Category Archives: Rant

Love, Maps, Spotify, Headphones and Heartache

What an interesting week.

This week I learned several things.

  1. My wife buys me the best birthday presents in the world
  2. is an amazing service
  3. Android has some things pretty well worked out
  4. London is quite pretty
  5. Swansea is not the arse end of the world

That’s a lot of things to learn in a single week.

Well, let’s unravel what went on.

Firstly, this week saw me stop booking my accommodation in London in the corporate hotel.

For 4 years I have been living in hotels and always within a few minutes’ walk of the office. There was a break for 18 months where I stayed in the company flat which was nice but then I lost my housemate to Boston and our offices moved from Kings Cross to Moorgate so we terminated the flat as it was too costly for only one tenant.

So the hotels have been fun but I am bored stiff. I never get to see London, I seldom see my friends, and no-one wants to come back to city centre after work so the place is a wasteland.

I was chatting about this with a friend at the office and he recommended using a service called airbnb.

I checked it out, people renting their spare rooms, whole flats and shared rooms for low rates but all over the place. Seemed like a chance to get out and about a little more so this week I stayed in my first airbnb booking just outside of Whitechapel (and yes, walking to the flat I went past a guided Jack the Ripper tour… Exciting stuff.

My flat was lovely and my accommodation cost me less than a single night at the hotel I usually stayed at, so the business is happy…

I had no idea how to get there… enter my Samsung Galaxy S3 and Google Maps…

I figured, no problem, I will just plug the address in and walk over there following Google Maps. Easy as pie!

I then thought a 30 minute walk cannot be done without banging tunes so I fired up Spotify, set the radio to start off of Electric Hellfire Club and donned the beautiful Bluetooth headphones Emma got me for my birthday, cranked the volume and set off.

About 200 yards into my journey, the music stopped and Google Maps told me to “Turn right on whatever street” and then Spotify carried on as if nothing had happened.


Maps talks to you while you have a headset connected!

So I kicked it up a notch and carried on walking all the way to the flat without once having to fiddle with my phone to look at maps, without having to look for new music, without having to do anything but look at the sights…

That was pretty awesome and exactly how the next 3 walks went – loved it.

Yesterday I left the office and headed home with a detour to Stonehouse near Gloucester to go and look at a second hand seven seater 4 miles out of Stonehouse.

The detour cost £51.50 and had me add several hours to my homeward journey.

I got to Stonehouse and discovered that there are no taxis at the station. In fact, the station is nothing more than a ramp.

So I drag my wheely bag and my sorry ass into town looking for a cab, walk up the high street and ask a few people and all I get is blank stares.

After 10 minutes of this I phone the dealership. They tell me there is a cab office near the post office so I head to it and lo and behold the fucking place is shut with a note saying “call this number if the office is locked. I call.

No answer.

I call again. No answer.

I call again, voicemail.

I leave a message “Help, I am standing outside your office and need a ride to Claypit – call me on blah blah blah”

I phone the dealership and tell them the cab is not there so the dealer tells me that when the people he is with leave he will come get me if the cab hasn’t pitched.

45 minutes later the cab driver phones me.

During this time I have established that there are no other cabbies operating in this little town.

The 3 cabs I did see drive past me that didn’t stop despite me waving my arms like atman learning he can’t actually fly. Turns out this is because they don’t “work” the area.

So the cabbie calls me and says she is 5 to 10 minutes away.

10 minutes later she arrives and as she is pulling up the dealership calls me to tell me that they have just sold the car to a couple that arrived 15 minutes ago.


That wasn’t my finest moment.

I then had to walk back to the station and wait for an hour and a half in the cold for the train to come and get me out of this little hick town.

Stonehouse, you can gern, gern fuck yerself.

So, instead of getting home with a nice new car, I am getting home several hours later with no car, no patience and a packet of “I can’t be dealing with a diet right now” M&M’s.

All in all it’s been a weird, wonderful and totally shite week all wrapped into one.


Movember movember the 5th of November

Prison Mo

Man o’ man have I been busy.

Seems like I always find the time to say that and no-where near the time to update my blog on all of the wonderful things that are happening in my life.

I mean right now I am a candidate for prison with the wonderful moustache I am cultivating… (the striped jimjams and bars on the bed don’t help either…)

Anyway, this is now my third year of participating in Movember and I finally get why people don’t give me enough money to save the world ailments, I am usually pretty hairy. So no real challenge for me to move from a beard or a goatee to a moustache?


It takes me far more than the four week alloted Movember time frame to grow a moustache that is visible to the naked eye, so every year having to shave off my hard earned hairyness is a complete and absolute NIGHTMARE for me. Especially at a time when a great big hairy face would serve me so well to keep me warm while staring into the November night sky to watch the impressive fireworks displays that come with the commemoration of burning an agitant…

It is a return to the inevitable scratchy, irritating, hardly visible teenage sprouting that I have been do happy to forget about. It is a return EVERY YEAR to that state of beginning again.

Last year I even filmed the removal of my happy man face with Griffin man handling the shears and me losing the battle for beaded or tied handle bars. *sigh*

So come on people – please help a good cause, and help me beat my best ever donation for Movember by donating even just a tiny amount – EVERY little bit counts (especially with a blonde tache).

In doing this you will help to justify my annual pain of regrowth and shame of weirdo tache styles.

Counting on YOU!

The Gates from Hell

Ok just to be clear this is NOT a rant about Bill Gates from my Linux techies perspective. Especially considering how deeply ingrained Microsoft technologies are in my life these days… I mean come on, I got excited about installing Linux on an old laptop just to have SOME of it in my environment, everything else is Microsoft.

So, as I said, this is not a rant about old Bill, it is a rant about the beautiful gates we had installed at our home on the Gower.


As you will know from previous rants, we got two gorgeous little puppies in December last year. These were Emma’s early birthday present but the planning went well before that.

It started in October when we decided to get a dog for Griffin’s birthday on the 26th of November. Living in a farming community, it is important that our dog does not roam, so we felt it was necessary to finally put the gates we had been putting off for a year in. We did some asking around and got the details of some guys from Scurlage, another village on the Gower. They came round, measured up and said they would give us a quote, telling us it would take about 6 weeks in total to order the gates in and then fit them.

We thought “That’s PERFECT! They will be in before Griffin’s birthday!”

So we started digging around for puppies.

Three weeks later we still had no quote. That should have been the tip off.

When we did finally get them to call us back, the quote was acceptable and we asked them to commence work ASAP so we could get things as close to Griff’s birthday as possible.

We asked about delivery/install dates and found that because it was now full blown winter, there would be delays. So we held off telling Griff he was getting a dog and waited until a closer time to the install day to get the new addition.


Come mid December, Emma was chomping at the bit to get the new puppy as she had now been scouring the web for over a month looking at all the cute little furballs that were on offer all over the UK. That was until she found a litter of Bull Chugs (that’s MY new name for them). Their mother was a Pug cross Bull Terrier and their father was a Chihuahua, an interesting breeding attempt by a breeder in Swansea. After a brief talk with me, lots of batting of eyelashes and whimpering noises, Emma set off to go check them out.

A few days later (December 23rd 2010) Daphne and Velma came home.

Gorgeously cute little puppies for sure.

No gates was not a major problem then as it was snowing and we weren’t about to throw these two little angels into the cold cruel world every day.

By then I was fuming about the no-show on the gates and called the guys up to lay it on them real thick about the bullshit delivery times they gave us only to have my thundercloud swept aside when I was told “I am sorry I have been out of touch, my father passed away”. Ouch. Ok, I am not entirely heartless, so I thought lets let him get his ducks in a row.

That was followed by the end of year break, loads more ice ad snow and the first gates installed Picture to the right) successfully in the second week of January.

I really like them, they suit the house, they a well built and fitted perfectly!

Problems only emerged when he tried to fit the second set to the front entrance to the house. They had been made 6 inches too short. Custom made gates, we couldn’t modify them, so he had to order out for a new piece.

“Don’t worry, the snow has gone, it will only take 10 working days and then we’ll install it.”

Famous last words.

After much gnashing of teeth, calling of names, us trying to phone them, the damned thing finally arrived last Thursday and was fitted Friday.

It looks amazing, well worth the wait though in truth there should never have been a await like this. Now at least the puppies can spend time outside without us worrying about them not learning the boundaries of their domain.

Ok, lets look at the timelines.

Ordered: Oct 2010
First set installed: Jan 2011
Second set installed: Mar 2011.


STOP! Gower time!!!

Even worse than any “African Time” experiences i have ever had…

end rant :)