nothing out of the ordinary there. I’ve seen all sorts of vehicles turn right there in the past.

Shortly after the Police van passed the junction, the scene became very unusual, because it was then that I noticed a car heading towards me on the wrong side of the van turning right.

The car was between the van and the railings on the island. It should have been on the other side of the van with the regular stream of traffic.

It took me a little while to realise something wasn’t right with this scene and by that time the car ran out of room between the van and the railings and hit both before coming to a stop.

Luckily, the driver of the Police van noticed, turned on the blue flashing lights and immediately turned around.

How did the driver of the car get there? The “L” shape of the island should have prevented the traffic coming away from Bromley getting into that lane. He could have come from Magpie Hall Lane but he did seem to be driving a bit too quickly for someone turning right.

Was he from abroad and forget which side of the road we drive on in the UK? Was he drunk? Was he trying to put some distance between himself and the Police?

Unfortunately, I don’t think I shall ever find out.

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