Last post (of the year)?

So then.

A trip into Wantage today delivered J, baby and I to Sainsbury's supermarket. We went to the cafe and asked for some hot water to heat the baby's milk up with. They couldn't give us any because of 'health and safety' although they were happy to let me have a cup of coffee at the same temperature as the water I wanted. They were happy to heat the milk up in a special baby milk warmer, in a room I wasn't allowed to go in, after taking the top off the milk bottle despite me asking them not to, twice.

But look, this might be the last post of the year, so I don't want to moan about a supermarket.

It has been the best year of my life. I've become a dad, my family are well, my band is still together and I have wonderful friends. I'm hoping to create some new and possibly even good music in 2008 and, best of all, I get to share all of this with J.

OK. Usual cynicism will resume in the new year. Peace and love, people.

Happy New Year


Uffington - Boxing Day

Uffington - Boxing Day
Originally uploaded by Roostar
On the way to the village shop for pastries and newspaper this morning with baby in a papoose, this is what I saw.


Happy Christmas

I've spent the morning with my folks, the afternoon with J's and the whole day has been lovely. The fact that I'm blogging at ten in the evening on Christmas day is testament to a) how rubbish Christmas telly is and b) J is fast asleep on the sofa.

Love to everyone.


Ex-pagan festive stuff

Happy Christmas and a great New Year to you all. Not actually being a Christian has never stopped me from celebrating and enjoying a day which, in theory, allows us to be nice to each other. 2007 brought a lot of amazing changes to my life (a daughter, for example) but I suspect 2008 is going to be even better.

Peace and love (no matter how corny that sounds) to you all!



The night was spent with J feeling the effects of food poisoning. That meant Freya was the only one who got a proper night's sleep.

On the bright side we have finally plumbed in the water softening machine. It's possible, therefore, that we could see in the new year without the horrors of hard water. And I really do mean hard water. Our water is so hard it comes out of the taps in chunks. The boxed up machine had been sitting at the bottom of the staircase for so long it now feels that there is something missing. Also, the salt tablets in the machine look alarmingly like peppermint bonbons. Yes, it's possible I need some rest.

The photograph is of some characters from yesterday's shopping trip in Oxford.


Changing Rooms

We went to Oxford for last minute Christmas shopping today and had one of those 'only with a baby' moments. J and I picked Debenhams cafe as a place to refuel ourselves and Freya. I took the baby off to the baby changing room but couldn't find it. I asked a member of staff and they directed me to the disabled toilet, which was al very fine, except for the complete lack of baby changing facilities. I pointed this out.

Me: There's nowhere to change the baby.
Staff person: I could get a chair.
Me: Um, we'll find somewhere else thank you.

When I got back to J she pointed out the baby changing rooms (yes, there were two of them) were just around the corner. I felt a little silly for not spotting this but the staff person didn't seem fazed at all. For the record, Debenhams Oxford has excellent baby changing facilities (even if the noise pollution unit was set to 'Loud Christmas') but don't expect the staff to know where it is. Emma in the lingerie department was very helpful though.

Guests arrived in the early evening. Alison and David stopping off on a journey from Birmingham to Cornwall. Greta to see them both.

The main theme of the evening has been food poisoning with vomiting. Euch.


About time!

Various demands have kept Soul Beaver away from the public's gaze recently but the good news is... we're back! Having missed a chance to celebrate our tenth anniversary we are going to celebrate our eleventh. It's at The Exeter Hall pub on Oxford's Cowley Road on 2nd February. More details soon.



Having a blast tonight listening to a King Crimson gig from June 2000 at high volume. Hurrah for headphones.


Pontoon 2

This is what I was referring to the other day when I mentioned the Pontoon Project.



I've been having an email chat with a friend in Germany. She loves her books and is picking out some interesting reading for her children. I reacted to this by making a mental list of great books I've read recently and another list of books to read. As soon as the current read is finished I'm going to motor through another excellent Kinky Friedman story and then, hopefully, see how good the latest William Gibson is. I've had a clear out recently so the local charity shops are happy and I've made space for any possible Christmas presents.

Anyway. For pretty much my whole life I've lived in spaces with lots of books around me. I assumed for a while that the world divided into those of us who liked having a lot of books around us and those who don't (people who don't read or who do but get their fix from the library). I made no judgments about either camp and all was groovy.

In the last few years though I've noticed some folks getting quite irate even at the concept that someone might enjoy having lots of books in their house. After a few incidents of hearing "... but you if you've read them why would you want to keep them" I even started doubting my preferences. Then once, I found myself about to apologise for the amount I owned and luckily, just as the words were about to escape me, I caught myself and told the person to get a life and understand that quite a few of us are like this. Only I didn't put it quite so politely.

So, if you've only got a few books on your shelves - good for you. If you like the look of knick-knacks and photographs of ugly children rather than the spines of inspiring works - good for you too. I'd rather have books, and plenty of them.


Today would be my uncle John's 84th birthday. It's also the birthday of my pal David, who I have now known for 38 years. The numbers mean nothing of course but I'll have a drink for them both tonight.

Freya, featuring a lovely top made by Emma form Soul Beaver wil be six months old in a few weeks. We might have a drink then too!



Good to see the Pontoon Project winning a public vote for cash this week. It's a very worthwhile cause which I was made aware of through my mother-in-law. It was bidding for a chunk of lottery money and I like to think my last minute vote made all the difference.


Smelly water

Why are there so many perfume advertisements in the telly?

Anyway. Something went wrong with my ability to write music last week. I felt like a laptop with too much on its hard drive. Everything started to slow down and become hard work.

So, rather than force anything (something I've found that does work with poetry) I decided to put the guitar down and stay away from any music making for a while. Yesterday I picked up the Warr Guitar and played, enjoyably for ages.