What’s in a name? (1)

Posted by Mr.D.

At the weekend we took our daughter back to Uni ( “Slight returns”.) Yes, I know it’s a shameless blogvert for my own site, but I’ve hardly had time to decorate since moving in, what with this guesting an’ all.

Her Uni is one of two in a Very Large City in the West Midlands. *kicks over the spoor to confuse the trail and wrong-foot stalkers* and we were stunned by how much Birmingham had changed in just one year. Damn, gave it away and after all that careful brushwork too.

The new Bullring has replaced the concrete monstrosities and monoliths which dominated the city and clearly a large amount of time, money and thought has gone into renovating the surrounding areas. So the mere mention of Birmingham should no longer cause you to groan “Oh, that place, it’s awful”.

We overnighted on Saturday for a bargain £50, right in the city centre and on Sunday morning, headed off to find an alternative to the Hotel’s idea of breakfast. Minutes away, on a lovely stretch of canal, a houseboat was serving “Full English” for £5.75, with as much toast as you could butter, served by an extremely friendly staff. Bargain 2.

Now I’m the ‘Go, see, buy’ type of shopper and find no joy whatsoever in aimless perambulating and entering stores I have no intention of purchasing anything from etc., but I was impressed. And the mall has a small but perfectly-formed Molton Brown, so unless our host returns from La Belle France french-scented, he may care to pay them a visit?
The 3-floor Selfridge’s will leave all other branches in its wake and in Poundland, they were selling computer keyboards for, well, a pound. Bargain 3. I’m going to save up my pocket money next week and go back for a laptop.

I can see that the bronze bull statue at the entrance to the shopping complex will no doubt be a magnet for drunken rodeo games, but it might be fun to watch the Brummie cowboys trying to mount up.

Blogosphere Update: A Personal View.

Posted by Robin.

Took a small tour of the blogosphere this evening, my first for a while. Here are some thoughts.

By a strange piece of child centred synchronicity I see that the Scaryduck household has also acquired a hamster as of last Friday. My thoughts are with them at this difficult time.

The clink of glasses is stilled for once over at Uborka to be replaced by the sound of slapped backs and plaudits being handed round. If you haven’t done so already then treat yourself to a read of their Post of the Month Winner at Invisible Stranger. No, I’m not bitter.

I note the result of the latest round of Z’s Blog Idol without comment. Perhaps she’ll stop when the loss of one friend per week really starts to hurt.

Lastly I was going to say that I’m sure we all wish Peter from Naked Blog a good hol and a speedy return but he seems to be back already. And not only in the undergrowth of a TD comments box but also in full cry on open ground too. Instead I will merely urge him to feel free to use ‘outwith’ as much as he likes.

Aging (Dis)gracefully

Posted by Lyle

Over the weekend, I had three different occasions where people were trying to make me feel “old” – now, bear in mind I’m 32, which isn’t old by anyone’s standards (well, except for the little 15-16yr olds who think they know it all anyway) – but the people saying it are a couple of years younger than me. The thing is, I don’t know what it was meant to prove – OK, so I’ve got some grey hairs,, and (according to them) my hair’s thinning. Frankly, so what?

For various reasons, getting older has never held any real terrors for me. Turning 30 was weird, and affected me more than any of the other “special event” birthdays (16, 18, 21, whatever) had. But it still didn’t make me think “I’m getting old” or any of that gubbins – it was more of a stock-taking exercise, looking at what had been done, what there was to show for it, that kind of thing. But those comments have made me think about it all a bit more – and still I keep coming to the same conclusion – “So what?”

Every single one of us is getting older. That’s just the way it is. Maybe we remember how we were in younger days, and mourn the addition of a few pounds, the onset of gravity, the slow failings of the body and joints – but it’s still a natural progression. Getting older happens. Some people fight it off with the joys of cosmetic surgery, anti-aging creams, and every nostrum and potion known to manipulative advertising executives the world of science – but at the end of the day, it’s all a waste, because none of the potions and surgeries are turning back the clock. It’s just another layer of fallacie – hurling good money after Old Father non-specific-entity Time, and trying to battle it.

So what good does it do to be pointing these things out? Yeah, I could dye my hair, stay “healthy and virile” by not being grey. Fact is, I quite like it with a bit of grey. If the hair is thinning, receding, or even coming out completely, so what? It’s still me – I won’t be wearing a wig, or doing those horrible baldy-man Comb-Over jobs – it’ll just be the way I am. Does pointing them out mean “you should be taking more care of yourself”? Or “look, those things aren’t happening to me” (yet) ? Whatever the reason, it certainly wasn’t anything intended to make me feel better about myself – it’s lucky I don’t care all that much, and simply accept the effects of age – if I were worried about it, the comments that were made could have held a really negative effect on me.

I wish I understood the motivation – but I don’t, and I probably never will. If it was intended as a way to belittle me, or to make me feel insecure about it, then it failed. Getting older isn’t news – but perhaps the way “friends” address that kind of thing towards me is.

A final additional thought – I’m sure some people who read this will be thinking “Ah, the young whippersnapper” – I’m not complaining about age at all, more about the perspectives of “friends”.

Anyone for tennis?

Posted by Mr.D.

During the past year, I’ve read many blogs but cannot recall any one mentioning the author’s participation in anything of a sporting nature. Sure, bsag cycles and Gert enjoys her walks (and londonmark does pint-lifting) but I have to assume that you’re a sedentary bunch of intellectuals and a keyboard is your weapon of choice? Therefore, a challenge – tag-chess.

The Rules are very simple (for the challenge, that is). Chess, of course, is horrendously complex, so if you don’t know how to play the game, ask someone. That will keep up the spirit of this guest-blogging, by involving an ever-widening circle of players and their coaches.

It will probably never work – but then, they said that about British Rail.

The Rules.

1. A blogger may only be challenged once, so you must perforce peruse previous participants prior to passing the baton. (Ooh, nice alliteration, Mr.D. Why, thankyou!)
2. Chain-breakers will be hunted down and ostrichised i.e. their head buried in the sand, the body elsewhere
3. When someone is ready to mate (generally after several drinks in the U.K. and subject to status elsewhere) the move should be directed back to the TD. He can then publish the result and disclose the number of moves involved.
4. I am exempt because, being a Grand Master, it would all be over in three moves and therefore spoil the fun.

So because BW likes to be first, she will start the play….Game on!

P.S. Hope the linky things work – first time I’ve done this!

Speaking as an Issue-less Adolescent

Posted by Lyle

Oh dear lord, what has Mike let himself in for? I suppose these are the risks when you get to flit off to Paris for four weeks. And thanks for the introduction, Mike. *Grin*

I’ve been thinking all weekend about what to write here – should it be more of the same old gubbins as on d4d™, or slightly more introspective and thoughtful? Or maybe a bit of both? Ah – middle ground – that’ll be the one then. Except, of course, that even taking the middle ground isn’t something I’m normally renowned for. One thing I’m not allowed to do is say f**k or c**t (and how I’m going to go a week without saying flak or chat is beyond me, it really is) because of people’s “sweary-at-work” filters. Hmmm, time for some creative obscenities? Perhaps.

I’ll admit, I’m fairly stunned that Mike would want contributions from yours truly – while not exactly a newbie to the Blogosphere® I’m still new enough to be surprised that other people apparently like the way I write. Writing for other people though, well that’s a whole different kettle of fish. With great blogging comes great responsibility, or some such gubbins.

So what will I be writing about over the next week? To be honest, you’ll have to wait and see – which is code for “*Shrug* Not a clue, guv” But I won’t let Mike down, that’s for sure.


Posted by Robin.


That all rather tumbled out. I meant to start with a short speech thanking Mike for having us and explaining how honoured I felt personally being such a novice at this sort of thing. It’s probably just lack of sleep. I had a v draining day yesterday, described in outline here but which account leaves out the trip to Spy Kids 3D about which I can say little because I slept through most of it. Bear with me and I’m sure I’ll be all right by this evening.

Down with Outwith.

Posted by Robin.

There it was again this morning, about 6.40 am, Radio 4. The ghastly ‘Outwith’. Meaning ‘outside’ (I think). Who thought up this horrible word and why do we need it?

We already have two words in English that cover this ground very adequately.
1. Outside: meaning ‘not inside’. Direct, complete and unmistakeable.
2. Without, as in “There is a green hill far away without a city wall”: meaning ‘outside’. (See 1. above.) A bit arch. and poet. but serviceable and at least with the syllables in the right order.

I wish these clogsclevers would just out it cut, swapping words round nilly willy and without a leave your by. It’s necessaryun and it makes it difficult to standunder what they mean, yet still they carry on lessregard. I forethere demand a rangewiding and goingthorough review of CBB policy and lineguides wiseother where will it all end – the housemad?