Monday, February 26, 2007

This Is the Main Reason I was in England

The ceiling had fallen down in my mum's house. When the neighbours went in to see there was water pouring down ... so I assumed a leak in the bathroom which is over the hall.

I had a plumber in on Monday...and he searched leak.

It ended up like CSI Miami, with us trying to work out logical deductions about what might have happened based on the evidence. At the moment the favourite theory is that perhaps water had built up over the ceiling for a longer period - maybe even years - and that finally the plaster had given in to the pressure.
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Monday, February 19, 2007


You’ve never lived until you’ve been a ghost

I had this feeling the first time once, a while – well, ok, an age ago, when I visited the coffee lounge in my old faculty at Birmingham University. Where we had used to sit and blather about lectures and lecturers and assessed essays and exams there were now other students…they looked like us but they weren’t us … and I wandered in and around and got myself a coffee and felt that no one was noticing me; they – this new generation of students - were all busy with what were now their university joys and concerns; I was invisible, not a member any more, a ghost haunting one of my old haunts …

And that’s how I felt this evening going up to the Sefton - the pub where my dad used to drag me to, just after my late breakfasts on Sunday, for a midday pint … washing down the taste of bacon and sausage with the incongruous taste of a couple of pints of Higsons best bitter; when a pint of Higgies used to cost 17p … no, stop, stop! Don’t go down that road…

Anyway now it’s full of young, new millennium punters, drinking their drinks and smoking their smokes, who weren’t even born then, way back in the drunken haze of my past.

And being a ghost it means you can’t strike up a conversation with the barmaid. The only bitter they now have in the Sefton is John Smith’s … which is ok … but the only tap I could see was for “Super Chilled John Smith’s Bitter”. Now, if there is one thing you shouldn’t do to a bitter it is to “SuperChill” it – a bitter needs a certain amount of luke-warminess about it – it shouldn’t be REFRESHING and DYNAMIC … it should be cosy and soporific … sup-orific…

So, I asked the barmaid, “Do you have any bitter which is a bit less chilled than super chilled?”

She half smiled … but realising I was a ghost, her smile quivered like a dying fish and froze, and she just said, “dhat’s dhe only one we ’ave, luv”.

After I had quaffed my first couple of sups, and my teeth had recovered from the Arctic shock, it became quite a pleasant pint … but the lingering chill reminded me that I was not of that world … frankly, a ghost … like a ghost in a bad Hollywood film … a frankly ghost to Hollywood …

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Wolfgang Amadeus to John Winston

There was:

No hurricane, no blizzard, no earthquake or flood;

No lightning, no fog and no rain;

No terrorist attack or attempted hi-jack,

No strikes, no lost bags, no crashed plane.

Just a “little turbulence” over the Alps and a “stiff breeze” blowing up the Mersey. (Sorry, couldn’t get that bit to rhyme.)

With that, I completed my flight from the snow-dusted Alpine peaks around Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Airport in Salzburg to John Winston Lennon Airport on the wind-gusted Mersey estuary.

To be more precise it was Munich - Schwabing to Aintree, Liverpool – including almost a tour de force of the various public transport systems: train from Munich to Salzburg, bus from Salzburg Hauptbahnhof to the airport, plane to Liverpool Airport, bus to the centre of Liverpool and (ok, quick pint of life-saving Cains at this point) local train to Aintree.

All that, plus humping cumbersome suitcase and increasingly heavy-seeming laptop up and down stupid stairways and along twisting labyrinthine passageways and walkways; so it is no wonder I was knackered when I finally got to the house.

It didn’t stop me going down to the chippie later, though, for a pie dinner with chips and gravy.

So, I am here to do a bit of repair work on the house which, with my DIY disabilities, should be … fun.

But at least this time I made it here …

Monday, February 12, 2007

Is There a Worse Fear?

I just had a call from the mother of one of William's school-friends; the school phoned her to ask where her son was as he hadn't arrived at school - that must rank pretty high on the list of worst things a parent can hear. What makes it worse is that he is a level-headed, reliable kid who wouldn't just go wandering off somewhere.

I have had that feeling a couple of times - not being able to find your child - when Nicky was little and again with Biddy. It causes a complete irrational panic, releases goodness knows what hormones into your bloodstream and makes you search around frantically until you find the child. Paradoxically, from the joy of finding them again you also give them a good shouting at for getting lost!

I hope this turns out well...


Everything is ok! I don't know exactly what happened but it all seems to have been a series of misunderstandings...! Phew, thank goodness for that...

Friday, February 09, 2007

My New Career: Currency Speculator

Regular readers (both of you) will recall that I intended to fly to England in January but was thwarted by Kyrill, the Bavarian hurricane.

Well, that left me with EasyJet tickets and a Holiday Autos rented car I couldn't use.

Amazingly both companies agreed without even a flicker of eyelid-batting to refund what I had paid.

But, even more amazingly, I made money on the deal!

I paid Holiday Autos GBP112 which at an exchange rate of o.6575 was converted into €170.34

They paid me back GBP 112 which at an exchange rate of 0.6535 was converted into €171.38.

A profit of €1.04!

Now I only have to that about another 999,998 times and That Elusive First Million is mine!!!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

If You Want to Get Ahead, Get a Hat

... and as we used to say in Liverpool, "if you wanna gerra hat, gerra head!"

I inherited various things from my mother - genetically speaking - and amongst them was the ability to look totally stupid in almost any kind of hat.

At parties she could drive the guest to hysterics just by putting on my dad's trilby or my granddad's flat cap.

Same with me... if I put on, say, a ski hat - which would be a good idea now that the snow flakes are beginning to fall outside - then I look like the village idiot. And so for years I had to put up with a cold head in the winter.

But, thanks to T-Maria, I now have a hat which makes me look not quite idiotic enough for my vanity to stop me wearing it. She dragged me into a very stylish shop in the centre of Munich which I would normally avoid even looking at... just the models in the shop window gaze at you with contempt!

Anyway, in we went - she apparently had had enough of my moaning about having a cold head - and we found a hat... I tried it on - hate trying on things in shops!!! - and it was ... ok ... so ... she bought it for me as a late Xmas present.

So, for the first time since I HAD to wear this...

School cap - around 1970

... I now have something to keep the blood from freezing in my brain... and here it is!

Monday, February 05, 2007

eBay Millionaire...

...I am not! But I am a few euros closer with my first sale!

I got a congratulatory mail from ebay for successfully selling the CD! It's a bit like getting a birthday card from your bank.

Anyhow, I must admit it really is DEAD easy to sell stuff on ebay (provided someone buys what you are offering of course) so I think I will get my kids to start manufacturing things... sports shoes isn't it?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Going, Going, Gone...

Well, despite a last minute flurry from potential buyers who never materialised, my CD went to the the first bidder! (Erm... the only bidder!)

Congratulations! This lucky bidder will now be getting a copy of my CD...

Stay tuned for more ebay bargains!