Sunday, December 30, 2007

Preparations for New Year's Eve Party

Jeep is busy in the kitchen preparing food for 30 people for tomorrows party. As Jeep will not be able to have her 40th birthday party on her birthday, she has decided to combine a birthday party with New Year's Eve party. We are expecting about 25 adults but Jeep is catering for 30. Jeeps friend Loot has come round this evening to help. There is a lot of preparation needed. More helpers will arrive tomorrow. Some of my friends are coming round tomorrow too. It'll be nice to end the year with a bang!

Friday, December 28, 2007

My Cold Is Hanging On

I still have my cold. I have a chest infection to boot, which is playing havoc with my asthma! I'm on my second lot of antibiotics. The first lot seemed to have had little effect. Hopefully, this second lot will shift the infection. Maybe by the New Year? I hope so.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas. May there be harmony and peace in your heart.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Jeep's ESOL Studies

Jeep continues to make every effort to improve her English. This year she enrolled at the IOM College for an ESOL course. She has successfully completed stage 2 and will start the new term in 2008 at stage 3.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Holidays

To use up my outstanding holiday entitlement for this year, I am on holiday until the 2nd of January. Jeep and I managed to slip away to the shops today without the boys. Wow! Christmas shopping on a weekday is a total revelation! The streets and shops were quieter than a normal Saturday! Christmas shopping has never been so much fun! We'll do that again. Only next year we'll make it a whole day and take in a quiet lunch too.

What? Another Cold!

William and I have caught another cold. This winter is no fun! One week in and so far I have managed to contain the cold. Apart from finding it hard to breath, no chest infect - so far! Hopefully, it will be all over by the weekend. Perhaps this Christmas and New Year will be germ free. Weather wise, this winter is developing a colder chill than previous years.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Jeep's Catering

Jeep was again asked to cater for a private party. This time for 21 ladies of the Northern Ladies Group on the Isle of Man. This went well and Jeep was praised again for all the delicious food that she had prepared.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Caught A Cold

PJ, William and I all caught colds. William and I had a chest infection. William's cleared up mine did not. Doc has now put me on antibiotics to clear my chest up. So far Jeep has escaped this cold. The cold, wet and windy weather continues. I'm already looking forward to next Spring!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

SPILA Reunion

It was great meeting up with Cameron, Paul, Richard, Len, Lee, Keith, Matt and Steve, my 'old' colleagues from the SPILA IT Department, at the 'Traf' in Ramsey last night. It's not often they venture this far north! No sooner had I walked in the door when we we all upped and left for the Ellan Vannin pub just a few doors down. We had a few beers and lots of laughs. It was an early night as the 'gang' had to catch the last bus back to Douglas.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Wind Has Changed

Nothing happens for awhile then all at once the buses arrive all together!

After a rushed trip into Douglas last Sunday for Jeep to attend an open recruitment day at Tesco, we only heard about this the night before, Jeep was asked back for a second interview on Thursday. Then on Thursday, she was offered a job working in the Bakery department. Yesterday Jeep attended her induction and starts work next Tuesday. Initially, she will be working on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday evenings and during Sunday daytime. We are very pleased and Jeep is looking forward to the journey ahead.

Last Friday, Jeep attended the Isle of Man College to sit her driver theory test. Though Jeep was nervous, unsurprisingly for me she not only finished first, she only got one question wrong! Jeep put in a lot of hours studying at home, both on the computer and from a book. Jeep tackled this project like she does everything else - thoroughly! Bear in mind too, English is not Jeep's native tongue. Well done Jeep!

Oh! And to round off the week we had a small win on the lotto! As I said, "It's been a funny old week".

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Abbey Bank

Aaaaggh!! Abbey does it again!

I am tired of Abbey procedures and call centres half-way around the world. Last month I had a new pin issued due to my identity theft I spoke of earlier. I only used my new pin once before I forgot it.

At the end of August I requested a new pin. "3 to 5 working days" they said. On the sixth day I requested a new pin. Again "3 to 5 working days". The following week my pin number arrived, only this wasn't my pin number that was issued the previous week but the number issued two weeks previous. The following week my second pin number arrived. This was on the 25th. Over 3 weeks without having access to my account! There is no Abbey branch on the island. The ATM network is my only access.

I used my card with the new pin on the 25th at a non Abbey ATM. Normally this would have "activated" the card with the new pin. Not this time it seems. I then attempted to use my card at the local supermarket only to have the pin locked! Aaaaaggh! After struggling on the phone with the Indian call centre I was put through to someone who offered some hope. "Normally one would activate a card with a new pin at an Abbey ATM, but as you live on an island and no Abbey ATM available you may find another bank will offer you pin services connecting to the Abbey network". Hmm! Worth a try. I really don't want a new card and pin.

I went into town and looked at the Lloyd's ATM, not much information there. I then walked around the corner to the Barclay's ATM. On this machine was a notice "The following bank customers are welcome at this ATM". Abbey National was listed. This looked promising. I put my card in and entered my pin. It was accepted and one of the options available as "Pin Services". Very promising. I was able to "Unlock PIN" and withdraw some cash. Cause for celebration!

I really must transfer my account to an island based bank; Barclays is looking very promising.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Server-Side Scripting

My family website has been written solely in HTML and CSS. I want to do more on this site specifically with dynamic content. This is not possible without some sort of scripting. I have been toying with learning Javascript for some time. Javascript, for those that don't know is a client side script, and can be switched off by the user browsing the website. This renders some functionality of a website inoperable!

To overcome this, what is needed is some form of server-side scripting. Server-side scripting are instructions that are run by the server that hosts the website before the web pages are presented to the user's browser. Therefore the user is unable to switch these instructions off. The web page behaves as it is intended by the author.

The two most common server-side scripting languages are PHP and ASP. I have chosen PHP because it is free! It is also very powerful and well supported. You can identify web pages that use PHP by looking at the URL in the browser address bar. It will show something like

Now I am learning PHP. So far I have found it quite simple to use. I have installed a local server on my PC to learn and run PHP scripts. I am using an online tutorial .

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Spam Comments

I have noticed regular automated spam comments appearing in my blogs. So now I have switched on both 'Comment Moderation' and 'Word Verification'. This will block out any of these automated spam comments. It will still allow individuals to post comments, but these comments will not be published until I have 'Moderated' them. I may at a later date switch off 'Comment Moderation' but for now it stays.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Stomach Bug

I have been feeling unwell these last few days since Saturday, very restless, bloatedness, stomach pains and diarrhoea. I went into work today and a colleage said that this bug has been going round the island recently. So I guess it's not something I've eaten. I am feeling a little better today, so the worse is past.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Another visit to the eye clinic revealed that my eye pressure is still high in both eyes at 24. The consultant wants that to come down to 20. 24 would be ok in normal eyes but as I have already received damaged to my optical nerves he wants to get the pressure down to 20. So now I have had my prescibed eye drops changed to Xalacom from my previous drops of Xalatan.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

And it's goodbye to the Tooth

Well that tooth won't be bothering me anymore. My appointment with my local NHS Dentist came and went, along with my tooth. It was definately showing its age and I'm surprised it lasted this long.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

It's goodbye to the Co-Op

After much family discussion Jeep handed in her notice and the Co-Op and she finished today.

There was a short while when she might have stayed but the conditions where not favourable.

Jeep will now stay at home for a while and concentrate on getting her driving license and taking on further studies at the Isle of Man college.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Star of India

I often walked past the plinth on the West Quay of Ramsey harbour commemorating the building of the 'Star of India' formerly 'Euterpe', built and launched in Ramsey in 1863. She now resides in San Diego, California, USA as part of the San Diego Maritime Museum. The 'Star of India' was built not only as an expetimental iron hulled ship, she is also now the "...oldest active ship of any kind in the world..." and sails at least once a year. For more on the 'Star of India' visit the San Diego Maritime Museum . There is a great online documentary as well as additional information and photos.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Internet Identity Theft

Bummer! I have been the victim of an Internet Identify Theft. I just got paid and decided I needed new ink cartridges for my printer, so lunch-time I went to my local computer shop to buy some cartridges only to have my card declined! I went to the ATM and though it was showing a healthy balance neither the ATM or the shop would let me use my card.

I telephoned my bank (via the usual call centre in India - that was no fun!) and they told me the card had been blocked and referred to their fraud department. I then spoke to a member of the bank's fraud department and he confirmed my card had been used in several attempts to make purchases online ranging from £1,000 downwards. Fortunately, for me, being just before payday my account was looking a bit anaemic and all the transactions were refused. It was at this point fraud was suspected and the card was blocked. Had the fraudster(s) waited until the end of the month and I could have lost this month's salary!

Now all I have to do is wait for a new card (about a week) and the inconvenience that entails. C'est la vie! A lesson learnt. I have a pre-pay debit card and I will use that in future for my online purchases and keep my bank card well away from the Internet! Phew! That was close.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Summer Ails

Mum, Eve & Jeep all have colds. Mine only lasted a day (Tickly throat). Instead I developed a raging tooth ache. It seems to be a an old problem with one of my teeth and I think it's days are numbered. I have managed to get an appointment with my local NHS dentist in three weeks time. For now I have an infection to contend with. It has been very uncomfortable this weekend and if the pain and swelling hasn't subsided tomorrow I will visit my doctor for some anti-biotics to fight the infection.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

It's been that long?

Time flys. We're near the end of June. I thought we were at the start of a long hot summer but the weather quickly turned. Last week I thought we were back to winter! I even had the central heating on again! Now it is just muggy.

Work has settled down and we're as busy as ever. Jeep is still working hard at the Co-Op. We have just received a mountain of forms, notes and todos from PJ's school ready for him starting his foundation year in September. It will be strange not taking him to school every lunchtime. a change of routine in taking him to school before work. William has started nursery two afternoons a week. He seems to enjoy himself though he is in tears every time I take him.

My Mum and Eve will be visiting us in just 4 weeks time now for a 4 week visit. We are all looking forward to that.

Having bought the aerolite boat plans I have still to make a start. Though I have been collecting mini-clamps, I now have about 20. It has been recommended that I have about 50. I have sourced these clamps on the island at only £1.50 for a set of 4. So not very costly at all. Every time I visit Douglas I clear the shop out!

I have slipped on the apple diet and resorted back to my presciption. It is so much easier in combating my acid problem.

Monday, April 09, 2007

And then they are off to China

Last night we had the pleasure of the company of a wonderful young couple and their new baby daughter - Matthew, Jenna and Tabitha.

They are members of the local Elim Church in Ramsey. In three weeks time they leave the Isle of Man for an adventure and complete change of life when they migrate long-term to China. After a few months in Canada visiting family, they will continue their journey to China.

They will be studying the language and culture for a couple of years and from there on they will be working closely with the Chinese Church in the local community.

Jeep and I wish them luck and a safe journey. If you would like to keep up with their experiences and learn more about what they are doing they you are welcome to visit their blog at


Following on from a previous post in my other blog a couple of years ago, I have for a long time now suffered with GERD and the effects, i.e. heartburn.

My doctor has prescribed a proton-pump inhibitor - Lansoprazole. This has had an immediate effect. If I stop taking these tablets for a couple of days though, the heartburn returns.

I have for a long time been looking for an alternative solution to this age old problem without the need for prescribed drugs. I am concerned about any long-term effects of these acid blockers.

I found on the Internet a possible solution. It involves eating a specific variety of apple and a specific type of honey. I am sceptical too, but I'll try just about anything in search of a cure.

I stopped taking the Lansoprazole on Saturday 7th April 2007. So far it appears to be working. whenever I get a hint of heartburn I eat a slice of this apple and the heartburn dissipates. I haven't tried the honey as yet. The honey is meant to sooth and protect the esophagus giving it a chance to heal and become better resistent to the acid.

I will keep you posted on my progress and if I have to return to my Lansoprazole.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Geodesic Airolite Boats

How about a boat that only weighs a mere 8lbs (3.5 Kg)?

I found recently Geodesic Airolite Boats - . What a revelation! I have ordered two sets of plans. One for the Sweatpea (The 8lb boat!). This I have to see. And one for the Westport Dinghy 8.

I'll keep you posted when I receive them and my progress in building them.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


I miss my Wharram. I used to own a Hinemoa designed by James Wharram - I think I would like to get another one. At some time in the future I want to build a Wharram Tiki 30, but that will have to wait.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Resolution for this year

We are saving hard this year for our planned trip later in the year (maybe early next year) to visit Thailand. Jeep has been away from home for almost three years now and this is also her first absence from Thailand. We are planning to take my Mum and Aunt, so there will be 6 of us in this trip. I am sure when we finally arrive back in Ban Phue, in Udon Thani province there will be a big family reunion. It will not just be Jeep's long absence but my Mum and Aunt's first visit to Thailand as well as their first meeting with Jeep's family.

No Snow

Well, the snow of the last few days passed us by. PJ was a little disappointed - "No snowman this year". I guess we have the "advantage" of a small island being surrounded by all that water keeping the extremities of our variable weather at bay.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

First Winter Snow

We had our first snowfall today. It was very light and only lasted a couple of hours. PJ was disappointed that the snow did not lay. No snowmen so far this winter.