I Used To Be A Punk Rocker!

It’s been quite a mixed day here in our Llanfoist escape.  It’s actually been raining quite a bit so we took a break from the canal walk and swimming and decided to get in the holiday spirit by visiting Wyevale garden centre in Raglan to look at the Christmas decorations.

Before we headed out though the postman knocked on our front door with the Real Life vinyl album from the punk group Magazine thanks to Discogs that I haven’t listened to in over forty years…

The vast majority of my original music collection was originally purchased in vinyl LP format in the late 1970’s and early ’80’s, but sadly over the years most got “lost” thanks to several house (and boat) moves.  Despite this one of the first things Debbie and I did on moving to Wales was to buy a high end stereo system for the den and slowly rebuild our record collections.

How time passes so quickly!  It made me pause for thought to realise that despite being still only 57 (for just over a week) I’ve actually been alive for seven decades being born in 1959!

Now a lots happened in this time and I remember asking my father once what invention had impacted his life the most when he was probably the same age as I am now and also retired.  I remember his careful answer after a period of reflection was television.

So I thought it would be interesting to look over these decades of my life to date and reflect on what my main memories are from each – I wonder if others will have the same recollections!


Doesn’t really count as I was born in November 1959!


Toys: Action Man, Thunderbirds, Stingray, Spirograph, Play-Doh,
Music: The Beatles, Cliff Richard, Val Doonican
Games: Newmarket card game at Xmas with my maternal grandparents
TV: Blue Peter, Crackerjack, Magic Roundabout, White Horses, Doctor Who (Yeti), Star Trek


Toys: Flying Scotsman train set, Microscope, Clackers
Music: ABBA, Stranglers, Bee Gees, Magazine, Sex Pistols, The Clash, Queen
Games: Escape from Colditz, Pong, Chess
TV: Six Million Dollar Man, Top of the Pops, Swap Shop, Dads Army, A Team, Survivors, UFO


Toys: None that I can remember!
Music: Madonna, Duran Duran
Games: Sinclair Spectrum, ZX81, Dungeons & Dragons, Trivial Pursuit
TV: Howard’s Way, Just Good Friends


Toys: Scalextric, Titanic, Ghostbusters, Tracey Island, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Furbies
Music: Mainly on cassette Go Nuts, Spice Girls, Tom Jones
Games: Charades, Titanic, Sega Mega Drive (Sonic, Aladin)
TV: Beavis and Butt-head, X-Files, Red Dwarf,Robot Wars
Film: Toy Story


Toys: Cluedo, Scrabble, Monopoly
Music: Mainly on CD
Games: PlayStation 3 (Call of Duty)
TV: Castaway 2000, TV Burp, Doctor Who


Toys: Webley air pistol, telescope
Music: Back mainly to vinyl and streaming on Amazon Music
Games: PlayStation 4 (Uncharted, The Last of Us)
TV: Games of Thrones, Harry Potter, Stella, Gavin and Stacy, Doc Martin

Well as we head rapidly towards the end of 2017 I decided to take another plunge back into memory lane thanks to a quick visit to the Borough market where I picked up these two old friends for the princely sum of £23 before settling into watching Saturday night’s TV fayre of Strictly Come Dancing and the X Factor – oh and write this blog – goodnight!


I Used To Be A Punk Rocker!

For You Peter, The Chase Is Over!

My name is Michael Caine and I am a nosey neighbour…

Today started with such promise, the central courtyard area where the kiddies’ playground will be built was finally being cleared of all the rubbish, Debbie and I had taken Molly and Hamish for a reasonable walk before we headed into Cardiff East park and ride leaving around midday in good time for my 2.45pm audition for “The Chase”.

We dropped off the car and boarded a bus without too much delay and headed into the city centre, this really is a relaxing way to get into Cardiff and sure beats the railway from Abergavenny.  Emma came with Debbie & I and they only charged £5 return for the  20 mins journey.

On arrival we made our way the short distance to Jurys Inn hotel and given that we were peckish and had loads of time spare we headed to the Harvester  for a bite to eat before returning to the hotel around 2.15pm from where the ladies left me to do some shopping.  I headed up to the first floor Raglan suite after enquiring with reception where the auditions were being held and on arrival was give a sticker with my name on and had my photo taken.

There were about 7 people in the room already most of who were the previous batch of interviewees awaiting the decisions on whether or not they’d got through.   My “team” consisted of only five people comprised of the following rather interesting people, two of whom had been on TV before.

The first was a lady from Newport in her early 60’s who had been a professional singer and had appeared on “Stars In Your Eyes” as Dame Vera Lynn – alas she didn’t win!  Personally I thought she looked more like a more svelte Barbara Windsor…

The second chap in his mid-30’s came from Penarth and ran with his wife a second hand clothes shop.  He had a wide smile that reminded me of Tony Blair and had been on a daytime quiz show hosted by Nick Knowles called “Perfection”.  I couldn’t recollect it at the time although Debbie thinks we did watch it together once but it was rather complicated.  He too alas was not a winner either…

Apart from my self who I described to camera as “Peter, 57 years old, retired IT consultant from Abergavenny”, there was also a retired electronic engineering lecturer in his mid 60’s and a tall young man in his mid-30’s who was a care worker.

After the introductions were made we then went into a simulated cash builder round were ten questions were asked and apparently I came top, followed by the multiple choice question round where you had to put a card with A, B, C on your knee in response to what you thought was the correct answer.  Again I did well and I foolishly though my audition was in the bag!

Sadly my comeuppance came when we all stood up in a line and had the quick-fire round of their questions and our answers as a team where the first answer was taken as the team response while we were marked individually as to right or wrong.  This is where yours truly had a bit of a meltdown with largely deathly silence being my response to most of the questions or a feeble quiet answer long after another had correctly answered.  The pinnacle of my achievement was to respond “pass” on two occasions when no-one gave a response.

Oh dear, after five minutes discussion the adjudicator panel came back and read out three names, not including mine or the care worker, which meant that for us The Chase was well and truly over.  After receiving some commiserations and giving congratulations to the successful applicants the two of us trudged off back into the street where a quick call to my beloved wife and daughter ended in a Costa coffee house next door.

After a quick debrief we headed back to the bus stop and retraced our steps to the car park and the drive home.  On reflection I did enjoy the process, it was great fun, it was a bit sad to be turned down but I’m really glad I applied.  Only the £100k drop audition left for Debbie and I to go to should we be successful in our recent application… 🙂

For You Peter, The Chase Is Over!

The Chase is On (Maybe)


Quite a busy day so far for yours truly, starting with shopping at Waitrose (for the dogs) and then Aldi for the humans…

Just as I was parking up at the latter a London based phone number popped up on my mobile and I answered it.  Much to my surprise a rather posh young lady asked if that was Peter and would I mind answering some questions as part of my application of long ago to appear on the Chase!

She started by asking about my job title of Vice President at my last role before retirement and what it involved as well as my interests of walking and reading.  After explaining that I ran a team of ex-CIO’s at an IT research firm and that I loved walking in the seven hills surrounding Abergavenny I then explained my reading matter at the moment was “Game of Thrones”.

She laughed and asked if it was the same as what appeared on TV and I answered in the positive.  She then asked if I would answer about 10 general knowledge questions as part of the screening  warning me that they would harder than I would encounter on the show and given how I answered I certainly hope so.

From memory these included the following:

What do the initial T in trade union TSSA stand for?  I answered wrongly after a long pause “toolmaker”. [transport]

What colour is the drink grenadine? To which I answered green again wrongly! [red]

What colour is Homer Simpson’s shirt? I answered yellow… [white]

Which other elements like Xenon have an X in their name?  I couldn’t answer! [oxygen]

Which bird does Keats “ode to” name and I guessed nightingale [which was correct]

There where others which I’ve forgotten, but I do remember half way begging for multiple choice questions instead which was politely refused, as was my request to know my final score.

After this I was surprised to hear that they wanted me to appear at a screening interview next Wednesday 13th September at a location TBA in Cardiff.

After selecting an afternoon slot at 2.45pm they rang off explaining a confirmation email would be sent, but not before confirming that Debbie would be welcome to accompany me to the interview waiting just outside.  Further updates as they occur but even getting to this stage is quite exciting!


The Chase is On (Maybe)

Top Gear RIP

Well if you have to go, the way Monsieurs Clarkson, Hammond and May went out tonight was fitting. 

Gosh I shall miss their anarchaic escapades and the memories of Richard on the top of the plane and Jeremy saying he hated Top Gear while wet and cold and Captain Slow, well, being slow will always bring a smile to my lips…

Fingers crossed they return together on another channel – I’m not sure I can watch the new TG without them…


Top Gear RIP