Sunday 31st August 16:48
Having had quite a leisurely day yesterday, I suggested that we re-turf part of our garden. I quickly need to add that I would never have suggested such a job in the first place but Tanya had wanted to do it for a good number of years. It was bite the bullet time today, for it was dull and grey, rain forecast for later, so why not?
I'd measured the area and it was roughly 9 metres squared and comprised of nothing but clover, moss, dandelions and very little actual grass; so we drove up to the local garden centre and bought enough turf (actually too much but it's better doing that than running short), some top soil and a spade.
Had I known the level of fitness required to do such a job, I'd have kept my mouth shut. It was incredibly tough-going, not helped one bit by the amount of builder's rubble along with a plethora of undiggable crap. It took the best part of the day and my back was totally shot at. At least it's done now and I now await the next set of instructions from Tanya as to what needs doing next...
Luckily, we'd finished in time for me to be able to sit and 'enjoy' the Premiership match between Aston Villa and Liverpool. It was a diabolically boring affair with approximately six attempts at goal from either side, Liverpool not even managing to fire one on target. Not only that, Torres, one of my priceless Fantasy Football strikers pulled up with a mild hamstring injury which could put him out for a few games. The game ended goalless and left me wondering why I bothered...
Saturday 30th August 13:06
It was a warm, late Summer's day, in fact, it was very warm. Tanya had suggested going for a walk along the 'Billy Track' in Havant and carrying on to Langstone. It's not a particularly long walk but it is very pleasant and once at Langstone, you are rewarded with two great pubs, The Royal Oak and The Ship Inn. We opted for the Royal Oak, for the tide was really high and you can sit outside with a beer and watch the world go by... our kind of pub!
For more information please click on the logo below.
They serve some exceptional beers at the Royal Oak and I'm always hard-pushed to choose which one to have. I have to say that I normally find myself totally tempted with Greene King's 'Old Speckled Hen' but decided to see what 'Abbot Ale' was like, which comes from the same brewery.
I have to say that it is very nice indeed, rich and full-bodied and a distinctive fruitiness to it and as you drink more, you realise that it just isn't an average strength either... I later checked out on the internet and found that it was 5.0 abv, well above the average for bitter.
For more information about Abbot Ale, please click on the beer clip above, courtesy of Jackie Richardson the Marketing Assistant at Greene King.
Friday 29th August 12:11
Whilst at work today, I had the pleasure of designing a logo for the Travellers Inn on Ascension Island. Two photographs, both of which were relatively uninspiring, had been emailed to me so I had to try and design a logo around them - one of the images I worked from is shown above.
Anyway, the logo below is what I envisaged.
The last few blogs have been on a relatively serious note and it's always good to include some fun along the way, so today I have decided to include a link to a great website, albeit not everyone's cup of tea. It consists of everyday slang, some of which is incredibly funny or downright crude... or both! Urban Dictionary describe their site as the dictionary you wrote and welcome you to define your world. You are able to submit new words which are then put to the vote as to whether they make it into the dictionary.
You may wonder why I have chosen to talk about this website... well, I'll tell you... the other day, whilst trying to find more information about 'Mr Sheen', a definition of it appeared in Google which directed me to it. I shall leave it up to you to find out what it said!
Thursday 28th August 17:13
We had a new carpet fitted in our lounge today, virtually the same colour as our last one, minus a decade of wear and tear. Earlier on in the month, we'd been on a major carpet trek of the south, only to find that a local carpet company, Bucknall Carpets in Emsworth, we the best all round. We'd opted for a 50oz twist in duck egg blue and it looks fantastic.
For more information about the supplier, Carpet 1st or for the manufacturer of the carpet, Cormar Carpets, please click on either one of the logos below.
Once we'd returned everything to its rightful place in the lounge, I suggested that we have a Mother Kelly's chippy tea and enjoy it on a bench at the Mill Pond - this also meant that we could work some of it off afterwards!
Wednesday 27th August 21:08
Breakfast cereals is the subject of my blog today, not only because I couldn't live without them but Kellogg's also have an advertising campaign on television at the moment, featuring Dame Kelly Holmes stressing how it has to be the most important meal of the day. Kellogg's have invested £2m to 'Wake Up To Breakfast 2008', a two month long promotion in alliance with Microsoft Live Search.
It just happens to be National Breakfast Week this week, find out more by clicking on the Kellogg's logo below.
There are many cereals I like, I even remember Kellogg's Start (do they still produce that?) and you can't beat a great bowl of Corn Flakes (or Frosties if you're feeling indulgent).
Anyway, my favourite cereal at the moment has to be Nestlé's Cinnamon Grahams... or should I say, 'Curiously Cinnamon' which is what it is now called... I'd have thought 'Seriously Cinnamon' would've worked. For more information, please click on the logo below.
As a matter of interest, I tried to locate a vector-based file of their logo and couldn't find one anywhere. I ended up redrawing it from a photograph. For your information, the main font is Blur Medium, the strapline is in Adobe Garamond Pro.
Remember, a breakfast cereal can be eaten at any time of the day - just not a whole packet in one go... you know who you are...
Tuesday 26th August 15:07
Since we've just had a nice relaxing week off work, it's meant that we've been able to do some exploring and sample the delights of some local real ale. Personally, I don't think any alcoholic drink comes even close to the variety of textures and tastes in real ale.
Today I thought I'd provide a link to the CAMRA website. Since 1971, CAMRA has campaigned for real ale, real pubs and consumer rights. They are an independent, voluntary organisation with over 90,000 members and have been described as the most successful consumer group in Europe. The organisation promotes good-quality real ale and pubs, as well as acting as the consumer's champion in relation to the UK and European beer and drinks industry. For more information, please click on the logo above.
Monday 25th August 19:45
Today was the last Bank Holiday of the year until Christmas... this is when you realise that the nights are drawing in at a rapid rate and autumn is just around the corner.
Nevertheless, even after a rather late start into feeling motivated, we made the most of it.
We decided to go to The Emsworth Show, organised by Emsworth Horticultural Society. It's an annual event, held on Horndean Road recreation ground and usually opens at 11am and entrance and parking are £2.00 each. At 1pm, the 140ft show marquee opens where you can view spectacular competition entries of vegetables, fruits, flowers etc. There are arena events held throughout the day along with a fun dog show which is entertaining. Obviously the event attracts many different charities, some of which I have included links to below.
Later on in the evening, we sat down to watch Portsmouth play Manchester United at Fratton Park on Sky Sports 1.
Having started the season with a 4-0 thrashing at Stamford Bridge last week, I was hoping that Portsmouth would be able to redeem themselves. In actual fact, they played very well and became unstuck with a really scrappily taken goal that seemed to be bundled in without any real skill. All in all, it deserved to be a draw, although Wayne Rooney did have a perfectly legitimate goal disallowed for an dreadful offside decision.
Sunday 24th August 17:54
We'd planned to stay fairly local today, so that my parents (and us for that matter) could have a fairly relaxed day. It's all too easy to to fill your days with as much as possible, whereas we always try and keep things to a minimum so that there's no immediate rush anywhere.
We had a slight change of plan and decided to show Hayling Island to my parents. It covers four miles, north to south and is only half a mile across at its narrowest point. There are around 16,000 inhabitants on the island, most of which are located in the south of it. It is a true island and can be accessed by road from just one point, that being Langstone Bridge.
I have been in touch with Havant Borough Council for I have been unable to locate any sort of flag, emblem or coat of arms for Hayling Island. For the moment though, I decided to design a logo for the island and may approach Havant Borough Council to see if they'd be interested in using it.
For the Island's community website, please click on the logo I designed.
© 2008 www.igdesigns.co.uk
Having spent some time on the beach at Ferry Point (the Island's most south-westerly point), we headed off to Emsworth for a late lunch. As I said to everyone, you can't travel all the way down from Bolton and not see Emsworth.
We'd originally talked about eating at the Blue Bell Inn but with it being a Bank Holiday weekend and in the height of the holidaying season, we opted for The Lord Raglan, a great pub on the fringe of the town.
The food was superb and the prices were more than realistic, not only that, they serve another one of my favourite real ales, Butser. It was originally brewed by George Gale & Co. Ltd who had been based in Horndean since 1847 however, in 2005 they were bought by Fuller's Brewery for £91.8m. Since then, they have closed the Horndean-based brewery and some of the brands, Butser being one of them have been transferred to Fuller's, based in Chiswick.
There appears to be an awful lot of animosity surrounding the purchase and promises that may not have been kept - I shall reserve my judgement on it all and provide you with a link to George Gale & Co. Ltd courtesy of a Butser pump clip that I redrew as a vector-based file.
From there, we headed back home and chilled out for the rest of the afternoon before my parents made their way back home. It was a weird feeling because no sooner had they arrived, I felt as though they were going again and the three days almost seemed like five minutes!
Later on in the evening, Tanya and I sat down and watched another great Guy Ritchie film, 'Revolver'. It stars Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, Vincent Pastore and André Benjamin, to name a few and is about con artists, murders, deceit and gambling with some great twists towards the end. I'd rather not give too much away so click on the poster above if you'd like to find out more.
Saturday 23rd August 19:07
Today, we had planned to show my Mum and Dad part of the route that I often take home from work, except we were going to do it in reverse (not driving in reverse, I hasten to add).
The final destination was going to be Buriton, a little picturesque village that Tanya and I discovered since we'd taken a train journey to Petersfield at the end of December last year.
Surprisingly, the village doesn't have any shops, although it does have two pubs, The Master Robert Inn and The Five Bells. It also has one church, St Mary's, which overlooks the village pond that has a large paddle of inhabiting ducks.
For more information about the village, please click on the village sign that I have redrawn as a vector-based graphic.
From Buriton, we then drove back and through Chalton to Butser Ancient Farm. None of us had ever been, nor did we know anyone who'd been so we were unsure about what to expect.
The famous site was founded by Dr P J Reynolds and is an experimental open-air laboratory for research into Prehistoric and Roman agriculture and archaeology. It's open to the public from Monday to Friday, 10am until 4pm.
Please click on the logo below for more information.
Having had a busy morning and early afternoon, hunger got the better of us so, as planned, we took my parents to The Hare and Hounds in Stoughton (this was our third visit in as many months) and paid for their lunch. It's a friendly pub with a relaxed atmosphere and the food is excellent. They also keep great beer, last time we visited we had Timothy Taylor Landlord but, as you know, I'm always one for sampling local beers and I noticed two new ones on the menu.
Malcolm Irving, a former Gale's employee, tried to locate a suitable site for his new brewery, and after many months a small unit on Farlington's Railway Triangle Industrial Estate was found and Irving & Co Brewers was born. The first beer on the market was Red Plum, a limited edition 5% Christmas Ale, followed shortly by regular ales Invincible and Frigate.
A third regular ale, Type 42 (the one we sampled) was launched in July 2008. It's a strong best bitter, crimson in colour, obtained from a generous helping of crystal malt. This beer possesses a distinct fruitiness with a long roasted malt finish.
I would also like to take this opportunity in thanking Malcolm for being so forthcoming with providing some decent artwork for the T42 pump clip - please click on it for more information about the brewery, although the website is still under construction.
Friday 22nd August 18:03
The weather forecast had been changing throughout the week... most reports had condemned the whole week to nothing but rain and general misery, yet last night we were expecting a break of very good weather. With this is mind, we were a little reluctant to travel too far, particularly if the weather took a change for the worse.
We had planned to go to Brighton, for none of us, even Tanya, had ever visited the city. Ironically, as we headed along the A27, it wasn't the weather that stopped us going, more the incredibly heavy traffic heading in that direction due to the excellent weather! In the end, we all thought it best to stop at Arundel and spend a few hours there instead.
For more information about the town, please click on the logo above.
The town was a hive of activity and it soon became apparent that there was some kind of event going on. It seems that the August Bank Holiday weekend belongs to the Arundel Music Festival, held at Arundel Castle, with tonight's main act being The Levellers.
The festival continues right through until Sunday 31st August so if you're interested, please click on the link below to access more information about what's on.
There were plenty of things going on so we had a look at a craft fair and a good walk all around the town. With it being located right on the southern spur of the South Downs, both the town's castle and cathedral dominate the skyline, high above the river Arun. Once within the town, you're met with steep hills, a diverse range of building styles and the whole town is just full of character.
Having walked around the town for some time, we decided to go and visit The Cathedral of Our Lady and Saint Philip Howard, otherwise known as Arundel Cathedral. The Cathedral was founded by Henry 15th Duke of Norfolk, whose established family owned several extensive estates around Arundel. The building was completed on 1st July 1873, to the designs of Joseph Hansom, inventor of the Hansom cab.
From there, we walked through more of the town and then had a bite to eat.
We thought about having a look through the castle grounds but because of the festival it would have meant cutting the visit short by a good hour and therefore we opted to go in... instead of this, we took full advantage of a hand-out given to us by a young woman dressed as a duck... yes, we went to Arundel's Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust centre.
I'd been to Martin Mere (Lancashire) and Slimbridge (Gloucestershire) before but this was the first time at Arundel (for me and my parents - Tanya had been before) and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. Well worth the money (although my parents paid for us!) and there's plenty to do and see. Favourite bird of the day had to be the White-faced Whistling Duck... very comical!
For more information about your nearest Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, please click on the logo above.
Thursday 21st August 22:49
We had a very busy day today, in preparation for my parents coming down to visit us - this meant all systems go to tidy and clean our house. I wouldn't say that cleaning is my favourite pastime however, I can think of far worse things in life. There is also a feeling of satisfaction, an end result that's clearly visible so in that respect, I don't mind it, it's just motivating yourself to do it that I have a problem with!
So, the three main ingredients for a tidy house... furniture polish, a vacuum cleaner and some mulit-surface cleaner. We attacked the house with force and it slowly transformed into a palace (honestly, it did). Feel free to visit any of the links above.
Later on in the day, we went into Havant to sort out a couple of things, one of which was picking up a small coffee table from Argos - only a cheap thing but substantial enough for its purpose.
Did you know that Argos is also a city in Greece in the Peloponnese near Nafplio, which was its historic harbour, named after Nauplius and that in the film 'Clash of the Titans', Zeus orders the city of Argos to be destroyed?
Anyway, to visit the Argos store website, please click on the logo below.
My parents arrived just before 23:00, having had a fairly unpleasant journey down here, due to heavy traffic and bad weather.
Wednesday 20th August 20:28
Nightmare day in general. The weather was ridiculously bad and it was almost impossible to plan anything around it. Ultimately, this left us as prisoners in our own home. Nevertheless, we did manage to go to the garden centre and buy a few plants, for the garden was looking decidedly drab and a splash of colour seemed to be the solution.
At the end of May, Tanya and I had gone to her brother's wedding and although I wasn't the official photographer, I still did manage to take some shots.
Whenever I've been out somewhere, I usually transfer all my shots over on to my computer, and depending on the merit of each shot, I'll keep it on my flash card for as long as possible. The one time I didn't is the time when someone wants them, and to top it all, my flash card decided to delete itself overnight! It was time to use SanDisk's Rescue Pro application program to hopefully retrieve them, unfortunately it didn't. A lesson learnt I feel.
This isn't a criticism on their part, for it retrieved far more than I thought it would. For more information about SanDisk, click on the image below (the image is from a vector-based drawing that I created).
During the course of the afternoon, we chose to watch yet another film that we'd be wanting to see, called 'Jumper'. Doug Liman directed it, also famous for directing 'Bourne Identity' and 'Mr & Mrs Smith'. David S. Goyer (of Batman fame) and Jim Uhls, both members of the Writers Guild of America were responsible for the screenplay. The main cast includes Hayden Christensen, Jamie Bell, Rachel Bilson and Samuel L. Jackson.
The film could be pigeon-holed into several genres, action, adventure, sci-fi or thriller, maybe even comedy in parts and is about a young man who possesses a genetic peculiarity which allows him to teleport himself anywhere. To find out more and to watch the trailer, please click on the movie poster below.
Tuesday 19th August 19:30
Having sold her Nikon D100, Tanya, for the moment, has opted to buy a point and shoot digital compact camera. It arrived this morning, a Ricoh Caplio GX100 with VF-1. It seems quite a versatile camera with many functions and to think that compacts are now 10mp is quite hard to comprehend! To find out more, visit the Ricoh website by clicking on the logo below.
It's a DNG camera, which is an acronym for Digital Negative. The Digital Negative is a publicly available archival format for the raw files generated by digital cameras. Due to there being no particular open standard for the raw files created by various camera models, DNG helps to ensure that photographers will be able to access their files in the future.
Since only being introduced some 12 months ago, several dozen software manufacturers such as Extensis, Canto, Apple, and iView have already developed support for DNG. Camera manufacturers such as Hasselblad, Leica, Ricoh, and Samsung have introduced cameras that provide direct DNG support.
For your free Windows® | Macintosh converter, please click on the logo below.
So, to test out the new camera, we had another walk around Emsworth Mill Pond, regardless of the November weather! It's strange at the moment, quite warm yet incredibly wet and windy and the tide was incredibly high today.
Whilst walking round, we both spotted a Cormorant, not a rare sighting as such but they don't usually 'fish' in the Mill Pond. It's only when you see one close-up that you realise the size of them compared with that of a Black-headed Gull. It continually dived down for fish and it's remarkable just how much depth and distance they can travel underwater.
We decided to watch another Guy Ritchie film later on, via FilmFlex, called 'Snatch'. Yet another film that seemed to escape the radar with me! This, I actually enjoyed far more than 'Lock Stock' - I'm not saying that 'Lock Stock' is rubbish in comparison, I just preferred the humour in this film more. Some of the insulting one-liners were top drawer. Brad Pitt plays an excellent part too, his 'Pikey' accent along with his 'Pikey' attitude were sublime. Loved it.
Monday 18th August 14:38
There were several things that we needed to sort out today, sorting out our lounge carpet, posting Tanya's camera off that she has sold on eBay (another one is on order!) and doing our weekly shop.
Our new kettle arrived in the morning - sorry to sound ultra-excited but the water here is so hard, kettles have a limited lifespan. The majority of the 'soil' in and around Portsmouth is limestone and if you didn't use water filters and/or Oust, your kettle would be coated with limescale within a week, with cups of tea tasting absolutely vile.
Anyway, it's a Breville Blue Ice kettle and it's really groovy!
We usually shop at Morrisons, for various reasons, one of which is how cheap their petrol is compared with most. The other draw for us was that we wanted to try out the new café. The food is cheap and cheerful and tastes good too! Two decent-sized breakfasts and large coffees came to just over £8.00 - very reasonable indeed.
Once we'd eaten, we did our weekly shop - so much easier with food inside you!
Later on in the day, we sat down to watch a new DVD, 'Pathology'. What an excellent film.
It's a dark thriller, directed by Marc Schoelermann and written by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. The storyline is about a group of medical students, one of which, Dr. Ted Gray (played by Milo Ventimiglia) is invited into a camaraderie with one of the most elite interns, Dr. Jake Gallo (played by Michael Weston), who has devised a deadly game; to see which one can commit the perfect murder. It's slightly gory in places but nothing that will give you nightmares...
Sunday 17th August 13:30
We started the day with a brisk walk around Emsworth... not just the Mill Pond but quite a bit of the town centre as well. There are many nooks and crannies with roads leading off to here and there that no matter how familiar you feel within the town, there's still that extra bit to discover.
With it being quite a nice day, we decided to stop off at The Greenhouse Café for some brunch (okay, we should've done it the other way around to burn off the calories!)
Midway through the afternoon, we sat down to watch Portsmouth's opening game of the season against Chelsea. Not the best fixture to start a season, particularly as it was at Stamford Bridge. As with Bolton yesterday, Chelsea were 3-0 to the good at half time and an annihilation looked imminent. Luckily however, Pompey managed to stand strong and apart from a wondrous goal by Chelsea new boy, Deco, they managed to redeem themselves with a strong defensive front throughout the second half.
Later on, Tanya and I sat down and reluctantly watched 'The Perfect Vagina' on Channel 4. I could go into graphic detail about the programme but I'd rather leave it up to you as to whether you'd like to find out more. The whole idea was a total eye-opener and I cannot believe some women feel the need to go through with such surgery.
More can be found at the Channel 4 website...
Saturday 16th August 18:03
Had a tiring day today... any sort of shopping just wears me out... don't really have the time or patience for it unless it's on my terms. We're after a new lounge carpet and ideally we'd like the colour to match the one we already have in there, for our decorating had been done last year and I have absolutely no incentive whatsoever to start changing anything!
Our first port of call was Southsea, an area of Portsmouth that I like very much indeed. There's plenty to see there and it was the first time that I'd been right into the town centre. I'd describe it as very cosmopolitan but on quite a small scale. For more information, please click the logo below.
I just want to add (even though it's now Tuesday) my thanks to Samantha Fay, the Southsea Town Centre Manager, for providing me with the very elegant logo!
Once we'd had a good look around, our stomachs were telling us that it was high time to have something to eat and, as if by magic, a Subway appears. Now then, if you're not all too familiar with the food franchise then you're in for a treat. The variety of food (the majority of which is good for you) is exceptional and we both ended up having a Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki on Italian herb baguette.
Fred DeLuca founded the SUBWAY® chain in Connecticut, USA, in 1965. The company has since grown into a multi-billion pound business, with more than 25,000 outlets in over 80 countries and they aim to increase the number of outlets they have in the UK and Ireland to over 2,010 stores by 2010. For more information, click on the logo above.
Anyway, it seems that Carpet Right has the monopoly of stores in the Portsmouth area so it was a case of 'once we'd seen one, we'd seen them all' scenario... however, we finally managed to locate an Allied Carpets as well. We also visited a couple of independent carpet shops in North End (an area of Portsmouth).
Once we arrived home, I had to check on the Premiership football results, particularly Bolton's result against Premiership newcomers, Stoke City. After the abysmal season we had last season, I was expecting a mediocre result... turns out we were 3-0 up at half time and Stoke managed a late consolation goal... we were top of the Premiership!
Later on, we sat down to watch a film called 'Leatherheads', starring George Clooney, Renée Zellweger and John Krasinski, to name a few. It's a romantic comedy set within America's nascent pro-football league in 1925. Clooney plays Dodge Connolly, captain of a struggling professional football team , the Duluth Bulldogs. He is determined to save both his team and pro football in general after the players lose their sponsor and the league is on the brink of collapse. To find out more, as well as see a trailer, click on the official movie poster below.
Friday 15 August 16:53
Whilst in Havant town centre this afternoon, curiosity got the better of Tanya and we finally had a look in the new Aldi that opened some time last year. I'd imagine that going in to Aldi is the equivalent of getting a lift in a Lada... you try everything in your power to avoid being seen!
Having said all that, and no doubt coming across as a total snob, they do sell sell some decent, cheap produce. For instance, their Jaffa Cakes exceed any other taste-wise, and their brand of carton orange is roughly quarter of the price of any other supermarket. There are many other products that are exceptional in taste and extremely reasonably priced, however, avoid their brand of coffee at all costs!
One product that beats everything hands down has to be their Deli Continental Bratwursts, delicious meaty German pork sausages. They come in a pack of six and are irresistible!
Apologies for the deliberate change of name from Aldi to Aldis... it seems that as a nation, the majority of people deem it necessary to add an 's' on the end of virtually every store name they can think of.
Why? Don't ask me... Asdas, Tescos, Aldis, Lidls, Nettos... the list goes on...
Thursday 14th August 21:06
On November 2nd 1982, a new television channel first graced our screens. It was a relatively slow starter, although it began broadcasting what was to become a very popular soap opera based in Liverpool, called Brookside. Over the years, the channel went from strength to strength, pulling in shows such as Friends, ER and Frasier, all of which had massive followings. The station was established to provide a fourth television service to the UK that would break the BBC's two established television services and the single commercial broadcasting network, ITV, then the only services in the UK. I'm talking about Channel4, of course.
Since then, Channel Four Television Corporation has expanded dramatically through its 4Ventures off-shoots such as FilmFour, More4, E4 and the more recent 4radio and 4OD - please click on any of the logos below to find out more.
Tomorrow will see the birth of yet another channel from Channel4, this one being 4music, which will launch with exclusive live coverage of the V Festival on August 16 and 17, with headline sets from The Verve and Muse. 4Music will be available from August 15 on Sky channel 360, Virgin 330 and Freeview 18. To find out more, please click on the logo below.
Wednesday 13th August 20:26
Once again, another very hectic day with little chance to do anything, except choose my fantasy football team. Tanya's boss has said that he'd put £100 down for the winner of our league and he's confident that he won't need to part with it because he's going to win anyway!
I'm part of three leagues, two of which are through the official Premier League Fantasy Football website, the other that Tanya's boss has organised is via The Sun Fantasy Football Premier League. Depending on who you go with, determines how much money you are allowed to spend; this, in turn, has influenced who I have picked for my teams.
If you're going to play via The Sun's Dream Team, you will need to register and choose which paid package you'd like - alternatively, you can print out all the player's position listings and values for free and start your own league. If you do opt to go with a paid package, there's a chance of winning £1m at the end of the season! The Premier League website is totally free and you have the bonus of starting your own mini-league with friends and family.
Tuesday 12th August 21:03
Wacky Stan, my friend from work, directed me to this very informative site. It's a popular question-and-answer newspaper column published in the Chicago Reader, included in thirty newspapers across the United States and Canada, as well as being online. The column derives its name from the American idiom meaning roughly "the honest truth" and appears under the tagline "Fighting ignorance since 1973 (it's taking longer than we thought)".
Having had a very busy day indeed, I had very little time to myself except catch an hour or so of television towards the end of the night. Since torturing you with such a dreadful advert yesterday, I thought I'd resolve things by including a fantastic advert today. Wouldn't even like to begin to think about how much this cost to make but considering it's for an insurance company, the effects are superb.
Monday 11th August 21:55
Today I thought I'd talk about something annoying... for those of you who know me, you may well say that most things annoy me, which is probably true.
The most annoying advert in television history ever is by a company who has their headquarters based in Bradford. Starting the company with only £2,000 back in December 1992, the company has more than 40 branches across the United Kingdom. The company are known for their distinctive advertising campaigns and have attracted a few famous names along the way, including award-winning adverts starring the infamous 'Window Man' aka Jeff Brown, the match announcer at Burnley Football Club... click on the logo at your own risk and sanity!
It took me a long time to hunt down this particular advert on the net, don't ask me why, I guess it was a moment of madness. More adverts, both cool and downright annoying, can be found by clicking the 'tellyAds' logo below.
Sunday 10th August 18:42
The weather still wasn't at its best, although we did manage a quick trip into Chichester, namely for me to photograph the cathedral in preparation for a website that we've been given the go-ahead on. From there, we then drove to Emsworth so that I could photograph the three shops we bought food from yesterday.
When we arrived home, we decided to sit down and watch a DVD... Tanya had seen it before, yet it missed the radar with me completely at the time, even though I had heard so many people rave about it. It's the 1998 film written and directed by Guy Ritchie, 'Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels'.
Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it; British humour at its best.
I don't usually start talking about what we had for our evening meal but I thought I would for a change. I'm certainly not vegetarian but if someone said that I wouldn't be able to eat beef or lamb ever again, it wouldn't particularly bother me. However, if that was said about pig meat in general, it would bother me immensely! I love ham, gammon, bacon and pork and tonight we had pork chops... please click on the logo below to download a recipe booklet from www.lovepork.co.uk
Later in the evening we watched another film. Released last year, it's a true story about an unjust murder trial of Philippe Halsman, convicted of murdering his father. He was convicted, not because the jury thought he was guilty, more to do with the rise of fascism against the Jews in 1928. The reason for the strange title is because Philippe then went on to become the most sought after celebrity portrait photographer of his generation, notching up more 'Life' cover photos than any other.
More about the film can be found by clicking the movie poster below.
Saturday 9th August 15:42
Unbelievably bad weather throughout the day really, although the day had started off to be quite promising so I suggested that we drive into Emsworth in the hope that we'd be able to fit a quick walk around the Mill Pond... no sooner had we set off, the heavens opened and we had to turn back, as we did, a man wearing a multitude of waterproof gear said, "wise decision", and it was!
The main reason for our visit was to go Heidi's Swiss Patisserie to buy a crusty white loaf...
Then on to H.H. Treagust & Sons for some Old English Pork Sausages...
And finally to R.A. Tier & Son for some duck eggs...
Then it was a case of going back home and cooking lunch!
Later on in the day, we needed a few other bits and bobs so I drove round to our local store, only to see this sign outside. Now then, it is a tragic headline and I have nothing but sympathy for the poor family who have lost a husband, father and quite possibly a grandfather... however, because the headline has a spelling error, the whole story takes on a totally different scenario!
Friday 8th August 16:15
We thought we'd treat ourselves today and take a trip to the Odeon cinema to watch 'The Dark Knight', the new Batman movie. It stars Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne/Batman) and Heath Ledger (The Joker) along with other big names Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Morgan Freeman.
It is a truly superb movie and well worth going to see. The acting, effects and sets are spectacular... and bizarre as it may seem, most of it was filmed at Battersea Power Station! The music score composed by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard just makes the film even more dynamic. Loved it.
Today's blog cannot be complete without mentioning the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing, China. We both missed the opening ceremony but from what I can gather, it was sensational.
For more information, please visit the official Games website by clicking on the logo above.
I also thought I'd include the five mascots of the Beijing Olympic Games, they are Bèibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying and Nini.
Thursday 7th August 17:05
Since starting my blog over eight months ago, I cannot believe that I haven't once mentioned an artist whose work I admire. As of now, this is going to change and I shall start with an artist who many consider to be outstanding, whereas others could take it or leave it.
Born in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain on May 11th 1904, he explored many fields of art, including painting, drawing, photography, sculpture and writing. He attended San Fernando School of Fine Arts in Madrid, where Pablo Picasso had once been a student.
He became part of several artistic movements, namely Cubism, Dada and Surrealism and some of his most famous works include 'The Persistence of Memory' (1931), 'Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War)' (1935), 'Ballerina in a Death's Head' (1939), 'The Temptation of St. Anthony' (1946) (pictured) and 'Young Virgin Auto-Sodomised by the Horns of Her Own Chastity' (1954).
At the age of 84, Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, 1st Marquis of Púbol, died in his home town on January 23rd 1989.
Of course, he was affectionately known as Salvador Dalí.
Wednesday 6th August 22:35
Today was judgement day... would my car survive an MOT? Having bought it back in February, this was the first time it was due an MOT since I have owned it. I had reservations about things it may fail on, and I was therefore expecting to pay anything in the region of £200 or above.
It turned out that it only failed on one thing and that was repaired by the garage, so I now have a perfectly legal car again... not only that, the cost of the MOT, labour, parts and the VAT on top of that came to just over £100, so to say I was ecstatic would have been a complete understatement!
Click on their logo to access their Yell details.
Once home, I decided to watch a film called 'Teeth', a film all about Vagina Dentata. Having looked into the condition more, I'm sure it's completely mythological but some of the research I did does make me wonder! Anyway, the film is definitely more of a comedy than a horror and certainly not one of my favourites of late.
Later on, I watched 'Lost Land of the Jaguar' on BBC1. It's a three part wildlife documentary filmed in South America and the expedition team have been uncovering many new species, particularly in Guyana, which is a country the size of Great Britain, 4% of which is populated by man.
To view the latest installment, please click on the image below.
Tuesday 5th August 20:46
After being very busy today, I thought I'd tuck into a snack bar called a FairBreak Wafer.
Whilst reading the packaging, like you do, I noticed their website and thought I'd have a look and find out more.
Established in 1979 as a Christian response to poverty, Traidcraft sells fair trade food, craft and textile products from more than 100 producer groups in over 30 countries. As a fair trade organisation, every purchase that is made, helps transform the lives of poor people in developing countries. They build lasting relationships with producers, supporting them to trade out of poverty. To find out more, please click the logo below...
They are part of the Fairtrade Foundation, which was established in the UK in 1992, with the first products to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark launched in 1994. The symbol is open to interpretation – some see a toucan or parrot, others a green leaf and water droplet, some see a winding road at the centre with a sun, leading to a brighter future. The most popular interpretation is to imagine the blue as sky, the green as grass, and the black dot and swirl at the centre as a person holding their right arm aloft.
Either way, it's eye-catching and easy to recognise, two of the prime reasons that make a logo successful.
The International Fair Trade Assocation (IFAT) was launched in 2004 at the World Social Forum in Mumbai, India, and is the governing body for all Fair Trade organisations. Their label identifies and gives organisations global recognition, which means that standards are being met with regards to working conditions, wages, child labour and the environment. Once an IFAT member has successfully met IFAT's Standards and Monitoring requirements, they are eligible to carry the Fair Trade Organization (FTO) Mark.
Monday 4th August 22:15
A rather uneventful day, due to Tanya having to work in the afternoon. I literally did nothing and felt very lethargic due to another bad night's sleep. I did have a note from Tanya when I arrived home and it always humours me as to how she signs her notes off... so much so, I decided to recreate it as a trendy pop art image!
Sunday 3rd August 20:51
Another miserable day. Cloudy and wet.
Midway through the day, we decided to do our weekly shop a day early so we drove up to Morrisons. I really hate shopping at the best of times but weekends are even worse! Having said that though, it's a relatively small store compared with today's standards and well laid out.
Whilst there, I picked up a Mail on Sunday because I'd seen an advert on television, saying that there was a free DVD with today's edition. For future information on other promotions, please click on the graphic below.
The DVD was a 1983 film, which I hadn't seen before, called Enigma. It stars Martin Sheen, Sam Neill and Brigitte Fossey and is about intercepting five highly-trained KGB assassins to eliminate five Soviet dissidents. An American agent must infiltrate Soviet intelligence and obtain a tracker from a Russian computer.
Saturday 2nd August 10:51
Had quite a quiet day today, mostly down to the dreadful weather.
Whilst in Emsworth yesterday, I suggested buying some sausages from Treagust's. I'm sure I have mentioned these before but they really are the best sausages in the world! Anyway, I cooked us a Saturday morning brunch with the sausages, some free range eggs and Heinz spaghetti. Yum!
Unfortunately, Treagust's don't have their own website so I took a photo of the sausage label and redrew it as a vector artwork.
Once we'd had our brunch, we sat down and watched a rather weird film, directed and written by M. Night Shyamalan called 'The Happening'. The main characters are played by Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel, a husband and wife who end up being on the run from a natural crisis that begins to threat the whole of humanity.
I enjoyed this film, and regardless of the worrying fact that something of this scale might well happen one day, it was produced in a tongue-in-cheek fashion. Please click on the poster below to access the website.
Friday 1st August 16:29
Whilst walking up to the garden centre last weekend, we walked through a field which, if the local council have their own way, will be built on in the next year or two. It appears as if it is a flax field and both Tanya and I were annoyed that we'd missed it in bloom, particularly if the land is used to build more unwanted property in the area. Nevertheless, even though it had passed its best, it still made a pleasing photograph.
Later on in the evening, we sat and watched another one of our favourite television programmes, DIY SOS. Okay, so some may say that it's old hat and past its sell-by-date - I disagree. It's one of the few programmes of its era (Changing Rooms, amongst others, springs to mind) that has stood the test of time. Not only that, the presenter, Nick Knowles, along with the specialists in their fields, make the programme all the more enjoyable with their sarcastic banter and, unlike many of the once-competing programmes of its ilk, the end results always seem to be exceptional.
Please click on the logo to view the last in the series.