Saturday, June 28, 2008


I got a water bill in the post this morning. Dated 14 June 2007, for the period 18 August 2006 - 12 November 2006, 'please ensure that your payment reaches us by 5 Jul 07.'

And it's not a bill for this place. It's for the flat in Boston that I used to live in until November 2003. I mean, what's going on here? It says 'this is a copy bill' on it, so I assume the people who live there now have asked for a copy and through some confusion of the computer system it's come to me by mistake. But the enquiries phone line isn't open again until Monday, so I'll just have to remain confused until then.

It surprises me that Anglian Water have got my new address in the first place. Unless I'm misremembering, I didn't pay the water bill at the Boston flat, the landlord did. I don't recall telling the water company where I was moving to. It's all extremely strange. Possibly it's all some kind of elaborate practical joke performed by a really uninspired new TV show.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Must... resist... temptation...

Sometimes it's so hard to refrain from poking gentle fun at companies that might possibly be going to employ me. Tell you what, if I don't get this particular job, I'll deride them at length next week. In a harmless kind of way, of course - there was even a thing on the BBC news website a while ago about stupid corporate jargon, so I'm sure it wouldn't really hurt to write about it on the blog. But better safe than sorry, eh?

I'll complain about the BBC instead. That'll teach them. Is it me, or is their coverage of Wimbledon more rubbish this year than it has been in the past? They seem to have cameras on fewer courts for people to watch via the red button. I like to watch the doubles games if I've got nothing better to do, but they've barely been televised at all this year so far.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Nothg. happened

Sorry, twenty to eleven, watching hilarious comedy "The Inbetweeners", have divided day between chasing up jobs and somehow not remembering to blog earlier, no time to write more. Or to frame complete sentences. Will make up for it tomorrow. Pronouns too.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

He's called David Higginbottom?

"I've already killed three people with my skimmer, but that hardly counts - they were all Senior Citizens."

So says Dano Gazzard, slipped nonchalently into a paragraph describing himself and his surroundings, so casually that it goes unnoticed by a ten-year-old reader looking forward to some kind of science-fiction children's story. By the time this ten-year-old gets to the end of "Time Trap" with its ingeniously tightly-knotted time-travel circular insanity plotline and the pretty horrific ending where the good guys don't win, he's hooked on the works of Nicholas Fisk for life.

So it was nice to find out that the favourite author of my boyhood years has acquired a Wikipedia page since I last tried to look him up on the internet. And hey, check it out! Not only is his real name David Higginbottom, he shares my birthday! And he's, as far as whoever wrote the wiki page knows, at least, still alive, and nearly 85. I need to find a way to send him a long-overdue fan letter.

Words can't describe how cool the books of Nicholas Fisk are. Calling them children's sci-fi does them a real disservice - I'd never read anything so adult in tone (and still haven't read much that can compare with his best stuff, even now). It's criminal that he's not better-known. I'd love to see his stuff back in print again, because most of his books I got from the library. All I've got on my bookshelves now are tattered old copies of "Time Trap" and "Robot Revolt" and a more recent edition of "Trillions" I found a few years ago.

Now my interest has been piqued by that bibliography (including some that the libraries at Horncastle and Boston didn't have in their collections), I really want to track down copies of the likes of "A Rag, A Bone And A Hank Of Hair" ('And please do not tell me that Jack cannot be killed, because I say he can') and "Space Hostages" (the rather graphic description of the dying, deranged Flight Lieutenant sticks with me even now). And so many other long-lost favourites on that list, too - "Leadfoot" was always a particular favourite, no sci-fi in that one, just a boy and a car, Oddiputs the evil robot from "Sweets From A Stranger and other stories", "On The Flip Side", which gave me weird dreams for a month afterwards (those blobs were scary!)...

I need to start trawling eBay and charity shops. And re-reading the handful of books I've still got. Starting with Robot Revolt - great story, bad title. I think a lot of his titles were forced on him by the publishers, but this one especially - sure, it's snappy and it lures readers in, probably, but the point of the book is that while it is about a robot revolt, we don't realise that until late on in the story. We think it's about Hez and Abi and the Pastor, until things come to a head and we see that Max has been using the heroes for his own purposes. And then there's another twist to come after that...

Great stuff. Seriously.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Curse this self-imposed ban on blogging about jobs I'm applying for. While it does reduce the chance of me inadvertently offending a potential employer, it does leave me short of something to write about when I haven't done anything else of interest all day. I get the feeling people are going to read this and think I'm living a life of vacuous sloth, when in fact that's only partially true.

I suppose I could pretend I've done something exciting. I could make up a thrilling tale about how I rescued a kitten stuck up a tree - poor thing, it was blown up there by the gales the other day, it didn't climb up there by itself. In fact, it can't climb, it was brought up by pigs after its mother died in an unusual helicopter accident when it was only a baby, and it believes itself to be a piglet. And I must confess that while I was rescuing it, I accidentally let slip that it looks more like a kitten to me, which has thrown the poor thing into a state of terrible confusion. It went straight back to its surrogate mother and demanded to know whether it was adopted.

Mind you, these modern kittens adapt pretty easily to this kind of thing. I'm sure it'll be okay if someone just reads it the story of the ugly duckling. The cat-language version, obviously, in which the ducks and swans are all eaten by kittens at the end. That'll put a smile on any kitten/piglet's face.

Okay, I'll make a point of doing something bloggable tomorrow. I'd hate for this thing to become dull and devoid of content.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Right, that does it, no more reindeer games for you.

I knocked over one of the piles of old paper in my living room (remember that exciting post last week about unpacking my box of old paperwork?) to be greeted by a loud, high-pitched, bleepy, acoustic version of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". Constantly repeating itself. It took me about five minutes of digging through all the old rubbish before I managed to find the Christmas card that was bleeping at me. I was beginning to think that I'd just have to get used to the constant jingle for the rest of eternity. It would certainly get me into a Christmassy mood, and I think that's something there should be more of in June. Let's celebrate Jesus's half-birthday!

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I got my keyboard back, if you were worried. By way of the neighbours leaving it out in the hallway. So that's all okay, unless they still think I'm a maniac rock star. Maybe one day I'll learn to play the thing, if it still works, instead of just using it as a window-prop.

Anyway, new week beckons. No football till Wednesday. How will I survive? It's surprisingly easy to get addicted to an international tournament, even when England aren't in it...