Tag Archives: TV

Snow, TV and Haibun

It snowed today. First it was slow, soft flakes, then ice clicking on the  windows and, after the wind fell, icy particles falling quickly. I’ve never really looked at snow so closely before. Perhaps it’s true that you watch nature more closely when you write haiku. Or maybe, in the absence of Murder She Wrote, merely means I have time to stare out of the window. It’s a rare day when Jessica Fletcher is absent from our screens, but today seems to be such a day. I had to watch Father Dowling instead.

I use snow in the English sense. It fell a couple of hours ago, gave us a light dusting and has now almost gone. This is, to be fair, early for English snow as it often doesn’t appear until January or February, and some years we have none at all. It may be thicker on the uplands and in Scotland, but compared to many places we don’t really have snow in the UK. We do have disruption caused by snow, but that’s because most of us have no equipment to cope with it.

Big news of the day is that Issue Six of Drifting Sands Haibun is now out and thy have shown exquisite taste in selecting one of mine. I could link directly to mine but will, instead, be more modest and just link to the magazine. Scroll down to Wilson for mine, but read some of the others on the way. From the ones I’ve read so far, I have to say that this is one of my favourite issues.

It’s now time to have lunch and complete the online grocery order. Whatever I die from, I doubt that it’s going to be stress. I’m feeling quite serene at the moment, in the absence of work, modern life and the need to wear shoes. There’s something very relaxing about life in slipper socks.

I’m currently working on a post about the RNLI, but, as usual, gathering the information takes me longer than writing a quick note on daily life, which is why slipper socks and snow rose to the top of the pile.

A Simple Day for a Simple Man

I’ve just spent a happy morning in front of the fire chatting, eating chocolate and watching compilations of Christmas songs on TV. I am a simple man and this is all I need. This expanded to a happy afternoon doing the same.

I just spent five minutes trying to delete a surplus full stop from that sentence. One of my resolutions for next year is to keep my computer screen cleaner, as it turned out to be a small mark on the screen that lined up perfectly. This isn’t the first time it’s happened, but it always fools me.

As I said, I am a simple man.

I have my wife by my side, my firstborn nearby and the spare child checked in by some mysterious process which allowed his face to appear on a computer screen and tell me I was looking older. He is looking uglier and tubbier than last time I saw him. It is good to have all this modern technology to hurl abuse at family members who are thousands of miles away, though I’m not sure that when I first came across a “video phone” in a science fiction story that I would ever use one for this purpose.

After that I rang my sister using 19th century technology and delayed her until she had to go, because her oven was emitting smoke. Her cooker has either elected a new pope or burned her Christmas dinner. I fear it is the latter.

I’m now going to stalk a few of my regular blogging companions and see how their day is going. After that it is turkey and more TV. I also intend drinking some of the tea I have been sent as presents and rounding the day off with biscuits.

1995 Robin stamp

 

New Day Dawning

Julia has a sixth sense for when I’m enjoying myself.

I left her asleep, and breathing rhythmically (as in pigs grunt, men snore, ladies breathe rhythmically), and crept quietly downstairs for some quiet time with WordPress. Next thing I know, she’s up and zipping everywhere in high energy mode whilst asking what I’m making for breakfast. I had said I’d make breakfast last night, but I was thinking it would be a while. I don’t know how people manage to move from asleep to manic in such a short time. I woke up an hour ago and I’m only just making the transition from lethargic to sluggish. At this rate ‘awake’ will cut in around lunchtime and snooze around 3pm. That’s my sort of day.

And, as I say, sensing that I’m just starting to relax with my keyboard, she is here, buzzing with energy and deflecting me from my plans.

We had a Chinese takeaway last night. It was our first since March. It might actually have been out first since 2019, as we haven’t been having much Chinese. I’d been looking forward to it for a good three months. It was a complete disappointment. Too salty, badly presented and surrounded by guilt. The guilt is mine, as I should be economising and not eating such rubbish. The saltiness and poor presentation is down to the restaurant. It’s good news for my health and diet that I won’t be having another one in the near future (apart from lunchtime, when the leftovers come into play). Strange how you can look forward to something so much and then find it is so disappointing. There is nothing good I can say about the experience, apart from the fact it was first class aversion therapy. In terms of diet and spending, the lockdown has been good for me.

Julia is now making breakfast, as I’m too slow. I’d better go now, and at least make some attempt at being a half-useful husband…

I have been asked to point out that this is a work of fiction and that none of it, apart from the Chinese meal, represents, an accurate version of the truth. And even if it did, I have no room to talk as I was snoring so badly last night that she had to wake me up so that she could hear the TV. I know that bit is true, because I was snoring so loud I even woke myself up at one time.

Do you remember the days when TV was so exciting that it was impossible to fall asleep?

 

 

The List (2)

I meant to post this yesterday, but I forgot to add that to the list, so it didn’t get done.

14. Warm up yesterday’s soup and eat with the remains of the sourdough bread from Lidl

15. Ruminate on the question of why a budget supermarket has the best bakery

16. Freecell

17. Look at list of jobs.

18. Look again. Are you sure it doesn’t mention Freecell?

19. Look again. Nineteen points in and only two of them are actually on the list.

20. Magazine article. It’s nearly done. An hour later it was still nearly done. Ditto for thirty minutes after that.

21. Let the article mature and go back to it tomorrow.

22. Alarm rings. Is it that time already? Time to pick Julia up.

23. Lose the plot and watch TV.

My performance was patchy in some areas but I think I really nailed Number 23. I’m going to try another list next week and see if I have similar success.

VW Daisy Wheel

Watching TV

I’m watching TV and typing again, as I did last night. It means I can talk to Julia, watch TV, blog and save money on heating. And they say men can’t multi-task…

We were busy in the shop today with a combination of eBay and retail customers. We also loaded quite a lot of medallions onto eBay. However, though busy, it wasn’t the sort of day that provided much in the way of interest or insight.

Watching TV all evening has had a similar result, passing before my eyes and leaving no mark. I’ve laughed a few times, but learnt nothing and not been provoked into any thought other than “TV is really rubbish tonight.” I would like to report something more profound, but that’s as good as it gets.

Julia outdid herself tonight, producing a roast dinner as I slept in front of the fire with a quiz on TV. This is not really how I imagine the home life of a poet. I can’t imagine Byron or Wordsworth, or even Larkin or Carol Ann Duffy, snoozing in front of the TV. Well, maybe Larkin…

I might have to change my artistic ambitions away from poetry and move towards art. That way I can tell people that I’m installation art, and the snoring is meant ironically. The gravy on my shirt will also be incorporated into the work, as will a regular supply of tea, which will then become tax-deductible. If I’m going to be able to claim for tea I can probably pay a butler to serve it. It seems to have worked for Jack Vettriano.

 

Study Number 1 - The Idiot

Soup and Quizzes

We had the standard soup using the bag of ready chopped veg and followed it up with a ham sandwich made using rye and sprouted grains. It was healthy and filling, though I will be adding a few stewed apples later just to top up.

I’m now blogging and watching Mastermind. I’m a bit slow tonight. I’ve often thought of applying for a TV quiz but never get round to it. This is partly because I’m lazy, but mainly because I doubt that my armchair brilliance would be repeated once I got to the studio.

It has now changed to Only Connect, as I am doing all sorts of things, apart from writing (in case you were thinking I was being slow. I’m not a great fan of the show as I don’t generally do well. However, it’s good mental exercise.

And even as I write that it ends and University Challenge starts. It’s a real quizzing fest tonight and I’m only getting away with it because Julia is distracted. Normally she puts her foot down and won’t let me watch three quizzes in a row. It’s a good night if I answer more than two or three questions. I’ve already answered three out of four, which is one more than the students. Could be a good night – sometimes I can watch a whole episode without even understanding a question. I’m now on six from eight. Things are looking up…

They are on chemistry questions now. I don’t even know what they are talking about.

Anyway, you don’t want a running commentary on me watching TV.

I just answered a chemistry question and am now doing badly at poetry. Just goes to show you never can tell.

I’m not honestly sure I have much to add. I went into two supermarkets today as I needed some specific things before we go into lockdown.  In TESCO there were three staff without masks and the spotty teenager working as a greeter kept pulling down his mask to talk to people. At Sainsbury’s the greeter didn’t even have a mask. Two staff on the tills had no mask, a manager was working with her mask pulled down under her chin and the four teenagers at the Argos counter were clustered together chatting with no masks.

No wonder we are having trouble.

Nudge nudge…

You may have noticed I didn’t post last night, though with so much activity on WP you probably didn’t notice. If you did notice, it’s possible that you remembered I posted recently on cutting back on my WP writing and thought, “Aha! He’s cutting back on his WP writing, just like he said he would.”

Of course, if you are one of the die-hard cynics that seem to congregate here, you may have thought “I bet he left it late then fell asleep in front of the TV”.

This goes to prove that, cynical as you may be, you aren’t incorrect.

I can’t remember what I was watching when I fell asleep, but by the time I woke up the TV had switched itself off. As the schedule seems to be full of rubbish, this was probably a good thing. In fact, considering the amount of rubbish on TV, it probably committed suicide out of shame.

We are still decluttering and more bags of books are on their way to the car. I emailed Oxfam to see about taking books in, and was told that I had to email the nearest shop to find out what the local policy was. They did offer to do it for me if necessary, but it seems an inefficient way of doing things.

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Bumblebee on Teasel

At the moment, having been given room to think, we have offered the books to one of Julia’s volunteers who does jumble sales and is currently running a local library service.

If you’ve ever read Inside the Nudge Unit you may recognise my behaviour – looks like I’m a case study from the Behavioural Insights Team.

In summary, if you want people to things for you, you make it easier, or less easy not to do. Governments do this by streamlining forms and by adding a reminder that most people pay their taxes on time. If you don’t want people to do things (like cancelling standing orders) you just add an extra step and that serves to put a lot of people off.

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Bumble bee on bramble flowers – Sherwood Forest

 

 

 

Wednesday 8th July Part IV

Poppy and chamomile

The day is passing faster and faster.

Julia is on the phone to one of her needier clients. Again, I cannot describe the conversation due to issues of confidentiality, but it is circular. And long. And, as it is on something modern like an app or a zoom, it is loud and intrusive too. She might be working from home but technically this is a day off for me, even if I am treating it as a work day. Obviously in this context “work” is an expression of hope rather than fact.

I have researched a number of magazines as recipients for the articles I wish to write. I have read several of the magazines more deeply than necessary and I have made a list of possible articles. My plan is at the stage known as “getting there”. In other words it is a rag-bag of elements which don’t amount to much.

It is more of an intention or an outline. Time for some more work, but this time I will do it in front of the TV whilst watching Pointless. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Ironically that’s a very dull saying. Equally ironically, I haven’t done much work.

Back again…

Having watched Pointless and failed in a few rounds – notably the modern music and the football questions – I meant to get back to work. Instead, I watched Eggheads. It is one of the dullest quizzes around, but we had tea and biscuits and I can never resist temptation to sit and drink tea, with or without biscuits. As a late lunch we had corn on the cob (Julia went out for a walk and, as usual, nipped into a shop to buy something. She can’t break the habit. Today she bought corn on the cob.)

I am quite hungry now and have just put the vegetables into the oven to roast. Carrots, parsnips, leeks and potatoes. I will put sprouts in when I put the pasties in. It’s a meal we have nearly every week but I never get fed up of it. Apart from being year round comfort food, it’s healthy and easy to make.

It’s been eleven hours since I started “work” and I have not managed to complete anything yet, apart from some TV viewing and three blog posts.

As I started this one I noticed my total was 2,000 which means I missed the chance to write a post about reaching my 2,000th post. I may have to plough on to 2,020 before marking the occasion.

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I’m now going to put the pasties in and about 25 minutes after that will make the gravy. It’s only made with gravy granules, so is nothing exciting. Then I had better get the shopping ordered. I only have until midnight and it can be a slow process. I also get distracted easily.

I have already done the shopping list relating to the spice kits – we will be having linguine with prawns and rocket. I’m not sure why, because we make that anyway.

We are also having Iranian Vegetable Stew, which apparently takes its inspiration from Persia and North Africa. This tends to suggest it isn’t really Iranian or a proper recipe, just some vegetables to soak up some spices they wanted to get rid of. Pardon my cynicism. I keep meaning to give ras-el-hanout a try, so this is my chance.

Finally we will be having nasi goreng. I’ve wanted to try it since I read about it as a teenager reading my dad’s Somerset Maugham books. It’s typical that I’ve always steered clear of cooking it in case it didn’t live up to my expectations. Next week will be an interesting time.

I will try to take photographs before I eat everything.

Photos are recycled from here.

Eleven Photos and the Benefits of Blogging

Mint Moth

Wednesday 8th July Part I

Wednesday 8th July Part II

Wednesday 8th July Part III

Wednesday 8th July Part IV

Wednesday 8th July Part V

Lockdown disagreements

I have just been watching an hysterical woman on a TV phone in, following closely on from a smug ex-politician and pictures of crowds out drinking in London at the weekend. I think the world would be better without either of them but as I don’t have the power of life and death vested in me, I merely switch the TV off. It’s not quite as satisfactory as the thought of obliterating them with a thunderbolt, but it’s better than listening to them.

The subject is, of course, the reopening of the pubs, which took place on Saturday. According the news reports there would be ID checks on the doors in Nottingham pubs to ensure that nobody from Leicester ignored the local Leicester lockdown and travelled out of town to drink.

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that this increased socialising will result in a second peak but there are also many good reasons for the reopening. There will, as usual, have been a calculation of acceptable losses by the Government.

Socialising, mental health, possible riots and the cost of lockdown are all factors in the calculation. They will have been compared to the cost of drunken rampages, police overtime and the deaths of several thousand people.

Cost to the brewing industry versus death of grandparents. For most people that would be a tough choice, but for a politician, with votes, political donations and the possibility of a non-executive directorship, it becomes much simpler.

man in coveralls drinking beer

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

It’s unlikely that I’ll be doing much socialising until after I’ve been vaccinated against coronavirus. I don’t go out much anyway, so another twelve months of living quietly won’t kill me.

I really don’t want to end up as a number in the history books of 2020.

For a more cheerful look at Monday, try the second post of the day.

 

I rose a little earlier than usual this morning, which is part of my new plan. It is necessary, after weeks of casual slacking, to return to the world. Rising earlier will help me get more work done, and if I get up fifteen minutes earlier each day I won’t notice the gradual change. By the time I go back to work I will be rising with the lark and facing the day with fortitude. Not that we have a lot of larks in Nottingham, in the morning or, indeed, at any time of the day.

As I descended, ready for the day, the post arrived. I now have a new supply of bran for the bokashi bucket. We are producing a lot more vegetable waste these days as a result of healthy eating. As we gradually work our way through the carrots I am also peeling more – there’s something very unappetising about the skin of an aging carrot.

I will be finalising our shopping list later in the day, and carrots won’t be on it.

The second parcel contained masks. I’ve only bought ten, but I thought I’d get a few just in case. Government advice is still that we don’t need them, but this might change and it’s easier to wear a proper mask than make one from a handkerchief and two rubber bands.

face mask on blue background

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

In the evening, acting on Tootlepedal’s advice, I watched some improving TV. First I watched a painting programme, which would have been useful if I had any talent for painting. Then I did the washing up while Julia watched an Andy Warhol exhibition at the The Modern. We then sat down for two programmes about Philip Larkin. He was an interesting though slightly repellent character, but I knew that. The first programme was by someone who had known him and was quite interesting. The second was by someone who had trained as an actor before becoming an academic. That one was interesting because it showed how an academic can build a media career.

Just after midnight I checked in with TESCO, which has no delivery or collection, and ASDA, which did have a collection slot. I did some ordering then had a look at the list for our Thursday collection. It’s hard doing the shopping by remote control.