Say what?

I’ve been saying, because I thought it was the case, that the phrase ‘May you live in interesting times’ was a Chinese curse.

Well guess what?

It isn’t.

I mentioned the curse thing to one of the braniacs at work (Tony) and in the space of a heartbeat he’d looked it up, rubbished my assumption, provided at least 18 sources, and then (best of all) he gave me a much better Chinese saying.

OK, so some of that may have been very sligtly exaggerated, but the gist of it is true.

And the much better Chinese saying?


You have to admit that’s deeply wise, eh?

Or in English, if you prefer:

Better to be a dog in times of tranquility than a human in times of chaos.

A bit of a stink

A bit of a stink

Like many of the poor downtrodden citizens of this country, our rubbish collection has been reduced to fortnightly.

It goes like this:

Week 1: Green bin and Blue bins
Garden waste and Recycling (but not glass because Rushcliffe Borough Council doesn’t think glass is recyclable)

Week 2: Grey bin
Household waste

Week 3: Green bin and Blue bins
Garden waste and Recycling (but not glass because Rushcliffe Borough Council doesn’t think glass is recyclable)

Week 4: Grey bin
Household waste


There are a couple of problems with this strategy.The Grey bin (Household waste) and the Blue bin (Recycling – but not glass because Rushcliffe Borough Council doesn’t think glass is recyclable) are both too small for a family of four.

  1. The bins are too small for fortnightly collection for a family of four. I can’t be the only adult in Rushcliffe who has to get a step ladder, climb into the bins and stamp about/jump up and down to compact the rubbish, so that we can fit the rest of the fortnight’s waste in? Can I?
  2. The rocket scientists who came up with reducing the rubbish collections from weekly to fortnightly forgot that on this planet we have these things called seasons. And in the summer season everything is subject to rays of heat from the sun. So our waste, sitting outside the house in the Grey bin, actually cooks.

We’ve had over a week of +38c daytime temps, so our nicely cooked rubbish smells like something unmentional.

This can’t be a health hazard, because our public servants who are tasked with such valuables as waste collection policies couldn’t be so shortsighted.

Could they?


Sam is away on business.

She’s supposed to be in Myanmar, before heading on to Vietnam, but Dubai airport was too busy to dock her arriving aircraft, so she missed her connecting flight.

Frankly, Emirates, it’s not much of a connection if the outbound flight won’t wait for passengers who are booked on it, when they’re sitting on another of your flights waiting to dock.


As a result of the Emirates/Dubai airport screw up, Sam has had to spend 24 hours in a Dubai hotel, at Emirates expense, and lose a working day of her itinerary.



But as you might expect, while the cat’s away the mice will play!

And oh boy has this mouse been playing?

Has he?



This mouse is too diseased to do any playing.

Apart from a brief couple of laps around the village this evening, I haven’t even been up to taking the Ninja out this weekend.


It’s that bad.

There is the possibility that, tomorrow, after doing Prem (who is still called Prem and not yet named Bob), I shall pay a visit to the excellent chippy in the next village.

For some delicious potato-based foodstuff.

And perhaps some vomit Vimto.

If I’m well enough, obv.

But it is the Law of Sod that sayeth that a fine-weathered weekend with a free pass will be frittered away on illness.


Anyway, what is this revolution of which you speak, I hear you ask?

It is me, my friends.

I am revolting.

In her absence I am shunning Sam’s instruction to use the dishwasher.


Revolution and rebellion are rife in this house.


Until she gets back,obv.

Blogathon 15/13 Linguistics!

I have a recurring rant about the overuse of words, the misapplication of words, and those invented, meaningless, nonsense words.

Top of my ranty list, at the moment, is the word…

wait for it…

keep waiting…

almost there…

it is…

the word…


What the actual?

No, really.

What does ‘pre-order’ actually mean?

I’ll tell you what ‘pre-order’ means, shall I?

Tough, I’m going to anyway.

‘Pre-order’ means ‘to order something before it is widely available’.

Or, to put it another way, ‘pre-order’ means…

‘To order’.

And that, my friend, is just how I feel about one word.

But my general feelings about the continual misuse and misappropriation of the English Language are best summed up through the words of the late George Carlin.


Stone me, it’s *cold* out there!

It’s Saturday. The snow has melted away in the overnight rain and the temperature is 2c.

So why does it feel absolutely bitter, colder than it has done all week?

Or maybe it’s me; perhaps everyone else can feel the benefit of a daytime temperature that’s four degrees warmer than it has been at this time of day.



Do you know anyone who would like a chance to make a pop video? It’s a big opportunity to make a film for an unsigned, up-and-coming band who might just be making a big impact in 2010.

So could you ask the potential video-makers to get in touch with me? I will be asking this question again in the next couple of weeks.

Umm, what else?

Oh yes, I’ve had my haircut.

I went to the glass-and-chrome decored (is that even a word?) hairdressers in the precinct in Witney. I got ‘done’ by the attractive, shapely, blonde girl and resisted the temptation to nestle my head in her bosom as she worked behind me.

After I got my hair did I went to Café Rouge and joined Sophie and her colleague Lisa for a Latté.

Lisa has man troubles, it’s a shame and she doesn’t deserve them; she’s quite sweet and very fit, but she overtalks to hide her fundamental insecurities. She also doesn’t deserve the arseholes she’s been plagued with. I’m only saying this to provide a benchmark; I’m a discerning, choosy kind of guy, but if I was single and in the market? I probably would.

After Latté and gossip, Soph and I went to the cinema and bought two tickets for tonight’s 3D showing of Avatar.

And then we came home where we are now on the couch watching Dennis Hopper ham it up in Speed, and admiring the gorgeous Sandra Bullock.

As soon as Speed is over I’m going up to the stables to ride Vin and Tom. I expect to have the piss taken out of me because of my haircut.


My laptop has started having tantrums. It’s done three memory dumps in four days. There are no I/O or hardware conflicts (as far as hardware goes, the laptop is still in its factory spec) and I’ve rolled back the system to 1st Jan which predates the memory-dumping by a long while. Needless to say it hasn’t fixed the problem.

Dell Support say the problem is BIOS or possibly motherboard-related. The laptop is under full warranty, but being without it while it’s being fixed would hurt me. And I disagree with Dell Support, I strongly suspect the Wireless adapter is the cause.

Right, gotta go. Sandra Bullock is pouting attractively at me.

I had kinky bondage sex with Margaret Thatcher?

It feels as thought it’s been a very selfish weekend. I’ve spent some of it dozing on the couch, some of it watching junk television and a hell of a lot of it up at the stables playing with the ponies.

Vin saw the back specialist today; you’ll probably remember I’ve had doubts about his fitness for a few weeks.

I was right to have doubts. The diagnosis is that he’s damaged a ligament in his off-side sacroiliac joint.

The prognosis for recovery is total, but he has to be very carefully managed for the next 4-6 weeks.

The regime we have to follow is box rest, broken up by going on the walker twice a day, and careful, structured long, low and loose exercise in walk.

The Back Doctor said he’d probably damaged himself having a hoolie out in the fields – and that’s remarkably Vin-like behaviour.

Fortunately Vin *likes* staying in, but balancing his exercise requirements with giving him sufficient brain-food and not overdoing things is going to be one hell of a challenge. For me!

Tom’s had a busy time, until the snow in the fields has melted sufficiently he can’t be turned out, so I’m working him every day to keep him sane.

We jumped the other day and have done flatwork the rest of the week. Tom is proving to be a total star.

I am so thankful we have an indoor arena!

Soph worked yesterday and went on a girl’s day out today with, amongst others, pigeon girl.

Is this why I feel I’ve had a selfish weekend, because she hasn’t been around very much?

We clung to each other all night while we were asleep last night, although I have been admonished, in a good-natured way, for poking Soph with something long and hard all through the night.

No, I don’t know what it was either. She could have been dreaming, of course. Or having nightmares.

Is that a good sign, I wonder?

The mutual clinging thing, not the poking up the backside all night long with a hard thing, thing.

Because we do, without conscious thought, sometimes we’ll cling to each other all through the night. We’ll know we’ve been doing it when we awake, but there’s no design to it.


Whatever the source of the hardness I was allegedly poking her with all night, I’m pretty sure it had nothing to do with kinky bondage sex or Margaret Thatcher. And I had no memory of such things this morning. But it is possible to dream and not remember the subject upon waking.

So who knows, I could have had kinky bondage sex with Margaret Thatcher.

But it just doesn’t seem right to me.

Vegemite & Toast, Gurgles, Horses and Halloween

It is 08.30 Saturday morning and the Joneses are abed, but not asleep.

Soph is watching BBC News whilst eating Vegemite on Toast; Bren is tapping away on his laptop having exhausted all of his Bloglines feeds. A quick cruise through The Daily Mail Online might be in order soon, just to raise the blood pressure a little.

We are going away today. Not for long, just an overnighter. But we will soon be travelling northwards to The Land That Time Forgot; to a place where Magicks and Cavemen and Demons dwell. No, I’m not being all ‘halloweenish’, it’s just how life is in Worcestershire.

We’ll be coming back tomorrow.

So I (Bren) should get up really. There’s a yard to get to and at least one horse that should be exercised before we make the trip and it should be Tom.

Yesterday I took Vin out for a hack through a couple of villages. We explored lanes that neither of us had been down and discovered a couple of gorgeous hamlets tucked away in a little valley.

It really was too cute for words; incredibly pretty scenes – in a chocolate box kind of way; little clumps of centuries-old cottages framed by the many-shades-of-brown Autumnal range of colouring that London-based fashion designers just don’t get.

Vin didn’t get it either. Oh he looked and gawped and stared, but he didn’t get it. Vin’s due for a clip this week, Tom is going to need a second clip if the current warm spell continues.

I schooled Tom in the indoor arena after I’d put Vin to bed. These two horses are like chalk and cheese, but Tom is good for me. Were Vin has taught me to be defensive, Tom says ‘go!’.

We should jump today, Tom and me; a little course of 3′, maybe eight or nine fences. We need to practice rhythm and balance in the canter (Tom has a minor tendency to lean inwards on the right rein, and I need to get the fold right over the fence).


Lying here in bed, listening to Sophie’s stomach gurgling away as it digests the Vegemite (and/or the toast) I’ve been half thinking about the Halloween thing.

I nipped over to the font of all bad knowledge, Wikipedia, and the website didn’t fail to disappoint me once again.

Unbelievably Wikipedia calls Halloween ‘a holiday’.

What? Really? When did that happen?

Because in my language ‘a holiday’ is a special event for which one gets time off work.

So when did Halloween become ‘a holiday’? And in which country is Halloween ‘a holiday’?


When I lived in the United States, Halloween sure as hell wasn’t ‘a holiday’, so has it happened since?

Or is this another of Wikipedia’s many ‘black holes of information’, where good data is automatically sucked in to some kind of Good Information Wormhole, leaving just the crud and the ridiculous behind for people to read?

But the point of this small diatribe is to mention that I’m considering a Get Halloween Back To Basics Campaign; what do you think?

Halloween used to go like this for me:

1. Apple-bobbing in the kitchen
2. A trip to the fun-fair (if it was in town, but if it wasn’t))
3. Home-made toffee apples
4. Erm…

Knocking on doors and Trick or Treating didn’t happen. The thought of tip-toeing up Grumpy Mr Garner’s footpath, knocking on his door and asking for a trick or treat is too scary to contemplate; he would have set his dogs on us.

And also, Deaf Old Mrs Baker would (had anyone been so bold) have wielded that broom handle that she kept by her door and would have caused many bruises and contusions on our skin.

So why, I wonder, are GMG and DOMB expected to be all sweetness and light these days?

Surely (and don’t call me Shirley) they are entitled to remain isolated in their homes being as grumpy and as surly as they want to be?

Who has given the chavs of today the right to go disturbing people in the comfort and security of their own miserableness?

I really don’t care too much because when the snot-nosed, glue-sniffing, OAP-botherers come around this evening we won’t be here.

Ha ha!

Happy holiday!