Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The value of books.

Nice article in the Independent by Johann Hari about the value of books. He writes...

In the 20th century, all the nightmare-novels of the future imagined that books would be burnt...

The book – the physical paper book – is being circled by a shoal of sharks, with sales down 9 per cent this year alone. It's being chewed by the e-book...

If you read a book with your laptop thrumming on the other side of the room, it can be like trying to read in the middle of a party, where everyone is shouting to each other. To read, you need to slow down. You need mental silence except for the words. That's getting harder to find...

No, don't misunderstand me. I adore the web, and they will have to wrench my Twitter feed from my cold dead hands...

And here's the function that the book – the paper book that doesn't beep or flash or link or let you watch a thousand videos all at once – does for you that nothing else will. It gives you the capacity for deep, linear concentration. As Ulin puts it: "Reading is an act of resistance in a landscape of distraction.... It requires us to pace ourselves. It returns us to a reckoning with time. In the midst of a book, we have no choice but to be patient, to take each thing in its moment, to let the narrative prevail. We regain the world by withdrawing from it just a little, by stepping back from the noise."...

A book has a different relationship to time than a TV show or a Facebook update. It says that something was worth taking from the endless torrent of data and laying down on an object that will still look the same a hundred years from now.

That's why we need books, and why I believe they will survive. Because most humans have a desire to engage in deep thought and deep concentration...

...Okay, so I have snipped Johanni's article just to illustrate a point. The point is that books are relevant - relevant to everyone as a valuable media resource. Books are great because they sit there forever, unchanged by time and fashion. We are not talking an historical perspective but a human perspective of relating to other peoples' lives. Books reflect that snapshot in time that film can't capture. Books have a magic of taking you into another world. A world that is real because all fiction is real - but a world that is apart from yours. You can then view your life from outside and see the beauty of life from a greater perspective.

The internet is good and is a real buzz. But the constant chatter can't compete with the quality of books. Okay, some books fail my quality threshold, but even the worse are far better than the drivel on Facebook and Twitter.

To illustrate this point, why not turn your digital television receiver to The TV Book Club on Channel 4 television. A new series of this excellent programme has begun and even if you don't like the genre of book on offer this week, you will enjoy the lively banter between the presenters. The TV Book Club shows what is great about books, a world apart from the reader that can become their chosen drug of choice. Books are a welcome escape from the constant distractions of our modern age. Long live books, whether published in hardback, paperback or Kindle e-Book format. These books are the same whether they are read as hardbacks, paperbacks or as e-ink images. There is a place for the internet but for deep thought and interaction, you can't beat the traditional book.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Shameless in America

Oh the shame, the shame, forget the glamour and the glitter, for America is just like us. Most television programmes about real life for average people in America are full of glamour and glitter. Everything is wonderful in the country where dreams come true, everybody has lots of exciting opportunities and spend most of their time smiling and wishing each other a "nice day". Television characters are flash and confident, with wonderful teeth. Everything just shines and looks so clean. Surely this can't be true and there must be another, more gritty side to America. Thankfully there is and for your enjoyment on More 4 television, there is a new programme called Shameless US .

Shameless US is a spin-off from Shameless a BAFTA award-winning British drama television series set in the fictional Chatsworth council estate, Stretford, Greater Manchester, England. The comedy drama, centred on British underclass and working class culture, has been accorded critical acclaim by various sections of the British media, including The Sun newspaper and Newsnight Review on BBC Two. The programme was created and partially written by Paul Abbott, who is also the programme's executive producer.

I have really enjoyed the 8 series of Shameless broadcast in Britain and switched on Shameless US to see how different it is across the pond. Well, I was warned that Shameless US contains Strong language from the start and throughout, nudity, sexual scenes and scenes of drug use. Great I thought, I am up for some of that! Well what a hoot it was - and so refreshing! Forget the usual glamour and glitter of American television, Shameless US is gritty, rough and very realistic. A television programme about average people, not the high-flyers. It is a comedy drama and is well put together. Shameless US follows closely the plot lines of previous Shameless episodes, so it is not radically new. It is as if Paul Abbott relocated to America and carried on doing the same job! The programme was a joy to watch and nothing offended me! Normally I do not take notice of peoples' accents but Shameless US forced me to listen carefully to understand the actors. The actors did not use the usual polished American film voices that are clear and are understood throughout the world. These actors spoke a very strong and local Chicago accent that takes a little getting used to.

Shameless US is a copy of Shameless and does not claim to be anything else. I am pleased the programmes have been made for two reasons.

1: Shameless US is fun, entertaining and a joy to watch.

2: Shameless US shows the rough, gritty and normal side to America, not the flash, arrogant and we are the best country in the world vision.

I wish Shameless US every success and it is worth a watch as it will make you smile.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Kasturi Indian Restaurant .

Gail and I went out with friends last night to the Kasturi Indian Restaurant at 129 Crwys Road, Cathays, Cardiff CF24 4NG. Tel: 029 2023 3511

This was our second visit to this Indian restaurant and it has not been trading very long. There is a lot of competition in Cardiff between Indian restaurants and I thought it was a very brave commercial move to start a new Indian restaurant. I thought the market was saturated but these guys are giving it a go.

Crwys Road is like the Cowbridge Road in Canton and you are spoiled for choice as to which restaurant you go into. The Kasturi Indian Restaurant is new and fresh, with a bright shop front to tease people in. We were teased in by the set price menu of £9.95 which gives you a starter, a main course, a side order, rice, a naan bread and a coffee. The Kasturi is not licensed for alcohol and you are invited to bring your own booze. This makes the Kasturi a venue for a very good value night out!

So, the value is good but do you only get what you pay for? Well, we have eaten at the Kasturi twice now and they have not cooked their food down to a price. The quality of their food is top rate, they have not scrimped on the ingredients. This food is very good and I could not fault it. Some Indian restaurants play safe and have a small menu, with nothing much different from what you can get in the supermarket. The Kasturi has a large menu with loads of very different dishes to tempt you. I was surprised at the sheer diversity of choice and had completely different meals on both visits.

The Kasturi is getting very popular now as the word is getting out, I would recommend that you booked a table in advance rather than be disappointed. I think their vision for an Indian restaurant is spot on and was very impressed by their choice of side orders. There was one item I had on each visit to the Kasturi that really blew me away - their Peshwari Naan is simply the best I have ever had anywhere in our country.

I think the food at the Kasturi is gorgeous, we had a lovely meal with friends and we will love to go again. I can't fault the Kasturi as an Indian restaurant and the value is great. It is great to be able to bring your own booze as tastes can vary - generally restaurants do not cater for real ale drinkers, so this is a good work-around. So, what beer did Stephen bring along for an Indian? Was it a Cobra or a Kingfisher? No, you are not even close! I brought along Old Speckled Hen and boy, did it go down well with the Kasturi Murghi mosala, yes sir, it certainly did!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Increasing numbers in capital turning to prostitution as career choice

Well here I am sat at home surfing through Google News and up pops the headline "Increasing numbers in capital turning to prostitution as career choice" - oh! I thought, that is worth a click. The article was written by Clare Hutchinson and published in the South Wales Echo today.

Well the editor knows how to make a great headline! Reading the article I never knew there were so many prostitutes working here in Cardiff or the distinction between On-Street and Off-Street sex workers! Do the On-Street sex workers wear shoes and the Off-Street sex workers wear carpet slippers?

The article is a good read and follows on from some good research by Swansea University into 395 Off-Street sex workers in Cardiff. It stops the popular preconception that all sex workers are trapped in a dangerous trade by controlling pimps, financial insecurity and drug and alcohol abuse. Dr Tracey Sagar, a lecturer in criminology and social policy at Swansea University and co-author of the report, said
"These women definitely don’t want to be saved – they have made a choice and we have to respect that choice."

The study found 93.3% of respondents to Dr Sagar’s survey kept their occupation a secret from friends and family. One man in Cardiff was advertising on the internet and seeing two female clients a week – a fact he was hiding from his wife and children.
Another woman told researchers her high sex drive led to a string of one-night stands, so she decided to start charging to get a bit of money on the side and keep herself happy. But she said sex with her partner was “a different thing”.

So, there you have it, prostitution is on the up here in Cardiff. It does not harm anyone, the business is done Off-Street by people who have made a career choice. All this sex takes place between consenting adults and nobody is a victim. It is good to read that people have moved forward and forgotten their preconceptions, to service a trade that has a high demand. I find it very easy to understand the sex workers point-of-view. What I do not understand is the punters' point-of-view - paying a stranger for sex. Having free-sex with a stranger I can understand, the thrill and chance of meeting someone new. But paying for sex like you would pay a builder, I can't imagine. It would seem so embarrassing and a last resort measure, "oh! nobody else would want me, so I will pay a prostitute". Still, the demand must be there, to keep so many sex-workers in business here in Cardiff. You will never find me putting business their way but I fully understand why they have made their career choice and that they are not all drug addicts, scoring for their next hit.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Gail brings me joy from her kitchen .

Gail and I both enjoy our food. Gail prepares and cooks all the food, I do the drinks. That is the way things in our home are and we are both happy with our roles. Our tastes in food differ a little but as Gail does the cooking, I take what I am given.

Gail is proud to be Welsh and does a traditional Welsh bread cake called Bara Brith but I really enjoy food from the Middle East. As Gail rightly says, I may enjoy Arab food but it is not economical to store all the many herbs and spices that you will find in a Middle Eastern kitchen. But what did we find in the supermarket the other day? It was a Dinner Kit Box from a dark skinned chap. I have not seen his television cookery programmes but his name rang a bell with me.

Ainsley Harriott makes a range of 6 dinner kits, just add your fish or meat to produce in your home an authentic foreign meal. Choose from: Bengali Keema Masala, Kashmiri Pasanda, Vietnamese Kho, Moroccan Tagine, Spanish Paella, Lebanese Kofta.

Well you can guess which dinner kit I chose! We bought the Lebanese Kofta with Falafel and Gail made the meal with minced Lamb.

This meal was gorgeous and a complete surprise from Gail's Welsh kitchen! The flavours were out of this world and I felt as though I was on holiday rather than at home in Cardiff. This dinner really rocked my boat and I would love to have it again. Gail understands how much I enjoyed this meal and repeats that a Welsh kitchen could not have the range of herbs and species to make this dish a regular feature of our home life. Gail said the meal was okay but I thought it was the business!

So if you are bored with British food at home, why not try the Ainsley Harriott Dinner Kit Lebanese Kofta with Falafel for a change. A little investment in your weekly grocery bill to bring a welcome surprise to your stomach.

Oh! and on a Welsh theme, I can't stand those Welsh Cakes but I love Gail's home made Bara Brith . This is a surprise because I am not a cake-loving person, I am more of a biscuit man!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Nice running gear, shame about the body.

People very often ask me what I think of the new coaches that we are using under contract to the nationwide company. My employer has purchased 11 of these new coaches as part of his contract. They are a Caetano Levante fitted to a Volvo B9R chassis.

The Volvo B9R is very good and I can find no faults at all with it. It is an excellent workhorse and should provide the operator and driver with many years of loyal, reliable service. It is simply the business and does all that you have come to expect from a modern coach.

The body is a Caetano Levante and is a big disappoint. The Levante demonstrates that we have not moved on in the last 30 years from the Duple Dominant - which was better built and more suitable to the job. The Levante body is a bad design and to illustrate my view, here are some 15 faults for you to consider...

1: The front door is a plug type that has problems of wind whistle noise, that is inherent in all plug doors. Also you have to be careful of road camber when closing the door to ensure that the top clip and rear catch are secure, otherwise the door will blow open at speed. At the Cardiff University stop you have to pull the door shut by hand to be sure of it not opening along Eastern Avenue at 50 mph.

2: The forward mounted mirrors are very expensive, gaining the nickname of P45 mirrors. You get nothing more for this unnecessary extra expense, the view is no better and the offside mirror is blocked from your view by the windscreen pillar. To solve this blocked mirror view an extra lower mirror has been fitted. So you have the offside mirror just for show so that it gives a balanced look with the nearside mirror.

3: The interior mirror is mounted too high and the driver would have to move his head right up to get a view, therefore driving blind.

4: The sun blind if turned down obstructs your view of the nearside mirror.

5: The step lights above the front door simply do not work, they will only come on when the wheelchair lift is in operation.

6: The monitor screen for the CCTV is on the right hand side of the dashboard. The problem is that at night the image reflects onto the offside mirror making it useless. The work-around is to cover up the monitor with a baseball cap so that you can see in the mirror! But then you can't see which nutter is creeping up behind you!

7: The wheelchair lift. What a waste of money, it is very over-engineered, has too many moving parts and has to cope with too many levels. It is a maintenance disaster waiting to happen, for equipment that will be rarely used. The industry should have stood up to the disability lobby and not adapted coaches to be wheelchair accessible. The cost on a low floor bus is quite small but on a high floor coach it is ridiculous. Once you get a wheelchair user on board, you lose one passenger seat with no increase in revenue.

8: The front seats move to allow a wheelchair user to travel in their wheelchair. Only thing is, it is not like moving a couple of deck chairs! There are simply loads of locks and levers. It is a right jigsaw with locking plates and sliders as the window seat moves through 90 degrees and the aisle seats moves back. The window seat is then taken out of service and this whole procedure takes a very long time, is too complicated and a bad design. Because these mechanisms take space, it means that the passengers in the left hand back row can't recline their seats.

9: The heating and ventilation system is of the climate control type. Only thing is that the control panel is located in the luggage rack, on the right hand side, behind and out of reach of the driver! So once the controls are set and the coach is moving, the controls can't be altered. The passengers are forever complaining that it is too hot or too cold but you have to tell them that it is preset and that you have not control over it. What a silly place to put the control panel!

10: The reading lights for both passengers are located next to the window. The passenger next to the window effectively has 2 reading lights and the passenger in the aisle seat has no reading light. Stupid design fault probably to save 50mm of wiring!

11: The Levante used to seat 49 passengers but this latest model is down to 48 passengers. The back row is now 2 seats rather than 3, the reason given is too allow better access to the toilet. But this alleged better access is at the steep price of lost revenue on that extra seat. Through the lifetime of the coach you can loose quite a bit of revenue from this missing seat.

12: The Levante body is very tall at 12' 9" - that 9 inches in extra height makes the coach sway quite a bit in strong winds. Not the best thing to inspire confidence among the passengers. There is no need for this extra height as a regular 12' high coach provides enough luggage and passenger head room. Also those extra 9" will have a negative effect on fuel consumption, which will add up over the year.

13: The Levante body weighs an amazing 13,570kg unladen. 30 years ago a top touring coach was weighing in at 10,000kg. There is no need for that extra 3,500kg on a 12 metre coach.

14: The toilet flush is very generous. Trouble is all than water is wasted down the pan and if the toilet proves popular then it will run out of water and will stop working. There is no need for a generous flush, as most waste falls through by gravity.

15: The driver's cab window is electric and not full width. Of all the coaches I have driven over the last 30 years, the Levante is the worst for windows misting up. Rather than have the buzz of the demister fan, I prefer to have the cab window open 25mm. The old style manual slide cab windows on the Duple Dominant were ideal for this, open the front section 25mm and the windscreen would never mist up, all day long. The Levante cab window does not slide across but is a narrow window that drops down and does not work as well as a slide window that opens from the windscreen. There is no need for the gimmick of a narrow electric window in the wrong place.

There is only one good thing about the Levante body, it has a sliding toilet door which should prove more reliable than the swing type and is a better use of space. So that is why I have titled this blog post, Nice running gear, shame about the body.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson.

This book is the 2nd part of the Millennium Trilogy. It has 569 pages and was written in 2006 and translated into English by Reg Keeland in 2009. You do not need to have read the 1st part of the Millennium Trilogy called The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo to enjoy this novel. The Girl Who Played With Fire is a far better read, it is more developed and has a better plot. This is a crime thriller involving murder and conspiracy. A journalist working for Millennium magazine and his girlfriend are murdered and Lisbeth Salander is connected to this tragedy. The story unfolds with plot lines that are plausible and this long tale is well thought out. I developed a real empathy for Lisbeth Salander who is the main character in this novel.

The Girl Who Played With Fire has the same writing style as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, with the same problems of describing trivia to a large extent. This book is easy to read, although Stieg does waffle on and if a character buys a coffee, then the reader really knows about it!

There is nothing in this book to offend anyone. The pace is okay, the ending is dramatic but realistic. Does it deserve all the acclaim it has been given? No! This novel is a satisfactory tale that feeds your reading habit but you take little away from this book. The Girl Who Played With Fire is okay and I will vote it 3 stars on Good Reads, do not buy a copy but if it is passed onto you, then it is worth a read.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Mock the Week .

Last night saw the first episode of series ten of the top comedy panel programme called Mock the Week on BBC2 television. I have been a fan of Mock the Week for many years now and I consider it to be the best comedy programme on television. So I sat down in anticipation of another good satirical review of the latest current affairs and trends.

What a disappointment Mock the Week has become. The whole programme appeared TIRED and OLD as though it was a repeat from the 1980's. This programme has not moved on or kept up with the times. Russell Howard has left the programme although his photograph appears on the iPlayer screen on the website. Russell used to make a very valuable contribution to Mock the Week and his talent is sadly missed as this programme has slipped downhill. Best contributions last night were from Andy Parsons but he was let down by the other comedians and could not shave the show.

I will continue to watch this new series of Mock the Week but it is no longer the best comedy show on British television. Mock the Week has passed it's shelf life and it is time for the audience to move on.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Working the back channel .

Sometimes you wonder if people take notice of you or if you are talking to the wall. Sometimes you wonder if what you write on the internet is ever read by anyone and if anybody actually cares what you write.

Well, we all have feelings and people do look around the internet and read what other users have written. Very often people read but do not leave a comment, these are called lurkers. I have time for everyone, the active commenting people and the many lurkers who like my blog.

So I am rather pleased that the Grumpy Dragon is still reading my blog and has both commented on my blog post and decided to return to blogging. His latest blog post is very good and up to his usual high satirical quality. The nice thing about blogging is how reading other peoples' blogs you discover material that you otherwise would not have stumbled across. Reading Grumpy Dragon he linked to another blog called Old Holborn and an excellent blog post about Simon Cowell and Britain's Got Talent . This information was quite an eye opener and was a real whistle blower tale of the music business.

So, had I not worked the back channel, I would not have read the gossip on Old Holborn. Thanks once again to the Grumpy Dragon of Norfolk, for rising to the back channel challenge.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

This one's for Matthew .

Matthew knows I love my Kindle and also like something for free. Oh what lovely diversity of language we have in this country, with passengers travelling on board the coaches speaking a huge range of foreign languages. Matthew is a chatty guy and just loves to say "Hello" to all his passengers as he tours our country's great cities.

Sometimes though Matthew is stuck for words and is unable to say "Hello" to the passenger in their native tongue. But help is at hand with the FREE 25 Language Phrasebook on the Kindle. It is a give-away taster for an advanced paid-for phrasebook from Mobile Reference (Mobi Travel). The FREE 25 Language Phrasebook has German, French, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Italian, Greek, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Russian, Croatian, Turkish, Hebrew, Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian, Malay, and Thai. Navigate from Table of Contents or search for words or phrases. Learn how to say Hello, How are you, Please, Thank you and much more in 25 languages! This is just what Matthew needs in his quest to go the extra mile in making every passenger experience a positive one. No longer will Matthew be lost for words in Bradford as there are some really useful Hindi phrases he can deploy as he charms his passengers on board...

Basics: Accha! OK? TK! One of the most useful words to know is accha. It is both an adjective and interjection. Its meanings include (but are not limited to!): good, excellent, healthy, well, OK, really?, awesome!, hmm.., a-ha!, etc.! If you learn no other word, remember this one. Another common all-purpose word is hik hai, pronounced and occasionally even spelled out as "TK". It is used in the same manner, meaning: OK/all right, yes/understood (affirmation), right/correct, etc. Sometimes shortened to just hik Hello (used esp. when answering the phone) helo Hello/Goodbye namaste Hello/Goodbye namaskar Hello/Goodbye (Hindu, respectful) pranam Hello/Goodbye (Hindu, colloquial) ram

So now Matthew will be as confident in saying "Namaste" in Bradford as he is "Shwmae" in Cardiff.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Picking a good one.

I wonder about how easy it is to pick a good book? There is plenty of choice and when I finish a book, I rate it two ways. I award the book between 1 and 5 stars on Good Reads , a book lovers website and a simple note on this computer of Pass or Fail.

I have now given a Pass or Fail declaration to a total of 100 books. So how many books did I declare as a "Pass"? I thought that 69 per cent of those books deserved a Pass.

So, what makes a good book and is it easy to pick a good one? Good writing makes for a good book, writing that inspires the reader. There is no substitute for quality story-telling. It is not easy to pick a good book, it is a bit of a lottery. You can strike lucky but you have an equal chance of being disappointed. Looking at the authors of these 100 books does not provide an answer. A particular author may write a good book but their next is a big disappointment. The gender or nationality of the author makes no difference to your chances of a good read either. All you can do is read the blurb and take a chance. I took a chance and scored 69 per cent. I can't think of a way to improve on this score.

Even when I consider a book a Fail, it is still better than other types of entertainment media like newspapers and television. Newspapers vary tremendously from day to day and are a bad risk. Television is also very hit or miss. I was interested in 2 new television crime thrillers this week. On Sunday started Case Histories on BBC1 television. This sounded good as it comes from the successful author Kate Atkinson . Well, I thought it was rubbish and I will not be watching another episode or buying one of her books. Last night was the start of Injustice on ITV1 television. This sounded good as it comes from Anthony Horowitz , a successful novelist and screenwriter. I thought this was poor, although not as bad as Case Histories. I will not be watching Injustice tonight and I will stay clear of Anthony Horowitz's books.

So, I can't offer advice on picking a good book, it is all a matter of chance. But I am better at choosing books than television programmes!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

At home with the wrinklies!

It all started about 5 weeks ago. My mother had trouble with her Gallbladder and was admitted into the Heath Hospital. Dad is not too good at getting around Cardiff with his All Wales free bus pass. He claims he could do open-sea navigation at the age of 15 but our city bus service is too much of a challenge for his 78 year old limbs and brain. So whenever I was available to visit my mother in hospital, I would pick Dad up in our car, bring him home, have a meal together and then go to the Heath Hospital. That way, Gail and I were sure that Dad had a good meal inside of him, Dad did not get lost around Cardiff and Mam got a visit from her husband of 53 years. Mam was concerned that Dad could cope without her doing things for him. So Gail and I took Dad under our wing, fed him, gave him beer and ferried him around. But Mam was also concerned about being discharged from hospital and going back to the flat to live with and care for Dad. Dad does seem to enjoy being looked after by Mam and leaves things to her. Dad does not seem very independent and relies on Mam to do everything.

So Gail and I had a chat and offered to take Mam and Dad in, so that Mam could recover fully before going back to the flat and fussing over Dad. Yesterday we took them back to their flat 2 miles away from our home. Mam and Dad had stayed with us for 23 days.

So, how were those 23 days living with the wrinklies? What have we learned?

I love both parents and I am a mixture of both. My marriage to Gail is different to the marriage between my Mam and Dad. We have a different way of living and sharing household tasks. We have a very positive outlook on life, where Mam and Dad appear rather negative.

Dad rules the television in the flat with a narrow range of programmes and Mam does not get a look in. Gail rules the television here and views a broad range of light entertainment programmes. Dad did not watch much television here but Mam watched loads of programmes with Gail that she would not have the opportunity to watch in the flat!

Gail and Mam talked for hours on end, which was a little noisy for Dad, so he went into the conservatory and shut the door to keep out their gossip!

We were surprised at how much Sherry Mam and Dad consumed. We also noticed how much Whisky Dad had drank and how much my beer collection had dwindled. I never knew Mam and Dad drank so much!

Gail and I are used to doing things a certain way and live in harmony together. We did notice that Mam and Dad always appeared to be getting in our way. Mam was always following Gail into the kitchen and standing where Gail wanted to be. Dad was forever standing in doorways blocking people's path.

Mam enjoyed her food but Dad picked at it like a small child, never clearing his plate. This waste really annoyed Gail and I.

The company was really good for Mam and Dad loves our house, where he spent many an hour in the garden smoking his pipe. Mam recovered from her illness and was very happy living with us.

It was different living with Mam and Dad, just like an Indian family. We realized how much we enjoy there just being the 2 of us in our home. We know how different our marriages are and how our funny little habits effect everyone. We now know how much we value our personal space and the way we do things as a couple.

Mam and Dad enjoyed staying with us but we felt that 23 days was long enough. I love both my parents but it is lovely getting our personal space back. Gail and I feel quite relieved now that Mam and Dad have gone back to their flat.

So, back to normal and that is why posts to this blog have not been regular.

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