Monday 26 December 2011

Merry Christmas and an Happy New year!

A bit late I know but Chris and I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.!!  To all who read this blog we thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read. 

We hope Santa bought you those pressies you were hoping for and that all is well out there.

I know we are not yet talking about canal boats and AmyJo's build just yet but all being well things should start happening in the new year so plenty to think about for the design to put on the blog.

Now having got an Xbox for crimbo I think I'm going to give Modern Warefare MW3 a crack after the girls are done with Just Dance 2!!!

Wednesday 21 December 2011

Reasons to be grumpy at Christmas

'Tis the season to be jolly? Not according to Stuart Prebble, creator of the TV series Grumpy Old Men.
In his hilarious new book Grumpy Old Christmas, he lists anything and everything he loathes about the festive season — nativity plays, pantos, presents, parties, shopping, eating, buying the tree, the £65 turkey.
Here, he brings you a selection of his grumpiest grievances to help release your inner Scrooge.

What is it about Christmas that makes us want to destroy a perfectly good tree and bring it into the house? And what has a tree got to do with Christmas? Jesus will never have seen a spruce, let alone have advocated uprooting millions of them every year so that they could shed their needles in your car and in the turn-ups of your trousers. It’s ridiculous. And someone has to choose it. ‘You stand there and hold it and I’ll look at it, and then I’ll stand and hold it while you look.’ So I stand there, on the pavement, always in the cold and usually in the drizzle, with my arm outstretched, while my wife cocks her head to left and then to the right, walks around it and decides that ‘it’s not quite right’. Though he doesn’t have a mask and a gun, the man selling the trees might as well have. It’s as close as you’re going to get to being mugged in broad daylight. And then you’ve got to get it home, fit it through the door — why should it be, do we think, that men always buy a tree that’s far too big for the house? — put it up (straight) and find lights that work…

When Bob Geldof said: ‘School plays are total complete and utter sh*te,’ it was the end of a mutually agreed conspiracy in which every parent of every child in every school had silently agreed to pretend that school and nativity plays are lovely.
It’s not even the play that’s the worst bit. It’s the other bloody parents and the sea of digital cameras. Competition for which part your kid is going to play is matched only by the size and expense of the broadcast unit with full lighting rig you want to bring to record it.

Panto was better when you were a kid than it usually is now. Then, we might have seen wonderfully comic actors such as Frankie Howerd, Jimmy Jewel, Sid James or Kenneth Williams. Now it’s part-time weather presenters, Neil and Christine Hamilton and, if we’re really lucky, Gazza’s sister.
And what about the scripts? A long time ago, when we were small, pantos were for the kids. The show was full of silly jokes and slapstick and set at the eye level of the target audience. It was loads of fun.
Now it’s all sex, smut and double entendres. Even the phrase ‘he’s behind you’ carries a whole different meaning.

Here's a little test: Which is your favourite record from this list of Christmas number ones?
(a) Ernie, The Fastest Milk-Float In The West by Benny Hill (b) Lonely This Christmas, Mud (c) Mary’s Boy Child — Oh My Lord by Boney M (d) There’s No One Quite Like Grandma, by St Winifred’s School Choir (e) Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Band Aid (f) Merry Christmas Everyone by Shakin’ Stevens (g) Mr Blobby by Mr Blobby (h) Mistletoe And Wine by Cliff Richard
Enough said.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to receive a round-robin letter at Christmas from someone whose children hadn’t passed all their exams with flying colours, who hadn’t recently had another promotion, bought themselves the new BMW or taken their holidays in St Kitts?
Wouldn’t it be great to get one that said: ‘Another c**p year, we’re getting divorced, the kids are unemployed, on drugs, have turned out to be cross-dressers and have tattoos.’

Let's analyse this. You’ve gone out and worked very hard for a long time to earn this money, have given away a bit less than half of it to the Government and have put whatever’s left into your bank account.
Then, instead of using it to pay the rent, or buy food, or get the car serviced or go on holiday, you buy an item which is probably total bloody rubbish to give to someone else.
They are going to take it from you, unwrap it, say ‘thank you’ and then put it in their cupboard until next year, when they are probably going to give it to someone else.
Unless you also give them the receipt, in which case, you might as well have just handed over the money.
And why are we doing all this at Christmas? If it’s anyone’s birthday, it’s Jesus’s, not yours.

The last thing I want when I get home after a hard day at work is to be told I’m not going to get dinner because we’re going to Lena’s down the road who has spent all week preparing hors d’oeuvres.
Then there’s the whole getting ready saga: do I have to shave? (I do); can I wear my jeans? (I can’t); must I change this shirt? (I must).
And when, finally, we get there, it turns out we know everyone. Just about all of them were at the party on Thursday, so we know all their news, they know all ours.
Which is fine for women — within five seconds of arriving, they’re all in a group talking about a very nice pair of stud earrings that Margery bought in that little jeweller’s just off Market Square, you know the one, with all the diamond rings in the window, the bloke who runs it looks a bit effeminate.
Sadly, men can’t do this. So we get to spend three hours clutching a glass of wine and trying to think of something new to say.
Sometimes giving a party may be less vexatious than attending one. But while most people leave at a reasonable hour, there’ll be at least one couple who’ll show no sign of leaving, especially when your wife mentions the possibility of a nightcap.

There's a knock on the door. Who on earth could it be at this time of the night? It’s 7.30pm for heaven’s sake. We’re in the middle of dinner. No way we’re opening the door — sod them.
The doorbell rings again. We ignore it. Hopefully, even though the car is outside and all the lights are on, they’ll assume we’re out. It rings again.
Eventually, my wife weakens. As soon as they see her in the hallway, it starts . . . ‘Si-i-lent night, ho-o-ly night.’
In the old days, carol singers would hold out a bag of cloth so your contribution would feel and sound more generous than it was.
Nowadays, you pass your coins into a sweaty grasping hand with ‘hate’ tattooed across the knuckles, so your generosity, or lack of it, is immediately evident.
If you tell them to get lost, when you go out in the morning your tyres will be ribbons.
Happy bloody Christmas.

Why, if it’s so delicious do we only eat it on Christmas Day? Because it isn’t. It tastes like blotting-paper dipped in cranberry sauce. It’s not even simple any more.
There are ‘oven-ready’ turkeys — which presumably means someone has plucked the feathers and stuck its innards in a plastic bag, free-range turkeys, organic turkeys, ‘turkey basters’ — the busty amputees of the turkey world which consist only of breast meat for people who don’t like the gnarly and sinewy bits, turkeys that have been honey-dipped, turkeys glazed with the juice of Malaysian pineapples, and turkeys that have been massaged every day of their lives by Japanese peasants living at the base of Mount Fuji.
Sadly, there just don’t seem to be any cheap turkeys.

Here's my theory. Nobody actually likes Christmas pudding; if they did, it would be on the menu in restaurants more than once a year.
No, it was invented as a joke by someone who thought: ‘What’s the thing anyone would want to eat after they’ve had the biggest meal they’re going to eat in 12 months?
‘Sorbet, or a light and fluffy dish?
‘No, let’s give them something they could build a house with. Oh, and because we’ve so little to do in the run-up to Christmas, let’s make it take at least a month to prepare.’

Every year, we eat a meal that overflows our largest dinner plate, loosen our belts midway through the meal, feel as full as a very full thing which has just been given an extra beef pie to eat, and yet still hear ourselves saying: ‘Oh, all right then, perhaps just a little bit more turkey.’

Every year we eat until we’re so uncomfortable that all we can do is waddle over to the couch, flop down and fall asleep in front of the Queen.

Monday 12 December 2011

Just down right Daylight Robbery

Hi All,
Sorry for not posting much lately only we've been very busy with the new home.  Now we're nearly sorted we started to look at getting our narrow galley kitchen put to right with a refit so we have been having various kitchen firms in to design and give quotes.   Once fitted we can see if it works and then as the kitchen will be about the same size on AmyJo we can improve the design on her to make it even better.

One problem to be solved is that the gas and electricity meters, together with the consumer unit for the electrics, are all housed in one of the 500mm wide cupboards taking up valuable storage space.  We made enquiries to the utilities companies with a view to getting them moved and got a shock.  First the gas meter will be relocated on the outside of the bungalow in an external box just 1 foot from its current location this will cost £360 inc VAT, a lot I hear you say and yes I agree but wait...theres more.

Next we move the electricity meter off the inside of the wall, eight inches too the outside of said wall in a box.  Now get this,  to do this the electricity company insist I dig a hole 1meter square to expose the incoming power cable.  I then have to go to one of their local depots and pick up the external wall box and then mount it on the wall myself.  They will then come and cut the cable and re joint it to the moved meter inside said cupboard then I have to get an electrician to connect up the meter to the consumer unit.  Having done half the work for them they want to charge me as staggering £670 inc VAT.  Now this has to be a new form of legalised robbery surely!  So for that princely sum I have to do half the donkey work, they come and join up a cable and swan off leaving me to do the rest.  Down right robbery as I see it!

Oh well seems we have no choice so must budget the cost in.  I did try to get the price reduced but was told its non negotiable.

Hope everyone is well with the hatches battened down for the coming winds.  Hope you all stay safe out there on the cut.

 until next time....bye for now

Saturday 3 December 2011

At last we're settled into our new home!

Hi all,
Well the good news is we finally moved into the bungalow on the 24th as I last posted.  It's taken BT until yesterday to get our broadband sorted so we could not post until now.

At 8.30am the removal men turned up and loaded our home into a huge lorry and a large van. It was quite emotional when we finally shut the door for the last time and handed over the keys.
At this point upstairs was empty and only the first panel of the lorry was packed
They worked tirelessly all day and finally unloaded the last box into our new home at 8.30pm.  We reckon we got our moneys worth from them but the 3 guys were great lads and we had a good laugh with them.

So now we're living amongst boxes in the bungalow and we have proven you can actually fit a quart into a pint pot.

You can just make out Joanne among the boxes on the left.
We are all getting used to living in a smaller space which for Chris and I is great as we will be used to it by the time AmyJo is launched.  The bungalow needs a lot of work so there is plenty for us to be getting on with.  The first task is to sort out the kitchen as it's a real mishmash of badly fitting cupboards.  We knew this would have to be done before we moved in, what we did not expect as we started to measure up was AmyJo's kitchen will actually be slightly larger than the one at home!  We don't even have a cooker at the moment so are living on ding meals as Chris calls them (microwave meals that is) for now.

We have not stopped for five minutes since we moved in trying to get everything sorted and are enjoying opening the boxes to unpack.  It's a bit like Christmas come early as we know we packed and labelled things but we still cannot find things so go a hunting in the boxes.

Our new home is quite cosy and we already feel settled despite the boxes.  The bungalow is tiny looking from the front so we nicknamed it the Tardis as inside it's actually a good size.  We're looking forward to Christmas now and getting on with AmyJo's planning in the new year.  Our adventure has actually started and we cannot waitRoll on Spring!

Thats all for now folks