Tag Archives: Dylan Thomas

The Difficult Second Potato

After several abortive attempts at writing today’s post I decided it wasn’t depression or politics, or even the crush of ideas and bitterness that was preventing me writing – it was trying to use the netbook on my knee while I sat by the fire.

Just after 10.30 I stepped through to the dining room with the intention of sitting down and sorting myself out.

It didn’t happen -there were comments to read and reply to and sandwiches to make for tomorrow. Finally there was washing up. Yes, washing up seemed preferable to sitting down and blogging.

I now have around 20 minutes to post and keep to my target of daily posting. I’m now limited by the time, and by the fact that I am slowly getting colder. Eventually, based on past experience, I will get so cold that I stop thinking. This is’t a bad thing because since the election I’ve mainly been thinking that everything is a complete mess. I have had to discard several posts because they were a bit too serious, and probably a bit too libellous. It’s one thing saying something to Julia, or shouting it at the TV, but once you write it down you have to prove it.

We had Hasselback potatoes again today. I was a little more relaxed with the cutting, and it did not go as well as the first lot. This is often the way with the second in a series. I tried the stir fried sprouts again too, this time with added chestnuts. I’m intending to have it at Christmas. We have settled on turkey for Christmas this year (as we have done for about the last fifteen years). We will also have roast potatoes, pigs in blankets, stuffing, bread sauce, redcurrant jelly and Yorkshire puddings.

I just noticed it’s gone midnight…

I know Yorkshire puddings aren’t traditional but Julia likes them so they are traditional for us. Personally, I’d rather have beef, pork or gammon. If anyone had suggested a nut roast I’d probably have gone for that. Even a goose. They are greasy but traditional.

It was the kids who got us back onto turkey – we’d been having beef or pork for years but they started to ask for turkey because all their friends had turkey. Now it’s become a habit. It’s not so bad now that you can buy a small crown roast – enough for a meal and a few sandwiches. Much better than the days of turkey curry, turkey stir fry and, finally, turkey soup.

I’ve started the Christmas shopping list and tomorrow I start the shopping. I’ll probably also start moaning about Christmas tomorrow.

Strictly speaking, our Christmas starts when I buy the cheese footballs. This is normally when they first appear in the Shops in Autumn, as it can be touch and go nearer to the day. I’m surprised, on looking for links, that I only seem to have mentioned them twice over the years as they are an important part of Christmas.

First the cheese footballs, then the ancient Santa card I bought Julia for our first Christmas. (I’ve also bought her one every year since, in case you are wondering), then the shopping.

The two pictures from the archives sum up the full horror of the forced jollity of Christmas, and the silent fury of a man who, having realised that he has wasted his life on trivia, will never break the bank at Monte Carlo, win a Nobel prize or, in all probability, look down and see his feet again.

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Time, I think, in my tour of British poets, to turn to Dylan Thomas. I’m sure you know the one I’m thinking of. I am, after all, a man of habit and small learning.

 

A Post I didn’t mean to write

The day dawned fair, and far too early. I wanted to turn over and have a lie in as it’s my day off and we weren’t going out but Julia had exacted  a promise from me the night before and so I had to get up and take her to breakfast before dropping her off for her first day of jury service.

I am a man of my word.

That meant I was able to get to the jewellers in time for a good two hours of moaning about the state of business before returning home to spend a couple of hours moaning about politics and sport with Number One Son. During this time he heated up last night’s beef rendang for lunch. I am eating well at the moment.

I also had an email to deal with this afternoon. My luck is really out as far as poetry editors is concerned as I just had another rejection. I thought the 3 haibun were all reasonable and had a good chance of success, but it appears I was wrong.

The rejection was accompanied by some notes, which was handy as it’s always nice (though rare) to get feedback. Sometimes it’s probably better to get feedback than it is to get accepted.

I don’t know if any of you have ever noticed this, but I often feel that once you have either posted your work, or hit the send button, it starts to deteriorate.

Even if it is accepted, the polished gem you sent never looks as good when it is printed. And when it is returned it looks even worse. I looked at what was sent back today and looked at the notes and wondered why I’d sent it. The first sentence of the first submission was just so glaringly wrong, yet two weeks ago it had seemed brilliant.

So, apart from writing better, I also have to start looking at everything with a much more critical eye.

Anyway, I had the afternoon off, so I set to work with the suggested improvements and have resubmitted them. Fingers crossed.

This wasn’t the post I meant to write, but it was what emerged on the paper as I started writing. I am not always master of my own keyboard. That, of course, means I have no suitable picture so I’m reusing the Dylan Thomas £5 coin photo. It’s a tenuous poetry connection, but it’s the best I can do. As I read the post where it originally appeared I see this is the second time I’ve used it as a random space filler.

Here’s more information about the coin if you want it -it is quite interesting.

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Dylan Thomas Alderney £5 coin

The Dying of the Light

I have just finished eating a miserable, boring and tasteless meal. Low salt baked beans, low fat oven chips and cheap burgers. Even a large spoonful of chilli jam couldn’t bring it to life. This is, I suppose it’s the cost of being healthy.

Not for the first time, I have found myself pondering if life is worth the trouble if you have to extend it unnaturally by eating pap. In fact, after my last few weeks I’ve been asking myself the same question in general, regardless of the quality of my diet.

Even having another haibun published hasn’t cheered me up.  Generally I like to mention my successes in posts, smile modestly and simper a bit whilst feeling mildly smug. This morning I just looked at it, saw all the imperfections and uttered a small sigh.

Click here if you want to read it. But don’t feel you have to, if you are here to hear me moaning about life just read on. For a good poem, click here.

I wonder if Dylan Thomas ever looked at his poems and uttered a small sigh.

Today’s annoyance in the shop was a gas man, who insisted on walking round the shop with a meter, checking for gas leaks. We don’t have any gas leaks. This may be because we don’t have any gas, but we had to have it done anyway in case they were leaking next door.

Tomorrow they will be digging up the road in front of the shop looking for a gas leak. I’m not sure if I mentioned it last time they dug the road up looking for a gas leak. It was about a month ago. There ought to be a rule that if they have to do the job twice they don’t get paid for the first one.

As if that wasn’t bad enough they have just started major gas works, with road closures, on our way to work. The signs say it will take six weeks. It didn’t cause too many problems this morning, but it’s school holidays so things are always easier on the roads. The real test will be in two weeks when the schools go back.

When you’re growing up your parents never tell you about days like this.

A Small but Welcome Improvement (Part 2)

The title isn’t entirely true. This part is about all the bits of yesterday that weren’t welcome, and weren’t improvements.

When I first woke yesterday I was aware of a cold stiff finger. Fortunately it was mine, otherwise this could have been a very strange post. The little finger of my left hand is now following the ring finger of my right hand into arthritis.

I’m not sure whether it’s good to spread the load between hands or not.

Two hands with inconvenient fingers, or one hand with two inconvenient fingers?

 The third arthritic finger is likely to be the little finger of my right hand (it does get a bit cold and stiff at times) so the situation is likely to deteriorate soon anyway.

I doubled up my dose of turmeric, applied a pain-killing gel and cursed old age. There’s not much else you can do, apart from staying positive and, despite all my efforts, this isn’t really one of my strengths.

I am more Dylan Thomas than Pollyanna.

After the brief ray of sunshine that was my visit to the dentist, I arrived at the shop with two minutes to go. I hate being late, even by arrangement, so this was good.

Then I started entering more soul-destroying stock onto eBay. Every one I do is one more step towards my wages, and one more step towards becoming cold and empty inside…

And having come full circle, in a distinctly literary manner, I will leave you all, facing the cold, bleak, dead, stiffness of my existence.

Yes, that positivity stuff definitely isn’t working.

The Final Countdown

Yes, it’s a song title today. I did think of a variation on the TV show Countdown but at 58 I’m not ready to admit that I’m part of the Countdown demographic. (See later comments on age).

I bought a new knife today. I’ve been meaning to get a proper boning knife for some time and the one I spotted in the cash and carry had all the attributes I wanted – a good handle and a cheap price ranking higher than the quality of the blade. I don’t tend to wear knives out – they simply disappear (thrown away by family members, I suspect, as I never lost a knife before I was married) or get left on top of a cooker ring. Yes, I’ve destroyed a couple of good knives like that. I suppose I could build a new handle from exotic hardwood as recommended in various specialist magazine, but I’m really not that good with my hands.

From the cash and carry (having bought drinks and snacks for the party tomorrow) I went to the supermarket to buy the rest of the stuff we needed.  It was stressful, as the nearest supermarket to the cash and carry isn’t one I normally go to and it was crammed with coffin dodgers all doing their best to either get in my way or ram me out of their way.

Now, I don’t mind the former (in moderation) as we all dawdle a bit, but the latter drives me mad. If I responded in kind, with a quick flick of the trolley and a spot of wheel to wheel charioteering I would (rightly) be castigated as a hooligan and a bully, but give me a cardigan and a blue rinse and I’m instantly allowed to carry on like Genghis Khan. I was actually rammed by a shopping scooter on Saturday when a woman of only middling years decided she wanted the space I was occupying.

Mentally I dragged her off the scooter and gave her a good kicking. But in real life I just moved, with a subdued “Tch!” to indicate disapproval.

 

I’m off to cut cabbage for the coleslaw now.

It’s nineteen hours until the party starts and twenty five hours until the project closes.

That must mean it’s also twenty five hours until my new life begins.

Seems a good time for a poem, and as Dylan Thomas conveniently died over 60 years ago I think I’m right in say he’s out of copyright so I can quote it in full.

Tomorrow, I will be blogging in a more kindly and cheerful manner.

🙂

Do not go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas, 19141953

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.