Thursday, August 31, 2006

Monkey Lobsters Don't Like Penguins So They Won't Come Here

Flopped on the sofa last night and watched Star Trek VI: the undiscovered plot. Jeezo, what a steaming pile of dog crap! Spent till far too long into the night fulminating about it on IMDb: here. And have been half asleep all day.

Why? Why do I keep watching Star Trek Movies? I know they are going to be crap and yet I keep coming back for more. My capacity for crap movies in near boundless but there is something about Star Trek movies that makes me angry and irritable. I think it is because they are fat and lazy. Most truly bad movies are either made by earnest wannabees who, when it comes to it, don't have a clue or professionally cheap production line, nobody cares about anything but making a quick Dollar, schlock. Coreman, Nu Image, Troma - that bunch. The Star Trek films have no excuse. They have shitloads of money, attract decent cast and crew, above average SFX, and yet turn out stinker after stinker based on stupid scripts riddled with plot holes and people doing stupid things just to keep the story going. I think it's because they don't have to try. They don't have to impress anyone. They have a secure market. The gazzillion Trekoids will buy anything, and then spend years posting crap like this twaddle on the boards:
"the alien Kirk kicks in the "knee" (during the hand-to-hand at Rura Penthe) is either a Jem'Hadar (from DS9) or a close relative? There are slight differences-- Jem'Hadar are gray-skinned, not so big, and (apparently) have no sexual organs. They also speak English very well. Is it possible that the Founders visited Klingon space and picked up this guy's family?"

It's a Fucking Movie! Grow up! Have sex with someone other than yourself! Get a Life!

(I'm shouting at the computer? I need to go to bed.)

Anyway, I guess it keeps them off the streets and fiddling with each other in public.

Len and Sue arrived today and the kids were delighted to see them. I start rehearsals for the play on Monday. I suppose I had better look at the script. Only joking, Ilona! (I have to find it first.)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Took Daisy up to playgroup today. She ignored the mayhem of 12 other children crashing about and played quite happily by herself in the Wendy House arranging and rearranging cooking pots and play food in the toy kitchen.

"Me making pancakes," she announced.

She held up a miniture toy tin of dog food: "Apple sauce."

"Why has it got a picture of a dog on it?" I asked.

There was a long pause as she looked at the tin.

"Dog sauce!"

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Scaffolding is away! The end of the house doesn't look like a disaster/lawsuit waiting to happen! I am so happy! (I haven't had the bill yet!) I will continue to be happy till I do!

We went to Oban on Saturday to buy stuff; food mainly, and kids clothes. Merriol foolishly let me out of her sight (or vice versa) because I succumbed to my lack of willpower and bought LPs.
For months now I have manfuly resisted looking through the tatty boxes of tatty Bert Kaempfert, James Last and Sidney Devine albums that lie on the floor in every charity shop I go into. I do not need any more crappy LPs. I don't. I have 600+ of the things I never listen to as it is. I don't need any more and I had thought that was one strand of my Junkaholism that I had conquered. (I just download crappy albums now and clog up the hard drive with MP3s I never listen to).

On Saturday my curosity got the better of me and I peeked into a box - and ended up buying: a Talking Heads album I had never heard of, but probably already own, a KC and the Sunshine Band album, and something which may (or may not) turn out to be orchestrial Ragtime - I couldn't work out what the hell it was from the sleeve notes but it was in pristine condition (always a bad sign- means it was played once and then ignored for years) - and it was only 50p.

I hid them in the back of the car and met up with Merriol in Tesco's. Merriol in my absence had bought twice her own body weight in yogurt. When we got back to the car she spotted the LPs (my cunning tactic of hiding things in plain sight, as if they had been there for ages and were therefore not worth commenting upon, obviously needs some revision).

What are those?

Erm... LPs - three of them.

You've already got over six hundred!

Well... Well... Well now I've got over six hundred and three!

(Well that's what I should have said. In reality I think I just mumbled something about them "only being fifty pence each" and continued stacking crates of Yoplait into the boot.)

Anyway. The whole point of this is that I managed to get to play the KC and the sunshine Band album this afternoon. Holly was at school; Daisy was taking a nap. I put it on as I was doing the laundry. There I was hanging up socks and knickers in the drying room singing along, belting out
"Hey, hey, hey/Yeah/Babe, I love you so/I, I want you to know/That I'm going to miss your love/The minute you walk out that door/So please don't go/Don't go/Don't go away/Hey, hey, hey/I need your love/I'm down on my knees/Beggin' please, please, please..."
and I'm giving it the full pub karaoke adenoidal welly when I notice Daisy has woken up from her nap on the sofa (not suprising really) and she is giving me... The Look. The "Dad, what ARE you doing?" look. This suprises the hell out of me. I mean she's only two. She shouldn't know about The Look at two! She could at least have had the decency to wait till she was a spotty teenager and I was dancing at a wedding with her boyfriend's mum or something really awful before discovering how to do The Look. I may have to stop listening to music around the kids altogether - though Holly does like The Scissor Sisters and Moby. There is hope for me yet.

Roof nearly finished. The scaffolding goes tomorrow after Fraser finishes the last of the leadwork. Hurray! I will have my yard back. Things will get back to normalish again - well, after I have gone over and over and over the ground beneath the scafflding making sure there are no nails left lying around, because the scaffolding is plonked just where we usually park the car and, in the normal way of things on building sites, everything that was in the way up on the scaffolding - including loads of, old, bent, or dropped nails just got swept, dropped, or kicked out of the way to fall just where the car would be if we hadn't been parking it elswhere for the last couple of weeks. Last thing we need is to have a puncture. So when Fraser has all his stuff out of the way I'll have to go over the whole area with a fine toothed comb and find all of them all again. I'm trying to work out some way of turning it into a game for the kids. Magnets may be involved. Magnets on bits of string...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I realised today that I don't have long to enjoy being with the kids before I'm away slogging around the country thesping at adolescents (and thank you Phoebe for reminding me of Legs Akimbo - I really needed that!) so today was spent playing and housework and being Mr Mom.

This evening, because Merriol made me (when I say 'made me' I mean she sent me the URL), I have been spending wayy to much time here downloading electronic cheesy listening onto my phone, including such delights as Henri Mancini soundtracks, batchelor pad bongo music albums and Meco! (remember the disco version of the Star Wars theme? - No? Well, if you are as old as I am you do. Tut! Youth of today? Don't know what they're missing.) ... anyway, Mr Meco also 'did' The Wizard of Oz. A disco version of the Wizard of Oz! How can I have lived so long and not known? I mean just how gay IS that? Hang on, I'll just wire it up to the trusty old gayometer and find out... Zoing! Off the scale! The needle shot over to the pink and stayed there.

Tomorrow Merriol is taking the day off work (presumably to pack) this will be let me spend the day hammering long lumps of metal into interesting shapes and nailing flat rocks onto the roof.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Spent all day with Fraser working on the roof . Merriol got a haircut.

That's it.


Monday, August 21, 2006


I've had a word stuck in my head all day. Just like an annoying, or catchy little tune that won't go away, I have had the word 'Pawky' going around and around and around in my head. PawkyPawkyPawkyPawkyPawky. What the hell is Pawky? I have no idea what Pawky means. It's an adjective, I know that but that's all. I came across it last night when I flopped in front of the box and after a few minutes channel hopping landed on live concert of Schostokivich's 13th symphony*.

'That'll do,' I thought.

Knowing bugger all about Schostokovich - or his 13th symphony - I pressed The Big Red Button on the remote to access the BBC's program notes. They were hillarious (OK, mildly amusing) written by a demented musicologist in a velvet jacket with a thesaurus rammed up his capacious arse.

"The flutes now take up the yearning motif from the opening of the fifth section reminding us of the pathetic conclusion and eagerly preparing us for the majestic reversal of the inverted theme that follows. Surely the most poignant moment of Schostokovich's masterpiece, the Viols, Cellos, and Vasco de Gambas cry out in bewilderment. Schostokovich himself was suffering from piles in the weeks before the first performance and composed this section standing up at his piano which he had raised on blocks."
That sort of thing.

Towards the end I read that:
"The small bassoon now joins in with a pawky little tune"
I was too flummoxed by the word 'pawky' to actually listen to the music. Pawky? Pawky? PawkyPawkyPawkyPawkyPawky... my head stuck on that word like a faulty CD. PawkyPawkyPawkyPawkyPawkyPawkyPawkyPawkyPawkyPawky.

I'm afraid to look it up.

Here's another annoying little pseudomeme that won't let my brain go:

Nestle Instant Cappuccino. I have a packet in front of me (it was free with something). On the outside of the packet there is a little panel which says:

68 calories per mug with 200ml water

All I can think is: How many calories would it have it was made with 300ml of water? or 500? or a whole bathful? How many calories are there in hot water? I had always understood water was.. well, water. H2O. No calorific value whatsoever. What do Nestle's lawyers know that I don't? I'm worried.

Somewhere during the day, inbetween trying to get this stuff out of my head, Fraser and I (mostly Fraser) got side one of the roof slated. Half-way through the job!

* You can see why I don't have any catchy little tunes going around in my head, can't you?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Nice hot sunny day spent sawing chunks of rotten wood out of the next bargeboard and replacing them with nice, neat, new, not rotten wood. That's it really - that's about all that happened today; I did remedial woodwork and cursed my habit of buying delapidated Victorian buildings. This is number three. I swore after finishing number one that I would never do it again but, hey, I guess I've just got an addictive personality.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Went to a total strangers wedding today. Ann Beech who used to live in the village until a couple of years ago invited us to her son's wedding in the Fort. Neither of us had ever met him or his fiance. It was slightly surreal,watching two people you don't know getting married. The reception was at Vic's, Ann's partner, house and even there we didn't know many of the people but the kids had fun and I didn't have to wash up afterwards.

Friday, August 18, 2006

What's That Pear Doing on the Trampoline?

Work in Progress

Woke up this morning to the sound of rain. Sometimes in summer, after a long dry hot spell or a long hot muggy day this is is a nice noise, a welcome noise, a relief from the heat and stickness. This morning was not a good time for it to be raining. Because of some cock-up at the builder's yard, the roofing felt wasn't delivered yesterday as it should have been and my roof had been left, slates off, open to the elements all night. The felt was delivered this morning and, though the rain was not bucketing down - it wasn't like being out in a monsoon, it was persistant. Working up scafolding in waterproofs is not my idea of fun at the best of times. As soon as Fraser and I had got the last piece of roofing felt stapled into place it stopped raining and the sun came out.

I have a new realizable life ambition! Something to keep me going when times get tough. My first realizable life ambition was to go to my grave with all my fingers still attached and intact, (both my father and his father both lost fingers to circular saws), I now have formed the realizable ambition not to have any form of disease named after me. I can do this. I know I can!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Poking About

The scaffolding is up round the end of the house. Never put up 'grown up' scaffolding before, only scaffold towers. It's heavy stuff! Because of the layout we had to errect it around and over Merriol's shed which was a bit of a pain. Plan A (take the shed roof off and plonk an upright into the middle of its floor) was not really a starter. Once all the scaffolding was all up I took a look at the roof of the house. It's a miracle the barge boards have stayed up so long. There is nothing holding them up. The wood (what is left of it) is rotten and crumbles as soon as you touch it, like a prop from some crappy 1950s 'Return of the Mummy Vs. Jesse James' type movie. The nails holding the slates are rusted to nothing and the main wall plate is dust. All that is stopping the whole thing from crashing down is the weight of the lead. It's too heavy to fall down. I know that sounds paradoxical but there is no other explanation.

Tomorrow Fraser and I strip the rest of the slates back and I get really depressed.

Poking about in the counter thingie for the blog, as I do from time to time, I find it has been visited by people searching Google for 'English "free to air movie channels"' , 'Who was "daisy smurf?"', & "Bronwen Jones".

Well, I thought it was interesting.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


I spent most of the weekend in bed suffering from sinuses filled with putty, a toothache you wouldn't believe and a head with internal G clamps. I got the man flu. It's like normal flu but bigger and hairier. Iron John Flu. Grrr! Snot!

This happens to me everytime I play with kids. Play with kids = get sick. It's a simple cause and effect. Children are just little plague monkeys running from one place to another efficiently distributing the latest fashion in rhinoviruses. I have come to the conclusion that the recent traunch of rules and regulations and guidlines about how and what and where it appropriate, or not, to touch children is less to do with protecting the little buggers from saddos and perverts but more to do with protecting the adult carers from weird random sweatfest illnesses like the one I've just got.

As I said, I spent most of Saturday in bed, asleep, occasionally waking up to read another chapter of the Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by PK Dick, which I was reading for the bookgroup over at Palimpsest. Much as I love Mr Dick's earlier funnier books I will readily admit I haven't got a clue what is going on in most of them, even after several readings. Tackling the 3Stig of PE while half asleep and in a demi-delerium didn't make things any clearer.

So, sleep patterns all buggered up, I wasn't surprised to find myself waking up at 3 am and reaching for the bedside note book to scribble down half-formed stupid ideas that arrived in my sleep.

This is what I found the next morning:

"Several Reasons Why Great Literature is Not as Good
as Playing With Your Willy (or Lady Bits)"

It was 3 am. Raskolnikov dreamt of Death and Cruelty, Coleridge dreamed of Xanadu, I dream up knob jokes.

Fraser arrived this morning and announced that due to some cock up he could start work on the roof tomorrow. The plan is to completely scaffold the gable end, strip the bargeboards and leadwork, pull all the slates off for at least a meter back from the edge. Rip off all the sarking. Replace at least 2 roof timbers (possibly more), re-sark, re-slate over new leadwork and replace the existing bargeboards, which are original to the building and in not that bad nick for 122 year old bits of wood. He reckons he can do all this in under two weeks. It's going to take all the house repairing budget for the year but it needs done. To be honest it needed doing at least 3 years ago. Everytime we have a gale round here I expect to hear the whole lot rip off and land in the garden. I doubt if it would stand another winter.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Mummy, We're Going To Sell Daisy On eBay!

That's it for another year.  My annual working with kids for money stint is over and now I'm suffering from my annual post working with kids for money cold.  Kids are great but they are the vectors for every known form of snifflebug known and unknown to man.

In two weeks time I start rehearsals for the annual touring round the high schools of Scotland delivering A MESSAGE to the assembled spotty yoofs.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Another weekend has flashed by. What happens? This weekend we were mainly...

Saturday ... going to the continental Market in the High Street and spending way too much money on stinky cheeses and dry-cured wild boar, and duck sausages all covered in that strange white powdery stuff that foreign sausages always seem to be covered in - what is it? (That was a rhetorical question by the way - as I get older I find the less I know about what I'm eating the happier I am.) The kids loved it and ate vast quantities of sweets.

Sunday ... going for lunch down at the TIC * and then having a walk in the quarry with the kids and finding a lizard - actually Holly found the lizard - I think she peed on it.

Monday ... getting paid to play with kids again. Ilona got stuck in Birmingham. She was on holiday in Aberystwyth (a town 'famous' for The Aberystwyth Electric Cliff Railway, "the longest electric cliff railway in Britain") but due to some fuckup on the trains (I know, it's hard to believe, isn't it?) she missed her flight back north. This meant I had to run the first set of workshops today by myself. Panic. Responsibility avoidence technique number one (ie find, and defer to, a more competant female) was now redundant. I coped.

... getting offered and accepting another acting job. Same show as last year (maybe same part? almost certainly the same money) but several weeks work driving around Scotland arriving in a school doing 45 minute play, 45 minute workshop go to next school, repeat, then go to pub, restaurant, or whatever. Mucho time to do reading of books.

It's gone midnight and I should have been in bed ages ago but I'm sitting here writing this and waiting for Daisy to wake up. She's been having these strange crying fits in the middle of the night for the last few nights, Usually around midnight. Last night she was inconsolable. She just screamed and screamed. She was really terrified. Whether these are night terrors or just bad dreams we don't know but, fingers crossed, she hasn't woken up tonight.

* I would like to make it abundantly clear I had NOTHING to do with the 'design' of that web page.

Friday, August 04, 2006

I used to drink. A lot. But then I stopped. I don't have a problem with booze at all any more, just as long as I don't drink any of it.


I realised last night that I have developed a substitute brain-wrecking addiction. Midnight last night after a long and sweaty day I was running a bath. I flip through some of the free to air movie channels as I waited for it to fill. Then I stopped flipping went to the bathroom and turned off the taps, flopped on the sofa and watched Return of the Killer Tomatoes till three in the morning.

I took my bath in an advert break. Dived in, did my pits and tits, and out again to watch the rest of the movie wrapped in my dressing gown.

I think I may have a problem.

At least I didn't have a hangover this morning.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

It Hurts Like a Bee Standing On an Elephant

Last Monday returning from the Fort after a hard day's playing with the kids I stopped and gave a couple of hitch-hikers a lift. A man and a woman. They were heading for London where they were catching a bus to take them back to somewhere in Slovakia. We had a bit of a chat but their English wasn't great and my Slovakian is non-existant. They had been fruit picking and had climbed Ben Nevis. I dropped them off at the Glencoe crossroads and pointed them in the general direction of south. We waved goodbye.

On Tuesday Merriol found their camera in our car.

How do you trace two foreign hitchhikers? I didn't even know their first names. We handed the camera in the the police (after carefully making sure the bag wasn't stuffed full of hash, I mean we didn't want to get these guys into any trouble). So, if you were the hitchers, or you know who they were, mail me and I'll get the camera back to you. If it isn't claimed in two months we get to keep it. which doesn't seem very fair but, if that happens, we can then see if there are any photos in the camera and put them up on the web. Maybe someone will recognises them.

Missing CD? Contact vendor

Free CD
Please take care
in removing from cover.

Copyright (c) 2004-2007 by me, Liam Baldwin. That's real copyright, not any 'creative commons' internet hippy type thing.

(this copyright notice stolen from

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