Tuesday, 30 March 2010


Sometimes it seemed that the TV ads were better than the shows they interrupted. Good or bad they were undeniably of their time and unmistakably British, full of UK quirks and featuring distinctly average-looking British actors with average teeth.

More recently however I've noticed that there are an increasing number of American accents used. This used to be taboo - the feeling was that British consumers would be off-put by foreign voices. Somewhere along the line it has been decided that this perception needed to be challenged (obviously to save the cost of reshooting the ad) and a Global ad be used instead.

Occasionally this Global advertising campaign results in us being treated to some of the worst voice over-dubbing ever seen. Witness the hideous father-daughter ad where she gets him to hide his grey hair in order to secure a new job. Or Mr Muscle (note - not ironic skinny guy any more). Usually they seem to be cosmetics/ toiletries/ air fresheners etc.

And if that brat wants to come and do a poo in my house again, I will go mad.



I always like the feeling after changing clocks to Summertime as the extra hour of daylight gives me real feelings of positivity and hope. The day seems longer somehow and it really starts to feel like Spring as those 60 minutes before dusk seem so special - blackbirds singing outside, the kids in pyjamas and it isn't yet dark. It feels like a new phenomenon and yet it happens every year.

And then I remember the flipside - dark, dismal Monday mornings, everybody oversleeps, feeling really groggy and want to go back to bed. Hurrumpph.....

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Major Widget Incident

Mrs C had a fright this morning when her lovely Blog escorted unsuspecting visitors off to the nether regions of the web to inspect some ropey Chinese TV website amongst other things, courtesy of a Widget Hijack!
Yes, some naughty people had taken hold of some imported code on Mrs C's page and had rewritten it so that it pointed to a new webpage.
Never fear - she called in the expert (?) and I identified this problem as a ropey widget, namely the hit counter she had added at the bottom of the blog. So by deleting this code from the blog, I have eliminated the problem.
In order to prevent a similar issue arising with the cheeseboard, I have taken the decision to retire the fish tank from my pages. Sorry fish fans.

For future ref - this was helpful:

Monday, 22 March 2010

Eddie Iz Hard

I was absolutely blown away by Mr Izzard's feat this last week. I refer of course to his fantastic consecutive marathon running around the UK for Sport Relief. 43 marathons in 51 days is unbelievable, especially when you are 48, fat and unfit.
I take nothing away from David Walliams, nor Christine Bleakley who did great things themselves, but Eddie's feat has completely blown me away.
Although I felt for him every time he stopped to nurse a new injury, it made my recent escapade feel like a walk in the park. I wonder how his body is coping since he completed this task - it might be one hell of a withdrawal.
If I wore a hat, I would gladly take it off for this man.

This is a great interview:

Thursday, 18 March 2010

You Wot 2

What is it about the new phenomenon in British speech that makes people so uncertain about their own opinions that they need to guard against any possible comeback?
I refer of course to the great contradiction that is the 'Yeah-No' answer. So addictive is this response that it is used by teenagers, TV personalities, footballers, business people, commuters etc.
For example, if I were to ask any member of the aforementioned if they were unhappy at the present moment, the response would be something like:
"Yeah, no I'm sorta like not so unhappy, you know"
Well quite frankly, no, I don't know.

I know I'm the sort of person who rubs out excess apostrophes on greengrocers' blackboards but surely everyone must agree with this one.

Watch out - it's catching. Or is it?
Yeah, No......

Cheers, thanks (don't get me started)

Monday, 15 March 2010


I write this from the chemo suite at Mount Vernon hospital where Mrs C is undergoing her first session of chemotherapy.
After a very long and anxious wait the nurse is administering the first of a cocktail of drugs via a line which will start the recovery process. Along the way there will be a number of difficulties but at least this is the start of the eradication.
Mrs C has elected to wear an ice cap in order to try and slow down or even prevent hairloss. This thing looks a bit like a bike helmet with a hosepipe attached and is running at about -4 degrees. But, as she says, it is worth trying.
Looking at her sitting in her reclining armchair she looks the most relaxed she has done for weeks as she has the various drugs slowly pumped into her. I just hope that the after effects are not as bad as we fear.
Well done Mrs C, you are a very brave girl. X x

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, 13 March 2010


We had a visit the other day from a counsellor attached to the local hospice. Alex was a very nice lady who asked Mrs C & me about our experiences so far and how our family was coping with all the stresses and strains. I have never had a counsellor visit before and after she asked me about support I found I couldn't stop tears from streaming as I talked about all the help and kind words we have had from all our friends. I guess in a way it was a bit of a release and I am glad that there is someone else out there for us.
Yesterday Mrs C and I went along to the Chemo suite at Mount Vernon hospital for a familiarisation. It was a very sobering experience.
First we went to the Lynda Jackson centre which is a volunteer-run care unit, with wicker chairs and mood music playing. Everybody was very nice but the initial cup of tea and quiet chat was quite disconcerting.
Next, we had a slideshow Q & A with a number of other cancer patients of various ages which was very informative, and helped me better understand some of the things that Mrs C is likely to go through and what we will need to watch out for when she is recovering.
Then after a quick tour of the hospital, including the airport style waiting area with bing-bong next patient plasma screens, we went to the Chemo suite which has just been extensively upgraded. It was pleasing to see that the place has been well equipped with comfortable reclining chairs for receiving the treatment and the overall atmosphere is one of calmness and relaxation.
It will be a long and difficult day on Monday but I think we are both reassured to learn that the kind and professional staff and comfortable, modern facilities will go a long way to making this awful process as effective as it can be.

Least Haunted

Every now and again I'm lucky enough to be treated to the televisual phenomonon that is 'Most Haunted'. This TV show, which is tucked away on one of the dust-bunny channels round the back of the TV set, is actually phenomenally successful with a great many ardent fans.
Unfortunately I am not one of them.
The show is hosted by Yvette Fielding (once of Blue Peter) who spends her time 'communicating' with spirits by asking them to tap a number of times (like a counting horse) when she is not screaming and flapping like a ten year old. The programme is filmed in night vision for extra spookiness (so everyone's eyeballs take on a rabid dog look) as they fumble their way around various old houses and castles up and down the country.

Yvette is accompanied by a team on her 'investigation' including a medium, a parapsychologist (ooooh), a fat make-up artist, a cameraman and a sound engineer and after an interesting historical summary at the outset they proceed to spend their time looking shocked and saying 'did you hear/ see that' to camera for hours on end. Usually there will be a rock or a spoon (??) thrown in their general direction by persons unknown (apparently). Sometimes the medium will be aware of a spirit (usually a man in a hat who is a bit unhappy) and they will attempt to communicate. What is always interesting is that the mediums (media?) always look the most spooked by a sudden sound.
They are brilliant at what they do and Yvette Fielding and her husband Karl have made a tidy sum from the programme format.
However after 9 years or so, for all their technology and hours of footage they don't seem to have spotted anything more compelling than a possible 'orb' (ie a moth) on film.

Every show is the same! It is like Groundhog Day and it drives me insane.

The only saving grace is that if I endure this - then I can earn credits to watch the football. Mind you, sometimes watching my team is like a horror show. Boo

Monday, 8 March 2010

No pain no gain

A big thank you to everyone who sponsored me and young mr cheese. We both completed the 5 miler yesterday in under 50 mins. I'm pleased to report that the older legs beat the younger legs on the day, but those very same legs are feeling the effects today!
It was a great day, a good crowd and fantastic weather and I look forward to further events in the not too distant. Keep your wallets and deep-heat on standby!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, 1 March 2010


Western France bore the brunt of a hurricane storm last night with high winds (140kmh) and severe flooding. Attached pic from Ile de Re gives an idea of how bad it became.

pic- fgirodolle  flickr


When I was a kid I used to marvel at the mad inventions of this guy called Wilf Lunn who used to appear on programmes like Magpie and Vision On with his bicycles and other contraptions. It really used to appeal to me, the idea of spending hours in the shed with pieces of scrap metal and producing something the size of a house that performed the task of removing a cherry stone, for example.

It was great to visit Southwold in East Anglia and discover, on the pier, an amusement arcade full of mad contraptions build by another guy called Tim Hunkin. I later discovered that he was also responsible for those scribbly wisdom cartoons I recall from my yoof.


He also has a product range of fantastic ideas that none of us can live without (it says here). This is a favourite:


The world still needs English eccentrics!

That's 'andy.

Around the house we have a few paintings and prints by new artists. One of these artists is a Swedish lady by the name of Camilla Engman who is known internationally for her work. From her Bio, it is written:
"Often through animals or people, Camilla’s pictures inspire their audience with a wide range of feelings. Her work has a knack of allowing you to grasp a notion without robbing you of your personal interpretation, regardless of whether it’s an acrylic painting, paper-on-paper or mixed media."

This is an extract from a print of hers on the wall where I work which I look at frequently. Now I subscribe to the artist's philosophy and I like a lot of her work, but I can't help thinking that the inspiration for this particular piece may have come from somewhere else............