The BlackLOG household is in the process of going green. We are looking at investing in solar panels no less. I would like to report it is purely for the good of humanity but that is only part of the story. The truth is it currently makes sound economic sense thanks to the UK government offering huge incentives.....
Guaranteed by the government for the next 25 years, index linked and tax free -
- 41.3p for every unit of electricity the system generates, even if we use the electricity ourselves - that's like owning a restaurant, cooking all the food and then getting paid to eat it....certainly gets my vote, although I would probably end up using any profit to pay for slimming classes.
- An additional 3p (possibly more depending on the deal you can make with the power companies) for every unit we don't use and which get exported back to the grid. This bit sounds like a bulimic being paid for all they can eat and then given a little bit extra for anything they return...Yuck...
The only problem is we have to let the next door neighbours know, as the workman might have to get access to their property. See below "Shed wars" for our past dealings - it does not bode well....
Watch this space to see if the investment proves to be too good to be true....
V2010 count down
Just a few days to go until this year's V music festival and we have the typical weather worries. While we have been lucky for the past three years as it has stayed mostly dry, this year's forecast is looking a little less than encouraging at the moment. Mrs B's mood is currently looking as dark as the skies above us. I'm in Twubble with a capitol TWU if it turns into a wet weekend.....
The next problem is how to decide on which bands to see when - there are a number of clashes:
Paloma Faith or Gabriella Cilmi
Stereophonics or Florence and the Machine
Kings of Leon or Charlatans
Madness or Amy McDonald
Kate Nash or Eliza Doolittle or Eels
The Doves or Mika
Pixie Lott or Tiffany Page
Oh decisions, decisions
The following bands are must see for me:
Scouting for Girls
As in previous years I have created a schedule of who's appearing on what stage and when, which shows any potential clashes and helps with making a choice. Anyone going along to either Weston Park or Hylands Park and who wants a copy, let me know and I will send you the spreadsheets. I can't guarantee that it will be 100% accurate but it won't be far off...
The Beast and probably Mini Beast will be joining us at V so hope to bring some good shots for next week....
You can thank Cynical Scribbler for this. I was over at his place reading his 'Neighbours from hell' blog and was going to share my own story with him. Only, when I tracked it down I found it hilarious.
- Is it bad form to laugh at your own blog?
It's about 3 years old and I suddenly realised that this was originally published at a time when only one man and his dog were reading the blog. (Well the dog was probably not reading it as he appears to have been using it as a toilet, it was a bit soggy. Don't worry I have cleaned it up, disinfected it and remixed it in a new and improved digital format i.e. I copied and pasted it from the original publication and added a sound track on the BlackLOG Jukebox). One thing I can tell you is that I didn't actually have to embellish this very much at all - it's written practically as it happened...
Our shed building project has been put back after complaints from the neighbours, thankfully not the nice ones but the ones that we have managed 5 conversations with in 10 years. 3 of them have been over the shed and have taken place in the last couple of weeks. (At this rate we will be at Christmas card swapping status by about 2056).
Our first conversation with them set such a high standard that we were unable to repeat the exercise for some three or four years. To be fair it is her not him (Dave) who is the problem. I’m confident that on his own Dave would be a very nice and worthwhile addition to the neighbourhood. We would probably invite him around for BBQ’s and drinks but, attached as he is to Margaret (1), he has more chance of becoming POTUS than getting an invite around to ours.
(1) I think Margaret is her name but as we’ve only been living next door for 10 years, it would be understandable if I’ve got it wrong.
The scene was as follows. It was about ten years ago and we had just moved into our new house. The neighbours moved in a week later so Mrs B and I decided to pop around and introduce ourselves. We knock on the door and waited. There was a short pause and the door opened a crack, just enough for us to see a couple of eyes peering out at us.
Me & Mrs B – “Hi, we are your next door neighbours and thought it would be nice to introduce ourselves.”
Margaret – “I think you need to talk to Dave.”
Door slams in our faces – Perhaps she mis-heard us and thought we said that we were mass murderers looking for our next victim or even worse Jehovah’s looking for a chat…..
Mrs B (hair slight array from the force of the door) – “That went well!”
Me – “Yes, nice to know the new neighbours are friendly.”
This was followed by a slow trudge back home, which made Napoleons’ retreat from Moscow look like a picnic in the park. (If anyone happens to run into Tchaikovsky let him know that if he is ever looking to top his 1812 overture he should pop around to ours for tea and I can give him some details of a real war…..)
Now I can’t remember all the conversations we have had over the years. I did manage to borrow a wheelbarrow once, which I suspect will remain the high point of the relationship. When the shed project got underway, I had the courtesy to let them know that we would be putting up a shed and asked permission to go onto their property to fix the guttering. The only comment from Dave at the time was “The guttering had better not overhang our property”. I assured him it wouldn’t.
About six weeks later Mitch (chief architect and builder, when he is not nursing a hangover) and I received a summons to attend a hearing next door. Apparently, they were not happy about the shed. As we entered the house, the lovely Margaret verbally assaulted us with a selection of comments screamed at high volume. I can’t remember them all but the highlights were :-
“You’re just an East End wide boy” - naturally I assumed she was talking to Mitch.
“You don’t care about any one, you just march in and do whatever you want” - Was I suddenly George Bush? Is Michael Moore about to make a documentary about me? I don’t think so…..
- “It looks like something put up after the war, some prefabricated rubbish, you know what I mean, having been dragged up in the East End” - Oh gods, she was talking about me (2) and as for poor Mitch, this was his pride and joy she was dragging through the mud.
(2) While I have to admit to having purchased a house in Leytonstone (3), I was twenty and did not know any better. It hardly constitutes being an East End guttersnipe and I did sell it after a couple of years for a huge profit of about £3.35p. You live and learn…. I quietly put her straight on the East End bit - after all, my sister would never forgive me. She, being the posh one in the family, would never accept being related to a cockney, even a fake one.
(3) How did they know my life history? It turns out that my mother, the traitor (4), had been blabbing and divulging snippets of my life to Dave in cosy little chats over the fence during one of her cat sitting visits…..
(4) Is it ethically wrong to have your own mother shot for consorting with the enemy? I guess I should give her the benefit of the doubt and judge that it was before actual hostilities had been broken out. However I will be closely monitoring her future conduct……
“You think you’re so much better than us” -Well yes, I don’t just scream at people and slam the door in their face. (Although I could certainly learn to make exceptions for certain people in the neighbourhood.…..)
I decided not to react and instead asked her what the problem was: “Dave, tell him” - came the silky and smooth response, that peeled off layers of our facial skin. (Remind me to let Mrs B know that there is no need to invest in expensive exfoliation treatments, when she can just nip next door for a friendly chat with Margaret…..)
Apparently, our shed was blocking their light. Not direct light mind you but reflected light, reflected off our own wall (I feel so betrayed. Imagine finding out that parts of your own home have been consorting with the enemy. I can see that I will have to put our wall "on report" along side my mother).
Putting it all into perspective the shed was no more than a foot above the existing fence. As Mitch and I stood in their kitchen, on a dull day without any lights on, we could clearly see the vitriol being poured on us. I was having trouble keeping a straight face especially when Mitch said that we had no “Reference datum” to work from. If looks could kill I would have been finishing the shed off on my own.
“I’m not talking to you!!” - Margaret screeched in that friendly tone of hers, somehow managing to increase the decibels and menace in her voice to even more breathtaking levels. Perhaps someone should notify the Guinness book of records.
The next request was to lower the shed. Why did we need it so high? Apparently, her cousin had a shed that he "happily" ducked to get into and if it was good enough for him, surely it was good enough for us. Mitch and I retreated from the onslaught before we collapsed laughing.
It suddenly dawned on me she meant the compost bin......I made the mistake of telling her this.
I thought my ear drums were going to burst as her shrieks reached new highs that even dogs would have had difficulty picking up.
I tried to explain that the compost bin had been there for over eight years and had never caused her any trouble, but by this time she was heading for meltdown, all she could do was babble about snakes living in compost bins. Apparently, she was not just afraid of snakes but allergic to them to boot.
Once Dave had managed to cool her down, risking life and limbs as he manually untwisted her undergarments, Margaret demanded to know if I was intending to keep anything dangerous in there.
I assured her that Mrs B had been banned from taking unsupervised trips to the shed.
Margaret was clearly not amused; although I’m sure I saw a slight smirk break across Dave’s face.
I was very tempted to put a note through their letterbox asking if anyone has seen my pet Boa Constrictor which had escaped, while Mrs B was more for the direct approach and wanted to put some grass snakes in her garden, especially when she heard that Margaret had called our fat cat fat. The damned cheek of the woman, as if her own daughters don’t strain the scales and shop in the over-sized section for the less than petite.
Wrap up – what has happened since
Shortly after these events, Mitch emigrated to Canada. Although he has never admitted it, I firmly believe that his shed building pride took a severe battering during the war. To date he has never designed or built another shed.
Dave never even made the short list for POTUS. I believe the thought of having Margaret as First Lady was too much even for the American public.
Please note that no snakes were actually harmed during the creation of this Blog, although McG may have eaten a couple of earthworms during the foundation-digging phase of the project.
And finally, no peace treaty has ever been signed, so officially the shed war continues…….
on the dastardly Margaret, turns out we would have
been better off using ear muffs.
"Hmmm, earth worms...."
Let me know if you have a problem with publishing old Blogs, I probably won't listen to you but I will respect your opinion in the morning as I ignore you and rush out the door...
A record of the week
Almost appropriate music to accompany this week's BlackLOG
It's not easy being green - Kermit the Frog (who would have thought Kermie was the original saviour of our planet)
Pretty green - The Jam
I saved the world today - Eurythmics (You can thank me later....)
History repeats - Propellerheads featuring Shirley Bassey
Neighbours theme tune - (Don't worry I only put in the short version)
More cat photo's and some shots from my sister's rain affected summer party.........
conversation went over my head. I could tell The Beast was
interested though as his dials pricked up when she was talking
gets hold of, takes out of context and the next thing you
know you find yourself starring in a right wing, royal* lesbian
orgy expose, spread over 10 pages, with a follow up promised
for next week highlighting inappropriate conversations with
adaptation. He might be a rubbish actor but since I’m a
rubbish writer I could do with some gullible fans who can’t
tell the difference between good and bad. The BlackLOG
viewed figures would go through the roof….