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Don't stop, look left or right.

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /
31/May/2006

We were driving to the supermarket past Hearsall Common, where the fair is still going. There was a group of teenagers on the pavement. Suddenly one ran out into the road in front of another vehicle. He got to the middle of the road before he noticed that we were approaching from the other direction. Emma was driving and managed to brake in time but we got a nice close up view of the terrified look on his face, while he was in the middle of the road with cars heading towards him from both directions!



Change trains twice at Birmingham International

Story location: Home / Blog /
30/May/2006

The trains were particularly rubbish this morning. Engineering work at Rugby had over-run so all the trains on the line between there and Birmingham were horribly delayed. As a result the local stopping train to Birmingham was very crowded.

When we got to Birmingham International it was announced that the express train on the other platform would be leaving before us and so everyone who was going direct to Birmingham (myself included) moved over to that train.
After a couple of minutes where neither train moved, the train manager came onto the tannoy to explain that the driver refused to move because the train was over crowded. He wanted around 100 people to get off the train. I joined a few other people in moving back to the local train, which thankfully was still there. Some people decided to stay on the express.
We had the last laugh - our train moved first while the express was still at the platform.



Funfair on Hearsall Common

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /
28/May/2006

The travelling fair comes to Hearsall Common most bank holiday weekends and this weekend was no exception. Unlike the amazing 50p fair from about a year ago, the rides were a bit more expensive at around £2 each. We only went on a couple of rides: the dodgems and the rapids. Neither of us had seen a rapids ride on a travelling fair before. Thankfully we didn't get as wet as we did at Thorpe Park but I did get splashed on the back of my trousers so I was wet on the walk home.

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rapids ride
spanish funfair ride? whirly upside down thing



Over 16

Story location: Home / Blog /
28/May/2006

I didn't realise you needed to be over 16 to buy either prawns or the Mail on Sunday. Sainsbury's seems to think so.

over 16

Update: 11/06/06
It's definitely the Mail on Sunday. We bought it again today and it had the same confirmation. We bought alcohol and it had the 'over 18' confirmation above that as well.



Spam

Story location: Home / computing /
27/May/2006

I've noticed a huge increase in spam recently both to my email and comment spam. Thankfully the spam protection on the comments field has managed to stop most of it from appearing on this site. Looking at the server logs it appears that over 200 spam comments have been prevented in the last few weeks.

Thankfully I don't get anywhere near that much spam email, but what does make it through is often quite surreal. Recent messages have had the following subject lines:

  • runaway cottage cheese
  • madreporic tubercle
  • Your family, winking cartilage


Wine Tasting Notes

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / wine /
27/May/2006

Apricot Wine
It was drunk at room temperature rather than chilled but it was good. Quite light flavoured but you could make out the apricot taste. If I tried it again I might try more apricot or leave the dried apricots to soak for longer.

Jam Wine
Quite light in flavour. Served chilled it worked well as a mixer. Tried it with white rum (ok), gin (worked well), Tropical Sourz (worked well) and Grenadine (just seemed to make it taste sweeter).

Berry Wine
This is the strongest flavoured of our wines so far, and with (in my opinion) the right balance of sweetness and depth of flavour. Also works well in a turbo purple



The Geek Test

Story location: Home / links /
25/May/2006

This test did the rounds at Uni but it looks like it's been updated since, so I thought I'd try it again to see if my score had changed. Not much. It was around 27%. This time I got 26.0% so it has actually dropped slightly. That might be because I'm not running Linux on my old laptop any more.

Find the test at: www.innergeek.us/geek-test.html.

i am a total geek



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I like mushrooms...

Story location: Home / Blog / house /
24/May/2006

... but not when they're growing out of the kitchen wall.

We noticed it when we got back to the house on sunday. All the rain over the weekend had led to water seeping through a crack in the kitchen wall. There was a piece of mushroom/fungus growing out of one area. Yesterday I phoned the letting agents to report it. This morning someone came round to take a look. Hopefully it won't take too long before someone comes back to fix it.



American Presidents

Story location: Home / bits-n-bobs /
24/May/2006

Presidents of the USA from 1789 to present.

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President
Party
Term as President
Vice-President
1
George Washington (1732-1799) None, Federalist
1789-1797
John Adams
2
John Adams (1735-1826) Federalist
1797-1801
Thomas Jefferson
3
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) Democratic-Republican
1801-1809
Aaron Burr, George Clinton
4
James Madison (1751-1836) Democratic-Republican
1809-1817
George Clinton, Elbridge Gerry
5
James Monroe (1758-1831) Democratic-Republican
1817-1825
Daniel Tompkins
6
John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) Democratic-Republican
1825-1829
John Calhoun
7
Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) Democrat
1829-1837
John Calhoun, Martin van Buren
8
Martin van Buren (1782-1862) Democrat
1837-1841
Richard Johnson
9
William H. Harrison (1773-1841) Whig
1841
John Tyler
10
John Tyler (1790-1862) Whig
1841-1845
 
11
James K. Polk (1795-1849) Democrat
1845-1849
George Dallas
12
Zachary Taylor (1784-1850) Whig
1849-1850
Millard Fillmore
13
Millard Fillmore (1800-1874) Whig
1850-1853
 
14
Franklin Pierce (1804-1869) Democrat
1853-1857
William King
15
James Buchanan (1791-1868) Democrat
1857-1861
John Breckinridge
16
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) Republican
1861-1865
Hannibal Hamlin, Andrew Johnson
17
Andrew Johnson (1808-1875) National Union
1865-1869
 
18
Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) Republican
1869-1877
Schuyler Colfax
19
Rutherford Hayes (1822-1893) Republican
1877-1881
William Wheeler
20
James Garfield (1831-1881) Republican
1881
Chester Arthur
21
Chester Arthur (1829-1886) Republican
1881-1885
 
22
Grover Cleveland (1837-1908) Democrat
1885-1889
Thomas Hendriks
23
Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901) Republican
1889-1893
Levi Morton
24
Grover Cleveland (1837-1908) Democrat
1893-1897
Adlai Stevenson
25
William McKinley (1843-1901) Republican
1897-1901
Garret Hobart, Theodore Roosevelt
26
Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) Republican
1901-1909
Charles Fairbanks
27
William Taft (1857-1930) Republican
1909-1913
James Sherman
28
Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) Democrat
1913-1921
Thomas Marshall
29
Warren Harding (1865-1923) Republican
1921-1923
Calvin Coolidge
30
Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) Republican
1923-1929
Charles Dawes
31
Herbert C. Hoover (1874-1964) Republican
1929-1933
Charles Curtis
32
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) Democrat
1933-1945
John Garner, Henry Wallace, Harry S. Truman
33
Harry S Truman (1884-1972) Democrat
1945-1953
Alben Barkley
34
Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) Republican
1953-1961
Richard Milhous Nixon
35
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963) Democrat
1961-1963
Lyndon Johnson
36
Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908-1973) Democrat
1963-1969
Hubert Humphrey
37
Richard Milhous Nixon (1913-1994) Republican
1969-1974
Spiro Agnew, Gerald R. Ford
38
Gerald R. Ford (1913- ) Republican
1974-1977
Nelson Rockefeller
39
James (Jimmy) Earl Carter, Jr. (1924- ) Democrat
1977-1981
Walter Mondale
40
Ronald Wilson Reagan (1911- 2004) Republican
1981-1989
George H. W. Bush
41
George H. W. Bush (1924- ) Republican
1989-1993
James Danforth (Dan) Quayle
42
William (Bill) Jefferson Clinton (1946- ) Democrat
1993-2001
Al Gore
43
George W. Bush (1946- ) Republican
2001-
Richard Cheney


List of British Prime Ministers

Story location: Home / bits-n-bobs /
24/May/2006

British Prime Ministers, 1721-2006

See more ....

Year Elected
Name
Party
1721
Sir Robert Walpole Whig
1742
Earl of Wilmington Whig
1743
Henry Pelham Whig
1754
Duke of Newcastle Whig
1756
Duke of Devonshire Whig
1757
Duke of Newcastle Whig
1762
Earl of Bute Tory
1763
George Grenville Whig
1765
Marquess of Rockingham Whig
1766
Earl of Chatham Whig
1767
Duke of Grafton Whig
1770
Lord North Tory
1782
Earl of Shelburne Whig
1782
Marquess of Rockingham Whig
1783
William Pitt Tory
1783
Duke of Portland Tory
1801
Henry Addington Tory
1804
William Pitt Tory
1806
Lord Grenville Whig
1807
Duke of Portland Tory
1809
Spencer Perceval Tory
1812
Earl of Liverpool Tory
1827
Viscount Goderich Tory
1827
George Canning Tory
1828
Duke of Wellington Tory
1830
Earl Grey Whig
1834
Sir Robert Peel Tory
1834
Duke of Wellington Tory
1834
Viscount Melbourne Whig
1835
Viscount Melbourne Whig
1841
Sir Robert Peel Tory
1846
Lord John Russell Whig
1852
Earl of Aberdeen Conservative
1852
Earl of Derby Conservative
1855
Viscount Palmerston Liberal
1858
Viscount Palmerston Liberal
1858
Earl of Derby Conservative
1865
Earl Russell Liberal
1866
Earl of Derby Conservative
1868
William Ewart Gladstone Liberal
1868
Benjamin Disraeli Conservative
1874
Benjamin Disraeli Conservative
1880
William Ewart Gladstone Liberal
1885
Marquess of Salisbury Conservative
1886
Marquess of Salisbury Conservative
1886
William Ewart Gladstone Liberal
1892
William Ewart Gladstone Liberal
1894
Earl of Rosebery Liberal
1895
Marquess of Salisbury Conservative
1902
Arthur Balfour Conservative
1905
Henry Campbell-Bannerman Liberal
1908
Herbert H. Asquith Liberal
1916
David Lloyd George Liberal
1922
Andrew Bonar Law Conservative
1923
Stanley Baldwin Conservative
1924
Stanley Baldwin Conservative
1924
James Ramsay MacDonald Labour
1929
James Ramsay MacDonald Labour
1931
James Ramsay MacDonald National Labour
1935
Stanley Baldwin Conservative
1937
Neville Chamberlain Conservative
1940
Winston Churchill Conservative
1945
Clement Attlee Labour
1951
Winston Churchill Conservative
1955
Sir Anthony Eden Conservative
1957
Harold Macmillan Conservative
1963
Sir Alec Douglas-Home Conservative
1964
Harold Wilson Labour
1970
Edward Heath Conservative
1974
Harold Wilson Labour
1976
James Callaghan Labour
1979
Margaret Thatcher Conservative
1990
John Major Conservative
1997
Tony Blair Labour
2007
Gordon Brown Labour


Idiot on a bike

Story location: Home / Blog /
23/May/2006

I was driving along Earlsdon Avenue when some idiot cycled out of a side turning, completely oblivious to myself and the van coming towards him from the opposite direction. He was weaving and swaying and looked drunk. He swerved out in front of my car again so I tooted the horn. He leaned over (swaying some more) and shouted angrily and tried flicking 'v' signs. When I drove back a few minutes later I half expected to find him squished under a lorry or bus but he seemed to have escaped unscathed.



Lordi, what a surprise!

Story location: Home / Blog / music /
20/May/2006

Possible the most deserved Eurovision win since Bucks Fizz and Making your Mind Up. I never thought I'd live to see the day when a Scandanavian heavy metal band would win Eurovision. Especially not one with lyrics such as 'arockalypse' and 'day of rockening'. Unmissable TV. Well done Finland!



Thorpe Park

Story location: Home / Blog /
20/May/2006

 

Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail

Click on the thumbnail to view the image



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Silent Texts

Story location: Home / computing /
16/May/2006

Yesterday morning, whenever I received a text message it would silently sneak into the inbox without my phone (nokia 6630) playing the 'text message arriving' alert. This afternoon it wouldn't even receive any. I checked the phone settings but they looked ok. I hadn't changed any recently so I couldn't see what the problem was. I could still send messages and send and receive phone calls.

This morning I put the sim card in my old phone and 8 new text messages arrived. A lot of them were 'test' messages I sent myself yesterday but some were actual messages which I should have had.

Tonight I put the sim back the phone with the intention of backing up my data and resetting the phone. The battery had been out of the phone all day and when I switched it back on it asked me for the time, date and my timezone. I sent myself another 'test' text message and to my surprise it arrived ok. Having the battery out of the phone seemed to be all the 'resetting' it needed.



The Water Unheater

Story location: Home / Blog / work /
16/May/2006

In the kitchen in work we have a water heater. It's fairly new, only about a month old. It's also not very good, spending most of it's time holding water at around 80°C, not enough for a proper cup of tea.

There's a button to press to force it to reheat the water but it often has the opposite effect. If I press it when the temperatures reading in the 80's, it often drops to 70-odd degrees before slowly climbing.



Ricky Gervais and the Simpsons

Story location: Home / Blog / tv /
14/May/2006

I managed to watch the infamous Ricky Gervais episode of the Simpsons today (titled Homer Simpson, this is your Wife). It started off quite funny and the plot revealed itself to be about one of those wife-swap tv programmes. The problems began when Mr Gervais made his first appearance. He decided to use that unfunny annoying I Wish For God's Sake He'd Shut Up persona which crushes the life out of any humour which might have been present.



Chav Hearts

Story location: Home / food_and_drink /
13/May/2006

Seen in Asda, their version of Love Hearts but for the modern generation:
Chav Heart packet 54fb98545b029f54da8647bdbd11305d

And the sweets themselves:
Minger!



Not another bloody sick-day

Story location: Home / Blog /
12/May/2006

I'm sure there must be some irony there somewhere. After commenting on the report that Americans are sicker than British, my bad back decided to come back. It was really bad yesterday and was very painful when I stood up, but the pain went away after I'd been standing for a while.

After an uncomfortable night of not sleeping well and it hurting every time I turned over, I phoned in this morning to let them know that I wouldn't be in. I don't know what's wrong with me recently. I used to be able to go years without having to see my doctor or take time off.



An Outbreak of Politeness

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /
06/May/2006

There seems to have been some outbreak of politeness in Coventry. I lost count of how many people said 'sorry' if they walked in front of me or accidently brushed my with their bag. Nobody actually bumped into me. It was all very civilised!



The Beer Bus

Story location: Home / Blog / work /
05/May/2006

Essentially a pub crawl around the Black Country, by bus. The trip was organised by someone from work and most of the people there were either employees or friends of employees. The bus was half an hour late because they had to double back to avoid a low bridge. This meant we only had 10 minutes at the first pub (The Forge in Halesowen) but we were allowed to take our drinks onto the bus as long as we poured them into a plastic 'glass' first.

Beer Bus It was very difficult drinking on the bus, mainly due to the bumpiness of the ride. Despite that, the on board bar seemed to do good business. The next pub was the Dry Dock, in Dudley. Notable for having a bar made out of an old canal boat. The third pub was the Blue Brick, then last of all The Pie Factory in Tipton.

It was a good night out and a good way of seeing other parts of the midlands.

Update: A number of people have contacted me asking for details about booking the beer bus. Their website is www.blackcountrytours.co.uk.



Burnt Out

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /
04/May/2006

burnt out shop On my way home from the station, there is an old derelict shop on Albany Road and a footpath which goes up some steps. Today I noticed the front of the shop had 'incident tape' across it. Climbing the steps, I could smell smoke. I looked through a gap in the fence and noticed that there had been a fire. The building seemed to be used as a scally hang-out and I occasionally saw shifty looking kids in the alleyway and noticed them disappear through the fence when they thought nobody was looking.



Land of the free and home of the poorly

Story location: Home / links /
04/May/2006

According to a survey, Americans are much less healthy than the British. Even the British at the poor end of the scale are healthier than wealthier-than-average Americans. Woo-hoo. Pass me another jumbo bucket of chicken bits, fries and a gallon of (non-diet) coke.



Another Cold

Story location: Home / Blog /
03/May/2006

As if yesterdays bad back wasn't enough, today I've got a cold. I'm sure my body is slowly trying to kill me.



Black & White film

Story location: Home / Blog /
03/May/2006

At lunchtime I had a walk round the shops. I went to Jessops in the Bullring to get some of the medium format black and white film I use in my pinhole lubitel. I was wanting some of their own brand film because it is cheaper and works well enough. I was told it was out of stock and had actually been discontinued. I checked their website and where they used to sell 3 different versions of the film, they only had one listed and that was out of stock. It looks like if I want to keep doing more pinhole photography I am going to have to bite the bullet and buy some more expensive branded film, which always seems a bit overkill when the camera is a bit cheap and rubbish!



Lost

Story location: Home / Blog / tv /
02/May/2006

Lost returned to channel 4 tonight, with the first 2 episodes of the second series. We finally found out what was down the hatch, and what happened to the people on the raft.



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Bad Back

Story location: Home / Blog /
02/May/2006

I don't know what caused it but I first noticed it when I stood up to get off the train this morning. My back gave out a little twinge of pain. It got worse during the morning, but would only hurt when I first stand up. Once I've been standing up for a while, the pain goes away. When it was time for my morning cuppa, it meant I hobbled to the kitchen but could walk back normally.



Melbicks Garden Centre

Story location: Home / Blog /
01/May/2006

Last bank holiday, we went for a drive over to Melbicks, mainly for a look around (because that's what you are supposed to do on a bank holiday) but also to buy some veg (for the kitchen, not for the garden - they sell food there as well). There were a lot of samples of free food available.

We decided to go back today (it being may bank holiday) to see what was available. Rather disappointingly, there weren't many free samples on offer. We did buy a bag of frozen summer fruits, to make a smoothie. When we got home I left the fruit out to defrost before making the smoothie, adding pears, apples and grapes. It ended up very thick and dark, and the summer fruit flavour was very strong. It tasted great but I think next time we will need to use less of them.