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Early morning beard growth

Did I say that I’d started growing my beard again?

Much to the disgust of my ever suffering wife, Mrs B, I stopped the silly habit of the daily scrape at Easter and now have a semblance of a beard again.

So good to stroke and to add depth to your words of wisdom.

I reckon that a good growth is going to take six months, by then I’ll be looking like a proper fisherman again. Not that I have ever caught a fish in my life of course, But let’s not go splitting hairs – split ends on your beard isn’t going to be a pleasant thing!

It’s a beautiful morning, but I couldn’t sleep, so I thought I’d just sit here for a bit and see what fingers and keyboard could come up with.

I’m off to Birmingham later to meet some of the team I worked with last time I did office work – that was years ago, but every now and then we hook up on the dreadful Broad Street, drink too many drinks, then all stagger off vowing to make it an annual event. I think the last one was four years ago!


Mother’s Day

Mother hasn’t been with us for a few years, but she lived until nearly ninety.

That surprised all of us.

When we were kids she wasn’t a well woman, and we sort of expected her to have popped off a long time ago, but in teh end she outlived dad, and even her first son.

I think of her often, but in particular on Mother’s Day and her birthday. We always got together on days like that, and she always took us out on our birthday if she possibly could. I remember one year I was in France with school on my birthday and she was so disappointed that we couldn’t be together. That’s special isn’t it?

Well mum, I still miss you as much now as i ever did, and the great thing is that I’m older now myself and no longer embarrassed to admit how special my mum is. And I mean to use is rather than saying was.


I have to say that I find this parenting thing a bit of a lark, but then I realise that I’m spoiled and so lucky; I only work part-time and apart from my art class, can fit my painting around the girls and the handsome husband. We’re not rich; we’re what is classed as ‘comfortable’, which means we can afford a couple of holidays a year provided we don’t spend a fortune on them.

But I often wonder what it would be like to be a one-parent family and really have to work hard to make ends meet.

Sarah’s friend, Molly, lives with her mum, Rachel, most of the time, but spends odd nights during the week and regularly at weekends, with her dad. I have to say, Rachel does a magnificent job.  Molly is an absolute poppet, she’s a polite, very well adjusted little girl whose painting of ‘Leo the Lion’ told me that she had a gift for art. That’s another reason why I like her; I have fondly random thoughts of discussing the wonder of Caravaggio, the greatest artist ever, in my opinion, with her at a future date. Sadly, my girls are good, but they’re not gifted.

All the social science research shows that children develop more ‘roundly’ in a two-parent family, but my experience of Molly and the wonderful Rachel shows the flaws in such research.

Of course, Molly’s dad has a lot of input in this as well. He and Rachel have remained on friendly terms for the little girl. They don’t squabble or put each other down, at least in her hearing.

So, in my very unimportant opinion, as long as children are taught good values and are loved, then chances are that they’ll turn out pretty okay.


And I think the long-term forecast for Molly is pretty okay.


I’m a great believer that children should have lots of hobbies and I’ve always encouraged my two girls to find interests. Children should be interested in life around them; it’s how they learn and I have a hope that if Olivia and Sarah are busy and interested, learning in a fun way to be responsible in life, when they get to the dodgy teens it’ll somehow be a lot easier.

This is my philosophy and I may end up being completely wrong, but it’s the way I’m playing it at the moment. Their friends seem to think that their hobbies are cool; my girls paint, sew, knit and Olivia can turn her hand to the lightest of pastries; I tell you, her flans are divine.

But Molly, Kirsten, Nicole and Jade don’t have mums with the time to spend teaching their daughters these skills or maybe they don’t know how to themselves?

This gave me a great idea. For Olivia’s birthday, I had all the girls in my studio and we had a painting afternoon; they could choose from painting a lion, a dolphin or a panda. I helped them each with the outline and then left them to mix colours as they pleased to finish the pictures.

Then we had sausage rolls, crisps and caterpillar cake.

It was a huge success and I’m now seriously considering offering this as a commercial venture; painting birthday parties. My studio can take up to about eight children and it would be something different. What’s more, introducing children to art at an early age is always good. They can appreciate some of the techniques used on masterpieces.


So, from just teaching Olivia and Sarah the skills that my mother taught me, I may have created a successful little business venture.


Online casino promotions

I’ve been playing online casino slots for some time now and never really paid much attention to the information on the site other than the game itself. But one of the messages caught my eye the other day because my friend had asked about online gambling. She’s broken her foot and is in a cast, and can’t get out and about like she usually does. So the advert about promotions for referring friends peaked my interest.

When I refer a friend I get cash and so do they. It’s a super deal, especially for me because I can refer up to 10 friends, which means I can earn quite a bit of money. Of course, there are a few conditions, but they’re not that difficult. For example, at my favourite site,, my friend just needs to open a Real Money account, put a minimal amount on deposit, and begin playing within a couple of weeks of my referral. Since she wants to gamble, I don’t think those conditions will be much of a problem.

The reason I’ve turned to the online games is simple; I can gamble when and where I want. I have a laptop, and I’ve downloaded to it so I can take it wherever I go. I recently took the train to Edinburgh and was able to while away some of the travel time by playing online slots and other games during the trip. The trip was fairly long, but it seemed much shorter this time because I was able to spend part of it playing a few of my favourite slot games.

There are so many games to play that it’s a new adventure every time I log on. Slots are my favourite, and the website has over 60 for me to choose from. There are movie-themed slots, romantic slots, progressive slot, slots for everyone! I just place a bet using the ‘plus’ or ‘minus’ sign next to the Bet button. Then I click the ‘Spin’ button, and the slot machine spins away. I would encourage a good, bright monitor when playing the online casino slots, because the colour and movement of the slots with their beautiful artwork is much more attractive on a good monitor.

Sometimes there are promotions for winning at particular games, and those are fun to enter too. The promotions lure me into playing new games, and I’ve found a couple this way that have become favourites. My newest passion is Desert Treasure, but I’m looking forward to the next new game that downloads. That’s another advantage to online gaming—there are no big, bulky machines that need to be dragged into a casino and hooked up. The newest games can appear as soon as they’re developed, and I can go into Fun Mode to try them out with no money at risk.

I only gamble real money on games I enjoy, which is another advantage the online games have over traditional casinos. There really is something for everyone.

Student discount for clothes?

We have several students in our family, nieces, nephews and other relatives who have been accepted to universities large and small. But the one thing that’s the same with all of them is that they are always broke. Not a penny to their names.

Some of my friends have gone to college in the past, and they told me they would work on campus enough to have a good meal and hopefully buy some of their supplies. So I feel for the youngsters and their worn-out clothes and shoes. But I discovered a website where the kids can find clothing they really like and where the merchant offers them a student discount. It’s at Mr KG Shoes, which I found out recently is much more than just a shoe store.

Mr KG Shoes has both men’s and women’s styles, including shoes, pants, dresses and accessories. For women that includes bags and purses too. The student discount is 20% and it’s super easy to get it. All you have to do is enter your NUS extra card number or a Unidays code at the checkout, and the computer automatically calculates your savings and applies it to the final price. Couldn’t be simpler!

The website has lots of trendy styles—much more than I had thought it would—so I found something there for every student on my gift list. I even found a couple of things for myself, and am having them shipped here. The prices are quite reasonable, so I don’t think there’s any doubt I’ll be visiting again in the future.