Much A Blog About Nothing

The week just gone was bereft of any WDW planning. With so little time before we go this is very remiss of me. I should be able to pull it back, but that’s because I’ve been a few times and I know what I’m doing. I don’t suggest any newbies attempt this reckless approach to their Florida holiday.

That tardiness was in no small part down to series 3 (or season if I aspire to the American culture) of Narcos. The first two seasons were excellent and centred on Pablo Escabar, or Emilio Estaban if you’re Louise. Spoiler alert – He dies at the end of season two, which meant that I was a little worried that the next season may suffer. If anything it was better. It centres this time on the Cali Cartel and it was gripping from start to finish. If you haven’t seen it, stop reading right now and go and binge watch all three.

The world of Mustard is also keeping me nice and busy. We’re back from a summer break and into a solid period of gigging now, along with rehearsing a good chunk of new stuff. Our next session to reinvent the world of music is tomorrow when we’ll be improving several classics and sending our versions to the original artists to show them how it’s done.

Over the summer we did mange to record some stuff in the studio (hark at me all Dark Side Of The Moon).

The intention was to create a short promo video to show to potential clients. So should you have any wedding, function or party band requirements then you know where I am!

Last night saw us blowing minds in Burnley. On the evidence of a couple of the audience members, there wasn’t that much to work with. Still, we went down very well which always makes it enjoyable.

You see some odd behaviour in some of the places we play. Last night’s highlight was one “excitable” chap who seemed obsessed with being on the stage with us. I tip my hat to Graham our singer who diplomatically and non violently encouraged him off again about a dozen times. This chap’s other obsession was shaking hands with each member of the band. That’s lovely, however he insisted on doing this mid-song. Most of the time we need both hands to be doing what we’re doing but he didn’t seem able to work this one out. Bless him.

So after such a night of gigging Sundays tend to be a restful affair. I suspect our hand shaking friend from last night may well be needing a little more resting than I.

In other creative news, about a thousand years ago I self published a novel. Several people even read it (thank you) and I am currently about 20,000 words into another. To be honest, I have been 20,000 words in for well over a year and haven’t looked at it in ages. Time to do so has been in short supply. I am calling myself out for this piss poorness in an attempt to get me back into it. Now, roughly 19,000 words of those are likely to be absolute crap, but unless I make the effort to open the bloody thing and crack on, nobody will ever know.

Encouraging me to get this done may not be in your best interest as if it ever gets done I’ll be bugging you all to read it.

So there we go, a half decent job of blogging about nothing. Watch and learn aspiring social media wannabees!

Till the next time….

By The Power of Olly Murs’ Hair Transplant

If life were fair then obvious anomalies, such as Olly Murs playing Wembley, would be unheard of. This modern-day Sid Owen autotunes his way to another sold out night at a huge venue whilst genuine talent such Jessie J plays relatively tiny venues like the Manchester Apollo when touring. Now, I’m no avid Jessie J fan, in fact I’d struggle to tell you more than a couple of her songs, but in terms of singing talent there is little contest. Such is the power of the record buying demographic I suppose. Young girls are the king makers of the pop industry.

This is undoubtedly the only reason why I cannot make a living from playing gigs and not have to accommodate the nine to six existence of my day job. Age, no hair, limited talent and a tendency to be a couple of stone the wrong side of my fighting weight may also contribute, but you get the idea.

Yes Friday night witnessed my second gig this century and I enjoyed it very much. Sure it was a cramped, hot, sweaty pub but that did not diminish the amount of enjoyment. It also helped that I felt like I knew at least some of the songs this time around and so I was able to relax a little more. Overall, it went well, folks enjoyed themselves and I think we picked up a couple more gigs as a result. Even packing up after midnight in a moderate drizzle was tolerable. You won’t see Olly Murs doing that as it would play havoc with his hair transplant.

Whilst on a creative roll, my first (and hopefully not last) novel, All This And More,  is currently gracing Amazon at a ridiculous 99p. That’s hours of entertainment for not a lot of cash. Should you have not yet purchased a copy, firstly, shame on you and secondly now is the time. Who knows when this crazy offer will be repeated. It is a time limited offer so don’t delay!

Book Cover

With the year motoring along now our thoughts are starting to turn to our WDW trip. Louise especially declares herself very ready for our holiday and is even doing silly things like trying to have a say in what we do when we go. I know, crazy right? This weekend she has been trying to add a night away at the beach. The implications and complications this sort of late change can make is incalculable. It is only because I am a planning genius that I can begin to contemplate such madness. We were always going to drive over to Daytona to watch some baseball on Labour (Labor is no way to spell that word America) weekend, but I was not planning for us to stay over.

Today then, I have been looking into hotels over in Daytona to make Louise feel as if her input is valid. The benefit of doing so is that it fills up that weekend when we shall not be going within five miles of a theme park as all of America and several other countries will be trying to ride Soarin’.

The current front-runner is Hyatt Place, which looks like this.

Hyatt Place

It fits our (small) budget for this unplanned excursion and has lots of good reviews. If nothing better turns up as I continue my research then that shall be booked and the plan altered. It will soon come to a point where the plan cannot be amended again as it will be laminated and stored away for safe keeping!

With my eye on Orlando so to speak I have noticed a couple of new attractions which seem to share two themes. The first is that they both involve heights and the second is that Louise won’t be going anywhere near them due to that first theme.

The Orlando Eye, much like the London one, will be familiar to many. I very much doubt we’ll be paying a visit as Louise would need to be unconscious to darken its doors.

Having said that, there would be more chance of Louise living the rest of her days going round on the Eye if the alternative was to go on the other one just once.

The Vomatron looks like fun but I fear that I’d feel like death for about a week after riding. Rebecca and her friend Sarah may have to be the volunteers from our party should we get to Old Town!

We are 101 days away from departure and it is nice to have that so close now. With everything else we’ve had going on it hasn’t been something we have thought about or focussed on too much. Hopefully I can now bore you to death over the next few weeks with every small planning detail, most, as you know, will involve food.

Speaking of which, time to eat.

Till the next time…..

Breaking (Bad) Appliances

Let me get the book plug (not butt plug) out of the way first, as I am forever conscious that this sort of promo isn’t something many enjoy. I often feel uncomfortable pushing my wares here, but then I remind myself that the fact I completed an actual novel, figured out how to self publish it and have had some half decent feedback means that I should be more proud and pushy about that.

Anyway, I found another route via which to offer a proper actual physical paperback version of All This And More.

paperback coverKnowing how hard I am finding it to eek out any time to write the next one, with each passing day the admiration I have for myself for getting this book out there is growing!

I know few of you will make the purchase. It’s £6.99 for goodness sake, which cannot be avoided, but I have been asked a few times if a physical copy is available, so there you go. I will take the chance to ask those of you that have read it and vaguely enjoyed it to share your gushing appreciation via an Amazon review.

I have looked into doing similar for the trip report books, but the large number of photos in them means it isn’t really viable. You could buy yourself a holiday to WDW for just a little more than the price of the book would need to be to cover the costs of production.

It’s been a busy yet uneventful week, with the “highlight” being as mundane as our new toaster arriving. Normally I would not bother you with such nonsense, but it is the latest (and hopefully last) item in what appears to be an electrical appliance revolt in our house. In the past couple of weeks we have replaced the TV, microwave, kettle and toaster. My annoyance at such outlay on these unexciting, yet essential purchases is only outweighed by the joy of the retailer I have bought them from. Someone less grumpy may point out that we’ve had each of these items for many a year and that everything has its limited lifespan. To that I say, sod off smart arse, I’m skint.

After what feels like weeks (or in the case of the Daily Express, who start their “worst winter ever” stories in June, months) of warnings about incoming snow we got some over the weekend. It was sadly not enough to see me stranded in the house for a week unable to do the commute to work, but it did afford Oli some play time. He does enjoy a good frolic in the white stuff. In that regard he has a lot in common with Lindsay Lohan.

Louise has seen little of the snow, TV, our new toaster or the outside world beyond work as she continues to wrestle with her last ever assignment. It is due in very soon and if you are connected to her on Facebook, you will know that she is not enjoying the writing of it. A cloud will lift from the house when it is submitted I am sure. The fact that this is the last one is no doubt playing its part in the struggle but it is one more milestone on the long and arduous journey to nursedom.

Emily is more or less fully mobile again after her ankle injury over Christmas just in time for her countdown to becoming even shorter. We shall soon be off to London again for her visa appointment at the Embassy which signals the final stages of her build up.

Rebecca continues to adjust to single life after her two-year relationship ended recently which mostly involves doing things that Louise and I need to worry about. Is there a phrase that strikes fear into a parent’s heart more than “I’m just going out for a drive with (insert friend’s name)”? From these outings and her rare nights out in town, there is no better feeling than knowing she is back home, safe and sound, once again. I am assuming that keeping your daughters in their rooms in bubble wrap until they are thirty is frowned upon?

In our ongoing quest to find a replacement for our Breaking Bad addiction we have been down many avenues on Netflix. We have enjoyed many without ever feeling that they could hold us as Walt and Jessie did. Our latest binge watch obsession is Sons of Anarchy. It’s up there with the best of the rest, but still hasn’t taken over our lives and thoughts as Breaking Bad did. I’m not sure anything ever will. If you haven’t yet watched that, what are you doing wasting your time reading this crap? Get yourself an internet connected device, a Netflix subscription and about 100 hours of your life. You will not regret it.

So in summary, buy my book (any of them), write me a good review, convince my daughters to stop doing stuff that they might enjoy which causes me stress and watch Breaking Bad. Thanks!

Till the next time….

 

All This and More Old Age

It’s been a while since I politely rammed one of my books down your throats so please open wide!

My first novel, All This And More is on offer for a short while at a silly price of just 99p. Had you so far resisted the urge to indulge in the finest work of literary genius since Katie Price’s (auto) biography, then this opportunity is one you should not be passing up.

Book Cover

Buy 400,000 copies please.

I’m not sure what else you can buy for 99p these days that would give you hours (or minutes) of entertainment, so as an investment, you know it makes sense Rodders!

I am still battling to make any sort of real progress with the next one. Life and work especially is just very, very busy and this is rather annoyingly getting in the way of me doing much writing. I am quite indignant that nobody has yet offered me a million pound advance to go and sit on my balcony in my newly acquired Florida property overlooking Vero beach, whist I ponder over my latest plot twist and how many pancakes to have for breakfast. To make that happen, you should feel obliged to invest 99p in my dream, read the thing, leave me a glowing review and then petition every single person in the UK book business to sign me up and sort me out. Thanks.

Last week seemed to  manage that impressive combination of going really quickly, and seeming an age from one weekend to the other. It’s probably an age thing to be honest. There are unavoidable and irrefutable signs that I am not the lithe coiled spring of youth that I once was. I am having to hold reading matter at arm’s length to get it into focus, I no longer seem able to lie in, long after the days of my children having me awake at silly hours of a weekend and, to top it all, I find my finger finding the preset button to take me to Radio 4 more often these days.

Don’t get me wrong I can still tolerate minutes of Radio One from time to time. You will be aware that I am totally awesome and down with the kids, attending gigs for the likes of Panic! At the Disco, and getting that important exclamation mark in the right place. However, it is unusal for me to last more than once record nowadays, just ask Louise! Radio Two is a safe bet of course, but some bits of that irk me, as at times it comes across as the audio equivalent of a Women’s Institute Meeting in rural Surrey. For example, the Friday drive time all request thing hosted by Simon Mayo (who I like a lot) appears to be dominated by people called Camilla proclaiming it wine o’clock before taking India to the Gymkhana the next day. I also wonder, when faced with the entire musical output of several generations and endless genres, everyone who gets through seems to pick one of the same six songs!

Anyway, Radio 4 is becoming a larger part of my ever-expanding commute and I often revel in its bizarre randomness. It is like a whole other world sometimes, and in the daily “comedy” slot at 6.30, slap bang in the worst battles of my journey home, I have yet been caused to smirk never mind laugh, but still, I continue to listen, feeling somehow soothed by the noises, like some sort of near term baby in the womb of my Peugeot.

Old age is a weird thing. As they say though, it does seem much more appealing than the alternative.

I have again done zero holiday planning and to be honest almost zero holiday thinking such has been the hectic nature of this week, including another visit down south to Head Office. I learnt, whilst there that our Christmas do is confirmed for Minehead. Yep, Minehead. If you were looking for the venue furthest from my home address that would be it. It involves a country house, shotguns, archery and some drinking. What could possibly go wrong? I am lucky enough to work for a company that pays for all this, so I am not moaning at all. I just hope my aged bones can cope with the alcohol.

Right, I have to complete the making of our tea, having bashed this post out whilst cooking it. Impressive I know. Enjoy your week!

Till the next time…..

 

My Big End Has Gone!

Right, I can’t stay long, we are two-thirds of the way through Series 4 of Game of Thrones. I know you’ll understand!

I have made a mental note to draft a very stiff letter of complaint to the producers and indeed George Martin about the lack of dwarf sex thus far in this series. What the producer of the Beatles can do about it I don’t know, but it is worth a try. Game of Thrones without dwarf sex is like a summer without a trip to Florida. Unheard of, unfair and something I should not be subjected to. I need both dawrf sex and Florida holidays in my life. Now there’s a sentence I didn’t think I’d be typing.

The main news I wish to share this week is good, I hope. For all those of you that have been saving up to buy my book, and had only managed to save up 50% of the required fee….well, for the next few days, you now have enough to enjoy probably the finest piece of literature ever written, by someone called Craig Williams from Bolton.

Yes, All This And More is just 99p!

Book Cover

Buy 400,000 copies please.

Having the book on promo does seem to have worked, with the rate of sales rising quite dramatically over the last few days. Hopefully, those taking the plunge will like it and tell the world about it in the form of a glowing review. (That’s a hint).

The most exciting part of the week just gone was the realisation that the MOT on Louise’s car had expired, let’s just say, a little while ago. It was a genuine oversight (officer), and resulted in a panic ridden call to our newly regular mechanic. He’s a mobile one. This doesn’t mean he turns up with two turntables, a string of neon lights and some Boney M records. No, instead he comes to us for servicing and stuff, and so far has seemed extremely trustworthy in terms of not inventing issues to relieve us of our meagre wealth.

One of the great fears of a non petrol headed office worker nancy boy like myself is the trip to the garage where they sneer at my soft hands and work suit and proceed to shake their head whilst telling me my big end has gone. It would be nice if they would have the decency to actually be looking at the car when they say that, but nevertheless I get my wallet out anyway.

So despite the overdue nature of the MOT a pass was received, and with mine done just a few weeks ago that makes two out of two. So there we have used up all of our good fortune until around 2019. It is nice to be legal once again, which was a phrase Jimmy Saville and his mates may have done well to heed.

The weekend has fallen through my hands like sand again, with the  main event last night being the attendance of a “charidee” fundraising event. It was perhaps not quite as grand as that phrase may infer. It was a pie and peas with beer evening at my brother and sister in-laws. They had laid on said delights in return for donations towards Paula’s (my sister-in-law) upcoming bike ride. She is hoping to raise money for stammering children by cycling from London to Paris over four days next April. This is quite clearly madness and the damage to one’s rear end on such a journey will no doubt eclipse whatever the mechanics would say had happened to my big one.

Anyway, the pie, peas and beer were all very nice and a good amount of cash was raised, as well as my team being not just victorious, but imperious in the France and England based quiz. I have the trophy and medal to prove it.

Should you wish to find out more about Paula’s endeavors here is the info you need.

Right, episode seven beckons.

Till the next time…..

 

Give Me Strength

In any other year since 2003, today would have seen me aboasting and abragging about my shiny new countdown to a wonderful holiday in Florida.

Each year, without fail, comes a day like this, when Louise finally breaks, and declares that we simply must return to the promised land, and no matter how much I argue, I am forced to do the deed. My yearning for returning is pretty constant, at a solid 10 out of 10, sometimes peaking at around a 26 on a bad day.

It takes Louise a little longer to get to this position, but today, she did, and it has resulted in me explaining in great detail all of the reasons why we cannot. Most of those involved a bank statement and the stains of my tears upon it, but I think I have made my point, and the credit card remains undamaged in my wallet. Don’t get me wrong, this did not prevent me from darkening Kayak’s door to “just have a look” at what deals might be available, should we be looking to book. If I showed half as much self-restraint with food, I’d be about six stone lighter.

Louise’s pleadings included offers of selling vital organs, but I did point out that nobody would really want her liver anyway.

I know it seems odd that I have resisted so fiercely, but, I am playing the long game. With Emily (we hope) lined up to be working over there for a year at some point, we know that we’ll want to be over there visiting her during that time, and with one less body to transport over the Atlantic, some lovely cast member discounts on hotels and tickets, that trip seems a lot more attainable and realistic. It is certainly more realistic than doing one this summer and then having to fund that one too!!

So, still, we are not going this year. I pray for the strength to keep it that way, as one more bout of pleading from Louise and I’ll be whipping it out and doing the business. I might book a holiday too.

So real life, and its constant demands on our bank balance continue to deny us the pleasure of the Florida sun, and at any one time, we have a list of stuff that needs attention and money that we’d rather be spending on some biblical amount of food in some Orlando eatery.

As I always say though, never say never. I continue to play the lottery, despite the fact that the last time I won a tenner was in the late nineties, or if I sell about 400,000 copies of any of my books, then that will do the trick too.

I have been formulating an idea for another book, and have actually written several words to start it, but then it has stalled. This is a symptom of some busy times at work, and I guess, also a lack of motivation. Just as I think I am ready to crack on and reinvent modern literature, some insightful soul leaves a shitty review for the last one, and I think, well, what’s the point? Of course, in this scenario, I totally ignore the 95%+ of reviews which are glowing, and focus on the tiny percentage that aren’t. If you wonder why, then clearly you don’t know me at all even after all this time.

What I am trying to do is remind myself that the fact that I have actually accomplished a life long ambition and got a book out there, which is complete, and in my view not too bad, is something to be proud of. I often forget how awesome that is, (the achievement, not necessarily the book).

Book Cover

Buy 400,000 copies please.

This evening, with Emily at work (check out her latest blog post about the interview at Disney HQ) and Rebecca of course out with her boyfriend, Louise and I are going to the cinema to watch A Million Ways To Die In The West.

Hopefully it will bring many laughs and some ridiculous amounts of sugar. I shall let you know.

Till the next time…..

 

 

Singh For Your Supper

There’s a famous quote from George W Bush that goes something like, “Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice…we..er…shame…we won’t get fooled again”. I use it not (only) to highlight the amazing fact that this guy got elected to the most powerful job on the planet but also to tell you I stupidly ignored his wise words this week.

Unable to avoid a trip for work meetings to Marlow on a Thursday, after a stop over in High Wycombe’s finest Premier Inn, I had to then, for just the second time ever attempt the journey north on a Friday afternoon.

If you wanted to, you could go back through these blog posts and see me whining about a previous horrific journey on a Friday at some point in the past, followed by me swearing that I would never do it again.

Well, I did, and it was bobbins. Even with an earlier than usual exit from the office it took just under five hours. The M6 is just no longer fit for purpose and we should all get a refund. I could fly to New York in a similar time frame. Let me now declare once and for all that I shall not be doing it again, unless it is because I have had to drive to Head Office on a Friday to hand in my notice due to a lottery win.

The evening before I enjoyed a tasty (and large) curry, and we were entertained by an Indian Elvis.

He’s singing The Wonder Aloo

He was good fun, and made what might have been a fairly tedious mid week night away with work into a good laugh. Being the wild animals that me and my (similarly middle aged) colleagues are, we were up until at least 11pm. Crazy stuff.

The weekend hasn’t been anywhere near as exciting, mainly as Louise has been chained to the computer producing her latest assignment for her Nursing course. This has meant that I have had to amuse myself, sit around, eat, watch football, oh yes and do some ironing. Yes, I am that dream man who all men want to be, and all women want to be with.

Encouraged by the weather reports, predicting tarmac melting temperatures and the potential for my skin being burned from my face this weekend, I ventured out and took the dog for a walk this morning in a lack of layers not seen since last August. Imagine my delight to find the temperatures lower than George W Bush’s IQ. I have instructed my lawyers to begin proceedings against the Met Office. Oli seemed oblivious to the gloom, fog and cold.

cold oli

So if you had sun today, please keep any news of it to yourselves as I’ve just put the heating on again.

Before I go, thank you to those who added a lovely review for me following my request last week. The general underlying theme seems to be that folks are finding it to be better than they expected. Well, that’s fair enough, and that is more or less how I feel about it too! I got my hard copy this week and it looks OK, but I can’t bring myself to read the thing again. Not yet anyway. If you got it too, I hope you don’t feel the same.

Till the next time….