Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Welcome to the 21st Century!

It's fair to say Tash and I live a fairly basic life, and have very traditional values on what constitutes entertainment. In fact I'm more likely to consider (and prefer) a quality food item as a treat, rather than the latest i-toy or celebrity branded garment.

Yet there always comes a time when change is needed, and with the PS2 having giving up the ghost we were left without a DVD player. The Sony Bravia bought in the summer is HD ready, and so it made sense for us to embrace Blu-ray technology. And then Team Tourismo 5 was released in November, having been delayed so many times. Now I've managed fine without a games console, I generally do more with my free time than bash buttons like some crazed 12 month old with their 'my first toolbox' .... but GT is my weakness.

Having researched everything a PS3 can offer us, Tash eventually agreed that it could be a purchase we could justify. And so, after Father Christmas failed me, we paid a visit to Comet (to make use of Tashas discount) and came home with a 320g PS3, Move starter pack, GT5, and a couple of Blu-rays.

We then had the most magical afternoon (once my excitement had calmed) with all three of us curled up on the sofa watching Toy Story 3 in all its Hi Def glory. Just what the Christmas break should be about!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

Sunday, December 26, 2010


This year Tashas Dad played Santa, and surprised us all by dropping in on an early Christmas Day morn. Stories about the gas failing in their UK property led to him embarking on a last ditch Christmas Eve flight from Gib, which obviously left him unexpectedly in England for Christmas Day. It was great to have him join us, which meant we totalled 6 with Ammie and my Dad also joining us. Alfie had too much fun to sleep, and we had too much goose to move! And I'm pleased to say that my home made Christmas pudding was one of the stars of the show!

Merry Christmas to all our friends and family from Tash, Alfie and I! We hope you had a ball!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

Monday, December 20, 2010


Front Page on todays Gibraltar Chronicle - Auntie Elsie! (she third one in on the front row)

I guess that really is proof that nothing eventful ever happens in Gib!

Only kidding, we're all dead proud of our Superstar relly! WELL DONE AUNTIE!

Just Five Days To Go!

Five days till Christmas. Cannot wait!

And just to be properly festive, on the weekend the snow started. And England stopped.

It fell fast and thick. Tash was out, but thankfully got back OK. Probably just in time because as the day went on it was clear the roads were a mess.

Each weekend I visit Ladbrokes and do their Goal Rush coupon. Basically you bet on games where you think both teams will score. I usually do one with 5 games, and one with 10. I had my bet all planned, and was waiting for Tash to get back to I could go to the bookies. Yet as time passed Radio5 were telling me of more and more games that were postponed! When you can't find 5 football games to bet on you know the weather's gotta be pretty bad!!

But Christmas is getting nearer and nearer and I'm getting ever more excited. Alfie discovered the Christmas tree the other day ... I cannot wait till Christmas Day when its surrounded with presents for him to climb over!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Well they say things come in 3's don't they!

Bugs (1)
Tash brought home some festive lurgy recently, and very kindly spread it through the household. I think even Colin the chincilla has caught it, cos he's just sleeping all day! I just hope we are all back to full health for Christmas - which I am hugely excited about! It's run us all down though and we've not really managed to do a lot, apart from some Christmas shopping when Tash's Mum visited and insisted on taking us all out!

Some of you may need to sit down before reading this, and yes I do have photographic proof. On Tuesday I collected my bug from the bodyshop! I'm looking forward to starting putting it all back together next year now.

Bugs (3)
And finally, when all cuddled up on the sofa and feeling sorry for ourselves something caught Alfie's eye on TV. Yep, The Love Bug was being shown and Alfie wanted to watch! Not happy to be on the sofa anymore, he wanted to sit in his own wheels to watch!

Friday, December 03, 2010

FIFA, What a joke!

I remember that night in Turin so clearly, when England were so strong against Germany and my Dad let me stay up late so I could watch extra time and penalties. It was the Semi-Finals of Italia '90, and the magic of the World Cup had hit me like a sledgehammer.

There simply isn't any bigger or better sporting occasion.

And so even with the English media doing its best to derail our bid to host the 2018 World Cup (congratulations Sunday Times & BBC/Panorama!) it was clear we had the strongest bid. My 10 hour journey on Tuesday night had allowed me to listen to lots of build-up and I was hopeful the schmoozing of Prince William, David Cameron and David Beckham might have secured us enough votes.

Alfie will be 8 in 2018, and it will most likely be the first World Cup that he remembers. What Italia '90 was for me, 2018 could be for him ... how wonderful it would be if that was to be in England!

From 1pm yesterday I had radio5Live on, listening to all the build-up and waiting for an announcement to be made at 3pm. I was full of excitement and optimism. But as Sepp Blatter takes the stage to make his announcement it is clear from other rumours and reports that England hasn't been successful, and that Russia has most likely won the race to host 2018.

FIFA - what a farce! Clearly this decision was made many months ago, and what Blatter wants his monkeys usually provide. The voting process is done behind closed doors, and with rumours about the legitimacy of certain FIFA members in question its no wonder we didn't win. Whats even more of a scandalous decision was that 2022 was given to Qatar. A country who has never played in a World Cup. What a co-incidence that Russia and Qatar had the largest suitcases to offer FIFA!

I'm absolutely gutted that, not only for 2018 but also for 2022, Alfie won't get to see World Cup football being played. There was much talk that the Spain/Portugal bid was up there for 2018, and Australia was among the favourites for 2022. Either of those would have seen me take him abroad with huge excitement - watching the World Cup at the Nou Camp would be amazing! But Russia has so many problems (not least regarding fan safety), and I refuse to believe that a World Cup in Qatar - where all games are played in air-conditioned indoor venues - will capture the magic of the World Cup.

Now I can only hope that investigations are made into FIFA and the way they operate. England can't bid again until 2030, I'm just hoping Sepp Blatter has been pushed aside from his position of power by then!

Here's The Sun's comments;

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (and Ferrys, but actually no Planes)

So Tash and I were sat in the lounge and I received my regular email from moneysavingexpert telling me about a bargain day trip to France for £19 (incl 6 bottles of wine!) and Travelodge offering rooms for £19 a night. Bargain we thought, a day trip to France and we can spend the night before close to the port so remove any early morning shenanigans. "When's your next compressed day Tash?" Wednesday 1st December came the reply, "and I'm in London the day before so I can get the train straight down to the hotel in Margate."

This plan seemed too perfect to be true. And of course it was. Because it was the end of October when we booked this, the leaves had barely fallen from the trees and I hadn't even thought about things such as hot water bottles, thermals, or .... SNOW!

In truth I was really excited about the day. A nice family trip away and a chance to do some early Christmas shopping. Sure, it may have snowed for a few days before but roads seemed to be holding up well. This should all be OK.

So Tuesday November 30th rolls around. First things first, I have to run to see DaveRapid to sort out a MoT on Tasha's Fabia. No problem there, but it scuppered my chance of having a day in Margate with Alfie cos we didn't get home till nearly 1pm. "Thats OK" I thought, as long as we get on the road by 3pm we should be on the A2/M2 by 4pm and miss rush hour M25.

Back home, I throw everything together in double quick time and we're on the road by 2:30pm. A quick stop at Sainsburys sees us loaded with Euros and on our way. All is going well, and then I see signs saying progress is slow from J28 on the M25. I totally expected this, and when the overhead sign said 40 minute delay I was actually quite happy ... and so I joined the back of the queue shortly after 3:30pm.

At first all was good, it was very slow but we were moving. And then we stopped moving. And then the snow started. We sat through the remainder of Huw Stephens Radio1 show, and then Greg James' too. I even had to stop playing Angry Birds on my phone, figuring I might need to save the battery! Tash texts me to say she has been to Frankie & Benny's and I have Spaghetti Meatballs waiting for me ... I reply saying "I hope it makes for a good breakfast", only half in jest.

By now any hope of making good time to the hotel was well and truly out of the window, but I wasn't too despondent cos if I could get through the tunnel, I could listen to the footy for the remainder of the journey. The footy kicked off. West Ham had a goal disallowed. It didn't matter, they slammed home another four goals that were allowed and knocked Man Utd out of the Carling Cup! The footy finished. And I had barely moved! Then did traffic start moving, very stop start of course, and I realised that I was actually on the QE2 bridge! As soon as I got through the tolls it was complete standstill yet again.

Its now something like 9:30pm, I've been on the road for 7 hours already (so much for the 40 minute delay the information board had 'warned' me of!), and I'm just wanting to arrive at our hotel in Margate and see Tash so we can enjoy our day away. I felt like I'd mistakenly got caught up in some Christmas film, deperately trying to get to see family while the nations transport system fell to pieces around me.

By now its dark, temperatures are well below zero and because traffic isn't moving snow is settling on cars and the road. And I know that further afield ice will be developing. Alfie had been an angel through this, and I was grateful I had taken supplies for him ... and that Tash had left a large chocolate roll in the car!

Tony Livesey starts his Radio5Live show at 10pm, announcing "it's night like these this show was made for!". I've never really liked his show, I think it's because I love football so much I always want the football banter to continue ... but this time his show is very topical for me, so I figure I won't touch that dial, not just yet anyway. There are stories coming in about people being stuck for 2 or 3 hours, and I can't help but chuckle ... "if only you knew mate!".

Listening to weather and road reports every 15/20 minutes on his show I have a fair idea of whats going on, but I just want to get to the A2. But by now I am well aware that the M25 isn't too bad, largely due to the volume of traffic on it - its just not moving. The A2 won't have as much traffic, especially at this time of hour, and so who knows what that's going to be like!

I get a message from Tash every hour or so, she is trying to save her battery, and she doesn't want me to spend a night on the road with Aflie. There was nothing I could do though, Operation Stack was in progress so the hard shoulder was full of lorries and there was no way anyone could get to me.

We reach 10:30pm, now its been 8 hours. There are stories of people having trouble all over the UK, so I decide to turn on my phone and send a message to Tony Livesey's show.

"Left letchworth at 2:30, heading to Margate to meet my wife
at a hotel before a day trip to France tomo. Only just past
QE2 bridge! My poor 1 year old boy is with me too :(.
Thankfully he's asleep at the moment. Keefy on M25.

Knowing J2 would eventually appear, I managed to get across to the inside lane. I find myself presented with the local Dartford exit. I look on Google Maps which shows it runs down to Bluewater, and past it onto the A2.

Then the phone rings, its an unknown number. Turns out its one of the lasses on Tony Livesey's show! She kindly asks if everythings OK, and if they can speak to me on the show. I'm happy to do so, but Alfie is awake by now and I can't guarantee sound quality! He was angry, but it was really nice to speak to her, and it lifted my spirits somewhat.

Whatever it is in my mind that makes me stubborn must have snapped at that point - Alfie sounded proper p!ssed with life, and I happened to be sat next to this M25 exit. I decide enough is enough, we'll take the exit and find a hotel. Sadly it means if Radio5Live call back I won't be able to be on the Radio (my bluetooth was in the Benz), but I'm sure the show will be OK. Stopping will make Alfie happy (good), but means our day trip to France will never happen (bad). So I exit.

The local roads are bad, but not undriveable. There must be a hotel near Bluewater, right? Wrong! I tiptoe over roundabouts and past abandoned cars until I eventually find myself with the A2 in front of me! RESULT! Thoughts of stopping early go out the window ... after all what would Steve Martin have done if he was in position on that Thanksgiving eve?

Wondering what carnage I will find on the A2 I join to see a nearly empty road! Alfie has dropped off again, and I'm now on my desired road with no tailbacks. The weather is horrid, huge flurries keep coming and going, but there is just enough traffic for us all to keep moving fine. I was happy! Its madness the other way, lorries can't get up the hill and the police are about, but the sight of a gritter passing me gives me confidence I'll get to the hotel. I'm guessing road conditions will be better once the A2 becomes the M2, and the closer I get to the coast the snow must ease off.

Thankfully I was right, and after my GPS making hard work of directing me to the hotel I eventually arrived at just gone 12:30am. 120 Miles in 10 hours - an average of 12 miles an hour.
There was little opportunity to relax and prepare for the day away though, because Alfie was so happy to be out of the car, and I suspect his body was so messed up by the odd eating/sleeping experience, that he just wanted to be awake and jump around. At 4:30am Tash and I gave in, and left the hotel by 6am, just in case the local roads were bad.

The roads were good, and even with so little rest I felt pretty good. I was worried about our journey home, but for the time being we could enjoy our day away.

Or so I thought. We had a bad crossing, and lets just say Tasha's sea legs only just held out. As we passed the sea wall in Calais I really wasn't sure if she was going to make it! And she looked so chirpy as she gave Alfie his porridge!

Our time in the Cite Europe was brilliant when Alfie slept, which was for about 23 minutes - the rest of the time he cried. Wailed. Howled. He really wasn't happy. I think the journey down had taken its toll. And we still had to go back!

We left earlier than planned, and managed to board an earlier boat at around 5/6pm. Tash was happy that the return crossing was better, and even Alfie managed to cheer up a little when we found a small play area for him.

I was preying for some good roads, but once again was aware that if the worst came to the worst the Villa game would be on Radio5Live ... and we had supplies if the roads were horrendous!

After texts from Dad and Hen telling various stories about road conditions the A2/M2/A2, M25, A1 run home was pretty fine - and Alfie was out for the count! Roads were OK, and we didn't hit a single tailback - traffic volume was hugely down on the night before. Thats seems to be the transport authorities approach to winter motoring - don't expect us to keep traffic moving, instead sort it yourselves by not using your cars!

We were home by 8:30pm, Tash got Alfie down in his cot OK, and then Birmingham City rounded off my nightmare 36 hours by knocking us out of the Carling Cup.

Today I am doing nothing, just crossing my fingers England win the race to be host for the 2018 World Cup!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Tash woke up in the night. Or it might have been the early morning. I wasn't really awake. But I remember her saying two words "It's snowed!".

So a few hours later we woke to a generous covering of the white stuff, and a forecast of cold weather for the next fortnight. It made my morning walk with the dogs fun, as Harry especially loves the snow, and with a nice still morning it was all quite pleasant.

Once home I attacked the paths with the broom, and cleared the garden. It's not that I don't like snow, just that I wish it would stay to the mountains for when I go boarding! And I don't need icy paths, thank you very much. Icy paths apart though, I have been feeling immensely festive recently and this did kinda add to my Christmas excitement.

All done before 10am too, which is when Dad arrived for us to head off to footy.

Which reminds me - I do the Goal Rush coupon with Ladbrokes each week. I usually stick a couple of quid on two lines, one of 5 games, one of 10. Basically both teams need to score in each game for me to win. Last week my 5 game line came good, and I netted £37. Result. Now hoping the 10 game line comes in, that would be £800!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The One That Got Away!

For a number of weeks Bill and I have been discussing our next fishing trip. With news that the Cod were arriving, we were super keen to get into the action! Bill had already been out recently, and with some success, so we knew there was some action to be had! Saturday was the date, and not even a dubious visibility forecast was going to put us off!

Bill was in Brightlingsea on Friday, but sadly couldn't get out on the boat as the fog set in for the day. Not a great start. I decided to head up Friday evening, and left home at 10pm. For anyone who's watched Ice Road Truckers, I know knows what it feels like to be in a 'white out'! I tried to stick to the main roads, but as I got close to Brighlingsea and was forced to use smaller B roads and there were many times I was forced to use the sat-nav on my phone to know which direction the road went! The fog was heavy!

Thankfully I arrived OK, and we managed to get our heads down about 1:30am. A few hours later we were up again, and the days adventure could begin! It was about 5 degrees, so all layered up and feeling like the Michelin man we ventured out in the tender towards 'Reel Grumpy' in the murky early morning.

And after a few pre-flight checks we were on our way, heading out towards a wind farm where Bill was hopeful our whole squid baits would tempt the Cod.

Initial signs were that we had made a good decision, as within minutes of casting out Bill was into the first fish of the day. A good sized Whiting, perfect for the dinner table!

Then came my tale of 'the one that got away'. If anyone saw Extreme Fishing with Robson Green last week, and his reaction to missing 13 runs on the bounce, that was something like what I felt like! In reality, it was much less frenetic, but the runs I missed/lost were far more dramatic! The fishing was actually quite slow, and we were losing confidence, but every once in a while I seemed to have a bite .... which made us doubt whether we should move spot or not. One take bent the rod tip right over, but when I struck there was nothing! When I did finally get into a fish, it decided to come as far as the side of the boat before casually dropping the hook! Bill made a valiant swipe with the net to try and get it, but it was just out of reach and she casually swum back to the deeps. And the real icing on the cake for me was a massive take, so violent it pulled the rod up and out of the boat! I lunged forward, grabbing it just before it disappeared off the edge of the boat and into the drink! Confident there would be something massive on the end of my line, I struck the rod and ... nothing. I still cannot believe the hook didn't set, its without doubt the most violent take I've had when sea fishing.

After these demoralising events, and with it now about 3pm, we decided to start heading towards land, but with the aim of finding an alternative spot to fish en route. We came across a little area that the fish finder was showing as holes of deeper and shallower water. So we decided to drop anchor and give it a go! This proved a very wise decision, and we had a really enjoyable few hours which saw a good number of Whiting make it into the boat, and Bill also bagged his first Pouting. This went back in as bait, but sadly we just weren't able to get into the Cod.

As darkness set in we made are way back to shore. This proved to be an adventure in itself, as the tide was at it lowest, and the channel amongst the other boats back to the mooring was very tight ... and of course by now darkness had descended.

But we got back fine, and were greeted back at Bill's parents' with a bowl of chicken stew. Just what was needed!!

With our bellies full we cleaned up the fish. Not bad for a days fun!

And with the time now approaching 8pm I hit the road and got home just before 10pm. A most enjoyable 24 hours. Next time, there's a Cod with my name on it!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Memories From Classic Le Mans

Just got sent this pic from our holiday in France. I forgot all about this, so thanks for sending it over Michi! It's no surprise Alfie loves trips to the supermarket! I think he slipped off the seat a few times, but he loved tearing up the isles!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.4

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The secret diary of Alfie Batsford - AGED ONE!

Tonights going to be a funny one. On the downside, I am sat here anticipating that Alfie will start to scream at any minute. A combination of teething and a cold has made my son a coughing, sneezing, drooling mess... and this continues during his sleep too! On the plus side, Tash is at Ammie's tonight and so I have free reign of the TV remote and am able to sit here and watch Top Gear (the Bugatti/Place race as luck would have it!) without being moaned at for 'always watching Top Gear'.

So with a backdrop of a roaring W16 engine and an (occasionally) roaring child it seems like a good time to update the blog.

Following my last blog update, i'm pleased to say the chicken run is now properly finished, and it works an absolute treat!

[momentary interuption] its now 7pm, and i've just spent the past half hour with Alfie. He is still awake. This does not bode well for tonight.[/momentary interuption]

Now with fully fitted roof, operating door, and luxury bark flooring, its the place to be seen for the chook about town!

To remind you, this is the before ...

And this is the after! ...
Tash had last Friday off work to celebrate Alfie's birthday. We took a short trip down to St Albans, enjoyed a Wagamama's, ... and then broke the bank and bought him ....... a bouncy ball. Seriously, just a bouncy ball. But there IS a dinosaur in it. And its the toy he wanted most from the toy store. Once we arrived home, and Alfie was put to bed .... Tash and I cooked. By that I mean that I made jelly, and Tash cooked. She did brilliantly, and cooked up a fantastic feast including chickpeas and spinach, sauce for the meatballs, and 'Alfie friendly' cupcakes.

On Saturday we celebrated Alfie's birthday, and had an amazing day down at Fred & Lyd's ... now known as The Holmer Green Toddlers Leisure Centre. Lyd and Ammie has also cooked their hearts out, and we had a spread of food fit for Christmas day as much as a kiddies first birthday. All our friends and their little ones arrived, and we had a lovely time watching them have a lovely time. I'm really disappointed with my photos, but here's a shot which perfectly captures what the day was about ... mayhem around the dinner table! Massive thanks to everyone who made Alfie's day so special!

This week has seen us make a trip to London, to visit Jeff Ortega at Evil From The Needle in Camden. I got 30 minutes with Jeff to finish my pin-up girl (the startline lights needed colour), and then Tash sat under the needle for a few hours.

Whilst she was being inked, Alfie and I met up with Sal for lunch (another Wagamama's trip!) and then Alfie and I explored the canals a little. You can see how excited he was, and we found some really cool stuff.
The only other thing to note recently was that I did some welding on Hens car yesterday. With light disappearing quickly I took to welding most of it without a mask and simply closing my eyes. Today my eyelids feel like they were attacked by blowtorch wielding harvest mice during the night! I admit it, I even moisturised my eyelids this morning!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The First 11 Days of November ...

I haven't managed to update this for a few weeks, largely because I feel like I simply haven't stopped.

But before I get into my catchup I must say one thing...


Which of course means its Alfie's first birthday tomorrow! It should be fun, and I can't wait to tell the stories ....

However that's still to come, and I need to update with whats gone. I've spent loads of time outside, and the land at the top of the garden has been levelled, with all the surplus soil coming down into the raised beds. I even cleared out the compost heap - this is what I had to move!!

Thanks to Dad, who then spent a day with me and most importantly helped me move the bricks to where the compost bin was. We collected all the bricks together on the pallet, including the ones that were previously in front of the bus. Over 350 complete bricks! Makes me think it's close to time to start on the wall!! With the bricks now out of the way, it means work can continue clearing the shrubbery at the top end.

We paid a visit to Bill recently too, and whilst Bill and I fettled with his Midget and rearranged his workshop Alfie got familiar with his 13mm spanners and Phillips screwdrivers!

Last Tuesday Tash had a day off work, and we had scheduled in visit to my friend Bryn. He shoots and writes for the likes of Retro Cars and VolksWorld magazine, so it pretty handy with a camera. He took something like 500 photos, and we had a lovely day catching up and messing about on the land where he lives. We are so pleased we did a 'photoshoot' with Alfie at this age, and everything about the day was so natural and 'us'. Cheers Bryn, you're a legend!

Work at the top end has since halted, and my focus has been drawn to sorting out the shelter for the chicken run. Forecasts weren't great, and the 2 boards I had thrown over the run as temporary cover were coming to the end of their life. So the past 2 days has seen a new shelter be built.

All through this Aflie has been a dream ... so while Alfie did this ....

I got started. This is the 'before' shot.

Which soon got taken down, and the chicken were released into the garden!

First post notched and concreted in.

Alfie slept for about 2 hours, and in that time I got the barn tidied, the old chicken run taken down, all posts notched, and 3 posts concreted in. And then I ran out of postcrete. With the garden looking like this Alfie and I hurriedly ran out to grab more postcrete, and some sand and bark to go down in the run.

After lunch I eeked out every minute possible from my tolerant son and managed to get the last post in.

He then started to get restless. I managed to get the roof frame built, and the roof panel in place. It may only have 6 screws in it, but it withstood the gales and downpour that came last night! Today I managed to get the scaffold plank back in place, the new 'handrail' and chicken wire in place, and then get the sand and bark down in the run. It looks fairly finished, but there's a few jobs I still want to do. I must get a photo next time the sun shines, I really am very pleased with it .... and I think the chooks are too!

In other news ... some evenings in the barn, a few phone calls, and some research on the internet has seen me with a working welder ... and at a cost of just £10 to fix. I'm very happy .... just preying for some sunshine to get cracking on the bus now!

With Winter coming, i've already started to cast one eye towards next year .... and begin planning a trip to Misano in September. There's a chap names Rossi (who's a bit quick) who'll race an Italian machine (Ducati) in MotoGP next year. Italy will go wild. Traffic will stop. Not a single cappucino will be sold. One of those stories you can't speak about, cos you have to be there to understand. Its 1000 miles each way. We're going. And we're driving. And I can't wait!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Groundworks Continue at FTC

I really love this time of year. The last few days of sunshine before the clocks move and winter hits, coupled with cool mornings that are often 'need a jumper, but no way a coat'. It gives a perfect environment to do work outside!

And its also given me the perfect time to continue working at the garden! I need to clear all the land at the top, thereby producing sufficient space to have the bus next to the fence without being ambushed by ivy, elderflower, thorns and all manner of other bushy items. I decided to start with the area where I park the Mighty Benz, and work my way back towards the barn. There were a number of rooty/bushy looking things creeping through the soil, and I often feared suffering a puncture as a result, so it seemed as good a place as any to begin.

So between Friday and Sunday (about 3 hours in total) I set about digging holes and removing the offending items. I am immensely pleased with the area now, and I know it'll be so much easier the next time when I prepare for concrete to be laid! ;o)

My next task is to move the pallet of bricks which is right in my way (you can just see it on the left in that pic). These need to move next to our neighbours carport, but before they move I need to move all that soil down to the raised beds.

So, yesterday I decided to finish off raising the bed (next to the wall by the social) so I can dump a load more soil in it without it threatening to spill all over the patio!

Alfie fell asleep and it looked like this. Some drilling, some screwing, some sawing, some more drilling and some more screwing had it looking like this.

I then decided to move all the soil to one end and place the squash (?) plant atop - therefore giving it max sunlight, and maybe increasing the tiny chance that it might produce something before winter gets it.

It also means I have the rest of the bed pretty much empty for when I begin moving soil down from the top.

You can guess what I'm doing next!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sal's Birthday Trip To Hollywood (Bowl)

On Saturday we needed to make a trip west, and venture along the dreaded restricted speed limits of the A1 and M25. Tash had a home birthing discussion group type thing she wanted to attend, and then we had to head over to sunny (?) Bracknell for Sal's birthday. We left late, but arrived in Watford for Tash to have half an hour with her home birthing people. I'm sure she'll write about it on http://maybe-diaries.blogspot.com . Anyway, whilst she was in some strangers house, drinking their tea and eating their biscuits, Alfie and I went walking around the local area. Really, just looking out for any cool cars or bikes (ideally for sale) , but we happened to stumble upon this - an awesome adventure playground!!

Sadly it was closed, but Alfie LOVED the look of it!!

We then headed to Bracknell and arrived to meet Sal, Dave (and Dan and Joe), and Beth & Jeremy at Pizza Hut. We had an awesome time, and the kids successfully decorated the floor with all manner of colourful food items. Actually, it was mostly drink. And that was mostly cos Alfie throw a glass of coke (?) everywhere. Still, he got a balloon so he was happy.

And then came the escapade of bowling. Yes, you did read that right. Sal was clearly trying to feel less than her ample 33 years ;o). It was absolute madness, and of course with half term and Halloween coming up the whole place had a spooky theme.

Here's the chaos that was 'Bowling with Team Ferg'.

Alfie wanted to play, and was desperate to use a big persons ball. He was convinced he was 'The Dude' (ref The Big Lebowski).

But most of the time I have to say he was an absolute angel, who was happy to watch the events unfold around him. Most of all he liked cheering on Joe, who was determined to make a dash down the lane towards the pins!

I should have won both games, but Dave beat me. In truth, he's pretty rubbish at bowling, and has to resort to using a kids assistant contraption thing to help him get a ball on target.

I forgave him though because he did "Bowl With The Scull", got a strike, and in turn won himself a penny chew! As Beth said, only in Bracknell could they rhyme 'bowl' with 'skull'! lol.

Afterwards, we headed back to Sal and Dave's to feed the little people. In the time we had been at the bowling alley I thing the moon had come and gone at least 3 times, and so now they were getting a little restless. And hungry. Back at Sal and Dave's I took over from the kids as the one who throws food everywhere. I somehow managed to exploded Alfie's bowl into two, and deposited the contents over Sal's (freshly dettoled!) floor! Without a dog insight to help me out I was forced to get the dustpan and brush out and make amends for my epic fail!

Once fed, Alfie and Joe continued to play ... until ambushed by the superhero BATDAN!


Today is Sal's actual proper birthday day, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAL!, and thank you for a lovely day on Saturday.