31 December 2006

Okay, who stole Christmas? I cannot believe it is already New Year’s Eve; it only feels like yesterday that it was Christmas Eve!

So, Christmas Day. It started and finished pretty much like any Christmas Day does here, with the usual food fest stuck in the middle! We got up around 9:30AM, had breakfast and then opened our presents whilst drinking Bucks Fizz! As I said, pretty much like any other Christmas - 10:00AM and the alcohol had started!

Later in the morning, Lynda started to prepare Christmas dinner, with me as the fetch and carry assistant! I had choices to make by this point - open one of the new bottles of Whisky that Santa had brought me or stick with an already open bottle? I chose an open bottle of Glenmorangie. A very short while later Lynda joined in with a Sherry. The cooking was now under way! After a superb meal of Turkey and all the “extras”, plus a bottle of wine of course, it was time to get settled down in front of the TV - Christmas afternoon has to be spent trying (unsuccessfully) not to fall asleep doesn’t it?

Boxing Day was another quiet day spent at home. We ate, we drank a little, and we watched TV a lot. We certainly did not join in with the craziness that is the Boxing Day sales! Why anyone would face that madness when they could be at home eating and drinking is beyond me! Then again, it could have something to do with my total dislike of shopping!

All too soon it was back to work and the prospect of three days of total boredom. That is just how it turned out - no customers = no cars in the workshop = me having nothing to do! It was so bad that I actually CHOSE to do a full stock take! I’ve spent the past 25 years trying to avoid doing stock takes and this year I do one just to avoid being bored!

With just under nine hours of 2006 left it’s time to look forward to the New Year. If the weather picks up (it’s windy and raining now) then tomorrow the plan is for Lynda and I to do a repeat of the walk we did last New Years Day. If the weather is still bad… food and drink! That’s as far as I want, and need, to look ahead!


22 December 2006

The past few days have seen the weather turn decidedly horrible! Derbyshire, along with most of the country, has been covered with thick fog accompanied by freezing temperatures.

The ride into work on Wednesday wasn’t too bad, the fog was pretty thick but at least it was daylight. Coming home in the evening, well, that was a little trickier. The fog came down even more, it was dark and on top of all that, my glasses kept misting over! I was like riding with my eyes closed! By the time I reached home water was literally dripping off the end of my chin and from my glasses! All good fun!

Yesterday, I went into town and I finished my Christmas shopping. Having all my shopping done this early is something of a result for me - I can often be rushing around at the last moment! Not this year! Having saved a couple of days holiday for just before Christmas was worked out rather well; all the shopping is done, I don’t have to face the gridlocked roads as everyone tries to get into town and I get more time to sit around in front of the TV and eat!

Being at home during the day has given us a chance to see just what is eating all the bird food that we put out in the garden each day. So far this morning we’ve been visited by up to a dozen House Sparrow, two Blackbirds, three Dunnock, three Collared Dove and two Wood Pigeon. I’ve heard, but not seen, a Robin and a single Wren has been moving around in the garden next door. A very small mouse has been fetching seed from one of the bird tables and a squirrel put in a brief appearance on the garage roof.

In a short while, Lynda and I are going out for lunch. We are off to The Bulls Head at Breaston. It’s not a place I’ve been to before but Lynda often goes with some old work mates and says how good the food is! I’ll let you know what I think!

Three photos from out in the garden this morning.

20 December 2006

Facts and figures!

If you like facts and figures that, well, tell you all the facts and figures then here are a few I’ve found relating to the new indoor speed world record that was set back on the 12 December!

Cars totalling £750,000 were put through their paces, each car having 3 timed runs over the 230 metre straight in the NEC, Birmingham.

The results will be submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records for approval and certification. The times were recorded using a Vericom VC3000PC Performance Tester and were overseen by independent data company Datron Technology who are recognised by the Guinness Book of Records.

Some of the vehicles taking part included…

Ariel Atom Supercharged 300HP Costing £35,000
Top speed - 76.80mph

Aston Martin V8 Vantage 380HP Costing £82,800
Top speed - 64.80mph

Audi RS4 (LT) 414HP Costing £51,825
Top speed - 72.14mph

BMW Z4M 338HP Costing £42,795
Top speed - 64.87mph

Ford GT 500HP Costing £120,900
Top speed - 71.53mph

Jaguar XKR (LT) 420HP Costing £67,495
Top speed - 59.78mph

Mitsubishi EVO FQ360 366HP Costing £35,504
Top speed - 75.61mph

Shelby Daytona Cobra 530HP Costing £91,650
Top speed - 68.65mph

Westfield Sport 2000 192HP Costing £19,950
Top speed - 68.49mph

And the winner…

Autograss Special - Toyota engine - 280HP Costing £20,000

Top speed 82.05mph!!!

Oh, and the old record? That was 81mph, set by “The Stig” from Top Gear driving a Toyota F1 Grand Prix car.

18 December 2006

So much for looking forward to seeing Bluehorses at The Flowerpot! I didn’t make it! And, I’m NOT happy about it! After a couple of days of small warning twinges my bad back kicked in again on Friday afternoon, and for the first time in around 8 years I missed a Bluehorses gig at The Flowerpot!

All thoughts of returning to the gym with a vengeance have obviously gone out the window again, that will now have to wait either until later this week or even after Christmas! I will get back into the routine of doing a workout 3 or 4 times a week though.

I forgot a little snippet of “news” last week… I’m a winner! Albannach, one of the bands we follow, had a competition on their web site to win a silver pendant of the band's logo and I won! Even though the band are based in Scotland the pendant will be coming over from America, where it is being “made to order”, so when it arrives I’ll post a picture or two on here.

On Sunday, I started my Christmas shopping. I don’t like to start too early but then again, I don’t like leaving things until the last minute! Sunday seemed like a good compromise to me! Well, it was still a whole week before Christmas Eve! I’m nowhere near finished though so there is still plenty of time for a last minute panic!

One last little bit… A “grasser”, sorry , an Autograss racer, has set a new speed record! 82 mph, INDOORS!!! Phil Cooper, ARC5, set the record at the NEC, Birmingham! There is a video of it below, just click on the arrow in the centre of the screen to play - you may have to click twice!

11 December 2006

Just a flying visit to bring the past week or so up to date!

After almost cancelling the gym membership a couple of weeks ago, I have now found the enthusiasm to get myself back there and start my workouts again! Note, I said "I" have now found the enthusiasm! Lynda is still not so keen!

A week ago today our cable TV stopped working and, to cut a very long story short, it was only fixed this afternoon. It has taken more than three hours of phone calls, two separate visits from two different engineers and four set-top boxes to finally resolve the problem! Talk about a company with No Technical Liaison, No Team Leader to take complaints over the phone and a Near Total Loss of our custom! Still, it’s sorted now so we’re back to having dozens of channels of nothing to watch! Well, apart from this years New Zealand Stock Car Championships which have been great so far!

The weather has put paid to my cycling somewhat this past week. Strong winds and heavy rain have been the norm most days so it’s been back to using the car. The rest of this week looks like being much the same.

On Saturday, Lynda and I went on the Derby RSPB Group coach trip to Far Ings Nature Reserve. This trip was also the group's Christmas dinner outing so, for me at least, the birding wasn’t such a priority! I was more interested in getting back to the hotel for the Christmas dinner! We did see one or two good birds during the morning - Dunlin, Shelduck, Redshank, Sparrowhawk, Curlew and Yellowhammer being amongst them - but the hotel bar and the food was always going to be the highlight for me.


Last night, I drove down to Bilston to see Bluehorses play. The Robin is now one of my favourite venues, since its refit a year or two back, and last night's gig was another good one. The band played a great set to a reasonable sized crowd but I think that a Friday or Saturday night would see a lot more people turn out. The weather probably didn’t help either - strong winds and heavy rain made for a tricky journey. This coming Friday sees Bluehorses playing at The Flowerpot in Derby, now that WILL be a good gig!


03 December 2006



Last night was the launch of the new NEVERLAND CD at The Flowerpot, in Derby, and what a launch it was! It was one of the best gigs I’ve seen at the ‘Pot, if not the best!

NEVERLAND took to the stage at just after 9:30PM and played a non-stop set right through until around 11:30PM. In total, they played over 20 tracks, some old favourites, some from the new CD that will soon become favourites!

I’ll not go into a full track list but Talking Tree started the night off, then we were treated to Doom Garden Jelly Fish Blues, Fire Cradle, Never Learned to Speak, Kebab No More and Think I’m Gonna Buy a Car, amongst others. The final encore was the classic Stars and the Blues, the perfect end to a perfect gig!


The new CD, well I’ve only had chance to play it through once so far but on first hearing it’s great! After another play or two, to get used to the new tracks, I reckon it’s going to become one of my regularly played CD’s.

More NEVERLAND photos!

So, what else has been going on - not a whole lot!

After a week or so of thinking about it, Lynda and I have decided to carry on with our gym membership. Since the summer, we’ve not been making the most of the place and came close to stopping altogether. The next week or two will prove to be make or break I think. I’m off work for a couple of days this week so will go to the gym during the day as well as after work later in the week. I’m off work again next Monday so the plan is another daytime workout then. With luck, this will prove the kick-start that I need!

Derby County… well, the unbeaten run from November came to a halt with the first game of December! A 1-0 defeat away to West Brom on Saturday saw The Rams stay in fourth place in the table, 3 points off the top spot.