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Friday, 30 May 2014

The Gasman Cometh

A couple of weeks ago the Southern Gas Networks turned up in our road to replace the gas pipes. They started off by digging up the verges and gardens on the opposite side of the road and liberally spreading mud all over the place. This included the top of my car, so I took to parking it further down the road.

Last friday I came home from work to discover a large hole right outside our gate and a very large and heavy paving slab in the middle of my lawn. I managed to get the slab off my lawn as I didn't want my grass killed. Over the weekend two cars managed to crash into the plastic barriers outside in the road and the neighbours children seemed to fiddle with the barriers most of the weekend.

On my return from work on Tuesday I was greeted by a very large hole where my front path used to be. Fortunately, they had covered the hole with a board so I could reach the front door, but they had deposited a huge pile of earth, clay and sand directly onto my front lawn. I was not happy. If they had asked for our permission before hand I would have told them to put it on the drive where it wouldn't damage the grass.

The following day they disconnected the gas supply while replacing the pipes and refused to relight our boiler as it's quite old. They went even further and have issued us with an "At Risk" notice, which means we can't use it until it's been looked at. The problem for us is that it's very old and spares are now thin on the ground these days. This could end up costing us £1000's. At least I suppose it's good news that it's May and not December.

Today they have filled in the giant hole in front of our door and relaid the paving slabs. Time will tell whether they have been reseated properly or not. The bad news is that the lawn is wrecked and the whole garden, lawn and drive has turned into a mud bath. There's also mud on my motorbike, the front door and it's getting in the house too. Tomorrow I intend to jet wash the garden in an attempt to clean it up, but we still have the hole right outside our gate and this evening I can smell gas.

This whole episode reminds me of that famous song by Flanders & Swann. The Gasman cometh on Monday afternoon, for us at least.


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Friday, 2 May 2014

Orange Awakening

As I’ve mentioned before, my parents are classical music fans and have never really embraced popular music. As a consequence I wasn’t exposed to pop music in my youth and missed out on the music of the 1970’s almost completely. I only really discovered pop music in about 1982 when I started secondary school. I suppose that because of this my favourite genre of music has always 1980’s syntherzer pop, such as Howard Jones, Dépêche Mode and Yazoo. Later I discovered Jean Michael Jarre and later still, Iron Maiden. In fact I didn’t really discover Led Zeppelin until about 7 2008.

I was aware on a German group called Tangerine Dream, but never really paid them too much attention, until yesterday. I was at a lose end music wise and a colleague mentioned that he had been to see (and hear) Rick Wakeman in Birmingham on Tuesday. This lead to a conversion about whether he and another colleague should see Tangerine Dream later this year. I decided to have a quick browse through iTunes and came across a compilation album of their early 1970’s material, so I took the plunge. It’s called “The Virgin Years – 1974 to 1978”.

OMG!!!! It’s awesome and 24 hours later, I’m still hooked. I would describe it as a cross between early Jean Michael Jarre but with less structure and electronic Jazz. It just washes over you in smooth melodic wave after wave of soothing sound.

This is the kind of music that I should be writing. Perhaps I should fire up my home studio equipment once more and unleash my unbridled talents upon an unsuspecting world once more. You have been warned 8-)


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