Thursday, 21 October 2010

I mmm'd and ahhhh'd

Do you ever get the feeling that something is not quite right, but you can't put your finger on it?  And that maybe your messages in the bottle are not getting through.  Luckily it seems my communications are still linked with other people - phew!

It seems my absence from blogging has actually been missed, which I am surprised.  However seeing as I get great insight and feel a warmth of connectivity when I read over bloggers, I should not be surprised that the reciprocal feeling does not go both ways.  In these times of less connectivity with other beings of whom I have built (I consider) great friendship and fondness it is nice to have these message in the bottles that continue to link us and long may it continue for I would like to think that one day I will see them again.

Starfleet has been busy and my journey has taken me on a adventurous route (okay not that adventurous, but it is different to the norm) and I trying with others to secure a continuation of income.  It seems that this is an unprecedented short timescale, and some members of the team have gone more AWOL than an intermittent blogger on who has been cast adrift on an island in the widest seas.  Next week sees my journey continue to what seems to be my next stop for a few months and hopefully it will be interesting...
But that is all drone and boring and work which still has to be followed with a yawn.

Biffo and Buba send their hugs (love is still to be required, but hugs will do for now)

Monday, 11 October 2010

On the positive side

So it seems however much Starfleet can be frustrating and unrewarding it is still a job!
It seems that it is better than working at HP.  So in 2009 they got rid of staff from EDS, then announced redundancies earlier this year and now just announced another 1300 jobs will go and be off-shored (India).  Which works out at about 4000 jobs in 2 years! WOW!

Maybe I won't moan quite as much!  I said maybe

On other news the bedroom has been decorated (thanks to Father-in-laws) and today saw a carpet being laid.  Now all I need to do is build the wardrobe, but Mrs Stretch decided that her sleep was more important than my late night shift at putting those together.  It is mostly due to her being ill and it would have given me a night off IF work was not too much and I have just spent the last 2 hours getting the niggly bits out of the way to clear my day for the deluge that I need to work through. (Most not moan!)

Thursday, 30 September 2010

suddenly it's gone

So last week was a return to posting, I then went on leave for a couple of days and then ended up being off sick, now I am back at my computer nearly a week later.

A few lovely events have happened, I managed to win a Phil&Teds buggy on eBay.  I can't believe how popular these things are.  I love buying bargains on ebay, but getting one of these as a bargain is a hard thing to do.  I even did the searches for peoples spelling mistakes - there was a website for this, but I can't find it now.  But simple typos by people mean that less people can search for it - great for the buyer!  Anyway the buggy has finally arrived after problems with the courier and Mrs Stretch thinks it is brand new which is great.

So as I mentioned I was on leave for a couple of days, I was actually on the Isle of Wight and if I had foursquare I would have got my "I'm on a boat" award, but I haven't, so I didn't!  I did however have a great time with the guys from church.  If you didn't know that I go, then "surprise".  Don't worry I will not be going on a christian crusade and slaughtering you all :-)  It was a very inspirational time and lots of male bonding with bonfires, golf, go-karts, croquet and lots of table tennis aka whiff-whaff.  The top quote from the weekend was "Each generation goes further than the generation preceding it because it stands on the shoulders of that generation. You will have opportunities beyond anything we've ever known."  Which when you have kids is a great motivation to achieve so much more for them to be able achieve so much more.

So today sees me at a Starfleet office, hopefully accompanied by Golfy if he can be bothered to travel! :-)

On the opportunity front, it seems I am not going on the route that I expected.  It seems I am too valuable and they can exploit me further somewhere else.  Which suits me at this point. Now I just have to tell the man who has the dog that the dog is not wanted (for now) 

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Let me hear a "Whoop Whoop"

So yesterday I got my long awaited phonecall and it looks like I am on the move soon.  However it does depend on when they will let me go!  I might be gutted if they say I can go straightaway - but 2 weeks would do lol!

Starfleet is as exciting as watching your walls dry, actually watching them dry actually was quite interesting.  Yesterday then saw going round the house with Decorators Chaulk and filling the gaps and getting ready for the decorator!  I decided that the tube of chaulk was harder to reseal so I just used the whole tube  - my house is now stuck together - lol!  Not as badly as my fingers were at one point!  I am not lazy enought to pay for a decorator, but Father-in-law is a painter/decorator by trade and has offered - so who really look a gift horse in the mouth?  what a really strange expression... what is a gift horse, who looks at anything in the mouth unless you are dentist...but did you know that horses teeth never stop growing (the facts gathered from X-Factor)

Mrs Stretch has the brainwave idea that we NEED to go to IKEA.  I don't think anyone NEEDS to go there!  So the house is now measured and visio'd (shouts of NERD can be heard)  I don't want to come home with a new desk to find it doesn't fit!

I am off on Thursday and Friday and Saturday to Isle of Wight (if I had foursquare I could get my "I'm on a boat" award).

Thursday, 16 September 2010

A Time to reflect

So it seems that people actually might miss my blogging!
Now I think that is rubbish (paraphrased), but I will see.
So an update of my Summer...
been away
came back
been away
came back
All in all it was quite nice, except for the coming back! :-)
Starfleet is the same old.  But then it does pay and that is bad if that is the only motivation!  I am pushing other doors and waiting to see what opens and following a phone call I received yesterday it seems that my persistence might have paid off and I should be moving on soon.

One of my aways was a holiday in Turkey and although it was sunny and nice, I certainly wouldn't rush back to Turkey.  I have heard that Turkey is nice and cheaper than the rest of Europe, however I would have to differ on both of those reported facts.  The resort we were in was nice and the Germans were there usual self.  Isn't it sad when you come back from a Turkish holiday having learnt more German!

On other news; the house sale has now stopped we are off the market as seriously nothing was happening and with the impending doom arrival of baby we have got to transform the house around.  We are now living in a bedroom that has been re-plastered and no furniture.  The DIY list for the next few months is long and expensive!  And Mrs Stretch is wanting to nest!

So for now I wish you well...
Auf Wiedersehen

Monday, 2 August 2010

And so it returns

I am pleased to report that I had a great holiday - not fantastic, but great.  I don't think you can class the Mill Rythe resort on Hayling Island fantastic, and if it was not for the fact that so many of our friends were there it would definitely have dipped from greatness.  It was helped by great weather.

We had the most miserable waitress from Russia and I think she had a part in starting the cold war.  However after complaining on the first day, she actually improved after that (and hopefully did not spit in our food).  However I did get a cappuccino everyday and I don't know how she made the brown sprinkles on top?

Other highlights, our team won the pub quiz for the 2nd year in a row.  We entered the talent competition as Take That and came 3rd, which is not a bad thing as the winner has to come back in October and do it again in the final.  The wine I took with me was lovely!  The bruises from water polo are fading now, my addiction to trying and winning a Toy Story character from a grabbing machine in the arcade is starting to fade and my exercise on holiday counter balanced the cooked breakfast every morning.

Following on from my last blog, I can now remove #10 and #7 from the book list and replace them with Deadline by Simon Kernick and No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay.  I have managed to remember these books as A. someone returned one book to me that I lent them a year ago - they only returned it because they wanted to borrow another one.  And "Vicar" I will remember what book you have this time! B. I have purchased another book for my upcoming holidays.  It is another Linwood Barclay book and I am hoping it is as good as the last.  As an update I read a Dean Koontz book whilst away (a book in a week is the way to go), but I have to admit it will NOT be entering my Top 10!  I had other people singing his praises, but I won't be joining them.  I have some personal homework to carry out and that is to follow up on a couple of book related web links, which should help me with my future choices of reading material. and TV book club which was by Richard and Judy originally.  Mrs Stretch had brought me a new book before holiday knowing that I was lacking any good reading material and she was delighted to come back with the latest Dan Brown book.  However it was one I had read a year ago... good effort though.

So now I have one more week at work and then a week off.  Tick Tock.

Saturday night was also good as a friend gave me tickets to a charity bash.  A nice saving of £70 for the tickets and a 3 course meal and entertainment was greatly enjoyed who says there is no such thing as a free lunch.  The dance troop were good, the solo dancer was "interesting" and the band were fantastic!  Check out and keep your eye on the horizon for Juliette Ashby.
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Friday, 23 July 2010

Top 10

Yesterday on a Starfleet call we were honoured by Leon the cleaner which is a great film and prompted Golfy and I to talk about our Top 10 lists.

One of my motivators for this is a great book - High Fidelity.  The film is however not as good, but then that can be said for a few book to film conversions.

So I will start with books and although this is a Top 10 there is actually no order to them.  This list is actually quite tough as most of my books are boxed up and in the loft.

1. High Fidelity
2. Deception Point
3. Digital Fortress
4. The Tesseract
5. The Beach
6. About a Boy
7. Fever Pitch
8. Man and Boy
9 Boy Called It
10. Notes from a Small Island

Actually # 10 was going to be a different book, which I read recently but I annoyingly can't remember the name of it.  It was one of those books I read in 2 days and I lent it to a friend -  I am sure I got it back, but now it is in the loft.  I have to say that has got me in the mood, to A. finish my current book by Jack Dee and B. find a new book for my impending holiday.

I was going to write a Mystery Book, or was I?

So Top 10 Films (again in no particular order)
1. Groundhog Day

1. Groundhog Day (see what I did there) :-)
2. Ferris Buellar's Day Off
3. Stand By Me
4. Leon
5. Remember the Titans
6. Shawshank Redemption
7. Pay It Forward
8. Good Will Hunting
9. Twelve Monkeys
10. Kill Bill II

and in closing an album to try and listen;
The Boy I Used to Be
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Thursday, 22 July 2010

Ups and Down Under

Well my friend whom went on Recon to Australia has returned - we will now call him Ozzy.  I met up with him and his wife Sharon the other night and enjoyed a lovely bottle of red wine Black Stump.  Now this wine was recommended to me by a member of Starfleet, now you would not let him recommend ties or blue blazers to you, but he knows his stuff when it comes to wine!  We tend to invite them over for a "Coffee and cake" night it is like a cheese and wine night but we don't eat cheese, actually we didn't drink coffee either!  So a bottle of wine later and we discussed how the recon trip went and it seems that it is a viable option and now it seems there house is going on the market and they are preparing the cats for deportation.  Can you believe it costs about £2k per cat for their trip - however much I like my cat, if I had 3 then they would find a nice home with someone else and not be struggling with jet lag!  I could fly business class instead!!  I would love to go now with them but I need to wait 2 years and then reassess it.  Hopefully by then they would have done all of the research for me and I will have a base of operations too :-) such a cunning plan!

So it is Ozzy's birthday next week, so we are out for dinner with Ozzy and Sharon
LONDON - FEBRUARY 18:  (UK TABLOID   Sharon an...
on Saturday to celebrate, which I have been told will be at Zizzi.  The jury is out on restaurant choice, but I will see and assess.  So I was charged with finding Ozzy's birthday present.  So of course I have gone for Australian theme hunt for a pressie and hopefully he will be pleased with the result!

So when it comes to Starfleet, my Harry is still in captivity.  It seems other opportunities are not as available as I first hoped, but I will keep digging and practicing vaulting!  Maybe my call on Friday will open another door.

But the good news is that I am on leave next week, then back for a week then on leave for a week, then back for 2 weeks then away for a week.  I think this Summer might just fly by!

Last year the family stayed in Norfolk and we managed to find a Country Show and wow it was amazing!  We really did stick out as the "City people".  We didn't have our 4x4 (which was actually needed to park in the field) and  our flat caps, our wax jacket, sheepdog or shotgun - yes there were a couple!  However it seems we have missed it this year.  So we hopefully be returning to BeWilderWood which is a great day out.  So with things to get tied up at Starfleet I bid you adieu.

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Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Another Day in Paradise

On a positive note, I am alive.  There you go, I think I am done blogging for today! ;-)

Okay, I will expand further on my life for today.
We have luckily managed to get a babysitter for Saturday night.  This is an achievement and more importantly the babysitter is booked for no reason, i.e. we have no wedding, no birthday party, no BBQ, no funerals and no bar mitzvahs to attend.  Actually we have been invited to a birthday party/meal out.  But we have decided (or rather Mrs Stretch has decided) that time together will be more rewarding.  This is where you get quality time!  With the increase of pitter patter and ickle stretches this is probably a good time!  So the plans are afoot and I tried to have a discussion with Mrs Stretch to discuss what film and food venue. As discussed already with Golfy, I knew I would not win on my choice.  But a wise man once said it is about having a battle to fight and not beating your opponent at their detriment.  So as it goes it looks like I am going to see Eclipse.  Now as it goes if you have to watch a chick-flick then the Twilight saga (and yes it is a Saga - see point 5) is tolerable.  Oh, for the record Mrs Stretch has also won on restaurant choice - Frankie & Benny's.  Now you see sometimes you let them think they have won, when actually you know you haven't lost!
The Twilight Saga (film series)

I have a new widget on my blog of Zemanta - I will try it and see.  But no I am NOT deserting blogspot for the lures of Wordpress! :-)

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Tuesday, 13 July 2010


I have just walked to close to a plant in the Starfleet offices and got an electric shock on my ear!

Thursday, 8 July 2010


So the term of Garbage In - Garbage Out (GI-GO) hit into effect last night and this morning. I was watching QI last night, it is probably the only good reason to have Dave channel on your TV. And for some reason they started talking about Yogi Bear. This was just before I went to sleep and so I have spent the whole night and morning thinking about Yogi Bear and his quotes. And if I get time later I will have to try and find some of his greater quotes.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Mmmm Choices

now we are in June the questions begin from Mrs Stretch for what I want for my birthday (just over a month away). I am terrible with not knowing what I want most of the time and then of course I can find the items that are out of reach either financially, storage means, or just the fact that I would never use it but it sounds like a great idea. So I have been wiser this year and kept writing a list and now I have sent that list to Mrs Stretch. I know I will still not get anything on that list!! :-) Oh Well! Worth a try.

Work is better and still on the up, except for a few errors. But I will put them down as a learning curve. There are sudden realisations that come too late, in particular when you have asked someone for some help, or even just a quick question that ends up snowballing. I knew I should have asked someone else!

Yesterday was a full day or work, and after work was daddy day care and then band practice for a wedding I am playing at on Saturday, I finally got to relax at 10.30 last night (which meant I was asleep at 10.32).

As someone who moans, and finds comfort in grumpiness, I now don't have much more to write but that is good and a blog today ends with a smile on my face...

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

On the up

I am pleased to report 2 good days in a row. And if you really knew my mind set you would be relieved! I could easily be bounty hunting around Newcastle otherwise at the moment!

Now not everything has gone to plan, especially as I have had the rug pulled from under my feet as I have lost my lead role in Starfleet and we still have got a buyer for our house.

But on the good news, we have seen a house we like and they are likely to accept an offer - £10 sounds good to me! Boy is sleeping well through the night, holidays are coming, and I have got some work that was lingering around out of the way. So all in all, life is good.

I even sat down last night with Mrs Stretch and watched Zodiac. A good film, although I did get worried when at 2hours 10mins the picture started breaking down. It seems blurays still can't handle jam like DVDs could on Tomorrows World! So anyway it was a long film and an interesting ending and I would recommend it.

Monday, 5 July 2010


A wiseman once told me a great method to help my madness and that was the daily commute. I thought he was pulling my chain (what a strange analogy) but I think he might actually be on to something. I am once again in the starfleet offices and the drive to actually be dressed before midday is nice, plus the commute in and home is therapeutic and reflective. If I can find a radio station I like then I will be even happier; there is nothing better than a good sing along in the car at full pelt, it clears the lungs and provides more oxygen to the body and brain.

So starfleet offices again results in me spending less time in the kitchen, but it does result in me spending more $$. next step is for me to get organised and prepare my lunch. I have reflected and seen that without windows I blur. So things will be done in time slots. Biggest of all being work in the day and life at night. There will be exceptions but I am liking this approach already.

So the weekend involved Mrs Stretch and I seeing a house we like. We still have the challenge of selling ours, but with a viewer today it MIGHT all fall into place. Following our house viewings and brief stop at the in-laws we went to Porchester Castle for a nice picnic and chill out. It was very impromptu and with boy having a sleep it was very nice as an adult time. However our journey there was not without events and challenges. Our lovely PCSO (Police wannabees) turned us away as we tried to get to the castle carpark. He could not tell us why, but he said we would want to walk a different way and the car park was full of "yellow wellies" which I had to explain to Mrs Stretch was forensics. We managed to park nearby and with boy asleep and both of us with a sick curiosity we managed to walk as near as we could to the cornered off area. We soon found the body (covered by a blanket) and our forensic qualifications granted by CSI (Vegas, NY and Miami), sponsored by Silent Witness and funded by Waking the Dead, quickly led us to the assumption that the person had died from blunt force trauma as a result of jumping from the top of the keep. Mrs Stretch then followed that up with saying "that was a gamble", this was due to the keep only be 100 feet high and a fall from the height could have resulted in near death but not a successful result. You see this is where men and women differ, she wouldn't want to leave a mess and women by default always chose tidy suicides - generally pills, where as men it is all about the scene and impact - i.e. shotguns, cars, buildings. So when Mrs Stretch pointed out the fact of it could have failed, I had to ask the question about whether he paid to get to the top of the keep and if he asked for a one way ticket? A sick joke I know, but I was curious. We were later kicked out of the castle (no, not for being too nosey) as the staff at the castle had suffered a traumatic event - hence my logic that it was a man who jumped. So that linked me to my blog title.

So on lighter news, it was my sister in laws 20th B'day. Her boyfriend had not organised anything, so Mrs Stretch and I stepped in and organised a family gathering at QEQP. It was good, sunny(on and off) and most importantly birthday girl had a nice time. See that is less interesting than suicide.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Hey Good lookin', what you got cookin'?

How's about cookin' something up with me?

So congratulations to Mrs Stretch her bun baking seems to be doing well. All we know so far is that it is a baby. We have to wait for another 7 weeks to find out the gender. And yes I will be finding out. That is like saying you are getting a new car, but I am not telling you what you are getting. We also to have wait a couple of weeks just confirm that everything is "ok", or we get a knock on the door from the midwife! But that will NOT be happening to us! I don't want that to come across arrogant or cocky, but I just don't want to entertain the thought.

So the baby has had his/her second shoot and is only 13 weeks (unborn) old. Why don't they do in minus weeks - like a countdown? T minus 26.5 weeks! oh boy!

mmm, Caffeine...

I have wheeled the coffee machine out from under its covers. Okay that it is a slight exaggeration but it was sat on the kitchen side and has been gathering dust for the last couple of months maybe even longer. I like coffee, I like latte, and even the new chai vanilla latte that Starfleet offices have just introduced. I am even a member of the loyalty clubs for 2 big coffee franchises. However as I matured into a coffee machine owner, which is a natural step after owning a percolator, the chore of cleaning the coffee machine seemed to out weigh the enjoyment of the coffee. And as it is only a single mans coffee machine it didn't even warrant an unveiling for dinner parties.

But I think a couple of things have happened;
1. Golfys blog has worn off on me and I am more intrigued into coffee, before you know it I will be asking for coffee tips.
2. I was woken up at an hour beginning with 5 and to top it off I felt like I had a bad hangover - I could probably handle that if I had had a drink before. Maybe I am getting punished for the drink sessions which didn't result in a hangover! Karma? Of course I need a clear head today, as we (me and Mrs Stretch) are off to the hospital to see how her cooking is coming along and hopefully find out what kind of "ickle" she is cooking.
3. I enjoyed my coffee at Starfleet offices, but I hate paying those prices!! (I know I am tight!!)
4. I am no longer on a stupid diet regime that included no caffeine. I shouldn't have stopped but hey-ho.

So now I need to organise a shopping trip to buy some more beans, maybe some more Guatemala Elephant.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

The end is nigh!

Ok so actually I mean the end of June is nigh and might be a good thing. That means it is closer to my holidays - I have a lovely getaway to Hayling Island and then a fabulous break to Turkey. The Turkey holiday is all-inclusive which also includes 24 hour ice-cream. I am dubious over this offer so I will ensure that I test it out at random times of night and I will have my pen poised to complain and ask for a discount if they misled me! Actually I am not much of a moaner, I will take the questionable meal put in front of me and test it. Obviously if it was really bad then I would make a point, but not make a scene. Anyway the downsize for an all-inclusive holiday is the inevitable expansion of my waist line ("It cannot take anymore Jim" - said in his best Scottish accent), but I try to justify the eating of all inclusive food by my plans to do the majority of activities organised! So I will be obviously in and out of the pool, and if I don't use the steps out of the pool then I end up rolling out on the side and looking like a beached whale! When I was a kid I used to be able to spring out of the pool with the propulsion of my hands without my knees touching down. So whilst I am in the pool I shall plan to partake in some water polo (no horses involved) and hopefully some volleyball either in or out of the pool. But my biggest exercise this year will be chasing around after the boys. I am hoping that enough exercise will wear them down (and me) and we can all cope with sleeping in one room! This is not a pleasurable experience for a week. Whilst we were away in Eastbourne, we had little one in with us and at 2.30 in the morning, he was up in his cot - with excited squeals of "Daddy, Daddy", once he realised that I was visible in the room with him. Of course I tried to ignore his pleas of wanting to play this early in the morning, but that was to no avail when Mrs Stretch jabbed me in the ribs (why are they able to hit the correct spot everytime?) and said "He is asking for you!". In exchange for her rib-jab and stating the obvious I brought him into bed with us - however I got the head end, whilst she got the feet (the wriggling feet at that). Note: Children always lie at right angles! So anyway my plan is wear out the kids, hopefully they will sleep through and therefore so will I.

I got to have my first play with an iPhone last night, my mate Matt left his out whilst he went in another room - FOOL! It didn't take me long to work out how to open it up and find messages, so I carried my trial on a bit further and started sending texts. It is quite a fast phone (although it is not a iPhone4 which is even faster), but it was fast enough for me to do my texting on his behalf and return it to its resting place without him noticing. It was only the message responses from concerned people that made him question what had been going on. And for all the people that were there, it didn't seem to take him long to work out that it was me. I must have one of those guilty faces, or I think I am just the prankster. A healthy prank is always good, and he knows now not to leave his mobile lying around. And he expressed his love for another man... okay that is not so good!! But it is funny!

My other news is that I brought a BT Broadband Accelerator . The plan being that I plug this in and I get a faster broadband. For the minimal cost I thought this is would be a good return on investment and the potential increase of anything above what I have now would be good. Now I am lucky man as I currently have 16mbps broadband link and my colleague who recommended it to me only had 1mbps but with this he got an extra 50%. However I have installed this today and my speed has gone down!! HUH!?? It has only marginal drop, but my upload speed has increased and I have less noise on my line. So it shall stay and I will assess it.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Another day, another dollar

So another day sees another stint in Starfleet HQ. I am trying with my new lessons learnt of a healthy work-life balance and my morning blog will also consist of my reflection and actions for the day. There are some things in life that are great when you learn that it is supposedly good to just pick the things that you want to do but there are also things that you have to do. Unfortunately I think I have one of those days when I just need to chase people, and it won't be as eventful or as enjoyable as a Benny Hill scene.

It seems that work is going to become comparable to the Mary Celeste with most of my colleagues finding new adventures to enjoy. I am hoping that blogging will still keep us connected and networked as I need these guys for when the opportunity comes in many years time when I need a new role and they are VP :-)

I realised yesterday that I had actually become bored of the worldcup. I had started off very keen, with organising sweepstakes, printing out my wall chart and doing my predictions. However yesterday I watched about 10 minutes of the Brazil game and then turned over. I also didn't watch the England game - that might be a very good thing from the reports that I have heard. It is not as bad as it sounds and I am still a loyal England fan, I listened to it on the radio whilst driving. It was a clever plan to avoid traffic and it worked. On Friday it took me nearly 3 hours to drive to Eastbourne and the return was only an hour. I definitely preferred the hour version. I also did see some England highlights and they were clever highlights as England did not look so bad. The radio commentators made it sound really bad. I think if the 2nd England goal was allowed, things could have been very different. England would not have had to been pushing for another goal and left themselves open at the back for conceding the 3rd and 4th goal. I am not saying they should have won or even deserved to have won, especially after the way they played through the qualifiers and I hope they don't use the "goal that never was" as an excuse for their exit. The question remains, "should Capello go?" No I don't think he should, but he should have a pay cut. Actually I don't think any part-time England manager should be paid £6 million. Surely would we would be better off with someone who would want the title of England Manager rather then wanting the big pay cheque. I can understand getting paid for the role, but as a leader that is what you are instilling into your players. I think Harry Rednapp would be a good England manager and I think his track record can prove his style. He managed Portsmouth very successfully and really did turn Tottenham around. I know he as history when it comes to finances, but as England manager he would not be involved in that side of things. The part that sickens me is that if FIFA get rid of Capello he would get some outrageous payout, Come On FIFA wake up and do a contract based on success and put lots of get out clauses in there!

Maybe I am whittling on and that might be the problem when you are trying to type 750 words, but then I need a target and I need a driver. You can probably tell from my reflective style of writing at the moment that I am seeking something, and I am hoping that work will provide that something. I love that a footballer can give a "come and get me" plea, and I need to do the same. But I just need to ascertain where it is I need to go. I think a conversation with my manager will definitely be happening upon his return. It is not helpful when a big project (supposedly the biggest for this quarter) gets scrapped at the 11th hour and it is all due to Mr Cameron. Actually maybe I can't blame Mr C, it should actually be the fault of Gordon Brown (the man that never should have been Prime Minister). I do feel that he got us into this predicament and another term of Labour would have consisted of lots of double sided sticky tape to try and fix the problem. I don't know if it is good that the cut backs are coming now and I think we will all feel the pinch in the end. So I am off to sip my water and find my dried dog biscuit for my lunch!

Monday, 28 June 2010

Learning progresses

In my learning today was the following top tips, which I thought were useful enough to share with others (so I have mostly cut'n'paste them out)
# Avoid instant messaging interruptions - use privacy options to tailor those who can see you
# Avoid instant messaging unless real-time interaction will truly add value to the communication. A one-minute interruption of your colleagues will cost them ten minutes of productivity as they reestablish their mental context and get back into "flow".
# Work with your team/manager to ensure back-up plans are in place for coverage should emergencies arise.
# Set boundaries:

* Establish your work hours
* Discuss your needs with household members
* Manage interruptions
* Stay out of the kitchen
* Minimize household multi-tasking
* End your workday
* Resist the temptation to just "check in" after hours

# Don't check you email all the time.

* Set aside special breaks between bigger projects to handle email.
* Don't let email interrupt your projects and don't let the computer dictate your priorities.
* Turn off you emails programs "Biff" feature (this is the annoying bell or screen flash that notifies you every time an email message arrives).

# Spend 5 minutes of quality "think" time at the beginning and the ending of each day.

* At the beginning prioritize what you must do and then what you want to do.
* Evaluate what you did an carry over what are the first priorities for the next day.
# Make the most of your 'discretionary time'. Allow uninterrupted 'THINK' time.
# Set a goal to control at least 2 hours of your day - block out realistic time to handle e-mail, answer calls, and complete tasks.
# If often helps to map out how much time you actually have for 'real work' - only take on tasks that map to business and team priorities.
# Do things once than automate
* Consider an FAQ, a wiki, teamroom, etc.
* Set up Quick Responses in IM
* Use programmable buttons to type information that is typed repetitively.

# Put information you are routinely asked for in your closing (i.e., admin info, URL's, phone, timezone, etc).
# Use stationary for groups whom you regularly communicate the same information.
# Only have your laptop open and visible when you are engaging in it - checking email every 5 minutes is inefficient (sit down during designated times and clear the Inbox). It will distract from your attention to meetings, for think time and during discussions with others.
# When you're busy or you need to really concentrate on a particular task, let your voice mail pick up messages.
# If your e-mail program is set to ring a bell or other noise to signal new messages, turn this off.
# Avoid multitasking. It might seem that you're getting more work done if you do two or three things at once, but you will be more productive and produce higher quality work if you give your undivided attention to one task at a time.
# Set priorities and deadlines. Figure out which tasks are most important and do these first. Make to-do lists each day or week and re-prioritize as circumstances change.
# Set a time limit on tasks you dislike doing. The task will seem less overwhelming if you know you will stop at a certain time.
# Do quick tasks right away. If you notice that something needs to be picked up or dropped off or you need to make a five-minute call, do it right away.
# Get organized.

I am a culprit of so many bad habits, and when I think of getting a good work-life balance is more about trying to get in more work and not effecting my life! However that is slightly skewed and I just need to get my work done more in the time it is allocated. For most occasions it doesn't need more hours it just needs more focus. Somehow life manages to eat up all the time it needs and if it doesn't fit it doesn't get done and somehow it can queue up. Although Mrs Stretch doesn't necessarily agree with that approach!

The weekend was a success and I think that can be quantified by the fact that Nan enjoyed her birthday party. Nan is can have a grumble like any lady of her generation can and having endured 90 years of life, I think she can find plenty to grumble about. However she doesn't moan that much that I am aware of, I think her kids probably disagree with that. I think as a grandchild, I can have rose-tinted glasses on when it comes to my Nan - and no-one can deny me that.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Short but sweet

This will be unfortunately one of those days when I foresee not being able to get my 750 words done. Oh well, I won't beat myself up about it, life happens!

I am currently sat in a converted convent now used for Starfleet, actually I am sat in the loft conversion which is all quite nice and civilised and luckily the aircon is whirring away but badly for the environment it was already going when I arrived and that was about an hour before my workshop was scheduled to start - bad boy whoever left it on! But it did help with making the room nice and cool, which this meeting will benefit from!

It seems that not everyone agrees with starting the meeting the time, or even turning up on time. Do they not realise that I have driven in and had to get up with an hour starting with 6 and boy had a bad night which meant not getting much sleep at all. Also not helped by Mrs Stretch being out last night and me waiting up for her to get home, all in all Stretch is a tired boy this morning! And then not impressed that the person who has organised this meeting has not turned up.

So I have a day of this workshop and then a drive home, take the youngest swimming and pick up the eldest, load up the car and then off to Eastbourne to see the family. All busy and tiring day, but this weekend is the party for my Nan's birthday party.
In fact it is my Nan's 90th birthday so it is quite rightly going to be a huge family gathering. I say huge as I believe most of Nan's family will be there and she can reel off how many children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren she has, but I have no idea! It will be nice to see most people, of course there are there the family members that you never want to be stuck in a lift with. There are always the eccentrics, the drunks, the mentally challenged and that is just my parents - LOL! It will be an interesting time, my Mum has organised it all and we have a church hall to use, we will then be dressing the room and having tea and cakes/scones which will be a vain attempt to be a high tea. So it will be nice, busy, fun and I have the bonus of seeing my brother, and his family which is rare treat. He is only based in Leicester but that is 3 hour drive and not quite feasible for a day trip.

Top tips: this is one you might be interested in Teux Deux

Thursday, 24 June 2010


I am not so pleased to announce that my starfleet nemesis has indeed brought soup and is ready to slurp! My headphones are on, my iTunes is set to ease me through for the next 10 minutes! I think he might have noticed the headphones making an appearance at the sametime has his slurping!! GOOD! :-) In a conscious effort to check that I have spelt nemesis correctly, I actually googled it. It is sad to say that I have to do this a few times throughout blogging in a conscious effort to try and stop some spelling mistakes - 750words doesn't seem to have a spell check facility and I think the process is to type your thoughts rather than worry about spelling. Anyway my google search revealed that there is a "Nemesis Appreciation Day". This has to be something I explore further another day!

But for now I go back to listening to Barenaked Ladies (of whom I am a big fan) and avoid slurping noise!

What Football?

So apparently there was a football match yesterday. The pivotal, crucial match between England and Slovenia that England really had to win or alternatively draw with lots of other factors going in there favour. it's a good thing we didn't need to rely on favour as that didn't go our way and a late goal from USA would have resulted in lots of tears and sulks (not that the British ever sulk). It was a good performance it was good to have Rooney finding the ball and having some fun with it, unfortunately that is now 8 games in a row he hasn't scored for England and a goal is definitely needed. Gerard was very good, Lampard was ok but as normal went missing through the match, and then Barry was great, Milner played really well but was dead on his feet and could have done with coming off with 20 mins to go. Joe Cole was not his usual good self and I wonder if his transfer at home is putting pressure on him to perform. Upson was hmmm... debatable with the exception of one good tackle. Ashley Cole was ok, Glenn Johnson was great in defence and up and down the wing and should definitely never have been booked. David James made us put our heads in our hands, more than Rob Green can do without the fear of dropping that. And John Terry was phenomenal! Give the man the captaincy! I never thought at the time that JT should have lost the captains armband. Ok, he cocked up and it meant we lost a player out of the England squad, but that was due to their British sulking and they shot themselves in the foot. But surely no player on that pitch can be captain if we are judging them on past mistakes!? Even Lampard is dating Christine Bleakley and that must be wrong! To see JT throw his head at a shot, surely that must be putting your head on the line! That is leadership, that is what we want from Starfleet management! And then there was Defoe, whom I nearly forgot. I am sure he forgot he was on the pitch at some point, but others he was great. He was chasing no hopes (not Slovenians), shutting down options, and of course scoring a goal.

So now our route (thanks to the Americans) is a tough one. We have Germany on Sunday, with the possible route being against Argentina, followed by Spain, then onto the Final. We never do make it easy for ourselves! But at least we might play well or at least go out against a decent opposition. I was wondering yesterday if we play better against better opposition. When a Premiership team plays against a Division 2 or 3 side they often struggle, get kicked on and finally off the pitch, and either there is a giant killing or the top-dog stumble through. Slovenians yesterday were a Div 2 team, most of their players actually play in countries' division 2 teams so I am not meaning to be derogatory. So maybe we get a premiership performance when we play against a premier opponent. At least we might be the under dog and we can play the counter football, or have more space to play football.

But anyway somehow this was dwarfed by Tennis. Mrs Stretch is an avid fan of Wimbledon and goes every year. However she is unlikely to be going this year as she is struggling with the baking that she is doing internally and the journey, plus heat, plus crowds, plus numb bum on a plastic seat is not her idea of fun at the moment. She just wants cola icepoles and exotic fruit. You would like to think that Starfleet would have some perk with Wimbledon, but alas our force is not that strong. Unfortunately I missed the Germany football match yesterday as there was the longest game of tennis EVER yesterday, and it has still not finished! The final set in fact is longer than any other tennis match. The number sets played so far is more than Serena Williams played to win the tournament last year. And did I mention it is still not finished?! I hope they can both walk and they are able to continue the match today and I disagree with McEnroe, no I don't think it should be continued on Centre court.

It was worth noting that the scoreboard could not cope with score yesterday, either that or the guy working it had given up - I wonder if that was a Starfleet problem. Also of note the umpire did not take a "courtesy break" throughout the whole game!! It was the commentators first gig, and Court 18 match was supposed to ease him in!!

As an aside, why do I always sit in the same seat in a hotdesk office?? Why does the guy that slurps soup at lunchtime always sit opposite me so I have to put my headphones on to block out the noise.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

It is just as Blur described

and more precisely it is Blur Parklife - yes, I get up when I want, except on Wednesdays when I get rudely awakened... unfortunately it was not by the binmen, but instead by my current youngest. So I am up at an hour beginning with a 4 and I soon realise that it would be futile to try and get more sleep out of boy and therefore me. So here I am downstairs watching TV, actually I am struggling to watch to TV. When it is 5 in the morning there is a limited selection of programmes, especially ones that are ideal for a child to watch, let alone me. But Sky Anytime has come to my rescue and I ended up watching Mark Knopfler live and intimate who was particularly good, and did you know he did the score for The Princess Bride and was once in a band called Brewers Droop, maybe that explains why Scobi didn't use that name for his band? and then a documentary of animals which went on to showing Ligers and Tigons (no, that is not a typo). It seems that the cross breeding of Lions and Tigers which can only happen in captivity results in one or the other. If it is a Male Lion and Female Tiger then you get a Liger, and this is where things get incredible. The Liger becomes larger than both of its parents, with bigger bones and stretch and actually never seems to stop growing and it has a bigger appetite - it eats about 3 times more than the Lion. Can they not see the monster they are creating?? I have to go with the thoughts of scientist that say if it doesn't exist in nature then it exist at all.

Squirrel - Do you know I have never noticed that my neighbour has their milk delivered. I didn't actually think people did that anymore. At least being up this early means I am not woken at 6.30 by the neighbour who goes to work on their noisy hairdryer aka moped.

So there are some benefits for being up this early, and that is so I can take some time off later to watch England - come on England!! Unfortunately I have got the predictions right so far, and I am looking forward to my prediction of 3-0 coming true later. Yesterday was unlucky for RSA and they did themselves proud in the end, but just missed out. You have to give them credit, but certainly you have to question what the feelings are in France this morning. I wonder how much the country shot themselves in the foot with the arrangement of Laurent Blanc taking over being announced before the World Cup. It would be interesting to see what would happen if both USA and England draw today and England score 2 goals as it would then result in the drawing of lots for who goes through. Group G would be interesting if Ivory Coast try and score the 9 goals they need to proceed through the qualifying stage.

I am pleased to report that I can now drink Bravaria beer conscious free. Didn't they do well for ambush marketing, they couldn't have dreamed of getting so much coverage. But I do love that the article leads onto this one.

Here is the old ad
and here is the new one - which is ingenious

I think someone got their marketing bonus for this year!!

So although I have linked to 750 words, I have actually never bothered to register and start trying. But today is a new day and it is a start of an adventure. I certainly don't want to get into the mentality of back at University and HAVING to write essays but I don't want to start kick starting my brain and hopefully my life. Talking of University, I really am not sure how I managed to get through that. Don't get me wrong I loved it and I wasn't a bad boy, party animal; but the sessions were tedious and mostly straightforward - I guess that was eased by choosing a Mickey-mouse degree as it is commonly known also known as Sociology. Somehow it has done me proud and got me this far in life. I think once you have your foot in the door it doesn't matter what your degree is, it is just a tick box exercise. It is not a proof of what you know but maybe that you can know something.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

A week flys by

...or rather it can drag.
It seems my ability to update my blog regularly is in question, and I am sure my reader subscription list proves that fact! If it was the new year then I would probably be doing my resolutions on how I will better at blogging, however it is not and even if it was it probably won't last more than a week as a resolution. I am sure last year I was going to learn piano, and before that I was going to get fit, and you will know that that has still not happened!!

Today sees me connecting up to skype. There were a couple of drivers for me doing this;
Firstly, I was updating my add-ons in facebook. My browser was dragging and I wanted to make sure all plugins and updates were up-to-date and also see what the latest add-on was. This presented me with wisestamp and a seemingly very useful tool that it is and of course skype, which is probably an essential for most people. Or at least one of those tools that most people have downloaded and got installed but are now no longer using.

Secondly, my best mate "Knobby" is off to Oz next week as a recon. This is received with mixed feelings... I am gutted that he might be going, even if it will take him 6 months for him and the family to go. I am pleased for him for making the move, I am jealous that he is doing it, and I am upset that I didn't know sooner as I would have joined him on the recon. On Radio 2 yesterday in advance of the budget today, a listener said "The debt is only my problem, if I still live here!". It seems the consensus on the call for most public sector employees was to leave the country. Of course that only works for policemen and nurses, the tax collectors are quite rightly stuffed and stuck on the mantelpiece. I tried to work out whether I can line up interviews both with starfleet and others to join Knobby on the recon, but alas I couldn't line up enough to justify the trip. I could justify it to myself but Mrs Stretch thought it was too much of a jolly without having activities lined up. Although she is up for the option of emigrating she would prefer Canada rather than Oz, and the conversations have now moved around to moving to Norfolk - not quite the land of surf, fosters and BBQ!

Now seeing as I have updated you with a couple of new toys/gadgets, I also need to mention to you another one. As one of my readers was made aware today of VieraCast. There are already some good reasons to buy Panasonic (mostly because they are good quality and a reknowned make), but if you get a choice get a device with vieracast. My bluray player has this and it is good! Not VERY good, just good for now as it still needs more options (video on demand is coming) but it is still handy to watch my youtube movies and photo albums.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Shall I take the red pill….

..or the blue pill?

Sometimes life is filled with big choices and sometimes in life you just have no choice.

This week has been a low week, I think we all get them. And women who say men don’t have PMT are just liars! I think it doesn’t help that Starfleet has been kicking the pilots around and that has taken it’s toll, and now things at Starfleet are quiet and I am still not in the correct squadron. So I feel like I am in limbo. Anyway today sees me in a Starfleet office and I am actually sat in a box that can only just sit 3 people and I have an all day workshop with 8 people in here today... mmm I think the organiser got that one wrong and we will now spend an hour trying to find a better room!

Mrs Stretch has been baking and now has an “ickle” growing inside her. We thought she had starting baking 7 weeks ago, and the other day we had a scare whereby we had to make emergency appointments. Yesterday we found out that she had started baking “ickle” me, about 11 weeks ago, and scans show everything is ok! It is still a bit of a shock, and now my house hunting involves finding one more room or a re-jiggle of accommodation somehow.

On the positive side of things the stag do in Liverpool was great. I managed to see Robin (another stag) handcuffed to a midget (little person) Batman. There were also quite a few other views to behold. But the main thing was how surprised I was with Liverpool. I was expecting to see some fights amongst locals and some serious binge drinking girls, but it was all well behaved. There was an incredible amount of people out, I guess this was due to the football (not to be discussed again). Managed to somehow get up in the morning after a “few” beers and have a walk to the Albert Dock. Once again I was impressed with Liverpool and I was able to briefly reminisce of “This Morning” . That was until we were summoned back to the minibus and commence on 5 hour return journey in a rickety, cramped, bumpy, no air-con’d, distorted speaker, minibus – still good fun though.

Friday, 11 June 2010

A Definition Higher

So this week has involved the Stretch household unveiling HD on a new Plasma. (my address won't be posted for all those techie burglars! Plus my TV has got a clever tracking data stored within it). The timing of this has been impressive with the start of WorldCup just being now hours away! Mrs Stretch had a huge input into this and I was surprised that only a few mentions of wanting a new TV and leaving the odd Stuff magazine cutout lying around resulted in her saying "yes, lets go shopping". I have wanted a new TV for a while, but I unfortunately brought a very good TV years ago. It was a Sony trinitron 32" and when I brought it, it was brilliant. However, it never died! And all the time it was working fine, I couldn't justify replacing it. And it wasn't the kind of TV that you could stick in a bedroom as it was as deep as it was wide. I got excited about a year ago when the colours were flicking and I thought the tubes were going to blow, however it just turned out to be the scart cable not plugged in properly. And so it lived on. I had to resign myself to selling it for £20 in the end, a bargain for a friend and I suppose a bonus for me that I didn't have to take it to the tip.

Of course the timing of the TV would have been even better if I was actually at home to watch the England game tomorrow night. Although I can't complain as I am instead out on a Stag weekend, gone are the days when a simple couple of pints down the local nagshead would suffice. It is now about how far you can get and what extravangent challenge you can put in the mix. It is more like University challenges of seeing who can get as far as possible by spending no money - the name escapes me now of what it was called. So this stag do consists of travelling to Liverpool, playing football (yes playing!) against a Liverpool team and then checking in the hotel and going to a private function room to watch the football with a buffet! In a way this is civilised event and journey back from Liverpool will be the funniest as there will be 16 of us in a minibus with a mixture of aching limbs, dodgy knees, sore backs, and minging hangovers and probably some bad guts caused by too much Guinness. None of us are spring chickens anymore! The cherry on the cake will be England winning against the US, which will probably be compared in the papers to the BP catastrophe somehow the following day.

Of course me being away will cause strain for Mrs Stretch, not because she will have mini-me to look after but as she will now have to work out how to use Sky HD and the new TV! Hopefully she will abstain from the Blu-ray player! I am expecting a text at some point panicking as America's next top Model is starting and she can't find the channel!

Anyway it is with pleasure that I say...

******* COME ON ENGLAND*******

Please don't let me get as frustrated as I normally do with the style of your play or your incompentance! Please don't lose on penalties, and please don't get sent off! Oh, and no more injuries!

Monday, 7 June 2010

all fished out

well what a palaver that was... we were all set to go and then the skippers wife got ill (how inconsiderate), but hooray she got well enough to let us go out a bit later so we did manage to get out and do a good 5 hours fishing! However we did not catch a single fish!! I did win the day by catching a snail and that was the best!!!

It was slightly more reassuring that we didn't see anyone else in other boats catch anything either, and the word on the streets (or harbours) is that there is a problem with too much seaweed from France causing a problem and everyone is struggling! Of course some people are a bit more successful!

Although there was a lack of fish it was still great fun and I got to use my new kit! I just wanted some mackerel for the BBQ!

So now instead it is back to work for a FULL week - moans... But I have a good weekend to look forward to with a Stag trip to Liverpool to play football and then a night out in 'Pool to watch the first England game - cause unlike most of my readers (actually all 2 readers) I do like football! Shouts of "Calm Down" will be heard for miles!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

There might be hope for everyone of us

So whilst scouring the news for something that wasn't about Golfy "Going Postal" in Cumbria - a really bad unforeseeable joke! And having completed my World Cup predictor - which was actually very cooly done! I discovered "a ray of hope". You see there might be a chance that I am not a lost cause and my grumpiness might actually be helpful to my work and life. I need to get Mrs Stretchs views on this matter.

Of course like any good statistician, mathematician or scientist I have found one piece of data that confirms my already guesstimated findings and no further argument or research is needed. of course you have now read this and I believe for most of my readers you will probably be enlightened and relieved that your grey cloud could be a benefit!
This was emphasised by the following statement "The study also found that sad people were better at stating their case through written arguments.."

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Oh Boy, what a fish!

They say with some managers you should sandwich bad news, and I know they (reportedly) used this technique with Gordon Brown. Poor bloke they would have mastered it by the time he finally left #10, no I don't have any sympathy for him.

So I am going to take the sandwich approach for this blog.

First piece of bread:
I am going boat fishing on Friday with some mates. I have to confess I am not a fisherman, I have been once boat fishing and that was 2 years ago and I have been twice before that when I was about 14. When I was 14 I actually managed to break someones reel. However the last time I went boat fishing I did rather well, I didn't catch the biggest fish but I caught the most and the competition was fierce. Even though it was just with some friends, whenever a group of men get together there is always some competition that is formed (have you not seen a group of drunk men in the toilets??). So I managed to persuade my friend with a boat to take me and some other people out fishing and he agreed. So I rounded up the people who have fishing rods (not fishermen, but closer to the status than me - possession is 9/10 of the law) and the date is set for this Friday.

Sandwich filler:
So why is it that people are so ignorant that they will not respond to text message and phone calls when you clearly tell that they are not going to turn up!??! It was arranged for 6 of us to go fishing and one can't make it due to work which is completely understandable, but the other 2 have just disappeared into the mist. To make things worse one of them said he would lend me the rod and paraphernalia that was needed. So with 2 days to go there is still no news from them. It seems one of them might have split up from his girlfriend - surely more reason to go fishing (no youthanism intended). So I have had to get all the kit myself, there is nothing worse than organising an event and not being able to attend.

Final bit of bread:
So the good news is that I have got a fishing rod and EVERYTHING that goes with it and I spent last night trying to learn all I could about fishing! Oh boy, they make it complicated!!

Anyway if you are reading this blog and you fancy a day out fishing on Friday, then let me know and I will see what we can sort out.

Photos of the black marlin that I have caught will be posted here next week! :-)

Friday, 28 May 2010

I want one!

There are a couple of emails I enjoy getting every week, and then of course there are the rubbish ones and even lower than that is the mountains of spam. I sift through the rubbish ones and I even cast an eye over the spam, finding an email in there of interest is liking finding a bargain at the car boot.

Well my 2 emails are Martin's Money Saver email and Mike's list. Now Martin's email guides through how to save 20p at Tesco by buying a CD you don't want but you get more money back in vouchers - a prime example. You find the odd nugget of information, but more importantly I feel like I am doing my bit in this time of recession and in most cases if people vote with their feet then retailers will listen. I would love to think that I can have this impact on fuel, but I don't feel so positive about that. Saying that there is on more email and that is my petrolprices - fantastic and a necessity for anyone with a car!

Now with Mike's List this is an information overload of gadgets, mostly pointless ones but never less we will probably have them as essentials in our house in 5 years time! There are also the humorous items, and here are just a couple;
  • The item I want and really is for boys who like toys - bike
  • The movie you have to watch - Baby
  • The blog to read - wish you were here

Thursday, 27 May 2010

A man walks into a bar...


There I was lying in bed last night thinking I need to blog! yes, blog! I was thinking through content and grammatical corrections as I went along and now unfortunately I come to blog and it is gone. The journey of blogging in my mind took me to sleep. All except for the Title which for some reason I did remember.

I have had an important Starfleet meeting this morning which only carries individual importance. But I am pleased to say that I am not a red wearing shirt member of the star-trek away team - Mr Badman analogy! :-)

Now where was I?

It seems that too long has been "wasted" in a pursuit of finding enough red shirted people - Thailand residents do not fear as I only refer to Star Trek! Now we have to continue with our usual daily lives as if nothing has happened except for the fact that there are now not enough people to operate the ship.

I was going to reveal to you a story the other day, but I delayed it for a better time. However you will be pleased to know that that time has come (isn't it strange when you write "that that"...that is not the story). I had to get some watches fixed the other week. Yes, plural - watchES. I know some people consider me as OCD and I have to agree that I am borderline. I get an obsession and I can't stop until Mrs Stretch takes my wallet away! I got one of my ideal Christmas presents last year - a watch box! It holds 12 watches! Of course everyone said that is ridiculous what are you going to put in there - ahhmm...I have filled it! Now some of those watches were broken but one of the contenders was a fake (a Thailand special) and I knew that most jewellers would smash a fake in front of you, I know that as I used to be a jeweller (not a story for today). But I managed to find a diamond in the rough - a proper old school watchmakers. It was tucked away in a residential street with no web presence but certainly character. I took in my 4 watches and I was met by the most appropriate Rainman ever! A 40 year gent with clear learning problems and the dress sense of a gypsy traveller, but WOW did he know his area of expertise - he should be on Mastermind. He spotted the fake within seconds due to something, and reeled off prices and durations for fixing all watches in seconds. A couple of watches could be fixed there and then - the obvious battery ones are easy! Whilst I waited for those, a lady came in with a Rolex, he immediately spotted it didn't have a crest or something on the strap and stated it was a fake - like I said he was rainman! Anyway I just wanted to mention him and give him credit as a few people have an impact on your life and he was one! Just to finish off I ended up walking home with 3 watches round my wrist, I felt like a proper wheeler-dealer!

Monday, 24 May 2010

Mmmm Interesting!

...Well you might not think so, but I do. And by the fact that you are still reading this you must be hoping for a little of something interesting in your life, therefore any minuscule amount of "interesting" would suffice.

I missed out on a story a few weeks ago, and that is basically due to the fact that I have been rubbish at updating my blog. I don't know why but it seems that my work/life balance is askew at the moment and I need to address that. But don't fear I have got a course booked at work to address my life! However right now it feels like I need a life/life balance and work is partly a means to an ends but also a distraction from everything else in life. It helps that work is so busy as that I am fully distracted and I can be h0nest and say that I still want this job. However this week could deal me the card that says P45, but we just have to wait and see.

If you are not already then get on Spotify, get the latest version and share with your facebook friends. Always interesting to see what someone else playlist or most played song is. FYI my starred song is Fyfe Dangerfield, She's Always A Woman.

Another update, my son referred to his "first single" discussion last week and there was me thinking that it had fallen on deaf ears. He was worried that his first single was Geraldine McQueen, Once Upon a Christmas. I was pleased to inform him that actually that was brought for him so it doesn't count. The relief on our faces was clear to be seen by both of us! That leads me to another story... the reason we discovered that CD was that we were having a clear out leading to a car boot sale... as a result the loft looks a lot better, my wife has got rid of lots of tosh and we are £90 better off! We would have made even more money if my Mrs Stretch hadn't purchased more stuff we didn't need from other car-booters! To make it worse she brought some stuff off her friend who went with her (I didn't go till later as I had Daddy Day Care to run). I'm quite pleased I wasn't there as I then didn't need to fight off other "professional car-booters" that try to climb into your car whilst you are driving in and then haggle you down to 15p for an item that was clearly too expensive at 20p!! I also didn't then need to get enraged at the immigrants who have driven round the streets of Portsmouth collecting the charity bags from people's doorsteps before the official collectors can get them, just so they can then sell the clothes at the car boot sales.

I started writing about a story I missed out on writing a few weeks ago and as it turns out I am going to wait and share that story with you another time. I don't want you to get an information overload and declare this as TOO interesting.

Thursday, 13 May 2010


I have spent a good couple of hours today travelling to another Starfleet site. Surprisingly the traffic was good, the journey was good and the Kia Ceed was pleasurable. I have to say I was never expecting to say any of those, especially the latter.

My journey to another starfleet destination has resulted in several colleagues sat in a room together trying to determine if a new tool does the job for us and that has quickly disseminated into discussing everything else work related and has been a very therapeutic session. In summary; I really don't get out enough!

I think most people (general summarise coming up) try to work from home to achieve a greater output of work. I actually worked out yesterday that I needed to come into the office to get more done. I think that change in scenery is the catalyst, or maybe it was just the event of having to wear pants before midday???!!?

Of course we are all educated enough to know we have to embrace change, but sometimes we have to vent frustration especially the likes of "bandy ears" scenarios. And I have to apologise for that being an "internal joke" and one that will not be explained on my blog, but you might get a more detailed explanation from Golfy's blog!

So the update since my last blog is that we have lost our buyer for house, which means we can't currently pursue the house we want. That is actually sitting okay with us at the moment, however it was disappointing at the moment. Especially when it delays us getting chickens.

Well it is time for me to get on, "kindalike right"! :-)

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Some are good and some are great...

Well the bank holiday weekend has come and gone. Now sometimes your weekend can be riddled with disaster usually some extended family event that you could never plan for, or someone weekends just whittle out which is usually caused by weather or illness. But some weekends hit us with success and make us type that bit more cheerfully on the next working day. I am pleased to say that my weekend was classed as a successful one.

Now as you may recall last week was not so successful with Betty being hit my some dork who probably doesn't have insurance and so decided to drive off. I am sure I will never find out whether they get the lethal injection but here is hoping... anyway I got my courtesy car the Kia Ceed which should only be seen driving round a legoland dream. But she is helping me out greatly. And I wait still with baited breath (what a strange term) to hear about Betty's repair or demise.

On Thursday night I managed to win a pub quiz for Faith+Football (a local charity arranged by Linvoy Primus). That got me 2 tickets to see Pompey play their last Premiership game at home probably for a while. I took Mrs A who has consistently nagged me about wanting to go to see a game again but I can never justify splashing out that cost for 2 of us to go (tight wad that I am!). Great news is Pompey won! Now bring on Wembley!

On the remained of Saturday we squeezed in some house viewings, probably 2 of the best we have seen, but the good news is that is clarified which house we will put an offer in on. That also helped by some putting an offer in on our house = Grrrreeat News!

Sunday was a nice day and consisted of some chores - not so good, but essential and somewhat enjoyable to tidy up some storage in the loft! How can so much stuff be squeezed into a small area! We really are hoarders! I think this task classed as an essential bank holiday weekend activity.

Monday we went to Moors Valley and we had a fab time with friends and family. The rain was a bit of a dampener but it still did not stop us and the picnic went ahead. = Great time!

So there you have it my GREAT weekend.
And now it is Tuesday and I have short week at Starfleet. I have paid off our summer holiday (the #2 holiday, I still have to pay for holiday #1).

I should be able to make a start on all house purchases/sales today! fingers crossed and I'll keep you posted

Thursday, 29 April 2010

And the clock keeps ticking

I am still sat in the training session which I have discovered has too many "pricers" which means we discuss points that I initially find irrelevant/boring, however by the end of the conversation about some finance number crunching exercise we get to a somewhat useful revelation. Okay, it is less useful but still a revelation.

When you do so much of this training you start to realise how little you know!

I have now managed to get enrolled on the Starfleet development programme, which might lead me to get my wings on my sleeve. Of course that all takes time which I need to find.

Betty is getting towed away today and then in a couple of days time I should find out how much damage and how long to be repaired! Until then I have to cope with driving a Kia Ceed... okay it has got lots of gadgets but it is "plastic-fantastic"! Worst case scenario is Betty is a right off and I have to wait for a few months for a new car again!! aaagghhh

The training continues and I am start to identify a theme to the ties - african animals???

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Eventful day

Well I am currently in training for the latest abacus to be used at Starfleet. The instructures tie is still a delight to behold!

However getting here was a bit more of a challenge, I walked to my car this morning only to discover that someone had hit her last night, and hit her quite hard! They then drove off, however luckily enough a taxi driver recorded their details left me a note on windscreen and called the police - so for that I will take back all the bad things I have ever said about Taxi drivers and the slate is clean (Tabula Rasa). The car appears to be undriveable and I took that from advisement from my local mechanic. Although the damage initially appears to be just a dent to the bodywork above the wheel arch, the other driver managed to hit the car up the kerb and that has bent the wheel axel - and it does look like a bad buckled wheel! So now my car that was not even a month old is being towed away tomorrow... and I now have a Ford Focus until I get a summary of the damage! Surely Starfleet won't be taking away my wings for long???

back to the ties and training!!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Crackle on the line

I think I am currently sat on the worst conference calls that I have ever been on. No-one could dial in early as there was another meeting running late. It has started over 15 minutes late as they managed to initially have an echo on the line, then they got the speaker to logoff and then dial back in. Unfortunately the line was then full so the speaker couldn't get back in. They decided that everyone needed to logoff so that the speaker could then get in. Eventually we all got in and then they just cut off everyone off (well at least me). Now the presenter it talking about where his mouse is pointing to. Now after 25 minutes they have cancelled the call as there is a "crackle on the line". This is seriously one of those times you want a TIM to actually see how much money has been lost by Starfleet.

So to bring you all up to speed the weekend involved the first bike outing of the year. But more importantly it involved the first bike outing for the family. I sacrificed my mountain bike and offered it up to the powers that be so it can be used as a family carrier. I know this doesn't compare to having to sacrifice your small 2 seater sports car which is probably convertible for an over-sized family van which is probably now diesel but it has every safety feature your wife ever wanted to protect the family... but for me this is close. My trusty steed that has seen a few off road adventures was now being broken in with a child seat. However I do believe I chose well with the child seat as it comes off really easily. Don't worry it doesn't come whilst you are cycling and have a child in the seat, that would be ludicrous. The boys did well on the bikes, Mrs A however was a bit more wary. I often heard shouts behind me of "don't stop!" as it seemed balancing was harder when going slower. This was a consideration I made before I put the child seat on Mrs A's bike.

I have to say the worst thing about cycling is getting there. No I don't mean the whole cycle as that would be pointless, but just manoeuvring the family through traffic and past idiots who can't drive and certainly don't have any considerations for bikes. But once you are off road that is when the freedom begins except for the avoidance of some dips and the odd unruly dog which can't be controlled by it's walker. But they add to the excitement. So now the roof rack has been ordered for "Betty" and once I have confirmed it is the right size for her (I didn't realise that ordering a roof rack was more difficult than ordering a bra for the wife), then I will get the bike carriers and I can then follow Scobi down the M27 causing delays behind me ;-)