Monday, 1 December 2008

Driftwood Horses

Link
So clever and beautiful, I just had to share this astonishing artform with you!
Apologies - seems my link to the news article went to a strange and weird place - aren't computers the pits?? I have repaired it - you are all too kind not to have mentioned it! LOL

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Laugh and the world laughs with you?

Christmas blues hit the High Street!

One thing the Great British Public haven't lost, thank goodness, is their sense of humour!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Strictly Come Dancing goes Strictly Political!

Who could possibly forget John Sergeant's Paso Doble? Or, for that matter, most of his other dances with the gorgeous Kristina Rihanoff over the past few weeks? I think it's a crying shame that he feels pressured to leave the competition after last weeks Results Show and a few nasty remarks made by the judges and the booted off competitor.

We watch John and Kristina because they make the show fun and entertaining. They prove that not only the young, good looking and fit can have fun learning to dance. We love Kristina's amazing choreographic skills that compensate for John's lack of dancing ability. Basically, the Great British Public love to watch someone like John go out there and do what many of us would secretly love to do if we only had the courage!

As for the judges saying that this is a dance competition, I dispute that! If the public's opinion wasn't wanted, then they shouldn't give us the opportunity to vote for our FAVOURITE celeb! This is as much about being a popularity contest as it is about the dancing - past shows have proved that when people like Julian Clary were voted back in show after show despite his poor dancing skills - even worse than John's I would say. If the celebs can't accept that they are not as popular as they perhaps thought, then they shouldn't put themselves up for a contest like this. If the judges are unhappy about a non-dancer getting through week after week, then they should change the nature of the show and not ask for public opinion.

A sad farewell to John Sergeant then - I think the show will loose much of its sparkle as a result of his decision to leave. Sure there are many better celebrity dancers still hanging in there but none as much fun nor as obviously popular with the public as John. Please watch the video clip as a Lasting Tribute to John Sergeant and the Incomparable Kristina Rihanoff - and enjoy!

(please excuse the size of the embedded video clip - I don't seem to be able to edit it!)

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Oh the joys of working in a computer shop!

Being technologically challenged can be quite a handicap when working in a computer shop! Mind you, since many of my customers are no less challenged than myself, it can make for some interesting conversations and amusing moments.

Take a typical day in the life of Jayne! Customer walks in with a small piece of paper,

"The man next door who knows EVERYTHING about computers, tells me I need one of these?"
(hands over small piece of paper with random numbers and squiggles on it)
"Um . . . what exactly is the problem with your computer then?"
"Well, I'm not sure but the man next door says this will fix it!"
(grab paper and rush into back office, looking for help from First Born Son, who has NO idea of what the squiggles on paper are either and is on the telephone to important potential customer wanting to buy expensive new gaming computer!)
"I'm sorry but the technician suggests you might like to bring your computer in so we can have a look at it to ascertain the problem" (smiling politely)
"I already have the guy next door who says he can fix it!" (sounding a little peeved!) "I just need that part!"
"Perhaps you could get your man next door to phone us and describe the part he needs then? These squiggles don't really help us much. Do you know what part of the computer is broken?"
"It was making a funny noise."
"Ah! Could it be from the fan perhaps?"
"No, I don't have a fan!"
"Um, most computers do have a fan inside them."
"Oh well, I don't know about that - I'm not very computer savvy, but the man next door didn't say anything about a fan when he took the back off?"
"Tell you what! Here's my card - tell him to phone and I'll get one of the technicians to speak to him. Perhaps they can figure it out between them!" (gritting teeth and SMILING!)
"Well, I'll have to see what he says - he's very busy you know and I don't want to put him out!"

Turn to long line of other customers patiently waiting, smile and say, "May I help you?"

Seriously, it's fun and I've met some lovely people in the shop. Just wish we all knew what we were talking about?

Monday, 17 November 2008

Man shocked at being run over by OAP!

Well here's something I found in our local rag that I thought might amuse you too.

Seems all this poor guy was doing was taking his dogs for a walk to the shops when a lunatic OAP (aged 89) ran him over! Obviously not only sight impaired but also hearing impaired, this 'hit and run' old gent calmly parked his car and went shopping while his victim lay groaning on the road with various broken bones, leaving bemused passersby to call an ambulance!

Police have not prosecuted as the OAP has voluntarily given up his driver's licence since the incident!

Link

Open Season on Shoplifters!

What a wonderful world we live in when some people seem to feel that they can just help themselves to your stuff. This week I had my first experience of shoplifters in our little computer shop - and very pissed off I am too!

What is even sadder is that we get so many very nice youngsters in the shop and now I find myself looking at them ALL with great suspicion thanks to a small group of out-of-control louts that don't deserve the oxygen they breathe!

What is wrong with parents today that they can't even teach their children a little respect - for themselves as well as for others?

Bah Humbug!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

I Dream of Africa

Some time ago I left my home,
far away in the African sun.
I boarded a plane for a foreign land,
my new life had begun.

But still some nights as I drift away,
I hear a cricket's call.
My mind wanders off to another place.
to Acacia trees, proud and tall.

I dream of my home in Africa,
of a place so wild and free.
I remember well my garden,
in the shade of the giant fig tree.

It's not that I regret my new life,
or wish to be somewhere else.
It's just that I dream of Africa,
of a wild and untamed place.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

The Street that The Council Forgot!

I've never been a very political person. Generally I just 'go with the flow' and fit in. Moving to the UK has changed my somewhat passive approach to life as I begin to more fully understand (or in this case NOT understand!) the workings of British Bureaucracy. This particular incidence of British Bureaucracy has SO incensed me that I just have to MAKE A STATEMENT!

Some time back the East Sussex Council came up with a marvellous scheme to inflict a paid parking scheme on the sleepy little town of Eastbourne. Despite the protestations of both the Eastbourne City Council and the Residents, this scheme was pushed through to become a reality about a week ago. Now I could go on about all the inconveniences the scheme has brought to both the shop owners and workers in the town centre and the sudden drop in business that many small high street shops have been subject to since the scheme came into effect but I feel that as this matter has been sufficiently addressed over the past few months with no sensible result, I would rather stick to my own 'inconvenience'.

So . . . pass the soapbox please!

Several months ago the Jayne family moved into their own little bit of Heaven - a 1/9th share of a converted church to be exact. This church is in a RESIDENTIAL part of Eastbourne Town Centre - on the Street that The Council Forgot. When we moved in here about four months ago, we made a special trip to the local council to purchase a resident's parking permit that would allow us to park on the road outside our new home, only to be told that we didn't need to worry since the new parking scheme didn't affect our street. I suppose we should have been more suspicious at the time but, being a bit ignorant of local laws, we accepted what we were told and have been parking outside our new home in ignorant bliss ever since.

Hah! The very first day of the new rules and we got a parking ticket! As did EVERY single car in the street! Shock was soon followed by indignation. A quick check of the Council's web site showed an interesting state of affairs - our street is just outside their new parking area. It still carries a '2 hour, no return 2 hours' parking restriction and The Council refuses to sell us resident's parking permits because (wait for it) we don't fall into the new area. So far, despite several emails and even a direct visit to their offices, they seem unable to tell me where I can obtain such an item. In fact, they really don't care one iota for my troubles!

So I, and all the other street residents, are now left with one of two options. Either we park illegally and run the risk of £30 parking tickets or we rush out every two hours and move our cars to another street, only to return to our own one two hours later! Does no-one else see the ridiculousness of this situation? If we lived just one street over we'd be eligible for a permit!

Right now I feel very discriminated against! Is it yet another case of "all being equal, just some more so than others" or simple stupidity?

Bah Humbug!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

The Mouse in my Garden - in technicolour!

Now I have found the photo the Girl Child took of our daily visitor, here he is, for your delight, in FULL TECHNICOLOUR! Enjoy :)

There's a mouse in my garden, a big one for sure!
I saw him tonight as I opened the door.
He looked right at me with eyes bright and bold,
As he nibbled on bread, thrown out of old.

We nodded politely and seemed to agree,
there was room in the garden for both him and me!

A cat jumped down off the garden fence,
It was large and white and on the offense.
I got quite a shock as it flew right by,
A blur of white that fell from the sky!
It really was the most dreadful sight,
And the mouse leapt up in a terrible fright,
Then the cat rushed forward and banged its head,
As the mouse scurried off and under the shed!

This morning, when I looked out the door,
first I saw one and then saw one more!
And then, as I reached for my tea,
I looked again and now there were three!
What seemed so appealing now seems so no more.
What if tomorrow I find there are FOUR?

This morning I woke with some trepidation,
stumbled downstairs in some hesitation.
As I switched on the kettle, I looked out to see,
only one, thank goodness, not four and not three!
And, if I am honest, I felt rather mean
as he looked right at me, "what, no bread to be seen?"

And then, peering over the roof of the shed,
was that a big, white, furry head?
Ears pricked with intent and whiskers aquiver?
I looked at the mouse and felt myself shiver!
I need not have worried, that's one clever mouse,
As he ran under the shed, I stepped back into the house!

No mouse this morning, I do feel bereft.
I imagine he's cross and so he has left.
He's packed up his bags and gathered his friends,
sadly it seems that here my tale ends!

Friday, 12 September 2008

Burn Baby, Burn!

Would you believe someone set the council flats next door on fire yesterday? Now, while I can understand WHY someone might feel like this was a good idea (they really are a BLIGHT on the landscape of an otherwise rather beautiful row of Victorian houses and, of course ,MY CHURCH!), I am a little confused as to why I saw or heard nothing until a very polite policewoman came knocking on my door!

This brings me to ask a rather pertinent question as to the City Father's planning (or lack thereof) policies? I have to assume that back in the dark and unenlightened times of the 1970's, building by-laws didn't exist. Every time I walk down my street I look at this abomination of architectural disaster and wonder how it was EVER allowed to be built in such an otherwise beautiful area? It brings down the whole tone of the area - not only in its own ugliness but also in the usually ugly people who live there.

Now, before you all jump on me for making unkind comments on the unfortunate appearance of my neighbours, it wasn't their looks I was commenting on but rather their souls. The type of people who usually end up in ugly council flats are mostly of the ugly soul variety too. They seem to be uncouth, loud and without charm or manners. Certainly the ones living next door to me fall into that category.

This moves me onto another line of good British thought. Many of my neighbours are foreigners, and what a lovely bunch they are for the most. We don't always understand each other as we nod, smile and say good morning but we are always polite and friendly. These are the supposed 'dregs' of lesser countries, mostly eastern European. Don't you know they come here to steal the jobs from the poor, under priviledged British working class? The same poor, under priviledged occupants that set the council flats on fire next door? The ones that have never had a job in their life and have no intention of getting one either - after all, it may interfere with their loud, obnoxious lifestyles at the tax payer's expense (that's right folks - tax payers like you and me!).

Which brings me full circle - burn baby, BURN!

Coffee anyone?

Monday, 8 September 2008

SKY Digital - are they serious?

It's been a frustrating few weeks trying to get my newly transferred Sky broadband connection up and running. This is my first serious contact with the faceless mega-corporations of the civilised west and I am less than impressed! If anything could've made me pack my bags and scuttle back to supposedly backward Zambia, SKY certainly came very close. I think I can safely say that I have NEVER had such ineffective service (or should I say lack of service!) ever, anywhere!

My sorry saga all started after we bought our own little bit of heaven (an apartment in a converted church actually) and started the application to have our broadband service transferred from out rented house to the new premises. All seemed pretty straight forward when talking to a Sky representative on the phone and we proceeded to follow her instructions, expecting to be properly connected after the promised 10 days. Well, what she neglected to tell us was that it took 10 days to disconnect from the first premise and a further 10 days to reconnect at the new place! Mind you, it took us two days and several long telephone calls to find out this important piece of information when the internet didn't kick in on the expected due date. This was just a taster of the irritation and frustrations to come!

Another 10 days later and we STILL had no promised connection. This is when the real fun started! I've lost count of the number of telephone calls made and the many different Sky employees I spoke to. I got to visit call centres in Mumbai, Northern Ireland and Scotland. I wrote down the names of dozens of technical support people (each call was dealt with by someone different!) and repeated my story with ever increasing irritation from one department to another for 3 weeks, each time spending at least 30 minutes on hold between departments. I had 'tickets' opened and closed, I had 'ping' tests, 'line' tests and many unfulfilled promises of 'call backs' - all to no avail!

I begged, I pleaded and I threatened. Slowly and insidiously they wore me down with their "I'm sorry but I can only pass you on to our ....... department for action - do you mind being put on hold?" Of course I minded but what bloody choice did I have? One 'on hold' session lasted 58 minutes and 12 seconds (I know this because I timed it) before my phone ran out of battery power and went dead! Finally I wrote a stinker of an email to them and then discovered that there are NO facilities to email complaints! I googled and found websites with thousands of dissatisfied Sky customers and chat rooms to commiserate in. It was in one of these that I eventually found an email address for them and sent my email off. All I have received so far is a computer generated standard reply....thanking me for my feedback!

We do have a happy ending but not due to any brilliant service provided by Sky. The First Born Son went onto the BT website and discovered that we could ask for a line test directly, which we did on Saturday night. About midday on Sunday we got a call back from them and about 10 minutes later my broadband was connected and WORKING!

While I have to admit that nearly every person I spoke to in Sky was pleasant, sympathetic and friendly, they were of absolutely no use in helping me to solve my problem. They were a product of this impersonal and faceless system that just kept me running round in circles with no obvious recourse. I think I can safely say it was the most appalling experience I have ever had dealing with a company, anywhere in the world!

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Poor neglected blog.....

My poor neglected blog! I really do feel terribly guilty about it but somehow circumstances have dictated that I hardly ever get the chance to visit it, let alone write in it these days.

Take my efforts to get re-connected on my SKY Broadband since we moved into our new, now permanent home. Having given them official notice of intent to move home on the 1st August, I see we are now on the 6th September and STILL not connected! Technically, according to them, we were connected on the 21st August and I have been fighting with them ever since. I have NEVER known such a fiasco in my life, not even in my darkest internet days in Zambia, where they at least had a genuine reason for the poor connection - someone forgot to fill the generator up with diesel again! Here in this civilised part of the western world however, they seem incapable of finding the problem let alone fixing it. They also seem unable to answer a telephone, provide a service and use a phone to phone you back? I know there is quite a high rate of illiteracy in the UK but I would have expected Internet Technicians to be able to use a telephone at least?

As you can tell, my frustration levels are increasing daily with calls to Sky TV/Broadband being the most useless method of getting hold of someone who can actually fix a problem while costing a great deal of money in the process. Something that they really don't care about as they put you on hold, yet again, for hours on end. You think I am exaggerating? I timed my 'on hold' session yesterday morning - the phone line went dead after 58mins 12secs!

So far I have chatted with several friendly but hard to understand people in Mumbai. I have visited with many cheerful people in Northern Ireland and taken delight in talking to some very sympathetic people in Scotland BUT.....the bottom line is I STILL HAVE NO BROADBAND! I am in despair - I have no idea what to do next!

Any helpful (and legal!) suggestions would be welcomed!

Monday, 2 June 2008

Computers for the Confused!

My first brush with the 'personal computer' was an old 386 back in 1991. Being the part owner of a construction company (the part that did all the secretarial work!) that my husband had started a few years before, when it came time to retire my old electric typewriter he decided it really was time to get computerised. I fought long and hard - all I wanted was a fancy new electronic typewriter - but in the end, after being told that this new computer would DO everything, I capitulated and the 386 came to live in our office.

It was UGLY! It took up too much space and it just SAT there on my desk, staring blankly at me! I was told it 'did the books' and it 'typed letters'. It was supposed to be the beginning of the 'paperless office' and the ultimate time saver. I switched it on and little white letters and symbols floated about on a black screen - unintelligible gibberish and hard to read at that! I tried to type and it produced a string of gibberish and requests to 'press enter'?? After a week of this frustrating behaviour, I shoved it on the floor and retrieved my electric typewriter from the cupboard! And then, we employed a 'computer man' to tame the wild beast!

I did eventually come to understand the basics of MsDos and even managed to get to grips with letter typing but that really was about as far as it got. The First Born, on the other hand, had a strange affinity with this monstrous machine from the very beginning. He was only 10 or 11 when it arrived and it took him only a few short weeks to master it and there began his fascination and understanding of all things computer. He would spend hours after school programming it and changing settings and generally making sure his mother would have the hardest time getting into it the next morning when he was at school! We eventually came to an understanding - if he changed anything on it, he would have to put a 'post-it' on the screen with simple instructions on how to switch on and find my work. All was well until it blew itself up a couple of years later and into our lives came the mighty 486 Pentium.

Weren't we proud of our new baby? Along with this latest technology came Windows, WYSIWYG, mice and mousepads! It also came with a full colour monitor and lots of RAM, ROM, floppy drives, stiffy drives and (my personal favourite!) a place to plug a set of earphones in! I also remember having some fantastic programmes that I could print transfers for t/shirts with and a really great desktop publisher that could make columns and insert pictures. I felt technically rich beyond belief! I remember doing the in house magazine for our Arab Horse Society that year and what a pleasure it was compared to previous years. By then the First Born was a whizz with computers and had gone on to complete his City and Guilds certificates with flying colours to become a fully trained Computer Technician.

As I sit here typing this on my little laptop, it's hard to remember what a mission it was in the early days - how big the machines were and how little they were able to do! I suppose, if I were to think about, the speed with which new technology develops and grows is quite amazing and it is very hard to keep up sometimes. I like to think that I was a pioneer of earlier days!

And when it comes to understanding all this new technology, all I can say is - thank god for teenagers!

Photoshoped

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Ireverently Poetry!

Have you heard the world is flat?
So what do you think about that?
It could explain why no-one's here,
they fell off the edge, or so I fear!

And evolution never happened.
Darwin's theories? All flattened!
The dinosaurs, just one great joke,
Old bones buried to just confuse folk.

Our world created all new and sleek.
God must have been very bored that week!
Each perfect critter standing tall,
I'm amazed he had the time at all?

Each day when I crawl out of bed,
the sound of nature rings in my head.
Not so blind that I can not see,
Evolution working all around me!

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

The Mouse in My Garden

There's a mouse in my garden, a big one for sure!
I saw him tonight as I opened the door.
He looked right at me with eyes bright and bold,
As he nibbled on bread thrown out of old.
We nodded politely and seemed to agree,
there was room in the garden for both him and me!

A cat jumped down off the garden fence,
It was large and white and on the offense.
I got quite a shock as it flew right by,
A blurr of white that fell from the sky!
It really was the most dreadful sight,
And the mouse leapt up in a terrible fright,
Then the cat leapt forward and banged its head,
As the mouse scurried off and under the shed!

This morning, when I looked out the door,
first I saw one and then saw one more!
And then, as I reached for my tea,
I looked again and now there were three!
What seemed so appealing now seems no more.
What if tomorrow I find there are FOUR??

This morning I woke with some trepidation,
and stumbled downstairs in some hesitation.
As I switched on the kettle and looked out to see,
only one, thank goodness, not four and not three!
And if I am honest, I felt rather mean
as he looked right at me, "what, no bread to be seen?"

And then, peering over the roof of the shed,
was that a big, white, furry head?
Ears pricked with intent and whiskers aquiver?
I looked at the mouse and felt myself shiver!
I need not have worried, that's one clever mouse,
As he ran under the shed, I stepped back into the house!

No mouse this morning, I do feel bereft.
I imagine he's cross and so he has left.
He's packed up his bags and gathered his friends,
sadly it seems that here my tale ends!

Sunday, 9 March 2008

At last - I am returned! :)

Sorry about that folks - yet another move and yet another wait to be connected, but at least we should be in this house for some months to come now! So here I sit (on a garden chair since my lounge suite has STILL not been delivered!) in my new little house, watching my fancy new flat screen TV and checking my email for the first time in two weeks - gosh, what a LOT of junk mail! I often wonder what would happen if we could all just push a button and magically send all that junk mail 'back to sender' - just imagine the chaos on their computer as MILLIONS of unwanted junk megabytes came flying back into their mailboxes, and imagine if it all happened AT THE SAME TIME? I would call it fair revenge!

Seems we are in for some really bad weather along the south coast of England from early tomorrow morning. Gale force winds and rain with possible flooding - it sounds pretty awful! It will be the first really bad weather we've had since arriving in this 'green and pleasant' land and I can't say I'm looking forward to it one bit! While it may be a good excuse to stay in bed tomorrow, it will severely limit my popping out the back door for a ciggie with my coffee in the morning. According to the TV weather report, we can expect winds of up to 80 miles per hour - that should make lighting a ciggie just a tad difficult I should think?

Onward and upward I always say!

Friday, 22 February 2008

Spending your money the English way!

Or at least trying to! Today we came up against the new order of 'Don't bother to use your initiative, you've already lost it!' syndrome and how very frustrating that is!

Being the organised people we are (and due to the inordinate waiting period between paying for your goods and actually getting a delivery date!), about a month ago we ordered and paid for two lovely, luxury model, brand spanking new beds from a well known furniture showroom. Oh what joy and celebration! The only problem - a very minor one the salesman assured us as he gleefully took our cash (debit card actually) - was that we couldn't give the correct delivery address since we had not yet confirmed the new rental with the estate agents. Now for those of my readers that live in the UK, I'm sure you all started nodding your heads wisely as soon as I mentioned those magic words 'correct delivery address' - be honest now, didn't you?

No problem said the salesman, just phone this number nearer the time and they will change it for you. Oh yeah right! Get real! Phoning the number was only the START of the right royal runaround we've just had these past two days! OK, for those of you who mistakenly thought that once you had bought and paid for your goods, you could pretty much expect to have use of them wherever you deemed fit - here is a valuable lesson in British Red Tape and The Circular Reasoning (or not, as the case may be!) Powers of Delivery Personnel. We are still reeling and the hubby says that "if the damn beds don't arrive at the right bloody address on Monday then he wants his damn &&**%£$""**&&%%%%£££ money back!"

Firstly - are you who you say you are? This is a VERY good question I suppose but quite hard to answer on the phone? Better, we thought, to go back to the store as suggested by the person on the other end of the phone, with receipt in hand and sort that one out there?

Next, do you have proof that you are legally the person living at the address you want the delivery changed to? A bit difficult this one since we haven't moved in yet but, yes, we do have the receipt from the estate agent for all those exorbitant 'fees' we had to pay out (per person!) for the credit check (we are paying the rent six months in advance anyway?) with the new address clearly PRINTED on it, will that do? Oh yes said the store manager with a happy smile as he faxed all this information directly from his store to the delivery department.

Oh NO, said the delivery department when they phoned again that night to inform us that this simply wasn't sufficient proof! So what more do you require said hubby with teeth firmly clamped? You need to go into the store with passport and sign an indemnity form and fax it to us said not now so chirpy delivery person! I will email you the form right now, this very minute, I promise!

Still no form this morning sighed hubby, I'd better phone them I suppose? Something like five phone calls later (and £8 in phone charges!!) the form has arrived - it has been dutifully filled in, scanned (with copy of passport) and emailed back to delivery person.

AND......as my hubby says,
IF THEY DON'T DELIVER THOSE ***%%$$**""££***%%$$ BEDS ON MONDAY, AND WITH A SMILE AND INTO THE RIGHT ROOMS AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRCASE WITHOUT COMPLAINT - I WANT HIS MONEY BACK!

British bureaucracy gone mad!

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Some pubs I have known......

The hubby and I have started a new family tradition since arriving in these fair isles. Mostly this is due to a general disinclination on the part of himself, myself and the girl child to cook and a certain 'stir craziness' that the man in my life is suffering from couped up in this rather small apartment. It usually starts as a shopping trip to the local supermarket and ends up somewhere in the countryside at some quaint little wayside pub.

This week's find is the Lamb Inn in Hooe (absolutely NO idea how you pronounce that one!). This is, so far, one of the nicest and most pleasant pubs we have discovered. Set just off the road and surrounded by open farm land, it has the traditional look and feel of 'ye olde' English pub and an excellent menu with cheerful and efficient staff. Prices are reasonable and they do offer a special Sunday Roast Lunch (we plan to go back and try that too). A delight in every way and it comes highly recommended by the Jayne family for good food, attractive traditional surroundings and a pleasant and helpful staff.

We give it 5 stars :)

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Tagged!

Thank you Keith :)

Tagged hey? Mmmmm - let me think!

The rules are :

* link to the person who tagged you
* post the rules on your blog
* share six non-important things/ habits/ quirks about yourself
* tag at least 3 people at the end of the post and link to their blogs
* let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

OK - I think I can manage this - lol
link to Keith - my favourite travelling rat http://travelrat.wordpress.com/
Rules? done!
Six totally unimportant and irrelevant details of my everyday life? see below!
1. I wear socks with cute teddy bears on them.
2. I am a chocoholic.
3. I eat too much cheesecake.
4. I have a nifty new pair of furry brown boots.
5. I have NEVER been able to touch my toes.
6. I hate cooking dinner!

newly tagged: Mutters http://muttars.blogspot.com/
Toadee http://thechurchoftheterminallybemused.blogspot.com/
Krazy Blonde http://krazyblonde-kb.blogspot.com/

Well that took longer than expected! Doesn't it always?
LOL

Here lies the body of...............??

They say a picture is worth a thousand words? Well this one is of the building site next door snapped from my balcony this morning! I say it is the jack hammer operator who has been mysteriously quiet since yesterday - and no, I didn't pay anyone!

Friday, 15 February 2008

In Praise of His Noodly Appendages!

A Prayer of Thanks!

Spaghetti! Spaghetti!

You’re wonderful stuff,
I love you spaghetti,
I can’t get enough,
You’re covered with sauce
And you’re sprinkled with cheese,
Spaghetti! Spaghetti!
Oh, give me some please.
Spaghetti! Spaghetti!
Piled high in a mound,
You wiggle, you wriggle,
You squiggle around.
There’s slurpy spaghetti
All over my plate.
Spaghetti! Spaghetti!
I think you are great.

(by Jack Prelutsky)


Thursday, 14 February 2008

Attack of the vicious blind eating Vacuum Cleaner!

Today I woke up motivated! Time to clean, and I mean REALLY clean the apartment - especially the kitchen which has been a trifle neglected due to 'lack of interest and be damned' syndrome! In some weird masochistic way, it was actually quite satisfying to scrub the stove, clean out the fridge and generally wash and scrub every surface - seen and unseen!

One of the strange things I have discovered since being in the UK is "Grey Fluff". This annoying substance seems to get everywhere which is quite a mystery to me considering that the apartment is pretty much a sealed unit and I have yet to figure out where the damn stuff comes from! Don't wash the floor for a couple of days and it looks like a Yeti's been moulting in there! Today's cleaning attack included a thorough vacuum of the kitchen floor before a good old wash and scrub (I have a nifty little machine to do that too!) and so there I was, cheerfully zooming around the kitchen with the vacuum when......OH MY GOD............

Some silly fool had left the blind strings draped over the floor. I suspect this was due to a lazy disinclination to properly wind them around that handy dandy little hook thoughtfully provided for the purpose? I promise, I never saw them - the first I realised I had a problem of serious proportions was a CLUNK, followed by the vacuum cleaner leaping up the wall with a scream of protest and a wisp of smoke curling out! Now I just KNOW I can hear you all yelling "SWITCH IT OFF YOU IDIOT!" and to be honest that was also my very first thought too, quickly followed by a realisation that in order to do that I had to get to the FOOT operated switch which was hastily getting out of reach as the vacuum voraciously ate the string and headed for the ceiling.

I lunged, the vacuum screamed and the blind protested - for a split second the world stood still. With a resounding crash I reached the off button at about the same time as the blind gave way and we all tumbled to the ground in unison. This wouldn't be so bad if this wasn't a rented apartment, with rented vacuum cleaners and rented blinds!

But never fear - I HAVE TAMED THE BEAST AND RETURNED ALIVE!
(and when I find out which lazy swine was the original cause of this drama, they'll be lucky to return at all!)

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

And so the saga ends......

I just HAD to give you all the ending to the printer and postage stamp saga! After all that drama hubby left here, letter in hand, to find a postbox. Missing the one at the bottom of the road, he figured there were bound to be lots on route to his appointment with the Accountant - no worries!

He ended up at the main post office in town! Like I said, quicker to have just bought a stamp :)

And just to print a stamp?

OK - so we have lift off! The printer is printing yet still the muttering continues............

And to think that all this angst was to PRINT A STAMP on an envelope to pop in the post? I can't help thinking (but definitely NOT saying!) that if he'd just jumped into the car and gone to the post office, the letter would be well on its way by now?

Ah well, I'm sure it will be a very useful thing to know how to do for the next letter we have to post! :)

(assuming, of course, that there is a letter box close at hand and we don't need to use the post office?)

The Mystery of the Incompatible Printer!

As I sit here looking out the window at the beautiful day, there is a muttering (getting louder!) in the background! Yesterday we bought a NEW printer, a printer of fabulous proportions and snazzy new colours. It does everything from scanning to photo printing, in fact it is a wonder to behold, a joy of modern technology and ergonomic design! The only problem is it refuses to be installed on the hubby's rather fancy laptop which operates on Windows Vista!

Now since it seems that every new computer comes with Vista as the operating system these days, it does seem odd that any new printer would not be compatible? He has entered the dark and dangerous waters of the Epson web site, followed the freely given instructions and downloaded the THREE different programmes required to ensure compatibility but still it refuses to comply!

Oh woe - is that yet another wail of despair I hear in the ether? Is that another diabolical and interesting description of Epson and printers in general I hear?

Isn't it wonderful to be part of this new and exciting Technological Age?

Monday, 11 February 2008

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

On the Balcony


Sitting on my balcony,
watching the slate gray sea.
I watch the seagulls flying high,
against the wind, above me.

Clouds race across the sky.
The mighty wind blows out of reach.
White horses in the breakers,
rearing and crashing on the beach

A sudden lull, a quiet moment.
Sunshine reflecting on water, broken.
Clouds ragged and breaking, racing
leaving only a small token
of the gray day behind.

Friday, 1 February 2008

A dozen interesting things about living in the UK.

It's been nearly a month since I arrived - here are a dozen things I have learned!

1. People crossing the road always wait until you're almost on the crossing before pressing the button.
2. Walking down the high street requires determination and courage if you want to walk in a straight line.
3. Dog owners only 'scoop the poop' if they think someone is watching!
4. It's impossible to tell whether an 'Emo' is male or female to a bemused observer.
5. Scarves always get caught in the car door when the wind slams it shut.
6. Seagulls always shit on our car.
7. Never go out without an extra woolly jumper - this moment's sunshine can be next minute's howling gale.
8. Smoking on a balcony can be hazardous to the people on the terrace below.
9. Don't assume that things or people work better because it's England - they cock it up here too!
10. Internet connections are frustrating no matter where you live.
11. Little old ladies in supermarkets should NOT be given trolleys!
12. Parking spaces are never wide enough to actually get out the car after you've parked.

Have a nice day! :)


Pastafarian and Proud!

It's official! I am now a practising Pastafarian of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

I found this wonderful new religion while browsing through the internet one bored and lonely day and spent a few giggle filled hours reading its history and its plans for a better and brighter future for the world. As a proclaimed Agnostic, I was hooked! I have yet to find a more sensible approach to the world's problems and so bow down to His Noodliness and offer my small and insignificant self in His service for the Greater Good and the Furtherment of Mankind.

Long live the FSM!

Psssst! If you want to know more about His Noodles, check out the link, top right on my tool bar :)

Monday, 28 January 2008

Oh how the sun doth shine!

What lovely weekend weather! The sun came out - along with the fishermen, the dogs and their owners, the joggers and the yachts! The tide obligingly went out for a not too early stroll along the beach where lots of people with buckets were rooting in the sand for 'things' - mussels and cockles I assume? Or something along those lines - lol

So, yes the sun DOES shine in England :)

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Impressions of Eastbourne

It's been a couple of weeks now since we stepped off the plane and onto the green hills of England and, while not yet properly settled into our own place, we are beginning to find our feet I think? Eastbourne is a lovely little (by English standards at least!) town. Even with the mostly gray skies and windy weather! Actually we have been very fortunate to have a few sunny days and I have to admit that it isn't anywhere near as cold as I expected - quite invigorating in fact, so long as you don't stay outside for too long and wear a woolly hat and furry coat. :)

Our first and most pressing task is to find a more permanent home than the out of season holiday let we took on over the internet before we left Zambia. It's a pleasant, if rather small, apartment right on the beach in the prestigious area of Sovereign Harbour. I like this modern new development but find it very lacking in the privacy that I am used to. I have been looking at other rentals in this area - they seem very expensive for the space on offer and I am intrigued by this idea of a 'Juliette balcony' that isn't actually a balcony but rather iron railings in front of a french door, three floors up? Maybe I need to practise my Shakespeare? Personally I can't help feeling that someone, somewhere is conning somebody?

My other personal favourite is the advertising blurb on lettings - 'parking on first served basis'!! What happens if you are NEVER the first one there? Driving up and down narrow little roads between rows of parked cars is very daunting! It is a unique experience for us third world bumpkins and I am seriously thinking of getting a bicycle! My other puzzlement is why anyone would build a four or five bedroomed house and only install ONE bathroom?? So, as you can imagine, finding a house is going to be difficult - it has to have off road parking, I absolutely refuse to fight for a place to park every day when I come home, and it has to have two bathrooms - or at least a separate loo. It also seems that there is a serious shortage of rentable property in and around Eastbourne at the moment - do you think they heard we were coming?

No smoking! Yes, this is indeed a pain in the butt for me! I really don't mind the not smoking inside public places but I must admit I do like to be able to sit in a comfy chair at home and have a puff with my coffee after dinner. At the moment I am reduced to standing on the balcony (not a Juliette one thank goodness) in the gale force winds blowing straight off the sea, dressed like an Eskimo, just to have a ciggie! In the mornings I get to watch these mad English people fighting against the wind and rain, walking their dogs and at night I can watch the flashlights of some crazy fishing people who seem to be out in all weather! It has reduced my consumption which is a good thing I suppose but I hate this being told what to do and where to do it - just the rebel in me I suppose!

So......it is onward and upward from here I hope. Once we find a house I will feel much more settled - at the moment it still feels like we are only here on holiday!

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Hello from sunny England! (ahem!)

Just to let all my friends know I am still alive and FINALLY reconnected to the internet! We are still settling into our new life and trying to get things sorted out (just the little things in life, like where to live!) but I promise to update this very neglected blog very soon - please bear with me :)