Thursday, 31 December 2009


Isn't it strange how obsessed people become with what everyone else is doing on New Years Eve?

I'm in work today and I m amazed at how many times I've been asked "so - what are you doing tonight".  I hasten to add, not in a chatty up type of way!  I'm staying at home with my wife, son, sister, nephew and mother in law.  I shall eat duck, and some party nibbles, as well as some splendid nuts. I shall drink one or two beers, then a fair bit of malibu.  There - it's out in the open now.  What's the big deal??

I like my new phone.  I got my Shamshung Jet yesterday and I've had a reet good meddle with it today and it meets with my approval.  The touch screen technology is particularly good.  Even the way it handles bluetooth file transfers is impressive. I'm going to stop there as I can feel myself slipping down the slippery slope of geekness.  One more thing, though, I have configured it to upload (and geo-tag) photo's when I take them, which is particularly nice. 

Out of my annual review, at work, I have a load of work to do over the next few nights, with a view to potentially handing over the reigns of my beloved WIKI to someone else to manage.  If I do relinquish it, I shall miss it a lot.  It's an awkward bugger to administrate, but the end user has a nice experience whilst using it.

Girls Aloud are on TV at the moment, singing "live" at Wembley.  That Sarah Harding is one diiiiiirty......

Righty Ho - everyone bar 4 of us have gone home now, so I think I'll while away the unnecessary last 2 hours and 15 minutes of my work in 2009 by watching silly video's on YouTube, and catching up on what the world is saying on Google Reader!

Tomorrow is the start of a photo a day.  I'm actally excited by that!  Not AS excited as the prospect of eating duck tonight!  :-)

See you next year.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

The Aftermath

Well - that really wasn't too bad!

Christmas day went really well. I overfed everyone if the truth be told!  I don't think I wrecked any of the food and everyone seemed to enjoy what they had.  Lovely.

Boxing day started with a very heavy frost.  It had rained overnight and then frozen.  The road outside was total ice.  No cars could get through, so my brother in law and I joined the few neighbours outside to help cut through the ice and break it up a bit.  That afternoon, I travelled to Wales to collect my children and bring them back to us.  On the way, I picked up my sister and my nephew so they could join us for Bank Holiday night, too.  I got back to discover my lovely wife had prepared a fabulous buffet meal for us. Cheers!!

The night of the 27th brought a visit from our very good friends from Blackpool. We had a right good go on the karaoke, and the wii, and everyone seemed happy.  When they left at about 1am, I remember our neighbours, Kath and Phil were out locally at a party, so I sent a text asking if they wanted to nip in for a sing!  15 minutes later, there they were, along with their daughter, Natalie.  We sang for another hour or two before calling it a night at about 3am.  That was a late one!

Christmas seems to have been so busy this far, and we've still got New Years Eve yet!!

I received lovely presents and am very grateful not only for them, but for all the time that I've been able to spend with loved ones. 

Back to work tomorrow. Booo. Snow and sleet are forecast for the next few days.  Snow I don't mind, but sleet's a pain in the arse. It's just messy.

I'm off to buy some batteries and a charger.

Goodbye 2009.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Deep Breath

My god I'm tired.

It's Christmas Eve, and I've spent most of the evening tidying, cleaning and putting away. Oh, and a bit of ironing, too.  But - I think we're just about there.  All beds made up, rooms cleaned, playroom tidied and reddied  for action, be it from children, or dart playing adults.

I've also sorted out all the karaoke CD's that we own, and ensured that the machine is in working order.  I was given 18Gb of cd+g karaoke files from a bloke I work with, so those 6,500 tracks, along with the dozen or so cd's we have, should ensure a good selection of songs!

Today I have truly felt the responsibility of tomorrows meal.  My beautiful wife has offered to prepare the starter (the one thing I was worrying about), so that took a load off my mind.  I'm fairly happy that I can do the rest. It will take time, but we have that - there is no rush.

Today is the first anniversary of this blog!  12 whole months, 60 posts, and one follower.  I'm happy with that!  Happy birthday blog.

It seems wrong to me that people choose Christmas as a time to spend with families.  Every day should be equally as important for families and loved ones.  I want to remember every day for whatever it brings.  In an attempt to do it, I am going to try my hardest to take a photo every day during 2010 and upload them to my Picasa album. Should be interesting!

Today, I was reminded of how lucky I am. I remembered back to when I lived with Dad at the house on Abbeystead.  It was Christmas day, and his electricity went off.  Not because of a power cut or anything like that.  He'd had a pre-payment meter installed because he wasn't paying his bills, and he hadn't bought any credit for it.  He drank it instead.  I walked to the only place in Skem that was open that sold the little strips of magnetic paper, which would turn his power back on.  I bought a £5 credit. With my own money.  I thought little of it at the time, but looking back, it was so sad.  I really am so lucky.  Doesn't make me miss him any less though.

We have a busy Christmas coming up, and I know it's all going to go well.  2009 has been a tough year for many reasons, and I look forward to what 2010 has to bring.

I think it's only fitting to take time to remember those who aren't here to celebrate Christmas with us.

Happy Christmas Keith.

Happy Christmas Mum.
Happy Christmas Dad.


Friday, 18 December 2009

The Calm Before The Storm

Greetings, reader.

I feel surprisingly calm today, considering that in 7 little days time, I shall be running round our kitchen like a loon.  Changed plans on the meat front - as I'm going to be popping my Christmas cooking cherry, decided to go for just one meat - Turkey. Bought just shy of £20's worth of it yesterday and it's currently in my freezer.  I just hope we don't end up like the Royle Family, trying to defrost the turkey with a hair dryer!

I think we've just about got it all sorted, anyway.  A nice smoked salmon starter, with cheese and crackers, Full works main course to include roast potato's, roast parsnips, carrots, sprouts, etc.  And for desert... I can't remember. A cake, I think.

It snowed last night. I think most parts of the country saw some, but, as ususal, the South-East had the lions share.  I feel incredible resentment towards the South-East of England. Any extremes of weather that are thrown at this country - they get it.  It actually angers me. It's ridiculous.

Luke and I ventured out to ASDA this morning to get a few bits off a list that has been floating round for a few days.  I approached a parent and child spot that was about to be vacated when I was stopped by a parking attendant who was stood in the middle of the road. She was a  lady who spoke with a Caribbean accent, who told me that I couldn't park there because it is for parents and "childs" only.  I told her I was aware of that, and pointed at Luke who was sat in the back of the car. She apologised, saying she didn't think I had a child with me.  She hadn't even looked!  Bizarre.

Tomorrow is the 70th birthday of my dad.  Stephen James Francis.  I was going to get all nostalgic again about how special Christmas would have been if he were still around. It would, of course, but he would want absolutely nothing to do with it.  To the best of my recollection, he didn't enjoy a celebration, my dad.  He would attend parties and functions, but he'd sit at the back, on his own - and he was happy with that.  All my memories of him sat in his local, The Almond Tree, are of him sat on his own.  People would often come and sit with him, and he would happily engage in conversation, but after a few minutes, they would return to their own seats.

I think I get my conversational ability from him.  I am crap at phone calls.  Ring me with a purpose and we can explore and ultimately achieve that, but don't expect small talk from me because I can't do it. Is that a Steve Francis thing, or just a bloke thing? I don't know.

It's going to be a "funny" old Christmas this one, but I know that we can get through it together, and embrace whatever 2010 has to throw at us. 

I replaced the bulbs in the lights that shine over our driveway today.  I've been wanting to put some of them energy saving fella's in them for ages, and today was the day.  I look forward to seeing how they compare to regular bulbs tonight, when it becomes dark.

My lovely wife has had two evenings out this week, attending various Christmas "do's".  She's a lucky thing, although, by her own admission, she was a little delicate after one of them. That's what a good do is all about, though - enjoying yourself!

Did I mention in my last post that we have a mouse living with us at the moment?  Well here's an update - he's been here for over a week now. He's a cocky little bugger and often walks through the room when we're sat in it.  I was SO close to ending his sorry life earlier this week, when I cornered him in the dining room.  I attacked him with the Thompson Local, but missed. He ran past me and I chased him down the kitchen. We currently have four traps baited and waiting for him to show an interest.  If he's not gone by sunday, I'm going to get some glue strips to put down near to where I think he's coming in and out. They're cruel - I know they're cruel, but he's not playing ball by letting me chop his head off the conventional way. Bastard thing.

I now have two hospital appointments in January. One for my umbilical hernia, and another for my dizzy spells.  I'm a wreck.

My phone - oh god my phone - is driving me properly mad.  Twice today it has decided to switch itself off.  It's completely getting on my tits.  I can take out an upgrade with 3 from the 26th December, or wait until my 18months are up on the 26th April, if I want to leave them.  I've done a bit of digging (surprised?), and have decided that if I'm not having an iPhone (which just isn't feasible, due to costings), then I want a Samsung Jet.  3 will do one for me for £25 with unlimited internet. I want to pay less than that, so I'll see if they'll do me some sort of deal when I call them after Christmas.

Last week, Luke and I spent a lovely afternoon in Wigan, feeding ducks on the canal.  I feel really lucky to be able to do that with him.  Photo's are here.  He is being very "huggy" today. He's also showing signs of tiredness which isn't good as we're off to Rhyl in half an hour or so. Looks like I might have to take the hit of him having a wee snooze. Ah well.

Finally, today is the end of a broadcasting era.  Sir Terry Wogan hung up his breakfast show headphones for the last time, and bowed out in the most gracious manner you could imagine.  I doubt his like will ever be heard again.  Watch here, for the last couple of minutes of his show.

I will do my best to squeeze another blog-ette in before Christmas.  I have 36 hours in work to do before the big day, finishing at 7am on the morning of the 24th.

Now - go and do some panic shopping and buy shitty stuff for people you love simply because you think you need to buy them more than you already have! 

Yours, walking in the air.....

Tuesday, 8 December 2009


Ay up.

Christmas is coming which can only mean one thing.  The goose must be getting fat.  No, that's not right. It can only mean that my arse is starting to get twitchy about feeding the family on Christmas day. I am going to visit my local butcher to ask for help.  I want to buy an appropriate amount of meat (I have decided on turkey and lamb), and appropriate cuts of meat, so I shall ask for assistance from my local butcher!

Last weekends visit from the children went well.  Didn't do anything massive, like take them for days out or anything like that, but I did get to spend time with each one of them in turn, which is equally important.  I sometimes think that I should do more when they visit, but doing more means less time spent with them.  I don't know what they want from the time we spend together, but all I want is to spend time with them.

Luke's been a bit coughy and sniffy and generally off-colour for the past few days.  Last night, it was suggested to me that I sleep in the girls room so I could get a decent nights sleep before work.  When I walked in, there was a note on Charlotte's bed, which read "I miss you daddy, love charlotte".  Not surprisingly, it made me cry.  Even now, as I type this, my eyes have filled up.  She is completely adorable.  The children are back in 9 days, which isn't too bad at all.

I am in work at the moment on night 2 of 4.  I booked night 1 off, which is always nice.  I have a doctors appointment later today, at 10:15.  It is to discuss the results of my thyroid tests that I had done recently.  Hope it's not too serious??!  I shall keep you posted.

I had a  bit of a tussle with another driver on my way into work this evening.  I noticed that this car ( a red corsa) was right up my arse whilst I was driving down a country road.  Whenever anyone does that to me, I slow down.  There was an opportunity for the driver to overtake me, but it didn't.  We arrived at a set of lights and only then did I notice that the driver was a young female!  I was at the front of the queue at the lights, so as they changed, I engaged sport mode and booted away.  She stuck to me like glue.  We entered a built up area and I drove within the speed limits.  At a roundabout, I noticed that a car was coming round, so I jumped out, leaving a reasonable distance, but not enough distance for her to join me.  She had to completely stop whilst I was away down the dual carriageway.  I won. I was pleased.

Right, I'm going to go and sleep for a short while on my break as I have to be awake for another 6 hours and without an hour's kip, it simply isn't going to happen.

As ever, it's been lovely.

Oh - the title of this post?  I was listening to Robbie Williams' album "Swing When You're Winning".  His duet with Jane Horrocks is one of my favourites!

Byzee bye