Ride like an angel….

It takes a shed full of certain magnetic twists and turns within the world’s atmosphere, that’s unbeknown to man and woman to ignite a supersonic glow inside us as we open the curtains on a given morning and think ‘BIKE’.  You rub your eyes and open the window, the smell of a beautiful day soothing

Hello Dave 2.png

your nostrils and caressing the face and mind.  The sun glistens across the tarmac and then…… as if in another biker’s dimensional world, the road speaks in a way as if it knows you are listening….. and in a sexy alluring way it simply says “HELLO….. ride all over me!”

Immediately after one more sniff of the fresh air, the head tilts towards where the Motorcycle sits, for me it’s the garage.  The urge now uncontrollable, it’s as if a magic finger has pressed the fast forward button that

Kitchen

controls you.  The shower is on and you’re underneath it, using the smallest amount of shampoo as time is of the essence.  Within a split second there’s breakfast in front of you, less milk, less cereal than usual, eating standing up of course, there’s no time to sit.  Me…. I’ll be standing in my pants, so I properly dry off as there’s nothing worse than struggling to put the leathers on with slightly damp skin.

Then whilst still chewing the last spoon full of breakfast I pull the cover off, the bike is revealed, the leathers and boots are on……. eventually, the helmet is on so the last thing to fit in to are the gloves.  For me, I want to feel like Batman so I sit on the bike then press the key fob and the garage doors come up (you know, the part where Batman and Robin drive out of the Bat cave in the Bat mobile).  I slowly manoeuvre up the drive that takes me on to the road of freedom.

No matter who you are or where you are in the world, no matter what type of bike you have, when the weather is right, the mood is unstoppable. There’s nothing like it, smooth long winding roads with beautiful scenery.  The sound of the engine, especially the cheeky rev at the traffic lights, the feel of freedom with only the elements against your body and the hint of anonymity as the helmet covers your face or in my case now, a buff (open face helmet).  I don’t know what it is…… I didn’t ask for it, it’s just built in my DNA, but I always smile when I hear a loud bike, I have to look, for me it’s a low rider with their arms and legs stretched out in front of them………COOL…… I always say ‘May the ride be with you!’

For me living in south Wales, my usual ride is Brecon or beyond, the scenery is lovely, I don’t travel much further at the moment due to the bikes I own…… keep reading…. the pictures will follow.  So once I’ve reached my destination, either Brecon or Tal-y-Bont on Usk, I like to have a cup of tea and a hotdog whilst enjoying the view, whether it’s the mountains, the river or the Brecon Canal and if I’m lucky the RAF Jets fly past very low……. I love that! I jump every time….. I wave but they never beep their horn (for you beautiful American readers

Frantonys of Porthcawl

‘Honk’ their Horns!)  Of course, I always want another hotdog but I don’t.  Made that mistake when riding home from the beach in Porthcawl, the time when I used to own a Kawasaki Ninja 636….. you know, the sports bike where you have to lay all over the tank to ride it.  Not good in tight leathers looking like a mini Power Ranger after eating a big bag of Fish and Chips…… that was a long ride home….. and by the way, the fish and chips were this big!

It’s not that I haven’t got friends, although as I get older the less I have, but I prefer to ride alone, it gives me more freedom to go where I want and even change my mind half way through and ride somewhere else.  Also it helps me not to ride naughty, YES some of you reading this are saying ‘but sometimes Dave, naughty is nice!’ and sometimes I agree with you.  But let’s consider, if there’s 3 of you out for a ride and you’re over-taking, the

Nun, Vicar and Cardinal

1st rider does it easy, the 2nd rider squeezes in but the 3rd who always wants to make sure they keep up and stay with the pack will either make it without leaving enough room for a fly with his wings in his pockets beside you or…. well, the unthinkable.  I know, I know, I‘ve been there and YES, some days even if you put a Nun, a Vicar or the Pope on a motorcycle, at some point it will bring the bad out in them and the naughtiness goes straight to the wrist and they’ll want to twist and go faster.

Also it’s not always the biker’s fault, as the saying goes “Think Bike, Think Twice!”  If I was running for Prime

Big ben

Minister or President (don’t get too excited, I’m not…… not this week anyway) I’d make everyone take their bike test just so they’d understand how vulnerable you can be on a motorcycle.  There would also be other things I’d do but I’m not telling you……you might never vote for me.

Lots of things left to do in my biking world life, I was supposed to travel through America with a friend for our 40th but we both forgot to save for it……. we were stupid, I think we thought 40 was a long time away.  Top tip for anyone else, it takes 40 years!  Same time for everyone and it comes around quick.  I’ve not yet ridden a bike with Ape bars (I really want to!)  Still hoping to travel across America or maybe ride around the Italian lakes or Lake Michigan, I’d love to ride the Californian coast with the ocean to one side of me as my arms and legs stretch out as far as possible enjoying the views and the sun on my face….. maybe my 50th (not started to save yet though) or I’ll find a very generous American new friend with far too many bikes who says to me “Dave, have a month off, come ride with me…..” and his name would be Harley Davidson.  I’d even be happy having a few hours riding the Hollywood Hills, with a cup of tea and a hotdog in the middle of it all (am I asking to much?)

When the time is right I’ll know I’ll be there, but until then I’m happy where I am, The Kawasaki Ninja 636 was sold a few years ago (saving for a new bike).  I have 2 bikes which I’m keeping, both restored by myself.  I have a year 2000 Vespa et4, 125cc, it’s lots of fun, twist and go.  I also have a 1978 CB400T Superdream Cafe racer, gets lots of looks, it’s very nice…. and sounds like a thunder storm.

Bikes

For the new bike yet to come….?  Well, I’m in two minds, I’m torn, 50-50, half and half, chips and rice….. you know what I mean.  For me, it’s a choice of only 2, and they are the Harley 48 Sportster or the Triumph Bobber.

harley-48 & Bobber

I’m not the tallest of people and I know I fit on either one, both lovely though…..  Well, when either one arrives I’ll let you know, but until then, please ride safe you have a family waiting for you at home.  Enjoy your motorcycle, life is always better in the wind with a bike between your legs.  Let the riding clear your mind and soak up the scenery and the hotdog and a cup of tea or coffee.  But above all else, make sure if it’s a sunny day and the road is calling you, you always come back in one piece and it’s your bed you sleep in….. MAY THE RIDE BE WITH YOU!!

Brecon

As ever on the Easy Blend, I’ll let you know what I’m listening to.  Today it’s Bruce Springsteen, Rocky Ground.

You can find out more about my book ‘Farrago: Ten Tall Tales’ and buy it here…. (click on the cover)

Full cover single

Until the next Easy Blend blog……….. 

Stay warm and fuzzy……..

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Fun in the Forestry

Now I’m trying to be informative for this Blog.  I’ve been away for the week having fun, getting wet and wild and being naughty.  Panting hard, a little out of breath sometimes whilst indulging myself in things I don’t normally do……but isn’t that what some holidays are all about?  I know you’re getting excited just imagining where I’ve been…….center-parcs

 

I’ve been on and off for the last twenty years and love it just as much as the first time; for us it’s always a winter holiday.  For those who have never been……let me give you an imaginary tour of what goes on.

You can either go Friday to Monday or like the Frantony family, Monday to Friday.  Since it opened, we drive to the Longleat Centre Parcs as its only a 1.5 hour drive from where we live.

driveway-in

As you turn into the entrance off the main road, you’re immediately on a lane driving through the forest where you collect the keys to the villa (which you can’t go in until  3pm) from the log cabin reception.

So what to do until 3pm?  LOTS!

Park the car/van/ Land Rover Defender in the car park just past reception then taking the bag of swimwear (that you packed in a separate bag), take the 5 minute walk to the main swimming dome.

dome

As you enter through the glass doors, the first operation is to take your scarf, hat and gloves off at lightning speed as its very warm inside.

In the Dome you have Restaurants, Coffee shops, mini super market, Bars, gift shops and a bowling alley, lush green plants, waterfalls and fish ponds full of gold fish and large Koi Karp and if you want to take a closer look, there are some stepping stones and a wooden bridge.  By the way, if you open the swimming bag and there’s nothing in there, don’t think you have to swim nude, as there’s also a swim shop at the entrance to the Subtropical Swimming Paradise.

There’s plenty of changing rooms with a door either side; one for in, the other out and in to the shower area.  Please remember to close and lock both doors as I walked in to a cubical once and saw what resembled something that would be suitable for parking your push bike in.

Once inside the centre of the swimming dome (constant temperature of 29.5C) where the swimming pool is situated, you see that the walkways are all in crazy paving with stone walls and more lush green plants everywhere.  It’s free to enter and everything to do inside is free too!

white-slide

As you follow the lovely crazy paving pathway up an incline you have a small bar area where they sell hot food and drinks (Amstel beer on tap) a rope bridge with timber flooring and more crazy paving, and then the junction where the fun begins.  Before I go any further, don’t think this is just for kids, there’s a mix of all ages, shapes and sizes and I mean all ages, shapes and sizes!  You’re never too old to smile and have fun, I know because I tried being an adult and being serious…….its way over-rated…..I won’t do that again!

slide-racing-car

To the one side there are two white slides, one is straight, the other has a bump in it.  Both are very short, but don’t be fooled as you’ll reach the bottom before any F1 car.

You’ll splash in to the water at a terrific speed in what looks like a cave….. “Ooooooooohhhhhhhhh” I hear you say! That’s right, a cave, that’s what I said!  Then you have two green tube slides, if you’re hard, the lower and shorter one is for you, but if you’re double hard, then the higher and longer one is for you.  Feel free to cry in either one as you’ll be disguised by the lashings of water hitting your face, again you’ll come out in what looks like a cave.

Once you walk back around to the junction of fun, in whatever exciting thrill you seek next, you’ll have the entrance to the outside pool.  As I’ve said, we go to Centre Parcs in the winter and it really doesn’t matter what the weather is like.  You’ll see steps that will take you in to another pool with a plastic curtain, and as you swim through….well, it’s all outside.  The water is warm with steam rising up, rocks and plants and trees cover the edges of the pool.  Standing outside the pool there are more life guards that you can shake a stick at, which is always good to know.

Halfway around the outside they also have a plunge pool (its icy cold) only once I’ve experienced jumping in…..NEVER AGAIN!!  I had to double check my birth certificate to see if I was a man or a woman.  Also outside you have the ‘Rapids’, very long rapids that cascade with fast running water into bends, dips and slides.  Again all amongst rocks, plants and trees and if you make it to the end it will take you back inside the dome ready for you to repeat it a 1000 times…….and you will.  But I do have a few tips for you on the rapids.  I always leave my wedding ring at home, WHY?  Well, it came off my finger many years ago in the rapids and I thought it was gone forever.  The lifeguard took down my name and villa number telling me he’d check the filters at the end of the night, and miraculously he found it!!  Again a very big thank you!!

kicked-in-rapids

As for other tips …….  For the men entering the outside pool down the steps and through the plastic curtain, if there is a small child in front of you, it is imperative that all hands are covering your privates, because you are more than likely to be kicked in them.

 

Once reaching the start of the rapids, you climb over a smooth concrete lip from the nice warm pool into the rapids.  At first its a little cold and you’ll be slightly bashed about by the force of the waterfall coming out of the rocks.  Don’t worry…. you will be laughing, then with no control whatsoever your journey begins.  rapidsThe first rapid slide will be in full view of a decking watch point for passersby, I cannot stress this enough….make sure all your naughty but nice bits are not on show.   Men, you must make sure the string on your shorts, are tight.  Ladies….keep the bikinis for the beach in some exotic country, always were a swim suit if you can…..!  I kid you not; it’s as if the rapids have hands.

Don’t feel that you have to do the British thing and apologise to every person you bump in to along the way; always remember you are on very fast rapids, no-one is in control, its so much fun though.  Once you have had enough fun and you want to relax, there’s also a hot pool, again surrounded by

hot-pool

rocks, plants and trees with the floor covered in crazy paving…….very nice!  At night, if you sit opposite the plastic curtain that separates the inside from the outside.  You’ll be staring through the steam coming off the hot water at the silhouettes of people as they enter or don’t enter the hot pool, it’s like ‘Stars in their eyes’…..”Tonight Matthew, I’m going to be….”

The main pool has a wave machine that comes on once or twice an hour.  To announce it coming on, you’ll hear a Tarzan sound, but it’s always a disappointment for me, as I keep looking around for Jane…..but she’s never there.

hot-air-dryerWhen your body is telling you it’s time to get out of the pool and have a shower (shampoo supplied) and dry off, we like to use what we call the human hair dryer, (£1) it’s worth it.

Then it’s time to go the Villa; cars are only allowed on the day of arrival and the day you leave which is really nice.  The villas are all nestled within the forestry with narrow winding block pavier leading you to the front door.  Single storey with flat roofs and made out of a mix of render, timber and glass, our villa was 3 bedrooms with 2 wc’s, lounge area with large corner sofa, T.V and dvd player with paper log burner in the corner with large glass sliding doors facing the forest without hardly seeing another villa.   Small but perfect kitchen with dishwasher, microwave and good size dining table, all open planned.  It has a bath with shower (they also supply bath towels).  Outside you have a place to park your push bikes, a patio area with table and chairs and a BBQ.  In the evening you can sit down with a glass of wine and relax, and read a good book……. Farrago: TenTall Tales maybe…..?

I’ve never measured the forestry, but all you need to know is that it’s big, there’s even a Pancake House and a nice restaurant in the middle of everything.  In between our villa were the ‘Cascades’ that you walked amongst the red woods and small water falls (all lit up at night), which took you to a large lake with boats and pedaloes to hire and above you have tree top climbing and a zip wire that takes you over the lake.  An Aqua Sana (a place to seriously pamper oneself) with lots of different rooms and many treatments to be had.  Then theres the ‘Jardin des Sports’.  Here there’s a sports bar, clothes shop (sports/outdoors wear), a Newsagents, a sports bar with restaurant, an Indian restaurant, climbing wall for the kids, table tennis, badminton, squash, keep fit classes, snooker, pool, roller skating, tennis, crazy golf (indoor and out) and more.

land-train

If you don’t want to walk or cycle anywhere then there’s always the land train that runs every 20 minutes from each stop that’s nearest to your villa, wrap up warm though…it can be cold.

For us going to Centre Parcs in the winter, we love it no matter what the weather, it really doesn’t make any difference, so many places to go and things to do, and the villa is very spacious to relax and cook with friends and family.

caravan

Centre Parcs is nothing like the holidays I remember as a child, in the pouring down rain being stuck in a caravan with nothing to do.  I would look out the caravan window watching the puddle form at the bottom of the caravan steps wondering how big and deep it’s going to get, whilst thinking I’d rather be back in school struggling with a calculation of algebra that I simply can’t do, with a pen that intermittently works as the teacher who I don’t like is shouting at me over the noise of my stomach rumbling, because somebody nicked my dinner money and ate my secret stash of sandwiches, and all before P.E, knowing full well I’ve forgotten my kit….again.  But as well as staring at the puddle growing minute by minute at the bottom of the caravan step, I was soon feeling thankful we were not camping!  I always felt sorry for the person passing the caravan window in their rain coat and wellies, walking to the communal sink whilst carrying a bowl full of dirty dishes to wash.

Anyway…….what to take and wear to Centre Parcs in the winter?  Well…. not a lot.  A super lovely warm hat with gloves, walking boots and trainers and leave your jeans at home and take 2 pairs of cargo trousers.  Even if you’re eating out in one of the restaurants……it’s in the forestry.  Dare I say it……you don’t really need to take shampoo as it’s supplied.  We like to walk everywhere so we have head torches as it’s only dimly lit at night.  It’s the only time I’m not scared walking the forestry at night and feel safe (call me a girls blouse if you like).

So that’s Centre Parcs through the eyes of Dave Frantony and I’ll be back every year, but the most important thing is that my 8yr old son laughed nonstop every day and didn’t want to go home…..and that’s all that matters!  So book and go, I dare you, a 3 bedroom villa in winter can be as little as £329 (total cost for 6 people for 4 nights!)

As usual on the Easy Blend, I’m listening to great music; today it’s A Silent Film – Danny, Dakota and the wishing well

You can find out more about my book ‘Farrago: Ten Tall Tales’ and buy it here…. (click on the cover)

Full cover single

Until the next Easy Blend blog……….. 

Stay warm and fuzzy……..

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Cable TV Engineers

Now before I start….I have found a good Cable T.V Engineer, and he’s a nice and helpful guy….but before that….?  Hmmmmm….

Okay…. so what have I seen of their work in the many times they have been called to the house, you ask?  And not just my house, it’s EVERY house….

If you want to know where I’m going with thisCable around room.png…. remember the film ‘Entrapment’ with Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta Jones?  Well, there’s a scene in the film that happens to resemble just some of what I’ve seen……


I have no idea who trains Cable T.V Engineers, or where they go; not even a clue how long it takes to learn how to do the job.   Or if Haynes.pngthey have a life size pretend house to practice on, in some hidden factory unit in a secret location.  Or even if the scene from ‘Entrapment’ is in their Haynes manual on how to fit Satellite dish cables in and on the outside of the house. 

Are the rules in Cable T.V Engineers school of training  ”What goes on in Cable T.V Engineers school, stays in Cable T.V Engineers school”?

I have a secret picture Cable school.pngthat was taken in an undisclosed location of what goes on at the 1st day of training.
Proof of the rules that they live by.

What must the conversations be like in the class?  Does it go like this……?

“Sir……. Cable clips!…… How many do we use?”

“Doesn’t matter…. they’re in the van just to fill up the shelves.  But if you do need to use them, just use one at the start and one at the end…. No matter what the distance!”

“And the ladders?”

Cable Van.png

“Try not to use them; they are to weigh the van down and keep it steady in windy weather!

“Sir….. What colour cable?”

“Doesn’t matter, they bleeding-thumball do the same job!  If you can, use a cable that sticks out like a sore thumb, at least people know
we were there!”

 

 

So the finished work……… I’ve seen cables through window frames

CAble in tunner.pngI’ve seen holes drilled the size of the channel tunnel….only to take a small cable  Cable over roof.png

I’ve seen cables over the roof
 

Even cables nailed to a work top in a kitchen….. I kid you not my friends   Cable in kitchen.png

And the easy lazy way to carry a cable is in Cable in gutter.pngyour guttering, where it will sit in water most of the time and rot away

And YES….I have even seen cables following the window line up and down     Cable following windows.png

At least they used a good number of cable clips on that job.

In one house, the Cable T.V engineer put the cable diagonally under the carpet, the old woman looked like she was jumping over a hurdle every time she turned the T.V on.Runner.png  I was half tempted to dress her in lycra and put a number on her back

 

In another house the cables were running over the skirting board, up the wall and plugged into the back of the T.V with not a milimetre to spare.  I was waiting for the inside of the T.V to be pulled out.  Living in a plug.pngThere were wires everywhere, all in the wrong places, for a moment it was like living inside a plug.

 

So what can be done?  This, I don’t know.  Apart from being on your guard, and following the next Cable T.V Engineer and watching every move they make.  Cable everywhere.pngWho knows…..the next T.V cable laid from your dish to the T.V could be running through your underwear in the drawer; into the microwave as you cook your favourite pie; up over the toaster and down the leg of your favourite jeans.


To all Cable T.V Engineers…………..Let’s be having a nice neat job next time!!

As ever on the Easy Blend I’m listening to some great music, today it’s Christine and the Queens – Tilted.

You can find out more about my book ‘Farrago: Ten Tall Tales’ and buy it here…. (click on the cover)

Full cover single

Until the next Easy Blend blog……….. 

Stay warm and fuzzy……..

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The Horse Whisperer……..reveals all

So is this going to be inside knowledge?  It may be……. (I said maybe……….not BABY!)

Anyway…….this knowledge came to me in a mystical way, without my control…..I look at it as a gift…  A gift that I must share…. if not, I fear the Horse Gods will literally horse whip me…… and with my soft skin…. Well it’s not good.

Horsewhipped.png

 

What do Horses feel?  What do Horses think?  What would they say if they could speak?

Well……..I, the Horse Whisperer,can now reveal the truth!

Horse whisperer.png

 

It was a day just like any other day, I was walking in the local countryside on the Taff Trail that runs from the Brecon Beacons down to the City of Cardiff.  It also goes from Cardiff to the Brecon Beacons, it just depends which way you’re starting from……  Suddenly, I looked in front of me, the Tarmac on the trail looked damaged……. all ripped up as if a Meteor had crash landed and tore along the Taff Trail.

Meteor.png

 

I felt a strange power surge through my beautiful body (which didn’t take long….I’m not the tallest of people).  There was nothing I could do, everything was still, the sound of the River Taff by the side of me was quiet and the grass stopped swaying in the gentle breeze.  I could see a horse in a nearby field starting to talk to me.  It was as if there was a connection between us, a reason why this horse had picked me.  I knew he wanted to speak for all the other horses, he wanted to speak for the horses from the past…..the horses of today and the horses of the future.

Horse therapy

Horse message

I kept my composure, asking the horse to tell me more…

The horse now relaxed, looks upwards

“Well it’s like this Dave…… What do you see on my hoofs?”

“I see horse shoes…”

“Exactly, I’m made for fields and beaten tracks, just ask my ancestors, we were once peoples main form of transport back in the day,

Horse on wheels

before cars and bikes, before Tarmac was invented.  But some of our owners today, want to go on the same idyllic route as you Dave.   But on our backs, and Dave…….I don’t like tarmac, I’m not built for Tarmac if I did…..I’d have a set of wheels on the end of my legs.  It does my knees right in……and let’s face it….I’ve got 4 of them…..one on every corner.”

 

“The Taff Trail wasn’t built for me either,Pooping it’s for families to walk and cycle on, I’m a very big animal, and please forgive me for being so coarse with my words.  It wasn’t a meteor that ripped up the tarmac……..you see it’s me.  As a Horse I have the amazing ability to S**T and walk at the same time……I know, it takes some doing! ……..our owners know this…….. whilst sitting on our backs just 3 feet away from our arses….and they still take us on the Taff Trail knowing full well that it’s a sure bet we will do it.”

“Our owners don’t seem to care about families with their children, even the cyclists, who I know still can’t work out one of the greatest

Bicycle wheelmysteries of the world…..and that’s how you can cycle in a straight line and only get S**T on one wheel and not the other when there’s such a short distance between them both?”

And then…..in a flash my Horse whispering skills left my body and I was back on the trail as the Horse, chewing on grass, trotted away………… S***TING.

 

As ever on the Easy Blend I’m listening to some great music, today it’s Greg Laswell –  I dodged a bullet.

You can find out more about my book ‘Farrago: Ten Tall Tales’ and buy it here…. (click on the cover)

Full cover single

Until the next Easy Blend blog……….. 

Stay warm and fuzzy……..

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My childhood night-time activities

Where do I start?  I can’t tell you them all…..not enough ink in my computer……?

Computer ink.png

I remember being around 10 yrs old…….. not far off the same size as I am now.  Mother Frantony would say it was time for bed, after my milk and biscuits.  Yes, for kids today, still nothing has changed.  The game was how long and slow you could eat the biscuit and drink the milk.  I can still hear my mother shouting now after all these years “Come on!  I’m not stupid, I know you’re trying to drag out going to bed!  DAVID……COME ON!”

Milk & Biscuits.png

Anyway, eventually once in bed in my brushed cotton pyjamas (I love the feel of them!!)  And before I go on……bring back brushed cotton sheets and blankets!

Anyway, once in bed with my young boys dream poster Blu-tacked over my bed, of the iconic Lamborghini, (and by the way, I’m sure Blu tack is different today – my memory of it was that it always stayed sticky

Lambo.png

and never turned hard, and it didn’t take half of your wall with it when you took it off and ripped your poster to shreds), I was tucked in tight, sometimes so tight the mattress would curve revealing the bed springs and send me rolling in to the middle (A good sign you were never going to roll back out of bed)

I loved being tucked in tight, the only problem it caused, was the worry of being caught from a previous act of trying to take one of the “V” shaped springs from the metal bed frame.

‘Why’ you ask?

Gat gun

Well, because they were good for making a GAT GUN.

And I’m man enough…..or…..Not man enough to admit, the last words from me as Mum or Dad were leaving my bedroom were always “Leave the door open……and leave the landing light on!”……  While I’m at it, I’ll also tell you that I would never sleep with my legs straight; they were always curled up in a ball.

‘Why’ you ask again?

Well for some reason I had a vision of an old witch that lived underneath the bottom of my bed, and if my feet would ever stick out of the cotton blankets, she would use her long green warty covered fingers and scrape her red sharp nails down the soles of my feet.

Witch.png

Which is impossible…..even today….as I’ve said, I’m not the tallest and if my Mother knew there was a witch under my bed she would go nuts, and anyway my Dad would have noticed when he last decorated when moving the bed.

You can now understand my dilemma when my mother told me that the blankets are going because this new item of bedding was now out on the market and in the shops….. it was called a ‘Quilt’ or should it be ‘Duvet’ and you don’t have to tuck them in.  My face must have been a picture.  First night with the new ‘Quilt/Duvet’ I’m sure I had a pair of thick heavy duty boots on because I knew the witch would be rubbing her hands laughing, ready to get my feet when I was asleep.  I’d never felt so vulnerable not being tucked in!

Witch rubbing hands.png

Once in bed with my feet curled up, I would take the radio from my bedside cabinet and hide under the blankets trying to tune in to the Police frequency and hear what was going on in the outside world while me and the imaginary witch were in the warm; nice and safe.  The radio needed to be down low so my Mum and Dad didn’t hear, I couldn’t lie on the pillow because you needed both ears to listen, between the bad frequency and low volume.  So the only answer was to use the radio as the pillow, but there was a consequence in doing this.  Because on more than one occasion, I would fall asleep on the speaker, waking up in the middle of the night, with the imprint of the speaker holes on my face.

Speaker face.png

Yes, I tried lying on my stomach folding my arms, but I also fell asleep like it once and my arms went numb.  As I eventually released them my face crash landed in the radio, I couldn’t move as the pins and needles kicked in and there was nothing I could do until the feeling came back in them…….. I know…..a rookie mistake.

I still love radio today, I love listening to radio, I love presenting on radio, and even now, there’s nothing like listening to radio late at night when you’re tucked up in bed.  If you haven’t tried it, get it done!

 

As ever on the Easy Blend I’m listening to some great music, today it’s Heathens by Twenty One Pilots, from the film Suicide Squad.

You can find out more about my book ‘Farrago: Ten Tall Tales’ and buy it here…. (click on the cover)

Full cover single

Until the next Easy Blend blog……….. 

Stay warm and fuzzy……..

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Acupuncture….? Really……? But…… oh……OK….

Hayfever gods

For some reason……..and I don’t know why, maybe it’s the ‘Pollen Gods’ sulking in the corner, they decided that when I was thirty one years old, I should start having Hayfever, and NO!…..Hay fevermy Hay fever doesn’t look like this…….

It was a Saturday morning when Mrs Frantony and I were in the mood for a visit to Cardiff City Centre, a 25 minute drive in the car.  The sun was out, the music on the stereo was good so it was time to put my elbow out of the open window.

In car

Now, when I was 17, I did think that was a cool look but I have to admit, I still do this today, but then again I do drive a Land Rover Defender.  For those of you who are well aware of these vehicles…..you have no choice but to put your elbow out when the window is down, due to the tiny gap between the edge of the steering wheel and the door panel……no matter how long or short your arms are!

So, Mrs Frantony and I were in Cardiff City Chinese herbal shopCentre spoiling ourselves with some clothes shopping and a bit of food.  Now at this point my Hayfever was driving me mad, with itchy eyes and lots of sneezing, when we passed a Chinese herbal shop and Mrs Frantony says,

helen

 

 

 

 

So inside we went.

I told the young Chinese woman at the counter I had Hayfever, and she told me to follow her in to the back room of the shop.  She was nice…..so I did.  Then an old Chinese woman appeared through a side door and looked me up and down….(it didn’t take long….I’m not that tall).

She spoke in Chinese to the young woman, poke tongue outthe young woman then translated to me in English, ”Dave, poke your tongue out…”

 

I poked my tongue out to the old woman.  Again in Chinese, she spoke to the young woman, and in turn she translated back to me

 

 

Fire“Dave, you are a fiery person….”

I smiled, trying to keep my face looking like an angelic choir boy, Altar Boylooking like I didn’t know what she’s talking about.

 

Then she said for £10 I could have Acupuncture for my Hayfever.  I thought since I was here, why not?  DavidShe then told me to take my clothes off, right down to my pants.

 

Mrs Frantony left me in the back room and was told to come back in an hour.  The old Chinese woman, who apparently didn’t speak any English (Yeah right!) pointed at the brown leather bed.  I’ll be honest, my first thought was “Am I glad I’ve put on nice tidy blue pants today?!”  She then started to put the Acupuncture needles in my arms, my legs, my feet….. and the bottom of my feet…. Bum walkingthen my face, then my head and my chest…….  the only way of ever escaping was on my bum!

 

Once I resembled a pin cushion, with every single Acupuncture needle that the herbal shop owned stuck in me; the old Chinese woman started to on tablerub my belly, before putting a red heat lamp over the part she had just rubbed and walking out of the room, leaving me all on my own.

 

Now I’m not going to lie to you…….. (I wouldn’t do that) I was thinking “Am I in the Twilight Zone?”  I was wondering how I got to be in this position, considering I only came to Cardiff to do a bit of shopping and yet I was now looking like someone who had just rolled down a thick forest on the steepest, longest hill of the biggest cactus plants known to man.

BeardIt felt like days and days before I saw her again…..well not really….it was 40 minutes, but at the time it might as well been days.  The old Chinese woman took so long to come back, I even had a beard when she came back in to the room.  She turned the red heat lamp off and took all of the needles out of me……I looked like a sieve.

sieve

I put my clothes back on as she disappeared through the side door, then the young Chinese woman with perfect timing as I done up the last button on my jeans, came in and took me back to the front of the shop.  I paid the £10 while still trying to work out how all of this just happened and how did the young woman know I was doing up my last button on my jeans?

So….. I know there are 2 questions on your mind…….Please let me try and answer them.

  1. Did it cure me of my Hayfever? NO, 12 years on and I’m just as bad with itchy eyes and sneezing with more G-FORCE than any fighter pilot has ever experienced, but maybe if I kept going back it would have made a difference…..but I’m in no rush to do so.
  2. Is it really that easy to get Dave down to his pants? I don’t know…… I’m not sure….. Maybe…… NO….. YES…. NO….. OH, I don’t know!!?!??

 

As ever on the Easy Blend I’m listening to some great music, today it’s Aerosmith, Sweet Emotion

You can find out more about my book ‘Farrago: Ten Tall Tales’ and buy it here…. (click on the cover)

Full cover single

Until the next Easy Blend blog……….. 

Stay warm and fuzzy……..

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The Cheeky Single Bed

Bigger bedsIt was time to buy my little boy a new bed.  This one was going to be a full size bed and NO, a single bed isn’t ‘just’ a single bed.  You can buy short single beds for when they advance from the cot.

So the new bed arrived and all was well.  On the same day, after advertising his old bed, I had a phone call from someone who wanted to buy it.  This was the conversation “Is the bed still for sale?”
“Yes”
“I see that it’s up for £35….will you take £25Bed in car
“It’s your lucky day…..go on then…”
“Thanks.  I don’t have a car, any chance you can deliver?”

I was feeling generous that day so said “Go on then……”

He gave me the address, which was 7 miles away from where I lived, so I immediately loaded the car and was on my way.

Terraced street

After driving around a one way system 3 times, I eventually found the house and as always (you’ve experienced this I’m sure) the house I was looking for had no number and didn’t follow the sequence of numbers in the rest of the street.

I stood at the top of the steps, they were steep and as I knocked the front door I could hear lots of shouting, which didn’t stop, even when the door opened.  I wasn’t sure whether to laugh because the man would face me and say something, and then turned facing up the stairs and carried on shouting at his wife.

“I’ve come to drop the bed off for you….it’s in the car….”

The shouting was still going on “Yes thanks, just leave it by the door, I’ll get some money for you” he turned again and walked off, still shouting.

Piece by piece I carried the single bed on my own Bed down stepsdown the steepest set of steps known to man and left it by the front door, with no one to be seen.

Miraculously, as the last piece of the bed arrived at the door (and for the record was the nuts and bolts…in a bag….all labelled up) he emerged…. still shouting.  Now remember the bed was £35 but he knocked me down to £25 and……let’s not forget that I delivered it to his house and carried down the steepest steps I’ve ever seen.  In fact it was exactly like walking down the side of Mount Everest with a bed on my back.Everest

Again may I remind you that the single bed was now £25, but in his hand were three £10 notes….yes that’s £30.  I then think to myself that maybe he’s giving me the extra £5 for the delivery and bringing the bed down to the front door….BUT NO!  He looked at me in the eye….and with no hesitation said Paying cash“Sorry I’ve got no change….do you have £5 on you?”Bull in a china shop

 

Now usually I’m on the ball and I’m happy to be like a bull in a china shop and say what’s on my mind…… but that day I thought ‘let’s give this guy a break…he’s clearly having a bad day’, so I said nothing and gave him the £5 change, and drove home thinking to myself that I wouldn’t want to carry a large fridge freezer down those steps.

 

As ever on the Easy Blend I’m listening to some great music, today it’s Dixie Chicks – The Long Way Around

You can find out more about my book ‘Farrago: Ten Tall Tales’ and buy it here…. (click on the cover)

Full cover single

Until the next Easy Blend blog……….. 

Stay warm and fuzzy……..

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The entertainment we had growing up on a Council Estate

This was the era of the 1980’s, yep that’s right, when it was always sunny and you always had time to play.  I know what you’re thinking….there was only one place to play and that was outside.  They were the days of playing on the streets with a pen knife in one pocket and policemanin the other, a packet of crisps with a slice of cheese inside (I don’t know why…but I still eat crisps like that today).  There weren’t so many cars on the road and you always saw the local Policeman walking his beat.

These were the days before computers and tablets and mobile H&Sphones and of course before Health and Safety went mad.

Playing as a child was always an adventure, whether in the woods, forestry or in the surrounding streets and if you had a fight, it was a proper fight…you remember the ones with that started with a bit of pushing and some fists, not like today where everybody brings every weapon possible, even a tank on their heads……

Pockets

As well as playing and making up your own games, you also had the older boys who were a little on the crazy side and you were never too sure of what they were going to do.

So here are just some of the things I’ve seen and experienced.

I was playing on the field one day when I heard the sound of a motorbike.  As I turned, I smiled….. a young boy on a Suzuki PE175cc was doing a wheelie up the main hill of the estate.

wheelie up hill

I looked thinking “WOW….who is that?”  He came on to the field riding around me as if he was the sheep dog and I was the sheep.  Eventually he stopped and we became friends.  For ‘Health and Safety’ reasons let’s call him ‘Moriarty’.

A week later my friends and I had just bought ourselves a 99 from the ice-cream van, and were enjoying the sunshine sitting on the wall, wCar up hillhen at a terrific speed, a blue Ford Capri ‘R’ reg, year 1976 with far too many young lads inside, came full throttle in too low a gear up the hill towards us.  But they were playing a game; it was how fast they could turn into the side street from the main hill of the estate.

car on bend

 

 

Of course we were all asked if we wanted to go for a ride….. but there were a few reasons why not!

1. The driver (Moriarty) didn’t have a licence
2. The driver wasn’t old enough to have a licence
3. There was no room (not even in the boot)
4. I wanted to live

And finally 5., Mother Frantony would have hit me with the tea towel, taking it from her shoulder at lightening speed.

This, by the way, was regular weekend entertainment.  So was the time my Dad let Moriarty (thinking he had a bike licence) borrow his bike so we could both go to the Gym.  I was on the back of my Dad’s Honda XL 185cc (a very good bike) with 2 gym bags over my shoulders.  On a long straight road and with a bus in front of us, Moriarty decided it was a good idea to overtake…….  Bike vs Bus

Well….. it took so long I nearly made friends with everyone on the bus looking through the window.  I did wonder if we were ever going to see the front end of the bus and make it alive.  Another occasion was the time Moriarty would borrow other boy’s motorbikes.  Like the time (again with me on the back or as we called it ‘a backie’) on a Kawasaki KX 400, on the road Bike v car(again) overtaking a Ford Escort XR3i and suddenly the chain came off.

Yes…..I look back and see how silly we were and of course how lucky we were and I definitely wouldn’t recommend all of these things…..but when I look back it does make me smile, thinking of the days when we didn’t have a care in the world (You remember those days?).  Dangerous YES, but funny all the same, we all know someone who provides crazy entertainment no matter where you lived.

 

 

As usual on the Easy Blend I’d thought I’d tell you what I’m listening to.  Today it’s Barenaked Ladies – If I had a Million Dollars.

You can find out more about my book ‘Farrago: Ten Tall Tales’ and buy it here…. (click on the cover)

Full cover single

Until the next Easy Blend blog……….. 

Stay warm and fuzzy……..

For the love of LEGO

Love lego.pngSo my son was finally at an age where he was ready for LEGO.  Woohoooo!  For someone who loves Lego, this time just didn’t come quickly enough, so when it eventually arrived, up to the attic I headed at lightning speed so I could pass the Lego baton on to my heir.

I had not seen my Lego for 30 odd years, and let me tell you something that no human being should forget….Lego does not age.old punk lego

 

It was still strong, with no scratches on it, and the very second I laid my eyes on it, the unknown power within the Lego immediately turned on the urge to want to build something.

There and then, lying over loads of boxes in the attic, I could see a half built house which I clearly didn’t finish as a child.  WOW!  This Lego was last touched by me, when I was a little boy.  So much has happened since then.  But, I figured I started it, so I should finish it and I built the rest of the house.  This time, instead of Mother Frantony shouting for me to come down to have my dinner, it was Mrs Frantony, and I shouted out the same old Welsh line at her, “I’ll be there, now in a minute!”knighting lego

The pressure was on.  It was time to hand over the Lego mantle to my son.  He knelt in front of me, and for a moment I knew what it felt like to be the queen, as my arms slowly edged forward.  In my mind I was hoping that he would look after and cherish it with the same love as I did.

 

The Lego was now in his possession and within seconds the Lego house was destroyed and all over the floor. Cow lego I waited with bated breath, just like a farmer watching his cow after giving birth, worrying…..  Is the cow going love the calf and bring it in to his fold?

 

Then, what every Dad who loves Lego wants to see, my son picked up the Lego blocks and started to build.

cut in half lego#A new generation has begun.  “PHEW……what a relief!” he’s a natural, it was as if his fingers were made of Lego.  Even if I was to magically saw him in half, he’d have Lego right through him.

 

Now the journey has begun, my son has the Lego bug

 

alien lego 2

My connection has now been rekindled and it was time to step in to the Lego store.  WOW!  Where had I been all my life?  Well, hasn’t Lego moved on from the standard building block!

My son is now 7 years old and he’s Lego crazy.  I’ve even built a walk-in table, all painted up with roads, rivers and streams now covered in Lego.  Plastic boxes filled with every shape you can think of underneath it. We have so much, it has its own designated room.  Stand on lego

So…. I hear you ask…. what is my job in all of this?  How far am I willing to go for Lego?  Well, let me tell you.  When I stand on it bare foot I hold my breath, even though it feels like it’s going to come out the other side.  It’s not the Lego piece’s fault or my son’s fault for leaving it on the floor…..its mine for standing on it.

 

Then you have the days when my son wants to take a Lego figure in the car with him on the way to school.  This is guaranteed to make us late.  Why?  I’ll tell you why.  He has to pick the car seat‘right’ Lego figure.  Then, when we are about to get out of the car to go in to school, he drops it down the side of the seat.  Every time.

But OH NO….. it doesn’t land on the floor….. it lands in between the runners of the seat.  And will he go in to school for me to rescue it later?  I don’t think so!  It has to be rescued and saved before he goes in to school.  And if you’re thinking he comes up in one piece you’d be wrong.  His legs always get stuck, 2 Car seatsbut my son will put his education on hold until the Lego figure is saved and all in one piece sitting in the cup holder.

 

Also as I am a modern man with many capabilities, on the days I vacuum around the house, I am vigilant not to suck up any Lego pieces, but on the odd occasion the cleaner gets them and at a terrific speed as they rattle up the pipe, and into the bag.  vacuum cleanerI’m not ashamed to tell you this…… even if I’ve just replaced the cleaner with a new bag I will tear it open and rescue every single one, no matter what else might be lurking inside, even if I’d vacuumed up a mouse from the week before.

 

 

 

So you see LEGO…no matter where you are or even if you hurt me….I will always forgive you and just as the old saying goes…..

“Look after LEGO and LEGO will look after you!”

“Always remember LEGO is for life and adults….not just for Christmas and kids!!”

 

As ever on the Easy Blend I’m listening to some great music, today it’sTim Cappello – I still believe

You can find out more about my book ‘Farrago: Ten Tall Tales’ and buy it here…. (click on the cover)

Full cover single

Until the next Easy Blend blog……….. 

Stay warm and fuzzy……..

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