Sunday, 29 July 2012

Still on the high seas - well the Blatic anyway

Still no serious news. I am still offshore and I will be for the next three weeks. I have now got the 5th book uploaded, it is called sad to be a zombie. It is an attempt to write a book about zombies where they are the victims. I am not totally happy with it, it was my first attempt at a totally made up story and I am not sure I put it across very well.
I also got my first negative review! It was for "down but not out", which is a book about my failure in business. The reviewer kindly called me, and I quote; "a sad pathetic loser" and his final statement was "who wants to read a book about failure anyway", well, obviously he did, as he paid for it. He also complained about my spell and suggested I either bought a dictionary or a newer copy of word. He also made a simple spelling error himself, writing "out" instead of "put", which I felt sort of weakened his position. However, he was brave enough to use a nickname rather than his real name, so I suppose that evened it out.
Oh, and just so you know, the book he bought and complained about with such vitriol cost him £0.77p. I full understand his displeasure, as 77p is such a huge amount.
Catch you all again later....

Tuesday, 24 July 2012


OK, yes I know, I have not been updating this regularly, but then I am offshore you see.
I work as a surveyor on a ship for a large survey company. On the ship we work 12 hours shifts, mine runs from mid night to mid day. Normally I am on the ship for 28 days and then I go home. Due to my dad passing away I missed 2 weeks of my last trips, so I am having to do a six week trip to catch up.
This is not how I would prefer to operate, I prefer the 28 days on/ 28 days off!
OK catch you later.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Olymipic Torch

I will be taking my grandsons to see the olympic torch tomorrow in Bletchley, they have been on at their mum for weeks to see it. She is working so she can not take them.

Going offshore again

I was supposed to go offshore a couple of weeks ago, but of course, my father died. I will now being going offshore on Wednesday (Probably). I had an email from the office on Thursday to say that they will not have any information on the mobilisation until Tuesday, which suits me as I will not be able to collect my medication until Tuesday mid day.


We did not scatter my Dad's ashes, we are going to do it in a few weeks when the whole family can all be together.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

My fathers Funeral

Yesterday was my fathers funeral. It went well. We held it at the Crematorium in Kettering, followed by a wake held at the Red Lion in Bozeat. He was cremated and on Saturday we will be scattering his ashes at a local farm. The ceremony is for Family and close friends only. We requested no flowers for the funeral, as he was not into flowers and Mum thought they would be a waste. Instead we asked for donations to Leukaemia CARE, we will have to wait to hear how much was paid into the Funeral Directors, and how much they collected at the Crematorium, but at the wake we raised £108.96 which we are sending to Leukaemia Care in a cheque. We actually made it up to £110 to keep the figures simple.
We had a non religious service, as my Dad was not a religious person, I gave a speech which was made up of what my brothers and sister remembered of my Dad. My nephew Bradley spoke for the Grandchildren and my niece Kelly spoke on behalf of the great grand children.
He will be sadly missed.
He was not the greatest man ever to live, but he was my father and through his children leaves a legacy that will live on. We will all remember his actions and behaviour and will smile when we do so. There was only one Les Skeats.

Monday, 2 July 2012

New Books - under construction....

I am still working on the original book, about my brothers sculpture, and this will eventually be published.
But, (and I only start sentences with "but" to annoy people) I have two more books that have sprung into my head.
1. A zombie book. A new take on the zombie genre, with sympathy for the zombies. I have written about a quarter of the book and I think it is great. A bit slow to start, but that is on purpose, I want a bit of humdrum before the action starts. But you will love the twist at the end. The outline is complete, I am about a quarter through it, so it should be out in a couple of months.
2. Survey Tales, still a working title. It is about all the daft and weird things that have happened to me on surveys. It is shaping up well, I have used a lot more dialogue in this one. I tried dialogue in the original bin laden book, but felt it ruined that story so I took it out. Bin laden was originally 300 pages long, I cut it down heavily and turned it into a short story and I think it worked better due to that. Survey Tales needs the dialogue to explain some of the silly things that happened.
I have stopped writing one book. I called it "Death at the Games" and it was a terrorist drama set at the summer games in London. I have not finished it as I felt that what I had written was a road map for a serious terrorist attack. I have identified where three attacks could be made on aircraft at airports and written an attack on the underground, complete with a feasible escape plan to allow my protagonists to get out and perform more attacks. I will now finish it and publish it only after the games are over. Better safe than sorry.

Getting Married

This is an old chestnut.
I have been in a relationship with a wonderful lady since 2003. I want to marry her and would love her to come to the UK (she works in Oman).
Due to my awful finances, which is due to my company collapsing during the global credit crisis, I can not do either at the moment.
Well, my mother has said that she has no objection to her coming to live at the house. I know Abel will be quite happy with this, as her and Abel get on really well. I just need to shift about £10k of debt and I can bring her. This is great news and I should be able to do this early next year.
I want to do it sooner, but unless I write a book that takes off, this simply will not happen until then.

Radio Shack

Since my last blog quite a lot has happened and I will attempt to bring you up to date with this and the following blogs.
Sorry for the break but as you can guess I have been distracted.
My father cleared out his winter potatoes from the shed, allowing me to establish what we call the "East Wing", which is just a garden shed where I set my computer up and write. During the winter months I normally use one of the bedrooms but spring, summer and autumn I use the "East Wing".
This year the east wing has taken on a new role. In addition to the writing, it now also doubles as my amateur radio shack. I have been into Ham radio since I was a teenager, but could never afford to get onto the HF bands. Now I have every HF band, 50Mhz, 2m and 70cms all in once shack. I am short on antennas, but as time goes on this will improve. I won't be able to set up the antennas at home, as I will simply not allowed to put them up, but I belong to the Northampton Radio Club and they have a field I can use, that is where I will put my antennas. It is a bit of a drive out, but it will not bring down the wrath of the family on my head for turning the house and garden into an antenna field.
My call sign in G1GCB and I often monitor the Northampton Repeater GB3NH, give me a call sometime.


On 22nd of June 2012 at approximately 0130 my father died. He had been unwell for 27 years and had many illnesses including 2 forms of cancer, diabetes and a range of other complaints.
He had kept an allotment for many years which had kept the family in veg and seasonal fruit.
He will be greatly missed by all in the family

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Big break, sorry

OK, I know, there was a bit of a break.
So, to bring you up to date. I am off the ship and now back home, I have written another book and it is on Amazon, I have been in touch with the girly and we are going to look into us getting married in Oman. She has to have some silly English test first, but she will ace this.
It is time we were married, long passed time in my opinion.

Monday, 7 May 2012

May Bank Holiday (UK)

Still on the ship, but now with a horrible cold.
Also my girl friend missed her flight from Thailand to Oman so she is not happy. She has a new flight on tuesday. I hope she catches it.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

May 2 mobilisation day

I got up at 0400 so I could drive to Immingham docks to catch my ship. I had been given a hire car to use, a citreon something, it was OK.I packed my bag, showered, cleaned my teeth and had a small bowl of cereal before driving up to Immingham.
I took the A428 to Northampton and then joined the M1 and headed North.
I then took the M18 and the M180 and following it all the way to the docks. I dropped the car off and joined the ship.
I will now be on the vessel for the next 28 days, and I do not comment or write about my work. so you will only get snippets of personal information for a while.
6th May and my girlie has her visa, she is very happy now.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Monday and I have a laptop

I went into town, went to the bank and took out £230 and went and bought an Asus Eee netbook.
I had about 1GB on my 3G broadband dongle, and I looked at how much data I was going to need, so I topped up another 1GB. By mid day, I had used both loads of data up!
But I also downloaded the complete Microsoft Office Professional package, skype, a driver for my printer and mozilla etc etc etc. But I now have a working PC and hence I can continue with the 4th book and I can update this blog.
Brilliant. Happy.

Sunday, not a lot to do

Bit of gym, a bit of radio playing. I wish I had a laptop.

Saturday - buy a new laptop

Rushed into town, did a brief hour in the gym and then round to the bank to get the money out to buy a new laptop. Sadly not enough in the bank, I will have to wait until Monday. Bum.
Played on the radio again, more mapping out of radio coverage, also played with the CB. I really  do enjoy radios!
Baby sitting for the kids again Saturday night, lots of rain, even more rain.

Friday - Poets day.

End of the course, paperwork all up to date and next job confirmed. I mobilise on Wednesday out of Immingham. Trip home via Luton and finally got to bed at 00:53, a bit of synchonisity there me thinks!

(sorry about the spelling)

Thursday in the office

Day three of the course, learning loads, but still got even more I still need to learn.


Second day of the course, new subject, I handed my CV over and returned the PC that I had been loaned. I was hoping to work on the 4th book at this point, which was pretty hard as the only laptop I had was broken.
So I watched Cowboys and Aliens, it was a lot better than I expected it to be.

Tuesday in Aberdeen

Tuesday morning, I had a course to do. I got up and walked to the office. I spoke to my line manager and he said he would get me a laptop to type up my CV.
As I did not have my laptop I had to re create my CV from the records my employer holds on me, so I got my original CV from when I was recruited and then had the office list all the jobs I had been on since joining, and a list of all the courses I have done since joining.
I spent the evening sitting in the crew house and typed up my CV on the new template and included all the jobs I have been on since joining as well as all the courses. All in 11 point text. The course list took two pages! My line manager asked me to not put anymore down.  Maybe I am doing too many courses, what do you think.

Back online

Monday last week my trusty laptop died, hard drive failure. This left me with out a PC to use and so I have been unable to upload my blog, so here is the update.
Monday was a day when I thought I just had a few things to do and life would be all fine and dandy. Instead what happened was I started to load up with Joomla software and suddenly the PC froze. I tried everything I knew (and after 20 seconds of trying) decided I had lost the PC and would need assistance to get it back.
One hour thirty nine minutes later my line manager called and asked for my updated CV, which had been requested a few days before to be sent in by the 30th (so I was still in good time). As my PC had died, I was unable to supply the CV.
I needed a new PC, sadly, as regular readers of this blog will know I am a bit short of cash at the moment, so no PC til I get paid next week.
Monday after noon I headed out to catch a bus to the local town, so I could catch a train to Luton. I arrived in town, and walked the half mile down to the railway. I bought my ticket at the auto ticket machine at the station and went to catch my train from platform 2.
I took the train to Bedford, where I was going to change for Luton Parkway. I did this as the train between Bedford and Luton Parkway meant I would arrive a little earlier than if I took the later direct train.
I arrived at Bedford, jumped off the train and headed for the nearest railway employee. "Where do I go for the luton train?" I asked, the man pointed and said "that one", so I ran up the stairs across the bridge and down the other side and jumped on the train believing it to be for Luton. It went to Kettering, as it was the Corby train. I felt like a right numpty.
I had a brief arguement with a man on the station at Kettering, who was overruled by his boss and I was duely put on a train to Luton as I wanted.
I felt I was still OK, I had lost about 45 minutes, but I was still going to be on time so that was fine.
I arrived at Luton Parkway with 30 minutes still to go before checkin closed.
From past experience I know that it takes on average 18 minutes to get from Luton Parkway to the Airport, so to make sure I took a taxi.
I got in the taxi and said, "take me to the airport", the taxi driver then drove around town for a few minutes and then took me too........ Luton town railway station.
Due to his poor English I could not get him to understand that he had taken me to the wrong place.
In the end I phoned the taxi company and got someone there who spoke the same language to tell the guy to take me to the airport. He also told me to only give him £6 as tht is what the fare should have been.
I arrived at the airport with 4 minutes to the end of check in. I ran to the desk, but by the time I handed over my passport the gate was closing. The girl on the desk phoned through and they had not shut the doors so I quickly stipped out all my shaving kit, shampoo etc and ran to security, cleared it in record time and then headed for the gate.
On the run to the gate we got a radio call, they had let standby passesngers on the plane and my seat was gone.
We walked sedately back to the checkin desk and they booked me on a flight to edinburgh instead.
I got to the crew house in Aberdeen at 00:53.
That as my monday.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Sunday April 22 2012

Got up this morning, kids were already awake and playing a somewhat violent video game. I made them garlic bread, as I had promised to do so yesterday and waited for my daughter to come home.
When I arrived over at my daughters last night I had to repair a seam in her work trousers and a zip, unfortunately I had only brought enough thread to fix the hole, as I did not know about the zip.
It took me a while to do both, as I was trying to do them using the minimum of thread (as I had not brought enought). She left for work with her modesty intact and and all seams secure. She came home this morning and the seams and zip were working themselves loose again.
Tomorrow I am off to Aberdeen for three courses, when I am back (saturday), I will be baby sitting again, so I will bring some better quality thread and do the job properly.
This afternoon I went to the gym again, I did a couple of hours and I am not stiff at all today. I must admit I mainly worked on the cross trainers with only a few stations on the weights, but I still did a full set, with more than the minimum weight and more than the minimum reps.
I was going to go for a swim as well, but it was kiddie swimmming so I couldn't.
I have got my bag ready for Aberdeen, I just have to take mum shopping tomorrow and then to her retinal eye exam and then it is off to the airport.
Catch you later.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Saturday - well so far anyway

I was baby sitting again last night. I took my laptop with me so I could work on the survey tales book. I got over to my daughters, saw the kids off to bed and saw my daughter off to work.
I sat down, put the computer on the dinning room table and sat to watch a little TV before I started writting. About 2am I woke up, still in the chair. I decided that maybe I was a little tired and went to bed.
I woke up this morning and started writting before the kids got up, I managed to add a few more things to the book, about six pages before the kids got up. It is coming on nicely. I have still got a long way to go, it is about 80 pages (hard back sized) and there are still loads of things I want to put in.
It is made up of all the daft things that have happened while I have been on surveys. I am even going to put my most recent incidence, when I was chased down the street in Aberdeen by a prostitute who was trying to talk me in to taking her services. You will have to read the book for the full details - and I have included every detail. Before you ask, I got away with my modesty intact.
I checked my spare tire this morning before I drove home, I have been meaning to do this for some time. It is badly deflated, so I will have to go into the garage and get it checked. More expense! But it has to be done.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Last nights food!

OK, yes. I had a curry pot noodle last night at my daughters. Now I remember!


No idea what I had last night, I did not write it in the food diary. This morning I had cherios for breakfast, a fruit bar made of fruit pulp (I can not recommend it), supposedly it had 135 calories, it tasted vaguely of fruit. A waste of £1.39.
Lunch was a subway turkey, no chese but every single veg on the rack! On honey oat with no sauce.
I have no idea what I am going to have tonight, probably a pot noodle.

Thursday and Friday

Baby sat last night, nothing special to report, it was quiet, so maybe that is important. The little one woke up about 5 times in the night, each time his duvet had come off, so I replaced it, gave the regulation cuddle and retired back to my cave. SO I did not get an especially good nights sleep last night.
My eldest daughter has a tear in her trousers, so tonight I am going to practise my seamstress skills and fix it, I can't believe no one has ever showed her how to sew.  Oh well, Pappy to the rescue. My younger daughter was shown all this by my mum, but she is not available to assist at the moment. She is not that well at the moment, I hope it is a passing thing. I think they are all great, and I wish I got to see them all more. Especially Stuart, my son. He is rather independent, so I don't get to see much of him. I am going to try and entice him on a camping holiday in the summer and see if I can not spark off an interest in ham radio in him. That would get us seeing more of each other.
I was supposed to go in on Tuesday for my gastric band, however, I have pile of courses to do. I did not have them last week, but I have them now. It is my own fault, I told my line manager I would do any courses he sent me on, and he is always true to his word!
That is one of the good things about the company I work for, they see training as very important and that is great as although I have been doing the job since the last century, I had no paper work, no certificates to show I could do it. Now, thanks to my employer, I do.
I had my retinal eye screening today, for my diabetes, I have it every year. I go in, they put drops in my eyes, I wait 15 minutes, they take photos of my eyes. Done. Then I walk outside and the world is so bright! The drops dilate the pupils and make you look like you have been doing hard drugs - we will come on to that. My mum brought my dad into the hospital for the same thing, but her car clonked out and we had to call the RAC. It was just a brief cough by the solenoid and it is all OK now.
I went to the gym and did an hour, my shoulders are on fire, but that will get better as time goes by. I was questioned by the fitness instructor and asked if I had taken anything - he had seen my eyes. I explained that I had just been to the hospital for my retinal screening and showed him the letter. We had a little laugh about it, and he told me a couple of stories I can not repeat. Sorry.
Played radios this after noon again, this time I used the CB not the Ham kit. I had a bit of a laugh with it. I can get about 30 miles which I think is quite good. I also mapped out the repeater ranges using the handheld. If I have line of sight I can get a good 10km with the hand held, I am going to see just how far I can go. I did some calculations based on "best guess" conditions (power of repeater, gain of antenna, length of antenna cable, loss in cable and connectors etc etc) and I should be able to access Northampton GB3NH from about 35km away. I am going to see how well the real world matches the results of a spreadsheet.
I have written another book, but I do not think I will upload it. It is about a terrorist attack on the Olympics, it features four specific attacks and details how they were carried out. In the book they are only partially successfully and our hero (an off duty soldier) manages to inspire the public to defeat the forces of evil while an incompetent, PC ridden and Health and Safety obsessed Police Force fluffs the defence of London. I think it could be seen as a "blue print for a terrorist attack". I am considering deleting it as it may be a step too far.

Thursday, 19 April 2012


I have come to a halt on the 4th book. No not writers block, time. The PC is proving to be an inconvenience now and I need a small notebook. The laptop is fine as a desktop, but it needs a fan on it all the time now, so I need a small notebook so I can write when the muse takes me (Pretentious, Moi?).
Book sales have never been worse. They have ground to a halt. Strange.

OK, coming up to date

Monday: Breakfast was cherios, lunch was a chop with mash at home and evening meal was a chease salad with pickled onions (home made). Went in to see if I could join a gym. Paid £20 for an induction, I will take it tomorrow morning. I popped into town for a few bits and bobs and played radios.
I belong to a radio club and I recently offered to create and manage the clubs webs site, as I used to design, write, upload and manage my old web site and that included advertising banners and a checkout system with credit card payment. I am used to common old HTML and currently use Front Page from Microsoft to write my sites.
A very kind man offered us free web space on his LInux Server, but we would have to prepare the site using software called Joomla, or something similar. I am not a PC wizzard. I know how to run some software packages and that is it. I used to be a PC wizzard, but then they got rid of Windows 3.11 and I was scuppered.
So, I downloaded thismagic software and started reading through the pages and pages of web sites and PDF's and chat threads and then after I had attempted to download the software for the umpteenth time, I gave up.
I have spoken to a friend and he said, write it as HTML and it should be OK, keep it simple and it should still be able to run on the Linux server, as the HTML actually runs on the clients PC, not the server. So I am going to write a sample page and see if that works, I will put a simple link in and if it uploads and runs on IE and Mozilla that is all I need.

Tuesday: Breakfast was a BLT (yes I know, but it was before a day of activitty, so I did it anyway, lunch was a sub way, evening meal was a chop, mash, carrots, peas and gravy.
I joined a gym yesterday, it is £32.50 a month for membership of two gyms and a swimmingpool, with classes included. My company will reimburse me £15 a month for doing this. Nice.
I have previously been a member at the first gym twice before. I arrived and other than the rolling roads and the cross trainers, all the kit was the same.  However, I still had to go through all the induction and be shown how all the equipment worked. Plus this means I have to use each piece of equipment for about 10 minutes or 20 repertitions. Then I did a fitness test on 2 of the cross trainers and 2 of the "resistance" systems. By the end of it I thought I was going to die! My arms felt like they were about to drop off. I went straight into town and had a subway 6 inch sandwich and the largest diet pepsi the world has ever seen!.

Wednesday: Breakfast was cherios, lunch was cold meat and various veg, evening meal was a sandwich, pickles and chese on crackers later on. I also had some peanuts.
I went into the other gym and did the induction there. It took nearly two hours but was not anywhere as bad as the first, as I did not have to do any fitness test. I think I prefer the first gym, but the second one has a pool. I can use either, so no problem there.
I took £200 I have been saving and put it in my wallet. Today is Radio Club day and I was to pick up my new HF radio. It is not actually new, it is second hand, but it is new to me. I have wanted a short wave receiver, a proper one, since I was in college. Now I will finally get one, plus it is also a transmitter. It does all the Ham bands in the HF spectrum, plus it does 50MHz, 144-146 & 433-436MHz as well. It is exactly what I need. I will still need to get tuning units and antennas and find somewhere to put the antennas up, but this is now the core of my hobby. I am happy.
My daughter told me how good the film Battleship was, so I went to see it and she is right. It is good.
Just as I was going into the cinema (huge diet coke in hand) my girly phoned, she has some news for me! Oops, I have to put her off, as the film is about to start. After the film I phone her back and it is that her old company wants to make life hard for her and rather than letting her go nicely, and letting her go to Dubai for a visa change. They are sending her to Philippines. Evil people. We have come up with a solution, I won't say what it is until after it has worked, so I don't jinx it.
I went to the radio club, I got the radio and it is wonderful. I got home at about 2230, I went to bed about 0230, yes, I was playing with it.

Thursday: Went into the gym this morning, and it was packed. So I played with VHF/UHF and CB radio for most of today. I am confirmed for my retinipathy scan tomorrow morning, so I will go to the gym after that. I am baby sitting tonight so it will be a mad dash back from the daughters to get to the hospital on time.

More later...

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Lack of book sales

It has been a weird month. The book sales have been the lowest they have ever been. Odd.
Good news, my super hot girlfriend has pulled off a business deal that is quite impressive. If she keeps this up I will end up looking after the house while she goes to work. Well done Babe.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Creditor - no more....

Today I paid off one of my creditors. It may not have been a very big one, but that is one more off the list. It has made me rather happy.
Yesterday I had a problem with the car. My mum (who has the ginger cat - see "My Mum's Ginger Cat" on Amazon) sent me out to buy some stuff for lunch and the car would not start. We took her car instead and when we got back I tried to get the breakdown for the car. There were a whole load of problems and I was about to cancel my car insurance and use someone else, when the car insurer did something impressive. Instead of hiding behind small print or blaming someone else, they arranged for a local garage to come out and fix the car. Needless to say, I will now be staying with this insurer. I am impressed with their customer service. The company is Ecar. I had heard a few poor reports about them before I bought a policy from them, but still used them as my daughter uses them, she has used them for a few years and had no problems even when she has claimed. As I said, I am impressed, there was no attempt to brush me off (unlike a certain airline I could name), there was a problem, and then there was a solution. Customer Service at its best. I will be writing to them to say well done. It is nice not to moan for a change! I must do this more often.
I was baby sitting for my daughter last night, so after the garage started my car (and told me to buy a new battery after using a frankenstien battery tester on my battery), I drove over to my daughter and watched the babies over night. My other daughter wanted to know why jump starting my car using my mum's car did not work. The verdict of the mechanic? "Your leads are sh*t", at least he was honest!
So, this morning when I got in the car it did not start again and my eldest daughter had to jump start the car from her battery. Her leads are really solid and it started first time.
I took the car to my favorite garage (Yardley) and they put a new battery on and fitted a battery retention clip all for a little over £56. Again, no moan, good service. I always recommend good companies! I like companies that I don't moan about!
I went over to the archeological dig, made plans for the summer and came home.
On my way home I drew out £200 and visited one of creditors and made his final payment. It felt good.
Tomorrow I am off to a radio rally at Foxton in Cambridgeshire, I am not really looking to buy anything, maybe an HF antenna if I can get one for less than £20 - £30, but I just want to see what is on offer really. Plus it is a day out and I have not been to a radio rally since I worked at the BBC!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Car not working

The car died this morning. Now, I have RAC cover on my car insurance, so no worries! However when I call the RAC they have no record of the cover. The RAC is now trying to call the insurance company to confirm.
I am supposed to be baby sitting tonight!

Lunch with the kids

Yesterday I went to Zen Garden with the kids (or two out of three) and it was really nice. I have got to start doing this more often!
I tried to limit my intake, but I did pile on the noodles a bit, slapped hand for that.
I spent most of the remained of the day "playing radios", or indulging in my amateur radio hobby as I call it.
This morning had me rolling out of bed with an awful case of hay fever, tablets are in the car, so I will take them later.
My dad is having to go to the doctor today, he has found a lump on his chest and it not feeling well. He is 83, has leukemia, diabetes, 3 by-passes, a replacement heart valve, he is deaf, has angina, has a pace maker, bionic hip joints and the list goes on. We hope this is nothing new.

Thursday, 12 April 2012


Still a bit stunned by the returned book, if it was either of the others I would not be surprised. Never mind, I knew it would happen sooner or later, but the cat book?
Anyway, yesterday I went over to the dig and I took my total station and other gear, I managed to shoot about 30 points and I will process them up tonight. Why tonight? Why not today?
I am finally seeing my kids today. We have found a time when we can all be together (well, I still won't have one daughter there, but I will see her tomorrow anyway) and we are going to have lunch at the Zen Garden.
So I will be busy into the afternoon. This morning I am off over to have a look at a wall my artist brother michael is building, at Doddington. He is having to put lime mortar in the courses because a builder told the farmer that is it needed. He actually told him he must have concrete in the wall! My god, where do these people get their ideas from? A dry stone wall should have nothing but stone in it! Maybe some clay, if that is how it was originally built. What makes a dry stone wall strong is its ability to settle, as it settles it gets stronger. Put concrete in it and it can not move, so stresses build up and it will collapse. Ask any stone mason (No. Not stone expert. Stone Mason, someone who has studied it for years, has gained proper qualifications and can actually work with stone. Not a builder who "does a bit of stone". A stone mason, they are very different. I have never seen a builder lay stone like a stone mason can. When you ask them to match something, they can't "it's been lost in time" is all you hear! A stone mason will repair a wall and six months later no one will know the wall has been repaired. A builder will leave a patch that matches nothing else) Rant Over.
Anyway, he is doing a wall and I want to see how it is turning out. He has had to put lime grout in the wall because someone who knows nothing about it has told the farmer he needs it. All it has done is made teh wall £200 more expensive. It will have no other effect.
I am off now to see my brothers wall, have lunch with my babies (17 and 20) and then I will process the points.
Catch you later!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

digging in the dirt

OK, I am off to the dig now, my total station has been on charge all night and I have 12 record sheets. I will be sleeping in the car, sorry, correction. I will be trying to sleep in the car!
I am taking the total station three tripods, two prisms, a prism pole and anything else I think of while I am packing my bag.

I can remember, and I a bit pushed for time so I won't check, but did I mention that as well as my PC now having a case of hot flushed (and randomly shutting down), my trusty old HP3420 has finally died. I bought it in 2003 and it has just up and died with no real warning. Nothing lasts these days does it?

So I now have a nice shiny Cannon PIXMA MP250 printer, scanner, copier. It cost £12, from an Argos Outlet store online, I bought some low cost printer cartridges for it, and they are refilled ones. First time out, they leaked and and are now showing as "empty/in need of cleaning". I have bought some new ones from Cannon and I was quite surprised, including postage, they are £8 cheaper than the ones I used to buy for my old HP.

Bad day for my book

I suppose it had to happen, but I never expected it to happen with the cat book, but I have had a return!
Someone has returned a book for a refund. I have been waiting for this to happen since I first uploaded the first book, and if it was going to happen I expected it to happen with the first book, frankly because it was my first and my least well written. But it has happened with the cat book, my mum's ginger cat, and that is a surprise. There are a few spelling mistakes, in the early part of the book I used "which" where I should have used "were" and a few others (thanks for pointing them out, I will fix them).
I am a bit stunned it was on the cat book. Oh well, such is life!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Oh dear god no.

I bought some cheese and onion peanuts today. I should not have done so. I have eaten a few and now all I can taste is bloody cheese! Yuerk.

Web site for radio club

At the last radio club meeting, I offered to write the club web site. I am now putting ideas together and will take them to the next club meeting on the 18th. I am looking forward to doing this as I got quite competant at doing web sites when I was doing mine for the company. Once it is done, I will put a link on it from here.

Food! Food! Food!

OK, sorry. Yes. I have been having cheerios for breakfast (except for this morning), lunch has been a variety of stews, casseroles, and a couple of roasts. Evening meals have been mainly sandwiches (I know, boring). This morning I had a slice of bacon and a lightly fried tomato.
I did miss behave on Easter Sunday, I had 5 Romany Chocolate half coated biscuits and six roses chocolates. I did not have an easter egg, but I did want one.

Busy doing not a lot

Easter Monday I visited the dig at P*d*ng*on and agreed to bring my total station along and take some measurements, I will be loaning it to the guys on the dig via Marc as well. I also offered to lend Marc the old Pathfinder ProXr, I will have to find it first, but it will allow them to map the site in real time, even if to only 25 to 75cm accuracy. If we can find an L1 logging station, or can get our hands on one we can improve that to about 3 to 5cm with post processing. I will see what I can do.
I am planning to spend Wednesday there, so will be taking sleeping bags etc and kipping in the car. I suspect it will not be the best nights sleep, but what the hell? You only live once.
I have saved up £200 for the HF radio, I should really have paid Ken off with this, and I feeling very guilty about that. I have another £100 for Ken, and I will be able to pay him off totally next month. I would have done it this month, but I only got slightly over basic pay this month as I was off the other month when the client did not want a surveyor and then I got the winter vomiting bug! Not a good three weeks!
Anyway, I am paying everyone off now, so I am going to treat myself to a proper HF radio, even if it is a bit cut price. Keith, who is selling it is being a real gent letting me have it for such a low price, and allowing me to pay it off over a period of time. Not many people would do that. Ken is always a gent and that is why I am going to try and pay him off totally next month. He has been really, really good about the debt the company left me with. Some people are just nice people.
I have got a sexy little power supply for £8, it is a bit ugly, it is old, but it has a near perfect spec for the HF radio, it is almost free of noise on the output! A lovely smooth, spike free, noise free power supply, that stays clean even when I load it up with 7amps. I am pleased. I did not think I would get something this nice for such a low amount of money.
Yesterday I was "playing radios", I have been mapping the access to local repeaters from local hill tops. I still have quite a lot of experiments to do, but I am starting to get a decent indication of where I can get into and from where. I hope to be able to produce a map of radio shadow so that I can plot where I should get good radio signals. This is all in preparation to getting the new (second hand) HF radio, as it also has 50Mhz on it, so I can start playing with that, something I have wanted to do since BBC days.
OK. Book.
The 4th book is proving to be a bit long. I have written it a new way. I normaly lay out the book on a single piece of paper, putting the chapters on one side and then bulding the characters and the events on the other side, matching each to a chapter.
I started to do this, but then I got into bullet pointing and this is how the book as grown. This book is a fictionalised record of all the studpid, funny, odd, silly things that have happened to me or people I know on surveys around the world. For it I have invented a job, a company and a whole host of people to populate the book with. I have not used any single person as a direct character, although the temptation was huge! All the people are ficticious. However, all the stories are real. I have changed the location, and some of the ancillary details to protect the inocent. I am still planning to upload it next week, but as I add more and more this may slip back, sorry about that.
My wonderful girlfriend asked me to write her a letter of invitation last week, and the following day the PC decided to crap out on me. I have managed to rebuild it, but it it still not 100%, I now have to have a fan on it just to keep it running! I need a new PC! I have nearly finished the letter and hope to send it to her probably later today. I really do not like being short of money, it is just such a pain!
I am still hoping to be able to fly out and see her,I just don't know when. I need to have at least £1000 available, and I do not have anywhere near that at the moment. Hopefully when (ha ha) I get the council house I will be able to sort out all the little cables of rubbish I have laying around and I can sell this to clear some more debt. I will not get as much as I paid for the lemo connectors, but I have about 20 to 30 of them that are brand new, I should get £5 to £10 each for them, that will be usefull, and I have 20 to 30 cables that I can offload for about £30 to £40 each. Those alone would pay for me to be able to see her, but until I have somewhere I can unpack them and sort them out, I am a bit stuffed.
I am very lucky, I have a good job that does pay a decent wage, it is about half what I used to take home, but it is good enough. But first I have to shift the debt. Once that is done, I will be laughing. On current repayment, I should be debt free in just over a year and a half. But this means living on what is left over until I am debt free. Not nice. But, I see it as a sacrifice worth making. Once I have offloaded the debt the company left me with, I will be free. And I do earn enough to have a decent house, marry Abel and start over again. For that I thank the company that took me on!
OK, got to go, I have to take my mum shopping now!
Catch you later

Friday, 6 April 2012

Back online sorry for the delay

OK, I got back the other day, but I have been a little busy with one or two things and so have neglected the blog. Sorry for that.
OK. TO keep you up to date, first things first. While on the ship my diet consisted of mainly soup, which I had twice a day, other than that I ate one meal a day from a small plate. I switched aprox 50% of my hot drinks over to tea, and increased my water intake a lot.
I flew down from Aberdeen a couple of days ago, it was a flight from hell, I was on a certain budget airline (as with my first book, no names) and instead of arriving in Luton, I ended up in Gatwick, we were left in arrivals with no information for over half an hour and when I went in search of someone from the airline I ended up being threatened with removal from the airport (because I raised my voice), cancellation of my onward transportation (a bus) because I raised my voice, and at one point even arrest! All because the airline in question could not organise someone to come and tell its fare paying passengers that there was a bus waiting for it! Wonderful customer service.
Anyway, not to worry. I don't pay them (and be certain I never will), and I make every attempt not to use them in future. Hopefully they will go out of business once everyone has tried them once. Fingers crossed.
I am home, I have a lovely 2kw test load with power meter from a certain auction site, purchased while on the boat. I drove to King's Lynn to pick it up and visited an Aladins cave of radio kit that left me wanting to buy it all! There is a lovely lady who has lots of wonderful kit and wants very reasonable prices for it. I wish I had the money!!!!
Anyway the load is great and the meter works so I am happy.
I have phoned y girlfriend, I am still waiting for 1 million people to buy "my mum's ginger cat" so I can marry her. Serious! With 7 billion people on the planet is it so hard for 1 million to buy the book I ask you?
I went over and baby sat for my daughter last night, I will be doing the same tonight. Then I will be getting ready to go over and do a few days at the archeological dig at P***ing**N where there is some great remains being looked at.
4th book is in progress, I am on page 76 now, only 392 to go. It is fiction, but all based on real events.
I am hoping to see my other two kids tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Coming ashore

OK, sorry for the break in communications, but I have been out at sea for the last 27 days. I am now heading back into Aberdeen and hope to be on dry land by tomorrow evening.
I don't have a great deal to tell anyone today as not a lot has happened that is not work related and as you know, I never discuss my employer.
I am hoping to be able to pick up my new HF radio when I get home, plus I have bought a high power test load from a bloke in Bury St Edmunds which I will have to drive over to pick up.
I will no doubt have a ton of mail to sort out, but that is normal.
Catch you on dry land...

Friday, 9 March 2012


We are currently sitting off Shetland hide from a storm, we are in the South East and the views are spectacular. We will probably still be here until tomorrow, as the weather is still un suitable for us. The crew made me a cake, and the survey team did me a birthday card which everyone had signed which was nice, and the Inspection Coordinator, Gina, got me a robot key right (with posidrive and blade screw driver, and most importantly, a bottle opener) and a set of puzzles.
26 days and I will be back on dry land.

Happy Birthday to me....

Today is my birthday. The crew bought me a robot key ring and a small box of puzzles, it was really nice of them to do that.
The cook also made me a cake, sadly I can not eat it as I am diabetic, but it was the thought that counts.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Sitting near Lerwick waiting for better weather

OK, today all I have had to eat is soup of various different types. My engineer did not make it to the ship and so the previous engineer has remained on board, which means he is not very happy. Unfortunately I am on days so I am on the top bunk which I really do not like. However, I have made arrangements for alternative sleeping arrangements.
Sold two more books, we are back to the drip and surge sales, I expect quite a few more sales at the weekend, as this is how it seems to work.
We are hiding from a storm at the moment and so we are sitting twiddling our thumbs. The weather is due to drop off in the next few days and then we can head to the job site and start work.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

On the Boat

Well, I am on the boat and this seems to work, so while it does I will add blogs each day.
Last night I had a chicken wrap for tea, this morning I had cheerios and part of the breakfast on the plane coming to Aberdeen. For lunch I have had a soup.
Sorry, but I don't blog about work, so this lot may become a little dull, I warn you in advance out of respect!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012


As I will be offshore from tomorrow morning, I may not be able to get online to fill out this Blog. I will update it when ever I can but it may not be very regular. Sorry if this is the case.
I have totally finished packing my bag, I have put it in the hire car ready for the morning and I am now sorting out stuff for while I am away.
I am a little miffed that I can not find my radio license, as I wanted to take it with me, but hay ho, you can not have everything.
I am going out in the car this afternoon to play radios again, I am going to see just how far I can reach on simplex. Catch you later

Tuesday bag packing

I am off on the ship from tomorrow, it will be in Clipper Quay in Aberdeen from 0800 onwards and will sail probably mid day.
My girlfriend has just a job offer from the Crowne Plaza hotel in Muscat, the offer is not bad, it could be better, but it will allow her to support her kids. As I am now on the housing list (at last) I am now in the queue for a house, I am down in Band D, but at least I am on the list. As soon as I get a house it will be time to start putting money away so that I can afford to do the fiancee visa and get Abel over here. Even on minimum wage she will earn more after tax than she is getting in Oman, and with her abilities it will not be long before she rises in any company.
I am still worried about how well I did on the course last week, I am just hoping and praying that I got the 70% pass mark, it was not an easy course, not for me, it was a very steep learning curve as my knowledge of accoustic positioning was sadly lacking to start with.
I have begun another book, and this one is an easy one to write as it requires very little in the way of research, it is fiction again, not as dark as my "Organs" book, but it covers a lot of the daft stuff that has happened on surveys over the years, no specifics (put away the super injunctions - no names!!!!), just the silly stuff.
Just about finished the packing, I am now waiting for the hire car to arrive so I can be ready. I am planning an afternoon out, probably playing with my radios again.
Last night I had a chicken wrap, I wanted a subway, but could not be bothered to drive out and find one!
I am off to the doctors in a few minutes to pick up my medicines. Catch you later

Monday, 5 March 2012

Monday Morning, I go offshore Wednesday

I am off on my travels again on Wednesday, I will be up at 0500 on Wednesday morning for a drive to Heathrow, then a flight to Aberdeen and a taxi ride to Aberdeen harbour to join the ship, Skandi Olympia. I will be taking my 2m/70cm radio with me as I was informed by my project manager that as long as A) I remain within the law of the country I am in, and B) I follow the instructions of the marine crew, I can take my radios with me and operate from the ship. OK, I know, on 2m & 70cm's that means basically while in port only, but hey, that's fine with me.
I doubt I would be allowed to operate the ship's HF radio, but you never know...
I have been into town to buy all my bits and bobs, but I have to go in again as I forgot a couple! I have the obvious like sea sickness pills, indigestion etc, but no head ache tablets and while I can get them from the ship's chief mate if I need them, it is just easier to take my own.
I started packing the bag this morning, I have put all my PPE into vacuum bags so they take up less space. I want to take my laptop, but it is a bit big, so I am going to take all the data I have on my laptop on memory sticks and continue to write my books offshore when we are not working. I have several new story lines and I still have the story of the love of my life, Abel. But that is a huge undertaking as I have so much to go through. Over 1000 text messages, 1500 emails and go knows how many IM's and Facebook messages. It will be a tome when it is finished, but I think it will work. Abel is going to proof it for me, after all, it is as much about her as about me.
I have decided I am going to start fitting out the shed as my radio shack when I get back, but nothing permanent, as I am now registered for a council house (or social housing as they now call it). This great news.
I took mum shopping this morning and got my peanuts for my snack attacks offshore. Dry roast, I would prefer the normal ones, but I have to watch the fat content. Dry roast are OK, but they do smell like farts when you open the packet. Not the best smell in a small room on a rolling ship...
OK, food.
Last night I had a bowl of soup, home made, onion, carrot. tomato and garlic, with a chicken stock cube and a rasher of bacon. It was nice. I tried to do it without any oil, but I had to add some sunflower oil while I was doing the onions.  It was really nice.
This morning I had an omelette, not my favorite and I still feel a little burpy as a result. I won't do this again. Cereal while on board is the new plan, porridge, museli or one of the bran cereals, not looking forward to it, but it has to be done.
Mum has not got the hang of small portions yet, but I am working on it. She is not sure about this small plate thing, but the bottom line is you can not get a lot of food on a small plate, so it is perfect.
Lunch will be one of her casseroles, she was chopping onions when I last looked. It will probably be with the remainder of the pork roast from yesterday.
I am planning to go out this afternoon, partly because I still need a few things for the offshore bag, but also because it is near the start of my working month and I always take a day off before I start work, so tonight will be either a BMT or BLT at Subways. Yum. It probably should be a BMT, as it is a lower fat content, but no cheese, either way I think it is too much. It is better without the cheese (Am I saying this? Stop me someone!).
OK, got to go, I am doing the outline on one of the next books.
1. I am working on the book about me and Abel meeting.
2. I am working on my dark book about a government that takes ownership of your body at death.
3. I am working on a book about my brothers sculpture - yes, still.
4. I am doing a fiction book on a survey job, not sure about how this one will pan out, but it is one I feel drawn to doing.
Catch you later

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Saturday and Sunday food diary

Yes, I know, I forgot to mention it!
Breakfast yesterday morning, Cheerios, no bannana, ran out.
Lunch I had "gujohns of cod" with a salad and baked potato. I am sorry, I don't know the spelling of these goojons, but they were basically tiny strips of cod (maybe) in a light batter, other than that, I have no idea. They were nice.
Last night I had a cheese and sandwich spread sandwich, an apple and about a quarter of a 100gm pack of cashews.
This morning it was meant to be a porridge, but I settled on some variety of corn based breakfast cereal.
Lunch was roast pork, roast potatos, cabbage, carrots, apple and gravy. No crackling, which was a real shame!

Girl Friend and Baby Sitting

Last night I was baby sitting for my eldest over in Milton Keynes, she went to work at about 2200 and came back at 1100, that was one hell of a long night for her. She is looking for a new job, one where she can work less hours, for three days a week and earn a bit more money. She is putting herself through university, so she can only do three days a week, my son helps out with some of the baby sitting, but he needs time to study, so when I am back I do what I can as well.
I am proud of her and hopes she finds something soon.
My girlfriend has had a bad back for the last few days, she has pain killers but they are not really helping that much. I hope I can raise some money in the not to distant future and get her over here so that she is not wearing herself out in the Middle East. She works really hard and is paid peanuts, for what she does she should be paid three or four times what she gets. Unfortunately while I am mired in debt, I can not help her out.

Books to date

Yesterday I was at the Daventry museum where I went to attend a special event amatuer radio station with the call sign GB5XX which was being put on to coincide with a special early days of short wave broadcasting event being run by the museum. Daventry was the first proper short wave broadcast station and I used to workt there.
While I was there I met some old collegues which was really nice, these included Trevor Gandine, Iain McGregor, Phil Richmond, Dave Adams, Dave Dymott and Mike Littlewood. Sorry if I have spelt anyones name wrong, but I am dislexic (if that is how you spell it!). Also sorry if I have missed anyone out, put your name in a comment if I have missed you!
It was great to see all the old kit again, even if I did initially mis identify some of it! It was 20 years ago.
I really enjoyed myself, I also got round to giving the kind man who is offering me some brilliant radio kit a down payment. I am sure he would prefer if I gave him all the money at once, but as regular readers will note, I am somewhat broke at the moment. But, I am paying off my debts and they will be all gone in a couple of years.
I have had a total of 780 books dowloaded so far. I am happy.

Friday, 2 March 2012


OK, I have finished the course and I really do know more about the operation of USBL systems, and calibration in particular. I will have to wait a few days to find out if I passed the exam, so fingers crossed.
Breakfast on wednesday was cheerios with a banana, lunch was a BLT sandwich at sub way and evening meal was a bacon sandwich on EasyJet with a diet coke. No peanuts, I forgot them.
Thursday breakfast was a variety of instant porridge that had been left by someone in the crew house. It was dire, awful. I will have proper porridge next time! Lunch was sandwiches from Fugro. Evening meal was spicy chicken noodles with my classmates.
Today, Friday, I had bran flakes, well I was not having the dust in a box again! It was actually better than the instant porridge, but you know what, I think I missed the point with the porridge, I think it is meant to taste like porridge for an instant, and I just missed the instant when it did!
Lunch was fugro sandwiches again, and a diet Irn Brew, odd drink, OK, but odd.
Tonight I am going to have a wrap before I fly.
Tomorrow I will be at Daventry Museum for the amateur radio thing, come along, you may find it interesting.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

My Mum's Ginger Cat

OK! USA sales so far (day 2) 128 copies, UK 62 copies. Brilliant, just brilliant. Happy, very, very happy.

Off grid for a few days

I will be in Aberdeen until Friday night, so it is unlilkey I will be able to blog until Saturday
Breakfast, cheerios, banana, skimmed milk (yeurk, more like white water)
Catch you later.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012


OK today I have been messing around with radios again, but I also had my gastric band appointment. It is going well, I am down a belt size and I managed to get my old short combat trousers on again, which was nice. Still got a gut at the front, but it is all heading in the right direction.
FOOD! Lunch was a sub way sandwich, BMT on honey oat bread, no cheese and all the veg except green peppers and cucumber. Wshed down with a diet pepsi and then it was off for a walk to try out the repeater in Northampton from the hand held with the little stubby antenna. Not good. The antenna on the car makes this little chinese radio sing, but the antenna they supplied is really the pits. No good, really not good. I am considering getting an antenna for the house, it would make life a lot easier, and I have permission to put one up, so...... Sadly limited by cash issues still. I still want to get that HF set from Keith, and if at all possible there is a lovely old HF all band receiver for £120 sitting over Northampton way that I have my eyes on also. One thing at a time!
Going to try and get hold of the girly on facebook chat, she is off today so we can have a natter. She was chatting to her little girl this morning, which is sweet, so I did not want to interupt.
Took mum shopping, got some more peanuts and cashews, sorted.

Sunday Night

Last night I had a cheese and onion sandwich with salad cream - Yummy.
This morning I had italian plum tomato on toast with a mushroom that I cooked in the tomato juice and then added balsamic vinegar to finish the lot off. Yummy.
I have no idea what lunch it yet.
Today I going for another Gastric Band appointment, I will let you know all about it.
The cat book is done, it is uploaded and it is priced at $4.50. I don't know why, but my books are now being priced in dollars and converted to pounds. Not that bothered, as long as people buy them, that is all that matters. Current UK price, just checked £3.09. However, from tomorrow that book will be free for two days, a promotion to get it moving.
And yes, before you ask, I have started on the next book, in fact I am in the process of writting 3 books, and I am consulting someone on a book they are writting. I did consider writting it for them, but it is about a time in their life when they were under the thumb of "The Man" and I felt it would be best coming from them. However, I do intend to meddle, or "give advice" as I call it. The only worry I have is that her true story may actually end up being more complelling that the pap I write. Oh well, at least I am having fun with it all. I will let you know how her book is coming along, no details or quotes, just enough about it to make you want to buy it when it is finished. She is the wife of one of my brothers friends and is originally from the Middle East, but holds a US passport. As you can imagine, those two statements are bound to lead to something. Anyway, I am not going to spoil her story, you will have to buy it!
Took mother shopping again this morning. I do have such an interesting life!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Sunday to Monday

OK first things first, food diary!
Sunday breakfast was bread and butter as I did not get home very early as I was baby sitting for my daughter, lunch was a pork roast with mash, cabbage, gravy and apple, sadly I was not allowed any crackling (life is just SO unfair!), and last night I had a chese and tomato sandwich which I ate in my car while I experiemented on my radio up near doddington. I have now mapped out all the local repeaters that I have found and confirmed which I can access etc. I have written down how I want to program it up and sadly left that over at my daughers! I will go and get it tomorrow. Silly boy.
This morning I had a bacon and tomato sandwich for breakfast, with a touch of mustard and a splash of tomato sauce replacing the butter. I see it as swings and roundabouts.
I have found a way to down load all the text messages from my phone, so I will be copying them all later today for use in a forthcoming book about me & my lady. We meet 2 days before my birthday in 2004 and have been dating ever since. Sadly neither of us have the text messages from the start of our relationship, me because my phone was very cheap and only retained the last 20 messages, but she wrote them all down in a journel, which sadly was stolen when she was working at the Al Suwadi Hotel in Oman.
However, I have everything from 2007 onwards, sad OCD person that I am. I have been copying them by hand, but I now know how to copy them automatically, so that is the way forward. I am also digging through all my emails so that we have as complete a record of those as well. The finaly section will be on facebook messages. If nothing else it will give us a record of our courtship, but it may also be interesting to affection starved females the world over. Move over MIlls & Boon, here comes the hotest love affair since one woman gave a man an apple from a serpent infested tree!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Amatuer radio

I have spent most of today on a combination of 2m (145Mhz) or 70cm (433/434Mhz) today and I have loved it. I just wish I had the money to set up a proper amateur radio shack. Maybe someday.
I have had a blast, it has been great fun.
I am off over to baby sit for my daughter again tonight, it is my last night. Tomorrow I am going to a ham radio thing at Irchester Country Park, I just hope I can get there before they finish!

Food Diary stuff again

Last night I had a spam sandwich for tea, this morning I had a slice of bread and butter. I had a bottle of J2O last night, which is cheating, but sod it, I was thirsty.
Tomorrow I will be going to Irchester Country Park to observe a RayNet event, I am considering joining, but my work rotation, 28 days on, 28 days off may get in the way. I will however spend much of the day walking round the park, even after the event it over.
I am up in Aberdeen next week, I leave on Wednesday evening and I will be back early Saturday morning. I am baby sitting on the Saturday night, and then on Sunday I will be over at the Daventry Mueseum for the Northampton Radio Club event celibrating the early years of HF Broadcasting, where hopefully I will get to operate on 10m (28MHz) for a bit.
Come along and see what it is like to be a radio amatuer.
While I am in Aberdeen I am going to ask my company if I would be allowed to take a radio system on the ship with me. Then I will operate as G1GCB/MM for marine mobile, which is a rare call sign, due to the MM bit. I expect to work a lot of people if I am allowed to do it. But, I have to first get permission from my company, then from the marine company that runs the boat, and then from the Master. Fingers crossed.


Last night I was baby sitting for my eldest daughter over in Milton Keynes, I arrived a little late as I was getting petrol on the way (which is £1.369 a ltr!). She got ready and went to work just before 10pm. The kids were already in bed and so I settled down to an evening of watching TV and playing with my chinese dual band amatuer radio which I bought on ebay for £25. I am very pleased with it, it is extreamely basic, but it was only £25 and it does work on 2m and 70cm. It will also tune to the PMR license free channels up at 446Mhz or is it 466Mhz, anyway it sits up their and listens quite happily, and I even had a brief chat with someone and they reported a good solid signal. So I should actually proably be a bit impressed really.
This morning, on the drive back from Milton Keynes, I just listened. I have been away from the hobby for a while and I want to get back into it without looking like a complete berk. Listen and learn.
I overheard 2 guys talking about an event I am hoping to go to on Sunday (tomorrow), but my daughter will be working until 10am tomorrow, and that is when the event starts - so I am going to be a bit late. Never mind, can't be helped.
Today I have written a bit more on the cat, in reality I could publish it, but I want to tidy it up a bit more. I am really happy with it, dependant on how big you have the text, it will be about 80 to 100 pages, by far the longest book I have written.
I will be bunking off writting duties this after noon, I will be helping my brother melt and pour lead on his sculpture. We are writting a book about this as well. But it will mainly be photographs with some explanatory text. The meaning of the piece will be written in the back of the book, and while it is not that easy to do, it should be good.
I am still planning on 10 books this year and I have outlines written for 8 of them.
Catch you later...

Friday, 24 February 2012

Other Books etc

I am not going to write the book for the American lady, but I am going to help her write it herself. I think it would be wrong for me to write it, but I do plan to help her as much as I can, I am going to take away all the uploading and publishing so she can just concentrate on writing it.
While her politics are not aligned with mine, I do think she has a story to tell, and while I may not agree with all the things that she does, I absolutely think she should be able to tell her story. A bit of the spirit of Descartes coming out in me maybe.
Or is it just that I can see she has been messed about and I recognise that from my own life. Anyway, I will be meeting her and her husband on Sunday and will tell them everything I have learned from self publishing and explain how she can set up an account and get her book published. I will show her how to format it and convert it etc, but it will be her name on the book, as she will have written it herself. I may ask her permission to write a dramatised version as I have some really good ideas about it. But I will not do this until she has done hers.

I am still battling through getting the book done that describes how I met my lady, I decided to do it by publishing the text messages and emails we sent each other. But wow. I have over 1000 text messages to sort through, and I have not started with the emails, or the facebook messages we sent each other. This will be the biggest book I will have written to date! I am having to transcribe each text message from my phone by hand, and it is taking for ever! But, when it is done, it will be a real chick-book. I can not believe some of the soppy stuff we have said to each other, all I can say is, I must really, really love this woman deep down. It is real soul mate stuff. But that will have to wait as it is a long way off!

Now, I have had an idea for a bit of a grisley book and I have started the research on it and wow, if I thought the "Bin Laden Lives" was a hard book to research, this one is a doozy! I am looking for information on transplant surgery, if anyone knows of a book or article that takes about how a transplant recipient felt during the wait for an organ, and how they felt phyically and emotionally afterwards, please send me the details of where I can find it, as I need it for the research. I have already read loads on transplant waiting lists, statistics and descriptions of operations and post operative care, I now need to know how someone actually handles it, on a personal level. Any assistance is recieved with great thanks, and you may even get a mention as a research source on the acknowledgement page.

food diary, yes boring I know

OK, breakfast was a cheat. I had two hash browns, a fried egg (or an egg poached in oil if your prefer) in a bread roll, and a cup of coffee from a road side food vendor. It was nice. naughty, but nice.
Lunch was two pork sausages, some potato, some sauted (Some send me the spelling) onions and gravy. I also cheated and had a small choc ice this after noon (I Know, stupid) and this evening I had a sandwich, spam. No butter. Yeurk. Next time I will use butter. i again had 100g of nuts, this time mixed nuts, and a few raisens (spelling), but not many.

Ham Radio and other matters

Last night I was baby sitting for my eldest, and tonight I will be doing the same. She works 3 nights a week to help her to pay for her University course, she is taking law. She has two lovely little boys from a relationship that ended up a bit of a disaster, but the kids are great.
For instance, they got up at 5;30 this morning and crept down stairs to play on the computer. My daughter is currently sorting her house out (and boy it needs some sorting out!) so the door on the bed room I was sleeping in is not actually connected to the frame the door should hang in, so while they were very careful to make no noise, the also turned on every light on the way, which woke me up.
I did check on them and then get another 30 minutes before the first mini fight broke out, but that is what kids do!
They are no real problem, in fact they are two little angels who almost look after themselves. All I had to do today was convence them to put some clothes on, which did not work out quite as well as I had hoped, as little one ended up walking around fully dress up top, and naked as the day he was born down below, but we eventually got there.
I did make them a breakfast they absolutely demanded, made from cerealac. It looked like cheese sauce and I did not taste it, but they lapped it up real fast!
Obviously you have to like that sort of thing...
I set up my radio to work on 70cm's, and programed all the local repeater set up's into the memory last night. I made a couple of abortive calls, then realised I had the CTCSS tone set up wrong and after I got that right, a new world opened up before me. I can now use the amatuer repeater network!
Today I set it up on 2m as well, and managed to work quite a few stations through a couple of repeaters. Sweet.
My ex is causing problems. We had an arrangement where I would pay her an agreed amount while I am debt ridden (after the failure of my business - see my book on Amazon "Down but not out" for some of the details). The Child Support Agency decided to check my salary etc and contacted me to get my last 5 pay slips, I said they could get them from my new employer and they went and calculated what I "should" be paying and sent 4 letters to my ex explaining this. Now she is pursueing me for the full amount, and arrears. Despite previously agreeing that I could pay a lower amount until I am out of debt. Amazing.
Thank you CSA, another triumph for our beloved Coalition Government. I don't think.
Any way, not your problem.
Today I am writting the finishing bits to the cat book. Yes, that is right, it is actually  just about finished. I have had all but the last two chapters proof read, I am now just tidying up the final chapters. I will try and get these done, get them proof read and send them off for publishing early next week. So, if all goes well (nice saying, oft used by NASA!), the book should be on sale by mid week, possibly end of next week.
I am going to work out how many pages it is in 12 point Arial text on an e-reader, and price it based on the number of pages in comparison to Bin Laden Lives. If any one has a suggested price, send it in now.
Oh, I am looking into print on demand as an option for the cat book, as it is longer than my first two offerings and several people have said that they would prefer a paper book. Comments please...

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Books and matters arising

I have just checked my book sales & I have sold one book in the last 72 hours. This is the weird thing, it goes in spurts. I sold 6 books in the first week after I published my first book, then 4 the following week. The third week about 30 were downloaded, and then in the 4th and 5th weeks it went mad.
Between the two books I have on offer on Amazon, I have now moved over 300 copies (not quite the new york best seller). Now, I am happy with this, it is more than I expected and I thank everyone who bought one for doing so, but it is really weird how it happens in pusles. Most sales happen on a friday, and I suppose there is no surprise in that, but the grouping is what gets me.
On the cat book, which I am days away from finishing, I am going to make use of the downloadable spreadsheet the Amazon let you use, and I am going to see what pattern emerges. I will put the results on here.
Now, Food diary (note I got the spelling right today - so no need to email!) last night I had a cheese sandwich, with a little sandwich spread. I also had 150g of peanuts in the evening.
This morning, I had sugar free pancakes - no I don't recommend them. I had two, 4 inches across. I know they were 4 inches, as my very expensive non stick cast iron pan is 4 inches across. Yes, I did flip them and they did fall back in the pan, but one of them had a crease down the middle.
I am baby sitting for my daughter tonight, tomorrow and Saturday.
Today I will be doing some online training (for my work) and then I will be getting into the cat book. I have still got to finish the last chapter.
bye for now.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012


My worst weight was 135kg (yeah!) but my starting weight for the hypno treatment was 118Kg. So, really this is the start weight I should be using, not the 113.5kg I measured yesterday. Some may say that 118 to 113.5kg is not a bad start, but at my last diabetic medical, I was 109kg. Christmas got in the way.
I am working on it.
I will post my weight monthly, feel free to congratulate when it falls and heckle when it does not.

Correction Correction Correction

OK, thank you, Yes. Stop with the emails now. Yes, you are right,  I did not work on any transmitters at BBC Daventry called SWB19, I actually worked on Marconi SWB18 which where commissioned in 1937 and taken out of service in 1986 to be replaced with Marconi 300kw self tuning 4Mhz to 21Mhz beasts. They were also known by one of our Transmitter Engineers as HOC Transmitters for Heap of CR@P, thank you for that memory Roger.
So, Thank you all for the correction, it was a typo, which you should all be used to by now.

Gastric Band

OK, yesterday, weighed myself. 113.5kg - adjusted, I took of 1kg for clothing. I have started on the Gastric Band treatment, I have three more sessions to take. I now have to keep a food diary and so where better to do it than here. I still keep a chocy bar in the car, and a fruit and fibre bar, so if anyone sees them they are there because I am a diabetic, they are not snaking items.
This morning I had poached egg on toast and a slice of toast covered in Marmite. For lunch I am having sweet and sour pork (thanks mum, nice move!), it is home made and was prepared yesterday. I have had a couple of cups of coffee and a sugar free soft drink, which I had in the car when I was over at the gym getting brochures.
The book sales have slowed down to a dribble again, but that is to be expected. I have almost finished the cat book and I am now doing my OCD thing going over the chapters. After the mistake I made with the first book, I am being a bit more carefull these days. I have re uploaded "Down but not out" with the original script that was meant to be uploaded in the first place. I am thinking about doing a rewrite, but then why, yes it has mistakes, but that is how the book is. So, I will look at it after I have uploaded the cat book. If anyone thinks stongly enough about it, comment me.
I have returned the accoustic and electric guitar again, and they are now back in tune. I have a little Roland Micro Cube practise amp and that is brilliant, I love all the effects. I am hoping to be able to go on a camping trip in a couple of months and I will take the amp and a set of batteries and see what it is like on full tilt. I hope my fellow campers don't brain me!

CB Radio and issues arising

OK, I now have the CB not only wired in, not only fitted with an antenna, but also fitted into the dash board like a nornal radio would be. I have also prepared another slot for the radio I am going to buy from the guy at the radio club. I will then have all the radio channels I want. I have also ran a cable for the hand held 2m/70cm set I bought for £25 on ebay. It is not great, but it works and beggars can not be choosers.
I saw some art work from an old school buddy this morning and was stunned. I knew he had done some good work, but the detail and posing of the characters was excellent. I am surprised he is not illustrating for some publisher. Look him up, Andy Grundon. I was impressed. While you are at it, look up a really cool potter who also does some impressive stuff, Douglas Fitch, he has a web site. Even better, buy something from them both.

Monday, 20 February 2012


My brother had me over again yesterday to help with his sculpture. It is a piece that comments on the banks. Essentially it is a granite slab at the bottom, then a stack of stones (actually taken from a now defuct bank building - nice touch!). It is all held together by a central steel threaded bar with a piece of what looks like natural stone on the top. The stone used is of various types and much of it is close to crumbling. He has melted lead and poured it into various cavities and cracks, and it has the effect of melted wax running down a candle.
It is very well executed and has a strong political statement behind it. If anyone wants to exhibit it, he is open to offers. It would need to be exhibited in a secure location, as in addition to its value as a piece of art, it actually has a substantial scrap value as well. If you want to buy it, get in touch now...

Book Review

Well, it had to happen, I have had my first book review on Amazon. It was a very good review from my view point, for although they only gave me a 3 out of 5 rating, the review was positive, which was really nice.
They also did not mention the spelling or grammar mistakes, which was even nicer!
So, if anyone else wishes to leave a review, please do so, all comments will be reviewed positiviely, even if they are negative - if you see what I mean.
I have started using my new radio, it cost £25 on ebay so it is not going to break any records. I made a call while I was in Northampton and got a signal check, and I had a brief conversation with someone in Milton Keynes. G1GCB is back on the air!
The radio club I belong too is putting up a special event call sign on the 3rd of March and running a live radio shack at the Daventry Museum. The theme is the early days of short wave broadcasting.
I will be going along, as some of the kit in the museum was still in use when I was working at the BBC. Particularly the old 1937 SWB19 transmitters, which were finally decommissioned in 1986.
Come along if you are interested.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Baby sitting and radios

Finally got the CB radio working in the car, gave up trying to wire it in, could not find where to attached the wires too, so I have fitted a small 10AH 12V lead acid maintenance free battery under the passenger seat & I will use this to power all the radio. I have to charge it periodically, but that's fine.
When the summer is here, I will look at running a supply in from the fuse box, for now, I will use the battery. Sorted.
I am babysitting tonight for my grandkids, my daughter has a job working nights and I will be watching the little angels for her tonight.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Oscilloscope, hot lead, books

I visited the local amateur radio club last night, the Northampton Radio Club at Northampton and have been offered a really nice radio that does almost everything I want a radio to do. It is £350 and right now I do not have £350, but I spoke to the man who owns it and he will wait until I do, so that is great.
I also got a lovely 20mhz 4 input oscilloscope, it is really nice, a few little problems, but nothing that would put me off. I am really quite pleased with it.
My brother was working on his sculpture today, he is adding melted lead to it, like you get on a dribbled candle. It looks really good. He is going to do me a cover for another of my books, no the one about the cats (will be uploaded in about a week), but the next one. This one has a working title, Organs in A Flat. It is about a time when you do not own your own body and when you die your body is kept on life support as the organs are taken out and used. It also has a nasty little twist where criminals can have their sentenced reduced if they donate organs. It is a bit dark, but I think people will like it.
I am now over the 300 download point, the books are moving and that is making me very happy. I am not heading for a best seller list, but I am really pleased with how they have been accepted. The one about my debt problems is still the best seller. Amazing.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Courses and baby sitting

I have just confirmed my LBL course, a course on position things under water using sound waves, will be on the 1st and 2nd of March. This is good.
I am about to tell my daughter I can baby sit tomorrow and through until saturday. She will be happy.

books sold as of this morrning

Wow. In the US, 73 copies of Bin laden lives
IN Germany, 1 copy of bin laden lives
In Italy, 1 copy of bin laden lives
IN the UK 15 copies of Bin laden lives.
Total Bin laden lives, 90 copies of BIn laden lives world wide.
In the US 98 copies of down but not out
In UK 57 copies of down but not out,
Total down but not out, 155. Add the first 10 from January, and that is 165 copies since date of publication.
A total of 255 of all my books!
Thank you world!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Dentist, Hypnotherapist, books

OK, It took me 4 and half years to get on an NHS dentist list, and when my appointment came round, he fell over and dislocated his ankle! So, I wait again...
I missed my hypnotherapist appointment because I got the time wrong, what an idiot.
I went to the post office (spar) to buy my dad a pasty, when I got home I found a non delivery ticket on the table, so had to walk all the back again.
But, I have had 78 Bin Laden Lives and 86 down but not out's downloaded in the US, 38 down but not outs and 22 Bin Laden LIves in the UK, 1 bin laden lives in Germany and 1 down but not out in Italy, this week. Add that to the 10 down but not outs I sold last month and I am not doing to bad at this authoring!
I am pleased.

Monday, 13 February 2012

CB Radio for car and book downloads

OK. I bought a CB radio a while ago and I want it fitting to my car. Yes, I know I told you I have a Ham ticket, and I do, but sometimes I want to play the wally and that is best done on CB.
I went and saw a garage about fitting a power lead and I have been quoted £97 + VAT. I bit much to fit a power lead! I will sort something out myself.
I have just checked Amazon and between the UK, the US and Italy I have had 194 copies of  my books downloaded.
Not bad!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Latest Book

OK, I am now on the finaly chapter of the third book. I am have arrived at the new cat and that was the whole point of the book. I should have it finished, proof read (yes I know the three mistakes left in Bin Laden Lives, I know then off by heart) and published.
At least bin laden lives had only a fraction of the mistakes that down but not out had.

Girl Friends Birtday

I called the girly on Skype today. It was nice to hear her voice again.
I just wish I could afford to marry her. Things are getting better on the financial front, but it is taking a long time. Fingers crossed she keeps patient long enough for me to get solvent and marry her.
Wish me luck...

Bit of a shock, but happy

I have had a bit of a shock. I decided to use the free promotion offer on Amazon to promote two of my books, so I put them on free download from the 12th to the 16th of February. I expected a little bit of interest, but I have been shocked by what I have got!
both in the US and the UK my book is being downloaded a lot.
OK, 1st in Italy, for Bin Laden LIves, but for the UK and USA it is more.
In the US there have been 35 downloads of Bin Laden Lives and 37 of Down but not out.
In the UK there have been 8 downloads of Bin Laden LIves and 18 Down but not out, and this is all today! Since 0900 thing morning.
I am really very happy.

Very Happy Author!

I have just checked Amazon and I have sold a total of 56 books! I am over the moon!
Very happy

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Free Promotion on Amazon

My books are both available for free download over valentines day.

chilly morning

Woke up this morning and found that it was -13 over night. Yes, that is right, 13 degrees below freezing. I was quite impressed.
I also checked and there are no new book sales, which is a little surprising. Anyway, not to worry.
I added several pages to the latest book yesterday and it is progressing nicely, and is still on target to be released this month.
I have also found a flat in Wellingborough that is within my price range and is not to horrible to consider. I have asked the estate agent to arrange a viewing. Fingers crossed. It is actually for less money than I would pay for a council house, sorry, got to be PC, Social Housing.
I got my radio amateur license, and I also got my old call sign back, which is nice! I have the chinese £25 dual band radio and I am now programming all the simplex VHF and UHF channels into it, and trying to get the repeater splits set up. I have been offered an HF radio for £350, but this is a bit more than I can actually afford, so I am going to offer the guy £100 a month until I have paid for it. If he goes for it, great. If not, C'est la vie.
I was horrified reading the paper this morning. The British Government is planning to send body armour, laptops and satellite phones to Syria! Why? It is nothing to do with us. The Arab League is already sorting it out. Why are we getting involved? Look at what is happening after we got involved in Lybia, missles removed from their army are now turning up in Afghanistan. Why do our dumb politicians think they know best?  I wish they would stay out of it and let the local governments sort it out themselves. We never get any thanks for it, all we get is more grief.
We have lost bus services, library services and we are cutting our defence, but we can send money abroard at the drop of a hat. We should only be giving money for humanitarian aid, not paying billions out to three nuclear powers!
Anyway, rant over...

Friday, 10 February 2012

Been offshore

OK, I was offshore for a week. I am back now. I was a bit seasick for one day, but otherwise I was fine.
I have sold no more books, not one. I am a little surprised that the second book has not sold, it is way better than the first.
I have managed to get about half way through the third book, I am quite pleased with it, it is shaping up nicely. I am going to print it out and let my mum add bits to it, as it is about her cat after all. It has been a lot easier to write than I expect it to be, and that feels nice. I am definitely getting the hang of putting thoughts down on paper. My only problem is, my PC is a load of junk as I need to keep a fan on it to keep it running. I have found a little laptop that would be perfect and I am now waiting until I can afford it. It is £189 and it is near perfect.
The company have offered to buy me a laptop and to take the payments out of my salary, under normal circumstances, I would jump at this, but with my finances as they are, I am a bit reticent.
In fact, I am going to have to let the Girlfriend know that I do not think I can afford to go to philippines with her, as I am not going to get paid as much as I should have this month as I only did 7 days offshore, not the usual 28. Oops. She will not be happy.
I hate letting her down, but what can I do?
Anyway, I will try and call her using skype tomorrow. Best to tell her than send an email. It is doubly awful as I have not seen her for so long and miss her so much.
She is perfect for me, and I am just not able to get my life sorted out to take advantage of her being there for me. It is not good.
I am hoping that this year I will be able to shift a few paintings, sell a lot more books, off load all those cables of other items from the company and get myself out of debt.
Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Going offshore tomorrow

Not sure if I will be able to update this while I am offshore, so if you do not see anything for a while, don't worry.
I have now received a CB radio I bought from Ebay, it cost me £26, I will be fitting it in the car. It was a hobby I used to enjoy and one I will enjoy again.
I have also re applied for my ham radio licence, I applied about  a week ago and hope to have the license for when I get back in two weeks. I am keeping my fingers crossed they give me my old call sign, but I am not holding my breath.
To this end, I have also bought a 2m/70cm hand held from ebay, for £32, and although it is cheap as chips, I have high hopes of this puppy!
There is also a heap of other odds and sods I have bought as well, SWR meters, wave meters, log books, a hand book on the current license conditions etc etc. I am going to get back in to this hobby as well
The third book is progresing well, I am a quarter through it, I was a lot further through it, but I did some editing. If you ever want to write a book, just do it, it is so much fun! My first book was awful, my second book a little better, my third book is not bad at all. I have learnt so much, to be honest, I have learnt stuff I did not know that I did not know! By my 10th book, I should be quite good at it!
The car was a bugger to start this morning, I took it over to the garage to get a quote for a service. £250 for the service, not bad. £382 for a new cam belt. It was done 2 years ago, but I will get it done sometime this year as it has been recomended due to the mileage.
There is now all the paint I need to restart my oil painting piled up in my bed room, so now I am just looking for somewhere to do the actual painting. My ducks are in a row, I just need to start shooting them,
Tomorrow I go back to the ship, I will be on board until the 7th, then I have a HSE training course to attend, which will take 4 days, then a Personal Professional Development Assessment with one of the Directors (should be a good chance to get on some more courses), then I have my dental and hypnotist appointments. Busy 2 weeks ahead.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Book Sales

The book sales are stuck on 10. I have managed to move ten copies of "Down but not out", which is frankly surprising, but non of the more commercially targetted book, "Bin Laden Lives". I would have expected it to be the other way round.
I am on page 25 of the new book, "My Mum's Ginger Cat" and to be honest, it is great, I am having fun with it. I have written articles for magazines, and for shows and exhibitions, but I have never sat down and seriously tried to right a proper book before. I am enjoying myself.
I have decided to set up a web site to advertise the books, and also so I can flog a few paintings. I have not sold a single painting in nearly 10 years, but that may be because I have only painted 7 in that same period! I have bought some canvases, bought a pile of paints, some new brushes and have dug out two of my easels, as from the spring, I will be paiting again.
Actually, I said this last year, and painted about half a canvas. This year, I am going to do something about it. I am now looking for somewhere I can paint... That will be the main task!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Not been well

Sorry no blogs for a while. I was not well. I have had a stomache virus that saw me chucking up really badly on Thursday and being very run down up until yesterday afternoon.
I am now feeling a lot better and I am trying to get back on my boat. Unfortunately it has sailed.
I was due to board the ship on Thursday night at Mid Night (originally it had been 0900 Friday morning, but it was brought forward to Thursday), but it sailed without me.
I have been told that I may need a letter from my Doctor confirming I am OK before I can board. We will wait and see.
The third book is progressing, obviously I had a few days off, but I did some more work on it yesterday and it is now about 23 kindle pages long. It needs a lot more work....

Monday, 23 January 2012

Son's 17th Birthday

I went over to my ex wifes house last night to attend my son's birthday party. It was OK, I took a card and a small present, a pull up bar that fits in a doorway, which is what he asked for.
We watched the mask, did some kareoke, ate some food, had a few laughs and basically it was a good night.
He is brilliant, he has really grown up into a nice kid.
When I finally do get a house, it will be a pleasure having him over to stay.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Baby sitting and books

Last night I baby sat for my eldest's two kiddies, it was OK.
Today I went over to my brothers and picked up the art work for the second book, and tonight, I uploaded book 2 to the internet. I now have 2 books published.

The front cover of the book is brilliant!

Friday, 20 January 2012

New Book on Bin Laden

Disaster, Disaster, Disaster.
Just as I was about to upload the new book, I realised that the cover illustration was not ready. I am having a painting done by my Brother Michael of a scene from the book which will form the front cover of the book.
If nothing else, it will allow him to put in his CV that his art has been used as a book cover.
The new book is a bit short, but I am happy with the overall story, I don't really want to mess with it as it works right now.
The painting should be ready tomorrow, I will photograph it and then upload the book.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Second Book

The second book has been finished. I have just printed it out and am now taking it round for proof reading. Hopefully it will be OK and then I hope to have it uploaded shortly after the weekend.
I am very pleased with it, it is still short, but I thought I would leave it as it stands rather than try and pad it out.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Book sales

Checked this morning and no more sold, total still at 8. Which is 8 more than I expected to sell!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Book sales and new book

Well, it is Tuesday, so I must have sold another book! Yes, that is right, I have now sold a total of 8 copies of my first book on Amazon.

I must admit I am really very proud of this, 8 people have found the free sample on amazon interesting enough to part with some cash. That is brilliant.
I had a friend re proof read the original and he found a few mistakes that had been missed. A few, OK, quite a few. So I am re writting it as a second edition. This will of course take a back seat to the finishing of the second book, which I am on the final straight to complete. I am suffering from "magic editiing sword syndrome" at the moment. I have cut pages out that I suddenly did not like. It will now be a short story, so I am looking at charging about £2.50 a copy for this one.
I will, of course, put a free sample on the amazon web site again, and I think that anyone who reads the sample will buy the book. While it is not long, it does offer an alternative outcome to a well known story.
I am off to write a new page. I have promised my mother I will add a page a day in the closing days of the final edit of the book.

A follower

I have just had a look at my blog from your point of view and have discovered I have a follower! That was a surprise. Thank you kind sir for taking the time to read my waffly prose.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Sales of Book

Total number of books sold, 7.
That is really good, I did not really expect the book to sell as it was just a test. But I am pleased it has.
I just need another 208 to buy the book and I will get my first royalty cheque!

Car - Seats are dry

I have been spending the last couple of days trying to get the seats dry from the steam cleaning they had on thursday. Most mornings the car has been frozen on the inside and the windows covered in ice. This morning was slightly better. I have been leaving the windows open while I drive, but I have also been leaving sheets of newspaper on the seats to try and draw the water out of the seats, and it is working.
Today the seats are almost dry.
I have also started to clean the vinyl in the car, it is very dirty, but it is getting cleaner!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

HSE Forum and car

I was not blogging over the last couple of days as I was in Aberdeen on a HSE Forum, which I found quite interesting.
However, this is about my life and not my job, so the car!
I arrived back at the train station from my flight (Aberdeen to Luton) and the temp according to the sensor in the car was -3.5 degrees C.
As I mentioned in my previous post, the car back seat, front passenger seat, and to a lesser extent, the drivers seat had all just been steam cleaned. Meaning, they were all still wet. This had caused major condensation on all the windows, which in turn meant that the windows were frozen outside and in.
It took ages for the screens to all clear.
I got the car home and this morning I went over all the oxidised paintwork with T cut and then gave it a polish and the car looks really good.
There are still lots of scratches, but I am going to get some compound and polish them early next week, if my eldest can find a replacement rear window wiper arm and a cover for the drivers door mirror, the car will be back in really good condition in the very near future.

You can find my book on Amazon, search "down but not out" by stuart raisey-skeats. It is in the Kindle section....

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Car - Steam Cleaned

Well, today I had the inside of the car steam cleaned, it is now gleaming. I will sort out the rest when I get back from Aberdeen.
It was really nice of my daughter Abbey to have given me this car.
Really nice!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The Car! The Book!

Today I had arranged for my elder daughter to come over from Milton Keynes to Bozeat to pick me up and take me to Nothampton so we can register the car in my name and tax it. The paper work on the car was in a bit of a mess.
So we set off, with the insurance document I have for the car and arrive at Northampton DVLA.
While I am filling out the D62 (I think that is the right one) my eldest noticed that I had the wrong registration number for the car.
So, we had to high tail it up to her university so I could go on line to the car insurance people and change the details. Amazingly enough, the web site was so easy to use that I was able to change the details and get a cover note printed out in under about 30 minutes!
We then went down and paid for a new V5C form and paid the tax, which I was shocked to find was £104 for 6 months. It is not only the cows that are being milked.
So, we set off for Milton Keynes to collect the car.
The car had not been driven for a while, and I can only assume that it must have got a bit damp, as when I opened the car it smelt of damp and mold. In fact the passenger seat and rear passenger seat where both covered in mold!
Also, not surprisingly, the battery was a flat, as the car has not been used.
We jump started the car and I drove it home. I will have to replace the rear windscreen wiper, and the brakes were a bit strange, and a bit harsh!
But I got home in one piece.
Now, the great news. My book is selling. 5 copies so far, but that is 5 copies I had not sold before!
I have added about 500 words to the next one today, I am still looking at uploading it next week.
Today is not a bad day!

Monday, 9 January 2012


Took the car back to the hire company this morning, and then walked across town to my appointment at the hypnotherapist.
Was put under in a session lasting close to an hour, felt very stiff when it was all over and have been left feeling tired so will have an early night.
I have found a decent insurance quote to cover a car my daughter is giving me, is it £254, which is not to bad. I will buy it tomorrow and then get the car taxed.
At least I will then have wheels again.
I checked on my book again today, still no sales, c'est la vive I am afraid.
The new book is growing nicely, I am hoping to have it finished later this week.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Dentist Visit

Sorry, forgot to update you on the dentist. I went in, registered, showed my teeth, saw the jaw drop and had my first appointment booked!
There is a lot of work to be done!