Blogathon 20/17: The Insomnia Paradox

Stay in bed, or get up?

And if stay in bed, then for how long before getting up?

And if stay in bed, but putting on a light to read is out of the question, then read the phone?

And if reading the phone disturbs her, what?

Lie awake fidgety, while unsuccessfully getting back to sleep?

And if, in getting up, she is disturbed and asks where I’m going?

Or if, in getting up, she is disturbed and asks if she was snoring, then say what?

Or if I successfully make it downstairs and read for an hour, but then she comes down (at 4am) and asks why I’m awake, say what?


Blogathon 19/17: TW3

That was the week(end) that was…

[insert gratuitous photo here]



Like last week, I seem to have spent much of this weekend feeling worn right out.

In amongst periods of slothfulness we are ‘doing things’.

We have had a first run at quite a lot of my stuff that I have in storage.

The aim is to close things to a graceful consolidation and then get rid of whatever we both have left over.

It’s painful for me; I’ve had some of those things for years.

But at least we now have a cunning plan that revolves around getting the house finished.

I picked up Sam’s Superdream yesterday, having had its new speedo fitted.

It is a neat little bike, and handled surprisingly well.

I took the ZX10-R out afterwards, but some of the country lanes I chose were full of mud and cowdung.

In the evening we watched Jack Reacher 2 which was alright.

This morning Sam and I went swimming; by 08.00 we were ploughing lengths like turbocharged seals.

Or maybe she was, I was mostly sitting on the side basking, as seals do.

Later in the morning I went out with Sam (no, another one) for what I thought was going to be a gentle bimble through the lanes of Nottinghamshire.

Just short of a hundred miles later, I was back home, having covered roadmiles from Nottingham to Matlockin Derbyshire, then heavily across country to Clay Cross for a cup of hot chocolate, and then back down to home.

And some of those roadmiles were covered at a fairly rapid rate, because Sam doesn’t take prisoners on tarmac.

This evening Sam (no, the usual one) and I have watched most of The Woman In Black.

Then she trimmed and oiled my beard.

There was an illicit Chinese takeaway in there somewhere too.

So I haven’t done much, really, this weekend.

Yet I haven’t shed the feeling of ‘worn out-ness’ of last week.

Maybe I need to change things around?

Make some new arrangements in my life?


Blogathon 18/17: Wise and foolish virgins

The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway

The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway

You know that ‘wise and foolish virgins’ parable?

Mathew 25, verses 1-13?

Well this post isn’t about that.

Although, here’s a bit of wisdom to be going on with.

Do you have any premium bonds?

I have a fistful of them.

Some were bought for me as a Christening present, and I’ve added to them when I felt wealthy.

And yet I’ve never won a bean on any of then.

Have you on yours?

I saw a statistic a couple of weeks ago, that broke down the earning potential of premium bonds in to an easily understandable fact.

The overwhelming odds are that if you bought £50,000 of premium bonds at the completion of the Stonehenge circle, by now you would have won a £10,000 jackpot.


Makes you think, huh?


Back to those wise and foolish virgins.

1974 was a year in which the musical tectonic plates of the planet shifted, broke up, drew apart and, amidst the cataclysmic breakup, brought a new and wonderous thing.

The breakup was of possibly the finest prog rock band ever to come out of the UK.

And the new and wonderous thing was the last studio album which that band gave us, on the eve of their breakup.

Genesis: The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.

Which contains the following phrase that my mind keeps wandering back to, at odd periods of time, in a track called Carpet Crawlers:

Mild mannered supermen are held in kryptonite
And the wise and foolish virgins giggle with their bodies glowing bright

(If you would like to read another person break that album down in to a summary format, you could try this link)

And straight away people will say that Genesis didn’t break up in 1974, and that the band went on to continue receiving critical and sales success with other albums and stadium performances for many years.

And those people will be wrong.

Genesis died the day that Peter Gabriel left.

They went on to become an AOR band, then a pop band, and then a dad band.

I’m not sneering.

There’s nothing wrong with any of those things, and nothing wrong with Genesis being any/all of them.

It’s just that while Genesis changed course, and became those things, they stopped being the prog rock band that Genesis used to be.

I often wonder where Genesis would have gone if the band had kept the faith with their original drummer, the very amiable Chris Stewart, and not allowed Jonathan King to bring in Phil Collins.

Anyway, back to those wise and foolish virgins.


Later this year Sam and I will be going to see Elbow.

They acknowledge that the early Genesis played a significant part in influencing the way Elbow developed their art.

So like a wise (not foolish) virgin, I am being calm about the long-awaited visit to Elbowland.

And keeping my lamp trimmed.

Managing my own expectations.

But still looking forward to the gig.

Meanwhile, here’s some Elbow:

Blogathon 16/17: LinkedOut

I have a really big blogpost in me about breaking the culture that holds an organisation in stasis, thereby blocking it from adapting to change and answering to challenge.

Maybe I’ll save it up and dump it on LinkedIn.

But speaking of LinkedIn, how the flipping flip do you turn off notifications on specific posts?

I commented on one post (about a handy-looking programme reporting plug-in) and now I get thirty-five million notifications relating to the original post, every single day.

Absolutely no exaggeration there at all.

Thirty five million.

Every single day.

There’s nowhere obvious to switch them off.

I’m not terribly sure that I’m a fan of the new LinkedIn.

It’s all a bit too Facebookish.

But without the finesse.

Not that Facebook actually has much finesse, but the new LinkedIn has even less.

Oh dear.

This seems to have turned in to a LinkedIn rant.

How fascinating.

*changes subject*

I watched the first ever episode of The Thick Of It earlier.

Best line:

About as much use as a marzipan dildo.

Blogathon 15/17: Voting



Sometimes it seems that we have become obsessed with ‘having our say’.

‘It is my opinion and I’m going to bloody well give it to you’, is right up there along with ‘It is my human right that my entirely ignorant opinion carries as much weight as your very knowledgeable and well-informed argument’.

These are the people we, here in the UK, have become.

We thrust forward our opinion on things through every means imaginable.

Text voting, phone-poll voting, Twitter polls, consumer polls…

The list seems to go on.

I blame Simon Cowell.

And yes, we use all of these opinion-based tools (and more) because we love to give our opinion.

And that’s how the complete dogs breakfast that Brexit has come about.

And not just Brexit


American Idiot

And yet organisations, both public and private, fall over themselves to canvass our opinions on everything that could possibly exist (whether it matters or not).

From action required to safeguard the preservation of the humble bee to the determination of whether the village idiot of the USA should be given a state visit or not.

And by the way, USA, please keep your village idiot, we have one of our own.



And on that point, by the way, more people voted against Trump being given a state visit than was the winning margin for Brexit.

But I guess some opinions are easier to ignore if they are inconvenient?


Opinions and giving them.

And now on to voting in general.

I still vote, at every election, but it’s a waste of time really, because no matter who I vote for, the Government always gets in.

And as a result of that things, inevitably, get worse.

I’m still not sure how we are the highest taxed nation in Europe and yet our roads disintegrate through lack of maintenance if you look at them too hard.

But there is one poll that I love.

One vote that I follow closely, and partake in whenever a new poll is put in to the field.

It is the APL.

Haven’t heard of the APl?

Here is the current APL table of standings:



Blogathon 14/17: Getting it on

It’s been one of ‘those’ occasions this evening.

You know the ones.

The secretive, indulgent, pleasure-filled moments.

When you get home before your other half.

And you’re going to do ‘that thing’.

Illicit thing.

That thing that you’re not supposed to do.

I’m not supposed to do.

Because if I got caught it would be very embarrassing.

But this evening, because I can, I’m going to do it anyway.

And to hell with the consequences.

I slip my trousers off, just to get comfortable.

Get in to the mood.

Excitement mounting, I’m keen to get started.

Need to be finished and cleaned up before anyone else gets home.

So excited!

Shall I do it standing up?

Or sitting down?

I get everything ready and opt to sit down.

Hands shaking.

Eight minutes later and I’m finished.



I’d like another, but I can’t.

I’m done.

Quickly now I have to tidy up before anyone else gets home.

Just in time, I’m finished, as the front door opens.

I’ve got away with it.

Except I haven’t.

Half an hour later the accusations start.

‘There were much more Cheerios left when we went out this morning!’

I shrug.

‘And where’s all the chocolate milk gone?’

I smile, and shrug again.


‘You’d better eat all your tea!’



Chocolate Milk

Chocolate Milk

Blogathon 13/17: MIA no more

I have returned from Deepest, Darkest, Devon.

I spent Sunday night in a pub on the edge of Dartmoor, to enable me to be at a nearby depot for 08.15.

A meeting, some tests, some research, some measurements, a couple of phone calls, and many photographs later and I was back on the road.

By 14.00 I was back at my desk in Leicester.

The pub – The Tradesman’s Arms – was off the beaten track, and very quiet.

And, as evidenced by the ineffective broadband, is in the middle of nowhere (how I am used to the 100Mb download/30Mb upload of rural Nottinghamshire!)

Not withstanding the lack of broadbandage, and the equally underperforming lack of mobile signal, I had a very comfortable night there.

And a very hearty breakfast!

I shouldn’t imagine The Tradesman’s Arms gets much by way of passing trade (the lanes being narrow, meandering, and not prone to passing of any description).

But if you’re in the area of Scorriton, near Buckfastleigh, I would strongly suggest you pop in for a beer, for a meal, or (if they have a room free), for the night.

And when you’ve finished reading this, check out the ‘A brief history’ column on the pub’s website.

That’s a good enough reason to visit all by itself!

Blogathon 12/17: MIA

You have heard of the land that time forgot?

Well, this evening I’m in the land that the Internet forgot.

It’s all very well the Inn having secured WiFi, but that’s not much cop when the local broadband delivery is a fantastic 56k down and 25k up.

Welcome to the 21st century.

I’ll be over in the corner with my parchment and quill.

Blogathon 11/17: Weekend wind-down

It’s been snowing, off and on, all day.

And, at the peak of the day, the temperature tottered upwards to a wholly magnificent 1c.

Neither of these is conducive to going out for a run on the ZX10R which is, obviously, what I intended.

So Sam’s done some wallpaper stripping, and we’ve been out and brought back a new TV stand/unit/thing, retrieved a duvet from the cleaner (one of the kittens had an ‘accident’ on it), and brought back a new mattress for the smallest bedroom.

I’ve helped with a few things as much as I can.

I must have slept oddly or something, because I have a bad back.

And Sam cooked spag bol this evening.

She’s been a totes trouper.

Earlier this evening we all sat and watched Storks which almost everyone seemed to love, but my jury’s still out.

We’ve just turned off Independence Day-saster, after only three minutes.

It’s awful.

Eight episodes of the @Wittertainment podcast (surely the best, and most consistent podcast for content, guests, and production/entertainment values?) have just been downloaded and added to my iPod.

I’m nearly six months behind the broadcast timeline, so Kermode and Mayo are reviewing films which are starting to pop up on Netflix and Amazon.

I should have listened harder to the review of Storks.

Hello to Jason Isaacs.

Get down with your bad self.