Blogathon 23/18

Continuing the everyday look at everyday objects through the camera lens…

No, I’m Spartacus.

My name, is Michael Caine.

You say tomato, I say tomato.

You say potato, I say potato.

What’s in a name?

What does a name mean?

It’s just a label.

A label that could mean different things to different people.

As evidenced by everything I said above.

I’m not allowed to go to Morrisons naked because some people don’t like that label.

I’m also not allowed to go to Morrisons in my slippers even though I don’t accept that label.

Because to me they are not slippers.

They are the kind of footwear that ancient native Americans invented.

They’re not slippers.

And I should be allowed to go to Morrisons in them.

Because they’re not slippers.

They’re moccasins



Blogathon 22/18

Continuing the everyday look at everyday objects through the camera lens…

Nice out, innit?

It has, from what I could tell from looking through the windows, been a truly lovely day.

I’ve been sat at my desk; didn’t even manage to fit in a walkabout outside.

Well, that’s not strictly speaking 100% correct.

But I didn’t get outside.

I did, though, take a walk down the long corridor to the library.

It’s not a ‘proper’ library, but the big, tall bookcase has a lot of books which have been donated by members of staff.

And there’s an honesty jar; we’re supposed to pay £1 every time we take a book out.

I donate books, and regularly pay various amounts of money for what I ‘borrow’ (they always go back when I’ve finished reading them).

So I thought I’d share today’s ‘borrowings’, ‘cos I like a good book:

Books, lovely books!

Books, lovely books!

Blogathon 21/18

Continuing the everyday look at everyday objects through the camera lens…


Our cats come and go as they please.

The cat-flap is tuned to their microchips, so only they are allowed in the house.

There’s a grumpy old bugger up the road who, last year, put out a small bowl of cat poo that he’d allegedly picked off his front lawn with the sign ‘Keep your cats in at night’.

But we don’t know he actually did pick that cat poo off his front lawn.

And anyway, it could have been cats from the farm half-a-mile away that made a special trip to his front lawn, just to teach him not to be so grumpy.

Or it could have been any one (or several) of the 3,763 cats that live in the village.

But that’s incidental.

My point is that our cats, because of the microchip-protected cat-flap, can come and go as they please.

And they do.

But, by and large, they spend quite a significant amount of day-hours and night-hours in the house.

Dandy doesn’t stray far from the house.

He likes mealtimes.

His brother, Beano, well… nobody is quite sure what young Beano gets up to.

But he’s usually here for supper.

And he usually sleeps several hours a day in his day-spot.

And sleeps for a lot of hours a night in his night-spot.

Raven. Well she’s just nutty.

And Ripley seems to spend 23-1/2 hours a day asleep.

She spends the rest of the day turning her nose up at whatever food she’s been offered.

Beano, however, went missing.

He missed his day-spot.

He missed his night-spot.

And he missed mealtimes.

For two, almost three days.

Late yesterday evening he turned up; came through the cat-flap loudly meowing his head off.

He spent most of last night asleep on our bed.

When we went out earlier this evening he came out of the front door with us.

When I got back, having dropped the crew off at rollerskating, he was waiting on the doorstep.

When Beano was missing, Dandy wandered around the house and garden calling for him, we’re very sure that’s what was going on.

We think Beano got locked in somewhere; somebody’s garage, or maybe a garden shed.

We also think the experience shocked him. He’s hardly strayed from the house for 24 hours.

And he seems… subdued.

As you can tell



Blogathon 20/18

Continuing the everyday look at everyday objects through the camera lens…

Grow you own.

Pick you own.

Be yourself.

Have it your own way.

You can go your own way.

I’m lovin’ it.

It’s finger lickin’ good.

Many a mickle makes a muckle.

You can’t get quicker than a QuickFit fitter.

I have no idea where this is going.

[pauses for a small nap]


Oh yes.

Grow your own/pick your own.

I eat a lot of fruit.

Strawberries, blueberries, oranges.

A big lot.

Of all of them.


One of the benefits of having an ‘other half’ who has green fingers (I’ve told her to stop doing that but she never listens to me) is that occasionally amazeball things happen.

Sometimes little things get brought into the house from the garden.

These are today’s.

Aren’t they lovely?

Strawberries, alive alive-oh

Strawberries, alive alive-oh

Blogathon 19/18

Continuing the everyday look at everyday objects through the camera lens…

The Internet plus computers = real-time information and instant transactions/updates.

It’s lovely.

We take it all so readily for granted; check your bank balance, pay a bill on your phone, keep in instant contact with friends and family and, to be candid, to be able to access the sum of humanity’s knowledge from just about anywhere on the planet, on a device the size of pocket calculator.

In the 80s this was the stuff of science fiction.

And Star Trek, obv.

Using my phone (or tablet, or laptop, because nobody has PCs any more) I can interrogate just about any database, any repository of information.

And using my phone (or tablet, or laptop, because nobody has PCs any more) I can edit, write to/update all databases that I have permission to edit, write to/update.

For example, we have a new car.

We needed to tax the new car.

So we (I’m using the Royal ‘we’ here, OK?) went online to DVLA and bought some road tax (yes, I know it’s not called road tax any longer but this detail is so small it’s insignificant).

How did that work?


  • We went online and accessed the DVLA website
  • We interfaced with DVLAs systems
  • We proved legal ownership of the vehicle to DVLAs systems, which was then accepted
  • We input payment details for some road tax
  • DVLAs systems went off and validated that those payment details related to us (and therefore, double-checked legal ownership of the vehicle)
  • The bank’s systems authenticated the payment request, approved the transaction and, instantly sent the money to DVLA
  • Then DVLAs systems came back and said the payment had been made

Except that’s where it ends, but it should not be where it ended.

Why not?

Because we went online, the next day, and accessed DVLAs systems just to check the car was now taxed.

DVLAs systems said it wasn’t.

Despite the fact that the previous evening the money had actually been removed from our account, DVLA were saying, the next day, that the vehicle was untaxed (and therefore was illegal).

So we (I’m still using the Royal ‘we’ here) rang up DVLA and spoke to an actual human being.

The actual DVLA human being said it could take 4-5 days for their systems to update with valid taxation details.

Let’s assume five days (for mathematical reasons). That’s 120 hours.

In this age of near-instant fibre-optic Internet-based communications, it’s going to take DVLA 120 hours to update their taxation records – and that’s 120 hours after the payment has been taken.

Sometimes I wonder how we managed to crawl out of the swamp.

Here’s the trouble-maker:

Beetle ragtop

Beetle ragtop

Blogathon 18/18

Continuing the everyday look at everyday objects through the camera lens…

It’s ironic that the weather, today, has been gorgeous, but the weather all weekend was less than good.

To celebrate the lovely sunny day, I took a walk at lunchtime, and even strayed off-campus a little.

Twice a day, just outside the campus, i cross over a little bridge.

Today I found a little time to walk under the bridge.

Down the slope, under the bridge and along the bank where I found, moored up:

Liveaboard narrowboat

Liveaboard narrowboat

Blogathon 17/18

Continuing the everyday look at everyday objects through the camera lens…

Get ahead, get a hat.

In 1965, in response to declining sales, those cunning eggheads (pun!) at the British Hat Council created a slogan.

Because a slogan is always going to turnaround an entire industry. Right?

Well, as we all know it did.

Like many people in the UK these days I have 73 hats.

I have going out hats, I have staying in hats.

I have waking up hats, I have going to sleep hats.

I have sunbathing hats, I have swimming hats.

And yes, thank you very much, my new job as Head of PR (Head of PR! See what I did there?) at the British Hat Council is going very well.


Almost every day I put something else on my head.

Something else being a hat that isn’t a hat.

It’s this little baby:

Daily hat

Daily hat

Blogathon 16/18

Continuing the everyday look at everyday objects through the camera lens…

The male condition plus ageing brings strange things to our bodies.

Middle-aged spread.

A paunch.

A full-on beer belly.

If we’re lucky, none of these.

If we’re unlucky, all three.

But also the gift of something else.


A receding hairline.

A balding spot.

Complete balding.

If we’re unlucky, all three.

But also more hair.

It sprouts.




So we try, some of us anyway, to keep the hairy burden in check.

We trim, we pluck, we shave.

We attempt to keep the hairy menace at bay, but it always returns.

Today I took another regular step in my ongoing forwards/backwards battle against my fiendish follicles, as they seek their free-range freedom.

Today I visited the barber. Again.

Since March I have been going to a barber in the centre of Nottingham.

It’s more expensive than the people I’ve been using in West Bridgford, but unlike the people in West Bridgford the expensive barber in Nottingham knows how to trim, how to shape, and how to get the very best from facial hair.

The ‘new’ barber, though, does more than haircuts and beard-trims.

They also serve…

The Barber of Stellaville

The Barber of Stellaville

Blogathon 15/18

Continuing the everyday look at everyday objects through the camera lens…

Regular readers (Hello Mum!) might remember that Plusnet and I have been together for about 12 years, through six house-moves, and also branching out into a business I started up a few years ago.

And regular readers, again, might remember that I began to get unhappy with Plusnet’s service recently.

I mean, charging me for superfast broadband, whilst actually delivering mediocre broadband?

That’s just taking the pee.

Especially as I was paying through the nose for phone and broadband, because I was out of contract.

But who, in their tiny mind, is going to sign up for a year  (or 18 months or two years) of superfast broadband with a company that is only going to deliver mediocre broadband?

And pay superfast broadband fees?

Well, not me. Obv.

So I got on the dog and phone and asked Vodafone what they could do?

And they said ‘about 70 down and 15 up, and as you are a superloyal customer* we’ll do it for a supercheap price’.

*superloyal because my business mobile services have been with Vodafone for about ten years.

Well I said ‘yes’, obv.

On Saturday the new router was delivered.

Switchover day was Monday.

At 6am Monday I disconnected the old Openreach modem and the router.

And plugged in the Vodafone router to the mains and phone line and it worked straight away.

At that time bandwidth was about 45 down and 10 up, but all the advice from Vodafone was that I should give it a few days for things to settle down.

A week after the switchover, I’ve just run another speed test:

Vodafone broadband speedtest

Vodafone broadband speedtest

Yep, that’s good enough.

And for half the price I was paying Plusnet.

Blogathon 14/18

Continuing the everyday look at everyday objects through the camera lens…

Now you know that I like a drink, right?

No, not that sort of a drink.

Well I do like that sort of a drink.

But sparingly.

I can’t remember the last time I had one of those drinks.

Oh yes. About three weeks ago.

I had a pint of cider shandy.

Because, you know, I’d really have a skinfull of booze and get on a superbike and ride it down Nottingham’s A52 ring road.


And before that the last of that type of drink I had was…




No, I can’t remember when.

Anyway, this isn’t about that kind of drink.

And actually I’m not sure what it is about, but here we go.

Last night, after battling my way back from dahn sarf, just off of that London, we went out.

For pizza.

On the way back, we were driving through West Bridgford, when we saw a young lad, standing at the side of the road.

He was about 14yo, holding up a banner sign.

It said (something like):

Home-Made Elderflower Cordial, £5/bottle

So we stopped and bought a bottle.

Why? Why would we?

Just because we wanted to give an enterprising young lad a bit of support.

I’m the only person in the house who would drink that kind of stuff, so I took it to work this morning, and cracked the bottle open after lunch.

And you know how it tastes?

It tastes exactly like Elderflower Cordial.

So now I have lots of stuff to drink at work, because I took a new bottle of squash concentrate in this morning as well.

And a new container of instant hot chocolate.

Elderflower Cordial

Elderflower Cordial