Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Merry Xmas

Probably my last blog until Christmas.  Can't believe the amount of snow that fell last Saturday afternoon - I've never seen anything like that before and it's only the second time I can remember so much snow in the UK.  It was a strange way for my girlfriend and I to celebrate eighteen months together...but on the plus side it meant that we had to stay in!

On Thursday I had my work christmas lunch at Camino and while the portions weren't exactly generous the food itself was delicious.  I had a bream and was perfectly cooked and tasted delicious.  On Friday I met up with ex-work colleagues followed by a lovely pizza at Cafe Pasta.  My girlfriend thought that the olives were some of the best she'd tasted and the chocolate fudge cake afterwards was really tasty.

I'm so glad that I won't be travelling by air this Christmas, for a while I was a little worried about travelling at all, but the roads seem to be clear now.  It does seem incredible how badly the situation seems to have been handled by Heathrow.  The train companies seem just as bad as well.  You start to wonder why it does go so it a lack of investment?  Or perhaps just bad management?  Any ideas would be welcome.

Finally, I have just heard a lovely version of Merry Xmas Everybody (by Slade) sung by Karine Polwart.  I heard it on Mike Harding's folk programme on Radio 2 and believe it's well worth a listen.  I believe it might also be played on Christmas Eve.

So take care everyone, travel safe, and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010


The Swedes celebrated St Lucia on Monday.  There were, and are, various events around London to celebrate it too, however by the time I found out about them they were fully booked, much to the disappointment of my girlfriend.  Instead I watched the SVT programme online.

After having had it described to me, I was expecting to see the hair of a pretty blond being set on fire by those jealous of her looks, in some sort of weird pagan festival harking back to witch burning.  Just shows what I knew!

It was in fact lots of nice songs, hymns, folk songs and modern songs, sung by a choir of boys and girls with candles (the boys with odd pointy "dunces" hats made of paper), along with some professional singers, held in a church. It felt a little like a christmas episode of songs of praise in fact, but certainly nice enough that I will make the effort to go to one for real next year.

With christmas definately just around the corner office parties have sprung up.  I have mine tomorrow, then an ex-workplace one on Friday.  Not only that, the third test starts overnight, and after englands decimation of the aussies last time out I am expecting revenge from the baggy greens.  It could be painful, but I'm hoping not.

By the way, cryptic crossword 2 is now out!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Straight Puzzle...and stuff

I honestly don't know how Nick Clegg can live with himself. After spending the whole election campaign saying that tuition fees will be scrapped, he now continues to follow the Tories in saddling the future of the country with enough debt to ensure that they will be unable to have children, save for pensions and put anything back into the economy in twenty years time.
The only people who will be able to really afford University will be those from families who are really poor (ie those who can't be bothered to work and have various other excuses for not working) or those who can pay their own tuition fees up front.  And this doesn't make for a good sounding, let alone "fair", future.
The worst thing is that politics suddenly began to get interesting for young people. Now that they've seen such an about face I would be surprised if anyone under the age of 25 will ever trust a politician again.  And what is the point of that? Surely we have to be able to trust the people we elect to organise the country for us.  Otherwise we might as well go back to the times when they decide it amongst themselves and leave us out of it completely, without bothering to pretend that this is a democracy. How can it be right that they can promise us something, not do anything about it (within a matter of months since getting in) and then we have to put up with them for another four and a half years! The people should be able to dissolve government whenever they like (given a majority vote) if the government is not doing what they were voted in to do.
The point is that I thought things might change a little, but I am now incredibly disappointed and disillusioned in the whole system.  We need drastic changes now I think.  This taking advantage of ordinary people really has to stop.

Oh and straight puzzle number one is now available at Spare Time Puzzles (follow the link on the left).

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Staying In

With my girlfriend out of the country for a few days, I simply have only myself to please.  As such I have decided to stay in all day today and am enjoying it.  I was in my dressing gown and bed clothes up until midday, stayed up until 1.30am last night listening to cricket, and woke to it at 6.30.
I have been listening to the radio, and to War of the Worlds (which I don't get to listen to enough when my girlfriend is around - incidentally I have heard bits of it twice this week, The Spirit of Man was booming out of a car at Tufnell Park and part of Eve of the War was played on a radio programme about HG Wells last night).
I have also watched a DVD, eaten porridge and scrambled egg (not together), read some of ...Hornets Nest and uploaded the answers for Cryptic Puzzle 1 on my puzzle blog.
Played Penguin Toss on facebook (very addictive), began tidying my desk and thought about what to have for dinner - admittedly a few hours away.  Will listen to the football shortly and the cricket again later.  At some point in between I will chat to my girlfriend.
Its raining outside now and the snow is melting nicely.  I can't believe its only three weeks to christmas day now.  I definately must be getting older because how else can it come around so quickly?  So little done this year really but so many hopes for the year ahead.  And so many dreams...

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

No to Strikes

I think I was a little premature with my post about strikes a month ago.  This week I had a nightmare on strike day.  In the morning it wasn't a direct cause of the strike, in fact I got on a train with plenty of time, only for two passenger alarms to be pulled a fraction of a second after leaving the station!  It took twenty minutes for them to be reset before I could get going.  On the way back it was even worse.
The trip to Bank was no problem, however the northern line there was showing the next train to be in 15 minutes - then it vanished altogether.  I decided to take my chances up top with the buses but as I walked all the way up to Kings Cross not a single bus passed by heading North.  They were all going the other way.  Finally I got a bus from KX followed by another little walk.  All in all it took over an hour and a half.  I was knackered when I got home but still had to go straight down the launderette.  Oh for a washing machine!

Already started my christmas shopping, although not done the wrapping yet and picked up some good books from the library yesterday, including Elizabeth Kostova's new book, The Swan Thieves.  Am also getting the third of the Millenium trilogy tomorrow from a friend of my girlfriend.  Speaking of which, yes she is swedish hence the title of this blog.  I have been trying to get her to appreciate the finer points of the game of cricket but it is proving more difficult than I thought.  This is no silly point I'm making, how do you cover the game of cricket without stumping someone?

Cryptic Puzzle No. 1 is now up on the new blog...follow the link on the right!