Sunday, 30 December 2007

What I did in the Holidays!

This is my report!

I had a top smart break over Christmas. I am back to school tomorrow but just for one day and then I am off on Jan 1st to have a lie in after the inevitable shenanigans in The Barb on NYE.

Here's a quick run through of events!

Christmas Eve - outta work at 4 and a couple of pints in The Hauliers with Steve, Cas and Clare - just a couple (mind) because at Midnight I went to Church for a candlelit service, pictured here.

Woke Christmas morning and Santa had left a Mike Coopey on my sofa! Went to Church and had a jolly old sing song - Mike went to see his folks. Lunchtime festive ale at the Barb where I also had my lunch. Home for a snooze and then woke at half seven and pissed about until half 3. I got a very smart pressie from Greg, Special Forces issue he said, and pictured here!

Boxing day was tops and I cooked a Christmas dinner though we ate chicken and not Turkey. Thursday was cool and I had some really nice time on my own in the house whilst Mike pursued some totty in Bath and ended up bumping into Folats in the Cathedral! Thursday to Chelts where we had a few beers with Wide and T and a couple of hours playing Guitar Hero. Also pictured here is Hopesoid having a go on said game at my house, and coached by Mike!

Back to the house on Friday and loaded Mike onto a bus, and then oh bliss! Time on my own in the house. had thoroughly enjoyed Mike staying but that little time (3 hours) just on my jack in the house was worth the entire holiday. Fabulous!

And then Saturday night for a great house party at Cas's - he cooked three or four curries and a load of us took booze. We had Champagne & tequila slammers, replacing the fizz with Natch once we had run out! A fab evening of dancing and chat until 3 am. (That's Cas giving it some to a bit of funk and soul)

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Shanghai calling...

It was nice to talk with you yesterday, Wavey but the line from China to The Rhubarb was a bit quiet and scratchy and I couldn't hear you very well! Sorry it was such a short old chat!Catch you again soon on Sub-space,I hope.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007


This is a shout to my excellent friend and Wingman Walshy who had a tough day yesterday!

Here's to you, chap - I am about to go and have a pint and raise it your way in thought!

This is that Pic' you took of me and you (from your plane; I am flying in the background) when we were on operations over Iraq the other week.


Boxing Day action.

Now you just can't go wrong with a good bit of car cleaning on Boxing Day! I think it is better than hunting a fox.

I stayed in bed until about 10 to 9, fannied about a bit and then got to it. Nice and shiny on the car front, now going to do the same to me! Greg got me a top smart wind-up torch for Christmas so I need to have a goon about with that and put it into my car.

No real plans for the rest of the day which is rather smart.

On the other side of the world today, my brother is getting ready to fly from
Shanghai to Beijing for a few days of larks.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Christmas Day.

Hello world and a Happy Christmas!

A very happy day indeed here at BS5. Having woken at half six every day all year, I slept in until 10.00 am today!

I had been to Church at Midnight on Christmas Eve and I enjoyed it hugely. I had also been there on Sunday evening after picking Mike up from Putney. I did a reading at that service and it was also a candlelit service, as pictured here.

On Christmas Eve I dropped a pressie in to Debbie and had a delightful glass of wine at her house, prior to seeing her professionally at Midnight! She is a kind sort.

Church at half ten today and this morning we were about a dozen happy people and had a sing song and a pleasant time (No Hark the Herald like Monday night but hey ho) - lots of children in the affair and that was fun. After Church I came home to spend a short time with Mike who then departed to see his folks - he will be back tonight and we will have a Christmas dinner tomorrow.

In the meantime, I have taken a pint, been invited to Christmas dinner at The Rhubarb and had a little sleep here at home . I have also written to lovely Chris and Sofe, spoken to Greg and spoken to Ma and Pa. It was kind that Steve and Joan at the Barb heard I was in the house alone and insisted I had lunch with them!

Ahead of me is an evening of quiet contemplation and pressie opening. I may put the radio on too and just relax, happily and thoughtfully.

All is well here and I am thankful for that.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Walking the dog...

Here I am updating BS5 in HP16. HP16 is Prestwood, Bucks, or Greg's house. I am here and we have just returned from breakfast at The Deep Mill Diner, and a nice long dog walk with Toby, pictured here nose to the window as Greg got home from work.

I am off to Putney this morning to stay with Mike who is coming back to Bristol with me tomorrow. I might be out for a drink with Gigi later this evening before heading back to Mike's overnight. Gigi is over from Galway for Arsenal Spurs which is on at The Emirates today.

Out last night with Helen and we had a couple of beers and a curry in H-W before she caught the 11.30 train home and slept through her stop.

Just Monday to work and then a few days off. Top Smart!

Sunday action to follow in Bristol before all of that

Monday, 17 December 2007

One Hundred.

Here's my 100th post. Most of the 100 have been happy and without gloom, except maybe one or two and the one that I deleted that was a bit rude to the Americans!

I bought new lights for my tree today and here is rather a grainy picture of it; I will try for a better one in good light tomorrow.

I had a great weekend this one just gone past - much fun on Friday at my work do in Clifton from which I walked home at midnight, a fine Saturday and a great Sunday. Overall Friday and the weekend were full of all sorts of diverse and enjoyable things and important (to me) people.

Happily to bed now!


Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Post 99

My 99th post is about numbers.

I have had 3 Christmas cards so far. One from a woman who attends the same Church as me, she lives on the road I used to live on when I shared a house with Seamus and she's a full on convert to the power of the Lord to make your whites whiter and all that. So, one from her, another from Dave out warehouse man in the Pet department and another from the gorgeous and delightful Gigi, gently reminding me that I still owe her two bottles of champagne from a bet last month! I had a festive mail shot from Mercedes Benz offering me a good deal on a new C class but it wasn't really, 'Hey Rich, Happy Christmas, here's an S Class, best wishes M-Benz' so I am not counting that.

I hope Walshy makes it 4 with a witty message in his specially commissioned Loofy cards, but I won't be :-( if he doesn't because He and Caz are tops whatever happens!


This is my top friend Stevie Hopes. Steve is shown here telling the world in his own special way that wearing a suit is not where he's at.

I took this image to picture message it to Clare, Steve's GF and at her special request. The plan worked fine except for Clare's phone not being able to accept picture messages. D'Oh.

Gary goes...

Yesterday was a bit of a mixed up day. It was my friend Gary's funeral at Southmead in Bristol. Bitterly cold but very bright as we got there for midday.

For a quiet man who was in and out of The Rhubarb and talked equally to everyone, there was a tremendous turn out, nudging two hundred people and filling the chapel to the brim. The hymns were The Rugged Cross which I didn't sing and Abide With Me which I gustily had a go at along with everyone else. Most of the people gathered came back to the Rhubarb, and the last time I saw it *that* packed was New Year's Eve - I hope Spence took some comfort in that.

We raised a glass many times and saw the lad off well. I can't see the fruit machine paying its way now Gary had departed but it will be easier to get a go on it :-(

Tuesday, 11 December 2007


No Jose for England, then. I am not in the camp that says we should/must have an English manager - Jose would have been cool. I suppose it's either down to Dave Hopes or Harry Redknapp now.

The morning.

Things seem cheerier this morning. I am going to wait for it to get light and then clean my car in order to proceed in a DCF to a funeral with the chaps.

I had a nice text message from Biscuits last night, though I had been in bed for two hours when it arrived.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Monday thoughts

So here we are the night before a funeral that I am not altogether looking forward to. It has been an odd day and I enjoyed lunch out with friends at work for Lara's birthday. I also enjoyed a pint after work (instead of circuits - a rare shocker) with the fine people I will share a pew with tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a strange old day, and I hope Spence takes all the good that is trickily wrapped up within it.

My boss, who is a good woman took the time to email me from Paris to thoughtfully okay my day off which was really requested with very little notice - thanks to her for that, she's a good sort.

Oh such delightful text messages from Galway as well. It's all so very bloody testing sometimes.

The week ahead

Bit of a mixed week to come. Work today and out for a department lunch with the gang whose office I used to share, a funeral tomorrow, work again Wednesday and then working in our store in Huntingdon Thursday and Friday - warehouse detail again.

Everyone else in the world seems to be in the process of 'getting ready' for Christmas. I am not really sure what this means because it will take me abut 30 mins to put my tree up next weekend. My house is always tidy and in order and my two spare rooms are always in good shape. Not sure what else one needs to be getting ready with, maybe it will occur to me in the week. I will do my Christmas shopping in one hit on an evening to be decided. I am working on Christmas Eve and once that is done, I will just come home and that's it, I'm ready!

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Convict Brekker

I just made a BLT for breakfast and the second piece of Bacon came out shaped exactly like Australia. It's all go here in BS5

Jim Bowen says That's the Gamble - it's in the Bible!

When I was in my hotel in Ivybridge on Thursday, I took up my usual habit of checking out the drawer to see if there was a bible in place - this used to be a 100% cert' but is not quite so constant these days. This isn't a particularly pious thing, it's just a habit, like always looking at crockery to see where it is made; a habit formed when living next to various pottery factories at University in Stoke.

Anyway, the Ivybridge hotel did have a bible so I read a random part of it in bed, the Book of Job. It's a bit of an odd one and the Big Man (God) and Satan are having a pint and a chat and Satan reckons he can make Job curse God if he gives him a load of hassle so God goes for it with the caveat that Job isn't killed. This doesn't seem very Godly and poor old Job has a really crap day at the office (all his sheep get nicked). G and S keep at this and put the poor fecker right through the wringer - one imagines them sinking more beers, getting a bit pissed and saying 'Alright then, we'll blow his car up and see what he does'. Anyhow, I didn't get to the end because tiredness over took me but it seemed a bit like 101 in six darts or more to get the speedboat.

The rain

The rain, the rain it raineth! Bristol is giving it some large on the raining front this morning but it really isn't cold so I can't put off a run (and actually, I don't really want to). This picture isn't BS5, of course (California as it happens).

My friend Cas is back from Kuala Lumpor today where he has been larking about with Lummox for two weeks. Cas is getting off the plane and the coach home, and heading straight for The Swan With two Necks, our Sunday sojourn pub. Tales a plenty to follow, I am sure. I will drive today so it's soda and lime for me.

My good freind Walshy has a new drawing tablet thingy which is pretty smart so I am going to see what smart images he has added to

Run, bath and a stack of ironing are the morning plan, followed by church at half ten and then excitedly to the pub! Oh yes, and breakfast.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

John Cabot says 'Let's play daaaaaaaaaarts!'

I worked away a couple of days at the end of the week in Ivybridge in Devon so I had missed my Blog for a couple of days. I was in a warehouse for two days having a gander at it in order to sort if out for the store I was working in plus the others in the company - all very enjoyable but it was even finer to be back in The Rhubarb for a pint with my friends.

All go this morning with a run at half seven and the shopping done for 9.00 am. I have just applied for a new job as the Centre Manager for the Cabot Shopping centre here in top-smart Bristol. That would be tops! John Cabot who was born in Venice in 1461 lived in Bristol for the rest of his life after 1491. He also explored the whole world. I wonder if he ever knew the Barb? I bet he didn't go round the world by canoe and fool his mates into disappearing for 5 years

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Northern Sermon

This is my mate Walshy (R) and his mate Mike (L), who I am rather proud to call a mate of mine too. Mike knows all you would need to know if you were randomly placed on a magnetic mine-sweeper in a sea full of dangerous spoons; we talked about that one night and it was very clear that Mike was your man in such cutlery-related drama.

Anyhow this post is a shout to my mate Walshy who was a good bloke today. Bullet-proof and exemplary, in fact. Walshy is officially a see you next Tuesday if ever you are asked, but he's a stand-up see you next Tuesday all the same!

T and E

Here's a happier post - these two fellas are called Titch and Edge when they are not working. When they are working for Pete, their owner and a Rhubarb pal, they have different names, and are different in character. They are both soft and daft in the Barb but at a single call from Pete, they switch into work mode; Titch and Edge are security dogs and they don't fuck about having faced guns, knives and baseball bats. Both dogs are the most obedient I have ever seen. Edge who is at the front of this pic' is lean and fit and about 11 stone - quite enough to eat you fairly convincingly if you are a bad person but also quite enough to goon about with in the pub when both of you aren't working.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Hard Post

I was going to indulge in my usual evening post, reflecting on happy, harmless and innocent things that filled my day, the usual mundanities of work, one's dinner and the general disposition of a Tuesday - but not tonight.

Sad and galling news this evening - my friend Spence is the subject of this post. I was at Circuits with Spence last night and we larked about a bit, just being silly before we got going; at the same time a mutual pal was taking a pint with Spence's Dad, Gary - known to many as Gaaaa, and in the usual happy location of The Rhubarb.

This morning, Spence found his Dad in the house, dead - at 50 years old, and Spence only about 24. What a bad business that is. A real sharpening in my day when Trev' called me to say at 5pm. I finished work fairly shortly after that and came home and directly to The Barb but I had missed Spence who was at home supporting his Ma.

I did like Gaa, we talked about coaches - he was a good coach driver going all over Europe. The Barb football team (for which Spence turns out each week) will have their match for Gaa this Sunday, though I will say my quiet word at Church. Gaa is on the pic' in this post, far l.h side and with a beer I had handed to him that football watching morning a while back.

Here's to you Gary, you were a sound fella.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Evenin' , Punch 'Ouse.

I am rather pleased this evening because after my first go at a reading yesterday, D the V has dropped me a line to ask if I would like to take one of the spots for the Carol service on Sunday December 23rd. I got a real sense of enjoyment from my reading yesterday so to do one in a church that will probably be chocca is really cool, not to mention very flattering indeed!

Regular Monday otherwise; circuits was cool and not too much of an effort, and my route home via the new Trevor recommendation was peachy. I had a smart chat to my Ma and Pa too. My Pa has a touch of Malaria at the mo', an occasional recurrence he suffers but that's ten years working on and off all over Africa for you. I think he is being sensible and listening to my Mum and I hope & pray he feels better soon.

I am just reading my diary from 13 years ago tonight - a busy shift as Barman at The Punch House in Monmouth and it was the first really busy Saturday night of the Christmas weekends and was wall to wall work and attractive women, according to my own words! Said pub is this post's pic. Pepe who was my boss used to answer the phone and say 'Evenin' Punch 'ouse' all in one Italian accented long word! Happy days.

A massive

This is a slightly grainy picture of my lounge and dining room (which is all one space). It feels very large today because for the last year it has housed a big old sofa bed but I have now given that to a pal who was short of a bed for his spare room.

I now have room to swing a cat (possibly Norman) but will in all likeliness use the space for my Christmas tree next weekend. It's a lot of space for a thin chap who lives on his own!

I have taken down a post from last night in which I was pretty vitriolic about the Americans; it wasn't a very charitable position but I maintain that they are a nation of salad-dodgers. I was a little bit pissed when I wrote it.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Top reading action!

I did my reading in Church today and I really enjoyed it! I was a little bit nervous despite really enjoying public speaking but I think this was on account of fluffing it in front of D the V rather than the 40 assembled people. It went pretty faultlessly which emphasises the benefit of practice, I suppose.

I was stood just to the right of the pic' as you look at it and Debbie thoughtfully slid the cushion across from the lectern; she needs it to be seen but as I am about a foot taller than her, I do not.

Top stuff.

Sambuca Saturday

I think my moral and ethical account is about balanced. Having had a very sound morning running, tidying the house, doing the laundry, shopping for groceries and paying a visit to an 82 year old acquaintance who lives on her own, I visited The Rhubarb Tavern with a sense of proportionate reward.

Alas Girls' Knees with Sambuca chasers rather undid all the good of the morning but not too badly! I was able to cook my Thai burgers when I got home and they were not too bad at all!

7.45 as I write and just about to do next week's ironing whilst practicing my reading for Church later this morning.

Whilst I am at Church, Spence and Andy will be at my house dismantling my sofa bed which I have given to Andy for his new house just around the corner.

I am not going for a run today - plain lazy!

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Proper recipe.

Here is a top smart tower that is just near the Marriott hotel at the edge of Broadmead in Bristol. It's all being redeveloped and here's a top shiny bit of it.

Since my last post I have made my Thai burgers as per Jayne's recipe. I left the recipe at work so I have rather winged it a bit. The burgers have a reasonable consistency and I am hoping a spell in the fridge will improve that. I couldn't find Thai paste so I improvised and they seem okay. If there are no posts on Monday, I am dead from burger poisoning.

All my chores are now done (I even washed up) so I can park up the sensible bus. Woohoo!

Rich's easy recipe

Here's an easy recipe to get the greatest number of stupid people into a finite space at one time. You will need:

A large crowd of directionless, stupid people
A branch of Sainsbury's
35 minutes spare on at Saturday lunchtime.

Put 'em all together and that man Bob , he's your Dad's brother.

A right old palaver, which is why I usually shop before 9.00 a.m

It was like a Joey Deacon convention.

The woman on the check out was very attractive and looked like Zara Phillips and she gave me a right old cheery beam as I left after we had chit chatted a bit as she scanned my goods.


I think I might treat myself to a copy of Mark B and Blade The Unknown (2000), a rap album that I first heard about when the title track was used on one of Bag's top Mountain Bike DVDs - heard it randomly today and checked him out again on My Space. He's a UK rapper born in the American quarter of Tehran.

11.00 update: Mark B and Blade and Virgin megastore - no chance! As my sage friend Hopesoid says, anything that's not Amy Winehouse, more than 10 minutes old or within the scope of the nasty Daily Mail has no hope of being stocked at the store. Town was quiet enough and I did my business in good order then had a coffee and a good long read of the Guardian. Blart count medium.

It's wrong!

Have to go into Bristol today to hand in my old phone and in the process have 100 quid credited to my account (cool!) This will be a surgical visit; in and out as early and as fast as poss' because being in a shopping centre on a Saturday in December with hordes of dawdling people is just wrong. I'd be perfectly happy on the retail side because it's the easiest month in the year and it flies by, but as for actually shopping - no way! (Actually, I might be a tart and buy myself some new 3/4 length shorts for circuit training).

Right - it's light enough to take a turn around BS5 before a wallowy bath.

Two grand Macaw.

This is a snap I took at work yesterday. It is George, a Macaw and yours for two thousand pounds. George is three years old and has about another 70 left on the clock. He's very friendly and tried to eat the phone about a second after this pic' was taken. I say hello to him every day and he says hello back (he has the vocabulary of a 4 year old child, but entertainingly he can also swear). He's a noisy hooligan if people aren't stroking him or generally stopping to say hello. George was more endearing than the scorpions and the tarantula I also met whilst working in the pet department for a short spell.

I was chatting to an attractive woman in the store who was asking about George - and I got totally busted because I wasn't entirely focused on the Macaw!

The cornerstone of...

Saturday mornings are the best of the week! I woke at 6.15 and skipped a hangover - result! Just a few pints in the Rhubarb last night (4) and home for fish and chips and an idle, early night. It was very quiet in the pub until Karaoke got going at which point I left, not really being in a singing frame of mind. I half fancied a cigar but only momentarily. Haven't smoked a cigar for about 6 months.

It is dark and wet outside this morning so that will be good for running in a little bit. Today I am attempting to make Thai pork-burgers from scratch. Armed with a recipe from Jayne, a friend at work I need to chop up spring onions, add the minced pork, an egg and some breadcrumbs , seasoning and chilli paste, and I'm there. It sounds all too easy but I shall post the result a little later on. I bought some ciabatta rolls to go with the burgers and a nice bottle of Merlot. Ciabatta bread is a little bit Islington and right-on if you ask me but they were RTC. In fact ciabatta is the epitome of Mike's poncey sandwich shop near his office at Leicester Square - he'd flame me for that but when I have been it is always full of ridiculous people with stupid beards and specs (and no ties)ordering daft sarnies whilst barking into Blackberry phones! They are mostly nob ends.