Thursday, August 31, 2006

HNT 44

Well, the decorating continues apace, although I have to admit that my body is now crying out for rest! God, wasn't that pink wallpaper and border awful (yoursecret was right - how I ever maintained an erection in that room is beyond me, although in fact I maintained many). Anyway, next week it will be painted, a fairly soft beige colour in a silk finish - "Earthsone", if you're interested. And I'm painting the woodwork in a cream satinwood, instead of the UK's more usual white gloss. Then putting up some paintings and - voila!

All in all, I admit it... time was short what with decorating (and getting plaster dust out my pants hair) , working and looking after the kids; and - in any event - I was kind of impressed when I saw what Picturetrail could do on one or two other HNT participant's blogs last week. So I decided to give you a treat today - yes, six for the price of one! Put your complaints in writing if you have any, and Customer Services will get back to you shortly.

Or not.

Happy HNT! Oh, and it's a big day tomorrow so make sure you stop by - and I might just tell you a little secret, too!


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The bedroom project

(Update: Okay, I know the paper is vile, and I should have got around to decorating my room earlier. I know that! But there are a lot of very understandable "yikes"s out there, and I just wnated to emphasise that I hate it too. Really, I hate it!

Secondly, I've found a solution for the Blogger beta/Hipcast problem. And - believe me - it isn't pretty!)

Okay... now, I realise that this is going to be a really boring post, but hey - I worked hard, you know. And that wallpaper and border was on the wall when I moved in... I didn't choose it. Honestly.

So, anyway, day one started with some wholesale destruction. Or, at least, the removal of the picture rail and some paper...

... followed by a feeling of complete panic. And then a bit of plastering.

I've got a bit more, errmmm... stripping to do, and some more making good, and then I'll be lining the walls and painting everything. Including the carpet, no doubt. But that'll be next week, so the rest of this weeks posts will be slightly more interesting.

In fact, this is something of a momentous week for reasons that will be revealed. By Friday, I promise.

See ya!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Musical Monday

So... not only does Blogger beta have all sorts of problems like the ones I referred to in my last post, but now I find that it won't even accept audio uploads from Hipcast/Audioblog. Hipcast sends them and confirms that they've been "published" but they don't appear on the blog! How annoying is that??? (Update: For anyone suffering similarly, I reported this and some other bugs to blogger, and it seems that Hipcast have to make some changes at their end in order to integrate with Blogger beta. I've written to Hipcast asking them when they'll be doing so.)

Anyway, I got down and dirty in the bedroom yesterday (The Bedroom Project has been started at last) ... it's the preparation that's always the killer, isn't it? But it'll be well on the way by this evening, and should be finished by Wednesday, all being well. And that just leaves the new flooring and the house will be finished. It's weird actually, because I did the entire house - with the exception of my bedroom - within three months of moving in, and then... well, stopped. And we'll have been here for three years in December!

Other than that it was a relatively quiet weekend, spoilt only by two things, both football-related; an inept display by my boys on Saturday afternoon that I'd rather forget, and the shattering realisation that I'll be in Spain for our first home European match for more years than I can bring myself to acknowledge. What an absolute fucker that is!

Which just leaves Musical Monday, which this week is nice and mellow and slightly different (although any perceived Cuban influences are entirely coincidental). I quote...
As the daughter of João Gilberto, the creator of bossa nova - and a man known in Brazil as, simply, The Legend - Bebel was always going to have to work hard at forging a solo career. Her mother, Miúcha, is a well known singer. Her uncle Chico Buarque is one of Brazil's first pop stars. Brazilians expected great things of Bebel, who made her recording debut at the age of seven on one of her mother's records, and appeared live at New York's Carnegie Hall (alongside Miúcha and jazz legend Stan Getz) at the age of nine.

"I want to show the world that Brazilian music isn't just 'The Girl From Ipanema'," she once declared. Her 2000 debut album Tanto Tempo was nothing short of a phenomenon, a critically acclaimed exercise in subtle sophistication that remains one of the most globally successful albums of Brazilian music ever.

Want to play? Just stick this in your sidebar or on your post, but change ALL the brackets to the pointy ones first:

(a href="" target="_blank")(img src="" alt="Image hosting by Photobucket" border="0" /)(/a)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Random thoughts

Kids... you really have got to love them, haven't you? I was sitting in the lounge yesterday evening, inflicting a bit of emotional trauma on myself with back to back episodes of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The kids were in the office, S (I thought) on Playstation and O on the computer, playing with the new web-cam. Anyway, as I sat there, tissue in hand, S popped his head around the door.

S (from his position by the door): "Yep, he's crying!"

O (from the office): "Told you he would be."

I have a busy weekend coming up, although I'm limiting my social interactions with the more beautiful sex at the moment (for one reason or another... just be patient). I'm going here today which always means great excitement even after 36 years - yes 36 years, because I've been going since I was 10 - following my boys through thick and thin (mostly thin if truth be told). Then, on Sunday, I'm starting on my bedroom; stripping the old paper off, removing the picture rail, doing a bit of plastering, and then lining & painting the walls and woodwork... photos will follow, and it should look nice when its finished. Hopefully.

Anyway, I need some help, or at least some advice... yesterday I took the opportunity to switch over to the new Blogger beta. It all seemed to go pretty smoothly (although why I bothered I don't know, as I can't use any of the new functionality on my blog anyway) but now - when I comment on anywhere that uses the standard Blogger comment function - I have to sign in each time I do so. What's more, sometimes I have to sign in with my Blogger ID, and sometimes with my Google Accounts ID. Is that a pain, or is that a pain? Grrrrrr!!!

Anyway, if anyone knows the answer... share please. And in the meantime, have fabulous weekends, dahlings.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

HNT 43

I've noticed lately that there's been a bit of a jeans theme going on, although a lot of it was associated with last weeks Fuck You Friday. But - as everyone knows - we're too polite over here to swear (yeah, right) and I passed on the opportunity to participate. Much as I'd like to say "fuck you" every once in a while.

Anyway, I needed a new pair of jeans this week, and thought I might see if I could start a sort of 501 renaissance... because, lets face it, we all wear boot cut these days. So, I bought my first pair of 501's for about 5 years, and... well, here's the result. Actually, they're not bad - I think I like them!

(Yes, there was another photo here at one point, and I'm sorry if removing it has meant that some of the comments don't quite make sense. But it was pointed out to me retrospectively that I was perhaps being a little naive with regard to the true nature of the Internet. Whilst the whole issue was one that - frankly - made me feel quite ill I've taken what was [for those that didn't see it] a very innocent picture of S down from this post. What a world we live in, eh?)

Happy HNT!


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What's normal anyway?

It doesn’t take much to change my mood, really... a holiday in Aguadulce in Andalucia, Spain – just a week in September but empty beaches and a backdrop of the Sierra Nevada– that a month ago I could never have predicted booking; the first home match of the football season tonight; a very unexpected phone call from someone very special yesterday; confirmation that my new flooring is only a couple of weeks from being laid; and the knowledge that the children will be here tomorrow, and the WDKY household will return to it’s normal state of near-chaos.

I seem to have so much going on at the moment, and most of it feels really positive. But it’s also been an expensive month, with another to follow (not helped by the fact that my printer died on me last week and I’ve just had to shell out about £500 for a new one). Work is quiet, although I know its to be expected during holiday season... but I really have to get back into business development mode now, or come the end of the year I’m going to be struggling. Mind you, I have just booked my second day of training, even though it’s material that I haven’t seen before as I’m covering for someone else (thanks, M!).

So, what did I learn from a few days of soul searching? Nothing that I didn’t know before, really... perhaps that if we expect anything in life to be permanent, the likelihood is that we’re going to be disappointed. Or that every day presents new opportunity, and if we spend our time worrying about the past we’re not going to give ourselves much of a chance to see what’s here, now - in the present. And sometimes, those opportunities can blow your mind; trust me, I know what I’m talking about... and I’d love to tell you. Really, I would :-)

Thanks for those amazing comments yesterday, and see you for HNT!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Musical Monday

Sometimes, despite that fact that I’ve been writing and reading in this environment for quite a while now, I’m still amazed at the way that we connect with each other, how we care about what’s going on in each other’s lives. I think this is my way of saying thank you, anyway, because a lot of the comments that have been left of late have meant something to me. And a lot of the emails I’ve received have told me that I’m right in refusing to become cynical.

For some reason, I seem to be going through a period of introspection, and re-evaluation. This is nothing new, actually, but the last few days have been kind of painful as I force myself to accept some of the things that I prefer to push to one side. Things about to my marriage, and the reality of what our relationship really was. Maybe the truth about what I had thought back then was love... and then again, maybe what was back in the past was just that - in the past, and it doesn't matter any more.

I suppose I’m being fairly hard on myself, and it hurts - but I also happen to believe that in some way it’s necessary. Surprisingly, a friend of mine said to me yesterday that she could see that I was "moving on", and I looked at her in a kind of shocked disbelief. I really thought I had done that already. Maybe I haven’t quite as much as I like to kid myself.

Anyway, I'm just going through a strange phase at the moment... no need to worry - normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. In the meantime, it doesn't change the fact that today is...

Musical Monday

I thought I’d stay – indirectly at least – with the theme of the frailty of love, because if anyone sings about it, Nick Cave does. I’ve been lucky enough to see him twice, once at Hammersmith Odeon and once at Brixton Academy. Brixton is definitely my favourite venue of all... small, so you can get right up to the stage, and the kind of floor that your feet stick to. And Nick Cave is an awesome performer. This track is taken from The Boatman’s Call, my favourite album of his. Oh yes - it's called “(Are You) The One That I’ve Been Waiting For?”

Or I guess you could try this..

Want to play? Just stick this in your sidebar or on your post, but change ALL the brackets to the pointy ones first:

(a href="" target="_blank")(img src="" alt="Image hosting by Photobucket" border="0" /)(/a)

(By the way, I'm still having problems accessing the published post once Audioblog has done it's business, but I discovered today that the problem doesn't lie with Blogger, or with Audioblog... in fact, it's something to do with Firefox. I can actually go into the post, see the text and the HTML source for the player, and edit both from within IE... how weird is that? And I have to say that IE 7 is pretty cool too!)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Life's rich tapestry

I’m not a man who’s easily surprised in normal circumstances. But I have to confess that I’ve received one or two emails of late that have caused me to raise a metaphorical eyebrow. And they were much appreciated too, providing as they did an insight into another’s psyche... a glimpse of that person that isn’t normally on public display. In fact, I’ve been quite touched.

Anyway, I can feel myself digressing, so I’ll get back to the point. I was answering a specific issue the other day and it related to my decision not to carry on seeing Dina, as I called her - who you may remember was someone who I felt could just have been “the one”. I wrote something about it here at the time, but didn’t really explain why I was just walking away, and it seems that my actions might have been misinterpreted as those of... well, some kind of player.

Dina was absolutely gorgeous, and from the second we met each other it was as if we’d known each other for years. Everything was... right. After our third date, we knew we were both feeling something that was really special, and I had an absolute belief that I was going to fall completely in love with her.

In my original post I said “Yesterday afternoon, then, she sent me an email, an email that gave me a little more information about her. Information of a very personal nature. And the consequence of her sharing that with me is that I can never see her again, even though I know she was a woman who I would have loved. Life sucks sometimes, doesn’t it?” What she told me, in fact, was that she had – years before – contracted Hepatitis B, and that she had to tell me at that point because she knew we were about to sleep together. And she was right, because it felt like an unstoppable force.

Anyway, I agonized, talked, researched, and thought… but to cut a long story short the reason I determined that I couldn’t see her again was the risk not to me, but to the children; either indirectly as a consequence of my becoming ill (yes, there’s a vaccination available but it’s not 100% effective; and the mortality rate amongst those infected is around 10%, even today), or more directly through their own exposure. So I really had no alternative but to walk away, and even now I think back occasionally in that “what if…” kind of way. But that’s life, I guess.

The reason that I’m mentioning this is that it’s all too easy to make judgments and assumptions about the people who choose to expose something of their lives through their blog. And if I’ve learnt anything in my life it’s not to judge, and not to assume. Even when a relationship is conducted in the full gaze of the public (or in this case, the reader) there are always things that we don’t know… that we can’t know.

I talk a lot about my love for the children, and the importance of conducting myself in a way that feels like it has some kind of integrity. But believe me when I say that reaching this point in my life has been something of a journey. If I choose to look back there are times, and things that I’ve done, that leave me feeling less than proud. So I don’t want to give anyone the impression that I’m something I’m not… I’m just a flawed human being, but one that still manages to go through life with a bit of a twinkle in his eye. I try to do the right thing, act the right way… somehow be a positive force in the lives of the people I meet. If I succeed, that’s good. And if I fail, it will never be knowingly, or willingly.

Have a lovely weekend, all of you. As always, I’ll stop by and say hi before too long.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

HNT 42 - tan lines

Having endured the scorn of my fellow bloggers for the cardinal sin of wearing Speedos in the privacy of my own garden during the early part of the summer, I recall promising to provide pictorial evidence that more... "acceptable" garb would be worn around the pool in Tenerife. So - true to my word - here's a photo taken today, clearly showing the following: -

A - Orginal upper tan line - note the blurring, caused by a variety of shorts with slightly differing waistband styles/heights.

B - Original lower tan line, now faded slightly due to lack of sunlight as a consequence of said shorts.

C - Yes, look closely - that's the new tan line, appearing more than a few inches down a damn fine thigh my leg!

So, there you have it... concrete proof that I'm not a sunbathing weirdo. Oh, and Happy HNT to one and all!

Edit: There is a line. There is!!!


Tuesday, August 15, 2006


I’ve often told myself that I’ve come out of my relatively recent trauma – by which I mean the end of my marriage – completely unscathed. That there was no lasting damage, and that my outlook on life has remained unchanged. I was speaking to Zooz not that long ago, and I was at last prepared to admit that the truth is probably a little different to that... that my apparent inability to commit is a direct result of the pain I felt those three or so years ago. And maybe by accepting that, I can do something about it. Or at least recognise what prompts me to behave the way that I do, and that seems to be a start, at least.

My ex was motivated by a very complicated psyche that I won’t even try to explain right now, but to the casual observer it would have seemed that she was somehow endeavouring to escape the boredom in which she had encased herself by seeking some kind of illicit excitement outside of our marriage. If you were to ask her now whether the path she chose – no doubt unwittingly in the beginning – was one she’d also choose with the benefit of hindsight, I suspect that she would answer in the negative without much hesitation. But the saying about making your own bed holds true, and she’s still with the guy who was at least in part responsible for the damage that was done to my family. He had no responsibility to us, I know that... but he’s not totally blameless either. And the fact that they’re still together is for the most part an irrelevance to me, except for certain things that happen, at certain times of the year.

Christmas day, for example, when I sit and contemplate what curve-balls life can throw at you as O and S open their presents in what might as well be a parallel universe. Or in the summer, when the children go off for a week or two for their second holiday of the year and I fall asleep to a deathly silence in our house, often wandering into their bedrooms just to see if I can still detect their smell, or to smile at a sweet wrapper pushed in panic under a chest of drawers. But something – anything – to make it feel like they aren’t so far away.

Right now, they’re in Turkey. They get back a week today, and it’s a week that’s going to go very slowly indeed.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Musical Monday

Well, that was a good weekend. Quiet and reflective, for once, and a decision made about the house... I'm having new wooden floors in the lounge, the hall, and the office. Actually, I can't wait, and I'm hopefully going to order everything on Tuesday. All I need to do now is tell the bank manager (ROFL)...

I've been doing a lot of catching up on my blogroll too, and I have to say that I'm really impressed with some of the photography out there. Cat, Susan, Ceeci and Em are all doing fantastic things on their blogs, and I did say to Em that I'd post a couple of photos from a recent trip to Lisbon in case she ever gets back to Portugal... here they are, anyway. It's a city I'd live in at the drop of a hat, actually.

Musical Monday

Well, I'm amazed yet again that so many people are playing, and it was really lovely to see all the posts from the period I was on holiday... thanks to all of you for giving me a nice warm glow. This week, I'm going for a fantastic track from a band that no-one else ever seems to say much about - Hawkwind. Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music was released in 1976 and although it was never considered on of their best I've always loved it... maybe because it reminds me of a certain period in my life that I'll never see again. Anyway, this track is called Chronoglide Skyway. It's best listened too just slightly stoned, incidentally!

Want to play? Just stick this in your sidebar, but change ALL the brackets to the pointy ones first:
(a href="" target="_blank")(img src="" alt="Image hosting by Photobucket" border="0" /)(/a)

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Well, I’ve been back for a week today. And you know what – it’s already a distant memory. Slow days by the pool, long nights in the bar, bronzed and oiled bodies in skimpy bikinis... we work for it all year and yet it’s over in the blink of an eye.

This life we lead needs more balance, it seems to me. In the UK, we work the longest hours in Europe and – not by coincidence – suffer from one of the highest rates of heart disease and incidences of strokes. Children go whole weeks without seeing their parents, and people seem to have forgotten how to just kick back and RELAX. Well, I haven’t, and I won’t... and if I have to put up with clients who pay late, accountants who can’t do their job properly and banks that reject applications for mortgage payments (yes, that’s what I came home to) then so be it. Because there’ll be no more nine to five for me, and no more spending my life in a suit... I much prefer it round the pool. It’s so much more civilised!

And there might just be some life-changing stuff going on in this neck of the woods – the next two or three weeks will determine a lot of things, one way or another. I’d love to explain but it might be a little premature right now - but I’m sure you won’t be surprised if I say that there’s some... excitement in store. The kind of excitement I like, as it happens. Only this time it’s a little more exotic than usual, and perhaps a little more challenging. And, to be honest, no-one’s more surprised than I am.

Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend... I’ll be stopping by later to see what you’re up to.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

HNT 41 - a belated 3rd of 3

Look, I know it's been a couple of weeks, but I was on holiday... what did you want me to do - post from the hotel? (Actually, I could have done, but I was too busy doing... errrmmm... Cubans.) Anyway, I'm back in the land of the half-nekkid, although I guess it requires a fairly liberal interpretation of "half".

So, here it is then... oh, and that's a pre-holiday tan line... it goes a bit further down the cheek and upper thigh now.

Shower series - 3 of 3

Happy HNT!


(Oh, and for those of you who have made "special" requests... there is a place, not a million miles away, where I've been a little more revealing. But that's for you to work out...)

Monday, August 07, 2006

Hola, my blogglies

Bloody hell, that was the quickest two weeks I can remember for a long time. But I'm back in one piece, rather tanned and (if I may say so) sexy, having managed to get down to the gym pretty much every morning to counter the effects of too much food and alcohol. And, of course, I've missed you!

First of all, then, thanks for all the comments, which were lovely. I didn’t even get close to posting while I was away, but I wasn’t out of touch completely thanks to the wonder of email. And I was (relatively) well-behaved, even when the Scottish Sisters arrived after a few days and the serious partying began... before that I was entertained by some other friends of theirs who were there when we arrived, so I really didn’t spend any time on my own at all.

And I was quite good in a relative sense, barely getting up to any mischief whatsoever. I did get a little bit tempted by one of the girls that worked in the bars at the hotel, mind you; her name is Beatriz, she’d been there last year (when we’d got on really well) and it was great to see her again. This time, she was even more tactile than I remembered, touching my hands, my arms, and my chest as we were talking (no lower, unfortunately). Then, one evening, she said something to me and stroked my face, and that point my resolve broke completely and I must admit I asked her out for dinner. Much to everyone’s surprise (including my own) she said yes, and we ended up having a fantastic meal in a seafood restaurant tucked away in a little fishing village overlooking the sea. Afterwards, she took me to a salsa bar to meet her sister, and then we drank, clubbed and chatted until about four in the morning. She's beautiful, intelligent, and funny, and has decided that she wants to pop over to London for a visit.

Oh, and she's 28. And Cuban. And the most fucking amazing dancer I’ve ever seen.

So, that’s about it, I guess. I still have my hair (on my head, I mean), my pubes have grown a little, and my Speedo tan-line has been softened by two weeks of wearing (slightly more normal) shorts around the pool. And, to be honest, I’m glad to be back. I’ll leave you with some photos, and I’ll be catching up with you all over the next day or so.

Some posing...

Some swimming...

Some sailing...

Some Kids Club prize winning...

And even some performing in The Lion King...

Well, that’s it then... a bit of planning, a lot of money, and another one for the album. And if I hadn’t just booked up for a long weekend in Venice, and if I didn’t have something very special planned for a little later in the year, I might be seriously depressed. As it is, though... I’m not depressed at all! Oh, and Musical Monday well recommence next week - I'm too shagged to think of anything today. Sorry.