Saturday, 21 October 2017

The Morning After The Prosecco


The photo above is of my breakfast today, it's hungarian pancake (with a piece of devolay) with salad and garlic sauce from one of our favourite places, Kuchnia in Hull which is a brilliant Polish restaurant.

However, it's particularly useful today because today is a special day.

Today is the day after the "bottle of prosecco" evening.

I don't drink huge amounts as a rule. Generally on a weekend evening I'll have a beer, or maybe a glass of amaretto and coke, but that's most of the alcohol I have. Last night however, there was no beer, and I thought "hey, I know, I'll open that prosecco we've got in the fridge".

It wasn't good prosecco.

It was dry, and nasty. I poured two glasses, one for me and one for my wife, she took a sip of hers and gave it back to me.

Dear reader, you'll be pleased to know that despite the taste I stepped up, and took care of matters, and was able to add an empty prosecco bottle to the recycling at the end of the night.

So now I need a large bottle of cordial and a hungarian pancake to clear my head! 😀

In other news, my computer chair has seen better days, it was a very nice gift from a friend several years ago because he didn't need it any more, and it was narrow enough to go up to our attic (which was our computer room at the time) without having to be dismantled. But as you'll see in the image below, it was pretty badly knackered.

Not brilliant.

Anyway, I got a huge pile of fabric samples a while back (see my video for more), and they've sat in a pile for about 6 months without me really doing anything with them. This week I went off a bought some upholstery needles and a thick black thread - which turned out to be elastic 😖 - and patched it up.


Ta da!!

The sewing is rough (and actual thread rather than elastic would have been far better!) but nevertheless it's still a vast improvement on the half-naked chair I had previously. I'm hoping to spend some more time completing the patchwork look as I've still got loads of samples left over.

Before I finish I must highlight my wife's current giveaways for cross stitch fans, basically she's got 3 special halloween giveaways open at the minute, all the details are in her latest flosstube update so do watch and take part! I believe entries are drawn on the 30th or 31st because we've got to do a special video announcing the results for Halloween so do get involved now :)

Right - I'm off to eat my pancake!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Your Location Is Currently In Use

Periodically a little icon appears in the system tray in the bottom right corner of the screen on my desktop Windows-running PC. It's a little circle with a blue square in the middle, and when you hover your mouse pointer over it a little bit pop up appears, saying "Your location is currently in use".

I don't mind my location being used (at least for the software that I've allowed to use my location) but I'm always faintly surprised when it appears - this is on my desktop PC, which has been in the same location for about five years, assuming you don't get into the technicalities of it now being two floors lower than it used to.

Now, let's talk ankles.

Mine, and of course the nasty bruise I wanted to show off has faded. Feel free to give me sympathy anyway.

I have a weird ankle.

Periodically, it just gives way, it somehow bends sideways and before you know it I'm heading for the ground at speed. I believe (although memory could be fooling me) that it particularly worsened as a result of one evening I was playing football, and I decided to try hopping over the ball whilst tapping it with my foot to control it, and instead stood on the ball and fell over. Anyway, it does now and again just fail to ankle.

And it seems to have a mind of its own, and do it when it's particularly embarrassing or inconvenient. From memory I can particularly recall it failing:

  • In the supermarket while bagging groceries
  • While running down an alley dragging a sofa
  • On my neighbours footpath on the way to pick a parcel up

The most recent event I was walking through the grounds of my sons school after picking him up, so as you can imagine there was a good dozen or so other parents with children who were there to watch me plant my face into the ground., so I couldn't even let loose my favoured series of swear words and instead had to go "Whoops! Oh dear, silly daddy should have been looking where he was going!"

Funnily enough, it seems to hurt less overall if I just take the fall rather than try to stop myself falling, perhaps the time is better spent preparing for the fall rather than trying to rectify the ankle position or something.

While I'm blogging, I should point out for any cross stitchers my wife currently has not one, not two, but three competitions on the go - do check out her latest flosstube video for details!

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Bookshops, Books, and their Awesomeness


Today apparently it's Bookshop Day (so Twitter tells me, anyway), which gives me a perfect opportunity to blog about one of my favourite things - books!

I've always loved reading. Being a geek, as a kid I would not only read the huge pile of Peanuts cartoon books my parents had in the house, but then went on to count how many times various characters appeared in the books and then create graphs based on the data (spoiler - Snoopy wins. By far.)

Robin Hood's Bay, which is one of my families' favourite places to visit (do check out the video from the holiday I and my dad had there), used to have a brilliant bookshop called the Chapel bookshop - large, with various rooms, nooks and crannies, you could easily spend hours there hunting through dusty piles of books that quite possibly hadn't been read by anyone for years. The downside of Amazon (and I am a big user of Amazon, it is great for getting stuff you need) is that it tells you what is most popular, the bestsellers, and the things that you typically like, but doesn't necessarily show you things that you wouldn't normally consider.

Several times I've seriously considered buying a Kindle, because logically it makes perfect sense. Rather than having, as we do currently, a couple of walls in the house full of books, I can store them all on one easy to carry e-reader that I can take and use anywhere. But there's just something about the physical presence of a book, the weight of it in your hand, flipping pages, sticking a bookmark (or in my case a scrap of paper) in to track your position. Plus the cost difference between an e-book and a paper book isn't big enough for me to justify buying a Kindle.

And, of course, there's so many books that you can't get on a Kindle. For example, I happen to own a hardback copy of "Hello Sailor" by former Python Eric Idle, a quite rude and slightly bizarre story which doesn't make a great deal of sense but is funny nevertheless. From the 1970s, there's almost no chance of that appearing as an e-book any time soon.

Take a look at a sample of my books:

Hello Sailor is at the end on the right. Told you I had it.

There's a lot of science fiction and what you might consider to be typically geeky books there, but I've found, particularly as I work on writing my own books, the value and enjoyment of reading different genres. A good example of this is Adele Archer's International Relations trilogy, the first of which to be quite honest I only bought because I'm a big fan of Adele's blog.  I found myself engrossed in the story, and was surprised at how my emotions were affected by the story - getting angry at one of the lead characters part way through at their actions!

Right now I'm reading "Laura's Handmade Life", a novel which I probably wouldn't have ever considered reading before experiencing Adele's work, and all I can say is, to me, it makes sense to try new things, whether it be some crazy and exciting new hobby, or simply reading a book that you wouldn't normally try.


So, it's Bookshop Day. This seems like a good reason for you to pop out and support your local book store.  Off you go then :)

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Spain


As a rule I dislike blogging about anything too serious. If I don't have a sufficient grasp of the information about a topic I would generally endeavour to avoid giving my opinion.

But...

I'll be totally honest, the first I became aware of the referendum in the Catalonian part of Spain was today, when it started trending on Twitter.

If you're not aware, the referendum, called for by the regional Catalonian parliament, is for independence of the region, and allegedly if the vote is successful then within a matter of days the region will declare itself to be independent of Spain.

Big. Disruptive. A massive concern to the Spanish government, I'm sure. The referendum has been arranged and pushed on with even without the agreement of the national government, there are questions over its accuracy, and it has even been classed as illegal.

So whatever result comes out of it, there's grounds for arguing that the referendum is not valid.

But...

The Spanish governments response to this referendum has been to use police forces to disrupt the referendum, seizing voting materials, and arresting key people charged with organising the referendum.

And today, they have used those forces to directly disrupt the vote, using force. Hundreds of citizens have been injured by the police. There has even been the bizarre sight of regional firefighters being attacked by the police for trying to prevent them from entering polling locations.

Regardless of whether the referendum was legal or not, we are talking about a country using its police forces to injure people attempting to vote - not people dealing drugs, not murdering people, not abducting children, not even committing fraud. A country having its people beaten for administering a vote.

Imagine if that happened in your own country. Would that be acceptable?

I recognise that in other countries there has been similar events to this, and even worse disgraces. But that should not mean that what is happening in Spain is acceptable.

The initial reactions from some of those bodies that could put pressure on Spain has not been encouraging.  I have taken the opportunity to write to my representatives in the UK parliament, and to sign a number of online petitions.

Wherever you are in the world, I do think that it is valuable to protest these actions. It is not acceptable in the modern world for a government to act in this way.

Do contact your democratic representative, and below are a couple of petitions that you may wish to sign:

Worldwide petition - "For freedom and the rule of law in Catalonia" on change.org (it is in French but it's one of the most signed petitions so I've linked to it) - https://www.change.org/p/la-catalogne-doit-voter

UK only petition - "To condemn the repression of democracy and freedom of speech in Catalonia" - https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/200914

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Nowt to Blog About...


I don't remember taking this photo...

It's been ages since I blogged. Far too long. But, I don't have anything to blog about. Or so I think, anyway. Let's try just writing whatever comes in to my head...

So things have been alright lately, busy but good. My dad and I went to Robin Hoods Bay last weekend - Robin Hoods Bay is a lovely little fishing village in North Yorkshire that we try to visit every year (last year we managed a short break, thanks in no small part to the Robin Hoods Bay Roadtrip campaign!). I'm not sure what it is about the place, but it just makes you feel relaxed and at ease with the world.

Outside the Laurel my dad enjoys a highly visible pint.

TV-wise I'm enjoying The Great British Bake Off (I have to say, Noel Fielding is far better than I anticipated), and AAAAAAAAAAAAAASDJKHASDFHAFHFHFHFHAIOAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My wife just dealt with a spot on my leg.

Where was I? Oh yes, I also enjoyed the return of Strictly Come Dancing - I'm a big Susan Calman fan so it's great to see her dance.

And now I'm enjoying an alcohol free beer - it's my last wheat beer, which I do really like the taste of, so it's being enjoyed!

Cheers!

Hopefully I'll have something earth shattering and profound to blog about in a day or two, but for now these rambles are all I have. See you again soon :)

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Suspicions (warning - contains swearing...)

Today's blog is focussed upon the bathroom.

First, I discovered when fumbling for the wrong bottle that the Harpic bleach has been located immediately next to the mouthwash - which I generally use at the start and end of each day, and, it is important to note, when I'm not wearing my glasses.

I'm sure it's a coincidence how this happened about a week after I received my pension forecast, which included details of how much money my wife would receive if I died in service...

Secondly, I do like to offer something educational now and again.  I would like to offer forth the following new word, complete with definition:

Fuckin'Towel /ˈfʌkɪŋtaʊəl/
NOUN

1     A thick, soft and absorbent textile used for drying oneself which is not in the vicinity of the shower. The potential user only becomes aware of this when already in the shower.

Examples of usage: "I've got soap in my eyes! Where's the Fuckin'Towel?", or "I forgot to check before I got in the bloody shower... there's no Fuckin'Towel!"

It's almost as though these posts are inspired by real life

(As an aside, why do we still say "I've got soap in my eyes" - does anyone still use soap in a shower/bath context? Shower gel is by far the most prominent body cleanser in our house, soap has been restricted to hands only)

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Big Bus Day


So today I didn't have anything in particular planned (which is generally the way I like life!), and I did a bit of a Google to see what was on in Hull today. Turned out to be "Big Bus Day" at Hull's Streetlife Museum of Transport so we went and checked it out.

It was pretty awesome as there was loads of extra buses to look at and go inside, there was the EYMS Brass Band playing inside the museum who are really good, and there was even some free bus trips which was very cool. My son loves going on buses and trains so he loved it!

Hull

More Hull

Inside a goods wagon inside the museum

We were a little cheeky, going on the bus rides twice (once before the museum and once after) but the second time it was getting quiet anyway so I didn't feel too guilty.  We also found a new museum that we haven't been to before so will be checking that out too another day.

Me trying to have a nap on my sons lap. Didn't go to plan.

I must include in this post for any Kindle reading aficionados that "International Relations" by Adele Archer is free for download this weekend - it's well worth a read, I've over time bought the trilogy of books (you don't need to buy the whole trilogy to enjoy the first book though) and they're all really good.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Broken Dream

Happy Saturday!

I'm really sad to say that my dream is broken.

I think my son dropped it.

The dream light isn't the only thing that's broken, I also discovered that the iPad charger cable was broken this morning. Now, I actually prepared for this several months ago, by buying three reinforced iPad cables from the internet that would be handy replacements when for previous ones died (they break fairly regularly in our house).

Of course, now that I need them, I haven't got a clue where the three cables are.  So I had to go out and buy a new one.  As an aside, a bit of a tip for most of the shops near me - it might be worth opening your shop on Saturdays, that's when a lot of people aren't at work and come buying stuff! It's a pain, I know, I don't want to work on the weekend either, but if you're trying to get people to come to your local shop rather than go to the supermarket, you need to be open when they want you.

On the plus side, my son and I went to the circus this afternoon!  Neither of us have been to a circus before, and I have to say that it was great fun, I think both of us liked the acrobats most, but it was all good, I'd definitely go back.


Hopefully I'll get some writing done this weekend, most of my spare time I'm channelling into a novel I'm writing at the minute. I hope you're having a good weekend, and do drop a message in the comments as to what you're up to!

PS - Happy Beard Day! Unfortunately I had a shave the other day, so here's one I made earlier...

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

On The Road...


So, I was driving the other day, and passed a lorry, which I noted with interest advertised the company (who owned the lorry I presume) as being the worlds' leader in wet wipe technology. I must say that I'm fascinated to think what their daily routine would be.  I can only imagine hundreds upon hundreds of people in white coats dipping tissues in buckets with varying amounts of water in, rubbing the tissue on a carefully and precisely created stain, reviewing the success, or otherwise, of removing the stain, and noting the results on a clipboard - which I further assume would be either "too wet", "too dry", or, and this is the one that they're trying to attain, "just right".


On the same road, I saw a caravan model that was called "Pursuit".  I desperately want one of these, and I would use it to create a television series about a police officer that would disrupt his weekend holidays by listening in to police radio frequencies and taking part in car chases. Naturally the series would be called "In Pursuit".

I do enjoy a drive.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

AstroNest - Nest of the Best!

AstroNest: The Beginning is a mobile space strategy/combat game by AN Games, a company of games developers in Korea.

In a nutshell, you run your own task force of combat space ships, built and supported by a number of colonised planets, in an effort to win the war between the Federation of Terra and the Alliance of Neos. I won't talk about the lore in the game, suffice to say there is some, but mainly it's all about getting the best ships to fight other ships.

Here's the main screen where all the stuff happens

The game has a good mixture of management and combat, neither being too complicated whilst being detailed enough to make you give some thought as to how you want your fleets of ships to form.

Do you want fleets purely composed of small but fast moving destroyers that can take the battle to the enemy? Or perhaps larger ships loaded with missiles that can sit at the back and pound away?  Or do you prefer a mixture?

Tactics such as fleet formations also come into play, allowing you to arrange your ships to get certain bonuses.

Also key are heroes.
I'm convinced that the two guys are related. Or are maybe identical twins and one of them has been time travelling.

Heroes are put in charge of your planets, and of your fleets. You have to get the best heroes for their speciality - there's no point putting a combat expert in charge of managing the gold resource on your home planet, just as an economist doesn't want to be giving orders on the flagship of a cruiser fleet.  Heroes gain experience over time, and also be improved by training or by what are called "Trons", accessories that give them further improvements.


Your planets have various facilities that support your fleets, such as providing gold and mineral that pretty much pays for everything else, energy to allow your fleets to grow in number, and research to improve your ships and heroes.

There's more complexity to the game, but that can be picked up if you go into detail.

Of course the thing I've not talked about yet is the combat.

Here we go! For black & white viewers, my ships are on the left.

For all you muck about setting up your fleets, when you hit that button to fight, it's all taken out of your hands and you have to helplessly watch as your ships either destroy the enemy or get blown apart. Happily however losing your entire task force doesn't actually make any difference, all those ships magically appear again afterwards, ready for another go.

Uh oh... missiles incoming...

Time for revenge!

And that's how it is done!

As with any free-to-play game there are built in restrictions to slow down your play (which can be overridden with the application of cold, hard cash) but to be honest I haven't found any problems with playing it for free so far - although it should be noted that I'm only level 20 out of 100, so my feelings may change. Nevertheless, it's a pleasure to play a free game which doesn't have adverts crawling all over it, and which navigates that difficult path for mobile games of being playable on a small screen yet complex enough to remain entertaining.

I also liked the tutorial built into the game - unlike most tutorials whilst it gives you clear pointers as to what to press and what to do, you're not actually bound into doing exactly what it says. Once or twice I actually found better options than what the tutorial was suggesting for me, and it was flexible enough to let me carry out those better options instead of making me stick with whatever it wanted.

AstroNest: The Beginning is available on both Apple and Android devices, if you do give it a try feel free to send me a friend request (I'm on server Sirius, name Thog (#352945) and I'm on the side of the Alliance of Neos)


Friday, 18 August 2017

Calming Down An Angry Balloon #parenting

First task of the day - trying to calm down an angry balloon.

Angry balloon, complete with washing up that I ought to have put away by now.

Unfortunately, there was no reasoning with the angry balloon.

Suffice to say things did not end well for the balloon.



Have a good Friday :)

Sunday, 13 August 2017

The Sequel - Just THREE Questions!


Following up my last blog post, where I ranted about being asked "just two questions" by a person in telesales, I was rung up the other day - at dinner time - by a lady who promised that she just had three questions to ask me.

As may be obvious, particularly to anyone to read the last post, I have a very low tolerance threshold for telesales, but, thinking that I might be able to get another blog post out of it, I decided to run with the call and see how far I could manage.

 So, the lady asked "Can I ask you just three questions?"
 "Yes."
 "Do you live at [my address]?" she asked.  Nice easy one for starters.
 "Yes, I do."
 "What's your age bracket? 20s, 30s...?"
 "30s." I said. Again, no problem with this.
 "What bracket is your household salary?" she asked, following this up with a list of options. I picked whichever bracket we fall in.
 "Have you EVER had a loan or mortgage?"
 "Yes."
 "Are you interested in recovering the cost of Payment Protection Insurance from any of those products?" she asked. (side-note - one day, people on this planet will have no idea what PPI was. You lucky people, future humans)
 "No." I responded.
 "Who is your broadband provider? Sky, Virgin, or TalkTalk?" she asked.
 "None of those, " I said, "we're with Kingston Communications."

 Something you need to understand for the next bit - in Hull in the UK, we're on a separate landline phone network to the rest of the UK.  The rest of the UK is with British Telecoms, but we're not. In times gone by each city would have its own phone network, but over time all of them, except for Hull, formed a single big network.
 The effect of this is that 99.9% of the internet providers in the UK don't offer internet in Hull. I just tried using uSwitch to search for broadband providers, and instead of the usual choice of 70-80 deals, it gave me a choice of one.

 So, she then asked me "Would you be interested in saving money on broadband?"
 "No, I can't change my broadband." I said.
 She helpfully explained "I'm not saying do you want to change your provider, I'm asking would you like to save money on your broadband?"
 "No, I wouldn't, I'm in Hull and there's only one provider, so no thank you." I explained further.
 She repeated "I'm not saying do you want to change your provider, I'm asking would you like to save money on your broadband?"
 "No, thank you, I don't want to." I said, hoping this was the end of this question - particularly bearing in mind the call had definitely included more than three questions at this point.
 Yet again, she repeated herself. "I'm not saying do you want to change your provider, I'm asking would you like to save money..."

 I hung up on her.

 I hope for another call in a few days which this time will have just four questions, so I can keep the blog material coming.

Before I go, I should say that Marketing 4 Startups has kindly let me blog on their website about what makes a good blog post, so do feel free to take a look.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Just Two Questions...


I got a phone call on my mobile at work the other day. I didn't recognise the number, but I use my mobile phone for both work and personal calls, so I took the call anyway.
 "Hi, is this Michael Raven?"
 My heart sank. You can immediately tell from the background hum of a busy call centre, the slightly poor quality of the line and the persons demeanour that they are a telesales operative, using a cheap headset, in a large room full of telesales operatives using cheap headsets.
 I don't have a great tolerance for telesales, but I try to be polite initially.
 "Yes, it is."
 "Great! Now before you hang up, can I just ask two questions, and then you can go about your day?"
 This was a different approach, I thought. Two questions is pretty brief.
 "Yes."
 There was a silence for several seconds, until the telesales person said "Mr Raven?"
 "Yes?"
 "Am I ok to just ask you two questions, and then you can hang up?"
 "Yes."
 "Yes?"
 "Yes." I said once again with slightly more emphasis, hoping that the guy would pick up that the emphasis was me saying Get On With It.
 "Okay, so first question, do you live in a house?"
 "Yes."
 "Yes?" he said. He seemed surprised, as though every other person he ever asked answered that actually no, they live on a narrowboat.
 "Yes, I live in a house." I said, again, emphasis building further. If the emphasis was shown you would have seen a small sign on the ground saying "Yes", and immediately behind it a forty foot swaying tower of large, heavy, jagged rocks, and painted on each rock would be "GET ON WITH IT".
 "Now I'm going to ask you the second question, and then you can go about your day Mr Raven, is that okay?"
 "Yes."
 "So, I'm just going ask this one final question and then we're done Mr Raven, as you'll see it's only taken a couple of minutes out of your day and I think you'll find-"
 I don't know what the rest of his spiel was as I was so bored I just hung up on him. I don't know who drafted his sales script but I would have been quite happy to skip the parts where he told me how quick the call was.

But it has made me wonder what the second question was - while it was probably something like "Do you want to save money on your home energy bills?" I live in hope that it was actually something far more exciting like "Would you like to have in your home a cat that knows karate?"

What do you think the second question was?  Feel free to drop your second question in the comments below :)

Finally, thanks so much to everyone that's subscribed to this blog via email or via an RSS reader, I just seen that I've now got over 300 subscribers which is really awesome :) If you don't subscribe yet but would like to, there should now be a "Subscribe by Email" box at the bottom of every page of the blog, with a Subscribe button, or if you use an RSS reader you can subscribe through that. Thanks again!

The caption for an RSS feed. Exciting stuff!



Friday, 28 July 2017

Schrodingers Ticket


I like to keep an unchecked lottery ticket in my wallet, it gives me the possibility that I may have won the lottery, and be able to go off and retire at any moment.  A bit like Schrödinger's cat, the theory is that as long as I haven't checked the ticket, I might have won. I can fill my thoughts with the possibility that if everything gets too much I can quit my job and finally do all of those things that we want to do, like track down that really annoying guy in the office and hunt him with a crossbow, safe in the knowledge that a helicopter, fake passport, and a pretend cousin in Bolivia are available to start your new life once you've taken your revenge.

Sadly, I've checked this ticket and I haven't won.  I'll have to buy another.

In other news...


FYI to any survey companies, if you need surveys completing by someone in the 18-34 bracket, let me know today, from Sunday I'll have to remember that I'll be in 35-44 years old grouping!

It's not five years ago yet Facebook, there's still a day to go! 

Man, that was some tasty cake, two flavours (chocolate one and lemon the other if I remember right), handmade by my wife, she's awesome :)

Friday, 21 July 2017

A lack of J


You know the nursery song about the alphabet? Well, my keyboard currently goes "a b c d e f g, h i..."

And stops there.

The letter... um, the letter that comes after I and before K, won't type on my keyboard.  The only way I can get it is if I find it in a document or on a web page and copy and paste it in.

And then when you do that, the letter tends to keep the properties from the original source so you end up with words that look like:

 jam

and...

juice

and even...

Juniper


And as a result the words don't always fit with the formatting of the rest of the text.

Not only do I have this to contend with, but my mouse also seems to be dying. I'm not sure what is going on, but I have two mice, and both of them seem to be at breaking point, either refusing to work altogether or being very erky - i mean... hang on.

I meant to say that the mouse is being very Jerky.

Stay tuned for the next exciting adventures of Man With a Broken User Interface!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Doctor Who - the 13th Doctor announced

Today geeks up and down the UK, and around the world, sat watching the male tennis final at Wimbledon, waiting eagerly to discover who the next Doctor Who would be.  Personally It's the first time I've willingly watched tennis for some time.

And it's going to be the first time the Doctor has been played by an actress, Jodie Whittaker.

By Photoblogger79 (Own work)
[CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

I can't say that I know a great deal about Jodie, although I understand that she's been in some fairly high profile stuff such as Broadchurch and a few films - I'm pretty limited in what TV and films I watch! But I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes.  I'm going to say something which will bring me a great deal of hate.

I'm not a huge Peter Capaldi fan.

I don't dislike him, I hasten to add.  There's some bits of him being the Doctor that I really like. However, I've not been hooked to his shows the same way I was with David Tennant and Matt Smith. Maybe I haven't given him enough of a chance - the only reason I got into Dr Who at all was one Christmas when I didn't have anything else to do so I watched a day of Dr Who shows and became addicted, so maybe I need to give him a proper go.

How about you?  Let me know in the comments if you're looking forward to the new Doctor, or if you're disappointed it wasn't somebody else (Kris Marshall was hotly tipped, and I think he would have been ace, a bit like Matt Smith maybe).  And if you've watched Peter Capaldi, should I devote some hours to him?

Thursday, 13 July 2017

New Web Address


Hi!

I'm very pleased to announce that I have a new address for my blog - www.mikeraven.co.uk - I've been meaning to get an address for a while and felt it was about time to bite the bullet.  My blog is still hosted on Blogger and the old address will still work perfectly so no need to update existing shortcuts.

In other news...

Yep, Wednesday market was closed on Friday. That'll show any latecomers.






Thursday, 6 July 2017

Uncommonly Good Goods

I've been pleased on this sponsored post to work with uncommongoods.com, a great website that showcases products from some of the best makers around.

Even in the world of the Internet, where millions upon millions of people connect every day, when it comes to buying gifts it's still not so easy to find something unique, something that stands out.  It's all too often I find that when you search for something to buy you end up being shown the same 3 or 4 products that have come out of an algorithm-calculated listing because they've got the best ratings or the website thinks it's the thing that you want, and you don't ever get to stumble across something a bit different.

However, I've been fortunate enough to come across a website where there are a great selection of unique products available.  Personally I often struggle when it comes to events like weddings, anniversaries, and baby showers, you want to get people something unique and memorable, but it's hard to find the right thing.  Uncommongoods.com has some awesome categories for these, you can see their selection of gifts for weddings, anniversaries, and baby showers here.

I really love this personalised wedding wall :)

Would it be wrong for me to get a Mustachifier for my niece...

Anniversary gifts is a challenge I've got coming up in the near future actually, my parents were married on the same day as I was born - it's an interesting story actually, on their wedding day my parents got married in the morning, and in the afternoon my mum was feeling a bit unwell so my dad took her to see a doctor.  She was worried that the food at the wedding has bad and she had given everybody food poisoning, but it turned out she was going into labour (she had no idea that she was pregnant!) and I showed up in the evening! So this year I'm going to check out some of these awesome anniversary gifts from UncommonGoods for them.

I think my mum might like these recycled glass tree globes...

My dad, however, would probably prefer a personalized whiskey barrel :D

Uncommongoods.com isn't just a marketplace for awesome items, however.  They have a strong environmental and social mission that leads the organisation, with the organisation minimising their environmental impact, ensuring that their employees are treated fairly, and they've donated over $1m to non-profit organisations around the world.  So you can feel good about your shopping too :)

For me, it seems like a great place to find some new, often personalised, gifts that you probably can't get elsewhere, directly supporting makers and creators.  Well worth checking out!


In case anyone is looking for birthday presents for me, check out their mens range - I like the look of Beeropoly :D


Sunday, 2 July 2017

Guest Post - Admin

Today my dad guest blogs about one of his most favourite subjects, "Admin".  I should explain that Admin is a term that my dad uses not just for paperwork, but also for all of those little processes and procedures followed in every day life.

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Thanks to stevepb for the image


So, to Admin.

Only they could do it. It is beyond the scope of most mere mortals to comprehend, but admin are 'different', like chalk and cheese, they see a different world to the rest of us.

For example, if you yourself lived in these parts, I dare say you would call North Ferriby Infant School (Church of England) -

North Ferriby Infant School (Church of England)

- or some close approximation thereof.

As the saying goes, it does what it says on the tin, the name would be descriptive in an entirely sensible manner and good folk who deserve to breathe air would know exactly what you were talking about!

Ah, but Admin, ah no, for them common sense is forbidden - unless it is specifically demanded and detailed in official guidelines because, presumably if normal people understand what you are saying despite official guidelines and admin jargon, well you have clearly failed miserably.

So, the above mentioned school has a sign outside which proudly states to one and all "Welcome to the KS1 Building"!

Excuse me? Only admin can have the slightest idea just what KS1 refers to.

I am bemused by the fact that despite guidelines, political correctness, admin jargon etc lingering traces of normality stubbornly persist amongst the office staff and the powers that be have decided that the rest of the world needs a sign welcoming them to the above abomination. (note: the school is excellent, it's the name that gets me - KS1 indeed!)

.. and someone was paid money for this decision!

NB Deliveries must not be made to the KS1 building, as another sign informs everyone, indeed no, deliverers of deliveries must find the KS2 building across the road!

Do normal people really talk like this?

Really?

PS I once enjoyed a friendly chat with an admin person, over a pint of alcoholic beverage or several. I somewhat outrageously enquired whether one was still permitted to scratch one's arse if the desire occurred, and he told me in all seriousness that this was still currently permitted. However, should I wish to scratch anyone else's arse, I would require a licence to do so. Either way, such activities must not be performed in public as the word 'arse' has erotic connotations and may cause uncontrollable urges in some individuals, and then only between consenting individuals.

Disclaimer: The word 'arse' mentioned above was only written down behind locked doors with both my feet in a bucket of cold water. This PC does not have an internet connection for fear of hackers, be they government or freelance, becoming over excited.


Why not pop over to my parents website, www.facebook.com/RavenMagical where they offer all kinds of magical and new age goodies!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

A Call To Action

So, I'm working on a book at the moment.  It's all at very early stages, and comes with a hefty proviso of "may never see the light of day" but at this time it's all very exciting, particularly how it gives me another reason to avoid doing unimportant things like doing the washing up or getting a shave.

I need your help.

Except you, Dr Dawg.

Specifically with blog subscriptions!  I will be approaching writing agents in the not too far distant future and part of my sales pitch will be talking about my blog.  I'm aware that there are a committed number of people (thank you, each and every one of you) who do stop by regularly to check out my blog, most people don't currently subscribe, which is absolutely fine of course, nevertheless I'd like just to flag up that if you would like to subscribe you'd be very welcome :) I don't tend to post that frequently so hopefully it shouldn't result in a sea of notifications for you.

If you would like to subscribe then on the right hand side of the page (if you're viewing this on a proper desktop computer that is) there should be options to subscribe by email or to subscribe using an RSS reader, if you use one of these. If you're viewing this blog on a phone or tablet, as about half of people do, if you scroll right down to the bottom of the page there should be an option to "View Web Version" - if you could just do this this one time then the links will be available on the right hand side for you to subscribe.

If, by chance, you've stumbled across this blog and this is your first time, here's a post for you to check out, you'll get an idea of my typical nonsense.

Many thanks to all that do indeed subscribe :)

Now, back to thinking up insults relating to that Ohioan master of blogging, Tim Clark. He's a great man but his dog...

Well to be quite frank, I think his dog is a little out of control.  It's awarded itself a doctorate, tried to become President, I think it's suffering from delusions of grandeur. I think Tim needs to take Dr Dawg to the vet for some sort of procedure, perhaps to be neutered. I don't know if it would make any difference but, for the sake of humanity, it's worth a try.

I couldn't have said it better myself.
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