Tag Archives: reading

Another 30 Minute Post

Once again the evening has been squandered with tea and biscuits and curry and poor quality TV. I regret the waste of time, when I have so many things to do, and I hadn’t planned on such a relaxing evening, but it’s been pleasant enough. The only problem is that I have to write a post in 30 minutes before taking Number Two Son to work.

If that seems familiar I can only apologise. I tried to write earlier but couldn’t find the enthusiasm.

Plans for the coming week include finishing the book I’m reading about William Dampier, reviewing a couple of other books and sending some more haibun off. The theory is that if I keep sending them off I will be forced to keep writing and improving. It seems sensible, but time will tell.

I’m also preparing a section of my collection for sale on eBay. It’s the part of my collection that I accumulated because it was cheap or included in lots with things I actually wanted. As such I really ought to call it my “collection” or my accumulation. When I’ve sold it I’m going to use it to buy more things. That’s the nice thing about collecting – you get to buy things for yourself on a constant basis.

It’s the Numismatic Society meeting on Monday. It’s comforting to get out and meet people with the same sorts of personality defects I have. I say “people”, but I mean middle-aged men. There is only one female member that I know of, and very few people under fifty.

And that’s it. Time’s up. I will now fill out the “Categories and Tags” and post for today. Only three days to go…

 

 

 

 

 

Two Hours

I returned home after dropping Julia off at work and noted the time – 6.09. As I type this line it is 8.02 and I have just finished part of my catching up with WP. I have read and replied to all the people who posted comments over the last few days and made reciprocal visits to the first few on the list. I’m hoping to visit more by the end of the day but I thought I’d post now as “Two Hours” seemed a reasonable title, I’m also finding that if I leave it until the end of the day I find more work to do, or fall asleep in front of the TV, and end up not posting.

It’s 8.06 now. Am I really only writing a line a minute?

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Budgerigar Society badge

The photograph is a Budgerigar Society badge. It dates from 1930 – 1950s. In 1930 they changed from the Budgerigar Club to Budgerigar Society. On the back it has a fitting to go through the buttonhole in the lapel of a man’s jacket. This sort of fitting died out in the 50s as clothing became more casual and pins became the norm. It’s currently on our eBay site with a bid of 99 pence.

When I was 16 I dreamed of working for Spinks. In my 20s I wanted to be rich and successful.

Today I’m happy to have a job that pays me to write about Budgerigar Society badges.

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! as Mr Shelley said.

It’s 8.20 now – where does the day go?

 

Should I Read or Should I Write? (2)

Well, I tried to do both, whilst humming a song by The Clash.

After an hour and a half of reading, which leaves me not quite caught up, I decided to write a quick post and go washing, in order to keep to the plan.

When I came to publish, WordPress was playing up and I couldn’t enter a category or tag. I pressed “Publish” anyway and can’t see the post on the blog, even though it appears on the list to link to.

Ah! I just linked it in and had a look. seems to be a page. I’ll have to sort it out later. It looks like I must have pressed page instead of post when I started it.

So WordPress isn’t playing up. I am.

What an idiot.

More haste, less speed…

Here is the original. As you can see, it’s more or less the same. This loss of a post, and subsequent loss, may qualify as an epic senior moment.

Should I Read or Should I write?

I decided to read, and I’m nowhere near catching up after over an hour of reading and commenting.

I was going to post a link to Should I Stay or Should I Go by the Clash to mirror the title but I can’t switch the audio on the computer and don’t like posting links to clips I can’t hear myself.

It looks like bits are dropping off the computer all over the place. It’s a feeling I know only too well.

WordPress seems to be playing up too, but I’m going to publish and see what happens.

Time to get the washing done now if I’m going to stick to my plan.

See you all later.

 

Zen and the Art of Procrastination

It’s time to start sorting out my life. How many times have you heard that? I know I’ve said it several times.

As things stand, I’m not reading books, I’m not reading blogs and I’m not getting enough decluttering done. That’s not to say that I’m idling my time away, I’m still writing, I’m still cooking (in a determondly average sort of way) and I’m spending time on ebay.

I’m happy with the writing time but the time on ebay needs decreasing. Originally I was looking at it with a view to learning current prices and looking at starting to sell on ebay again. It hasn’t quite worked like that and I’m back, once again, to collecting.

The intention was actually to clear the house and live a life of zen simplicity interspersed with the holidays we’ve not had over the years.

It has struck me recently, as I’ve sat cogitating my hospital experience and the nature of mortality, that I’m on the downward leg of the journey to three score years and ten. I’m 60 next birthday (as I was recently reminded), and this isn’t a two way street.

I’m also mindful that health problems prevented my parents carrying out their retirement plans. They still had a long and happy retirement, but it wasn’t the one they had planned. In fact Dad is still with us and still enjoying himself. However, he would probably be enjoying himself more if things had gone to plan.

So there you are, a slice of philosophical misery. Not very cheerful but something I wanted to talk about for some time as it’s important, and I’m interested if anyone has any views.

I’ve been meaning to write it for some time but I never get round to it.

Tsundoku revisited

I’ve written about tsundoku before – the habit of piling up unread books. It was brought into painful focus earlier today when I opened up  a box of books that has been undisturbed for several years. For “several” you could probably substitute “ten” judging by the publication dates.

When I read The Elements of Murder  last month I was surprised at my familiarity with poisons and notable poisoning cases. Not only surprised, but quietly impressed with the breadth of my knowledge.

So when I found a copy of the paperback edition in the box today it was a bit of a downer. Not only is my knowledge based on reading the book ten years previously, but my memory is in fact so bad I didn’t remember buying the book twice.

It’s also a reminder that when I pictured the seven books in the photograph I was intending to review them swiftly. I’ve actually managed two and started two more. I haven’t even finished reading one of them. But I have bought more, and read several of them.

Ah well.

I suppose this officially the start of old age…

 

Almost According to Plan…

Well, it rolled out almost as I expected.

I loaded the pictures, I had lunch and I read a couple of chapters of the book  I’m currently reading. That wasn’t actually in the plan but I like to keep the momentum going.

Things ground to a temporary halt. Just as I entered the surgery some ferrety type slipped round me to beat me to the desk. I hate it when people do that. If they get there first, that’s life, but why treat it as a race? Naturally he had a complicated matter to sort out. I dropped a few hints, like leaning on a convenient pillar and whimpering.

I was just on the point of suggesting (a) he accepted the “wrong” drugs on his prescription and (b) he took them all in one lot when the receptionist called for help.

Shopping was easy enough. The kids like breaded chicken and it’s cheap. Add salad and baked potatoes and it’s easy, cheap and mostly healthy.

Then it was time to get home for Pointless.

You may have noticed a few omissions, but I forgot the ice cream (and the brown sauce) and decided it was too hot for duck ponds.

I see I got my sons mixed up. It was Number Two son I coerced into doing the washing up and Number One who was coming to visit. He made his own way from the station, which was a bonus. We had tea, they mumbled, I dozed off.

It’s comforting to know that in an ever-changing world that some things remain the same.

Nature note: Julia was walking along the embankment in the afternoon on her way between the garden and the office, when she saw a Cormorant catch an eel. It was quite a big eel, and kept thrashing about until it wrapped round the bird’s neck. This is understandable, as things were clearly going to end badly for the eel if it couldn’t escape.

After a certain amount of thrashing about and diving, the bird won. I’m not sure what the diving was meant to accomplish, the eel clearly wasn’t going to be inconvenienced by it. Eels like water.

When I asked if she’d managed to get any photos on her phone…

…well I’d have been too interested watching too.

Tomorrow I will tell you, with photographs, what Number One son brought back fron Vietnam.

Resting, Reading and Recuperating

One of the horrors of old age that I have observed is that at a certain stage people stop reading. My father, despite everything, is still hanging in there. He’s never been a massive reader but he’s always done crosswords and puzzles and, although they may be getting simpler, he’s still doing them. This, I feel, is a good thing.

Ever since I had tonsillitis. in around 1964, and my mother suggested reading as a hobby, I have been a lost cause. She bought me a copy of Biggles of The Special Air Police and the rest is history.

I still have the book – it’s within feet of me as we speak. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if she’d bought Jane Eyre, as she later did. Would I have grown into a sophisticated professor of English Literature? Or would I have given up reading? I suspect the latter. Having been persuaded to read several classics in my early reading career I then gave them up until recently when I thought I should give them another try.

It didn’t really work out well. You may have seen my comments on this previously – that Don Quixote would be much better if it was half as long and had a murder on the first page, preferably Don Quixote himself. My feeling on a number of other classics is similar.

The nearest I’ve been to a classic in the last twelve months is  John Buchan. I’ve managed The Thirty-Nine Steps, Greenmantle, Mr Standfast and The Three Hostages but I’m having a rest for now. There comes a time when casual racism wears a bit thin, even if it is authentic contemporary racism.

I moved on to Dr Thorndyke but after four of them I started searching around for some variety. Having read a book on Q Ships I’m now on Nature Cure by Richard Mabey.  Clare Pooley recommended it to me when I came out of hospital. I broke one of my normal rules and paid £4.99 for a Kindle edition, but it’s been worthwhile.

Clearly the man is marching to a different drummer, even when he isn’t suffering from depression, but it’s a relaxing and informative read. I looked forward to his account of male urology, as this is one of the points where our lives converge. He likens it to a mythical linking of his internal water with the water of the Fens. That’s why he’s known as an elegant and spiritual writer.

I have never thought of it as mystical in any of my three stays in Male Urology, I just use it as a source of broad humour. My internal water is linked to the water in my kettle.

That’s why I’m not known as an elegant and spiritual writer.

Finally,  moving back to the point. It’s surprising how much energy it takes to read and concentrate. I struggled in the days after leaving hospital, and I’m still not fully back in the swing of things. With the sort of time I’ve had on my hands recently I should have seen Nature Cure off in short order, probably in a day. It’s only 240 pages in the paper edition, which is not a long book.

I didn’t have the energy to start it for a couple of days and I’ve been doing a section each day. I still have a bit left, though to be honest I’m now able to read faster and I’m just trying to prolong the pleasure of reading.  I’m doing puzzles now and looking at the web, though still not up to full speed.

Has anybody else noticed that reading can be such an effort? Or am I just getting old?

 

 

Time to Sit

I’m having a rest now and feeling virtuous. This really should be the action of a man who has filled his day with industry and is now taking a well-earned rest after a hectic day of cooking, shopping, polishing, dusting, hoovering, gardening…

I’ll stop there. Just thinking about it makes me feel tired.

In reality I dropped Julia off at work, came home, went back to bed, read more of The Most Perfect Thing, wondered why the author decided to have a quick pop at battery cages (as so many people do), then cooked three fish pies, two vegetable curries and Sheep’s Hearts with Plums.

I’m just starting to get my head round tonight’s tea – carrot, cabbage, broccoli, sweet potato (for the topping)- that should about do. I already have onions, peas, sweetcorn and mushrooms in the pie. It’s not easy, this ten a day.

Just about to start reading  A Corner of a Foreign Field. Guess what it’s about? Yes, war poetry, how original. It looks quite good, with some poems I’ve not seen before, so I’m looking forward to it. It cost £2.50 from a charity shop in Whitby on Friday. I’m telling Julia it’s part of an economy book project I’m doing for the blog.

She may believe me…

 

 

In praise of bloggers

On Sunday, as I was leaving the house for my weekly of watching the laundry turn round in a machine I grabbed a book. I tend to read books when I’m out because I’m still slightly ashamed of having a Kindle.

I thought I was grabbing Bill Bryson’s One Summer: America 1927.  I’ve had it for a couple of years and thought it was time I got round to it. I found, on settling to read, that I’d actually picked up a copy of A Short History of Nearly Everything by the same man. I didn’t even know I had that and judging by the state of it I’ve had it knocking around for a while – probably since the 2004 publication date.

Now, this isn’t an advert for Bill Bryson – he’s famous enough, successful enough, and probably rich enough without any input from me. His name came up earlier today when I was commenting on another blog and I thought I might use him as the subject for this one. Thank you to Derrick J Knight for the inspiration..

The last Bill Bryson book I actually bought was The Road to Little Dribbling. It’s a book that purports to be a journey through the UK some years after his Notes from a Small Island. It’s an easy read with much humour and some interesting detail. However, he’s definitely grown more curmudgeonly over the years, even a little peevish, and I wasn’t entirely comfortable with some of the incidents he writes about.

Then there’s the question of geographical coverage.

As far as the North of England goes the coverage is dour and the coverage of Scotland is positively miserly. Both, I suppose, are in line with geographical stereotypes. There’s a great condensation of this book in The Guardian.

Their one line synopsis is ‘Stonehenge cost an extortionate £12.80 – and most of the stones had fallen over’

Meanwhile, back at the other book, it’s proving to be a bit longer than the word “short” would imply. Over 500 pages in fact. It’s also, according to various reviews, not always accurate. I’m getting round the first part with determination, and dealing with the second part by forgetting most of what I read as it comes along. View my mind, if you will, as a short bookshelf: when you put something on at one end something else falls off the other.  I can’t take too much in about the origin of life and sub-atomic particles in case I forget how to breathe.

So, for me, it’s DJK all the way. True, if he moves any further south he’s have to write in French,  but apart from that he’s as good as BIll Bryson in every way, apart from the two where he beats him hands down. One is that he comes in easily readable instalments, and the other is (at the risk of sounding like Bill Bryson), is that he is free.

There are other bloggers out there that I could say much the same about, and one day I will, but for today it was DJK and Bryson that coincided – let’s see what tomorrow will bring.

For reasons why I don’t abbreviate to Bill Bryson to BB, see here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The World Turned Upside Down

I was a bit rushed yesterday, so sorry about forgetting the title. It won’t happen again.

The big news is that as my swollen finger turned black I decided that it was time to join the number of people who treat the Accident and Emergency Department as a drop in centre. My reasoning was that they’d be empty on a Monday night, and as my doctor or the drop in centre would send me for an X-ray anyway I may as well cut out some of the waiting. Cynical? Yes. Good time management? Also yes.

So, there I was, with Neil Back talking about rugby on wide-screen TV. If this was a rugby blog I’d expand on this to tell you why I consider him a role model. But it isn’t, so I won’t. There were two people in with police escorts (one a rambling drunk and one a rambling drunk with a bare torso) and a group of lads who should probably have had one, plus the general mix of bewildered-looking people with limps, pained expressions and varied degrees of impatience.

I had a couple of books with me, and managed half of On Guerrilla Gardening by Richard Reynolds in the time I was there, making it time well spent. He has a very easy style and I may well write a review later, particularly as he mentions Gerrard Winstanley, one of my favourite historical figures.

Here’s a picture to be going on with. When this blog link appears on Twitter it always looks better with a picture.

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Anyway, to cut a long story short, after explanation, manipulation, phlebotomy and a couple of X-rays it turns out that the reason for the debilitating pain, the swelling, the blackening and the embarrassing cries I emit when shaking hands is a total lack of cartilage in the knuckle of one finger. I’m guessing that it’s not a very big bit of cartilage, so I’m feeling like a complete wimp. In my defence I must point out that it’s not just arthritis, but man arthritis, which is a lot worse.

When I finally got to the farm today it was raining and a man came to call.

“Hello,” he said, “I’m from the Council…”

To be continued