Monday, January 31, 2011

Ground Force - Resumed!

I have been meaning to update this recently, but decided to wait 'til after the end of last week when our internet was sorted.  We now have a working laptop (which knowing me will no longer be working by the time the month is out!) and a proper broadband connection.  It makes dealing with photos and blog updates so much easier!

So whats the story in Ballamory?  Well with temperatures being largely above 2 degrees Celsius, and even the sun shining on the odd occasion, I've ventured outside again.  By night I'm sorting the loft/storage area in the barn (which includes clearing our dead rats, most likely from 2008, nice!) and during the day I've managed to get cracking on the garden again.

The raised beds are now nearly completed up to the barn, although I'm still not 100% happy with it all, but it does mean everything is in its place and cut to size.  Visitors will be pleased to know that a new gate will be being installed shortly!

Anyway, last weeks progression went from this;

To this;
We got some fantastic new on Thursday when Alfie has hit latest check-up at Luton & Dunstable hospital and was discharged!  Tash had taken him on Tuesday to have his skin-prick test done which concluded he does have a reaction to egg, but should be fine with milk and wheat. We'll see, these tests are about as reliable as Michael Fish, but at least it is promising news - although we feel we have everything in hand anyway, and I was already under the impression that the quarterly check-ups were a waste of time.  I should be happy that Alfie has been discharged as it illustrates how much his skin/allergies have improved, but in truth all my joy is centred around the fact I will no longer have to waste hours of my life trying to fight for a boat sized car park space with which I can squeeze the Benz into!

Other than that, Alfie has been mostly stuffing his face.  Demolishing chinese at Aroma where he spent two hours stuffing sticky ribs into his face whilst flirting with the staff;
And sucking on smoothie whilst we were in Camden killing time as Tash had her tattoo finished;

Friday, January 21, 2011

Rocket Man!

Just a quick post, largely for an excuse to post this photo.  Alfie absolutely loves the pull-string rocket I got him for Christmas, and has progressed from being obsessed with me launching it and flying around the room to placing and removing the spaceman from his control station this photo shows perfectly!

On another note, we had collected a few apples from Abel & Cole over recent weeks and and as they were now a little past their eating-best I decided I would cook them up into something nice.  Tash grabbed me some puff pastry on her way home from work, and after dinnner I set about cooking up my first ever tarte tatin.  IT WAS TASTY!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bent signs for Villa - Alfie overjoyed!

After news emerged on Monday about Villa chasing Darren Bent, I kept a close eye on the Sky Sports transfer clockwatch to see if anything would appear.

Nothing happened on Monday, apart from numerous rumours and radio waves full of opinionated supporters (myself included).

Then yesterday lunch-time I catch word that a deal is nearly done.  Alfie and I sit down to a midday snack of beans on toast.  I finish substantially quicker than Alfie, him preferring to concentrate on guiding his little beany soldiers around their bready battleground.  And so I leave him to it, and take a peek at the web so see if there's any development.

It looks like a deal is done, Bent to be unveiled to the press that evening!  Result!  So I go to get Alfie's opinion on the transfer, and see if his excitement is as bubbling as mine is.  I think its fair to say I was happier about us signing a top quality striker than he was!  

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Radio Debut!

I started off this year wanting to achieve certain things.  Not pointless resolutions like most people - I want to be nicer to others, I want to lose 9 stone - get over yourselves!  No, I have a list of things like get the garden finished, sort the central heating out,  .... and get on the radio.

My urge came about towards the end of last year.  I found myself wanting to call 6-0-6 and voice my football opinions, and also Moyles was doing his Duck Register (where I would text in Alfie's name each morning trying to get it read out).

However, since I caught talkSPORT's commentary of the Chelse/Villa game I have found myself listening to them quite often.  I admit to liking the way they encourage listeners to call in, but then actually have a conversation with people as opposed to let you voice an opinion and cut you off, which is what oftens happens with 6-0-6 on 5Live.

And so yesterday afternoon the news breaks that Villa could be signing Darren Bent.  Now he's not my first choice, but he's just the sort of player we have been crying out for at Villa Park for years.  I listened as various presenters/callers had their opinions and decided to join in.  I was cut short however, as when I was queued up Alfie kicked off and I had to hang up.

I went out to the barn in the evening, and by now they had Collymore spouting on about how it was a desperately rash move, and a waste of cash - and lets be honest, he'd know all about Villa spending big money on strikers that fail to deliver the goods!  So i rang up, spoke to the same researcher from the afternoon, and was once more queued up.

Radio off, obviously, you can hear the chat in the studio down your phone (which is odd at first)- at which point Mark Saggers announces he wants to rush through 3 callers before the 8 o clock news.  Great, there was me with a list of points to make that was as long as Stan Collymores 'clubs played for' list and i'm now on a time restriction - and then they go straight to me!

I made a few points, told Stan why buying in January isn't necessarily a waste or a rash move (Ashley Young anyone?) ... and then got cut off as Saggers went to the next caller! lol

Don't worry, I've popped my radio cherry now, i'll be back!


There is nothing better than being out on the sea and catching dinner, and I cannot wait till we can take Alfie on the boat and he can have his first play with a rod and line.  But I am desperately worried that when the time comes he won't enjoy it.  Not because he doesn't have sea legs, or 'cos he doesn't like killing fish, but because there will be so few fish in the sea to catch that the whole experience will bore him senseless.

I hope you saw Hugh's Fish Fight on Channel 4 last week, which highlighted how overfished certain species are, and how we need to change what we eat!  There are so many tasty alternatives to cod, and it is massively important that we reduce our demand on these fish.  It also covered the aspect of bycatch - whereby ridiculous quotas mean that perfectly good fish are caught and then thrown back into the sea, DEAD!  This is a ridiculous waste, and it is hugely important that we do all we can to enforce a change.

There was a huge amount more covered in the programmes, including frighening facts regarding Tuna fishing.  I won't go on and on about this, but if you missed it please check out 4OD and see what you missed.

The please click this link and join the petition.  And finally check out channel 4 where you can find alternatives to tempt you, and much more information about how to help species like cod, and increase demand on other fish.  You can also find them on Twitter and Facebook @hughsfishfight.

So next time you go shopping get onto your fishmonger/supermarket and ask for some of these lesser known fish.  Give Whiting, Dab or Mackerel a go this Friday!  We often have Mackerel from Abel & Cole, and they already sell Whiting, but i'm penning a letter to them now to ask them so stock the likes of Dab.

Don't sit there expecting everyone else to sort this problem, get off your arse and make a difference!

Monday, January 10, 2011


We have had something of a technology meltdown recently, which is why i'm so late in updating this.  Hopefully a new laptop and internet connection will arrive within the month so a better than ever service will be in full force during Feb.

For New Year we went down to visit Bill and Linz, and then on New Years Day we made the trip up to Brightlingsea to spend some time fishing.  The omens weren't good for Bill and I, as everyone was saying there was no fish about and nothing was being caught.  Still, we thought we'd throw some lines in, cos its better than not trying at all.  Sadly the locals were bang on the money - it was cold, so cold we had problems getting the bait to defrost, and we didn't even have a knock!  When we caught wind of the fact Tash and Linz were sat in the curry house we raised anchor and headed for shore.  I did take some photos, but I can't get them off the camera due to aforementioned technological problems.

Being away for a few days did give Tash a chance to try Alfie with a new position in the sling.  Thankfully I took this photo with my phone, and so I can get it onto the blog so you can see just how much he enjoyed it!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Walking In A Winter Wonderland!

During the lead up to Christmas Tash was told of an event at Hyde Park called 'Winter Wonderland'.

With me in my usual overexcited and hyperactive pre-Christmas festive mood, I loved the idea of us all making the trip to London and making that festive feeling last a little longer.

We agreed to go on the 29th, and met my Mum and Ray down in London Town. After passing under the welcome arch we were greeted with a very German traditional market, which opened up into other food stalls, themed rides, and even an ice rink!

Thankfully the snow and ice had just about thawed, and with it being after Christmas day the crowd had died down a little.  It must have been crazy the week before, especially with the weather we were experiencing!

Best of all I got to take Alfie on a massive slide.  The ones where you sit on a mat, and fly over the bumps.  Before taking him on I asked the chap in the booth if they had any age or height restrictions ... to which I was pretty much told "no, you can do what you want!".  Gotta love the German attitude to health and safety!  Tash has taken a video of it, and I promise to download it, convert it, and rotate it [rolls eyes] and get it up here.  Mum had fits, and even I wondered if it might make his bottom lip wobble.  But he didn't even acknowledge the adrenaline rush we had just been on!  He also got to enjoy a slightly calmer ride, which he seemed to love too.  And then I went on a ride with my Mum, something I hadn't done for years and was absolutely hilarious!

Jamie Oliver's gang were in attendance, and we had some lovely food from their outlet - and then enjoyed a beer in the afternoon. 

And to round off Tash's day, she founds these funny Dutch apple donut things she had been hoping to find. MMMmmmmmm.