Sleeping on a welcome bomb

Oxygen Under The Bed!So it’s been pointed out to me that I’m now basically sleeping on a bomb. This doesn’t worry me, in fact it’s rather comforting. Now before those lovely chaps in black jump out of helicopters and land on the roof I should perhaps explain.

Or perhaps not if it’ll give the neighbours in my road some excitement.

Oh all right, I’ve teased you enough with a tasty crumb and so you deserve a hearty mouthful.

You see as one or two of you know, I get some naughty little headaches now and again. They’re actually called “Cluster headaches” and they’re evil little buggers. Think of it as a migraine on acid, or if that metaphor doesn’t help, then how about a heavyweight boxing champion, trapped inside your head and using the back of your eyeball as a punchbag. That one generally works for me.

However a chance encounter many years ago with a tiny little baby doctor (she looked about 12 but I was sure she’d grow into her stethoscope one day) made me realise that oxygen was like a magic potion, giving almost instant results. Five minutes of breathing pure O2 was enough to relieve a pain that had gone on for days and was causing me to think seriously about head removal (which is of course pointless, since technically, one doesn’t chop of one’s head, one chops off one’s body. The head is still you. You’d go through the whole decapitation process and still have a headache). You see, I’d thought this through.

So anyway, all I needed to do was to get my GP to prescribe O2 and all would be hunky dory. Well apparently not. Some GPs think that they cannot prescribe O2. Some wonder if you’ve tried maybe taking an aspirin instead. Some like to ask if it’s tension. Some, unreassuringly reach for Google.

Eventually a few weeks ago I sat and chatted with a neurologist. I tried to convince him that they weren’t actually clusters because mine don’t really fit the standard pattern. He fired millions of questions at me and told me that they really were. And why wasn’t I using O2?

And then from out of the blue, just the other week, I was told it would be delivered the next day. No fuss, just wait in and a van will deliver two whopping great cylinders of the stuff. And it did. And once the first one is empty, I just phone or email and they’ll deliver more if I leave the empty outside.

Occasionally we have visitors come to stay and they use my bed. I think legally I’m now supposed to give them a Health and Safety briefing before bedtime. I foresee a PowerPoint presentation on the horizon.

Toodle pip.

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Time for just one more …

Tim Brooke-TaylorI was fortunate enough recently to be working at “An Evening With” type event, where a guest was interviewed in front of a mostly, alive, theatre audience. I was the venue’s sound and AV engineer for the event, not a taxing job by far; just two radio mics and two back-ups and a sequence of video clips to play on cue.

The interviewer was computer history nerd and That’s Lifer Chris Serle and the interviewee was the wonderfully comic entertainer, all round Goodie and regular I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue panalist, Tim Brooke-Taylor.

T’was a fascinating evening with chat and banter interspersed with wonderful video clips, some dating back to before I was born.

And of course the interval drinks were followed by a selection of questions from the audience. Now, being a public-spirited sort of chap, I didn’t want to run the risk of him running out of questions. It can be embarrassing when nobody actually asks anything. So, to be sure of there being at least something to answer, I jotted a couple down. Well three actually. I wasn’t particularly expecting them to be answered, it was more so that there was something to answer if they were in short supply.

My three questions were:

From a lifelong “James” who has never been a “Jim”, have you ever been tempted to adopt the far posher moniker of “Timothy”?
Or indeed, “Monica”?

Dear Bill,
During any of these fascinating ornithological evenings, have you ever been tempted to pose a question, as if it had come from Mrs Trellis of North Wales?

And that question comes from a Mrs Trellis of North Wales.

Do the all-too-frequent hikes in Samantha’s appearance fee, in any way cause an effect on the quality of the panellists afforded?

I needn’t have feared, for there was a plentiful supply of questions.

And they even picked out one of mine, the first one.

It later transpired as we were chatting afterwards, that he and I, not only grew up very near to each other, but also experienced a very similar educational start in life, by effectively being the wrong sex in an almost, single-sex school!


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Ingress Portal : Tapsell Lychgate

Tapsell LychgateMy latest portal to be approved is this lovely Lychgate, which can be found at Church Walk, Weston Turville.

One of the last surviving gates of its kind this lychgate was renovated in 2004. Found mainly in Sussex, Tapsell gates were named after a Sussex family of bell-founders, one of whom (according to Wikipedia) invented them in the late 18th century.

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Sometimes, I’m misunderstood you know!

buns with creamOccasionally, although very rarely, I mistakenly get misunderstood. It can happen very easily as the following example from earlier today clearly demonstrates:

Waitress :
(in the cafe where I was quietly enjoying a cup of coffee, who was attending to a food spillage at the next table)

Oh do excuse me, sticking my bum in your face.

Me :
(instantly and simultaneously realising two things, those being A) that she really did have a very cute little bum indeed and B) that it was imperative that any answer I gave shouldn’t come across as pervy or smutty. Therefore, and being quick of thought, I decided to completely redirect the course of the conversation, thus rather cleverly avoiding any pitfalls of smut. My chosen topic upon which to converse, was the nearby display of cakes. What could possibly go wrong?)

Of course those buns would look lovely with a big dollop of cream on them.

I have no idea why she gave me the look that she did!

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Backing up my MySql data

Please excuse this rather uninteresting blog post, I just wanted somewhere to store a copy of this bash script which backs up my MySql data.

# *=================================================================*
# * Filename : *
# * Purpose : To backup all MySQL data to file 'backup.sql' *
# * Author : James McCann *
# * Last updated on : Monday 13th December 2014 *
# * Last updated at : 22:45 *
# *=================================================================*

echo "===================================================================================================="
echo " M y S Q L d u m p "
echo "===================================================================================================="
ls -l -ltr *.sql
echo ""
echo "Below, enter the MySQL root password."
mysqldump -u root -p --events --ignore-table=mysql.event --all-databases > backup.sql
echo ""
ls -l -ltr *.sql
echo ""
echo "===================================================================================================="
toilet "* * * F I N I S H E D * * *" --gay --termwidth
echo "===================================================================================================="
echo ""

Please try not to be too distressed by the “toilet” line, it simply prints text using large characters made of smaller, pretty characters, as in this example.

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Crafty Paper Chains for Christmas

I know!! Me, doing an “arts and crafts” blog post!! “How ridiculous” I hear you scream into your morning tea as you dunk a Ladyfinger and I thoroughly agree with you. But bear with me, let’s see where this is going shall we?

As a child, one of the things I loved about Christmas was paper-chains. We used to buy those packets of gummed paper strips that you licked and stuck together. Of course the glue was always too weak or one licked it too hard and the chains would break at some inopportune moment. But then I realised a much better way to make paper-chains and it is this method which I shall now describe to you.

What you’ll need

The basic material is simply rolls of crepe paper. I used to buy these as a child from Woolies, but they are a little harder to find in the shops and so of course I turn to eBay.

The rolls I bought are called Streamer Serpentin and come from Unique Industries of Philadelphia. Each roll is 81 feet x 1.75 inches (which is 24.6m x 4.45cm for those who care about the metric system. For what it’s worth, I do not.)


They used to only be available in the primary colours plus yellow and white, but now there is a whole range of colours, even black, as that last link should show you.

IMG_20141125_172111You will also need a ruler, pen or pencil, scissors and a stapler.

I chose four: Hot Pink, Baby Blue, Lime Green and Hot Yellow (basically red, blue, green, yellow) with each one costing me £1.23 including postage. Out of the packet they look like this:


What you’ll do

IMG_20141125_172548Select one of the rolls and simply mark every eight inches. For speed, I put a correction fluid mark on the ruler eight inches from the actual end of the ruler. This makes for much fast marking.

IMG_20141125_174709If you want to, you can do this on all four rolls, but I only marked one.

Then you simply take the ends of all four rolls and cut at the marks.

IMG_20141125_181150This should leave you with a large colourful pile of eight inch strips.

Next comes the hardest bit, deciding on a sequence. I’m a little bit CDO (it’s like OCD but all the letters are in alphabetical order). You could of course choose to do a rainbow, but that presents you with the problem of what to do at the end (repeat or reverse the rainbow)? I opted instead for a sequence that simply looked nice.


Then just staple your first chain link and start adding to your chain. You could use sticky tape or glue, but I’ve found a stapler to be far quicker and the staples hardly show.

Remember to stop and measure how much you’ve done from time to time. 4 x 81 foot rolls will give you 81 feet of chain so you might want to make shorter lengths. Some of mine will be going around a child’s bedroom (she doesn’t know it yet) and some around mine for old time’s sake.

And there you have it.

The Health and Safety bit

  • The crepe paper will choke you to death if you eat it.
  • The packaging will suffocate you if you hold it over your face.
  • The ruler hurts if someone whacks you on the bottom with it.
  • The pen will indelibly mark your white walls and you’ll have to move house to escape it.
  • The scissors will stab you if you let them.
  • The stapler will never make you a goth no matter how many staples you put through your fingers.
  • The paper chains will burn your house down and you’ll all die if you put them near hot lights or naked flames.
  • And the tea will instantly destroy your Ladyfinger if you attempt to dunk it and will equally destroy any other Ladyfinger that you use to try and get the first one out.

Enjoy Christmas responsibly and fit a smoke detector.

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Does it matter HOW you got here?

I follow a lot of blogs. Admittedly I don’t read every single post from every single blog that I follow. Otherwise I’d be up until 4am most mornings. Actually, come to think of it, I am up until 4am most mornings, but that’s only because Film4 always show the best offering at 1 or 2am and then there’s Twitter and Facebook to sort through and, well you know.

Sometimes I start to follow a blog because the subject matter appeals or the writing style suits me or I know the writer or they follow a blog that follows a blog that lives next door to the people who used to own the farm they was rented by the people whose blog I follow. Sometimes it is that convoluted.

However sometimes the reasons I’m initially attracted to a blog are not the reason I stay with it. So I’ll come clean here. I’m a guy. A relatively normal and ‘typical’ guy. So it’ll come as no surprise to some, that I started reading A Girl Called Jack because it’s author, a girl now called Jack, is gorgeous, pretty, hot and quite closely in my opinion, resembles Anne Hathaway, an actress I love. Shallow I know, but honest n’est-ce pas?


So then I began to actually read her blog, read the actual words rather than just gaze longingly at the pictures (I’ll admit I’ve got a real thing for her hair, I love it). One of the first posts of hers that I read was her standing up to Richard Littlejohn over a year ago now. I’m always impressed when someone takes the time and makes the effort to take apart an article piece by piece and expose the dross in it. RL’s piece was essentially an attack on her but rather than rant in reply she simple responded to each facet of his clumsy, negative journalism a bit at a time.

© Mirror Newspaper Group

Her blog is actually essentially, a cookery blog, done from the perspective of someone who has through necessity in the past, had to keep a very close eye on budgets. Now I don’t cook very much, but her recipes do appear to be quick, cheap and look yummy. Ok so her fetish for that most horrid of nature’s offerings, the pumpkin is questionable, but aside from that she is sound. Her various pancake recipes alone are worth the read. And she does do a nice cake too. I’m hoping to be invited round to tea, but if she ever reads this, that’ll so not happen!

But this got me thinking, which is in itself, a rare occasion. Do other people start following a blog for one reason and stay for another? For instance, do my readers only stick around, putting up with the drivel in the faint hope that one day I’ll start modelling swimwear?

And will Jack Monroe block me from her blog/Twitter if she ever finds out that I only started following because she’s cute and Hatherwayesque? I’ll let you know.

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