For those of you with lives, I hope you had a great New Years Eve and are now recovering from a well earned hangover whilst a designated chef is preparing your Dinner. If you currently aren’t in possession of a life then I am writing this early as I am already a little bit squiffy and the prognosis is that it isn’t going to get any better as time goes on.  I am saving my round up for a blog in just under 20 days time so this is a wrap up of the year and the thoughts to the future. If any of this stuff comes true then I wasn’t involved in the planning of any events. Any resemblance to persons living or dead or those that will soon be dead is unintentional, the authors view are their own and not shared by any other Brian Glover look-a-likes.

Unemployment fell from 2.65 million to 2.51 million  a drop of 140,000. Benefit claimants dropped from 1.6 million to 1.57 million, a drop of 30,000. From this I am guessing either ATOS of Workfare have had a great year. My prediction is that unemployment will continue to fall and atrocities against the weakest in our society will continue to blight this once great nation. This will culminate in Nick Clegg being flung to the zombie like crowd of the underclass as the reason this unelected Government was allowed to ravage everything Society has stood behind for the last 50 years. Clegg will be relieved of his testicles , if they can be found and in 2015 he will stand in a safe Tory constituency and be able to discard the yellow tie and stop pretending that he plays a vital role in the Government.

This year has been about secret institutions and the depravity they have been allowed to perpetuate from the shadows cast behind the bright lights of fame and popularity. The unthinkable rumours of the habits of TV presenters led us to reassess what we believed to be acceptable. Predatory paedophiles it appears were everywhere and indeed they were, the likes of Bill Wyman and John Peel paraded their sickness with only the merest of disdain from civilisation. Whilst others did it in the secrecy of their motorhomes , the dressing rooms of W12 and their private yachts. It appears I was one of the few to meet Savile and not get abused as the count rises daily, the reason for the concrete coffin, the early termination of the Haute de la Garenne investigation and the fudge over of the Kincora Childrens Home Scandal becomes more obvious, the blurred lines between celebrity, politics and royalty  will become more obvious. Is the Queen’s unusual interest in the gold reserves and cabinet meetings coincidentally timed or a sign of more intrigue to come.

It could of course be a sign of the economic collapse getting nearer to our shores, after all, we all like to check our bank accounts every now and again, especially when things are getting tight. And things are getting tight. GDP has at best flatlined, the trade deficit is even more deficient and with good reason as the lack of investment and a diminished world to trade with. With the current philosophy ( I actually should apologise for considering this government capable of philosophising over anything more complicated that tying shoe laces) of Austerity where the poor are raped for every penny by a ruling class that won’t give a fig towards resolving the issues they are responsible for and before anyone jumps up and shouts about inherited problems, the cost of a loaf of bread has risen 10% in the this government’s term so far, never mind, let them eat cake. My prediction is that unless something is done to ramp down austerity, the streets will once again be on fire as brothers fight each other in the streets.

Meanwhile the impoverished world always finds the money to wage war and take out innocent lives. Drones circle Afghanistan much in the same way as the V bombs did this country. They kill with impunity, almost in a cowardly fashion, fighting for what? Religion, Oil, Bragging rights? or to make the weapon manufacturers, construction companies and Oil refiners richer from the dwindling resources. The world needs to take a serious look at itself and ask if we can afford the human and financial costs of war.

But there was some great stuff in 2012. This was the year that Britain dominated the world in sport. Well dominated in quite a few sports and figured highly in others. For those of us who enjoy cycling, 2012 was a golden year. I was sort of fortunate to have a lot of time on my hands this year and was able to watch all the cycling classics. The year round up cannot be passed without mention to Sir Dave Brailsford , the mastermind of virtually everything, shame he isn’t a politician and Sir Bradley Wiggins who acted out the role flawlessly, it is a good job he isn’t a politician, we already have one Skinner in there.  Next year I don’t believe can be as good for British cycling, the bar was raised by Sky/Team GB/ Brailsford and you can bet the farm that the other teams aren’t going to let it happen. I am looking forward to Mark Cavendish being given free reign to do what he does best with a team that love the glory of the stage win. I think 2013 will be another Cavendish year as everyone else tries to stop Sky for embarrassing them.

I haven’t really watched much motorsport this year, well I only watch two wheels anyway. The loss of #58 Marco Simoncelli in 2011 took the excitement out of the sport and left the world a sadder place.  This year was so nearly the year of Tom Sykes, who almost mastered a beast of a bike and shafted the rest of the field but for one engine failure he would have been World Champion and yet probably most people have never heard of him.

The Olympics came and went. The opening ceremony was nothing more than lefty, multicultural crap, as we remembered long lost icons of Great Britain, coal, steel and national health whilst Mr Bean played on his organ. Fortunately the team, inspired by the nationalist fervour did well and won medals in spades, well the won medals in most things. However, getting a gold medal as a paralympian  must be well scary for their next visit to ATOS. Despite Britain proving it is at the pinnacle of sport, funding will be slashed and 2012 will be revered as was 1966 and similarly unrepeatable.

It was great while it lasted and I was proud to be British. I liked the feeling and kind of want it to happen again, maybe 2013 will be that year.

Happy New Year, one and all, except to David Cameron,  Margaret Thatcher  and the rest of their ilk, they have had it too good, too long. Viva la revolution and be good to yourself and to your loved ones.



Just a quick one tonight, I got a little engrossed in a new series on the box and time has rather run away with me.

Unusually  for a Sunday I went in the workshop, there was just too many things that I had got behind on to leave it alone. With the uncertain weather and the step daughter being unwell I don’t suppose the day could have been put to better use . I have a couple of days off over the New Year and I am sure we will be able to get out for a walk.  The day turned out to be quite productive as I finally managed to fit one of the two missing skylight windows and do a bit of sealing and ply-lining ready for some much needed cupboards going up on the wall. Although it doesn’t seem that much is actually happening as the place is still cramped and messy but it is all starting to happen. Connor finished his pencil holder and it looks pretty good to be fair. He got the hang of sanding eventually although I’m not sure he appreciated the  effect a poor finish gives until he saw the effects of a little more care. It can’t have all been bad as he made his application to college tonight to enrol on a joinery course when he finishes school. It isn’t going to be easy for him but he is always works hard and diligently in my company.

We had a brief visit from Mr Hopewell, who came bearing bows. One was just a bit of a tweak which turned out to be an annoying fiddle as the timing went from one side of the mark to the other side of the mark repeatedly. Even putting it back to the original setting netted a different result. Next time I come across a small alteration I am just going to press the bow and recheck before altering anything just in case. The other bow came with a bit of a story and I hope Matt doesn’t mind me mentioning it but it could serve as a cautionary tale for any archers out there. The bow lives in a shed, nicely covered with a soft shell bowcase. These cases are lined with a nice fluffy filling. Sheds are often prone to becoming lodgings for rodents and fluffy lining makes a lovely nest. So after a little exploration the damned meeces soon found themselves inside the fluffy bowcase and at some point decided to start gnawing at the strange object inside their new home. I can’t imagine the carnage inside that bag when the bow cable let go and the bow exploded but I am smirking a little at the mousey  campfire tales of the biggest fecking mousetrap  in the world ever.  Fortunately I think the bow avoided much in the way of damage and hopefully the bow bag will be replaced with something less edible. I will get Connor to lift the string making machine down for me before he goes just so I can clutter the workshop up just a little bit more.

Well it is nearly New Years Eve and I had best start thinking of some New Year predictions for tomorrow night.



My laptop is performing important computer stuff and has been since 1930 this evening and still has millions of things to keep doing. This was totally the fault off my media player on my phone. Whilst the noise I prefer to listen cannot readily be considered music it is important to me and to be punctuated by whistles, pops and clicks is annoying almost beyond comparison. So after consulting the oracle of the internet I downloaded a highly recommended application to manage all my musical needs. This app, as they are known came with another programme which would link my voluminous library of music on my laptop. As the non apple based platform I received with my new phone had missed 600 my tunes I thought it would be a good idea to use this programme too. This programme came with another programme that I had actually heard of for making your computer a happier place.  I am coming to the end of my point honest. This programme found 23000 things it didn’t like and its still fixing it. So I think my laptop. is out of bounds for the night.
The day started out not as well as I would have liked as it turned out work had changed their designs on my services for today and I ended up nearly rushing in to work.
My union rep was in and I had a word about the current state of the play at work and suggested he had a word. In the vain hope something will be done about staffing levels and maybe about cocking a nod to national agreements. I dare say mutt early retirement will be discussed before a resolution is found to an issue only perceived to be a problem by those having to endure them.
I was on the short term planning desk which isolated me from any carnage that may have been occurring around me and in many ways today was a total non event. The main highlight was getting home and catching up with some telly with Linda and the boy. Perhaps tomorrow will be better for blogging about.


And there I was sat down to watch a Corrie recorded from earlier, completely unaware that despite being the festive season it was actually Friday. This wouldn’t be a problem except I am booked to do a 12 hour shift on Saturday, which it turns out is tomorrow. This is a shame on a number of levels, not least having to go to work. There is no doubt that it is a major inconvenience and jolly unsporting to boot but on the upside, they haven’t said what time they want me in work so I shall meander in at a most suitable time. I suppose it is for the best as they haven’t bothered to tell me what I am working next week yet and by my reckoning if it is Friday tomorrow then it is next week pretty soon.

Today went in a similar manner as yesterday, more me and the boy time in the workshop with power tools and wood. The dog step was completed by Connor and he started work on a project he saw on a YouTube channel I watch. He learned to make mitre and rabbet joints and that danish oil is dangerous stuff in the wrong situation. Fortunately this wasn’t the wrong situation and nothing was set on fire, it gives a lovely lustre to plywood though. The annoying thing about working tomorrow was that I was hoping to get Connor to help me cut the half sheet of plywood so I can make some cupboards as I can’t do it one handed. I guess I will have to train my fiancée  in the finer details of getting covered in sawdust.

And so with a heavy heart I am signing off for the night so that I can be bright, beautiful and amazing at work tomorrow. There has to be a first time for everything.



It was almost back to normal today, the Christmas period doesn’t seem to have the validity it warranted in years gone by when it seemed to go on to January 2nd and then stop dead as the countdown to Easter began. Perhaps it is just me but I really couldn’t justify not doing something today. With so much to do in the workshop and with my favoured timber supplier enjoying a generous seasonal closure I had to go further afield for supplies. I found a timber merchant open in Caldmore and relieved them of their last sheet of 12mm plywood.

The main objective was to make a step for an arthritic dog and to separate my tablesaw / router combination workstation  as it is simply too big to move it around the workshop. This was no more difficult than building the supplied tablesaw stand and sawing the extension off the workstation. The wheels were then reattached and the job was a good ‘un. I need to make a simple movable base for the saw table at some point but the extra space and manoeuvrability was immediately obvious and we were able to get the boards cut for the step before we had to pack in for me to go for my scan.

The City hospital was empty, the roads were empty and I was allowed in for my appointment early, all was going swimmingly well. I was supposed to have an MRI scan but the Doctor in charge of the scan said that the metal in my arm would black out the results and not provide anything suitable for diagnosis. Therefore I had an ultrasound scan of my elbow instead. The scan was very interesting and it was pretty easy to work out what was what inside my arm. You could see the plates and the screws, you could see the state of the elbow joint which was obviously pretty messed up, especially when compared to my left.  The results were surprising in that the tricep is very firmly attached to where it needs to be but the tendon is too long. It has either stretched or is not attached far enough up the bone. Either way it is sagging and all the contraction available in the muscle is being used to take up the slack in the 20 -90 degree  When the elbow is brought past 90 degrees the slack is taken up and the muscle works normally. So the question now is whether the tendon can be shortened or reattached differently. I don’t know whether these findings are a good or bad thing and I guess I will have to wait a few weeks to find out.

I spent an hour or two getting some Uke practise in. It is now becoming an instrument rather than a torture, some of the chords are still doing my head in, B minor and E minor in particular but I am getting there.


We are having a retro boxing day. We have gone back to the times without internet courtesy of virgin media. We have resorted to watching DVD’s and tried a family board game which was fun right up to the point where the oldies had an unassailable lead at which point the younger generation lost interest. We haven’t yet resorted to conversation but Connor the jafro boy is trying to learn ukelele. It is the most noise he has made since discovering you tube.
The journey into the world of uke continued today and it is beginning to sound like an instrument. I even managed a half decent rendition of the clash’s blitzkrieg bop, well half decent for me that is.  Linda has been very patient as I practised transitions and scales. I am still struggling with the size of the fretboard or the size of my sausage fingers which are making some of the popular chords quite difficult. One thing for certain it has re-awoken my love of discordant strumming. So much has changed from the days of guessing how to play or when rich, buying the sheet music. The internet, when available, provides the tabs and even strum through videos to assist in making you a legend in your own living room.  It its great. I may even end up buying another guitar at this rate.
The day was spent in total relaxation mode and it was probably a good job as the sciatica came back with a vengeance and only by maxing out on pills and red wine has the pain abated.
Tomorrow it’s back to reality. I have an appointment for an MRI scan to decide the course of action in repairing my arm.I also need to get some work done down the shed. Night all..


Merry Christmas to everyone out there. Before I start, apologies for any errors or omissions in my blog tonight. I have possibly emptied too many bottles of wine in celebration of the events of today. Some of you may be aware that I choose today to pop the question to my beloved Linda and after a fashionable pause she accepted. So I am officially engaged to the most wonderful and supportive, loving and simply fantastic person ever.
We have been through so much together already and what could have doomed a fledgling relationship simply made it stronger. I don’t know what would have happened had the events of 2012 not been shared with Linda and yet she took everything in her stride and did it because it had to be done.  But that isn’t a fraction of what makes her special to me. It would embarrass her if I were to continue gushing like this so I will end with simply saying that I knew I had met the one for me on our first date and Linda has been true to who she said she was right from that Saturday afternoon eighteen months ago to the day. It isn’t about soul mates it is about meeting your other half.

Anyway this won’t the only thing to occur, Santa thought we were all good enough to leave us some presents and mine we simply amazing,from the ukulele to a course at the Slow Oven learning how to make breads, in this case it is my favorite, the Chelsea bun. I have also had my sponsorship of Kubwa the Rothschild Giraffe at Dudley Zoo, which was a relief as I was worried for his future after my year ended.
I have spent the day learning the new chords required on a ukelele, eating chocolate and sampling various intoxicating liquids. A perfect Christmas in so many ways and the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I can’t wait.


Watching people gather the final reductions in Morrison’s was very similar to watching the 2011 Riots. From the hollow and haunted looks to the frenzied and desperate grab for the item with the yellow sticker. Zombie like creatures with shopping trolleys full of what can best be described as tat was also reminiscent of the New York Bag ladies. Yesterday we had spotted the deliberate mistake on the cheese isle where a certain biscuit and pickle combo had actually been marked back up to the original price. This evening the obvious special price was being attacked with voracity. I have to admit I wandered around from isle to isle desperately hoping for that missed bargain and from time to time as a proud shopper toted a trolley of knock down pizzas I couldn’t help considering if I could batter them and take the tasty cheese topped delicacies. After ten minutes with nothing more than the 4 pint of milk I went for and a tub of coleslaw for a reasonable 29p I gave up and checked out. My bargain was yet to come as I glanced at a for sale card in the exit. This card was offering a biscuit jointer for £20. Realising I had been sent on this mission for a reason I rang the number and ten minutes later it was in the back of my car. Christmas started early.

Anyway here we are on the eve of the 25th. The floor is covered with presents which could probably be classed as a health risk, one box of Quality Street has been polished off but at least one of those horrid coconut ones was saved for me. So with the evening drawing on it is only left for me to say Merry Christmas to one and all and please remember at this festive time there are so many people out there who aren’t in a position to enjoy themselves as we are about to. If I could have one Christmas wish come true it would be that this merciless Government leaves them the fuck alone in 2013 and that the world becomes a happier place for everyone. Decent standards, living wages and support for the needy should be for life not just for Christmas.


I was just settling down to watch an 8 goal thriller on MOTD2 when I realised I hadn’t done my blog, so here it is.

We had a busy old day, driving up north to take the presents round my family. Going back “home” has become a strange experience as it no longer feels like home, there are many memories and pretty much mostly good ones but they feel from a different lifetime. The places are familiar but strangely remote. I do feel I have made Walsall my home and this is reinforced on these visits. As we drove through the wastelands that were once thriving mining communities, I couldn’t help spare a thought for the currently unwell former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Seeing the decay and the communal destruction caused by the dissolution of the mining industry at the hands of the Iron Maiden I couldn’t help wishing she had attended the Manor Hospital for treatment. Unfortunately she now appears to be on the mend and there will be no early Christmas present this year.

It was good to see my Mum and see her in good spirits and then to see my Dad and Sister being run ragged by my 3 1/2 year old nephew. I don’t know where he gets the energy from but he is a real ball of fun. I don’t know where they get the energy from to look after him, I am not looking forward to having to find it for any future grand offspring. We then went over to see Kayleigh and Tracy and collect the very delicious looking Christmas cake Kayleigh had made for us. I am looking forward to tucking into it at some point quite soon.  As Christmas Eve Eve draws to a close, we are a day nearer to being allowed to open the Quality Street, I can hardly wait, in fact if I hadn’t been caught in the act I wouldn’t have.




I honestly believed that I had finished shopping, alas this wasn’t the case and today was quite simply wasted by taking a rash decision to go into Birmingham on what was likely to be the busiest shopping day of the year. I cannot go into detail or even the why’s and wherefores as this will spoil an event taking place in the near future however once ordered I had to wait for two hours to collect. And there lay the problem, having driven into the City on the busiest shopping day ever I felt disinclined to drive out and then return battling the traffic twice over. So I decided to hang around, after all it was only two hours in the nation’s second city, currently hosting the famous Frankfurt Market.

Unfortunately it was raining and no matter how you wrap it up, a wet Birmingham is a dismal place and there is no magic in the fairytale setting of a  Christmas market in broad daylight. I dodged the puddles and almost dodged dangerously bagged up shoppers as I walked from one end of the market, a Big Issue vendor advised me to cheer up, now that was worrying as I had far more to be happy about than he had, so I tried grinning inanely as I reached the top of the market, only for the smile to fade as I realised I had wasted a mere 15 minutes of the two hours.

My next plan was to purchase a coffee from a tax paying nationwide franchise, grab a comfy chair and catch up on Twitter, Facebook and the news. The coffee was good and the chair comfy but unfortunately the hustle and bustle of shoppers hampered by big brand posh bags and bored, wet children proved less than relaxing. Getting “bagged” from 2 metres necessitated  an almost Olympic hurl of a Selfridges carrier and prompted my early exit, with just 35 minutes wiped from the clock. Returning towards the bottom of New St I happened across the Paramedic motorcycle so often seen on the TV “Emergency Bikers ” programme, I looked inside the shop and saw the friendly face of  Steve Harris, the star of the programme in my mind, I smiled and nodded due respect and he smiled and nodded back. Top bloke and Merry Christmas to him.

I completed a successful quest for cheap tomato puree and perused the bottom shelf american woodworking magazines only found in the larger newsagents before the due collection time arrived and my ticket to join the traffic jams coming out of the city. The final item on the list of “must get” Christmas items was a new bandsaw blade to replace the one I mangled last week. This proved to be most interesting. As I walked in the last thing I expected was a queue, it isn’t that sort of shop and yet the counter was crowded. The reason it turned out was a complaining customer was causing a bit of a scene. Naturally I queued up and witnessed the fun and games. A particularly vehement and confrontational customer had brought in an out of warranty item as it had failed, either three, four or five weeks ago depending on which version the customer was relating and then left it there, either on the street as the shop manager stated or carefully carried into the shop by the manager and the customer. In the intervening time the discarded item was disposed of by the shop. Today the customer had returned to collect it and was incensed that it was no longer there. He was demanding a replacement item and actually got as far as head office before time was called on the entertainment, seemingly until CCTV can corroborate the anecdotal evidence. It is a shame that the outcome will never be known but the next time an expensive item breaks down I will leave it outside the shop and wait a month for them to give me a new one too.

Well that is it for the night, sweet dreams.