Sunday, October 8

Marigold gets theThumbs Up

New fashion sported by one resident enables car washing to be performed in a continuous manner without stopping for a pee or whatever. Careful choice of orifice for each appendage can mean half-shoe wellies and the pair of household yellows can be left indoors.

Tuesday, August 29

Paddock 3 Album

A collection of other shots and some commentary can be found at this link. Alternatively, they're repeating Badger Watch on ITV4 on Thursdays at 6pm.

Cool Mac P keeps his bottle - just!

Cool 'Mac' Pinckard was on fine form entertaining the troops at the annual farce locally known as the Party In The Paddock, now in its third year, and getting ever more bizarre and ever more sane at the same time, a feat that could only be achieved in the Village.

He did have one small problem, however - being stalked by a young fan with an eye on his bottle.

Paddock 3

There was a long queue at the 3rd Paddock Party on 12/8. In line with the new, law-abiding approach taken by the Committee this year, not only was there an application for a Licence To Have An Event At Which Somone Might Possibly Enjoy Themselves but also all the saladeers were required to submit all bowls, cling-film wrapped, to a team of OFTSED Inspectors doing a spot on the side while the colleges and schools were closed.

Thursday, August 3

Those little pictures in the address bar

Just discovered an excellent free tool that makes it easy to create the little icons that can be featured in people's browser address bar when they land on your site. Called favicons, they're a special type of file that you may not be able to do simply yourself. will do the honours for you in a few seconds. Free. Like that. They can also do those buddy icons you see in messenger services.

Tuesday, May 30

Light fuse and stand well back

One of the problems of my job is the huge amount of paper that builds up in the boot of my car. This gadget should take care of that nicely, as well as warming up those chilly summer evenings. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 13

Kitten Cannon??

Whilst Kirri was engrossed on the dating Tips for Seven-Year-Olds, at least I think that's what it was called, I couldn't help but notice the name of the game Matti was playing. Posted by Picasa

On the run!

This fellow answers to the name of Gibby. Presumably took one look at The Astcote Arms and decided that was preferable to the bread and water he got here. It's a fair distance, though, so if you happen to see a Gerbil hitchhiking, do stop for him.

You might also mention that there's now a lass called Phoebe in his bed . . . if you also mention that there's a large cat called Jet where he may be thinking of heading then one of the two thoughts may tempt him back! Posted by Picasa

Astcote Arms

Splendid contribution from Rod Rubber again, illustrating latest developments in Astcote. I'd always objected to planning permission for the Snug Bar being granted on the grounds that the geese were noisy enough, never mind what they'd be like with a few beers inside them. Access was also rather restricted and the alternative suggestion that a passageway be constructed between my shed and his was turned down on the grounds that I didn't have a Volvo.

Full details of the opening times and possibly unique range offered at The Astcote Arms, purported to include Watneys Red Barrell, Double Diamond and Chrishhtthchattsshtrong as well as Tstslkctspss will be featured in Shed Monthly shortly.

Tuesday, March 7

They both love cats

My daughter, Bryony, and I visited another village where my Mum and Dad live in a very flat part of Cambridgeshire that, interestingly doesn't appear to have great many flats but possibly the highest proportion of bungalows in this part of the country if not the world. As the two captured here will soon have a combined age of exactly 100 I am wondering whether they will also at that point also be exactly the same height. One is growing and one is shrinking but neither seem to be bothered about it. Posted by Picasa

"You won't get it."

For some reason I can gaze at this snap for ages. It's totally unposed, an almost random shot, which I thought might be useful to doctor one day - the white rectangle nicely blank, space to add some reverse naughty image on the laptop and a replacement picture on the wall sprang to mind at the time. But now there are the two guys' expressions, the contrast of position and shirts. One looks out of proprtion to the other as if I'd cut and pasted one in from elsewhere and not checked dimensions. The picture on the wall looks as if it should be another way up and the strange-shaped table is just sort of there. Black plug in white socket. Leads gushing out here, rolled up scroll there. Red box. Blue chair. Brilliant white lights. Apparent ceiling and head-line. The wall-line that stops. And on it goes . . . And the whole scene reminds me of some old famous painting but someone will have to help me out there as I've no idea whose . . . but there is one I'm sure. Anyway, for those who see none of that or just fancy a laugh, there's a collection of LSDera freebies for the best caption or text on the projector. You can use the Comment thing if you like. Posted by Picasa

The eyes had it

People talk about sleepy villages but four colleagues at a recent meeting illustrate a nice flow of animated interest through to the Land of Nod in the middle of a large city! Fuzziness not, on this occasion, due to my smoke filling the room but out of courtesy to the nice individuals concerned. For an e-learning stroke technology meeting there was a remarkable amount of paper on the table. (Thought I'd better say that before anyone else does.)
 Posted by Picasa

Twisting by the 'Pool

Beginning to emerge from hibernation now, and first exercise was some evening exercise somewhere in Liverpool. These undoctored mobile-phone-camera shots will bring back fond memories for anyone who used to smoke Three Castles cigarettes.

The hue is neither due to the camera being on one side of a glass of brandy nor my red-eye control being deficient but more or less as it was.

As you'll spot later, or may have spotted already if reading this after I add the daytime snaps, the taxpayers fund a unique combination of tedium and excess on these occasions when I am sent to wilder places. I guess that's fine as it all works out OK in the averages.

The idea of twisting by the pool has concerned me since the Seventies when the aptly named Dire Straits brought it to my attention. Never having been one for either twisting or pools on the grounds that I look ridiculous doing either and two wrongs would make a big, probably final, splash all right, I was glad to have this fine selection of pillars, ropes and chains to hang on to when the early Sixties Beatles tracks which I think the local Council insists are played at every club brought on the urge to sway.

There seems to be some robot rolling towards me in the three pillar shot which has a somewhat disturbing air. Especially as I would have thought that I would have remembered the fellow.

This marks the end of the LSDera as that fine old quango that has brought us such gems as 'Q for effective practice', 'm-learning: reaching across cultures' and possibly the worst freebies in the history of freebies, in the shape of plastic beer mats containing a suspicious-looking straw-coloured liquid which was supposed to gloop around when you ran your finger over them but didn't, gets extinguished at the end of the month.

Hopefully some of us will get vacuumed up by the LSN Noo-Noo and I'll still be able to provide some glimpses of the hyphen in Post-16 education.

Rod Rubber writes to say that there has been an inordinate amount of scraping and banging in the village but precious little evidence of life after my departure. Indeed no-one has been seen for some time and I no longer get reminders to Open This Way Up on my car door in the Towcester Tesco car park. There is even a rumour that the Colvo has been vrumpled by an even larger tank in the shape of a truck on the A43 but these have yet to be confirmed.

I really quite like this last picture. Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 6

Taking a leak

Concerned that Gnome may be contributing to the recent floods in and around the village, local resident Rod Rubber, hastily excavated a temporary privy for the guy. This not only successfully hid the gushing moulded parts from view but also, as those familar with pressure washer hose may have observed, served as an excellent place to dispose of said implement before the Water Authority twigged the real cause: over-Volvo-washing. A presumably late member of the Mexican band Los Sombreros also appears to have come to an untimely end beneath the village tarmac - but that's another story. Posted by Picasa

Gnome flap fitted at No 4

Having had a word with Jet on the subject of relieving oneslf in public, it was suggested that, as Gnome seems to have become resident at No 4 (Hmmm.. was at No 3, now No 4 . . . watch out No 5 . . ! Ed), the fitting of a fitting cat-, er, gnome flap, might be a jolly good idea. Posted by Picasa

Hole new story

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175 of 367

Thought the situation at work was a bit much and came home to this! That'll teach me not to defer checking my mail for a day or two! If you were one of the 367, apologies for the delay!

E-mail overload

Think I might attach this to replies to mail at work. Imagine having 678 unopened letters on your doormat?!

Now, where was I?

The gnome's back! Well, yes, that is the gnome's back but his back and the rest of him for that matter are still in the village. I didn't so much run away as found him a good home. Photos by his new chum Rob. Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 16

I used to be over there somewhere

I suppose if you're going to live in MK then things could be worse. I've got a nice view across other people's rooftops. No sheep but a bit of green at least. Astcote's a few miles over the other side of the hill in the distance.  Posted by Picasa

Straight and narrow

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"I didn't like that door anyway."

Must have worn out the A5 between here and Astcote. Everything apart from a sofa, large chair and carpet moved single-handedly in the Jag. Many thanks to Sarah for woman-handling a reluctant sofa through five doorways, none of which were even vaguely wide enough. A college van was needed for those large items, the carpet just fitting between the windscreen and the rear doors. Laying that should be fun, particularly as I haven't one square yard of spare floor space, never mind the sixteen I shall need. That, I feel, may well be a job I'll get round to 'one day'. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 15

Chaos Practice

Difficult to imagine that this will ever appear normal, or that all the bits of equipment will successfully get joined up again and work. I was fascinated by Chaos Theory in my younger days, indeed, still am, but never expected to experience it in practice!

Note: two coffee cups - signs of 'normality' returning perhaps after all. Posted by Picasa

Hmm . . . k-os

Yes, that's a loo roll. Can't get to use it because the bathroom's full of things that no normal person would put in a bathroom.

Still day-dreaming about that Greek island pad. But, in the meantime, here I am back in MK with a huge pile of boxes to sort out.

If anyone's looking for me new address and number available herePosted by Picasa

Sunday, January 1


There seems to be a tradition of rambling on at this time of year and vague attempts to put things in order, make lists of things to do and not to do and generally finish up in a huge to-do after being to a do. So this is my contribution to the cause. The holiday's too damn short - can't believe I have to do the Dunstable trek on Tuesday. Did manage to make the College site a bit more respectable and solved the scrolling problem and things that refused to align properly but now need a server a bit more substantial that doesn't get switched off when the cleaners need somewhere to plug the vacuum in. Trying to get people to put their course materials on-line proved really much more difficult than I'd imagined but, just as both I and the year were petering out, I had an opportunity to play with something called moodle which I shall now use to revive the project and so give me some hope of getting somewhere at last. First efforts here for anyone that's interested. First month back'll be dominated by staff development sessions I'll have to organise on that theme and trying to persuade a range of people to talk to each other about sharing data. Boy, will that be fun!

On the LSDA front, I have to do the third of a series of training sessions covering the barriers to moving e-learning forward in organisations. This one's to LSDA staff so could be a toughie. I also need to put enough stuff onto a CD to justify the pay and that's pretty urgent as that was due to be done by 31/12 according to my contract. Oops. The sessions are OK but they're in London which is a real drag. Stuffy trains, miserable tubes and idiots bawling into mobile phones. Two dry sandwiches for lunch. I keep suggesting that they hold these things in the village but to no avail. I could ask Rob to chauffeur them up here and back. He'd love that. With little chance of any extra dosh coming from College activity, LSDA's metamorphasis into QIA and LSN in April offers the only clear chance of earning anything extra so I'd better put on a decent show.

Russell's back in pizzas, I understand, in Hove. That's as much as I know, although I believe the Hymer's gone and I look forward to the screech of other tyres before the year is still new.

Saw Katie in York just before Christmas and had a brilliant meal at the Blue Bicycle. Great city, great food. A lot of mist. Of course, finished up walking miles, despite my daughter having acquired a brand new Golf!

Wireless broadband is working brilliantly in MK and Kirri's in his element now. Bryony's beginning to realise that she can now do whatever she wants without having to wait for him to finish shooting Cogs in Toontown. Matti's wrecked one mouse but is learning fast and can turn on, tune in and shut down properly - not bad for age 4.

Maybe I'll get through this year without disasters happening to cars. I've had this one for 12 months now and there's a chance, finances permitting, I'll keep it for another year and even beat the record two and a bit years for the two BMWs. I can now use S1XAH again but not sure what to do with it as I actually think I prefer T1GRX.

Looks increasingly likley that I'll have to move my base to the MK annexe pretty soon. I'm slowly transferring all the stuff I'd been storing here and it's looking a bit bare. Someone's supposed to have made an offer but, after last year's experience, I'll believe that when I get a signed contract! Short of a miracle there's no way I can continue to keep both places going .

One thing I really must do this year is give E-Bay a try. There are all those stories about people selling stuff there and it would be great to clear the huge pile of boxes in the MK garage - maybe even see who offers what for the registration plate. I'm not interested in trading in a big way but I should at least make a decent job of setting out the unwanted 'wares'.

Mum and Dad are still getting by well in Doddington, although I can see that I may have to warn the villagers there whenever Dad takes to the road! I still can't figure out what's going to happen. They've got a lovely spot there and even if the garden gets a bit overgrown it doesn't matter much, provided Dad can find where he's planted the vegetables.

No more resolutions. No predictions. Let's just see what happens. (No change there then?!)

Feathered friends

Dusty Springfield wrote to correct me on a couple of mistaken identities: the black birds weren't blackbirds but starlings; the pigeon was a collared dove. Silly me.

One foot in the grave?

Just returned from the usual riotous affair at Primrose Cottage - regrettably none the wiser as to who dunnit gnome-wise, mainly due to Gnome's starrring role not only upon my arrival when I was greeted by a video of the instalment of the TV series of the above title featuring umpteen of the things but also, most amusingly but also confusingly, by his appearance at the backdoor at the precise moment everyone decided to go out to look at some fireworks somewhere in the distance. Usual suspects appeared genuinely surprised and I can't get my head around making a fresh list now! He seems to have lost a boot in transit too. I have now virtually totally lost the will to try and explain anything further to do with gnomes, let alone live, and am seriously considering a New Year's Resolution along the lines of not mentioning gnomes again unless prompted or I shall go mad, if I haven't already.