Torremolinos pics

March 12, 2008

We got back from Torremolinos on Monday, the weather was fantastic and we all had a great time. Here’s a couple of pics to enjoy.

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These 2 ladies may have also had a great time but they will be regretting being around me and my shameful lack of camera restraint.

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Watch out if you see me poking my camera in your direction!!


(more) News from my hometown.

March 4, 2008

You might remember previous news from my hometown, in which the shameful residents urged a fellow to jump from a tall building.

I was surprised to hear Mexborough mentioned on BBC breakfast this morning and to hear that they had closed the railway station.

It seems that a “Trail of blood found near railway” brought the place to a stand-still.

No further details are forthcoming at this time.

I do know that the station is open again now, my brother caught the train this afternoon to get to our house.

In the morning we are all going to Spain for a few days, so I’ll catch up when I get back.

See you all soon 🙂


Christmas Meme

December 16, 2007

A seasonal meme nicked from Ms.Mac who also nicked it from Tinakala in Estonia.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?

First of all I have to say that Paul does most of wrapping. We’re using a combination of the 2, depends how special you are and how many pressies we’re sending you.

2. Real tree or artificial?

Artificial every time, less hoovering involved.

3. When do you put up the tree?

This year we put it up early, a couple of weeks ago, it was OK though, a neighbour had theirs up 4 days before us!  

4. When do you take tree down?

Normally, its a 12 days after Christmas thing, this year its coming down on the day before we fly to India on New Years Eve.

5. Do you like eggnog?

I don’t remember trying it, does it have Advocat in it?

6. Favorite gift received as a child?

The gift of life. No seriously, I really loved my (boy doll) Maskatron from the Bionic Man.

7. Do you have a nativity scene?

No.

8. Hardest person to buy for?

Steven Seagal.

9. Easiest person to buy for?

The boy from Mask (a mask)

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?

A remote controlled Crane (sorry Dad……….Oh, you died, I left this apology a bit late……)

11. Mail or email Christmas cards?

Neither, I give Christmas cards to close family but that’s about all.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?

Gremlins 2 ?

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?

Never earlier than my birthday, November 26th. 

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?

Yes, I also have a few under the bed in reserve, if anyone drops in unexpected like, I’ll be running upstairs to wrap!

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

Turkey? Goose? Anything but Christmas cake. 

16. Clear lights or coloured on the tree?

Clear.

17. Favorite Christmas song?

How can yow choose? That Slade song or Elton’s Step into Christmas, oh! what about that Pogues song?

 18. Travel for Christmas or stay at home?

Stay home. 

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

Rudolph, Cupid, Comet, Donner, Blitzen, Dancer, Prancer, how many did he have? I’m probably missing a couple.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?

Both, Angel on main tree and a Star on the conservatory tree.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?

Christmas evening, after visiting everyone else. 

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?

Shopping Madness (or maybe Christmas Memes 🙂

23. What I love most about Christmas?

Beautiful gifts 🙂 and family wonderfull-ness of course.


Birthday stuff.

December 5, 2007

Dear Valerie,

With my Birthday money I bought a new Webcam, Gamepad and some blank DVD’s.

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Thank you very much, I’m very happy 🙂

Love

Andy


Come on, Lets Fly!

September 19, 2007

I’m back, tanned, gorgeous and rested, well as rested as I ever am. I swear that sometimes I need a holiday to recover from a holiday!

The trip got off to an interesting start when, 15 minutes into the flight, the Captain made an announcement.

“I’m very sorry to announce” He said, “that we will be returning to Manchester.”

My brother, a nervous flier at the best of times, added a whimper to his usual repertoire.

“There’s nothing to worry about”, the Pilot continued, “the aircraft just isnt performing as I would like.”

A few people around us managed a half-hearted attempt at humour, mostly by reminding everyone that it was the 11th of September. Yeah, we laughed too, NOT!

We circled around for a while, I’m told we were dumping fuel, and then made our approached back into Manchester. Paul cant understand how I managed to sleep for about 10 minutes here, obviously I was thinking I might need to be fresh and alert for my ride on the emergency slide and the dash across the runway!

You know that moment of anticipation as you feel the wheels are just about to touch the ground? I’m sure I heard the sound of a communal intake of breath spreading up the airplane, Mexican wave style, as everyone held their breath.

I thought that pointing out the fire engines at the side of the runway, would offer my Brother some comfort and maybe some distraction. He didnt take it so well saying only, “I’m going home, I’m not getting back on!”

He did get back on, though one couple didnt, and we were back underway within 2 hours.

The holiday itself was great, Palmanova was nice, we were very close to the beach and our hotel was clean and spacious. I have some nice photos, I’ll post some soon.

Just to rub it in, I’ll start the countdown here, its only 25 days to our next one!


Buyer’s remorse.

August 30, 2007

Buying the laptop the other day got me thinking about something that happened years ago and which I hadn’t thought about for years.

These days I guess I take it for granted that I can pretty much have anything (within reason of course) I want. When I was younger things weren’t so easy, I mean to say that we weren’t totally poor but neither were we affluent.

I’d been given a Commodore VIC-20 for Christmas of 1982 by my Mum and step-Dad and I loved it. You could “make” your own games by typing in code published in magazines. You could borrow games from friends and even Video Libraries and copy them using 2 cassette recorders connected together. The possibilities seemed endless and from then until now, I’ve been hooked on computers.

A year or 2 later I was hoping for something new and had decided I wanted a Spectrum Plus, this was basically just a Spectrum with a new case including a “proper” keyboard.

My Dad took me to the Woolworths store in Rotherham, where they had some good deals on offer, to get my Christmas Gift.

So far so good, I’m a very happy boy and in great spirits, looking forward to having my new computer for Christmas. However, it wasn’t to stay that way, in fact this day was to change me forever ( please excuse the drama.)

We spent some time in the store looking at the deals and I chose the one I wanted, then had a couple of rounds of Dad confirming if I was sure, it would have to last me, I wouldn’t get any other gifts etc etc.

So Dad found an available salesman and to my surprise we were led to an office at the back of the store. this felt a bit odd, a bit like something I’d seen on TV about a shoplifter taken to the Managers office! Of course it wasn’t that at all, it was because there was paperwork to be done. The paperwork
was for a credit agreement or maybe it was called a hire purchase agreement back then.

Whatever you want to call it, I didn’t like it. Back then, credit wasn’t as free and easily available as it is now, only the rich had credit cards and most ordinary people could only access credit at expensive rates or even worse through some other dodgy means. At my Mums house I was trained in the
“save up for it, if you want it” school of thought. At Dads house it was more common to order things from the catalogue and pay it off at 32p a week for 48 weeks. I think that because I spent most time living with Mum, that’s the side that had most dominance for me.

So back to the store. The man is going through the paperwork, speaking to Dad about Interest rates and repayments and I realised that this was not a good thing. This was the time of the Miners strike (Dad was a coal miner) and things were hard money-wise.

The thing that changed in me was that I realised two things, on a concious level, for the first time.

Sometimes the things we are given come at an unseen price.

People will make sacrifices for those they love.

The trouble was that as soon as I realised this, I also realised that I didn’t want him to make this sacrifice. The hard part is how does a 14 year old boy tell his proud working-class Dad that he doesn’t want him to get in debt for the sake of a Christmas present that he cant afford.

I couldn’t think of a way to do it like that without wounding Dads pride. The only thing I could come up with was, to say that I wasn’t sure it was what I really wanted after all, maybe there was something better. It came across as petulant and spoiled, in short I was an ungrateful boy.

It is only now, looking back, that I realise that I made a sacrifice of my own on that day, I remained an ungrateful boy because I never told my Dad why I’d rejected the gift. I thought I’d tell him later but it never came up again. Its too late now of course.

I still think I did the right thing.


Weight and see

August 6, 2007

Over the last couple of months I been trying to lose some weight. After my last holiday, I had reached an all time high of 12st 6lb (80kg) and was starting to get a bit down about it. I think I’m doing doing pretty well, and am currently about 11st 12lb (76kg)

You might think that 8lbs over 4 months isnt a lot, but I have to do this slowly, without resorting to any drastic measures.

You see, I’ve been here before and it wasnt that pretty.

Around 1995 I was back living in my hometown, totally closetted both at work and in my social circle. I was also desperately unhappy and so for 2 years I just existed. That is to say I got up in the morning, went to work, came home, ate a meal, went to the Pub with friends, came home, went to bed and repeat. I started putting on weight, not surprising really, I was an unhappy lazy slob.

This is when it started. I used to tell myself it began with an unkind word, that seemed to justify things better. In fact, I realise now that it actually began with a kind word. I’d had a few days off the beer for some reason and at work I was complimented. “Oh, you look well, have you lost some weight?” The sort of throw-away compliment that we’ve all made at some time or other. This cheered me up a little, after all, who doesnt like to receive a compliment?

So the wiring in the brain starts to take shape, like an equation.

Lose weight + Compliment = Feel a bit less miserable inside

I began cutting down on my food intake and more weight came off. More compliments followed and the message, “thin is good”, was reinforced further. I reached a point where my lunch at work was a sandwich of cottage cheese on 1 slice of Hovis Wholemeal. My Evening meal a microwave baked potato, eaten dry usually but sometimes with a little chopped tomato to moisten it. I was still going the Pub almost every evening and having a couple of pints of beer, that didnt count though 😉

I think I hit a plateau around 9st 7lbs (60kg) and stayed at that weight for a few months. I thought I looked great at the time, people wanted to know my dieting secrets, how well I’d done. In fact, My brother told me years later that he had been worried I was seriously ill, Cancer or possibly even Aids, that sort of thing.

Here is the family friendly version of how I looked then

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This is the not so nice version, click if you dare! Dont worry, I’m not totally nude or anything!

Things took a turn for the worse at this point. Having plateaued, I felt I was no longer getting the attention that I had enjoyed and so my brain came up with a new plan. I began to ask myself “why shouldnt I eat what I liked?” I wasnt losing any weight anyway so fuck it! I began to eat and eat and eat. Then , you guessed it, I immeadiately regretted eating and forced myself to be sick. (That’s still quite hard to say out loud)

A new cycle emerged, where previously I’d eat very little, for example taking a single sandwich to work, now I’d eat a full meal in the canteen. Shortly afterwards I ‘d be in the toilets being sick. this went on for some time and the weight started coming off again. Along with some damage to back teeth enamel and gums, I should add.

In mid 1998 I met Paul and I was at my lowest adult weight, 8st 9lb (55kg) looking back at photos, I cant believe how thin I was.

During our first few months together I was still doing it. I’m sure that Paul had no idea, I’d eat a meal and then go off and be quietly sick. You get good at that. It sounds impossible doesnt it, being quietly sick. I cant do it now, I’m as noisy as anyone else, I guess I’ve lost that “skill.”

We had a blip, me and Paul, I finished our relationship because he was getting too close, I was falling for him big time and I could’nt cope with that. Luckily for me he didnt give up and after a few awful lonely weeks, we were back together. Shortly afterwards I moved in with Paul and that changed things totally.

I was now away from my hometown, new friends (Paul’s) and a new job where I was out and proud! I was happy, happier than I’d been in years, possibly happier then ever before. I stopped being sick and started eating normally, I even put weight on and it didnt worry me.

I still have an “odd” relationship with food at times. For example, Fish must have its batter removed and Pies, Sausage rolls and Quiche must all have their pastry stripped off or left on the plate. If I have planned what I will eat or have chosen from the the menu and its not available or the plan changes for some reason it throws me into blind panic. Similarly, if I’m put on the spot like “What do you want to eat?” usually I cant just answer right away, I have to think about it. Then I feel that all eyes are on me and it panics me a bit. I’m still working on that!

You’ll notice I’ve avoided labelling my “condition”. You might be thinking Anorexia or Bulimia. You might be right. I would’nt want to label myself with those names,but only because I’d feel a fraud. My sudden cure through falling in love seems too easy and somehow unfair to all those people who suffer with eating disorders all their lives.

So, its took 9 years of not caring too much about my weight to get from 8st 9lb up to 12st 6lbs.

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Not too bad going, but some of it now has to come off. I just need to go slow and not get obsessive or silly about it. So I’m playing it cool, If I lose 1-2lbs a week that will be plenty and I know when to stop this time, 10st will be just fine thanks.

I was going to turn off the comments for this post but, what the heck, I’ve had my say, you have yours 🙂


Normal service resumes

July 26, 2007

About 2 weeks ago we discovered that our land-line wasnt working. As far as we knew, it could have already been faulty for a few days at that point. We dont get a lot of calls on the land-line, usually it either Paul’s Mum or Nan and the occasional sales call.

I think it was Paul’s Mum that phoned on the Mobile and said our line was engaged. Sure enough, when I checked it the line was dead at our end, no dial tone.

Obviously at this point, the broadband was still working so I wasn’t too concerned 😉

On the Monday, I called 151 to raise the fault with BT. The automated service did a test and confirmed there may be a fault close to, or inside the property. I spoke to a nice lady who advised to check the test socket inside the master phone socket in the house. This involves unscrewing the front plate of the master socket and removing it, to reveal the test socket where the BT wires enter the house. After checking this and still getting no dial tone, I resolved to call back the next day.

On the Tuesday I was connected with a less helpful Operator then the previous day. I explained that I had checked the test socket etc and asked to have an “Engineer” sent round. What followed was a most exasperating conversation……..

BT “Are you sure you’ve checked it?

Me “Yes, I’m sure.”

BT “Did you try it with another phone?”

Me “What?”

BT “Another phone.”

Me “I’ve already said I tried our cordless phones and plugged in an old style basic corded phone. You want me to try a third?”

BT “Yes, just to be sure.”

Me “I dont think that necessary, anyway I dont have another one to try.”

BT “You could ask a neighbour.” (Does he think I live in Ramsey Street or maybe Wisteria Lane?)

Me “You want me to go knocking on doors asking to borrow a phone?”

BT “OK, but if we send someone and the fault is inside the house we will charge you £160.”

ME “Thats fine, I’ve checked the test socket so the fault isnt in my house, so you wont be charging me anything”

BT “Unless we find its a fault in your house!”

ME “Grrrrrrr!!! Are you telling me that if I was a little old lady or even just slightly non-technical and I didnt test it properly and I made an honest mistake in calling you out, you would still charge me £160?” (gets breath back)

BT “Yes.”

Me “Thats the most heartless thing I’ve heard in quite a while.”

BT “”

Me “So anyway, can you send someone on Saturday?”

BT “No, I can only book you in for Monday to Friday, between 9 and 5.”

Me “But I’m working all week, what about the Evening?”

BT “Sorry, Evening appointments are only for customer paying for our [insert name of expensive care plan here*]”

Me “What about normal people who work office hours?”

BT “We sometimes have a limited number of Saturday appointments, you’ll have to ring on Friday** to get one of those.”

Me “Well, I’ll have to ring later then, thanks for all your help.”

BT “Thanks for calling”

So, later that day I go to the online fault tracker to make a note of the fault number, only to find that he has closed the call as fault rectified! Cheeky bastard! I was so mad.

However, at this point, the broadband was still working so I wasn’t too concerned 😉

Fast forward to Tuesday night and things start to get serious. The broadband starts playing up, connection dropping after a few minutes, that sort of thing. I picked up the phone to hear not silence but loads of noise on the line. Not a good sign!

I decided to log the fault online this time and again the test confirmed there may be a fault close to, or inside the property. After several attempts and Internet re-connects I managed to arrange an Engineers visit for Saturday morning. The broadband promptly gave up entirely and my world went dark 😡

On Wednesday Evening, I tried to fill the time but I started to get itchy feet. We had eaten, I’d washed the dishes, I’d finished off the new Harry Potter, but enough was enough! I fetched my screwdrivers and went outside to where the line enters the house and I uncrewed the cover plate. Technically this isn’t allowed as this bit is BT only territory, but what would it hurt to look? Yuck, the cover was full of spider webs, woodlouse husks and of course a bunch of wires. As I lifted the buch of wires to see them better, one of them split apart in front of my very eyes.

Yes! I was right! In your face BT! The fault is on your side!

Still it was a shame to wait until Saturday for the Engineer to come and splice it back together, wasn’t it? I did the job and yippee, we have a phone line and internet again. 🙂

My theory is that the break was caused by some corrosion or weakness that was steadily getting worse. When it got a point that it wouldn’t support the low frequencies*** of voice calls we lost the phone line. Then later, when it was failing on broadband it was the high frequencies that were dropping out, until it seperated enough to kill everything.

So, thats that, I cancelled the Engineer visit on the automated service just in time to settle down to Wire In The Blood. By which I mean surfing the ‘Net with one eye and watching telly with the other 🙂

Happy days 🙂

*I think he made this up, I cant find it on the website!!!

** Lying shit, when I reported the fault online the following week, Saturday appointments were available to book.

*** I think its that way around with the high and low being kept apart by the bradband filter thingy.


Mum knows all your secrets #001

June 22, 2007

Or, embarrassing childhood things that Mum likes to remind me of

Or, I’ll get you back one day, probably in front of your boyfriend!

Hmmmm!

Mum – “Do you remember, you used to mope around in your room listening to that dirge music?”

I was a fan of The Smiths at the time. I’ll admit I did a fair amount of moping around, secretly smiling inside when ever Mum said “turn that dirge off!” I never went too far and adopted the flowery shirts, hearing aid and thick glasses though!

Mum – “Do you remember when we were on that Bus and you threw your shoes out of the window?”

No! I was about 4, I dont remember that far back 🙄 Of course, I do know the story of how we got off the bus at the next stop and went back to look for them, un-successfully.

Mum – “Do you remember, when I had to go up in front of the School Governors because you were truanting?”

In fact, I didnt remember this. I do remember that I “opted out” of Geography lessons for a whole year because I so despised the teacher. In fact, even 20 years later, I still have a very fond piece of hatred for him. Mr Banner, in case you were asking 🙂

I’ll spare us all any more of these just now, I’m sure I’ll the strength to write more soon!

To be continued…….


Happy Birthday Mum!

June 21, 2007

Here is my Mum with the Betulia that we bought for her birthday.

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I think she likes it 🙂