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Blog Attempted Burglary Hits 1947 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
It's 5:30am and I'm not really sleeping due to this awful bug that is making me cough, sniffle and ache all over my body. My brain makes whooshing, throbbing motions and I try to drift into uneasy slumber.
Blog Badly-designed disabled toilets Hits 1322 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
The only seat left on the train was the one next to the badly-designed disabled toilets. Badly designed? Yes, very. The door opens and closes electronically at a pace that tears at the soul. So you step in side and press the close button. And wait, whilst people stare at you, as the door creaks and creeps shut. Most people at this point get frustrated and foolishly try to press the lock button before the door has fully closed. This is a mistake. If you do this then the door finally closes and then starts to open again. Then you must then wait for it to fully open, and press close again and repeat the process.
Blog Black Country Rock Hits 1941 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
I was just listening to this track by David Bowie, and I just love the verse at about 2 mins 30 secs in so much that I felt compelled to blog it and encourage you to go and listen to it right now. The odd voice trick is what I like. Great... the 'ahh' is just great.
Blog Croydon Knife Crimes? Hits 1416 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
On my way home last night I passed through Croydon train station where the police had blocked off all the platform exits and erected large scanning devices of the kind more normally (for now) seen in airports. A sign nearby proclaimed that they were making my journey safer by checking that people travelling on the train with me aren't carrying anything nasty. Like knives.
Blog DIY - The back door Hits 1456 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
The back door is a little shoddy, truth be known. It looks like itís been cobbled together from bits of old firewood and ikea furniture, and then added to over the years in an attempt to make it more secure / draught-free. It doesnít open fully, grinding on the kitchen floor, yet when closed proudly boasts a one inch gap at its bottom, through which can been seen slugs and spiders, hastening inside out of the cold and wet weather.
Blog DIY - The Loft Hits 1443 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Iíd like to say that changing the loft insulation in a 100 year old house is fun, and full of amusing stories. But so far it isnít, and there arenít any. Itís simply dirty, nasty work in a loft full of cobwebs, dust and other unspeakable grime.
Blog HP Officejet 6310 - Error Hits 4753 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Damn my IT luck. Whatever I buy, it doesn't work, or has a fault that involves me carrying it back to the bloody shop. Only this time, it was the last one, so I got my money back.
Blog Inscrutable women Hits 1416 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Watching 'A Cock and Bull Story' last night, Gillian Anderson, of X-Files fame, appeared.
Blog Moving: The movers are called Hits 1415 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Moving home is supposed to be a stressful business.
Blog A day in the life Hits 2010 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Such is the capriciousness of life that if I vary the time that I leave the house on a morning, by so much as a minute, then I arrive a good twenty minutes later at French School.
Blog A string of disappointments Hits 1395 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
A string of disappointments plunge me into a low mood: BT bill for £87 for just six weeks (don't know why yet); a stereo we found after the street market doesn't work any longer (after one hour of good performance) and we went out to buy speakers for it too; the Brighton and Hove beer festival finished yesterday, and not today as I thought, so I missed it.
Blog A trip to the shops Hits 1669 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
My Quebec winter-time outfit consists of a lot of layers of clothing that I used to wear in England, but all worn at the same time. So, I put on my multi-layered affair and head down the steep steps and onto the street to be confronted by an enormous bulldozer, heading right for me.
Blog Ambassade Review Hits 1450 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
I don't normally date reviews as I like them to be, ahem, timeless, but in this case, I think it is important, as this bar has just opened. Otherwise, if you read this in six months time you might wonder what on earth I'm talking about. It is August 2004.
Blog Another Lancaster Party Hits 2248 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Before we got to the party, the few people I was walking with decided to head to the Vine and Hops pub for a last pint. It was already 1am, and I thought this ambitious, though I held my tongue. On the phone, I managed to lose most of the them before I started, but someone, perhaps imaginary, told me that they would be round the back and that there was an alleyway entrance that avoided the main door (which was full of bouncers).
Blog Another party Hits 1329 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Ah, another party, and one I remember this time. How novel.
Blog Bad Flat Hits 1384 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
If you ever move into a new apartment, take heart that it probably isn't as bad as the one I used to reside in Walthamstow, London.
Blog Barraca Bar Hits 1705 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Barraca brings back hazy memories of an extremely long and confusing film, watched at mostly-naked hippy festivals, some years ago. So, I'm loaded with these connections when I wander in, at about 7pm on a Tuesday.
Blog Bily Kun Hits 1588 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Ah, jazz night. I used to go to a great little pub in Lancaster, England on a Sunday afternoon where a jazz band used to play and they gave away free sausages. It was, inventively, called 'Jazz and Sausages', or something equally clever. The point is this though, I used to love those Sunday afternoons in that pub.
Blog Bloggers Block Hits 1506 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Itís just like writers block. I havenít been able to put finger to keyboard for weeks, for some reason. All writing, in fact, has ground to a halt - the book, the screenplay, the articles, Procrastizine, everything. The only thing Iím still doing is writing the Java Applet games, and one is about a week away from release as we speak.
Blog Blood Hits 1683 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
So I'm washing up. This is something I must have done, oh at least 1,000 times or more. And I'm surprised I haven't cut myself before actually. Think about it Ė a sink full of sharp knives and glasses. Not a very safe thing to be plunging your hands into, really.
Blog Bloody Natwest Hits 6619 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Natwest have a problem with me because I won't give them my phone number. It makes them cranky and irritable. So they often send me letters urging me to get in touch as they had 'a problem' phoning me. Invariably, they want to speak to me in order to convince me to take out a loan instead of using my overdraft and credit card balance.
Blog Breasts Hits 1479 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Or, ĎAn Education Concerning Men, For Women, Part 1í
Blog Centipedes Hits 1485 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
So, where was I? Ah yes, the flat in Walthamstow. I lived in the flat for a year and a half in the end, fairly happily, though I did sleep with a large kitchen knife down the side of the bed, so unused to the sound of fighting and shouting in my hallway at 5am.
Blog Cheese and Onion man Hits 1370 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
On the train I have my eyes closed. A state close to sleep, but not quite. I hear the noises of the train and am conscious of not having enough knee room. I would like to sleep, but find the worry of sleeping past my stop always prevents me. I have woken up in railway sidings before - an odd experience as you have to wait, alone, for the train to sneak back into the station before you can disembark. The train is cold, silent, dark, spooky even.
Blog Cock Sucking Cowboys Hits 2341 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
I often spend large parts of my day searching the internet for signs of my presence. I like to imagine that everyone does this, and that it isn't just an egocentric preoccupation of mine.
Blog Commuters Hits 1506 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
The train is like a hospital ward. There are the sick, the coughing, sniffing, sneezing, sleeping masses. Whistles, snores, grunts, belches and farts punctuate the rumble of the train. If you are lucky enough to sit next to a toilet you get the odd authentic bed-pan smell. Then there are those that are like the visitors, sitting next to the sickly - those that read, talk, play with their phones, laptops, look out of the window in a bored fashion, or generally entertain themselves. They have the air of peole who would rather be somewhere else, but stoically are resigned to their fates.
Blog Cough Twice Please Hits 1564 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Iíve got a cough, so my wife brings me a bottle of syrup home from the chemist.
Blog December 1995 Hits 2001 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Extracts from my journal, December 1995, in India.
Blog December 1999 Hits 1759 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
A brief entry from the very end of 1999 in Guatemala. My journal-writing went downhill after this, and there is hardly anything for the next few months as I settle into a routine of life in Antigua.
Blog Decking Day Hits 1552 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Today was a decking day. A day where I wrestled with wood that really means me no harm, but is causing me some anyway. I'm stripping down the decking and planning to stain the lovely natural wood a nice colour and leave it like that. Presently it is a nasty blue colour, who knows what the previous tenants were thinking?
Blog Descent of Man Hits 1558 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Alone for the week, the wife in Canada, I do the first thing I can think of and find myself in the lounge drinking Stella Artois, naked, playing video games. Well, I am only human.
Blog February 10th 2002 Hits 2327 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
The chai made me need to urinate four hours later for the rest of the day...
Blog February 11th 2002 Hits 2408 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Storm continues like hell, lightning every second or two, torrential rain. Room began to leak in several places and C became ill...
Blog February 12th 2002 Hits 2151 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Lots of Buddhas with no heads, but found a couple intact. Amazing gates with intricate carvings...
Blog February 14th 2002 Hits 2126 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Despair sets in, but I eventually manage to book a train to Agra for that evening - due to the kindly enquiries desk man who helped me jump the queue.
Blog February 17th 2002 (email) Hits 2261 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
A group email sent on 17th February 2002: Caro had a cosmic dual fountain affair in Sanchi recently for a few days...
Blog February 2000 Hits 1816 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Okay, okay, two months gap in a travel journal is pretty bad. I fell into the settled-routine-no-journal-writing thing in Antigua.
Blog February 2002 Hits 1601 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Mumbai, India. "No sleep at all last night - staff kept us awake until 1 or 2am, then a very noisy couple arrived at 3am and haggled outside our room for a long time (from 700 Rs to 550 Rs, so not bad really)"
Blog February 9th 2002 Hits 2237 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Buses to Bhopal are at 5.30am and at 7am and take 6 hours. We are aiming for the 5.30am for some reason...
Blog Finally back Hits 1307 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Back. Finally back. After three years away, and seven countries later, we arrive at Heathrow at 7am, after leaving Montreal at, oddly, 7am. I've watched, and god only knows why, a Harry Potter movie, and drank a few Gin and Tonics. I'm feeling rather tired as I stare out at the drizzle and grey clouds.
Blog Football in the Park Hits 1443 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
I haven't played football since I had the ball kicked in my face by a smiling Indian several years ago, on a beach in Goa.
Blog Hypocrite Hits 1426 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
I can see the man, in the distance, and I know that he has decided to home in on me, to beg for some change.
Blog Ike's Party Hits 1466 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Okay, here's the deal. If someone tells you that they're having a cinq-a-sept party in Montreal, don't believe them, and certainly don't arrive at 5pm. 5 a 7 is the time in Montreal when cheap drinks are had in many bars around town, to attract the after work drinkers, but the term is now used to generally denote an afternoon, or early evening drinking session, also with the implication of cheap or interesting drinks.
Blog IKEA delivery Hits 1562 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Any time between 8 and 8, we're told. But, they add, we'll call and give you half an hour notice.
Blog Immigration D-Day Hits 1438 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Of course, we only actually look at the letter in detail, mulling over its consequences, the night before my interview, which is at 10am the next day.
Blog Jana's Party Hits 2546 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Okay, so Jana has another party. Only this time she knows all about this website and even greets me with the words, 'Oh Ralph, I hope you will write about this party. But, I'm not drunk enough yet to say anything funny.'
Blog January 1996 Hits 2683 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
More journal extracts from 1996. Still in India at the time.
Blog January 2002 Hits 1767 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Mumbai, India. "Finally here, after an unexpected three month dither in Ellesmere Port."
Blog Job Seeker Hits 1568 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
I'm early, of course, so I sit outside McGill metro on a hard stone wall. After several minutes in the sun I realise that I'm beginning to sweat, a definite no-no at interviews, so move to the shade, where I'm cold.
Blog July 2000 Hits 1659 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Well, things improve after time, and then they turn again to the same kind of state of waiting and trial.
Blog June 2000 Hits 1651 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
I guess I got wrapped up in my life so much, that I forgot to write anything at all.
Blog La Mauricie Hits 1459 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Getting out of Montreal is one of the pleasures of living in Montreal. Every so often, it is essential to leave the city and surround yourself with trees, rolling fields, and fresh air. So, we loaded up the car with all kinds of un-essential things and headed for the highway.
Blog La Police Hits 1438 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Hands up who likes the police?
Blog Manic-Depressive Neighbour Hits 2089 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
There was a buzz on the intercom and then a mysterious invitation to a meeting later that night.
Blog Memento Hits 1790 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Have you ever seen that film, Memento? Well, if I drink spirits, then my life becomes like that.
Blog Montreal Decking (1) Hits 1485 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
My mother-in-law decided that it would be nice to have her patio decking Ďdoneí, and what that means is that Iíll be doing it out of the goodness of my heart.
Blog New Year's Eve 2004 Hits 1337 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
It took an entire day of watching TV and sipping water, along with a Vegetable Thali from the local Indian, to recover from New Year's Eve. The Flight of the Phoenix also helped somewhat.
Blog November 1995 Hits 1719 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
From my journal, travelling in India,. 1995
Blog November 1996, Japan Hits 2265 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
As always, I forget to pack my penknife into my backpack, and only realise as I set off the metal detector.
Blog November 1999 Hits 1582 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
More journals from 1999 - November in Guatemala, which includes the amazing Tikal.
Blog October 1999 Hits 1653 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Journal extracts from October 1999 - travels in Guatemala
Blog Party of Leaf and Xena Hits 2262 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
I wondered for a while if I should, in fact, write a review of this party, mainly because it didn't end so well for me, personally. But, life is life, and it does deserve a write up, in reality. I also took no pictures during the evening, but I've had some sent to me since, and so I'll use one of them... I'm sure Karloff won't mind.
Blog Push my button Hits 1537 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
I don't know why, but two of the things that really get me worked up (and shouldn't) involve button pressing.
Blog Sawdust Hits 1808 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Thereís sawdust everywhere. Itís in my hair, under my nails, in the fabric of my clothes, in my nose, my ears, between my toes, and generally settled in my lungs. Not the nice kind of sawdust that you plunge your hand into to grab a prize at a lucky-dip, oh no, the finer kind, the dust and airborne kind. Yes, another day with unlikely sanding machines.
Blog September 1999 Hits 1717 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Journal extracts from 1996 - travels in Mexico.
Blog Signing On Hits 1799 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
So I finally decide to call the council and sign on.
Blog Smoke-a-thon Hits 2531 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
I sent a text round to everyone at 1:30pm to remind them about the smoke-a-thon:
Blog Stained Hits 2811 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Out, damned spot. And so on. I know it seems like all I ever talk about is my bloody decking saga these days - the job I'll be doing in Hell for all eternity, no doubt, but here it is again. Take heart though, it should be over soon.
Blog Teabags Hits 2287 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
So my father is here, helping fix up the house, fitting new locks, pulling off my skirting boards etc. And he brings some tea, as I don't have any (bare cupboards). Yorkshire Tea. An acquired taste, he says, as I pull faces drinking it.
Article Tela, Honduras - Deadly Beaches and Colonial Grace Hits 1720 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
The magnificent colonial buildings that line the main street through Tela used to belong to the banana giants of the past. Now they crumble quietly and you can stare into their hollow shells and perhaps still see a chandelier sparkling darkly in the gloom.
Blog The Chemist Hits 1568 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Something that has been playing on my mind was the visit when we picked up the notorious stain. We were out in the countryside and decided to pop in on some relatives (theirs, not mine) and met an odd Czech man called Tom who grew a lot of chillis and even had some chilli jam/jelly which he made me try.
Blog The Compleat Vegetarian Hits 10875 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
I often joke with people that I became a vegetarian to impress a couple of hippy girls I once lived with, and although this is partially true, it is not the whole truth. At the time I had been reading a lot of books on religion, learning about meditation and generally becoming, well, more hippy than I was anyway. Slowly, over time, I began to have nagging doubts about meat.
Blog The George Hits 2633 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
So we're walking through the streets in the rain. I'm upset already as we spent a valuable 30 minutes of drinking time watching some god-awful move-to-spain-and-fix-up-an-old-house programme. The rain really doesn't improve our moods as we splash through puddles and scowl into the wind.
Blog The Joy of Power Tools Hits 1728 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
"Press the trigger switch, and your circular saw will start" - User Manual
Blog The new niece Hits 1856 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
I suppose they're all very nice, especially, as many people are overly fond of saying, if you can give them back when you have enough.
Blog The Three Kings Hits 1448 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
The first big pub night since our return. Venue: The Three Kings in Farringdon. This is an old haunt from out last life in London, and I have memories of standing outside in the street on warm summer evenings, sipping Guinness in the road. The pub is so small that there are never any seats, I reflect as we take the tube there.
Blog The Wife's 30th Birthday Hits 1544 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
I think perhaps that I should leave parties an hour before the end, to avoid the bizarre and hazy events that generally ensue after hearty alcohol consumption at 2AM. But, if the party is your own (or your wife's), then you're honour-bound to stay until the end.
Article Thirty-One Hits 2821 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Written on my 31st birthday, I just found this article and thought I'd publish it again. It charts my life, year by year...
Blog Tzar Bar Hits 1574 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
Plastic glasses start my spider-sense tingling, so I look around suspiciously as I sip my pint of Kronenbourg at the back bar of the Tzar Bar. The wife has moved on to Rum and Coke after the last pint took a long time to go down. Price, £5.60.
Blog Ug! A party... Hits 2438 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
The whisky had been blessed with magical powers, this night. So I tend to shy away from it and instead stick to the three bottles of Stella Artois and two bottles of real ale that brought. I sipped at the whisky instead, and insisted the the Colonel drank the lion's share.
Blog Uncle Ralpharama Hits 1832 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
There is some debate over who my new niece looks most like - the mother or father? I think this picture should settle the matter.
Blog Violence on the Bus Hits 1412 | Last Modified 2007-06-22
The bus to work from the station is normally quite a sedate experience. We trundle through suburban sprawl, see the odd patch of woodland, a few tower-blocks, some shops. People get on and off, the windows are steamed up so you wipe a small hole and peer through it. It normally rains.


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