Sunday, October 28, 2007

All things must pass

I have an announcement to make. This is the last post at Shades of Grey here at

What? I hear you cry, has the old fool thrown in the blogging towel?

Not at all. As one door closes, another opens. I'd like to introduce the new, improved, Shades of Grey hosted at its own domain using Wordpress.

I'm still getting the hang of it in my new home but I've managed to import the old Shades and Morleygate posts more-or-less complete. (What we IT people describe as a Partial Success).

Thank you for reading. Please update your hyper linky thingys to for your further enjoyment.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

My Boomerang won't come back

Ozzie Scot Colin Cambell says they are going to race Camels down under. He also comments that the impact of horse flu is still being felt.

As well as exporting an Arabian Derby there, how about importing an Australian Derby here? You could race Wallabys, the prizes could be soft cuddly Koala toys and the stall holders could all dress like Crocodile Dundee and wear Bush hats with corks on strings.

Elton Games could give us another opportunity to hear the "popular theme of the popular theme..."

We're racing on the Australian Derby, it's here so play it now.
Roll the balls to get the scores,
Ride the winner the prize is yours,
We're racing on the Australian Derby, it's here so play it now.

In the meantime, more snaps of the Blackpool version:

Friday, October 26, 2007

Alone again... (un)naturally

The house is strangely quiet. Karen and David have gone off to Chessington World of Adventures, (which is in halloween season) with an overnight stay tonight and tomorrow. I was tempted to join them, but I really need to get my teeth into the Accounts for the Mercia Cinema Society which close on the 31st and need to be audited by the 1st of December.

So, thirty six hours to do whatever I want. I can leave dirty dishes in the sink,eat Spam Fritters, wander round in my underpants, play the music I want suitably loud. No-one to complain, except the Guinea Pig (& maybe the neighbours for a couple of these activities). I've failed miserably on the first one, I've had the Spam Fritters now.

I was going to link in to Gilbert O'Sullivan singing "Alone again, naturally", then I remembered that I have done that before, HERE.

Instead- here is a tenuous link. I have a Halloween Album from Andrew Gold (available on Amazon) who also performed with Graham Gouldman as Wax.

This is a fine video.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A couple of postscripts:

I went into the tyre slashing garage again today, as I pulled up a large angry beeping noise started. After a short while, the cashier pressed a button- and the traffic lights next to all of the stinger systems went off. It must have off days...

The story of the Duchess and the slightly offensive labyrinth:

"Visitors, you have seen everything.
We thank you.
Now happily piss off".

The Duchess originally wanted it to say "Now happily fuck off" (well, this is implied in the book as in "even stronger language") but she was talked out of it.

She got an eminent Latin teacher to translate (who wished to remain nameless and ergo blameless).

And another Blackpool snippet:

The Arabian Derby Camels are an Institution at the Plesh.

Apparently visiting Arabs keep the stall concession operators in suitable headgear.

These machines are made by a Company called Elton Games of Southport. You can hear the Arabian Derby jingle here (MP3).

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Hat tip: Devil's Kitchen (& lots of Blogpower regulars)

(* as people with a strong sense of irony (or sometimes stupidity) used to chant to Garry Glitter before he was "Forgotten but not gone"...)

Celebrity Heretic

I blogged about meeting my first celebrity a few months back as a Young Scientist.

He has a good piece on Times Online with a blast of climate change healthy scepticism. I have to say that I pay more attention to a hairy scientist like David B than a politician like (say) Al G.

You can read his piece here. Check out the comments as well.

(Image attribution: Wikipedia Commons)

Everything reminds me of something

This is a great book. Ian Clayton was in the Morley Literature Festival and is a well known "professional Yorkshireman", a term he resents. The book is about the music of his life and it all gets brought back to his own home in Featherstone, a mining village in the Wakefield/Pontefract/Doncaster triangle. Rather than attempt to review it here, I'll link to a better one on the Beeb here.

The show consisted of readings from his book interspersed with a few stories and music. He featured a blues band put together from a selection of musicians he was friendly with and also a banjo player who was also a Publican. Ian Clayton even sang in the last song, pictured here.

We got him to dedicate a copy to David after the event and he suggested we don't let him read it for a few years yet! More reviews and how to buy on Amazon.

His book suggests an eclectic list of his top 40 recommended Albums and I've found it online on the Grauniad here.

Through a process of random connected thought and erratic surfing after reading his book I have now found out that the well known Dexy's Midnight Runners song Jackie Wilson said (I'm in heaven when you smile) was written by Van the Man. (I also now know who Jackie Wilson is as well). That reminded me of the first time I saw this episode of Top of the Pops (aired in 1982 but I was abroad at the time) and laughed like a drain when I got the in-joke. (Watch the vid below without clicking the in-joke link to see if you can get it if you don't remember it).

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Remember you're a Womble

I found out at work that someone else is a blogger today. I was wandering past his desk at lunchtime and was several paces further on when the hindbrain prodded me and whispered Blogger posting template in my ear. Womble is pseudonymous (or at least he was until I caught him today!) and has been posting for three months. He described his style as controversial but I felt that the posts I have read so far are all in my comfort zone. He doesn't have much of a readership yet but I think that could change. He blogs because he loves to write and I have seen his comments before on Iain Dale's Diary.

I love my country but I hate its government. I love freedom and I hate those who restrict it. I love AFC Wimbledon and I utterly hate the franchise. What I want from my government is far less of it, and the chance for personal freedom and responsbility (sic) to take flight again. This blog will talk about many things, but one of its common themes will be a fervent desire for the State to get off the backs of the English people.

Womble on Tour is well worth a look, he makes the Shades List and he could be worthy of the Blogpower one if he keeps it up.

Give my compliments to the Chef

I've just finished reading a book which starts (and finishes) with the words: Everything reminds me of something. This is a great blogging metaphor- if you sit and rack your brains for something to write about you can sometimes struggle. But if you just let the muse take you, something will set the mind off on a flight of fancy.

Sometimes the results are equivalent to a First Class journey on Singapore Airlines, other times the substitute bus rail replacement service from Bolton to Chorley.

Today's mental meandering was inspired by Terry Wogan who was on Radio 4's A Good Read this evening (click for listen again, although it may still be playing last week's programme or be long gone if this is an old post). Talking about Chefs, Terry described the type of person who becomes a senior chef as "madder than a box of biscuits", an odd metaphor, with no Google hits (yet).

This got me thinking of Chefs I knew moderately well and I could only dredge up two. The first was in a posh Restaurant/Hotel in Jesmond Dene, back in the mid 70s. My friend Keith had a casual job there dishwashing and I helped him out on a few occasions. Our dish washing station was in a corridor between the restaurant (which was in an old country house) and the actual kitchen so we could hear all of the chatter, shouting and tantrums. It was silver service and the serving platters came back with encrusted piped mash scorched onto the edges. We weren't supposed to put the cutlery through the dish washer because it wore out the silver plating but we did when there was nobody looking! For amusement, we used to throw carrots through the window Vent Axia fan and watch them come out the other side, sliced. (They were uneaten cooked ones, not raw!) The head chef was fairly young and used to be friendly but mischievous. He once said we could eat what we wanted and when we suggested chips he said "fine, get on with it". After we had peeled, chipped and fried a number of spuds he pointed out the buckets of ready peeled ones in water! He give us a lift home in the early hours and used to enjoy floorboarding the car, going round roundabouts the wrong way, squealing the wheels, going through red lights and so on. However, he did it very carefully as safely as possible, being fully aware of the road conditions. (This was in contrast to Keith who used to enjoy handbrake turns and got endorsements on his (not even issued) license when he was still fifteen!)

The second Chef was in complete contrast. He was called Colin, a bit of a miserable git and he worked in the Slough Golden Egg so production line worker might be a more apt job description. He was married to an equally curmudgeonly girl called Anne and they lived in Maidenhead. I met them at Maidenhead Eighteen Plus and it was the antitheses of the fun that 18+ was supposed to be. Aligned with another couple, they were caustic cold water to any fresh idea and took pleasure in upsetting others. They had an accidental catchphrase that we used to mock them mercilessly with behind their backs:

"What's the point of having kids if they're gonna get blown up?"

Of course, we all know and love a genuinely whacky fruitloop Chef but he is just a comic creation of Jim Henson. For your enjoyment, I give you (possibly Tom) the Swedish Chef.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Is the treaty/constitution anything to get bothered about?

I'm rather puzzled. Some people are telling me the Lisbon constitution treaty means the end of Britain as we know it, whilst others (including the Prime Minister) say it is nothing at all to worry about. It isn't entirely even on partisan lines; a large article in the Mail on Sunday denouncing it as a severe loss of sovereignty was written by a Labour MP and the all party European Scrutiny Committee say it is "substantially equivalent" to the Constitution we were promised a referendum on. Then again, we get Bob Piper laying in to Thunderdragon saying it cedes very little, whilst others say this will be the last treaty because it gives Brussels the power to amend it without ratification.

Some people are being economical with the truth here, but which ones?

If only we could be bothered to actually make the effort to read and understand it, along with all of the previous ones. A few do, but tend to cherry-pick the bits they want to comment on through rose (or steel) coloured specs. The rampantly Europhile (scornfully known as Federasts by Europhobes) appear to think that lack of sovereignty is a reasonable (nay welcome) price to pay and avert their gaze when the difficult issues of waste, corruption, patronage and cronyism repeatedly bob to the surface. Conversely, the rabid Europhobes often seem to hark back to some imaginary golden age when the sun never set on the British Empire.

I'm somewhere in the middle. I'm a Eurosceptic and think that on balance, we would probably be better off out- I was too young to vote in 1975 (just) and see no evidence whatsoever that the EU sees any benefits in small government. We pay lots of money to the behemoth and whilst we get lots of it back, it isn't for things we would necessarily want to fund from general taxation. Have you noticed that it is much easier to spend other people's money (badly) with impunity when there are more than two degrees of separation?

Last week's course of events certainly seemed to follow the course suggested by Civitas, in what they called The Illusionary EU Battle.

One thing is certain: this is...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The old and the new

David's favourite Blackpool attraction is the Noah's Ark, which can best be described as a walk-through fun house. My first Noah's Ark was in Battersea Gardens back in 1969 and it was fascinating, if somewhat run down. I then visited the Blackpool one a year later and found out what lots of the inside stuff was actually meant to do as it was in good order.

These wooden circular stepping stones wobble, and Karen avoids them by shuffling along the ledge to the left.
The original Blackpool Noah's Ark was a much bigger structure, although the majority of the innards were gutted in order to make a large ticket hall. Blackpool took care, however, to replace some of the more famous elements (if somewhat scaled down) such as the wobbly floors, cakewalk and air jets. (You can see a good history of Ark rides here and another feature here).

Nowadays, you enter the ride round the back, go up an outside staircase, over a wobbly bridge and across the roof of the rock structure towards the entrance ramp, navigating the stepping stones. You enter the rocking boat at the upper deck level and enter the cabin, weaving through narrow corridors and past a cow that salutes you with its tail. (There used to be metal strips on the handrail here that zapped you if you touched them). You circle the deck and go down a steep (rocking) staircase to the lower level.

Here you weave through even narrower passages, past a table that appears to go up and down whilst the boat rocks. There is also a large Ark model, a rocking horse pig and the equivalent of a kaleidoscope with this sign outside. I can also recall there used to be a spoof weighing machine (the sort with the large upright dial) which was made from a sand bag and would clout you on the head if you pulled a handle. There is another even steeper staircase to negotiate (which doesn't move but the upper walls do as it is in the exact centre of the boat) and then you are in the lower level weaving through corridors complete with wobbly floors, spongy floors, air jets and the like. (It is fairly gloomy down here and not to be rushed).
After an apparently endless corridor you enter a room with no surface actually horizontal or vertical. There is a contraption here made to look as though water can run uphill but I have not seen it work for years. After climbing the bouncing stairs you return to the roof level briefly before going back down into the cellar bit for spinning floors, collapsing floors, cakewalks, airjets and finally the exit.

There was another Noah's Ark in Morecambe until 1999 which was also ran by the Thompson Family (who own Blackpool Pleasure Beach and also a park in Southport until a couple of years ago, it had an Ark but never seen by me). This ark was similar to Blackpool and still had a couple of the original fittings in-situ, including a visible quarter of a turntable behind bars where animals hurried past.

Another old ride that has been spruced up is the Derby Racer. The huge platform thunders round (anti-clockwise, in American Carousel tradition) and the fifty or so horses bob up and down, four abreast. They also used to slowly canter back and forth within the confines of their long slot, now sadly disabled and the slot boarded over. An old style fairground Organ accompanies the gallop and you really need to hold on if you are on an outside horse.

From the old to the new- the newest ride is called Infusion and is a large steel suspended coaster, the sort that your feet dangle from. An added special feature is that the ride is totally above the lake, with lots of decorative fountains squirting near the riders. The queues were a bit too big to wait with two small boys in tow, so we stuck to things where the wait was moderate. (The ride has the blue track, the red track is the Pepsi Max Big One).

We didn't feel too hard done by though, we had ridden it before when it used to be at Southport and called the TraumaTIZER.

In a continent (not very) far, far away

I have a guest post over at Andrew Allison's Blog.

His is a political blog and I'm not massively political but I heard about a European Union cartoon Super Hero that was worthy of mention for the political overtones. Click on the link above to read more.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Wobbly stairs and sticky faces

We have been at Blackpool today for a birthday treat. I'm sure that when the Dentist said we needed to floss more this wasn't what she meant!

Every time I go in Noah's Ark, I expect to see more of the dead hand of the safety 'elf at work. In practice, it is often more a case of things packing in there and getting abandoned.

This bouncing staircase is great fun and long may it continue to pass the risk assessment.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Probably the best bedding on earth...

Our Guinea-Pig sitter advised us that wood shavings are not ideal for putting in small animal cages, even though it may be dust extracted, it can still make them cough. Instead, she suggested something called Megazorb, which is a type of horse bedding. Once a month or so, I take a trip over to an equestrian supplier in Cleckheaton to buy a sack. (There is a place in Morley but they have to order it in, the other one always has a pallet full).

Last time I was there, whilst I waited patiently in a large queue I noticed a leaflet extolling the virtues of Megazorb. It is a by-product of the pulp industry and a Company called Northern Crop Driers make it by high temperature kiln drying followed by a double dust extraction. It is five times more absorbent than straw, 2.5 times more bio-degradable than paper and only has half the waste volume of shavings.

The leaflet even tells you the best way to manage stable husbandry. I boggled at step two, the sacks are large and heavy, eight of them would be a chore!

# Start with a completely clean stable
# Place 8 or more bags of MEGAZORB in the stable (12ft x 10ft). Use less for rubber matting.
# During the first week add a further bag of MEGAZORB
# Every week thereafter add half to one bag of MEGAZORB
# Be prepared to remove solids daily (easily done using a shavings fork).
# Be prepared to remove very wet patches whilst leaving the base of the rest of the bed untouched. If needs be, replace the removed wet material with fresh MEGAZORB.

Megazorb appears to be a side-line for the York based Company, they also make three other grass based products, Graze-on, Graze-on gold blend and Grass Nuts.

One of their suppliers has registered the Megazorb domain and even has photos of how it is made.

Gizmo doesn't care about the process but appears to be a happy user. Happy pets mean happy owners.

Gizmo with David. Gizmo is the one on the left...

Footnote: When the sack is getting low, one of us says "We need some more Absorbaloff", a Dr. Who/Peter Kay reference.


I received an unsolicited email this morning telling me that my blog is a Googlewhack. I contrived to make it one once before but this is genuine and discovered by someone else.

I'm the only website in the world with an onomatapapaeic carpet.

Check it is still the case here

(It won't last for long- I'm trying out Wordpress and have imported my blog over there so Google will pick that up in due course.)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Two faced

Last week, I noticed that the Morley Town Hall clock was ten minutes fast. At the weekend, I heard it chiming correctly from inside and noticed that time was right from outside along Queen Street. Then on Tuesday, I saw it was fast again from the Car Park but I heard it chiming correctly shortly afterwards. This puzzled me slightly. Then, in the evening, I saw two faces from another vantage point and the mystery was solved;

Rolf: Can you tell what it is yet?

One of the four faces was ten minutes ahead of the other three.

This other clock I see in Leeds near the brewery was wrong at about 4pm coming back from the Playhouse and I imagine it has been stopped, ten minutes to two being the most aesthetic time to show on a clock face. (Check next time you are in a Jewellers, most of them will be ten minutes to two or ten minutes past ten. The digital clocks will probably just be flashing 00:00 though).

There is a UK campaign to get public timepieces working again at the Stopped Clocks website and I have sent them this. It is fascinating checking places you know and the state of the horology.

More bright sparks

I'd blogged previously about Spark*, a community arts programme for schools. On Tuesday afternoon, I was given the chance to go along to one of the post-course celebrations held at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.
My role was to be an attendant in the main auditorium, which involved a small amount of training as to what to do in the event of a fire alarm. I was given my own special usherette seat at the back of the theatre, seen below.

From here it was possible to observe the audience and also notice if the fire alarm had gone off. In Britain, fire alarms are silent in theatres, being indicated by warning lights. A number of red strobe heads were pointed out to us near the doors and we were advised that the audience wouldn't be aware of them but we would. (This isn't strictly true as I always notice these things and have seen them go off during a show elsewhere, fortunately just a false alarm that didn't stop the show. Conversely, I have seen shows stopped at places like Butlins where evacuation messages have sounded triggered by stage Pyrotechnics and smoke machines).

Although it was a stage performance, we were being treated as a Conference so it was not necessary to follow the full procedures. (The emergency exit from my part of the theatre passed through a private area but it would be OK to direct them back to the foyer on this occasion).

When I arrived rehearsals were in progress and there were about 400 happy, noisy children in the theatre. (It holds 750 in a large fan shape). After they had been fed, they all came back for the show proper. Four schools each presented set pieces on the topics they had chosen from a range of puppetry, music, street dance, rap, banners and masks. This snap from my usherette position shows a shadow puppet show in progress with musicians behind.

The set is actually for Don Quixote (& not a windmill in sight) although the theme for the day was the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the theatre's Christmas show.

Here is an audience shot, hundreds of children with their spark* yellow T shirts on, having a great time. Long live live theatre!

Iwas surprised to notice that our "new" theatre had now been open seventeen years. Originally the Leeds Playhouse, it lived for twenty years in a temporary theatre constructed within the shell of a sports hall (originally on a ten year lease). It had a vestigial stage there but a very large thrust forestage into the audience on three sides. They liked the design so much that when the new building opened, the main house was designed in a very similar way, but with proper flying facilities on the regular stage behind.

I came quite close to selling this theatre a new lighting control back in 1989 (an AVAB Expert, with the help of Ulf Sandström). They were really impressed with the system but the product was a little bit too new, had a few software bugs that could cause it to lock up at inopportune moments and what I described as occasional lumpy crossfades (when you worked the board hard, the transitions were not always entirely smooth). Had we made that sale, the fortunes of CCT Theatre Lighting (and my career path) might have been entirely different, but it was not to be.

This stage demands big sets, or minimalist ones. The best show I saw here was Little Shop of Horrors when they created a naturalistic "Skid Row" filling this vast space, complete with simulated passing elevated railway trains at the rear. At the Finale', electric drop boxes opened around the ceiling lighting catwalks, allowing dozens of huge green tentacles to fall down close to our heads. A dramatic finish!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Stopped in their tracks...

(Based on a two thirds majority vote from the commentariat in the previous blog entry)

I filled up at a different petrol station yesterday to my usual one in Bradford. Whilst pumping Gas, I noticed warning signs about a security system called Drivestop. In summary, if you drive off without paying, you may get your tyres spiked. This deterrent sign on the pump below explained it all- you can get a journalist explanation on the BBC (from April 2006) here or read a more technical summary and Police praise at the DriveStop website (or download the .pdf direct here).

The system has various safeguards to prevent accidental triggering and I'm amazed that I'd not heard or seen about it before now.

The first reaction I had was that I hoped they had good insurance as the implied contract is probably rather weak (and non-existent if you happen to be driving in at the time) but the manufacturers claim that there have been no accidental punctures.

I drove in entirely oblivious to the warning lights which are relatively small, although presumably if they are flashing like a North American railroad crossing it would have been much more obvious. By the way, it shows as red rather than green in this photo at the left as this is an entrance onto the forecourt rather than an exit from it.

Peering down into the slots, the short spikes can just about be seen, mounted on a rotating metal shaft. These ones didn't appear to have the high-visibility yellow plastic tips that appear in the manufacturer blurb.

So why don't Garages just fit credit card readers to the pumps? Well the margins aren't that big on fuel so footfall into the shop for sell-through makes the difference between a thriving petrol station and a closed one.

I once accidentally triggered a drive-off panic at my local Sainsburys forecourt. It was a busy one and it was quite common there for motorists to pull forward clear of the pumps after dispensing fuel so that other motorists could start to fill up. Rather than just pull up in front though, I put my car in the queue for the bagwash to the side (it was a fairly long cycle carwash so I knew I had plenty of time). I went and joined the queue, observing that the staff were huddled round screens whilst one kept going out and looking around. Eventually one of them had the gumption to ask the people waiting if anyone was from the pump I had used. (They had asked previously a few seconds before I arrived).

I've also left my watch at a garage as collateral when I nipped back to the hotel to rescue my wallet that I'd left in the room. The petrol was worth more than the watch but that was beside the point.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Decision time...

I won't have much time to post this evening as I have a Neighbourhood Watch meeting to go to. I've had an interesting day, I'll give any wanderers the chance to influence my follow-up post, please vote for:

a) Petrol Stations that can slash your tyres, or

b) Usherette for the afternoon.

Let me know via the comments.

Monday, October 15, 2007

A welcome return

Envirospin Watch was number nine in the most sadly missed category of the Blogpower Awards. From the pen of Professor Philip Stott, a "Humeian mitigated sceptic", it dried up last November and then suddenly sprang back into life yesterday, as Global Warming Politics.

He shares my and Andrew Allison's opinions on UHT milk.

Another couple of skeptic (or even climaphobe) blogs worth a look are Climate Audit and Global Warming Hysteria. If you are a climaphile, then I'd recommend The Conscious Earth

Totally InTOCZEKated

What do you do with a Degree in Industrial Metallurgy? Becoming a Poet is an unexpected career move, but Nick Toczek was at the Morley Literature Festival. It was a free session, billed as:

Nick Toczek and his Million Miles an Hour Show

Writer and entertainer, Nick Toczek, will entertain children and families with his wonderful one-man show. Nick chats, tells jokes, performs magic tricks introduces you to his puppets AND performs his snappy poems, all at break neck speed! A fun event for families of all ages.

Well, the show certainly did what it said on the tin. He promised Magic, Poems and Puppetry (and fortunately the latter not of the Penis variety).

His magic was fairly predictable (to adults) but well executed, with magic wands, coloured hankies and the like. A twist to the cube on the string trick was to introduce tiny dragons that responded to his orders. One unexpected treat was to produce a telegraph pole from a Netto Carrier bag- it seems a puppet dog was tinkling on it in the bag. (David managed to work out how the telegraph pole worked). There was a certain scatological theme to his routine but kids love that stuff, unfortunately.

His puppetry involved a big spider, the Netto-kennelled dog and an endearing puppet that was a little muppet-like. I don't recall his name but he lived in this cardboard box and was a little shy.

When it came to reading poems, however, he excelled. His use of alliteration, pace, rhyme, rhythm and onomatopoeia had the children bouncing along with his stories of schools being eaten by dragons, registers when no-one is there and other topics kids could relate to. There was a squeal of delight from one young Morley hardcase when he actually recognised one of the poems and enthusiastically joined in. (You can see a sample poem of his here)

Nick was rather anarchic, shouting at the kids saying how horrible they were then giving a big laugh and grin as well afterwards. It seems there is more to Nick than meets the eye, from his Facebook page (& Google) he writes football poetry and has a passion for Punk.

David voted Nick the best show at the Morley LitFest on the smiley sheet, not bad for a free event...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

How big is your bunch?

When I was in my teens, my bunch of keys was very modest- a single tumbler lock key for the front door of our house, generally referred to as a Yale. When I was sixteen or so, I was given a school master key by the caretakers. It was one of three master keys (East, West & Lower School) and I was somewhat privileged to have one but it was to open a store cupboard where the Disco & lighting was stored. I was always a little envious of Colin at the City Hall, who had a building bunch to die for. I took great pleasure in clipping it onto by belt loops when I had just cause to borrow it (for relamping, providing access to hall hirers and being left in charge when he nipped out to Southern Fried Rat in the Haymarket). Bunch envy!

I was reminded of this last night, when I noticed the Town Hall Custodians with their big bunches clipped to their kecks. I imagine this won't be all the keys, just the ones needed on a regular basis. Anyway, I thought I'd share my bunch with the bloggersphere, currently ten keys and a trolley/locker coin on one of those rings you can split in two which was a slimmer of the month prize many years ago.

Ten keys? Front door/back door/front gate/back gate/garage/desk/UPS/car/steering lock/one I'm not certain about!

Update: I've remembered what the mystery key is- it is for network cabinets at work. I can't count either, there are ten (I had nine originally).

Blogger JMB has declared it a meme. Get your bunches out...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Walking the boards

David was surprised to be called up onstage this evening to be presented with his Scrabble book. (We were as well!) I mucked up the camera, so have it on extended video instead of a flash photo.

He also got to draw the raffle! No mention of the lack of junior competition in the competition.

On the left, Festival Director, Paula Truman. On the right, Cllr Judith Elliott, Festival Chairman. In the centre, David holding an improvised raffle drum: a Cadbury's Roses tin with some tinsel wrapped round that they rustled up during the interval.

We were delighted that David had the courage to go up, as he gets stage fright. Perhaps if he had been given time to think about it he might have done a Gordon Brown and Bottled it.

David the Wordsmith

We wandered in on the Morley Scrabble Club at the Town Hall today and were persuaded to enter a competition. The person with the highest score after five rounds won a scrabble related prize and the opponent did as much as possible tactically to help us. I scored 86 and David 66, David playing Junior Scrabble. (Neither of us are players, although David does have a set at home somewhere).

Anyway, we got a phone call advising us that David had won the junior prize, mainly because he was the only child to enter! We now have a Junior Scrabble Dictionary waiting for us at the Town Hall. At least he didn't come second, like this unfortunate cake baker.

(Scrabble Image from Wikipedia, Cake Lady from BBC).

Give him some Verbal


Verbal has had the meaning “spoken” since the late 16th century and is thus synonymous with oral: He wrote a memorandum to confirm the verbal agreement. Slightly earlier, verbal had developed the meaning “expressed in words, whether spoken or written (as opposed to actions)”: Verbal support is no help without money and supplies. Although some say that the use of verbal to mean “spoken” produces ambiguity, it rarely does so. Verbal is used in this sense in all varieties of speech and writing and is fully standard. The context usually makes the meaning clear: No documents are necessary; a verbal agreement (or contract or order) will suffice. Oral can be used instead of verbal if the context demands: My lawyer insists on a written contract because oral agreements are too difficult to enforce.

So, what to make of this?

(Seen in Morley Leisure Centre).

This weekend is the Morley Literacy Festival and we are going to several events, I'll be there with my camera and my photographic memory*

(*oops, the light has got in).

Create a crazy monster

David doodled this today. I wonder what inspired him?

Photo Hunt - SMELLY


You'll have to trust me on this...

They looked a lot better than they smelt!

(Somewhere abandoned in Morley Town Hall, the Robing Room WC).