ball and chain

A couple of days ago my beautiful tenbellies agreed to marry me which made monkey a very happy chimp, its a rather big step for me as it is for any man but im rather looking forward to it. Our families get bigger and festive periods like these become more fun. i set tenbellies two guide lines for the wedding, it has to be within two years and cheap, now watch as the chaos unfolds..

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas one and all, a little late i know but i have just returned from spending Christmas back home where you can see there was plenty of snow and lots of fun to be had. the food was excellent and so was the drink gifts and laughter was shared by all. my childish ways may have taken us sledging but watching the young ones open there prezzies in excitement was much more fun.

if its not broke..

some movies should never be remade or messed about with, such great films like the godfather, lord of the rings, bullit and the karate kid. But some people just cant help the selves even if it is to launch their child’s career. it seem the karate kid has been remastered but i was unaware it needed doing, some how i cant see the oh so wacky jacki chan will ever meet the standard of pat morita. And the story of a Italian American becoming a karate champion is a way better than a hard up brother from the hud. I mean a black guy against the odds becomes the victor.....hmmm heard that one before.

drinks and songs

Well i break up tomorrow for crimbo, well almost and small trip into work monday but its a more of a show ya face order than a do any work thing. so im out for a few bevvies tomorrow night and im sure i will hear this tune more than twice, i have to say i dont mind though as this is another one of those that transports me back to my youth and gets me alittle excited about christmas.

Dont Stop Believing

I keep finding myself listening to Journey's Dont Stop Believing, the first time i heard this was in the very last scene of the sopranos that i finished watching earlier this year. i absolutely love what they did with the last scene dose tony get whacked? dose AJ get rid of that ridiculous facial hair? and will meadow ever learn to park? i am gutted to hear that simon cowell may use this song for his new x factor winner, they will undoubtedly ruin the song, i just hope people download the original in stead of some regurgitated mess that his freak show will produce.

Merry Christmas From Liverpool

Just caught this on the One Show and had to place it on the blog, just because i love the scouse humour and second wouldnt it be great if this was christmas number 1 an not the X factor. im sure my american scouser will be cringing at the sight of it....

light it ip

So tenbellies got the tree out last night and started wrapping prezzies, Christmas for sure is upon us and my job in between shooting afghans on the xbox was to get the lights working. Think i made a good job of it in the end.....

bums on the photocopier

Its that time of year again when the office, workshop or site go on their Christmas do’s, lots of ale and a meal and a few choice words to those that just had it coming. It was ours tonight but for me i chose not to go for various reasons, i find the organisation and being told where to sit for a meal you have to pay for is school like. Eyes that lock onto you as you order a third pint and then the awkward horrible moment when everyone works out to the penny how much they owe. Makes me cringe.
I look forward to a few pints with friends over Christmas some who i work with and others not but im pretty sure it will plenty more enjoyable than the school Christmas meal.

i got wood

There is definitely something special about working with wood, i am an engineer by trade and that has really seen me use metals rather than wood but since taking on a rather different career path i get to play with all kinds of materials but mostly wood. Out of all the different kinds it has to be the kings of woods that i love to handle, Oak gives such a wonderful aroma when working with it, it makes you not want to stop. Its grain, strength and finish is renowned and has a wide range of uses. For me though it has to be the smell i cant help but sniff the wood during cutting it reminds me of my favourite wine and even when its finished and in place it continues to remind you of its presence as it changes and grows in character.

Im stunned

Is this the future of parenting? Calling for backup and stunning your 10 year old child for not cleaning her room or going to bed. Hmmm i wonder if i could get away with using this at work....anyway what made me giggle about this story was that the officer got fired after the incident, and not for the stunning the child but for not turning on the camera before stunning the 10 year old. The fellas back at the station were gutted that they could watch the video or claim their $200 from kids do the funniest things.

stay frosty

This morning was the first frost of the winter and i absolutely loved it, it was fresh, clear and biting and when i got to work the field was white and crisp. Not the weather to go riding my bike though as slick tyres and no brakes don’t really mix well with the ice. I hope we can keep this gorgeous weather for a while before blighty resumes to its usual form of pissing it down.

Who's the black guy blocking the view?

How funny, it really doesn’t take much for people to lose concentration or just find something more interesting to look at. Hmm what must this say about the President of The United States, i think your time is up Mr...... what was his name again???

pose next to the dead war hero

I have a friend who is as left as i am right in a manner of speaking, our differences always fuels a good argument and conversation and i often feel lucky to have this as i feel it keeps me balanced on many issues. Quite recently the day of remembrance past and as usual i wore a poppy, i turn to my friend and ask why he doesn’t wear a poppy? And although he recognises and respects those that gave their life, his grandfather for one was war hero. he turns and says that the poppy was being abused and used for media and war glorification. I found it hard to hear this and after a good hour of discussion we both respected our points and had a cup of tea.
Then i read this, in a time when our troops are out there fighting a political battle and losing their lives all for so these two idiots can battle it out on who looks more solemn next to the dead war hero. They make me sick and the pair have disrespect the fallen and the country that nether one deserves to lead.


I just have to show this for those visitors that pop over here from the US, now this dress was worn on the red carpet to the Emmy’s. The Obomber dress as i call it is probably the most vile, disgusting thing i have ever seen and surely career suicide for this young wanna be. And i thought of our brit girls had bad taste.

Which got me thinking........


Where is Blair??

So Tony Blair didn’t get the job of President of the EU because they didn’t want anyone upstaging the leaders of the combining countries.... Hmmm so basically they saw him as more of a global celebrity and for the mess he left his own country in and thought maybe he is suited a little more for the jungle. I’m sure that has given bummer brown a warm fuzzy feeling inside but my real question is what exactly will this president do?? Is he more of chairman of sorts or secretary because i get the feeling that some leaders in Europe don’t have a lot of faith in this move. Ah well at least we have a Brit in the mix even if no one has heard of her.

blown away

It been a seriously busy week for monkey, after being off for a couple of weeks and then to deal with a mountain of paper work and two very late nights of open evenings i have had little time for a note or two. But like the calm after the storm i reflect on a week and for the first time its blue skies and dry. British winters seem to get less like winter and more like an apocalyptic scene from a movie not so much cold but very dark and very wet, Christmas is fast upon us and i hope that maybe we get to see some of the white stuff.

Do we remember them?

The last month or so the little turd burglar above has been in the papers for...well its quite clear why in the picture, when I saw this like most decent people in this country I was horrified and just being drunk doesn’t cut it as an excuse, then again what dose? Then today I read an article in the paper about how it’s becoming even more common for war memorials to be vandalised not mindlessly though as it takes some shit bag to think ill paint a swastika on a war memorial.

This week I haven’t really been well so I have only been out the house a couple of times, the main reason really to get myself a poppy, however believe it or not at a time when I thought they would be outside every major shop they were nowhere to be seen. Eventually I had to get mine from school. Tomorrow will be Remembrance Day in my home town and I had hoped to be there as this year I felt that it’s important that we all show our gratitude to those who sacrificed their lives in the past and more recently. Do we show enough compassion for our armed services? And our fallen? I think not empty words from bummer Brown after trust lead to a massacre, public’s resentment to our armed services and literally pissing on the graves of our heroes. The shit bag above may face jail but really is that the right punishment, why not educate the little scrot and all those that will follow in the name of facebook and bebo. Let’s bring back National Service let’s put them next to those that fight so that they can play.

Whoa...wheres the fire?

True to form the weather was wet and a little cold for the fireworks but there was one major thing missing, the bonfire. Its funny because nobody seemed to notice or should i say mention it but i thought that the fire was one of the most major parts of Guy Fawkes Night. Is it because the times are changing and it’s become less about the history and the story and more about the firework show. I felt a little cheated really, next year be sure that i will be building the biggest of fires with the ugliest guy to stick on top. I did however make some fantastic bonfire toffee and cinder toffee for the evening and just to keep the damp chill out a small snifter which complemented extremely well.

bommie night

Tenbellies and i are just getting over a mild case of food poisoning after i made some oatcakes with what seems to be dodgy sausages. But feeling better we hope to be off to watch the fireworks at tomorrow nights bommie night. loved Guy Fawkes night growing up, cold nights out with friends and getting hold of some fireworks where we would misuse them in various ways in the park late at night these were just a few of my memories but the best has to be drinking Bovril all wrapped up with my face red from standing too close to the fire and making the all too common noises after each exploding fire work......oooooooo......aaahhhhhh.........wwwwooooooowwwww. I think ill have to have a go at making Thuds toffee mmmmmm.

Any old iron

Unfortunately i may be in tenbellies bad books as it seems i have another bike clogging up her shoe room. The other day i came across this fine little number on the back of a scrap wagon, now you may say i should have left it there but behind that rust is a fine ladies vintage bike im not sure on make or year as there are no markings i can see as of yet. The rod brakes always intrigue me but i also found that it was fixed gear too, the frame is in excellent condition and it just so happens i have some spare wheels with a sturmey archer hub that will fit nicely. Im going to see if i can restore the brake system before hunting for a replacement, i think after a lick of paint and a little tlc it with be a beautiful bike as it once was ready to serve a beautiful lady. Watch this space.

im a lumberjack and im ....

This half term I have been helping out the workies over the water while thud and family is off sunning it in Napa (grrrrhmmmphhhip), anyway its not like we haven’t had any sun with the temp hitting 18c in late Oct. They call it an Indian summer; well they can keep it i want the cold and frost! So i have been busy levelling floor boards, ripping out fireplaces, putting up ceilings and of course making the tea. However the most fun has to be doing a bit of pruning lumberjack style. It was time to drop a few of the smaller trees that have been damaged in the past and to start and open up the pond that is totally overgrown. The wood will be chopped up and dried so that family OTW have fuel for the winter, now that they have gone all eco. Choice of equipment a chain saw (grrrrr), an axe (grrr) and elbow grease (phew).

HMS Illustrious

I had a rather busy weekend that seemed to rush by and before i knew it i gained an hour and Monday was here, lucky for me its half term. The HMS Illustrious was in dock at Liverpool this weekend so another leisurely walk down to the dock for tenbellies and i. It was a good day they filled the pier head with helicopters and displays for the public they even put on a small air show dropping marines out of Merlin helicopters to small ribs on a very choppy River Mersey, no sign of the Harriers though which was a little disappointing. As a child i use to love seeing the forces out on display, seeing the stalls and holding the rifles, something’s never change. As usual tenbellies made a bee line for the ration tent where after a vigorous tasting found the standard issue ration packets most delightful.

nick griffin leader of the retards

Watching question time tonight sees Nick Griffin of the BNP make his debut. Oh dear this guy really is retarded beyond all help. In fact i really do believe that the dodgy eye that he has was surely a result of when his mother dropped him on his head. The guy denies direct quotes and video footage of himself and laughs, claps and agrees with those that attack him. I really have never seen a guy contradict himself so much. Further to this i found it most enjoyable when the audience agreed that the only reason the bnp has recognition today is because of the disastrous job the current government have done, and again Nick Griffin nods, laughs and agrees. What a RETARD. I think we can all sleep sound tonight knowing these idiots will never gain enough power to turn the lights on and continue to live in the dark ages. I have to say that this was probably the most entertaining thing i have seen on the bbc in a long time.

sloe gin

at the weekend i visited thuds new castle to check that work was in progress while the man is away sunning it up in the US of A. we had planned to produce some cider from the many trees in the grounds but time has not been in our favour and we didn't get round to it what with ripping down walls and building fires. Anyway most of the apples were gone and the few that were left went into a rather lovely apple pie (still too tart for tenbellies), there were however lots a sloe berries ready for the picking and so i decided to have a go at some sloe gin. with a bit of luck thud and i may have a little tipple for Christmas or new year, that is if i made it right.

An Evening Stroll

Liverpool at night, now that the nights are drawing in the city is lit up quite beautifully, especially tonight as the city was visited by the Queen Mary 2. Tenbellies and i decided to go eat out at our favourite little dining spot and then take a leisurely walk down onto the front to see this grand vessel all lit up in the autumn night. its just a shame our camera wasn't up to much.

fish fingers and chips

after a melancholy day at work there is nothing better to come home to a simple meal that always hits the spot and puts a smile on my face. Fish fingers and chips have to be one of England's favourites, as a young lad i would strip all the bread crumbs off first and then dip my fish into the red sauce. now a little older i wrap them in bread and butter and devour.hmmmmm tenbellies makes the best chips!

pass me a ladder

I decided to give the blog a make over this week as i have found it increasingly difficult to motivate myself and post. I feel like i hit a wall and trying to get over it has been a struggle. I enjoy blogging and have plenty to blog about. So im hoping that an new look and a change in direction may keep it going just a little bit longer.

Congratulations Tenbellies

Tenbellies started her new job today, so I would like to take this opportunity to say congratulations and good luck you will make a great teacher and will without doubt take up drinking very soon. Well-done I'm so proud to be ya fella.

Carlton Fixie

I have had the bike finished now for just over a week and it rides like a dream. One or two teething problems at first but nothing a few spanners couldn't fix. As you can see it very much stripped down compared to a standard road bike, the big difference is that it has no brakes this is controlled by your legs and the drive. I am looking at putting a front brake on as a fail safe having had some hairy moments already when going down hill.

So I have tried to keep as much original parts as possible, the forks, drive wheel chain and pedals, the head set and the seat post. I bought new wheels; handlebars and my Brooks B17 saddle which a got at a great price. The paint didn’t come out as I had expected but it’s grown on me and even though I was wary of the decals I really like them now as they give an impression that the original bike is not lost. I have had a bit a stick from friends for the bike and various things but building this has been great fun and I’m already starting to look to my next project as this will not really be suitable once winter really sets in. The BSA is going to be a lot different and although it will be fixed I am looking at a coaster brake hub for the rear wheel and going all out on a new paint job.


I have never felt as sickened as I do right now. I have no words except I feel for the two poor victims and their family. Where dose it go so wrong that society breeds pure evil?

Have a Little Faith

So maybe summer wasn’t a complete wash out as I kept saying to thud all last week the rain, it will blow over and sure enough a little faith and it did giving us a few hours a day of the lovely sun but that never really enough. I moved my toms over to Thuds new castle and in to the worse for ware Victorian greenhouse in the hope that this may help my little beauties to ripen I also took over the chillies to keep them company. When I moved the Toms I left one plant at home as it was little worse for ware and looked like it would surely pop its clogs like my unfortunate grape vine.

But low and behold , give a little faith the little trooper has produced the goods, as you can see it has given me two little fruits, in fact its given three but someone’s little princess scoffed it before I could get a look but it seems it tasted good as she asked for more. Just goes to show have a little faith.

I hope no ones scoffing my Toms in Castle Over the Water.

Back to work

Its official the summer holidays are over and its back to work, and somewhere under all these boxes is my work bench. I spent the day working my way through paperwork ringing suppliers and opening the countless boxes of new equipment for a department we will be setting up in September. It’s a bit like Christmas come early only I don’t get to play with all the toys. Never mind I have my new TIG welder and pewter casting kit among those hundreds of boxes, that should keep me happy for a while.

Any regrets?

10 years ago today Mr Martin shot dead a burglar and wounded another in his own home, he was sentenced to jail for first murder and then manslaughter after it was found that the burglars had over 100 other convictions. The after math plus other gun related incidents caused new laws to be thrown down and there was a ban on fire arms.
Still it’s a controversial argument should guns be banned? well let me see, it has changed nothing since as there is as much gun crime now in the uk than there has ever been and it’s the criminals like the two who broke into Mr Martins farm that are now the armed. I see it like this, every man or woman has a right to protect themselves, their family and their property by any means necessary. So when Mr Martin was asked if he had any regrets or remorse he rightly said no.

Brooks since 1866

Well the bike is all but finished with a final touch of adding the saddle; I set out to turn the bike into a fixed wheel commuter as that is what I will be using it for. But it was also important that try to replace all the parts that can be used with the original, in some cases this hasn’t be possible and therefore it’s been replaced with parts for the specific spec. All in all the bike has come together really well and after a small test ride as proved to be very fast.
So the saddle, the final touch is important to the bike and the saddle needs to comfortable and add a little style and sophistication. I like things old and with some history about them so i choose Brooks, from new these can be expensive so I bought a slightly used one at a fraction of the price. The model is a B17 and has a long history of being a handmade quality saddle that ages to perfection, after all its all about the comfort.

Ants in ya Pants

Feeling a little poorly since returning from my holidays I blame the air con from the plane as I hate to think of having to share the air with 200 passengers for 4 hours, and with our present infatuation with swine flu it makes matters worse. So much so I think I said to tenbellies this morning that I think I have it hahaha oh dear I’m delirious. So as I sit on sofa cold sweats aches and pains I am wound up even further by an unwanted visitor to the flat. It seems the crappy weather of rain and warm temperatures has meant there has been an increase of Lasius Niger otherwise known as the flying ant. This little blighter keeps appearing from nowhere; either walking along the floor or across the couch and I kid you not if flattened dozen or more today. We have had issues with ant in the past and I have tracked these down nuked them but I just can not find where these are coming from.

This aint bike riding weather

Returning back to Blighty after some well earned rest in the Greek island of Crete we were welcomed by wind and rain, ah home sweet home the boys at the met office are doing a cracking job they show as much competence as our PM. but hey that’s a whole other rant. The garden looks great a few more tomatoes have come, chillies slowly and even the corn is starting to make an appearance I just hope they will ripe just a little.

Before I left for Crete I brought the bike home for assembly, the next step is fixing the bottom bracket and chain set. When I was given the frame it had a random chain wheel so I replaced this with an original one that came of the same model Carlton. The chrome was in really good nick better than what was on it already, but I was unsure about the pedals, the ones that came with the bike were in a bit of a mess so I sand blasted these and then polished them up so that I could use them, I cant quite make out the make of the pedal but they are track type pedals that were common on race bikes.

A Touch Of Paint

A few weeks back I started to fix up my BSA but in the process I was given an old battered Carlton racing frame that I planned to convert into a fixed wheel. Well the BSA took the back seat and I got totally sucked in to this little fixie project. Scouring ebay for parts and stripping the frame right down so that I could re spray. Well I finished the spraying this week and it now stands for a couple of weeks for the paint to completely harden. It’s important to me that I try and keep as much of the original parts as possible so I left the original brass tag on the head and also had the idea to keep the existing decals that were worn and scratched. I have not done this before so everything is an experiment and so far I am happy with paint finish but im unsure about the colour as this is not the colour on the tin and the remaining decals have not given the desired effect I was looking for. The forks look great and these I found on ebay exactly the same as the originals which I had to cut off because some bright spark had used a fixing (ironic) agent on the stem.

The Fruits of Mother Nature

Well as you can see its been very busy down on monkey farm, the tomatoes are thriving, chillies are in flower and the corn is …… well just looking like corn for now. I started to feed the tomatoes today and will continue until they start to turn but I just need the summer to hold out otherwise monkey will have to make a makes shift greenhouse.

Unfortunately not all things are rosy on the farm, it seems that my ignorance to the great British climate and the choice of vine seems to have back fired and my poor vine, now situated in the window is in a deep coma. Not to worry this will be one of the first to go in the greenhouse when Thud moves….. Come on Thud vines, wines, and plenty of fruit is a waiting.