Thursday, 25 June 2009

25th June 2009 Holiday preperations

Well today sees me carry out two bank customer service assignments as well as trying to pack for our holiday, I have a list on an A4 page, things to do and the things I have done,mostly crossed out now, food and drink is stacked up in a pile. suitcases are in each bedroom ready to pack into the car, it is like a military operation here getting ready to go away. The budgerigar is going next door for the week. Fish have a holiday block, electric meter and gas meter have credit, lights have timers on them, then comes the tricky bit, packing the car, we need, 4 suitcases, 1 wheelchair, 1 walking frame, food and drink, we always take some with us as we find these holiday parks very pricey as a rule. Updated the Sat nav yesterday too with map updates and road work points, road safety camera points and such like too. Now can someone explain to me why, oh why! is disabled holiday accommodation more expensive, I mean you or I can go online, phone up or book in a shop and get marvelous deals, but.Because Mrs W is in a wheelchair we have to call a dedicated helpline and when you mention a price advertised by them they then tell you, "oh but that's for a non adapted unit, because you need adaptions and more space we only have this holiday for twice as much". I saw a caravan at haven the advert said £500 for the family of 4, when I booked it was nearly £1000.00 for the same holiday, same caravan too. but because we needed adaptions they charged extra!. Anyway packed now ready to go, the carer who came in to help Mrs W gave the children some spending money for the holiday and Mrs W's mum just called round to wish us a good holiday too. May not be about much for the next week but will update my blog with the tales of our holiday on my return.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

24th June 2009 ladybird, Ladybirds everywhere!

Last night saw me on a mission to rescue some ladybirds who took it onto themselves to take a swim in the pool, they seem strangely drawn to taking a swim in the pool, I think it might be the blue pool liner or the reflection of the water attracting them, needless to say ladybirds do not swim and end up in ladybird heaven if they try. I rescued one, placed it onto a safe haven to dry out, a few moments later there was another, or it might have been the same one, again I lifted it from the pool, this time I placed it further down the garden where it spent several minutes drying out before carrying on it's way. I watched it as it dried out it's wings, stretching and drying. It was being so thorough and in not so much of a hurry to make the same mistake twice I hope. Found a ladybird in the house early this morning too, I wonder if it was the same one? I picked it up and took it outside and observed it flying off out of sight. Off out today to Cribbs causeway, not on a shopping trip but on an audit the last of mine this month, Mrs W is going out with her carer shopping for holiday food and bits and pieces, cannot wait now, suitcases are down and ready to be filled, whilst Mrs W is out with her carer I am going to make some me time and have my hair cut and other non specific parts trimmed, why is it when you get older hair disappears from your head and sprouts out from all other parts of the body! I am getting hair from my ears, bushy eye brows and from my darn nose, I think it is slipping off my head, not falling out!. Went to Frankie and Benny's for lunch today after the audit. Bumped into a fellow tweeter who I gave some mystery shopping advice and links too, she recognized me and said hello as well as thanked me once again for my help. Should really get packed for the holiday, thought about it, got the suitcases down just got to fill them!. Got food and drink to take with us so we wont need to spend too much down there. Hope the weather is kind to us too. The roads round here have been manic all day, the combination of the Motorway closure and the the migration to Glastonbury I reckon, trouble is the Motorway closure has a knock on effect all day round here.Sat here at 9pm and it is baking hot, so going to finish the blog now for today.

Monday, 22 June 2009

23rd June 2009

Well after finishing my blog yesterday and eating nearly 600 grams of Jelly babies while doing so I had the mother of headaches, not sure if it was the weather as it was very oppressive or the sugar rush from the Jelly babies. I took myself to bed for an hour and a half, I must have slept solid as when I did arouse I had in my mind that I had to get up for breakfast and a new day had dawned. It was not until I had woken fully I realised my good fortune, I had not yet seen out the day and it was still only Monday. I had today yet to deal with. Oh joy!. Today has me carrying out the store audits and a mystery visit in a clothes shop, one I would not normally use as it is full of trendy very pricey clothes in a highly affluent area of Bristol too. I had to take a stroll to the local shop to charge up the electric key too last night, it was only about nine fifteen, but felt so uneasy, the gangs of youth's hanging outside the local KFC, sat outside the local supermarket. They were everywhere, not giving me any trouble yet it still concerned me. I made a point to cross the road to avoid them, adding extra time onto my walk too, another sure sign I might be feeling my age right? or just too much paranoia caused by the media?. Which ever it is a first for me to feel uneasy and it was still light too. Well the compliance audits were mixed, two of the three stores had many problems and the usual excuses of non received point of sale material or out of stock items, one of the two was even using a completely different guide to work from, the other store was as always perfect, even got offered an ice cold drink too, usually a coffee but due to the weather I thought best to have a cold drink, the mystery visit went well too, the service was great, sometimes i wonder if I have done a store so many times they know who I am, sometimes I just wish someone would ask, then I could test my skills of "lies" to try and convince them I am not the mystery shopper when I am!. Right well now to plan for tomorrow, I have another audit and a mystery shop at a frozen food specialist, should be good, now the barbecue season is on us, free burgers, sausages, chicken drumsticks, even tastier than bought ones.! That is one of the perks of the mystery shopping assignments, I get to keep the products or eat a meal out too. It is not all for nothing though, the time consuming part of the job is the reporting, sometimes it can take thirty minutes to complete a report satisfactorily with no spelling errors and with enough detail to satisfy the companies and their clients.

22nd June 2009

Well after the events of yesterday I am now gearing up for holiday mode, keeping on top of the washing, housework, buying the usual suspects to take with us to help with the cost of going away, packets of sausages, pasties,bacon, eggs and such like. Today sees the second wave of mobile phone store compliance audits, five in total this week, so should provide us with a little income at the middle of next month which should repay the overdraft I have occurred this month as a result of birthday and fathers day expenses. Today also sees the start of Wimbledon so am not holding much hope for the weather because as a rule it tends to rain during that time. The washing that fell into the swimming pool, I managed to get it re-washed, but not dry unfortunately, am going to have to write a note excusing my son for not wearing the correct school uniform and I am frantically trying to dry it in the tumble drier so it will be ready for the morning, not very eco friendly I know but needs must, my electric meter is whirling round like a good un!. Took Mrs W out for lunch after the Audit, which was a complete shambles, my merchadise guide was nothing like the one they had so spent about twenty minutes longer in the store phoning head office both for my company and theirs to clarify. We went to a two for one pub in Yate, very nice meal was had by both of us, then home to submit my findings of the audit, went to school to pick the children up, came home and finally the washing is dry. As I type I am eating jelly babies brought for fathers day, nearly finished the whole box all 600 grams of them what with this and the fast food I surely will end up putting on weight I guess!. The trouble is once you have one you just cannot stop!. Well I can't anyway, got to finish the whole box, no point in opening them otherwise!. Tomorrow sees another three audits and a mystery shop, lets hope they are easier than todays fiasco.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

21st June 2009 Fathers day, birthday and football clash

It happens from time to time, events clash and there is nothing that can be done about it, today is one such day, fathers day, this time 15 years ago was a very proud day for me, my first born Johnathan made an appearance into the world, after much a do he finally made it, four weeks early and actually missing fathers day that year, by the skin of his teeth too. Today is his birthday, his 15th, we have tried very hard to make it special for him and likewise he has tried to make today special for me, I had breakfast in bed too, two pieces of toast and two fried eggs!. Some lovely presents too, including a book on twitter, very useful given my new found love for it. We have given him cash, the way to any teenagers heart, that and food always wins, well mostly anyway, that and the odd sly alcohol, small beer and such like, we believe it makes him appreciate the effects of alcohol making it something for special events and the fact he can have it in front of us, not something taboo and drank out on the street etc. I mentioned events clashing, well today sees my daughters football tournament, as well as that my other passions in life, an airshow at Kemble and the Formula 1 Silverstone, so how to get over the clash, firstly hold a series of birthday events for Johnathan, go to the football tournament and take along a pair of headphones to listen to the Formula 1. Can't go to Kemble so going to Fairford this year instead, not one I usually afford due to cost. Mrs W and Johnathan are going to Mrs W's family for tea making sure she is cared for while I am out. Who says you can't please everyone all of the time!. Well just got back from the football tournament, hungry and tired, hungry cus I am not paying two pound odd for a burger that looked like something the cat had brought up, tired cus its been a long few hours on my feet watching daughter play football, I come home to find?. .... The washing that should be dry by now is swimming in the bleeding pool, have to re-wash it as it is mostly school uniform! no money to go buy a pizza, not alot in the house food wise, feeling irritable now too, time for a drink I think, relax on my own before son and Mrs W return to the fold. Thanks to those of you who tweeted me pictures of the airshow I never got to see, the Formula 1 race I never got to watch and to top it off I now have more washing to do that I had already conquered this morning!. Happy fathers day to me! Apart from that it has been a good day, a little on the chilly side, a few light annoying showers but all in all a good one. With a lot of thought and love having been given to my fathers day presents too, so I thank you my wonderful children Johnathan, who I know loves me really despite teasing me about my lack of knowledge on the PC, twitter and facebook. Amanda who just thinks I am bonkers and picture taking mad!. Oh and not forgetting my wonderful wife, Mrs W (Sam) who with out her in my life nor would the children on this very special day for me.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

20th June 2009

Today saw me start with the usual visiting the family, I dropped into the local bakery and bought two iced donuts and once at my family we put a candle in them and sang happy birthday to Johnathan, well they wont be able to join in the celebrations if any are held tomorrow so I thought it would be good to let them sing happy birthday to him, at least he had a cake!. Came home and then went to do a mystery shop in Yate another burger take away. Mrs W had the chicken nuggets I had the fries and Coke at least I only ate half the meal, does that mean half the calories?. That was lunch sorted, in the afternoon I went over to the local park after popping to the shops, on my way to the shops something caught my eye, upon closer inspection I was amazed to see a rather large gathering of caterpillars in the front garden of a house, admittedly the garden needed some attention and was probably wildlife heaven to say the least. I took a picture of them, returned home, put the shopping away and then did some research to find they were the caterpillar of the Cinnabar moth. When Mrs W went for her afternoon nap I took a leisurely stroll over the local park area, I headed for a large grass area that had been left uncut for wildlife, there were many butterflies fluttering around one in particular caught my eye, it was sat on a bramble leaf, it was brown with a light cream speckle to it's wings. I took a photo of that too, not particularly clear, still getting used to the new camera, but I was able to ascertain it was the Speckled Wood Butterfly
(Pararge aegeria). I have another mystery shop in a burger take away this evening as well as a local pub too. No assignments tomorrow as it is a busy day what with Johnathan's 15th birthday and fathers day, on top of that I have a football tournament to go to with Amanda! busy day, who says Sundays are a day of rest?!. After the assignments later today I shall probably sit and watch the usual rubbish they put on television on a Saturday night lately, one program that I will make a point of watching is Casualty as I know some of it was filmed around here about three months ago now, I know this as I was on my way to the shops and nearly walked right through their shot!, only saved from doing so by a man who called me over to one side and stopped me from spoiling it, plus the film crew and ambulances with Holby on the side kind of gave it away!. I also saw Gillian Taylforth who is making an appearance in this episode tonight too, not name dropping honestley!.

Friday, 19 June 2009

19th June 2009

Today I have a couple of mystery shops visits, one is a local television sales shop, have to assess the readiness and knowledge of going digital, the other is to a fast food burger take away, I am going to end up the size of a house at this rate with all this fast food!. All in a good cause though, well that is what I keep telling myself anyway. The first assignment was surprisingly good, I would most definitely use that retailer for my own needs in the future, something I rarely say with meaning!. The second assignment was pretty much as I would have expected from the fast food burger take away. Managed to do some washing today despite the cloud, I think the breeze helped on that score more than the sun, trying to get myself up together with laundry and buying bits and bobs for our holiday that is coming up the end of next week, the blog entries and photographic opportunities are going to be out of this world I hope, with such a wondeful coastline as the Devon Cliffs area to take in. Pretty quiet day today really so a short blog entry from me. Lets see what tomorrow brings.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

18th June 2009 BLU fc BBQ

Today sees me carry out two mystery visits, one in a post office and the other in a well known music store in Bristol, we might use that visit to purchase a new CD for listening to while in the car on our way to our holiday destination next week. We shall probably stop of for lunch at a two for one pub which is nearby to one of the visits I have to carry out today too. Then this evening we have a BBQ to attend, such a busy life we lead, even though I am not in full time employment I too get days where there never seems to be enough time in the day, crazy I know but so true. have to say both the visits were great, I purchased the new Lily Allen CD for our journey to our holiday venue next week, already listened to it, bloody brilliant!, just a crying shame for her that success has had a massive impact on her life in the shape of drugs, alcohol and such like. I guess it happens to many successful artists, just a shame that it happens at all to any of them. We spent lunchtime at the pub again, our local not the two for one as planned as I had dramatically over estimated the timings for the travelling again!. Doh!. I have started on yet another video presentation of the football season for my daughters football team, this time I am editing it after each event, last season took several hours after volunteering to make one of the hundreds of photos and video clips of, matches, presentation evenings and such like, I have of course remembered to back it up to a memory card as well as the Computer, again another painful lesson learned!. Off to a Barbecue tonight, not particularly brilliant weather but at least it is dry. The barbecue went well although a little chilly, plenty of food to go round too, the girls got a bit high on Coca Cola, seventeen girls high on the E numbers and caffiene, quiet a laugh!. I got my camera out again, nobody noticed so managed to get some rather cheeky shots too, love them none posed, much more real I think.

17th June 2009 Birthday build up

Well yesterday saw the usual occurrences, shops for everyday essentials, carer came in to help Mrs W get ready then a further carer took Mrs W out for clothes shopping.Mrs W bought some tops and a couple of new dresses for our upcoming holiday, which we are all looking forward to! and to buy our eldest a birthday cake and candles . We went out to an Italian place for a birthday meal for his birthday in the evening, he is not fifteen until Sunday. However daughter has a football tournament and it is fathers day so we thought we would give him a bit of a celebration early so he does not lose out on the attention so much, no doubt he will still get a cake and still get made a fuss of by the grandparent's on his birthday this coming Sunday anyway. I went for a stroll round my local park area into the wooded and grassland areas with my new camera and snapped a large gathering of black caterpillars which on further investigation turned out to be from the Peacock butterfly. I spotted blue finches, Robbins, Jackdaws too. A pretty much leisurely day was had all in all. Still awaiting the results of my blood pressure monitoring, might give the doctor a call in a day or two at least i will know one way or the other what is going on with that and it will be one less thing to think about. I spent the evening transferring and backing up all the photographs from my camera to the computer and then placing them onto CD Rom's in readiness for our forthcoming holiday the end of next week so I should have plenty of room for the new holiday snaps in my camera.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

16th June 2009 full of suprises!

Today and last night has been all about trying out the new camera again, new toys eh?. We took a drive to the Clifton Downs last night and tested out the various settings on the new camera, took some photos of random things including the view of the Avon Gorge. Today we took a drive to Ashton Court where I snapped a couple of butterflies, namely meadow brown Butterfly (Maniola jurtina) , tried to push Mrs W in her chair deeper into the the woodland to see what other delights I could snap with my new camera and failed miserably, we had to stick to the tarmac pathway and as a result could not get many pictures of the many wonderful colourful butterflies that were fluttering around. I took a photo of Bristol from there using the panoramic mode, brilliant results. In the evening I drove to Filton to carry out a mystery visit to a burger take away, needless to say I am far from loving it !. Whilst there I saw a family of swans and their cygnets, something I never expected to see there of all places, next to a car park, burger take away and large offices. I parked up and watched them for a little while and took out my camera yet again, much to Mrs W's annoyance, she sometimes gets a little fed up with my new hobby, however she does like the photos I take so she tends to put up with it, I find the best way is to whip it out and start snapping before she gets too annoyed, if I take them quickly she tends to remain in a relative state of calm I find. I am loving the many wonderful pictures I am taking, however I am finding since joining twitter I am taking many more strange and bizarre pictures, like my meals, cold drinks, ice creams and such like, pictures that I would not normally give a second thought to taking previously!. So thank you twitter for yet another notch in my photo bug. !!! I wonder what will be my most unusual photo that I will take?. I have seen some strange photos posted, like a single brown shoe, packets of Monster munch and many other bizarre items.

Monday, 15 June 2009

15th June 2009 Big boys toys.

Well having caught the photographic bug and taking increasingly more detailed photos of late, which some are great even if I do say so myself,I convinced myself it was advisable to invest in a new camera. I did some research into the cameras that were in my budget before making the trip to the local store to make my purchase. I chose a Samsung WB500 wide angle lens, with 10 times zoom capability. Boy what a fantastic picture it takes, I can't wait to get stuck in and showcase some of my work on the facebook page, twitter via twitpic and of course here on my blog.I stuck with Samsung as I have always used them, they are pretty simple to use and are very much like the Nokia brand, once you can work one you can work them all. The photo quality is usually pretty good too, I have had a Kodak camera in the passed and to me honestly the Samsung beat it hands down and I took the Kodak one back to the store for a refund. The new camera is a little more pricey than the ones I have had in the past but i hope and feel that it will prove a worthwhile investment. Not only for the nature shots, but for scenic shots too with it's wide angle lens capability too.

The children seem to have gotten the bug of nature too, taking it into their own mind and doing to weed the area down by the pond, my heart sank as I saw my son, yanking up clumps of bramble and other weeds, moments before I had been down there taking photographs of caterpillars, bees and other insects, now along he comes with his size nine boots and destroys my little piece of wilderness! all good intentions I realise this has been done. When I told him that was my piece of wild life he retorted " yeah but dad, there is wild and then there is wild" I am thinking he is telling me that it had become a little too over grown!. Anyway while clearing the plot of land we saw frogs, toads, leeches, one of which promptly attached its self to his fingers. Lots of many other bugs and insects some of which I can't even begin to name or even find on the ever useful google search either.

The first picture taken on the new camera is showcased here, a honey bee on a vibrant blue flower.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

14th June 2009

So far this morning is going well. Apart from being woken up at six thirty am that is!. Daughter got up to do paper round and somehow managed to forget the burglar alarm was set, as it is everyday of the week!. Having been woken up I went downstairs and did the usual start up with the PC, the television, digital photo frame and fish tank then threw back the curtains to reveal a wonderful sunny day, put some washing on the line and started another load, emptied the dishwasher and reloaded it, made breakfast and had the usual wash. Today we are meeting up with Weston Super Mum and her daughter, we have been chatting a fair bit on Twitter and had similar interests so we thought it would be a great idea to meet up. We are meeting in Weston Super Mare for a morning of sight seeing, the kind of stuff we do not usually get to see or indeed know little about. I am hoping to catch sight of the Peregrine Falcons at the quarry today too, found my binoculars, a bit dusty as the last time they were used was at an airshow nearly a year ago!. We made the short journey from Bristol to Weston arriving at around 10.45am a little behind schedule due to a short fuel and shop stop at the services on the way. We entered the agreed meeting place a Quarry now used as a nature reserve. We sat in a clearing chatting and watching nature go by, saw some moths, butterflies damson flies and plenty of beetles, we didn't manage to get a very good look at the Peregrines but we did see some Kestrels being bothered by a flock of Jackdaws. Seemed the Jackdaws took offense to the Kestrels trying to build a nest as the Jackdaws appeared to be carrying some of the nest material away with them as they retreated and re grouped. We spent about an hour with westonsupermum and daughter then we headed to the seafront for some lunch, we opted for a take away and sat on the sea front near a large green and water feature, accompnaied by an ice cold diet coke can each. We ate our meals and became increasingly aware and concerned at the ever growing number of sea gulls that appeared on the grass behind us. I caught one of them eyeing up my food so took it off the wall and placed it firmly onto my knees, Johnathan on the otherhand left his on the wall beside him he took his eye off the meal and gulls for a spilt second and one gull made a lunge for the polystyrene container which contained his meal, then before he could do anything the gulls mass decended and snatched his meal from him and with in seconds there was nothing left, it was like a scene from the movie "the birds" there were feathers flying everywhere as they devoured his food like they had not been fed in ages. We took the short stroll back to the car and made our way home having had a really interesting and eventful day trip out. I am hoping to return and hopeful to get a proper look at the peregrines again someday soon. I am now sitting in the garden in the brilliant sunshine with a nice iced beer, this is what summer should be all about, wonderful weather great days out exploring and then coming home to unwind and mellow in the mid afternoon sunshine.

Friday, 12 June 2009

13th June 2009 Dyhram Park

Today we are off to Dyrham Park for a bit of "culture" don't you know. The gardens, deer park and some of the house is accessible to the disabled. That is according to the Accessibility guide published by the National Trust, so we thought we would check it out and go somewhere I have driven passed many times in the past too. So after the usual visits to family that we carry out on a Saturday morning off we drove heading off for "our bit of culture and history". We could not have chosen a more wonderful day weather wise, we pulled into the car park and made our way through the entrance lodge. There was a long winding road leading into the valley where the large house stood majestic like in the grounds, it took around twenty minutes to walk to the house and gardens. The children took great delight in rolling down one of the large grass slopes, we saw deer in the open land as well as Cattle and many wonderful butterflies, damson flies, ducks and moorhens in the ponds, unfortunately we had to look hard for the deer as they were hiding under the trees away from the sunshine, we strolled around the gardens, ponds and shop area for a good hour. The house was fantastic with wonderful stature in the surrounding landscape, the gardens out of this world. We then caught the shuttle bus up the long winding road which was disabled friendly back up the hill the the car park. Amazingly Mrs W was like a small child having not been on a bus for many years as not too many currently operate that allow wheelchair access here in Bristol, there are a few but they are few and far between. We went through the entrance lodge and stopped off and had an ice cream from the local dairy too, just what we all needed in the glorious sun. The views of the surrounding areas of Bristol were magnificent we could see for many miles. The house had limited accessibility so we did not look round the inside. But the guide we picked up at the recent Mobility road show was 100% accurate and made our day thoroughly enjoyable in the fact we were able to have in mind what we would and would not be able to achieve on our visit today, well done National Trust I say!.

12th June 2009 it is accessible yeah?

Today sees the BLUfc football awards ceremony held at a large house which I have discovered as it is a listed building has no disabled access. Whilst the venue has wide door ways, disabled facilities they had to remove the ramp as it is a grade one listed building, now forgive me for being dumb here, but, if you have disabled facilities should you now not allow access for them to be used!?. The coach and a few other parents have offered help to "lift Mrs W" up the eight steps into the ground floor function room, however that is okay but again we find ourselves reliant on the good will of other people. In this day and age we would hope that people like Mrs W would be able to come and go from a venue on their own free steam so to speak, surely the venue could have a portable ramp system? or even a stair lift fitted up the steps?. if you have ever tried lifting a person in a wheelchair up steps you will understand how difficult and awkward it can be, not only that but demeaning for the person in the wheelchair to have to rely on the good will of someone else to get them in to a venue too, disabled people are in their own right a person and sometimes I feel people forget this. I have been with Mrs W in her chair and people will still even now walk up to me and ask ME how SHE is!. I chose now to ignore them and say something like, "she is not deaf or stupid she can speak for herself". This often results in a moment of awkwardness. While we both appreciate the help given by kind folk, I do feel that things like award ceremonies are arranged with little or no thought to access for the disabled. I have been invited to so many functions and awards and such like, the first question I ask is "is it disabled accessible" very often the reply will be, "oh I hadn't thought about that" or "I will have to get back to you on that"often or not the reply is "no it is not" this means as a family unit we have to miss out on so many parties, awards, discos and such like, or rely very heavily on other folk to help. Now at the start of a party where alcohol is freely flowing for instance this is not in its self a problem except for our hurt pride asking for help that is. Then try and get home most people have enjoyed the excess of alcohol and are in no fit state to help lift a wheelchair with a person in it!. Very often we have been left stranded up a flight of stairs unable to get out of a venue as a result. On top of the usual accessibility issues then we come to the safety aspect, what would have to happen if we were involved in say a fire, how would we get out then?. While I admit overall things are improving there are still many venues who seriously have to improve their accessibility. Some organizations do very well at making access as easy as possible and there are even booklets printed which tell disabled persons how accessible or not their venues are. A lot of new attractions and venues have to conform to new laws, but even those sadly are not entirely accessible to wheelchair users, sometimes due to design errors, sometimes down to the sheer bloody mindedness of the design and designer too I might add.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

11th June 2009 Pond discovery?

The last couple of days have seen me write a few thoughts on street art and such like, today I go back to my mundane life. The usual start, breakfast, school run and shopping, a couple of mystery visits followed by lunch out somewhere, the first of my mystery visits is a shop in the bus station, the second is to a well known crystal outlet at Cribbs Causeway, the food waste and cardboard are still sat on the roadside waiting for the bin men to come and collect it, although the strike is over we have yet to see sight of them here in Fishponds. Today sees the football training resume, well not exactly it is a BBQ for the players and parents to discuss the feeling that the club the girls play for are just not taking us seriously enough as a team. One option is to start another cub of our own, the other is to take the girls and coach to a new club, one who will welcome the efforts and support both the girls and parents give to the club currently. After lunch I took a stroll down to the pond at the bottom of the garden, I saw the usual suspects, tadpoles, damselfly, dragonfly, mosquito larvae and then something strange caught my eye!. They were like nothing I had seen before, silver in colour to the eye about the size of a small beetle, eight legs and rather like a small shrimp, i assume they are some kind of Larvae but I was not sure and even now not sure what they are, I have attached a photo of them to the top of the blog here, if you think you know what they are or even if you actually do know what they are I would appreciate your help. A short blog entry today, thank goodness I hear you cry following the last couple which have been on the long side.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

10th June 2009 Football highs!

For many years now our daughter has played football for various teams, the first was Bristol Rovers Girls football team, she played for a couple of season with them, playing in all weathers and mostly with a severe lack of players her team constantly lost their matches. However much they lost the girls always emerged from the field with a huge smile on their faces and some of their defeats were dramatic to say the least, Bristol Rovers then became Bristol Academy of Sport and our daughter still gave her commitment to the team, like the others turning up week after week and losing with magnificent grace. Then one day out of the blue we had a letter telling us that after much consideration they were ceasing the girls football club and wished us all the success elsewhere. Not disheartened the search began and we found a club looking for players called Rockleaze Rangers, they were a good team and we could see by their results they had struggled in their matches too but they had been recognized by their league having won an award for fairness and such like. Our daughter played for Rockleaze Rangers and along the way a few from her old team joined too, what a turn around for the girls this was, match after match they won eventually winning their league in 2008. The girls still have the same enthusiasm and love the game of football. They have a laugh and all seem to get on well together, when playing the match they do what needs to be done and they all work as a team, I have seen many clubs where they have one player who seems to do most of the work for the team, one thing I can say about the team our daughter plays for is they all have their place and work well together. Well after playing a season with Rockleaze Rangers there was a big shake up of local clubs and they became Bristol Ladies Union women's team, again the girls gave their commitment to the new team. Our daughter even went as far as to making a great save in goal on the very first match of the season resulting in a fracture of the wrist!. She made no fuss for the whole week, she carried on cycling to and from school, doing her paper round even trained at football practice not even mentioning her wrist. Anyway, the following match came round and she seemed a little reluctant to go in goal, an attempt was made to bandage her wrist to give it some support which failed, she was once again in goal and made the first of many great saves, then it happened, she made an attempt at saving a flying ball, it went in and she winced with immense pain. It was at that time I thought I should get it checked, off we go to the local hospital and explain what had happened and a few moments later she was called into the x-ray room. A short while later and her wrist was in a strap and splint. Boy how bad did I feel?. She had been going around with a fractured wrist for a week!. Needless to say this meant time out from the matches. Our daughter was so committed to the team she insisted on watching her team and showing her support for them even knowing she could not play. Anyway after a while our daughter was playing again and the team continued to go from strength to strength with continued win after win. One game before the end of the season they had won their league, the very last match of the season was the first match they lost, but even that didn't worry the girls, the opposing team stood in two lines and clapped and cheered her and her team off the pitch as a mark of acknowledgement to the champions of the league for the second season in a row. The club has so far not shown support for the girls and their efforts which I feel is a little poor considering the sweat and effort the girls have given the club and in view of the fact the new club was formed with the amalgamation of several smaller clubs and Bristol University too. However one organisation that has recognised the efforts of the girls is the Bristol Evening Post and on the 8th June they held the BEP star awards where several clubs and individuals were awarded trophies as an acknowledgement. Some of the team and the coach went along to collect the trophy, The girls had their photo taken with Cole Skuse from Bristol City FC. There was a buffet and free bar, something i think many clubs could take note of, it was very much appreciated and the girls felt good getting some acknowledgement too. onwards and upwards I say.! I was looking through the BEP today to find the photos and they were in there, but I couldn't help notice the space difference given to the boys and girls teams, I severely hope that with such a strong girls following and participating in football that things start to change and they are given an equal share in the coverage in the coming seasons. Follow the girls here if you like

Monday, 8 June 2009

9th June 2009, is street art really that?

While driving round Bristol yesterday on my endless tasks, chores and dad's taxi service I couldn't help noticing the ever increasing businesses that had ceased trading, the fly posters and boarded up shops endowed with the ever increasing so called "street art". I call it graffiti myself, I love a good painting, poster, artwork and statue like the next person, but is graffiti art?. I have seen schemes by Bristol City council and Avon and Somerset police where they have handed over subway walls, shop shutters for "local artists" to show off their works of art, now while agreed some is very good there are a lot that really should be painted over and put back to the original state. The youths would even argue that tagging as it is called is in its own right street art. To me this is no more than sheer vandalism, to deface a perfectly decorated wall, car, train carriage and such like in that way shows contempt for other peoples property surely?. I admit that Bristol does have a very well known graffiti artist namely "Banksy" and some of his work is excellent and world renowned, however a lot of the so called street art in my view is nothing in comparison. Should there be allocated walls for street artists/ graffiti artists, do you like the art you see around, do you think it should be recognized as art?. In my oppinion it is not art it is property defecation and a pure lack of respect to peoples property as a rule. However even if the local authority do allocate walls, shutters or pathways and such like you then get the artists who come along and tag or ruin other decent art works that are authorised to be there. It seems to me that no matter how much space you allocate, artists want more and more space. Some of the art work are also visible in unlikely places too, one noticeable artwork in Bristol is above the M32 on a bridge visible by hundreds of visitors to Bristol everyday. Is that the impression we should be setting for our City or any City in Britain. A well known car manufacturer is using street art to advertise their car on a window in the new Cabot Circus, to me that too is defecation of a property. While I admit it has the desired effect, I remembered it was there and where I had seen it, I cannot help feel it is cheap shot advertising, I mean if the big guns are using street art as an advertsing tool how can we tackle the little artists, street taggers and such like, it surely sends out a message that tagging and street art is alright? The annoying thing is that when questioned they all seem to think it is cool to have their tag or art spread the length and breadth of Britain, most cannot see the problem with the fact they have just spray painted a car, shop window, bus or train. The fact that it costs hundreds of pounds sometimes to restore the item back to it's original state does not even come into their head, to them it is yet another blank canvass to rebirth their art work again! Oh how many times have a seen the council cover over artwork and within hours it has been strewn with tags and graffiti, how much it must cost to clean up!?

8th June 2009 is there a need for the post office?

Today starts in the usual manner, breakfast, school run and shopping. Followed by a trip to the post office to pay some bills, now the post office is at the best of times on a Monday morning busy but today was compounded by the fact at nine twenty this morning knowing it would be busy they only had one lone cashier, I joined the queue and waited nearly fifty minutes to pay my bills!. They wonder why so many post offices are closing, could it be lack of customer service?. Or there are much more efficient ways to pay the bills now, I mean you can even buy stamps and pay bills in the local corner shops now, is there a place for the post office in this day and age? are the post office management really interested in keeping them open there are so many closing and a lot more threatened with closure too and judging from my experiences as a customer is it any wonder.? My feeling on this is that, there is now no need for a post office branch as most if not all transactions made at the post office are now available via electronic means. Most corner shops, garages and even supermarkets allow you to pay household bills, buy stamps and some now even allow you to send mail and packages from them using rival companies admittedly, but never the less it can be done. Some smaller villages say without the post office there is nothing left in their village, is this really the case? I have heard of pubs taking over the running of the post office and villagers clubbing together to take over a post office or village shop to run a post office on a co-operative basis too. Maybe as a "town dweller" I am missing the point of the post office I don't know. What I do know is that the post office by me has a severe lack of customer service, knowledge of it's products and services and tends to get used as a local meeting point for the elderly of the community rather than a post office!. Half the reason the queue was so slow was the fact that ninety percent of the elderly population of Fishponds were queueing and they do have a tendency to take so long in the simplest of transactions. I should not say that really as one day I will be joining their ranks All but for the grace of god that is !.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

7th June 2009 Bristol Festival of Nature.

Well this morning started off a bit on the dull side in the garden, I took a stroll round and couldn't help noticing the invasion of slugs and snails, hundreds of them, all different colours, shapes, sizes. The pond had a different vibe about it today too, not the usual buzz it had recently, it seemed somehow still and quiet almost as if it was waiting to come alive again.
This weekend has been another great free Bristol festival down by the harbour side. the festival of nature, full of interesting events, talks, films and stall showing off facts, figures and leaflets, samples of locally produced goods including honey and other items made from recycled goods from around the house. Bird feeders from old fizzy drinks bottles and such like to name just one of the many wonderful ideas. The festival was informative and interesting with lots to do, see and sample. My highlight of the festival was tasting all the locally produced, cheeses, wine and cider. The children were fascinated with the wildlife stands including a stand from the Bristol Zoo, most of the festival was very accessible however there were some areas that were placed onto cobble stone areas making pushing the wheelchair a little on the hard side, however the toilet facilities were well stocked, clean and easy to access with well thought out access options. There was a large screen broadcasting wildlife films, there was a stall from the BBC wildlife department as well as other agencies dealing with wildlife and nature both locally and nationally too. There was even an artist who made sculptures from recycled material. There were street acts as well. Also the perfect setting of the harbour side made the festival thoroughly enjoyable, yet another great free festival for residents and visitors of Bristol. The next one is the Festival of the sea, look forward to that one now big time.
take a look at the Bristol city website for details

Saturday, 6 June 2009

6th June 2009 Mobility Roadshow

Well, today we were due to go to Kemble for the annual mobility roadshow. To be honest the weather is so bad we changed our minds, nothing worse than walking round all the trade stands in pouring rain. Plan B beckons, just called round and informed my nan and mum that we will be descending on them as usual. Aren't they lucky!. I just pray that this is not going to be the trend in the weather with our family holiday due in around 3 weeks time. While at mums the weather improved and I made an executive decision to make our way to the mobility roadshow after all, much to the annoyance of the children who thought it would be boring with nothing to do, off we headed and browsed the vast array of modified vehicles, caravans and kitchen aids and such like. There were many organizations with display stands handing out various literature some really useful too, some of which I was not aware existed and will be highly useful in planning future family disabled friendly days out. We sat in a few of the vehicles too, which gave us a few pointers for the type of vehicles that would be suitable for Mrs W to access with the greatest of ease and the minimal difficulty, tested a few other useful things out, including a bar to help Mrs W in and out of the car, which I ended up purchasing there and then. While we were there we ate the obligatory bacon rolls and burgers. It turned out to be a useful trip out in the end and the children found it enjoyable too, bonus I say. Also although not brilliant sunshine the weather did hold off enough for us to see everything on offer both in the interior show ground and the exterior too. This show is well worth the visit and is currently free too an even bigger bonus I say. So if you are disabled or a carer give it a go next year. Why not take a look at the shows website You will be pleasantly suprised. I am very suprised it takes a show like this to get the information and advice of this nature, I would have hoped in this day and age, social workers, disability forums and such like would be much more clued up and be able to give this advice. I guess in this day and age it mostly comes down to finances as most things. I have just had my eyes widley opened to what is out there and possible if you have the power that is knowledge about these things, something most disabled people and carers unfortunately do not have access too via their local councils.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

5th June 2009

Today started with making breakfast, watching the Original FM's hot air balloon fly passed my house and promptly vanish into a thick blanket of white fluffy cloud, I had almost forgotten what cloud looked like given the spell of glorious weather lately. It flew so low that I could almost see the white of the pilots eyes,I could certainly hear the burner. Then it was down to the chores taking my son to work experience the first of the day. I feel it could be a quieter day today, Mrs W is going out for an hour or so grocery shopping with a carer today leaving me on my own, peace at last, well for an hour or two at least. I have two mystery visits today first is a Chemist and the other is a retail shop in a railway station, nothing else planned as yet, the pool is drained just need to clean the inside of it from the Algae before refilling it. Once again I miss out on the first strawberry of the year, last night Johnathan bless him came in with the offending piece of fruit in his hand asking who wanted it, I said no it's alright you obviously wanted it as you picked it, he replied that he had picked it for me, the double bluff tactic eh?. Off outside he wandered asking his sister if she wanted it, I am not sure who ate it, one thing for nothing it was not me again!. I so had my grumpy head on yesterday evening, found everything annoying and began snapping at every little mishap, the who opened the new bread before finishing the old loaf argument started that I guess, even the delightful tones of my daughter playing her organ raised my stress and annoyance levels to the extreme, I even made a point of slamming the kitchen door, not that she took a blind bit of notice but it made me feel a little better. Do men have PMT? or would women just say that men are being grumpy again!, never worked out how that works, women when grumpy or moody are having PMT, but a bloke is just moody and should buck their ideas up and all that. Anyway feeling a little happier this morning so far onwards and upwards as they say. Popped to the local Co-operative food earlier today, remembered we have a Friend calling tonight so thought I had better get a bottle of wine, that and a few other eye catching bargains that always seem to make their way into the basket. I get to the checkout and they have no carrier bags, now don't get me wrong I understand about recycling and all that, but if they don't have carrier bags to hand out then I have to buy bin bags for the rubbish bin at home and food bags for the packed lunches etc. I am still using the same amount of plastic, but now I have to buy a shopping bag as well! where is the logic in that. At least when I get a free carrier bag I use it again for the rubbish, kids packed lunch and such like, however the bags for life only ever get used once as every time I pop to the local store I haven't got the bags for life on me the collection continues to grow with the addition of yet another from this mornings trip. I do have a selection of them in the car, but not in my pocket!, I think the shops should still offer the free carrier bags myself. Maybe stop selling bags for your rubbish bins instead. Oh but wait that won't go down with the capitalists who run the stores or even the suppliers of the bags now will it?!

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

4th June 2009 bins emptied, victor meldrew?

Today is a busy one for me, I woke up, made Mrs W the usual cup of tea and toast which I have made every morning since we got together nearly sixteen years ago now. Then I have to take my son to work experience again, stopping off at the shops for some groceries on the way back before the shops get manic or at least that's how they appear with a desperate lack of efficient checkout operators, the ones that are working may as well not be sometimes, having casual conversation with each other or the customer in front of you. After all that I have three audits and a mystery visit to a well known sandwich shop for lunch. Today is polling day too, so disillusioned with politics lately I am not entirely sure it is worth while me voting to be honest. It seems to make little difference to my situation being a full time carer I rely on benefits as my main income and the audits and mystery shopping as extra income. The main income for a carer is very poor to be honest and I really feel that which ever party in power so needs to take a long hard look at what we the carers do for such little recompense. If I was not doing the mystery shopping and audits I fail to see how any carer could afford to give up work to look after someone no matter how much they were in love with them or felt obliged to help them by caring for there much loved family member, even the carer who comes in three times a week earns more an hour than I do in only six hours of caring for Mrs W. To be honest I think it would cost far more than they pay me to care for Mrs W in a residential home so which ever government comes into power will hardly want to recognise the efforts we carers make by giving us the incentive we so deserve. Here ends my political rant, gosh there I go sounding like Victor Meldrew again!. Sat here this morning after coming back from the shops and dropping my son off at work experience and at long last, the bin men have been and taken the waste, I ran round clearing all the bins in the house even the recycling and shoved it into the bin outside so it was all taken, however the food waste and cardboard remains on the side of the road not collected, I usually am an avid recycle advocate but given the circumstances I thought it was best to get shot of everything I could. The weather has cooled a little today and first thing this morning the garden was invaded by Starlings feasting on the grubs and bugs tempted to the surface by the cooling dampness in the air. It has been a funny day, I take one step forward and end up taking two back, never seemed to have enough time in the day, the Internet server for one of the companies I work for is being a pig today, takes so long to submit a report, I went out of the room came back and it was still submitting, I think I could have made a cup of tea in the time it took . It had to happen at one point this summer, the pool went green over night!. I think that with all the excessive heat lately the chemicals had not had sufficient time to kick in, have to drain it and start all over again now,I wonder how many more times this season that will have to happen, last season it was at least three. See I told you it's not all it's cracked up to be this running a large swimming pool.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

3rd June 2009 Bunny roundabout!

Well last night I went out to do my mystery shops as planned, on the way we passed a roundabout, nothing unusual there I hear you say. Except this roundabout had a family of Rabbits living on it I counted at least half a dozen all basking in the sun happily eating grass or whatever it is they eat. I have done some research and found out the rabbits are known locally and so is the roundabout with a facebook group which is dedicated to the family of rabbits. I stopped and took a few photographs, no I did not drive repeatedly round it to get the photographs I did the sensible thing, pulled over and took them stood at the side of the road opposite the roundabout, goodness knows what other drivers thought I was doing!, if you would like to see more of my pictures they are on my facebook page or indeed my twitter account too.We Came home and sat in the garden for a short while as it was still a wonderful summers evening.
Today Mrs W has a carer in again to assist showering and housework giving me a short break from caring again this week before embarking on the days events, which include a store audit and another chicken take away mystery shop. Took my son to his work experience this morning and seriously over estimated the traffic on the ring road again, he arrived half an hour early!. While we were at cribbs causeway doing the mystery visit and audit, we stopped off in a restaurant for lunch, the Preview bar it was called they offered a buffet all you can eat for £5.95 and unlimited soft drinks for £1.95, there we sat eating plateful after plate full the price included desert too exceptional value for money I thought.The bin men are finally coming round to empty the bins today at long last, the fly population and the smell of rotting food stuff is really hanging around now, our bin has not been emptied for nearly three weeks now due to their strike action. Well maybe they are not coming, having had sightings of them very near to our road this morning I sit here with the front windows closed as the smell to the front of the property is very strong and the flies are loving it. I hope they come and collect them tomorrow, not sure how much of the smell and flies I can put up with much longer especially if the weather holds, which according to the weather guys it is not supposed to, but hey what do they know. Each station I look at says a different forecast, well I guess if they all say different one is bound to be right yeah?. Only trouble is which one?, the children have decided that it is too cold for the pool tonight and did not stay in it very long. A short entry today as to be honest it has been an nondescript day, I guess we all get those from time to time though, wouldn't be a healthy life if we had inspirational moments everyday now would it?.

Monday, 1 June 2009

2nd June 2009 having a pool is great, yeah!?

Okay, some of you have mailed me, twittered me and told me on face book that the children are so lucky having a 15ft swimming pool, yes I guess so, however there are the maintenance issues, the pool chemicals, water ph balance and pool cleaning including filter cartridges and such like, for example, multi action chemical tablets 2kg £14.00 lasts about 1 season, testing strips to check the chemical levels 50 for £5.00 last 2 seasons use, filter cartridges pack of 2 £9.95 we should use at least 3 or 4 of these a season, but in truth we don't opting instead to try and keep them going as much as we can, uses the pool gets, priceless!, on top of that when ever you mow the lawn, the combination of water overspill and the stragglers of the cut grass do not mix, sometimes we have to clean the kitchen floor several times a day not to mention hoovering the lounge carpet. The little darlings come in and out of the house for drinks, food and all kinds of important journeys leaving a trail of water from the pool and grass along the way. So I guess having the pool is a double edged sword in that they use it so much in fair weather that it really is worth the up keep involved but it creates so much other work in the form of housework and maintenance and upkeep costs. On top of that forget trying to dry any washing on the line even though it is scorching hot outside, the children somehow manage to spray anything and everything with pool water while they are in it. Trying to sit on the garden bench is an impossible task with out getting wet at some point in time while the pool is in use!.That's this mornings moan over, I really haven't woken up on the wrong side of the bed honestly!. I just had the mother of all asthma attacks last night meaning a rather disturbed sleep for me, I went to bed sounding like a steam train spluttering,coughing and wheezing, I felt exhausted doing what should come naturally, breathing!, I was awake till the early hours after that hearing every single noise with the knowledge that I could slip into another attack at anytime, I even heard my daughter awake for her paper round, such a rarity, bless her the harder she tried to keep quiet the more I heard her too!. What tasks in store today, well I have a few mystery shops to do today, the first is a mobile phone store, then later this evening I have two famous chicken fast food take aways to mystery shop too. At least I wont go hungry, well I might, if the children have anything to say on the matter!. While carrying out the daily chores, namely hanging the washing out I spotted my first strawberry of 2009, hope I get to taste it this year, usually the children or wildlife get them before me, there was also a rather large grey bird on my television aerial making a right old racket, I think it was a wood pigeon or maybe a ringed dove but am not entirely sure. We went out for lunch today, to a lovely pub called the Folly, both had omelette's as our meals. Mrs W had her sleep in the afternoon and once again I found myself in the garden making the most of the lovely weather. Amanda has come home from school and we await the arrival of Johnathan from work experience, last night he was full of tales and knowledge that he had learned, can't wait to hear what he has done today. He came home full of enthusiasm for his work experience again which is great news. Although he did have rather a long day today, but I guess that is what happens at work so it can only be a good thing for him to experience.The children once again have friends in the pool even at this hour of the day, the ice cream van has just been round and the children from the neighbouring homes have scurried out chasing him down the road for their ice cream treats. Might go sit in the garden in a bit with a nice beer as the weather is so nice. This will have to wait until I have finished my mystery visits to the chicken take aways though.