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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hard Cheese

A look out the window at 8am and it was immediately obvious that unless there was going to be some major change in the weather, we wouldn't be trudging up Cooper's Hill to witness the Cheee Rolling.

Some of you will be aware that it wasn't actually supposed to be happening anyway. Officially it had been cancelled for various admistrative reasons most of which are clouded and confused by rumour and conjecture to such a point that no-one really knows what's going on at all. In all honesty, that's probably for the best. (I mean that no-one knows what's going on, not that it's cancelled - that's a travesty)

It's an example of an event that is a victim of it's own success and it's own geography. 8 or 9 years ago it might have attracted 2000 visitors to the hill and all was well with that. A local tradition for local people. The year before last there were an estimated 15,000 that invaded the place and it was utter chaos as well as downright dangerous. The space that is Cooper's Hill just simply isn't large enough to cope with those numbers.  Worse still are the numbers of people that show up in cars looking for a car park, which there simply is not.

All in all, given the weather conditions and the hoo-ha, we decided to give it a miss. It was that nasty out there that you'd have to be really hardcore to stick with it...  more of a Parmesan roll, than a Double Gloucester. No doubt, when we have a really warm year, it'll be a Brie. However, in the mean time here's a few photos from recent years of the chaos which might help you understand some of the problem.
And just to round things off nicely - a couple of video's so you can see the pain inflicted on others that you've missed.

Cheese_Rolling_2008_02.AVI Watch on Posterous

Cheese_Rolling_2009.AVI Watch on Posterous
It saddens me greatly, not to have been there, as I am a real fan of the event and the traditionalism of it, but I guess this will make it all the more enjoyable next year.  There is a report and some decent photos of the 2011 version which you can read here:  Congratulations again to the living legend that is Chris Anderson. Incidentally, his sister works in the same office as Mrs G. Small world.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lunch and Laughs

Hello Sunday, nice to see you. Just to keep you in the picture, yesterday involved some work (although not the masses that I suspect we'll be doing over the next couple of weeks) and some exercise on the trusty chain driven steeds.

Mrs G and I pottered about in town and then I went map hunting while she caught up with L who was up visiting from that London. I'm taken with the idea of an antique map of the city to hang on a wall in the warren somewhere. Not sure exactly where yet. Will cross that bridge in the fullness of time (to mix idioms), but the bigger problem with the idea is finding the right map to begin with. Gloucester has a couple or three decent antique warehouses which are stuffed full of all manner of ..erm.. antiques?

However, having spent a goodly few hours rummaging around them all, I've positively failed to find, not only a decent antique map, but in fact any map of the city whatsoever. Complete waste of time, although I did find Winnie that someone had thoughtlessly trussed up. Don't they know he's got things to do!? (mowing any stray grass to within a 16th of an inch of it's life for a start)

I've had a poke about on the Interweb for one and while I've seen the odd example I quite admire, I'm not feeling like setting my heart on one of them until I've seen them in the flesh (so to speak). Next on my list then is an antiques map shop and/or a car boot sale. One of which will most definitely have what I'm looking for (at a price) while the other is just "eBay Live" but without the bidding, or search facility... or customer satisfaction system - but you know what I mean.

I haven't had a chance to do either though as today's plan has been all about lunch with Mother-in-Law or Granny, for the benefit of daughter and son.

Lunch with J and W is always a fun affair and holds several benefits for myself and Mrs G, namely that we don't have to cook it and there's the luxury of W's carrots and J's fruity crumbles. They're both retired now and are keen Allotmenteer's (I'm sure that's the correct nomenclature, unless you know otherwise) and the results of their hardwork are always more flavoursome than anything a supermarket can turn out. Their current batch of strawberries are to die for and the rhubarb crumble was second to none. There is only one downside to the whole event but it's not one to really grumble about. They're of a generation that doesn't posses or has any interest in possessing a dishwasher. All this means is that we go home with hands as soft as our faces thanks to the "wild green hairy lipped squid".... Oh hang about, I mean "mild green fairy liquid" there's a shaggy dog story of a joke in there somewhere, but don't ask where.

Which reminds me. On the subject of jokes, I've learned that there are actually two types of people in the world. Those who like cliffhangers...

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Saturday, May 28, 2011

It's all about Philosophy in the end...

Around 4am I was awoken by a soft bleeping noise and a small flashing blue light. As the world came into focus in the eerie half light of pre-dawn, I realised that it was coming from my new pen. It's a pen I'd been given by a random salesperson at Starfleet who was trying to get me interested in mobile phones at the time...  Badman will tell you all about it, he was there at the time. 


As it is, I'd thought no more of the pen, which at first sight is a non-descript disposable biro until this interruption to my sleep pattern. I staggered out of bed and over to the dresser where the pen was sat merrily chirping and flashing. On closer inspection, it appears there is a tiny LED inset next to the nib. As I put my finger over it, the pen clicks and a tiny aerial emerges from the other end, this time with a red flashing light on it. The light flashes red then green a few times and then becomes fixed green. It's connected to something......

Suddenly my phone starts buzzing to alert me to an incoming call, and the caller ID ?  "Mission Headquarters at Starfleet (via your cheap pen)". Uh oh!... Something's going down.

Tentativly I answer the phone and hear the following message in a voice I don't recognise: 

"Good morning Mr Ball. Sorry to disturb your sleep, but we have mission details for you and the Badman.  Your Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to turn 6 weeks worth of work into 2 starting immediately. As always, should you or any of your Starfleet force be caught or killed, the Christopher Robin will disavow any knowledge of your actions. Good luck, Badman and Golfy. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds....."

Oh for the love of wisdom!!! (see what I did there? - if not, read more greek). Instantly I recognise that we have a fundamental problem in need of studying and that dear reader is why, it's all about philosophy in the end.   Well, that and this Wikipedia article:

I'm off to town with Mrs G our faithful chain driven steeds. It's a bank holiday weekend, I've spoken with the Badman, we've exchanged emails and are making our position clear.

If we had the option I wouldn't accept the mission, but then this is Mission Impossible and we are the best bear and tiger for the job.... erm, actually, the ONLY bear and tiger, but as I always say in times of trouble..... whatever.


Todays post was brought to you by the letters "F", "E", "C" and "K" and by the website:


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Friday, May 27, 2011

From the desk of Golfyball....


Team Work!...  Yes - that's what I really meant in my last post I think.  As in: Team, get a move on and do some Work. The trouble is that Badman and I are some what hampered by the fact that our friends from the new world colonies aren't focused on answering the questions we're asking. Not having the answers to these smaller questions means that answering the bigger question becomes impossible. One feeds the other.

But still we battle on.  Today has been peppered with conference calls - lots of which were of the "Keep Calm and Carry On" variety. Those of you that read the Badman's blog as well will know that we're playing our own silly game of BS Bingo in the run up to the rush. I was able to get two "What Badman said"s which means I've gained an extra 20 points. Badman still only has his "lucky" 75. So the scores are running at 40:75 and no more mute or giggling to allow the Badman any additional points. Tough times....  but wait... It gets tougher...

Last call of the day is 7pm UK time, so long days are becoming the norm, but then on the plus side we have a bank holiday weekend.  WooHoo!  What's really depressing about this situation outlined on the call though, is the timeline involved. We were given an idea of dates at the end of last week, and suddenly that's been retracted and compressed dramatically. As a result I can't currently see how we can achieve our goals. The detail just isn't there and the pressure to deliver is through the roof. We have some big work to do - and no time to do it. I think we might have to pack some huny sandwiches and go on a visit, but we might not even have enough time to do that! Mental times.

Back in the real world for a Friday evening and I'm simmering a Chilli-con-carne for dinner for Mrs G and I.  Son is off out to a posh do with his girlfriend, while daughter is still at work, although in her case she's getting paid for her overtime - I am just stupid enough to still be here because I care. Some sort of fool I am!

Judging by some of the stuff I've seen this week, I probably should have got a job in advertising.  Not sure if they get paid overtime either, but they do seem to have a good laugh and share some awesome creativity.  You'll see what I mean here:


Always leave them wanting more, as my gran is occasionally heard to say... so here's something more...


So that's it for now - but I think it's gonna get nasty.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Most of the time I really can't agree with Scott's sentiment in today's Dilbert. Occasionally he's bang on.

Yesterday, involved a trip to the local-ish Starfleet base for Badman and myself to sharpen up our sticks and make a plan for the next couple of months worth of playtime. When I put it like that, it seems like an age. "A couple of months" is forever... except we both know that in this case it's about 30 seconds. Simply far too short an amount of time given the amount of work to be done. Still, we have a good team and many hands make like work. Christopher Robin's direction is helpful and ultimately we all have the same goal in mind so I'm sure "it'll be alright" - as I keep telling myself. As the song goes, "there may be trouble ahead"... so now it's time to face the music and dance.

Aside from the worky bits, Badman's chickens are providing an outstanding crop of eggs at the rock bottom price of a few cups of coffee. Awesome.


Mrs G has the whole week off. This all started because we'd half planned to have a week in Spain with A,B & B. As it turned out, it wasn't to be and so instead we found ourselves at a funeral in Wiltshire on Monday.

Sadly, L's father passed on and naturally we wanted to be there to support her. It was a fine military send off, which was both dignified and respectful and even included the theme tune from the Dambusters in a very RAF way. L's brother M read the ever popular (can something be popular as part of a funeral? - seem like the wrong choice of words) "All is well" by Henry Scott Holland . It's a very moving piece and I've included it here for those of you that haven't heard it, or don't recall it.

Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.
Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner.
All is well.
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

They also included John Gillespie Magee Jr's "High Flight", also known as the Pilot's Poem, written during WWII. All very fitting words and sentiments.

After the sadness of the day came the celebration of life and it did involve rather a lot of imbibing. By Tuesday lunchtime, everything was back to normal, and our work there was done. Mrs G and I trundled back up country and I shuffled back to work only to find that not very much had changed at all.

Everything remains exactly as it was.... All is well.

And here we are at Thursday morning. Thursday!?!? Already!!?? Hell's teeth, we're running out of time fast and worse still, Monday is a bank holiday. It's actually a very special bank holiday as it's the one that usually contains the Cheese Rolling. Officially, once again it's not to be. Of course, to a local (and while I've only been here for 10 years - I do feel like a local) it's abhorrent to think that such a long standing tradition is ever likely to disappear.  You can read about the fight here: A very sad state of affairs.

Perhaps we'll take a walk around the Cooper's Hill Nature reserve anyway.....  just for the walk :-)

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Shape of My Heart Magic by Shawn Farquhar

I couldn't let this one go unmentioned for two reasons.

1. I really like this particular Sting track and
2. That is some awesome close up magic.... But judge for yourself:

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Let sleeping cats lie...

The end of the week went a little something like this....

A smattering of conference calls which included a few of our team wondering nervously what should be next and how the flippty jibbet heck would we ever get the elephant in the room carved up and served on time? Good questions and ones that we're working on answers for. Some introspective naval gazing regarding the correct method for getting things done, overcoming the shock of the enormity of the task at hand and the correct way to travel within Starfleet. A few emails one of which included a schoolboy error regard the incorrect spelling of a European colleagues name (am tempted to say "bloody foreigners!" but we're all in the EU now)

A spaghetti bolognese of which I was particularly proud and was thoroughly enjoyed by myself and Mrs G (daughter being off at work on a late shift and then back home and into uniform to patrol the streets in her capacity as volunteer superhero.) Poor girl didn't get home until 3am. A tough gig after a full days work. Oh for the energy of youth. A smidgen of coronation street (gonna miss Becky when she's gone) and a chunk of "Don't Tell" by Karen Rose, followed by the blessed release of sleep. And that was the week gone. Done and dusted. Best to let sleeping cats lie...


And here is Saturday morning and no sign of the apocalypse just yet. Must be due at any minute. In the mean time, I find myself on my bike pedalling like a madman off to Brockworth to teach some friends of mine the vagaries of Windows XP and 7 and the correct way to get iPhones and iTunes working with them. I know how to live. Perhaps I'll share the details later. I believe this evening holds a visit from Mother-in-law and a visit to Auntie S's but all those things are subject to change as always. Have fun.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Friday, May 20, 2011

We caught sommit....

And so it is that the Badman and myself have now had enough time sitting in the tree waiting for our bear trap to be sprung, especially when it turns out that our trap has actually been sprung and we have snared a beast within.

The trouble for us now, is what to do with it? It appears to be a bit of a monster and that will be our first problem to try and overcome. The second problem is all about how much of it we can see from our vantage point. We're not able to readily observe quite how sharp it's teeth are from this distance or example . It may well be that we need to get up close and personal with the beast, just so that we can plan it's demise in a safe and humane way.


To recap: It's Enormous and Fuzzy. Our work is cut out. According to an evangelical group in the good old U.S. of A, the apocalypse is due to start on Saturday the 21st May... tomorrow. The badman and I tend to think it might have started yesterday.

In other news....

Auntie S has moved on from M and bought a dog. Don't worry. If this sentence makes no sense to you, it's probably not supposed to.

Mrs G took her friend S to the hospital for her bone marrow scan yesterday. It's not an intrusive procedure, but it's not any fun either. As she says, you just have to get on with it and fight the good fight. Very stoic. The next phase is the chemotherapy and of course that will be much harder. Our thoughts are with her along with all the practical support we can lend her and her family.

The weekend is almost upon us. Saturday should be reasonably restful, although mother-in-law is car-booting on Sunday and I believe we have a table that she'll be wanting for that little job. She also has a lawn mower that she wishes to pass on to us, so it's a straight swap at Checkpoint Charlie. The rabbits won't let her in by default. I have to press a special override switch. Daughter has been angling for one of "Grannie's Sunday roasts" as well, so looks like we may be trying to organise that for Sunday dinner as opposed to lunch.

This pre-supposes that we make it to Sunday, what with the apocalypse looming and all that. The best bet is to stay in on Saturday and monitor global events from the relative safety of the volcano I think.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Golfy's Office

Those of you that have spent time here will be aware that my office / secret lair / labratory / place of work, lies deep beneath a roundabout on the outskirts of Gloucester.

This roundabout is actually a very cleverly disguised hollowed out volcano which has a number of hidden entrances and exits. The entrances are beautifully concealled and guarded by an army of killer robot rabbits, which from a distance look exactly like normal rabbits. The exits are a whole other story and are places that only those minions that have greatly displeased me end up visiting. Let us hope you never get to see them yourself.

Those very few that have been inside will mostly have arrived by helicopter. Local drivers would be completely unaware of any comings and goings though, due to the location and nature of operation of the helipad. Let me explain...

The traffic lights on each of the junctions turn to red, and special projectors hidden in the tops of the lamp posts display three dimensional video images of traffic running around the roundabout. While this happens the center of the roundabout slides out across the road and at precisely the correct moment, the road and roundabout top are both temporarily obscured by the projections of several very large lorries (mostly Wincanton distribution, but a couple of Eddie Stobbart's just for luck). The helicopter swiftly passes down into the roundabout (mouth of the volcano) and the top slides back into place. The traffic in the videos disperses and then finally the lights change back to green, as if nothing had happened.


This morning, being such a beautiful morning, I took a stroll "up top" and thought I'd share some of the survellance pictures of the robot rabbits with you.  Just for fun.
Be warned, while they may look cute and cuddly, they're in fact very heavily armed, with varying varieties of weaponary which you wouldn't want to get on the wrong end of. I'm particularly impressed with the micro-heavy-artillery, which you might be able to glimpse in this photo.  Just near the lamp-post, letting loose a shell in the direction of that incoming truck which I believe may have set off one of the rabbit's sensor's.
You're welcome to visit, but don't say I didn't warn you of the dangers.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Midweek Madness

Finally made it as far as Wednesday, and to be honest I'm feeling worn out already. It's been hectic in the wake of the Badman and I's recent bout of sitting in a tree and waiting.

Monday night found me whizzing off in the roller skate to Kate Middleton's educational hometown of Marlborough.  Needless to say she wasn't about, but good old Johnnie was along with A (who's father-in-law has passed on, and we will be visiting with next week for the funeral - just as an aside, there's been alot of that about lately, and here's hoping that we've seen the end of it for a while).

So having spent sometime with Mrs H and the kids, including a particularly enjoyable bedtime story in the form of Mr Mischief, we headed off to a local curry house in the middle of nowhere.

The Palm Indian Restaurant is an excellent eatery, and highly recommended should you find yourself "out in the sticks" and in need of sustenance.

View Larger Map
We ate and caught up with the general goings on which when all is said and done made for a superb way to spend an evening. Clearly something we don't do often enough, but then if we did it all the time, I suspect we'd appreciate it far less. We rounded off the evening with a quick beer and a game of "Heads or Tails" (far more complicated than it sounds) in "The Lamb Inn" on the parade in Marlborough.

Tuesday had the badman and I meeting up at my hollowed out volcano.  As we've been playing the role of a sleeper cell so well for the last week or so, it was long overdue that he should get the grand tour of our armaments and in particular the sentinent rabbits that patrol the grounds on the look out for agents trying to infiltrate the base and gain knowledge of the grand schemes within. He'd passed the background security checks, and was blindfolded for the last leg of his journey to the hidden base, so luckily he still doesn't know exactly where it is.

He also had to get his Bike serviced at a local garage, so it made perfect sense.

We got some good work done and had a bite to eat down at the docks before returning to the lair and planning an assault on a local Starfleet office on Wednesday.

In point of fact, the Wednesday trip was all about our Mid-year reviews with our soon-to-be-retired manager. I for one will miss him, just because in the short time I've worked with him, he's helped me through one of the toughest times I've had since joining the Starfleet crew.  I'm not going to go on about it - you can get snippets of it from elsewhere in the blog - but he's been a most helpful rock, along with the badman. Without them I'm pretty certain I would have lost all faith in the exploration of deep space and probably have beamed down to an isolated planet to be consumed by tribbles (and troubles no doubt).  As a result of their efforts my eyes have been opened to the wider, more useful and appreciated elements of Starfleet and as such I'm no happy to be here.

The review went well, and past pain is all but forgotten. I feel I can't let this moment pass completely without giving a nod of thanks towards Stretch as well, for it was he who pointed out the need for the role that I now fulfil. As such I owe him more than just a couple of beers of thanks.... possibly as as many as three and a half.

But he can save them up for the next time our paths cross. They won't be forgotten.

In the evening, being in such a good mood as a result of the review I decided to treat Mrs G and Daughter to a visit to one of our local eateries for a spot of dining out.  A "trip to the teddy" actually means we'll go to the King Edward the VIII public house for a bite to eat and a go at the quiz.  Food was poor as was the quiz, but we didn't care. We have eachother and so a good time was had by the three of us.  Good times.

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fire Breathing Pirates

And so it came to pass that on Sunday, Mrs G and I hoped on our trusty metal steeds and trotted off to Gloucester docks to see the strange chinese beasts race un and down the water.  In english? we cycled to the docks to watch the Dragon Boat racing.

Met up with J,A & B and R,K & AB. As R is the well known "king of the docks" he was able to provide an excellent "lock-up" to store the bikes in and keep them sheltered from the weather. The forecast had been dry and overcast, but sadly this broke and became scattered showers instead. But no matter. Being of good english stock, we weathered  weather, and got on with enjoying the silliness in the name of charity.  In fact, considering the poor weather, the event itself was very well supported.

The teams gathered about the various boats, looked at them sheepishly, and nervously did as they were instructed.
By the time they'd been up and down the docks once, they had the hang of what they were supposed to be doing, and it wasn't long before they were racing like professionals and getting seriosly competitive.  The races are run in a set of heats, and then a pair of semi-finals and finals.

The rowing was feverish, the crowds roared and the band played on....
At the end, a local team, the "Barnwood Pirates" stole the day, and I managed to capture a picture of a proud pirate about to receive his award. As you can see he's reasonably soaked, 50% river water and 50% beer I suspect.
While the winners retired to nearby hostelries for more beer and presumably champagne and other celebratory drinks, we retired to Cafe Corretto for coffee and sandwiches to warm us through.
All in all a good afternoon of standing about cheering, getting damp and raising money for CLIC Sargent, for children with cancer.  We left with the thought that perhaps if we can get enough interest from the rest of the mob, we may be able to put our own team in next year.  Time will tell.

Until the next post...

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Monday, May 16, 2011

Gloucester Cathedrals

As I'd promised myself last week, Saturday finally presented me with an opportunity to properly visit Gloucester's prestigious cathedral. As a result this entry is all a bit photo based, but as a picture speaks a thousand words, I'm not going to worry too much.
Daughter was off to work with a session of unexpected overtime and Mrs G was off into the city to the hairdressers. The place she visits belongs to a friend of ours and is not far from the refurbished docks. So while she walked over to be coiffured, I cycled over to the bishop's seat to have a mooch about.

View Larger Map
I went in through Cathedral Way via sacra (which is an interesting word on a signpost for the un-initiated, or those that didn't study Latin (ie: you)... I'm in the unenviable position of having studied Latin - Amo, Amas, Amant...  Ecce Romani... Let us not speak of this fact again though.  Any way, to get back to the point, sacra in this sense means "Sacred Road" which was also the name of the main street in ancient Rome. So there you have it. I went up Sacred Road.
As you enter the grounds proper of the cathedral, you are greeted by the tall stained glass windows which are located behind the high altar. It's a truly magnificent building, and these mere snapshots don't really do it any justice, however, from this vantage point it seems to fit in nicely where it is, and doesn't appear to dominate the landscape. It looks like a "NOT MASSIVE" building .....
Over the door at the south entrance you can see a carving of the green man, and the carvings all over the building are one of it's main draws. You could spend all day looking at gargoyles alone (if you like that kind of thing).
It's not until you pass under the porch and into the building itself that you realise the TARDIS like dimensions of the place. Internally it IS MASSIVE. The high vaulted ceilings of the presbytery and the nave are a sight to behold...
But equally as impressive is a trip around the cloisters. If you're a Harry Potter fan (and I'm referring to the film versions here and not the books) then you'll find parts of the cloisters instantly recognisable. They've been used on and off throughout the franchiase as the backdrop to parts of Hogwarts.
The Griffyndor Common Room entrance to name but one location, along with the wall with writing in blood from the "Chamber of Secrets"
Two things I didn't get a chance to do on this trip though.  First off, a tour around the crypt.  I'm told this is especially interesting as it is one of only four apsidal cathedral crypts in England. For those of us that aren't architect's, apsidal means that it's architecture is semicircular with a hemispherical dome on top if it. And secondly the Tower tour.
This consists of a 269 step climb to the roof of the cathedral, which it's claimed can afford you a view on a clear day of up to forty miles. It's got to be worth a look in next time I'm passing.
so that was my hurried Saturday morning tour, from where it was off to another cathedral in Gloucester... this time the one known locally as Sainsbury's.
Sunday - well, you can read all about Sunday in the next post....
Until then... au revoir

This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Where is Golfyball?


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