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Archive for the month “February, 2010”


I think I must be getting old. This week I’ve been spending some time online reporting potholes in the roads I use on my daily commute.

It turns out that Norfolk have a form for reporting these things, which has been pretty useful. I don’t yet know how efficient it makes things, except that the road I made the first report on was repaired within two days of me reporting it. Of course, it could be coincidence, I don’t know. I guess we’ll see when it comes to how long it takes to repair the other.

Changing Behaviour

Yet again, the animals have proved this weekend that they are very very weird.

In at least the last six years, Psycho Cat has never come into the living room – he’s always been a solitary little bastard, only really coming in to the bedroom for a fuss or a stroke at night. In Bracknell his domain was always upstairs, and here he’s got one room where the dog never goes, and free run of the rest. But he’s still never come in to the living room.

This weekend though, that’s all changed. With the new living-room furniture, he’s been in to sit on both of us at one time or another. Hound isn’t really happy about this – she’s used to having dominion over Herself’s time in particular, so there’s been some serious jealousy going on.

As I type this, Hound’s lying in her basket in one corner of the room, and Psycho Cat is asleep (and purring) down by the side of my leg. This is, frankly, unheard of.

I’ve no idea what’s changed Psycho Cat’s mind about this state of affairs. It’s  not necessarily the new furniture, because we’ve done that before and he didn’t change his behaviour.  I’m not complaining though – it’s just very very weird.


Via Margo and Phiala I came across this story about literacy in Americans, which says that in America someone reading 4-9 books a year is classified as an  ‘avid’ reader, and that 1 in 4 [American] people read no books at all. As Margo says, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen similar figures for reading / book buying habits here, too although I can’t currently find a link or evidence of it.

As with Margo, I can’t really recall a time in my life that didn’t have books. My parents read stories to me every night, and that’s where I started learning to read, by learning the patterns the words made and linking them to the sounds they made as my parents read them. I was more than able to read by the time I started school, and I’ve been reading ever since.

I don’t have anywhere near as many books as I used to – if I’d kept all of them over the years, I could probably stock a decent-sized library. Even so, I’ve probably got around four to five hundred books all told, and they’re all the ones I’ll go back to and read more than once.  Additionally I’m a regular visitor to the local library – on Herself’s persuasion, admitterdly – but normally get through about 10-20 books a month just through that. If I see books I want to read now – particularly new ones or new authors – I try to get them through the library rather than buying them outright as an experiment, which is what I used to do.

I can hardly even imagine only reading even 9 books a year. I mean really? One book every six weeks? Jesus.

Just as a current example, this week I’ve read (or am currently reading)

  1. Steel Beach by John Varley (in the car, reading at lunchtimes)
  2. The Shift by George Foy(also in the car, finished this week before starting Steel Beach)
  3. Dead and Gone by Andrew Vachss (at home, in the bedroom)
  4. Missing by Chris Mooney (also at home)
  5. Spider by Michael Morley (really really crap)
  6. The werewolf’s guide to life : a manual for the newly bitten by Duncan Ritch
  7. Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffmann (just about to start)

And that’s a quiet/slow week where I’ve been doing a ton of work as well. Even so, that puts me near the top end of the American average book level for the year within a week.  I don’t honestly know how many books I read a year – on that level, it must be a couple of hundred per year.

But more to the point, if that’s my reading level, and the average number of books read per year in the UK is (hey, let’s be charitable) 20 then that still means there’s a whole bundle of people at the other end of the scale who are reading maybe one book a year, or less. And to me that’s really quite scary.

Quiz Night

Last night we went off to another quiz, this time in benefit of Dereham Operatic Society. It was a quiz night with fish-and-chips, and turned out to be quite a fun night all told.

In the end we came second (well, joint second although we’re not quite sure how) and had a lot of fun – along with a fair amount of alcohol for the non-drivers.

The query about coming second was/is because the other team with the same score were right next to us – and we’d scored their sheets, so we’re pretty damn sure that they did worse than us. It’s not something worth protesting – we’ve seen that happen in other quizzes, and know that our reaction is always “What a bunch of tosspots – it’s not that serious!”.

Even with that minor doubt on the scores though, it was a fun night.


Another month, another episode of Crimewatch.

What I don’t get with Crimewatch is how it gets away with

  • Glamourising crimes – and usually violent ones
  • Making crime and violence into entertainment.

I dunno, maybe I’m just too cynical.

Wrong Email

God I can be a twerd sometimes.

Note to self : When sending an email to directors of the company you work for, don’t bloody send it from a D4D email account.


Sometimes I really wonder how I’ve survived this long.

Lost and Found

Back in about July/August last year, I lost my watch. I’d got no idea where I’d left it, no clues where it might be. We’d looked everywhere in the house that I could think of, in the car, even tried some of the places I’d been in that time period, all with no luck.

While it’s nothing super-special, it was a watch I’d liked, a Seiko Kinetic thing. It had cost me a decent amount of money (around £175-£200 at the time, less than a days wages) and was basically a memento to myself of completing one of my first big contracts in Manchester. I’d earned that watch.

Since then, while I’ve still used my other watch (A Skagen thing of beauty) I’ve kind of got used to not wearing one, and instead using my phone’s clock, or the one on whichever computer I’m using at the time.

Last night, while moving the sofa (because the new one’s being delivered today) we took all the cushions off the damn thing. And there, in a section where no-one ever sits, right in the join of back and base, was my watch.

It’s back on now. In that six months or so of being down the sofa, it hadn’t lost any time, hadn’t lost the date, and still worked fine.

Now I just need to get re-used to the weight on my wrist. But that’ll be worth it too. While I could live with no longer having the watch, I’m much happier to have it back.

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