Having had this page as a 'guestbook' for eighteen months and not doing anything with it, the least I could do is promote this page to 'BLOG' status.

Friday 31st October 11:24

Having worked all day, as well as attending the CIPS evening at work last night, I had arranged to take today off in lieu - Tanya had also booked a day off and I'd suggested that we take a trip to Petworth Park, since it had been featured on BBC2's Autumnwatch this week. Although we'd both been to Petworth before, neither of us had ventured into its National Trust owned Park.

Unlike the day we'd booked off after the last CIPS evening, the weather today was absolutely glorious, to the point where there wasn't a cloud in the sky. At this time of year you have to take advantage of days like these so we made sure we were out of the house early and on our way. There are several different routes to take to Petworth but we chose to head along the A27 to east of Chichester and then took the A285 taking us through Upwaltham and Duncton, both of which had very interesting churches.

the national trust

We arrived at Petworth and the Park is literally on the doorstep of the town. Unfortunately, with it being Friday, the House was closed but the grounds are open to the public all year round and it's only £2.00 to park there for the whole day. I have to say that there's a somewhat precarious cattle grid that felt like driving across a rope ladder, as you enter the car park.
Petworth House is a late 17th Century mansion set within a 700 acre deer park, landscaped in the 1750s by 'Capability' Brown which featured in many of J. M. W. Turner's paintings. The house itself has had many owners, the first recorded one being the Percy family in 1151 and the last, Charles, 3rd Lord Leconfield, who, in 1947, gave the House and Park to the National Trust, ensuring its future.
It's a stunning Park, full of surprises, particularly the abundance of Fallow Deer that are almost unaffected by the presence of humans. It has two ponds, although I'd describe one of them as more of a lake than a pond. There are many hills in amongst heathland and what could be described as flat plains. A true eye-opener and well worth a visit.
For more information about both The National Trust and Petworth Park, please click on the NT logo above.

little chef

On the way back (albeit a slight detour out of our way) we headed for the Little Chef on the outskirts of Fontwell village for an early evening meal. I've got to say that the quality and variety of food within the restaurant has improved drastically.
Little Chef is a chain of roadside restaurants which was founded in 1958 and is celebrating its 50th birthday this year. Many branches are typically found on A roads, with several located within motorway service stations. The first of the 180-strong chain was opened in Reading by caravan manufacturer, Sam Alper. Having visited the United States, he'd modelled his 11 seater version on roadside diners he'd seen there.
The franchise is now owned by RCapital after it went into administration in January of 2007. The group's previous owners attempted to slim down the iconic 'Fat Charlie' in 2004 but were deterred from doing so after receiving 15,000 complaints.
For more information about the Little Chef franchise, please click on Fat Charlie.

Thursday 30th October 18:04

Back at the beginning of September, we had a CIPS (Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply) evening where I work, whereby many different representatives of local companies were invited to see what we do and how we do it. This meant that I worked a full day, as well as the evening, to make myself available for any questions about the role I have within the company.

With me not being used to such long hours any more (in one company that is), I knew I'd have to replenish my energy levels with a small evening meal, a Southern Fried Chicken wrap to be precise, along with a Nestlé Yorkie bar.

nestle yorkie

Launched in 1976, the chocolate bar has quite a chunk of history behind it - it was originally branded by Rowntree's of York, hence the 'Yorkie' name. Their current slogan, 'It's NOT for girls' implies that the bar is very chunky compared with that of other bars, like Dairy Milk, for example. Apparently, the slogan has caused some controversy, particularly from UK and Norwegian customers, who found it sexist and distasteful - personally, I think these people should take a look at themselves and possibly save up to buy a life.
Anyway, to find out more about Yorkie bars, please click on the logo above, or here for the vector-based PDF that I have drawn.

Wednesday 29th October 20:00

I've realised that this month alone, I've done brief match reports on six different football matches... nevertheless, two were England's World Cup Qualifiers so I can be excused.

premier league

Tonight saw several Premiership matches being played, two of which were of interest to me. The first was obviously the clash between north west rivals, Bolton and Everton at the Reebok, the other was Portsmouth's visit to Anfield, home of Liverpool.
Both matches ended up 1-0 in Merseyside's favour and it meant that Bolton slumped down the table to next from the bottom.
For more information about the Premier League, please click on the logo above.

Tuesday 28th October 08:12

One of those, 'a day I'd rather forget' days. Whilst driving to work today, I noticed a very peculiar noise coming from the nearside passenger door. It caused me great concern so I took the journey very carefully until managing to get to 2 U Tyres garage in Petersfield. I explained what had happened and what I was hearing and it didn't take them long to locate the problem; a snapped suspension coil.
Anyway, the helpful chaps at the garage managed to have my car ready for when I finished work, although my wallet was somewhat lighter.


Later that evening, we sat down and watched Autumnwatch on BBC2, presented by Bill Oddie, Kate Humble and Simon King. This series, the show is being broadcast from Brownsea Island in Dorset and Simon King was in Petworth Park following the rutting season of the park's Fallow Deer. Both Brownsea Island and Petworth Park are owned by the National Trust.
For more information about the BBC's Autumnwatch, please click on the logo above.

Monday 27th October 16:38

Every now and again, when I have little to report, I like to share websites that I find very interesting, and the one I'm providing a link to is no exception.


Cartype (they've recently launched the second version of their website) is fantastic, particularly if you love cars - not just contemporary cars, we're talking the whole lot here. Virtually every make and model of car is covered - photographs, logos and the history of each. The site, which was established in 2003 is growing bigger and bigger by the day - you can even submit your own content.
Click on the logo above to find out more; it really is an amazing website.

Sunday 26th October 10:32

The clocks went back overnight... I hate this time of year, almost totally dark at 5pm etc etc... roll on spring.

bupa great south run

Well, we had planned to drive down to Southsea and watch the Great South Run this morning but due to the shockingly bad weather that hadn't been predicted, we decided to watch it on Channel 5 in the comfort of our warm home. Having said all of that, there were still some 19,500 people who were mad enough to start the run, in the hope that they could raise money for the hundreds of different charities that they had decided to donate to.
It was very entertaining to watch and it was great to see Paula Radcliffe back in good form, ready for the gruelling New York Marathon in a week's time.
For more information about the Great Runs, sponsored by Bupa, please click on the logo above.

harry hotspur

Harry Redknapp went from local hero to local villain overnight, with the announcement of him leaving Portsmouth FC to go to Tottenham Hotspur, a club that he'd always said he'd leave for, if the opportunity came about. An awful lot of Pompey fans feel both let down and very angry, especially as this is the second time he's left them. You could argue that he gave them the FA Cup yet it has still been a major shock. I remember when Big Sam Allardyce did the same to Bolton, and the trouble is, even though we managed to stay afloat last season, we've never recovered.
To top it all, Bolton were guests at Whitehart Lane today and the scoreline ended in a 2-0 defeat, which meant that Tottenham had gained their first win of the season... Harry's magic spell obviously worked.


Saturday 25th October 13:47

It turned out to be quite a pleasant day, even though it was overcast for most of it, so our first port of call today was our local Wyevale Garden Centre, for two reasons. The first was that our stock of bird food needed replenishing and the other was to buy some stepping stones because the lawn leading up to Timmy's hutch (our resident rabbit) was turning into something resembling a mudbath. Once we got back I was on to the job of cutting around the circular stones and embedding them into the lawn.

the wildlife trusts

Even though it looked as if bad weather was imminent, we took the risk of going out for a walk around Farlington Marshes. The area covers some 350 acres of low-lying coastal grazing marsh that juts out into Langstone Harbour and is one of the few large open spaces within the Portsmouth area. Although the site is owned by Portsmouth City Council, Hampshire Wildlife Trust have leased and managed the reserve since 1962.

hampshire ornithological society

Farlington Marshes are home to an abundance of wildlife and looking at the sightings board, there have been some fantastic sightings this month alone. The majority of sightings are mainly birds, the most recently recorded being Green-winged Teal, Great White Egret, Honey Buzzard, Short-eared Owl, to name just a few. There are many websites that cover the marshes but none that are specific to the area, two of which are featured above.
For a map illustrating the area, please click here to download a PDF.

farlington marshes

Whilst walking around the marshes, we noticed several information signs with some incredibly contemporary illustrations of birds and other wildlife. It turns out that the artist, Greg Poole was born in Bristol in 1960 and quickly became interested in birdlife, studied zoology at Cardiff University and the rest is history, as they say.
Please click on his commissioned Farlington Marshes artwork to access his website.

Friday 24th October 15:17

Had a busy day today and so once I'd finished work, Tanya and I took a trip into Emsworth and took our usual route around the Mill Pond, particularly as it had been a nice day all day, albeit a little blustery. Ideally, it would be great to make the walk a daily occurrence, although it's not always that easy to just drop everything and go, especially if it's chucking it down.

old speckled hen

Tanya came up with the inspired suggestion of 'having a quick half' in the Blue Bell Inn and, me being me, had to oblige. They have a cracking selection of ales in there and I'm often hard-pushed to make a decision, however, since I'd had Sharp's Doom Bar in there last time, I plumped for Greene King's 'Old Speckled Hen' - a real favourite of ours.
The English ale was brewed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the MG Factory. It acquired its name from a paint-spattered MG car called the "Owld Speckled 'Un" that used to be driven around the factory!
As usual, please click on the pump clip image to find out more.

Thursday 23rd October 12:04

smartie pants

I've been asked to design a comical Christmas e-Card and, although I know I can still draw, it's always easier for me to refer to something that's in scale. Whilst surfing the net for some inspiration, I stumbled upon a great website, full of cartoons that made me laugh; the one pictured above being one of them.
For more laughs, please visit the main website, Cartoonstock, by clicking on the logo below.


Wednesday 22nd October 08:58

Imagine my surprise when I overheard a female colleague at work talking about walking around London in her bra... my ears seem to home in on such conversations.

Anyway, it turns out that she was wanting to apply to do the 'MoonWalk' in London next year and it's all in aid of raising money for the research and treatments towards breast cancer. Having found out more about the 'Walk The Walk' charity, over £8m were raised in both 2007 and 2008 which is an overwhelming amount.

walk the walk

The charity, sponsored by Playtex, was founded some ten years ago when 13 women power-walked the New York Marathon in their bras to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research, headed by its founder, Nina Barough.
A year after the event, Nina discovered that she had breast cancer, in the form of an aggressive tumour and it was likely that she'd had this for about three years. As a result she had to give up her styling and production business and start her extensive treatment. Days after her completing the 1997 London Marathon, she was in hospital undergoing a mastectomy.

playtex moonwalk 2009

As the success of the walks grew, more and more people were struggling for acceptances into the London Marathon so in 1998, the MoonWalk was born and Nina took the first steps into setting up the charity and organising sponsorship and HRH Prince of Wales is now one of its patrons.

Tuesday 21st October 22:16

After work today, Tanya and I went for quite a long walk around Havant Thicket, a large expanse of woodland which is part of Staunton Way, an 8.5 to 20.5 mile route that goes from Queen Elizabeth Country Park, near Petersfield to Staunton Country Park, near Havant. Staunton Way is named after Sir George Staunton who was a Portsmouth MP in the early 19th Century.
More about the route can be found by downloading the Staunton Way leaflet.

winter storage reservoir

Unfortunately, a large section of Havant Thicket is under threat because Portsmouth Water will be creating a huge winter storage reservoir - as with many developments, there are pluses and minuses. Their proposal looks very inviting, for it would mean that there will be far less of chance of a water shortage, should that arise in years in come. It also has the potential of totally restructuring the area's biodiversity, this too has its pros and cons; the sheer upheaval may take years for the area to recover and what will be sacrificed in the process? Having said that, once it becomes established, who knows what multitude of flora and fauna it may attract.
The image above is taken from an official publication about the reservoir and it gives a sense of scale with regards to the amount of land that will be affected. For more information about the development's progress, please click on the Portsmouth Water logo.

portsmouth water

Later on in the evening, I sat down to watch yet another football match involving Manchester United - this time is was against Celtic in a Champions League tie, played at Old Trafford. Two years ago, the game ended 1-1 but with Manchester United's unquestioned form and Celtic's dreadful away form of recent, the game seemed as if it could only have one outcome, and sure enough, it did.

manchester united v celtic

Dimitar Berbatov opened United's scoring with not just one but two goals, both of which were blatantly offside yet neither the linesman nor the referee even noticed it. The first was scored on the stroke of the half hour mark where he managed to tap in a rebound past Boruc. The second came from a Ronaldo free kick that Boruc fumbled and Berbatov was there to place it past the Celtic goalkeeper. Once again, Wayne Rooney was on top form and having almost squandered every chance he had, he somehow managed to find the net for the seventh consecutive time for club and country, directing a shot through defender Looven's legs into the bottom corner. It was 3-0, game over.

Monday 20th October 15:03

More to follow soon...

sony alpha 700

But the leaders of the free world are just little boys throwing stones
And it's easy to ignore 'til they're knocking on the door of your homes...

Sunday 19th October 10:03

As reluctant as I am about any form of shopping at the weekend, we desperately needed food in the house, so we headed for Tesco Extra at Port Solent as early as we possibly could, mainly to avoid the potential threat of me 'losing it' in any one of, what seems to be, hundreds upon thousands of aisles.

Once we'd completed the task, we took ourselves out to Emsworth for some fresh sea air and to feed some bread to the variety of birds that frequent the Mill Pond. Whilst on our way round, Emsworth Slipper Sailing Club were winching in all their member's boats from the sea into the boatyards via a huge crane. It's quite a spectacle if you're not used to seeing it being done, particularly as it only happens twice a year (the other time they're obviously lifting them from the boatyard into the sea).
Please click on the image below to visit the ESSC website.

emsworth slipper sailing club

Later on in the day, we sat down to watch a film, this one being recommended by my mate Lee in North Carolina. He'd been catching up on my blog and noticed that Tanya and I had been watching a fair few Guy Ritchie films and so suggested we watched, 'The Bank Job', based on a true story.
It stars Jason Statham so it immediately grabbed the attention of Tanya. Set in London, it tells the story of a bank raid on Baker Street that took place in 1971. The deposit boxes that were stolen during the hit contained jewellery and money worth around £4m but they were unaware that some of them were hiding a whole host of photography and documentation of corruption and dirty secrets... to find out more, please click on the movie poster.

the bank job

Just as the film had finished, a programme celebrating the 50th anniversary of the BBC's longest-standing children's television programme, Blue Peter, had started. I'm sure virtually every child in Britain has at one time watched it. It could quite easily be classed as a national treasure and an icon for Britain, it's that popular.
The show was first broadcast on 16th October 1958 and was originally aired as part of a seven-week experiment and since then, it has been fronted by a total of 34 presenters, the first ones being Christopher Trace and former beauty queen, Leila Williams.
The programme is so-called as it was aimed to take its viewers 'on a voyage of discovery'. Although the theme music has had eleven different versions recorded, 'Barnacle Bill' has been used since the very first episode. Tony Hart, a very famous artist (who's now 83 by the way!) designed the ship logo which is still used to this day. The 'Blue Peter Badge' is much sought after and there are in fact six types of badge, the highest accolade being the gold one; The Queen and JK Rowling both have one.
For more information about the show, please click on the Blue Peter ship.

blue peter

Saturday 18th October 11:00

Did very little today, in fact, we didn't leave the house... murmurs were made about going out but it just never happened. Tanya spent a fair chunk of the day reading the D300 manual, and I don't blame her, it's far more advanced than the D100 with many new features.
We also ended up spending a fair bit of time on our computers and considering a sunny weekend had been promised, the sun wanted to break that promise and only showed himself sporadically. Anyway, it's always good to spend at least one day of the weekend, every now and again, doing next-to-nothing. At one point I did contemplate selling another strange item on eBay and have a few ideas up my sleeve so be warned!

manchester united v west bromwich albion

Later on, I decided to watch the Premiership clash between Manchester United v West Bromwich Albion that was being broadcast on Setanta Sports 1. I often like to watch football matches where I'm totally neutral, especially as Bolton Wanderers usually force me to bit my nails to the bone.
The first half ended up as stalemate, even though Wayne Rooney had a perfectly good goal disallowed - the referee was bordering on ridiculous and believe you me, I do not side with Manchester United lightly! Anyway, the Baggies defended well and managed a few decent attacks, yet when the second half began, United showed their opponents why they hold the Premiership title.

Man-of-the-match Rooney broke the deadlock ten minutes into the second half with a great piece of individual skill, stepping inside defender Ryan Gonk, with his shot narrowly beating fellow international, Scott Carson. Having scored, Rooney turned provider for United's second goal, scored by Ronaldo in the 69th minute followed by the home side's third goal scored by Bulgarian international, Dimitar Berbatov, who volleyed in his first Premiership goal for United, less than two minutes later. Suddenly, at 3-0, the game turned into a slight embarrassment for the Midlands team who'd worked their socks off in the first half, not only that, the rout ended with a 90th minute goal for Nani which was provided by none other than in-form Rooney.

Friday 17th October 15:48

Back in August, Tanya sold her Nikon D100 and bought herself a point-and-shoot Ricoh GX100. Although there were many plus points to the GX100, it just wasn't what she wanted and within around two or three weeks she'd sold it on eBay, managing to do so with very little monetary loss.
Click on the logo to visit the eBay website (one of the most popular in the world, so seems somewhat pointless providing a link).


Since then, we've been camera-sharing and it worked out rather well, even when it came to identifying who'd taken what! In between times, she's been rigorously saving to buy herself a new Nikon camera, and was undecided until relatively recently as to which model to plunge for. In the end, she opted for the D300 for a good few reasons, the main one being that Sussex Camera Centre were selling one for an unbeatable price.

sussex camera centre

No sooner had I arrived home from work, Tanya held me at gunpoint, threatening me to go into Chichester with her (seriously, she did) as she was so excited about her impending purchase.
At the moment, Sussex Camera Centre's website launch is imminent, so for the moment, I'll provide a link to their listing on Yell.

nikon D300

So, she's now the proud owner of a Nikon D300, and not only that, the gentleman who served her in Sussex Camera Centre has lent her a 18-135mm lens up until the one that she wants (it's a VR lens) is in stock. I have to say that, considering they're an independent company, they've matched like for like with what Tanya found online and she also has the added security of them being a local company, if anything were to go wrong.
To visit the Nikon site, click on the logo above.

Thursday 16th October 16:39

This afternoon I've been doing some work for a charity called The Myasthenia Gravis Association. It's a disease that affects around 1 in 10,000 people, and that's in the UK alone.
It's an auto-immune disease, characterised by fluctuating, sometimes fatal, muscle weakness and can affect anybody at any age. The body's immune system, in the form of antibodies, attacks and damages the nerve signal reception areas on the muscles, thus causing a communication breakdown between nerve and muscle.

myasthenia gravis association

Ed Stewart, who's famous for his BBC radio broadcasting and the children's television programme, 'Crackerjack' became a patron of the charity in 2005.
For more information, please click on the logo above.

Wednesday 15th October 22:05

The World Cup 2010 qualifying mid-week clash between Belarus and England was played in Minsk tonight. England couldn't afford to be complacent for Belarus had managed to beat Holland and draw against Germany in the past, although neither match had any sort of incentive to win.

belarus v england

England started off strongly and within 11 minutes, Steven Gerrard had placed a perfectly weighted shot from over 34 yards out, just inside the right-hand post, after Rooney had managed to hold the ball up for Gerrard to strike. Once again, having gone 0-1 up, England just sat back and allowed the Belarusians to attack, particularly as England's defensive/midfield line began to go deeper and deeper.
Some 16 minutes later, after a run of 23 very patient passes, Pavel Sitko equalised for the home side from a superb cross by Igor Stasevich... Belarus had exposed England's weaknesses and began to look the far stronger side. The teams went into the break at 1-1.

Fabio Capello must have had some very strong words with the England team because they came out in the second half with some fight in them and sure enough, 5 minutes in and Wayne Rooney sidefooted a goal in after Emile Heskey had managed to whip a low cross in, having muscled his way past two Belarus defenders.
The game stayed at 1-2 until the 74th minute when Wayne Bridge played a ball near the 18 yard area; Rooney dummied it and continued his run, enabling Gerrard to pick him out only for Rooney to take the ball around a defender and fire home.

south africa 2010

It finished 1-3 and once again, England had somehow won unconvincingly, especially as it's the first ever time that they've managed to win their first four qualifying matches.
For more information about the World Cup 2010, please click on the logo above.

Tuesday 14th October 21:36

For some time now, I realised that I've never actually talked about the cameras I own or have owned. The six cameras pictured below are them, some I still own, others have been either sold or passed on. I shall talk about each one in depth soon, so for now, you'll just have to make do with the pictures!
1) Mamiya C3, 2) Canon Megazoom 105, 3) Canon Z135, 4) Minolta Dynax 404si, 5) Sony V1 and finally 6) Sony Alpha A100K.

cameras owned 1
cameras owned 2

Monday 13th October 07:22

On this day, 50 years ago, a certain book written by Michael Bond was first published by William Collins & Sons (now Harper Collins Publishers). At the time, he was working as a cameraman for the BBC although he'd already decided that he wanted to be a writer back in 1945 when he'd sold his first short story to the London Opinion magazine.

After his first book had been accepted, Michael Bond went on to write a whole series about this particular furry character and, although he'd never originally thought of writing for children, his books were that successful that he gave up his job with the BBC in 1967 to become a full-time writer.

paddington bear

Michael Bond was born in Newbury, Berkshire on the 13th January 1926 and is of course world-famous for creating the character from Darkest Peru, named Paddington Bear and the book was called 'A Bear Called Paddington'.

a bear called paddington

Sunday 12th October 15:44

Another beautiful day (what's with the weather at the moment?!) so we decided to head off to an area of Portsmouth that we'd never visited before. Portsmouth is actually on Portsea Island and there are several areas of the island, Southsea being one of them. We had decided to visit the south east side of the island where Milton Common and Eastney can be found. From here you're able to see the South Downs very clearly and look right across Langstone Harbour to Hayling Island.

vantage point

Later on in the afternoon we viewed another film via FilmFlex called Vantage Point. It's a thriller set in Spain about the attempted assassination of an American president. The story is seen from eight different view points, each one unfurling a little more until you're left with the truth.
We were first made aware of the film when Forest Whitaker appeared on 'Friday Night with Jonathan Ross' earlier this year and, going off the trailers, it seemed a film well worth seeing.
Directed by Pete Travis, it stars Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker, William Hurt and has a cameo appearance from Sigourney Weaver.
It's a good film but I wouldn't rave on about it - I guess I was expecting more... please click on the image above to visit the film's website.

Saturday 11th October 07:59

We both woke up quite early for a Saturday morning, and it's just as well we did, for it was one of those mornings where the sun rays were trying to break through an early morning autumn mist.
We headed straight for Emsworth for we knew full well that mist and the sea is a great mix for photography and we weren't disappointed - I shall be adding a couple of images to my website shortly.
From there we then headed to Stansted Park and had a long walk all around the grounds, taking in the fresh morning air and the peace and quiet. We saw several horse riders and that was about it for about an hour or more. Just the kind of morning worth getting up early for and to think that we're almost half way through October is incredible.

Even though we'd be up and about for some considerable time, we both decided (well Tanya did, I just followed suit) to clean out our cars. They both needed a proper valet so it was time for the vacuum cleaner, polish and duster and window cleaner and a good hour or so of hard slog!

wembley stadium

Whilst in the middle of this, I realised I was missing a World Cup qualifying match between England and Kazakhstan that was being played at Wembley Stadium. I missed a good deal of the first half and I have to say that I'm glad I did, England were dreadful with no particular team member playing with any sort of commitment. The passing was dire and England's midfield seemed non-existent... would it really be worthwhile even contemplating watching the second half?

england v kazahkstan

Well, it turned out that it was! It's not often you sit down to watch a football match to see it going into the break as stalemate and then a plethora of goals being scored in the second half... and when I say plethora, I mean plethora!
In the 52nd minute, stand-in skipper Rio Ferdinand headed in a corner from Frank Lampard. Some 12 minutes later, Kazahkstan's defender, Aleksandr Kuchma headed a free-kick into his own net and England finally looked as if they were wanting to win.

A dreadful defensive error from Ashley Cole allowed the visitors to claw one back, courtesy of a very well taken strike by Zhambyl Kukeyev - suddenly England were under the cosh again until Wayne Rooney's header made it 3-1 on 77 minutes. He then went on to add another on 86 minutes and the scoreline just wasn't a true reflection on how badly England had played.
In the dying seconds of the game, Rooney's replacement, Jermain Defoe, rolled a superb side-footed strike into the right hand corner of the net making it a full-time score of 5-1.

Friday 10th October 14:32

I was shocked, no flabbergasted, to find out that anyone who broadcasts a radio within their workplace, whether it be a factory or a taxi needs to obtain a PRS Music Licence, by law.
Now then, I can understand it if someone was holding a major public event and was profiteering from it but come on, in a workplace?! Seriously, I do question some laws but abide by them nevertheless, but I have to say that this one is total bollocks, and how is it going to be policed?

I listen to the radio in my car, and when it's hot, I have my windows open, even though I do have air conditioning. So, the moment I open my window, does this mean I suddenly need to apply for a PRS Music Licence, just in case a member of the public is in the vicinity?
I suppose I could always stick warnings on my bonnet, four doors and hatchback for the general public to 'keep their distance', just in case I do have to open my windows in the fear that I may be 'sent down' for public broadcasting and severe infringement of copyright.

performing right society

The PRS is a non-profit membership organisation which collects licence fees from music users and then distributes it to its members, the writers and publishers of the music, along with affiliated societies worldwide. This fee is taken regardless of whether the music is performed live or broadcast by recorded means, either via television, radio, jukebox or the internet.
For more information, please click on the logo above.

Anyway, I always thought that it was something you automatically joined after you'd asked your partner whether you 'performed right' and when the answer was 'yes', you became a member of the 'Performing Right Society'.
I'll get me coat...

Thursday 9th October 19:00

Whilst watching the very informative 'One Show' tonight, it was announced that the 9th October belongs to none other than National Poetry Day, which marks its fifteenth anniversary this time around. Each year is celebrated with a theme, this year's being 'Work' and it comes with a whole host of events ranging from a poetry marathon in Liverpool, a Purple Poetry Party in Shetland and poetry on film in Cardiff.
Previous themes have been 'Britain' in 2003 (to mark the tenth anniversary of the celebration), 'Food' in 2004, 'The Future' in 2005, 'Identity' in 2006 and last year's theme was 'Dreams'.

national poetry day

Organised by The Poetry Society, the charitable organisation was founded way back in 1909 and their mission is to advance the study, use and enjoyment of poetry. With over 3,000 members worldwide, poetry is becoming popular once more especially through the events, publications and The Poetry Café based in Covent Garden, London that the Poetry Society play an essential part in.
Please click on either of the links to find out more.

the poetry society

Wednesday 8th October 10:30

One word could easily describe today... hangover!
I thought I'd look into the etymology of the word, 'hangover', for it isn't immediately apparent why it has such a name. It's actually a 19th Century expression which describes unfinished business. 'The after-effect of drinking too much' was first attested in 1904, on the notion of something left over from the night before.


On a slightly serious note, I don't condone excessive drinking, (even though the temptation to get hammered can often be an easy one) so I'll put my sensible 40 year old head on now with the link above, regardless of the fact that I'm sure I'll be suffering from hangovers in the future!

We were both responsible enough to book the day off prior to the night out, knowing full well that there would be alcohol involved along the way. We didn't surface until gone 10 but who cares?! Once we'd rehydrated ourselves and started to feel somewhat human again, we went out for a spot of lunch at the Hare and Hounds at Stoughton (becoming quite a regular haunt of ours). We had a lovely lunch sat outside the pub whilst watching the world go by. The weather was glorious and I just cannot believe we're having such weather considering we're a good way into October.

big cat live

Later on in the evening, we caught up with tonight's Big Cat Live on BBC1, a programme that has now entered its 12th year of broadcasting. This is the first time that the whole show has gone live, giving the film crew unprecedented access to Africa's biggest predators and their prey, 24 hours a day. Joining both Simon King and Jonathan Scott at their camp next to the Mara River are two new presenters, journalist Kate Silverton and local Masai guide Jackson Looseyia. It's a fantastic and very informative programme that allows you to see life on Kenya's Masai Mara game reserve from the comfort of your own home.
For more information, please click on the image above.

Tuesday 7th October 23:50

elbow - seldom seen kid

Back in February of this year, Tanya and I watched a group called Elbow perform 'Grounds For Divorce' live on 'Friday Night with Jonathan Ross'. We thought the song and the band brilliant, so much so, we couldn't wait for their new album to be released.
Please click on the cover sleeve if you're interested in purchasing it.

nationwide mercury prize

'Seldom Seen Kid' is not only an amazing album, it's just won the 2008 Mercury Music Prize (click on the logo to see the nominations and previous year's winners) so it made it even better the fact that Tanya's brother had bought us both tickets to go and watch them with him and a mate of his at Portsmouth Guildhall tonight!

courage directors

We were dropped off in Portsmouth and met up with Damien (Tanya's brother) and his mate, Jamie in Wetherspoons, right across from the Guildhall. It didn't take long for me to find out that Courage Directors (click on the pump image to find out more) was one of the real ales being served there and before long, we were enjoying our third pint of it before heading across to the Guildhall.
To find out who's on at The Portsmouth Guildhall, click on the logo below.

the portsmouth guildhall

It wasn't long before Elbow (who incidentally hale from the same town as my Mum) started off their set with the opening number from the 'Seldom Seen Kid' album, 'Starlings'. If the quality of musicianship from the opener was anything to go by, we were in for a real treat.

I've got to say that, even the tracks that they played that were unfamiliar (they've been going for 18 years, with four CDs under their belts) were still superb and obviously when both 'Grounds For Divorce' and 'On A Day Like This', the crowd went wild.
I could go on about how amazing they were but I'm sure you get the picture.
Rather than shouting 'more' for them to do an encore, it was agreed with the band that a rendition of 'Oh I do like to be beside the seaside' would be enough to warrant one... it worked.

After the gig, it was back to the pub for more beer (as well as the pints we'd had whilst in the Guildhall) and then catch the last train home... only we missed it and ended up having to get a taxi and then walk the last mile home, feeling rather merry to say the least!

Monday 6th October 20:11

We use it in cups of tea and coffee, on breakfast cereal, as a cooking ingredient or just drink it straight... yes, milk.
When I was at primary school, we used to be given a free bottle of milk each morning... during winter it was lovely and cool whereas during the summer it had often been in the sun for some considerable time and I used to have to force myself to drink it, it was that disgusting!

Back then, Cravendale didn't exist yet they are now the country's largest milk brand and will be celebrating their tenth birthday this Friday. Apart from the milk being exceptionally tasty, they have been ingeniously clever with their totally whacky adverts featuring a cyclist, a pirate and a cow (a common combination, don't you think?) who will go to any lengths to get their hands on some Cravendale milk.


The whole campaign was developed with the aid of creative directors Ben Walker and Matt Gooden, art director Frank Ginger, copywriter SamHeath and producer Helen Whiteley all from London-based agency, Wieden + Kennedy. Their adverts are based on a cult Belgian animation series, 'Panique Au Village' (A Town Called Panic) and have been directed in the same hilarious way by Pic Pic André via Nexus Productions.
Click the logo to watch the 'Out Of Stock' advert, or click here for the Cravendale website.

Sunday 5th October 15:19

Another miserable day, weather-wise, making it a total wash-out weekend - we hadn't been further than our back garden all weekend!

A plus side to today was the fact that the match between West Ham United v Bolton Wanderers was being televised on Sky Sports 1, kick-off 13:30. I have to say though, I was slightly reluctant to watch it, particularly as Bolton's recent form had been diabolically bad with only one win in six Premier League matches.
Please click on the logo to access the Sky Sports website.

sky sports 1

Bolton started off strong and looked to be creating chances but the whole game swung around and West Ham were given far too much possession. Just as it looked like another match of doom and gloom, Kevin Davies made the most of a goalkeeping error by West Ham's England international, Robert Green. It was a gift of a goal although Davies still had an awful lot of work to do and the distinctly wet weather was causing all kinds of problems on the pitch.
No more than four minutes later, Gary Cahill tapped in his first goal for Bolton after Green was unable to keep hold of a low, skidding left-foot strike by Gretar Steinsson. Unbelievably, Bolton went into the break 2-0 to the good.

west ham utd v bolton wanderers

After the break, Bolton pressed again, wanting to kill the game but West Ham started to play with far more conviction and there was a sense that the game was far from over. Sure enough, in the 68th minute, Carlton Cole headed a shot goalward and had halved the defecit... it was game on.

In the 86th minute however, Matt Taylor fired an amazing 35 yard free-kick into the back of the Hammers' net and ruined any sort of hope that the home team had of retrieving a point. It ended up being Bolton's second league victory at Upton Park since 1964... three years before I was born!

Saturday 4th October 13:56

Imagine my dismay when I fumbled for a packet of Hula Hoops in our multi-pack, only to find that an empty bag had found its way in there during production. This happened a couple of days ago and I still haven't fully recovered from the trauma it caused.

empty hula hoops

As time passed by, I then realised that I may well be in possession of a truly unique article, to the point where it far outweighed even contemplating a win on the EuroMillions £100m jackpot.
Inspired, I have put it up for auction on eBay... click on the packet if you're wanting to make a bid.

Friday 3rd October 15:43

The condition of Tourettes can affect people in many different ways and is often associated with other behaviours, such as Obsessional Compulsive Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder. Coprolalia (involuntary bad language) is the most reknown yet misunderstood feature. Coprograhia (making obscene writings or drawings) is another disorder linked to Tourettes.
These are all neurological conditions, of which there is an unknown origin, and Tourettes in general can affect one child in a hundred and is characterised by tics - these are involuntary and uncontrollable sounds and movements.

tourettes action

The condition starts during childhood and for about half of those, the condition continues into adulthood. Many are able to suppress them for quite some time but eventually they have to let the tics out. These tics wax and wane and can get better and worse over time, depending on anxiety and stress levels.
For more information, please click on the logo above.

Thursday 2nd October 21:35

Tonight saw the second leg of Portsmouth's journey in the UEFA Cup. Having won the FA Cup back in May, it entitled them to a place in Europe, with an away encounter at the Estádio D. Afonso Henriques, home of Portuguese team, Vitória Guimarães.

The first leg had seen Pompey win 2-0 and if they were able to score an away goal tonight, it would have meant that Guimarães would have had to score four to see them through, due to the away goal rule. As it was, Portsmouth started dreadfully and didn't test Guimarães's 'keeper at all, to the point where the opposing team had the majority of possession and ended up 2-0 in front on the stroke of half time.

vitoria v pompey

What were Pompey to do? Harry Redknapp certainly had ideas for they started the second half as a totally revitalised side. They pressed Guimarães all the time, allowing them hardly any movement both on and off the ball and both flanks were actually being used by the likes of Johnson and Traoré pushing forward more and more and delivering some threatening crosses.

The full-time whistle blew and on aggregate, the score was 2-2 which could only mean one thing; extra time, with the possibility of a dreaded penalty shoot-out, to decide the overall winners.
As it turned out, Pompey continued to play with the finesse of the second half and it wasn't long before Johnson delivered a tremendous cross for 6' 7" striker, Peter Crouch to head into the net just before the referee blew to finish the first period of extra time.
Portsmouth continued to pile on the pressure, regardless of the fact that Guimarães now needed to equalise for any hope of staying in the game and nine minutes from the final whistle, Peter Crouch rifled a shot in the top left hand corner of Nilson's net.

Game over. Pompey progressed into the group stages...

Wednesday 1st October 17:25

Sampled the delights of the new Mr Kipling Cake Bites today, to the point where I just had to nip into Morrisons on the way home and buy some. There are three different flavours with 15 individually wrapped 'cakelets' all in a neat little box; Caramel, Strawberry and Vanilla and Lemon.
They are that scrumptious that they deserved a mention on today's blog, please click on the logo (which I ended up redrawing as a vector file) for more information...

mr kipling cake bites


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