Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Not in the best of moods.

Phew. Been awhile, hasn't it?

Family emergency, thats resulted in my lad stopping with me for a while. Meanwhile, I'm helping a mate who's been paying almost all his pension to a 'minor*' drug dealer because his learning disabled daughter has built up debts with them. That is very scary. Luckily, I used to be a substance abuse counselor, and have a good idea of how that murky (and violent) world operates.

At the very least we can keep the chap fed and warm, despite his fear and pride. He's of the generation who will just pay up and go without to (he thinks) protect his daughter.

* A minor drug dealer is someone who buys from another dealer and sells part of their purchase on to others at a profit  - often cannabis or it's derivatives. They'll often give their 'customers' their product when they can't afford it and demand payment later with violence and intimidation. As in this case.

An annoying turn of events on the health front is that I've had the occasional seizure, which is a new one. And a stutter that I'd dealt with as a kid has been sticking it's ugly head up again.

Mass clearout at Wheelie Manor. I'd stored a lot of stuff for my lad, so while he's around for a while I'm taking the opportunity to get him to sort out what he needs to keep, and my Bear needs a junk out. Myself, I'm an inveterate record keeper. But bills from 1989 is just a little extreme, no?

Upside is at long last the so-called 'spare' room, which also houses bits and pieces of disability equipment will become my office/workshop - a man-cave, once it's redecorated. Bear is already up there creating havoc. I'm really looking forward to that.

I might even dig my table football out of the shed.

Sunday, 14 April 2013


Someone local discovered I'd on the qt did the odd (unpaid) minor repairs for electronics. Which has become a bloomin' nuisance. So the world and it's mother has been at my door wanting everything from valve radios to lamps and fuses testing.

I mean gosh. How much is a 13 Amp fuse? 10 pence for a single? 25p for a pack of 4?

Here's a simple fuse tester.

Grab an old fashioned torch, turn it on. Unscrew the top. Where the batteries go in.  Inside the top of the lid you'll find some metal. Grab a paper clip, a bit of wire, a fork, a spoon, paper clip  or a bit of metal.

Between the metal in the top, the top of the batteries, insert the metal the fuse. If the torch lights up, the fuse is a good'un. Sorted.

The idea is to create a ring of metal, in which the top and the bottom has batteries and a light in with a gap. In the gap, we insert a the fuse. something like this.

Somewhere in the lines, insert a fuse - which will be the same as a switch. Or better. Just buy a new fuse.



Sunday, 7 April 2013

A bunch of fives

Talk about the past catching up with you.

At a local market, an ancient and frail gentleman called me to the counter. Leaning close and staring intently, he said "Ha!I thought it was you, you little tw*t" ponting upwards to his signage.

Ah. "Hello, Mr. W."

Forty five years ago, our family shared a large back yard two other families. One was a butchers. I'd earn a bit of pocket money or a few sausages by keeping 'back of shop' clean, double checking the accounts and invoices, that sort of thing.

In those days most stuff was made in shop. Curing, boiling, slicing, sausages, dripping.

The dripping was made by boiling up fat in a very large copper on the range. One of my jobs was to keep the heat steady. So I'd sneakily put my feet up reading Tiger and Jag, (Roy of the Rovers - anyone remember that?) passing stuff to front of shop when yelled at.

Sudddenly, it was very busy. I was trying to juggle what seemed about eight things at once. Scrubbing the back block with Lifeboy, keep an eye on the dripping, making a terrible job of twisting the beef and tomato, traying up the bacon, but most importantly, trying desperately to keep track of a backstory in Football Family Robinson.

After what seemed to be fiftieth shout from the front of "Oy, Boy!" I lost it. The Lifeboy went in the dripping.

I walked out into the yard and waited, arms crossed and smirking. As a nipper with a keen interest in chemistry, I knew exactly what was going to happen. "Boy! BOY!"

Huh. 'Boy' indeed. "BOY! OH MY F*CKING GOD".

Amid muffled screams of horror, a thick, foul, choking and pervasive mist rolled out of the back door, obscuring everything in it's path. Behind that followed the most greasy, green tinged two foot high, frothing fog of the most disgusting smelling, slimey Ginourmous bubbles you have ever seen.

It was wild.

The Butcher staggered out, frothing and retching. "What?" I asked. "I think I left my comics in there" Well, 7d was a lot of money for a comic. One look at his face as he straightened up, and discretion got the better of valour and I legged it. And I mean, I was gone, man, outta there.

Needless to say, I wasn't popular in the area for a couple of weeks. You don't deprive steel workers of their morning bacon, or the local ladies of their natter in the queue. Or your parents of a bit of extra 'skirt' for Sunday dinner.

Forty five years later, I'm eye to eye with my tormenter. "Boy, make yourself useful" passing me some stuffed casings to twist. Handing them back to me expertly wrapped he grinned.

"Now, bugger off Boy".

Nice to find I can still twist a mean bunch of bangers.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Tha' Wot?

I'm watching a rather confused Sparkle the cat, that's sat atop an 18 foot Hawthorn tree.

Sat very, very still, with a blackbird sat on it's head, preening itself. The bird is hopping around in circles, causing one cat ear to twitch, then the other. Priceless.

The bird perches on that tree every morning, and isn't going let a gormless cat stop it. I'd love to take a picture, but I fear my presence would get one or the other in a flap.

I'm very fond of that tree. It escaped the wrath of my tree-hating father-in-law ( "Bloody giant weeds, get in the way of the bloody mower..." ). I told him it was protected by the Wildlife Trust, as the remnant of an ancient boundary hedge. Which I thought was a little white lie to prevent it turning into a five foot sharpened pencil.

Only, it turns out I was telling the truth. It is, and it is. That serves me right. I really must stop doing stuff like that. "Your reputation" commented my Bear dryly "as a brilliant, scrupulous honest yet very creepy man continues untarnished. What are this weeks winning lottery numbers going to be, again?".

Sometimes I think wives should be like cars. Part exchange them for a new model when the starting handle  starts to go cranky, for something with electric heated reclining seats and a pair of furry dice. Big ones. Sarky cow.

Managed to get Skype working again, after many epic battles. It was me versus the computer, and the computer was not going to win. I built it, cajoled it, nursed it, and it will do as it's told. A tip of the hat to Dazman, who helped. By talking to me. Actually, it's quite difficult to stop him talking to me. God knows I've tried for over twenty years :) Now I have to remember why I needed to get it back up and running in the first place.......

Teen daughter, she with the bright purple hair, has returned from a few days at her cousins speaking with a foreign accent. Somewhere she now calls 'Baaarnsly'.  Near 'Joomp'. Apparently. Needles to say, it sounds like an all nations cafĂ© here. Northern all nations. 'Er indoors has reverted to her Stocksbridge accent, Teen has gone all 'Baaarnley'

I'm told if I don't shurrup speaking my native Pitsmoor (just up from t'wicker arches) and get back my normal voice I'm going to get me 'ead slapped. "Tha' can go off wimmin" I reminded them. "You know what that makes you then Dad".

Yeah. Married. With children.

Catchya :)