Monthly Archives: November 2022

Turkey. That’s it really . . .

My “Friends At WordPress” as they sign themselves, tell me that I can secure the use of my domain name for another year at the old rate if I act quickly. As it’s only two months since I last did it I have to decide whether the saving is worth paying 10 months in advance. I suspect not.

Today I start my clearance activities. I want to lift the burden of junk that lies heavy on my life. This feeling will last for a few minutes then gradually fade away. My ability to stick to plans has become much depleted over the years. I think about this immediately after the WordPress comment as the two organisations seem to have the same sort of ethic regarding pricing – “jack it up every year and sprinkle the announcement with bullshit”. Entry level is announcing that they will be introducing “new and improved” features, which usually means new features and a variety of teething troubles. Advanced level is not bothering to pretend you are introducing anything new – just put the price up and fail to fix the old faults.

Yes, I’m in one of those moods.

I went for a blood test today as the one from a fortnight ago had slightly missed target. Just like last time I had to sit in a waiting room whilst a maskless kid ran round the room spreading germs and a maskless parent ignored them in favour of their phone. Same nurse as last time, but this time she hit the vein and took the blood faultlessly, as she normally does. So at least something went right today.

We’ve just done a bit of shopping and bought a frozen turkey crown. We thought e’d get in before the panic buying started, as the press are stoking up a frenzy of hysteria about turkey being short for Christmas. I’m not really bothered, as I’d happily eat a boiled parsnip for Christmas dinner as long as we have stuffing. It’s the company and the tradition I like (including the 34-year-old Christmas Card) rather than the food. I like the food too, but it wouldn’t spoil Christmas if we didn’t have it.

Now I’m going to start clearing junk from the house. Later I will write about how successful I have been.

The Lack of a Hyphen Makes my Day Duller

I got Julia to work this morning around 8.30, and waited patiently as someone backed out of a parking space in a leisurely manner. He made a mess of it, but when I was able to see the driver I could tell why – he had a peeled banana in his hand and it was clearly slowing him down. After dropping her off I was able to join a queue behind the banana eater and wait patiently behind him at two more junctions, as he appeared to stop and reflect on his life before each manoeuvre. Not the best start to the day, but far from the worst. That belonged to a man who was in a collision on the ring road just before I turned off to the shop. He had been hit from behind, his rear offside wing was chewed up and the rear window of his van had disintegrated. That’s far worse than being delayed by a man eating fruit.

Having said that, the addition of a hyphen could have made my day a lot more interesting. being held up by a man-eating fruit really would have been worth blogging about.

The rest of the day wasn’t even as interesting as the dull version of my day. We did the parcels, put a few things on eBay and I went home for a night of quiz shows, where I didn’t do very well.

Last night was slightly more exciting. After several months of putting it off I finally started injecting myself with adalimumab. Who comes up with these drug names? It’s another immunosuppressant to deal with my arthritis, and has, I’m told, side effects like cancer, heart failure and liver failure. And, in the middle of Covid, it can also mean that I become ill a lot more. Just what you need, isn’t it? I had a telephone consultation today and the rheumatologist was keen to check I had had my winter flu and Covid vaccinations. It’s a shame they can’t prescribe isolation – I’d happily spend the next three months avoiding human contact as long as I was paid. I doubt that will happen.

I used to inject myself with an anti-coagulant at one time. It was just for a few months after coming out of hospital, and it was done using small, pre-prepared syringes with fine needles and a plunger you pressed yourself. I’m a bit of a coward but I made myself do it and it all went OK.

The injectors for the new stuff are about twice the size and much less pleasant. You don’t put it on the injection site then complete the job with gentle finger pressure. You press firmly, release a spring loaded plunger, and feel your eyes bulge as a spring-loaded needle (which feels about the size of a hosepipe) stabs you violently and spends two seconds pumping the stuff in before clicking a second time to signify it is complete. Self-injection with the anti-coagulant was like the gentle caress of reading a Shakespearean Sonnet on a summer’s day whilst sipping elderflower cordial. Self-injection with adalimumab is like being beaten over the head with the screenplay of Terminator on a  wet Thursday evening in Hartlepool.  Fortunately I only have to do it once a fortnight, so I have another thirteen days before I need to do it again. Not that I’m counting, or anything.


Bears and Bikes and Bloggers

I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know what makes a good blog, I have about eight regular followers/commenters. This is down from the dozen I used to claim, because I am getting steadily more boring and less active. If I knew what made a good blog I would have done it, and possibly increased this number to twenty. It’s also well down on the 2,505 followers that WP claims I have. It would be more but I cleared a couple of thousand out a few years ago when it became clear that “followers” in WP are much the same as “friends” in Facebook. It provides a very shallow view of the world if you think a friend is gained by the pressing of a couple of buttons.

Bear in the Garden

When I started blogging I really wanted to reach out to thousands of people. This was partly because I wanted to publicise the Quercus group, and partly because I was vain. I’m still vain, but the thousands of followers don’t seem to have materialised.

The bears in the title are provided by Paolsoren, and the bikes by Tootlepedal. For details of an old codger’s evening meals (he had gala pie last night!) I have Derrick J Knight, for gardening and weaving I have Helen and for the secret life of a writer I have Laurie. I get my politics (in reasonably palatable doses) and embroidery from Billy Mann and my look at sophisticated life in a  big city from LA. Finally, for cats and music in Oregon, we have Lavinia, who is still around despite the alarming content of her last post.

A Bear of Very Little Brain

There are others too, now that I have finished the list and added links I realise how far from Finished the list really is. However, adding the links, which involves reading blogs (which I have been bad at recently) has taken enough time already, so I will have to post and run. Julia requires me to actually do something – she doesn’t believe that blogging is doing something.

The blogs I’ve mentioned are all good blogs, and allow me to sneak around peering into the lives of others, but none of them are “good” in the sense that they are really followed by huge numbers of people. You have to talk about handbags or getting rich quick or photograph yourself in underwear to make it big on the internet. Even though I am trying to resist it, a picture of my thirty year-old thermal long johns is coming to mind. Yes, definitely time to go.

Straw Bale Bowie Bear

A Perplexing Proliferation of Popular Political Parties

The football rumbles on. I tend to ignore most of it, but note that wales didn’t do quite as well as their hype suggested, and England, as usual, have made things a little more difficult for themselves. If Wales beat us by 4 goals when we play on Tuesday. It’s unlikely that Wales will beat us by 4 goals, but in football you never know . . .

Meanwhile, the Arab world seems to be getting a little fed up (though I base this on reading reports of reports) with being lectured on how to conduct themselves. Looks like I was very timely in my discussion of such things.

I’m actually quite irritated this week, because I’ve been drawn into discussing sport and politics. There ahs been so much nonsense hanging round the subject I couldn’t stop myself saying something, despite the fact we already have too many people offering opinions. Just because I am irritated by something doesn’t men I have anything to offer. That’s why I tend to stay away from serious subjects. Bloggers should stick to subjects like baking, bicycling and bears and leave politics to the lesser writers.

Which brings us to American Politics. I hear that Kanye West is running for President. I know very little about him but won’t rule anything out after watching events of previous years. I have just been looking at the list of American political parties. I honestly thought you only had two, with the occasional egomaniac standing as a independent. I now find there are actually loads, but they never get on the news.

US Taxpayers Party, People Over Politics Party, Independent Conservative Democratic Party, Green Party, Independence Party, Veterans Party of America Party, American Independent Conservative Party, Conservative Party, Libertarian Party, Peace and Freedom Party, American Independent Party, American People’s Freedom Party, Concerned Citizens Party of Connecticut, Moderate Party, Independent American Party, Resource Party, New Alliance Party.

Forgive me if I say that I am put in mind of the People’s Front of Judea sketch.

However, if you look at a list of British parties we have 11 parties represented in the House of Commons with four in other UK legislatures and another 124 represented in local government, including Tunbridge Wells Alliance, Poole Local Group and Poole People Party. Could you make it up? Probably, but I didn’t need to, I just needed Wikipedia and an enquiring mind.

Anyway, if you’ll excuse me, I have noticed that there is room for People’s Poole Party, and I may be just the charismatic leader they are looking for . . .

The header picture is a metaphor, with pigs and snouts and troughs, though it does seem unfair to the pigs. The lower picture shows wasps. I like wasps and lured them to the table (in August 2015, which now seems a long time ago) by smearing jam on the table.


And in answer to the question I am sure is in your minds, yes, I could have worked People and Poole into the title, but it seemed a bit long.






The Day Continues

The cauliflower soup was, even though I say it myself, very good. As I mentioned to Julia (who was also looking very good after her visit to the hairdresser), if it had a fault, it was a tendency to sit like a small pile in the spoon. Soup, I feel, should sit in the spoon like liquid rather than bulge over the top. It’s a consistent fault with my soup that it resembles a puree rather than a soup, but one I almost conquered this week. It will be more watery tomorrow, as I dilute it, and will also have cheese in it. I decided the soup would overpower the cheese available today, so didn’t add it.

Apart from the thick soup, there were no problems with the day. If I were looking for a perfect day I would like to ditch the ad-blocker. It is nothing like as bad as the ads it blocks, but is still quite intrusive. I assume this is deliberate because it is accompanied by offers of massive savings if I pay to use their premium level software.

I may be stupid enough to get myself infected by annoying adverts, but I’m not stupid enough to believe that they will do me a special deal at £19.99 a year if they consider it really is worth £109 a year.

Apart from that, not much has happened. More people are going on strike. Some football has been played and the world keeps turning. It’s going to rain tomorrow. I expect there will be more strikes threatened, more football played and a continuing rotation. It’s not just my life that is dull and predictable . . .

Peacock on the roof

Today I decided to use peacock photos.

A Day of Good Intentions

I’m going to have to abandon the ideal of daily posting for a while, as I seem to consistently be a day out.  So from now on I will post when I can, allowing for my hibernation schedule.

This morning we have a day off and I am making cauliflower soup. Julia found a big back of frozen cauliflower florets in the freezer when she tidied at the weekend. It is bet before 2023 but it is full of ice, so I decided to use it for soup as I can’t see it looking too good as a vegetable. I suspect that the ice will melt and make it soggy. I’m roasting it for added flavour at the moment and will make it into soup in my standard way before dropping in the dregs of the Stilton from the fridge. It’s about time to make a trip to Long Clawson to buy a Christmas Stilton. We haven’t done that for a few years, as Covid dimmed my enthusiasm for shopping.

It’s probably time for some Christmas plans now. This include buying more ASDA Sloe Gin Mince Pies. Of all the ones we have “tested” so far they are by far the best and, being on special offer, the best value. They are currently £3.50 for two packs, which is reasonable value, and better than noted on that ebsite.

I am also making vegetable stew for tomorrow and preparing the vegetables to roast with tonight’s meal. I’m not quite sure what it is going to be, but it will have roasted vegetables with it.

I find that if I get right into it, I can get stuff done, but if I have a leisurely start the day quickly stalls and i get nothing done.

So, with the smell of warm cauliflower drifting from the kitchen I am going to rough out three poems that are in my head and then get on with more cooking. With luck I will post again tonight so I can morally claim to be up to date.

The Promised Part 2

England just beat Iran 6-2 in the football. One of the big questions is what were the defence doing. England v Iran is a bit like me versus a plate of sandwiches. There is really only going to be one outcome (though I would have said that about Iceland at one time). However, it’s not the biggest question, is it? The biggest question is why, after excusing ourselves for playing in Qatar, with all it’s perceived faults, are we playing Iran. They currently have two women awaiting execution for supporting LGBT people and for attempting to help them escape from Iran. Not for being gay, but merely for supporting people who are. We banned Russia from various sports for state-sponsored doping and for invading Ukraine, but we are happy play a country that kills people for supporting the human rights of others.

But don’t worry, our fearless moral crusaders of the England team are going to show their disapproval of the way LGBT people are treated by having the captain wear a special armband. That’ll show them!

Oh, wait, no, it seems FIFA have issued instructions that the captains will be booked if they wear the armband. So that plan has collapsed.

This wasn’t what I’d planned for Part 2, so I’ll now move on to discuss whether we are right to tell other countries how to live.

The question is, what right do we have to lecture other countries on the way they run things, and does it make any difference? Qatar doesn’t tell me I can’t drink in public in the UK, or anything else. Is it right that I should have views on how they conduct themselves at home? Having walked through the streets of Nottingham a few times at night, I’d be happy to ban drinking in public. We can drink in a pub in the UK at the age of 18. The minimum drinking age in the USA is 21 (with minor exceptions in a few states according to Wikipedia). Will we be lobbying the USA to change the drinking laws for football fans?

Interestingly, according to Human Rights Watch, Afghanistan’s marriage laws protect children better than the equivalent laws in America. And recent changes to abortion laws in USA mean many states operate a policy people in the UK would be unhappy with. Will we be raising these issues with the US before the World Cup? I sincerely doubt it. There’s a tendency in the Western world to let other Western countries run themselves as their citizens want. But if you are outside the club we are liable to tell you how you should behave. Unless you have something we want.

It’s a bit like South Africa’s apartheid system when the Chinese were considered “non-White” but  the Japanese, Taiwanese and citizens of Hong Kong were all considered “honorary white”, as were West Indian cricketers and Maori New Zealanders when on sports tours.

And there we are – back to politics and sport. Do they mix? Should we lecture other countries on how to live their lives? (And don’t feel singled out if you live in the USA, it’s just that you are one of the hosts of the next FIFA World Cup and I know a bit more about you than I do about Canada and Mexico).

Whooper Swans on farmland near Frampton Marsh

More swan photos. Tomorrow I will stop being serious and go back to moaning about trivia.

Sportswashing, Bribery and Beer

I’ve just been reading about the decision by the Qatari government to ban the sale of alcohol in and around football stadia during the World Cup. I’m not really sure what the fuss is about. If you are going for the sport, you can enjoy football without beer. If you were going with the for the drinking, Qatar probably isn’t the best place for you anyway.

As I understand it from attending rugby matches at football grounds, the sale of alcohol is restricted in the UK, and you aren’t even allowed to have the tops of soft drinks bottles. You have to allow the bar staff to take them off and retain them in case you should throw it at the players. It doesn’t seem a big deal.

Anyway, unless I’m missing the point, their attitude to alcohol isn’t the worst thing about the Qatari government. If you really want to be picky you could make a list of other points that raise concerns, like slavery, migrant workers, women’s rights and LGBT rights.

FIFA, the players and the world in general, has muttered a bit but not really done anything much about anything. In that it follows general sporting practice. After all, several host countries of recent sporting events have questionable records on human rights. Of course, the biggest ethical question hanging over the current World Cup is whether it should ever have gone ahead, as the allegations of self-enrichment (so much nicer as a word than “bribery” isn’t it?) seem to indicate that greed, rather than the good of the game, was the guiding principle in awarding the World Cup.

If you have a few minutes, read this, it’s a statement on human rights and the various pronouncements of sporting bodies, many of whom seem to ignore their own guidelines in awarding their events to the highest bidders. If not, and I wouldn’t blame you for not reading it, take it from me, money talks louder than ethics.

At this point, I suppose I should mention golf, but this article covers it better than I could, so have a look (it’s a quick read). I hadn’t heard the term “sportswashing” before.

That’s about it for the sporting part of the discussion. I will go on to Part 2 tomorrow and discuss a few other issues.

For now, I will leave you with a thought. Andy Murray. Works hard, wins things, does this. Perhaps we should show pictures of him to our football team so they can see what a proper sporting hero looks like.

I don’t have any pictures that relate to sport or ethics, so you’ll have to make do with some swans

Mute Swan


Sunday Slipping Past

It  was Saturday again, and then it was Sunday. Sunday took the form of porridge followed up with bacon sandwiches, a few replies to comments, and a few blogs read. Then it slipped away from me.

Saturday was quite good in the shop. Several customers, several people selling, some eBay parcels and a general feeling of balance. We even saw another pre-Covid customer, as they gradually return to visiting shops. The customer who returned works in a supermarket and avoided Covid until 6 months ago. Then he had it again. This is bad luck, and a sign of what happens when you let your guard down.

Sunday has been OK too. You can’t have a bad day when you have porridge followed by bacon sandwiches. I’ve just had to do a small edit there. I had been writing “porridge and bacon sandwiches”, which is not at all the same thing as “porridge followed by bacon sandwiches”.

That was six hours ago and I’m feeling peckish again, but Julia is defrosting the freezer so we can start the Christmas stockpiling in earnest. This involves kettles, hairdryers, swearing, much poking with wooden implements, soggy newspaper and a multitude of loose peas (in former times I would have done the “escapee” joke, after thirty years it has worn a bit thin). It also involves me being told to stay out of the kitchen.

We have both been surprised by then number of part bags of prawns she found, and have had a conversation about stock control. I believe she hides things. She believes that I never look. There is some justice in this conclusion, though I still say she hides stuff too.

The menu for the next week is going to feature salmon, tuna, prawns and peas. Prawns and pasta tonight, tuna tomorrow, salmon on Tuesday and fish pie on Wednesday at a guess. My brains are going to be well-nourished this week.

Fish Pie

It’s Saturday Again . . .

Another evening of TV and sleep, with a very small portion of writing thrown in. This cannot be good physically or mentally. Ah, no, I did do a few replies to comments and reserved three shopping slots – one for tomorrow, one for next week and one for 21st December. Other people are obviously more organised than I am and all the ASDA Christmas slots are booked up – 21st is the closest I can get.

Actually, now I come to think of it, I did do a few other things, but nothing of any significance. There was no actual physical effort involved, unless you count liquidising the stew to make soup and making a cup of tea. Neither activity really gets the heart beating in the approved manner.

And so here I am again, writing last nights post in the morning. It’s a better use for Saturday morning than watching TV. It’s always a problem on Saturday. Because I don’t have to take Julia to work I’m stuck with extra time before I set off for work myself. It’s only about half an hour so there’s no time for major effort, but it does need filling.

My plan is to do a few more words, to make it past my 250 word target then have another cup of tea and pop down to work. It’s Saturday, so there are bound to be cars in our parking spots, which is always annoying, but I suppose things would be worse.  At least I have a job and a car. We laughed last week, when watching a member of one of our “underpaid” professions whining on about life on the poverty line. I’ve seen their pay scales and I assure you that a lot of this “poverty” is relative.

What made us laugh was that while she was complaining of poverty she had a box of Waitrose corn flakes on display. This probably doesn’t translate for my overseas readers, but we have a continuum of shops in UK – they start with Iceland, then Aldi and Lidl, move on to ASDA (Walmart) and TESCO, up to Sainsbury’s and then on to Waitrose and Marks & Spencer. If you buy your groceries from Waitrose or M&S, you have a long way to go before you can even see the poverty line.

And with that thought leaving an ironic smile on my face, I will go to work and see you all later.