Friday, April 30, 2004

Bloghunt finalé

Right, this is it! The last Clear Blue Skies Bloghunt has arrived. More details in a moment but first, from yesterday's hunt, NiC scored another 7 points.

The last hunt is of the same type we've had over the last few Friday's; word association. Remember, you have to find a post that contains a word or phrase that's connected to the day's target but doesn't contain the target itself. Points will be awarded for how recent the post is, how obscure the connection to your search term is (while still making sense) and how unusual the search term is.

The target for this bloghunt finalé is, predictably enough, the word 'final'.

Good luck and happy hunting!

Under the Knife

L went into hospital this morning for a routine, scheduled operation. It's nothing serious and she should be out tonight (hence me being in work - they don't allow visitors on the day surgery ward).

She won't read this for at least a week (if then) but I want her to know that I'm thinking about her and I love her very much.

Thursday, April 29, 2004


Last week I watched the BBC dramatisation 'Hawking', which portrayed the two or three years of Stephen Hawking's life when he was doing his PhD and having to cope with the increasing difficulties Motor Neurone Disease was causing him.

Obviously, as with all such dramatisations, it wasn't entirely factually accurate; there's no way they could know now exactly which conversations were held and what was said. However, because it was set in the relatively recent past, the major points in the film were done well. In particular, I thought the juxtaposition of the two themes of time (the fact that the universe, and hence time, had a beginning and the predicted foreshortening of Hawking's own life) was excellent. Benedict Cumberbatch was very good as Hawking and very convincingly portrayed a man struggling against a disease that meant he was wasting away in order to get something of extreme importance done.

The film contains a few of Hawking's moments of epiphany and these resonated quite strongly with me. I can't claim to have discovered anything momentous as the big bang but in finding a proof for some small mathematical oddity or the cause of a problem on the database at work I have at least had that feeling. It is a moment of pure clarity when the truth is revealed to you and with that clarity comes a feeling of achievement and satisfaction. It is the thing I like the most about my job.

For Hawking, gaining an insight into the beginnings of time must have been the most wonderful feeling in the world.

Penultimate Bloghunt

Yesterday saw Jo get off the mark with a post from everybody's favourite geezer and NiC put in his first entry for a couple of weeks. I think it's a little late for that comeback, NiC. Both get 7 points for their efforts.

For today's hunt, you're looking for posts that link to stories about Posh and Becks (just to finish off the link theme with a bit of frivolity).

Good luck and happy hunting!

Wednesday, April 28, 2004


As I have said before, I go past Wembley Stadium on the train twice a day and it has been interesting trying to work out how the building work is going. There is a ring of tall cranes around the edge of the site and, though I haven't yet seen them lifting anything, I'm sure they do. At least there are obviously things happening there, as opposed to a certain other London renovation

About a month ago five new cranes appeared across the middle of the site. They are squat ones that make the others look like they would break under the slightest weight. Kind of like the comparison between a short, powerful circus strongman and a tall, willowy acrobat. These five cranes are of different heights with the tallest one in the middle and the shortest pair on the outside and it's not difficult to work out what they are for; soon we should be seeing the arch go up. More recently a ramp of girders has also appeared in front of the middle crane and I guess that's meant to help in raising the arch, too. It should be a fantastic sight once it's up.

I'll keep you all up to date with developments when I see them.

17th Bloghunt

For the first time this month, we had two people coming up with the same post for yesterday's hunt. Since Gary was the first to enter it, he gets the points (all 7 of them) and NiC is left weeping with none. (Sorry mate)

With just three hunts left the competition is nearly over. For today's hunt you will need to find a recent post that links to a story about Blunkett's planned introduction of ID cards.

Good luck and happy hunting!

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Bloghunt XVI

Well, you didn't seem to find that too difficult, did you? Harriet, you scored 7 for your entry and Gary, you got 4 for yours.

Today's hunt is the same as yesterday's, though this time you are looking for links to stories about UK house prices.

Good luck and happy hunting!

New Project

Following on from my last month long event, flashblogging month back in October, I set myself a writing task and, not being one to alter an obviously winning formula (!) I'm going to do the same next month. Nothing quite so drawn out and painful as Pink Floyd month turned out to be, though.

One of the things I've noticed in my travels trough blogland is that bloggers generally fall into one of two camps when it comes to site design. There are those that have archives (like me) and those that have 'backblogs' instead. Same thing, different name. To me, though, there does seem to be a fundamental difference between the two words. Archive conjures an image of old things that have been put away for safekeeping but that aren't generally looked at anymore while backblog seems somehow more alive, more current. As though they are still being added to.

And that's the inspiration behind my new writing project - I am going to start writing my backblog.

To that end I am going to make use of blogger's wonderful date-changing feature to flesh out the past a little bit. I will be writing about the memorable and/or life-changing moments from my past and posting them in the appropriate place in my backblog. Unfortunately, the earliest date blogger will allow is the beginning of 1999 so I won't be able be able to write about me breaking my ankle while playing football in a park outside the Houses of Parliament when I was 16, for example, or the fight I got into on my twenty-first birthday but the last five and a half year have been pretty momentous so there should be plenty to write about.

I won't be writing one every day (I've learnt that if I'm that strict with myself I end up not enjoying it) but every now and again you'll probably notice a new month appears on my sidebar and the events of my life B.C.B.S. will start to take shape.

The Backblog Project starts here on May 1st.

Monday, April 26, 2004


It was my Nan's 84th birthday on Saturday and, since my parents had a lunchtime do not far from here, we agreed to entertain her for the afternoon. Well, I say we but as L went into work to do some overtime, the entertaining was left largely to me. Still, her not being there meant I could do salmon for lunch, which is something she doesn't eat so I was happy.

Had the Olympics included a talking event, my Nan could have been a gold medallist many times over, so it was a nice surprise to find myself more than getting the odd word in edgewise. We chatted about the house (it was the first time she'd seen it) and our plans for it and the garden and we talked about how she's finding life in her new-ish flat and all sorts of other things and the time passed very pleasantly. There's only so much you can take of my Nan, however and it was just starting to become hard work when she happened to mention that she'd been watching a lot of the snooker last week. I had the television on in a flash and soon the conversation revolved solely around the green baize (the two weeks when the World Championship is on are among my favourite of the whole year, TV-wise)

L and my parents were back around 4 o'clock and the onus of entertainment could finally be shared around. They stayed for tea before taking Nan back home. All in all it was a very nice day.

Yesterday L and I decided to go out for lunch and took ourselves off for a stroll into the country. From our house it's barely two minute's walk to a footpath that skirts round open fields. It's only a few hundred yards long and ends at a lane that leads past some very expensive converted farmhouses down to the Grand Union canal. Where the lane crosses the canal we found a beautiful pub with a couple of dozen outside tables looking over the water. And it's just about ten minutes walk from here! Unfortunately, we didn't have a large amount of cash with us and they had some problem which meant we couldn't pay by card so we walked on, into Bourne End (to the west of Hemel) to another pub. After we'd eaten we walked back along the canal in the sunshine and laboured up the hill before collapsing in front of the TV. Very enjoyable indeed. I think we may well find ourselves walking out that way quite a lot in the months to come.


This one was going to be very easy to write up to the point the particular witch I was going to link to decided to cast a spell to make herself invisible. At that point I started to wonder what I'd write instead. I mean, how do you hunt for an invisible witch?

Thankfully, the spell wasn't a permanent one and is now starting to wear off. Hunting for a semi-invisible witch is a darn sight easier, let me tell you.

Anyway, I reckon I know the reason behind the blue one's recent reduced presence in blogland. There was a reference to a task that needed to be done in one of her posts last week and I've got an idea what that task might be. You've probably all thought it was something that needed to be done around the Coven but I say no. I think she's been to busy finalising the details of a certain 6-figure book deal that's been much publicised of late.

All those posts deriding the Guardian competition and criticising the winner were just pieces of classic mis-direction, if you ask me.


--- ¦ ---

By the way, I've now run out of ideas to write about for the first half of these hunt posts and it would be a shame to fall short of the end of the month by just 4 days so if you've got any suggestions I'd like to hear them. If you look back, all of the post titles make sense when followed by the word hunt but that's the only criteria.

As for Friday's hunt, only Gary's entry was valid (sorry Harriet) for which he scores the following: 7 for the post, 8 for the connection and 4 for the search term, giving him 19 in all.

Which means the current leaderboard looks like this:

Gary - 110 pts
Harriet - 78
e - 73
BW - 50
NiC - 36
Laura - 5
lemonpillows - 5

It was looking fairly close last week but with Friday's score Gary looks like he's now got the competition wrapped up. Will that last until the end of the week?

This week, the theme for the hunts will be links. You are still looking for blog posts but those posts must include a link to a news story that I specify each day. For instance, if the story was Arsenal winning the Premiership, you could link to one of DG's stories from yesterday. Got it?

Today's news story target is the recent spate of kidnapping in Iraq.

Good luck and happy hunting!

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Double Standards

Let me get this straight. It's all right for a major American television network to broadcast pictures of Princess Diana after the car crash when her life was ebbing away but not for pictures of the coffins of US soldiers arriving back in the States with full military honours to be put on the internet or in newspapers, because it might be distressing for their families.

I wonder what William and Harry think of that.

Friday, April 23, 2004


The sun beat down mercilessly on the landrover as it bounced across the African savannah. Of the three men inside, two swept the landscape with binoculars, searching for their prey. After a couple of hours of fruitless hunting one of the men pointed to the south and the driver slowed the vehicle to a stop.

They quickly loaded their rifles before the landrover started off again and drove slowly in the direction the man had pointed out. After a short while the driver stopped again and all three scanned the undergrowth. They didn't have to wait long. Suddenly appearing from the long grass, a male lion approached to investigate the newcomers. It stopped some yards away to sniff and prowl about.

One of the men slowly took aim with his rifle and pulled the trigger. The lion yelped in pain and with a roar disappeared into the brush.

The men in the landrover sat back and turned to the laptop on the back seat. On the screen a blue dot pulsed and slowly moved away from the red point that represented the landrover's position.

"Good shot, Michael," the driver said. "That's another lion we can protect from the hunters".

--- ¦ ---

Sorry about the lack of hunt yesterday. As I said in the comments, the power went down first thing in the morning and was off for about 7 hours. Although our back-up generator gave us enough power to run a fair number of the pc's in the office (and, of course, make plenty of tea and coffee), I had to move to a different desk where I was in no position to do any blogging. By the time I got home my eyes were so tired from squinting at a computer screen in a darkened office that I just couldn't face posting anything. It was a very odd day indeed.

But enough of that; from Tuesday's hunt Harriet's man-eating lion nets her seven points while Gary's cute, cuddly cheetah earns the maximum ten. I'll post the updated leaderboard over the weekend or on Monday, before the final week of the hunting.

Today's hunt combines this week's photographic theme with the word association theme from the last two weeks. You have to go and find a photo on a blog somewhere that you associate with the word 'Saint' (since it is St George's day today). The usual rules apply with regards the scoring so make those connections as obscure as you can. As before, you have until midday on Sunday to get your entries in.

Good luck and happy hunting!

Wednesday, April 21, 2004


A cup
A slotted spoon
A pen
A used tea bag
A map
A model car
A flower
A nail
A cigarette butt
Something you wear on your head
Something you read
Something you watch
Something you eat

What else would you want to look for on a scavenger hunt?

--- ¦ ---

Yesterday saw the first foreign language blog used in an entry (and your translation was pretty good, Harriet). Ten points for that picture of the Parthenon and seven for Gary for linking to DG's San Fran photos.

Continuing the photo theme, today I want you to find pictures of animals that you'd normally find in Africa (so, no Indian Elephants, then ;-) ). Same as before, each entry must be a different animal.

Good luck and happy hunting!

Tuesday, April 20, 2004


The van pulls up at the side of the road and a dozen uniforms pile out of it, surveying the scene. The overturned prison bus is bathed in light from the cars already there and a single blue light is turning lazily, casting an eerie tone over the trees in the wood beyond.

The police dogs are baying to be released as the newly arrived officers are gathered in for the briefing.

"Listen up! Two hours ago this prison transport bus veered off the road and overturned at the edge of the woods. In it, 5 Category A prisoners were being transported to a maximum security facility. The driver and one of the guards on board were both killed in the crash. The other guard was unconscious for a time and by the time he woke, three of the prisoners had escaped. One, too injured to get very far, has already been recaptured. The other two are still at large."

The officers exchanged glances, each of them thinking the same; it was going to be a long night.

"These two men are extremely dangerous and must be found before they get near a residential area where they can go to ground. There will be four teams of dogs heading out to pick up the trail and you will spread out between the teams in pairs to ensure they can't slip back past us.

"Right, let's get on with this man hunt.

--- ¦ ---

Again, Gary's was the only entry in yesterday's hunt, for which he scores a maximum ten points. What happened to the rest of you?

Today is another photo hunt, this time looking for photos of famous landmarks from other major world cities (i.e. not in the U.K.).

Good luck and happy hunting!

Monday, April 19, 2004


In the early seasons of The Simpsons, it seemed like every show included a practical joke delivered over the phone by Bart and Lisa (odd, since it went right against her character as the person who always tries to do the right thing). They would phone up Mo's Bar and ask for imaginary people called things like Jock Strap or Homer Sexual and Mo would call out to the bar for this fictional person and everyone would laugh at him.

Of course, there was no way they could use the original version of the joke, which went something like this:

"Err, yeah, hi! I'm looking for Mr Hunt? First name Mike."

"Hold on a minute, I'll check. Has anyone seen Mike Hunt?"

**Please note, Mr Diva, that I am in no way inferring anything of the sort with regards to your good self. It's just the you're the only Mike on my link list. ;-) **

When I first started working at Dixons, the staff there played a similar joke on any new starter. They'd give them a name and a phone number and ask you to phone them and tell you their TV was back from the repair centre or something along those lines. The name was Mr. C. Lyon and the number was for London Zoo. Thankfully I'd heard about this and didn't get caught out by it but I know other people who did. London Zoo must get calls like that all the time.

--- ¦ ---

Gary's entry was the only one for Friday's hunt. He scores 4 points for the timing of the post plus 6 for the connection and 3 for the search term. So, that's a total of 13.

As I said last week, this week's hunts are going to be slightly different to what has gone before. Instead of searching for words or phrases, I want you to look for photos. Clearly, some of you read my mind last week because you came up with a few posts with photos in them, and very good they were, too. The rest of the rules remain the same so any posts you find must be recent etc.

Today, I want you to find photos of London landmarks. You must each come up with a different landmark, too.

Good luck and happy hunting!

Friday, April 16, 2004


When I was in the scouts as a kid there was a campfire song we used to sing called 'Bear Hunt'. It was one of those songs where the leader would chant a line, which everyone else then repeated. It also had actions throughout so it was always a favourite.

It started out: "We're going on a bear hunt"
"We're going on a bear hunt"
"We're not scared"
"We're not sca..."

After a couple more lines you'd get to an obstacle that had to be got past somehow.

"We've come to a field of long grass/field of short grass/river/mountain etc"
"Can't go round it"
"Can't go under it"
"Have to go through/over it"

There then followed a short burst of action and sound effect suitable for the obstacle before the song went into the next verse (same beginning, different obstacle)

In the last verse you get to a cave:
"It's dark inside"
"Can't go round it"
"Can't go under it"
"Have to go into it"

In the cave you come across something.

"It's big"
"It's warm"
"It's furry"

You then have to act out all of the obstacles, in reverse order, very quickly because you're running away from the bear until you get back to the beginning again. Whereupon you collapse exhausted.

Great fun.

--- ¦ ---

Only Gary put an entry in for yesterday's hunt and although the casino avenue post he linked to didn't specifically mention a type of boat, there was a picture of theThamess with a little speedboat in it so I'm going to give him the points anyway. So well done, Gary, 7 more points for you.

**UPDATE: Harriet put in an entry just after midday but, in the interests of the competition (and because it included a great picture), I'm going to allow it, so 10 points for Harriet, too.**

As I said in the comments earlier, if you want to carry on until the end of the month then that's fine by me. I just don't want to be setting a competition that has no entrants.

Today's hunt is of the same format as last Thursday's. Your entry must include a word or phrase connected to today's target in some way but it must not contain the target itself. Points will be awarded in the same way as last week and you have until midday on Sunday to find your entry. As last week, you must include the word or phrase that you hunted for in you answer.

The target is: 'Summer'

Good luck and happy hunting!

Thursday, April 15, 2004


The wind was blowing hard, driving rain against the shop fronts as the old man in the cafe watched a young couple make their way down the High Street. Every few yards he saw them stop and peer in through a window, the young woman pointing something out and her husband trying to stop the rain going down the back of his neck.

After they had stopped at a third window the woman grabbed her husbands hand and all but dragged him inside.

Lightening flashed and a distant rumble of thunder followed it before the pair came out again, the woman trudging downheartedly. They stopped again at the next window but this time it was the man who pointed at various things inside. The woman just shook her head and pulled him away.

As they made their way towards the pub on the corner the thunder crashed again, almost overhead this time and the rain lashed down harder than before, causing the couple to break into a run. They were soaked though by the time they reached the door to the pub and disappeared from view.

The old man smiled to himself and glanced up at the sky. Hell of a day to go hunting for a house, he thought to himself.

--- ¦ ---

Okay, it appears there was a little bit of confusion over yesterday's hunt rules so I'm going to be generous and allow both Gary's and e's entries. Which means that yesterday's scores were 10 for Harriet and Gary and 7 for e.

I'm beginning to think that doing this for a whole month may be a bit too much of a stretch, interest-wise, so I may only run the competition until the end of next week. What do you think? Next week's hunts are going to be slightly different anyway as I'm going to try to make it a little more difficult.

Anyway, today's hunt has a nautical theme. I want you to find blogs or posts that mention a type of ship. By that I mean general terms like 'yacht' rather than anything specific such as a particular type of yacht etc. I also want you each to come up with a different types, too.

Good luck and happy hunting

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

The Life

L was given a free entry to a Grand National Sweepstake that one of the suppliers she deals with was holding.

She was given Amberley House as her entry and today she got the prize.

What did she win? Well, let me just say that I'm sat at the computer drinking from a long, fluted glass.

Mmmm. Bubbles.


*fiddles with moustache and puts on posh accent*

What ho!

Jolly fine day for a ride through the country, what?

What's that you say? First-timer, eh? Well don't you worry, just follow the dogs and mind out for low branches. One wouldn't want to be unhorsed in the middle of the chase, what?

Sorry? I can't quite catch what you're saying. You're not sure you want to come along? It's just a bit of sport, what? There's nothing to beat the feeling one gets when the horn sounds and the dogs bay. Just ask Tarquin over there, he'll tell you, isn't that right Tarquin, old fellow?

Animal cruelty? What on earth do you mean? We treat our dogs and horses with the utmost care. They're all in tip-top condition. Hmm? You meant the fox?


As soon as we catch it we treat it very humanely. Of course, the dogs have had their pound of flesh by then. But they're only playing with it. Only natural, what?

Wait! Where are you going? Was it something I said? Think of all the fun you'll miss!

Oh well. Are we ready Tarquin? Then let us dally no longer.

Tally Ho!

--- ¦ ---

On yesterday's evidence, I'm going to have to make this more difficult if I can. All of you found posts within the previous two days with e, NiC, Harriet and Gary all scoring ten and BW scoring 7. There were some fantastic pictures, too, so well done on finding those.

So, the leaderboard currently looks like this:

e - 66 pts
BW - 50
Harriet - 41
NiC - 36
Gary - 34
Laura - 5
lemonpillows - 5

We're only a third of the way through the month so that 16 point lead of e's isn't insurmountable, by any means.

Today's hunt is of a more topical nature (though it won't be truly topical for another few months). I want you to go and find posts (no blogs, this time) about the upcoming U.S. presidential elections. I don't want just a passing reference, either. Rather, I want some form of political analysis about the election. I also don't want you to come up with posts from media blogs etc - they should be personal views written by 'real' people.

Good luck and happy hunting!

Tooled Up

What's this? A post that's not about bloghunting? Fancy that!

I think I've mentioned it before but my grandfather, who died over nineteen years ago was a talented amateur carpenter. Though his work was rarely beautiful, from a practical point of view there was little he couldn't do.

Until last summer, when my Nan moved out of the house she'd lived in for almost 50 years, Poppa's tools had remained in the garage, unused for twenty years or more. When the house was cleared out, Dad took the tools home.

On Sunday, he and I went to have a look at them to see what there was among them that I wanted. I was amazed by what we found. Everything was in such good condition it would have looked like a new set of tools if some of them weren't clearly old. There was barely a speck of rust to be seen anywhere.

I probably took two-thirds of what was there, in total. I've now got wrenches, spanners, rasps and paint brushes. There are a couple of drills and dozens of bits, for a variety of purposes. He had loads of different chisels that I've taken as well. All different sizes and shapes, most of which I'll never use, I'm sure. Nail grippers, clamps, a plane, mortar trowels, a float, there's all sorts.

On top of all that, he had made wooden boxing to hold a lot of the tools. The boxing varies in height and all fits together for compact storage. He was a very clever man.

All I have to do now is sort out somewhere dry to keep them and then find some use for it all.

It should be fun.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004


Just how do you go about hunting for a job? I must confess I don't really know.

I found out about my first job (as a Saturday lad in Dixons) when two schoolfriends were arguing about which of them was going to get it. I went along, filled out an application form, had a ten minute interview and started a four-year part-time career in the Dixons Stores Group, first in Stevenage and then in Manchester, subsidising my measly grant and staving off the need for a student loan in my first year.

Towards the end of my university life, I started looking for graduate trainee programmes in Management Accounting (it seemed like a good idea at the time) to apply for but I never really put my heart into it. I had half a dozen interviews and attended a couple of selection centres over twelve months or so but nothing came of it. In the middle of this search I'd moved back home after graduating and signed up with a temping agency, who found work for me instead.

They sent me back to Dixons, in the IT department at the distribution depot, this time, for a couple of day's worth of menial work, addressing a large batch of letters. When I got there I found out the guy who wanted me had discovered how to use mail-merge the previous evening and had done the majority of the task already. Typical. After half an hour I'd finished the rest of it and they were scrabbling around for something for me to do for the rest of the day. I ended up staying for eight months.

Meanwhile, someone my Mum worked with said that her niece worked for a company in the city that was looking for graduates. I sent off my CV and waited to hear from them. Which I did, five months later. Still, better late than never, isn't that what they say? I had another ten minute interview (which consisted of the question "when can you start?" and a load of small talk while I finished my tea) and began the commuters lifestyle. From there I fell into the job I currently have, following an off-hand remark that I wasn't entirely happy with my employer.

So you see, I have never, with any success, gone out and actually searched for a job. I don't know how to do it. Let's hope I never have to.

--- ¦ ---

Right, it appears Friday's hunt didn't seem to cause you too much difficulty. Did you enjoy it? Did you have to think about it too much? Let me know and you may find yourselves doing it again before the end of the month. I'll score each of the four valid entries (sorry NiC, rules is rules) separately.

BW, for the blog title you get 7 points (you would have got 4 for the post) plus bonuses of 7 for the obscurity of the connection and 4 for the search term, giving you a total of 18.

e, you get 2 for the date of the post plus bonuses of 6 for the obscurity and 4 for the search term, giving you 12 in all.

Harriet, 10 points for the post plus 3 for the obscurity Easterr bunny is a fairly obvious connection) and 2 for the search term means you get a total of 15.

Gary, 2 points for the post with an extra 9 for the obscurity (like Harriet said, great connection) and 3 for the search term giving you a total of 15.

That's quite a good illustration of how the results can be affected by each of the different bits. If e or Gary had produced more up to date examples... Anyway, BW wins the day and e slips up a little. Will that have affected the overall scores? Probably not a lot but we'll see when I publish all the total scores tomorrow...

Today's hunt is back to normal, just searching for the target itself, which is: 'Sunrise'

Good luck and happy hunting!

Thursday, April 08, 2004


Splashing around in the shallows of unconsciousness, a noise drags me back to a more wakeful state. I open my eyes and look over at the clock. The glowing red digits seem incomprehensible at first but then it sinks in that it's some ridiculous hour of the night. Why have I woken up? I've got an important meeting in the morning and I really need a good night's sleep. I lie there listening for a few minutes and , just as I'm at the point of giving up and going back to sleep I hear it again - a faint noise, barely audible at all.

Scritch, scratch. Scritch.

I know that sound. My heart sinks as I reach over to put the light on. Yep, there it is, underneath the chair on the other side of the room, frozen in the sudden light; a mouse. That bloody cat! I swear I'll throttle it one of these days.

I slowly climb out of bed, not taking my eyes off the mouse for even a second and cross the room. It doesn't move at all as I crouch down and reach under the chair. The moment before I'm about to grab it, it suddenly finds its feet again and is off, skirting round the wardrobe and scurrying along the bottom shelf of the bookcase. I lunge after it, sending a pile of books flying. The mouse jinks left and heads towards the bed. Knowing I won't get any sleep if it gets under the bed I leap ahead of it and divert it away towards the corner of the room.

It's a fast little bugger and before I can do anything it's disappeared underneath the chest of drawers. There is just about room enough to get my arm in, too, and I force the mouse out of the side and send it running into the pile of shoes next to the door. As its tail disappears into a trainer I cover the opening with my hand.

Sagging with relief, I catch my breath before taking the trainer, and mouse, downstairs and outside. I release the little rodent and it disappears into the bushes. Weary from all the exertion I head back to bed, taking a swipe at the cat, who's sitting there grinning at me, as I go past.

I go back to sleep easily enough but for the rest of the night my dreams are plagued by mice, whiskers twitching as they stay just out of reach.

--- ¦ ---

From yesterday's hunt, e gets yet another ten points (somebody needs to stop her running away with this. BW, any spells you could do? ;-) ) and BW, e, NiC and Gary all get 7. Jo, I'm sorry but your post was too old to get any points (it needs to be within the month ending the day before the hunt).

As I said yesterday, today is the first of the 'special bloghunts' that will come up occasionally throughout the month. In order to take part in today's hunt you need to be able to think laterally. Instead of finding a post/blog that includes the target, I want you to find one that doesn't include it but does contain a word/phrase that is connected to it in some way.

The normal points will be given for how recent the post is etc but there will be bonus points available the lateral thinking part. You should try to make the connection from your word back to the target word as obscure as possible, but it must still make sense. Sort of like the word association games BW has been playing all week. Points will be awarded for two things: how obscure the connection is and how unusual the word or phrase you searched for is. You'll need to include your search term in your answer.

Got it? No? Well, let me give you an example:

Say the target was 'Bush'. You may initially associate that with George Dubya so you could search for a post that contains 'President of the U.S.' but not Bush. A post like that would get you some bonus points but not that many because the connection is a fairly obvious one. Far better would be to search for 'Mulberry', which could lead you to this post. The connection is more obscure and the search word much more unusual so it would score more highly. Clear?

There will be ten points available for the obscurity of the connection and five for how unusual your search term is. Clearly, this could affect the scores quite dramatically so get your thinking caps on and start that lateral thinking.

The target is a fairly obvious one, given the time of year: 'Easter'

Because it's a more complicated hunt (and the fact that there won't be one tomorrow), you have until midday on Saturday to get your entry in so take your time and come up with something that will earn lots of bonus points. If you're unsure what you're meant to be doing then leave a comment and I'll try to explain it better. If you like playing like this then we may well do it again next week.

Good luck and happy hunting!

Wednesday, April 07, 2004


You rummage through piles of junk in the hopes of finding a gem amongst the detritus. Looking up at the pavilion full of tables you can see a few hundred other people doing exactly the same and a panicky thought flits across your mind; will they find it before you do?

£500 in cash is burning a hole in your pocket and you glance towards the exit, wondering if you could make it through and away. No, you think, they'd be onto you before you went a hundred yards; your bright t-shirt is a dead give-away. You turn back to the table.

On this one battered silverware struggles for space with chipped plates. The next holds beaten up toys and dolls. You look at your watch. Just ten minutes to go and you haven't bought a thing, yet. Trying to ignore the rising panic you move over towards a table of glassware. There! A cut glass decanter with matching tumblers. The seller says it's Art Deco style but you can't tell one way or the other. Youu hand over the money and head off, clutching your purchase.

Back to the toy stall and a battered old bear grabs your attention and you can't resist putting your hand into your pocket again. It just looks so forlorn. Quick, there's just a few minutes left and you need to get one more thing. You spot a furniture stall and head in that direction. Two minutes and a couple of hundred later and you have a writing desk to put your decanter and bear on.

Relief spreads through you in waves as you take it all to where David waits for you, all orange-tanned skin and white smiles. "Well now," he says, "did you find any bargains?

--- ¦ ---

Yesterday threw up some interesting posts (Peanuts in coke? Really?) so thanks for those. For their efforts, e scores another ten points, BW and NiC get 7 and Gary is off the mark with 2. Harriet, I'm afraid I can't allow your entry as the post wasn't written recently.

Now e's secret has been revealed (see yesterday's comments) there's really no excuse for her to outscore the rest of you so come on and get those entries rolling in!.

Regarding the comments, it appears some of you have had trouble seeing them over the last couple of days. I haven't noticed any problems myself so I don't have any idea what's been going on but I don't think any comments have gone missing so don't worry about it too much.

Today's target is for all you lingerie and foodhall lovers out there: 'Marks & Spencer'. I'm sure you all know the drill by now but if you are new to this then the rules can be found here. Tomorrow, you can expect the first of the 'special bloghunts' where your task will be slightly different so be sure to drop in after midday to find out what it is.

Good luck and happy hunting

Tuesday, April 06, 2004


As he creeps along silently he thinks to himself how quiet the forest always seems. There are sounds, of course; the wind rustling through the trees; the distant rumble of the river; the birds and insects, but in comparison to his Manhattan home, it seems almost deathly silent. Apt, given what he's here for. His three buddies are off to the west somewhere, not more than a mile away but it feels like he could be the only person in the whole forest. He stalks on, the wind blowing at his back, down towards the stream.

The four of them make the trip from New York to the forests of New England twice a year, putting the strain of Wall Street behind them for five days, donning their orange jackets, loading their rifles and losing themselves in the hunt. Today is the final day of this trip, the return journey looming large, and he has yet to catch sight of his quarry, despite having tracked him for two days. He approaches the stream cautiously and peers through a screening bush.

There! At the stream, not a hundred yards away, a deer stands, head bowed to drink from the burbling waters. He slowly unhooks his rifle from his shoulder and sets himself for the shot. He takes careful aim but then pauses, taking time to clear his mind and calm his senses, Then he is ready to pull the trigger.

A rabbit, startled by something unseen, erupts from the undergrowth nearby as the shot is taken. The disturbance causes him to lose his aim and the bullet passes wide and a little high of its mark. Before the echoing ring of the shot has faded the deer has gone, leaving behind just the lingering memory of the moment it froze, looking straight down the barrel of the gun.

--- ¦ ---

Well, yesterday's hunt doesn't seem to have caused you too much trouble, despite all the 'dross'.

Pointswise, for the posts that they found, NiC gets 2 points, BW gets 7 and e scores big with another perfect 10. Laura, Harriet and lemonpillows all found blogs connected to 'banana' and are each awarded 5 points out of a possible 7 (for finding a blog with the target word in the title - to get the extra two points the target also needs to apply to the theme of the posts in some way and that wasn't the case in these three examples, that I could see).

All of which means *does quick mental sum* that e is well out in the lead with 24 points, followed by Harriet on 16 and NiC on 12. Still there are still 17 hunts to go before the end of the month so there is plenty of time to catch up.

Sitting here, drinking from a bottle of water (filled up from the water machine at work), I was reminded of the recent failed venture into the bottled water market by Coca-Cola. "Aha", thought I, "that could make a good target for a bloghunt". And so, never being one to ignore moments of inspiration, for today's hunt you need to find posts and blogs that mention 'Coca-Cola' or 'Dasani'. I will accept 'Coke' as a valid entry (as long as it's clearly the sugary drink kind), though not 'Pepsi' - me being a stickler for the rules and all that.

Good luck and happy hunting!

Monday, April 05, 2004


*dons sky blue catsuit and pair of oversized earphones*

Dave Rice: "Right, I've got off the helicopter and I'm running down the street towards Bow. What was the clue again?"

Contestant: "Yeah, Dave the clue is 'Sounds like "Old Faithful" has a rock hard reason to be a good bloke' "

Dave Rice (gasping for breath): "I think I've ... found it .... Yes! Stop the clock ... I've got the clue!"

Contestant: "Great! What does it say?"

Dave Rice: "Wait a minute, the envelope's stuck. Ah, here we go: 'If you want Value, you'd be best to stay on the right side of this sorrowful crone.' Where on earth am I going now?"

Contestant: "Well, back to the helicopter would be a start..."

--- ¦ ---

Well done to BW, e and Harriet for coming up with 3 excellent posts about fictional bloggers on Friday. Accordingly, they are awarded 4, 4 and 7 points respectively. So e leaps into an early lead. Of course, there's a long way to go yet. Keep blogvertising the event and we'll make this into a real competition.

Today's hunt is the first non-topical one. You need to find a post that contains the word 'banana' in it. Why banana? I've no idea; it just popped into my head and I thought "Yeah, why not?". At first glance, this may appear easier than the last two but you may find it poses problems of its own, due to it being a more common word. Let me know how you find it, won't you?

Good luck and happy hunting!

Friday, April 02, 2004

Bloghunt II

Well, it seems Bloghunt Month got off to a bit of a slow start yesterday. I can't say I'm surprised about that since it's difficult to find any mentions of April Fools before April 1st. Still, in at the deep end and all that.

As per the points system, Nic and e both score ten and Harriet gets four points for her sick-bed effort.

Today's target is a thematic one and one that has been featuring a lot recently so there's really no excuse for not getting an entry in.

So, get your hunting gear on and go looking for posts about 'Fictional Bloggers'. You know what I mean, of course. I don't want any posts by any fictional bloggers (so no trotting off and replicating BdJ's March archive, then) but posts from around blogland discussing the phenomenon. Given the post inches devoted to it recently you shouldn't have too much trouble.

Good luck and happy hunting!

Thursday, April 01, 2004

1st Bloghunt

Right then, this is it, the start of Bloghunt Month. Before we begin, I'll just go over the rules and stuff once more.

Every working day this month (i.e. Mon- Fri not including Good Friday or Easter Monday) I will post a word, phrase or theme (the Target). Your task is to go exploring blogland in search of recent posts that contain or are about the Target. Alternatively, you can search for a blog that is connected to the Target in its entirety, somehow. I don't care how you conduct the search, just find your post and put a link to it in the comments.

The rules are:

Only 1 entry per person per day.
Your entry must be from a blog you do not contribute to (i.e. write posts for).
Points will be awarded only for the first example of any post left in the comments
Hunt details will be posted between 12 and 1p.m. (BST) and you have until midday the following day to put your entry in.
Entries must be put in the comments box attached to the post with the relevant hunt details in.

Points will be awarded based on how recent the post is:

1 day old (i.e. the day before the hunt is set) - 10 points
Within the last week - 7 points
Within the last fortnight - 4 points
Within the last month - 2 points

Finding a blog connected to the day's Target will earn up to 7 points, depending on how tenuous the connection is. There will also be bonus points on offer during the month for specific tasks so watch out for those.

The person with the most points at the end of the month will be crowned Bloghunting Champion. I will endeavour to give regular updates on the scores.

And so, with no further ado, let the hunting commence. Today's Target, in keeping with the date, is "April Fool".

Good luck and happy hunting!

April Fool

I've never been much of a practical joker so I haven't really made the most out of April 1st over the years.

About the only April Fool I remember playing was eight years ago in my first year. I'd been going out with this girl for a little over a month and it was the middle of the Easter break. That afternoon I was going to go and stay with her in North Wales and I couldn't resist winding her up a little bit.

I got one of my brothers to ring her and say I'd been in an accident and was in hospital with a broken my leg so I wouldn't be able to travel. He talked to her for a couple of minutes before I couldn't stand it any more and took the phone from him. I fully expected her to twig as soon as she heard me speak but she must have thought that my brother had phoned from the hospital or something because the first thing she said was:

"Oh dear, what have you done?"

I nearly gave the game away then by bursting out laughing but I managed not to and fed her some story about being hit by a car or something. After a few more minutes I thought I'd put her out of her misery and gently said "What day is it today?"

"Monday," came the reply.

"No, I mean what day..."

The string of expletives that then emitted from the phone would make you hair curl.

Tee hee!