Saturday, 29 January 2011

False Vacuums or Why Loaded Fridges Are Difficult To Budge *

Good Morning Dear Readers !

And the briefest snow-flurry of words for you to catch on your tongue and taste today as I have several million nigh-impossible things to do before even a photograph of breakfast has a chance to develop . . .

I am somewhat behind schedule due to my late night creating activities: I had planned to write up one of the kids poems for my forthcoming collection (which is rather fetchingly entitled " A Dollop of Doggerel") a rough draft of which I'd quickly penned during the day and, instead, ended up writing two more before finally snuffing the candle out at just after 2 am!

Today, as well as making the long and very frosty journey to the stately pile to see the Old Duchess, I am preparing the BPS for a visit of Vale Royalty which not only includes dusting the spiders and shifting piles of debris from corner to corner but also preparing some kind of comestibles suitable to the occasion . . . what I don't really have time to do, and in fact what I shouldn't be doing at all, is sitting here in the library writing this tosh and piffle for your delectation but then again, when did I ever do what I was supposed to and, similarly, not do what I wasn't, hmmm?

The week has been a busy one culminating yesterday in a counselling session in which I said goodbye to one of my favourite clients.  She thanked me in such effluvious terms that the consulting room was positively soggy with emotion! I had to point out that it was she who had done all the work and made all the progress but the sweet natured creature insisted that I was in some way responsible, which although misguided, was nonetheless very rewarding to hear!

Other than that it has been a week of travelling on trains whilst listening to the wonderful Symphony of Science downloads ( and reading a selection of books including the improbably entitled "The Never-Ending Days of Being Dead" by Marcus Chown which is a very enjoyable brain-tangler and tingler!

Whoops!  It fast approacheth ten and I must to the kitchen hie!  Please excuse the paucity of today's entry - I shall attempt to make up for it in some fashion in the coming days!  If you are stuck for something more satisfying to read you could do much worse than consult the list of blogs at the bottom of this page; I especially recommend my lovely friend and geekess extraordinaire Jules' latest offering (available at ) for a lovely heart-warming tale of bonding, mutual understanding and the eternal Marvel / DC comics debate in  A&E.

May your day be as satisfying as the first stretch of the morning and make your toes wriggle similarly!

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

* eternal questions which Marcus tackles admirably! 

Thursday, 27 January 2011

The Note Book of Jobs . . .

Good Morning my lovelies - how the devil are you?

It seems a positive age since last we spoke and broke bread together, and in between? Well, more of the usual really . . .

On the work front I finally got to meet one of my fellow counsellors in the shape of Tessa, a lovely girl from California.  We are planning a group session together for two of our clients and finally managed to get our diaries to converge and had a productive and enjoyable meeting . . .
As far as college is concerned I somehow sat down yesterday morning and rattled off an assignment  - which left me somewhat in shock - and spent yesterday evening discussing intimacy and, in the process, came up with an idea and title for a new publishing venture, of which more later when I have some idea what I'm talking about!

Today, being a Thursday, I'm meeting up with the Old Duchess who, thankfully, seems to be rallying a little and eating slightly more; we are off the the Halls of Plenty to do a shop for her and pick up a few things I need for the weekend - I'm actually planning to venture into the kitchen for more than tea and toast which will make a very welcome change!  Although it is now after nine am it is still relatively dull and dark;  I hope the weather picks up a tad soon as I think we all benefit from just a hint of sunlight in these dark winter months, the OD seems to be a case in point and so, for her benefit, I want you all to think sunshine, thank you!

In the middle of that last paragraph I had a breakdown, well two.  

Now before you start rushing 'round with your grapes, sympathy and "33 Ways to a New You after Becoming a Nutter" books I should point out that it was merely Firefox throwing a hissy fit! This has happened a few times in recent weeks and I'm becoming a tad concerned; of course I know that I'm running my system with less RAM than I should - in that respect my PC resembles a farm exclusively containing lesbian sheep - and in fact I have been investigating the possibility of extending that particular part of my system - not in a sapphic sense you understand - the trouble is I want a new one and, to be honest, nothing else will do!

This is a recurring problem.  In many ways I'm not a prototypical bloke; I don't like sport, I like shopping.  I don't enjoy the company of men very much, I prefer to listen to women. In film I prefer cerebral works of intensity rather than shoot'em up action movies  . . . BUT, and as you can see, it is a rather large one, I am somewhat of a ʞǝǝƃ when it comes to technology . . . and therein lies the issue!  Oh lord, I can hear you think, he's going off on one again and yes, sadly, dear readers you know me too well . . . I am going off on one, and that one is again about what I want and not what I need!

I want a new system. I want an iMac system. It is beauty and technology combined in such a way that it cannot fail to make me a better writer, stud muffin and all round more beautiful human being . . . the resulting works will move you in such a way that your lives will be transformed; you will transcend the everyday worries and cares that currently blight your drab, wretched existence; your days will be filled with love, laughter and light . . . so you see it would be selfish of me not to get a new iMac wouldn't it?

So why haven't I done this great service to humanity yet? well, very simply dear friends, it is down to the spondulicks, the green stuff, the filthy lucre! Yesterday I was costing up the extra RAM I need and it would cost me about £26 - and even that would be a struggle to come up with so the few thousand I would need to transfer my allegiance from Bill to Steve is, at the moment, beyond reach.  

And that is one of the prices I pay for the life I lead.  I did have money, once, sort of . . . I had a tailor and a wine merchant - though not for very long . . . and I managed to accrue debts as we all do, but the price I paid for that kind of life was, I found, too much . . . at a risk of being an old hippy once again, money isn't everything  . . . although it does go a long way towards furnishing me with an iMac Air . . . I have built up a way of being over the years that I think helps me to produce some very interesting works; however, it doesn't translate that well into the standard 9-5 day . . . I don't work that way very well;  I become dull and resentful and a less than useful member of the enterprise . . . and so it seems I'm destined to work the way I do and live the life I do and so, until I'm up there with JK Rowling in terms of sales, I will have to get the begging bowl out and go and buy some RAM!  Interestingly, the K is redundant and doesn't actually stand for anything; maybe I should add another initial to my name, although I quite like I Mac . . .

And with that final shot across the bows of the good ship Sanity I shall cease my witterings for the moment; It's a lonely old business this creative genius lark and, should you feel the urge, please leave a comment after this pile of dingos doo's; it helps to spur me on to greater things, though, of course , that may be exactly the result you're trying to avoid . . . clever!  In any case I hope you have extracted some pleasure from these ramblings; may your day be as light-filled and happy as a devout glow-worm in the midst of a religious experience

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

Sunday, 23 January 2011

A Question of Faith . . .

A very good and early morning to you all . . . 

I am back from the wilds and wonders of my Saturday travellings, having had my usual freezing wait on Crewe, this time accompanied by hoards of drunken football fans making absolute arses of themselves . . . I think when you are, say, mid thirties, the time for running up and down a station platform in a mob singing  obscene  songs about the sexual exploits of the driver of the train you are trying to catch - and probably vomit on - tunelessly, has passed and it is a fitting occasion to review and reflect on the life you are leading . . . still, it was a appropriate reintroduction to what passes for society following a lovely days absence . . . 

Whilst travelling I read a small book by the very capable Mitch Albom, author of "The Five People You Meet In Heaven" and "Tuesdays with Morrie", the latter being a great favourite of mine.  This one "Have A Little Faith" was similar to Morrie and just as moving; one particular passage referred to something called 'the second death'  and centred upon a quote from Thomas Hardy's "The To-Be-Forgotten":
They count as quite forgotten,
They are as men who have existed not

Theirs is a loss past lost of fitful breath
It is the second death

In the passage Mitch asks his old Rabbi what people fear most about death:

"Fear?" He thought for a moment. "Well, for one thing, what happens next?  Is it what we imagined"
That's big.
"Yes, but there's something else"
What else?
He leaned forward
"Being forgotten" he whispered.

Reading that I was struck by the fact that earlier in the day, before leaving, I had posted a birthday tribute to my Aunt Flo and had ended it by saying "you are not forgotten" . . .  I know that, with my clients, we often talk about those who have died still being with us in our hearts and thoughts; often I will remark how it seems as though the person is in the room with us, so vivid are the memories brought by the client and I think it reassures us that, even though we know and recognise that the person has died, somehow they live on with us, they do not know the second death.

You must excuse such sober thoughts before breakfast - do help yourselves by the way . . . beyond the library window the sky has become light and what passes for another day in terms of luminescence  has begun . . . my plans are somewhat loose and fluid today; I may pop across to the stately pile and have a cup with the OD, all depending on what the weather decides to do  . . . to get there on Sunday by public transport requires an act of faith beyond my capabilities and so a walk would be in the offing which would, of course, please certain canine members of the household - not least because of the fussing that would occur at the other end!  But we shall see how the day pans out and whether I feel up to it . . . I am also, disastrously, out of biscuits; not a digestive in sight! So a short bout of retail involvement is called for somewhere along the line . . . actually, I don't really appear to have much in the way of comestibles . . . I knew I'd forgotten to do something this week . . . ah me!

Plans for the forthcoming include a significant amount of rail travel yet again as I am to Bury twice and college once - the delightful girls at the ticket office are now well versed in my destinational requirements and it is a little like walking into one's local and having a drink waiting for you . . . something I have failed to experience for fast approaching a year now . . . good lord!

I shall wonder off and do something else now and leave you good people to your Sundays; I hope they are filled with pleasantness and jollifications and that they recharge the batteries for the week of fun ahead!

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Florece Powell (1898 - 1986)

Good Morning Everyone!

Just this one short message today; I want to post this in memory of a very special lady who had a huge influence on my life and who I loved very deeply.  This is my Great Aunt Florence - my Auntie Flo - who, when I was pre-school, taught me rudimentary French, Piano, told me tales of other places and people and introduced me to The Archers!

She had an incredibly difficult life and yet always seemed jolly - some would say as mad as a brush! Her name doesn't appear on any gravestone - yet! - and so I would like to use this space as a way of say Happy Birthday Flo - you are not forgotten!

And here is a little song we used to sing - I hope you like it!

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

Friday, 21 January 2011

A Brief History of Time ✫*¨*.¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*

Good Evening Dear Friends

And welcome, once again, to Friday evening . . . another week sped by and here sits yours truly after a long days journey into Bury and an even longer one back with people sat on my shoulders once more .  . ah me!

I had a rather marvellous occurrence last night - or rather early this morning; I was chatting on Twitter to my lovely Canadian friend GeekyJules and she drew my attention to some music and video that, wonders of wonders, instantly sparked and tickled my jaded palate . . . so much so that the music at least made it's way to my iPod and has accompanied me all through the day!

The music in question is from Symphony of Science and is, in my opinion, both educational and beautiful to listen to; it features lots of famous people sampled and vocally digitised to allow them to 'sing' their words . . . very clever indeed! If you visit the site  - - you can watch and / or download for free . . . here's a wee sample:

I was also thrilled to see that a great hero of mine from the past was featured heavily; the wonderful but sadly late Carl Sagan who populated my youthful mind with wonder and amazement with his series "Cosmos" and who wrote a short story which later was adapted to become "Contact" with Jodie Foster - a fantastic film! 

Anyhow, I hope you get the urge and opportunity to visit the site - I shall doubtless pop back and have another browse later on . . .I don't know if it will have the same impact and effect on you but it's really caused me to think deeply about lots of things, not just science . . . hmmm! On a related theme you can also visit Jule's website where the above video is featured along with the words and which is a cornucopia of wonderfulness and eclectic eccentricity; try out and see what you think!

Tomorrow sees me off to Deer Crossing for a day of  going (not very) wild in the country  - despite Annabel's urgings*  - and a day away from the town and its hustle and bustle . . . I am so looking forward to it; so relaxing and restful . . . the one thing I notice there is the silence, something I miss living in the BPS.

And that, my dear ones, is just about it I think; my poor old wetware is somewhat overloaded this evening and probably needs some green tea and a good book to revive it and so I shall leave you to your evening and hope it is bountifully overflowing with everything you desire and require !

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

* Annabel and Bow Wow Wow "Go Wild in the Country" 1982

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Absit Omen *

Good Morning All!

An early start to a misty twisty day, helped along the way by the rhythmic hammering of nails into walls by some sleep-deprived neighbour just before six this morning !  I have already downed tea and toast and am ready to take whatever the day shall throw at me . . . or possibly sink back to the sleep my body craves . . . hmmm . . . difficult one that!  But no, I have things to do and places to be and be back from in order to try and attend yesterday's cancelled meeting regarding a possible new venue for my life . . .

In order to achieve this I intend to begin today's votive  - which of course I have -  and then pause and resume it at some later point with, I hope, good news . . . I do hope that it can be concluded today as on Wednesday I have the part of my counselling diploma that I have been dreading and which I abhor; we are required to record an hours counselling session and evaluate it . . . I have had such bad experiences in 'other places' with this procedure that it has become my particular bête noire  but one that must be faced - as all such beasties should!  So with the help of a couple of stalwarts, said beast should be done and dusted by tomorrow evening . . . however, to do this I will require what wits I have to be about me in abundance - and worrying about extraneous stuff will be a bugbear and a distraction.  It is good for me to remember, at times like this, that others are also going through seven circles of hell in similar circumstances; I  hope for a satisfactory conclusion for them also; strangely enough it seems that this morning is the time for all to be concluded -  fingers crossed!

I am off to beautify now and will leave you - albeit temporarily -  with one of those mythical and fantastically temporaneous short corridors otherwise known as:

* * * A Brief Passage of Time * * *

Well, Hello! And here we are again, after the aforementioned corridor of Chronos and following a meeting which, rather than settle things for me, has introduced a most awful and dreadfully devil-and-the-deep-blue-sea dichotomy into the proceedings  . . . of which, possibly more at a later date; suffice it to say it  involves a most horrendous decision which will, ultimately, place me in a lose/lose situation . . . ah me!

Along with causing me untold woe and grief it also casts a shadow over tomorrow's coursework - something I wanted to avoid at all costs! - and whilst it could form a suitable background  subject for discussion there is always the possibility that I would dissolve into blubs and never recover!  I suppose, like the vertically-challenged judge, it is opne of those small things sent to try us . . .  I shall attempt to be strong and beat this particular problem into a cocked hat as I have with others before.

The evening is before me now;  I had a brief soiree  - if you can have one of those in the afternoon - with Sister Cate when I did green tea and cheesecake admonish for being so delightfully tempting and myself berate for having no willpower at all! It was good to be back in Nero again - it seems ages since I last visited . . . there have probably been redundancies due to fall in profits . . . anyhow, I entered on donkey-back and my way was strewn with palms so I think they were glad to see me . . . though I have a premonition that by Friday they may be cross . . . forgive my flippancy fish-people!

I have things to consider and words to write and so I must be away to other times and places rather than here and now albeit with friendly faces . . . I hope your evening is splendid and that you are so relaxed that, when bedtime comes, you are able to be posted 'twixt duvet and sheet like a serene snoozy synopsis of all things lovely and sweet!

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

* "Let this not be a bad omen". Expresses the wish that something seemingly ill-boding does not turn out to be an omen for future events, and calls on divine protection against evil.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Song of The Open Road *

Good Morning Dear Friends

And welcome to yet another gray and rainy day  - and to top it off, it's Sunday!  As Thomas De Quincy  memorably once said “It was a Sunday afternoon, wet and cheerless; and a duller spectacle this earth of ours has not to show than a rainy Sunday in London " he had obviously never been to Wigan but we must let that pass and try to squeeze out the sweetness from every situation . . .

I had a lovely late afternoon and evening with my Royalty from the Vale; I demonstrated a card trick I had been taught by the infinitesimally lovely Ms Shoop on Thursday and it was wonderful to behold a Mathematician's brain in full flow trying to compute combinations and probabilities . . . actually, to be honest, it isn't so much a trick as a conundrum and whilst I do have a vague inkling of how it works, I would be lying to say so with assurance . . . I have included a depiction of it below then you can try it for yourselves. 

According to my own dear Babbage babe, it should be possible to do it with an entire pack which would be quite spectacular . . . though my tired wetware can't compute whether you would lay them out in 4 rows or more . . . ho-hum!

Having been a bright and breezy soul first thing today I intend to dedicate the rest of it to the pursuit of indolence and luxury; a cup of tea, some nibbles and a film or a book or two . . . my pleasures, like my intellect, are simple!  I am away to the shops to stock up on said nibbles shortly - or at least when I've finished this piffle and made myself beautiful - and really that will be that; a quiet day in solitude, to sit and watch it go dark which, given today's ambient light levels, won't take very long at all.

I was charmed by a Kenneth Graeme quote I stumbled upon t'other day and which reminded me somewhat of my philosophy, especially here in these venerable and hallowed pages:
"Come along inside... We'll see if tea and buns can make the world a better place"
It really reminded me of here which - if all goes according to plan tomorrow  - may well be somewhere else pretty soon!  The thought of moving and starting afresh really does appeal to me . . . historically I had lived a very fluid lifestyle and not only in terms of alcohol!  I had lived in lots of places both here and abroad and so to spend the last eight years here has been somewhat strange and difficult to get used to;  having said that I suppose as one gets more doddery and set in ones ways the Open Road loses at least some of its charm

And that, in its turn, has reminded me of a lovely, old, small green book I chanced upon many years ago in a second-hand bookshop - surely one of the most beloved places on Earth! - it is a volume of poetry compiled  by E V Lucas and is entitled "The Open Road" originally belonging to someone with the initials  MKC, it had been purchased on April 30th 1903 in Weybridge.

The book is a celebration of the romantic ideal of the country way of living and is a memento of a forgotten world and a way of life long disappeared; it opens with an "Explanation " by EV Lucas that begins: " This little book aims at nothing but providing companionship on the road for city-dwellers who make holiday " It has beautiful end papers from  designs by William Hyde and just holding it seems to transport me back to that Edwardian era of optimism and light before the world changed forever in 1914 . . .  it also contains a few bits of Kenneth Graeme which is why it probably sprang to mind in the first place!

However, I seem to be babbling and blathering and preventing you from being about your business and me about mine, so I shall beautify and be off Allons!  the open road or at least as far to the shops . . . I shall end with a wee bit of Thomas Randolph (1605-1635) again taken from The Open Road:

Come, spur away
I have no patience for a longer stay
But must go down,
And leave the chargeable noise of this great town.
I will the country see . . .

Have a wonderful day!

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

* originally a poem by Walt Whitman

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Time to Haul the Anchor Up and Leave the Land Astern . . . *

Good Morning Dear Friends!

And looking out of the library window what do I see? Another gray rainy Saturday looking back at me . . . tsk!  Even though it doesn't quite disrupt travel as much as the white stuff I have to say that I'm getting a little tired of this seemingly perpetual precipitation . . . for one thing it certainly dampens one Gekko's !

But welcome to the weekend anyway and what have we got to look forward to? Well, my dear friend from the vale royal is appearing late this afternoon, just in time for tea and scones which will be lovely as always, that will be following on the heels of a trip over to the stately pile to see how fares the Old Duchess . . . once again, the general gloom weather-wise means she doesn't feel that up to toddling out and about as much, but staying in certainly lowers the mood and so the Saturday visits are an attempt to boost morale somewhat . . . it's also a chance to catch up with Sister Cate who seems to be spending an inordinate amount of time flat on her back; this is not due to a much welcomed lapse of morals however, just an example of her propensity to trip and fall from any and all objects, including the Earth.

Another quite shocking piece of news is that, given a fair wind and a gentle current, I may be slackening off the painters and letting the barque drift to new moorings . . .  It is all still  very much up in the air but I have been seeking a new peid a terre for some while and I've just had news that this has become a very real possibility.  I am quite beside myself with excitement;  I have been here for eight years now and, whilst I feel very much at home here and enjoy the space and the light that it does undoubtedly offer, the day to day conditions of living leave much to be desired. . . so, should all go to plan, I should know by High Tea on Monday whether I will be upping sticks and moving my tent onto another location!  One bonus of the new BPS is that it does offer, I believe,  quite a luxurious library space  which can only be good news as I am full to over-flowing here at the moment!

I spent yesterday afternoon in the company of my clients including a delightfully sweet new one who I feel will be wonderful to work with.  It does give one a really warm feeling inside when that connection is made; I think it is true to say that, for a lot of clients, their relationship with the counsellor is very much more intense and intimate than the one they experience with their partners, hence the therapeutic relationship is governed by very strict boundaries. That actually could be one of the main reasons that I enjoy the work and maybe why my clients appear to react so favourably; in relationships it is the intimacy I seek out and relish most and, for the clients, it does engender a feeling of warmth, security and trust . . . Hmmm . . . anyhow, we all had a good time and, before leaving the good burghers of Bury behind, I managed a last quick look at the Moomin exhibition (as mentioned previously in these pages) before setting off for home where I encountered my old friend Dr Tony returning from some research work in the City.  We spent an enjoyable 40 minutes or so  - albeit in a very old, uncomfortable and crowed train with people almost squatting on our shoulders - chatting away and putting the world to rights, as one does.

And now it is today and I must away about my business; my head is still incredibly fuzzy and unpleasant and, before you unkind folk out there get a chance to respond with a " it matches your phizog then!" I shall do it for you! My forehead feels like a boulder-strewn highway that I must walk down in stocking feet whilst wearing a blindfold . . . what a curious image! . . . anyhow, I've nearly finished the much detested antibiotics to no apparent benefit except a dodgy digestive system and a fear of sneezing in public places! 

But no matter!  The day calls and I must slap and tickle the BPS into some kind of shape before my visitor arrives; I wish you the very best of Saturdays and, like the Co Op ads advise, spend it wisely doing things you really want to, not things you feel you should! And, as it used to say over the piano at my Great Aunt Florence's "Enjoy yourself - it's later than you think!"

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

* "Go and tell Lord Grenville that the tide is on the turn;time to haul the anchor up and leave the land astern; we'll be gone before the dawn returns . . . like voices in the wind..."

Lord Grenville Al Stewart Year of the Cat

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Days of Stygian Gloom . . .

Good Morning Dear Friends . . .

It's a wet and windy Wednesday -  here at least  - and yours truly is finally seated back in the library following a prolonged break  - Goodness me!  I see I haven't spoken to you since Saturday!  Do try and find a smidgen of forgiveness in your hearts for me as I appear to have somehow been bitten by a  rogue and climatically resilient tsetse fly with the result that sleeping sickness has set in!  Another, more probable theory is that I'm being laid low by some medication my dear Dr L has prescribed to help me get rid of the terminal sniffles - whichever, the result is somewhat similar and equally debilitating!

Yesterday, for example, I was over in Bury for a long days journey into Mindfulness . . .  I somehow managed to scrape through without becoming comatose but upon my arrival back at the BPS, collapsed in my chamber and literally could not move all evening!  I also have all-over-body aches which leave me less than bouncing with vigour and, to cap it all off,  a persistent headache . . . I'm so glad the medication is doing me good! Although, to be fair, I suppose it could be coincidental and I've just succumbed to another nasty bug!

Today I am off to the seat of learning for the first time this year and am looking forward to seeing all the old familiar faces  . . . we are now on the home straight, as it were, course-wise with only a few months to go before we (hopefully) qualify . . . it will be very strange not to have these people in my life on Wednesday evening although with such facilities as Facebook and Twitter keeping in touch is hardly a problem . . .  I find I have become a bit of a Twitter snob! Perhaps I prefer it because I'm not bombarded with pointless games and advertising constantly - or maybe it's because it's like the difference between junior scrabble and the proper version? Twitter seems somehow more "grown up" although that is not normally a phrase I would use to describe myself as I'm sure you would agree!  In any case those of us that wish to remain in contact will be able to with ease . . . how the world has changed in just a few short years . . .

I remember in the past waiting for weeks to hear from friends in other lands whereas now communication is instant and free!  Although there was a certain excitement about opening a letter or a package with its exotic stamps and smells . . . I recall with fondness the packages I used to receive from Germany - the first sense to be assailed was that of smell as the waft of rich dark coffee burst into the room . . . mmm!  Even though, these days, I don't drink coffee anymore, the smell still evokes a Proustian madeleine response . . . I also miss writing letters; any I do write these days I tend to word-process  - itself a somewhat already archaic term!  - rather than write by hand whereas I used to spend ages writing and decorating letters and cards for people . . . it almost reminds one of the difference in the writing styles of Victorian authors and those of today;  people seemed to have more time to read in those far flung days and so the writing style expanded to fill the space . . . lack of time is one of our ages most prolific afflictions; I am as much a sufferer as anyone although I do make a conscious effort to put more time into my writing and into life in general.  It is laughable to see those "What the future holds" articles of the early 60's when a life of leisure was the prediction, with the menial tasks carried out by robots . . . ha! almost as true as the paperless office!

I can feel the urge coming on to make tea and toast and to prepare myself for the coming hours; looking out of the library window it is another half-light day with trees standing shrouded in the drizzle and here, at my desk, I write in a pool of light whilst in the shadows Sal snoozes and waits for time to begin properly.  For her, this always involves the first walk of the day although she is notoriously allergic to rain and being wet and so, in these meteorological conditions, the day can take some while to start.  She regards me with a suspicious eye and a sort of " You can't possibly be thinking of sending a dog out on a day like this, can you?" expression . . . I have to say that she has just pointed out that the last statement was something of an anthropomorphism which I have duly noted and which, I hope, dear readers didn't detract from your enjoyment of today's humble fare . . . what a curse is a literate dog!

I shall away to the kitchen and leave you to your day;  I hope, as always, that it is full of love and light and that a smile - even if the result of wind - is never far away!

'til next time

Be Seeing you !

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Had We But World Enough, and Time . . .

Good Morning Dear Friends!

Within, as I look around the library, I see that, for the moment, I am alone; without, the darkness of night still clings to the brickwork off the BPS like a child on his first day at school, afraid to let go of what he has always known and let a new world and a new day begin . . .

But soon the light will be upon and among us and a day full of plans to conduct and orchestrate,  culminating in the visit of a dear friend this evening . . . but, before all that, there's all this !

I managed to get to and from Bury yesterday, despite the best ministrations of Ular the god of snow (and, for once, a practically correct usage of the word 'ministrations'!) and meet with my clients again who, bless their little cotton socks, seemed genuinely pleased to see me . . . the journey was surprisingly easy and uncomplicated and so I sat with my iPod burbling a hotchpotch of musical accompaniments in my ears as the miles passed serenely; a great travelling companion is the soundtrack from one of my favourite films Amelie - the music is by Yann Tierson and is a lovely mix of French accordion, strings and just a hint of Moroccan rhythms and sounds - a sort of musical palette that paints a lightening sketch of French culture . . . 

I then skipped northwards to Scandinavia and the miraculous outpourings of Polar Studios in Stockholm; I make no apologies for liking Abba as I consider their treatment of the three-minute pop song to be nothing short of genius, however I would like to apologise to my fellow travellers on the tram to Bury for my inadvertent and somewhat epileptical  seated-dancing and unfortunate warbling, the latter no matter how sotto voce !  Similarly, on the return leg as I zoomed through twilight Salford, I was appropriately accompanied by the lugubrious but always cheekily winking tones of Sheila taking a bow and booting the grime of this world in the crotch, dear!  One can see how someone so young, at the time, could write words so sad amidst the always somewhat squalid Salfordian environs . . .  

The concept of listening to music whilst travelling is a relatively new one to yours truly; although in a previous life time I was a musician I find that, these days, reading and writing ( and even 'rithmatic!) has taken over as my main leisure time activities, however on the train I find other peoples conversations intrude too much and so I normally zone out and simply watch the miles go by  . . .

The evening passed in a blur  - not the musical group I hasten to add - and suddenly it is now and Saturday awaits!  Today sees a small amount of last minute shopping to ensure my guest's needs and desires are fulfilled and then it's over to the stately pile for an afternoon with the Old Duchess and Sister Cate . . . this year we are significantly late in taking down the OD's Christmas tree and so that will be one among many of today's tasks . . . tasks which will, it seems, be carried out in somewhat damp conditions if the evidence of my eyes is to be believed; the library windows are streaked with rain and the street lights bubble and melt like gold in the alchemists alembic . . . let us hope that from such humble and drab ingredients we are able to distill a Chrysopoeia worthy of our efforts!

And with those words I should be about my business; the dawn is still lounging in bed, unwilling to de-duvet itself in the name of organisational efficiency and I, for one, can understand its reluctance as I too could cheerfully climb back into my hammock and snooze a while . . . but time, tide and the OD wait for no man and so . . .

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Housework for Beginners . . . *

Good Morning Dear Friends!

Do come in and make yourself comfortable;  an unusually lit day today - doesn't seem quite to be able to make up its mind as to its composition and state of mind really; will it rain or will it shine?  Ah me!

Well, you find yours truly back from the bucolic beatitudes of Deer Crossing with a set of unbelievably aching legs! I seemed to spend a goodly amount of my existence last night standing around on a very damp Crewe Station, waiting for the end of time (or the train to Wigan as it is now more commonly referred to) and pondering the quirks, foibles and other  interesting words that shape my life . . . I was amused greatly for a moment or so by the following advice that appeared on the passenger information notice board: "Customers are advised to take extra care on the station due to the damp and slippery weather conditions, especially on the stairs." which really is a stunning example of a micro-climate in operation , or possibly the decline in standards of use of the English language . . . but it served to break up the ennui for a while and paused my burgeoning consideration of having the timetables  re-written in geological timescale so as to give the impression of a working public service . . .

Today finds me still somewhat ague-filled but bent on the sorting and cleansing of the BPS following the usual meet-up with the Old Duchess to do her weekly - and increasingly weakly - shop at that cornucopia of retail heavenliness, Tesco.   I know you find it hard to imagine that I,  noted as I am for my jet-set lifestyle and endless round of showbiz parties, could ever be found in such a mundane setting, yet it is so; following an interview with the management of the store I only ask that you keep requests for autographs to a minimum and preferably on paper as opposed to body parts - the last occasion caused a drop in the sales figures for frozen Spotted Dick and Queen of Tarts puddings . . .

Friday sees me back in harness and away over the hills to Bury and my wonderful clients. It will be interesting to see how Christmas affected them; being such a readily identifiable family time, it can be absolute hell for those recently bereaved . . . I am always somewhat amazed and humbled that they choose to spend their time with me and that, together, we  try and make sense of something that seems as senseless and arbitrary as sudden death often does . . . ah me!

But the day beckons - as does the teapot! A brief splash of the old green liquid love and then I shall be dashing away with the smoothing iron, scrubbing brush and other such implements of torture - well, in my eyes at least!    I hope your day is suitably fantastic and joy-filled and that you can pop in to see me again very soon - just don't forget to wipe your boots on the mat!

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

* I googled this to see if any such work existed  and found instead a plethora of 'English for Beginners' exercises about doing the housework - it is quite fascinating to realise just how many different verbs we employ in the description of such a mundane act - an absolute nightmare for students of the language!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Trains of Thought . . .

Good Morning Dear Friends . . .

And, as the majority of you are returning to your chains as galley-slaves today, an unfortunately white one - at least here in the Wigwam! Snow has fallen, snow on snow, as the old carol goes and, as I plan my travel and work commitments for the coming week, I wonder what kind of chaos and disturbance this light dusting will cause . . .

I have been absent without leave for the past couple of days; for reasons that I need not bore you with I had a period of non-sleep lasting from Sunday morning up until late last night and consequently was in some degree of physical and cognitive meltdown . . . well, I was tired and ache-filled anyway and so decided to spare you the whingings and befuddlements such symptoms occasion and, instead,  return to you as bright and fresh as a daisy today  . . . hmmm!

I have quite a bit of admin and sorting out to do today as clients and courses slowly begin to re-emerge after the festive break; I am simply amazed at my capacity to switch off from organisational matters given the slightest excuse! However, being the conscientious sort of chap that I am I know that, come Friday and my first return to Bury and my clients, all will be in place; I can only hope that the people in charge of public transport are similarly inclined and the climatic conditions will not be too deep and crisp and even . . . 

I did notice that the price of rail travel has jumped up; my journey to Cheshire - which I will be undertaking once again this Wednesday - has risen by 70p which, according to my rudimentary and somewhat vestigial mathematical abilities is a rise of around 5.5% !  So my travel expenses increase whilst my income remains static . . . hmmm . . . it could be described by less charitable folk as a cut; will the efficiency of the train service increase by a similar amount? Or will I simply pay more to wait for trains that don't arrive . . . one amusing little fact I noticed concerned my Cheshire travel: If I  were to get the train which leaves at just after midnight and takes five hours and forty-four minutes to complete the 45 minute travelling time it would cost me £28.20 and would entail me travelling from Cheshire to Crewe to Manchester to Preston and finally to Wigan, having spent some three hours and forty-nine minutes on platforms - presuming the trains actually ran as stated, of which there is no guarantee!  

What?  I hear shouts of "Anorak" from the audience; Shame on you! But because I love you very much I shall ignore those jibes and simply inform you that: 

"The word 'anorak' comes from the Kalaallisut word anoraq. It did not appear in English until 1924; an early definition is "gay beaded item worn by Greenland women or brides in the 1930s"  Whereas " The word 'parka' is derived from the Nenets language.In the Aleutian Islands the word simply means "animal skin". It first entered the English written record in a 1625 work by Samual Purchas."

With thanks to those lovely people at Wikipedia for that wonderfully diverting information which I am sure will remain lodged in some infernal portion of my fevered memory along with the immortal "there is no medical name for the back of the knees" !

 Ah well, life and time speeds by and I must about my business . . . but before I go I must say I am becoming increasingly entranced by the strange and alien world of equations and mathematical formulae; I find myself breathless when considering that minds can condense down the entire universe into an equation and that, in the main, these equations, these feats of outstandingly, unimaginably unprecedented thought where carried out without the aid of computers or modern day technology but by people using only the available 'wetware' that is the brain!  

But more of that later when I have the time and, it has to be said, the understanding to have even the tiniest idea of the subject . . . I do apologise to passengers awaiting the arrival of  this particular train of thought; it could be quite a long wait!

I hope your day is good and that you meet love, light and happiness wherever you  are and that they follow you wherever you go!

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

Saturday, 1 January 2011

In the Beginning . . .

Good Morning Dear Friends, welcome to my humble abode and, of course, a new year . . .

It is customary in these parts on days such as this to greet one and all with numerous references to white rabbits (which I hope you will take as read) and to bestow wishes of good fortune upon friend and foe alike - I hope you have acknowledged these sentiments and taken them to heart.

To be totally frank I never really understood the point of all the celebratory business connected to new year; it's almost as though everyone is sighing with relief that all the mistakes are behind them and that they are almost eager to start messing up their lives all over again - or is that just my cynicism ? Maybe I am being much too harsh on my fellow travellers in time, or maybe it's simply not the same when one is sober?  Anyhow, the year turned with no great clamour but just me, Sal and a good read as the walls and windows shook with the sound of fireworks and revellry . . .

I awoke at around seven, had a simple tisane and toast breakfast and read; now, at a little after nine,  in the great without the world begins to wake and rub its bleary eyes . . . another gray and overcast day and, for once, one that remains virginally blank in my diary; I have various housework type tasks to accomplish but will defer those until my neighbours have roused themselves from their stupor and consumed their first liquid lunches of the year, consideration is all, don't you think?

Do you think I sound grumpy this morning? Do you detect a distinct lack of bonhomie?  I must admit to feeling slightly below par in terms of joviality but hope to remedy that soon - so apologies to you all . . . 

Actually, even though you are here the library feels strangely empty; for once the chairs contain only shadows of you all; I can see the bookcases through your turned backs and the breakfast stands uneaten and untouched . . . how very curious!  Maybe the new year has caused some kind of rift in the space time continuum? Or perhaps I am just waiting for your words to populate my world . . . mayhap I imagined it all in the first place, and if so I wonder who imagined me?   Enough of such circular logic - it is far too early  and the day awaits my potters hands to mould its grayness into something of utility or beauty - possibly both!

I shall leave the door open and you may wonder in and out as you choose; I hope you enjoy your day and, in fact, all your days and "knowest not the number of them, but take each singular and special as a flower amongst many "

'til next time

Be Seeing You !