Last week was half term for a lot of the country but for one of the few occasions during my time as being self employed I was running at full capacity doing actual paid-for work. Usually, your week is interspersed with lulls you have to occupy with two chores – admin and Sales and Marketing.

So it was great to get back to the technology and do some practical things and leave the nasty side of business to one side for a change.

On the social side I was well occupied as well and I was especially delighted in helping my mate Jim win the pub quiz over at the Kings Arms in Sutton Coldfield on Tuesday night. Given my usual activities in the week, and work being full, it was a full 100% week.

Valentines Day

This year has been one of the best Valentine’s Day – ever. Not because it was romantic but because I ended up down the pub with my mates!

Yes, JC, having fallen foul of June (again) and his neighbour met up with me and Greenpeace Gav for a turn around Wednesfield.


Is this really Democracy????

Probably like a couple of my mates with an interest in Politics and the Country, I have been “glued”, as my mother would evince, to the fascinating BBC documentary “Inside the Commons“.

First of all, hats off to the BBC for making he programme. Of late I have been most critical of the BBC, but this is top rate stuff and what I pay my license fee for.

Second, is this really how British democracy works? Or am I being most naive? It seems to me most antiquated from a systems point of view. The voting system is still medieval! Despite a lot of technology being available, they still count heads. We must look like a piece out of the museum to other nations when they see this. It’s embarrassing.

But the most alarming thing is how much is manipulated by the party structure. This sends out the wrong message for me as if you have something of concern -and we all do – the chances of the common voter influencing anything in this country is a miracle. It’s more akin to who you know rather than having a democratic process where you can get heard or where your views are taken into account.

As I campaigned for in the last election, we need to change the system of government in this country from one of divide and rule to one of represent and manage. We need to give our opinion on every bill by voting electronically. We’ve had the technology for 20 years or more. It’s time the people had a more frequent say in national matters, not just once every five years. It’s just not good enough and it’s not real democracy.

Pub #5: Sir Robert Peel, Bloxwich

SAMSUNGI’ve always had my doubts about this pub and today just reinforced this suspicion. Nothing to serve just the Heineken standard offerings – in other words keg ale of the worst kind. I ended up with the Worthington’s but that was at least drinkable. Unfortunately, Stymaster had to revert to the Carling so the pub scores an automatic 1/5.

Not a place I’m keen to visit again.

Pub #4: The Romping Cat, Bloxwich

SAMSUNGA classic pub if ever there was one and we enjoyed some excellent ale in the circular bar.

This is a pub as it should be – TV on but turned down, good ale, warm for a cold winters day and a reserved welcome from the landlord who went about his business without any fuss.

4/5 as the beer was so good.

Pub #3: The Bloxwich Showman

This is a brand new pub opened by J D Weatherpoons and is a typical ‘spoons pub. Bit upmarket for Bloxwich and includes lots of comfy chairs and sofas. Also a bit of nostalgia as it was once the night club “Flicks” I used to frequent with JC 30 years ago.

Food excellent and London Pride – I’ve had better to be honest but drinkable.

Very busy but the Bloxwich penchant for taking the kids to the pub inevitably led to much more noise than usual, but the staff coped very well. And the food was served really quick.

3/5 as all ‘Spoons are that score.

Pub #2: The Bell @ Bloxwich

SAMSUNGAlso known as “The Bell of Death” by Duffer as the Banks’s is so good, you never want to leave.

The Stymaster, joined by the Stymistress today, and myself joined up here and it was wrench to leave.

The Bell is one of those old pubs that has some many nooks and crannies. So much so I hadn’t noticed the excellent dĂ©cor in the room on the front left, full of Hollywood pictures and according to Stymaster, the usual Banks’s fireplace. I have been many times to this pub so today was good start to doing all the ones in Bloxwich, despite the false start last week.

For me, 4/5. Only thing to spoil it was the rude locals putting the TV on. But then that’s Bloxwich.

Walsall 1:1 Gillingham

Sundays are not always a day of rest and this Sunday was quite hectic for me.

And unusual day saw me working in the morning followed by a cold walk to the parents for Sunday lunch and then the brother-in-law picked us up to see the game which was at this time because of Bescot market hence a 6.00 pm kick-off and it was very cold.

Fortunately the game was very good I thought and Walsall pressed hard without reward and inevitably, Gillingham grabbed a goal after their speedy right back, McGlashan, got past Taylor and Dack slotted home.

Walsall upped the pace following this and Grimes scored his first goal after a scramble. Gillingham’s keeper was the man who kept The Saddlers at bay and most of the credit should go to them.

On a polite note, why were the Gillingham supporters squashed into the corner of the Community Stand when the usual space is behind the goal? Surely after a 4 hour tip they were entitled to a decent view of the game. Black mark for that Walsall.

Busy Sunday ended with a few beers around Wednesfield as usual.

The Sands of Mars

Sphere-3rd Clarke Sands of MarsThe Sands of Mars is a book I derived from my Grandfathers collection when he died some 33 years ago now so it’s taken some time to get around to reading it.

Firstly, I never knew my Grandfather had such an interest in science fiction as we always talked history and politics. Secondly, this book is quite dated but considering it was his first novel and written in 1951, it is quite forward thinking. It is odd though reading science fiction from the perspective of hindsight.

Bearing that in mind, it actually deals with some basic concepts of the relationship between colonists and the mother state, in this case Earth. It must have been as the peoples of the eighteenth century felt about Britain, when they strode out in America and Australia etc.

Some of the science in this novel has obviously been superseded so you have to take that as read and the concept of marsupials living off oxygen plants is a bit far-fetched  or over optimistic. But in 1951 when no-one had actually got off our planet, who knew?