Dialling things down

A little down time is good for you


So whilst Sam is away in Dubai Thailand Myanmar (today), I’m having a quiet time at home.

There’s just me and the four cattens (a name I have designed to bridge the gap between the two cats and the two evil little monsters kittens, obv).

Yesterday (Saturday), I ran Sam’s Honda Superdream down to the garage to have them look at the speedo.

Then I did some stuff but not much stuff, which largely involved drinking hot chocolate, periodically throwing logs on to the fire, feeding the cattens, feeding me, and watching films.

And then I went to bed and watched a couple of episodes of The Man In The High Castle.


Well today I have decided that I’m not even going to get dressed.

The time is just gone 14.30 and the fire is lit again.

The two kittens are asleep, though Lord knows where the cats are.

Outside looking for wildlife to slaughter, probably.

The first film of the day (Lucy) has been watched.

Yesterday I fancied watching something totes trashy, so helped myself to London Has Fallen.

It was fun, in a load of old rubbish kind of way.

After that I needed to give my brain something to think about, so back-to-back watched Eye In The Sky, which made for a peculiar double bill.

But EITS was, as intended, very thought-provoking.

In their own way, though, both of yesterday’s films set high standards. LHF for the thrilltastic bodycount, and EITS for the moral dilemma, which counterpointed the argument that the minute civilians start to make decisions in wartime, the war is either tactically or morally lost.

Today’s film – Lucy – was something quite different.

There can be no doubt that Lucy is a terrific return to form for Luc Besson (even though I am a self-confessed Luc Besson fanboy).

Lucy is a film that is an adrenaline-fuelled cross-genre romp, and I am envious of such a wealth of talent sitting in just one writer/director.

I’ll admit there were a couple of moments borrowed from other films. I’m not saying that 2001: A Space Odyssey features large in the final act, but I half expected to hear ‘My God, it’s full of stars’.

I’m not going to watch any more films today.

One of my guitars will be coming out to play shortly, because it’s time I shared some musical love with my neighbours.

And then I’ll cook, eat, read, listen to music, feed the cattens, go to bed…

There’s a lot to be said for having a quiet weekend.


I stumbled on the ‘no more films’ rule.

I’ve just watched Sicario.

Jesus, what a film!

It’s the ‘war on drugs’ as a piece of street insurrection.


Anyway, here’s the trailer for Lucy:

Flying solo

Big bed


Right now Sam is 37,000 feet over Iran.

And I’m in bed, half watching an episode of The Man In The High Castle.

There’s just me in the house.

Well, me and two cats and two cattens (as the two Tweeny felines have been categorised).

But not one of the felines has deigned to join me.

Oh sure, they were all over me a few hours ago when it was feeding time.

But since then?

They have been asleep in front of the log fire.

They have hooned about the house, acting out a series of Tom and Jerry cartoons.

They have bothered the heck out of me, and tried to steal my tea (yeah, as if, kitties, as if).

But have they come up to bed with me?

Have they allowed themselves to make the too big and too empty bed feel more comfortable?

Have they hell.

When I come back in my next life, I’m going to be a dog.

Music hath charms…

On my continual quest to bring light and understanding to the up-and-coming generation, this evening I have been spreading the love of music and pop video.

The journey through the world of music videos started with the awesomely creative and wackily amusing OK GO! videos.

Then there was a quick detour to The Hives (Tick Boom).

And then, briefly entering the world of musical history, from the historically synth-pop genre-defining Alphaville (Big In Japan), to the outrageously awesome Oxford threesome Zurich (Alone).

Then a quick flip over to the shamelessly mainstream Evanescence (the Fallen album).

The 7yo really enjoyed the OK GO! videos.

The 10yo liked The Hives.

None of them really got Alphaville, but the 42yo really got Zurich (and their previous incarnation, The Scholars, which I briefly aired).

Gotta love Zurich’s Alone:

The 10yo liked about two Evanescence tracks.

And now they’ve all gone upstairs to get ready for bed.

So I listened to Mark Knopfler’s Local Hero/Going Home theme.

Earlier we watched Swallows And Amazons, which was a lovely piece of time-travel.

I read the book many times as a schoolboy.

It moved me to buy a dinghy and learn to row and then how to sail.

A charming film, it deviates from the original Arthur Ransome story, but still preserves the feel.

I had a lovely time and I hope everyone else enjoyed it too.

Time passes.

I’m now filtering though some old TV themes, because it’s time I updated my personalised ring tone library.

I’m thinking of assigning this one to Young Masher (for no other reason than it’s a cracking piece of John Barry composition:

I have a code


It’s a stinker.


All four of us are sitting on the settee watching The Amazing Spider Man 2 (or something like that).

The log fire has been doing what log fires do since about 2pm (it’s 9pm now).

I briefly considered liveblogging this film, but I’m not sure I’ll make it through to the conclusion.

Liveblogging this cold would have been a better idea, but nobody deserves this much snot to be shared.

But liveblogging something is an idea, especially if young Masher is going to throw down the February Blogathon challenge once more.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to watch a film from a settee full of girls?

The wriggling, the gossiping, the giggling, the spans of limited attention.

And that’s just me.

I need to go and throw another log on the fire.

I am disappointed, but wholly unsurprised, at the national lack of Thundersnow.

Which, surely, is a term made up by a tabloid newspaper?


The adverts are on now.

One of them featured Kevin Bacon in a red, skin-tight, shiny plastic suit and now I feel unwell.

In a not just having a cold kind of way.

Oh-oh, the popcorn has been broken out.

Time passes.

The popcorn has all gone.

Back to the film.

See you later.

Working at home

Just ain’t what it used to be


Moons ago (maybe many, maybe few), working at home was a day spent concentrating on things that needed quiet time.

Respectful introspection.

Deep thought.

No, not the computer off of Hitchiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.

The other kind of deep thought.

Working at home used to be a time of uninterrupted mental powerhousing, when I could sit down and read those annoyingly verbose documents, and get to grips with what the drafter actually meant.

I used to be able to work at home and take it as an opportunity to get to grips with over 600 unread emails.

Working at home used to give me, in a Supermanesque kind of way, my very own Fortress of Solitude, from where I could just get on with all the stuff that needed getting on with, and where I could do this in a completely uninterrupted manner.

I wouldn’t mind the little Lync (now Skype for Business) application sitting there broadcasting away to my colleagues, because I worked safe in the knowledge that I was actually working.

I was doing things.

And getting on with stuff.

Sadly those days seem to have vanished.

I have been working at home today.

And my Fortress of Solitude has been penetrated


I took my first and only break for a hot drink at 17.12.





Don’t get me wrong, I love my job.

But if I had been in the office, I would have had my first hot drink many hours earlier than TWELVE MINUTES PAST FIVE!

Who do I write to, to complain about this?

Storage space to rent: Nottingham

For rent: Storage space in NG5


Storage space to rent in Nottingham NG5

Storage space to rent in Nottingham NG5

I have a flexible, surplus amount of floorspace available to rent on a monthly basis, in NG5

The storage is dry, dust-free, very secure, and temperature controlled.

Access is available to the storage seven days a week, at times to suit the renter, by prior arrangement.

The floorspace available is up to 500 Sqm.

Entry is via easily-negotiated wide doorways; ramped access is available.

Payment terms are monthly, in advance.

Storage space to rent in Nottingham NG5

Storage space to rent in Nottingham NG5

Can’t Get Wood



Since it was installed (early summer), the log burner has become an integral member of the family.

Whenever the temperature has been forecast to drop a little, we’ve looked for every fire-lighting opportunity, and indulged ourselves often.

Thanks to sound advice from a colleague, I switched from buying seasoned softwood to seasoned hardwood some time ago.

In a more recent discussion about fuel with the aforementioned colleague, it was suggested I buy in bulk, instead of buying small bags from B&Q.

Other outlets of small-bagged firewood are available.

I searched extensively (on Google and eBay), and eventually found a supplier local who could delivery 1m3 of seasoned hardwood for a reasonable price, and deliver it for nothing.


I did the eBay ‘buy it now’ thing and sat back and waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

Eventually, bored of waiting, I dropped the vendor an email.

After four days of stony silence being delivered to my inbox, common sense told me I was barking up the wrong tree.

I called the mobile number listed on the vendor’s website and eBay shop.

Voicemail greeted me, so I left a cheery message.

Two days further down the line my voicemail remained, sadly, unanswered.

So I contacted eBay and explained.

A few days later eBay acknowledged the lack of comms with the vendor, and refunded the purchase price.

This means my search for a supplier of bulk seasoned hardwood logs in the Nottingham area must continue.

The trouble is, that same vendor is still all over eBay and most of the rest of the Internet.

The End of the Road?

Some uncomfortable truths


You are dying.

In memoriam

In memoriam

I am dying.

Your nearest and dearest are dying.

We are all dying.

Since the day we were born (some might say ‘since the day we were conceived’) we have all started out on our final journey.

For some of us the mortality end-game comes along a lot sooner than for others.

This year – 2016 – has seen a large number of departures from the field of popular culture.

The fields of TV, film, music, literature, and even pop-academia has seen many notable checkouts from this mortal coil.

Yet it is a sad fact that this unfortunate trend will continue in 2017.

When radio and television popularised itself in the 1960s, and drew in to focus the publicly-driven worlds of social and pop culture, the media was programming us (us being the population of the early 21st Century), for an upward, and steeply increasing, bell-curve of widespread, heart-felt losses.

I predict that 2017 will see far more checkouts from the world of popular culture.

And 2018 many more again.

We don’t know when we’re gong to checkout.

But a brush with the checkout desk changes us.

I have been told that I have become more self-centred.

I offer this without comment.

I acknowledge that I have become more emotional, in a ‘heart on my sleeve’ kind of way.

And I now look at things (people, situations, events) in much greater detail than previously.

This isn’t unusual, apparently.

A significant number of heart attack survivors report heightened, post-event, emotional and critical states.

I have no idea what 2017 is going to bring.

There are plans.

But plans are subject to change.

And I can’t share all of the plans here because secret.

But I can say that I plan on being here all through 2017.

And 2018.

And that I plan on being here far, far in to the future.

I have people to love.

And people to annoy.

And fast motorbikes to ride.

And many, many other plans.

So I’m going to be here.

A little emotional around the edges, maybe.

But I’m still going to be inhabiting this mortal coil.

And loving people.

And annoying others.

So yes, as this post started out saying.

Some uncomfortable truths.

Get used to them.

I’ll see you around.

The Top Eight Christmas Films Ever (as at today)

Number One of my Top Five Christmas Films


1. Die Hard
This is the ultimate Christmas film.

Funny. Edgy. Exciting. Gripping.

And yet with a deftly minimalist nod in the direction of Christmas schmaltz.

Die Hard is almost worth watching for the sight of a young Bruce Willis with hair.

John McClane (Bruce Willis) takes on a group of criminals led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman, yes him off of Love Actually).

Originally intended for Arnold Schwarzenegger, the lead role was eventually offered to Bruce and, frankly, we are all so much better off for Arnie turning the job down.

The film’s use of the iconic, and almost scene-stealing Century City in LA as the site of Nakatomi Plaza, was a masterstroke of location-setting.

But the casting is the icing on this piece of celluloid cake.

Die Hard is, without the shadow of any doubt, a Top Christmas Film.

Yipee-ki-yay Melon Farmers.