Merry Christmas

Merry christmas one and all eat loads drink plenty and be full of good cheer.
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christmas cheer


Christmas is definitely a time for the children to get what they want but when your only a year old and you cant write or get all you words out it takes a certain touch to get your point across. hmmmm..

Up goes the tree

Is this just the saddest looking tree in liverpool? Iv tried to get tenbellies to let me buy a real one but as she is the one that does the cleaning she won't let me because of the needles. Tut nevermind let's see if she can work her magic......more snow today yeah let it snow.
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Here comes the snow

I prayed and wished for snow at the weekend, now either god was listening or stirring thuds pudding did the trick (sounds a bit odd that) anyway it may only be a light dusting but it certainly put a smile on my face. Let the chaos begin...although I hope its not too early as I'd still like some for Christmas day.
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The way of the jedi

Another year closer to the big 30 and even though i have more hair in places i cant see, achy knees and a small desire to smoke a pipe (crack pipe excluded) im still very much a boy. with that i think its time to become a fully fledged Jedi, so im off to swot up. Cheers Thud and family OTW.
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Spooky doo

Its halloween tonight and although we don't do it like our american brothers and sister I kind of think we give it good go. Although the brits tend to dress up like tarts and get pissed we decided to take a more family approach by dressing up the kids cutting out some pumpkins (not our home grown ones unfortunately) eating cake and drinking pumpkin beer. Halloween is surely there for the kids and as our nieces and nephews get older I'm sure I will be trying to scare the bjesus out of um more and more. Next come bommie night and you should see the size of my rocket! Oo err.
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All day ranger

The food is always good in casa and the wine not too bad if a little watered down so after a few peroni's its time for home at what I think a reasonable hour. Tenbellies will be impressed and ill not be feeling too bad for thud in the morning.
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All day ranger

Back from waterloo with a bottle of cask we hit casa italia which to most true scousers is the only italian restaurant in the city. Big bottle of house wine to go ...
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All day ranger

We left the canteen and walked back up towards waterloo station after a few games of rummy. We walked past the boozer pictured but can't remember the name and talked all about all that's wrong with education and then walked on, I had a manns bitter. We visited the raven just down from the station we had done full circle and started on wine... Half 5 start in mind..
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All day ranger

So on to the train to crosby for a fine ale at the volunteer canteen which is supposed to pour a fine pint. When reaching crosby and after a 20 minute back we find the pub next to waterloo station...planning is everything
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All day ranger

After a trip to home bargain we went in here and then walked straight back out .... Shit hole next pub the old bank.
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All day ranger

Ok I'm out today with friends after lovely weekend with family which ill chat about later. But instead of a pub crawl around the pool we took to buying a save away ticket touring merseyside. So first stop after a glass of wine on the train is stamps in waterloo, an apricot haze real ale that's rather cloudy mmmm...it begins ohh and acdc paying in the background can't be bad
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Arty farty

I had a rather ropey start to the week with man flu and other ailments best kept to the toilet but when I finally got well enough I went into liverpool to see the biennial which I found to be rather good. Having not seen it before I could not rate it to last year but as there are some fine arty bits knocking around the pool like the richard wilson that I love it seems to have me converted to a point. Pics here are of two installation pieces which I liked a lot and tend to favour rather than your painting bollox, it still sort of get me a bit to understand that people do this for a job. Ah well not for much long as I can't see the cuts sparing much of these soap dodgers.
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Dawn of a new day?

Well the big cut was released yesterday and as the build up made out it came quite dramatically so much so I slept through the hype last night and read about it on the train to work this morning. Though there are some major cuts and yes people will loose their jobs, benefits will be cut for those who can but we all must sit and think for one minute. When our last shower shit was in charge of the house they threw our money about gave it to every tom with a heartbeat ran our poor country into the ground and put us in the running with greece as major fuck ups so... How else do we get out of this mess? Lovely sun rise this morning.
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Digital age

At the weekend I took one of works slr's home to take a few pictures and so that I could have a go at developing my very own prints. I thought it would be kind of cool and while the boss is still away sick myself and a few others thought we would take this opportunity to learn a few more skills. So I returned today with camera full of what I thought would be some cracking pictures only to find that I hadn't loaded the film correctly. Bugger!
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The last pick

We stood looking at the veggie patch this afternoon and as I dug up the last of the potatoes thud and I planned the next step in growing our own. More potatoes, more onions, not so many beetroot and maybe a better go at the carrots but for our first go it certainly went down well and for a lot less work than we thought.
Now with the elderberry wine safely tucked away I'm gonna try making plum woo woo watch this space.
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Thudmonkey



i know iv been away and very lazy with the posts lately and the stick i have received from folk has been plenty but i have been a little busy. this past week i have been watching in excitement the first part of the fermentation stage of ThudMonkey elderberry wine. picked from the castle over the water, we got quite a harvest and I'm pretty sure that the gallon that i have made could have easily been 2 or 3. If you remember we brewed sloe gin last year and after a gathering of friends at thuds recently it proved a very nice tipple. so now its the elderberry wine and i wonder if its a contender for napa next year? hmmmm we will have to see.


stripping the berries

after soaking a little squeeze

the yeast is working away

not a bad colour

Test pic

Another brew and spooks, yeah
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Test blog from blackberry

I have not blogged for a while and lots have gone on too much to go back over but all very very good. I'm hoping to get back into blogging a bit more with short and sweet posts, as you can see iv joined twitter just to see what all the fuss is about but mostly to post on the go. Anywhoo watch this space if your still out there.
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away we go


my last post in the uk for a month and as tenbellies is packing yet more shoes before we head off on our hols my last post will be dedicated to family OTW. as it is them that we will be spending the most of our summer with. we are truly excited to get to California again but most of all to see our gorgeous little princesses that we have dearly missed since they left just over a month ago. to spend summer with family and friends is surely bliss and i really can not wait to sit and relax in the Californian sun, although I'm not sure there will be much relaxing with these two running around going mad but hey its the job of an uncle and auntie. so terrah all and here we come.

4 days to go

this post is dedicated to my first visit to the mecca of new world wine, Napa Valley. being a wine lover this was one place that i looked forward to seeing the most. i love San Francisco and the Vegas and I'm sure i will see more amazing places in the future but napa valley was absolutely breath taking. i thought id seen the valley at its finest time of year, during the summer. but photos from thud in the autumn proved to be just as beautiful. during my short time in napa two years ago i was able to take part in bottling courtesy of vinogirl and vinomaker(click here to see pics and post on that) truth be known they made our visit sublime and we really couldn't of asked for anything more in that we are truly very lucky to know fine friends. the atmosphere in napa is very light and happy with a diverse mix of people from all manner of life and in this i think is the secret to why they produce the finest wines in the world. oh and they got great dirt. we visited vineyards and drank plenty of wine but the finest would no doubt have to be chateau liles 2005 cab franc. i truly can not wait to get back to napa and see vinogirl, vinomaker and of course the vinodogs to sit on the deck amongst fine friends amazing views fabulous wine and dancing babies.

6 days to go



well its 6 days to go and today marks the finish for summer, as i wait in work for some delivery with not much else really to do hoping that i may get home early. I'm searching the net for things that i would like to see in San Francisco, we visited the city the last time we were in America and loved it, with its steep hills and massive china town. thud, as usual filled us in on all the historical buildings and gave us a cracking tour, such a fountain of knowledge that one. last time we were unable to to see Alcatraz so I'm hoping to do that this time as it always fascinated me since watching the bird man of Alcatraz. we may also go and see one of its many exhibitions that the city is famed for, a little bit of homework maybe. any way i think its time for tenbellies to get the suitcases out from under the bed, less than a week to go.

10 days to go

its ten days to go yeah baby, and i feel due to the current state of the weather i will dedicate this post to Californian sun. thud informs me that its hitting 90 while back here we have a hose pipe ban and floods of rain. last time in America the weather was wonderful but it has to be said that the most extraordinary thing about the west coast would be the fantastic fog the rolls in over the bay in the morning like a huge tidal wave and can come as far in land as Napa only to be burned off by the rising sun not before refreshing those lovely grapes. at times it would look almost dull but if you think that you would be safe from sunburn in such circumstances you would be very much mistaken and this coming from a monkey that burns in the thick fog, in fact so did mrs OTW and vinogirl. anyway i love the sun and the hot weather and summer holidays would not be right without it, it seems we may have had all ours now so here's to California sun.
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english country garden

everything is growing in the garden right now, i spent an hour or so separating my carrots and beetroot as they had started to bind so before it got too far i split them and re planted filling almost the entire patch. i tried some of the larger beetrrot and they are not quite ready, but it seems we have alot so im thinking beetroot ale/wine, what do you think thud?
the Green house is doing well too, i have had to cane up the toms again as they have grown bigger than ever and now they have fruit. the vines are loving the temperature in the glass house and last years vine has had a new lease of life. out of the 6 pumpkins that Thud and i planted only two have survived but they too have started to fruit, ill do a little playing around with these before i leave for the California as i they need more space.

Tasty


check out the patch

mmmm toms


Chateau Brimstage

the first pumpkin

18 days to go!!

its 18 days to go and we are both starting to plan our little drive that we will be taking after a week or so of being in California. we did this the last time and found driving in America an excellent experience and we both cant wait to do it again. This time we plan to take the coast road from San Fransisco down towards LA where we plan to stay for an evening ether in Santa Monica, Venice Beach or Los Angeles itself. then we will drive through to Las Vegas for 3 or 4 nights. This trip is quite important as even though it will be a holiday it will also be the start of the planning for our wedding next year which Will be in Vegas.
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HDRI

i have recently been playing with my works camera which is alot better than our farty point and shoot. i have had some cracking photies off it and will be taking it on our hols too. i have been experimenting with aperture and hope to do some HDRI (high dynamic range imaging) work using photoshop. Im really lucky to have an excellent location to shoot (thanks Thud) and im sure even though a little arty farty there is the making of some great pics here.



21 days to go!!

Firstly lets pretend they say 21 days to go instead of 21 seconds to go and we will be groovin. so its 21 days to go and America has made it possible for these angry young men to get off the street, off the dole, off the corner selling crack and popping caps in ass and instead made them into respectable musicians. you see its the land of opportunity and even though we are across the pond it rubs off on to our people and makes things possible. optimism is strong in the US where here in blighty we seem to lack it with our dull grey clouds. ahh sun shine awaits.
romeo done!
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23 days to go


its now 23 days to go, and another small thing that I'm looking forward to is the morning coffee. we brits have tried to copy the Americans who copied the Italians in their love for coffee however we got the shitty end of the stick with our not so great coffee that is way over priced and once more you can never sit outside and enjoy the morning with a pastry. Our last visit to the US saw us sitting outside most morning enjoying coffee and a pastry listening to the locals go about their business, the sun would shine and for a mere $20 or so it would feed family OTW tenbellies and i and it would set us right for the day ahead. we have tried to recreate this time and time again but nothing is like the Starbucks in wallnut creek.

sorry about the pic but it was the only one i could find.

28 days to go


before i dropped family OTW at the airport yesterday thud and i went for a little drive to collect some wine for Vinogirl and Vinomaker. while driving down the pleasant country lanes we got to thinking about the oncoming trip to the US. Tenbellies and i will be joing them in 4 weeks and count down has begun, its been two years since we last visited California and we both loved every minute of it and we are very excited to get our long awaited break. so until then here are just a few things that we are looking forward too.
firstly it has to be In and Out Burger ahhhhhhhh mmmmmmmmm, this is without doubt the most amazing fast food joint you could ever come upon. when they say fresh they mean it, the meat still has a pulse when they pop it on the grill and the the fries are cut right in front of you as you order them from something that our Burger bars don't really use its called a potato. The Americans have a little bit of a bad rep concerning food and burgers but everything and i mean everything is wiped the moment you eat one of these fine gourmet burgers. Tenbellies is seriously considering have these for our wedding meal and i may let her. so it is now 28 days until we can order.

bikes for sheep??!


this is not what i had in mind when i bought this bike off the back of a scrap van but i kind of like the end result in some creative way. my original intention was to restore this but after a week of taking it apart and blasting the rust off the components i found that it would need too much money thrown at it to make it usable. Never mind, it was adopted by a student for the final art project and after a few balls of wool this was the outcome. hmmmm yep.

tenbellies says its terrifying

Photos from the weekend





i love the country, the cows make me smile and i like old wooden farm gates.