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Tim Minchin

It’s not very often that my ear worm chooses a whole artist but recently while lazing in bed or pootling on the iPad I suddenly get the urge to sing “……fuck I love boobs though…..”, maybe it’s just as well I am not out and about in public!

Tim Minchin describes himself as a musician, but this underplays his artistry, his creative skills and his often dark humour. How he analyses the things that make you think, how he dissects and interprets thoughts, ideas, philosophies and puts them into a song that hooks you in linguistically, musically, emotionally and mentally. But what is it about his creations that seem to appeal to me.

Maybe it is his acrobatic linguistics and agility, in songs like Prejudice or his piano whimsy of Rock & Roll Nerd, maybe it is the poignancy of I’ll Take Lonely Tonight or the deep thought of Not Perfect, perhaps it’s the pure risqué amusement of Inflatable You or the musicians amusement of F Sharp, he performs a couple of beat poems which take you on a journey so adroitly, especially Storm. It could be the absurdity that he sees meets with me.

Now I should add a warning here, he uses language some don’t care for and he has opinions that some would not agree with, especially on the controversial topics like religion, creationism. It is not a mocking attitude, more of an “I’ve read and listened but still don’t understand how people wholeheartedly believe ‘this'”.

I enjoy watching his live performances as his expressions and timings add another layer of language, there are few piano players that almost mesmerise me, Jools Holland is another, Tim seems to throw his hands (and sometimes feet) at the keys and they always hit the right notes, the right way at the right time, he cannot sit still as he plays (unless it’s a serious song). He tends to perform barefoot, a throwback to early experimental days where going barefoot helped him feel confident and quelled the stage nerves.

It took me a while to decide which song to link here, I make no apology if you find yourself merrily, absentmindedly singing “…..fuck I like boobs though….”

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2020 in Music, people, Review

 

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Slow Desk Day

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There really is nothing like playing ‘name that tune’ with the random shuffle of your desktop iTunes, and there are not many places where Saint-Seans is followed by Alice Cooper, Dean Martin, Zakk Wylde, Samantha Gibb or Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band with a side of Lord Rockingham XI (eclectic you say? Maybe).

After a few weeks of procrastination I forced myself to attend to the growing clutter on the desk. I enjoy my desk, I can get on with the admin of life, I can amuse and entertain myself and I can feel like something has been achieved. My to-do lists (I have categories) is totalling 27 and I’ve whittled it down to …..drumroll….. 24 🤣

There is nothing like a new toy to get the motivation going. It may sound pretty unspectacular but I’m a bit geeky. It’s a confidentiality roller. You look perplexed. It’s just a pre-inked roller that you roll across paper and it covers any print with a pattern, ideal for scrolling across letters containing addresses, personal details, before putting it in the recycling bin.

New toys need new homes, as I was adjusting bits and bobs in the desk draw I came across the spare refill for my twisty pen, you know the one I couldn’t find but knew I had somewhere. I found it, yippee, right after opening the replacement I had bought as I couldn’t find the b-loom-ing thing. Sod’s Law is alive and wreaking havoc.

I was just finishing off a little task when my tea time carer arrived, I’d lost time and was unprepared. That’s the power of …… the desk!

Must finish off an email.

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2020 in General, Life

 

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The Stunned Pause

Yesterday I had one of those instances where Big Sis would have literally laughed out loud. It began with my afternoon care visit, the carer is one I do not have very regularly but has been coming here for a few Saturday afternoons, we’ve had a number of conversations about various things. How to describe her, she’s short and rounded, akin the Estelle Getty look. She has a tendency to speak as if she’s looking after a half-deaf tottery ancient oldie who starts each sentence with a croaky “I’m eighty four you know…” type vibe.

She mentioned that her brother goes to a music evening where those gathered listen to and discuss music, wondered whether that would be something of interest to me (absolutely not). I replied that not many people listen to the styles of music that I enjoy. I went on to explain that I have a very mixed musical taste, depending on what I’m doing at the time. When I am concentrating on writing the HTML for the website I tend to listen to classical music, the likes of Debussy, Bach, Saint-Saën, Rachmaninov and such, for other creative musings it might be general rock and pop of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s preferring proper good tunes to specific groups, but my absolute go to for pure enjoyment and mood uplifting and this was my driving music was…..

(When I was telling BFF this in a telephone call at this point she went “You didn’t!”, oh yes I absolutely did.)

…..heavy metal, not the main stream but the off main rib rattling proper deep metal.

And then it happened, the face freezes as the mind adjusts and computes, the eyes reveal that they had a completely different perception of you. The sweet little innocent young (not so now) ‘nice’ girl. Ohhhh Noooooo, I have a dark side. I am sarcastic, cynical, stubborn, feisty, questioning. My tastes are eclectic, I enjoy Shakespeare and Dickens, but also Red Dwarf and child animation movies; tv quizzes like Tipping Point or The Chase and will have a crack at Only Connect and University Challenge; films it’s more the grizzly horror or mystery than sweet romance. Musically it’s what takes my fancy.

In a recent online convo with my BFF about getting my hair cut, she suggested like Tinkerbell, to which I posted the suitably cute smiling face and she, knowing me exceptionally well, said no, more like…

Can you guess who posted which, lol.
 
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Posted by on June 14, 2020 in General, Life, people

 

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Behind The Screen

This blog is a little different to my usual because it is being written with the intention of adding a link elsewhere to try and explain/highlight what has happened ‘behind the screen’ to bring a web page together.

As some may know I administrate, edit and manage a web site about a particular musician and have done for many many years. It is an on-going, complex, multi-layered learning experience that gathers information into one place. I do it for my own satisfaction, to have a one-stop place that collates his work, for the fans and those interested to visit. Yes, it costs me money, but what hobby doesn’t.

Recently he was interviewed by Dom Familaro for The Sessions Artist Series published to YouTube. If you are interested in the workings of the music industry, the various musicians that back, support, perform with many A-list names, perhaps you play an instrument, these interviews are entertaining and interesting to hear so many peoples different life stories, how music became their profession and where that profession has taken them and things they’ve learnt and experienced on the way. But I digress…..

The website has a few interview transcripts and it occurred to me that even though YouTube has the ‘captions’ option (akin to on the go subtitles in language of your choice), there is still a section of the world wide audience who are missing out, so I decided to transcribe the thirty-eight minute interview and find a way it can be translated, thus broadening it’s reach. Sounds reasonably straightforward, doesn’t it. Ha!

Step 1. Using a mix of shorthand, speed writing and longhand I begin taking down the dialogue. Gone are the days when I could audio-type thanks to my depleted dexterity. So it’s listen intently, stop video, write, reread, rewind and listen again, correct script, add punctuation. Continue to listen, pause it, write it down, check it, relisten to the passage, make corrections and proceed ….. you get the idea. It took a few days, working an hour or two per day.

Step 2. Thanks to my muscle disease rendering my fingers/hands/wrists so weak the easiest way to transcribe the written word is to use dictation, no more confidently typing at between 70-75 wpm for me anymore. I create a fresh document, hit the microphone and speak clearly, deciphering my scrawl as I go. Stopping after a couple of paragraphs to read over the dictation, correct the errors, add the punctuation, capitalise names etc. Hit save and carry on. It takes a couple of days but at the end there are nine pages of crisp type, each paragraph a persons dialogue, all checked, proofed and corrected.

Step 3. Now it gets a little technical because I need to add the HTML tags that make it show on the eventual web page. Each paragraph needs a <p> at the beginning. It makes visual sense to have the interviewers dialogue in a different colour to the interviewees, so I add a font=“colornumber” to those lines. I also have to add the speakers name to each paragraph to make it easier to follow who is saying or asking what. So that’s added, all in capitals for emphasise.

Step 4. Using a specific software program I create the webpage, it’s basic style set to match the myriad of pages already there. I add the techie bit of code to embed the YouTube video, making sure it sits comfortably and is the correct size. I add the tab heading and explanation. Then in chunks I add the coded interview transcription. Crossing my fingers I hit the ‘test’ function to see what it looks like as a web page. I am reasonably pleased with the result except the colour is way way off, neon lime green, the hex code is a shade of red! Hmm……that needs investigating, it works on other pages already published.

Step 5. Thanks to an excellent web site that walks you through, teaches and shows how to grapple with HTML coding I can put together the five or six lines of instruction to add a button to bring up a menu of languages that Google will then translate the whole page. Wow! I add it at the top of the transcription coding and hit ‘test’. It’s there, and what’s more……it works! Victory! By chance it answers my query about the text colour coding, I think the issue is that versions of HTML change things, and that’s what has happened here, the code for changing the font colour is now a script command within the <p> notation, so I will need to put together the new bit of code, then copy and paste it at the beginning of each of the interviewers dialogue.

Step 6. I confidently upload the new page to the server, add the link to the main media page so viewers can get to it and voila….well no, not quite yet, actually. I forgot the special text snaffoo, you see when you type characters like & ( ‘ ) “ and then copy/paste them into a coding page, things go a little bit odd, it turns a ‘ into ’ . So I need to go through the entire transcript and remove the gobbledygook and replace the appropriate punctuation mark.

Next time I am at my desk, I will have to go through the coding, change the font colour code and correct the ‘ (oh I hope the find and replace will help me). That a rough idea of what is involved for just one page. I intend to add the translation script to every page of the site, a mere thirty or so. Like the Forth Bridge, there is always something that needs working on to improve.

Link to the interview ….. The Sessions Artist Interview

Link to the website http://www.stcgibb.com

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2020 in Music, people, Tech, Website

 

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Zaberdak

In these odd days ahead I’m trying to find things that my brain wanders to and muses over. Such as, how come I know all the ‘words’ to Zaberdak by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch, although I remember seeing Marmalade perform it live.

Dave Dee wrote it to illustrate that at the time (mid 1960’s) “any garbage can get into the charts”, it means nothing, has a good melody and has been copied by others.

For those intrigued the English words over laying the made up sounds are “Look for meaning, not in words, but in the way you’re feeling. If it’s love, we’ll understand, for love is all revealing”.

Quite poetic. Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2020 in Music

 

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To License or Not To License…

I’ve been following the ‘debate’ on Twitter about the possible scraping of the BBC License Fee and making the BBC a subscription service. It’s been quite interesting weeding through the ignorant crap to find the intelligent comment. I have always felt that many people (myself included) don’t really know how far and where all the tendrils extend but I have also felt that like with any non-commercial cantered organisation, it is likely over staffed and mildly inefficient and archaic in its ways – and I think this is so with the BBC.

How people access their media entertainment has vastly changed, the style, genre and quality of media has dramatically changed – not all for the better. Statistics and research shows that the under 30’s are not sitting watching tv in general, or the BBC in particular, live as it airs but tending to pick and choose via the iPlayer on their smart tv’s and mobile devices. But they are still accessing BBC tv, however it is all the other branches of the organisation that are getting overlooked when people are questioned about it.

It stands to reason that people will only comment on the area of the corporation they access, that’s the only bit they know. So what of the BBC do I regularly access.

  • BBC tv, admittedly I don’t watch as much as I used to, but I do watch numerous dramas series whether it’s weekly ones like Holly City, serial dramas like Peaky Blinders, or one off dramas like the Christine Keeler story; several quiz shows fun ones like Richard Osman’s House Of Card and impossible ones like Only Connect; a lot of the tennis especially Wimbledon; and films. I watch things live as well as via the iPlayer.
  • BBC radio. I listen to The Archers each week, and often listen to panel games, comedies and dramas on BBC Sounds. I used to listen to BBC2 daily when I spent mornings at my desk but it’s a habit that has been broken. As a child it was the local BBC station we had on for news, weather, traffic, to hear if my school was closed on snow days, etc.
  • BBCNews. Generally I tend to avoid the news but I do tend to watch my local BBC programme most nights, and tend to catch the BBC headlines. I find the delivery (if not the content) less sensationalised. I will often peruse the website for info, but find the content dated compared to some news sites.

Making the BBC a commercially motivated business will have an impact on the quantity, quality and variety of out put. It was interesting to read via some tweets areas that didn’t immediately spring to mind, such as The Proms and national and local orchestra funding, children’s tv, the nature and history out put, local news and magazine interest reports both local tv and radio, the publications available, these kinds of areas that cannot stand alone as viable businesses but can collectively support each other.

What I didn’t realise until today was that about half of my license fee covers salaries and pensions – that is staggering.

What worries me is how any change would affect what’s freely available, how much content would be lost, how it will significantly narrow what is produced being lead by what cheap to make and easy to mass sell.

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2020 in General, In The News

 

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Crushed Crushes

Scrolling through FaceBook I happened across a link to a podcast about Kirstin’s thoughts on teen crunches and her endeavour to re-purchase the vinyl of her youth. It was such an interesting story and I found her insights into the rites of passage of tweenie, teen, crushes on idols and how they have a place in shaping our future feelings. I heartily recommend the listen.

The podcast can be found at Records And “Celebrity Crush” Stories

I missed the whole posters on the wall crush thing of youth for a number of reasons. My exposure to pop music was incredibly limited by today’s standards. Although the radio was on in the kitchen every morning, it was the local BBC station and more to do with news, weather and traffic reports. The radio was not on in the car on any journey, whether into town or off to holiday at relatives hours away. I didn’t have a radio or Hi-Fi of my own, in my room until I was thirteen, and I was rarely in my room.

Top Of The Pops was on every Thursday for half an hour and sometimes artists would chat and perform on tv shows like Des O’Connor, Wogan, Val Doonican, etc. I didn’t get to browse record shops or devour every printed pixel of magazines. Living in a rural village, a few miles from anyone near my age (or school) so I didn’t have the interaction with others to discuss, swap, swoon and so forth over pop groups and singers.

Sometimes when visiting an Aunt and Uncle my cousin would have a few lp’s he was happy to pass on to me (I’m sure I still have some). These were treasured items, revered and prized, because he was so cool, so modern and with it, being so much older than me.

Listening to Kristin was interesting, hearing her describe this electrifying tingle of something towards a face they’d never likely get to see in person, let alone get to know properly. Yet somehow this crush seems to be a method of mentally experiencing a fresh emotion, a dry run of recognising and learning the beginnings of attraction when seeking a potential life mate. As we get older, the crush item of our tween years becomes ‘uncool’ or ‘child-like’, as we progress to edgier, cooler, icon. Discarding such follies as we go and grow before looking back nostalgically and reminiscing about those feelings.

What is also interesting, as I scroll about particular Facebook groups and pages, there are some 50+, 60+ year olds still behaving all squealy girly over an image of their teenage crush, as if they were both still in their mid-teens.

Music seems to be the only art form that sparks such reaction. Few have the same swoon like devotion to an artist, sculptor, actor, writer etc. Maybe because music is something that involves the whole of the brain and roots into our psyche in so many ways.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2020 in Life

 

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One’s At The BBC!

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“How would you like to be in the One Show studio on Friday with me” was how it started, I took my Sister’s excited high squeal as a yes, lol.  It began with one of those ‘well I’ll just try’ things, a modicum of hope invested but a healthy dollop of disappointment prepared. When the email arrived confirming attendance it was a mad frenzied series of phone calls and web searches to secure the one and only wheelchair seat on the four trains, and to reserve wheelchair accessible hotel room.  All was set for Fridat 30th September, what a way to end the month!

Arriving at BBC Broadcasting House with comfortable time to spare we sat with a drink and panini looking down into the news room, the news studio is underneath the media cafe. Before too long we were booked in, given our yellow wrist bands and grouped together ready to go across to the studio. The lovely audience greeters instructed us that we should have fun, keep watch on the floor manager, watch out for cables and moving cameras etc, and finally could we give a hearty laugh.  We must have passed the audition as we were lead across the piazza through the barriered area and into the studio.

Martin the floor manager introduced himself and shook my hand, placing me and my sister comfortably. He addressed us all, reminding us to be careful of cables, to watch for his signals, to laugh if there is something amusing, clap enthusiastically, and have fun. Seated not more than ten feet on the iconic green sofa were Alex Jones and guest presenter Shane Richie, familiarising themselves with a section of auto-cue. They both turned and greeted every one, I passed my congratulations onto Alex, as it has recently been announced she is expecting her first baby. My first impressions of the studio were how small it was, how calm it was (we were less than five minutes to air).  There are three cameras, the sound guy, props man Dave, the hair stylist and make up lady, as well as other assistants. The monitors showed that we were in the final minute to air when a voice announced “Ladies and Gentlemen Barry Gibb is in the studio” huge applause and cheers from the dozen or so fans there, he waved and as he turned towards the sofa the same voice announced “Ladies and Gentlemen Stephen Gibb is in the studio” more applause and cheers. I was directly opposite the door they came in through, his face was a picture of surprise and glee as he spotted me, pointed and came straight over to hug and kiss me as he was then escorted out to the performance area.

We were on air! In my direct eye line, over Shane’s shoulder was Barry, and to my right peripheral vision was the auto-cue with monitor beneath. Everything felt so calm considering how time conscious live broadcasting must be. Martin had his hand signals to an art, palms up as ‘get ready’, silent clapping to ‘clap enthusiastic’, palms down to signal stop and double thumbs-up as good job done. As the vt’s are run cameras and cables are moved, we are shown our marks for when we could move forward and when we returned to ‘first positions’.  We listened intently to those on the sofas.

It is an eclectic magazine programme, there was a segment about notable cars from the 1970’s being reclassified as ‘classic’ and included a section where Barry and impressionist Jon Culshaw trying to guess the first names of a family who had named their five children after classic cars. Another vt was about singing falsetto. Barry discussed his new album and recounted the tale of running around the house in search of a mini recorder as he had the hook to “You Win Again” in his head and if he went back to sleep he’d forget it.

Barry was to perform the title track from his latest album “In The Now” to close the programme, Stephen is a member of the band. As the last tv was run (about clam fishing is Scotland) we were ushered out the studio and around the piazza to the performance area.  Stephen shouted to me as we massed together, laughing together as we \m/ each other.  The closing piece was broadcast and the performance began, due to issues with sound it was lip synced from a recording taken earlier. Once we were off air Stephen came across to give me another hug and kiss, express his surprise and we exchanged a few words. I introduced him to my big Sister. He gave me his plectrum (in the header photo). Barry met each of us in turn, which was a nice gesture. Stephen had to start packing his kit (they would be going to Elstree Studios for Strictly Come Dancing) and the assistants were waving for us to leave, in order to hand back our wrist bands and have a group shot taken.

After having seen numerous online videos of the various band members, it was exciting to be just a couple of feet away from the familiar faces of Tim Cansfield, Dan Warner, Julio Hernandez, Beth Cohen, Leesa Richards, Charlotte MCKinnon, watching Lee Levin, Doug Emery and Richard Bravo along with Barry and Stephen.

Back at our hotel, I connected to the Internet to watch the programme, which is when we received messages and texts on our phone saying we had been seen! We watched the broadcast with exclamations of “Oh that’s me!” And “There are my feet” and “Doesn’t it look different on the telly” and “Look my feet are in the closing shot”.

Quite the experience. We got rained on getting back to the train station the next morning and our train was delayed because of an incident requiring police and medics at Ilford, we missed our connection, but got home safely, if a little chilled and shattered.

Sometimes investing hope can pay off, but boy it is a rarity.

 

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2016 in In The News, Life, people

 

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Crushed!

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This is going to be tricky to explain.

For some years now I have been holding on to a dream, I had a feeling and believed one day “this” will happen.  I am not one to hold to hope after all my family motto is if it wasn’t for bad luck we’d have no luck at all, that is how we roll.  None the less I allowed myself to dream and have faith in a way that “this” will come to fruition. It evolved and developed contingencies. It made me smile and feel warm at its potential excitement, not just for myself but for others as well.

Yesterday the possibility of “this” really happening became possible as dates were announced for a certain person to come to our shores and just as suddenly all hopes were dashed.  Of all the weeks in all the years they had to damn well go and choose that one.

I cannot go.

The event will never happen again.

Life has taught me to expect disappointment and as yesterday loomed with its potential, an element of me knew that something would prevent me from the experience and it would call into question several different aspects of myself and my life.

On the outside and as far as anyone will ever see I shall shrug my shoulders and go “Oh well, can’t be helped”, but inside is another story. I am angry, I am seething to the point of utter despair.  My MD has denied me something else.  It has taken away from me my job; my finances; my car; my music; my piano; my sailing; my social life and friends; my enjoyments.  it dictates my food, my drink, my sleep, my clothes, my actions, my furniture, my hygiene, my every breath. It is a cold wet hard slap in the face that my life is not my own, I am not the one in control and I am not the decision maker.

As an Aries, I could blow into a full on tantrum strop and throw out all my toys – it wouldn’t make me feel any better and it wouldn’t get me anywhere closer to what I want.  It just leaves me feeling that there is no point thinking of anything beyond my four walls.  Don’t worry folks if I am quiet for a while.  To paraphrase a phrase, I am always disappointed it is the depth than varies.

The comments have been turned off as I am not looking for solutions, suggestions or sympathy, I just needed to put this somewhere.

 

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Web-y Tech-y Headach-y

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I have a number of flv files on the web site I care-take http://www.stcgibb.com and had the idea that really for the sake of archive and back up purposes I could burn them to a DVD .. .. .. of course my brain being my brain and being enamoured with my Mac as I am, the imagination was creating index menu styles, sub menus, listing the various music vids etc – after all it is almost one click drag n drop these days, right? ….. Not quite …..

The Apple web site has some very clear and instructive videos of how simple it can be to turn A into B and do C and voilå D.  YouTube can be a wondrous tutorial source, but the whizz kids can sometimes forget a fundamental thing, still they do give you the theory if not always the successful practical.  It would appear that to be creative in iDVD the numerous movie files need to not be in the flv format, but preferably the mpeg or avi format.  Off to Google we go for a converter, more issues, a majority of the free, trial based, or online converters will only do three minutes and offer no editing capabilities.

So, now I am reading reviews of three converter programs to purchase, finding the elements that each is different and evaluating their importance.  What started me on this … oh yes … simplicity.

Brain is also creating a new review page for the site following the hugely successful Hard Rock gig last Tuesday, Stephen took to the stage with his father, Barry Gibb, for a full-on 90 minute gig.  In fact Barry’s first ever.  Stephen sang one of his late Uncle Maurice’s tracks “OnTime” and did an astounding job.  A note worthy occasion.  So I am tracking people’s photos and getting their permissions and comments, designing page graphics, wrangling with the html code [yes folks i do it old school].

This new page has also triggered a general complete site tweeking and house keeping, so the job list of one item “new page” now has six friends who have joined it.

Of course – all this is distracting me from the things that actually need my attention, like balancing the current account, paying the credit card bill, starting the ESA form filling, organising the Residents AGM, contacting the Tree Oficer about the trees with preservation orders on them, house hold chores, and such like.

All good fun ….. actually, it is rather  

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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