Monthly archive

Haven’t you got better things to do?

Some peculiar information

I arose betimes and visited the municipal recycling centre, which used to be called the council tip before we lived in an era of branding, metrics and leveraging synergy to monetise stakeholder value. Then in the intrests of charging the battery I accidentally drove to St Albans and back really fast in my Audi, strickly speaking I should only have been out for twenty minutes, but it turned into about two hours by mistake. This is what happens when you have an Audi.

It was a super sunny day so I went out bikesploring after that, I saw the Hendon Weir heron again but this time in flight! It was flapping lazily like a pterodacktyl. NB this is baseless speculation as I have not actually seen a pterodacktyl, using the power of the imagination I imagine it would look exactly like a heron though.

I went to the Welsh Harp and thoughtfully took my camera, I got some intresting pictures of swans, coots, and also a flying heron! So there will be some photergraphic evidence soon and you can be the jury about whether it looks like a pterodacktyl or not.

It was glorious sunshine sparkling on the water and trees and all Nature held her breath like a drop of crystal dew glimmering on the spider web of morning (good writing). (Memo to self this is opening page of novel.) I bikled up to Golders Hill Park and then back to London’s exclusive Finchley for some refreshing drinks at the Dignity. I got into a very intresting conversation with a drunk man, about Dostoevsky! That is the type of thing that only happens at the Dignity. It is that kind of pub.

I got no sense of eggs!

Achewood frequently mirrors my own situation.

The adventures of Baron Keithlard

Well it has been a grand few days, I went bikling with Jane yesterday and we saw a grey heron at Hendon Weir. I thought it was the same one I normally see at Brent Park, except we went to Brent Park and saw another one! So that is two herons.

Jane was great as she came all the way to Brent Cross with me, via the sinister witch’s cottage, and we had delicious toasted paninis and coffee. I bought an unnecessarily massive Leatherman knife in Blacks and Jane got a hat!

On the way home we saw a wagtail and a meadow pipit. I was out bikling today and I saw a kingfisher by Henrietta’s Pond! So in bird terms it was a wizzo weekend. In other news, we saw the Simpsons movie. I laughed immoderately throughout, it was jolly lucky that some popcorn did not become lodged in my trachea due to laughing while eating popcorn at the same time.

I finally finished Bleak House

That was a bit of a marathon as it is a giant rollercoaster of a novel, in 400 sizzling chapters, but I enjoyed it. I am a fast reader, but I seem to have been toting that doorstop around for some weeks. I was getting a bit sick of it by the last 200 pages, so I went to the coffee shop and vowed that until I had finished the book I would not leave, or stop eating chicken and bacon sandwidges.

It is good as I used to have a real blind spot about Dickens, until a brief yet intensely passionate dalliance with a pretty English teacher introduced me to Great Expecktations, which is fantastic. The book actually lasted longer than the relationship though. Then I read Nicholas Nickleby which unfortunately I left on the bus by mistake, so will never now find out what happens. Unless I buy another copy. Then Hard Times which was a bit too moralising for my taste, plus Dickens’ wonky attempts at dialect, like Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins: “Cor bloimey! Oi’m a Cockney, thit’s wot Oi em!”

Bleak House is another book with a point to make, this time about the immense slowness and venality of the legal system, where people waste their whole lives and lose all their money pursuing complicated Chancery cases. I must say I would not want to piss Dickens off in case he wrote a great sledgehammer of a moral novel criticising me: Keith Lard, a massive tale of the downtrodden urban poor oppressed by a cruel and wicked system administrator, who promises to fix their laptops and then never seems to get round to it.

The only thing is how did he find time to write 107 gigantic novels, when most of us struggle to dash off a note to the milkman. I can only conclude he did not have a lot of friends who kept coming up to him at about 7 o’clock in the evening making swigging pint gestures and saying ‘Oi Oi Charley boy! It’s your round son!’ And that he did not have a girlfriend as they soak up a lot of time too.

In a good way obviously.

The night has a thousand pints

I think I might be turning into an alcoholick as I have spent the last X nights out drinking a massive amount of drinks! Where X is a number that I cannot remember.

It is awkward as I do not like to drink too much, and I am trying to lose weight, but I really like being out with my friends! And having in depth conversations, about such as comedy, bikling, fishing, Enemy Territory tactics, or how to get hold of women. Also chomping pizzas.

I always make good resolutions not to go out at all, or if I do go out not to drink anything, or to only have one drink, and it always ends up being ‘only one more drink after this one’. I think I might need to make some friends in the Mormon community or something like that where I will not be tempted to quaff beers in the name of good fellowship and general merrimint.

It is fun though.

Crash! Bang! Wallop! What a race

I forgot how excellent touring car racing is. Formula One is a lot more popular because it is shiny and noisy and full of champagne and glamour, but the cars are tiny scraps of computer-designed carbon fibre that bear as much resemblance to an ordinary car as a spaceship. Touring cars, although tuned and fitted with high-performance parts, are basically close cousins of the ordinary saloon cars that you and I might drive (not me specifically, I’ve got an Audi. But you know what I mean.)

Also, in Formula One it is quite boring as there is hardly any passing. The speeds are so high and the cars so fragile that the slightest contact usually results in one or both cars disintegrating and some angry gesticulations in the pit lane. Touring cars are more robust so twenty of them tend to pile into a corner at once and devil take the hindmost, if you come back at the end with all your body panels and paintwork intact, you really haven’t been trying hard enough. Races tend to be short and furious so there is less chance for the cars to spread out, and it is thrilling door-to-door racing especially in the wet.

Too beautiful not to share

I do not mean me of course, although I am very beautiful, I’m not for sharing. So girls form an orderly queue please. This is a picture from Astronomy Picture of the Day, of moonlight and Venuslight reflected in a Missouri lake. Lovely!

Where your Tesco spring onions come from

Very intresting article in the Guardian:

The miracle of cheap fresh food depends on illegality

You have probably not heard of Bomfords. But you will almost certainly have eaten its produce. Bomfords supplies more than 50% of the big supermarkets’ spring onions, and more than a quarter of their green beans and fresh peas… The company was recruiting its temporary staff through seven agencies. Each of those agencies was found to be breaking the law and had its licence revoked. Some of the Poles employed by one of the agencies were in such fear that the GLA revoked its gangmaster’s licence on the spot.

It had been common knowledge for years in the industry that Bomfords offered gangmasters hourly rates for workers that made it all but certain that those gangmasters would be breaking the law… In other words, the business model of cheap fresh food which the big supermarkets have used to establish their dominance has depended on illegality.”

I accidentally made a beer lolly

Do you remember in Black Books when Bernard gets a frozen bottle of wine and smashes it on the desk and just starts licking the frozen goodness. I just did the same thing by mistake when I put a bottle of beer in the newly defrosted freezer compartmint instead of the fridge, and then went out to the pub with Matt.

When I came back it had not exploded. But it was foaming and all the beer is solid! I do not know what to do. I might have to go out to the little shop to get a new beer while the old one defrosts.

Nimlard, the Mighty Hunter

Well in a ‘Daddy-or-chips’ moment I weighed up the relative merits of staying in and defrosting the freezer, or spending the day fishing! The thing is basically you do not need to do too much to a freezer, just let it get on with it, so I sneaked off with my fishing gear for a lovely day on the riverbank at Strand-on-the-Green in Chiswick.

I have got one of those folding chairs and set myself up for a comfy afternoon with some sandwidges and an orange and banana drink. It is nice fishing as people stop and talk to you.

Kew Bridge. I did not actually catch anything in fact but I had a few nibbles. The thing about fishing is that you have to do it a bit before you can figure out properly what you’re doing. I know a bit more about it now and am getting quite good at casting so next time I might do better.

The master angler, looking cheerful. I should have set up a bit nearer the pub though as I could have been relaxing with a big pint!