happy st george's day.. happy birthday

33 today – how time flies! It’s also great having a birthday on St George’s Day. It really is about time it was a public holiday here in England!

Anyway make sure you take a look at this St George’s day message from Roger Helmer and Chris Heaton Harris.

Extreme sports anyone?

Following my marathon "triumph" I am wondering what I should do next. I was sent a link to the extremepie website which has all you can want in the mens clothing line for various sporting activities.

So what next? A bungee jump? Maybe skydiving. Hmmm not so sure. Maybe I will just be content with buying some new sunglasses a new shirt, and spectate from the sidelines.

And it’s my birthday tomorrow – so perhaps Mrs Sheppard will get me one of these too! I can lthen ook like a surfer without any of the exercise!


password passwords passwords

We are in the final stage of moving out of one house into another, and now comes the most frustrating part. You know when you haven’t accessed that online bank account that you don’t really use for quite a while and you have forgotten the various usernames and passwords.

Well that happened to me last night. As a treat we are ordering a nice TV from John Lewis. I think it’s the first thing I’ve ever bought from there. I thought if it’s good enough for the taxpayer, well it’s good enough for me.

There I was online ordering with my Visa card and up pops some Visa verified page. Suddenly it asks for a password and username – nope that doesn’t work, so I ask for them to be resent. I am asked to put the details from my card and my date of birth etc and apparently they can resend it me. Three goes later and my card gets locked. So I have to call the building society in question and then my card my be unfrozen for online use in a couple of days.

No worryies though, as I  can use my Amex card. I put all the details in purchase the overly big LCD TV and head of to bed.

This morning my blackberry buzzes to tell me the transaction has been cancelled. Why I ask when I call. Oh apparently Ive given the wrong address. Well I have changed my card to the new address. Oh no Sir – that takes 10 days to be accepted. You will have to use your old billing address to order. OK I say and do it all again.

I won’t get started on how I have to let people from HMRC in Glasgow know that I am moving, but then I have to call people in Nottingham to let them know me as an individual (as opposed to running a company) is also moving. I then get told that I have to call Cardiff – as if you have worked for an MP your file can be made secure so the people in Nottingham can’t access it.

I wouldn’t mind – but I’m only moving from number 31 to number 11 on the same street.

I does make me wonder how I managed to lock one of my own credit cards, and have another transaction cancelled, yet the same building society allowed over £1000 of fraudulant transactions to go through on my wifes card, who lookly checks her outgoings online most days so spotted them early enough to put a stop to them.

Surely there has to be a better system for online buying than having to have hundreds of different usernames and passwords? I would have thought somone like Dizzy would be able to help. I bet he doesn’t have a scrap of paper with usernames and passwords written on like most people I know. This interweb thingy….. sometimes it’s just beyond me!

my run in with dunwoody

I think all sides will be mouring the death of Gwyneth Dunwoody.

Iain Dale has already written about her sense of humour. I remember in the space of a month some time ago I seemed  to bump into her almost every day somewhere in Parliament, so much so that she finally said, are you waiting for someone, or just loitering, in her usual wicked way.

I said, well I suppose you could say loitering, to which she replied, well good good, carry on dear boy!

One of a kind.

me and my medal

92,000 people originally applied to run in this year’s race

Approximately 45,791 applications were accepted.

More than 35,300 had registered to run by 5.00pm on Saturday.

35,044 people started

More than 34,000 people finished

Approximately 40 runners were admitted to hospital accident and emergency department

4093 runners required medical attention during the race

And here I am at the end with my medal

thank you

Just a quick note of thanks to all the kind people who sponsored me for doing the London Marathon. You will be pleased to know that I finished in a slow but sure time of 6:44:20. Not my best time, but not my worst either.

If you think doing a marathon is impressive, just take a look at what these two chaps have done. Completely mad if you ask me – but you have to admire them!

Well I didn’t manageto beat Brian Paddick – he took 4:52, though I suspect he didn’t get many leafets out!

For those of you who think they fancy the challenge of the marathon – well have a look here and get your name down. If I can do it, I know most people could!

It did get me wondering though. Does anyone know which Tory has done the most marathons? I know on the Labour side Howard Stoate MP has run a fair few. Our own Roger Helmer MEP has done four marathons…. Any MPs Lords or members who can top that?


The Succession

I always thought is was only Tory leaders who had their succession talked about within a year of their leadership. However there’s been plenty of talk in the media about Brown’s successor over the past week.
I’m presently reading Gyles Brandreths diary of the last term of Tory Government, and it’s interesting how the future leadership contenders of the Tory party were viewed with horror by some with such a lack of credible contenders. People with views or a track record which would split the party. That’s why we had an unready William Hague and an unable Iain Duncan Smith when former Cabinet figures such Ken Clarke, Michael Howard, Stephen Dorrell, Peter Lilley, John Redwood etc were still on the scene.
So if, as we all hope Labour are kicked out of office, what would the succession be. Well Brown’s favoured successor seems to be Ed Balls. Initially this had me howling with laughter, but this was soon replaced by hopes and prayers that this odious man takes the reins. It was Drop the Dead Donkey that gave Peter Lilley the slimy git of the week award 14 weeks in a row. If that show was still running, surely Balls would win the award closely followed by his wife. I really can’t see Labour voting for Brown mk2 without the charm so he is probably out the running. Shame.
So who’s in the running. Milliband x 2 (both too geeky), Jacqui Smith will be ejected from the Commons, Harriett Harman is Harriett Harman which rules her out, Hilary Benn is likeable but seems to shy away from tough controversial jobs so I can’t see that. More credible are the chances of Alan Johnson, Alan Milburn and James Purnell. Each of these have drawbacks though. Milburn is not linked with Brown so should Labour want to get back to Blairism, then he could be the man. Unlikely though. Johnson seems to be keeping his head above water at Health but did lose out as Deputy leader which didn’t suggest he’s loved by the unions and grassroots. That leaves smooth talking photoshop man Purnell. He would probably be the most acceptable media face to attract the southern voters, but I can’t see the roots warming to him.
In conclusion then, it looks like a mess with no heavyweight contenders, and plenty of drawbacks with the frontrunners. I’ll revisit this when bookmakers put some odds up.


last ever blog post?

Many people think they can do it. Around 100,000 apply each year. 50 odd thousand are given places, and 45 or so thousand actually finish. It is now the worlds biggest annual fund raising event.

Well I’m hoping to raise a little bit, and as for times, well  I’m just hoping to run walk or even crawl my way to the finish line!

If you see this vest worn by a chap who looks like he really shouldn’t be doing this type of thing anymore – do say hello. I’m just hoping I won’t be needing the excellent services of the men and women who I’m doing the marathon for!

I believe the Lib Dem Mayoral candidate will be doing the run too (undoubtedly quicker than me). I wonder if he will be delivering any leaflets as he passes through a London borough or two?

Lets just hope this isn’t my last blog post for a while…. (note to wife….. get that deep heat in now).

PS – For those of you who like a bit of interactivity… I intend on twittering away through the marathon – so check out the widget at the top of the right hand column from Sunday morning.

It will end in tears

The media has given plenty of coverage, as have bloggers like Ellee Seymour, about the Maasai warriors who are over in London, complete with shields and spears (though I believe they won’t have them on race day) to take part in the London marathon.

I did have to smile – as having done it twice before it has always p****d me off when much fitter and younger people zoom past me wearing those heavy heavy Rhino costumes to highlight Save the Rhino. Now is it just me, or should we be worried, about what the Maasai warriors will do should they see a Rhino trundling across Tower Bridge? Hmmm I hope the Rhinos have thick skin. Those spears are awfully sharp!

Anyway – only £96.61 more to raise…. so go on…. donate away…

Unenforced rules and regs

If my memory serves me correctly, didn’t the Government recently embark on getting rid of lots of legislation that is on the statute book, that quite frankly is pointless these days.

You know – like the right to wlak a 2 legged goat across Westminster bridge under a full moon if you happen to be a Lord (well that’s how it seemed to be portrayed).

That got me to thinking. What about more recent rules, regulations and even laws that are currently in place that aren’t enforced. It’s always been a bug bear with me, having rules, that no one ever bothers to enforce. If we don’t enforce them – then we may as well get rid of them.

My question is, what do you think are the top rules, regs, laws etc that are in place, that are constantly flouted as they aren’t enforced.

I ‘d start off with:-

1) Using a mobile phone in the car (always happening never enforced)

2) Cycling with no lights at night

3) Flouting disabled parking rules

Come om … I know you must have more!