Monthly Archives: February 2016

Have You Ever Seen The Rain ?

Wasn’t January a bitch ?

Bowie, Wogan, Rickman, Hambridge…….Obviously for most of you, the first three may ring a bell, for me the fourth was the toughest to swallow.

Jenny Hambridge, or more familiarly just ‘Jen’ – but never anything less than ‘Auntie Jen’ for me. The stylish, well dressed, good looking Aunt that you always wanted.  Rarely a frown on her face, always a smile for me when I walked through her door, I suspect that everyone felt like they were Auntie Jens favourite, such was her warmth and enthusiasm.

In the 70’s and early 80’s a social diva, in fact it is fair to say the couple that were Auntie and Uncle were both of the same ilk.  Hard working social magnates, stylish jet setters, disco dancers and the one lady responsible for every bottle of Holsten Pils I have ever drank.

Damn it, I can’t remember if my first ever game of skittles was with Auntie Jen or Grandma – it was probably both, most likely in the Abbey St Club.  Live music in the Radea Club with all the family. Bedworth Social Club with bands playing Rod Stewart and Creedence Clearwater covers, bingo nights in the Brownsover Social Club, sandwiched between Mum & Auntie Jen.  Shopping in Northampton, riding in a big blue SD1, mirrored aviator sunglasses two sizes too big, balancing on my little nose.

Early morning trips to an emerging Luton Airport as the pair globe trotted across Europe in an age when it was the new thing to do, amazed at the foreign goods that would return with them, but not fully understanding what a red and green channel was about.

From Howkins Road there was usually the sound of music at weekends, Fleetwood Mac, Bread and Abba although the real groovers were most likely moving to Abba or Fleetwood. Truth be told, my first nightclub experience in Hinkley as a school boy, Auntie Jen was there.

Always interested in where I was, what I was doing, how my love life was, how happy I was.  Sometimes telling me stories more than once would earn her a rather cheeky ‘You’ve told me that already’ but as she got wise to me, she would start off with a ‘Have I told you this already?’ always with a quizzical but cheeky wry smile.

In January, the book turned another page and the chapter closed.   A cruel cancer put an end to that, while there was still  ample space for more pages.  The cold harsh truth about death is that life goes on.  People continue with their lives  seemingly unaware that your world has fallen apart, unlikely to have any clue about the pain of people left to cope with the new chapter that has been thrust upon them.  Few of us can even comprehend the feeling that comes with loosing a buddy, wife, friend, lover, partner in crime, business partner.  Especially one of 50 years or more.

For me, the simplest thing I will miss.  Walking in that door, seeing a sparkle in her eye as she very spritely walks her walk to greet me half way across the kitchen, cupping my cheeks, one in each hand and holding them firmly as she plants a kiss straight on my lips.  There was no dodging to the side for a quick one on the cheek – you got it on the lips and that was that!!!

To see if you have left a good mark on this earth you really need to count the mourners at your funeral.  It’s always a comfort to have a full house.

Stay Glam ..


With every death comes a stark reminder to live life.  Make of it what you will but make something.  One thing I have been wanting to do for a few months now was to make a ‘cover’ of a recent TV advert in the UK, by a very well known holiday company. Well, last weekend, I finally did it, spurred on by recent events.  It might seem a little inappropriate to post it on the same page – indeed it was something I have debated all week as I have tried in vain to get the video to upload.  Tonight, it finally worked, so please turn up your volume feel free to join in.  The original is 2 posts further down the page so you can see where I got my inspiration from.  I will also post it over in the video section for you to find whenever you see fit

Terrible Love

January is over – a vicious month for Cancer.

As I plugged along on my very muddy 10k run this morning I had plently of time for thoughts.  If I am honest, the run itself was far from perfect.  The tow path was a mud bath and the woods at the back of Abbots Farm almost had me on my arse twice.

Time wise, it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, not quite 2 minutes slower than my best on that route but it was muddy!

I slipped into thoughts.  Lets talk about Apple for a moment.  I read an article this week on the BBC that their latest iOS software for their phones has been permanently disabling phones that have been for repair by independent phone shops.  You send your new phone away for a screen replacement or a new home button and it comes back with ‘error 53′.  You might think this is not the end of the world but in iOS9 – this now means your phone is useless – it will never work again and any info on it is lost for good.

I have been experiencing similar bullish tactics with my Mac after recently upgrading to El Capitan.  You see , the biggest problem with computer updates is you are always told what they have added but they NEVER tell you what they have taken away. If you knew which functionailities were removed, updating would never be an option for most users.

So now, if I want to email you a photo, I can no longer use the attach button from my mail browser and then go into my photo library and find it – nope, Apple want you to buy into their Cloud product, that lets you share easily (or more easily than the way they force you into if you won’t pay), so instead now I have to open the photo app, drag a copy to the desk top and then attach it from there.  Hardly progress from what is one of silicone valleys’ giants now is it?  The last software was better.

It doesn’t stop there.  iPhone users that have the latest software will find that airdrop has changed too.  No longer can you open air drop and make your phone visible to only people in your contacts list as with the older software, no, privacy on airdrop is now only available if your contacts are in the cloud.

Of course, there is a price for using the cloud.

As my Mac gets older, slower and clunkier and needs some financial input I find myself questioning the rational for moving back to a windows based pc and an android phone. See, a pc of the same tech specs as the Mac will be around half the price and comes with the freedom to source ‘stuff’ from outside of the world of the manufacturer.  Its getting to be an easier choice to make. There was a time when I would have used that line of thought as a down side though.  Have you ever been on the end of a windows based problem where the hardware manufacturer blames the software and the software manufacturer blames the hardware?

It did make me think though – some time ago the EU ruled that car manufacturers had to make all of their car computer diagnostics plugs the same as each others.  The reason was to allow independent garages not to have to invest in different computers for all of the makes out there – or to put it in very basic terms, to allow more competition as to where you as a consumer can spend your money.  I can’t see that this is any different than that?

Hark back to better times, when Apple products were wanted because they were revolutionary.  Those days died with Mr. Jobs. Cancer affects more of us than you might believe.

Of course, a lot of Apples problems come from the ‘hipsters’ that just have to have the latest stuff.  I was looking on iTunes the other day for info about Birdys new album when I noticed that although the release is not due for another month, 11 people had left reviews for it.  The ‘I am so trendy crew’ had got there before the record company have even cut the final disc! Dont believe me?  look at the screen shot below.

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 11.56.48

I got into a debate on the Apple help forums the other week with a guy called Terence Devlin.  Terence suggests that people should stop complaining about when things change for the worse or stop working completely with Apple products because people aren’t running the very latest software.  His solution was to ‘upgrade – its free’  As our debate raged on, I mentioned that over 50% of the product reviews on the Apple store for its last iOS release gave it 1 star out of 5 with the majority of those recommending that you don’t install it at all (more 1 star reviews than 2,3,4,&5 added together).  Terence then suggested that those negative reviews should be ignored because people like to complain.  At that point, I gave up with the fucktard and left him to his little world of what I suspect is a very wealthy family that pay for whatever his little hipster heart desires.  I also suspect that he doesn’t work for two reasons.

  1. He is always camped outside the Apple store to be the first to get whatever is new that week.
  2. Daddy pays him a jolly good allowance each month so the reality of earning a living is left to the serfs and peasants on street level


So back in the UK for 10 days.  It is cold and wet here. Sure, the South of France gets cold too but it is dry, the air is dry which makes for a different, almost warming kind of cold.  Add to that I have allowed myself to be bullied into going to Bike Park Wales on Wednesday with The King of Touching Cloth himself – Mr Yates.  The very next day I have my ships medical to give me the green light to set sail for the next 2 years and then early next week, a funeral – but more on that later.

I am expecting to sustain some physical damage on Wednesday, not only from being miserable from the cold and wet for hours but also because of the tricky or even treacherous conditions will lead to mishaps I am sure.  Fingers crossed, it will be Yates this time.  While he is in a bundle of pain on the floor, I will pull along side him and gleefully jib, ‘see you at the bottom dick wad’ as is the norm for our outings – I like to think of it as the ‘Top Gear’ style of caring for your chums. I have little choice though – it will now cost me as much to back out of it as it will to go – and I hate wasting money.

The world needs a bit more Birdy


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