Friday, 31 December 2010

So that was 2010??

That’s it then. 2010 is over. Gone. Kaput. Was it a good one for you? Personally it was ok, I suppose. I did not take up smoking again, I kept up my weekday abstinence from alcohol, and I kept losing weight until I reached a target. I got a promotion, sort of, although sometimes I wonder why I bothered. And I watched my granddaughter grow up a little bit more.

On the down side we had to have our dog put to sleep a couple of days before Christmas. She had been a part of our family for 16 years and it came as a bit of a shock.


What of 2011?

I have started reviewing books for another blog. They should start being posted in January, provided Mark likes them. So pop over to “Walker of Worlds” and have a look.

I am looking forward to more camping in 2011. I know, you can’t believe the change in me, can you? Only a short while ago I was dead against that sort of thing. Nothing short of a hotel with room service for me! What happened was that aliens came down and replaced me with a pod person, a la "Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. My real body is probably being anally probed somewhere out there in the vast universe. rest assured, I am, probably, not enjoying it!


Mrs Giant68 is probably hoping that I will get around to building her new kitchen and bathroom. I did promise her that about 6 months ago! Amazing that as the kids have left home I end up spending a shed load of cash. When no.1 daughter left I bought and built a conservatory. Then mini Giant68 left and I am going to end up spending a reasonable fortune on the kitchen and bathroom. Personally I think that we should downgrade to an apartment. Unfortunately Mrs Giant68 doesn’t want to so I’m stuck.

I am also hoping that I can get together with my mate Steve, him of Spanish holiday fame, and play cribbage a little more often than I managed in 2010. Cribbage is something that he introduced to me some years ago. I hate playing cards but for some reason crib is a game that I enjoy. Probably due to the rule we have that it cannot be played unless there are copious quantities of alcohol involved.

I am not going to make any resolutions, why bother? They would only be broken within the 1st 24 hours. And if they aren’t, then they weren’t worth making in the first place.

Happy New Year!

Giant68 Smile

Saturday, 11 December 2010

We wish you a merry Christmas…

“It’s Christmas time

There’s no need to be afraid”

First lines from a famous song. Well, I’m afraid, there is a need to be afraid. It is the second time of the year that young people feel that they can go out and beg for money with menaces. Obviously, the first attempt to get you part with your hard earned dosh is at the beginning of November. A time when we celebrate the failure of some bloke to blow up the British parliament.

This time it’s Christmas. A time when the gormless chav adolescents feel they can knock on my door, and yours, sing the first few words of “We wish you a merry Christmas…”and then hold their hand out for cash.

Well, let me inform you now that “We wish you a merry Christmas” is NOT a Christmas carol! If you want money from me I want a proper carol. It could be “Oh Come All Ye Faithfull”, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”, “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”, you get the idea. There are quite a few to chose from. And I want a full verse and a chorus. Not just the first line. If you want to get a shiny penny from me you’ve got to work for it.

Have a nice Christmas. I wish you all you wish yourself.


Oh, and a happy New Year!

Giant68 x

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Strictly Health and Safety

Mrs Giant68 does like to settle down in front of the telly on a Saturday and Sunday evening with a glass of wine and Strictly Come Dancing. Nothing like a bit of Brucie and “dead behind the eyes” Daly. Now,I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it, but it is on and I will peek at it over the top of my laptop or my book and it is, somewhat, entertaining. But I find something very strange about it all.

I have been trained in Health and Safety by the company I work for. I can carry out risk assessments and create safe systems of work, and I know most of the regulations. I Can’t see how they can get away with what they do on the dance floor.

Firstly, lifts. Now the manual handling regulations state that you can not lift anything heavier than 25kg. And even then you have to lift properly, legs bent, back straight etc. Well, I didn’t see any of the lifts carried out in the proscribed way. And the dancers, while slim (apart from Ann Widdecombe) are, certainly, heavier than 25kg.


Tonight the professional dancers were standing on chairs. How dare they. Do they not realise that chairs are meant for sitting on. If you want to work at height you must use equipment that is designed for that purpose. If they fell off they wouldn’t have a leg to stand on, so to speak.

The investigation would have to carried out. Photos would have to taken and, ultimately the dancer involved would have to be sacked.


And you have to admit that there are a certain amount of distractions on the floor. How can anyone concentrate on what they are doing when Ola Jordan is dancing in one of her skimpy outfits! The risks are tremendous! I am surprised that there are no accidents. The Health and Safety officer for the BBC must be a nervous wreck on a Saturday evening, and I don’t envy him.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Machismo vs. Metrosexual


What is it with men and women at the moment? There seems to be a propensity for the slightly effeminate look for the men, and women seem to like it.

I find it a little bit odd that the male of the species seems to be gravitating to this androgynous look (go on, get your dictionaries out!) Can you imagine any of these metrosexuals putting a shelf up, or taking the bins down?

Please don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the metrosexuals, I do like a drop of the old moisturiser at times, but I just don’t understand what women see in them. In the days of the caveman, the man would be the hunter gatherer while the woman would stay at home and look after the family, after being clubbed over the head and dragged to the cave, of course. Therefore the woman would want a strong, healthy man. His mighty muscles and rippling thews proclaiming that he was a good hunter who could feed a family by dragging a diplodocus through the primordial jungle back to the cave. Once there he could hack into steaks that would  fit over the fire that he built and lit with his feet while he was butchering the dinosaur. (And the first bbq was born, all Neanderthal man needed was a cold beer and his mates!).

Throughout history real men have fought battles, first with fists, clubs, axes, swords and working their way through various small arms. Now I know that there are still a few macho men around, but they all seem to be in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban, while the effete creatures left at home are scoring with the girls. All the while starring in the hit films of the day and making a pot of money, just look at Robert Pattinson, I wouldn’t put him up against a strong wind!

Whatever happened to the macho film stars of yesterday? OK, maybe not a good argument as most of them turned out be gay, but you know what I mean.

I reckon these women will regret it in few years time when they need a jar opening or a shelf put up. Oh, and it’s bin night!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

The Zombie War is on its way…

There is a new TV series just started on FX channel. “Walking Dead”. It’s a standard story of a plague turning almost everyone into the walking dead. Now programs and films of this nature have been around for 30 odd years, ever since Romero decided to start making zombie films. They all follow the same format, as I have already said, and this is what I can’t understand. The hero is always damn lucky to survive the first five minutes. Surely people watch TV and go to the cinema, even read books? They should understand that when the zombies come after you you need to have your wits about you. Oh! and some weapons.

In this latest TV show the hero wakes in hospital after having been shot chasing criminals. The hospital is empty and trashed. Surely that would start alarm bells ringing? First job would be to find clothes and something to fight with. No, not this guy. He stumbles around the building in the ubiquitous backless hospital gown. At least when he spies the zombies he won’t crap in his trousers.

I have a plan. I know exactly what I would do when the zombie/alien/whatever invasion happens. I’m not going to tell you what it is as that might lessen my chances of survival. And survive I will!

Hide from the zombies, don’t trust the alien leader who tells you he has come in peace, and let the vampire bite you. Yes, you read that right. Let the vampire bite you. I reckon it could be fun as a vampire. Turning into a bat at will and flying away, seducing innocent maidens, sleeping through the day, burning up in sunlight… ok some of it, probably, isn’t going to be fun but I have never been much of a sun worshipper.

Obviously, I can’t post any pictures of me this time as vampires cast no shadows or images. Now if anyone knows where I can find any innocent maidens…? I bet it was a lot easier in Draculas time.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

And there will be fire from the sky…

My friend Steve is an arsonist. I’m sure that in a previous life that was how he spent his time. A pyromaniac. I have never seen anyone so keen to use lighter fluid on a bbq. The Steve method of lighting a charcoal bbq is this:

1. Lay a sheet of tin foil in the bottom of the bbq. (good idea this. makes cleaning the bbq much easier)

2. Break up ½ dozen fire lighters.

3. Lay in the charcoal.

4. Add more firelighters.

5. Spray liberally with lighter fluid.

6. light.

7. Spray more lighter fluid.

8. Clutch at face moaning about the fact that you no longer have eyebrows.


It was useful when the kids were younger as they would be round at the pool. They would know when the bbq was lit by the sudden conflagration that would rise to the sky.

We had some good food from Steves bbq, though. We sat outside the house in Spain, full of good food, full of good booze and full of contentment. And now that the winter evenings are here, and the temperature is starting to fall drastically, I miss the summer evenings in Spain. Even though it was only for a couple of weeks. Or maybe because it was only a couple of weeks.



Back to Spain…

There is a game that the Spaniards in Torrevieja play. And I have to learn to play it.

Now, if you remember we went to Spain in the summer and stayed at  our friends house in Torrevieja. You’ve read the blog about that, I know you have. You will also remember that we were frequenting Joses bar, the surly bartender.

Me and Steve like to play a game of cribbage or two, and most days in Spain this is what we would do. After lunch we would take a walk down to Joses and have a couple of cervesas, a plate of tapas and play cards.

Generally, after an hour or so, three or four old Spaniards would turn up, looking like they had stepped off of the set of The Sopranos. You wouldn’t want to upset them, that’s for sure. They would have a coffee and something in a small glass and break out a deck of cards. They then proceeded to play this card game, which we eventually found out was called Mus. After a few days of watching them while we played crib we started to show a more open interest. And they showed a little interest in our game. To be completely honest, neither of us understood much of the rules or what they were saying to us. I would imagine that they were saying something along the lines of “You stupid English will never be able play this game. It is for real men only. Now p*ss off and leave us to real mens pastimes!”SDC10804

They did seem to hold cribbage in some contempt. But in the end we parted as friends with a promise that we would go home and learn to play Mus and return next year to play them at their own game.

Unfortunately this is a strange card game. Devised by the Basques and, like them, devilishly complicated. If you play it one area of the country you play by one set of rules. Play it somewhere else and a different set of rules apply. If it is raining you play with no aces, if it is Tuesday aces are high… Well that is the way it seems.

They have given us a bag of metal discs that are used for betting during the game, so that no money is involved. But I bet when we play them it will be Euros rather than metal discs! I bet they are rubbing their hands in glee at the thought of fleecing a couple of naive Englishmen. They will be living off of that story for months.

But at least Jose started to warm to us and we were almost his best friends by the end of the holiday.

We have bought a deck of the Spanish cards, a strange deck that when you play Mus you remove the jokers, 8s and 9s. The scoring is strange, with Aces and Kings scoring the same while collecting a hand worth 31 is worse than scoring 30. I am bewildered by the whole thing.


I have never tasted lobster. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if it fell on my head. But we all decided that, as we had seen fresh lobster on the fish counter in Carrefoure, we would all like to try it. So Harry and Ann, on their way back from a day trip to somewhere, and their daughter Amy and boyfriend Jeremy, brought back a couple of lobsters. Not quite as fresh as the ones we had already seen, these were dead. All we had to do was chop it up and eat it.

Steve lit the barbeque.


And Sarah and myself laid into a pair of crustaceans. We were drunk. I had to look up on the internet what to cut, what to remove and what to eat. And, to be honest, it really wasn’t worth the effort. Next time I will buy one that has already had its innards removed, cleaned and laid on a plate. No matter what i have to pay for it.

In the next installment: the cycle rides, nicking stones and what happened to Steves eyebrows.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Who killed Cock Robin?

I’m in trouble again. I have not been keeping up my blogging rate and one of the few people who follow me has complained. Sad bugger, obviously has nothing better to do!

I’m at a loss as to what to write today. Summer has gone, winter is knocking at the door and the camping season is over. The tent will have to stay in the cupboard till the spring. All the shops appear to have the Christmas decorations up and Halloween hasn’t been yet! We now have to look forward to the neighbourhood children knocking the door and begging for money with menaces. Another American “tradition” that we have imported and twisted to suit the greedy bastards that we are bringing into the world. They don’t really want to see a carved pumpkin. They don’t want sweets. They want good, hard cash. If they don’t hear the jingle of pound coins or the rustle of a fiver they’ll probably carve your face into a Jack ‘o’lantern. Kids round our way are hard.

Mrs Giant68 has just come in complaining that some of the kids she works with in the school do not know what a sparrow is, or looks like. I find that quite sad. I expect that if there was a video game called “Kill Cock Robin” they would know. I can imagine it now:

“Oi! You feathered b*stards! Which one of you killed Cock Robin?”

“I” said the sparrow “With a f*^%in’ machete! Carved his face right off!”

My kids know what a sparrow looks like, we have a large number living in and around our garden. They know what cows are (mini Giant68 is scared of them!). They’ve seen pigs and sheep. Horses and donkeys. They have been round safari parks and seen more exotic creatures.

They also still like some of the things they learnt as young children. Winnie the Pooh, The Hungry Caterpillar and such things. They had nursery rhymes told to them and stories of Scraggy Rabbit courtesy of a family friend.

When I was little, ok I have never really been little, my grandmother would tell me stories that she had in her head. None of this written down rubbish. I have never been able to remember them, apart from the first few words, and google searches have failed. But, recently, my mum found a copy, that she had written down, of one of these stories. It begins: At number one in Rabbit Row, A crowd of bunnies live, you know. The oldest one was Bobtail bunny…

I have to try and learn this so that I can tell it to my granddaughter when she is a little older. All I need to find now is the one about the tin soldier. I wonder if anyone reading this knows it. Kate?

The important thing is that I think that the children we have should retain their childhood for as long as they can, and we should help them. Even when they are older they should remember the childish things. Myself and Mini giant68 can behave quite childishly at times and it does relieve some of the stress of being an adult.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Time Warp?

Time is fleeting…

Where does it go? Only yesterday I was still at school, young, innocent and full of excitement (or was it drugs?) over what the future held for me. Now I am a 45 year old father and grandfather, jaded and made cynical by the blade that shaves the hours, minutes and seconds off of the thread that is my life.

But on a happier note…

Just over a year ago my daughter and son-in-law presented myself and Mrs Giant68 with a granddaughter. Last weekend we had the parties for the children and then the adults. I am ashamed to say I did get a little drunk. But in my defence I will say that I am not used to alcohol anymore so all I had was a sniff of the cork. (ok, I did sniff so hard that all the wine came out and drenched my liver but…) I have changed with time, I feel as though I have gone from that childhood innocence thru married bliss, divorced depression, single fun, married bliss, big softy as the kids were born and grew, jaded middle age and now back to old softy. I find that my granddaughters energy and inquisitiveness are fascinating. At her christening, while laying in the vicars arms, she noticed the water in the font. “Ooh, water! Lets play!” and proceeded to splash it all over the cleric. Maybe I look thru biased eyes ( “No!” I hear you cry) but she is the most amazing thing. Put her down and she is off to investigate. I have pulled some strange things out of the sub-woofer of my surround sound system! My dog hides before she can investigate how hard you have to pull fur before it comes out. And it’s a good job I have a carpet shampooer to clean up the soggy biscuit that has been ground into the carpet to see how long it takes granddad to clean it up.

All this probably means that the blade may be shaving time off my life a little quicker but what the hell?

I have several hundred photos of my granddaughter if anyone wants to see…
That is if there any people left on the face of this planet that I haven’t shown them

I have also discovered that my chest hair is going grey, but that is a story for another day.


Thursday, 26 August 2010

Sombrero anyone?

A stuffed donkey and a sombrero. That used to be the image that people had of Spanish holidays. Coachloads of sweaty, fat northerners heading to the airports on their package tours singing “E viva Espagne” at the top of their drunken lungs.

Not far off the mark really.

Mrs Giant68 and myself have just returned from 2 weeks at gas mark 8, liberally doused with booze in Torrevieja. As I have said before, I have been blessed with some really good friends. Now 2 of my friends have a house in Torrevieja, and they let us ruin their own holiday for a fortnight while we join them.

I will change all the names to protect the innocent so we will refer to them as Steve and Sarah (bugger! That is their name, oh well, never mind. They were never that innocent anyway!)

We have been to their house a few times and, therefore, know our way around and we know everyone in the area, all the expats and some of the Spaniards. So getting off the plane is almost like going home. This year, within a couple of hours we were sat in a Chinese restaurant eating and drinking and being remembered by Richard the waiter. Richard doesn't sound very Chinese but, to be perfectly honest, I can’t pronounce his real name let alone spell it. We were getting up in the morning and meeting people that we have known for some years.

This year Carlos had gone. For years we have gone to what we called Carlos Bar to drink and play cribbage. Carlos knew us, and even after a year away would remember that we liked to drink Guinness. His was generally the first place we would visit as it was the best pint of the holiday. A cold Guinness served in a glass that had been kept in the freezer. And when the temperature outside is in excess of 35°C, that is wonderful. But this year he has gone. The Meson Gallea is run by Jose and is not quite the same. So we went somewhere else.

Marys Bar is a little different. We had always walked past it thinking that it was a little run down and rough. It was. But the beer was good. The landlord, another Jose, was a surly bastard and we had the feeling that everyone stopped talking and stared at us as we sat down, and they did. But we persevered and by the second week of the holiday we were Joses best mates. We had free sardines, pork and sausages cooked by our hosts fair hands on his BBQ. The BBQ looked like it harboured all the e. coli and salmonella bugs in Spain, but the food was good and tasty and none of us were ill. We got into the habit of passing by after meals elsewhere for a coffee and brandy before went home.

As for the rest of the holiday, we had barbecues at the house, where we cooked our own sardines, meals out at Shellys bar, where we played pool. We went into town and ate ice cream at a shop that sells more flavours than there are flavours. My particular favourite was amaretto ice cream, I love marzipan and this was just marzipan ice cream, I had died and gone to heaven.

We sat round the pool, we swam, we went to the beach, we watched as Ann ranted about something or other while under the influence of a chilled Rose’. Steve, a notoriously fussy eater, ate the sardines, olives and battered prawns. I ate raw onion and garlic mayo ( I can’t face cold garlic usually, makes me want to puke!)

We listened to the sound of the Russian lap dancer being pleasured by her latest boyfriend, and cheered when she finally climaxed. We watched lightning and listened to the thunder. The rain was torrential for a couple of hours, a kid was actually surfing in the road! We trimmed trees and cut our fingers. We slept outside under the stars ( apart from the night it rained!) But mostly we had fun.And we were disappointed when it was over.

I will raise a glass of cerveza to Steve, Sarah, Harry, Ann, Sian, Amy, Jeremy, Roger, Pat, Christine, Mark and Steven. To the memory of Shelly, whose bar we drank and ate in. To Jose, the surly Spaniard, and the Spanish mafia for interrupting their card games with questions. Cheers! Here’s to next year, if we are invited back.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Ridin' along on my pushbike , Honey...

In the name of appearing fit, instead of fat as I used to be, I signed myself and Mrs Giant68 up for a bike ride. I’m not sure that she was that impressed but I told her that it would be a good day out in the sun, I’m not sure that believed me.
Sky, of the tv fame, and the British Cycling Association had got together and with the aid of Southampton City council had shut most of the roads around the town centre for the day so that us cyclists, who pay no road tax, insurance or any contribution at all to the upkeep of the roads (I am a driver as well and I hate those damned cyclists!!), could take over the city streets.
It was a 10km circuit up through the town centre and round the common. I didn’t factor into the equation the ride into the town centre itself. That added another 12km, at least.
We got a free hi-vis vest and there were free bottles of water and energy drinks, “whoopee!” I hear you cry. Some lotion for my sore arse afterwards would’ve been nice!
Bearing in mind that for the last 20+ years I have had knackered knees, this is the first serious cycle ride I have done in that time so I was quite impressed that I managed 2 laps plus the ride home, a total of 32km (20 miles for those of you still thinking pre-decimalisation). All the time riding with our heads on swivels as the little kids that were taking part had no concept of the straight line, and the more sporty types trying to do it at warp speed would, invariably, try and overtake as you were trying to avoid a small person!
We could have just done the ride but we decided that we would try and raise some money for charity. So far, with money promised but not collected yet, we should have somewhere in the region of £150, all to go to Naomi House, a childrens Hospice in Hampshire.
So a big thank you to Ted and Karen, Nicky and Neil, Louise, Gadget, mum and Geoff, the Wilson family (jnr.), The Boy, No.1 daughter, Brett (who actually rode with us), Bob S, Jackie W, Karen F, AC, promised cash from the Fishwicks, Teddy Mac, and Sharon. And to the one person who said "Charities? F**k 'em" I sincerely hope that you when you need a charity they give you the same answer.

Friday, 9 July 2010

More expensive than Gold

I have discovered the most expensive substance on the face of the planet. More valuable than gold, platinum or even saffron. I read a report a while ago that said printer ink was the most expensive commodity on the planet, but it was wrong. I can understand that the manufacturers of printers and the ink that goes in them spend fortunes on developing ink that flows without drying out in the cartridge. Has the correct consistency, colour, durability, and staying power so that when you print a picture it will not fade over time. They obviously want a return on their R & D investment. But they have it wrong. They have the wrong substance.

Yesterday I went to the opticians. I had my eyes tested after 2 years, as advised. To be honest, I knew that they were a little worse and last time I was told that I would probably need reading glasses this time. I sat in the chair and read the test card, you know, the one that says




A mint out

Out of you, mug!

Then comes the fun. The funny, adjustable lenses go on and various magnitudes are put in front of your eyes and I emerge knowing that I need varifocals so that I can read and see things that are further away than the end of my nose.

Fine, they have deals on the frames and lenses so this shouldn’t cost much. £317 later and I am in shock, but at least I will be able to see.

Now here comes the expensive substance. It is whatever they use to make the frames of spectacles. I have bought rimless specs. They are nothing more than 2 arms and the bridge to join the lenses. Must only weigh in at few ounces, but they have cost me £120. I can understand the varifocal lenses costing over a hundred quid, as they have to be cut and ground and polished. But three bits of, what is effectively, wire? Someone is having a laugh at the expense of all of us speccy four-eyes!!

Think I’ll go online next and buy some that are manufactured in a sweat shop in India. They may make me look a bit stupid but they will be cheap. The lenses may be so poorly polished that I wouldn’t be able to see myself in the mirror, anyway. But I will still have money in my pocket!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

A Tale of Two Tents...

Ok, so I went camping again. I must be some sort of masochist. I really don’t know what has got into me lately. I have started eating salads, exercising, living healthily, and now I enjoy camping. Will somebody please shoot me now! Before long I may turn all new age, and start getting in touch with my feminine side!

So, we loaded the entire contents of our house (and the neighbour’s house, I think) into the car and drove off down the road with a shower of sparks coming from the exhaust as it dragged along the ground. This time we were off to pastures new. Dorset, and Corfe Castle to be precise. We had plans for riding the steam train into Swanage on Saturday, barbeque in the evening, plenty of booze, bit of music and a good laugh.

It didn’t start well, with only four of us showing up out of the many that were invited, but that was their loss. The four of us decided that we could survive without the miserable buggers. Set the tents up and unpack the cars. Then off to find a chippy. Sated with a good portion of cod and chips, we set about demolishing a pile of bottled alcohol while we watched the sunset over the sheep and cows in the next field. Mooing and baaing was going to be least of our problems overnight as a group of Duke of Edinburgh students moved in at 10:30pm and made enough noise to wake the dead all night. And, yes, I do mean all night. In the end they were thrown off the site. But, by God, were we tired!

Never mind. We still managed the steam train into Swanage. Our daughter and granddaughter turned up for the train ride as well. Now the newest member of the Giant68 family is still not a year old so this was a big adventure for her, and she loved it. As she has me wrapped around her little finger I spent a fortune on her, but that’s what a granddad is for.

Barbeque was lit, as was the camping stove and we all set about demolishing a pile of food and the obligatory lake full of alcohol. Fuelled by the aforementioned alcohol we decided it would be a brilliant idea to climb the hill behind the camp and watch the sunset. We lost our team of Sherpa’s along the way and as we climbed through the cloud layer we could see the curvature of the Earth! It certainly felt like it! We all slept like the dead that night!

The sun came up and illuminated the interior of my tent. Why, in God’s name, do tent manufacturers not make the tent out of something that block the light from the Earths star? So I was awake pretty early, as always. One day I will get a lay in, that’s the problem with being a shift worker for the last 25 years, no lay ins.

Good job that I was awake, really, as we had to pack up reasonably early so that we could rush back home for the granddaughters christening. So with the help of a large shoehorn it was all squeezed back into the car and off we went.

Another camping trip over. I am becoming a veteran camper. Should I be proud of this, or should I be hanging my head in shame. When people ask how I spent my weekend should I say “Oh, I went camping” or should I just tell people that spent the entire weekend downloading gay porn?

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Guilty Pleasures...

Guilty pleasures. What’s yours? Nothing kinky or perverse (OK, then, just this once), just simple guilty pleasures that you would be ashamed to admit to even though they are really nothing to be ashamed of.
I am sat in the office looking out of the window, as I do, sun is shining down out of a clear blue sky and on the radio is “Me and you and a dog named Boo” by a band called Lobo (I think). And at this particular moment, as I sing along, all is well with the world, I am at peace. President Obama and the BP saga, the “Bloody Sunday” report etc may as well belong to another universe.
I have many of these “pleasures”, all the sort of thing that you wouldn't want to admit in public. I'm far too old to worry about what people think of me now. And they will all transport me to a different place. Sometimes they may transport me, mentally at least, to another place, sometimes to another time. On our way to a pub quiz a few weeks back, one of our friends had a perfume on that took me back years. I couldn’t quite grasp the memory that it evoked, every time I tried to grab it it would flutter just out of reach. Lincoln biscuits and malted milk biscuits take me to my childhood when I would stay with my grandmother in Nottingham
Sometimes these pleasures transport me nowhere, but are just pleasures. Tinned hotdog sausages, Big Macs, the smell of hawthorn blossom. To be honest, I should have probably kept quiet about the tinned hotdog sausages, people will now think that I’m weird.

My name’s Giant68 and I’m odd…

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Under canvas...

Well, the next episode in the camping saga is over and went quite well. But there are a few things that concern me, apart from the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed it (oh the shame!). Camping, in principle, seems to be a cheap way of having a holiday. And easy. Just load your tent into the car and off you go.

No. In reality you will load the entire contents of your house into the back of your car, drive for however many miles it is to your destination and then take the entire contents of your house ot of the car and put them in a field. I didn’t realise that my car could carry so much. It must have been designed by the same alien race that built the TARDIS. I am sure that the exhaust must have been dragging along the road leaving a trail of sparks behind.

Then you have to pitch your tent which takes a while. But not as long as those who take the trailer tent. Trailer tents are a completely different kettle of fish altogether. Unhitch, unfold and off you go. A fully fitted tent with all the luxuries of home. But, again, it’s never that easy, is it? Once you have ben allocated a pitch you have to get it aligned properly, then level it. Spirit level out and wedges to put under the wheels and a team of hunky blokes to drag one side up on the wedge. Fine if these hunky blokes are available but if it is you and the wife it can get very frustrating.

No Ted this time, so no purple shorts. Just nine good friends, lots of food for the bbq, lots of beer/wine. Bacon sandwiches for breakfast and plenty of coffee.

Interestingly, though, was discovering that Mrs Giant68 turned the inflatable mattress end for end when I decided I wanted my head uphill instead of down. I would have just moved the pillows to the other end. Female logic for you…

I may, now, go and buy my own tent instead of borrowing one. I may never be able to face the world again! :o)

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Carry On Camping II, "This Time It's Personal"

You will know by now, well you will if you read these things I take time to write and post, that I have had an experience camping. If you don’t know this you need to go back to the beginning and see what started all this blogging nonsense for me. You will find out interesting things such as: what colour shorts Ted wears when he goes running, although you won’t be as traumatised by this fact as we were seeing it.

Well, it looks as though I am going to have this experience again. So I decided that I would look around and see what equipment I could purchase to make the weekend a little easier. I spent a morning surfing the net and found that I could buy portable washing lines and a laundry basket, a cooker with grill and double oven, wardrobes, beds of all types and sizes. I could get a power invertor so that I could run my portable microwave and fridge from the car. That is, of course, if I didn’t have the luxury of an electric hook-up on the site... . There are fancy little stands that you can stick in the ground to hold your can of beer, Lord forbid that you should have to put your beer on the cold ground! Armchairs and sun loungers, the list goes on ad nauseam…

The question is: if you have bought all this so that you have all the comforts of home, why not just stay at home? It’s warm, comfortable and hedgehogs don’t bother you in the early hours (well, maybe they do, but to be honest I was very drunk at the time, please don’t tell the RSPCA!)

Looks like the boy is not coming this time. I don’t think that he can handle another night sleeping in his car due to the hedgehogs.

I am going to have to do this, relatively, sober as well as the diabetes still has to kept under control.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Am I a god, or what??

What do you see, in your head, when you think of yourself? This was something I was thinking today while eating an ice cream, people watching. I and Mrs Giant68 were sat in a shopping centre, somewhere in Hampshire, with a Thornton’s ice cream each, just watching people go by. I have spoken about this before, so you shouldn’t be too surprised about our pastimes.

Everyone is different and it takes different strokes to make a world, and boy did we see some different strokes this afternoon. Tall skinny ones, short fat ones, tall fat ones… You know the sort, the intelligencia mixing with the dregs of humanity. The Chavs and the Chav nots.

But what do they see when they look in the mirror? The middle aged bloke with his trousers slightly too short, shirt a bit too tight, the comb-over and the tattoos on show? Does he see an Adonis with the sartorial elegance of an Italian fashion house? Does the Chav single mother with the bacon belt see some sophisticated super model, as she looks at her reflection in the shop window, with a cigarette stuck between her lips?

When I look in the mirror, intellectually, I see a middle aged, overweight, exceedingly tall bloke. Yes, I have broad shoulders and, apparently, a nice backside, but I want to see a tall, broad shouldered, narrow hipped god of a man. Do the people that are out and about sometimes let their “want to see” take over from what they actually see. Does the 60ish year old woman in tight leggings and high-heeled shoes think she looks like a goddess instead of hooker for a niche market? Sometimes I wonder.

I also wonder if I will ever follow that route. Not the leggings and the shoes, obviously, but maybe dressing like a tw*t in some other way. Mini Giant68 reckons I already do! Thanks, son!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The Tall Guy

It’s time to get grumpy again. Let’s face it, I seem to be better at grumpy than I am at deep and philosophical. Yet again I am p*^^ed off with the world, nothing unusual there. So far, over the last couple of months I have lost over 2 stone in weight. This leads to the fact that all my clothes are now too big. OK, so when you are 6’8” and weigh 21 stone the clothes are going to be damn big, but now I am smaller in girth, and without a tight belt my trousers fall to the floor.

So now I have to go and get more trews. Difficult at the best of times. I have walked the floor of the department stores and drawn a blank. This is due to the fact that I need a 35” inside leg trouser. Now, they are available, but only if you are built like Peter Crouch. If I have the waist size equivalent to something that a gardener would grow beans up then I can buy trousers. But if I am a more normal size I may as well forget it. 32” waist, 35” inside leg, certainly Mr Beanpole, 40” waist, 35” inside leg, forget it you fat b*^$^rd.

Now I can’t be the only one that is slightly larger size, can I? There must be a clothes shop somewhere that can help me.

I have been, pretty much the same size for the last 25 years so why is it that whenever we get a new issue of t-shirts at work do I always get issued with a size to small? Everytime I have to hand them back and ask for bigger ones and then wait while they are ordered?

It strikes me that all this is a form of discrimination. If I was a midget, black, a homosexual, female, missing a limb or all of the above I could scream from the rooftops that I was being discriminated against. But I am just tall. I can’t buy trousers. I struggle to buy shoes, shirts and trousers. I bang my head when I walk through doorways. I can wedge myself between the floor and the ceiling on buses so that I don’t fall over. Buying a car is a bloody nightmare. But it seems that the only solution is to have a couple of inches surgically removed. (Heightwise, what were you thinking?)

Maybe I ought to start a support group? Suggestions for the name on a postcard please…

Monday, 5 April 2010

What's your story?

What’s the story? I was having a conversation with a friend the other day. He was lambasting me for my terrible blogging rate again. I try, I really do. But sometimes the blog just doesn’t flow. Anyway, we were talking about people, and how we never really now the people that touch our lives. And what is the story of some of the people that we pass in the street. This came about after a story in the papers about an old woman who turned out to have been a spy during the war.

So when you are sitting in some café having a cup of latte and just watching the Saturday morning shopping crowds wander past do you ever wonder what people do, or have done. Do you make up stories about them? If you read my blogs you will have read about the courier van stopping by a man stood at the side of the road, that sort of thing. Mrs Giant68 and I quite often people watch. It can be quite entertaining. We have awards for the weirdest person of the day, largest boobs (yeah, I know, kinda strange) Tallest, shortest, fattest etc. But sometimes I look at people and wonder what they have experienced.

Older people will have lived through such different times than we ever will. I used to have a friend who was a gunnery officer in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. He used to tell me all sorts of stories over a few pints down the pub. He talked of sippers and gulpers and cockers p’s. There were other old boys I drank with who were serving in the navy escorting Baltic convoys. These people have been through things that anyone of my generation and younger cannot imagine. Their experiences have shaped their lives in directions that ours will never go. The way the world is going, the younger generation will have their lives shaped by which computer games they play, what films they watch and which lager they drink. What sort of stories will they be able to tell people in the future over a pint in the local? Of how they set their trophy dog on some other chav after he spilled their Stella?

So when you are people watching bear in mind that the old guy shambling down the street could have a story that is far more interesting that the one you have just made up about him. When I think of all the people I know, and what I know about them, there must be some really good stories to hear. My great uncle Norman, ex RAF warrant officer who has served all over the world and tells the most amazing stories, Oggy the ex-gunnery officer, Jumbo from the Baltic convoys. Listen to the stories before they are gone, because the story of Norman getting a tank transporter stuck in Woolworths In Salisbury will be lost forever. Laugh, I very nearly p*$$ed myself over that one!

Friday, 12 March 2010


Magic or science? Which do you prefer?

I read science fiction, but if you read my blog you will already know this shameful secret. I also like the popular science books, you know the sort: A Brief History of Time and Why Don’t Penguins Feet Freeze, that sort of thing. I like to think that I understand technology and the science of the world around me. I don’t want to end up like some of the elderly that you see walking around the town looking totally bewildered at the modern world. I know how to use my mobile phone, actually a smartphone, and can surf the internet like a pro.

But I can’t help feeling that something is missing.

Where has the magic gone in the world? There was a time when the television was a thing of magic. Pictures that appeared in the glass fronted box in the corner of the room. Now we know that the pictures are converted into a mass of 1’s and 0’s, transmitted through the air as a stream of microwaves or radio waves to a satellite 36000km up in geostationary orbit, bounced back to the dish and reconverted to pictures again in the telly. Magic was better. In theory planes stay in the air due to Bernoullis Principle, that says that the air flowing over the top of the wing is faster and therefore at lower pressure. But I also read somewhere that scientists aren’t really sure. Why would the air flow faster over the top? Just because it is a longer distance over the top of an aerofoil doesn’t make the air go faster, it is not a race between top and bottom. Maybe it is magic, or will power. 200 people not wanting to drop out of the sky like a stone!

Would we all be happier if the electric light worked by magic? Father Christmas really existed and the Easter Bunny laid chocolate eggs in your garden? And a Pangolin was a musical instrument?

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Don't take me seriously...

Don’t overdo it. Oh, and don’t take it too seriously.

As I have gotten older this is the one universal truth that I have learnt. Throughout my life have taken part in various things, sporting activities, hobbies etc. And there has come a point where I have started to take it far too seriously. And that is the time to stop and reassess what you want out of the activity, hobby, whatever.

When I was 13 or 14 I got interested in astronomy. I bought the books, a telescope and joined a society. I really enjoyed looking at the night sky with the scope or binoculars or just naked eye. It was amazing. Seeing the rings of Saturn with your own eyes rather than in a picture is just something else. But before long I had joined a national society and become a committee member of the local society. Then I started to get lost in the politics of running a society. Enjoyment gone.

Now 30+ years later I have rediscovered that passion I had at 14. I have a telescope and a pair of binoculars and looking at the sky a marvel again. From the rings of Saturn through Uranus (Oooh, matron!), to sunspots. I have joined the big national societies but have decided not to take it seriously. I will not get involved in organised events unless it really interests me. Otherwise I will read the quarterly magazines and look at the stars from my garden and just enjoy it. It is quite relaxing. I also have a digital camera which I will rig up to the telescope so that I can enjoy the stars when it is cloudy by looking at the pictures that I have taken.

I have a couple of friends who like photography. They have fancy DSLR cameras and they take photos just so. The light has to right, the exposure, the filter stuck on the lens. The subject must be arranged just so. I am sure that they look at the world through a different set of eyes than I do. That obviously suits them. They tell me to remember the rules of photography and do it like this. But I take photos for me. I take photos of things that please my eye and that I like to look at. I hope I don’t start to take it that seriously or I may as well chuck the camera in the bin.

All these pastimes I have taken up and given up when they get to serious, shame really. I enjoyed them to start with, or I must have. But I must also remember not to take life that seriously ever again.

And nor should you.

Friday, 12 February 2010

For one week in six I sit in an office that looks out onto a busy dockyard.
The job is not too arduous and gives me a little time to just watch the
world go by. It is strange, some of the things that I see from my window.
Today, for instance, there was a man stood by the road, just waiting. Then
a courier van pulled up on the other side of the road, the driver got out
and reached into the back of the van and retrieved a small parcel, walked
over to the waiting man, chatted for a few minutes then handed over the
parcel. Now that struck me as odd. Normally a courier would deliver to an
address, not to some bloke in the street. What was in the package? Was it
some dodgy drug deal, or something else just as illegal? Or was it a
message form the past, as in Back To The Future. A letter written a hundred
years ago and stored until a certain date in the future when it will be
handed to a man in a grey jacket stood by the side of a particular road.
Maybe the boredom is just getting to me.

Some of the funniest sights are when we have a cruise liner in the dock. We
get a steady stream of older people walking through the dock gate to their
ship. Most are dragging suitcases the size of the wardrobe that contained
Narnia. By this point most of them are on their way to a heart attack. They
get off the train at the central Station and can see the ship that they
will spend the next few weeks aboard, it doesn’t look to far. They can walk
that distance easily. What they fail to realise is that the ships are big.
Really huge in some cases, and look closer because of that. It is probably
½ a mile from the station to the dock gate. But from their it is easily
another mile to the quayside, along a pavement that is full of lumps and
bumps and potholes. By the time they pass me they are on the point of
collapse. Generally the woman is ok because the husband has, obviously said
“Don’t worry, dear, I can drag every item of clothing and pair of shoes
that you ever bought in this large wardrobe on wheels the short distance to
the boat.”
Strangely enough, when there is a cruise liner in there are generally a
large number of ambulances entering the dock, wonder if there is a
I am thinking of setting up a business replacing suitcase wheels from the
ready supply found scattered along the pavement.
These people have just spent several thousand pounds on a cruise. You can’t
tell me that their pension won’t stretch to the cost of a taxi from the

There is also a steady movement of brand spanking new cars through the dock
on their way to destinations, probably, more sunny than this. Hondas, Fords
and the occasional Jag. Every now and then, when there is no traffic along
the dock road, some of the guys that shift these cars like to have a bit of
fun. The car stops, then to a scream of spinning rubber and the
accompanying smell and smoke the car takes off at a significant rate of
knots. Jealous? Me? Yep!

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Piercing wit

Ok, I’m sorry. I received a rollicking today. Nothing serious, it was just that one of the lorry drivers I spoke about a while back had noticed that my rate of blogging had fallen off a bit. I am grateful that someone is actually following the blog. And I’m not worried that it is someone who lives in a tin box on wheels thru’ the week with their only companion: the internet and a CB radio. I’m not proud, God knows I can’t afford to be, I’ll accept anyone as a follower of my blog. As long as they don’t start to stalk me, that would be just creepy.

By the way, Ralph, the little white pills really hit the spot, thanks.

So now I have to think of something to say.

I see in the paper this week that someone has been complaining about scruffy people in the media. I don’t really care what people look like, to an extent. Jeremy Clarkson in jeans doesn’t bother me. The weird girl who served me in Tesco café the other day did bother me. She had piercings in a strange place. In her wrist. Surely, as someone who works with food, she shouldn’t have been allowed near the hot food server, let alone the caffe latte maker. I work in a company that makes food. I am not allowed to wear my piercings at work in case they fall into the product, I haven’t told the boss about the Prince Albert as I’m scared he might want to inspect it, but apparently you can be pierced and serve food. Strange.

Quite often as I walk round the shops I will see some pierced freak with more metalwork than the Eiffel tower hanging out of their face, ears and God knows where else. These are the same people that, when sat at the checkout, refer to me as “mate” At this point the red mist starts to rise before my eyes. I want to be called “Sir” or “Mr…” I certainly don’t want to be called “mate” by someone who is least likely to be my mate.

Mate is a slang term for friend, or a term for a procreational partner. I cannot see myself becoming friends with the lank haired victim of a deranged blacksmith. Nor can I see myself procreating with this missing link. I have been known to explain this in a loud voice, to deaf ears. Probably the piercings are weighing down the lobes so much that the ear canal is closed. I waste my time. Why do I bother?

I’m all for a little individuality, but please don’t call me “mate” unless you have known me for some time or I have slept with you.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Hello Sweetness!

Went to the doctor yesterday. Just to go over the results of some blood tests I had before Christmas. He told me what I already knew, I’m sweet. Really sweet. I’m diabetic.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, I’m mid-forties, a tad overweight and probably don’t look after myself as well as I should. I used to be quite healthy. I cycled everywhere and was whippet thin and then I discovered the joys of alcohol, women and eventually marriage. I was lucky in that I married a woman who was a good cook, boy, was she a good cook. So really it is her fault that I am now a shambling wreck of a man instead of the athlete I was twenty years ago. I’m only joking, dear, honestly.

Life now presents me with some problems to overcome. I have to change a lifestyle that I have settled into, probably a little too easily. If you read my blogs you will know that I am a confirmed salad dodger, but now I have to try and get five portions of fruit and veg into this knackered body of mine. I also have to cut down on the sugary stuff. This won’t be too hard because I have always been a savoury rather than sweet man. I prefer the cheese board to the dessert. But I do like a bit of sugar in the coffee that keeps me going through the day. I guess I will have to learn to take it without or find an artificial sweetener that actually tastes sweet. I will have to be more careful over what I eat, get the balance of carbs and fats and proteins right. Lose a little weight, do a little more exercise…

Life will be fun again, eventually.

I thought that of the two main types of diabetes type 2 was minor irritation rather than anything serious. But I have now read the diabetes UK website and I am sobered by what I have read. If you think you may be diabetic, or you want to take preventative measures so that you don’t become diabetic read it. I can see that these changes must be made. I will make these changes; after all, I gave up smoking without any help and without too much of a problem, so hard can it be?

I expect Mrs Giant68 will find me whimpering in a corner somewhere in about a weeks’ time.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

My Arse!

For one week in six I spend my days at work directing traffic. No, I’m not a copper. I just tell the drivers of trucks where to tip their load. I sit in an office and look out the window at a lorry either side of me, trailer tipped up and cab facing out into the road. I listen to the radio; do the relevant paperwork, tidy up, whatever.

Now, don’t get me wrong, most of the drivers that come in are nice chaps. Very friendly, although they do tend to take the mick at times, but, I guess, they get as good as they give.

The towns are full of chavs with their trousers ½ way down their arse, showing the colour of their underwear. It really annoys me and makes me feel like telling them to pull the bloody things up! But they are nowhere near as bad as some truck drivers. At least the chavs just show their underwear. Sometimes I look out of the office window and wonder if I can hold onto my lunch as another driver reverses out of his cab with trousers at ½ mast and most of his arse on show! Why do they have to do it? Do they feel that this is a good look for a knight of the road? Surely they should be able to hoik their trousers up inside the cab? Or maybe someone could design a pair of strides that come further up the back and, therefore, don’t expose the rectum to fresh air. Then the poor afflicted driver can spend more of his time worrying about where he can obtain a Yorkie bar.

And as for Tyrone and his reversing…