The result and other things …


I have decided. There shall be NO single theme in this blog. There are a few reasons, but the main one is that this blog is just me. I started it as a means of practicing my writing. The intention was that I would mainly read other writers posts and glean what knowledge and tips I could pick up to improve my writing and use that to post my own work. That part of the plan is still working, but to post my own work, I have to do some!

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Today it’s “Let’s Rip Off People By Pretending We Care About The Romantic Things In Life When They Have Just Started To Get Over Christmas” Day. Or as it is known “Valentines Day.” To be accurate it’s actually Saint Valentines Day, but in this day and age of religious intolerance, people tend to forget the ‘Saint’ part. It is just a money making con by retailers, to encourage people to part with money that they don’t probably have. You may have guessed by now, that I’m not a fan! I shall leave it there!

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One of the things I said I would do when I retire was to clear out some the junk we have horded over the past twenty (call that forty) years. The loft is ridiculously full of said junk, and the garage is not far behind. I took some stuff to the tip last week and yesterday spent a couple of hours trying to identify what we wanted to get rid of. I found a bag full of trousers. Some of them were mine that had mysteriously shrunk over the years, particularly in the waist area. I don’t know how that happens at all! Some of them were new pants that K*** had bought for R*** in the sales and such. This brings me, in a round about way to the sizing of some of those clothes.

I was ironing some of them this morning and was making a note of the leg length. Four pairs had an inside leg measurement of 29”, but they all seemed to be different lengths. Out with my trusted tape measure, and I find that one pair is indeed 29”, but two pairs are 31” and one was actually 32”. All were from the same store and all the same style. Then to cap it all, another pair had a size of ‘15 years’! How do they measure a size by a persons age? When I was 15, I was just a little over 5ft. Most of my class were around the 5ft 6in, but there was at least two, maybe three guys who were over 6ft.

I really do get a bit frustrated and angry with how clothes are sized.

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To IMAG0559finish up, this is the latest of my knitting ‘projects’. It’s a simple scarf that I have been on with for a couple of days. It was an easy pattern to work with and I thought I would share it with you. As I mentioned earlier, I’m not going to have a theme for my blog, and I’ll just throw in things like this whenever the fancy takes me.

Why do they have to be ‘projects’? It’s just a hobby.

Is it a scam …?


Yesterday, I received an email direct to my WordPress email from an organisation that calls itself  ‘My Trending Stories’. Having a quick look on their website, it seems that they collect posts from various people on various subjects.

The email drops a few flattering phrases into the body, such as “…and strongly admire the content. Your writing abilities and ability to engage readers is remarkable and a very rare asset…” and “…strongly believe that your writing aligns with our core value…” and concludes with “…we only allow a certain amount of writers on the website in order to provide mentorship and personal growth…”. Now, this all sounds very interesting and promising, but is there a catch? I emailed them back for more details, and the reply was very much of the same. It appears that I would have to post regularly eg two or three times a week and can even repost work I have posted on my blog at WordPress.

I did a little Googling around, and I understand that a number of people are among the ‘certain amount of writers’ that this site  is attempting to attract. I have to say, that I am a little intrigued, even interested, but I have doubts. Nothing I can put my finger on, but I’m a bit uncertain. Maybe it’s the commitment or maybe it’s the excessive flattery that worries me, I don’t know.

I would be interested to know if any of my followers/readers have had the same email or any experience of this site.

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Now for the “Rant of The Day.” I’m not the biggest fan of tennis. In fact, I’m not really a sports fan at all. But K*** like to watch Wimbledon, especially when it’s Andy Murray. So the point of my rant today is how it is shown on television. The BBC covers all the big matches, but they seem to like to mess around with the channels. Tonight, Mr Murray’s match was on BBC 1 until around 6pm when it was moved to BBC 2, to allow for the news. It then flipped back to BBC1. Why? Why could they not re-arrange the schedules and put the tennis on BBC 2 and BBC 3? It’s not as if they haven’t done it before. I have an idea, that it is to stop people from ‘live pausing’ the matches. That is all well and good and some of us can remember the days before live pausing, but it is a feature that a lot of people have and we should be able to use it. Come on BBC, get your act together.

A Rant, A Query and a bit of a Moan


I’m going to start with a bit of a rant. I know I have mentioned this before, but I can knit. Not huge amounts of clothes but usually small crafty items, such as daffodils and hearts and the like. DaffsI’ve done it on and off since I as about 8 years old, and when I’m in the mood, I really enjoy it. Now the issue I have, is that nearly all the magazines and websites dedicated to knitting do not seems to tailor any  of their content to the male knitter. Men have always knitted, and while todays society is a little less ‘macho’ enforced it is still rare to see a man knitting in public. I’ve done it, and you do feel very self conscious. It is not until your public realise that it can be quite intricate and that you are quite good at it, that some semblance of normality creeps in.

It annoys me when you see articles about knitting STheSin magazines or on the internet, that they almost always show pictures of women with their needles (never call them pins!) in their hands. It is the same with sewing and embroidery … never men. I recently signed up to an online knitting forum, with the intention expressing my concerns in the area on male knitting. I was more than disappointed when my registration confirmation email, which was addressed to Anthony Huby, started with “Dear Ms …” I’m still awaiting comments on that first post!

Here endeth today’s rant.

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I’m pondering at the moment, as to what software to use to write. I have Microsoft Word, which I tend to use mostly. However, there are a lot of suggestions that I need to write with software that has a cleaner interface. By that I mean not as many ‘whistles and bells’. Something a little plainer. More than a simple text editor such as Wordpad though, and possibly software that is dedicated for writers.

The two top mentioned software applications seems to be Scrivener and yWriter. I found both very confusing to use. Scrivener was a trial version, and had a number of features that were not available, but even so, I found it difficult to understand. yWriter is freeware, but was even more confusing as it tries to concentrate your mind on breaking chapters down into what it calls ‘scenes’.

I have tried both but think I am going to go back to Word. It’s an application that I know quite well and have used for a long (long) time. I’m loathe to pay for more software (don’t like paying for anything if the truth were known) if what I have got does the job.

What do all you writers out there in WordPress land use, and just as importantly, is it free?

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Back to work tomorrow! Not looking forward to it at all. I still feel a little under the weather, but not ill enough to warrant any more time off. Of course, the question I always get asked (we have a ‘return to work interview’) will be “Are you back to 100%?” I’ve not been 100% for many years, I tend to hover around a normal level of around 92%, so the question always winds me up a little.

I’ll get the usual raised eyebrows when I mention I’ve been off with a ‘cold’. These are the same people that would complain if they caught a cold, that “…they got it from ‘so and so’ who has been sneezing all over the place …” Can’t win with a simple cold!See what I mean

We are also starting with a new telephone system tomorrow. It uses Skype for Business as its exchange and means that laptop users, which most of us are, will have to wear a headset, when making or receiving a phone call. I’m expecting to look like an overpaid telephonist (no offence). It is supposed to save the Council. The theory, as I understand it is that as we already use Skype for Business for instant messaging, using it as a phone does not coast any more. Training on the new system seems to be a bit sporadic, but as ‘The Team’ are classed as IT people, I think we are supposed to just get on with it. That part of tomorrow could be quite intriguing.

Just thinking out aloud …


I’ve had a WordPress blog account for a long time now. In fact looking back, it’s been almost ten years since my first post. There has been times when I have thought ‘…is it worth it…’ and ‘…who reads this…’ and there has been the odd time when I have just stopped writing for a couple of months. Basically, could not be bothered! But my anticipated early retirement has started me thinking, that I may have more time on my hands for writing. I am looking to go down the path of ‘creative writing’ with the intention of getting some work published. I not holding my breath on this, but I suppose we have to have a dream of sorts. To this end, I have been considering creating a second blog, which would be dedicated to my (intended) creative writing.

Many moons ago, I had a Blogger account which I was trying to use as a cross-posting blog. The idea was to upload the same post to WordPress and Blogger. It did not really get off the ground, and I abandoned the project after about four posts. There was no easy way of posting the same work to two separate without ‘copy and paste’ which did not work at all.

Over the past week or so, I have attempted to reinvigorate my Blogger account, but it still seems to be a lot more difficult to use than WordPress and the available themes not a patch on those that WordPress have to offer. This leads me to think, that a second WordPress account may be the way forward.

So a decision has to be made, and I think I am close to making that decision. Don’t be surprised if in the next month or so, some my posts have a test link to another WordPress blog.

Have you ever ?


Some time ago, I had a go at recording a Vlog. I think that’s the name for posting a video as a blog post. When I say ‘I had a go’ what I really mean is that I sat in front of my Webcam and tried to make a recording. It was as I expected a total disaster. So much so that it/they got deleted from my computer within minutes of watching it/them back.

I tried two ways of doing the recording. The first attempt was completely off the cuff. I prepared nothing at all and just spoke, as if I was writing. The problem with that method is that unless you are utterly focused you can just clam up. When I’m writing a post, such as this, I often will stop … pour a glass of wine …look at what my wife is watching on TV  and things like that. It never is a straight forward sit and write until it’s done. That doesn’t work with a video, unless you are an expert in video editing.

The second attempt saw me writing out my monologue/rant/story and trying to read as I recorded. Unfortunately, that is exactly what it looked like. Even though I had practised and rehearsed, it just looked like I was a 1950’s newsreader giving the headlines with no auto-cue. So I don’t really think the Vlog is for me. I may willing to have another go sometime in the future, the distant future, but I think I will need a lot of help if I’m to take it at all serious.

So much for writing everyday !


Some time ago, I made the rather rash decision to write at least a few line everyday. That was back in the middle of February, and I had every intention of doing so, even if it meant just a few lines. Well, that didn’t last. Looking back, I think it lasted a grand total of four days!

(Note to self … avoid publishing rash statements.)

Not too much happened since I last posted. Work still continues to be a drag. People not doing what they are asked to do. People expecting too much … I mean how am I expected to know that “those people sat over there” are one team and “those sat over here (except for those two)” are another team. I’ll tell you what, just give me a list of who is in what team and I’ll have a go at working it out. But that’s not the way we work.

Talking of work. I have applied for another job. It is basically similar to what I’m doing now, but I feel it will be a little more structured than the shambles I’m currently used to. I do like structure. I find the sometimes ‘ad-hoc’ nature of the way our team works very difficult at times. What I also have difficulty with these days, is the constant stress of having to learn something new every couple of weeks. What seems to happen frequently is that we are sent on a training course to learn a new application( or product as we now seem to call them) and then we never use what we learn for a few months. This of course means, for me at least, that I have forgotten everything I learned. It’s the old phrase use it or lose it” and it certainly rings true.

Anyway, back to the job application. The closing date was the 3rd May, so knowing the way the Council operates, if I have got an interview I should get to hear by the end of this week, beginning of the next. It will be quite strange if I do get through the selection process. I’ve not had a ‘proper’ interview for years. The past few interviews I have had have all been part of restructures, which really means that you’ve got the job as long as you don’t totally mess up. This one will be out of my comfort zone, should it happen.

I did also apply for a job through the jobs page on LinkedIn. It was a local job, but nothing has come of it and If the truth were known, I didn’t think anything would. It has probably gone to someone already earmarked for the job.

Worrying day, going well …


I was going to have a go at with the new Writing Prompt app today (might still do later) but things that we were expecting to go bad, didn’t. I shall elaborate.

Mrs H*** decide, some time ago, that she wanted the rendering on the outside walls replacing. It has become damaged somewhat, and the last paint job did not work well at all. The issue has DSCF0167been that the paint is flaking off and exposing the ‘bare’ render. It is not a small job and requires that the old render be chipped off and a new render applied. My personal view was P1010864that it just needed the rest of the paint removing and the render skimming. As ‘Master of The House’ I was, of course out voted and we went for the a full re-application. Whatever we had decided on, it meant that the house needed scaffolding erecting. Today was the day that the scaffolders arrived. We were both worried that the noise would upset R***, as because of his Autism, anything out of the ordinary can cause him a problem. He was brilliant, and it did not seem to worry him in the least. He skipped from room to room looking out of every window, just watching everything that was going on.

Then, just we thought that we had cracked it came the the ‘big hit’. One of the guys knocked on the door and explained, that because of the position of our satellite dish and the positioning of the scaffold around it, we would lose the signal. Now whilst (whilst or while … which would you use?) this was a bit inconvenient, me and Mrs H were not too bothered. But R***! He watches (at least it is on all the time) the same programmes every day. From around 8am until 10:30pm it’s ‘Nick Jnr Too’. He then switches to ‘BBC2 NI’ until 8am the next day. This happens all the time he is at home with us. Never changes. So how will he cope with this? He seemed to be okay when he was having his lunch and when he finished, I managed to load up Thomas the Tank Engine DVD. Surprisingly enough, he accepted this without any issue. We were both amazed. He is now on his 4th DVD and has even picked his own choice. This certainly not what we were expecting at all. There is a lot of finger crossing and hoping at the moment, as he could just turn at any time. We will know when  it gets to BBC2 NI time!