Breath Of Life

The life and times of Mr Mark Allen....

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Midlands Today, tomorrow.

Hello Blogettes,

So what's new in our lives then? Well I have been a busy bunny at Walsall Council's press office and Midlands Today (Am at M.T tomorrow too.)

I am like a journalistic whore, but not as well paid (obviously)

At both places I found I knew half the people there - which was strange and uncanny.

It was surreal sitting on the next desk to Nick Owen though. But the advantage was he has the cricket on his Sky TV all day.

Twas a real shock to the system to catch a 7.40am train from Cannock though!

In between these stints, on Wendesday, I had a check-up at B'ham Heartland (routine stuff) and went to Boundary Sports in King's Heath on the way back to buy a new cricket helmet and pads.

Talking of cricket it was C.W.C.C's fundraiser on Friday - lots of cider, pool and table-tennis + a Chinese takeaway.

What else? Suzannah came round on Saturday - she lived near us when I was a nipper and used to take us kids into the woods to build dens.

We went to the Park Gate to chat about old times.

Gym - found all the best looking girls go on Sunday afternoon. I see a plan brewing! (or is that the cabbage I had for dinner?!)

Snuggles and bumbles c y'all l8r.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Perdy and Portia's 'Paws For Thought'

Hellowwww. We are Portia and Perdita (Perdy) and we want to write something else.

We want everyone to know we are a lot more grown up now than we look on this pic as it was taken a few weeks ago.

Portia can almost catch a moth now and Perdy has eaten flies. "Not as tasty as Whiskas but crunchy" she informs you Bloggers.

Mark is away a lot at the moment but we have 'Uncles' Ed, Jake and Mozza to keep us entertained during the day with 'drilling' , 'stripping' and 'plastering'.

Portia wants everyone to know that a stripping Mozza is a funny thing.

We got out sometimes into the garden and into the place known as 'The Blanks' where something called 'Phil', 'Sam' and 'Gemma' live. But we are a little scared of these.

Out favourite things at the moment are McDonalds straws, rugs we can dive under and a wonderful thing we have heard of called 'Santa Claws'....

We don't really have valid opinions on the crisis in the Middle East but we do like kitten milk.

Monday, July 24, 2006

PC Plodding

Stressful week…shouldn’t have been…but is/was.

The house is still in bits because of the builders being in and I am trying to spend as little time as possible in there…

But this aim is being hampered by my ‘new’ PC playing up – and the helpline always being engaged – the fact I seem to have lost my passport somewhere and the disk with my CV and address book on seems not to work in mine or anyone else’s computer…

The kittens are creating; I am getting nowhere fast with a tax return and job application I am working on….But apart from that I am fine.

I did the normal routine of badminton, cricket (another victory) and gym. I actually managed a physical activity every day this week. I feel guilty if I am not away and miss a day. Perhaps I am getting addicted. I doubt it!

The rain has been great. It has been one of the hottest weeks EVER in the UK with temps pushing 100f. SO when it has rained it has been warm rain - like Thailand or Malaysia.

The humid atmosphere is more like a shower in the bathroom sense than the rain sense. It really brought back memories of walks in Laos and the Opium Circle.

Then I got sad because I seem to have misplaced my passport and I want to look at all my ‘stamps’

The rain held off for most of Saturday evening, which was good because I was at a BBQ at Erik and Diana’s place. I got a lift with Erik’s parentage – so I could drink.

I slept well! Well I say that but you know how it is when one is ‘with ale’. You go to sleep instantly , but it as kind of light sleep and you wake up knackered.

Well sorry this is short (and hopefully sweet). I booked the Creamfields Festival tickets for me, Rich and his lady. Anyone else who wants to go feel free to book tickets and meet us there or beforehand or I will sort them out for you.

So anything new this week? I went to Sutton one afternoon, because I was over that way and I hadn’t been there for yonks. I seemed to talk a lot on the phone and stuff too this week for some reason. I saw Justin on the baked spud stand. De-ja vu eh?

I also spent an afternoon with Victoria in Stafford after a meeting with Dee (my tax lady)

Work wise I have a couple of interesting stories I just can’t seem to get to start. I apologise to people who have rang me, I really had to motivate myself just to do the village news round-up on Sunday evening.

I went for a walk/run around Castle Ring on the Sunday evening and saw the lads from cricket at the pub. Big respect for resisting the urge for a Magners and jogged home.

The sun was going down and the Chase looked lovely – even the power station. It is a great time for a walk over Castle Ring. And NO I didn’t see any motorised skateboards.

As I said before this week is busy. I have a couple of days at Walsall Council and a couple of days at the BBC – and have a hospital check-up inbetween! I hope to find time to nip to Boundary Sports in Brum on Wednesday to buy some cricket pads.

To everyone who I owe emails to. Will a cyberhug do instead for the time being? Or a Jacob’s Cracker?

Oh yes I have been putting the pics from Jim’s wedding and the kittens from the memory card in the camera to disc to free up some space. So expect them to appear online asap.


Music: Sophie Soloman, Lily Allen, Pet Shop Boys, Johnny Cash
Cheese: Roquefort

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

One-Legged Pope Swimming In Circles

For the amusement of HLW!

and some links!

The 'Green Dream' Big Brother pics are at CLICK
My other pics are slowly going up at CLICK
My old homepage (with links to my reviews, poems etc) CLICK
My tunes (badly recorded on my laptop) are at CLICK

Music: The Ramones Book: My Trade by Andrew Marr (still!)

This page is looking for a new sponsor....Let my know if you are interested (you get a link to your site at he bottom of each blog for a month)...before I put the offer on ebay again (It worked last time!)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Hannah and Stuff

Hello Bloggedears,

How are ye this fine morrow? I am hot as a fat man in a posh car (again) but apart from that...things are good.

Friday didn't start too well as the battery went on my carkeys and I couldn't open my petrol cap manually (since found out the 'secret'!) changed batteries - still not luck!

I was off to Cambridge so needed to get it sorted so went to the Vauxhall garage I bought it from. Apparently I needed to 'synch' in the new key.....cunning??!!!

Cambridge was excellent. I spent a weekend with Hannah - who I met on a wine-trip in Australia and met up with again in Perth....many moons ago. Those of you who have seen my travel pictures will know who I mean....(yes THAT one!)

Thankfully, she hadn't changed (I mean her personality hadn't changed, not she hadn't changed her clothes!) and we got on like a house on fire. Talking of fire - spookily we now BOTH have red hair.....

The soaring temperatures meant a house on fire is a very hot thing....

We went to the 'Big Day Out' - a kind of art/pop/craft/eco/food festival at 'Parker Piece' in the town centre......(see 'French Market' pic)

There was a cider tent - so we were happy! We popped back in the evening to see the fireworks and arrived just as they started - perfecto!

On the Sunday we saw Pirates of Carribean II = Matrix Reloaded with barnacles. Johhny Depp was excellent - It was very camp and panto like...(Oh no it wasn't!)

Didn't set off for home until about 10.15pm so finally rolled up at 12.45am..Looking forward to doing it again...

I will never think of the 'duck' song by Lemon Jelly in the same way again m'dear! xx

I didn't realise how close Hannah lives to Hamstead. If Sarah had gone to Prague a day later I could have saved myself TWO trips. Oh I am picky!

One thing I forgot to mention last time. I went to see Hednesford play Wolves in a pre-season friendly at Keys Park..ooops. They lost (of course).....

Once I get this week out of the way next week will be interesting.

I will be at Walsall Council from Monday to Tuesday, hospital check-up in Brum on Wednesday and Midlands Today on Thursday and Friday.

With the builders in and kittens in a daily bid to get cool...(having fur is no fun in the summer) it is great to spend as little time as possible indoors!

LINKS: My Pics

'All the ducks are swimming in the water.......'

Thursday, July 13, 2006

V vs Creamfields

Hello Bloggfans,

Firstly - some of you may remember my old homepage I set up as part of an evening course last year......Most of the links are still active.. CLICK

Hope you are all enjoying the sun! Its been another busy one in Mark Towers this week! 80 people for coffee on Saturday night - and they all loved the kittens!!!

Sunday morning cousins J, M and O came over. Monty helped me with some PC problems....almost sorted now....(Famous last words!)

CWCC thrashed Essington and Great Wyrley on Sunday but we tied with Hammerwich Cavaliers on Wednesday...All this running is great for me - but knackering.

Batting on Wednesday in the 20overs game I was breathing like a rapist on speed - praying each ball would reach the boundry so I didn't have to run....some chance!

I picked Sarah up from Burton station on Tuesday and we hit the PG on the eve...

On Wednesday we went for an early walk/run over Castle Run (she mostly ran, I mostly walked) and spent most of the day wilting around Lichfield.

I played cricket in the evening while S got Prague tips from Ian - (Mr Prague). Then S and I spent the evening going through pictures of us both in Australia in 2000.

On Thursday we went to Watford (two-and-a-half hours drive each way) so she could meet up with Laura and catch the plane to the Czech capital....

We couldn't get tickets to V festival so are thinking about going to Creamfields this year - Acts include The Prodigy, Paul Van Dyk and Oakenfold...join us!

Am about to go and play badminton - no rest for the wicked. I am off to see Hannah in Cambridge tomorrow for the weekend. Tally Ho and all that.....

Friday, July 07, 2006

BRMB and Beacon


As you may or may not know. Next week is National Transplant Week.

There is a lot going in that I am involved with to get more people to become donors.

I have been interviewed on two local radio stations and parts of the interview will go out throughout Monday on BRMB and Beacon.

Keep the faith duuuuuuudes! (and dudettes!) x

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Bob, Sue and Yoga Too!

Hiya Folks,

Just another quickie (ooer) this time.

One thing I forgot to put on last week was that I hgad a visit from Bob and Sue - who Sarah and I stayed with in Perth, Australia back in 2000.

I think the connection was my dad was Bob's best man way back in the 60s and they worked together when they were young.

They just popped in. What a nice surprise eh? Its not every day you get surprise guests from Australia.

I also forgot to mention the Eric Bogle 'gig'....Or perhaps my mind just blanked it!

The 'usual suspects' actually did drinks at the Park Gate on Sunday - its been a while eh lads?!

In fact I went to the pub 3 times in 2 days as we went with J+B (Auntie J who occasionally writes a bit in my blog and became an instant cult figure!) and then for a cricket meeting the same night....

(Thinks about a pint of Irish cider with ice in it......hmmmmmm)

Monday was pretty hectic because Eddie and co started working on the house, re-doing the central heating and doing loads of other stuff.

It means the poor kittens are locked in the dining room for most of the day.

Luckily the next few days are pretty busy so I don't think I will be in much (and therefore not in their way much!)

I had a meeting today with Neil from the TSN. I am editing their magazine for them. Talking of which...I had better start doing something!

Cocktail party tonight next to the Botanical Gardens, Birmingham. Too hot!!!!

Talking of hot....I went to the gym and did yoga yesterday (a couple of hotties in the yoga class!) and burned up big cals - then un-did it all by having a pizza! Doh!

Luv ya and leave ya! MWAH!

MUSIC: Enya, Fuzzbox, Lemon Jelly, Beethoven

To see my photosite CLICK

Sunday, July 02, 2006


A day of mourning. How biased was the referee. How big a cheats were the diving theatrical Portuguese? How unlucky was Rooney? How well did we play when he was sent off?

How bloody frustrating. I watched it in Cannock and the town was like a morgue by 7pm......(Or perhaps I actually went into a morgue by mistake....could explain the funny smell...??!!!)

Argentina, Brazil and England - all out. Does anyone care who wins now?

Thanks to everyone who came to out garage sale in aid of CF Trust - we have raised about £150. Congratulations to everyone who got a bargain or three!

Took out my footballing frustrations on the treadmill and cycling machine and sweated like a fat man in a posh car....(no offence to fat people....or people with posh cars.)

Busy week next week...invoices, applications, photocopying, sorting out Sarah's trip to Prague. I may even call abroad. Stranger things have happened.

I am going to a cocktail party on Wednesday with my stockbroker. How posh does that sound...? I also have a meeting with a guy from the Transplant Support Network as I agreed to edit their magazine......(as I already said...perhaps I should shut up!)

CLICK to email me...

Saturday, July 01, 2006

T'internet and Cricket

Hello There,

I now have a 't'internet' connection again ooohooooo! (Shame about the printer etc)....

News? I played cricket on Wednesday for CWCC for the first time since my op....It wad good fun. I scored some runs and enjoyed getting back into the swing of things.

Bad news. I didn't get that new job. They phoned me up and said they were worried I may leave and go to a bigger paper in a few months and they needed someone longer-term.

So I guess I am too well-qualified with too much experience....Perhaps I should aim higher? Perhaps they were going to pay a really low wage so thought I wouldn't stay.

My first full-time job back into things after my op I will stay at least a year to get that continuity on my CV again.

Other rods in the fire. I am still waiting to hear on that job in Lambeth. Until then freelance keeps the wolves from the door so to speak.

I am taking up the role of editoing the national Transplant Support Network magazine. I am unsure about this as I don't want to be one of those people whose life is based around having a transplant, the way some people are obsessed with their babies or golf.

As long as it does not take too long and I don't have to find article myself, just re-write them...

I had a lovely surprise. Bob and Sue (who Sarah and I stayed with in Australia) popped in yesterday. I hadn't seen them in 6 years. Dad was Bob's best-man, way back when.

Last night I had a few drinks with Rich in the PG. It felt warm and balmy. English weather can be nice you see.

We are having a garage sale in aid of CF this weekend. So if you are in the area today or tomorrow between 10am and 4pm come round and say hi.

Goodbye to Katrin who goes back to Germany tomorrow and GOOD LUCK TO ENGLAND!

Huggles and snuggles