You won't forget my name again

I once bumped into someone that I had only met a couple of times before. It was at a Christmas party and we'd both had a few drinks.

"flettttttttch!" He yelled and came over, talking to me, and I had no idea what his name was. I knew his face, where he worked, who for, how long for, what he did and even how good he was at it, but I couldn't place his name.

I didn't ask him because it was a noisy work Christmas party and we were just talking bollocks but then eventually out of the blue he goes "you can't remember my name can you" and I replied "no mate I'm afraid I can't".

He made a bit of a deal about it, told me what it was and then proclaimed in a very smug voice after presuming  he had embarrassed me enough "you won't forget my name again after that". 

Well lesson one here is that guess what, I haven't got a clue who you were anymore, I only remember your face and that you were a dick about it.

Lesson two? Remembering names is important to people.

VANLIFE

It's been a wee while since I had a vehicle I was massively excited about, but earlier this month, I got another. 

I have liked all the cars I've had in the past, because they were all acquired for different reasons and were right for me at the time, but looking back, how many got me really EXCITED? I'd say 318iS, Mini Cooper S, 635CSi and now my new ride:

Pimp my ride it's a VW T4 Van

Pimp my ride it's a VW T4 Van

An old Volkswagen van. It is a splendid beast with a whole 88bhp, so quite a deviation from the sub 6.5 second (to 62MPH) rule I've stuck to over the past few years, but the van is none the worse for that. 

My first van.. nine years ago

My first van.. nine years ago

It was a bit less slick

It was a bit less slick

I loved this van too.

I loved this van too.

This isn't actually my first van. I briefly owned one around nine years ago, in fact I lived in it for some time when I was working in New Zealand. Although the trusty Toyota Hi-Ace was quite a mean machine at the time.. it's nothing like the new one which is on another level in terms of fit and finish.

So why a van? If you have to ask I'm not sure you really know me. It's the perfect vehicle for me. Walking, camping, riding bikes, the occasional bit of snowboarding, going to the tip and fetching big stuff from B&Q. 100% awesome.

I'm truly into vanlife now, and will be keeping the beast for some time. So watch this space for upcoming roadtrips. First thing? Scottish camping roadtrip very soon... I better get it kitted out quickly.

Top Three for Feb, March

Been drinking a lot of beer recently, this doesn't mean more alcohol, I've just been swapping rum and wine for more ale.

There is a big boom in beer making in the UK at the moment, it started arguably five or six years ago and over the last two or three it has gone through a small explosion. There's a big scene with it's rockstars and fans, there are hundreds of blogs, and just within the M25 something close to fifty-three breweries, fifty-three! 

Six/seven years ago there were maybe three? Certainly it was single figures.

Since I'm currently drinking my way around the country via it's brewers.. I thought I would start to share some of the best beers that I've found. There's a lot of misunderstanding around what most drinkers would term "ale" and it's easy to lose the enthusiasm for trying new ones by how different and inconsistent beer can be.

Definitely, not all of those fifty three brewers are doing a good job.. (more on that soon!).

Anyhow - If you drink beer and you always choose the same pint or  the same 12-for-£10 cans in the supermarket, you are really really missing out by not looking at what else is out there now. It is a great time for beer in the UK and hopefully my new monthly top three selection will help you try wisely.

You probably drank Puritys "Mad Goose" at my wedding. It was all gone in an hour and people asked for more. Still think you prefer Carling?

You probably drank Puritys "Mad Goose" at my wedding. It was all gone in an hour and people asked for more. Still think you prefer Carling?

I promise, on a Friday night you'd be much better served enjoying one each of these, than necking six cans of your usual.

Top Three for Feb/March:

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Rebellion: Red This is a belter. It sounds like a really specialist thing "oh jesus a red beer I must need a beard to drink this" but it's totally not. Delicious. Malty, feels gorgeous in the mouth and actually tastes like something.

Thornbridge: Jaipur This is delicious, properly properly good and I've been on this now for months. It's an IPA, has lots of hoppy flavour and is massively drinkable. Touch of sweetness in there somewhere but nearly didn't write that in case it puts anyone off. Definitely not one of those ridiculous overhopped honey-esque beers that are trying to be trendy. Thornbridge are a total class act.

Purity: Saddle Black Contentious one this because it looks like Guinness so if you're not mad into ale, this seems like a funny thing for me to push you towards. Have faith. It tastes NOTHING like the black stuff you get from Ireland, this is a hoppy IPA and the reason it's black is because they brew it with roasted malts. It's great stuff. 

You can get Red and Jaipur in your supermarket in bottles. Saddle Black, you'll need to go to a good pub for.

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One Hundred and Eighty (quid)

Inevitably, I just launched a dart through my back window. I knew one of them was a bit bent and flying all over the place.. but still.

Ah well

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Christmas in Dorset

Thoroughly enjoyed getting away at Christmas. Went down to Dorset on Christmas day itself and stayed till the 27th. 

Slightly unusual not having family around but we saw everyone on Skype and it felt good being a bit selfish and just doing whatever we wanted.

Love it down on the coast.

West Bay

West Bay

Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis

Waves on Chesil Beach

Waves on Chesil Beach

View from the Golden Cap, looking towards Seatown, West Bay and Portland Bill in the far far away.

View from the Golden Cap, looking towards Seatown, West Bay and Portland Bill in the far far away.

Source: http://fletch.cx/blog/wp-content/uploads/P...

Floor Bored

Well it's been a while since I reported on a mantask but there have been many. So many in fact I've hardly had the time to write about them. The most recent is the old hearth which I have removed from the back room. The chimney breast for this was taken away yonks ago but the previous occupants hadn't really gone all they way, they just covered up the remaining hearth with some random bits of laminate flooring. Since the hearth wasn't the same level as the rest of the floor, the laminate was all lumpy and none of it clicked together correctly, in fact this was the trigger that made me tear it all up one afternoon... a result really because I discovered the solid pine beneath it.

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Anyway. The plan for a while now has been to stick with these lovely wooden boards throughout the house, upstairs and down. We planned to sand and wax them to back their original state, but the old concrete hearth was putting a stop to this. The bugger would have to go.

So, one energetic autumn morning I took a auick trip to Screwfix Direct and, one Bosch SDS drill later, the hearth was nowt but a pile of bricks (that I still haven't taken to the tip) and had been replaced, by a load of dust and a massive hole.

DIY being what it is, this hole ended up being around a little while longer than I had planned. Mainly this was because I couldn't find any 130 x 18mm antique pine floorboards to cover it that would match the original ones when waxed, but there were other considerations...

DIY is a tremendously serial process.

All I need to do is put up some coving, paint, get a man to do the floor, then put skirting board on. In essence, that would be the ground floor finished.

Before that can happen though I need to put up two new dangling ceiling lights, which I can't do until we've decided where the table is going, which we can't position properly because I made a big hole in the floor. I can't fill in the hole because I need to go under the floor to run the 240v circuit for the garage (not built yet either) and I need to plumb in a new radiator where the hearth was before I could put the joists in. Also, as I've already said, I was struggling to find the right boards.

I mean where else could there POSSIBLY be the EXACT FLOORBOARDS THAT I NEED?

The hole stayed. It created lots more dust and gave us coughs.

It then began to claim victims. Five pence, two Metrobank pens, a piece of bresola, a screwdriver, my good torch, a couple of drunk people at a houseparty (ok, just me) and finally a toddler.

Where there's blame there's a claim, the stakes were rising and the hole had to go.

Up went the radiator, in went the new joists, but where could I get these boards from? Then a moment of genius! I would simply nick them from the bedroom and put brand new ones in their place. we're going to carpet the bedroom so who cares what they look like underneath.

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So that was that, this weekend I spent ten hours, putting down new (old) floorboards in the dining room that I'd stolen from my own bedroom. In essence, I spent ten hours moving a hole upstairs.

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... and if I fall through these gaps..... I'll need to plaster the ceiling.

Phone Busted

Phone is busted and I'm back on a bulletproof old Nokia. Six months that Nokia has spent in the centre console in my car, yet yesterday it powered up with full bars on the battery indicator and is still showing full juice.

Anyhow, don't text me it's too painful to reply :)