Thursday, 28 August 2008

Two finds in one day.

This morning, a man knocked on the door and offered to clean the windows. He looked round and then asked a reasonable price, so he got the job. During the course of his efforts I made him tea and then while we drank our tea I moaned about the leaking gutter. By now, I'd found out that his name is Charlie, and on hearing my moan, he immediately offered to help fix it.

Between us we spent an hour and a half confirming that the rubber seals on the union joining the two long runs of gutter had perished. Charlie recommended a supplier of the part needed and then I had to depart for a blood test and he went off to drum up some more trade. After my blood test, I set off to find the roofing supply company he recommended. It was in the back of beyond in the scruffiest part of Tyesley and took a while to find. They had the bit (it set me back £1.14, less than a third of what it would have cost in B&Q), and they made sure I had the right bit. I was impressed with them. They will get more of my custom.

Fitting the new union was simply and Charlie re-appeared at 5:30 to see that it had all gone satisfactorily. For all his efforts on the guttering, he was happy with £10 cash. What a bargain. Fortunately, I have his phone number if I need him again before he returns to clean the windows again in about 6 weeks.

It is to be assumed that Charlie's exist all over the land, but I feel fortunate to have bumped into my Birmingham Charlie today.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Ends and beginnings

The Beijing Olympics are over. the BBC coverage was brilliant and the best bit for me was the coverage of the final race in the 49er class sailing - high winds and the best sailors in the world trying (and generally failing) to keep their boats upright. The Danes triumphing in a borrowed boat as their mast broke just before the start. Absolutely brilliant television.

The long run-up to the London Olympics now starts and let us hope that the doubters and sceptics will keep their concerns to themselves and let those charged with delivering this greatest of spectacles get on with their mammoth task unhindered.

Chris has finished his schooling but decided that he can (and must) do better that the grades he achieved at A level. Somehow, I can't bring myself to agree with his analysis, but he must be supported, so whatever he chooses, he deserves my support. Good Luck, son.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Not much, really....

I see I have not posted for a week. My beloved will give up looking, or make some pointed comment (like she does on James's Blog) if I don't so here goes....

At long last it has stopped raining here in Cornwall. The place is packed with holidaymakers and , unlike the locals, none of them say "hello" or "Good morning" as you pass. Can't wait for them to go home.

I have done a fair bit of clearing up and tidying and I'm now awaiting Chris and Katie's arrival tomorrow. Let's hope the weather stays fine.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

It's hard when you're young.

Results are out. Chris got what he needed to go to Sheffield, and yet he feels disappointed. He is disappointed that he did not do better and feels that he has somehow not fulfilled his potential. It may be true that he got the work/play balance slightly wrong but the grades he obtained are jolly good ones. He has the opportunity to learn a valuable lesson. Whether he will or not, is down to him.

As I write this, he is immersed in a long conversation with his sister. This I regard as a good sign. He has proved a good listener all day, starting with his teachers, I bought him coffee and he has thought about things. Secondly, his sister is Sensible with a capital S. She has been there, done that (when we're talking about going to University and getting a good degree), and Chris has great respect for her opinions. I am sure that whatever he decides to do at the end of all the deliberations will be the right thing for him.

Bless you son, and well done.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

It isn't the plan that counts, it's the planning.

Tomorrow is A Levels result day. Chris, who will be getting his results, has a plan for his future that has me a little baffled, but it is his plan, and he seems to understand what he has to do to execute it. He explained it to me and I understood. What I don't quite understand are his motives. Still, there is some time for me to explore these once he has decided what to do.

Monday, 11 August 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

My daughter in her blog here admits to having Olympic fever. I haven't caught the fever yet, but I have started watching. Using the BBC web site, I watched a replay of the GB heavyweight eight row their heat to get into the final. I love watching a GB team crush the opposition. If you haven't seen it, it can be seen here. Immense superiority with minimum effort. Plenty of effort, but no more than was necessary. It must have done wonders for their confidence.

I'm not sure that Blake Aldridge will have won many friends by publicly blaming Tom Daley for their failure in the synchronised diving. Tom may or may not have had a bad day, but if you're a team, stick together.

The commentator on the swimming action when Rebecca Adlington had a brain/mouth interface failure during her Gold medal swim. Surely the BBC should send him off for some remedial training.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

A visit to get me thinking.....

My wife and I are spending the weekend in Havant with my daughter and son-in-law. I am impressed with the way they look after themselves: we went swimming yesterday morning and this morning they have been out for a run. The food here is healthy too, not that is isn't at home.

Havant is quite close to the sea, and I've decided that I like being close to the sea. This may seriously disrupt the plans for moving at a later point in our lives. It is also noticeable that people here, and in the environs of the South Coast, seem to be in much more of a hurry to get places. The driving verges on the downright poor, and pedestrians push and shove in a manner I find distinctly unattractive. Much food for thought.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Progress and People

Back on July 3rd, I posted that I had decided to take myself in hand. Since then every weekday I've been at home, I have hauled myself out of bed at around 7:20 and pedalled down to the swimming pool. When I started I could just manage 12 lengths before dragging myself out of the water, completely knackered. Today for the first time, I manged 30 lengths between arriving and 8:25. I then cycled home. Two benefits are noticable:
i) I take a lot less time to recover from being puffed out
ii) I can pedal in a much higher gear on my bike.
This convinces me that I am slowly getting fitter and stronger. I shall never swim in the Olympics, but this exercise is clearly doing me good. I have promised myself to keep going.

One of my pleasures is watching people. Our local pool has a reduced price for swimming if you enter the pool after 8:30. Approximately 35 - 40 pensioners take advantage of this every morning. They start arriving at the poolside at about 8:05 and gather, sitting in seats or leaning on the guard rails. By 8:25 they resemble a flock of starlings on a telephone wire, all chatting and squabbling amongst themselves. At 8:30 prompt, they throw themselves into one of the three pools and completely disrupt any attempts by others to swim lengths.

Listening to other swimmers conversations reveals that many come to get or keep fit. It has to be said, perhaps slightly undiplomatically, that if talking were an Olympic sport, some of the ladies who come to swim would win a Gold without any problem. If they put as much effort into their swimming as they do into their chatting they would have slyphlike figures in no time!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Thoughts on thoughts

When I compare my blogs with others, I don't seem to post any serious thoughts. Then I realised that I don't have many serious thoughts, I just don't spend a lot of time thinking about life in general. I'll happily spend some time thinking about the best way of clearing the patch of stinging nettles and brambles at the bottom of our garden, but no-one will be interested in that.

A plan for the next few years of my life exists, and some of it is even written down, complete with the timescales that are currently envisaged. Much of what I hope to do, together with my wife, I hasten to reassure her, is dependent on circumstances beyond my control, and I long ago learned that worrying about things you can't control is the quickest way to an early grave (or cremation in my case).

So for the next few years (say, around 3 or 4) I'm in a kind of limbo where I can react to what happens in the family but not really direct it. Having realised that I'm in this position, I'm a tiny bit worried that I might get to like this condition and lose the will to really take control of the big things in my own life.

I also feel the need to learn something in a formal sense, but I'm not sure what or why. I guess I just feel that I could contribute a lot more than I do, or at any rate have recently. I shall post more on this topic in due course.


It is supposed to be summer. It is meant to be dry and warm, surely? Today has been more or less unremitting rain, and while it is not really cold (winter cold) it is grey and miserable.

The good news is that I've read a book and relaxed a lot.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

No Room at the Inn

Well, not quite the Inn, but Home actually. All three of our sons are in residence, hence the place is full. Having gone months during which they are not all here, to have them all at home is a rather cramping experience. One son managed to lock another out last night, so at 2 o'clock this morning my beloved wife graciously got up to let him in. The one who left his key in the door is in serious trouble.

The hall and landing decorating is nearing completion, and lots of other jobs have been ignored. Where does the time go? However did I find the time to work?