July 2005 Archives

A Few Stats

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We've always had statistics for the site and how many pages are grabbed. Last year you could see the importance of Jules' Weblog in keeping everyone informed, by the huge volume of traffic each month. And interesting to note the popular pages, like The Great Escape! and The Greater Escape!, and categories, like At The Hospice.

Well, after a bit of hunting around, I've now gotten a counter that's viewable by all :-D And it also gives ISP, so you get an idea of where the readers live. The little graph graphic at the bottom will take you to the site. And there's a similar one on Jules' Weblog too :-D

Mr & Mrs Smith

Mr & Mrs Smith The FilmWent to the cinema last night, haven't been for ages. Work has a deal on with the local pics, whereby you can by half price tickets for any time of the week, rather than the Orange Wednesday's offer, which I've taken advantage of in the past. So, with tickets in hand, it was off to see what was on.

Mr & Mrs Smith was our choice. And it did take a bit of time to get going, wasn't really sure what the storyline and plot were trying to do. To give you an idea, it starts off with them in a marriage counselling session, then goes off to how they met. Had me wondering what all the trailers with guns etc... was on about. But in the end was a cracker, and it's definately got everything for both sexes :-D Although I will be penning a letter to the Film Board Censors about the need to be showing Mr Pitt getting his kit off ;-)

So, well recommend it, well worth going to see, and one for the collection when it hits the streets. And besides, I'm all for finding excuses to post a picture of Angelina Jolie ;-) :-P

Discovery blasts off from Florida after over 2 years off line. Hard to imagine, but there's been no manned missions by NASA for 30 months. That's a long time, and really brings into focus the seriousness of the Columbia disaster and how long it's taken the investigation and redesign work to be completed. In fact, some were saying that maybe the shuttle had reached it's end of life, and should've been scrapped. But, what is there to replace it? Like Concorde, there seems little large development work ploughing ahead. Some of us may remember HOTOL, the British/European venture into manned flight, but that seems to have gone quiet too.

And if all that's not enough, it now sounds like the same problem as before, namely debris falling off, has struck again. Lumps peeling off the tank, which has supposedly been redesigned to not do this. Admissions are coming out that perhaps they were wrong in believing the redesign worked. I just hope the backups in place on board will allow them to get back without a repeat of 2003 :-(

The Campaign Is Over!

And so the armed campaign ends :-D

An announcement has been in the offing for a while now, and with the movement away from violence, it's only been a matter of time before the IRA announce a complete and total end to it all.

It's hard to believe that bombings and attacks were part of life. And it's only recently that bins have returned to local railway stations. It doesn't mean an end to terrorist attacks, as recent events have highlighted. Even today, news that Transport police 'on high alert' in London, shows life can't be risk free.

Rover Isn't Dead.... YET

So, it appears Rover's got a reprieve, with the other Chinese auto manufacturer finally securing ownership.

How this all works, I don't really understand. SAIC appear to own the rights to some of the designs, and stories are that Honda has reclaimed all it's joint technology. So exactly what of the current model range they'll be building, it's puzzling.

And earlier this month, articles in Auto Express of new models. Some pretty cool looking renditions, including a very sporty GTi version of the 45. Of course, it's probably all a ruse to get more value for the business to sell on. But, we'll have to wait and see what comes of it all in the next 6-8 months ;-)

Nokia 6680
As everyone's asking, this is what I'm itching to upgrade to. And I even got a circular from Orange yesterday, offering it for free if I take up their latest upgrade offer. Hmmmm, don't think that bit of post was properly researched ;-)

And, as comments work now, you can post your thoughts, and even your feedback, on what this phone's like, looks, am I making the right decision (Ian excluded ;-)).

Anyway, tomorrow's the day that Customer Services are going to call and let me know what they're doing with the dealership in question. Hopefully it'll be a good outcome, as I'm not spending 100's on upgrading. If that's the case, I'm waiting until next year, thank you very much ;-)

Get The Train Home!

It looks like the moves to reinstate the line between Beverley and York, closed by Beeching in the 60's, is gaining momentum:

The Beverley to York Railway
Boost for Beverly to York line
Railfuture - Another reopening?
Pocklington Town Council - Minsters' Rail Campaign
East Riding of Yorkshire Press Release - Hull/Beverley to York Rail Study
Market Weighton Message Boards - Beverley - York Rail Link

What I didn't appreciate, having read the first article, is that Nige's landlord insisted on having his own personal station built in return for allowing the railway across his land. So there's the possibility of Nige having his own railway station for his country retreat, how cool is that :-D

So, that should mean a night on the town in Beverley won't break the bank getting taxi's home. And a trip to the local curry house in Market Weighton will include a few beers for all, rather than someone having to draw the short straw and be taxi for the night ;-)

Here's The Bill

So, if you remember, dear reader, of the phone I apparently agreed to, and was sent last Wednesday. Well, I received a bill from T-Mobile yesterday. Which I promptly rang up and cancelled. Very helpful, and said not to worry as this sort of thing happens all the time.

What's more worrying is the fact that all the necessary information to process the order was taken from the phonebook, i.e. address, name, etc... And all they need to get you signed up is a "Yes" over the phone. You then have 7 days to say "No" and return it. Except in this case, the particular company, or their agents, Savant Sage, send you it, process the order and billing straight away. So, if you're not happy, tough, as the bill's already in the post.

Oh, and the other little discovery yesterday was that my free Orange upgrade wasn't. Having made sure, I thought, that I didn't loose my option to upgrade to the phone I wanted once it was back in stock, it turns out I have. Well, technically I can upgrade, but it'll cost me 180 :-O And better still, as I allegedly agreed to a 12 month extension to my contract, it'll now cost over 200 to get the phone I actually want :-(

I've left this one in the hands of Orange Customer Care. The result will be told to me on Wednesday. Watch this space!

Setting You Off

Been mentioning those subconcious triggers that have me off on an emotional rollercoaster. And strangely last night, having popped into Bottles for a few, I wasn't feeling as upset as I thought I might be. In fact, it didn't affect me at all. Instead, it was the breakfast this morning. On the in-store radio was playing some really golden oldies, well, okay, a few years old. And Karen Ramirez version of the EBTG hit I didn't know I was looking for love came on. A really nice song, have both versions in the record collection. One I bought, and the other, the single, was bought for me by Jules, June 1998, a year after we met.

A more recent memory, triggered at a wedding not so long ago, was DJ Sammy's Heaven. This was played all the time during Jules short stay at the hospice. A fav song, admittedly not the slowed down first dance version played at the receiption. But the words are the same at whatever speed you play it.

Isn't it amazing what gets buried in the memory, only for something to unearth it and remind you? I guess this is something that'll continue throughout life. But it's still surprising every time it appears.

Boogie Nights

Been a while since Mum and Geoff have been down to Stevenage for a night out. Normally combined with either the bruvs or Geoff's friend Pete, a fellow Aerospace man. So it was a change for just the pair of them to make it down.

Of course, we had to go out for a quiet drink or 4. And a beef curry to finish it all off ;-)

Started off in the Standing Order, which is starting to get the name,"Standing At The Bar". The staffing levels have reached a point now that it's quicker to stay at the bar and drink, as by the time you've been served, had a drink, and gone back to the bar for another, it's closing time :-( Didn't stay there long as we wanted a beer, so off to the Proverbial, then Bottles, and then a taxi. And proving the age-old rule that trying to get a taxi as a bloke is neigh on impossible, Geoff and I both failing, only for Mum to grab the first one that drove past her.

My head's thumping this morning, so it's off to Tesco's for a hangover cure, and some shopping ;-)

Night At The Races

Went to Newmarket races yesterday afternoon, for an evening with Jools Holland, oh, and a couple of horse races.

Jools Holland was fantastic, playing a rocking set of old and new bits from various albums. The racing was rubbish, well, I didn't win much, but I blame my Older racing tipster for that failure ;-) Of course, if you were unbelievably lucky and won all but 1 race, you'd be well happy, wouldn't you, Miss ;-)

Didn't get home until very late on, as the traffic was mental coming out of Newmarket. We were lucky that we weren't going through Newmarket to get home, as I'd expect we'd have been much later getting back.

Need to get sorted now as Mum's on her way down. So washing, hoovering, and generally making the place look tidy ;-)

So, It Was A Repeat

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Waking to the latest news, it does appear that the conclusion is becoming more and more likely that yesterday's attacks were an attempt at repeating those of the 7th July.

BBC News: Urgent hunt for London attackers

And so, another Friday starts...

Miss You More

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Listening to my latest addition to my CD collection (yes, I know, I could've downloaded it for free), and a track's really sticking in my mind - FAITHLESS - Miss U Less, See U More. Kinda sums up my feelings at the moment. I don't know if it's another stage of the mourning process, but I've found myself being able to picture Jules much more clearly recently. I miss you less, and yet I can see you more, if that makes any sense at all.

Of course, it's all meaningless, if you know what I mean ;-)

More Bombs

Except, it would appear, this time they didn't go bang.

News reports all seem much calmer this time round, and the process of clamp down seems to be bringing out a few moaners and whingers. I suppose that's par for the course, "nothing's happened, so what's all the fuss?", sort of attitude. A rather disturbing unconscious appreciation of what's happening, if you ask me.

It'll be interesting to see how quickly things follow up this time, if, as is being suggested, the latest bunch are still on the run. But, of course, this is assuming that it is another attack, and not, as someone suggested on News 24 tonight, a group of copy-cats trying to emulate the attacks of 2 weeks ago.

Links Missing

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A side effect of the recent backroom updates by our esteemed landlord, ( which have made life soooo much easier to manage by the way :-D), is that a number of cross links between here and Jules' Weblog now don't work. I'm in the process of fixing them all, so don't be surprised if you click on one and it goes and blank screens you :-O

It's all to do with the siting of both blogs in the same space. Which means I can manage it all from one easy screen. That's all the trackbacks, comments, and most importantly, the spam removal. So, to coin a phrase, you spam me, you spam my family ;-)

Another B~@**y Mobile!

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Got another mobile phone in the post last night :-(

It would appear I ordered one last week over the phone. Funny, I said, as I remember saying "No". But apparently I'd already answered the phone and so confirmed I existed.

It's on it's way back this afternoon.

Dazed & Confused

Trying to explain the funny sleeping pattern I've gotten into lately, as well as the bouts of emotion. Sure, I know it's just gone 14 months. And this morning it hit me. Planned on having the day off anyway, suns out and there's still one or two things I need to do after Friday's bank meeting.

Just goes to show how much you can loose the plot. I had it in my mind that today was 2 years since Jules went in for the second op. I even went and said that to someone. Which, of course, it isn't.

It does mean, though, that I've been alone in this house for nearly 2 years now. Well, okay, not technically, there's a cat living here too, although not for much longer if he keeps up with putting his paws on the keyboard, and face in my face.

The Listening Bank

Had a phonecall last week from the bank, asking if I would like to make an appointment with the bank manager. Well, I say ask, it was more a case, "We've made an appointment, and were wondering if you can make...." :-O

So, dreaded going there last Friday. Finances are in a bit of a state, and I've been using my overdraft a little more often than I'd like the last few months. Recent things have helped, such as my promotion and payrise at work, and what appears, touch wood, to be a successful run on my share portfolio - ok!, it's only one company, you'd never guess who, but it's my first foray into the stock market ;-)

Spent last Thursday evening sorting all my spreadsheets, statements, and spending curves, so I was well prepared for what I expected to be an onslaught of sales for various financial services I didn't need. So, it came as a pleasent surprise that they had, in fact, been monitoring things and were worried that, I quote, their "No.1 customer" :-D, was going off the rails a little.

2 hours later and I've a loan to consolidate all my debits, monthly payments that are manageable rather than crippling, and further appointments to explain why I appear to be paying for 3 life insurance policies, and how they can save me money on my house insurance. The later I'm looking forward to, as they're the people I've got my current insurance through. "Oh, well, that quote's over the phone, and we can always get you a better deal in the branch...." And considering the rate I've got for my loan, I've got to believe it ;-)

And the downside? The bank now owns me, well, at least for the next 7 years :-O I'll be 40 when it's all paid off...


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Sex ID
Fascinating programme on the BBC last night, Secrets of the Sexes, which I missed, but was filled in about it today. The info, as always, is online, and there's a questionaire associated with the series. So, with a spare moment at lunchtime.

BBC - Science & Nature - Sex ID

I'm a well-balanced human being, least that's what the survey said. Although my average score was that of a woman's, and yet my individual scores where those of a typical man?

Have a go, and if you've a minute, use the NEW AND IMPROVED comment system to tell me your score :-D


Caught the sun yesterday at the club's car show. I know, should know better. But it wasn't very sunny when I got up there, and the day just went by. Didn't notice how sunny it was getting until it was too late :-( Funny moment in Sainsburys on the way home, when I popped in for some aftersun. The woman behind the chemist counter knew straight away what I was after, on account of my "bright glowing...", adding, "Enjoy the rest of your evening, sir" as I walked away :-D

Owh, and I had an emotional moment earlier on tonight, watching telly. There's an advert about Paul McKenna and how he's sorting people's phobia's. And the music is Coldplay's "Fix You". Well, had to switch the telly off and go make a cuppa. I know it's a sad song, but what on earth have I made it mean? Weird. Not been crying like that for quite a while.

Vitamins n Virus's

Some news on the BBC about vitamins, and virus's of the noon-Human kind:

I remember reading about the vitamin control thing a few years ago. In particular when we were looking at the Vitamin "B-17", as it was thought that it would mean they couldn't call it a vitamin (Well, it isn't, is it). As I mentioned last year, the thing didn't work one jot for Jules, the only noticable effect being an increase in her energy and awareness, which I'd put down to the concoction of herbs and fruit juice that the Vitamin B17 had to be delivered in. Of course, without the pushers of Vitamin B-17 willing to submit to serious clinical trials, it'll never be proved whether it works or not. And, of course, participants of these trials have a tendancy of dying before they're completed, cancer being such a nasty illness.

The other story, about the bombings, I think is sickening. Taking advantage of a situation, I know, is who these things work. But you must draw the line somewhere, surely?

Enjoying The Sun

Day off today, to sort lots of little bits and bobs around the house, but more importantly, just take five out of what's been a mega busy last few weeks and months :-D

So, bit of online work sorting some of those things on the websites that I've not bothered with. Stuff to do on the car, which is now making noises louder than my music, so I NEED to do something about it. And doing the garden, since the grass seems to be on steroids at the moment. Either that or the lawn mower needs servicing.

So, for those of you stuck in work, Ha! I'm sitting here, lager's chilling in the fridge, enjoying what I'm told is the best day for this little spell of British summertime. Wish you were here...;-)

Help out in a crisis

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Following the atrocities in London . . .

East Anglian Ambulance Service have launched a national "In case of
Emergency (ICE)" campaign with the support of Falklands war hero Simon

Help out in a crisis - with ICE

The idea is that you store the word " I C E " in your mobile phone address book, and against it enter the number of the person you would want to be contacted "In Case of Emergency".

In an emergency situation ambulance and hospital staff will then be able to quickly find out who your next of kin are and be able to contact them. It's so simple that everyone can do it. Please do.

Please will you also email this to everybody in your address book, it won't take too many 'forwards' before everybody will know about this. It really could save your life, or put a loved one's mind at rest.

For more than one contact name ICE1, ICE2, ICE3 etc.

Oh Joy

I mentioned earlier in the week that things are back, changes in the background, in order to make life easier for me and managing the blog. Well, I have to say, it's fantastic :-D

Click, bang, bang, and bye, bye Mr Holdem, Miss "Please Take The Time To...". All the spam pings and comments on both sites are gone within the click of a mouse button. No longer is it a trawl of pages and pages of entries to find where next, particularly on Jules' blog.

It's taking so little time now I can actually despam AND post an entry at the same time :-D Oh joy of joy's :-D :-D

A Summary of The Day's News

Someone on our car club forum trawled the 'net and came across a raft of people's quotes and news from yesterday. Puts things into perspective I reckon, see what you think ;-)

Sad Day

So, it now looks like a terrorist attack on London, something everyone has been waiting for, but not wishing.

BBC News - London blasts: At a glance
Reuters - London attacks kill dozens as world leaders meet

Not overly impressed with the news coverage on ITN, with their TARGET LONDON logo and what seemed a real "doom and gloom" spin on it all. Okay, it's a disaster, but report the facts, and don't speculate on things that aren't true. And what's with the "Star Wars Death Star" music playing over Tony Blair's announcement at lunchtime, I mean, really, it made it look like an episode of bloody 24 for god's sake :-( And they only now seem to be reporting 4 blasts rather than 7, (see pic) which most other news services seemed to be doing much earlier on. I felt sorry for the reporter they had at Kings Cross who kept pushing Trevor to stop speculating and listen to the facts. I guess he's no longer working there, no realising no one questions the Anchor like that. In fact, as far as the day's news goes, iMark sums it all up quite well I think.

As for those affected, I've been in touch with just about everyone I know, and thankfully they're all okay, save being shaken by the events. I feel sorry for those who have lossed loved ones, I still can't fathom why or what purpose it served. And Ken Livingstone, a guy I have a lot of time for, summed it up I think very well on interview in Singapore:
This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty or the powerful, it was aimed at ordinary working-class Londoners."

"Black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindus and Jews, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, class, religion whatever."

Black Ribbon

Oh My God!

News just coming in of a series of explosions in London. All the trains have been stopped at Stevenage, and it sounds like London's closed off :-( :-(

Hope everyone's okay.

Currently Listening To...

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Amazon.co.uk Music Forever Faithless
Spent a bit of money on myself at the weekend, and bought a couple of CD's from ASDA with the rest of the weekly shop. Faithless' greatest hits, and the new Gorillaz album, .

And both are fantastic :-D In particular, Faithless, which I now realise was one of those bands Jules and I regularly listened to, and never picked up on the name. Although it wouldn't surprise me if I went through Jules tapes and found a copy of their album. In fact the last few suggestions of music from various friends (Terrorvision)has been quite enlightening. Getting me away from the perceived Sting and Beautiful South song collection. Obviously no-ones been round and looked at my actual collection. They'd have seen the acid jazz, Will Smith, Jools Holland, Black Eyed Peas, U2, Police, Peter Gabriel, and other such classics like 100% Kids, eh Jonathan ;-)

You Win Again!

An appropriate quote, from a famous ABBA song. More so since it's about my Mum and Nigel's latest success, Mum being an avid ABBA fan. Our childhood was full of dancing queens, waterloo's, and the like :-D

Anyho, it would appear that GT Electrical have won the TEQ award for the 3rd year running! A big party later in the year, so better book my time off work now :-D

Of course, it wouldn't have been possible without the phenomenal online presence provided by yours truly ;-)

We're Back!

So, after much working and clanking in the backroom of the site, by our landlord and all round good egg, Jonathan, we're back. And in a new version, with comments, and lots of other goodies. Including a much better managed front end, which allows me to sort both weblogs together at last.

An interesting side effect is this:


So, now the comments are fixed, there's no excuse! Start posting your thoughts now, people!

...ooooooh let's test again, like we did last year.

With a little luck, everything should be working again. And by 'everything' I mean 'everything I broke about two hours ago,' not everything everything, silly.


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Can I fish in this pond? It appears I can :-D Owh, and my smilies still work :-D :-D

Test post

Test post from Jonathan to see if this is working. something weird has happened, I fear.

Oh. No, it seems to work, but comment are still borked. [sigh]

I'm off to the pub. Will have to sort this later, mate. Sorry.

About Alan Bell

Lapsed: electronic engineer, scout leader, project controller.
Now: Oracle Primavera training consultant, business support manager, occasional website designer.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from July 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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