Tag Archives: thoughts

Day 173

What to write about. The early hours of the morning have arrived, I have parked the post I wrote, on the grounds it wasn’t working, and started to look for another 250 words.

This is post 2,701 by the way. I know this because the number 2,700 caught my eye when I was preparing to write. For some reason 2,700 seems like a significant number, where 2,701 doesn’t. Numbers are strange that way. Write 2,700 and it looks worthy of note, but 2,699 and 2,701 aren’t. They are too messy.

At the moment I am in the middle of a long dry spell, in a writing sense. I did submit a piece this morning but my haibun haven’t been doing well recently so I’m not holding out much hope. It’s also going to a magazine that has started demanding contributors write to a theme each issue and I’m not keen on that. It is another level of difficulty to worry about in writing the poem and it involves fine judgement. In Japanese forms of poetry they want more subtlety in handling  a theme than they do in English verse, and it’s easy to miss the mark. It’s like the poem I had rejected a while ago for obscurity. If you add a footnote you are being pretentious, if you don’t you are being obscure.

If it’s accepted it will be subtle. If it isn’t, it will miss the brief. Simple.

It’s like white space. The editor for today’s submission likes white space because it is a sign of things left unsaid (Japanese poetry is very big on things left unsaid) but other editors have criticised me for having too much white space – it detracts from the impact of the haiku according to one of them. The others just seem to like a single paragraph of prose with no gaps.

Eventually I will get going again. In the meantime, a rambling diarylike entry of 300 words will do to fill todays post. Sorry it wasn’t more insightful, but sometimes all I have to offer is a view of the inside of my head.

Meanwhile, there has been an earthquake in Afghanistan and people on the news are discussing how we deliver aid to a country where we don’t like the Government. The answer is, of course, that if you live in a country with any sort of moral values you send aid first and worry about politics second. I imagine it’s hard enough living there at the best of times but much, much worse if your house just fell on your head as you slept.

My worries aren’t really worth discussing compared to this, but they manged to sneak in as the first thing I spoke about. Strange how self-centred we can be.

Day 84

It’s actually well into Day 85 but my attempts at blogging kept turning out to be miserable and moaning. If they depress me, I thought, they really aren’t suitable for posting.

So, an hour after starting, I have a blank screen (to match my mind) and no idea what to write about.

I can’t write about spring, because I hardly saw any today, being stuck in the back of the shop. I see spring for an hour in the morning as I take Julia to work and then go to the shop. I don’t see much of the outside during my time in the shop, and then I go home and go inside. I suppose i could do more to get out, but by that time I want to get home, get the kettle on and compare days with Julia. We really should get out more now that the evenings are lighter, but we have got out of the habit over the last few years, as i may have said before . . .

That’s the trouble with blogging, you don’t just repeat yourself, you repeat yourself in writing, and to an audience.

Now, there’s a question. As “audience” probably comes from the same root as “audio” can you have an audience of people who aren’t listening? I just looked it up, and audiences seem to be groups of listeners in most of the definitions. Fortunately, as you read further, there are also definitions which include a group of readers, so I don’t need to worry about that.

It’s strange how you can use a word every day without really thinking about it and what it really means.

And with that thought seeming to form a natural conclusion, I will go to bed.

Yellow flowers in need of identification

Day 77

Tonight, I noticed that 2022 in Roman numerals, as used in film credits, is MMXXII. In 200 years it will be MMCCXXII. OK, it’s not as easy to read as 2022 and 2222, but it’s more decorative and more fun.

I moved on to discuss date writing conventions of the world. I searched for “dating conventions” but soon realised that it wasn’t the information that I wanted, It seems that the Americans do it differently to the rest of the world because they preserved the original format used by the British before 1776.

This has been bugging me recently because a journal I submit to has started instructing me to use the American system in my submissions. This is one of a number of instructions editors of various journals have been issuing recently. Strangely, they also say they favour the Chicago Manual of Style for certain things – though the date isn’t one. The Chicago Manual of Style does not recommend the American date format as it is felt to be ambiguous.

This is irritating, because I don’t like micromanagement, but that’s how it is. If I want to be published I submit in the style requested. However, things have now moved on. They are going to have a themed issue. I don’t like themed issues. I write for enjoyment, not because I want to engage in a glorified writing exercise. It’s nice to have editorial input, but I don’t crave publication like a  drug.I’m going to sit this one out.

Even if I did decide to submit, it’s unlikely that anything I write on the subject of war and human stupidity will be as good as this, so I’ll stick to writing about birds and Julia and traffic jams.

The Scent of Roasting Vegetables

As I sit and type, I can smell roasting vegetables. From the window by the computer night is coming. The cloud formations are becoming more dramatic (dark centres and glowing edges picked out by the sun) and the sky is turning a delicate pink.

There is a fresh feeling to the air, which is a pleasant relief after 24 hours of rain and flash floods. At this time last night it was almost dark as the rain clouds piled up and squeezed the daylight out.

If I ever win the lottery and am in the position to design my own house, I will build myself an office next to the kitchen. It seems to be the perfect place. This would be improved only if I could build the kitchen somewhere warm. England is a wonderful place, but it’s not the best climate for my aching bones.

I’ve just given the vegetables 15 minutes and have now put the pies in. This gives me another 20 minutes to write. I’m afraid culinary standards have fallen a bit over the last week or two. We ran out of bread this week, because we have had eight days since the last delivery, and because I am making more sandwiches now that I am back at work. Julia will be in the gardens tomorrow so she will need sandwiches too.

On the way back from work I popped into Aldi. There was no queue, though people, as usual, were not shopping well. Too many people taking too long to decide, and shopping in  an unstructured way. This isn’t shopping at an exotic tourist market, this is shopping in a budget supermarket. We aren’t spending a leisurely afternoon watching artisans at work – this is industrial style shopping. Or, to speak plainly, get in, follow the flow, fill your trolley and get out. And in particular – don’t spend ten minutes selecting a loaf of bread whilst stopping me getting to it. Buy your bread and get out of my way – I have better things to do than standing patiently and breathing your germs.

Over the last few months shopping has become, in my mind, a dangerous sport on a level with skydiving and mountaineering. Like those two activities, it is made more dangerous by stupid people. Two stick in my mind. They were talking in a gangway and making it awkward for everyone else to get round. One had a trolley crammed with things that should have had a sign that said “Welcome to Diabetes” and the other was saying “Are we allowed to bring people shopping with us now?”

I presume that was relating to the relaxation of restrictions and the formation of a “social bubble”. You can probably gauge her level of intelligence from the fact that she felt in need of assistance to take things off a shelf and put them in a trolley.

The timer has just gone. I will add broccoli now, make gravy and stun my wife with yet another example of  how to cook with minimal effort.

The picture is very much like every other picture of pie, roast veg and gravy I’ve published before. Sorry I’m not more interesting.

Food notes – yes the broccoli was a bit past its best, and don’t buy the ALDI Chicken and Ham Hock pie unless you like looking for three bits of meat in a mass of gravy. They charge a price in the upper range for a pie, but they don’t deliver. The crust is the most impressive part of it,or possibly the packaging. Definitely not the filling. This, to me, is the wrong way round.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sunset over Sherwood

Things I Thought (But didn’t Write)

I always have more thoughts than I write about, and always seem to have more photographs than I can use too.

Here’s an opener – have you done Rachel McAlpine’s Older Blogger’s Survey? Obviously, many of my readers won’t be old enough to take it, and some of you are perpetually youthful, but one or two of you might find it useful. I found it interesting to get some of my thoughts in line.

Some of the other thoughts I’ve had are uncharitable ones about the idiot who taped my driving license to the court paperwork before sending it back. With finding a cloth and solvent it took me ten minutes to get it cleaned off.

Gloster Meteor stamp

Gloster Meteor stamp

I also wonder who thought it would be a good idea to design a car park where the exit doesn’t take coins, but insists on card payments in a badly lit machine that’s set at the wrong height. It might be OK for owls and midgets but it’s not good for me.

Then there’s the thoughts about British Telecom. We’ve been having a steadily worsening service, so Julia rang them on Saturday to sort things out. It took several hours and a number of false starts. They’ve been charging us too much and providing a shoddy service, neither of which they were prepared to correct. We still won’t be getting a refund but they are going to send us one of the latest routers (we have a Mark 2 and they are currently on Mark 6). They did offer to check the wiring in the house (and charge around £10) and charge us for a new router but Julia, growing ever shorter in temper as a result of her lack of sleep, managed to work a free router out of them. Of course, we haven’t got it yet, so we’ll see what happens.

A stream near Lound in Lincolnshire

A stream near Lound in Lincolnshire

Another thought that comes back to me from time to time is wondering if I’m in a hospital ward somewhere and all the WordPress comments on my blog are just voices in my head.

It could be, you never know. When I was younger I used to wonder if everyone saw the “blue” sky in the same way. What if they were seeing the colour I called “green”? Or even “orange”?

I’ve been dealing with several auctioneers recently – one of them won’t send items I buy with my debit card to any other address than the billing address. Three other auctioneers can do it, Paypal can do it, Amazon can do it, but this one particular auction house, it seems, can’t do it. To add insult to injury, the address I want to  use is one where they already send things.

Life can be very complicated in these days of electronic payments when everyone is scared of fraud. They will send it wherever I ask if I pay by bank transfer, but why should I give my bank details out?

That could easily develop into a rant, so I’ll change subjects now.

2013 £2 coin in presentation pack - commemoration

2013 £2 coin in presentation pack

The 2013 £2 is the first time a UK coin has ever commemorated another coin – in this case the Guinea of 1663. The Guinea is a very interesting coin. I won’t venture an opinion on the £2 as we just sold one of these packs on eBay.

 

I’ll finish up by dotting the post with some random unused photographs, which links us back to the first paragraph.

Thinking about it, there are a few first world problems here. I have just had a letter from Mary’s Meals and it might be a good idea to send them a few quid.

 

Things I Think About in the Car (Part 2)

Seventeen – Test Cricket, paint drying, beard growing. Rank them in order of thrill.

Eighteen – would spreading a baseball game over five days improve it?

Nineteen – World Series. USA and Canada. Really?

Twenty – that bus was close.

Twenty One – I hate this junction.

Twenty Two – oh look, the rugby club.

Twenty Three – we had some good times there.

Twenty Four –  I wonder if I will ever have grandchildren?

Twenty Five – I wonder if they will play rugby?

Twenty Six – where does all this traffic come from?

Twenty Seven – why did he just do that?

Twenty Eight – how many people realise D H Lawrence’s parents got married there? You’d have thought they married in Eastwood. How many people have heard of D H Lawrence these days?

Twenty Nine – will there ever be a TV quiz question on Nottingham’s links to the von Richthofen family? I could answer that.

Thirty – I wonder what Kylie Minogue is doing these days.

Thirty One – why did I buy a house so near so many schools?

Thirty two – why do parents park dangerously when dropping kids at school? If you want them run over why not just make them walk and save yourself a job every morning?

Thirty three – I wonder if any of these parents have ever had the school ring them to tell them they just dropped their kid off on a training day?

Thirty four – if I am going to blog my thoughts, should I leave that one out because it makes me look like a bad parent?

Thirty five – nearly there now.

Thirty six – why do women say “What are you planning on doing today?” when they really mean “I have a list of jobs for you.”?

Thirty seven – I wonder if I’ll get away with blogging this garbage? Maybe I should re-write it with deeper thoughts.

Thirty eight – I’ll put “stream of consciousness” in the Tags. That should do it.

 

Things I Think About in the Car (Part 1)

Just one trip to the other side of town to take Julia to work has given me more than enough subjects to fill a blog for a week.

One is obviously the morality of taking the car to work when we have a good bus service in Nottingham, and trams that run close to where she wants to be.

Two is the fact that she had four bags with her. Two contain things she is removing from the house. One is phone, sandwiches and such. The fourth is stationery and gym gear. Would she take four bags if she had to use the bus? Discuss.

Three – why do women need a bag to carry the things that go in my pockets? Even in summer I can manage, with a jacket in winter I have a pocket surplus.

Four – decluttering.

Five – decluttering, with special reference to the two bags she has removed today. One only arrived yesterday, the other last Saturday, so my view is that they represent clutter rather than declutter, particularly as most of the Saturday stuff is still here.

Six – the theory of two steps forward and one step back,  and how it applies to our decluttering policy.

Seven – differential decluttering. Her stuff is essential (I am told) but mine is fit for the skip.

Eight – do I need treatment for my obsession with clutter?

Nine – design of roads, junctions, traffic lights, bus lanes, cycle lanes and such stuff.

Ten, with reference to Nine, is all this done to make driving so hard we use buses?

Eleven – what is actually in the bus drivers’ test – bullying, cutting corners, pulling off at short notice, providing cyclists with near death experiences? (This question was asked early in the journey, but asked again as I tried to change lanes with a bus bearing down on me.)

Twelve – should I have bought one of those flats by Trent Bridge when I first moved to Nottingham?

Thirteen – would we have had a family if we had a flat there?

Fourteen – if we had a flat, and a family, and had moved, would we have less clutter?

Fifteen – am I obsessed with clutter?

Sixteen – if I had realised that you only had to do five years in the French Foreign Legion would this have altered my attitude towards parenthood?

That covers the journey to work and the first few hundred yards of the journey back. For the second part, which is just as interesting as the first, please call back in a later.