Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Day 1466 New Years Eve (31/12/2013)

I went for a haircut today and felt very very old as the hairdresser said she had better cut my eye-brows as there were a few wild long ones.

So I've now come to the age where I have to have the hair in my ear's, nose and eyebrows trimmed by a professional. Shoot me now.

Made a quick turkey Korma for lunch.

Looking forward to spending the evening with the family in Clevedon.

Day 1465 (30/12/2013)

Loving the Baklava that Gary & Elaine got for us.

I get sent a photograph from a friend, which made me fell old but not too short. I should explain the guy next to me is called Guy and he is 6'8" tall, so I'm not short he is tall, as are the rest of his family.

How nice to be reminded of how young & slim I once was. This was at our best friends wedding in 1988, when my wife was a brides maid.

Day 1463 & 1464 (28 & 29/12/2013)

A fairly relaxing weekend, spent mostly finishing up some of the Christmas food, with a very nice M&S Mushroom Wellington meant for Kelly.

Cheese & Biscuits are so much better with very nice Port.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Day 1462 (27/12/2013)

Officially Christmas is over and I swear we have exactly the same amount of food in the fridge and around the house as we had beforehand. We will be living off of these Christmas supplies well into Easter.

There is no such thing as God or Jesus but if there was he must have been a fat git as ever celebration is associated with a mass of food. It has so many similarities to my own life, as Richard Herring says, I'm not saying I'm Jesus, that's for others to say.

My wife is back to work today and we will be taking her mother back home tonight after another bit of dinner at my Mum & Dads.

Day 1461 Boxing Day (26/12/2013)

It's Boxing Day and Christmas Day went well, actually very well. I think that me and Gary will probably take it turns to do Christmas Dinner from now on.

After a lazy morning we went to my Mum & Dads for dinner, whilst Thomas went off to the football today and was quite happy with at least three on-line publications.

It was sad that Kelly had to go back to Brighton tonight but she needs to be where there is more chance of succeeding in the theatre and that's not here unfortunately.

I did say that Thomas could move to north of Birmingham as it would be better for his work but apparently that wouldn't be a good idea.

Day 1460 Christmas Day (25/12/2013)


Ho Bloody Ho & Bah Humbug, I hate the build up to Christmas if it was in my power I would ban any talk about Christmas until the week before Christmas but actually on Christmas Day I'm fairly happy as I love being with my family, even more so now that the kids (they will always be kids to my wife & I) have grown up and with Kelly living away and Thomas splitting his time between being asleep in bed and being away at the football.

I'm sure today was possibly the only second time that I have made Christmas Dinner and the first time that I've made it for my parents, so there was quite a bit of pressure, so today was all about the food, as are most days.

A fun day was had by all.

Day 1459 Christmas Eve (24/12/2013)

Christmas Eve and its true to say we are not quite ready and could really do with another few weeks to get ready but it more a case of we can't really be bothered to do anything until the last possible moment.

To be honest I do nothing anyway and just let my wife do everything.

Anyway it's great to have Kelly home and for us all to be together at Christmas even if it is for only a few days.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Day 1458 (23/12/2013)

Golly if I thought it was wet & windy before today (I did) well then today I realised how wet & windy it could be, very very very very very very wet & windy.

I managed to do all of my Christmas shopping in less than about an hour by basically not buying anything for anybody, Bah Humbug, Sod Off Tiny Tim.

I had a box of smelly cheese for Christmas from my friend Sam.

Thankfully I fond where the deliveryman had hid it in the garden shed as that would have stunk after a few days, let along the whole winter.

When my wife came home the electricity was off, so we got some Tea's from the garage, in suitable Christmas design.

It is fair to say that we would definitely be all set for Christmas in 2014 but 2013 might well be a bit of a push.

Day 1456 & 1457 (21 & 22/12/2013)

The weekend is her and it was fairly wet & windy.

I had some work to do whilst my wife was still preparing for Christmas, I've done nothing apart from buying some new chairs that she doesn't like.

On Sunday I was in Tesco's which was hell as it was so busy but at least they had a few taster plates out, which I obviously checked-out.

Did a nice pan friend pork chop in a cider & sage sauce.

With a posh lemon tart for afters.

Yum Yum Yum.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Day 1455 (20/12/2013)

I've ended up with a sudden shed load of work to do over the next week or two but hopefully it should be the last time this happens.

I've been watching Hill Street Blues on 4OD, from the very first pilot episode, which from memory we were told about when visiting my Nan & Grandad when it first came out in the early 1980's.

By strange coincidence two of the uniformed main characters had a good squad number on their car.

A few years later I was given this as my collar number.

Now with camera phones we tend to take photographs of everything but back then it was more of a pain and more expensive, so there are very few of me in uniform in those days.

It is strange as I have a habit of always looking at the clock when it 22:02.

I was going to the gym but the traffic was so bad I ended up visiting my mum & dad for a cup of tea instead.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Day 1454 (19/12/2013)

Yesterday Nanny Lips passed away, strangely at the same age and on the same day of the year as her own mother, Nanny 22 passed away.

For those of you not in the direct family she was called Nanny Lips as she always had lipstick on and was a lovely lady, what a Nan should be to a kid growing up. Nanny 22 was our Second Nan or Great Nan for the more correct term and there was also Fatty Nanny, who I understand got her name when she was a bit larger but by the time I knew her she was fairly skinny, so the name seemed a bit Little John-ish.

Our kids have a Nanny and a Granma, so basic and somewhat boring when you compare it to the names we had for our Nan's.

Since our friend Kim died I am always upset by death, anyone's if I'm honest but there is a difference between dying and passing away. I see it as young people die and we mourn their death as they clearly died too early. Elderly people pass away and we celebrate their life.

In the case of my Nan, she unfortunately left us some time ago, such was the horror of her illness. It is a crime that people are left to suffer in such torment. Sometimes the kindest thing to do is to ease the suffering of a loved one and not to keep them alive to ease your own guilt or sorrow. It must surely be about a quality of life not just life.

As a sign of modern life I found out about her death by Facebook.

Day 1453 (18/12/2013)

I'm having a relaxing week, doing a little bit of work and going to gym but today was also the annual works Christmas Party.

OK I obviously work alone but Thomas is classed as staff, so us and our respective partners went out for dinner on what was the worse weather of the year. It was truly a journey to remember, driving at around 25mph down flooded roads, avoiding fallen branches. 

We went to Route 303 as Cacey had fancied going there and it was a change from a Curry or a Chinese. 

It was basically an American Diner so we had to go all out and be as piggy as possible, which obviously wasn't a challenge for me.  I started with a full on cream filled strawberry milkshake as I was the driver on my own works do.

A sharing combo for starters.

A small mixed grill, no honestly there was a much larger version with over 2lb of meat, so this was technically from the diet menu.

Feeling stuffed the girls cheated and shard some doughnuts,

whilst I went for the waffles,

And Thomas went for the crumble & custard.

We just about made it out of the diner and back home. I would go back but next time perhaps have something a bit smaller & lighter.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Day 1452 (17/12/2013)

Tuesday and off to the gym then we got the stuff down from the loft and my good lady wife put the tree up.

Still quite some way to go until we are ready for Christmas, especially seeing as there will be nine of us here.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Day 1451 (16/12/2013)

Every year when I say that next year we will be more organised for Christmas I do mean it but it would be true to say that this year we are very unready, possibly the worst ever, the decorations are still in the loft, so we don't even have a tree up or anything.

And this year we are doing Christmas dinner, so are having everyone around here, so we must get it all done and looking nice. Saying that my wife always makes it look good.

I'm sure it will be alright on the day but I just wish we were more organised and our house was more tidy.

I went to the gym today, actually going on the cycle machine and cross-trainer before doing a few weights and finishing with a swim. I'm knackered now but must go everyday as I'm determined to start get into shape and be looking a lot better by the spring.

Day 1449 & 1450 (14 & 15/12/2013)

In London for a weekend training session arranged by a client who wanted to train a small on a 3day course but only in 2days, so it was agreed that it would be long days.

The client booked the venue and I was told it was suitable and certainly The Tabernacle in Nottinghill was nice but it was a somewhat strange training venue with very patchy WiFi connection.

We were in a room usually used for steel drum practice.

But we did have some nice lunch, in a sushi bar on the first day

 and at the venue of the second day.

The course went fairly well but it would have gone better with a more reliable WiFi and if one of the people was a bit more modern man instead of annoying rude arrogant dinosaur.

Then on the way home I stopped off at the bagel stall,

and had to stock up in the first class lounge as there was no catering on the train in the way back.

Day 1448 (13/12/2013)

A busy day getting everything finished and then off to London on the train for this weekends course.

Thankfully my last training event of the year, so I can relax afterwards.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Day 1447 (12/12/2013)

Busy preparing for being away this weekend doing another course, in London. I wish I wasn't but needs must.

It will be nice  in the new year only having the training to concentrate on ,with very little trace & research work to do but at the moment still have both to do.

Day 1446 (11/12/2013)

Orange Wednesday and we went off to see Saving Mr Banks, which was a really enjoyable film.

However the other week I saw a documentary on the BBC about I say  PL Travers & Mary Poppins by Victoria Coren Mitchell, which really was interesting and told me a lot I never knew about this woman.

There was a report on it in the Radio Times.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Day 1445 (10/12/2013)

I had meant to go to the gym today but was still feeling tired from yesterdays early start and had to catch up on some admin.

I know every year we say the same thing, "next year we will be more organised and will get the Christmas stuff out of the loft in November" well next year I defiantly mean it.

Next week when I come back from London I must buy some chairs and plates as we are going to have a house full at Christmas and are nowhere near prepared yet.

Day 1444 (09/12/2013)

I was up before 6am to go to London on the train.

I had two meeting. The first was with a lady from Rook 414 Productions, talking about a potential new Channel 4 series that needs someone like me to be involved.

It was rather off-putting as this lady reminded me strongly of the character player by Jessica Hynes in 2012, a very annoying media / pr / advertising lady.

Hopefully they wont want to be involved as I could only last a day before telly her who she reminds me off and she might not be too pleased.

Then off to another meeting where I had to explain what I did on an enquiry to a client about a potential massive company fraud. It was like a scene from an Agatha Christie film as we met in an old fashioned Boardroom which was full of wood paneling.

I only spoke for a couple of minutes but it added about 5 hours to my day but thankfully they were paying me £25 p/hr, so it was an OK day.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Day 1442 & 1443 (07 & 08/12/2013)

Nearly a weekend off, apart from doing the three jobs for the client who I have just let go, so hopefully soon my weekends will be free.

Still busy though as I have training things to take care of before I can even contemplate writing.

We had a Chinese on Saturday night, which was great,

and handy as we are both out Sunday, my wife working and me at as meeting in Bristol, so can just reheat the left overs.

Update - Sunday 20:30 - I went to an ABI meeting in Almondsbury today, which is usually fun and always has a nice buffet.

Then home and time to finish off the Chinese.

Day 1441 (06/12/2013)

Work wise I have taken the decision to concentrate on training from now on and am only keeping a few clients on my books to do trace and research work for.

A few years ago, when I was doing less training I had two main clients both of whom were sending me well in excess of £1,000 of work a month but it was killing me to do all of their work in the time they needed it. I had to let one client go, who I had been with for a number of years, so trained a lady to work in his office to replace me. He soon had to take on another lady and possible now has three in there working full time, not all replacing me but he certainly appreciated what I had done for him.

Training has really taken over and during the first three months of next year I already have over 9 courses and presentations booked in. So there was no real way I could do my main clients work during this period and to be honest I have had little free time over the last few years, working every evening and weekend trying to keep up with their demands.

If there had been a set amount of work guaranteed every month then I would have taken on staff properly but there wasn't and my my dealings with staff so far have made me convinced that my company will only ever be a one man business.

So I spoke to my client and have decided to end our relationship at the end of the year. It was all very amicable and I even gave them the details of my previous client, who with three lady's in the office, should be able to cope and was very happy when I passed the contract over. I could have sub-contracted it out and taken a cut but that would have still involved an element of me spending time checking them and dealing with invoices, this way I will have a lot more free but obviously also a big reduction in my income which I need to replace with more training courses.

I instantly felt relieved and a lot less stressed, although I did have three of their jobs to do.

Now to concentrate on training courses, trying to arrange two a month every month over the next 5 years and to start writing.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Day 1440 (05/12/2013)

The course finished in a bit of a rush as all the delegates were catching trains and because of the server weather there was massive disruption on the rail network.

Then a long drive home with a slight detour as I dropped one of the delegates off in Bristol.

Then home, via the fish & chip shop.

Very different from my dinner last night.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Day 1439 (04/12/2013)

One of the people on the course was in the same police force as me but at a very different rank. When we spoke it was clear we knew a lot of the same people but we had never worked together.

This man had been a Staff Officer in the Chief Constables Office so I was quite intrigued when he said he had heard of me when he worked there. I took a little while but I worked out why eventually, it was over a job I warned them about that I was doing for the press that they wanted hushed up.

That particular job, which would have got a lot of very bad publicity for the police never reached the papers, despite a now ex-policemen being sentenced to a very long time in prison. But from what this man said it appears that as a result they thought I was also involved in another high profile investigation which could have harmed a very senior police officers image, which I wasn't, but he wouldn't say what they did to me as a result.

Remember, just because you are paranoid doesn't mean that they aren't after you.

Went to Purnells for dinner, which was great.

I started with a cherry, vanilla bakewell cocktail.

Then starters of a potato rosti, black pudding with an egg yolk.

Then honey roast slow cooked pork belly, with a sausage roll slice and mustard mash.

Then, they were only small portions, I had a creme brulee with a poached pear and pear sorbet.

Then cheese & biscuits with a glass of port.

Finished off by a latte with some chocolates.

What a lovely but cold evening.