Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Sunny Day at the Seaside

We went to the seaside today.

While we were out we went round a garden centre, visited a bookshop (and bought no books!), saw a lot of marshes and ate fish and chips. I also found space for a syrup sponge and custard.

We saw seven Brimstones, a couple of whites and a Red Admiral. Julia has being seeing Brimstones down at the Mencap garden, so it looks like we could be in for a good Brimstone year.

Then we came home for the last of the homemade soup.

There was, of course, a bit more to it than that, but it’s not very interesting. It’s also just after 10pm and I have a lot to do in the next few hours so I’ll leave it here and take up the story later.

I have some major changes to discuss with you all.

Spring is Coming

After a long run up, much delay and a couple of false starts it looks like we have achieved a lasting Spring.

There are many more things to see than the pitiful few I have managed here, but for now this will have to do. I’m sure there will be more soon, as I’m feeling quite sprightly.

Yes, today I’ve been out and about without my stick. I haven’t been far because my day involved a lot of packing for eBay, lunch with Julia, decluttering, blogging and making soup.

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Pansies in the Mencap Garden

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A Robin getting ready for Spring

It’s amazing how good you can feel after a bit of sunshine.

We’re now planning our day out on Wednesday.

And soon it will be time for a trip to Bempton.

I’m now wondering about bringing two of my favourite themes together and having Puffins as pallbearers. I’ll have to lose some weight before that becomes a realistic plan.

 

Clutter and Anticlutter

You may well be familiar with the concept of matter and antimatter. Or you may not. If you are, you don’t need me to explain it again. If you aren’t, I suggest that you consult Wikipedia or Dr Who, which is where most of my scientific knowledge comes from.

All I know is that when the two meet, the consequences are not good.

Clutter and anticlutter are slightly different. When the two meet there is no mystery of quantum physics or annihilation. There is merely a sigh, an old-fashioned look and a patient explanation.

You see, clutter is the undesirable accumulation of a husband. Anticlutter is the vital stock of craft supplies belonging to his wife. Things like paper straws, cardboard oddments and the fleeces of Jacobs sheep are essentials. Ordnance Survey maps from the 1950s, military cap badges and comic postcards are mere detritus.

When the two meet anticlutter survives, or even expands: only the clutter is annihilated. And possibly the husband, if he objects.

That, at least, is how Julia explains it.

 

Stop All The Clocks (Part 3)

Sorry, it’s been a while since Part 1 andĀ Part 2, which covered making my own funeral arrangements. I had meant to keep them closer together but, as you know, I’ve not been very industrious lately.

The funeral is going to be non-religious, cheap and hot, with a cardboard coffin and informal dispersal of the remains. Let “economic dignity” be the theme.

That leaves the catering and the music.

The music is a problem, as I’m very limited in my musical taste, and a lot of it has been done before. On top of that is the problem that the music isn’t really for my amusement and going through the curtains to The Crazy World of Arthur Brown may not meet with Julia’s approval. In fact I know it doesn’t as we’ve discussed it before.

Being serious for a moment, my funeral isn’t really about me. Yes, I’ve no doubt that they will talk about me, share a few memories and, if honest, agree that I did have a few imperfections. Really, though, it’s for the people who are left behind, andĀ planning all the details seems a bit presumptuous. After all, I’m not the one who is going to have to sit through it all.

There’s a site with some favourite songs but most of them are either a bit over-used or too sad for funerals or, let’s be honest, rubbish. I’m not going to set myself up as a music critic, but I will be leaving a list of songs not to play at my funeral.

I quite like Banks of Green Willow, though I also like the theme from The Outlaw Josie Wales. Not saying anyone should play them, but there are worse songs to go out to. When the Angels Sing sounds like it should be suitable, but despite my love of the track it doesn’t really fit with my dull suburban life.

One of the things I’ve been meaning to do is write some better funeral poetry as most of it is fairly dreary. We read one of my father-in-law’s poems at his funeral – a short light verse about senior moments and that was good. One of my cousins had one of his own poems at his funeral, which was a bit more serious, but still better than anything you find by Googling funeral poems, apart from Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.

Anything that talks about meeting later or, even worse, being in another room, is definitely out. So is anything claiming I am like wind beneath your wings, or anything else. The word wind, when linked to me, does not, I confess, lead to thoughts on a higher plane. It’s meant to be a dignified occasion and I don’t want any sniggering during the eulogy.

That’s enough for now, we’ll have to cover catering in another installment as I get nervous when a post gets close to 500 words. I’m a blogger, not a novelist.

 

 

 

We appear in the Local Paper…

Yes, we’re in the paper, though there is more coverage, including pictures of all the staff, online.

You’ll never guess what I’m doing on the video clip. That’s right, I’m sorting shillings.

It’s my day off today. so I took Julia to lunch at Pizza Hut for the all you can eat buffet. I’m capable (as you may guess from the unflattering pictures in the link) of eating quite a bit of pizza. I also had a bowl of salad to keep things healthy. Tonight we are dining on soup.

Anyway, while we were there a lady with a child sat on the table behind us. She also ordered the buffet, then, when asked what the child would like, said just an extra plate. I suppose it was worth a try. The waitress politely pointed out the range of items on the menu specifically for children.

When last seen, the lady was on her third plate of pasta and the child was carrying his second bowl of ice cream back from the ice cream machine.

I’m constantly amazed at what people do with the buffet offer. We once saw another family group pile their plates with pizza slices and ask for a doggy bag. They were most annoyed to be told that it didn’t work that way with the buffet and they had to eat it or leave it.

It takes all sorts…

Back at home I had two letters, one told me I’d passed the blood test from yesterday and don’t need to go back for three weeks.

The other was from Rotherham. I nearly threw it away unopened, as I often do with letters that come from unknown sources. They are usually of no importance and, so far, no harm has ever resulted from this practice. However, I did open it this time, and found it was from the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Constabulary.

“That’s nice,” I thought, “he’s writing to me to thank me for all the safe and careful driving I’ve done in my years of driving through South Yorkshire.”

But I was wrong.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

Some people have no sense of gratitude.

Nottingham Post in the morning, Police Gazette by the afternoon.

Ah well!

Blood, worms and British Telecom

I regretfully parted with more of the red stuff yesterday morning. The phlebotomist stuck me in the painful place they’ve been using recently and drew three quarters of a tube before tutting, fiddling about and, finally, throwing the tube away. It was, it seems, not working properly.

For those of you not familiar with modern blood-letting, it is no longer necessary to put blood in a tube as it was when I first started. These days they have a tube that sucks the blood out. Or, in this case, sucks most of the blood out then stops.

If it doesn’t draw enough blood they can’t do the test, so they had to re-stab my arm and take another tube.

If I had a bad day, it was nothing compared to the bad day that a number of worms were having. After the night of constant rain there were dozens of large fat worms crawling around the footpaths. I’m not sure where they all came from, or why they decide that the footpath is suddenly the place to be.

What I do know is that when I arrived at hospital at 8.04, they were alive and mobile. When I left at 8.44 many of them were lying dead in the rain.

I blame the carelessly placed feet of the multitude of bustling NHS staff that always seem to be late for work as I make my way slowly along the path. It’s a rare day when I’m not overtaken by at least half a dozen of them as I hobble to Phlebotomy.

I have no evidence for this, as I wasn’t actually watching, but they are the only people likely to have the speed to trample worms underfoot. The rest of us move slower.

When you think about it the average worm is doing more for the planet than the average human, so we ought to take more care of them.

Meanwhile, talking of lowly creatures, and people who contribute nothing to the well-being of the planet, BT still hasn’t moved the shop phone number. They have, however, cut off the old number as of Monday, so we currently have a phone line and a number nobody knows.

Tuesday’s development was a letter informing us that they are going to provide us with an ex-directory number free of charge, because that’s what you want when you have a shop – a phone number that nobody can see.

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The shop front – with telephone number

 

 

Lost in Leeds

It’s been a depressing few days. I’ve had a cold, and chest infection and sinus trouble. I’ve also been taking the problems of the world too seriously (let’s face it, I’m not going to change anything), feeling guilty about bringing children into this world, dwelling on past failures and thinking about how I’ve wasted my life.

It’s possible that a late Spring has had something to do with this lack of cheerfulness. There’s something rather forlorn about barbecue supplies replacing Easter eggs in the shops while freezing rain falls outside.

The fact I’m less than a month away from turning 60 may also have something to do with it. I know it’s only a number…

In fact it’s probably a good thing to turn 60, as one school of thought claims that ages ending in 9 aren’t good for you. You’re more likely to have an affair at one of those ages and more likely to commit suicide.

I am also, it seems, more likely to post a fast time in a marathon.

I allowed myself a slight smile at that thought.

Julia, on the other hand, had a good laugh.

Too lazy to kill myself, too ugly for an affair and too fat to run. Is this what my future holds?

Last night, whilst feeling ill, I drove to Leeds to pick up Number One son. I am such a good father. He’s lived in a number of places in Leeds and the last one was easy to find and convenient for parking.

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Leeds – convenient parking

It’s a shame that he moved away from there and took up residence in a glitzy block of flats in the centre of town. They have many good features, but being easy to find and in possession of convenient parking aren’t amongst them.

That was how I came to be parked between the flats and a shopping centre loading bay, and how I was able to experiment with low light photography.

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Leeds – low light photography