Sunday, 30 October 2016

A Walk Through The Woods

Yesterday I and my son visited my parents, to get my mum's new computer up and running (which it is very nicely, although it needs a network cable to get the internet at full speed - it's currently using a WiFi adapter I actually bought for my Raspberry Pi, and I'm quite surprised that it works at all on a normal PC).  Once we'd finished, and ate whatever I could find in my parents house that we could categorise as lunch, we made our apologies and farewells and left.

While heading back to the car my son expressed his enthusiasm for "an adventure", and having the afternoon to spare we decided to go for a wander.

After walking through a couple of fields and through an echoey tunnel (I should note that my son enjoyed hugely discovering a landscape feature that allowed him to be even louder than usual) we took a stroll through the woods near my parents, down to the river bank, where he spent a good while half way up a cliff playing.

We had a really nice time, I used to walk through those woods all the time when I was a kid but it must have been years since I went through them, so it was nice to make the memories come back.  And on the way back my son told a dog that it was cheeky because it came up to him and viciously wagged.

Today, meanwhile, we've been to the park, run around a good bit, found a ladybird, and then took a detour to the pub for lunch.

My son with the aforementioned ladybird


The pub we went to had a jazz band, Adrian Ingrams Jazz Dawgs, playing, which helped the time pass pleasantly, and I even got to eat most of my lunch except for two pieces of toast which my son informed me were actually his.   All in all it's been a nice weekend :)

How's your weekend been?

PS - Mike is still gathering sponsors for his Robin Hood's Bay roadtrip next month! From just £1 you can sponsor a third of a pint of beer... :)

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Sneaky Dreams...

This picture has nothing to do with this post.  I just felt like including a picture of a couple of Norwegian policemen.

Today I'm being picked up early to catch a train down to London, so last night I went to bed early and set my alarm for 5am, to give me time to get ready, ahead of being picked up just before 6.

So this morning I woke up, and I wasn't awoken by my alarm going off, so I thought "Hey, I've woke up before the alarm, that's good" and decided to watch a little bit of television for 5 minutes before making a start. 

Then I then decided to glance at my phone.


And a car drew up outside, which was my lift.  I panicked, and ran to get dressed.  I couldn't believe that I'd slept through my alarm - something which happens once in a blue moon.

As I'm upstairs frantically throwing a shirt on and picking a tie to wear, I can hear my mum downstairs talking to the chap who's picking me up explaining that I'm just getting ready, and I won't be a minute.

I become aware that I'm at my parents house, not my own - and I wonder how did the guy know to come to my parents house, when I only gave him my address?

Then I woke, in my own bed.

I checked the time, and it was 4am.

I got up anyway.

At least -  I think I have!

I must give a big thank you to Diane Lynn of the Gratitude Letters for the latest donation to the Robin Hoods Bay roadtrip campaign, it's much appreciated - do feel free to check out the campaign at, it's got 12 days to go :)

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Top 3 reasons for supporting the Robin Hood's Bay Roadtrip!

If you missed my last post, I'm having a go at crowdfunding to get sponsors for me and my dad going to Robin Hood's Bay next month!

Firstly, thanks and congratulations to deano_1 for being the first person to support us, it's much appreciated, and I'm particularly happy that you specifically sponsor a pint for me, it's very welcome indeed :)

Anyway, here's three top reasons for supporting our campaign!

Three - You'll be supporting the local economy!

We're going to Robin Hood's Bay and Whitby in North Yorkshire, both of which are popular locations for tourists, and because we're going out of the main tourist season, our spending will be very beneficial for local pubs and food outlets.

Two - The Reward!

You'll get your name on our very special sponsor t-shirts, to be worn during our time away!

One - Fun!

At the end of the day, it's a bit of fun! We all like to have some fun, and this campaign does it. So support us :)

My dad has a unique way of "tackling"...

So if you'd like to get involved, either by sponsoring us (from just £1 for a third of a pint) or by sharing the campaign, get over to

And if you'd like to watch this blog post, instead of read it, check out the update video :)


Monday, 24 October 2016

Caravans and Crowdfunding Beer!

As all too often is the case I haven't blogged for ages, but at least this time I have an excuse, which is that I've been somewhere that I haven't had a wifi signal!  We've just come back from a short break to Mablethorpe, staying in a caravan, which was lovely!

We enjoyed lots of nice tasting food, including Papa John's pizza - we discovered that it was far cheaper to buy two pizzas with four drinks and fries than it was to just buy two pizzas, so we had that one night (and subsequently struggled to manage four fizzy drinks throughout the course of the evening, and had loads of leftovers for the following morning too)

My only concern is that John here seems to be a bit keen on people loving his pizza.  It was tasty though.

There was tons to do at the caravan park (Haven Golden Sands, if you're interested), with rides, arcades, a swimming pool and all that sort of thing going on.  I still have 21 tokens which I won in the arcades, which I think was almost enough to win a small pack of Haribo.

My son absolutely loved this slide, it was huge!

We also went for a bit of a drive on the Sunday, ending up in the Half Moon in Alford for a carvery which was very nice.  I discovered that not only did my mum used to work at the same caravan park we stayed in, but she also used to go to the Half Moon for her works Christmas dinners, and I'm pleased to say that it was very nice.

And on the way back, awesomely, we discovered a Taco Bell!!  I've always wanted to try Taco Bell but thought it was a USA-only phenomenon, so when I saw it I insisted on us stopping for lunch. Verdict?  Good. Not the best fajita I've ever tasted, but not bad, and the crunchy taco was definitely good.

In other news, I've launched a crowdfunding campaign to shamelessly raise beer funds for next month when me and my dad go to Robin Hood's Bay for three nights.  Basically, you get to sponsor things like beer, the trip, and beds, and in return we'll be wearing sponsor t-shirts with your names printed on them.  We'll also cover the sponsors on this blog and on my YouTube channel, so if you want a piece of this, stop by the page. It's going to be amazing :)

Of course, it's only a bit of fun, but it gives me chance to practice my crowdfunding techniques.  And, unusually for most crowdfunding things, you actually get something even if you only support us for £1! Which can't be bad.

So if you want my dad to be really happy (like he is here with 3 beers), stop by the crowdfunding page! :)

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Bridge Day

Warning: I'm reminiscing about UK localities which probably won't make much sense to anyone not in the UK (or even not in Yorkshire/Lincolnshire!)

Apparently October 15th is "Bridge Day", however upon inspection this isn't actually a day to celebrate bridges, but a day to celebrate BASE Jumping.  BASE Jumping, the hobby where you hurl yourself off a building, cliff, or some other structure, and parachute/wingsuit fly down, it not something that I have any experience of - neither do I wish to! - so I'm going to defy the details of the day and cover bridges, and in particular, the Humber Bridge.

I typed "bridge" into my Google Photos and this is the only photo of the Humber Bridge that came up.  I could go and take a photo but I'm in my pyjamas and that just seems like too much effort.

The Humber Bridge, linking the north and south banks of the River Humber, opened in 1981 after the best part of a year of engineering and construction work, is one of the longest (and was the longest) single-span suspension bridges in the world.  The bridge connects the East Riding of Yorkshire to North Lincolnshire, allowing travel between.

I've always been mildly excited going on the bridge - often we took the bridge to go to the South bank, to go to craft markets (notably the Alford Craft Market, which my parents ran a stall at for years), or to get a fresh supply of Lincolnshire sausages (the best of which I venture to say are from Jacksons butchers in Louth - but every one in Lincolnshire has their own favourite butcher for their Lincolnshire sausages!)

Also, I love the road on the south bank leading to and from the bridge - a nice big dual carriageway, generally low on traffic, which is easy to drive.

The Humber Bridge even has its own Country Park, which is really nice to walk round.

But I think what I like about it is how I can get to a whole different county over the bridge.  Lincolnshire is different to Yorkshire, in a way that I venture the ridings of Yorkshire (East, West, and North) aren't.  Whilst the accents in Yorkshire gradually change and evolve as you travel from village to village, going over the bridge exposes you to a significantly dialect, where the phrase "Now then" can be a greeting, a comfort, or a warning, depending on the tone, and "Guide Thysen" is definitely a warning!

So I suppose for me the bridge is a transition, a starting place for a journey.  Do you have such a place?  You know where the comment box is :)

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Guest Post - Banking Day

Today my dad blogs about doing some business banking!


Thanks to geralt for the picture!

And the sun rose upon a new day, and it was ordered that I must present myself to the bank and prove who I am.

The fact that I have done business with them for over 20 years is neither here nor there. They know where I live and I owe them money, but apparently I now have to prove who I am, show them my birth certificate, produce utility bills etc all supposedly authenticated by someone important such as an Optician, local government official, member of the armed forces, etc. Bank employees did not count as 'important'! The notion that an Optician is regarded as 'important and trustworthy' but an employee of the bank where I have done my weekly banking for over twenty years isn't, seems both bizarre and amusing.

However, it seems that potentially I could be an international criminal involved in white slave trafficking, money laundering, drug smuggling, the list is endless.

Can I prove that I am innocent? they seem to ask.
Are these people real? I reply.

The man who interviewed us at the bank - my wife also had to prove who, why, where etc accepted my wife's and my our proof of identity on the nod and seemed to be almost embarrassed that we had had to do this. He also said that regardless of the official letter I had received from 'Clueless Bank Head Quarters', he was regarded as 'important and trustworthy', and he could indeed verify my identity.

However, he had other questions to ask.

He needed full details of all foreign countries we buy goods from!

We don't!

Well, we placed a one-off order from a German toy manufacturer last Christmas, (a present for our grandson) which won't be happening again, and last summer - or was it the summer before, I forget - we bought some small statuettes from a firm in Paris, but 99.9% of our stock is bought in the UK.

"And what about Eire?" he asked, in a tone of voice suggesting that he had caught us red handed smuggling children to a sausage factory in darkest Pontefract.

We currently have two customers in Eire who buy from us - we don't buy anything from Eire.

"Oh", he said "Oh fine". Somewhat distractedly he waved his pen like a magic wand over a huge questionnaire, searching for a killer question that would prove our identity as international criminals.

"How much cash do you bank per year?" he asked.

Like the bank doesn't know? Maybe it was a trick question .. or possibly the bank's left hand is entirely clueless as to what the bank's right hand is doing?

If anyone knows how much cash we bank surely the bank will know? No, Really?

We bank very little actual cash (folding paper variety), as is the case with a lot of businesses virtually all our money is either cheques or cards through the card machine, at most £1000 per annum is banked and probably much less than that.

The bank chap looked utterly deflated, this sum was apparently trivial beyond expression, he was looking for people who bank hundreds of thousands or millions.

He looked rather discouraged and against my best efforts I couldn't help but feel sorry for him. Poor chap, he then spoke to us as if sharing a confidence with a friend, that he had been in Financial Services at the bank for 40 years!

No wonder he looked sort of 'withered'.

I made some half-hearted joke about it sounding like being trapped in hell and with no trace of a smile he said "yes, something like that"

He continued that being a 'banker' was no longer highly regarded these days and that he was sometimes reluctant to tell people what he did for a living.

I suggested that he tell them he was a pig farmer instead, at which he smiled vaguely.

Finally he said that he was pleased to have met such nice people, shook hands and thanked us for our time.

Yours faithfully - I forget my name, but I am certified a non-international criminal .... for the time being at least.

If you enjoyed this, why not pop over to and check out my parents business - they offer all kinds of weird and wonderful magical and new age goodies!

Saturday, 8 October 2016

All the fun of the Fair

Today we had a quick walk round Hull Fair, which for those of you who may not have your geographical maps centred on the city and port of Hull in the UK, is one of the largest travelling fairs in Europe (and I'm sure isn't necessarily known as "Hull Fair" when it travels somewhere else, but I only know it as Hull Fair - so Hull Fair I shall continue to refer to it as) and has been going for over 700 years.

Hull Fair is manic and noisy and absolutely jam packed with people trying scary rides, eating everything, and spending money.  It's ace.

I've been trying to remember how, if at all, the fair has changed since I first went.  The fair is still in the same location, there is possibly a greater selection of food vendors nowadays, you can get all kinds of food from german sausages to noodles, whilst all I can remember from my first visits is Bob Carvers (local chip shop - when visiting t'fair you have to get patty, peas and chips from Bob Carvers, it's the law), but apart from that I can't immediately see a great deal of difference, you've still got the dodgems, helter skelter, carousel, ghost house, hook a duck (£3 for hook a duck today!?! I know with the current foreign exchange non-UK readers will think that £3 is quite reasonable, but no, it's not) and various games where you can win an awesome prize, but that never seems to quite happen.

There's possibly less fortune tellers, I seem to remember there being perhaps half a dozen fortune tellers when I was little, and I could only see one today, but apart from that there didn't seem to be a huge amount of difference.

Perhaps that's part of the fun of the fair, that it is semi-traditional and the things that you enjoyed when you were young are still there now.  I perhaps spend a little more time analysing the prices of the various goods at the fair (do I go to this stall for eight doughnuts for £2, or this one for five for £1 - bearing in mind that the latter, whilst appearing a better option, might not apply sufficient sugar to the aforementioned fried dough).  And I couldn't leave without buying a bag of Wright's Brandy Snap (although that also carried a eye-watering price tag of £2.60 a bag, I remember when it would have been a quid at the right stall!)

At any rate, it was nice to have a walkaround, and there's every chance I'll stop by again sometime over the next week before the fair moves on.

Are you a fan of fairs?

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Middle of the night

I'm a bit odd when it comes to sleep patterns.

I'm really good at sleep, it comes very much naturally to me. If you can give me a location, that I've been in, I've probably been asleep in it.  Places that would include:

  • Beds (unsurprising I know, but I've got to start the list somewhere)
  • Sofas
  • Floors
  • Many cars (generally when as a passenger, it should be said)
  • Whilst watching many films, both at home and at the cinema
  • A Jeep safari with branches hitting me in the head
  • Whilst underwater in a submarine

Fighting off sleep isn't something that I'm good at.  Sure, the usual suspect of coffee can be employed to kick start things for a little while, but as a rule when my body wants to sleep, if there isn't some pressing reason for me to be awake, I let sleep happen.

The downside of this is that I won't feel tired when I should be asleep - this morning as I write this, for example, I woke up about half 2 in the morning, after falling asleep at about eight in the evening.

I know that as a result I'll probably be ultra-tired when it gets to this evening, but I'll desperately be trying to keep awake in order to try to get my sleep pattern back into some kind of order.

The thing is, I quite like being awake in the middle of the night.  I'm not a night owl - I'm much more of a morning person - but waking and getting up early is quite nice. I'm generally most creative when I first wake up (useful for blogging) and when the rest of the house is still sleeping you're able to do all those things that you'd like to do, such as watching several episodes of House or spending an hour looking at a website on train journeys.

I remember reading something about how the brain handles memories - apparently it basically takes everything in, and somehow packs it so that all the stuff that happens every day, the non-noteworthy stuff, sort of merges together, whilst the unusual stuff stands out more.  That's why you can often recall a holiday from years ago day-by-day, while what you had for lunch on a certain day last week is difficult to recall.

There was a point to all this... but, ironically, I've forgotten!

Anyway... how about yourself? What's your favourite time of the day? And how do you sleep? A comment would be awesome :)

In other news, I've just released the latest video in my "Best Ever Games" series, looking at Final Liberation: Warhammer Epic 40,000. Enjoy :)

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Return to Robin Hoods Bay

So yesterday I went to Robin Hood's Bay with my dad.

Robin Hood's Bay, or RHB for acronym lovers, is a touristy fishing village in North Yorkshire in the UK, which I actually recently got to guest blog about.

Bearing in mind that we visited on the last day of September, we were extremely lucky with the weather, I had a jacket in the car but that's exactly where it stayed!

I first visited Bay I think when I was about 12 or 13, and for several years Bay was the family holiday.  I even went to stay by myself when I was about 20, with the notable memory of cooking a pizza with the polystrene base still attached (I was under the influence of alcohol at the time), and then not being able to turn the gas oven off so spending all evening with the oven door open to let the heat out.  In the morning I had no trouble whatsoever turning off the oven, it's very strange.

Since then we generally try to go every year, if even for only a day.

The mist was rolling off the hills opposite, which I tried to capture with various settings on my phone camera, but all I managed to do was make it brighter, so here's one of the automatically optimised pictures.  Which is quite nice.
We ventured down onto the bay itself for a little while, as you can see in the photos it was really nice, with just a touch of breeze.

My dad declared that he was going to have a paddle, and by the time he realised just how cold the water actually was it was too late, he was committed!

And of course no trip to Bay would be complete without a visit to a couple of pubs for some good quality beer!

My pint of Old Peculier, absolutely delicious.

I think the only problem was that we didn't get enough time there - I'm hoping to sort out something to get a day or two in the village, RHB is possibly one of the best places in the world to relax and unwind, but to do that you need the time to do it, so I hope to be able to get perhaps a cottage for a night or two in the low season.

Do you have a favourite place that you like to return to?

For more about Bay, why not check out my dad's post about the folklore of the village :)
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