Thursday, January 29, 2009

Present and correct

It was my Dad's birthday a week or two ago, and I purchased him a great man-present, something which combines the attributes of usefulness with desirability; a Gerber multitool. I got him the 600 model which is my personal favourite, and I've had it for donkey's years.

Now, when giving a man-present, there are protocols to be observed; it is perfectly acceptable to leave it in the bag it came in, or perhaps sandwich it between two sheets of newspaper if one is feeling like dressing things up a bit. Then, when meeting the recipient, one must casually toss it over to them with one of those raised nods we do and say "Here ya go bud." in a deep voice. The recipient, as is standard practise for anyone with a Y chromosome, reciprocates with a raised nod of his own, casually tears off the wrapping, looks the gift over from three directions and says, "Cheers mate. That's useful, is that" and puts it aside.

What you really mean when you're giving it is "Look, look, I've got you a prezzie, and I thought really hard about it and I never do that, and I reckon you'll love it, open it, open it, OPEN IIIIITTTTT!"

What the other guy means is "A present? For me? COOOOOOL! Look at that! Fantastic! I want to go and take something apart RIGHT NOW!"

I don't know where we learn the art of appearing not to be too bothered by giving or receiving presents. Was there a time at school when the girls were taken to one room for talks about tampons and not letting boys play with their jumper-spuds, whilst we were taken to another room and told "Right lads, next time you get a present, even if it's on your birthday, don't let it go to your head, right?". I don't recall it if there was.

I presume it's to do with not appearing too emotional in front of other chaps. That's for the fairer sex, all that gushing and being pleased and wot-not. It smacks of caring about what other people think of you and, in the big bad world, we are lone wolves, independent hunters, barely tamed for the purposes of civlisation, mavericks who don't give a good-god-damn what anyone else thinks! Ain't no-one gonna stop us using double negatives.

And then my wife wrapped it:

It took her two minutes. It looked lovely, and it completely destroyed the honed procedures of man-present decorum that have been fine-tuned through the generations. The effect it had on me was obvious. I couldn't wait to give it to him. I didn't toss it over onto the sofa, but placed it carefully on the table in front of him, and stood back proudly. I might even have said "Ta-da!"

My Dad was also not unaffected. His beard lit up with delight, and that was before he even opened it. It took about twenty minutes becuause he didn't want to damage the paper, before I reminded him he was allowed to, and then he gleefully tore it off as though he'd just been authorised to have a go at Liberace's piano with a lump hammer at the Smithsonian. When he opened the present, there was genuine pleasure on his face, and he waxed lyrical about the knife, and the Phillips screwdriver, and the pliers. He then practicesd the awesome one-handed opening flick for a bit before examining the tough belt pouch it came in. Then he announced he "would have to get a belt."

Praise indeed.

So what have I learnt from this experience? That appearances are important when it comes to gifts. That the warm glow I felt from having a present appreciated far, FAR outweights any blokey considerations of appearing to be laid back.

Next time I get a good present, I am going to squeal!

Sunday, January 25, 2009


We're planning our holidays for this Summer, and although we try and go somewhere we've never been, this year we're thinking of revisiting an amazing country; Croatia.

I'm not sure I should blog about it because not that many of my contemproaries seem to have been, and I'll only encourage folk to go. Right, horrible place, nasty weather, you wouldn't like it. Try Scarborough.

Okay, I'm a-fibbing. Croatia is like a cross between Italy and Greece, and is full of good stuff like beautiful buildings and gorgeous countryside, with clear seas and beaches where clothes are optional. What's not to like? Not a lot is not to like, that's what's not.

One thing that reminded me of our stay was some photo's of our day spent in the city of Dubrovnik, which is one of the nicest cities I've ever seen. In fact, I think I'll share it with you. If you do go, have a walk around the city ramparts, where you can get a good view of the rooftops. You can see the Adriatic in the background here:

One interesting point is to note how new most of the roofs are. They've all had to be replaced since the early 90's after the . . . er . . . what's a good euphemism for war? I know, after the Unpleasantness. In fact, the indiscriminate use of rockets on the city was decreed not just as an affront to architecture, but actually a warcrime which resulted in one Serb general going to prison. Yep, there was some serious unpleasantness going on and Dubrovnik was beseiged for the best part of a year in 91-92:

They've kept a lot of the bullet holes in the stone work, which is quite evocative and reminds you just how recent the war was. Tourist guides often remark that the Unpleasantness is a recent memory and a sensitive subject, and advise tourists not to bring it up. I found the opposite, and some guys my age were only too pleased to show where they shot out at Serbian boats from gaps in the city walls, doing very good impressions of small boats suddenly being on the receiving end of a hundred rounds from what appeared to be a big blank wall. In the words of one chap "The boatmen - they sheet themselves, sheet themselves good."

Well you would, wouldn't you?

Otherwise, the streets have been worn down to such a smooth finish over the centuries that it's like walking on warm marble. I actually took my shoes off because it feel so nice on your peds. It's like walking through a movie set ready for a fillum about Rome. Only with no Romans in it. And whilst it was fairly busy in the main areas and squares, just 5 minutes walk in the backstreets and the numbers of people dropped dramatically:

The buildings were stylish, the food delicious, the wine and beer nice and there was a general air that people had some taste and aesthetic competence.

So it was nice to come across a homemade fountain you're welcome to drink from, apparently:

Mmm . . . spring water. I stuck to my Evian.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Quack whistle squawk honk

We're rather lucky to have near us one of the largest gatherings of web-footed avians in the world, at Slimbridge, where you can meander at will, gawping at the local residents and taking photos of ducks.

Yep, ducks. A huge variety of 'em. A plethora, a cornucopia, a positive horn of plenty of the damn things, all honking and quacking, squawking and whistling at you. No decorum whatsoever.

They are, though, quite interesting and good fun to go and look at, and I would recommend the place to anyone who is passing. If you're very lucky you might even catch a glimpse of Kate Humble stroking a Bean goose. Or if you're unlucky, Bill Oddie doing the same.

So, in the interests of pursuing a worthy family day out, as well as trying to prevent my son thinking a duck is just the bright yellow plastic thing that he throws out of the bath, off we trotted. Straight away, using a mixture of stealth, innate cunning and honed tracking abilities, I saw some birds:

As well as ducks, there are more exotic species to be found, including great lanky bright pink storky things called flamingos. Here they are being herded into what I presume is the milking parlour:

Of course, I'm kidding. They don't really milk flamingos as they are bred solely for their fur.

I do actually know a bit about birds, and was delighted to see this fellow, who happily posed for a photograph:

Now that, dear friends, is a Wandering Whistling-Duck from the antipodes. There is a knack to telling whether your new feathered friend is a Wandering Whistling-Duck, and that is by carefully noting the details written on the sign in front of the enclosure:

It may not look much like it's picture, but it must be a Wandering Whistling-Duck because the sign says so, and how else would another type of duck get in to the compound eh? Fly in? I don't think so. Not with a three and a half foot fence in the way anyway.

After a couple of pleasant hours spent cultivating very cold, red noses, we made our way back as the sun was setting. It was then we saw one of nature's best spectacles (although diminished in recent years due to population decline), which is provided by one of out commonest birds; the dusk swarms of flocks of starlings:

For me, that sort of viewing beats the telly any day of the week.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Large Arthropod and a Load of Bivalves

Continuing in a food stylee, I was privileged to scoff my way through a large arthropod and a load of bivalves the other day, and it got me thinking about cultural attitudes to food. The lobster I've had sitting in the freezer for months finally had an airing with some bread, butter and Helman's, and it was flipping delicious, like all the good bits of crab in one longer critter. The moules avec frites (mussels and chips, I reckon) were a spur of the moment thing whilst at the fish counter in Sainsbury's.

I have, in my wanderings, experienced the joys of locusts and guinea pigs (much to the wife's dismay, as she's very fond of locusts), and when I tell people this I get a mixture of disgust and curiosity. Locusts have a sort of prawny flavour and less crunch than you might think, and guinea pig tastes like rat. Nice, porkesque rat mind. From this, I concluded that I am adventurous and broad-minded in my eating habits, and rarley go for the sausage and egg option when holidaying in foreign climes, almost always trying the local fayre. How else would I have discovered the greatness of tapas.

However, I found my limits a few years ago, when I used to visit some african immigrants whilst working in London, which is a large town in southern England with a big stream running through it. And a museum. Anyway, they had to import great big bags the size of dustbin liners full of gigantic wood-boring beetles because they considered them a delicacy that you just couldn't get in the UK, not even in Waitrose. I was duly offered some as a thank you present for some work done, and declined with a barely repressed shudder. I'm not proud of it, and it was after that I made sure I ate some locusts when the opportunity arose.

So why is eating beetles repulsive and lobsters not? It's not as though beetles are better looking. I mean, take a ganzy at this thing I ate just yesterday:

It looks like a gigantic headlouse. It was also full of eggs which is apparently lucky and very tasty, even if it did look like . . . well, some sort of crustacean's eggs. And mussels? They look lie pebbles until you open them, and then they look like something out of an obstetrics manual.

What about our staples? Fruit I can understand, as it's advertised by the plant for the eating thereof. And meat, perfectly natural to attack, kill, heat and eat other species. But who was the first person to think of milking other animals for sustenance; was it a culinary adventurer who carefully noted how healthy baby mammals were on nothing more than what they obtained from their mother's teat, or was it a pervert who happened to come across a useful byproduct whilst fiddling with a mountain goat? And surely the bravest person in the world was whoever first ate an oyster.

I should remember that I live in a country who's national dish is tandoori chicken, and depsite the stereotype, I have never found a wider range of good quality, international foods than in the UK.

And despite what you might think of the individual mussel's fizzog, you can't help but admire the combination of french fries and white wine with a healthily sauced pan of the things, can you?

Mmm . . . food in general . . .

Friday, January 16, 2009

Thinking big

Entropy and decay - the unavoidable consequences of existence. This fragile life we lead sometimes leads one to a contemplative chain of thought, a private discourse on the nature of mortality and our place in the universe. Perhaps the ephemerality of our being leads us to draw conclusions that this is not all there is, that after death we are not merely snuffed out but continue in some way we don't understand. Or perhaps, we eschew these notions of life-after-death as mere wishful thinking and fear of dying, accepting that oblivion is the more likely endpoint. The universe doesn't need everlasting souls in some alternate dimension to operate; it worked for billions of years before us, it'll go on for billions afterwards.

And is there any point in thinking about "before" and "afterwards"? Is time simply a human construct for conveniently marking out our tiny, linear lives? Is it a single-dimension, distinct from space, divided into discrete "frames" that keep the cosmos in some sort of order, or is it an all-emcompassing oceanic ether through which we flow, affecting even the very gravity we need to exist?

These thoughts have been flickering through my mind recently, and it makes me consider the impact the world has on our consciousness, about how the greatest philosophers must have taken their muse from reality to formulate their hypotheses, the best minds must have been open to influence from their day-to-day lives.

And my conclusion? Well, the most profound thoughts I have ever had have been thought before, for thousands of years, by greater brains than mine. But that doesn't make my notions any less worthy, and I should not be afraid to articulate them.

I think I should clean my fruit bowl out a bit more often:

That, my friends, is a lemon. Next to the plum (I think).

Perhaps a close-up is required:

There's got to be a metaphor for life there, hasn't there?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Snack My Titch Up

Food, like sex and playing the ukulele, is one of the basic instincts in life. It's controlled by our limbic system, the reptilian bedrock of our subconscious, so it's hard to ignore. It's also hard to get wrong. You get hungry, you have food available, you put it in your gob, and you swallow it so you can make more of you to be hungry later on. The problem most of us have is knowing when to stop, probably because we evolved from opportunistic hunter-gathering types who didn't know where their next meal was coming from so had to take the time to stuff themselves silly when such opportunites arose. Unfortunately, rather than happening every few months when someone hit the sweet spot on a mastodon, those opportunities are now an everyday occurence for us, hence the portly nature of a large portion (aha) of our society.

So, why is it that my offspring, who shall be known here on in as The Sproglet, can't seem to keep the damn stuff in his mouth?

I mean, take a look at the aftermath of a typical lunchtime repast:

This is actually quite clean. Most of it usually ends up on the floor, with a fair quantity in his hair. There's often enough to make a new meatball out of what you can collect from his eyebrows. Not having much in the way of other children, I'm presuming the following sequence of events is normal - food goes in; food comes out; food goes in again; food comes out amidst giggle; food goes in again; food comes out amidst bemused look; food goes in again; food comes out amidst a soul-wrenching cry of the absolutely distraught; food goes in again; food gets swallowed; rest of food gets lobbed around the kitchen.

Obviously, the Sproglet thinks that mealtimes are the perfect venue for a spot of drama, and he runs the full gamut of human emotions, hamming it up like Gielgud reading the Yellow Pages.Starting off with laughter, then moving to horror as he reliases he's going to be STRAPPED IN to a high chair, then amusement as he watches you cool his dinner, then as above as you feed him, followed by momentous squirming and wriggling where he manages to rival Houdini in escaping from the chair of horrors. The only thing that compares with the traumatic nature of feeding him is when we brush his teeth. He screams and writhes so hard you'd think we were cutting his toes off with sacateurs.

We're not though. Haven't done that for ages. He's just doing it for the attention.

Well, two can play at that game. I can totally ham it up:

An than' yew. I'm here all week. Don't forget to try the scallops!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Much to my mum and wife's disappointment, I enjoy a spot of two-wheeled conveyance. My wife thinks I got a motorbike by stealth. I had a knackered old Metro that wouldn't pass it's MOT if you got it reconditioned by Bugatti and then got Pimp My Ride to polish it and stick a Playstation 3 in it. And a fountain.

So, the car went off to the knackers yard and I was down a mode of transport. If you don't live in the UK, you might suggest public transport as a reasonable replacement, but for those of us that have to use it every now and then, it's like paying to be frustrated. Unreliable, expensive, dirty, inconvenient and 75 pee for a Kitkat. It's almost like they're trying to put you off. As an alternative to the car, well . . . it ain't.

I did notice that scooters were quite cheap and efficient, so I decided to purchase one forthwith and do the one day CBT test which would allow me to ride bikes up to 125cc. This was fun for a few months going to and from work, and I even did a trip or two to Birmingham and Oxford to visit mates. Of course, the first time I took it on the motorway I thought I was going to die. It reacted to a passing lorry like a kite in a typhoon.

After nearly a year, I thought it might be safer to do my full bike test (you can justify anything to yourself if you've got the motive). Then I would be fully qualified in the ways of the motorized velocipede. It was a four day course which I did, then took my test, then took it again after some idiot in a Toyota Bikerammer rear-ended me and knocked my L-plate off, passed it and immediately bought a medium-sized geared bike from a popular online auction website.

Apparently, that's stealth that is.
"You were only going to get a scooter."

Anyway, I've now owned a couple of bikes and am currenlty on my latest all-rounder, a 600cc Suzuki Bandit. Mine's the blue one with 2 headlights on the left:

One reason I like bikes is that they're far more fun to ride than driving a car. As Robert Persig notes in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (in which he rides far too slowly), you feel like you're actually part of the landscape, rather than simply driving through it. I think that's the best description of the feeling I've come across. Because of this, I took a trip with my mate on another Bandit through some conveniently available landscape. We chose Scotland because . . . well, we could ride to it. No boat or air trips required.

Obviously, Scotland has been on the receiving end of some divine biking intervention. It's scenic with roads that must have been created by a committee consisting of Thor, Odin, Freya, Apollo, Mars, Nut, Bastet, Bacchus, El-Dorado, Hanuman and Aeolu, although not Jesus because he was a hippy. There were forests and lakes, and single track tarmac roads with visibility you could measure in miles, and when you stopped for a hearty bikers snack of snickers and lukewarm coffee, there was almost perfect silence:

Even when it was cloudy, nature still made sure the cloud merely topped the peaks of nearby hills like a tasteful wig:

We were truly blessed, and I feel like saying that in the daft two-syllablled way that the devout prefer; we was bless-ed!

It was made extra special because we went in September and, apart from the odd drop of the wet stuff, we had perfect weather for the whole week, although a friend of mine who went on almost the same trip in August had to come home halfway through as they were rained out. With not a small amount of schadenfreude, I was pleased with our result.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Booze control

Continuing the ethanol based theme of my recent bloggage, I thought I would risk being labelled as a drunk (which is like being an alcoholic but more fun) by discussing the virtues of various beverages.

Now, as a manly man with all burps and hairy bits and that, I am obviously a fan of beer, which is relatively low in alcohol content and is primarily a thirst-quenching beverage for those of us who are allergic to water. I did once have a beer which contained 12% alcohol (called 'Deathshead' I think) and was seen as a right of passage at a certain beer festival nearby. Absolutely disgusting it was. I'm quite happy with the sub - 5.5% concoctions in general, although it has been bought to my attention that beer has something called 'calories' in it, which scientists suggest might be responsible for some weight gain in beer drinking chaps throughout the world. I have therefore been informed I must limit my beer intake or face the wrath of a female who doesn't want a big fat husband.

Bloody scientists - messing with things they shouldn't oughta.

Happily, I am also partial to whisky, as well as whiskey. Now I'm older I can afford some better quality stuff than the tea-coloured own-brand meths I was forced to consume in my earlier years, quality liquids such as glorious single malts or some nice imported Yank stuff. The problem with this is that it goes down far too easily, and before you know it you're bouncing off the walls as you try and climb the suddenly complicated stairs to bed.

Note how I've only mentioned the rufty-tufty, robustly male-orientated drinks so far? That's to demonstrate that I am, in fact, a rufty-tufty, robust male with a healthy interest in ladies and steak, possibly to be found, moustachioed and sitting in a pub with a full bottle of Gentleman Jack's, smoking a cigar so big that it has to be delivered by lumberjacks.

All of this is true, apart from the cigar bit, what with the smoking ban and everything. And the moustache.

So, it is something of a humbling experience to demonstrate my current favourite drink is this:

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a hot chocolate with rum in it.

Oh yes.

A drink that would be accepted with a smile by ladies everywhere, except perhaps Saudi Arabia. You might notice that I was unable to resist sampling it even to take a photo of it unmolested. I was slurping away like a vulture with a rotting zebra kidney before thinking it might make a blog entry so you'll have to make do with this one.

Or might I suggest nipping off and making your own. Of course, if you're underage you might want to get an adult to make it for you.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The key to failure

Apparently, laptops and neat rum don't mix. Spilling said beverage on your keyboard is, it turns out, a bad thing.

This is made even worse if it was your fourth glass of the stuff, because then you're liable to make some daft decision about repairing it yourself.
"Keys?" you might, hypothetically, say to yourself, "They're just little buttons. How difficult can it be to whip 'em off, mop up the spillage and pop 'em back on again? Should take a couple of minutes, ten tops."

And it is very easy to take them off. A quick double click with a little screwdriver taken out of the miscellaneous drawer and, bish bash bosh, job done. A good start. Reward yourself with a quick swig of rum. There's a bit left in the bottom of the glass that's on it's side there.

Quick wipe down with a cloth, under the keys, under the rubbery mat, under the flat green electronicky thing that lies beneath like magic underlay. Should do the trick. Easier than putting up a shelf this. Even remembered to keep the keys in order. Look how organised it all is:

Now I was all set to put them back, ready for the great reboot.

Ah . . .

It took 6 minutes to get one key back on.There were thirty-one keys missing so that means . . . 186 minutes to stick 'em all back on. Over 3 hours. The first key was also wobbly.

And didn't work.


So, the following day involved a trip to the local computer oik, who nearly laughed his acne off at my pathetic laptoppery efforts. He took great delight in telling me that new ones were £60 and had to be ordered in. I hung my head in shame and despair, keening gently and rocking. A solitary tear of sympathy rolled down his face alongside the trails of sebum and grease, dropping onto his poptart like a rainbow-hued petal as he took pity on me, saying he would look for a used one. I was pitifully grateful, and it was all sorted out in a couple of days for a lot cheaper than the initial estimate.

Still, that was a thirty-five quid glass of rum.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Deck the trees.

Following an unfortunate incident whereby somebody accidentally spilled neat dark navy rum all over their laptop keyboard, and then foolishly tried to repair said keyboard themselves, I have been offline for a couple of days whilst a professional laptopsmith forged a new interface device for me, possibly using some sort of high tech anvil.

Whilst he weaved his art, which I am beginning to suspect might be something more akin to voodoo than real work, I had some of that rarest of commodities, a bit of spare time.Rather than fix the car aerial or put up the Billy Bookcase that's been nestling in it's IKEA box for months, I took the opportunity to meander around the winter wonderland that my bit of Eng-er-land has become recently. It wasn't snow that blanketted the countryside round where I was walking, but a rather impressive frosting - of frost:

In this country, we often lament our lack of proper seasonal weather, and fondly recall snowdrifts up to the eaves and days spent burrowing like be-mittened worms in snow that wouldn't melt until the spring, when it would dissapear conveniently without any slush, allowing freshly opened flowers to pop up in a kaleidoscopic display just for our benefit, and newly shampooed, conditioned and blowdried rabbits to gambol playfully amidst gently waving fronds of grass.

There may be a touch of the old rose-tinted crash-helmet visor going on there, but you get my drift (aha). The weather was so much more . . . reliable, back when I was a nipper. Winter - cold and snowy. Spring - green with scattered showers. Summer - hot and sunny. Autumn - Windy and fresh.

So it was a pleasant surprise to come across woodlands and trees which were positively bedecked in crystals. The trees looked like they'd decided to forsake chlorophyll this year, green being so passe for the modern rural scene, and white the new colour no self-respecting tree should be seen without:

All rather marvellous. Reminds me that beauty really is where you find it.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Fun, sighs.

Various ancestors of mine, particularly the ones still alive, are prone to giving us treats, ostensibly for my little boy, but what's his is mine so . . .

They already do enough when it comes to clothes (tip: if you're about to have your first baby, don't bother buying a single stitch of clothing; you're going to have more than enough bought for you for the first 6 months, or at least until everyone gets bored of your child), but he seems to expect more tribute and booty from the poor devils, and they oblige!

Anyhoo, one (rather tasty) treat he got last week was a box of funsize ice-creams, which are apparently suitable for him because they are small, and he is small:

This concept is logical, apart from the fact that he could, like most toddlers, quite happily consume a metric tonne of neopolitan, given half a chance.

I have only one gripe with this. Why is it called 'funsize'? It's tiny. What's so fun about it? In my mind, a funsize chocolate bar would be the size of a Ford Transit. You should be able to burrow in it and hold a small party in memory of your teeth.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Go ahead punk - drawer.

Everyone has a miscellaneous drawer (except possibly people with OCD) where you put things which haven't got a place to go just this minute, or you reckon you're going to use them soon so it's pointless putting them back upstairs or in the garage and thus waste valuable time firking around for it, time you'll never get back, time that you could use for putting your feet up and watching Shrek 3. It's usually in the kitchen, and will definitely have sellotape in it, as well as a phillip's screwdriver, rubber bands, brown string and the detonator to a W80-1 missile warhead.

Also menus.

Now my miscellaneous drawer (called the'menu drawer ' because it contains . . . well, you can probably guess) is actually full. I know they're all full, to the brim, with receipts for the toaster you got 3 years ago and the post-it note with Jeff's number on it in fading brown ink (must give him a ring, if he's still alive), but I mean really full. Any more in it and it will quite feasibly turn into neutronium.

The only solution was to set up another miscellaneous drawer. Oh yes, some folk might say something heretic like 'why don't you empty the drawer and put things in their proper place', but we all know they are feeble-minded and evil. Yep, the only solution was another one.

So here it is:
Look at all that lovely crap. It's contains;
- my Gerber multi-tool (the most useful thing to have been invented since Homo habilis thought of hitting something with a stick);
- a skipping rope (I haven't skipped since I was at university and much fitter);
- a first-aid kit I put on my motorbike (mostly for abrasions and gravel rash, cos I know what's most likely to happen if I take a tumble on it);
- a payslip from 1995, which would make small beaten children in sub-continental Nike warehouses shed a tear over their Air Zoom trainers in sympathy;
- Simpson's Top Trumps, becuse I like the Simpsons, and I liked Top Trumps when I was a kid, and now they're together at last, like nuts 'n gum.
- diaries (from the last 5 years, in case I want to see what shift I was working in April, 2004);
- weight-training gloves (from my brief iron-pumping phase) which I also use for unicycling. Or more accurately, for when I fall off my unicycle;
- A toddler's arm.

Actually, the toddler's arm isn't a permanent fixture. It's attached to a toddler who's only dream in life is to empty said drawer and hide things in as inaccessible places as is tiny-humanly possible. This time he only got away with a bike-light with no batteries, which entertained him for forty minutes.

The new drawer is rapidly filling as well, and I now know the pressure the government is under when it comes to disposing of nuclear waste. Short of encasing the contents in concrete-fillled barrels and dumping them in the atlantic, my conundrum is; what do I do when this drawer is full? Move onto another? get a miscellaneous wardrobe? Burn the house down?

I do actually have a garage as well, so perhaps a judicious move of all contents there might be in order. Unfortunately, the garage is also full to the brim. Of crap.