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>Day 215: Out on the Tiles

16 October, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack:  Various Artists – The Complete Motown Singles, Volume 5: 1965

With the impending resumption of the working week – suddenly the pressure’s on to finish all the half-arsed (and half-completed) jobs that are kicking around – including the bathroom tiling, which those of you with long memories will recall I started way back on Day 179.  Over a month later, I finally got round to putting back the tiles I’d taken off – hopefully sag-free – along with the mirror tiles to replace those I smashed in the removal process.

Two key problems to deal with (well, three, if you include my general cack-handedness when it comes to Bob The Builder stuff like this).

Firstly, the reason the tiling was needed at all was to rectify a few rows of tile that had been forced into a space that was too small to accommodate them – hence the bowing of the tiles on the wall.  So if the tiles were actually to fit the same gap this time, I either had to trim the tiles or – hopefully – compromise on spacing to squeeze the buggers in.

Secondly, the mirror tiles were not made to the same dimensions as the tiles they were replacing, necessitating a gap around them that had to be filled somehow.  I am hoping the gap is groutable, as it is really too narrow to successfully cut tiles down to size.  The gap also means I need about four tiles to defy gravity during the setting period, lest they slide down the wall into the gap above the mirrors.

So today, it was all about sticking the tiles to the wall and getting them to stay there, keeping flat to the wall rather than bowing.  And – I think – I just about achieved that.  Tomorrow is about grouting and cleaning, when the job – should – be a good ‘un.

Before and during pictures up there – there will – eventually – be an ‘after’ picture as well!

Quiet on the job front today following the frenetic bursts of activity earlier in the week – just formal confirmation from the insurance company of the terms around temporary work – essentially I can do 90 day’s worth without my claim being affected.  Just need to sort the Job Centre out now, and I think we are good to go!

The rest of the day was spent making sure I had sufficient kit together for my Staines trip, and doing a bit of prep around the issues involved.  After a bit of consultation with former colleagues, that angle was satisfactorily covered, and I also seem to have commitment to a lunch from the good man who provided the introduction in the first place!  Coupled with plans for dinner with Simon when I’m down in Staines, and my social life won’t completely grind to a halt while I’m out of the North!

Double Bubble on the Masterchef front, with the final semi-final and the ‘eliminator’ for the final.  Puzzlingly, the preview on the internet suggested there would be five contestants in the eliminator – how would that work, after four semi-finals?  All became clear, when the two final semifinalists could not be separated by the judges – so they put them both through!

And they were good, Steve and Daniel.  So good, that both made it through to the final, along with Simpering Sally (Marianne, actually).  So it was goodbye to hot favourite Ryan, and to Matt, who’d seen off other hot favourite Ludovic.

Smart money must be on Steve – but I wouldn’t write off Marianne just yet…

Motown produced some of the greatest music in the ’60s, and 1965 was probably when the best of the best was released, pretty well everyone being on the top of their game.  The ‘Complete Singles’ series is exactly what it says on the tin – a series of box sets, containing every single ‘A’ side and ‘B’ side released in a particular calendar year.  Amongst others, 1965 gave us:

Ask The Lonely
Nowhere To Run
Stop! In the Name of Love
Tracks of my Tears
Shotgun
Uptight (Everything’s Alright)

Wow!

It also gave us  ‘Do The Boomerang’ and ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Me’ – but overall, the level of quality control is exemplary.

Here’s Martha and the Vandellas from 1965 with Nowhere to Run – Forget the Supremes, these girls were the best Motown girl group by a distance!

>Day 213: Drum….

14 October, 2009 2 comments

>Today’s soundtrack:  Angelo Badalamenti – Twin Peaks Soundtrack

A watched pot never boils, a watched phone never rings…and, especially, an anticipated recruitment consultant never calls.  My last conversation suggested that the ‘other’ candidate would be interviewed either on Friday or on Monday…so, it now being Tuesday, I thought I might get the call.  Cue sound of fingernails being drummed on desk as tumbleweed balls blow by….

But no, not today.  It’s not surprising, it’s not unusual (as Tom might say) but it is a tad frustrating.  Especially as I have to make a firm decision on Staines by the end of the week…and I think I know what that decision will be!

Indeed, I spent a large part of the day putting together some formal terms of reference for the Staines contract, capturing, I think, all the issues we discussed in their offices on Monday.  Sent them down to the FD for comment/approval, then emailed the insurance company to find out the implications for the mortgage cover of accepting such a contract.  Now awaiting responses from both!

Had a good chat with Simon on the phone, now back from his overseas jaunts and looking for the next role.  He’d an interview in the afternoon in London, a very interesting role that I hope he gets – heaven knows it’s an organisation that could use some decent people in it!

I promised to call him next week for a chat – true to form, he’s the one being proactive about keeping in touch while I’m lapsing into my usual laissez faire mode – not good enough Paul!  My excuse that he’s been jet-setting around the world and I’ve never known when he’s going to be in the UK is at best weak – and at worst slightly pathetic!  Come on, Paul, get yourself sorted!

Postman called this morning with my new ‘handsfree’ car kit – my last one was fine, until I knocked off the microphone attachment with my head when getting out of the car a while ago, leaving me with a piece of a kit that was great for one-way communication – I could hear everyone fine, but no-one could hear me – but, quite frankly, lousy for the job it was intended to do.  The replacement has no moving parts at all – so nothing for me to break, hopefully.  Disappointingly, the thing only comes with a charger designed to fit into a cigarette lighter in the car – and it needed an initial ten hour charge to get up and running.  Absolutely useless, as the various chargers in my car only work with the ignition on – and I wasn’t about to take any ten hour drives anywhere!  Luckily, I had an old Sony mains charger with the right connector on the bottom, so I took a chance with that, and it seemed to do the trick.  Warranty completely invalidated in the process though, I should imagine…

Spent the afternoon copying a couple of films over to my computer before running the discs back to Blockbuster – and then reviewing the online LoveFilm list, which we had allowed to run down to nothing.  A great process in theory, but in practice the website makes the selection process so difficult it is a real ballache.  Still, loads of crappy films are now queued up for our viewing pleasure – just in time for the postal strike to stop them being delivered anyway!

No matter, who needs DVDs when we’ve got Masterchef?  Second semifinal tonight – tall, serious Ryan up against tiny, excited David.  Ryan is the one who looks like he means business – you expect David to still be making butterfly cakes in the kitchen with his mummy – but on the day, it was a really close call.  Ryan getting the nod, but with David pushing him all the way with a good performance in the professional kitchen and some spectacular courses in the Masterchef kitchen.  Not good enough to dislodge mean, moody Ryan though – this lad has champion written all over him.

Not literally, of course.  That would look messy.

The Twin Peaks soundtrack is as mean and moody as our Ryan, the perfect soundtrack to the television series and, of course, to today’s witterings here.  Twin Peaks was one of the television ‘events’ of the ’90s – weird and unsettling in a way that only David Lynch can really achieve – that sense of something very disturbing existing just beneath the facade of everyday life.

I loved it, and got the first series on DVD when it came out, to share with Mrs W, who had never seen the original.  Probably on a ship somewhere at the time.  Sadly, we were watching it when Mrs W hear that her mother was seriously ill, and it got abandoned as we made a mad dash down to Birmingham – and because of the connotations we’ve never felt like picking it up again.

The music associated with the series is stunning though.  Sparse and moody, yet with an underlying beauty, the music soars at times with a huge sense of optimism.  I’m going to stop there before I start getting quoted in Pseud’s corner – but just listen to this.  You’ll see what I mean, hopefully.

>Day 212: Head out on the Highway

13 October, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack:  CSS – Cansei De Ser Sexy

Up and out ridiculously early today, heading down the motorways to Staines for a planning meeting around the contract work that – might – be taking place shortly.  It’s a long drive to Staines (just south of Heathrow, just off the M25) but it’s the ‘right’ side of London if you’re driving from the North West, and the public transport option would involve cars, trains, tubes and taxis – and around as much journey time as the drive.

Or at least it would have done if it wasn’t for the big crash on the M40 around Northampton.  I’d been making good time up to that point, skirted Birmingham (taking the easy option of the toll road) and was all set for a 9:30 arrival in Staines.  Then everything ground to a halt.  A three-lane halt at that.  Traffic was stationary for a good hour, after which we started to roll forward, steadily, but at around 5mph, for a couple of miles.  Got to the obstruction just as it was cleared to the hard shoulder with all lanes open – the motorway had been closed completely, then expanded to just one lane, up till then.  At this stage the ‘big’ crash didn’t look too nasty – a taxi hitting a Jag, from the looks of it – and there didn’t seem to be any ambulances involved, happily.  There was a big pile of suitcases on the bank next to the motorway which suggested that someone’s holiday (taxi on its way to Heathrow?) had been spoiled – but it could have been far worse.

Rest of the journey passed without incident, and I ended up getting to Staines just on eleven.  Enough time for an hour’s chat with the FD about the assignment – and for me to confirm my interest – subject to progress on the permanent role that’s still lurking in the background.  We’ve agreed a way forward, agreed charge-out rates and expenses – and will make a final decision on Friday about whether to proceed or not.  The company is still talking to other people about the role, but I do get the impression I’m the preferred candidate again.

Which is nice.

Journey back passed without incident, and I was home for half three – just enough time to churn out yesterday’s blog and to prepare for the evening’s entertainment.

Looks like being a Masterchef week this week, as the semi finals get underway.  Two chefs head to head each night, working in Michelin starred kitchens and cooking their own stuff in the studio.  For a while it looked like the Scottish lad was going through, but in the end ‘Simpering Sally’ (as we fondly call her) made it through to the final.  Bring on the next one!

A touch of Brazilian on the soundtrack today.  CSS – or Cansei de Ser Sexy (I got tired of being sexy) with their eponymous debut album.  Good fun, in an upbeat poppy electro sort of way, I missed them at Glastonbury a couple of years ago but they went down a storm apparently.  Not, admittedly, a band I would have gone out of my way to see, but in the overall scheme of things, the world is a better place for bands such as this.

Here they are at Glasto in 2007 – yes, it had been raining.  Dig the jumpsuit though!

>Day 210: Footy on the box…

11 October, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack: The Rites – Downloaded tracks

Out early this morning, to pick up a few bits and pieces to see us through the weekend.  Picked up The Times too – it’s not often these days I bother with a newspaper, but I fancied a long, leisurely trawl through the paper today for some reason.  Oh, and there was a code to download a raft of live REM tracks as well – which probably made the difference between picking up The Times or The Guardian today.

I’m easily bought.

Then back home, to an empty house, Mrs W. Pilating at the gym.  So a quick blog, then a comfortable few hours with the newspaper, with one eye on Soccer AM on the TV.  Multitasking again, you see.

Lunch was a delightful BLT on freshly baked bread – one advantage of The Hunter’s early morning runs dragging me out of bed is the ability to get a loaf on good and early, so that it is baked and rested in time for lunch.  Watched the last Masterchef quarter final in between mouthfuls of BLT.  A couple of very competent chefs going through this round, especially young Ryan, a very serious young man with an air of quiet confidence about him.  Semi finals next week – who needs Strictly X Factor when you’ve got excitement like this?  Well, Mrs W. for one, I suppose.

Then in the afternoon I watched the England game on the computer.  This is the match that no-one wanted to televise, so it ended up being broadcast on a ‘pay per view’ basis over the internet.  Now it may have been ‘pay per view’ in theory, but of course in practice there were any number of, er, ‘unofficial’ streams out there, were you of a mind to explore.

Which I did.  However I actually ended up watching on an official stream, albeit free of charge.  Bet365 were streaming the match on their site, free to anyone with funds in their account.  So I deposited ten quid, watched the match, withdrew ten quid, everyone happy.

Except Robert Green though, I should think.  Let down by Stevie G not letting a ball go out for a throw, and by Rio failing to judge a hopeful long ball, his bid to keep the green jersey lasted about fifteen minutes before bringing down the Ukranian forward and earning an early bath.

Perhaps he just wanted to avoid being pelted with flares.

Penalty missed, England were coping with the pressure up to a point – that point being Cashley’s inability to defend compounded by an attempted header away that merely succeeded in diverting a shot that David James probably had covered into the corner of the net.  After the goal, a combination of fine goalkeeping and decent organisation kept the scoreline at 1-0 to the end, without ever really looking like England would get back into the game.

Good job it all counts for nothing, qualification being achieved before kick off.

Tonight’s tea was a fairly decent prawn stirfry – spring onions fried off with some fresh ginger and chilli, fresh prawns added to the mix until they were properly coloured, then a combination of red pepper, pak choi, button mushrooms and baby corn added to the mix and cooked through.  The whole thing then dressed with some nam pla, soy sauce, lime juice and zest and finished off with a sprinkling of fresh coriander and served on a bed of noodles.  Lovely!

I’d love to tell you all about today’s band on the soundtrack, but to be honest, I know nowt about them.  The eight tracks I have on iTunes were downloaded from the band’s website, but I can’t recall what directed me to their website in the first place.  Must have been on someone’s recommendation, but I can’t remember who or when.

What I can tell you is that they are hard rocking in a no-nonsense way, they are Scottish, they have no Wikipedia entry and they are the third of three bands called The Rites listed on last.fm.  They do have a MySpace page, which hasn’t been updated for months, and it looks like they split up a while ago but are playing some reunion gigs shortly.  Nothing on YouTube that I can find.

Oh no! no music for us today Paul?

Would I let you down?  Of course not!  I mentioned REM at the top of the page – lets have some more REM!  And some monsters!

>Day 203: Sleepy Saturday

4 October, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack: The Cure – Faith


Brilliant! My Richard Hawley ticket arrived this morning!
Twenty four hours late. How rubbish is that? Still, as I said yesterday, I ended up being ‘not that mithered’ due to the sheer hassle of getting into the city around the Tory Conference. Coupled, of course, with the lure of a Friday night curry with the missus.
Saturday turned into a very lazy day all told. Up early to let Pedro hunt and to bake some bread, then a quiet morning with Mrs W out at her Pilates class. Missed the Grand Prix qualifying due to them all being in Japan and sorting it all out at six in the morning (Vettel on pole, the Brawns nowhere – is there still a twist to come this season?) and no footy until tomorrow – so what to do?
Cook up a storm in the kitchen – that’s what! Mrs W came back from the gym ravenous, so it was on with the Formby, out with the frying pan, to deliver up a mountain of sausage, bacon and egg – all to be served up on the freshest of squidgy white bread, sliced with an electric knife as anything else would have caused the loaf to disintegrate.
Eaten in front of Masterchef Professional – now…fine dining or sausage and bacon butty? No contest! In the televised contest, the French Lad and the Scottish Lad went through quite easily, the Little Girl and Other Bloke falling by the wayside. I like the French Lad – bizarrely called ‘Ludovic’ – he’s very laid back and has this strange accent that is a hybrid of French and Welsh. He can cook though, with one of the critics getting quite excited about him – although it might not have been his cooking that was exciting him, if you take my meaning…
Frittered away the afternoon with one eye on the football – Portsmouth won! Wow! – but with little interest, the Big Match being us up against Stoke tomorrow, of course. Then it was back into the kitchen to whip up a stonking lasagne…sorry Matt, it would never have kept through to Thursday and anyway, you’ve still got my single portion lasagne dish!

Very pleased with today’s lasagne, I must say – the quality of the mince from our local butcher plays a big part in the success of the dish, but the addition of some fresh basil also helped, I think. I also got the consistency of the cheese sauce spot on – that can sometimes be a bit of a disaster, but not today. I’d give you all a taste if I could – but I can’t, so you’ll just have to look at it instead…
Mrs W. had ‘Strictly’ on while I was cooking. They seem to have interpreted the term ‘celebrity’ rather loosely this year – in the vast majority of cases, I couldn’t have told you who was the celebrity and who was the professional. Even when they were dancing. The dancing partners seem, if anything, even more ‘tactile’ this year than they have in previous years – some lovely shots of wives in the audience with false grins frozen on their faces as their husbands and boyfriends are getting seriously touched up by some young totty wearing a few sequins and little else.
I predict a rash of divorces in Celebrityville following this series. Oh, and get Brucie lined up for the 2010 Dead Pool – it can’t be long now…the brain has clearly gone, the body surely won’t be far behind…
The Cure for your (and my) listening pleasure today. Quite early Cure too – Faith was their third album, when Robert Smith was still pretty miserable, experimenting with eyeshadow but well before the lipstick smear and the bird’s nest ‘do.
And all the better for it, I think.
Here’s ‘All Cats Are Grey’ from Faith, with a quite evocative ‘video’ put together by someone on YouTube. Very nice too.
Categories: Masterchef, The Cure

>Day 189: At least we’re not Portsmouth…

20 September, 2009 3 comments

>Today’s soundtrack: Grateful Dead – Live/Dead

Up early this morning, as The Hunter wanted to go a-hunting, and today’s bread needed to be baked in time for lunchtime’s BLT. So I was out of my pit by around half six, ready for the day’s travails, which amounted to – well, not much, actually.

Mrs W was out all morning at the gym, attending her first Pilates class. Not quite sure what this involves – standing up straight and breathing properly, I think – but she came back flushed and happy around lunchtime.

I think it’s the gym she’s going to.

Pedro was out all morning down the banks, happily any successful kills today remaining down the banks with him today.

And I stayed in, a-blogging and a-surfing for the most part, waiting for the bread to bake.

Lunchtime, of course, and everyone is back waiting to be fed. For the grown ups, it was a couple of hotly-anticipated BLTs, on the freshest, squidgiest white bread imaginable. This might just have to be my ‘condemned man’s meal’, I think. Oh, and pizza as well. For the critter, it was cat food. In his little head, ‘cat food’ obviously included BLT as well, but we soon put the mockers on that notion – although not before he’d tried to climb onto our plates in his excitement.

We caught up with ‘professional’ Masterchef over lunch. I’ve already blogged about my addiction to this series of competitions, and this version is proving no different. The conceit this time round is that the competition involves ‘professional’ chefs who are already working in proper restaurants, rather than gifted amateurs or celebrities. You’d expect the quality of the cooking, the ability to work to a timescale and the techniques involved to be far superior to the amateur chefs – and they are, but only to a degree. What is slightly surprising is that the gap is far smaller than I would have expected. All four of today’s quarter finalists cocked up to a greater or lesser extent, which was strangely comforting. Roll on next week’s programmes!

Lazy day continued, sitting with one eye on the football scores whilst immersing myself in this month’s copy of Word. Good reading as always, with a decent set of articles about David Bowie, including one written by Charles Shaar Murray, who is probably my favourite music journalist. At least until Son No 2 starts getting published!

One consequence of this year’s European adventures is the slim chance of Everton playing at three o’clock on a Saturday. It still feels wrong not to be playing at the proper time, particularly when other games are on, but that’s ‘progress’ I suppose. The hapless Portsmouth lost again – six games, six defeats. No doubt that will change next weekend – when we are the opponents…

Come the evening, I kept out of the way whilst Mrs W was wrapped up in the Strictly X Factor medley, before surfacing for curry, wine and crappy film. I had another go at producing my own chapatis, again with some real success. Masterchef? I’ve shit ’em!

The Grateful Dead were one of those bands that were always around while I was growing up, but were not a band that I ever consciously heard. Read about rather than listened to, they – apparently – epitomised the West Coast Haight-Ashbury scene of the sixties. I say apparently because I don’t think I ever heard a note of Grateful Dead music until a couple of years ago, when I thought it was a gap in my musical knowledge that I ought to close. So I went out and invested in a couple of CDs – Workingman’s Dead and today’s selection, Live/Dead.

And for the most part I remain unmoved. Even now, I would struggle to name a Dead song other than Dark Star, and would struggle even more to sing, or hum, even a few bars of their stuff. I think you had to be there, if you were to become a ‘Deadhead’.

Anyway, make your own mind up. This is ‘St Stephen’ performed on something called ‘Playboy After Dark’ (oo-er missus) in 1969.

Categories: Grateful Dead, Masterchef

>Days 117-119: Slipping Standards

13 July, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack: AC/DC – If You Want Blood, You’ve Got It

I know, I know, there’ve been rather a lot of combined days’ postings going on recently. So much for a single post every day, what happened to that? Well let me tell you, it’s not easy coming up with fresh stuff to write every single day – especially when one day is much like any other at the moment!

But I know I’m slipping – when I get Latitude out of the way, I promise to do better.

So Jayne won Masterchef then, as we thought she might. I won’t give you a blow-by-blow, it’s been done better than I could by Andrew Collins here – but once she’d got away from the pressure of the professional kitchen she managed to cook something that looked (and, presumably, tasted) better than anything the others could produce. Roll on Normal Person Masterchef!

While all that was going on, the footy pre-season started with Everton’s first friendly, away to the mighty Bury. Everton’s back four included three kids I’d quite literally never heard of, and while the rest of the team had some pedigree, it was no real surprise that they lost 2-1 in the end. Nice to see Jo back for a season-long loan, but that’s not really where I think our priority lies for strengthening this season.

In other sporting news, England managed the raggedy-est draw possible in the first test after looking dead and buried at the start of the final day. Not really a huge cause for celebration, we looked (and were) crap for most of the match and it is difficult to see where any improvement may come from. I remain distinctly underwhelmed by cricket as a spectator sport these days – years ago I would have watched test matches from first ball to last but now I just can’t maintain the enthusiasm. I did sit through the German Grand Prix though – it does begin to look like a Red Bull charge in the second half of the season will make things pretty interesting as Brawn go slightly off the boil. And whilst it was nice to see a competitive Lewis Hamilton come through qualifying in some style, it was disappointing (although massively amusing) to see him set off like a loon and blow (quite literally) his chances at the very first corner. Still, good to see Mark Webber winning his first race (from his first pole) – seems like a nice guy who, like Button, is long overdue some tangible success.

I spent a lot of the weekend trawling the Internet for snide downloads of Glastonbury performances, and hit paydirt with some decent recordings of Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and The Gaslight Anthem. I even managed to find a video of the Springsteen guest spot with The Anthem (although I was unable to spot myself in the crowd). Converting them into iPod-friendly formats (and getting the right titles for the songs) took a bit of effort but we got there in the end. I also picked up The Sunday Times for the free Specials CD, which is also sitting proudly on the iPod now.

Culinary treat of the weekend was one of the simplest – toasted bagels with cream cheese. We don’t have bagels that often, and I’d forgotten just how much I enjoyed them. With some smoked salmon and a twist of black pepper, they’d have been even better. Next time.

The bagels were almost outshone by Saturday brunch though – just the thing to cure the marginally thick head I’d woken up with on Saturday morning. Between myself and Mrs W, brunch comprised the following:
Cumberland sausage x4 (healthily grilled in the Formby)
Back bacon x4 (cooked in the frying pan)
Black pudding x2 (cooked in the bacon fat)
Mushrooms (ditto)
Fried egg x4 (ditto)
Fried bread x2 (cooked in the juices saved from the sausages)
Plus brown sauce for me and red sauce for Mrs W.
Now if only we’d had some beans and hash browns in…
Finally a bit of heavy stuff on the soundtrack. And it doesn’t get much better than Bon Scott era AC/DC, does it? If You Want Blood… also has the advantage of being live, and includes the wonderful ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’, about one of Mr Scott’s more, ahem, Rubenesque groupies. 42-39-56, you could say she’s got it all!! Hell yeah!

And here they are in Colchester, of all places, back in 1978. Rifftastic!

>Day 113: No such thing as a free lunch?

7 July, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack: Bloc Party – A Weekend in the City

Mrs W is back at work this week, after a well-deserved week off, so it’s back to just me and the cat at home in the daytime. So I let him have the run of the garden and cleared off to see the parents (and, of course, to get a free lunch out of them. They say there is no such thing as a free lunch. There is, of course. When you go round to your Mum and Dad’s).

I normally go round to my parents at the weekend. Except that most of the time the arl fella is out, watching my nephew play football. So I thought if I went round on a Monday, he’d be in.

He was out, of course.

Although he hadn’t gone far – just out visiting his sister and fetching the dog from my brothers. It was nice to have a couple of hours with my Mum and Dad, showing off the Glastonbury pictures and listening them bicker like and old married couple. Which of course they are.

Back home then, to let Pedro back in after his morning wanderings. After what happened to Katy Teabag, I am still nervous about leaving him out alone for any length of time, but he scampered happily up to the back door without a care in the world. Still no evidence of him seeking to go anywhere near the front door – on the only occasion he did step out at the front of the house, he couldn’t get back inside quickly enough. And long may that continue!

Finally coming out of my Glastonbury torpor, it was time to get on with some housework. That meant the ironing, which – true to form – I had allowed to build up over a couple of weeks to the extent that it was getting a touch difficult to close the airing cupboard door. So a couple of hours spent battling through a huge pile of t-shirts and sweaters. I hate ironing t-shirts – they generally end up with more creases than they started with – but eventually the ‘ironed’ pile grew higher than the ‘creased’ pile. Time to stop, saving the pile of shirts and trousers for tomorrow. Now shirts I don’t mind – there are seams and stuff to follow in a particular order, and they are generally not made of stretchy stuff either. And trousers are ok, until it comes to the crease needed in ‘proper’ kecks which is safest left to the trouser press in all honesty.

Light tea tonight, enjoyed in front of ‘Celebrity Masterchef’ – possibly the only programme that I watch with the word ‘celebrity’ in the title. Anyway I don’t care – I love it. As a bit of an amateur cook myself, I’m fascinated by the series – the recipes they choose to cook, the pressures they are put under in professional kitchens. I’d be crap at it – the one thing I cannot do is cook to a deadline and an hour (or whatever they are given) would never be enough for me. Also, I can’t be doing with the presentational aspects of ‘professional’ cookery – I want to eat it and taste it, not look at it!

All good fun though. Reckon Cilla off of Corrie is favourite, although Mrs W thinks that Jayne Middlemiss might just sneak it – and she might be right as well.

Bloc Party make it onto the soundtrack today. Now I like Bloc Party, but I wouldn’t miss them if they’d never existed, if that makes sense, and I’ve always found somewhere better to be when they’ve been on festival bills. So not an essential group by any means, but they are more than ok in my book. A Weekend in the City is their second album, and was pretty well received when it came out. Again, I probably wouldn’t actively seek it out to listen to, but I do enjoy it when it comes up on shuffle.

Sorry lads, damned with faint praise there. Anyway, here’s ‘Hunting For Witches’, one of the singles from the album: