Saturday, 17 March 2018

Buzz and Excitement...

Do you want some BUZZ?

Are you awaiting EXCITEMENT?!?


There's something coming on this blog, in the near future.

Something new!

It'll be great, I promise. Or not - maybe.

But anyway, look out for it, next weekend.

In fact, there's a (tiny) chance for you to be involved in some way. In the comments, tell me something. It could be a name, an event, a character you like, an anecdote about yourself or someone you know, a facial expression, a totally made up thing.. anything. It doesn't matter. Tell me in the comments (or email me at and maybe something that you tell me will appear in a thing that's going to kick off next weekend.

I might be giving more detail before the weekend, I haven't decided yet. Or I might just drop it on the internet. Perhaps I need to discuss with the other interested party (spoiler alert - there's someone else involved) what they think.

In the meantime - it's the weekend, so cheers!

Not sure what drink I've got here. I do know though that my hair isn't as dark as this photo indicates!

Monday, 5 March 2018


Now, I work in construction. This gives me the confidence to construct some buildings as the one in the image below, made out of 3 cardboard boxes, some letters, and a couple of metres of parcel tape.

But, it's one thing working in a sector, it's very different when you try to apply your skills at home.

This, for example, is the wall above the window in my son's bedroom.

You may notice that there is only one hook to the left of the window for a curtain pole, and not one on the right. That's because it's come out of the wall (albeit due to a heavy tug on a curtain)

It might not stand out very well in the picture, but there's actually quite a few places where the wall has been plastered or holes filled.

In short, those curtains have fallen down a good half dozen times since I've lived in this house.

I can't work it out - I use rawlplugs (aka wall anchors), the biggest screws I can find that will fit the hooks, sweat and tears. I'll get those curtains up... and several months later my son will roll against them or something, and they'll tumble down like Jack and Jill with a pail of water.

In other news, I found this the other day

I bought this mainly because one of the fruits in the box apparently is "chokeberry". I'd never heard of them but apparently chokeberries are actually a thing, I just thought it was a poor translation of some other fruit. I am yet to choke on any of them, but I'll keep you updated.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

The Poop Went To School

So, my son made a story the other day, and this morning we made it into a video.

It's about a poop (he's been watching YouTube videos and is becoming Americanised - it's poo, dude, not poop) that goes to school.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

5000 Days of Opportunity

Original image at

In June 2003, a pair of rovers were launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida, headed for Mars. Headed into the hostile atmosphere of the red planet, the team behind the rovers had hoped for a mission length of 90 days for each rover. They landed on Mars in January 2004.

One of the rovers, Spirit, went on to operate for 20 times its planned duration, with communication finally stopping in March 2010, after it had been stuck in place, wheels trapped in soft soil for almost a year.

The other rover, Opportunity, is still functioning today.

5000 days on, Opportunity has travelled 28 miles, encountered extramartian meteorites, craters, and contributed hugely to its mission of finding evidence of the past existence of water on Mars.

I find it fascinating to think that, no matter how well planned, a vehicle built in 2003, sent through space, landed on another planet, and is still operating (albeit with some limitations - due to partially faulty memory banks, the rover has been configured to run in a "RAM-only" mode, similar in a way to a computer operating without its hard drive. This requires the rover to communicate high priority information immediately, as it can't store anything when turned off).

Here's to you, Opportunity.

Image taken by Opportunity's panoramic camera on day 5,000 of its operation

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Steak Pie

I love the internet :)

I replied to a lady on the internet a couple of weeks back, who was kindly asking what I wanted, with details.

Over the last couple of days the tweet has been getting some likes, which led me to this morning messaging a chap a recipe for a steak and ale pie, and clarifying what is meant by good honest gravy.

And what I mean - chip shop gravy.

Not "ju".  Not thin, watery stuff that rolls off the plate should you tip it.  Proper gravy.

Thinking back, when I was a kid and went to my grandparents for dinner, sometimes they would ask if I wanted gravy, but because they didn't actually like gravy, you'd actually get a chicken & leek cup-a-soup. Which was fine because I love chicken & leek soup, but is a bit weird calling it gravy.

In other news, my wife has been awesome.

On Wednesday, our son drew up plans for a toy that he wanted.

The only trouble is... you can't buy it.

Basically, it's an erasable whiteboard with a series of numbers at the bottom on loops, each in a particular colour.

My wife made it last night, which led to the cry this morning from my son's bedroom of:


She's awesome :)

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Saturday, 27 January 2018

I made a thing - Silly Words Educational Game

I made a thing.

Our son is eight now and reads, writes, and talks fairly well, but it took us a while to get him started. One of the challenges we found was that a lot of the books weren't really engaging for him.

What we did find that really worked for him, and gave him a start into reading sentences, was a game where you could build a sentence up out of words (a bit like this Big Box of Sentence Building). We found that our son really liked making silly sentences - in particular, I remember once he made "the cat ate the baby" and was laughing so hard that he went red in the face and almost started having an asthma attack!

We continue to have difficulty encouraging him to read, because although he can do it he doesn't find a lot of interest in it.

One idea I had the other day was to make a game, which is a bit like Cards Against Humanity (a very adult party game) where basically you've got a number of questions, and a number of answers.  What you do is you pick a question, and your child picks an answer that they find funny for the question.  As part of this you can encourage them to read both the question and the answer

Example question with a few answers

My son found it very funny, while allowing him to do some reading and speaking, he also came up with some new answers which was nice to see a bit of imaginative play.

If anyone would like to download a copy of the game you can freely download it from the link below:

Silly Words is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 license.
Which basically means you can print it, play it, change it however you want for your use (I've included via the link the MS Publisher file that the game is made from so you can customise it for your child), but don’t make your fortune selling it :D

Monday, 22 January 2018


Here's some pictures I took tonight of the night sky.

Admittedly, there's not a lot to see. Apparently the camera on my phone can't pick up the stars in the sky.

I did take one photo with flash left on:

I don't think it's an improvement.

Even though you can't see it, the night sky here is lovely at the moment, on a clear winters night the stars do stand out. We're really lucky when you think about it, we have the stars, the moon - without which we wouldn't have tides - we're in a star system with a collection of planets.

We take all this for granted, but can you imagine how life would be different if we were in a star system with just the Earth and the Sun, and nothing else?

No moon to light the night sky, or to create tides.  No other planets.

I wonder if we would be a more insular society? Without that goal to travelling to the Moon, to other planets? If the Earth was alone, with only rhe Sun for company, and the next vista being several light years away?

There's a great deal to see on the Earth, a lot that I want to see. But that doesn't mean that it's the whole universe.

Anyway, I made a GIF of my pictures.

Enjoy! :)

Friday, 19 January 2018

Heinz soup

Easy Cheese.


Biscuits and gravy.



In the UK, I feel that there is sometimes a little bit of food snobbery.

We say "I can't believe Americans eat that Donut Burger, a burger the size of a plate shaped like a doughnut, filled with fries and coated in squeezy cheese"

(I just invented that food and I want to eat it now)

But let's be honest.

One of the most quintessential British foods is Heinz Tomato Soup.

Heinz Tomato Soup is great. It's a brilliant warming snack, a great lunch. I've just had it, accompanied by a corned beef, cheese and pickle sandwich, for dinner.

But we need to face reality guys.

This - is a tomato.

Look how red it is.

If you asked me to describe that colour, I'd say red.

Red - like a tomato.

Because a tomato is red.


What colour is Heinz tomato soup?

Let's see.

Bright orange obviously.

Don't fear, there is a silver lining.  You see, the reality is that Heinz is actually an American company founded in Pennsylvania, so we British (because we have such as grand food tradition, obviously) can continue to turn our nose up at American food.

While secretly craving it.

I'm off to eat some Cherryheads.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Computer Games Update

I've not just been playing Grand Theft Auto V lately.

I'm playing a good deal of mobile games at the moment, in particular Words With Friends, which isn't Scrabble.


Not at all.

It's a completely different game where you place tiles onto a board to form words, with the aim of scoring more points than your competitor.

I'm enjoying it a good deal, the only comment I do have is every morning it messages me, worried that I haven't played for six hours.

Not only have I not played, but neither have any of my friends!

We're all asleep dude, sorry. We'll get back into forming words which no one has ever heard of (Zoa, Lin, Seq, and Ae are all fine, yet apparently "July" isn't a word?!?) in a bit.

The other game I've been playing a good bit is World Conqueror IV, a turn based war strategy game set generally in World War 2 (although there are additional timelines that get unlocked as you advance)

Bears no resemblance to World Conquerors 1, 2, or 3, I'm sure.

It's quite good as it's got a few different game elements - there's a full world conquest where you can choose one of quite a few countries and see if your side can conquer the world (I'm doing rather well on my phone as Finland at the moment), there's also single scenarios as well as challenges that you can undertake in order to unlock certain generals or other features.

It might not look very clear in the screenshot, but, reflecting history time and again, my Spanish army has just taken New Delhi.

It's not desperately easy and the temptation is to stuff a bit of cash in to unlock some uber General that can make your army far more efficient, but so far things are going reasonably well.

Hope you have a good weekend, if there's a particular game you think is worth a try do mention in the comments - I love my first person shooters, and strategy games (turn based and real time), I would like to find some really good co-operative first person games - one of my favourites is playing the special missions on Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 with a friend, but we could really do with some more missions or something like this that we could play!
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