Happy Halloween

How to carve a pumpkin.

  1. Get a Pumpkin, or two, never hurts to have a back up.
  2. Assemble the necessary tools; pointless carving kit from supermarket, large (very sharp) knife, Stanley knife, boyfriends Leatherman (make sure to hand it back sans bits of Pumpkin – men get touchy about things like that).
  3. Choose a template appropriate to your skill level, I chose easy.
  4. Open Wine – this is important, it helps creativity and the clocks just went back so you can get away with a glass an hour earlier than usual.
  5. Get messy! Cut a hole in the top big enough to (just) get your hand in but not quite big enough to let any extra light out (or actually be able to move your hand within the Pumpkin) then scoop out the insides. The tool from the supermarket will never be enough. I recommend a combination of Pizza Cutter and a teaspoon – worked for me! Give the insides to boyfriend to whip up a yummy pumpkin Risotto with later.
  6. Tape the template to the pumpkin.
  7. Using the only useful piece of kit from the supermarket pack poke the design out with the proddy thing. Drink more wine. This is a tedious and time-consuming part of the process and can only be made bearable with added wine.
  8. When you have your design marked out on the pumpkin spend ages cutting around the lines with the saw bit from boyfriends Leatherman.
  9. Remove the bits of Pumpkin from the design, the table, the carpet, your clothes, your hair… Light up, take photograph, pour more wine.

Happy Halloween.

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Friday Rant #1

Flame Thrower Bike Unveiled.

The flame-thrower was included as 52% of cyclists named ”cars and lorries passing too close” as their number one complaint. So the bike’s handlebars are fitted with a specially-designed flame-thrower to fire towards vehicles that get too close.

I realise that every cyclist in the world will hate me for this but, as a car driver, (most) cyclists really piss me off! Before all you two-wheelers out there kick off I know cars and lorries get too close and sadly there are a huge amount of twats in possession of a driving licence. If you can’t get past a bike without a clear enough view of the road ahead and a clear enough road to be able to give them a wide berth then wait! A few minutes added onto your journey isn’t going to kill you but impatience and getting stupidly close to a cyclist might kill someone – I agree with cyclists as far as that particular gripe goes but…

Cyclists.

  1. Red Lights apply to you too – if you want to cycle on the road take some notice of the bloody highway code, it applies to all road users not just those with four wheels. If you jump a red light and get knocked off your bike then don’t complain. You didn’t have right of way and it’s your own stupid fault – and it’s going to hurt you a lot more than it’s ever going to hurt the car.
  2. If you’re going to turn stick out the appropriate hand then the car behind you might have a clue about what you intend to do and slow down/pass on the correct side. If you bother to read the Highway code there’s a whole section about stopping distances. It’s true, at 30mph it takes approximately 23 meters, 75 feet or 6 car lengths to stop. You might want to bear that in mind when you decide you suddenly want to turn right and fail to let the car behind you know of your plans. (Please see #1)
  3. I’m all for getting fit but if you’re cycling just for health, and you’re a little slow, or a little wobbly may I suggest you don’t cycle for exercise or ‘fun’ during rush hour! It’s never a good idea to ‘dominate the road’ when people are trying to get to work on time, rush hour is called that for a reason – people rush, including people in cars and lorries. They need to be somewhere on a deadline and a red-faced, sweaty cyclist incapable of cycling in anything close to a straight line is never going to encourage patience and understanding. (see #1)
  4. Just because you are on a bike you are not exempt from give way lines, stop signs, box junctions, traffic lights, One way streets, level crossings, zebra crossings, filter lanes etc. If you decide to ignore them don’t complain if I hit you – I’m taking notice of the signs and you shouldn’t be there!
  5. Hold onto the handlebars with both hands. If you want to be a stunt rider do it at a fairground, or circus or somewhere that when you hit that inevitable pot hole and lose control you don’t mess up my car, and my day, by falling underneath it!
  6. And finally – why, WHY do people want to stick their children in a basket on the back? I really don’t get it. Even if every car/van/lorry driver on the face of this earth suddenly becomes the safest driver on the face of this planet what if you just fall off – it can happen, even without an idiot car driver getting involved. Surely your child deserves more protection than a Ben 10 cycle helmet?

Rant over.

Sundays Are For #2

Remembering.

Today, all over Britain, people remembered The Battle Of Britain. Three and a half months of aerial combat in the summer of 1940 that prevented a Nazi invasion.

Around 544 personnel from Fighter Command died in the battle, which was fought over south-east England as the German Luftwaffe attempted to destroy Britain’s fighter defences.

Odiham is home to RAF Odiham, the largest Chinook Squadron in the UK, No 7 Squadron, No 18 Squadron, No 27 Squadron, and the Operational Conversion Flight and was a target of German bombing in October 1940 with the loss of several lives.

The 1940’s Chronicle suggests that we ‘take action’ to remember those dark days, and write a blog as if we were living through it. I wanted to write something and I’ve started several posts  but nothing I’ve come up with seems fit to publish. I can’t imagine what it must have been like and life today would have been very different if it hadn’t been for ‘the few‘ who fought so hard.

So today we listened to a swing band blasting out the hits of Glenn Miller, a Vera Lynn tribute and the distant sounds of a Spitfire and a Hurricane on a brief fly past. I ate Spam, sandwiches, drank a little Spitfire Ale and took photographs as Odiham saluted the people who fought, and died, in The Battle Of Britain.

And as a final thought I’d like to refer to the diary of Aircraft Woman 1st Class – Jane Sheridan. From the 1940’s Chronicles.

I got a call on the telephone yesterday while I was on duty to say that George had been shot down but that he was alive and in no danger. However, he had been injured. I wanted to go and see him. Violet was able to take over my shift and our Commanding Officer let me head off to Orpington General Hospital where George had been taken.

I didn’t know what to expect. It was a cloudy day and it was raining. I hadn’t eaten any breakfast due to the sickness that I’m getting every morning now. My stomach was fluttering and I just stared at the greyness around me and heard my heartbeat thumping in my ears until it made me feel as though I would explode. When I arrived at the hospital, I stood on the side of the road outside and I was sick against a wall. A nice old lady came over and asked me if I was alright and I said I was and I cleaned myself up standing in the rain and walked in to the hospital. When I arrived on the ward, I saw his face immediately; it was unblemished and I felt relieved. A nurse walked towards me and started to say something but I rushed straight over to him. His eyes flickered when he saw me, in that same way that they’d flickered the first time we met, but I realised that something was amiss.

Continue reading “Sundays Are For #2”