December 2021

<--Previous Next-->

Friday 31 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1640991024


I forgot to mention yesterday that marked my 3 year anniversary of giving up alcohol.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Thursday 30 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1640867965


Dear reader, I apologise. I haven't updated you on the whole fast track for Lung Cancer thing. I had a call just before Christmas to say that the scans showed no sign of lung cancer, which is obviously brilliant!

Now I just need to know what the hell is going on. But the doctor's are too busy vaccinating people against the Omicron variant of COVID-19 so I'll phone them again in the New Year.

Thursday 30 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1640857875

Egg Collecting

One of the more difficult and heart-breaking tasks of being a parent to a parrot is when I have to collect a newly-laid egg from her1 cage.

Although she gets over it and seemingly forgets about it in minutes, I spend the rest of my day crying inside for her... πŸ˜₯

Wednesday 29 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1640793711


Decided to get out of the house and go to the Fox & Hounds at Shortacombe for lunch.

Really, it was for the drive and to stare at distant things in the vague hope of exercising my lens muscles...

Monday 27 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1640605257


politics (n.)
1520s, "science and art of government," from politic (n.) "the political state of a country or government (early 15c.), from Old French politique and Medieval Latin politica; see politic (adj.). The plural form probably was modelled on Aristotle's ta politika "affairs of state" (plural), the name of his book on governing and governments, which was in English mid-15c. as (The Book of) Polettiques or Polytykys.

The problem is that US & UK politics have become so focussed on 'winning at all costs', they have forgotten the base reason for being politicians - representing the people. i.e. The rewards for being in power outstrips the necessity.

We have to find a system that doesn't reward that power without accountability & responsibility. We have to disenfranchise the megalomaniacs and power-mongers...

Monday 27 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1640605263

Welcome Addition

I don't think people understand what a welcome addition this is!

Sunday 26 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1640527858

Risk Assessments

Going forward, I must remember to include two risks in all my risk assessments:

  • Parsnip Injury
  • Giving your father cancer using a potato

Both of these things have a probability of 1, having occurred to me.

Sunday 26 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1640515267

Parsnip Injury

Another incident which slightly helped my ruination of Christmas lunch was that I had a lovely, but very chewy, parsnip.

Not a problem normally - I love honey and mustard roasted chewy parsnips.

But I have started to forget about my jaw, and I think I've had a setback from a parsnip injury. Why do they always forget those on the risk assessments?

Jaw hurts.

Sunday 26 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1640514931

Book Review - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyTinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John le CarrΓ©
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It's OK.
I mean, I can see why it's a classic and probably the first of the genre that really was a good book, but it was a hard read. I found it difficult to keep up with which character was which and didn't 'identify' them quickly enough to enjoy the story without worrying which character it was I was reading about.
I kind of enjoyed it, but it also came with a fairly underwhelming anticlimax.
Sorry, but this is just a 'meh' from me...

View all my reviews

Sunday 26 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1640514373


So, I cocked up the turkey yesterday. I'm generally a decent cook, but I've never actually cooked a roast and so put the turkey in the ceramic tray upside down which meant that the breast, though moist and at the right temperature to equal 'cooked' was a bit slimy and not as it should be.


Ruined Christmas lunch. And when you're an adult with adult children, that's the main point about Christmas.

Saturday 25 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1640460174

Proud Dad Moment

This is actually from yesterday, which was a lovely early Christmas present, but I've only just gotten around to blogging it, what with Christmas and all...

So yesterday, Joshua has his first scientific paper published.

You can directly download a copy from this site, here.

Very proud Dad moment...

Friday 24 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1640344715

TripAdvisor Review of Earth

Friday 24 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1640344811

American Antivaxxers

Friday 24 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1640344924

The Most Awful Time of the Year!

The thing is that some, and I guess it's an awful lot, of people really don't want to celebrate this, but are forced into doing so - so as not to upset the rest of the family. I like Larry David's idea of spending Christmas Day alone with a Chinese Takeaway (other takeaways are available). I mean, ideally, I'd expand that to include having Kim with me too, but she loves the big, commercial Christmas too much for that to ever happen...

Wednesday 22 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1640195053

Brian, of Czechoslovakia

I was telling Dad about the book I'm currently reading, "Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy" which mentions throughout the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

I mentioned it to him because he was there. Literally. In a square recovering from a hangover on a camping trip with his mates. And Dad remembers this and tells us a great story about it.

The tanks rolled into the town square after the locals had warned dad and his mates to leave.

A Russian tank commander, a Lieutenant in full uniform got out and started arguing with Dad. He pointed at his (Russian guy's) polished shoes and then at Dad's and says that Dad and friends are Czechoslovakian because Dad was wearing "patent leather" shoes. Dad argued that the lieutenant was talking rubbish (with a tank and the whole Warsaw Pact military behind him, mind) and that Dad and his friends were English.

It turned out that the Russian Lieutenant had studied in Birmingham between the World Wars and spoke some English, so he quizzed Dad and eventually believed him. He told Dad and his friends that they needed to get out of Czechoslovakia now! They escorted them to the border post (Dad describes it as a single track lane opening up to 8 lanes wide and then back to a single lane in Austria).

You weren't allowed to remove Czech money from Czechoslovakia at the time, and Dad had just exchanged a load of English cash to Korunas. He suggested just giving it to the Lieutenant, but he refused saying that he couldn't accept it (quite honourable, these Russians!). So, not knowing what to do with it all, Dad went into the nearest local market and bought some trinkets and things, including a set of gold-rimmed glasses that were in the cabinet next to him as he was telling us (we'll be keeping those as heirlooms with a story!). The rest he just left on the top of a petrol pump and side-mouth told the Lieutenant that it was there. The Lieutenant still refused to take it so they just left it there!

Safely across the border, one of dad's less smart mates said he had left his passport in a coat pocket hanging on a tree next to their tent - they had abandoned everything when they were escorted out of the country!

So the British Embassy in Austria had to get the stories out of dad's group and work out who they were and where they were going. They then went back with his mate to collect the passport under diplomatic immunity!

What an amazing story. I had always not really known if it was true because I didn't know about the Russian invasion in 1968 - I thought it was during WWII when dad would've been too young to be in Czechoslovakia.

But now I know, it's a great little story and I'm really glad he can still tell us these things.

Wednesday 22 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1640194611

Christmas: Part 1

Today the family gathered at Dad's house for the first part of Christmas. Unfortunately, due to Pat's sudden hospitalisation the other day, Sue just dropped Paul off and went to visit her Mum which is, of course, totally understandable. Charlotte had similar troubles getting here and Nathan is down in Falmouth.

But the rest of us had a small buffet with Dad and he had a (very) large glass of Brandy, which is the first alcohol I think he's drank since about April.

He thoroughly enjoyed it and called after to thank everyone for coming around.

Trevor (cat) seemed to wonder what the hell was going on with the people he knows and sees regularly all turning up at once...

It was a really nice, chilled afternoon.

Wednesday 22 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1640194881


It's clearly time for a new keyboard..

P[ressing the full stop[ key generates two of the buggers.. As does the // key.. And the letter 'p[' gets a bracket added!

(Yes, I've taken the p[hysical keys off and cleaned underneath them..)

Tuesday 21 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1640104283

Business Meetings

The big thing in the news cycles - aside from the normal levels of Tory corruption and sleaze - is the photographic evidence published on them having cheese & wine parties during May 2020 when by their own instructions we were in lockdown and forbidden from gatherings outside of our bubbles.

It absolutely shows that with the Tories, it's one law for them, and one law for us.

But I am prepared for our next business meeting...

Ready for our business meeting
Ready for our business meeting

Credit for the baby comes from Dahni who leant us Kendal to babysit while I use her image for cheap jokes...

Monday 20 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1640036171


You can't just remove the natural Engineer in me...

Monday 20 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1639998458

Honey Harissa Lamb

Given that my Christmas holidays have started, and given that Kim's boss brought around basically half a lamb for our freezer, I thought I'd start on it by making Slow-Roasted Honey Harissa Lamb.

Honey Harissa Lamb
Honey Harissa Lamb

Honey Harissa Lamb
Honey Harissa Lamb

Update: It was lovely. Had a hint of chili in the Harissa which gave the lamb a lovely taste, but perhaps I'll use less in the sauce next time (My stomach doesn't do hot food anymore). Kim found it lovely and not too hot at all, though...

Sunday 19 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1639933823

Life's Experiences

Of course, the day you stop learning and having new life experiences is the day you die.

However, I did not have this one on my bingo card for this weekend...

Because of my jaw issue, I haven't really been eating properly (mainly soup). This seems to have led to a lack of fibre in my diet and therefore...erm...things have become a bit "backed up".

Today was the day when my stomach decided that it needed to shift something.

Except I couldn't. After 30 minutes, I was sweating. I was in tears from tears (English is weird). And still nothing would come out.

I had two choices:

  1. Call an Ambulance
  2. Start digging with my own finger

Neither were attractive options, dear reader, but No 1. would've involved No 2. (again, English is weird) but with someone else's finger and the embarrassment from that.

Now, that was an unpleasant Sunday afternoon. But the problem has gone away now, and after much finger bleaching, things are back to normal. I have some old, in-date, sachets of Fibogel which may come in handy for the next few days...

Outcome: Motion Passed.

Sunday 19 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1639933133

New Desk

As an early Christmas present sort of to myself but from Kim, I have bought and today, assembled a new computer desk.

It's only a cheapy one, but the laminate wood is silver birch like the rest of the front room - definitely more in keeping with the aesthetic than the rickety old metal desk I've had for 15 years...

Saturday 18 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1639858653


Our annual jaunt to Wales to get Daryl. But we stayed over at Ross-on-Wye (which is lovely)


Saturday 18 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1639858358

Hey Jude

Saturday 18 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1639858235

First Aid is a Skill for Life!

The young lady driver escaped with apparent minor injuries (taken to hospital for checks).

Sunday 12 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1639312647

Formula 1 Final Race

Sunday 12 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1639299704

Driving Licence

I feel old.

I've had a full driving licence for 30 years today.

Saturday 11 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1639222709


So, for about 6 months now, I've had pain in my back in the lower mid-right area. Like a cramp pain but constant. At night, or when I lay down, it spreads up and across my back pretty much taking up my lung area. It feels like someone is bear-hugging my lungs from the back.

Weirdly, it coincides with the same space I've had itching for years. I've even been to the doctors and been prescribed antihistamines and creams for the itching although there are no visible signs of a rash or anything.

Then, since October I've lost a lot of weight quickly and without really doing anything extra to that which I had started doing last year (walking everyday and eating healthier (and not drinking for 3 years now, of course).

The back pain had started really affecting my ability to sleep, and in combination with my jaw tendon (see below), I'm not really sleeping at all without the use of sleeping pills. I often have to sleep sitting up in an armchair.

My cheap PulseOx finger clip thingy also gives quite low (~90%) readings quite often (of course, it's 97% as soon as I get to the doctors, but I did 'calibrate my clip with is and they were the same).

But I don't have a cough.

Anyway, I saw the doctor about it last week and given the symptoms, he's put me on the fast-track screening for Lung Cancer...

It's almost certainly not lung cancer as I've never smoked in my life etc., etc. but it does need checking out.

Lung Cancer Fast Track Leaflet
Lung Cancer Fast Track Leaflet

The lovely nurse, Sally, called me after the X-ray and blood tests to tell me that they are taking me off the fast-track pathway for Lung Cancer as they didn't find anything alarming.

However, they did then call me back that evening to arrange a CT scan at the earliest opportunity (that was Friday evening, and I was going to Preston with work the following week.

So, I went for my CT scan yesterday evening.

Now, I know it not likely to be lung cancer, but I am also naturally very worried about why they've called me back. Have they seen something of concern, or have they not found anything in the X-ray or bloods and are genuinely puzzled as to what's causing my symptoms (this happens to me quite a lot and I have to hold my hand up to being a hypochondriac - thanks, Dad!)?

But last night was a killer. I hardly slept a wink and my chest was hurting longer into my 'upright' phase of the day than it normally does. It normally subsides quite quickly when I sit or stand up. Today it lasted an hour or so.

So, dear diary, I am worried. No. I am shitting myself...

Previous history suggests that there's nothing seriously wrong with me and it's just hypochondria, but that doesn't help the insipid, niggling worry that I have.

And even if it's nothing serious, it's still stopping me sleeping and still bloody hurts! Ibuprofen and Co-codamol are just about taking the edge off it, but I'm at max dosage of them.

Saturday 11 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1639221659


My flipping jaw is still really hurting. When I try to eat something solid (like rice or small bits of chicken breast) it hurts me for hours after. It's very much like having toothache in the rear three molars of my left side.

But also, sleeping on the left side is a no-no as it pushes on the tendon, but even sleeping on the right side just pushed the jaw sideways a bit and really blood hurts!

Tuesday 07 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1638904383


I've been working out of our UK head office Preston this week. Very nice and good people too. Nice to meet some folks face-to-face for the first time.

Thursday 02 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1638460997


Saw the doc yesterday and said about my jaw snapping and feeling like someone hits me with a brick when I move it.

He said that it's ligament damage and we can't do anything about it that I'm not already doing.

Years ago when the doc told me to go onto a liquid diet I would've made jokes about finding me in the pub under doctor's orders. Today, that fills me with dread - and to be fair that's the only thing filling me at all!

Thursday 02 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1638458581


Today, Dad was formally diagnosed with both Alzheimer's and Vascular Dementia. But at least we have that label(s) now and we can make sure he gets the support he needs.

Wednesday 01 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1638385525

Visceral Reading

This may be the most important thing I've read in my life. I would not normally bother reading the blog of a famous ex-spin-doctor, but this felt visceral to me. It is so, so important. I'll be buying "The Sovereign Individual" tonight, I think.

Wednesday 01 December 2021
Epoch Seconds: 1638385920

Book Review: Genius

Genius: The Life and Science of Richard FeynmanGenius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman by James Gleick
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A really interesting biography of Richard Feynman, but for the uninitiated, I felt it was too long.
Yes, it was interesting and enlightening, but I found myself rushing to finish it just so I could read something else.

View all my reviews

  1. I almost said "his" out of habit there! She is definitely a she even though we call her he.

<--Previous Next-->

Older Blog Entries

Back to Top