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The onslaught of autumn

I don’t mind the passing of the seasons. I live at home still and so the cold doesn’t worry me. If I go out I dress for the temperature that’s going on at the time. If I’m at home the house is always warm anyway.

I used to be a bit embarrassed at my parents’ house as it’s a fairly new Barret Box of a place. I don’t know if it actually is a Barret Box, but that’s what they have always called it. Basically it’s a modern house that’s really well insulated and so if the sun is shining even in winter it doesn’t seem to need any heating, and if it’s not shining then it doesn’t cost much.

So I don’t have to worry about having no money and not being able to stay warm.

Nonetheless I do get a bit down as the evenings draw in.

Over the last couple of months I’ve been getting out on my bike more often and that has been good for body and soul. The exercise has helped me feel better about my self, made me feel stronger, and is good for clearing the blues at the same time. I know I can carry on riding in the dark, and in fact I have bought some pretty amazing LED lights for the bike that didn’t cost much at all, but it does seem a bit dangerous.

I want to get out there over the next few days with Dad’s camera and capture some of the falling or turning leaves. If I get anything good I’ll try to remember to post them in this blog. Autumn. Yes, autumn is ok, but when winter falls I’ll be looking forward to the 21st December when the evening start to lighten again.

Summer fun

Young girls in the back of a carThe kids have broken up from school, and, with good weather forecast for the foreseeable future, every parent is going to wonder what they should be doing with the kids.  I know for a fact (because it used to be me) that after a few days of the long summer holiday, cabin fever sets in and kids start to get bored, so I’ve thought of a few activity ideas that the whole family can enjoy together.

If money is tight in your household, as it occasionally is in mine, you need to consider days out that are free or cost very little.  On a typical family outing, the expenditure tends to be not just on the cost of travelling somewhere and paying to get in, but also on all the extras such as lunches, drinks, snacks and souvenirs.  I certainly don’t have the money to be spending on these things and I’m sure no-one else has either.

There are plenty of free days out.  Kids love to get out in the fresh air, so why not take them to the local park with a picnic.  I find that making lunches like this costs far less than buying them from the nearest fast food outlet, and all you have to do is give the kids a football or a couple of tennis rackets and they will be busy for hours.  I know of at least three parks in my area that are within walking distance, so I wouldn’t even need to use transport, making this a very low cost and fun day out.

I’ve never been one for spending a lot of time in museums and art galleries, but if you are looking for a cultural day out that costs very little then these should be high on the list.  Museums in particular are getting to be a little more interactive these days, so the chances of the kids getting bored are not as great as they were when museums were dusty places that demanded silence all the time.

Finally, if your kids really do insist on things such as theme park days out then you need to look out for special offers.  I’ve become quite good at finding bargains like this; during the summer these places are keen to attract our custom, so there are plenty of two for one offers and cut-price entrance deals, so that you can have the fun at a fraction of the cost.

The Hobbit rocks

That JRR Tolkien could write a decent yarn. The Lord of The Rings trilogy is an old favourite of mine, so when I heard that The Hobbit was getting released at the cinema I got rather excited. So excited, in fact, that I dug out my old copy of The Hobbit and read it again.

It is still as good as I remember it and those who have been bored by the LOTR books should definitely read this, as it is a lot easier to digest than Frodo’s exploits. Bilbo Baggins is the main man in the story, and he is the cousin of Frodo.

For those who have no idea what The Hobbit is about, it is the starting point for the whole LOTR series. Without spoiling it too much, Bilbo goes on an awesome mission with a lot of dwarves – or dwarfs – and with the occasional fleeting assistance of everybody’s favourite arcane dabbler – or wizard – Gandalf.

Book the film

They set off to reclaim some stolen treasure from a rather grumpy and selfish dragon, and success will see the dwarves reclaim their castle and piles of gold, trinkets, jewels, ornate weaponry and the mighty Arkenstone.

I don’t want to say too much because the film is in three parts. Although I haven’t seen it, I know where part one of the film ends from a friend who has seen it. The good news for those who have seen it is the best is yet to come. Beorn is one of my favourite characters in the book and it is looking likely that he will make an appearance in the second of The Hobbit films.

Peter Jackson is doing a service to literature with his film adaptations of these classic books. Purists will argue that the film does not have the details contained in the books, but my view is that he is keeping the story alive. In a world where kids play more Xbox than read books, this kind of film is a godsend for real writing and literature.

I was inspired by this book as a kid, and the chances are that kids today will also be inspired. Good work, Jackson.

Legally bombed

Okay, recreational drugs are bad, whether they are legal or not.  The alteration of an individual’s perception is generally an unhealthy way to enjoy a night out.  That said, beer is also dodgy and people hammer that, the same with nicotine, Simon Cowell, and Skyrim.   Shiva, which shares its name with a Hindu God and an extremely potent form of cannabis, is a novelty shop that is known online as the Shivahead shop.


There are a wide variety of interesting products available from Shiva, including a range of sexual aids such as flesh lights and vibrators.  There are also herbal stimulants available that are used for their aphrodisiac effects.  Electrosex is a relatively new pastime that involves the passing of electrical currents through various points on the human body, and a box can be bought that lets the user connect and control the amount of electricity sent through the body.

There are also a variety of party accessories available on the site in the form of glow sticks, daft glasses and whistles.  These are ideal accessories for those who want to enjoy a barmy night out.

Shiva also offers themed items for sale, such as Jack Daniels themed cigarette cases, lighters and hip flasks, among other novelty items for paraphernalia enthusiasts.  For instance, the shop carries a stock of Bob Marley themed products.


I have a friend who has tried the legal high Salvia Divinorum.  We were at a music festival when he ambled over with a daft smile on his face and proceeded to tell me how he had just bought some of the stuff from a stall.  A small amount was put in a pipe and everyone (apart from me, I am mad enough already) took a deep inhalation of the psychoactive drug.  My friend went drip white within a few seconds of taking the drug, and then laid down and stared at the sky for what seemed like ages.

Afterwards, I asked him how the effects of the drug felt, and he said he felt as if the whole right-hand side of his body was somehow transparent while it also felt as if that side of his body was in another plane of reality.  He added that the effects of the drug were very strong and he would not be taking it again.  So the advice here is to avoid Salvia unless you are mentally very strong and don’t mind being unrecognisably hammered.

The Shiva shop has a variety of concoctions and potions, as well as novelty products that are for various uses.  Two pieces of advice – always read the label and always research the item or product if you have never heard of it.


Walking the Dog

Today I went on a really long walk with Bob, the dog.

This is Bob, she’s 3 years old now and loves to go for long walks so she can bound along in the fields.

It helps me think when I am out walking but also helps me forget that I haven’t much to do. Today I had a funny experience as I headed back home through the park. There was an old lady there and she had the hugest dog I have seen, or it may have been because she was quite small. No lie, in comparison to her it looked like a horse and half the time I was expecting her to jump on its back and ride away like a cowboy or something.

Anyway I saw that the dog was pulling her along a bit and she seemed to be struggling so me and Bob headed over and I offered to help. She was really grateful as she sounded tired, so I took the beast’s lead, and it was pretty funny as it pulled so hard that the next minute I knew I was on the floor and had dropped the lead and the beast was off. I chased after him and so did Bob and quite surprisingly Bob seemed to round up the beast and allow me to catch up to it and grab the lead. This time I took tight hold of the lead and I walked the old lady, who I found out was called Kate, and the beast, who was called Smithy, home. She only lives around the corner so its surprising that we haven’t seen each other before. Kate was very grateful for my help and she said she would bake me something delicious 🙂


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