DIY Palette Bar

Can you think of anything better than having a bar in your own home? It sounds like an expensive project, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s a guide on how to make the perfect bar to suit your social needs.


Gather your chosen palettes and position them in the way you’d like your bar to sit. Choose the correct height and width of the bar and, if necessary, saw the parts off that you don’t need. Use another palette and saw off each section so that you’re left with numerous wooden slats.

Concentrate on building the front of the bar first, select a couple of slats to nail onto the top of the palette, this section will be the top of the bar.

Next you need to attach the palettes together, again using nails hammer the sections together, giving you the frame of your bar.

When positioning your bar, remember to make sure that behind the bar is enclosed, leaving an open section to enter and exit from.

Believe it or not, you’ve don’t the hard part. You should now have your assembled bar.

Touching Up

Now that you’ve built your bar, you need to consider maintenance. The last thing you want is for your bar to only last a few months. Start by sanding down the wood, removing any possible lose bits that could cause splinters. Then use a varnish to cover the wood, this will help maintain the life of the bar, as well as making it practical to use in the garden too. Now you’ve done this messy bits, you can concentrate on the exciting part, the details.

Detail and Alcohol

How you decide to design your bar is entirely down to personal preference. If you’re hoping to use the bar to entertain guests, why not display some nice spirits on the bar top along with some photographs or gimmicky items. If it’s more personal use, get all of your favourite beers or wines and position them neatly on the bar, next to a couple of glasses or maybe even a decanter for added effect. If you’re wanting to use the bar outside, which is a great option especially when it comes to summertime, think about adding lights around the outskirts of the bar. This will add character to the bar, and if used outside will help create the perfect social area for you and your friends. One thing to remember if using the bar outdoors with lighting, install yourself a weatherproof junction box, this simply ensures that the cable for the lighting can be outside without any risk or potential dangers.

Now you can sit back and enjoy your hard work, why not crack open a bottle of wine or pour yourself a well-deserved pint.

Written by Jasmine Smith


A Nice Surprise

I was walking past the doctor’s surgery in town this morning (trying to keep warm – thanks May!) when I saw something on the seat outside.

Being the nosey parker concerned citizen that I am I went in to have a look. It was a bouquet of flowers.

That’s my sofa it’s on, by the way – not the public bench!


“Oh dear,” I thought “someone must have left this behind; they’re probably inside seeing a Doctor”

There was s note attached, so I read it thinking it might have the owner’s name on it. Instead I found this:


I duly obliged: The Lonely Bouquet needed a home!

So now here it is brightening up my messy little house:


A nice surprise! Although – as much as I admire their marketing methods – I probably won’t be going to the flower arranging classes that were advertised on the back 🙂


Live Streaming Event from ESPN

Calling all sports fans!

It may be cold & miserable at the moment but at least sports fans like me can get to enjoy our seasonal interests: traditional fare like football & rugby, newer or ‘Extreme’ sports like snowboarding, & of course winter sports like skiing.

Gearing up for the Winter Olympics broadcaster ESPN has launched live streaming on XGames, a site featuring athletes in a number of winter & extreme sports.

For instance US Olympic Snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg taking calls from fans via Skype, or this live video – which I particularly enjoyed – where skiier Tom Wallisch chatted with fans, & was asked & answered some really good, & quite technical, questions by them.

To be honest I haven’t come across anything much like this before, & it’s pretty impressive!

The marriage of technology & sport, & the immediate access by fans to their sporting heroes that web 2.0 enables I think is pretty amazing.

Many of the athletes are from the USA, but there are also many others from across the globe, & the site covers a variety of international sports, including skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, skiing, BMX, rally driving & MotoX.

What these athletes can do is astonishing, & it’s brilliant to be able to have the chance to speak to them live, & to hear them talking so personally & openly about how they do what they do, & about their lives as world-class sportsmen & women.

It’s amazing to someone like me who grew up before the Internet, smartphones & Skype that such instant access to such top athletes is even possible.

As the Winter Olympics approaches events like this are a great way of building the excitement: a fantastic resource!

This is a sponsored post, but all opinions & words – even the long ones – are my own

Saturday is Caption Day: Statuesque

Well, I think it’s fair to say that the mad Christmas shopping rush hasn’t quite kicked in everywhere yet – but what’s going on here? Zombie Apocalypse? A lovers’ tiff?

I’d love to see your captions!


Then for more captiony fun just click the pic:

We all know that men are better drivers

Journey Into Space featured on the cover of th...
Journey Into Space featured on the cover of the Radio Times. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you agree with the title of this post?

How does it make you feel?

“Hell, yeah!” “It’s about time someone came out & said it!”

Cross? Furious? Heading straight for the comments section, angry fingers at the ready?

Or: “Yes, perhaps: but you’re not supposed to say things like that, are you?”

Continue reading “We all know that men are better drivers”

Musical Meme-ories

Another musical meme, & it’s good’un! I’ve been tagged for this one by the very musical Not Just Another Blogger, so “thang you verry muchh”

These memes, & this one in particular, are very much a double-edged sword for me. I enjoy doing them, especially the musical ones, but there’s always a danger of giving away too much information. 

So what’s the problem? Well, answering these questions honestly will properly date me, even more so than the last one. And the thing is: I’m really quite old. Think “That old?” then add some. OK? I don’t like to admit it, even though I allude to it in my “Who’s the Daddy?” spiel, but I am. Compared with you lot, anyway.

And to be honest, I’m a bit embarassed about it. We all like to belong, we don’t like to be different, the outsider. Especially as for most of my life I have been the outsider, the one who doesn’t quite fit in, the fish out of water.

So what the hell! “Publish & be jammed!”, as they say. Or something:

1) What was the first 7 inch single you bought ?

Actually I can’t remember. It was long time ago, see? And the memory’s not quite what it was…

I do remember though owning a 7″ single really early on but it may have been bought for me by my parents. I played it over & over & over, as kids do, on a dinky little plastic record player & drove them to near insanity. I liked it.

I would like to point out this stage, if I may, that there was often a delay back then of several years before big songs & TV shows made their way downunder from the USA. The date on this one surprised even me!

I was also about to comment on how uncool this is – then I noticed that it was written by the great Carole King & Gerry Goffin. And was covered by a little group called The Beatles, among others. Starting to feel a bit better now, thanks.

2) What was the first full album you bought ? (Any format)

Again, I can’t remember! *sniff”*. I think it may have been Pink Floyd’s epic prog-rock classic concept album ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’. Still 1 of my favourite albums, & this from it is still 1 of my favourite songs. Darkly beautiful,  & very profound:

So here’s where I establish once-&-for-all my ‘music geek’ credentials. At school when I was bored I would play this album in my head, & I knew every note, every word, every pause, every nuance, exactly as recorded. I kid you not. It occurs to me that maybe I should have paid more attention…

3) What album do you own that you are most embarassed to own up to?

Do I have to answer this one? Oh, alright then, meany! Actually there are quite a few; I have wide & varied taste in music. I’m something of a completionist & to that end I’m gradually replacing my old cassette tapes with CDs & downloads. 1 of these that I recently bought was The Bee Gees’ Greatest Hits. This song, believe it or not, was my favourite song for a while back in the 70s. And actually, dammit, it’s still kinda nice!

4) What was the last album you bought?

Again, I’m not sure but I think it was probably Basement Jaxx: The Singles. From it here’s a great song with slightly disturbing video:

5) What is your favourite album of all time?

Probably a toss-up between U2’s ‘The Joshua Tree’ & Radiohead’s ‘The Bends’. But I think U2 just shades it.

This from it is I think 1 of its & U2’s most under-rated songs: beautiful not only musically but also lyrically. Bono, in my opinion, is very under-rated as a lyricist.

It’s a really stupid video – the song is about heroin addiction – but it’s the only one I could find with the studio version of the song:

6) What is your favourite song of all time?

U2 again sorry, & from ‘The Joshua Tree’! Starting slowly, menacingly, mysteriously, it builds & builds until ending in a passionate primal scream amidst crashing guitars & drums: a masterful slow burning dark love song. Stunning:

7) If you could use 3 words to describe your musical tastes what would they be?

Eclectic, intense, beautiful.

That was fun! For an exercise in humiliation.

So I now tag:

MusoDad – if he can tempted to do another session



Random Pearls of Wisdom

Older Mum

Go on, bare your souls!

The Gallery: Light

This is another shot taken on my Honeymoon as was my last entry for Tara Cain’s Gallery.

This one is from one of the Galapagos Islands. Their main claim to fame is in being one of the most important locations for Charles Darwin in his formulating the Theory of Evolution. So I guess for Creationists it must be one of the most evil places on Earth!

For lovers of nature like me it’s more like Heaven on Earth. The landscapes are often other-worldly, bizarre. Wildlife there is unique, not least in the way that animals are grouped together unlike anywhere else on the planet. One minute you’re admiring beautiful flamingoes in a lake, soon after you could be watching penguins swimming around on a rocky coast lined with cactii, where iguanas are sunning themselves in between diving into the sea for food. Birds with bright blue feet dive-bombing the surf in unison, nesting birds with red balloons for throats trying to attract a mate, albatrosses dancing with each other, brightly coloured crabs, flying fish, groups of playful sea-lions as friendly as puppies, giant tortoises. A weird & wonderful place!

So of course my photo features no animals at all – unless you count me – on a beach that probably isn’t that unusual. But trust me, it’s from one of the Galapagos Islands.

And where are the rest of the party we were travelling with? They’d been rafted out to some nearby rocks which were great for snorkelling. I’d been left behind, probably because I’d lost something. That happens a lot. I’d asked our guide on the beach if maybe the raft could be sent back, but he just said: “Just swim there”. It was quite a way out!

I’m not a strong swimmer, mostly because I am one of these odd people who doesn’t float, at least not enough to keep my mouth above water. So I hate & avoid being in water over my head. But give me a good snorkel & mask & a decent pair of flippers & I instantly become Aquaman! Or at least Aquaman’s Uncle – you know: the one who turns up at weddings, drinks too much & dances very badly…  

So swim there I did, & it was great. I came across creatures I wouldn’t have otherwise, notably a couple of turtles who I managed to get really close to before they dived too deep for me to follow. The hardest part in fact was trying to get onto the ladderless raft from the sea!

Back to the Theme: what I like about this photo is the Light. Shooting against the sunlight has made the foreground appear a lot darker than it really was, partially silhouetting the subject while he sits in a finger of light sparkling on the surf ahead & on the sand behind.

I’ve always loved this photo; as well as capturing a great memory it to me is really atmospheric, peaceful, happy.

To achieve True Enlightenment, or at least to see some great pictures & posts about Light, go to Tara Cain’s wonderful Gallery at her ‘Sticky Fingers’ blog. Just click the pic:

November 13th: The Day of The Daddy

Kate at The 5 Fs Blog has revived a great old meme from way back called “On My Birthday”

It involves finding & posting information about what has happened on your birthday over the years; it’s pretty easy as you just have to type the month & day into Wikipedia’s search box.

She’s going for it: the idea is to have at least 1 post for every day of the year! She’s tagged specific bloggers but has also opened it up to anyone who wants to participate, so I thought it would be rude to refuse, really.

So here we go:

When is your birthday? Ah, the hard ones first! November 13th

Pick three people who share your birthday and share what you know about them

Quite a varied bunch:

– (Saint) Augustine of Hippo (354 – 430):  North African based Christian scholar, one of the prime architects of the early church & its theology & doctrine

– Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 – 1894): Scottish writer, probably best known for “Treasure Island”

Whoopi Goldberg (1955 – ) American actress & comedian, best known for roles in films such as “Ghost”, “The Color Purple”, “Sister Act” & “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”. But to me she’ll always be ‘Guinan’ from 10-Forward…

Other notables are former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, the actor Art Malik, & The Strokes’ bass-player Nikolai Fraiture.

There’s also a Portuguese footballer called Quim about whom I know nothing but who has to be included simply because of his name. It’s a family show, moving swiftly on…

Is anyone listed as being born on the same day as you (ie the same year)? If so, what do you know about them?

There are: an actor & a gymnast, but I’ve never heard of either of them.

List three people who died on your birthday and tell us what you know about them. 

Ol’ Dirty Bastard of the USA hip-hop group Wu Tang Klan (1968 – 2004)

Camille Pissarro, French painter (1830 – 1903)

No-one else I know of really; there’s a Pope (Nicholas I, 867) & a King of Scotland (Malcolm III, 1093)

List three notable events that took place on your birthday.

My birthday has a bloody history!

1642:  The Battle of Turnham Green in the English Civil War
1887:  Bloody Sunday in London
1942: The WWII Naval Battle of Guadalcanal fought between the USA & Japan
1947: The USSR finished developing the AK47
1990: In New Zealand David Gray shot & killed 13 people in the ‘Aramoana Massacre

I’m somewhat cheekily counting all those as 1: slaughter is slaughter, after all…

More positively: in 1956 the USA Supreme Court ruled against Alabama’s segregated buses laws, and in 1971 the USA Mars probe Mariner 9 became the first spacecraft to orbit another planet.

Quite an eventful day!

Tell us about a holiday that falls on your birthday.

I actually hadn’t heard of any of those listed!

But I’ll take “World Kindness Day” any day 🙂

If you’re reading this then consider yourself tagged! And go have a read of the other posts on Kate’s blog:

On my birthday

The Gallery: Landscape

Machu Picchu, ‘The Lost City of the Incas’, Peru

This was taken on our honeymoon.

Retiring to an idyllic beach resort for sunning, swimming, & other things that might be considered the norm for honeymooners? Not us. Nah, instead we decided to do what each of us would regard as a trip of a lifetime. A cruise around the Galapagos Islands: her choice. A river cruise & stay in the Amazon Rainforest: a joint choice. A cruise then overnight stay with a local family in Lake Titicaca:  not our choice, just part of the package. Climbing the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: my choice.

While there I spent the coldest & one of the worst nights of my life on the homestay. I got altitude sickness, had to be given oxygen & almost pulled out of the Inca Trail trek.  I was later mugged & had my wallet & passport stolen. My digital camera broke. In the Amazon I was nearly eaten alive by the local horseflies, hungry for my sweet blood. Finally I nearly missed my flight home trying to get a temporary passport from the unfuriatingly frustrating Peruvian bureaucracy.

But would I still go if I knew what was ahead? In a heartbeat! It was wonderful.

Machu Picchu was as magical & magnificent as I had expected. In the time of the Incas it was only accessible by long, narrow & often treacherous mountain paths reaching altitudes of up to 4300M (nearly 3 miles) above sea level, of which the Inca Trail is one.  It appears to have been a special city, used for ceremonial / royal / religious purposes. To this day no-one is really sure, & this aura of mystery still surrounds this wonderful place. Whatever its purpose it is & always will be special, one of the great locations of the world. I feel very privileged to have had the chance to go there.

This was written for Tara Cain’s wonderful Gallery at her ‘Sticky Fingers’ blog. To have a look at the other posts there just click the pic:

I Have a Dream

I read this post today from “Glen’s life”, & discovered Flash Fiction Friday. (I know; on a Thursday: artistic licence I guess).

The prompt was to “Use music in a short fiction piece”.

 And I thought: “That’s the sort of thing I could contribute to!”.

So I did:

“I have a dream” she said, “to be a dancing queen!”

“But Chiqitita, does your mother know?” cautioned her brother Fernando.

“No – but to follow my dream I must be as brave as a super trouper!”

“You mustn’t do this! You’re always rushing around: another town, another train! And when did you learn to dance?”

“When I kissed the teacher!”

Shocked, Fernando ran off to tell their mother

Rushing in she cried”Honey, honey – he is your brother!  You should listen to him!”

“This family never does anything; at least one of us is trying!”

This struck a chord. “You really want to do this?” mother said, relenting

“I do, I do, I do, I do, I do!”

So, an SOS to the BBC & the ring, ring of the ‘phone & she took the train to Waterloo & waited for her day.

Her day came: she left & she danced for the four.

“Mamma mia – you stink!” said one

“You can’t dance, but you can lay all your love on me!” said another with an unpleasant glint in his eye, at which she was embarrassed.

“Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight!” said another, & nobody was sure why.

“You’d be better off knowing me; knowing you – you were rubbish” said the last.

“Aah!” she cried in despair. “Won’t you take a chance on me?!”

“Sorry, love: the winner takes it all – that’s the name of the game” they told her, cruelly.

So she left, gracious in defeat, turning as she did so to say “Thank you for the music”, & vowing in her heart to dance while the music still goes on.

For when all is said & done, it wasn’t about her dancing; it was all about money, money, money!