Friday, 25 March 2011

Please don't tell Lisa

First the good news, no, the incredibly good news, the weather this week has been unbelievable. We have gone from winter to summer without bothering with spring. This has meant of course that I have been vulnerable to any suggestion that means I can escape from the shed. When my friend Roy (Yes the one that beat me at golf) rang yesterday to see if I wanted a lunchtime drink I would normally struggle with my conscience and then say I have work to finish. But Roy has a secret weapon. A recently acquired Aston Martin DB9 red! Well I've got no defense against that sort of attack and to cut a long story afternoon was lost.
It gets worse, today Andrea and I took our dog Bart for a walk and the weather was so beautiful that we did not return until this afternoon. Guilt has seen me back in the shed until now......and as I write this I see it is now 2 am GMT but it was worth it.
With the Chicago event looming it was time to check everyone's passports.......and yes, both the childrens's  were out of date and Andreas has disappeared completely. So tomorrow will be a day when the Calvesbert family will be posing for their new passport photographs and Andrea will be trying to prove she is a British National. I am really looking forward to seeing Chicago again, my first taste of America was the ICE event at Rosemont and I have a lot of happy memories from then. My biggest fear is that our country will declare war with Chicago before we get there. These days I'm almost scared to turn on the radio in the morning in case our belligerent nation is at conflict with some new nation in the world. The common denominator seems to be nations with vast oil fields but I'm sure that's just a coincidence.......does Chicago have oil?
But back to the UK. This really is a favourite time of the year for me. The trees and hedgerows are turning green and soon the bottles,cans,litter and car batteries that have been on display at the roadside all winter will disappear under a canopy of green! During our walk today the loudest noise was birdsong and the overpowering smell was that from the blossom on the trees...glorious. I took the opportunity to check the peregrine falcon's nest that I observe every year and once again was rewarded with the sight of the peregrine on it's nest. I shall keep you informed of it's progress over the coming weeks. My pond is full of frog spawn and the fields are full of newborn lambs....I sense an idea for a model.
Now tomorrow I intend to frighten you with more tales of hazards from the ...not insects or creepy crawlies this time...........but...white finger disease! You have been warned.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Welcome to my almost new blog.

Good morning and thank you for visiting. I know, I know.........I should have welcomed you all to my blog last time, not the second post, but surely you didn't expect me to get something right did you?
Anyway in my weekly..ish blog I intend to keep you up to date with the carvings, the countdown to Chicago, (or shakago as my daughter Millie wrote the other day, I blame her mother!) family life and any other nonsense that may occur to me. And if that's not enough there will also be a competition, each week you will have the challenge of finding the grain of truth my stories are based around!

One day I hope to be able to write a story about an achievement that shows me in a good light but until then here's one that goes back to November 1st 2009, the Newport Convention.
I had the onerous task of choosing a winner of the "Carve a box competition". Onerous because each model was wonderful in it's own way and choosing just one seems so unfair, plus I feel the disappointment of all those not picked. As the winning carving was to be turned into a box that helped narrow the field and I eventually chose Bill Park's model of his dog Melmo with a pumpkin.
I carefully transported the model back to the UK where it sat gathering dust for the next 17 months!!!
Shame and embarrassment are the first two words that come to mind. Think of an excuse.......are the next four! How on earth am I going to make it up to that handsome man Bill and his beautiful wife Amy.........too subtle? In the time it has taken me to do nothing Bill and Amy have managed to produce a one year old baby, Sebastian!
With Chicago only three months away I realised I wouldn't have the nerve to turn up if I hadn't finished Bill's model so this week "Melmo" has had my full attention. They have been very kind and not once told me to "hurry up" or words to that effect..and they had every right to. So a mere twenty months after carving his model I should get Bill's model to him........thank God I don't deliver live organs for a living!

Now I hope there's no link between that story and this one but last Friday I played golf. I am a member of the Pheasant Inn Golf Society (P.I.G.S.) and once a month we play a different venue. This month we visited The Worcestershire G.C. This exclusive club was established in 1879 and designed by a Dr Alistair Mackenzie who apparently also designed Augusta National and Cypress Point ....wherever they are....
Luckily they were holding a "Peasants day" and our society was let loose on it's hallowed greens. At this point I can tell you that I played like a true champion.....providing that champion was called "Dobbin" and was the four legged ploughing champion of Great Britain 2010. I look forward to our monthly golf so much that when the time comes I am at such a high level of expectation that utter disappointment is the only possible outcome. I'm not sure why I even like golf....did I say "why"..I meant "if". I think it's the contrast between my visualisation of the shot I'm about to play and reality......if I knew where the ball was going to go where would the fun be in that? To make things worse I lost my usual £5 side bet with Roy "I'll put down a four" Sumner. So, am I looking forward to next month's game at the Herefordshire G.C.? You bet I am, luckily I have a very low threshold as to what counts as a good game of golf.....anytime I don't get struck by lightning!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

I've been called many things but never a blogger

Look under "Dangerous sports" just below base jumping and you will see "working in a shed". Surprised? well you shouldn't be. Let me expose you to the hazards and terror of shed must be at least eighteen and about this high to continue on this ride!
They say the Goliath bird eating spider is the largest in the known world, well thats nothing to what lurks behind my book shelves. It moves so fast though I've never really had a good look at it, all I know is that It's not safe to leave a sandwich and plate of biscuits lying around. Mind you it's not all bad news, every couple of times it sheds its skin I get a new pair of slippers. Shame I haven't got eight toes though. And spiders aren't the only uninvited guest, ever wondered where wasps go at night?
Thats right....on my shed. Now I've been known to hum along to my radio but these boys are professional, although a little monotonous at times.
I must admit there are some pretty nasty insects living here, I used to have a venus flytrap as company thinking it would thrive on the abundant food source but it developed entomophobia (I had to google it so you can!) and sadly I came to work one morning and found it swinging from my desk lamp. If only I hadn't left those shoe laces lying around.

It's not only the wildlife that makes shed life so dangerous, there are also the chemical and biological hazards to contend with. I don't know why the British government spent so much on the warfare research station at Porton Down when all they had to do was visit me. I'm talking, of course, about the various fungi and spores growing from all the old coffee mugs littered around. There's probably something here that could cure the common cold...note to some test tubes and a Bunsen burner.
Looking at some of these mugs it's hard to imagine that something so furry and orange could be so deadly...mind you, that hamster that Andrea had when I first met her could have done with a Hannibal Lecter mask. Now I'm wondering if there is a possible link between my coffee fungus and the 45 pound spider in the corner....hmmmmm.
Oh and did I mention that my shed is haunted. Not only do I have to contend with the living world but the afterlife too. There have been occasions when I've entered my shed and felt an icy chill go down my back, usually winter time oddly. I'll sense an evil presence and detect the faint aroma of rotten eggs out of the corner of my eye the faint outline of some hideous wretch that looks like it probably met its end in some freak combine harvester accident but when I suddenly turn to look at's gone!......only to be replaced by a mirror!...why I put that there I'll never know :-)