Wednesday, November 29, 2006

So what is there to report...

... in the BOGOF household

Hmmmm, I’m thinking…

Thinking harder….

Thinking even harder….

Brain is now starting to hurt…..

Nothing ! ! !


Monday, November 27, 2006

Square eyed

John’s cousin June sent an email link to a genealogy website which is offering three days worth of searching free (you usually have to pay a fee to look at the best stuff).

So having found time to make use of the three free days, I register this afternoon and spent several hours trying to find details about my Nana Dinah.

As I said in last Tuesday’s blog, I don’t have a lot to go on and even though I do have an ‘all areas pass’, I’m not making much headway.

First of all I tried searching the marriage records. No luck. Then I tried the deaths. Again nothing so far.

So that only left the births and I’ve had to do a lot of guessing as I have no idea when she was born or where she lived. However I’ve still got two and a half free days left so fingers crossed I’ll find something.

I mentioned in the blog last Tuesday that my Granddad married Widow Nelson when my dad was ten. I’ve since found out from my mam that they didn’t marry until the early sixties. They had in fact been ‘living in sin’ and only got married because the Council were going to charge her extra rent as they weren’t married. Shocking ! ! !


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Eat, Drink & be Merry

Well, we've just about finished clearing up from our party last night (and part of this morning !!). We certainly ate, and we certainly drank and we were most certainly merry.

For those who are concerned about such things, here's evidence that Paul ate at least some of the salad. For a picture of the salad before he ate it, see the Gottle link in the sidebar. Visitors on the night included Jan & Andy, Paul, Jenny & Chris, two of my work colleagues, both called Neil, another of my work colleagues, John and his wife Gillian, and a brief visit from Peter. Here's the sordid details of itchy backs, exploding popcorn and much much more.

John (and Marie)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Who are you

My dad never knew his mam as she died when he was about two and it’s always been bugging me that we know nothing about her.

My granddad married Widow Nelson (the lady I called nana) when my dad was about 10 years old and as it was rumoured that he was having an affair with Mrs Nelson long before my dad was born, his mam was never allowed to be mentioned.

So I’ve decided to try and find more about her. However it’s proving to be quite difficult as I’ve nothing to go on. I know her name was Dinah and that her maiden name was Thompson/Thomson and I’m presuming she lived in the Houghton area. After that I draw a blank. I don’t know when she was born, when she married my granddad or when she died.

Santa has very kindly said he’ll get me a beginners guide to tracing family trees and John’s cousin who is very keen on genealogy has given me some websites to try.

It’s going to be quite a task but I’m determined to find out who she was. I think, though, I’ll give my mam’s side of the family a miss for now. Apparently my great granddad was married five times ! ! !


Monday, November 20, 2006

Winter Draws On

It’s all right, I don’t work for the BBC so I can say that.

Over the past few days we in the Bogof household have seen three clear signs that Winter is coming. First of all we got our first Christmas card through the post. A real card, not one advertising something. Then this afternoon, Marie saw a house with the decorations up. And finally, on the way home tonight, at 5:30 I passed a gritter. Brrr.

On the conference front, since Bognor was buggered, we took ourselves off to Leeds to see what £10 million had done to spruce up the old Queens Hotel, scene of the 2004 Spring conference – where the builders moved in as we moved out.

I can say that the money was well spent. Contrary to the then owners intentions, the original Art Deco features have not been removed. In fact they have been added to in a most sympathetic manner. And all the rooms are of a standard that most hotels call “Executive” – bigger bed, minibar, room safe etc.

So it’s looking like Leeds again in 2008, then Blackpool again in 2009. I just hope that we can get Prague for 2010. If not it’s likely to be Ashford or Scotland …


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The return of B&Q – the manager strikes back

On Saturday after doing a bit of Christmas shopping in the Metro Centre (extremely busy and I dread to think what it will be like in a couple of weeks time), we went to B&Q to choose our replacement kitchen doors.

Having looked at the entire range we decided to go stick with maple. We finally chose one which didn’t have any laminated strips on them.

Eventually when we did find someone to help us (the size of the envelope containing our paperwork must have sent them into hiding ! ! !) we were told that Maureen, the person I’d been dealing with, would ring me back on Monday to arrange delivery of the doors etc and to arrange a date for fitting.

Monday came and went, no phone call. What a surprise… So once again, yesterday I had to ring them. Normally getting things delivered from B&Q takes several days, if not weeks. Not when you are the customer from Hell. They arrived late yesterday afternoon.

Remember the manager said at first he wouldn’t give us replacement plinths but we said no way. Well we needn’t have bothered because the ones they delivered are identical to what we’ve got. Apparently that style goes with a couple of maple ranges. So we’ve now got two very long plinths which we don’t need. Why couldn’t they have simply said so in the first place. We would have been fine with that.

Now the fitting… We were lead to believe that B&Q would fit them. Oh no. We have get a quote from a little kitchen fitter man, get him to fit them, pay him, send the quote to B&Q and they will reimburse us.

Currently the doors and plinths are in the dining room as we need to find somewhere to store them until we can sort out getting them fitted.

Then we’ve got the old doors to get rid of. Any one want 10 doors, five drawers and two unused plinths…


Saturday, November 11, 2006


Remembering today those British servicemen who fell in two world wars and later conflicts.

744,330 from World War I
397,762 from World War II
16,000+ from Later conflicts

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables at home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

— Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Bottoms up

You may (or may not) have heard about a prank with a firework that went wrong.

For those of you who know what happened please go onto the next paragraph. On Bonfire night a man decided to launch a firework from his backside – I kid you not ! ! ! Not surprisingly he suffered internal injuries.

It made the 11am news on Radio 2. The newsreader was doing so well then he lost it completely. He tried to compose himself for the next item but couldn’t. It was wonderful.

As the idiot belongs in Sunderland it also made the local television news. I’ve never seen an item read so quickly before.

Neil, one of John’s work colleagues said he should ring Radio Sunderland and request Elton John’s Rocket Man for him…


Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I’m pleased to report that the Showroom manager has come to his senses and agreed to pay for the kitchen plinths.

I wasn’t too amused at them not calling me back yesterday but the little woman was very apologetic when I rang her this morning.

So all we have to do now is choose replacement doors and drawers then wait for them to be fitted.

In other news. Finished off baking my Christmas cakes. I’m so glad I was able to give Jan hers at Norwich as there is no more space on top of the dresser ! ! !

Message for Jan: Will it survive until Christmas or will you want me to bake you another one…

Now that the Christmas cakes are out of the way I can now make a start on planning the food for our winter party.

Then once that’s over it will be time to make the mince pies ! ! ! Hopefully there won’t be a repeat of last December 18th blog – ‘Mention mince pies at your peril ! ! !’


Monday, November 06, 2006

The kitchen saga continues

I had to ring B&Q today seeing as they still haven’t got back to us about the kitchen doors.

The little man who we saw on Tuesday fobbed me off with the ‘I did pass the message on to the Showroom manager’ spiel. However he did say he’d have a word with him again and get him to ring me this afternoon.

One of his minions phoned instead, apologising on his behalf for not getting back to me. They are to contact the manufactures and will arrange a site visit of our kitchen so will ring back tomorrow with an inspection date.

She then rang back two hours later to say that the Showroom manager has decided to offer us replacement doors and drawers from their range, the same ones if we so wish (I think not…), and they will fit them. They will not however pay for new plinths.

She was politely told* to inform the Showroom manager that his offer was not acceptable. Why should it cost us extra for something which wasn’t our fault. As the manager had gone home she would have a word with him in the morning.

If she comes back and say ‘no’ then the customer from hell will be speaking to the man himself…

Go on Punk, make my day ! ! !


*she’s not paid enough to be shouted at…

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I must have been a cat in a previous life

I hate this time of year. Why, because I’m terrified of loud noises - I have a phobia of thunder and lighting and the sight of balloons makes me come out in a cold sweat*

All last night and today people have been setting off fireworks. I don’t want to be a killjoy but I really do wish that the government would ban the sale of fireworks and only allow them to be set off at proper organised displays.

Not only are they dangerous but stray sparks do have a habit of setting fire to things. Like a wooden box at the end of our back lane…

Now in other news, I’m pleased to report that my shopping exhibition to Sainsburys with mam on Friday went ok. Sadly no motherisms from our adventure but I do have a good one from a couple of weeks ago.

She was complaining about the local Co-op in Houghton putting up their prices once the only other supermarket in the village had closed. So I suggested she make a list of the every day items (coffee, biscuits etc) she needed each week and I’ll get them from Morrison’s when we do our shopping on a Thursday night, and bring them with me when I visit on Fridays.

“Does Morrison’s keep the biscuits I like”, she asked.
“Which ones are those”.
“You know, the ones I get from Sainsburys”.
“Do you mean Sainsburys own make”.


* I did not enjoy Sunday lunch at Norwich. Thanks June…

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Joined Up Government - PAH

I've just been reading that when (if ?) the Government go live with their ID cards, they're not going to test the software.

That's right. The most complex Government computer project ever, and it's not going to be tested.

They say that because each individual part of the scheme has been used somewhere else, by someone else, in some other context before, it's bound to work. So there's no need to test it.

We can all feel safe knowing that Government I.T is in the hands of experts.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

One year on…

And the new neighbours are still hammering, banging and drilling. There’s not a week goes by without them making some kind of noise. Surely there can’t be any thing left for them to do as they’ve already gutted the house. Unless that is they are starting from scratch again. Heaven forbid ! ! ! !

I think it was Chris who asked on Saturday night if the new neighbours read our blog. I’m not aware that they do but it’s very tempting to put a note inside their Christmas card saying ‘please read our blog’…

The little man from B&Q is now overdue with his phone call about the kitchen doors by two days. Does he really have a death wish…

Off shopping with mam to Sainsburys tomorrow. Should be fun ! ! !