Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Green Eggs and Ham

As you may be aware, I'm fond of Dr Seuss, and in particular "Green Eggs and Ham", which I made into a rap with Tom Davies, in the guise of The Fat Boy Stomach Collective. You can download it here - right click & select "save as".

Well anyway, at the great Islands of Adventure theme park they have a Dr Seuss area - "Seuss Landing". And guess what? They serve real GREEN EGGS AND HAM.





And here I meet "Sam-I-Am", along with the un-named grouch who doesn't like rotting poultry & swine produce for some strange reason. (Notice the green eggs and ham on the windowstill, just by my hand.)


Sunday, December 12, 2004

Flat Warming

This weekend is my long awaited flat warming party - Jo, Linda, Kris and Pleb all come over and I realise that it's just as well I didn't have a huge party, as our flat is just about right with a small gathering. Anyway, a cool time is had, and no wine makes it onto our new carpet!



I also visit home for a pre Chrismas familly meal with Amanda, who is looking prety pregnant.


Friday, November 05, 2004

Lewes - Bonfire Night

We went to Lewes to check out their famous bonfire night. A crazy experience - they really put a huge effort into these incredible parades, full with burning torches, bangers going off & incredible costimes.

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More of my photos

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Recent Happenings

I had a look on my website the other day and noticed that there weren't any updates since April 2003, and didn't update my blog since June. So an update is in order, I think.

My sister's bump grows larger, and is thinking about baby names. I had a look at the popular ones and was shocked to see that Mark has been falling year on year - 77, 84, 96 and now it has dropped off the list. Joanne / Joanna isn't even there! (Jordan is though. Classy) . Still, avoid these and it'll be fine.

The big event is that nearly 6 months on from when Jo and I first put our offer in on the flat, we finally completed and are now proud home owners. As soon as we got the keys , we were immediately over there to rip out the old person curtains and lampshades, and start on the painting. We had a bit of crossover with our rented flat so we tried to get as much work out of the way as possible while we had 2 flats on the go.It was all a bit mega busy - decorating pretty much every evening 7-10pm, on top of CIMA study. It basically hadn't had anything done to it in decades and needed lots doing. Jo's Brother and Dad came and put in a new kitchen and put right the damage done from the asbestos removal, we also got the plumbing sorted and a nice carpet put in. Now it feels like home. Aaah.

Lounge before:

And after:


Kitchen before:

and after:

(still needs flooring & tiling).

Not a huge milestone in my life, but we visited Longleat Safari Park recently, on the way back from a visit to Jo's family in Devon. I mention it only as an excuse to show this photo I took.



Marvellous.


Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Will's Wedding

I had trouble getting up on Monday I was so shattered after Will's Wedding on the weekend. 7 ish hours there on Friday night, and then 7 hours back on Sunday. We spent longer driving in the car than actually spent at the Wedding!

It was a very cool wedding, and was a wonderful day - the time and money they'd spent preparing the wedding showed. Will's true Cornish colours came out; Cornish groom, Cornish bride, Cornish relatives, Cornish farm, Cornish food, Cornish best man, Cornish mineral water and so on. Well, asfter all they were winners of Cornish Wedding Couple of the year Rachel's very Cornish farmer dad was quite funny. He said in his speech; "When Rachel wants something, I normally have to sell a cow to pay for it, but when she wanted to get married, I had to sell the whole herd".

The ceremony was at a pretty country church in Madron. It's near
Penzance, and Rachel's family's farm is just down the lane. The groom, best man and ushers all met up before the wedding at the local King William pub, and they took down their washing off the line so we could use the beer garden. I was an usher along with Gareth and PJ, Rachel's brother & Davey was best man; we were all dressed in matching suits with top hats. They'd already prepared the church with little place names on the pews so that everyone had an allocated seat, and we were provided with a layout (done on Excel) so we could direct people to their seats. I sat with Will's Exeter friends on the right hand side; Linda & Kris, Jo &
Ben, Michelle, Danny, Russ, Tom Scruby, as well as Bruce, Gareth & Jim from Reuters.

The bridesmaids (Will's sisters & Rachel's little cousins) arrived in a fancy blue car, and Rachel in a convertible white Rolls Royce. The ceremony was nice enough; Will's little brother John was the ring bearer and had the rings on a little cushion. A poem that Will wrote and was read out during the service, and shocked everyone by being relatively normal sounding. Rachel acting as the editor perhaps? The church organist was very funny, as he played romantic tunes like "love is all around us". Following the photos outside we drove to the reception, which was in a field on Rachel's parents' farm, with a big marquee that had been set up.

We were served with champagne and listened to the excellent steel band that was playing. There was also a bouncy castle for the kids. The (Cornish) meal was very nice; crab salad to start, steak, strawberries & meringue, cheese & port and coffee. There was a container of roses on each table, and later on in the evening one cheeky little tinker was going around saying "wanna buy a rose - 20p?". There were also helium balloons, which naturally everyone was inhaling (particularly little John).
After the meal, the free bar opened up serving copious amounts of booze - when we'd left it looked barely dented! My friend Sumit travelled up for the evening section. He's got a habit of overdoing it - that night he slept in the marquee and the following morning tried to walk back to Penzance - the crazy nutter. Fortunately he got a lift. He was very pleased that when he got back home he hadn't lost his glasses shoes or bags
- for Sumit this is quite an accomplishment. A ska-ish band played, and then there was a ropey DJ. Toward the end of the evening Will let off quite an impressive display of fireworks (burning his hand in the process), while Rachel danced around excitedly.

Russ was passed out most of the evening, Danny was laughing loudly, Sumit was standing behind the bar for a good while, I had a conversation with a girl about her surname (Vile), and some other fella with a strange name Zebbady?, and one couple were having s*x on the bouncy castle!

All in all, an enjoyable day.

My photos of the day can be viewd in my album here.


Sunday, June 13, 2004

I live near Bushy Bottom, what about you?

Find amusing place names near you:
http://places.jump-around.com/closest/

Homelands

I went to Homelands Dance Festival a couple of weekends ago, for my mate Will's stag night, which was quite fun.

When we arrived at Winchester station, the Radio DJ Tim Westwood was there, posing in front of his Humvee with 2 girls in short skirts (who were promoting Mixmag). We got the bus from there up to Homelands, where you have to walk up across some hilly fields and then down into the bowl. The security peeps checked our bags, and confiscated from Will most of his supplies - a bottle of champagne, beer and a case of redbull. He got through with his Evian bottle full of neat vodka though. He drank most of that himself, so was pretty trashed! At the entrance to Homelands,
some people had these backpacks with strongbow in, and were giving away free glasses to promote it, and I kept on going back all night for free drinks. They were also giving away some vouchers for free aftershocks, so I had a few of them. (saved me lots of money on buying alkeyhol) The aftershock tent was pretty cool - they had a couple of pole dancers entertaining everyone for most of the night.

Music wise, I didn't really catch as much as I might have liked but saw bits of Faithless, Westwood, Jazzy Jeff and Grandmaster Flash. I saw all of Lamb, they were very good, the lead singer was wearing this funky oriental type dress. She said they've got a best of album out soon and "I would call it a greatest hits album, except none of them were". Which was quite funny.

All the crowds meant that we kept on getting split up, and I lost
Will pretty early on! I was a bit lame, and left fairly early, to catch the last train back. I feel old - had akey legs and feet after all the standing around. Oh well.


Thursday, February 12, 2004

So you've been wanting to know about my holiday in Sorrento?

Well, we took it pretty easy, but the main highlights were visiting Amalfi,
Pompeii and Herculaneum. Amalfi is an old town near Sorrento, and is
famous for the windy coastal road to get there, taking in some stunning
views. Houses and hotels are built into the side of the cliff down to
the sea, with several stories. It's pretty weird - you'd park on the roof
of the house.

We went before the tourist season started proper, so many restaurants
and shops were closed, but we had the advantage of not having to
compete with massive crowds at the tourist attractions, which we had pretty
much to ourselves. And although it wasn't hot (hotter than the UK
though, we had to wear sunglasses) I'm glad we didn't have to push our way
through crowds in baking hot weather at Pompeii (as we would have done if
we went in the summer).

To get to Pompeii we took the train, and passing through the
surrounding countryside was quite an eye opener. Simply put, a lot of the
surrounding area around Naples is a dump, and much of the South of Italy is
quite impoverished. It reminded me more of the housing we saw in
Cambodia than in England, and clarified in my mind that although the
countries of Europe are untied by the Euro, they remain unique countries with
very different cultures, attitudes and problems. Many people complained
that since the Euro has been introduced, prices have been rounded up/
continue to go up, but without the same movement in wages. Ok -
Political rant over.

Pompeii was very interesting, a very large area of preserved ruins,
with a surprising amount still intact. Sadly many of the more
interesting pieces have been moved into Naples museum. The brothel, still with
rudey pictures painted onto the walls was probably the most entertaining
part for me, with the theatres and well preserved amphitheatre also
good. There are a couple of funny mosaics of dogs at the front of the
houses "cave canum" (or something), meaning beware of the dog.

The nearby Hurculaneum was also good, though smaller (and
comparatively empty of people, hurrah). It is better preserved than Pompeii,
having been covered by a kind of mud, rather than pumice stones. Despite
being buried for almost 1,000 years, many of the ceilings, second floors,
wood in the building, murals and mosaic flooring remain well preserved.


We read "Pompeii", the novel by Robert Harris while we were there,
and it was cool to connect a story to the places we had been to. I also
read the enjoyable 'Northern Lights' by Philip Pullman (the 1st of the
Dark Materials trilogy - big but its gonna be huge - movies etc), and
"Talking Cock" by Richard Herring (a bit rum but quite interesting).

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

I had a Merry Cribo and all that

I had a very nice Christmas & took a few well earned days off work. We
started off by visiting Jo's family in Devon. One day, Jo went into
Exeter to meet up with her friend Mel & they went for a sauna session. I
had a few hours to kill, and so went to watch Disney's latest offering,
"Brother Bear". It was early afternoon on a weekday, and I was the only
adult not to be accompanied by a gaggle of small children. It really
was a very weak film, combining all of the clich├ęs of previous films into
an uninspiring, obvious plot.

On Christmas Eve went home to Dulwich. Jo's mum stayed at my parents
for 4 days as well. It sounds like a premise for one of those family
disaster movies, but was actually no bother at all. On Christmas Eve we
went to midnight mass, and my brother contemplated joining the choir, as
he thought some of the choirgirls were quite fit. Cheeky monkey. On
Christmas in the evening we played Risk, and my dad, brother &
brother-in-law stayed up until about 3am battling it out. We all went to go see
the Chinese state circus on Boxing day. We had front row seats and saw
all manner of human dexterity. Those Chinese will bend over backwards to
impress you, literally.

For new years we were in Brighton. An Italian girl from Jo's
work invited us over and did some really nice food. Some cookoo-brain
thought it would be a good idea to go down to the beach, which was
absolutely freeeezing. We had a duvet with us, and wrapped ourselves in
that, as we walked along, looking like a pair of complete muppets.

On 2nd January, as I was about to leave for work, I was surprised to
not
find my car. I was like "hmm, I'm sure we parked it around here
somewhere". It had been parked at a bus stop on New Years eve, but we
didn't realise, because cars had parked either side of where we parked.
So my car had been towed away. D'Oh! I had to go pick it up in my lunch
break & pay a stupid great fine. At any rate, it helped me with my new
years resolution: don't get the car towed away again.

We've now got a nice digital camera - its a Cannon Ixus, with 4 million
mega pixels (or something), 3 x optical zoom, and you can do mini film
clips with sound so we're pretty pleased with that.

Favourite website of the moment: making faces. You upload a jpeg
picture, and then this site animates it and allows you to make it talk, save
it and send it to your friends. Brilliant stuff.