Tag Archives: daydreaming

Cobbett, Chartists and Alternative Simon

Somewhere out there, in a parallel universe, my alter ego, known as Alternative Simon, is sitting at his keyboard. He will be surrounded by books, sitting at a desk and will smile gently, secure in the knowledge of his successful career and healthy bank balance as he heads into retirement.

He will not be sitting at his dining table surrounded by clutter (including a pile of things that need throwing away) because he will have folders and shelves and no compulsion to hang on to things that “might come in handy”. He will definitely not be wondering how he ended up working in a shop part time and sneezing copiously.

He will almost certainly be a lecturer in history at a University of moderate reputation, with a specialisation in British Civil Disorder of the nineteenth century, a number of papers and possibly even a book with his name on it.

In turn, he will dream of his possible life in a University with ancient foundations (Cambridge by preference), with book-lined walls and a tweed jacket. If only, he will sigh, he had worked harder t school. The alternative Alternative Simon will be an expert on British Civil Disorder of the 19th Century, with books and TV spin-offs for Brandreth – the Nottingham Captain and Chartism – the Revolution That Never Was.

And, of course, the alternative Alternative Simon will sit there chewing his pen (none of them will be much good with technology) and wishing that he had followed the healthy outdoor farming life portrayed in the works of William Cobbett, whilst avoiding Cobbett’s more non-woke opinions. He may even dream, in the midst of the turbulent rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle of a successful historian, regret the succession of trophy wives and drug-fuelled orgies and wish that he could swap it all for one good woman and a sideline in writing poetry.

Well, you never know, it could all be true. The picture is from my first month of blogging and was the cake we had on the farm to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary. We have just celebrated our 33rd. How the years fly by.

November 1st 2010

I started the day by throwing back the bedclothes, shouting “It’s grand to be alive!” and running about in a frenzy of activity. Now, with my teeth cleaned, my hair brushed and my cheeriness at dangerously high levels I am sitting at the computer and preparing to blog.

Well, a blog can be many things, and if I want to start the day with a touch of fiction what is to stop me?

The truth, as regular readers may have guessed, is slightly different.

I actually started the day by peeling back the bedclothes and muttering “2.32 and my first trip to the bathroom.” This was followed by a couple more trips, a ten minute stint writing notes for a haibun idea and finally, by noticing that my clock said 7.47.

It seemed like an auspicious time to start the day, and as my night had already been fractured. I decided to get up. There wasn’t, to be fair, a lot of frenzy involved. Now, sitting at the computer with my teeth gleaming and my hair looking like I’ve just had a shock, I’m preparing to blog.

I currently have my levels of cheeriness under control and they are unlikely to pose a threat in the near future.

Do you sometimes wish you could write yourself a new life?

I was thinking this a couple of days ago when idly daydreaming of that elusive lottery win.

My first action on winning would be to rent cars and park them in front of the houses of people who have annoyed me with their inconsiderate parking in the past. In particularly annoying cases I may even fill them with concrete after parking them.

After that I move on to the good stuff, where I see myself as the anonymous benefactor to friends, neighbours, family and local charities. That often results in moral tangles about who to help and how best to do it, or if I should even try to help at all.

As an example – you give someone money to buy a decent house and bring their family up in a nice area with good schools. Do you make their decisions for them? Or do you just give them the money and set them loose. In five years time, after they have spent the money on drink and drugs and the kids are all in care how do you feel then? Or when a robot comes back from the future to kill you just before your big win because it turns out they used the money so well that they sent all their kids to Oxford University and they went on too rule the world in a despotic fashion? It could happen. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a documentary about it. Though it might just be that I fell asleep whilst watching Terminator. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell.

Tricky stuff, helping people. I may just buy a private island and live in sunshine for the rest of my life. I’d feel guilty about being selfish, but at least I won’t have ruined any lives.

Alternatively I could carry on buying a lottery ticket now and again and failing to win anything. As plans go, that one seems to be progressing quite well, and is definitely on target.

One person who seems to think I am already a lottery winner is my car insurance company. I’ve been nowhere this year, I’m way under the mileage I insure it for, and yet the cost seems to have leapt up. Again.