An apology and a ride on a cushion of air

Such a shame I didn’t have time to continue the advent calendar thing. The run up to Christmas became far too manic for me to do anything regular and weekend after weekend just had me doing non-internetty things (like World of Warcraft). Anyway, a Christmas and birthday was had during the hiatus. Which was nice.

So today I used the birthday present that Amazing Wife of the Future bought me. It was a Hovercraft Experience at High Cross Hovercraft in Leicester. Aparently hovercrafting is much more popular than you think and there are competitions and courses all over the UK. Someone asked whether you could use a hovercraft on a canal which would be really cool if you ask me. Sadly you can only use hovercrafts on tidal waters/estuaries and privately owned bodies of water.

Anyway, here is a picture of me looking at a hovercraft with a bunch of people, because, dispite knowing that the event was today, I didn’t remember to charge my GOPRO+3 and Amazing Wife of the Future’s iPhone 5 ran out of battery as did my iPhone 4s. Such is life.

Looking at how to pilot a hovercraft in the rain.

Driving (or should that be piloting) a hovercraft is a difficult thing to do really. First off you’ve got to put your weight into the turn you want to make. I suspect this didn’t matter on the old cross Channel hovercrafts that ran from Dover (if you went on that can you confirm that passengers didn’t all have to lean into the turn?) but on the smaller individual hovercrafts you have to kind of do the opposite of what you might do with riding a motorbike, that is, lean into the direction you want to go.

Following a bit of training I did two loops of a circuit in the pissing down rain which was great fun before returning to a drier but bored Zoe. A good day, a fab experience and another thing off my bucket list.

Let’s see….Modes of transport I have done:-

Helicopter
Hovercraft
Car
Motorbike
Push bike
Pram
Scooter
Sit on lawnmower
Cruiseship
Airplane
Surfboard (partially)
Rowing boat
Bus
Train
Cable car
Rollercoaster

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Birthday

I’ve moaned about this for long enough. I think I’ve complained about it every year without fail.

Those that know me will remember I’m a stickler for tradition and I loathe breaking from it. So this year will not be any different.

I am one of the many people who are unlucky enough to have a birthday that falls within the festive season known as Christlemas. I’ve always pitied those that have birthdays actually on the big day or during the following week. While a birth at Christmas is a boon and a wonderful gift to most parents, to the child it is a curse.

Some would say “Oh but you must have a smashing Christmas, what with birthday AND Christmas presents”. Others would comment on the size of your sack (of presents) while others might discuss the finances behind present giving at this time of year and how they have had to down size your birthday present and some how merge it into your Christmas present. Yet still, there will be others who, for reasons of faith, do not have this problem over the period and flagellate themselves with barbed strips of salted linen.

Now, having had nearly 39 years of this festive cheapskatery, I am not as bitter about it as I might come across. Its kind of like having someone stab you in the arm with a pencil every day, eventually you get over the pain and it’s just a minor annoyance.

No, in fact it is not the presents nor is it the fact that nobody ever seems to be about for your birthday to go to the pub with (Office parties, Christmas shopping trips, visits to the temple, genuinely don’t like you). It’s the fact that year in, year out I have an ever growing stack of cards that I am unable to open prior to my birthday.

Now, it takes but a small amount of consideration to write on an envelope some sort of identifying mark. Like “Birthday” or “Do not open until 17th” or “I hate you I don’t know why I bother” to distinguish the Birthday cards from the Christmas cards. So why does this bother me so much? Well because I get this overwhelming feeling of popularity looking at the wedge of unopened cards on my mantelpiece. Yet when I open them they are 75% Christmas cards.

So I ask you, as I’m sure you know someone who shares a similar curse, please write on the envelopes of your cards this year “Birthday” or “Christmas” or “Death Threat” or “Go away”. That way people know and don’t go through life with a misguided sense of overpopularity.

Beards

Now look…see what has happened? I’ve only gone and turned 34. Fucking hell. I’m nearly a pensioner!

So what’s the news? Well a rather busy weekend doing fuck all really. Without feeling guilty.

Saturday afternoon was spent filming around St Mary’s Church in Barnsley. Just Mrs Gnomepants walking in and around the grave yard. nothing too exciting. Then the evening was spent stuffing my face with curry from Thaal. As usual the curry was fucking awesome. Big naans, really hot lime pickle and a dansak to die for. I had the Asian Style Lamb Tikka masala and announced that the next time I have indian food I’ll be having it with lamb. Lamb lends itself better to the flavours of indian cooking than chicken, I think.

Sunday. Sunday was a haze of keeping warm. I’ve tired of my computer lately and, whereas I would normally have spent the day battling zombies and building intricate cityscapes, games bore me these days. I blame the game producers, focussing their energies on fucking consoles rather than traditional platforms. They did the same with the Amiga and the Commodore 64. The PC as a game machine, I think, has had it’s day. So instead of wasting my life blowing shit up, I wasted my Sunday watching DVD’s in the warmth of the sitting room. Something I haven’t done in ages. I did manage to finally watch Die Hard 4.0 which I thought, though while I enjoyed it, shouldn’t have been made. Bruce Willis is like 84 these days. Think its time he started moving into costume drama or something. I know the Merrycans don’t have much history of their own (relatively speaking) but maybe he could play Lincoln or somebody? Or how about MacCarthy? Or Nixon? Or what about him trying to escape somewhere like Guantanamo Bay? That would be exciting I think.

Monday. Glorious Monday. Monday was, if you didn’t take the various hints, my birthday. I was 34. I got lots of lovely presents and many happy returns from lots of unexpected quarters (WDH for example). Even my class mates sang me happy birthday as I walked into class. Aww. Bless 🙂
The evening was again a quiet affair. A meal at the Three Horseshoes (12oz Rib eye Steak) followed by Da Vinci Code on DVD which I thought was a cheesy and cliched yet likeable yarn. So glad I’ve never wasted my life reading the books1

So what of the future? Well this week I’ll be getting pissed on Thursday and Friday (I hope) then the holiday begins and still I am unprepared. But you’ll have to read of those adventures at a later date….


1 – I have, however, read Holy Blood Holy Grail on which Da Vinci Code was so obviously built around (no matter what the courts say). HBHG was one of those books I read long ago, before esoteric, supernatural and metaphysical bollocks became popular. Of course I cannot possibly comment on Andrew Collins’ tome because clearly he is a bonker of stone.

Birthdays

People (the wife and her sisters) ask me “What are you doing for your birthday this year?”

I’m a bit low on my birthday, and for that matter other people’s, this year. I think I’ve finally reached that stage in my life where I couldn’t give a flying toss what I do on my birthday. This year it falls on a Sunday. Sunday as we know is shit. Nothing happens on a Sunday and everywhere closes early, in the UK at least. Being miles from anywhere doesn’t help either nor does having your nearest chums several bus changes away (and Yorkshire Traction Bus Company are shitter than a pile of shit with shit on top under a large pile of shit decorated by poo pellet hundreds & thousands)

So this year I think I’m gonna sit and sulk watch telly or something and ignore the fact that I’m one year older than I am now. Besides, with it being Christmas next sunday people will only say “Oh I’d have got you two presents but I splashed out on a bigger christmas present” or “You can have a birthday or a christmas present”….It’s so fucking annoying! Perhaps everyone gets to this stage in their life eventually.

Then there is Christmas. Less than 2 weeks to go and I’m still not in the festive spirit. I really cannot be bothered with any of it this year. Sure it will be nice to see people and family and stuff but all the fucking annoying Christmas songs (this month I must have heard Jona Lewis’ Stop the Cavalry 50 times already), the disgustingly illuminated houses that I drive past every night (There seems to be a new craze for blue lights this year) , the greedy shops (over inflated prices and essential and healthy things replaced by crap and tinsel) and the demanding and ungrateful brats (if Charlotte doesn’t say thankyou this year she’ll get a sodding lump of coal) just make me want to convert to Islam or something. I’m sick of turkey (I’ve been trying to get my mum to get a goose for over 15 years now) I’m pissed off with seeing miserable faces of people who are pissed off with Christmas but for inane reasons and I’m really really annoyed with all the imagery and how everyone with money or influence is trying to hijack the season for their own selfish gains.