Monday, June 20, 2011

So had enough of the British PM!

So, David Cameron wom the election, with the help of Nick Clegg. That was one year ago, and at this point I with that Nick Clegg would develop some balls and David Cameron would realise that the life in novels and romantic movies is not the life of most Brittons.

Yesterday he made a speech that absent fathers must be punished and the public must view them in the same way as drunk-drivers. Which planet does he live on? Or for that matter, which movie does he think is reality? I know several separated/divorced parents in Brittain, and the fathers love spending time with their children. However, in this country mothers can do no wrong (according to the law) and they know how to take full advantage of that. They can deny fathers access to their children, ad get away with it. And to be honest, if I was denied access to my children, I wouldn't bother paying maintenance either. Talk about paying for nothing.

In addition, when they break up, the assets are divided indiscriminately to the mother, and the father is left with nothing, not even enough for a proper place to live, in lots of cases. There is no consideration for the father to have a proper place for the children to visit.

This doesn't mean that there aren't fathers who don't care about their children, who leave and don't ever look back or even think of their children again, only that these are not the only cases, and making out that all fathers in broken up relationships are like this, is an awful generalisation of fathers. Those fathers who want to be a part of their childrens lives have no legs to stand on, no law on their side, and no politicians who live in reality and realise what it means to be a single/divorced father.

The laws in this country are awful, and getting worse by the minute. The tax relief for married people is Cameron thinking that as long as your married life is honky dory, never mind if it's a good or bad marriage, if one of the partners abuse the other, or the children, and never mind how if affects the children. Marriage can't be anything but good. It's like he's living a Disney movie life...

Wake up and smell reality!!
The sooner we can get some real men into government, the better, or real women, for that matter. And no more Tory's whose only aim is to castrate the country.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Life sometimes isn't easy. You just want the time to pass and for the fun to return.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Summer holidays were great part 1

This summer we went back to Derbyshire, to Sandybrook Country Park, where we've been twice before. It's just an excellent place where the boys can cycle and run around without us having to watch them, and plenty of other kids around so they can make friends. Oh, and a pub for evening drinks and a meal when you don't feel like cooking ;)

We didn't start off too well. M25 was standing still as usual, but with Sat Nav we were routed a different way and managed to avoid traffic jams for the rest of the way. It might have taken a bit longer (mostly because I didn't have a proper address to put into the Sat Nav) but we got there in the end. And then we had to shop. This time we decided not to do all the shopping before we left, but to get it as we needed it. We've always ended up buying far too much and eating at the pub more than we plan to..

We decided to start the holiday with a walk on the Sunday. We went to a new area where we haven't walked before and walked up Monksdale accross to Chedale and back along the river. Monkdale was like walking through Mirkwood, dark, dank and slippy with big, rounded rocks and roots. It was like taken straight out of Lord of the Rings. Took us ages just walk a couple of short miles up the valley and when we eventually got out we had to find a nice warm spot in the sun to have lunch. Us and the cows in a field..

We then headed over the ridge, through a village with a statue of a famous person (can't remember who or what he was famous for, but I think it was something to do with building), through a farm that had pigs (judging by the smell and hence my speed) to the valley on the other side, Chedale. The view from the top was amazing. You could see the disused railway line that went along the valley and the river at the bottom. The sun was out, the bees were buzzing and we had a nice little rest at the top just before heading into the valley for a river walk.

It wasn't easy trying to stick to the footpath that went along the river rather than the disused railway line. Whoever it is that marks the routes obviously thinks it's much better to use the railway track, so the conveniently forgot to mark the route at the bottom. We eventually got it right, and it was well worth it, for most of the way. We saw a water vole running on the other side of the river, and I'm sure I saw a ferret/mink like animal just down the river and also on the other side. I would never have seen any of those before I had my eyes done. I'm so pleased I opted to get them fixed :)

There was, however, an area along the valley that the boys nicknamed "The Devils Poo Bowl". It was just mud everywhere. Nowhere you went could you get away from it, and it was deep in places. I landed up going at the back, and a good thing that was too. It meant that when I got my foot caught and fell flat on my tummy no one was there to witness it. The 7-year old got his boot stuck in the mud and had to have help retrieving it, and the 11-year old fared the same fate but managed to get himself un-stuck. The rest of the walk was spent trying to see trout in the river and throwing sticks in and racing them down the river.

On the Monday we went to the northern parts of Derbyshire, to Ladybower Reservoir, and cycled around Ladybower, Derwent and Howden Reservoir. We got going late, so we only went up after lunch, but we stopped for rests and snacks along the way. The dams are really quite magnificent, they look ancient and medieval like, but I'll bet they're not very old at all. Early
2oth centry according to Wikipedia.

At the very top, where we cross one of the rivers that run into the reservoirs, we stopped for a dambuilding break. This is also a favoured activity when on holiday. Find a river and build a dam, or if it's full of stuff, clear it up so the water runs freely, and in some cases, both. This is about the only time the 7-year old was this close to water and didn't fall in or step in and get soaked. Maybe he realised it would be a long ride to the car in wet shoes and clothes :)

The ride back to the car whizzed by, everyone going much better on smooth, tarmac'ed roads, even with a couple of long hills. In the evening we had our first braain, and for dessert we had bbq'ed banana's, which was really nice.

Next day was a day for walking again, but it was overcast and everyone was a bit tired from the bikeride, except S who just has endless amount of energy. We walked up Bunster Hill and down Dovedale to the steppingstones by Thorpe Cloud. Once there we had lunch and then boys went to play in a stream that runs into the River Dove. Suddenly we heard this almighty racked and looking up to see what was happening, the 7-year old was waiste deep in the river shouting at top volume to make sure everyone heard him, and wading his way towards us. I think it'll still be many years before we can go to the stepping stones without him getting absolutely soaked..

It had cleared up and it wasn't very cold, so we started encouraging the 11-year old to get in and get wet. We dared him to cross the river at a small rapid which is a favoured place for crossing if the queue at the stepping stones is too long. He eventually got a foot wrong and got wet feet, his balancing and carefulness is just too good these days ;) Afterwards we dressed the 7-year old in S's jumper, it being the only dry piece of clothing left and walked back to the carpark where we got home made ice-creams and sat on a piece of grass enjoying it. Amazingly good ice-creams. I had mint and chocolate and it's the best one I've had since the ice-cream place in Village Walk in Johannesburg, St Marcus I think it was called.

After our walk S went out for an hours bikeride to Milldale and back, before he took the boys to the pool for a swim, and I went shopping. Not very exciting, but needed to be done. In the evening we went to the pub for a meal and I had the most delicious chicken pancake.

The next day the boys didn't want to do anything. We were planning to do a long bikeride, but the weather didn't look great so we decided to wait and see if it would improve. Having decided to have a quiet day, S went out for a longer bikeride on his own, and when he came back we all went to the pool for a swim. S' parents came over for a braai in the afternoon and in the evening we went back to Dovedale to see if we could spot any bats. We didn't see many this time, but I guess it's a bit of hit and miss when you see bats.

On the Thursday it was raining, so we decided it wasn't a good day for a long bikeride and went up to Castleton to one of the caves, Treak Cliff Cavern, supposedly the only place in the world where you can get the Blue John mineral, or so the guides say. Inside the cavern there were amazing stalagtights and stalagmites which were up to 111000years old. One of the oldest stalagmights was in a group of 7 and was called Happy. Touching happy was meant to bring good luck, and if that was the case I shudder to think what the next couple of days would have been like had we not all touched Happy...

After the visit to the cave we went into Hathersage (or have-a-sausage as we call it to remember it), where they have a couple of really good outdoor shops. S was looking for some new t-shirts and I wanted t-shirts and hiking trousers. We both found what we wanted in one of the shops and after having done the boring shopping stuff we decided we needed a treat. The sun was back out so we headed up to the reservoirs again, since we were almost there already, and drove as far up as you could. Our plan was to walk back to the river we stopped at during the bikeride for some dambuilding, but it was really windy and when we got there we decided to rather go up the first stream we got to and see if we found a good place for dambuilding.

As we followed the stream up, the first place we stopped was in a copse of fir trees. It was nice, but the midgets were many and fierce, and they all went for me and the boys, or at least that's what it felt like. Before long the 7-year old had fallen over and was wet up to his bum too, so we decided to walk further up the stream and see where it brought us. We could also hear birds of prey being really noisy and I, for one, wanted to get out of the woods and see what kind of birs it was.

It was a Buzzard, whith two chicks, or whatever you call young Buzzards. The mom seemed to be teaching them to fly as the kept mainly to the top of the ridge and came out over the valley a bit now and then. Amazing sight and really beatiful birds. We walked up the stream until we met a dead and very smelly sheep then headed back down to the car. When we got to the car the 7-year old had to undress and wear S' jumper again. We have now learned to bring an extra change of clothes for him.

It was only when we got back to the cabin we realised we'd left the 7-year olds wellies behind when he got changed. It was an hours drive there so there was no way were were going to hace time to go up and get them, S' parents were coming over for a pub meal, so we decided to go into Ashbourne to buy a new pair the next morning, seeing as the next day was the last day possible for a bikeride so were were going to go out and didn't want to get going late.

We had a really nice meal down the pub and when it was time to pay, S realised he didn't have his card. It must have been left behind at the outdoor shop, being the only place he'd used it, and since we were going to Spain one week later, he couldn't wait for the bank to send him a new one.

We called the shop and their voicemail told us they opened at 9.30am, so the next morning S set off at 7.30am, went up to the reservoirs and picked up the wellies and then went to Hathersage and picked up his card before heading back down. When he got back, we were all ready to go, and so off we went for our long bikeride.

We parked in Thorpe and biked to Illam and from there over the hill to Waterhouses. On our way over the hill the heavens opened and we took refuge in a barn that was open. I think it was used to store wheat of some sort, but it was a great place for getting out of the rain and cold wind. It didn't take long for the sun to come out and we set off again, a bit slower going this time. When we got to Waterhouses we went up the Manifold Valley, which is a great cycle and walk path up the valley. No cars, just other cyclists and a few walkers. Halfway up the valley we stopped for lunch, and after that the 7-year old seemed to run out of steam and energy.

The rest of the way up the valley S would cycle next to the 7-year old and push him along so he didn't have to do anything. We were a bit worried he wouldn't be able to keep going, in which case S would have to go back for the car whilst I waited with the boys. Our only goal at the time was to get to the tea shop at the end of the valley for some cake and tea or milkshake for the boys. That seemed to do the trick. After the cake stop the 7-year old was full of energy again and the rest of the ride he was zooming along like he'd never done anything else.

From the Manifold Valley we went accross to the Wolfscote caves, had another stop there where the boys went to explore the caves and S and myself climbed out on a tree that was practically lying accross the river. Was slightly worried I'd fall in the river. Not because it was shallow, but because I just didn't want to cycle another 15 miles in wet clothes.. The Wolfscote caves are famous with S, he almost got stuck in them when he was 11 years old, and this time the 11-year old tried the same trick, but instead of getting stuck, he got through and out this little cave (or hole) on the other side. Can't believe he managed to get through and not get a panick attack, it was a really tight squeeze.

We then headed up the hill and in the search of the Tissington trail. We'd only just got up the hill when we realised our map was missing. S headed down to where we left our stuff when we explored the caves, but it was gone. Someone had nicked it either whilst we we exploring the caves or after we left. Luckily we just had to find the Tissington trail and it would take us back to Thorp. On our way to the train the 7-year old tried to avoid some stining nettles and ended up going over the handle bars of his bike. A really classic crash, with a soft landing on grass. I just saw it as I came round a bend and it was a 10 out of 10 crash!

As we drew close to the trail it started to rain again, so we stopped under some trees to get our waterproof jackets on and when it seemed to get lighter we headed off again. Luckily the trail was just up the road. Unluckily I'd left my backpack back under the trees, so S biked back to get it, and whilst he was gone the heavens decided to really open up. The boys and myself managed to find shelter under som trees, but S was very wet when he got back.

Going down the Tissington trail we went along quite quickly. At one point we were going 30km per hour. As we got closer to Thorpe the 7-year old decided he was going to practice cycling with one hand only. It went how exactly how you'd expect, he had a big crash. And this time there wasn't any soft grass in the middle. It was a scary thing to watch, but the war wounds were superficial, luckily. We got back to the car, with all of us fading a bit at the end.

Saturday we went home and again spent hours in the car, this time trying to avoid the traffic jams on the M25.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Winter wonderland?

Yesterday it started snowing here in Horsham. Not a lot, and last time it snowed there was all of 1cm, so I didn't stress about it. As my energy providers were coming to change the meter, I had to be at work early today so I could leave a bit earlier.

When I got up there was 3cm of snow and everything looked white and beautiful, peaceful. And I was still not stressed. In fact, I've not got stressed all day, so far, so doing good. There was a bit of sluch on the roads when I set off, but not a lot, and they were mostly clear.

Then I got just over halfway, having turned off the A281 onto the Brighton Road to Godalming, and there was a bit more snow. By the time I got 1/3 of the way along this road, there was quite a bit more snow. About 40cm, and the roads had been gritted with salt, but not cleared at all. In fact, as I drove on, I got the distinct feeling that all the road clearing equipment had rusted away somewhere and all that was available was salt gritting..

I was following another Ford Focus, and this little B road (can't remember the number) goes over a hillrange and down the other side is Godalming. As I was following this car, we came to the last, and steepest, hill. And the car in front stopped!! I'm not even going to begin to write down all the french I was speaking. I could have killed the bugger. Trying to start going uphill in slushy snow that's deep. I managed without having to back all the way down again, especially considering it's a narrow, winding road.

Having managed to get up the hill, we slowly got our way down on the other side. And boy was I glad I wasn't going the other way. There were cars completely stuck and people trying to push them uphil.. However, it was only when I got to work I realised that of course the car park hadn't been cleared either. I drove round to our building and then realised that no one else had arrived at work, and I didn't have a key. I called my boss and we decided the best thing to do was for me to go back home.

It's just that having stopped the car in 40cm of snow, getting going again wasn't easy. I got halfway out, then the car just wouldn't budge. Luckily for me another one of the guys I work with had walked in and he was kind enough to help me get the car back out again. But it took 45min.

Eventually I headed back home, going the A281 all the way and missing out the Brighton Road. Except there was a truck stuck on the road, and when that got moving, I was stuck behind a girl who just didn't dare go over 15miles per hour, even when we got back to the Cranleigh traffic lights. So I passed her and got home eventually.

It took me 1hr to get to work, and 1.5hrs to get back, and that's on a stretch that usually takes 35min each way. And when I got home, there was still only 3cm of snow. You'd think that after all that, there'd at least me enough snow to make you feel you're home for a reason. I tried to take a picture with my mobile, but after I lost it in the desert, the camera is the last thing to recover, and it's not doing very well. I ended up filming my legs in the car.

Tomorrow I will turn back if there's still a lot of snow and unclear roads. No use going all the way there, to not be bale to get in, get stuck in the parking lot, and then spend forever getting home again.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Moving on

I'm moving on from my current laptop to a new one. And just in time too. My c drive is filling up like nobody's business.

I think I have, however, found out what's taking up the space on my laptop. It's patch files from Microsoft. Not sure if it's just Office or Office and Windows, but to find out which ones I can delete, I have to go through each one and check if it's in the registry or not. In other words, a full days work at the best, considering there's 12GB worth of them, and most of them are 4MB in size. Having said this, I've thought I've know what the problem is on several occasions, and it's been a dead end every time, so I won't hold my breath this time either.

I've had help from Newbie, and after spending a whole weekend scanning and posting logs, not to mention sheer frustration waiting for the darn things to finish, my laptop working on "snail about to die" speed.

But all that is about to end. Tomorrow :) When my new Toshiba Satellite Pro arrives. And yes, I will be happy to spend the time getting it up and running and moving the most important stuff over from my old laptop. Providing there is nothing wrong with the new one.

Just my luck it won't work. Just like with my luck the work laptop has decided to start playing up last weekend. Turns out it's the explorer process which hangs, but oh so annoying when you have to restart it several times in order to get all your programs to run properly.

Oh well, one of these days I might have more luck with laptops, and in the meanwhile I will enjoy my new one and persevere with my work one.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Curious knack :)

I was in Norway last weekend. It was my birthday and I didn't want to spend it on my own, and since I was in Dubai for Christmas (which was excellent) I decided that I would go to Norway for my birthday.

My brother and his girlfriend have just had a baby, on Christmas Day. Luckily for the baby, Christmas Eve is the big celebration in Norway, so it'll get presents two days in a row instead. Having a birthday close to Christmas myself, I know that the combines birthday and Christmas presents are just no fun, so I for one will be sure not to do that to my baby nephew.

I did, however, find out that I have a knack for making babies fall asleep. One of my best friends, who taught me how to let loose my hair (for better or worse, but mostly better) and definitely taught me how to party (got me drunk the first time I was really drunk) has also had a baby, about 3 months ago, a little girl. And I can tell you she is her mothers daughter. She will do what she wants and no amount of routine or good intentions are going to change that. By best friend and her boyfriend, and my Irish friend and her husband all came to mom's on Sat for Christmas dinner (I had been deprived of Christmas dinner at Christmas, so that was my only wish). My best friend had had her daughter for the 3 month health check and the baby had been vaccinated. As a result my best friend brought the baby with her. I managed to get her to fall asleep twice :D

My baby nephew also fell asleep whilst I was holding him, but not the first time. He didn't know me, and I guess I was nervous too, he was rather small and fragile, or at least he looked it. When it came to nappies he was a man's man. I did have the pleasure(?) of changing his nappie, and not only had he made a huge, orange poop, he peed on me. Not once, but twice. During the same nappie change.. I think I got the point, and got him dressed quickly. It was obviously a bit cold and he was suffering from bladder shrinkage. Or initiating me.

It was a great evening though. Mom, my Irish friends and me sat up drinking wine and sparkling wine until 3am, when I was so tired I could not keep my eyes open any more. The next day we went for a walk in the forest and staggered our way across an icy patch longer than I had hoped it would be. Even the dog was walking cautiously on the side. But it was so nice to be out and walking with people in daylight. I usually end up going for a short walk in the evening after dark here in the UK and it's just not as nice.

How blonde can I get?

I woke up this morning and struggled to get out of bed. I just knew I should have stayed there, but unfortunately that would only have postponed my feeling of shame and absolute blondness, not removed it :(

I got up, got ready and started the car. It sputtered. I stopped the car. Flashback to night before, filling 95 no octane petrol in my car. It's a diesel car...

Call Recovery and they come and tow the car to Haywards Heath, opposite direction of work, but who cares at this point. I sit there shitting bricks hoping that my 1km ride from filling up the car and home has not made lasting damage to the engine. And seething with irritation that I just wasted close to £50 on a full tank of petrol. That will go straight in the trash, so to speak.

And I felt like I truly lived up to the colour of my hair. Blond as they come!!

I have been so careful when filling up the car to make sure I fill up with diesel. Last night I just operated on autopilot. Shopping for food does that to you. I know, excuses, excuses. Oh well, hopefully I won't do that again anytime soon. I was hoping to buy a new laptop to replace this old, slow one that's about 2sec away from total standstill :(