Monday, 30 April 2012

Chickens, Cardiff City, Storm, Holes in Roof and Olympics SAM Defence Systems - Just Another Weekend

Well it's been quite a weekend.
  • We finally got some new chickens on Saturday. Unable to get ex-battery hens as last time, we got a selection of breeds at a livestock market, which was a weird mix of salt of the earth farmers, inbreds, middle class welly-wearers, scary men in hunting gear - and us. More news on that (and photo's) soon.
  • Cardiff won against Crystal Palace on Saturday so now they're through to the play-offs and with lessened expectations than in the previous two years of play-offs experience, it's not so much a case of "we will win" as it is one of "every stage is a bonus." So it's West Ham as the first team to beat... Bluebirds versus the Hammers. 
  • On Sunday the storms hit and on returning from Mass we discovered two small(ish) holes in our roof (and two of our neighbours were similarly afflicted). With more heavy rain forecast for tonight/tomorrow it looks like we'll all need snorkels.
  • Poor Dad Hurley (yep, me!) was up in the loft in the cavity betwixt the plasterboard and the brick wall, pushing temporary materials into the holes just to stop the bulk of the water coming in. Lots of dirt, cobwebs and dripping water later... job done. For now.
  • Our poor chooks were very bedraggled on only their second day at Hurley Towers. They must have been wondering what they let themselves in for. That plus our last existing ex-battery hen -- the Big Momma of the run -- is bullying a bit, especially when it comes to settling down for the night, getting to the food scraps etc.
  • Today we had eggs from the smallest of our new breeds (more info soon!) which is good going. Due to the stress of moving, even the ex-batteries took almost a week to start laying when we first got them (three years ago I think), so just a couple of days with a big bullying mother hen, mixed in with three other chicken breeds (yes, four in total), our newbies are doing pretty well.
  • Today we didn't hear from the MoD or the govt about the surface to air missile (SAM) battery to defend the Olympic sites and its placement on our roof. I'm sure this is an oversight, and just so they know for the price of a new roof we'd be happy to oblige. If unsuitable for the SAM battery, perhaps a couple of soldiers could sit up their with binoculars looking out for Al Qaeda baddies? We're easy either way.
Comin' atcha!

And if one of the missiles accidentally goes off and lands on the West Ham training ground, giving the scattering players sprained ankles and a valuable life-lesson in the depredations of football players in Afghanistan and other war-torn regions, well... no real harm done.

Anyhow, life goes on... Patch is snoozing on the settee and breaking wind. Yes, he's quite the social commentator.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Come on Cardiff! Beat Crystal Palace for me and my Keyring

Come on Cardiff!
Nick Robinson interviewed Nick Clegg on the news tonight at the Cardiff City football ground.

Is this an omen for Cardiff's plans to get into the play-offs via a win against Crystal Palace? And if so is it a good or bad one?

Just this morning Old Ma Hurley sent me a present that I shall cherish for many years: an official Cardiff City Match Programme Sponsor keyring.

It made me smile all day (and that's a rare thing all too often these days). Such a memento - and my wallet remained intact and unopened. If anyone sees it and thinks I dish out hefty sums... boy oh boy, they will have made a mammoth misjudgement.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

It Has All Gone a Bit 1970s

Better than an Alarm Clock!
Poor old SAS Eddie felt a bit of a drip this (Weds.) morning. Literally.

The downpour overnight had weedled its way, like a weedly thing, through our dilapidated roof and was dripping at a worrying rate through his ceiling.

Leaking ceilings, recession, frozen wages, inflation in food, fuel etc.

It's all so very 1970s.

So now we'll have to get our roof fixed - either that or buy Ed a snorkel and change his name to SBS Eddie.

Still, after the boys recent camping with pillows and delivered kebabs this could be divine intervention...

So now the big black rain cloud has dissipated, the only black cloud is the one over my head. As you may know, even the thought of spending money can bring me out in hives ... so the idea of getting the roof re-tiled? Ooh la la!

I think either SBS Eddie will have to get used to his snorkel and flippers, or I shall be wearing a black armband for the next few years.

I wonder if they'd do a minutes silence for me and my wallet before Cardiff's match at Selhurst Park this Saturday?

I may adopt an online silence for a while... The tears welling up in my eyes at the mere thought of breaking the rusted padlock off my wallet is starting to blur my vision even as I tap now.

Those snorkel-cum-flipper sets aren't cheap you know! I may even have to break into a tenner. [sobs uncontrollably].

I wonder if I could train him to hold an umbrella in his sleep?

Sunday, 22 April 2012

The Media Really is Nothing to Shout About

More shouting - But is it news?
The other day I went on an email website, the kind that has news stories on its home page.

On this day the news in question was that 'Bianca' on Eastenders loses her temper and shouts at someone else on Eastenders.

Quite aside from the apparent dearth of crime, economics, politics, sport or other news stories of varying degrees of importance, I am left wondering:
  • Is what happens on Eastenders really news?
  • Even if it is - is someone shouting on Eastenders really newsworthy?
  • And if it is - what does that tell us about the media?

Tolkien Documentary Shows What Media Could be
On a recent superb documentary about JRR Tolkien's Catholicism (yes I watched it - thanks Stuart!) we were warned that the palantir which presented twisted and evil facts to Denethor leading him to be demoralised, surrendering to evil and ultimately taking his own life, was akin to (and translated directly into English as) television.

When I think of the impact documentaries such as that on Tolkien have, it makes me realise the good that the media could do; but when I think of Eastenders and the reporting of it in the media I am reminded that all too often it falls far short of any form of decency, and pushes rubbish.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Dilemma of the Modern World

I woke up this morning and had quite the dilemma (though the Wittertainment chaps say it can also be a dilemna).

I was dog-gone tired, though the dog known as Patch (PTD) had NOT gone and was acting is a bolster, stretched from the pillow region to the knee area, between my good self and Mrs H.

And yet my tummy was making weird little noises, and an aching hunger came upon me, so I knew I needed some sustenance (toast, cereal - some sort of traditional breakfast, I don't like to be revolutionary, especially early in the morning).

So what was I to do? Having not got to sleep until circa 2am I was pooped.

Should I decamp, leaving Mrs H and PTD in their cosy slumber, in the welcoming, all-embracing, cosy folds of the duvet? Could I really thrust a limb out from the warm depths of the bed into the cold air of the room - only to be followed by the rest of my hitherto blissfully toastie-warm body?

Or would I be a coward and decide that a rumbling tumski was a price worth paying for more time snoozing?

In our opulent world, figuratively speaking, this is what comes close to a moral dilemma.

Do I have to get up?
That's what I thought anyway as I turned over gave PTD a scratch on the chin (Mrs H doesn't like her chin being scratched until mid afternoon, a norm in civilised society), and grabbed another 15 minutes drowsy, if hungry, slumber.

I am, if nothing else a coward who fears the cold air of the morning.

Here endeth the lesson.

Except... it did cross my mind that if I were a decadent liberal, a homosexualist trying to rip apart societal norms or just a lazy student, I would probably have some cold half-eaten (even day old) foodstuff to hand and some flat old beer nearby to wash it down with.

So whilst I initially thought that I was being decadent and lazy in turning back into the welcoming warmth of the Hurley bed, I now realise that in not behaving like someone intent on changing the millennial meaning of marriage, and embracing my hunger, I was in fact supporting the struggle of Catholic tradition, general goodness and the centrality of marriage as one man - one woman in society.

And I hadn't even done too much yet! The day could only get better from here on in!

Capping Donations

In light of the debate raging betwixt the Labour and Tory parties, can I just say here and now that I am perfectly happy for anyone wishing to donate funds to this blog (aka Get the Bills Paid and Anything Left Over to the Hurley Holiday-Every-5-Years Fund) to be capped at £5,000.

If only so that I feel I am setting an example.

£5K would certainly be enough to earn a place at the Hurley kitchen table (fish on Fridays).

You can even stroke Patch the Dog (50p per stroke) - pictured.

Never let it be said I'm not willing to help our politicians reset their "moral compasses" ( for a minimal fee).

I'm not so much a 'taxi for hire' as a rusty old bike lent up against the railings that you might get a few hundred yards out of before the chain comes off.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Cardiff Beat Derby with Papal Approval

...And God smiled on Cardiff, and Cardiff City beat derby 2-0. The Pope did a day-after-my-birthday jig. And Mark Hudson Cardiff's captain scored a goal from within his own half.

Even Theresa May thought it was a great day, apparently. I don't know about Abu Qatada - I don't think he likes football.

But here in Wales...

Life is good.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Pope Benedict, St Magnus, Folk Music and Real Ale

You knew today was special didn't you?

Yes - it's the Pope's birthday.

I don't know if we can get paper triple crowns (if not why not?) but anyway, a very Alles Gute zum Geburtstag to the Holy Father, our very own German Shepherd.

It's also St Magnus Day - the Patron Saint of the Orkney Islands and as most of the people in our house have an Orcadian ancestry it seemed fitting for a decent celebration.

So off we went to a folk evening in a local(ish) tavern. There was a great mix of music, English, Welsh and Irish (no Scots that I recognised, but you can't have everything), with all sorts of influences and real ale on tap. Mmmm.

Happy Birthday Holy Father! We sang along in your honour.

And Wigan beat Arsenal 2-1 (hoorah for the underdog) and so all in all it was a great evening. Now if Cardiff can win tomorrow and keep their place in the play-offs... oh we hope so!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Kebabs and Pillows: Must be Camping

Who says modern kids are spoilt or the "X Box generation" don't get out climbing trees, jumping streams and picking flowers off roundabouts for their mums (sorry mum, it's the thought that counts).

Son 1 and Son 2 went camping with their chums this week (it being school hols). It turns out that the Spirit of Bear Grylls hasn't quite reached our neck of the woods yet.

  1. Dad's Taxi was on hand to ferry them and their kit to within yards of the chosen site.
  2. When I asked what was in one large bag I was told "pillows" - which takes roughing it to a whole new level.
  3. They had kebabs delivered to the site later that night to top-up their nosh, which included Super Noodles in Tupperware boxes.

Life on the edge eh?

This must be the new trend of "glamping," apart from the fact they were in a woods behind an industrial estate and looked like death-warmed-up (with a strong whiff of campfire) when Dad's Taxi rolled up to collect the intrepid survivalists next morning, to deliver them home for showers and a day in bed!

There's only so much pushing things to the limit that teenagers can take!

I'm so glad I can be a middle-aged curmudgeon and leave camping to the younger generation, which even with added pillows and kebabs, holds no sway over me.

You can't beat a comfy bed, a fridge, lights, a good film, slippers, a spare fridge and a non-smelly heat source for a good night!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Old Pa Hurley and William Wallace

William Wallace in Cardiff City colours
We all know that William Wallace was Welsh (Wallace means "Welsh") but it was not until the other day that Old Pa Hurley told me (over Easter Sunday lunch no less!) that his chum when growing up and getting up to no good in the big smoke (Cardiff) was one William Wallace.

I knew Old Pa Hurley was old... but that old? Sheesh.

I was at least 5 years out.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

An Ode to William Hague

William Hague rarely looks vague,
In fact he looks intense.
Sepp Blatter is rarely the latter,
I wish that it made sense.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Good Friday and Our Chicken(s)

It's Good Friday.

I suppose it's sad to look around and see that today is regarded by most of our countrymen as 'just another day.'

If it weren't for the likes of Henry VIII and Oliver Cromwell, we too might have huge processions involving whole towns leading to the Church, carrying the Cross, statues and banners, full of colour, beauty and emotion, like our cousins on the Continent.

Oh well.

For those who have followed the news of our chickens (rumour has it is closely followed in the Kremlin), the third one has now died. We now have just one old bird (no jokes about a female member of the family) left in our run and she's no longer laying eggs... We really will have to get some new chooks very soon.

Somehow the death of one of our old chums and planning new chicks seems to fit in with Easter... death and resurrection.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Happy Birthday to Old Ma Hurley

'Twas on the 3rd of April that Old Ma Hurley said:
"Where's that naughty Gareth - is he still asleep in bed?
"He must be a-snoozin' late, for the phone it hasn't rung.
"If he doesn't phone me sharpish I'll smack his little bum."

But still the phone stayed silent - just what was going on?
Old Ma stayed on phone-watch. "It surely won't be long
Until my Gaggsy phones right here, to sing 'Oh lovely Mum
A very Happy Birthday' (and if he don't I'll smack his bum)."

Others phoned -- and even called -- especially to say
'Happy Birthday' to Old Ma, on her very special day.
But where was her favourite child? (yes Gareth, doubting Tom!)
Still their was silence from her cherished, favourite one.

Oh woe is me for I am him, yes Gareth is my name
And yes today I forgot again (my memory's to blame)
Last year I thought it was the 5th and despite times being hard
This year I thought it was the 4th (but at least I sent a card!)

So now I know it is the 3rd, I don't think I'll forget (!)
This time next year I'll phone first thing (and even better yet)
I'll make sure it's a super day I'll be up nice and early
To wish my mum felicitations: "Happy Birthday Old Ma Hurley"

Instant Happiness Guaranteed

Eat Pork Pies!

Drink Brains Beer!

Get to Confession and Mass for Easter!

© Hurley Happiness Campaign.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Government Plan My Canal: Now the Hurley 10 Point Plan

Redistribution of Water to Deprived Areas
Can I just say that my idea of opening canals from Wales to South East England surfaced as a possible government policy in yesterday's Sunday Telegraph!

It's obvious that someone high up (hi Dave) is reading my blog, as my ideas are seeping into the higher echelons of government.

Never let it be said I fail to take advantage of my new power for the betterment of society.

Here's my Hurley 10 Point Plan that I now expect the government to enact and which will bring about instant happiness, a revived economy and an all-pervading grooviness that will spread the feel-good factor of the Welsh Grand Slam right across the UK:

Er sir... You'll have to put your shirt back on!
  1. End VAT on hot take aways (as pre-1984) so we can all celebrate with fish and chips (and drop VAT back to 15% or even 10%).
  2. Promote meat-free Fridays (you can say it's for the environment to placate all the liberals).
  3. Ban men with moobs going topless when the sun shines for the sanity of us all. And men over 25 can be arrested for dressing like teenagers (3/4 trousers, silly wordy t-shirts etc.)
  4. Ban "boom boom" bass-heavy music in boy racer cars (whatever the weather).
  5. Next 'quantatatatative easing' - give us the money so we can pay it into the banks - great for us and the economy, banks end up with the money - so same end result.
  6. Bring Doctor Martens back to Northants and give 50% vouchers to all. Decent shoes for school, work and walking the dog.
  7. Drop the TV license and replace it with a single 1 minute advert between each programme (I detest adverts - but I resent paying for the BBC even more).
  8. Cap utility bills at a small percentage above the wholesale price (so no huge profits).
  9. Make the national Saints' Days public holidays with processions, celebrations, concerts etc.
  10. And drop the whole gay marriage thing which is just... erm... so... erm... gay!
There. That's the starting point for wellbeing and social cohesion.Just send a car for me and I'll get to Westminster to discuss their implementation forthwith.

And there's so much more good work to do! I am planning my campaign to promote pork pies and Brains beer right now!