Monday, 16 January 2017

A Day in the Knees


I have spent the day in cogitating.  My thought processes have been working all day.  This as you may understand is not a regular exercise.  Having to take my creaking knees down to S P's for the midday session I prepared by deep study of the relevant passages, or the few I managed before my head hurt.  I mean I had read about Abraham many times before but early in the morning, that is about nine a.m. it is a little bit of a strain.  The big words in the commentary are easy enough at night when fed and watered and having no football to watch but before the cereal and stale bread it is much harder.  
The world 2000 BC is an interesting time.  People were flocking into cities in what is now southern Iraq three thousand years before this and life then was just as it is today, except there were no laptops or phones.  Writing began 3500 BC roughly and literature such as the epic of Gilgamesh around 2600 BC.  Writing probably began as means of recording sales as populations increased and an 'elite' were taking charge of an urban growth.  Great wealth and that from far distances has been found in 'royal' tombs from this time at Ur.  
War of course had begun by then.  Small tribal clans were usually less intent of robbing peoples far from themselves and it seems to me the increase in population and greater size of cities with associated wealth brought small local disagreements into what we now call national wars.  'The Standard of Ur' shows the result of one such conflict from the winners perspective.  It is recorded that peoples in the south held sway over those in the north of Iraq and faced rebellions around this time.  Boys will be boys.
It's fascinating to conjecture on how such folks lived, the crops, farmed since since 9000 BC, and the number of old folks wandering around grumbling that life was better in the old days.  Human nature does not change and the peoples of Mesopotamia reflect this clearly.

  
However much that interested me the group in which I blethered was less interested especially as most of them knew these things.  Instead we concentrate on Abrams faith in his God and how we ought to react to God today.  The asking of Abram to kill his son, the one through whom the promise was to be fulfilled was interesting, especially when you consider Abrams reaction.  I wonder what went through his head as he went to the chosen mountain?  Whatever God understood his reaction as while he never wished Abram to kill his son he did himself allow his Son to die for us.  How he hurt to save us.  A fathers love is something rarely spoken of in the media today, unless it is some sentimental twaddle.  Fathers are of course the lowest in society according to PC attitudes.
Now I sit with aching knees wondering how to deal with museum work tomorrow.  I mean should I try to stay awake or just doze.... 

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Weather the Storm


This brought terror to the newsrooms throughout the land yesterday.  The blizzard raced through terrifying reporters with nothing else to talk about and leaving acres of print space, TV and radio hours full of snow.  
It is usually like this in the UK.  
Certainly the weather was harsh in some areas, certainly Esmeralda the boiler would not work until I went to bed, certainly it was cold, below freezing!  However we all know it will halt trains, stop buses, cause traffic accidents and last no more than 48 hours, which indeed it did, less probably.
However TV, radio and press were on hand to cover each and every snowflake, except mine I should point out, and fill those empty spaces happily.  
Along with the stormy weather there were expected to be high tides surging down the coast along the North Sea.  The low lying areas of Essex and Eat Anglia have suffered much over the years from such tides and the authorities, armed with police, fire and ambulances abundant, recommended evacuation for many people.  A great many refused to budge, various reasons were given but in reality they know their neighbours canny be trusted and while the police were roaming the streets they feared break ins from locals more than high tides. 
In the end the high tides were not as high as feared, damage was minimal, no lives lost, everyone went home happy.  Well apart from those now complaining the police overreacted, much money wasted and such warnings were not required.  I suspect these are the same people who are first to claim the police/fire/ambulance/authorities did nothing and now look!  It was ever thus.
Very true that the police overreact all too often these days but if you ran the service how would you run such emergencies?  Good luck trying.

 
Cold in Sainsburys car park on Saturday morning, much colder two hours later when that snow blew in at 50 miles an hour.  I of course was waiting for Esmeralda to start up!  In fact I have just switched her on again and almost immediately she has failed.  Typical!  Fiddling with the thermostat keeps me warm mind.
These Saturdays are strange when there is no football.  Scottish Football closes down for three weeks in January to give players a break and avoid bad weather, bad weather which we all know is worse in February and March!  However it leaves a gap in the day.  English football may have its points but it is not worth getting stressed over.  Roll on the restart up north I say.
I heard one or two strange things regarding football.  One was the supposed comment by a commentator that Totenham Hotspur footballers were badly paid!  Now in football terms this may be true but earning £40,000 to around £100,000 a week before tax dodging is not bad in the minds of the local factory worker, the shop assistant or the man struggling to keep his business afloat with Brexit scaring him.  Sometimes footballers are strange.
Another one is the condemnation of one such footballer probably at the higher end of the pay scale, more £200,000 than £20 a week, and the condemnation is his desire to move to another club for 'big money.'  He wants away so he can earn proper big money and other players (who have done similar) are claiming 'That never happened in my day," liars one and all!  


Tomorrow we have rain...




Thursday, 12 January 2017

Snow!


Today I found myself to brain dead to do anything of worth.  This was just as well as the temperature descended gradually as an Arctic blast has come across the nation offering freezing rain and this has turned to snow here.  It may last 48 hours but for many making their way home through the rush hour, especially those on bikes, it is an unwelcome visit.
I am sitting amongst the heat it should be said.  I offer them my sympathy!  Tee Hee! Once in Edinburgh, and only once, I left work in such a sleet come snow storm and had to cycle miles up a straight and very long road with this in my face.  It was not what I would call a delight!
Tomorrow morn as I make my way to Sainsburys I note they expect more snow with 20-40 mph winds in my face!  I might go hungry instead!

And for those who do not know what snow is...




Wednesday, 11 January 2017

'Ae Spark o' Natures Fire'


Today I elected to board the 12:08 Zimmer Bus but for reasons beyond comprehension the bus left exactly on time meaning I missed it!  Since when did 'First Bus' buses run to timetables around here???  The little problem was the timing. This bus takes 43 minutes according to the timetable, this ignores roadworks, car crashes and bad weather of course, and had I been aboard enabled me to arrive at the theatre in time to select a decent seat to watch my best looking, most talented and highly intelligent niece perform at the piano alongside her singer.  As it was I did arrive well into the concert and squeezed myself into a seat between songs much to the numerous audience members disgust.  This small theatre holds about a hundred seats and was quite full, these (cheap) lunchtime concerts entertain music lovers and fill in time for people off the Zimmer Bus.  

My wonderful niece played superbly.  I have the CD of the concert they gave during the Edinburgh Fringe (sent by another attractive young niece) but to see her in action was a real treat.  It is two or three years since I saw her play so with a memory like mine this was a new experience!  It was good to see how she has developed her skill, the variety of songs gave a lot of opportunity to shine, some soft, some rather rugged in comparison and watching her hands work the keys with each was super.
Jillian her singer took centre stage (singers always do) and they went through a wide variety of songs, some Rabbie Burns, some from Spanish writers, some Russian.  It amazed me how she could concentrate on her singing and remember all the words of so many songs.  It was interesting to note how she almost acted out some of the words yet did not go so far as to lose track of what she was doing.  I mentioned afterwards how many of the locals would fail to understand the words of the Scots songs, they probably understood more of the Russian than anything by Burns.  There again with sopranos it is more than the words it is the noise produced (am I allowed to say 'noise' at this point?). 

I regretted greatly missing most of the first 30 minutes and have spent much time this evening seeking suitable works on YouTube but only one can I find from their act, the one above.  However I had a really enjoyable hour what with the music and meeting my favourite niece, what more can I ask?



Books!  That's what I could ask!  After leaving them to their devices, probably the pub, I made my way down the Big City back alleyways looking for the new 'Foyles' Bookshop.  Naturally while following strict instructions how to find it I ended up in a car park!  Wandering round the back streets I found gleaming buildings that were not there six months ago when I last passed this way. One of them was the gleaming 'Foyles' Bookshop.  Two floors of books surrounded by huge windows and lots of space, too much space in my view and not as much 'cosiness' as found in old fashioned bookshops.  One real irritant was the placing of books at ground level, I canny get down that far and with one section of small sized book crammed together my eyes found it hard to read the titles.  At least I made use of the generously donated bookmark with a book or two which now join the queue to be read.  This means five books are in that queue and I think I am reading eight others at the same time.  As they are mostly in the loo, a place most men use as a library, it may well be I do myself some harm while stimulating the brain.



Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Museum Musings


Another day another few hours of fun and jollity at the museum.  The term 'fun and jollity' is not to be taken seriously!  It was fun and at times there was jollity but I found too few people to discuss history, theirs or the towns, with today.  Several came in to see the postcard exhibition, 600 postcards in all mostly of the town and area about a hundred years ago, or slightly less.  Too few from the period after the war.  It is amazing just how much remains the same even though it is very different.  Did I just say that?  Indeed little has changed in the basic layout but some buildings are drastically altered.  The old market place, pub and all, is now a modern Tesco, what once was the 'Fairfield' used often by the 'fair' is now a large old Town Hall, modern library and 1930's ex-Post Office building.  It's quite amusing to note how things have changed in many visitors lifetimes.


The school class today, dressed suitably as Victorians, faced the stern Victorian teacher for an hour or so bravely but would not understand a life in which computers of one sort or another were in use. Being about eight years old they have grown up into a computer world and many bought slates, the type once used by schoolchildren learning to write (hold your hand up at the back) just to practice in similar fashion to kids of yesteryear.  We had one or two of those in also today!
Among the stock we have old Victorian pennies made into key chains.  Pennies I once used have become historical items!  Amongst the books we have 'Living in the 50's' and the same in the '60's' but this canny be history, I was there! 


I was much amused this week to read of a lass in Brazil who had spent many years praying to a statue of St Anthony.  Now I have no idea who St Anthony was, if he ever existed, and see no point in praying to dead men, Jesus is alive so ask him, but it is important to ensure you pray to the person you think you are praying to.  This lass was in fact unknown to her making use of a figure from a 'Lord of the Rings' set!
It is not known if she got an answer...

 
With Christmas just past it would be thought that cards were the last thing folks wished to buy yet I sold several today.  The girls like these and the ones featuring the 'Warners Silk Mill' designs.  I prefer cards with humour myself, specially one that fits the receiver, but women prefer intricate designs for the most part it appears.  These animals are particularly popular.  
Christmas cards I suppose have come down now, however I notice mine are still in their place hiding dirty marks and preventing me dusting places, so they had better stay for a while.  This adds a touch of colour to the room and avoids the 'empty feeling' that results from removing them.
Ah well, that's enough fun and hilarity for one day.


 This brings to mind some of my readers....
   

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Too Busy...


I might need one of these in a few days.  It has been non stop for me, and usually I am at 'stop' at all times.  Instead of lounging around on Saturday as I required I was forced to spend hours of good football time at a birthday celebration, O joy!  This morning was communion, tomorrow is another meeting, Tuesday work, Wednesday I have to travel to the big city where my niece and her friend are performing in a concert and then on Thursday I sleep!
This is too much for my frail eight stone body!   
Rush here, wait for buses there, walk this way, walk back again, then do the same tomorrow!  It's not right!  I hardly have time to burn my dinner before I am preparing for the next day.  Tsk!  
I m off to prepare thoughtfully for the next day now, I'm visiting my bed....





Thursday, 5 January 2017

Lucky Day Off


Esmeralda, the old boiler, is happily chugging away in the corner heating the place magnificently as she is supposed to do.  The heat is required as today is somewhat chilly,the clear skies allowing both sunshine and frostbite to entertain us.  Esmeralda is powered by British gas, one of the overpriced privatised energy companies that rip us off, especially during wintertime.  The fact that a lot of publicity has gone into encouraging people, me among them, to change gas companies has caused British gas and others to think about means of keeping hold of the customer without lowering their profits.  One such idea is the free gifts and prize draw offerings that no-one known to us ever wins.  The prizes may be great and the rewards tempting but they do not drop through our door.   
On the other hand loyalty cards at supermarkets and elsewhere have apparently been failing to encourage folks to remain with one company, people preferring to shop around.  However I am happy to make use of what rewards I get from Sainsburys, especially as it is just up the road two minutes away.  
Now get this, last December, on the official email, British Gas claimed I had been awarded an enormous number of 'Nectar points,' the system used by Sainsburys as loyalty points.  naturally I thought this a scam and yet my name was on the email, it was the official one I had signed up for, wasn't it...?  They informed me my points would be added in 10 days or so, and with Christmas in the way I put this aside and waited to check if it was real.  Indeed it turns out it was real and once I checked with Nectar themselves I had been given a great temptation not to change from British Gas to anyone cheaper!
I was amazed, this has never happened to me or anyone close to me, friend or foe.  There were several thousand points thus allowing me to spend them on things of value, like meat!  There is a superstore 30 minutes away on the bus and as our local Sainsburys store is small in comparison I headed to the big one today to see what was available.  


The advantage of larger stores comes from the offering of a wider range of household, technological and fashion goods smaller stores do not have the room for, thus it was here where vast areas were covered in ten times the amount of goods in comparison to what I'm used to.  The disadvantage, other than the ignorance of customers each and everyone of whom considered they could barge into me with their trolleys, it is near the big town you see and manners are less used there, the disadvantage to me was the thought that I did not require any of the tempting technological marvels or indeed the fashion, such as it was.  Milk, bread and sausage rolls for lunch did not seem an adequate response to the prize.  However my little camera is in trouble and requires fixing so I bought a cheap Nikon A10 to stick in my pocket for when the real camera is too bulky.  This satisfied my need for 'shiny things' and I went to pay.
Here we begin to slow down.  The lass was very friendly, helpful and efficient but indicated my card was logged into the local store, not the big one.  This meant her trailing me over to the Customer Services where a friendly and efficient young man (I was never like this when I worked) took me through the operation required.  He phoned Nectar where I had to confirm I was me, sensibly enough I think, and when that was OK the operation was complete and I strolled into the sunshine with my bag.
I was impressed by the staff, usually at the local store they are quite good, occasionally one can be a reason for being irked but in the whole they are acceptable, here however the people I dealt with went one better.  Shame there was little I wished for, mind you I will buy meat on Saturday at the local, that will shock them!  "What no reduced price mince this time...?"


That summed up the day as by the time I got home I lost interest in anything else but eating and sleeping.  The bus took ages to get back as while the roads were clear going out there were numerous hold ups coming back.  Holes in the road in several places, detours and lots of traffic on narrow roads.  Still I am grateful for the bus pass which might be used tomorrow with books in mind...
The house looks neat but it is quite run down.  I am not sure if it is part of the restaurant next door hidden by the hedge or what but I do know that what once was a nice wee home on the old Roman Road (actually going back long before the Romans improved it) this house now has billions of vehicles of all sizes outside his door all day and all night.  The roundabout to the right carries traffic in several directions and behind me stands the shopping centre swarming with folks improving their houses one way or another.  The traffic round here makes my ears bleed.  I am clearly now used to small town life even if the main road is outside my window.


High above several vapour trails scratched the sky.  here we see what I think may be one craft at 35,000 feet passing overhead towards the Americas while the other moves into the holding pattern for landing.  One possibly heads towards, New York or Montreal the other looks towards Stansted or Luton airports.  I know which one I would rather be on.  
Camulodunum is of course home to the army and while the old barracks have been knocked down and replaced with new housing, only the old church remains in place, there is still a firing range not far down the road.  To the right of these vapour trails I noted a third which suddenly rose into the air turned over and headed downwards then vanished into the distance.  This was too far away to see clearly but no passenger liner behaves like this unless it is crashing!  Too fast for the 'Apache helicopters' we often see here I have no idea what was going on unless it was part of the army maneuvers, still a bit strange mind.


Chances of Esmeralda charging up with British gas tomorrow morning?  Little I suspect!  Bah!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

January


The attempt to move around a lot more has been hindered somewhat by the chill in the air.  While the sun shines it looks lovely all around but the chill factor leaves an Arctic feel to the world and I am against this.
Yesterday the museum returned to normal, the cheerful staff rushed around tidying desks so they could fill them with stuff, a handful of people wandered in, one or two cups of tea were drunk and Peggy continued to grumble about the music, somethings never change!
It was good to be back but things will only slowly pick up for some of us.  The full time staff of course have lots to get on with and I find keeping out the way the best way in which I can help there.  It appears that is also their view although I am not too sure about this.
'Esmeralda,' the boiler, continues to play silly games.  When I desperately needed a bath yesterday morning, it is a long time since Christmas, she refused to ignite!  When I was considering making a move to leave she woke up!  Today she took hours to reach a temperature that satisfied her and made me shiver until lunchtime by when I no longer cared, hypothermia had set in.  Now I am too warm and had to go out to cool down!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

 
The second picture was taken 20 minutes after the first!  I love the setting sun but I do wish I could find something more interesting to snap.  
The fact that I have at least seven books open at the moment in one place or another does not stop me from dreaming of buying more, or as I did today, hear something on the radio that made me open another one!  Someone talking about Tacitus made me reach for his 'Histories' which I read yonks ago and have forgotten.  Tsk!  There it is lying open over there while this WW1 book is open here and others next door.  Now I have been told 'Foyles' have opened a bookshop in the big city (it claims to be a big city anyway) so I really think I must make my way over there soon, just in case...



Monday, 2 January 2017

The Year Long Slog Begins...


It will be another year before we have another Christmas and New Year.  I suspect at this moment some will be unwilling to consider this.  I know however of one man who has already begun his preparations, not that I am saying he buys things when they are cheap but that is what he is doing.  If only I had the money to buy things on the cheap I say...
Let us now put aside the leftovers that we have been living on, get ready to remove the decorations, the cards and the pile of wrecked wrapping paper that cannot be recycled and clean up.  Then we get be free to make another mess.
January has started and this means one thing only, shops will be full of valentines Day junk this time next week!  


I don't make resolutions at new year, they are just a fad,but I must lose weight and change what I eat.  Far more veg is required and a lot less sweet stuff.  I must move about a lot more also, this sitting at a laptop enjoying myself must stop!  I say this as I stuff left over cake into my gob, the last of the year I tell thee.  Well apart from a few biscuits that appeared in the cupboard, and several bags of crisps...

 
The constant talk about the weather you find on this island at the edge of the world is no surprise when you note what has been happening to us in recent days.  One day it's fog, the next bright skies, then mist, then rain, then bright skies again!  How nice for those folks not exposed to varying weather currents who can enjoy some stability for a decent length of time.  The bright blue skies of today will be replaced tomorrow by dark clouds hanging overhead, most of these caused by the general return to work of course. 
While many shops have been open in England both yesterday and today for the majority it has been a day off.  Scotland always has two days off at new Year, mostly because the drunks take two days to recover!  Especially in Ayrshire I am told!  Round here we just have the fireworks fetishists who keep us awake at all hours and fill the streets with dead rockets, their sticks tripping up the unwary and being redeployed by schoolboys on a mission of some sort.  


And this year let's all write that book that is desperate to come to life!


Sunday, 1 January 2017

A 'Guid New Year' tae Yin an A'




A Good New Year to all my happy readers.
And a Good New Year to the rest also!






By the way I am not in the photo...


Saturday, 31 December 2016

The End is Dreich


The year ends in dampness.  Half the town is asleep during the day, the other half looking for the last few pennies of the year.   I look for a hat when I wander out later just as the rain starts.  
I fail the end of the year quiz's in the media as I took no note of the celebs they ask about.  The world await Monday and a return to normal.
Having Christmas and New Year on a Sunday is not a good idea, it is better during the week as it gives a better understanding to aged minds as to where they are at any time.  And I find it quite boring to be honest even though I have accomplished several small items that I wished to finish.

 
My Starlings roosting on the Police pylon round the corner.  This is where they gather when not squabbling over the feeders.  There are fewer than before,  there used to be hundreds of them.


Soon be midnight.....

Friday, 30 December 2016

FOG!



Fog lay thick and deep over the world again today.  Yesterday was dreich and I spent much time indoors seeking dead soldiers.  Today I sought Tesco for those things requiring replacement and ensuring I can survive the shops being closed on New Years Day.  
The weather looks great, fog today, fog or cloud tomorrow and rain on New Years Day!  Super!!!
At least we don't have snow as that is awful, though it might make for better pictures.
Nothing is happening, we await next week when the world returns to some sort of normality.  At the moment people are stuck unsure of whether to spend more money, getting ratty with the kids under their feet all day, and bored with junk TV, why is it so bad this year?
It was ever thus I suppose.  At least we are living off the fat off the land, my diet begins when this lot of food wears out, and many people are living of the thousand or so Foodbanks spread through out the country caused by the Conservative Party looking after its own so not all are living off the fat.
Proper Football tonight, hopefully successful, and then junk footy tomorrow.  
There will be little else to see with this weather....


  


Army Wife

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Wednesday Frost


Thick fog, ice covered fields, roads and me!
Shops busier, happy checkout girls with time to chat, crowds of kids following fussed parents.
Sun arriving but slowly.
Market empty as stallholders still sleeping it off.
More kids taking parents round shops.
More gifts, even more money.
Grandparents the happiest of all.
After all they can give the kids back!
Later park full of kids showing off new things to satisfied families.
All wrapped up, many in new outfits.
Home.
Laptop.
Dead soldiers.
Boring TV.
Poor radio.
Chilly as forgot to shut window.
Yet more parsnips for tea....