Another week behind…

What a week for news stories, the world is turning and I seem not to be doing so with it :-(

I would like to say I’m back to being fighting fit but sadly the reality is very different.
It’s almost like 1 step forward – 3 steps back, and it’s getting frustrating.
Yesterday I felt almost 100%, went grocery shopping (as this prevents death) and made sure I didn’t get any sleep until I could no longer keep my eyes open…
Now, even with a near midnight run to London on an urgent errand that rectified itself and wasn’t required – I turned in looking forward to possibly my first full nights sleep…
2hrs later I’m up and wide awake and yet again in pain!!
Today, I’ve been stuck in an arm chair with hotwater bottle on my shoulder fidgeting away getting very frustrated.
At least I’m not taking Codeine anymore , but at this rate I’ll soon be back on it.

So, while I truly want to be back on my feet and doing things (like earning money – which is now taking a toll), I have to resign myself to being almost stationary for the next few days.

I can’t even begin to say how annoying this is – but alas, onward and upward! – just slowly…

twb-button

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Published in: on 31 January, 2010 at 19:06  Comments (2)  

What a WEEK!!!

 

Well, so much for a great beginning to 20-10ty
As most know, I’ve been laid up after sustaining a shoulder injury and to be quite honest, I still cant believe just how painful an injury of this kind can actually be. And yet so many people suffer them!
However, with only getting sporadic sleep and Codeine that  seemed to be effective only when and if wanted to be, I thought I was slowly going nuts until the other day when the pain finally started to ease a little.
So much so infact that two days ago I started going longer without the Codeine and halved the dosage.
Yesterday after taking just one table after 8hrs something very strange happened – I almost started tripping out on the drug!!!
It was like instead of one. I had taken 20… The effect was awful and I found myself waking up all over the place – yeah, weird huh?
Unable to do much the worse part was I didn’t care.
But a huge thank you to Gabsatrucker, WKD and JK who mithered me throughout and to all of you both on here and Twitter who kept me sane and kept checking up on me…I would snog you all – but then end up in jail – so I wont. Oh and WKD sent me a photo today while out cow spotting and also while asking if I was ok…. (I’m kinda hoping those are just tags in it’s ears).

Around 7pm I started to come around and get myself together enough to know not to take anymore Codeine.

Today I have been really quite groggy but have managed with thanks to Rachel Beer Co-founder of Beautiful World to find a Graphic Artist to look at my Blog Logo and at the moment we look like we’re starting from scratch!!

Also, it came to my notice that while lagging behind badly in the Tablet Computing stakes, Apple launched the iPad yesterday. Anyway,as people started raving about it and whom appear not to have noticed 20 other such products on the market – and with the fact that for the last 5years (2 on this blog) I have been telling people until I am blue in the face about what was coming in the technology world for the end user (most of whom just 4yrs ago couldn’t understand the concept).

Anyway, it’s time to return to the world of technology so the The Wondering Brit IS available for work (contract or otherwise)!
As long as it’s interesting stuff and besides, I’m tired of having all this knowledge and doing nothing with it. (as long as I have a little time to get over my injury) I’m Available – so are you ready to be challenged?

twb-button

Published in: on 28 January, 2010 at 20:11  Comments (6)  

Top Gear Bloopers

not the best, but’ll make yer smile

Published in: on 25 January, 2010 at 18:42  Comments (12)  

Are Banks still just plain STUPID????

Three weeks ago I received a letter offering me a fully approved loan for nearly £10,000. I haven’t asked for one and didn’t need one.
The only time I actually ever needed one – they turned me down.
The odd thing is that I simply have no debt to speak of and apparently this is a bad thing.

So the other day my wreck of a car starts the road to permanent failure so when I’m next on my internet banking site I look at all the pre-approved things available to me.
They would extend my unused free over draft facility  a further £750 and there was another fully pre-approved loan available – this time I could have from £1000 to £25000… and at a far more reasonable APR than before.

I went away and just laughed at it. But I looked at replacing my car for a model of the right age to verify the kind of price I would be looking at and when I realise all the things I wished and need to do this year, I came to the conclusion that I could and possibly should make the move and at least consider the loan. Not the full amount but somewhere in the middle would be easily affordable and just right.

Now while I thought it odd that the bank had been changing their offers around quickly I decided to opt for a bit of a test.
I would take the extra free overdraft of £750 and see if that had any kind of impact of the so called pre approved loan value.

Here’s what happened;
Click a couple of boxes and the overdraft is approved – great
Right lets look to see if there is still £25000 available to me…. Nope! There was just £5000 available.
At this point I started laughing hysterically in disbelief – a £750 overdraft removes £20000 from your loan eligibility??!! No way!!! Who makes this rubbish up?
Only disappointed for not buying a Land Rover, 5 mins later I felt relieved because if that’s how they do business, would I really want to be indebted to these people?
This morning while paying bills online the £5000 has all but disappeared and there is NO available loan…

Barclays Bank – you’re terrible, laughingly hilarious and quite obviously know little about money, and more importantly – your customers!!!

Stop telling us what you can’t do because of new banking rule and tell us what you can do – AND  STICK  TO  IT!!!

twb-button

Published in: on 23 January, 2010 at 18:09  Comments (4)  
Tags: ,

Fun to Compare

Heart : Crazy on You

Ok two vids of the same song over 30 years apart. First is the most recent and the 2nd that was kinda funny.

See what you think, the only words I can find are Marshal, Costume and Size.

twb-button

Published in: on 23 January, 2010 at 14:52  Comments (3)  

Day of new people and learning

(If you’re looking for my paper on the BCS Event click HERE)

Yesterday I kept an appointment to a talk that I really shouldn’t have done with my shoulder being the way it is.
Nevertheless I kept my word and booked the train for London to go to a discussion at the BCS.
The BCS is the Chartered Institute for IT based on Southampton Street just off the Strand.
Climbing into my car, sudden pain kicked in with a vengeance and with gear changes being close to impossible I made my way to Tiverton Parkway station, while at one point considering returning home.
Finally clambering into what was possibly the smallest most uncomfortable seat that I believe the First Great Western train company owned, the train set off.
The thing is this, from the outset of being invited by Dr Sue Black, I felt it was important to go for reasons I could not understand.
I even tried to get WKD from this blog to go in my place, but she came back and said that I really should go if I could.
So what was the talk called and about?
Tomorrow’s Women, Tomorrow’s World!!

As the train plodded on I considered the title and what the talk would be about and certainly the panel who would be sitting. Most notably Dr Sue Black who is the head of department at Westminster University, Maggie Philbin who is a well known UK broadcaster and others.

Delayed into London due to a broken rail, I knew I needed to eat and the only man I know who knows the good places to eat anywhere in the world, often by simply walking past the place as 10,000 flies can’t ever be wrong – I twittered Dom Joly and asked. Within minutes the reply came back as; Maroush, 1 Edgware Road….
I was out of Paddington Station and heading to Edgware on foot… and it was bloody freezing ! lol
But the more I walked the better my shoulder felt, so I just kept going.
Arriving at the bottom of Edgware I saw a several Lebanese restaurants but none with the name Dom had given me. I popped into a news agent and he told me to cross the road and I’d see it. In doing I saw it straight away.
Taking a pic and sending it to Dom, I went in, told them I was in a rush and needed some thing quick and easy.
I was still presented with a menu and finally chose their Mixed Grill. I asked for a coffee and I think these pictures tell a far better story. I was again impressed with Dom the nosh Meister!  Only to find they had run out of milk and had to go out to buy some…
But get this, from entering the front door, to leaving after being stuffed with a mixed grill, olives, bread and coffee – 23.5 minutes!! Total cost £17.50.  Bloody awesome.!  However, as I left I got  a tweet from Dom who simply wrote ‘Wrong Place!’

I strolled back around to Marble Arch, the road junction there being the historical site of the infamous Tyburn where in centuries past, thousands had been either hung, drawn and quartered or simply burnt at the stake – ahhhh, the good olde days (sighs…)
On to the tube a quick change and alight at Charing Cross and exiting on Trafalgar Square.
A pleasant stroll up Strand passing all the big theaters I finally arrived at BCS a whole one hour early… The Irony being that is if I was being paid – I would have been late!
Sitting at a laptop on a hotdesk Dr Sue Black was busy crowbarring some powerpoint slides together with a mallet and I stopped by to say hello before she directed me to the most important of all places – the coffee…
Sue came over a short time later to introduce me to IT consultant, fellow blogger and twitterist @pjbryant – who, as it turned out, was from Wisbeach just north of Cambridge.
We were soon tucked into conversation and comparing our HTC telephones before going in to the talk.
Now, just before I finally get into the subject matter of this post, it turns out that @pjbryant had also suffered just about the exact same injury to his shoulder at one point and his knowledge about the matter was far more comprehensive that anything I’d heard from a Doctor or Nurse over the last week and I for one am fully grateful to his insight and information!
 
On the Panel were Prof Rob Macredie, Maggie Philbin, Dr Sue Black as Chair, Mohan Koo and Rebecca George OBE
The basic issue was this; Over the past however many years, there has been a constant decline in the amount of women in IT at one level or another. This has had variable reasons both social and relating to Human Factors, but the bottom line is Women simply appear not to be interested in a field where often they are exceptional compared to their male counterparts.
The next issue was simply; How do we get them back?…..

Now, like many I listened to this open debate with interest. I listened to the people qualified to know their stuff and a few points of view by everyone else – But!! As I told Sue Black later, I was chomping on the bit to say something. She asked why didn’t I and I simply said, when I get that animated my brain loses all contact with my mouth and it wouldn’t have been good.

I think that some may have felt I have come from a place of feeling my masculinity threatened, but if any of you know me I hang out with ladies who not only drive Big Rig trucks – they’re all IT savy people.

I actually disagreed with a good part of what was said, but there were certainly points that were going in the right direction, but fell short by the limited sight of the proposer.
From the outset, the wrong terminology was used, because the use of it limits the long term nature of the plans and goals from the begining.
Then for someone to say there is a lack of IT Engineers in the UK is about the single most uniformed piece of information I think I’ve heard in a long long time.

So, I aired a few thoughts with Sue and went on my way back across London to go home.
But it didn’t stop there, for the next four hours I thought about nothing else! I ripped apart argument after argument in my head followed ideas and proposals. And have been buzzing about this most of today while trying to sooth my shoulder.
This IS solvable, it ISN’T a problem and I believe I have a realistic point of view from where to start to address these issues.

However, I’m writing it all up and will publish it on here when completed – but not until Dr Black can have the chance to rip it apart first lol.

Dr Sue Black is a lovely person I met through the internet as she promotes the saving of Bletchley Park with every spare moment. Her photos do not do her credit and she is far more personable in real life than any one would imagine.

I enjoyed immensely being challenged by this meeting, it’s been over 5 yrs since I enthused about anything and last night, my brain was finally switched on again….

But here is what I will say;
The most basic foundation of the future of IT training, recruitment and employment requires one thing that’s doesn’t actually exist

The Definition of ALL IT and Telecommunication Trades, what they are and where they fit, not in a University, or a few offices of the middle of London – but The World!!
Without this, how can we even start to sell something that has no definition and position within the entire sphere of IT…

This is literally about going back to the drawing board and doing the QS on the whole thing, from the code crunchers, sat comm tech, the end users super awesome video editor and Vlogger. No one has done it, not ever, there is no one single industry bible of ALL trades and certainly nothing that would resemble anything readable by a 14yr old trying make a career choice.

Basic IT to MCSE standard should be taught and qualified in for the first 3 yrs of secondary education – why? Because this is basic info for the future of our civilized societies and should be a compulsory requirement.

The futures bright, The future – it’s in my brain ;-)     -> Except for the fact that somewhere between BCS and home I lost my Kodak Zi8 HD camera…. if I hadn’t there would have been many more photos. I will endevour to contact the train company tomorrow in slight hope that they picked it up.

twb-button

Simple question:

Which?

A Land Rover Defender 110 County Station Wagon or a Discovery?

 

 

 

 

twb-button

Published in: on 18 January, 2010 at 20:30  Comments (13)  

While I’m down

I thought…. (I know, steady on)
That because of the words of the ladies who comment on my blog have been so welcome (sarc.) and based on something WKD and JK said with ref to ‘Girl Power’ and the use of it way before the Spice Girls collared the phrase – I’d post a vid to say thankyou.
To Fenny, Loraine, WKD, Gabby, Terry and to the ladies who follow on Twitter, who knowingly make my life awkward, turn up the speakers, look away from the screen and well – enjoy:

twb-button

Published in: on 17 January, 2010 at 20:08  Comments (6)  

Pain and trip to Hospital

Some of you are aware that I’ve been having shoulder pain this last few days.
Initially I simply thought I’d cracked a collar bone and a few days rest would be enough.
Two days ago a had one of those big-stretch yawn things and in doing damaged it further.
This morning without thinking – I did it again with starkly different results!!!
There was a sudden movement and a ‘thud’ feeling behind my shoulder, followed quickly by a yell from me and ending up in abject agony.

With water for some bizarre reason appearing in the corners of my eyes I made a call to K&J (see Who’s Who). Kev said he would come over and take into hospital. I asked if he thought that was required and he simply responded “put it this way, for you to ring me means you need to be in hospital”.

He of course was right and sometimes I am the worlds worst and saying ‘I’m in trouble and need help’.

45min later I’m in Exeter A&E and being asked all the basic personal info about where I live, what is my shoe size and of course my penis length….
Then came the question “Who is your GP?”
Well I don’t have one and then followed a telling off!!
15mins later I was seen and again was told off for not having a GP and told I’d simply over stretched…
I was then directed to the ‘Walk in Clinic’ (???) and seen by another nurse – who for the third time today ripped into me about not having a GP!!

Patience now running low and in chronic pain I was asked if I’d taken any pain killers, I said I had take 3 Ibuprofen. I then received another telling off because I should have had only two….

I finally said, OK, I’m off… This was much to the surprise of the nurse who asked why.
I said that it’s obvious you’re not going to do anything for me, I have been questioned 3 times about a GP and reprimanded 4 times, once being about taking one extra tablet.
I said I wished to stop wasting their time, my time and the time of K&J who kindly were waiting for me as it was obvious I wasn’t going to get any treatment.
I then got a lecture of how I must have a GP so they could sort out treatment as there weren’t allowed to do anything.
I asked if they were serious.. I said “ I have injured myself, I am in pain and I have come to a hospital and you’re saying I need my own Doctor….  I’m Off “.

To cut a long story short, she went away and got a Dr, he examined me  and said I had ripped the ligament away from my shoulder. He wasn’t surprised at all about the amount of pain I was in telling me not to any work for at least a week. Gave a prescription (on a Sunday when all pharmacy’s are shut) and then gave me a lecture about how I should have a GP and asked me to apologise to the nurse….

K&J on the other hand were awesome.

So, in pain, really quite unhappy – but glad I have a spare shoulder

Special Thankyou must go to Kev and Jeanette for ruining their Sunday and coming to help an old lard-ass – thank-you.

twb-button

Published in: on 17 January, 2010 at 18:42  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , ,

I laughed hard at this

This is a video made by a yet an unknown colleague to me and while some of the refferences are British, I just thought it was good.

twb-button

Published in: on 16 January, 2010 at 23:54  Comments (6)  

URGENT: Internet Explorer Warning

from the bbc

The German government has warned web users to find an alternative browser to Internet Explorer to protect security.

The warning from the Federal Office for Information Security comes after Microsoft admitted IE was the weak link in recent attacks on Google’s systems.

Microsoft says the security hole can be shut by setting the browser’s security zone to “high”, although this limits functionality and blocks many websites.

However, German authorities say that even this would not make IE fully safe.

Speaking to BBC News, Graham Cluley of anti-virus firm Sophos said the warning applied to versions 6, 7 and 8 of the browser.

“This is a vulnerability that was announced in the last couple of days. Microsoft have no patch yet and the implication is that this is the same one that exploited on the attacks on Google earlier this week,” he said.

“The way to exploit this flaw has now appeared on the internet, so it is quite possible that everyone is now going to have a go.”

Microsoft traditionally release a security update once a month – the next scheduled patch is the 9th of February. However, a spokesman for Microsoft told BBC News that developers for the firm were trying to fix the problem.

“We are working on an update on this issue and this may well be involve an out of cycle security update,” he said.

Fix development

However, this is no easy task. Not only have the firm got to fix the loophole, but they have to ensure it does not create another one and – equally importantly – works on all computers. This is a challenge compounded by the fact they have to fix three different versions of its browser.

Microsoft said that while all versions of Internet Explorer were affected, the risk was lower with more recent releases of its browser.

The other problem facing developers is that the possible risk might not be prevented by anti-virus software, even when recently updated.

“We’ve been working to analyse the malware that the Chinese are using. But new versions can always be created,” said Mr Cluley.

“We’ve been working with Microsoft to see if the damage can be mitigated and we are hoping that they will release an emergency patch.

“One thing that should be stressed is that every browser has its security issues, so switching may remove this current risk but could expose you to another.”

twb-button

Published in: on 16 January, 2010 at 22:13  Comments (4)  

The post that isn’t what I started out to write…

Odd title huh? I was writing a post about last nights work, having a good walk around and look at WKD’s car this morning and then….. I got bored…

However, according to an article on the BBC News website, the number of new cars failing there first MOT’s has risen sharply. (MOT is  the Ministry of Transport test certificate that must be carried out annually when a vehicle reaches 3yrs old)
At the top of this list it is no surprise to find cars made where? C’mon, give it a go…..
Fr**ce!! Either by Fr**ch motor companies or just made in country.
There was a surprise too, that both WKD and my mother won’t be impressed with….
Anyway, here’s the list

Now I have posted this before, but to show Fr**ch engineering at it’s best, I’ll show it again because it ALWAYS has me rolling around laughing.

Finally, are computers stupid? What I mean is, I played a game of chess today against windows and I won… but look at the result….

 

twb-button

Published in: on 16 January, 2010 at 20:06  Comments (4)  

ello,ello,ello – what’s going on here then?

So, in this spell of ice and snow we’ve been having, a group of Thames Valley Police Officers took 5 minutes out to have a little bit of fun.

Seeing people sledging, the police grab a riot shield and give it a go. And may I add, I need a riot shield for a sledge!!

HOWEVER!!!!!

Some people seeing this on YouTube received an immediate medical dilemma as their heads started shooting up their backsides!!  They started complaining about wastes of tax payers money, equipment being damaged and then the officers involved got a reprimand….

Let me say this absolutely clearly to these complainers;

I think it is great to see the lighter side of the Police for once! These are the people who scrape up our murders, our accidents, protect us when it all goes horribly wrong (we’ll exclude Devon and Cornwall Police in this). They are the people we depend on.

So yes, at a time when they’re out in the freezing weather, when they simply can’t go around chasing bad guys – then for five bloody minutes they damn well deserve to let their hair down and have a laugh.  And as for damaging a riot shield…. pl-ease! these things will take hundreds of bricks thrown at them and do so while on fire – so I think someones butt sliding down snow really isn’t going to hurt.

Today for reason of lack of fun, care, insane ability not to be able to have a laugh, for being damn right un-British and for being everything that is WRONG with this country…

All those people complaining and reprimanding earn the

First HUA award of 20 10

Now Go and Get a LIFE ! ! ! !

twb-button

Published in: on 14 January, 2010 at 23:43  Comments (10)  
Tags: , , , ,

Of this week…

Well there’s plenty of news this week – that’s for sure!
Ok, where to start…

The TWBrit Car of Character (CofC) has reached the end of it’s usable life….
I can’t complain because I bought it for £350 and it’s never failed to start other than the day the battery failed.
Anyway, to pass it’s next MOT it’ll need a new windscreen and as of two days ago it requires a new Catalytic converter.
So, time to get shot of it. And where you may ask will it go? Well it will take on a new life as a stock car/ demolition derby – which I may just film (seeing as WKD never shot it)
So, my internet friends – what car should TWBrit have next, be advised I hate spending money.
Talking of WKD though…
While driving her Red Missile to work (BMW Mini), it sadly failed to negotiate a snow drift a short distance from her farm. ‘C’ being her (Kevlar plated) husband promptly arrived to help – by promptly giving her a shovel…
Kinda like the guys style!

Haiti town planning isn’t as good as they thought and some of the images coming out of there are quite disturbing; wish I could be there to help.

Google are removing the censorship on their China operation and that has gone down like a lead balloon with the Chinese authorities – like we have sympathy! – NOT!

The British Military is so strapped for cash they’re looking at major reductions in manpower as they no longer have the funds to pay them…
However, the SA80’s life may well have sadly come to an end with the large whole sale purchase of a new 7.62mm(0.308) rifle, the LM7 – what???? Like didn’t we have one of those before???
Calibre size is a huge issue and argument. For the most part the 7.62mm round is slightly too powerful as it simply goes straight through the target where as the 5.56mm (0.22) tumbles around inside a target acting like a liquidizer.

As you can see in the article below, I went to Made By Bob the other day and thoroughly enjoyed it. On the way back I ended up rallying through snow for nearly and hour on the Blackdown Hills – it was just after this I noticing an issue with the car.

I am going to add a more indepth section regarding Snow and Ice driving to the Motorway Driving Survival Guide in the coming days or weeks because of the sheer lunacy I have witnessed recently. Well at least it should be a little humourous.

Finally, after all this snow and Ice we’ve been having, my Stabilicers Lite turned up yesterday from the US. To be honest, I think for long term usage, they’ll wear out soon enough. But for basic getting around – these a re perfect. If I break them, I’ll buy the heavy duty ones

twb-button

Published in: on 14 January, 2010 at 17:44  Comments (14)  

Made by Bob

You know when a new movie comes out and everyone’s seen it but you, yet everyone gets a little hyper about how it’s a ‘must see’ thing? When you finally get to go and see it, you’re left not with the enjoyment of the movie to remember, but a stumped wonderment to what all the hype was about…
Well when someone who appears really down to earth says that not only does he spend so much time in a restaurant that and even a good chunk of his future book ‘The Dark Tourist’ was actually written in there – you start simply wondering why? Furthermore, this person, who is known for his globetrotting adventures, then claims it’s his favourite place to eat in the world…. You just gotta go look.

Over the last 20 years I, like many, have eaten in a vast array of restaurants. Because of my work I’ve been lucky enough to eat in some pretty amazing places all around the world.
I must say though, I’m not any kind of culinary expert. I’m simply someone who likes to eat good food without pretence and formality.
Yes, I’ve eaten in places from the Hotel du Cap in France, London, Hong Kong, Dubai, Riyadh and so many other grand and not so grand places, but few places leave me with any true wish to return.

‘So, just where is this amazing place?’ you ask. Knightsbridge? Chelsea, even? No! It’s in an arcade in Cirencester!
I often pass through Cirencester on my way to visit my mother in Witney, so I decided to pop in, give the place a look and have a bite to eat.
I must confess I have been passing through Cirencester on and off most of my life but had never really got out and had a walk around. This typical and some say ‘quaint’ Cotswold market town is a centre for Agriculture, Equestrian, Celeb shopping and so much more. Indeed, it’s one of the few places in the UK that while you may not know anyone there, you’ll certainly recognize more than just a few people from the world of TV, Film, Media and even Royalty while strolling around.

Freezing and passing rows of Range Rovers and Discoveries parked on Market Square, I finally walked into the Corn Hall and ‘Made by Bob’.
The first thing you notice when you arrive is that it doesn’t look like an ordinary restaurant. It has the look of a cross between a sushi bar and a comfortable Cotswold restaurant but with a modern shop like front.

As you walk in you immediately feel comfortable. It’s warm, inviting and straight away a smiling face welcomes you and offers you a seat.
The layout is a centred open plan kitchen with a high bar around it offering places to sit and watch the food being prepared before you and also tables around the edges. It’s not a huge place, yet it’s not too small either, put simply – it’s just right, a size that strikes the perfect balance of cosy and roomy.
The menu was straight forward with what I call ‘real’ food and offered up as a simple sheet of card. I don’t mean that to sound cheap in any way, it’s just that the simplicity actually has a real quality about it.
Having not had one for a while, the person who recommended the place also recommended the steak – I needed no further prompting as I’m not a fish eater etc. and love my steak!
The atmosphere is hard to describe, everything was casual and inviting; the lighting was just right, the guests were simply enjoying the food and chilling out with a newspaper, laptop or friend. But the standard of customer service was brilliant; helpful, non intrusive and everyone smiled in a nice way – not the usual type of fast food ‘Hi happy happy’ way. 
I think the best way to put it is that the service was of the type you get in the most expensive and exclusive restaurants, without the pretentiousness that unfortunately is typical of that calibre of service.

I watched my rare steak being cooked by Bob while I drank my Latte from a tall glass (which I must add was the perfect strength) and was interested that he cooked if for longer than I would have, yet he had far better results than I ever had.
I don’t quite know what he did, or how he did it, but I was stunned at the result, it melted on my tongue, full of flavour and left me with a huge broad smile.

Later I spoke to Bob about how he cooked steaks and how I had come to be sitting his restaurant. He told me about a new website being created at present.
In the process I said “Don’t get me wrong, the place has an atmosphere all of its own, but it isn’t where I’d bring someone for a meal in an evening”, he smiled and said “That’s good, because we shut at 6:30pm”.
Throughout this conversation he continued cooking away and what was almost surreal to me (not knowing anything about being a chef) is how he did so many things at the same time, cooking, preparing and talking.

I left ‘Made by Bob’ pleasantly surprised and with a full tummy and a big smile. My wallet had not been emptied. I had been treated and spoken to nicely, with respect and served perfectly. I had eaten alone and had not felt self-conscious at all (though with my face, I got over self consciousness shortly after birth) and how much did I pay for my large steak meal and copious coffees? £21.40!

So, if you’re in or near the Cotswolds, in need of sustenance, care and the kind of service you would expect to find in only the most expensive establishments – then I can heartily recommend ‘Made by Bob’. It is one of the best places I have ever eaten and most certainly the nicest food and customer service I have ever found in the UK!
Made by Bob: Friendly, down to earth, reasonably priced with absolutely no compromise on quality!

Special thank you to Bob and his great staff, not to mention the food. And of course Dom Joly who directed me to and insisted I try Made by Bob – I didn’t regret it at all.

Made By Bob, Unit 6, The Corn Hall, 26 Market Place, Cirencester. Tel: 01285 641 818.

twb-button

Is this right? What do you think?

Ok, I need to know what you guys think to this;

twb-button

Published in: on 12 January, 2010 at 00:58  Comments (4)  

A week that was & a week not supposed to be?

So, we had a ‘little’ snow this last few days and pretty much none of it has been worth writing about.
This is contrary to the Met office giving out severe weather warnings for all the places I’ve been going!
So where have I been?
Well, as a follow on from my earlier post, on Friday I had to deliver organic milk to Yeo Valley (a company that makes nothing but yogurt) and instead of driving in and tipping, washing and being out within two hours, it turned into the best part of seven hours!
However I can’t complain as I was thoroughly warned by WKD that the place is commonly termed ‘Slow Valley’.
After that I did a couple of the usual runs to Bridgwater and went home to end up getting just three hours sleep.
The next day It was a run to Romford in Essex – they always say ‘Romford in Essex’, but in reality it is in east London.
This time there really was a threat of heavy snow and so we took 6 sacks of salt and a couple of shovels with us…
At Romford – there was NO snow! In fact it was a nice +2C and we didn’t see a snow flake all day!
Home do get 4hrs sleep and the yesterday we headed out for Bedford followed by a run into Uxbridge in west London…
It did snow on the way home, but not for long. Finally I got home at 5am this morning to get a proper sleep.

Anyway, it appears that the weather people can’t get a single weather forecast right AT ALL… Not that I’m shocked, I’m just tired of handballing sacks of salt about (half of which is now in my car – shhh!)

Funnily, when we finished work last night/morning someone pointed at a silver Land Rover in the car park and saying that they thought it looked really good. I took one look at it and said, It might look alright but it’s rear suspension is totally screwed!! Looking in the back the guy said ‘nah, it’s got 6 sacks of salt in it so it weighed down’… I replied so has my car, but it looks no different!!
You see a land Rover has a rear ‘A’ frame between the chassis and rear axle, it works as a self levelling system and is a vital part of the rear suspension. It keeps the body and axles the right distance apart so the vehicle retains it’s full off-road capability and normal driving characteristics even when towing a heavy trailer.  Some idiots remove this, however, if they don’t carry much weight the Rear A Frame Ball Joint often seizes and fails. This is a cheap part and looks like this.
So, a word of advice; it you see a Land Rover leaning backwards – DON’T get in it!!

It’s no good you know… I have to admit that every time I get behind the wheel of a truck now I actually say out loud “I don’t want to be here”.
So I’m now off until Thursday or Friday because simply I can’t be bothered to do it anymore.
I feel a need to escape Devon this week as well and while I need to sort out my place from the water damage of a week ago, it’ll just have to wait.

twb-button

The Google Phone? It’s HTC!!

Yep, again third party companies i.e. like Apple and now Google are claiming they manufacture phones – they DON’T!!
The new Google phone is a HTC phone running Android, the Google Operating System.
Since November when I received my HTC HD2 fone (running windows 6.5) I have been stunned at HTC’s work.
It’s taken time to learn it because they are very few instructions with it being so intuitive.
HTC are fast becoming market leaders in the smart phone world and it’s quite obvious the between HTC and Samsung, they have got the smart phone edge.

Hardware ready? I think so

For those of you that have known me for about more, well, longer than 5 minutes. You’ll know that for years I have been talking about what is coming in the technology field due to my original work in the 4G field – now some four years ago.
The biggest issue from the outset was the end user hardware. We knew that we needed smart phones. We knew Microsoft’s TouchLite needed to come of age and my belief for the last 6 years is that we’ll all have some form of tablet and ear piece. The tablet would be a pc, have full 4G connectivity and also be a phone and whole host of other things.
Four years ago, peoples eyes glazed over when I told them, others simply thought I was talking out of my butt. But then, I had not been working in the field of ‘cutting’ edge technology, rather ‘Over the Edge’.
If I never get remembered for anything in this world, well that’s ok, but to me, seeing and knowing what comes next and the path in which we prepare a public for it with Nokia smart phone or even the iPhone, has been enthralling.

This next two years will change the way you compute, the way you interface with other and the world wide web.
Shows like the BBC’s ‘click’ are normally months if not years behind the given trend in technology.

Now starts the introduction to the next generation and I hope (while 4G starts to roll out) that you’re all ready for it.
And just so that you all know, the form factors will be PC and Linux variants.

This year we’ll see the large scale introduction of the ‘Slate’ PC and the last 4/5yrs will disappear into history.
The iPhone will only have a small part of that history because the only first they achieved was the screen – NOTHING else!!
For those that have bought several of them and there are people who did, you could have saved an awful lot of time, money and effort if you’d listened to me LOL

So here is the basic things that ALL smart phones should have if you’re in any doubt;

Minimum 1ghz processing
Connectivity ;
Wifi
Blue Tooth
USB connectivity
Laptop ‘tethering’ i.e. blutooth, wifi or cable attached to the laptop and internet connectivity via the Phone’s modem.
Quad Band
3G
GPRS
GPS
HSPDA
Memory card support of at least 8gig upwards

If one of these things are missing – then don’t get it. Oh and the new iPhone 3G-S does not have all the stuff listed here.

twb-button

Published in: on 8 January, 2010 at 13:38  Comments (8)  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Snowball fights on the incease!

So, I went rallying last night around the country roads of Devon in my wreck of a car. It started with me going out at 2am to move my car (the CofC) from the High St in order to avoid getting a parking ticket this morning.
The snow was only and inch or so deep, but deep enough for fun! And boy did I have some…
Returning with a HUGE grin on my face I was actually glad I didn’t own a Landy (that’s a Land Rover btw).
Getting up at noon today and receiving an email immediately from WKD, I learned that sense and wisdom had prevailed in the home of the White Knuckle Driver and sending me these photos of the North Devon Link Road with is a normally a high capacity artery that connects North Devon (oddly) to the rest of the world – I have to concur and say that while normally she would have still tried to get to work, this year she plucked out some good old commonsense and said ‘stuff this for a game of soldiers’ <- I made that bit up…
Anyway, she returned home where she is safe, sound and most certainly warm.
The rest of the UK is pretty much in the same boat, but with the weather due to get far worse, my car is now grounded. Honiton today is very quiet though what traffic there is, is still moving.
This has not stopped the Agency from ringing to see if I can get to work, but unless my usual place of employment has suddenly gained vehicles fit for purpose, I’m simply not moving!.
The down side to this means I’m house bound again, where as blog reader KMA is just about to run off for a few days in India – kinda hating her for it right now. LOL

twb-button

Published in: on 6 January, 2010 at 15:03  Comments (20)  

Back to work and Ice insidious

So I went back to work and for the most part it was a bit of a laugh. But for the life of me I couldn’t work out the timings right.
What I mean is, from the West Country, to Burgess Hill (just north of Brighton) and then on to Haywards Heath to pick up things from shops that were open just for the Christmas period.
Well, in the event it turned into hard work, a lot of sweating and temps down to minus 5C.
I drove the return leg but we loaded the truck to the brim with stock and display stands for nothing more the Calendars!.
Only to find that we had technically done a 16 ½ hour duty and that is kinda, well… illegal!
Yet there was no rescue available and we had to get back!
So, I wasn’t too impressed, but it was another day done… Click on the map to see our route, red was outbound – green was return.

Returning home at 03:30 in the morning, I opened my door and felt humidity!!
Then I heard water dripping!
Opting for a table lamp over the use of the ceiling lamp, all was revealed!
Water was seeping through the joints of the ceiling and running from the light fitting.
Most things were already splash saturated and I immediately stated clearing the area, removing the light shade, getting electrics out to the way before running up stairs and waking the people who live above out of bed. Initially nothing could be found but I could smell the sour stench of central heating water.

I returned to my flat to empty the first of several buckets of water out, until there was a knock at the door. They had found the cause and looked on in horror at my ceiling and me racing around to sort everything out.
It was their central heating pump that had died a death of sorts and water was just streaming out of it and down the electricity cables.

With only an hours sleep the phone rang asking if I was available to work – my answer : NO!

At midday today, plumbers turned up and in no time water was running out of my ceiling again!!
As I write, MORE water is running and I now have to go and have a word with them – oh the joy!!!
I would have asked if WKD wanted to pop by for a cup of tea one her way through with it being the New Year and all, but alas due to this incident and having of course to wear rain hats in my living room – maybe not!!
I am of course telling a huge lie about that invite, yer see it sounds good and real sociable and all, backed up with a quality and real excuse of why not… and there lays the trick ;)

twb-button

Published in: on 4 January, 2010 at 14:54  Comments (8)  
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