About Me

I was born in Luton, known for hat making, Vauxhall cars, London Luton Airport and a great football team who once beat Arsenal at Wembley in a Cup Final, currently languishing in non-league football for the 4th season. I moved to Edinburgh in 1990 and now live in Leith, Edinburgh's 'waterfront'.

Married for 24 years to Louise (who is on day release from Fife), I have 4 children: Holly (aged 27) who's studying medicine at Dundee University, William (aged 26) at the Army Foundation College, Harrogate, Alice (aged 23) and Maddie (aged 16).

We live in a 226 year old Georgian house which we are slowly renovating. We once had a note from an artist posted through the letterbox asking if our semi-derelict house was available to rent as studio space. Things have improved lately; the stonework has been repaired and we have shiny new railings. Just the inside to do now then.

Current CNPS score: 999


Header Image: Richard Bloomfield

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    100 Days

    Today is the 100th day of cycling since I dusted down my bike and started riding to work.  Here are my stats from my profile on mapmyride.com where I’ve faithfully logged every ride:

    Total Workout Days: 100
    Distance Traveled: 1,676.09 mi.
    Total Maps: 48
    Total Workouts: 202
    Total Burned: 61,272 (kcal)
    Petrol Saved: 48 gallons
    Money Saved: £240
    Carbon Offset: 1,802.7 lbs. of CO2

    One of the main benefits has been the weight loss, 61,000 calories burnt has to have some effect!

    Weight March - September 2009

    I can’t imagine going back to commuting on a bus, cycling to work has become a real pleasure come rain or shine (but not wind, that’s a bitch!).  You get to work feeling alert and with a sense of achievement.  It’s my 50th birthday on Monday and I’m fitter than I’ve been for many years :-)

    Back on the DIY

    OK, time to resurrect this blog! It’s going to get a new title and a redesign to use a lot more Wordpress plugins and widgets. I want to use Wordpress for a number of upcoming projects and I need to get up to speed with it so this is the place.

    Alice is one week away from the summer holidays and in August she joins Holly at George Watson’s so I’m making a concerted effort to get this flat finished and sold so we can pay the school fees and still eat, get a holiday somewhere and get the house in Constitution Street finished.

    Right now it’s time for lunch and Joseph Pearce’s beckons. I’m taking the laptop to do some research into how to fix this bloody leaking drainage pipe. I need to find a supplier of 60mm/50mm rubber couplers with big jubilee clips.

    BBC NEWS | Scotland | Man fined for taking photograph

    BBC NEWS | Scotland | Man fined for taking photograph

    Being the world’s greatest cynic nothing much surprises me any more but I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing when I read this. Can you imagine what it actually cost in police and court time to prosecute this man? For taking a photograph!

    If you were faced with a girl puking all over the pavement and a man taking a photograph of it, which would you choose to prosecute? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think anybody should actually be charged, but if someone had to get it I would choose the vomit spreader any day. If you’re going to throw up, go to the bloody toilet.

    Yesterday, Alice and I witnessed a cyclist getting knocked off his bike. Luckily he wasn’t too badly hurt but we dialled 999 as we was clearly in a lot of pain. When the ambulance arrived I asked the paramedic if the police would be coming too and he told me that the police rarely attend accidents when there aren’t serious injuries. I’ve heard they don’t always attend burglaries any more either, they send round the Community Officer the next day. They just don’t have the resources apparently. They’re all far too busy protecting the dignity of nice young ladies from ruthless Polish photographers.

    “The lady concerned was entitled to her privacy and not to have a passing stranger take a photograph,” said the sheriff.

    “I’m going to impose a fine to remind him chivalry is not dead and when somebody is in distress you leave them to it.”

    Wow, so they’re going to start prosecuting all those celebrity chasing paparazzi then are they? This I can’t wait to see.

    Middle Age

    I’m not sure whether to be pleased or depressed.

    It’s car insurance renewal time so I just wentcompared.com and got a quote from Admiralty for a touch over £200 for our Nissan Micra.  That’s fully comp, no claims protection, Louise & me driving, courtesy car, windscreen cover and £150 excess.  For £200.

    I was pleased, then I realised why it’s getting so cheap; I’m old. No longer a Lewis Hamilton rival, I’m now considered a sensible, middle-aged, lower risk driver.

    I might break the speed limit going home.  Just to show them.

    One consequence of getting older is that your possessions also get older.  So, unfortunately, any joy at the saving in insurance premium was also short lived for another reason.  Our faithful Zafira 7 seater family wagon decided to expire on us and I’ve just been told that we’re probably looking at £1000 to fix it.  I’ve always believed that every silver lining has a cloud.

    BBC NEWS | In Pictures | In pictures: Transistor history

    BBC NEWS | In Pictures | In pictures: Transistor history

    The transistor is 60 years old. Isn’t it incredible how things have progressed in such a short period of time? We really take for granted what a huge invention this was, virtually all our modern technology revolves around transistor theory.

    Slow Progress

    The more observant of you, which means nobody, and that’s not a slight on anybody’s observational skills but more a realisation that no one ever visits here, admittedly through my own fault for not writing anything, will therefore not have noticed my CNPS (consecutive number plate spotting) progress in the right-hand side bar.  I have made it past the half-way mark.  500 number plates spotted, only 499 to go.

    I don’t have my records to hand at the moment to see exactly how long it’s taken me to get this far, but I’m pretty certain it’s over two and a half years.  Which means I’m looking a five years in total to finish this bloody game, or more probably given that each day there are less and less old style number plates left on the road.  Richard Herring claims to have completed CNPS in 1 year and 8 months.  All I can say is there must be a lot of old motors around in London compared to affluent Edinburgh.

    Louise and I went to see Richard’s ‘Menage a Un’ show in the fringe last year and we met him in the bar afterwards.  I asked him if he really did complete the CNPS task or whether he just put it on his website to get idiots like me to spend the rest of their lives indulging in something worse than train spotting.  And I mean spotting trains, not the other kind of trainspotting which my home town is famed for.  He assured me that he had done it, and that he’d had to have therapy to break the habit as he was about to embark on repeating the game.

    I was thinking of starting from 999 and working back down to 1.

    Like a Virgin

    Richard bloody Branson. The people’s businessman? I don’t think so.

    I am bloody livid. Why can’t Branston pickle just stop tampering and trying to take over the world. Thank god he didn’t get the lottery.

    Fact: Virgin Active take over one of the health clubs which Louise works at. Result: Paycut; £25 per hour becomes £22 per hour. Membership prices cut? Of course not. Mr Branson enjoys improved margins at our expense.

    Fact: Virgin Media take over Telewest. Result: I can’t watch two programmes which I really enjoy, which were an essential part of my viewing package. Oh, but surely I’ll be paying less for this reduced service? Of course not. Mr Branson enjoys improved margins at our expense.

    I went on a Virgin train the other day on a business trip. They smell. They really do. Like a toilet.

    We flew with Virgin to Cyprus a few years ago. The Air Hostess was so rude Louise swore at her, called her a silly bitch or something after she spilt hot coffee on her and didn’t apologise. The Chief Steward came over and started shouting at us. I told him to shut up and stop defending his staff without even knowing the facts. He went and got the Captain! They left the thing on auto-pilot to come and tell us off for expecting some level of customer service from his useless colleagues. Without doubt the worst example of bad customer service I’ve ever experienced. Pay peanuts, get monkeys. Mr Branson enjoys improved margins at our expense.

    The worst thing about this is the way he constantly squeals and whines at the way his little companies are squeezed and bullied by the big boys. Sky are evil for overvaluing their channels. Camelot are evil. British Airways are evil. Hmm.

    This man is moving in to space travel. It’s like a Dr Who storyline. God help us.

    23.5

    Some time last year I was channel hopping late in the evening and I came across an episode of 24, part way through. I’d heard great things about 24 so I watched the remainder of the episode. Suitably impressed, I added the whole 6 disc set of the first series to my Amazon DVD rental list and have been watching them at a rate of one a month ever since.

    This week, disc 6 (8pm to midnight) arrived, so last night I sat back with a bottle of wine to enjoy the climax of 6 months viewing. At about midnight I only had episode 24 left, so I made the decision to stay up extra late and see it through.

    As the concluding events unfolded I began first to get that feeling of deja vu, then the realisation that I knew what was coming next; this was the episode I’d watched 7 months ago. 23 and a half hours of television viewing climaxing in……a repeat.

    Sod it.