Friday, 2 December 2022

Another handy hint

I haven't been doing much posting recently. There are a number of reasons for that, but saving electricity is not one.

I go to everyone else's posts almost every day, but I don't always leave a comment. Often I go to someone who seems to be getting no comments at all and I make a point of leaving one so they don't feel totally ignored, then as soon as I get the message that 'comments will be visible after the owner's approval' I regret it. I have a rule that I will not leave comments on someones blog if they use moderation, then I forget who does. I never go back to see if my contribution was acceptable. 

I seem to have given up talking about what is going on everywhere because you know what I think and I know what you think. What's the point?

Thankfully, people seem to have stopped posting up recipes. The last thing we need is more recipes on the net. If I want a recipe I will look one up, and if I need it really badly I will go through the rigmarole of selecting which cookies I will tolerate to be able to read it. Here's a handy hint: the grandson recently installed AdBlock on our machine, and now we can watch entire YouTube videos without adverts every 5 minutes. It's great.

Tuesday, 15 November 2022


Are you someone who is affected by the phases of the moon? Some people admit to it and others don't. Some seem not to realise it, or if they do, dismiss it as nonsense. 

Maybe I am kidding myself, but I think I notice the effects in others rather than myself. There is one particular blogger who I no longer follow but still read, and I have noticed that his apoplectic rants seem to coincide nicely with a full moon. Worryingly, he attracts a lot of support for them. 

I forget which ancient spiritual leader it was who said that the first thing you should do is break free from the influence of the moon.

Is it just coincidence that the moon appears to be exactly the same size as the sun when viewed from Earth? 

Friday, 11 November 2022

What if?

These days I make plans. Not big plans, very small ones in fact.

For instance, I will be sitting at the table before breakfast and will plan out my moves to bring cutlery, plates and the food to it before leaving the chair. After that is done I will decide in which order I will put the detritus in the bin and the plate in the sink - also before leaving the seat. I am not OCD (I think), but anyone trained in Time and Motion studies (remember that? I almost called it 'Health and Efficiency') would wonder why I bother.

I also worry a lot about small things. For instance, yesterday I planned to meet a friend and we were going to sit in the garden of a pub and smoke cigars brought from his humidor. He is a cigar enthusiast.

This idea came about when I casually mentioned that I intended to smoke a cigar in our house on Christmas day, purely to bring back childhood memories of the aroma of stale cigar smoke left hanging on the curtains to be found the following day by little me.

He jumped on this idea and began making arrangements to smoke one of his. Truly, I would have preferred to hire a surrogate uncle on the night and smell his cigar on Boxing Day, but my friend seemed to take over and a date was pencilled-in for our smoke, well in advance of Christmas.

As the day came closer I began to worry. What if I don't want to smoke a cigar? What if we forget to bring something to light them with? Does the pub sell lighters and, if so, how much do they cost?

Last night I arrived at the pub early and went through the empty garden to get a drink. I was just about to go back out when I heard him call me from a dark corner. It was a cold and windy night and the garden had no lighting, so he had decided to forget the idea of cigars and stay inside.

I need not have worried after all.

Thursday, 10 November 2022

Does this man represent you?

The Conservative party is currently suffering a very slow and very painful death. Just when you think we cannot sink any lower in the eyes of the world, something else happens. The only reason that they are not pulling Matt Hancock is that they are justifiably worried about instigating a by-election which they would most certainly lose. 

I will tell you one way of putting the country back on track in terms of growth - bring back all the European workers that used to be employed here 2 years ago, to fill the vacancies. They won't do that. It is against their ideology and it would make a nonsense of Brexit, but it was always a nonsense. 

We are going to be laughed at no matter what we do now, so we might as well bite the bullet for the sake of the future.

Sunday, 6 November 2022

Coming clean to the rozzers

I had a call from old friend Rod this morning, telling me that a slightly younger old and mutual friend - James -  has died. He was found by his ex-wife with whom he got on well, because she had not seen him for a few days and lived in the same road.

Recently, every time I hear of the death of a friend or acquaintance I realise I have been thinking about them repeatedly for quite a while before I am told the bad news. I thought of James last night and I thought of calling him the night before. Sometimes a year can go by without him entering my consciousness. 

I am having a clear-out and need to get rid of a bulky gun-cabinet which I have no use for (free to collector - want it?) and I thought that James might want it. Then I guessed that he had enough gun-cabinets for one lifetime so I did not call him.

I held his hand through the gun licence application form to the police. He used to be a very naughty boy in his teens and could not believe that a gun licence would ever be granted to him. One of the things you have to tell the police is whether or not you have ever been convicted of a criminal offence. The idea of grassing yourself up to the police did not sit comfortably with James, and he considered lying by saying 'no'.

I convinced him that it would be worse to lie, as if they ever found out (which they would - they hold the records) they would revoke the licence in any case, so he - with trepidation - put his faith in my advice and their sense of fair play.

If you tick 'yes' on the police form, the next question asked is what the conviction was for. In his case it was for breaking into a chemist at night and stealing drugs. He was only about 13 at the time, and I told him that the crime did not involve violence or threats thereof so all should be well with the application - just so long as he admitted to it.

He was just about to add - in ink - that he was sent to prison for the misdemeanour by writing 'custodial' in the box when I stopped him, saying that even the police would advise you to give no more information to them than is asked for. You can take honesty too far. He got his licence and he got his guns.

A few years ago I made a will and left my three guns to James in it, he being about 12 years younger than me. If you don't leave your guns to a fellow licence holder, the police destroy them after your death and I wanted someone to get the money for them. 

Since I sold all my guns a few years after making the will I began thinking I would re-write it, but there is not much point in that now. I am not sure there ever was.

Saturday, 5 November 2022

Girl on a train

At the Western side of the six-track railway running into Woking station, one line splits away in a gentle curve leading to places like Camberwell and - I think - ultimately Petersfield.

One afternoon, the 15 year-old me was riding on the the lonely line to Camberwell where I was attending a private school in Geology. It look me a few months to realise that geology was not the palaeontology I was expecting it to be, so I waited until we had gone on the fossil-hunting field trip to Lyme Regis before telling the teacher that I had misunderstood and had decided to leave the class.

That day I sat at the window of my carriage, soporifically staring at another slow moving train which was pulling up along side of mine on the next line. The two trains were so close that you could have leaned out of a window and shaken hands with a passenger in the other.

Eventually they were moving at exactly the same speed and I found myself gazing into the eyes of what seemed to me to be the prettiest girl I had ever seen, who was seated a few feet opposite on the other train. She stared back and instantly we both began formulating plans for meeting properly. 

We looked up at our windows and quickly discovered that neither would open. We simultaneously ran through the other hopeless options - no pens, no paper, no steam on the window in which to write... time was fast running out.

Within a few more seconds the trains began to part company, the distance between us increased - painfully slowly - and panic turned into resignation. We waved at each other with sad smiles, wondering if we would ever meet again. We never did.

For years after, I wondered if I we would have married under other circumstances. Stranger things have happened.