Tag Archives: random thoughts

A Head Full of Nothing

A Bentley glided past the road end today as I waited to turn out. It was painted pale blue and silver like a 1960s space rocket, and was about the size of a small aircraft carrier, but it had four wheels and a Bentley badge so I deduced it was a car. Things have come a long way from the days when they were best known for their victories at Le Mans and for racing the Blue Train.

Tim Birkin, who is mentioned as one of the Bentley Boys in the Le Mans link came from Nottingham. The Wiki entry is a bit patchy – he actually had two brothers. Archie was killed in practice for the 1927 Isle of Man TT races and the place of his death is now known as Birkin’s Bend, a fact that seems to have escaped the notice of the person who wrote the Wikipedia entry, despite there being an entry for it. There was also another brother, Thomas, who doesn’t seem to get a mention in Wiki. He was killed in a flying accident in France in 1917.

The most famous member of the family is Jane Birkin. I thought of her recently when Charlotte Gainsbourg appeared in a film I was watching. It was Independence Day: Resurgence, an example of why sequels are not always a good idea. I liked the original film, even though it wasn’t great literature. The sequel would have been greatly improved by moving the opening and closing credits closer together. Ideally, 120 minutes closer together.

Street Art Sneinton Nottingham

My spell-checker is a little more highbrow than I am – it is trying to correct Gainsbourg to Gainsborough. Clearly eighteenth century portraiture is more to its liking than scandalous 1960s pop music, or designer hand bags.

Of course, from Jane Birkin to Kylie Minogue is just a small step from one synapse to another. Pop singers, living in France – easy link. Kylie Minogue doesn’t come from a Nottingham lace-making family, but she is a more prolific pop star.

I hummed a few bars of Spinning Around before Can’t Get You Out of My Head appeared. There’s something evil about that song and it’s still hovering there ten hours later.

They have been ploughing some of the central reservations on the ring road, which might be something to do with the management of wild flowers for bees. Or it might be something else entirely. It seems too late to sow and too early to cut, so I’m not sure what is happening. There is a lot of ragwort growing, which is poisonous to horses. I’m waiting for someone to mention this, as you sometimes see concerned horsey types on roadside verges pulling it up.

Of course, you don’t find many horses on Nottingham ring road so it’s probably safe.

The truth is that live ragwort isn’t a problem as animals tend to leave it alone. This is why we haven’t all died out by eating poisonous plants. It can make them sick if it’s cut and dried in hay, but that’s not likely to be a problem if you were making hay from the contents of our roadside verges old crisp packets and discarded shoes are likely to be  a bigger problem. I’m surprised by the number of old shoes you see on the road in the course of a year. I never see anyone limping by the roadside with one shoe missing, which makes it even more mysterious.


Street Art Sneinton Nottingham

Street Art Sneinton Nottingham

Nearly as mysterious as the missing gas men. They were all over the place last week, blocking off the front of the shop and being a general nuisance.

Today, nowhere to be seen. The equipment is there, the cones and the disruption. Even the diversion signs and the holes in the road. But there were no workers. It is like the Mary Celeste put out a call for crew members and a ghostly set of roadworks is the result…

Perhaps an alien space craft came to call, possibly disguised as a Bentley, and they all walked up a ramp and disappeared into the boot.

At that point, I drew up on the shop forecourt and, still humming that bloody song, turned my brain over to thoughts of work.

Later, as I write this, I feel that I need to mention that these thoughts still left me plenty of time to drive safely, avoid accidents and smile sweetly at the bad driving of others. Yes, it was strangely out of character, but it was a pleasant morning.

I break for the evening meal. Julia has cooked and she has caramelised the roasted vegetables perfectly. She is much better at that than I am.

The sky outside my window is clearer than last night, and streaked with a weak attempt at a sunset.

And finally, when I went to search for the link to the old shoe haibun, I did actually find my name on Google, which was nice. The link was broken and I had to search the archive, but it was still nice. I may be many things to many people (many of them tinged with failure), but to the internet I am, and always will be, a poet.

Street Art Sneinton Nottingham

Street Art Sneinton Nottingham

The photos are some that Julia took as we drove back from the Mencap garden. There is a lot of it in Sneinton, and it is regularly renewed. I keep meaning to take more photographs of it. The final one was an attempt at artistic blur. It didn’t quite work but we did get the artistic lines across it. This was an accident caused by Julia’s stripy shirt reflecting in the car window.


Random Thoughts II

After studying a number of articles on writing I decided to take some of the advice on board and write every day. I’ve previously tried setting myself targets, and have sometimes managed to hit them. Unfortunately this occasionally presents problems when I run out of inspiration. As you can see from yesterday’s post there are days when even the use of a random subject generator doesn’t help. It did, however, help provide inspiration for today’s title.

I turned it on again today and turned up: “Write about moving home.”

Coincidentally, that is precisely what we are thinking of doing. It’s time we looked at bungalows and, based on the experience of my parents, it’s better to start thinking about it now rather than delay. They were about eighty when they moved last, and even though they didn’t move far it was obviously quite hard for them.

I’m actually quite worried that the random subject generator is predicting my thoughts so accurately.

We’re having to make some big decisions about where we want to live. I’d actually be happy living in a tent. The maintenance required would be minimal – just some canvas and a needle and thread. It would be lovely in summer, just roll the side up and have one massive garden room. The other 362 days of the year would be more of a problem and winter wouldn’t be much fun, but these days winter isn’t much fun anyway.

Julia is insisting on somewhere with walls and a roof. She’s probably right. She’s also stipulated that it needs to be near a hospital because I spend so much time there these days. She’s very practical. I was thinking of living near the coast and learning about sea fishing – she’s thinking of medical care. My worry about the coast was centred on global warming rather than blood tests. As sea levels rise East Anglia is likely to return to the sea and even if you could get enough sandbags shopping in a rowing boat isn’t going to be much fun.

She’s also insisting that we give the kids the address of the new house. This is a bit of a blow as we will have to let them visit. In that case we will have to have a bigger kitchen to house the larger fridge this will involve.

Actually, she’s probably right about not moving to the coast – that would just be asking for people to come and visit.

We have a few years to decide, so there’s no need to rush. One thing we do want is a manageable garden as, inspired by other blogs, I want Julia to have plenty to do in retirement. I’d feel guilty if she hadn’t enough to do. The other thing is that I’d like to be detached. After thirty years living joined to a man with a drill and a passion for DIY (which he indulged for three hours this morning) I don’t want to share a wall again.

So, here’s a question. If you were moving again what would be important to you? A bit like Desert Island Discs, you can take your current spouse and let the children have your forwarding address…




Thoughts from a Fried Chicken Shop

KFC Mapperley Nottingham

KFC Mapperley Nottingham

Julia had an appointment for lunch with some of her colleagues from work yesterday. She has more friends than I do, and no shortage of invitations. As a consequence I found myself in a familiar situation – dining alone at a fast food outlet. Fortunately I like my own company. and I like fast food. The choice was KFC.

My first thought on arriving was “Where are all the people?”. I know KFC suffered from bad press recently with their supply chain debacle, but I had thought there would be more than three people in there at 1.30pm. That number was reduced to two when one of us left with his food to eat it elsewhere.

My second thought was that I was surprised by the average age of the clentele. I always think of fried chicken being food for young people. Bearing in mind that I’m 60, and that I’m not wanting to be ungallant about the lady who was the other customer, I reckon that our average age was about 70. This did fall when a couple of youths came in, but not as far as the drop in the average IQ.

This brought me on to thought three – why do white youths adopt the lisping patois they seem to associate with black youth in the ghetto? Or should that be “lithping patois”. It completely seems to escape them that we don’t have ghettos in Nottingham, and that there’s a distinct lack of rap music. I’m not sure whether it’s a case of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery or some sort of condescending cultural appropriation.

Anyway, back to a thought with less potential for argument. Would it be possible to develop a vaccine, or maybe a yoghurt drink, to increase IQ?

Talking of dodgy liquids, I had the gravy. It isn’t really gravy, and Colonel Sanders once referred to it as  “sludge” that had a “wall-paper taste”. That was while he was acting as a brand ambassador for the company after selling it. His idea of an ambassador seems slightly at odds with mine. The company felt this too and sued him. They were unsuccessful, indicating that judicial opinion was on the Colonel’s side.

It’s better than that now, though I do think it’s been better in the past. This isn’t unusual, I tend to think everything was better in the past.

The final thought, as I stared across the road, was that 20 years ago Collectors Corner was still in business and there were none of those shops about that bought old clothes by weight. This is progress.


A closed collectors’ shop – the very definition of sadness

And on that note I think it’s time to go.