Gearing Up…

Today was Em’s parents 50th wedding anniversary! Fifty years! Now that’s medal awarding! We went around in the afternoon with our rather lame gift (a golden anniversary card and a bottle of wine). Colin arrived afterwards with lots more gifts, somewhat outdoing us, but was kind enough to hand it over as a joint gift, although it wasn’t really.

Tomorrow I am sure there will be kiddies from all round “trick or treat”-ing. They won’t get anything here sadly. I can’t be buying sweets for strangers children. Buy your own kids sweets instead of scrounging off strangers! The local paper was kind enough to print a poster for the elderly to put up on their door (see picture…it’s of a copy of the poster being held by PC George Pugh of Bedfordshire Police), but I am in a right mind to put the poster up on OUR door. We can’t give them anything, so we might as well let them know they’ll be wasting their time knocking.

Tuesday is the true Halloween and it spells the passing of another year for me. I’ll be another year closer to 40, God help me! Be in mourning for me everyone 🙁 At least I might get fireworks for my brithday.

Ups & Downs.

Today has been topsy turvey. Got up disgustingly early (6.45am), as we had both a lesson with Barbara and taking our car for an MOT (road-worthiness) test at 9am. I just knew the worst was gonna happen with that. I didn’t want to think it, but I just knew. It’s a long story…but I’ll try to make it brief…

Right: MOT tests are a yearly thing in the UK. Each year your car has to be tested for road-worthiness…the only time it doesn’t is if it is less than 3 years old. In the UK a road tax disc displayed in your front window is also required. You can’t have one without the other. At the moment, our car’s tax disc expired as of September 30. Our MOT certificate expired before then, so to get a new tax disc we need a current MOT. We had to pass MOT. We put the car through a test but it failed on exhaust emissions. Colin (Em’s brother) deduced that it was due to a problem with one of our cylinders we had been having. One of the 4 cylinders in the engine was blocked and dirty and although we could still drive the car, it was running on three cylinders and not exactly fuel efficient. So Colin has been working on our car the last 2 weeks getting the cylinder repaired and the engined cleaned. We’d had the MOT test done through Luton Borough Council as we didn’t want a garage involved due to potential rorts – that is the garage having some “cock & bull” story about this needing fixing, and that needing fixing and giving us a bill for a few hundred quid. So the council testing centre was good and tried several times to get the car to pass, but the emissions were just too high so it failed. Once Colin had finished the repairs he said “take it to a garage”. He still had reservations about that, but on Colin’s say so, we took it to a local garage this morning – and, well guess what? It failed…not on emissions…surprise, surprise, but because of some hole in the exhaust?! A hole in the exhaust – but it still passed the emissions test? Does that sound fishy? Also, firstly the hole was at the front end of the exhaust, and then (miraculously) it had moved to the middle?! Here’s the predictable bit…£120 to repair with a free re-test if we had it repaired there and then! Seemingly, as of 4 weeks ago a new law came in stating that a free re-test could be giving as long as the repairs required were carried out within 10 days without the car being moved off-site!! In other words…the garages have a licence to rake it in!!! It defies belief!!!! We just ended up having to pay for the test (that was £45 thank you very much), so even better, the garage basically got £45 for nothing. Bastards!!! More time without our car…and a valuable lesson to be learnt…go with your gut instincts!

As for the lesson with Barbara that went really well. She’s picking stuff up really good. Oh, why do people STILL insist on using PC’s and Windoze [sic]??? I can’t tell you how much easier I think it has been for Barbara because she is using a mac as opposed to a PC. I just thank the lord she didn’t take that option, because we DID give her the choice.
It was a full day for a change…and now it’s a new day (just gone midnight) and I MUST go to bed.

The Tracks of My Years, plus Weddings.

I am in the process of doing a series of web pages called “tracks of my years”, which will be songs through my life that I’ve liked or had significance to my life. It’ll be a selection of songs from each year. Once done, I’ll add it to my pages on the right side of the blog. I want them to become a permanent feature of my site, not just part of a composed blog.

Em & I have been helping a local lady, Barbara, get started with a PC (we suggested a Mac Mini, which Barbara loves) and get on the Internet. It’s early days, but we have her set up and on the Internet and today she has successfully sent an email, which has been great! It feels really lovely knowing that you’re helping someone out.

A side issue, just ‘cos I wanna rant. Sorry, in my mind I was thinking. OK, so Barbara getting herself on the Internet is not one of life’s high priorities, it reminded me of the sheer overindulgence that I heard people doing last night on TV. What Not To Wear was on last night, and although I wasn’t actually watching, bits sunk in. It was about mothers-of-the-bride last night and picking the right outfit for them. The EXPENSE some of these people were going to on a wedding was just unbelievable to me! OK, there were some “modest” ones at around £10,000 – that is deemed a modest expenditure on a wedding (not in MY eyes, I might add), but the one that topped it for me was a wedding being held for £23,000!! Let me say that again – TWENTY THREE THOUSAND POUNDS! OK, these days, it might not get you a good down payment on a mortgage, but I would still rather use it on that, than a bloody wedding. So, because so much outlay had been made on this wedding, the mother-of-the-bride was worried she wouldn’t “look” the part, that is, she’d look frumpy, under-dressed, insignificant and not stand out. Erm, excuse me for highlighting the point, but isn’t the wedding meant to be the BRIDES day?! Did I feel sorry for her? HELL NO!! I am still in shock that someone would spend 23 grand on a wedding day – emphasis on the word DAY! It’s ONE DAY!!! OK, it might be the most significant day of your life, so far…but it’s sure gonna make a mockery of that spend when you get divorced 5 years later. It’s disgusting. I could never, ever warrant spending that much money on a wedding. When me and Em got married, our total outlay (including honeymoon) – $A1500. That’s approx. (in today’s market) £600. I can’t imagine anyone in this country getting married for 600 quid. And we had everything we needed. I had a lovely dress, Em had a lovely suit, we exchanged rings, we married in a lovely setting, had a lovely marriage celebrant, hired a nice car for the day, and had a lovely 3 night honeymoon in Melbourne all for that money.
I would cringe at a full-blown wedding. Having family members and guests that I’ve only ever seen on any other occasion at a funeral, having lots of people gawp at me from all angles as I walk down the aisle…the whole cutting the cake, speeches, feast, dance, blah blah blah…it’s just not me, or Em. And as for wedding gifts. I just think it’s sad. I would have everyone pay money to charity as a wedding gift. Oxfam even do a “wedding list”. I mean, for £1600 you could give an African farmer a whole plantation of mangoes, or for £1300 you could have a village run it’s own market. £100 buys a village – A WHOLE VILLAGE – essential medicines for SIX MONTHS! I mean, it’s just obscene. £720 provides safe drinking water for 1000 people. £1700 creates a whole classroom for children to learn in and £15 buys a school desk and chair. 100 school dinners can be provided for £6!! SIX POUNDS! That’s how much a British child would spend on school lunch in one day! If there are people reading this that really want to help, visit:

Well, that’s my rant.

Why do they do this?

So, I’m at ASDA the other night & I fancy something sweet (as usual), so I see a chocolate mousse for sale on the shelf and think “Yes, that’s what I fancy!” I pick it up thinking that, from the label it looks really posh. It wasn’t until later when I was ready to eat it and took it out of the fridge that what I actually picked up was not a “posh” mousse at all but ASDA’s “extra special” brand, with a newly designed logo.


It’s gone from this (left image), to this (right image). If you can even see the images! Anyway, it got me thinking how much this must cost ASDA, wanting to change the design of their “extra special” logo? It can’t be cheap! And the other question begging to be asked is, why?  Why change a logo that you’ve only been using (from my knowledge) for perhaps 18 months? Maybe it just proves that supermarkets have far more money than sense.

By the way, in answer to the question I can hear you all asking…no, the mousse was not “extra special”.

This looks cool.

I haven’t really been sure about blogs. Well particularly not of Blogger anyway. I find the way it can look repulsive and I do find it a little infuriating to use, and the template choices (if choice is the correct word) are dire. Anyway I was looking for something nicer to use as I wanted to sign someone else up for a blog account and I was having no luck doing that with blogger. This looked so good, I wanted to use it myself. I’ve been using Yahoo 360 up til now, but it does seem a little “kiddie”, but this looks good. Anyway, this post is basically a test…so…