Friday, 31 December 2010

Final Words . . .

Good Morning my dear friends and welcome to this, the last one of 2010 . . . 

And where has it all gone you may ask as I have been asking myself; the answer is, as always, fleeting and as difficult to lay hands on as a truculent eel. That ole devil called time is infinitely perplexing and illusory as you will, no doubt, have experienced personally; when involved in something pleasurable the hours simply flash by, whilst the inverse function has been proved true on several million occasions in my brief sojourn so far . . . very puzzling !

Which brings me neatly to the word which I used as the title of yesterday's burnt offering and its etymology; I am convinced that, somewhere in the dim and distant past, I was told that the word "puzzle" had originated in Dublin or some other Irish location in response to a wager concerning the introduction into the language of a new word; in this supposed competition the word was found painted on buildings all over the city and quickly became the subject of much discussion and livid letters to editors of the day . . . however, upon conferring with my friend Mr Google I can find no mention of such a tale - have I been mistaken all these years?  

It could well be worth a quick email to the very knowledgeable and entertaining Michael Quinian whose wonderful  and very amusing site is a must for anyone with a an interest in language - he also publishes a weekly free newsletter which is well - worth a read; it certainly brightens up my Saturday mornings!  Anyhow, I may drop him a line along with some nude ears greets later today . . . in the meantime we shall have to wait and see; if you have an answer or opinion please drop me a line by email or feel free, as always, to comment below!  By the way I have just emailed the saintly Michael and await his reply which I will, of course, pass on as soon as!

Beyond the library window another dawn has -  well, broken is too dynamic a word for it really - sort of coalesced into being and another dim gray twilight day appears to be upon us . . . I believe that, although the sunset for today is around seven and a half hours away, it won't really get much brighter than it is now . . . oh hum, very oppressive;  I shall have to work hard at being positive today . . . and one of the things I am positive about is that I must set about a thorough de-clutter and general sortage of the BPS; I really prefer a very minimalist environment in which to live but slowly the flat has become home for limitless ephemera and objects d'art which, although inspiring, often influence my mind to imitate art and become cluttered and dust laden!  So I intend to attack and be ruthless  . . . which will probably result in five minutes tidying and a few hours looking at pretty things and books I had forgotten . . . tut tut tut!  However, it is at least a plan . . .

Another of which could be a visit the the OD to see how she is feeling; she too suffers from a sort of SADS and benefits from a little cheering up, so that is on the books either for today or possibly the first of next year . . .

But look! A reply from Michael!  How wonderful . . . he is such a gent!  He very tactfully points out that I am thinking of the word "quiz"  rather than puzzle  - of course I am!  Silly  fool -  I'm getting confused in my old age!  He points to a little background on 'quiz' * and gently informs me that my tale of Dublin is "best viewed through the bottom of a glass of something Irish "  So I've been doubly wrong in one paragraph - marvellous and a superb way to bow out of 2010  - probably the same way as I entered it!  At least one small conundrum is answered and yours truly's clayey feet publicly exposed . . .

And so, my dearest friends I shall leave you to the rest of your day and your year; I think all of us reflect a little at this time of endings and beginnings and, like Janus, become two-faced in that we face the past and the future and hover, as it were, on the threshold.  I hope 2010 wasn't too bad for you all and that 2011 doesn't disappoint too greatly . . . No, let me retract that and wish for you all the very best luck, love and light in the forthcoming year . . . I hope to see you darkening my library door very soon indeed!

'til next time

Be Seeing You !


Thursday, 30 December 2010

Puzzling Words . . . *

Good Morning Everyone . . . nice to see you here again . . .

Well, "the snow has gone and in its wake, rain 'pon rain our thirst to slake" as the poet said  - huge prizes for guessing which poet; you can even google it! - and yet another gob of gray  squats on rooftops and makes the business of life just that little bit harder to deal with, don't you think?

Plans for today - when I finally extract myself from the library - include a very exciting date with  twenty-year old Rosie who will be accompanying me as I visit the Hall of the Mounting Thrill to do the OD's shopping;  she still doesn't feel up to venturing out following her foolish fall in the now departed snow and so I am there in her stead . . .after I have safely seen young Rosie home I am to Nero to meet up with Sister Cate for the long-awaited Muffin and Green Tea extravaganza which is set to become something of a rarity soon as one of my main nude ear revolutions  is a drastic reduction in the amount of sweetness passing my lips . . .  one does wonder exactly what will be left to sacrifice soon as practically all of the pleasures of the flesh are no-no's now . . . ah me!  The life of the ascetic, eh!  It is very reminiscent of the old story of how giving up such practices as drinking, smoking, eating sweets etc doesn't actually make you live longer, it just seems that way!

Anyhow, that is the plan and I will, full of hope, try and stick to it . . .  I was going to write "hopefully" then but I have a sneaking suspicion that it is in some way incorrect usage; pardon me for one moment whilst I check that one out . . .  Ah!  look at this from someone called Lizz Shepherd:
"Using the word hopefully as a substitute for the phrase “I hope” or “it is hoped” is the most common, but incorrect, usage . . . using the word correctly as an adverb means to substitute it instead for the phrase “full of hope” or "in a hopeful manner." When unsure whether the word is being used correctly, simply use one of those phrases instead and see whether the sentence still makes sense" **
So, if I have understood that correctly I was employing the proper usage; in fact I even used the phrase "full of hope" before reading the article - what a clever chap I am! It is evidently something called a sentence adverb (which sounds like a suspiciously colonial term) rather than a standard adverb . . . you see? All those years avoiding Grammar School finally came to be of some use  . . . another one to cause me twinges is the use of less or fewer; I can never remember which is used when  - although a brief scan across the shelves reveals that 
"Use fewer with objects that can be counted one-by-one. Use less with qualities or quantities that cannot be individually counted."

Hmmm . . . well, glad that one's sorted out then . . .

And so it's nearly time for me to beautify and get on with the business of the day; I had a lovely time in amid the rural backwaters of Deer Crossing in Cheshire yesterday, only slightly marred by the reluctance of trains to run on time which delayed my return by a half hour or so, but all in all a very pleasant day . . . I am a country boy at heart and the stillness and solitude and the company of "good country folk" really strum my heartstrings into a crescendo . . .

I hope that, despite the grayness here, your day is filled with love and light, wherever you may be!
'til next time
Be Seeing You !
* For example  AIBOHPHOBIA= fear of palindromes . . . surely not?

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

From Holmenkollen to the Magic Mountain . . .

Good Morning Fellow Ombrophobiacs - how are you today?

I have to say that, although the salutation above is obviously not to be taken seriously, I do find the re-appearance of our old friend Precipitous somewhat down-heartening; it may wash away the snow but the when, like today, the window presents nothing more than a gray even sheet of cloud and little light and the view across the haha is veiled in drizzle, I can see the attractions that the snowy peaks and troughs have to offer . . .

Today I should really put my nose to the grindstone and start the interminable catch-up process in order to have my OU work somewhere near target at least;  I have another assignment to send in very shortly and am nowhere near prepared for it . . . I do seem to have lost the impetus somewhat and I'm not sure how simple getting it back is going to be . . . however, I shall have to at least attempt a recovery as it would indeed be a very expensive towel to throw in!

As for the rest of the week I shall be journeying southwards once again, trains permitting, to sample the bucolic delights of rural Cheshire tomorrow; Thursday I have a meeting up planned with Sister Cate over tea and muffins and then we are up to the dreaded New Years Eve when, with any luck, I shall be safely ensconced in my sequestered pied a terre, away from revellers and party animals, well-wishers and celebrants, and losing myself in the delights of a good book . . .

I have recently finished another by Jo Nesbø who is fast becoming one of my favourite authors in the crime genre; due to the publicity that has accompanied The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, Jo is being hailed as the new Steig Larsson  - he is, in my opinion, a much better writer than the excellent but sadly late Larsson and should be respected in his own right.  The fact that he bases his stories in Oslo where I lived for a while doesn't curb my enthusiasm either!  I am also working my way through the Alexander McCall Smith Number One Ladies Detective Agency series and enjoying them thoroughly; so I skip from Oslo to Botswana with the ease of angels which, surely, is one of the greatest pleasures in reading, don't you think?

And with that thought in mind I am reminded that I also have a lovely book token burning a hole in my wallet; I can almost see the staff at the local Waterstones shivering in anticipation at another of my visits, they are a lovely bunch of folk and very helpful - especially at parting me from the company of my spondulicks  . . . I have an urge to buy Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain and to re-buy The Onion Eaters by JP Donleavy . . . I do love books so!  I think a visit may be in order at some point today, if I get the requisite amount of work done and if I can face the rain . . . I am reminded of a quote by Thomas Mann; he said
" In books we never find anything but ourselves. Strangely enough, that always gives us great pleasure, and we say the author is a genius."

How very true!  And on that note I shall go and beautify myself so as not to present too horrific a sight to the poor people of this town . . .  I hope you are all enjoying the break and are filling your time with fun and frolicsome pastimes that will see you safely through to next year!

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

Monday, 27 December 2010

Dividing by Zero . . .

Good Morning Dear Friends

It is the day following Boxing Day - does it have a name other than, for this year at least, Monday? Anyhow, here I sit, back in the library where I have been since waking at the very leisurely hour of seven-thirty, fresh from a most peculiar dream which involved me moving long glowing curtains of energy - a bit like aurora borealis  - which I achieved by shifting small beads  within the curtains, like co-ordinate points on a graph . . .   I woke up with the following sentence in my head which may well be the start of a new wee story:

Once upon a time – and just how you define or delineate that time or the number and frequency of occurrences is arbitrary - there lived a scientist . . .

Quite a good start I thought; how it will develop is anyone's guess really, but we shall see . . . I have written quite a few stories and poems from dreams or sometimes used the 'plot' of dreams to inform the way a story develops . . . I suppose it's the modern, healthy version of what writers like De Quincy and Coleridge et al have always done as I avoid the opiates!

It is a decidedly gray day  with a hint of the old precipitation in the air; one can only hope that if it does rain it doesn't freeze over and make life underfoot even more treacherous than normal!  I plan to have a quick zip around the shops today and see what bargains I can't afford before the VAT increases of next week make all my dream products even less attainable . . . when I was talking to my #1 son earlier in the week he was telling me how a large proportion  of his school chums came to school with their laptops and how, in the main, they use them to play games and the number of those who were using iMac Powerbooks was quite significant . . . I was positively verdant with jealousy!  I can only laugh and despair at my foolishness  - you would think I would know better by now, wouldn't you?  Still, I am only human . . . well. nearly . . .

So the festives have been and gone with only the grindingly boring New Years Eve to avoid;  in the past I have been invited to friends houses for fancy dress parties and the like and have, generally, more or less enjoyed them to a degree . . . but I cannot recall the number of times I have walked home alone at some ungodly hour simply to be done with the whole ethos . . . however, I'm sure a lot of you enjoy it it and I would be the last to deny anyone any enjoyment so . . . I hope you gain great satisfaction from the evening;  I shall be spending it quietly and - thankfully - not in the company of Jules Holland who, like Kenneth McKellar and Moira Anderson in my youth, has become in my mind synonymous with the wretchedness of the whole event . . . bah humbug! 

Well, I do sound like an old sourpuss do I not?  Actually, I am in quite a positive frame of mind and looking forward with relish ( but no fries, please) to what 2011 may bring; a whole new vista - or rather OSX one hopes - is spread before me and waiting for me to immerse myself in its warm and unknown waters . . . hmmm!  Curious metaphor!

Anyhow, I hope you have a wonderful day and I shall see you when you return to my humble libris passionibus;  blessings abound on your sweet little heads!

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

Saturday, 25 December 2010

It Came Upon A Midnight Clear . . .

... and is now, at just after four in the afternoon fast approaching its conclusion! May I wish each and every one of my dear friends, wherever you may be, the most joyous and marvellously Merry Christmas Day!

For a change I am seated in the Morning Room and typing this upon my delightful wee mini notebook as the main PC is trying to find some images for me on a rather corrupt CD and is otherwise engaged! One of the images in question is that of Cordelia Molyneux - the old Duchess' Grandmother who died on this day eighty years ago in 1930.

She was a rum old fruit; had children by at least three different fathers, and came from somewhere called the Nook in Shevington being born in 1868.  She lived in various locations including Crooke, Wigan and Glace Bay in Nova Scotia!  Her father was a shoemaker and came from Parbold.  Her mother was a Bimson - a family that I have managed to trace back to the 1600's . . .  She died in Billinge Hospital when the OD was a mere 7 years old . . .  so though we may have to wait a while for the image to appear I would like to dedicate today's post to her memory!

So how have you spent the day?  I have had a beautifully silent time; walking and reading - though not at the same time - and have just spent an enjoyable time watching Shrek 3 on TV - rather amusing and fluffy enough for the day.  Plans for the evening are fluid to say the least, probably more of the same and augmented by several delicious titbits as the festive period demands.  It is rather delicious to spend a day in silence - although I have spoken to close friends and family - and I have received a host of texts from well-wishers, which is warming and welcome.

I hope that you have had a lovely day and that it has been filled with peace, love and not too many arguments about who should have the final Quality Street . . . I wonder if the chap with the purple top hat is still waiting for the lady in the crinoline?  From the tin I mean, they were always in a street near a shop with bay windows, snow falling and perhaps in the background a horse and carriage? Ah me!  Remembering confectionery tins from my childhood - it must be Christmas Day!

With best wishes, love and happiness

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

Friday, 24 December 2010

Away They all Flew like the Down of a Thistle!

Good Morning Dear Friends and welcome to Christmas Eve !

It's not yet light and yours truly sits tip-tapping like a blind-man's cane at his dusty keys in an effort to put something back into the ether for the festive season.  

Following my last posting I have received some comments on here and Faecesbucket that have made me hang my head in shame and have a bit of a Jimmy-Stewart-talking-to-Clarence moment; some of you poor misguided fools have written to thank me for scribbling this rubbish and point out that you do look forward to reading the blog even though you may not comment which has made me realise, somewhat tardily and however inadvertently, that it is far better to give than to receive . . . and so, lesson learned and taken to heart, here we are again, sitting in the library and wondering what the day will bring . . .

Since last we spoke I've spent the time with friends and family, sorting out the pre-yule stuff that needs to be completed before our visitor this evening;  I spent a wee while yesterday with my #1 son and The Old Duchess who, against advice and wisdom, decided to see to a couple of tasks outside the stately pile and managed to slip on the ice!  Thankfully, she is nothing more than bruised and shaken, but still a worry - grrr! As for my son . . . well, I have a son of whom I am exceptionally proud and who I love unconditionally and have done so since his first moment on earth; he is now a strapping youth, taller than his doddery old father and we spent the afternoon sitting with the OD and he talked animatedly about strategic geography . . .I was fascinated both by his knowledge and his enthusiasm! We don't see each other very often but when we do it is a meeting of hearts and minds, which is all I can ask for, don't you think? Then yesterday evening, as I had borrowed a car, I gave him a lift to his girlfriend's house for a gaming party . . . so very strange, how the years go; I still remember in Wheal Dream in St Ives . . . him draped against my shoulder with his arms around my neck as I sang him to sleep with the Skye Boat Song . . .  ah me!

I also spent a very lovely time with a dear friend amid the snow-clad rural Cheshire acres; it was almost like being back in time - a time before trains certainly as, on the way there, they were being cancelled rapidly and when it came time for me to wend my weary way back to the Wigwam, all had disappeared!  I was very kindly chauffeured in style back to the grubby enclave and twisted streets of Candle Court to ponder the wisdom once more of abandoning the countryside for the town . . . Many years ago I lived amongst the warped moss of the  coastal plane and loved the wide emptiness of it all; the way the roads became impassable in certain weathers, how, in summer, I could lose myself amongst hedgerows and listen to drunken bees buzzing and drowzing, how there was space and time enough for animals and children and thoughts . . . living in the BPS does have its advantages of course; town is seconds away and with it, the delights of Nero and what have you, but I miss the silence and the stillness . . . I sat at a table and looked out across the snow and just soaked in the hiss of nothing . . . bliss!

However, back in reality it is time for me to attend to my beautification and set about the day with great Gusto (a very close and personal friend of immense Joy!); I am, once again, driving across to the stately pile to see our injured dowager and make sure she isn't attempting any further Sonja Henie impressions and to attend to any last minute tasks that will, undoubtedly, arise.

Thanks you to all the people who wrote to me and slapped my wrists with love - it was timely, needed and appreciated.  I wish you all a lovely Yule and hope that each moment of it is happier than the last!

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Ring Solstice Bells . . .

And A very merry and suitably festively frozen Winter Solstice to you all!

It is the first day of Winter and as frozen and as white as it should be!

First of all, you may have noticed a lack of posts in the past few days; well, I decided that I was spending a lot of time and effort writing and thinking and whatnot when I could have used the energy elsewhere, and so, given the less than enthusiastic responses I have received to this blog, I have done just that.  It has been a useful exercise, writing every day, and has given me an idea of the discipline I need to develop and establish; I've also enjoyed it in the main; and the friends who have responded have really cheered me up and spurred me on with their encouragement.

It actually makes me feel quite sad to do this but, for the present at least, I feel it is time to let this blog become what it becomes;  the need and the urgency to prove I can write it every day has gone and instead I will write it when, and if, I feel I want to.

Thanks for visiting me; it was very much appreciated.

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

Today's post is dedicated to the memory of James McLoughlin who died on this day in 1979.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

The North Wind Doth Blow . . .

Good Evening Dear Friends . . . how are you?

Once again the darkness of nearly-winter envelops the BPS with promises of snow and ice on their way from Northern parts . . .  a friend in Orkney tells of much and many falls in her bit of the frozen tundra and I shiver in anticipation - and lack of heating; I really must switch it on!

Since last night, following an illuminating session concerning how I reacted when I first discovered that not every seven-year old boy liked light entertainment and show business ("Give me a boy until he is seven and I shall give you Danny La Rue in Charley's Aunt"!), it seems that  I have finally done with learning until next year - Hurrah! Although I have work enough to carry me through the break - oh hum! 

Weather permitting, tomorrow is the last counselling session 'til after Yule and so I'm beginning to feel as though the holidays are nearly upon me; to get into the zeitgeist I've spent the afternoon with Sister Cate trolling around the shops and drinking in both the atmosphere and the inevitable green tea accompanied by lemon and poppy-seed muffins all served with relish and humour by the motley crew at Nero . . . but in a very near reversion to anti-type I've also spent a not inconsiderable amount of time on the 'phone trying to get any or some kind of sense from the staff at the OD's doctors . . . following a change in medication she has become quite ill as I have mentioned previously and so I've been trying to sort it - some 7 hours and six phone calls later I have been given the self same advice I myself gave her at 9.30 this morning: don't take the medication and see if you stop feeling ill!  It really is a joke,  a very sick one at that,  if you'll pardon the nearly-pun . . . one cannot help but feel that, after a certain number of years on this Earth the medicos lose interest - a case of diminishing returns perhaps . . .

However, let us not become too jaded in our outlook and instead seek to see the positive in as many situations as possible . . . I do love the depiction of stark realism that exists in this blog, don't you? Talking of which I would love to discover just how you [icture the BPS and its library; what drifts through your mind when you read this? Besides the usual " Oh dear lord, not again!" I mean!  I would love to read your ideas about my ideas, as it were . . . why not jot a couple of them down in the comments box and give me something to read for a change?  You are under absolutely no obligation of course, but I would find it very interesting . . .

Probably a lot more interesting than you have found my writings of late I'm sure;to be quite honest it is quite difficult to be objective about this kind of business - I write alone and speak to emptiness; the words appear on the screen and disappear into the ether - how does one gauge peoples reactions?   I think it almost behoves you to put me out of your misery! Fear not, goodly folk, I jest . . . I also reminded myself of Robert Robinson on Ask the Family then . . . dear lord!

Anyhow, enough of this small homosexual chicken*, I think it is time I laid my weary head upon the pillow and left you, once again, to the peace and tranquility of the night.  I do hope you sleep well and that the weather doesn't hinder any of our plans too badly!

'til next time

Be Seeing you !

* Obviously gay bantam, a weak play on gay banter . . . yes?

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Hart Verdant and All Points East . . .

Good Morning - you're bright and early today; no, the weather doesn't look too promising does it? Now, sit down by the fire and let's get the kettle whistling!

I must away eastward today from luncheon onward; as well as being the final day at the seat of learning before the Yuletide break, today is also my regular visit to see my supervisor in the leafy hamlet of Hart Verdant for tea and empathy . . . as is usual on these occasions I do find it a little tiresome that none of the transport involved links up; for example from here to Hart V is a train and a bus journey away - the train arrives at, say, 12.20  the bus arrives at 12.40 but by foot from the station to my destination is also around 20 minutes so I inevitably end up walking - not that I mind the exercise in good weather but in inclemenecies it can be frustrating to arrive drowned or frozen, the alternative being a draughty wait and the possibility of transport non-arrival!  Anyhow, I'm sure you've heard quite enough on that topic for one day; suffice it to say I shall be booted  - though not necessarily suited -  for my rural ramblings this frosty after-lunch . . .

I had another poor night's sleep which has left me somewhat less than bushy-tailed; I'm not quite able to put my finger on the cause as, unusually, it wasn't down to one of my many ailments . . . the allergenic Ben has been dispatched to a far better place - that is a Weeping Fig plant Ficus benjamina which was, I believe, a contributory factor in my almost constant snuffles - and I felt relaxed and calm but sleep simply evaded me until around four this morning . . . perhaps it is my advanced years? The again I am hardly Father William, am I ?  The upshot of all this is that by around five this evening, whilst deep in the arcane and abstrusely esoteric mysteries of that process known as erudition, my poor old eyes will begin to want to close and the coils of tiredness will envelop me like a  malignant mamba!

A quick glance at the clock tells me that very soon indeed I am going to be chronologically challenged if I don't get a move on so I shall cut this sermon on the Peggy somewhat shorter than is usual and go about my business . . . I may get chance to do a follow-up on my return - if the sledge and dog team aren't too late!

Have a wonderfully warm and snug day!

'til next time

Be Seeing You ! 

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

The Clock Struck Six . . .

It is six o'clock one evening towards the end of  Autumn.  The night is cold and sharp with a frosted sky promising a deeper chill to come. The shape of a building can be discerned against the clear starlit sky. Through the surrounding trees and bushes a light is suddenly seen as, inside a room which is plainly the library, lamps are lit and the sound of the news is heard from a radio somewhere deep in the bowels of the building. In the garden, just beyond the pool of light spilling from the windows and down onto the lawn, a hedgepig, late from his rest in the depth of the laurel bushes, snuffles and searches for the last of the available food whilst keeping a wary weather-eye on the goings -on inside the room.  A figure, possibly a man, is seen to cross before the lighted windows and draw the curtains together, sealing off the room from the night and the allowing the hedgepig to wander closer and cautiously sniff the air.

Within the room, the lamps yellow glow is suddenly joined by the blue florescence of a computer screen as the man sits at a desk, places his hands upon the keyboard and begins to type . . .

Hello dear friends and welcome once again to my humble home; it is a chilly night with a promise of more to come towards the weekend I believe, in fact I did hear on the radio - in a shop somewhere this afternoon, that we are to expect around twelve or so days of snow, thus increasing the probability of a white Christmas which, if memory serves me correctly, we had last year, did we not?

It will no doubt disrupt the few travel plans I have - in the main sorting out the Old Duchess who is causing me no little concern with her lethargy and general out-of-sortsness; it could well be a case of a combination of the Winter Blues and her advanced years . . . nonetheless, it is a tad worrying and so I'm spending some of the week trying to sort out all the little things that, if done, should make her feel a little more contented with life . . . I hope!

Today has been somewhat leisurely in terms of work completed, but I did manage to persuade Sally to have a bath before we went out on our perambulation today; she came out clean and fluffy whilst the BPS resembles a part of the 3rd class steerage quarters on the Titanic only with slightly more water damage!  Once fully dry we set out to see those lovely twins of evil in the boutique where Sal was treated to some doggy snacks and I was given a  cup of tea - mine own I have to say - and then spent what seemed like several hours folding raffle tickets . . . it was, one supposes, my good deed for the year . . . hmmm!

I must admit I got very cross this morning; whilst this blog is not normally a place where I sound off about things of import in the wider world I have to say that, on this occasion, I am going to have to! It began when I read a tweet from the lovely Sally Bercow regarding an interview on the BBC with a protester form the student demonstrations last week. The student, Jody McIntryre, suffers from Cerebral Palsy and was shown being manhandled from his wheelchair by police and dragged across the street in a totally unnecessarily violent way.  This would have made me cross enough but it was the attitude taken by the interviewer Ben Brown that was, in my opinion, vile and totally unconscionable.

Mr Brown accused Jody of threatening the police by "rolling" his wheelchair at them and being a "threat" and went on to demean the poor chap in such an appalling way. I have never before heard such biased and provocative interviewing and, to be very honest, it made me very angry and embarrassed.  I can only advise you to watch the clip at on Youtube  at  - I have also embedded it below this blog - and make up your own mind.  I personally think that the BBC should reprimand Ben Brown and an apology be given.

There! You must excuse me for that but I believe it is so very, very wrong.  

And now for the rest of the evening . . . it feels very much like one for sitting by the fire and reading; please feel free to join me if you so wish, otherwise I bid you a very pleasant one and may you enjoy fully whatever fills your glass and your time.

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

 PS: The offending video . . .

Monday, 13 December 2010

Watching for A Shooting Star to Fall Down from the Sky . . . ✫.¸¸.

Oh hello! I didn't realise it was that time already! Please, come in, sit down . . . I'll send for tea . . . You must excuse me if I don't stay with you long . . .

So here we are on a Monday evening and, whilst not exactly firing on all pistons like a race-bred Ferrari, I am more or less ticking over like a rather nice Morris Traveller which, at my age and condition, is not too bad really; talking of such matters, did I tell you of my dream road-trip idea?
Well, my very closest and oldest friend - in every sense of the word who will, incidentally, be trying to forget that it is in fact his birthday on the 18th of this month -  and I had this idea to travel the length and breadth of England in one of these rather lovely Elizabethan half-timbered cars, visiting on the way all our old haunts both as a couple and from our individual childhoods. This is a variation on a theme as we did also want to do something similar by barge though I must admit the car is rather more versatile and picturesque . . . as you can see from the accompanying photograph there is adequate space in the back for most activities and it also makes a convenient shooting-break even if, like the depiction of myself in said photographic image, ones tweeds were not exactly what the Squire had in mind - though my legs do look rather shapely , don't you think?  

Another friend of mine had one for years and loved it with a passion that was positively bordering on the obscene; I have owned one - or possibly two - but neither was ever well enough to move under their own steam and, as the church mouse in charge of the finances declared there was a freeze on, the vehicles had to go . . .

Anyhow, that was then and this is now; I met up with the OD today who was less than well and who I dispatched homeward very swiftly indeed following a small repast in Nero . . . it has been a rather damp and cheerless day; there are rumours of a rather fine set of meteor showers this evening though any chances of seeing them from this part of the world are positively displaying symptoms of  body dysmorphia and a quite severe eating disorder! And, I believe, the temps are set to plummet toward the weekend . . . ah me!  Before that, however, is tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow . . . let us see what each one brings, eh!

My dear friends, as I toss this wordy salad around in an attempt to provide nourishment for your eyes and brain, the gremlins in my throat are beginning to wreak havoc and I have an urge to down some of the wonderful Sanderson's Specific - a concoction that has been around forever, tastes vile, but surely does what it says on the bottle if what it says is "sorts a throat out quicker than a garrote and is less subtle" ! I can thoroughly recommend it and do frequently - however, at the moment my medicine chest is sadly lacking such medicament and so a cup of tea and some form of analgesia is the next best thing . . .

I hope you have enjoyed this evening's brief foray into my world; may you sleep deep and with a conscience as clear as crystal and as refreshing as a mountain stream . . . I did have the urge to write 'goat' there but was good . . . for a change!

'til next time

Be Seeing you !

Sunday, 12 December 2010

There is No Love that Does not Pierce the Hands and Feet *

Good Morning Dear Friends!

First of all may I thank your for your forbearance in the face of extreme paucity with regard to my postings -  or lack of them -  here over the past few days; I have felt uncommonly torpid and sluggish and, last night in particular, increasingly frustrated with alternating bouts of inability to breathe and violent sneezing and streaming orifices - mainly nasal and ocular you will be relieved to know, although I fear there is no necessity for that kind of anatomical accuracy in such close proximity to luncheon!

It is a bright blue Sunday morning - well, it was up to one minute ago, it is now afternoon! - and having had the benefit of a good four hours sleep since around 5am when I finally managed to embrace Morpheus, I do indeed feel like a new man . . . where to get one is another matter!  So, in the meantime, I'm afraid I will have to do; I hope you don't mind too much?

One positive to emerge like a butterfly from the chrysalis of my recent infirmity is that I have been able to accomplish some long hours of non-interrupted reading - fear not, none of it was the necessary reading required for my OU, heaven forfend! -  among which was the very delightful and thoroughly recommendable "Mr Chartwell" by Rebecca Hunt which, set in 1964, very charmingly links  Esther, a young, vulnerable woman in Battersea; the aging Winston Churchill and the charismatic and dangerously seductive Mr Chartwell of the title who, incidentally, happens to be a large, black dog. The book was a joy to read and resonated loudly with yours truly, as  it will with many of you, I fear!

Another joyful literary outing saw me bouncing along the dusty roads of Botswana to discover the delightful company of Mma Precious Ramotswe, founder and proprietor of the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency who, along with a cast of unlikely named and sympathetically depicted individuals, populate this engaging work by Alexander McCall Smith.  This is one of the books I had been meaning to read and yet had never quite got around to . . . being laid up with the plague does have some benefits it seems and, should you be unfamiliar with these stories, I would urge you to wait no longer and avail yourself of a copy by whatever means possible!

So, other than more reading, what does the day hold in store for your poor servant? Well, the BPS is looking decidedly shabby after a few days of non-menage, with the evidence of my hirsute canine companion collecting in corners like tumbleweed, and so a brief volta with the vacuum cleaner seems to be in order, along with a passing sojourn at the local German supermarket for some Deutsche Weihnachtsteller of Lebkuchen und so weiter to make me feel perhaps a little brighter and slightly more human . . .

The week ahead includes a meet up with the Old Duchess tomorrow, weather and deities permitting and the final occasions of college and counselling before the festive break . . . it all seems to have  happened rather quickly and I fear 2010 is another year that appears to have sped by in an augenblick; it did seem to take place whilst I was busy with other things!  However, I shall be continuing with this flimsy fabrication throughout the yuletide and hope that, should all other forms of entertainment and diversion desert you, you may find your way through the snowy landscape to the warm glow of the library where a welcome always awaits your delightful and very much appreciated company.

'til next time

Be Seeing you !

* The PowerBook by Jeanette Winterson p128 - another stunning read!

Note Number Two . . .

Apologies again . . .

Feel dreadful.

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

Friday, 10 December 2010

A Note on the Library Table . . .

Dear Friends,

Please excuse my absence this evening; I have some form of bug I think and feel exceptionally tired, weary and buggered beyond belief.

Help yourself to tea and cake and any tome that takes your fancy

Apologies again

'til next time

Be Seeing You !


Thursday, 9 December 2010

From Little Acorns . . .

Good Nearly ~ Midnight children - where has the day gone?

I had a late start - well, I had an early start that didn't quite work as I studied the back of my eyelids instead of getting up and about . . . something to do with a peak of exhaustion maybe? Anyhow, having spent the day playing catch-up I now find myself with a mere 30 minutes in which to compose, polish and publish tonight's meagre fayre - whilst coping with a spell check based on the mis-spelling known as American English! 

One nice event today was meeting up withan old friend - well, more accurately a young friend who I have known for some years - and having a delightful chat over tea and muffins in Nero . . . during which I discovered that her mum has launched a specialist T-Shirt business and consequently have had one of my designs sent off to be printed; look out for more to come especially my "Beware of the Easter Bunyip" of which I am inordinately proud!  It could be a whole new lease of life for me and spell a certain freedom for you dear readers - you wouldn't have to read this tripe every day! Actually, I do love producing this offal and, sadly, seem unable to stop doing so, so . . .

As the festive season approaches I'm getting more and more twitchy about possessing a iMac Air; I don't really know why, I just want one!  Maybe it will magickally (intended spelling btw) make my writing more interesting and marvellous . . . no, I don't believe that either!  I just think it looks beautiful and as the old saying goes " A thing of beauty is a joy forever . . . or until they release the new model"!  I shouldn't be so crass really; I have a lovely little Dell note book which is perfectly suited to the purpose, it's just that . . . well, it isn't a Mac and it isn't gorgeously crafted . . . ah me!  The intellect has it sorted but ,once again, the emotions get in the way!  

I suppose I have progressed a long way since the old Remington and Smiths Corona . . . actually, considering it,  my phone - which is not an iPhone 4, but let's not go there - probably has more computing power than the first PC I bought for my company in the early '90's and which cost £4k . . . it would probably cost about £4 today . . . and as for the stuff we used in the late 70's and 80's, ZX81's and Spectrums . . . loading programmes on by cassette, even writing programmes in whatever the language was then, machine code? The lines were numbered in 10's and were full of "if . .. then" statements . . . so long ago! I remember the others as well - Acorns? Like nowadays you could build your own then too - except most of it consisted of soldering bits together!!!

Anyhow, that's enough of tramping down memory lane as I can hear the rumble of the winged chariot bearing down on me . . . just before I go I have to say that I think today saw one of the most disgusting displays of hypocrisy ever in the Palace of Westminster; how some people can sleep with their conscience I do not know.  I shall say no more - but I expect the culprits to report to my office tomorrow after assembly!

I do hope you sleep well and wake refreshed and ready to face the day and whatever it may bring . . . whatever it brings we sing !

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Watching the Wheels . . .

Good Morning Dear Friends and welcome to Wednesday . . .

Today's the day when I troll across eastwards to the seat of learning and attempt to make sense of mine and other people's heads - often, of course, the ones belonging to other folk are much easier to get a grip with and  to understand while ones own thoughts, feelings and motivations can remain a mystery to even the most earnest psycho-sleuth!

I suppose one exception the the rule would be a certain Mr Chapman who, thirty years ago today, deprived the world of a great songwriter but, more importantly, took someone out of a young child's life who could never be replaced. And for what reason? To be famous? I suppose as his victim said "Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans" . . . ah me!  It also seems strange that it's thirty years ago already; I was a callow youth; a mere stripling, convinced that I knew everything that I needed to know and was sure the path I would take through life . . . honestly, I was so funny I should have had a summer season in Blackpool!

At that time I was still a musician, I suppose; spending my time like a global gypsy, having fun some of the time . . . I, too, had just lost my father but wouldn't feel the loss for another ten years or so when - as I am very found of saying to my clients - it would suddenly turn around and bite me on the arse ! It is so very curious how loss and bereavement affects different people; those who know little about it personally or professionally are very fond of quoting the five stages of grief as identified by Elizabeth Kübler-Ross which are more or less correct and applicable, but what has to be realised is that not everyone goes through each stage nor in order nor in a standard time-frame, some go back and forth between the stages . . . we are individuals, especially in grief.

But enough of professionalism; I haven't even had breakfast yet and the morning is growing older by the minute! However, I am being naughty by nibbling on a stem ginger biscuit to accompany my glass of water . . . the rock and roll lifestyle, eh!  It appears so far to be quite a reasonable day; another blue sky but less snow than yesterday so maybe my transports of delight will be a tad more reliable, i.e. actually there today! A good friend from the course did offer me a lift as he lives relatively close by but I shall be courageous and brave the station in an effort to remain true to my green principles . . . although I suppose two people in a Mercedes is greener than just one on his own, what do you think?

Anyway, whichever form of conveyance I use I shall have to get a move on and get all my documents in order and so I shall leave you here to browse awhile amongst the dusty shelves . . . in fact you could make yourself really useful and rearrange a few of the motes for me if you so wish . . . no? Oh well, it was worth a try I suppose!

Have a wonderful day; remember what John said and enjoy every minute of it!

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Figures in a Landscape

Good Afternoon Everyone . . .

It's a little after three and the light is beginning to  shift and change and prepare to evolve into evening; I spent about one and a half hours this morning crunching around in the snow with Sally, taking photographs, some examples of which decorate this offering and generally getting very chilled indeed - but the sky was the bluest I have seen in the UK for quite a while and the contrast with the snow was wonderful !  However, although the sun is dipping now it has done a fairly good job of ridding us of the white stuff but according to the wizards in the Met office, tonight's temperature could be a rather teeth-chattering -14c  . . . definitely a by-the -fireside evening, especially for old fogeys like myself!
We began our stroll  along the side of the Asland - to see more details I think you can click on the photos to see them in a slightly larger format - on what was our established route . . . this was before the flood alleviation scheme, of which I have spake in earlier blogs, came about and blocked the footpaths leading into the Plantations; now our route is somewhat curtailed unless we fancy a noisy walk along the side of busy roads which, frankly, neither of us do! Of course, no walk with the camera present would be complete without a photo opportunity for Madam . . . I am saying nothing!

I was actually on the phone at the time and so this was taken with one hand, hence the dubious quality! Anyhow we toddled along and saw some beautiful sights . . . it really is totally amazing how much difference a blue sky and snow can make to a very ordinary urban landscape . . . the sun was really beginning to bounce off the snow and the colours were almost alpinbe, though I regret my poor shots don't depict it as well as they could . . . but here's one of some trees near the river which I think looks rather sweet and suitably chilly to reflect the fact that, at this point, I was beginning to lose the feeling in my fingers!

And so we returned to hot tea and toast for me and a rather smelly but decidedly delicious chew thing for herself; and now, as I write in the encroaching gloom she is snoozing and dreaming and waiting for the next outing . . . what a life!

Actually the next outing will be a solo one as I venture forth to find something for supper;  I plan to continue with my OU work, having dipped my toe in and out a couple of times today already, and so I will definitely need a treat after that!  I'm still not exactly sure of the plot of the short story I'm writing for a competition; given that it takes place in Jura and should reflect the local myths and legends I could quite well have my work cut out, but it will be a challenge at least!

Tomorrow I am away to the east and the seat of learning and, at the thought of that, I cast a nervous glance at the notice board near my desk and see, oh joy, an assignment due in eight days . . . hmmm . . . it isn't a deadline as such, more a recommendation . . . we shall have to see about that ! 

I think I should gird my loins, or possibly grid my lions, and be away to the shop for supper . . . I hope your day has been a good one and that your evening expands to encompass every possibility of enjoyment you can imagine !

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

Monday, 6 December 2010

Stella By Starlight . . .

Good Evening my Dear Ones . . .

Although one feels it is rather early to express such a salutation, the dark day has finally given way to night and yet the clock insists that it is just after 5... there is tea to drink and maybe a biscuit or two to tempt our taste buds as in the lands of the North, where the Black Rocks stand guard against the cold sea, in the dark night that is very long, we the Men of the Northlands sit by our great log fires and tell a tale...

Well, sort of anyway! A little paraphrasing of the great Oliver Postgate there; it is from the introduction to Noggin the Nog, one of the first of his works I ever recall seeing on our flickery Stella black and white TV, way back in the mists of time . . . as I remarked to a friend earlier in the week, 'Stella' was the first word I ever typed - I was sitting playing on my uncle's old Remington typewriter and I copied the letters from the front of the TV . . . I think I was about 4 or so at the time . . . ah me! I wonder how many words I have caused to be brought into existence since? Too, too many I hear you cry and you could very well be right!

And so what does the evening offer? Well, evidently a lot of people from Coronation St are to be sacrificed to the gods of ratings to celebrate (?) 50 years of this particular form of torture; the world is ending because of the snow - again; I'm struggling with my temper and trying not to evaporate Facebook and its new format from the face of the Earth as it consistently refuses to let me update my profile with correct information - it will, however let me do it as long as I conform to the format, so for example I can speak English but the minute I add any other languages it deletes the lot! Of course, being of American design I suppose erudition was not included in the design brief . . . wonder if there's a fast-food bit?

Other than that, and chats with friends, the evening is so far as still and horse-lattitudey as the doldrums - to mix my naval gazing metaphors ; I really have struggled with sleep over the past few nights so tonight could well be an opportunity to try and bag a few hours on account.

On a rather sad note I should record that yesterday morning saw the death of Ethel Round, the President of Wigan Little Theatre; she had achieved a grand old age of over 100 years and was present at every performance of every play . . . a marvelous character who will be very much missed by everyone who knew her.

And that, dear ones, is pretty much it; outside the weather is as grim as it's supposed to be up North and an evening dozing in the warmth and comfort of one's own BPS is a luxury beyond the fortune of Croesus!

'til next time

Be Seeing You !