THE BLOGGY BIT... This is where I ramble on about nothing in particular, in the hope that something may strike a chord with you, whether it be graphic design, football or real ale.
Saturday 31st January 2009 10:38
We continued with our fitness regime this morning and had a walk around Heath Pond in Petersfield. It's a beautiful area and I'm sure it fits the 'lake' category since it's 22 acres in size. From there we went and did our weekly shop and how I managed to avoid killing many of the shoppers remains a mystery. It was akin to the mania you witness at around Christmas time and as of today, I vowed to never go shopping on a Saturday, for the rest of my life.
Once home, we both spent considerable time looking through photographs that we had taken last month and also updating our websites (actually, Tanya is giving hers a complete overhaul). It's surprising just how much time websites take up, particularly if you have a daily blog, like myself.
Later on I made a pork and leek sausage casserole with some of my favourite vegetables, broccoli, sweet potato and butternut squash. Add some Colman's Sausage Casserole mix and you have a rather tasty concoction.
Back in 1814, Jeremiah Colman's first advert for mustard appeared in the Norwich Chronicle. The famous red and yellow livery was introduced to the label in 1866 and later that same year, the ultimate seal of approval came when the company was granted the Royal Warrant as manufacturers to Queen Victoria and can still be seen on all Colman's products today. In 1903, Colman's purchased a rival mustard manufacturer in 1903 that was originally known as Keen & Son. The 'keen as mustard' strapline was derived from their competitors.
To visit the Colman's website (now owned by Unilever), please click on the logo above.
Friday 30th January 2009 22:20
There are two free font sites that I'd like to share with you, one of them I've known about for almost ten years, the other I stumbled upon today. It seems that both are very similar in content, as are many free font sites, nevertheless you can take a look for yourself.
The first, dafont.com was created by Milan Rodolphe and was launched on October 15th 2000. The fonts are categorised by themes such as serif, sans serif and even TV and movie fonts.
The font used for the dafont logo is 'Elliott Swonger' designed by Pennyzine (Jason Ramirez) - please click on the dafont logo above for a free download and a way to view the rest of the comprehensive site.
The second, FontCubes, claims to have the largest archive of free fonts on the web, with a staggering 9300+ fonts for both Macintosh and Windows, however, apart from going through both sites in their entirety and listing each font, I cannot say whether FontCubes is anything different, nevertheless, I'm prepared to give them a plug, since they're a British-based website!
The font used for the FontCubes logo is 'Coolvetica' designed by Ray Larabie. It's an interpretation of a tightly set distorted Helvetica - to download your free copy of the font, please click on the logo above.
Thursday 29th January 2009 21:00
The fourth episode of one of my favourite programmes on television was on tonight. Remarkably, 'Hustle' (BBC1 Thursday 9pm) is now into its fifth series and originally started with Mickey Stone (Adrian Lester), Danny Blue (Marc Warren), Stacie Monroe (Jaime Murray), Ash Morgan (Robert Glenister), Billy Bond (Ashley Walters) and of course Albert Stroller (Robert Vaughn).
The show, in a nutshell, is a drama/comedy about a team of con artists (Grifters) and everything about the programme is classy, even the slick opening graphics. Created by Tony Jordan, the hour-long programme was first broadcast on 24th February 2004 and is made by Kudos, the same production team that created and popularised the early series of Spooks.
The cast for series five has been jiggled around slightly with exits from Danny Blue, Stacie Monroe and Billy Bond, making way for sister/brother team Emma and Sean Kennedy (Kelly Adams and Matt Di Angelo) and not forgetting Eddie, owner of Eddie's bar, played by Rob Jarvis, who has been present since series one.
I noticed on a forum (mentioning Hustle) that someone had commented about Kelly Adams saying, "I feel a slight crush developing". Yes, I'm with you on that one... 100%!
To view the latest episode via the BBC iPlayer, please click on the logo above.
Wednesday 28th January 2009 20:56
I'm keeping an eye on Bolton's progress against local rivals, Blackburn Rovers. Tonight's Premiership clash is at Ewood Park and at half time, Bolton were leading 0-2 with goals from Matt Taylor and Kevin Davies... let's just hope they can keep hold of the lead.
After some considerable time, I sampled another real ale tonight and it was well worth the wait!
Brewed by Burton-on-Trent-based Marston's Brewery, 'Double Drop' is an absolutely superb ale, very fresh tasting with a full clean malt flavour. The 5% ABV ale is crafted using an almost forgotten 'double dropping' fermentation. During the double dropping process the wort (newly brewed, fermenting beer) is first fermented for a period of time before being 'dropped', under gravity or by other means, into a lower vessel where it continues fermentation.
To find out more about the Derbyshire brewery, please click on the logo above.
Tuesday 27th January 2009 19:54
Trying to complete today's blog before I watch the Premiership tie between Portsmouth v Aston Villa which is being played at Fratton Park tonight. I suspect that Pompey will lose, nevertheless, I shall be backing them all the way.
I needed to locate a few vector-based artworks of flags today and after a relatively simple search, I found hundreds of .SVG (scalable vector graphics) files of virtually every flag you could possibly think of, and on one of the least likely sites that you could think of. Usually, when I search for vector graphics, I use the suffix of either .PDF or .INDD whereas virtually all the graphics contained within the Wikimedia Commons website are .SVG.
Click on the logo below and have a good look around the site - it's absolutely immense and full of incredible information.
It's now half time (didn't manage to complete today's blog) and Pompey are 0-1 down due to a superb strike by Emile Heskey, on his debut for Villa.
Anyway, what I wanted to say earlier was that I had absolutely no idea that every county within England (and probably the UK) has its own flag! I knew that Cornwall had St Piran's Flag, mainly down to the fact that many people in Cornwall fly it plus it's on all of the Ginster's packaging.
I have included both the Lancashire (my home county) and the Hampshire (the county where I now live) flags and if you click on either of them, you'll be able access a comprehensive list of British flags.
Monday 26th January 2009 22:19
Having heard Stephen Fry talking to Jonathan Ross about 'Twitter' on 'Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, I decided to join up and see what it's all about. As yet, I'm a total novice but being able to follow what 'the stars' are doing is something a little different.
Please click on the logo below to find out more about this latest web phenomenon.
If you choose to be sad enough and follow me, you can do so by clicking follow on my Twitter widget (sounds rather rude, don't you think?!)
Sunday 25th January 2009 21:56
Today was a day of rest and the Met Office was absolutely spot on with their weather forecast.
We did very little except for us both going through our large backlog of images from the past month or so. My focus was on making sure I finally sorted out the shots I took in Cornwall so that I could add what I needed to my gallery.
Sitting at your computer for the majority of the day can drive you slightly mad so we made the transition from our computer screens to the television screen and ended up watching a repeat of a programme called 'The Secret Life of Elephants' on BBC1. The last in the stunning three-part series will be shown at 9.00pm on Wednesday.
For more information, please click on the link below.
Later on, we watched a one-off BBC1 drama called 'A Short Stay in Switzerland', based on the true story of a retired doctor, Anne Turner, who chose to take her own life in 2006. She had supranuclear palsy, an incurable degenerative disease and decided to take a lethal dose of barbiturate at Dignitas, a Swiss assisted suicide (euthanasia) group. Julie Walters played the lead role and, as always, totally enveloped herself into the role - an outstanding performance.
The whole programme brought back extremely sad memories of when my Oma (Grandma) spent around ten years continually struggling with Parkinson's Disease, repeatedly asking all my family to take her to a country where she could end it all.
More information about the Parkinson's Disease Society, click on the link above.
I think it's a tragedy that the UK doesn't recognise certain people's needs to want to die with dignity. There are many people, maybe thousands, who have terminal illnesses or degenerative diseases who have the sanity to want to die and should be allowed to. If a much-loved family pet is going through a prolonged painful death, why let it suffer?
Although euthanasia is illegal in this country, there is a website where you're able to join in with helping it be made legal - please click on the link above.
Saturday 24th January 2009 10:38
The Met Office had predicted that over the weekend, Saturday's weather would be the better of the two. With this in mind, Tanya and I decided that we'd make the most of it and go out for a walk. Rather than go to Emsworth, I suggested we had a walk around Staunton Country Park, since we hadn't been there for some considerable time, especially as it's literally on our doorstep.
Once home, decided to watch a DVD that I'd borrowed from a colleague at work, 'Big - Lee Evans, Live at The O2'. It's funny, very funny and it's incredible how he thinks up some of his sketches, for they're way outside of anyone's mindset!
If you want to take my word about how good the DVD is, please click on the sleeve cover above.
Later on, we had sweet and sour pork stir-fry for our evening meal. It's absolutely ages since I last had a stir-fry, even though I love them so much. Pork, egg noodles, water chestnuts and bean sprouts (they are germinated shoots from the mung bean that are left watered with four hours of daylight, spending the rest of the day in darkness). Mix all that with Uncle Ben's Sweet and Sour sauce and it's just delicious.
For more about the Uncle Ben's brand, please click on the logo above.
Friday 23rd January 2009 08:01
It's a while since I talked about a local radio station and there are plenty of them in the area I live. As much as I like the BBC radio stations, I do like a change every now and again and recently I've been tuning in to Wave 105.2 FM.
The station celebrated its 10th year of DAB broadcasting on the 14th June last year and their studio is fully equipped with state-of-the-art technology, specialist computer editing software and an ISDN connection which allows them to link up to studios around the world.
Whilst driving to work, I listen to 'Steve Power at Breakfast' who is an incredibly funny man. The show broadcasts from 05:30-09:00 and includes a 'Six O'Clock Club' where the listeners have a chance to choose their favourite song and have it played. At around 08:25, they then have the 'Universally Challenged' quiz where Selina Ross (Steve's partner in crime) has her knowledge and intellectual skills tested against the newsreader.
It's all great fun and you're able to listen online - please click on the logo to find out more.
Thursday 22nd January 2009 21:44
As a Mac user, VersionTracker has to be one of the most useful (and popular) sites available on the web. Almost ten years ago, founder Kurt Christensen, started posting all the latest updates on a web page each day and began mailing out lists to his friend, unbeknowingly creating the very first 'software update site'.
Since then, Time Magazine named it the best utility web site in their 'Tech Time 50 Best Websites' issue and following that accolade it was then named by the Internet Market Group as being one of the top 30 subscription services on the web.
To see just how fantastic the site is, please click on the logo above (there is a multitude of software available for PC on there as well).
Wednesday 21st January 2009 22:23
I've decided to invent a new word, 'Phoblography'; it means that a photographic site becomes more of a blog than somewhere to showcase your photographic work!
Having said that, I've finally caught up with my backlog of blogs (or should that be a new word also, 'Backblog'?) Anyway, I added a new featured gallery last night, 'Fairy Lights' and it's a gallery made up of abstract, deliberately blurred, shots of some fairy lights that we had up at Christmas.
Please click on any one of the thumbnails to view the whole gallery.
Tuesday 20th January 2009 22:15
We're both fans of Irish group U2, particularly Tanya (she's been lucky enough to see them live, unlike myself who booked tickets to see them at Roundhay Park some years ago - the money was taken, yet the tickets never transpired).
Anyway, Tanya became a member of their mailing list and received an email from them alerting her to the fact that they will be releasing their new album, 'No Line On The Horizon' on the 2nd March and is their first studio recording since 2004. As a matter of interest, the album cover artwork is an image of the sea meeting the sky and is by Japanese artist and photographer, Hiroshi Sugimoto.
The first single to be taken from it is called, 'Get On Your Boots' and is produced by Brian Eno, Danny Lanois and Steve Lillywhite.
To listen to the great new song, please click on the U2 graphic above.
Monday 19th January 2009 08:17
On the way into work today, I was saddened to hear that Tony Hart, an artist who was such a familiar face on children's television, had passed away peacefully in his sleep yesterday, aged 83.
Born in Maidstone, Kent, in 1925 his art training began at the Maidstone College of Art and from there he went on to inspire many children, including myself, by sharing his skills on programmes such as Vision On, Take Hart, Hartbeat and Smart Hart. He graced our screens for 50 years or more and designed the logo for Blue Peter and created the plasticene character, Morph.
He has an astounding life history, some of which was spent in India serving in the 1st Gurkha Rifles between 1943-47. In 1998, he was awarded the Bafta Special Lifetime Achievement Award for educating people, not just children, in the world of art.
More information about the irreplaceable Tony Hart can be found by clicking his famous signature above.
Sunday 18th January 2009 16:05
Regardless of the dreadful weather reports, the day started off beautifully so we decided to go for a walk along the Billy Track in Havant, down to Langstone and then back through Wade Court. During our walk we bumped into a couple from Havant Camera Club and caught up on how the season was going without Tanya and I.
Once we returned, I did some home-baking of a northern recipe that my Mum had handed to me. It's for a cake called 'Parkin' (Peter Kay has mentioned it a couple of times in his stand-up). Traditionally, it's baked specifically for Guy Fawkes' Night but it can obviously be eaten any time of year and its main ingredient is 'Lyle's Black Treacle'.
The founder of the company, Abram Lyle knew the Bible inside out, so much so, he chose a verse from it as his trademark. The exact reason why he chose 'out of the strong came forth sweetness' isn't entirely known, for it may have reference to Golden Syrup having a similarity to honey and the strength came from the Syrup or it may have even been Abram regarding himself as the symbol of strength.
For more information about Abram Lyle & Sons, please click on the logo above.
Later on in the day, we both sat down to watch the Premiership clash between two teams with very recent history, Tottenham Hotspur versus Portsmouth. Luckily, for Spurs, there didn't appear to be that many travelling fans to Whitehart Lane, I suspect the majority of them will wait until next season to vent their feelings towards Harry Redknapp (on the premise that both teams will survive this season in the Premiership).
The match was end to end stuff and was incredibly entertaining to watch. Pompey took the lead in the 59th minute with David Nugent opening up his scoring in top-flight football, albeit a fortuitous deflection off Spurs defender, Gareth Bale. Some 11 minutes later, Jermain Defoe, scored his first goal since returning from Portsmouth back to Spurs and that's how the game finished, 1-1.
Saturday 17th January 2009 15:51
Received a 'phone call from one of our good friends on the PhotoPortal site, Peter, asking if we'd be interested in meeting up with him and a fellow member of Havant Camera Club, Nigel at Chichester Camera Club's Photographic Exhibition. It was being held at The Village Hall in North Mundham, not too far away from us. It was a good way of getting out of the house, particularly as we'd both spent the morning tidying up (I hadn't realised just how much space there was around my computer area!)
Chichester Camera Club is possibly one of the best clubs within the country and membership is that sought after, they actually have a waiting list (unless you're deemed as exceptional and then you're straight in). I want to point out that I'd class myself as an above average photographer and would undoubtedly struggle competing against CCC's members but for a club with such acclaim, I was very disappointed with the majority of work on display, if I have to be honest; there was little in the way of imagination unless you class expensive mounts as a way of making average images look good.
For more information about Chichester Camera Club, please click on the logo above.
Later on in the day, I thoroughly enjoyed another real ale from Kentish Brewers, Shepherd Neame. They are definitely one of my favourite breweries, virtually every ale I've tasted, except for 'Spitfire' have been second to none. Tonight I tried '1698' for the first time and it was superb. The ale is made using nothing but local hops and malted barley along with water from their very own artesian well.
To visit the Shepherd Neame website, click on the logo above.
Friday 16th January 2009 19:34
After a busy week at work it was great to know that we had a nice relaxing weekend ahead of us and whilst watching a whole host of good television programmes tonight, an advert was shown during one of the commercial breaks.
It starts with a black screen with the words, 'Liverpool Street Station 11:00am 15th January 2009' and then it shows an aerial view of what appears to be everyday people going about their business in the station based in London. Suddenly, Lulu's 'Shout' starts playing loudly through the station's speakers and a handful of people start dancing... just watch it for yourself, it's incredible.
For a feel good feeling, click on the T-Mobile logo to see the amazing advert.
Thursday 15th January 2009 09:19
Osram lamps, lighting systems and lightbulbs have been in business for over 100 years since starting the business in Munich in 1906. The company is one of the two largest lighting manufacturers in the world and light from their products shine in about 150 countries. Sales outside of Germany accounted for an 88% of total turnover and with a sales presence on every continent means they employ more than 43,500 people throughout the world.
Some years before World War II, the British maker of Osram bulbs planned to break into the Polish market. The whole marketing strategy was complete, including all the advertising artwork. The final piece of the jigsaw was to hire some Polish-speaking personnel only to find that the Polish translation of 'Osram' was 'to take a shit'. They chose to stay out of Poland.
You now know why I chose today's blog topic... for more information about lightbulbs (or taking a shit), please click on the logo above.
Wednesday 14th January 2009 12:07
You can't knock Google, even when it throws up something that has a slight relevance to what you were searching for, today being no exception.
I needed to find a good quality image of a hard hat so that I could finish off an artwork visual I was working on and lo and behold, the first page of images included a very sexy woman wearing little but a hard hat. Nice.
Please click on the logo below if you dare...
Tuesday 13th January 2009 10:19
For those of you who know me, you're aware of the fact that I love the English language and the words within it. Whilst at work today, I needed to come up with a brand name that suited a particular limited edition Montague bike, aimed at the urban upper-class market.
One of the best online Thesaurus' has to be the one provided by Ask.com. On top of this, they also provide an extensive dictionary and reference area, as well as a new translation service. When Ask.com was first launched it was solely used as a search engine but since then they've added all these other strings to their bow. Look out for the 'Word of the Day' whilst you're there!
Click on the graphic above for more information.
Monday 12th January 2009 22:00
Tonight, we watched one of those programmes on television where curiosity gets the better of you. We'd already seen trailers of it and our morbid fascination meant that we endured an hour of its broadcast.
The Channel 4 series, 'Bodyshock' televised their latest episode, 'Half Ton Son', a story about nineteen year old Billy Robbins, a Texan who is reported to be the world's heaviest teenager, weighing a staggering 60 stone.
Apart from being able to shuffle himself to the toilet, the teenager has spent the last three years of his life living on a chair, consuming in the region of 8000 calories a day, fed to him by his doting mother. He had been warned by his doctor that his health and the strain being subjected on his heart may well mean that he probably wouldn't live into his twenties.
Now then, up until he became almost immobile, I'd say that his health was largely his fault, and I have little or no time for people who become that size, especially when they start feeling sorry for themselves and try and blame their condition on everything but themselves. I hold my hands up and accept that there are people out there whose metabolism can cause weight gain but it doesn't take a scientist to work out that eating copious amounts of shite means weight gain.
The culprit in this programme was his mother, what a stupid fucking idiot she was. I accept that she had a traumatic experience losing her first son at eighteen months old but come on, what the hell was she doing to her son that was alive?! I tell you what, she was killing him and didn't have enough brain cells to realise. How was she ever allowed to procreate? People like her make my blood boil and it was reassuring to find out at the end of the programme that both her and her son were undergoing enforced separation.
Please click on the graphic above to find out more...
Sunday 11th January 2009 10:54
It was another lovely morning, much warmer than yesterday, so we decided to go to Emsworth for a walk and I was under the impression that the Mill Pond would no longer be the South's biggest ice rink... how wrong I was. The downside to this was that we'd both opted against taking our cameras. Ah well, at least we witnessed (and captured) it all yesterday. It seems that the Mill Pond freezing over is a very rare occurrence, we heard one woman stating that she could only remember it happening once in her lifetime.
From there, we nipped into Heidi's Swiss Patisserie and bought our lunch, along with two maple and roasted pecan danish pastries which are unbelievably delicious.
Later on in the day I drank the very last of my real ales, 'Old Knucker' from the Arundel Brewery, based in Arundel, West Sussex. This was an exceptional real ale; very dark with a prominent malty taste which develops into a bitter-sweet coffee taste. One of the best ales around, if you like your dark ales that is. This classic English old ale is the third bottled beer from the brewery and its name derives from the Sussex legend of 'Knucker' the dragon, who was reputed to live in a dark pool near lonely Lyminster church.
For more information about Arundel Brewery, please click on the beer label above.
Saturday 10th January 2009 07:17
We were honoured with an incredible morning of weather - Hoar frost and freezing fog, an ideal combination for photography. I suggested driving to Butser Hill for the last couple or mornings had been quite stunning on my way into work.
Somehow, probably due to our gasps of excitement, we missed the turn-off and ended up doubling back on ourselves which wasn't a bad thing. We drove back through Buriton and headed towards Chalton before carrying on to Butser Hill.
The 'views', distinctly altered by the fog, were unbelievable and we spent some considerable time up there before we had even though about our return home.
Once I find some valuable time, I shall create a gallery of the shots from this morning (along with the Christmas Lights one and sort through my Cornwall images!)
For now though, please click on one of the images I took in order to watch a short video I took whilst walking around Butser Hill.
The fun continued into the afternoon because as we parked up in Emsworth, I was convinced I'd seen someone skating on the Mill Pond. My eyes weren't deceiving me, not only were there people skating, there were a good few people just walking around on it and one gentleman was actually cycling on it! After much deliberation, both Tanya and I decided to climb down the pond's walls and join in with the fun.
It looks like I'll be able to compile a featured gallery of today's events, so for the moment I'll include one of the many shots I took whilst there.
Out of the real ales that I'd talked about yesterday, I tried three of them, 'Heart of Oak', 'Hop A Doodle Doo' and 'Nyewood Gold'. I have to say, since sampling a real ale in Lancaster called 'Big Ben' back in the mid-nineties, it's the first time that I've been disappointed with a real ale - not just one either. 'Hop A Doodle Doo' and 'Nyewood Gold' both tasted quite pleasant, it's just that both had an awful lot of sediment in them, to the point where I really did find it off-putting seeing bits floating around in them. Having said all of that, 'Heart of Oak' by The Oakloeaf Brewing Co Ltd, based in Gosport, was absolutely superb.
For more information about the brewery, please click on their logo below.
Friday 9th January 2009 21:00
The first week back to work after Christmas is always a strange one - for one it seems to fly by (once Monday is over!) and yet it leaves you with the feeling that Christmas and the much-needed break never actually happened!
Anyway, for fear of my real ale stock running out tonight, I ended up buying some more from 'The Local', part of the Thresher Group franchise. As luck would have it, the bloke behind the counter had tried several of the real ales, including a stock from local breweries so I chose 'Nyewood Gold' from Ballard's Brewery, based just outside of Petersfield, 'Old Knucker' from Arundel Brewery, based in Arundel, 'Heart of Oak' from The Oakleaf Brewing Co Ltd, based in Gosport and finally 'Hop A Doodle Doo' from Stumpy's Brewery, based in Fareham - More about these soon.
For more information about 'The Local', please click on the link above.
The first of the new series of QI (Quite Interesting) which has now moved over from BBC2 to BBC1, started tonight (at last, it will receive the recognition it so rightly deserves). The show, hosted by Stephen Fry (genius) is now in its sixth 'F' series (the previous ones being A, B, C D and E). Originally launched in September 2003 with the preview episodes achieving over 700,000 viewers whereas the last series peaked at 4.8 million. The programme is owned by Quite Interesting Limited and are organised around a set of attitudes covering curiosity, discover and humour.
Please click on the logo to find out about the television programme.
Thursday 8th January 2009 10:50
Whilst at work today, I was desperately trying to find a font that could be used on PC (Windows that is, for PC users seem to be ignorant to the fact that Macs are PCs!) The font is actually an Apple font called Apple Chancery (horrible script font) and I couldn't locate a PC version for love nor money.
During my hunt, I did stumble upon several threads where people (like me) were desperate to know if one existed or not - this particular website interested me because I liked both the logo and use of colours however, using a manually condensed version of Arial Bold isn't cool.
Check it out by clicking on the logo above.
Wednesday 7th January 2009 12:16
We all had something for dessert tonight that we've not had in absolutely ages, jelly! There's something about it where you're able to eat it regardless of how ill or hungry you might be. It's a feel-good dessert, plus it's a lot of fun making it!
You can't beat Hartley's Jelly, not only that, I bought all but two of the delicious flavours, just because I class Tangerine as being an outsider, it just doesn't belong with Strawberry, Raspberry, Blackcurrant, Orange, Lemon and Lime. Call me Tangerinist, but it just doesn't belong. The other flavour, Pineapple, wasn't on the shelf but I'd have classed that as a non-belonger as well.
Just a brief history about Hartley's... the company was originally founded in Lancashire by William Pickles Hartley but started out as a grocers. One particular day, a consignment of jam wasn't delivered, so he ended up making his own and by the turn of the century, Hartley's began producing jellies.
For more information about Harley's Jelly, please click on the logo above or click here to view a PDF of the logo.
Tuesday 6th January 2009 11:20
I received an email today, asking if I was interested in promoting my website/business in a colour supplement that spans across seven broadsheet newspapers. This particular sales pitch was for a full colour advert in The Mail on Sunday Live Magazine, for less than half the normal rate card price... only £442.00.
Now then, I'm not entirely sure how she found my website, nor am I certain about what gave her the impression that I'd even give a second thought to parting with such money, either way, I was flattered with Web Windows' offer but had to decline.
Feel free to click on the logo below to find out more about Web Windows' offers.
Another advert that seems to be monopolising our screens is 'Change 4 Life', a government-ran campaign via the NHS. They're targeting families with children into becoming more active and eating more healthily. The advert shows how Man first used to hunt and gather and was constantly active to buying food that is already prepared, thus losing out on regular exercise. The government want families to eat healthier food and move about more to avoid life-threatening diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Click on the logo below to visit the Change 4 Life website and possibly join in.
Monday 5th January 2009 09:59
Whilst at work today, I was told about a couple who originally lived in Hampshire where they set up their own walking website, walkingworld.com. The website includes many walks within the British Isles and they encourage their members to submit their walks for others to go on.
It's not like any other walkers website because they issue detailed PDF pamphlets, including photographs along their routes so there's less likelihood of taking a wrong turn. The website provides some free ones so that you become accustomed as to how they work. If you're interested, you can pay an annual subscription of £17.45 which gives you unlimited access to over 4000 different routes, contributed by more than 300 walkers.
Please click on the logo below to find out more.
Another shocking report about yet another large company going into administration was on the news tonight, this time it was tableware firm, Wedgwood. The founder, Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795), is remembered as 'the Father of English Potters' and served his apprenticeship as a potter before setting up his own business in 1759.
To find out more about the historic company, please click on the logo below.
Sunday 4th January 2009 23:05
We both spent the day glued to our computers and apart from having a bottle of Adnams 'Broadside' and watching 'Porky's', I did little else. Most of my day was taken up with trying to catch up with my blog, particularly as we'd been away for a few days.
Anyway, Adnams 'Broadside' is a very dark ruby red strong ale, 6.3% ABV to be precise. Only one hop is used in this beer, called First Gold, and gives the ale a distinct orange and fruitcake flavours and is best savoured with strong cheddar. A fantastic pint.
Jonathan Adnams, chairman of Adnams has recently been awarded the OBE in the Queen's New Year Honours List. He became chairman in 2006, having been a member of the board since 1988. Adnams has been brewing beer in Southwold, Suffolk, since 1872 and last year they launched the UK's first carbon neutral beer, called East Green.
For more information about Adnams, please click on the logo above.
Directed in 1982 by Bob Clark, 'Porky's' is all about a group of Florida high school students, with the main stars of the film being Dan Monahan, Mark Herrier, Wyatt Knight and Roger Wilson (a very young Kim Cattrall is also part of the cast). It's set in 1954 and is based on all of them wanting to lose their virginity, to the point where they travel out of town to 'Porky's' bar where, rumour has it, if they pay the owner, Porky, they can hire a prostitute. They end up paying their money and are humiliated in the process.
More about the film can be found by clicking on the movie poster above.
Saturday 3rd January 2009 17:38
Our last weekend before going back to work. We had planned to go out somewhere, yet it never came about. Once it was heading towards being late afternoon, we chose to sit down and watch a film that I'd wanted to see for some time called 'Journey to the Center of the Earth'. Apologies for the Americanisation of the word centre, it's just how it's been spelt, plus it gives kids at school an opportunity to spell yet another word incorrectly. I don't know, we gave you a language and you just had to make it your own... American English, my arse. Misspelt English would be more appropriate.
Anyway, the film stars Brendan Fraser (cool), Anita Briem (hot) and Josh Hutcherson (kid). It's over-the-top throughout and has a good few moments of comedy that probably weren't included in Jules Verne's original book. 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth' was originally written in 1864 by French author, Verne, who pioneered the genre of science fiction.
Please click on the movie poster above for more information about the film.
Later, I drove to Whistlers Fish and Chip shop in Westbourne to order and pick up our evening meal (this will gain a NLNL certificate from me: Nice logo, no link). I enjoyed two more real ales with it, 'T.E.A.' from Hog's Back Brewery and 'Lancaster Bomber' from Thwaites Brewery, the first one was very enjoyable, the second was exceptional.
Based in Tongham, Surrey, Hog's Back Brewery made their first ten barrels back in 1992 and now brew over 140 barrels a week. 'T.E.A.' or Traditional English Ale is the flagship ale of the brewery. Quite a malty ale and, if drinking from a bottle, be careful to not disturb the sediment at the bottom for it's a little like finding tea leaves in the bottom of your cup!
Please click on the bottle label above for more information.
Daniel Thwaites Brewery has been producing fine ales for a good deal longer, starting in Blackburn in the north west back in 1807. In 2007, they celebrated 200 years of brewing excellence and are one of the UK's top ten brewers. They are also a major sponsor of sport and invest over £1m per year and 'Lancaster Bomber' is the official club sponsor at Lancashire County Cricket. The 4.4% ABV chestnut-coloured ale was first brewed in 2002 and leaves a very warming, full-flavoured taste to the point where it's incredibly moreish.
To find out more about Thwaites Brewery, please click on the Lancaster Bomber beer label.
Friday 2nd January 2009 14:19
Had a bit of a clear-out today, we took all the decorations down and I began to cut the Christmas tree down into manageable pieces and bag them up, ready for a trip to the tip. There were a number of other bags and bits of waste that we were happy to part with, so it was a much-needed errand!
Later on, Tanya and Abbi headed off to Chichester, so I decided to treat myself to a trip to Emsworth, in the hunt for some new real ales to sample. There was one with a rather interesting name in Co-op the other day but, rather than be faced with a limited supply, I chose to go to Threshers, particularly as I'd never even set foot in the place before, despite visiting Emsworth so frequently. Anyway, as luck would have it, there was an offer of four real ales for £5 - bargain.
To visit the Thresher Group website, please click on the logo above.
The beer I opted to drink was 'Old Hooky' by Oxfordshire-based Hook Norton Brewery and it was a very full-bodied ale, particularly as it was a low 4.6% ABV. It was also quite fruity in taste and is recommended as a meat dish accompaniment.
Click on the image above for further information about the Hook Norton Brewery.
Whilst watching television this evening, I saw the new PG Tips advert starring Monkey and Al (Johnny Vegas) - it's based on an old sketch by Morecambe and Wise where they're in a kitchen preparing breakfast.
The advert is brilliant, please click on the PG Tips logo to watch it.
Thursday 1st January 2009 15:33
So, 'another year over and a new one just begun', as Lennon once sang. All the festive hype and everything was all over leaving you feeling rather deflated and a little down.
Early in the morning we had our annual New Year's Day walk around the Mill Pond at Emsworth and stopped off at Flintstones Tea Rooms for a hot chocolate along with apple pie and cream.
Once home, we did very little except enjoy a gammon joint roast dinner with all the trimmings.
Later on, we sat down and watched 'Mama Mia!', what most blokes would describe as a 'chick flick' movie, and I have to agree. For the first half an hour or so, the female humour was beginning to really annoy me, mainly because I just wasn't finding it funny apart from the odd quip from Julie Walters.
On the plus side, I like ABBA's songs a lot (I do, I do, I do), even if they aren't sang particularly well (the film is made from the musical of the same name, just in case you didn't know). Once the men made their arrival and added their humour, my feelings changed about it and I actually started to enjoy it a lot. I agree about it being a 'feel good' film; no 10/10 but enjoyable nonetheless.
For more information, please click on the movie poster above.