Thursday, April 29, 2004

the bitter taste of their own medicine...

how ironic is this report? maybe they'll make the next step and connect their feelings of pain and dislocation with what the palestinians are going through, and shock, horror perhaps empathise with the palestinians?

"Tens of thousands of Israeli settlers have turned out in the Gaza Strip to protest against plans to evacuate settlements from the territory.

Members of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Likud party are due to vote on Sunday on his evacuation plan. The plan, which calls for the removal of all settlements in the Gaza Strip and some in the West Bank, has already been endorsed by US President George W Bush. It is also widely supported by the Israel public as a whole.

Others said it was unfair to uproot people from their homes. "Imagine living in a place your entire life and then being asked to leave," a man told the BBC. "I mean, it is our land, it hurts, it hurts."

People in a Palestinian area looked out of their windows as the marchers passed by."

then again, when this settler's reflection is so true, maybe that is wishful thinking:

"The problem is the Arabs see the whole of Israel as the biggest settlement of all."

how very sad to think of israelis tearing down each others homes. it's so messy, what kind of 'road map' can cope? and especially when bush and kerry are more interested in courting votes in their wonderful democratic way than watching what they say for fear of the wider effects...

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

first time i've fasted in a long while - can't say it's like riding a bike. read bill bright's advice on how to fast, as we have a link on our website to this. i suppose it's sensible to have these guidelines, discharge our responsibility to help people fast 'properly'. still, i have mixed feelings about it. i don't think i'm taking an overly puritan attitude to fasting (and of course, no-one would ever want to be 'religious' about fasting!), but isn't it a wee bit odd to fill your stomach with psyllium bulk if you're feeling excessively hungry? i am, however, sipping some fruit squash today.

went to see barenaked ladies last night at colston hall - they were excellent. had very sore knees though, from standing up (okay, kinda jigging a wee bit during the more up-tempo numbers i confess) for so long.

went to cardiff this morning with work; our train was early so we had time to grab a coffee and take in the sights as we made our way to the meeting. i must say i quite liked the atmosphere of the centre, and will probably take my wife there at some point. we actually had quite a bit of time to kill after the meeting and popped into a hiking shop that we had spotted earlier; tent shopping may be slightly cheaper in cardiff, and my wife will be interested in that (as well as the museums and other nice buildings of course).

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

the next installment of 'buy the best' is definitely for the boys out there, plus my wife who regularly reminds me that her moniker of 'Rally-Rowe' was not idly given.

got $1m to spare? have a look at this:

goes like the proverbial off a shovel

it's the bugatti 'Veyron', the first passenger car to have an engine which produces 1,000+ hp. having said that you only need $1m to buy it, it's worth remembering besides the insurance and servicing costs, that the W-16 cylinder, 8 litre engine will consume approximately 5 litres of fuel a minute. That's about £4 a minute in fuel costs...

Monday, April 26, 2004

buy the best has transmogrified into buying the most old-fashioned gardening implements... it started like this:

bristol city council are trying to reduce the amount of rubbish people throw away. they put a leaflet through our letterbox about subsidised compost bins. i like mud and worms and stuff, my wife thinks it will keep me amused and out of trouble (mostly), so we write off. a week later, we get a our bin (which moves down to the far end of the garden) and a wee bucket to transport stuff from the kitchen to the bin.

kitchen waste starts accumulating in our wee bucket: my wife diligently fills it up and i ocassionally empty it into the bin. when my wife does some weeding, she neatly piles the weeds by the bin for me to dump inside.

even though we keep piling stuff in, the bin never really gets that full, and i happily deduce that the composting process is taking place. my wife keeps filling the wee bucket with scraps and piling weeds up; i keep chucking them in the bin.

Hand-made in Holland, each Sneeboer tool has been hand-forged in the finest stainless steel. It is individually shaped, polished and sharpened by hand before being fitted with a fine quality wooden handle (standard garden tools with ash handles and hand tools finished with cherrywood). Anyone who has a Sneeboer tool will never want to use anything else...the sun comes out (in england this is no small matter) and the entire country devotes itself to barbeques, tanning and gardening. it falls to me to sort out the small raised bed covered in three foot high grass (affectionately known to us as our 'lawn'). having borrowed a strimmer and acquired a mild hangover from the previous night's celebration of the end of the working week, i take on the miniture meadow and reduce it to three inch high stubble. i readily sympathise with my neighbours that the strimmer is too loud. having raked up all the trimmings, and spread them out to dry a bit, i now have a considerable pile of material to add to the bin.

the problem is that the grass needs mixing in with the rest of the heap; my rake is not up to the task so i start to look for spades and garden forks. so far, the most expensive one i've found is a touch over £50, but does have flat tines (which i now believe to be an essential requirement for any fork).

however, we recently got taught on the meaning behind fasting (in part, to aid overcoming addiction) and i was able to recognise my cravings and confess to my wife. she's now looking to borrow a garden fork, but i don't think i told her to ask for flat tines.

Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, Think I'll go and eat worms, Big fat juicy ones, long thin skinny ones, See how they wriggle and squirm; First you bite off the heads, and you suck out the juice, then throw the skins away, Nobody knows how fat I grow On worms three times a dayyou can't, however, borrow worms, and i don't think i want to fork out £15 for some. my big brother (he's an engineer) has designed a mobile worm transporter for me, though the blueprints look pretty much like a jam jar, even to my untrained eye. still, you have to trust the wisdom and experience of older siblings.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

went to our sign language class last night - it was really good fun. our teacher was good - the perfect mix of intimidation and awareness of when we started to flounder which meant we were stretched but not humiliated. she had a great sense of humour, and didn't speak a word all evening. we learnt the alphabet and how to say our names and ask other people's names too. it was great fun meeting new people too, and hopefully we'll make some friends along the way.

what i particularly like about the language is its economy of phrases and the use of context to convey a thought. for example, instead of asking 'what is your name?', as would be done in english, in BSL you ask 'name what?' another example is the name of an area of bristol called Knowle; in BSL the sign is a combination of 'know' plus 'L'. simply neat.

Monday, April 19, 2004

so the kite flying was fun! only thing is (and this isn't helping me overcome my desire to 'buy the best') the wind was too strong for our kite's strings, and they snapped a few times. the kids were great and picked it up really quickly.

then the fun started when i broke the front door key in the lock. after abortive attempts to get a locksmith out (now i know they are distinct from key-cutters), get a key cut, get a spare set of keys, get another spare set of keys, we decided to drive out to where the wedding was and get the set held by the parents. it was a long day, but the kids were fun throughout. it even gave me an opportunity to play Twister!

also, watched a neat anime film called Spirited Away which was cool, sad, thought provoking and downright weird.

it rained on sunday, but the rose bush has recovered from it's attack of green/red/blackfly due to the chemical warfare tactics we employed the day before.

off to sign language classes tonight - quite excited about that.

Friday, April 16, 2004

ah, the weekend approaches. i think we're babysitting grommit's offspring tomorrow (some friends are getting married - a true cause for celebration!) and therefore planning a trip to a park. i have checked the weather and the sun is supposed to shine with a light north-easterly blowing: perfect for footy and kite flying!

hah! just realised my previous entry was the day the deal closed... won't forget that in a hurry.

tent shopping is being planned by my wife in the near future. there's something about me that always wants to buy the top of the range model, thank heavens my wife is much more practical and realistic. if it were up to me, we'd buy a tent that you could take to the antarctic, all carbon fibre poles, mono-fil tethers, taped seams, fabric with a hydro-static head that could hold off a hurricane and weighed 5gms. since we'll probably camp four times a summer at the most, it might be a wee bit of overkill - i'll let her chose.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

blowing the dust of my keyboard and brushing the cobwebs out of my head to do some blogging again. actually, it nice to have taken a break (when i say break, i mean not really having time to blog, apart from on holiday last week when looking at a computer was pretty much the last thing i wanted to do).

nice to see my parents. i always thought homesickness was something related to be at boarding school, and that setting up my own place in bristol would mean i wouldn't get homesick (apart from when i left bristol obviously). but when we were sitting in a cab on the way to the airport after a great week with the olds, i realised that being homesick and missing your mum and dad are different. the other thing i realised is that dubai cabs tend to be air-conditioned and dubai cabbies tend to eat a lot of curried foods... part of me was quite relieved to get to the airport and out of that cab.