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My plan to ruin christmas for everyone for ever is taking shape!

Nov
20
I only wanted to get out of the secret santa round in the family, and I seem to have upset everyone. Not sure how that happened.

can I be left out of secret santa this year please?
Paul Clarke to Dominic, Dean, Jennifer, Jim, Clare
I'm sure it sounds like i'm being a grinch but i don't want to pick a present or presents for myself like this, feels too extravagant and wasteful to effectively blow 瞿50 on myself when I really don't want anything. I gave last year's secret santa gift away, and that was something I even chose and bought myself, and I have secret santas from previous years that I picked myself but haven't got round to using yet.
If you've picked me already just toss me aside and pick again, if no-one's picked me yet can you fish me out of the sorting hat please?
It shouldn't affect anyone else and as we are out of town on christmas day this year you won't even notice one person not opening their box of festive swag.
Thanks all, I meant to say this when we were at the gig on Saturday but it didn't come up.
See you all soon!

RE: can I be left out of secret santa this year please?
Dean Weston to Paul, Jenny, Dominic, Clare, Jim
Hi Paul - for some reason I didn't get this email. Have to day disappointed that you chosen not to participate in Secret Santa this year. Christmas is all about sharing and giving tokens of appreciation of friendship etc. I may appreciate that you may not personally want something yourself for Christmas but am sure any of us would have been happy to have donated our 瞿50 to Pilgrims Hospice or any other charity of your choosing.

Personally think you are being short sighted on this

RE: can I be left out of secret santa this year please?
Jenny Mahon to Paul, Dom, Clare, Jim, Dean
I agree with Dean, Christmas is about giving and it would be a shame for you not to particpate. I think a charitable donation if you can't think of a gift for yourself is a lovely idea.
My mum is still raising money for the wondeful pilgrims hospice. 瞿50 towards her ever building 瞿4560 would make such a difference. Just an idea.
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Paul Clarke's blog - I live and work in Hythe near Folkestone, Kent. Married to Clare and father to two, I am a software engineer, and I do mostly javascript, nodejs, python, ruby, and php. I like pubs, restaurants, home automation and other diy jiggery-pokery, history, genealogy, TV, popbitch, squirrels, pirates ☠, lego, and time travel.

We have ventured into the world of Netflix

Nov
19
Seeing what all the Netflix fuss is about, we have given it ago. Not sure how durable it will be but there's some good content there, I'm pleased so far. Watched Gotham yesterday, will catch up on all the episodes I have missed, and then we're giving Stranger Things a go later, and a few people have recommended Ozark too. And it's not costing anything yet, so we'll have to binge on it until the whole thing catches up with us... Really cool to just have it working through the existing Humax set top box, works seamlessly.

We're logging in as Kev, he has a paid account and you can add family members on other devices too. Seems against the spirit of it, though we are family members. How are they ok with this when it is clear we are on different continents? Who knows... Will see how long we get away with it for, I have always suspected we could plough through the quality content in just the month's free trial we could legitimately have.

Glossary:

humax: set top box / media centre - like your sky plus, but better and free
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Supposedly Amazon Echo Plus will be reduced tomorrow

Nov
19
Is this what they call cyber monday? The Amazon Echo Plus, the new one that has the zigbee home automation hub built in is supposedly dropping from 瞿140 to 瞿110 tomorrow so I'm looking out for that. I'm still not entirely decided that it is the one for me but it sounds like it will be fun for everyone, and at the least works as a bluetooth speaker so we can all get something out of it. So checking here tomorrow...

Went out for lunch today just the youngest one and I as Clare and the other one were watching Matilda on TV and making a picnic out of it. Our lunch was not successful, I had beans and mushrooms on toast and he had a ham baguette that he ate approximately one crumb of. We went in Ti Luck because he insisted that the ham baguette there was what he wanted and couldn't be persuaded into somewhere clearly nicer like Comemos or Orchard Lane or Loaf. Ti Luck might be good as a Thai takeaway, I think it was when we ordered from there once, but in the daytime it's a greasy spoon, and I would not recommend it. Actually even their Thai menu makes no concessions even to vegetarians, so we don't tend to go there. Last time he chooses. Early tea then as he hasn't had enough lunch!
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They did it

Amazon Echo Plus actually reduced.
20 Nov TweetComment / reply

Actually so sad

Nov
18
Kerry always posts so sad on the facebook when any celeb dies, now it's my turn, Malcolm Young of AC/DC has died at only 64. He was sufering with dementia, but I didn't think that was a life shortening thing.
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Another five year olds party today

Nov
18
Two five year olds in fact, twins, so I've no idea where the apostrophe should go in the headline above. Five year olds' party maybe? This is the third week in a row of these, and there's one next week. I'm going along, the others are watching The Spiderwick Chronicles, I'd quite like to see that again.

Going to treat myself to a trip to the tip later, totally getting on top of my tidy the study mission...
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Swimming was actually good

Nov
17
Number one is doing some awesome backstroke now with proper straight arms, he will be moved up a group soon. Number two still a little shy of it all we have a way to go there. A few years of swimming lessons ahead...
Clare stayed in hospital overnight but is being released at 2pm. Was a noisy night on the ward, upsetting enough being in hospital anyway but one of the other people in her ward had just had her bowel removed, and another was waiting on being transferred to the hospice, horrible. Straight on to a frivolous point though: Shockingly she has been told no booze today! And she says it applies to me too, hmm...
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Swimming again!

Nov
16
The boys are improving hope they keep up at the same rate... I'm done with my wfh for the day, the boys are having their tea and we're off swimming in a minute...
Have heard from Clare she has survived her procedure, which is a bonus. Still don't know if she'll be coming home tonight or staying in.
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Got a share save statement

Nov
16
I started a share save scheme with work in April 2015, so it's due to mature in April 2018. Keep forgetting about this one, it will be a nice little lump sum when it comes in. Would be nice just to get this money back, have been putting in 瞿100 a month since then, but I think the shares have done really well in that time so it should be well worth having.
I have another one maturing the following year but it'll be much less; I didn't have money to spare at the time so did 瞿30 a month, and the option price is nearly 50% higher, but should still be a very nice amount. Sure it will more than compensate for the shares I was going to sell next year and the year after anyway.
First one was 瞿100 a month, so 1071 shares under option that I can buy for 瞿3.36 and I'm sure they're about 瞿20 now. There is some wheeling and dealing to be done but it will more than pay for all the holiday plans of that year. Think I can sell just enough to stay inside my capital gains limit and still have some left over. Very tax efficient!
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Step up

Nov
16
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Clare did the school run this morning, and I forgot to put my fitbit on while I was doing breakfast and things so I am a good 2-3000 steps behind where I'd normally be by this point on a Thursday. School run to do this afternoon but Thursdays are always quite difficult. I have to go for lunch at 2.30 and walk hard, and then pick the boys up while I'm out, then come back and carry on working. Can't quite get my full quota in there.
Clare is going in for her procedure in an hour, general anaesthetic and everything. She should be back again today but will see, she has an overnight bag with her just in case. It's going to be a fraught day but I'm sure it's going to be fine.
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Hmm school photos...

Nov
15
So far we have only seen number two son's school photo and he's doing a proper grimmace in it, he looks like The Joker. In one of them he's looking proper cute, so maybe we'll buy that one. Still have not seen number one son's picture, nor the picture of the two of them together. If that one is good we'll be buying that in some form or other...

I have been voted back on to the PTA again despite not turning up to the meeting. What else can I do???

Swimming went well yesterday, slightly easier getting ready anyway as one of them did not swim this week.

Number one son feeling a bit under the weather, hope he's not coming down with something.
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NOPE!

The photo's of the two of them together were not better, nor were the other one's single pictures. One of his was good, he has a more natural camera smile these days but the little one has a proper rictus. We're going to have to get one just for posterity but I don't think we'll be putting it out on display...

Also this week I've had to pay for school raffle tickets, two "money tree" envelopes for the christmas fair, plus some other cash contribution to the school for something or other. Constant outgoings.
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Twenty five years ago today we were at Baddiel and Newman

Nov
15
Baddiel and Newman 5.4(10 1 votes, 0, Pauly) 15th Nov
Rate Baddiel and Newman
David Baddiel and Rob Newman, half of the Mary Whitehouse Experience, the half who are not constantly on Radio 4 these days. That's a QUARTER OF A CENTURY ago, good grief.
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Andy's on the news!

Nov
15
Andy's dash cam footage was featured on ITV Meridian News yesterday!
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A trip to London!

Nov
13
Saturday had a trip out without the kids! Don't tell them we went to London will you they will never forgive us...

Started off with a birthday party for one of number two son's friends, in a school hall in Palmarsh. Entertainment was from Dance With Daisy which he used to do at nursery, so that was a nice flashback. After the party racing straight back to a handover then on the high speed to London. Actually changed at Stratford this time, though go the full ticket to St Pancras as it was only 15p different and we're sure to want to come back that way. This gave Clare a chance for a very quick shop in Fat Face, the shopping centre was unpleasantly hectic. This could have been pub time, so quick to Liverpool Street by new modern train line. Is this the Elizabeth Line / Crossrail?

Went to our fist pub when we eventually got to Old Street. Should have been quicker to get there but it's been a while and we just didn't figure out where we were going. The Reliance was nice, a proper pub but still a bit trendy, then to Busaba where we met Emma for a Thai meal, also very good. Then to the Dragon to meet the band who had done their soundcheck. We were in town for Istanbul Hippodrome, Dom and Trevor's band, and I was a bit apprehensive. They make mostly electronic music, but when they play live it was a lot more guitar based, so I enjoyed it. I was also apprehensive about the venue, I had only heard bad things online about it being super expensive for drinks. However after I'd had a couple then six pounds for can seemed reasonable. I guess avoiding the cocktails helped, maybe it's those that tip the prices up even further.

We saw a few other bands, as it was a multiband line-up, and none of the line-up really had anything in common with any of the others. First up was an Ed Sheerin type solo guitar singer, then a pleasant indie band with a violin from Cardiff. Then Istanbul Hippodrome, an entirely different level of sound. Then a laddish band from Glasgow, I liked the music, sounded like 60ft Dolls to me but they had real Oasis stylings. Then last was dreadful, they looked good but I guess they couldn't hear the sounds they were making. Dom and Trevor said it was hard to tell from the stage.

What do you know we did come back via St Pancras! Was probably quicker than the way we got there, short walk to Old Street then direct to Kings Cross. Got dirty junk food before getting on the train home, a nice quick journey and then an extravagant taxi ride the rest of the way home...

Gig seriously better than I was expecting, more guitar, less electronic. Still think the lineup was a bit of a scam, get whatever bands I can to pay their way onto this bill, bring their friends, reap the profits, no actual promotion done outside of what the bands are doing themselves. It felt like a local event, would have been better if it was just local as there'd be no travel expenses and the same amount of people watching the band, but then again it was fun to go out for the night. Expensive though, I did spend quite a bit.

One bittersweet moment from the child's partyearlier , a friend of the birthday girl who also knew our one from nursery said "is he your friend" and the birthday girl said "no, he's in my class".
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Quiet week

Nov
13
Think I am not going to the Inn Doors this week, but not such a bad thing to have a quiet weekend after such a big and relatively expensive weekend this weekend. I will be back to report on all the details, but had a great time on our little jaunt to London.
Main reason is Clare is going in for her procedure on Thursday, get her pelvic floor fixed! Not the sort of thing to write about on the blog though. Going in on Thursday and for a general anaesthetic for it too, a bit hairy. Don't want to make too big a deal of it but wondering if I should be going in with her. Her dad is going and that was all sorted before I realised it was a general even. I am working from home for several of the following days until she is back on her feet. Should be off work for a whole month with this one. Has properly crept up on me, though it's been in the offing for a long time. Sure Clare has been thinking about it every day forever.
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Insane torch

Nov
13
Check out this torch, the beam of light it produces looks like an actual light saber, it's insanely powerful... Can throw a sharp beam of light about a mile. 瞿170 though and 25 - 40 quid more for the batteries and charger. I really don't need another torch, but imagine if I had headlights like that in the Beetle...



Skip to about 1:55 and avoid the humorous preamble, but still enjoy the Canadian accent.
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Old school beetle in the Baja 1000 race

Nov
13
The best thing about this story about VW sponsoring a 1970 Beetle in this off road race is it has given me a great idea for improved lighting in the Beetle, wonder if I could easily put some inside up by the sun visors like that?
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Can't believe Googies is closed

Nov
13
Can't believe a) the forerunner of "make that bit of Folkestone nice" has closed, but also b) I had to be told of it by people who live out of town. I was down there the other day in 13cc and did not notice anything.

Googies was quite good, did they just overstretch themselves? Guess it did not work as well as a bar in the double sized premises. Good luck if you start again Mr Googies!
Previously:
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Paul Clarke's blog - I work and live in Seabrook near Folkestone, Kent. married to Clare and father to two, I am a software engineer, and I do mostly javascript, nodejs, python, ruby, and php. I like pubbing, restaurants, home automation and other diy jiggery-pokery, history, genealogy, TV, popbitch, squirrels, pirates ☠, lego, and time travel.

Paul Clarke

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