One of my photos

Robert Nye

August 8th, 2016 · Posted by Skuds in Life

Today I came across an obituary of the writer Robert Nye, who died last month. I wasn’t aware that he had died and if I am honest I hadn’t realised he was still alive because, although he is described as a ‘poet and author’, I only knew of him through his novels, and the last novel he had published was back in 1998.

During the 1980′s I would probably have said he was one of my favourite authors, along with David Lodge, Tom Sharpe, Howard Jacobson and James Herbert. He sort of specialised in historical novels even if the main character was sometimes a fictional character like Falstaff or Merlin.

Despite having read all his novels that I was aware of I did not realise until reading the obituaries, that Robert Nye went to school in Southend and that one of his first jobs involved writing for a local newspaper based in Laindon, where my family lived. There is a good chance that he may have written about events that my parents or grandparents were involved in.

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Extreme Gardening

August 7th, 2016 · Posted by Skuds in Life

I have never really got on with gardening. I know that a lot of people love it and see it as either a hobby, an artform, therapy, exercise, or some mixture of all that. I see it as more like warfare. I know that some gardeners are in a state of constant warfare against insects and weeds but for me it more of a constant state of warfare against plants.

Since we moved to this place I have never planted anything. I just pluck weeds out from between paving stones and hack back the hedge, which sounds easy enough but those weeds and hedges are relentless. One of our hedges in the front garden had reached a height of about two metres and today I decided that rather than trim it a bit I would cut it down to about one metre. After filling 6 green sacks with cuttings I am not even halfway through.

I suspect that there will not be much green left by the time I finish, and we may have quite a wait before any leaves grow on it again, but even that will be far too soon for my liking. My long-term plan is to remove the hedge completely and put up a nice little fence to replace it and when that day comes a one-metre hedge will be a lot easier to remove than a two-metre hedge.

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August 6th, 2016 · Posted by Skuds in Life

The other day Jayne and I went down to visit the kids and help them sort out some stuff in their new flat.

The main part of this was sorting out a large delivery of furniture from World of Oak Furnitureland, or something like that. The furniture was all pre-assembled. All that needed doing was putting the legs on tables and the seats on chairs, which should have been a doddle, but these things were over-packaged to an unfeasible degree. Everything was wrapped in heavy-duty clingfilm, with a variety of plastic sheets, polystyrene and cardboard, and all in sturdy cardboard boxes.

I think that just unpacking these things was more hassle than assembling furniture from Ikea or Argos,and afterwards it took three trips to the tip to get rid of all the packing material.

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On the road again

July 26th, 2016 · Posted by Skuds in Life

As it was a nice day, dry but not too not, and as the training centre is only a mile or so away, I decided to go by bicycle. It wasn’t too bad. I only had to resort to foul language and Italian-style arm gestures once on the way back when a silver hatchback carved me up on the Gatwick Road roundabout.

There really are some dangerous drivers out there. It almost makes me tempted to start using the cycle paths instead of the road.

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July 26th, 2016 · Posted by Skuds in Life

I had to attend a training session today on the subject of business ethics. The trainer and one of the other attendees had lisps so it was probably the first event of its kind that I have been to where nobody made the predicatable ethics/Essex jokes.

OK, so it is usually me making the ethics/Essex gags, but the point still stands.

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New wheels

July 16th, 2016 · Posted by Skuds in Life

More evidence, if it was ever needed, that I would make a very poor Top Gear presenter: only eleven days after buying a new car, I finally got round to driving it! The gap is because I don’t really need a car much myself and if Jayne and I go anywhere together she usually drives because she likes to and I don’t enjoy driving much. I did about a mile in it. Maybe two. I might have another go next week.

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Gotta catch ‘em all

July 16th, 2016 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Technology

Tonight was not exactly how I imagined my middle ages to be. At home, babysitting the grandchildren, while the wife takes the dogs out for a walk – returning after two-and-a-half hours, dead chuffed because she now has a Pikachu.

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Where are they now?

July 15th, 2016 · Posted by Skuds in Music

We all know that the Pet Shop Boys are still doing their thing, but I wonder what their co-stars in this video are up to now?  They will all be into their late 20s now, which would make me feel old, if I didn’t already.

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July 15th, 2016 · Posted by Skuds in Life

If you look at the Wikipedia page for Assemblies of God you will find this wonderful paragraph:

The Assemblies of God should not be confused with the Assemblies of God International Fellowship, the International Assemblies of God Fellowship, and the Independent Assemblies of God International, all of which are Pentecostal denominations.

Also not to be confused with the Judean People’s Front. the People’s Front of Judea, or the Judean Popular People’s Front…

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Things to cut

July 10th, 2016 · Posted by Skuds in Politics

According to the BBC there might be cuts to the defence budget, depite the NATO committment to spend 2% of GDP on it – because GDP is likely to fall by two or three percent after the referendum.

If that is the case I do hope the priority stays on things like Chinooks, Bushmasters, decent boots and other useful stuff and if they are looking for things to cut back on, how about starting with:

  • Horses
  • Bearskins and bright red jackets
  • Brass bands
  • Trident replacement

I suppose it is too late to cancel the order for the F-35B and get some better, cheaper planes instead like Rafale or Eurofighter?

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