Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Administration Day

I am ending the year with some administration.  Paperwork long left lying about has been put to use, calls made and services amended.  Among them is the change from 'TalkTalk' to 'BT Sport' so I can watch Scottish football legally and with a clearer picture than before.
The need to phone Mumbai to speak to someone who does not speak clear English is a nuisance no matter how well educated and willing they may be. Several times I failed to understand her speech, and she sounded irked by this, I know why as I often have that trouble with the folks here.  Still all went through and within the next month bit 'TalkTalk' and 'BT' will work together to cut me off from the web for a long period of time!  Quite when this will be I know not, but it will happen, won't it?
I have run several devices to clean up the laptop and it actually worked! Several things run faster and I suspect I have also mislaid one or two things on the way. I certainly pressed 'block' on one item when I meant to press 'allow' and now I canny unblock the thing!  I can look at email when half the page is missing I suppose.  
Now I note a new calendar lies awaiting my touch.  This one has those old pictures with word balloons added, you know, "I want to open a joint bank account." "Who with?"  "Whoever has lots of money."  It is a woman asking by the way.  Now I must go through this marking in all the birthdays, especially the ones I forgot last time.   Checking carefully to see just how many of these scurvy knaves have given me two dates for their birthday.  That has happened before.  
This calendar is OK in many ways but has two irritating aspects.  One is the unfortunate habit of beginning the week on a Monday, I always begin on Sunday.  The other is the holidays, they are all US! Who needs to know about 'Independence Day?'   Bah!  However with the birthdays marked in I can now forget about them until the time.
The thing about birthdays is the demand to send a card.  So when I can I buy a bundle of suitable cards and store them for the day.  On the day naturally none of them fit the recipient.  They are either all for girlies or all for men of action, the word 'action' need not be taken literally.  So once again I trek round the three or four places to find cheap cards and by the end of the year I have a bundle unused in the desk.  Mind you I have been known to reuse Christmas cards for birthdays, if I am not fussy why should they be I reckon?
The citizens of Edinburgh will be well into their midwinter celebrations by this time, even though midnight is still hours away.  Hogmany will be a big party for many and I suspect somewhere in Leith Mr S. is handing out the households cash via the bar of the 'Sarry Heid.'  In this dark land the area quietens, until the fireworks at midnight that cause so must pain to the town's animals, then a few drunks will despoil the place but most will remain quiet, apart from the ones punching one another 'up the throat,' an activity that has become commonplace after closing time these days.  The reason is simple, there are too few police now, the Tories have cut them and late night revels and punch ups are left to the idiots to sort themselves.  
I am heading for bed come what may.  In the past we went round folks houses having a drink and a party, today Hogmany appears more concerned with drink than party.  The ability to drink without endangering yourself or others is noted less and less it seems to me.  The 'First footing,' the whisky, the 'Black Bun' was all part of things then.  It still is but it appears to me listening to folks that life has changed greatly in the last twenty years.  The days of yore saw parties, conversation and much laughter, although the Latvian's amongst us could not half knock back vodka!  Not me, then or now! I reckon that is the stuff that has kept them going well into their eighties.  Ban it and they might disintegrate. The harder edge to the world has lost much at this time. 
The outside world has gone strangely quiet.  Few cars pass, no one walks, no talk, no cries from the brats in the park, nothing.  They must be rushing home to watch sad TV or are filling the pubs, and few will 'first foot' as they have no idea what that is here.  That reminds me, I musts secure that door...


Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The Sky Above

Have you noticed how the days are getting, ever so slowly, longer?  The sun is slightly higher this afternoon than it was last week, and the darkness takes minutes less to arrive.  Spring is fast approaching and once this mid winter festival is out of the way and the drunks locked up we can look forward to better days.  It never ceases to amaze me the way the world works.  If the sun was closer we would burn, if further away freeze, life would not be possible.  How lucky it manages to stay in the right place.  Orion constellation is one I have know all my life, hanging high above us in the cold, clear nights Edinburgh folks are so used to.   Out side Edinburgh it could be seen clearly from the bus stop as we made our way home at nights.  I wonder if it is still there?  Once upon a time I was foolish enough to believe that there was life out there, possibly too many episode so 'Star Trek; or a reading of 'Dan Dare' in the 'Eagle.'  I no longer believe this now.  Vast area of South American desert show no life whatsoever and I suspect out there things are the same.  Not counting the many stars, especially in the far distance that no longer exist, they dying long ago and the light only now reaching us.
I used to enjoy science fiction type books but in the end all comes down to human nature and they way we behave towards one another.  Whether at sea, on land or in deep space science fiction folk always proved to human.  There must be a reason for this.  Still it would be enjoyable to sit in a warm comfortable spacecraft and make speed through the night sky visiting far distant planets, without dying of course, and having lunch at the restaurant at the end of the universe.

Back on earth there is the Blues.....


Monday, 29 December 2014

Back to Normalish

Having spent some time in the morning rubbing whale oil all over my lithe muscle bound body I ventured out into the land of Nanuk.  Here I discovered the world returning to some sort of normality.  Some of the populace had work to go to, some went to work, others crowded the supermarkets desperate to refill the larder in spite of eating enough for the entire population of a small country over the past few days. The grumpy faces once more showed themselves, the kids trundled new scooters, bikes and other overpriced treasures and I merely passed amongst them unnoticed, at least according to all those who walked into me and carried on without apologising! 
Nothing happened otherwise.  The after Christmas, awaiting for New Year days are pretty quiet. The politicians hide away counting their expenses, run of the mill news is slack and even the sad tragedy of another airliner disappearing does not fill the news services timetables.  A fire on a ferry helps but sadly for them almost everybody escaped.  Poor reporters, how hard for them to fill their pages and hour long broadcast slots.

One sad news item concerned a lass who died.  This woman suffered Multiple Sclerosis, a horrible disease that kills you after around 20 years of suffering, and she had gone to court in a bid to prevent her husband being charged if they went to a place abroad where she could commit suicide. She won some degree of support from the judges yet sadly passed away today naturally I believe. Now one of the diseases that Maida Vale dealt with when I worked in that hospital was MS, and at the time I worked there my cousin, a physiotherapist who worked with Raith Rovers and Dunfermline football clubs, also contracted this vile illness.  He died years later, a fit healthy active man in his forties reduced to being trapped in a wheelchair.  How he and his wife coped I know not.

However the point is should people be allowed to assist others to die?  It is tempting to jump to a, shall we say emotional conclusion, and say yes!  End their suffering if they wish it.  However I would worry that such a decision cannot always be taken by someone confused and desperate under sickness and drugs.  I would also worry that such a right would easily lead to the removal of old folks that some no longer wished to care for, and that can be distressing, or those who wish to inherit Uncle Joe's vast fortune.  I caught a report on the radio claiming that such a law exists in the Netherlands today and there indeed have been problems caused by such events.  Peoples wish to die often forced upon them by others for whatever reason.  A difficult situation but in my view to open to abuse by many.  


Sunday, 28 December 2014

A Dark and Cold Night

Not being one to grumble I showed concern for my readership by checking on the weather in their part of the world.  While we sit here enduring the 'cold snap' in which frozen fingers tend to fall of with amazing regularity and pipes freeze sufficiently to ensure the local plumbers will meet up in the Algarve in a few weeks time to sip cold drinks and laugh at the folks back home.  The temperature is minus one on the centigrade scale, 30F or so in real terms, or as it is termed here "Bloody freezing!"  
This caused me some concern regarding the shocking conditions in the colonies and I have been reliably informed that Queensland has drizzle while the temp remains at 72 F.  Please note it is 6 in the morning there!!!  Central America suffers 77% also while stuffing fattening food down their throats and only Edinburgh will be colder than this wilderness.  The poor folks in Texas are overcast and suffering 42%, I suspect they will invade somewhere if it does not improve soon.  It will be raining tomorrow in Georgia but a warm Edinburgh 60% will suffice.  How lucky can they be I ask?   Even Missouri is suffering like us, is this normal?  It is warmer in Cyprus but not much, 55F, which will annoy the landlords handyman as he spent Christmas there.  I suspect however he ventured rarely from the hotel bar once the food options had been devoured.  
Climate change, whether man made or just a happening is real and as usual politicians do little but talk about it.  Some island nations will soon disappear, the likes of Bangladesh will suffer terribly, and even the south of England will have inundations along the coast.  Politicians will do nothing until it hits home and then it will be too little and too late.  Still it has been a surprisingly warm summer, we cannot complain, but the energy robbers will, and if we have a mild winter in comparison to some I will not grumble, I rarely do.   

World Clock


Saturday, 27 December 2014

Dead Town

The problem with having Christmas on a Thursday is that it leaves the feeling of two weekends placed together.  While Christmas Day sees folks visiting one another and Boxing Day offering more visits or crushed in shops for shiny things the town remains quiet.  Today it was so quiet the market did not take place, a rare event that, possibly because some stalls had been here for the previous week, but few were to be found strolling through the few open shops.  Sunday tomorrow so a quiet time for those not watching football on TV on visiting the churches.  
The weather does not help.  After the remarkably warm year the weather girls have been telling us of the 'cold snap' that has hit us now.  'Cold snap?'  It's Christmas!  The Christmas type pictures show heaps of snow everywhere so how come we face a 'cold snap' in December?  This reminds me of the 'Daily mail' story warning of three months of bitter cold weather lay ahead.  As one of their commentators pointed out that meant December, January and February! Usually in the UK this refers to what we call 'winter!'  It is possible the people at the 'Daily Mail' were not aware of this, thinking is not their strongest attribute.
However the north wind howling through the window has meant me leaving the curtains in place today, darkening the inner sanctum but avoiding frostbite and the need to keep the heating on all day. However that pullover is not as yet being put to use!
I started my diet today, have you begun yours....?


Friday, 26 December 2014

The Day After

Possibly the most worrying thing today was the weighing machine cracking under my feet as I stood on it.  Being not so young as it once was it shows signs of strain, however loud cracking sounds followed by sighs of relief as I get off are not asked for.  I suggest it is broken and requires urgent replacement and I will look into this once I have eaten all the stuff in the fridge and begin my new diet again.    
Well you see I bought stuff for Christmas and canny eat it all in one go can I? At least I couldn't yesterday or today at any rate.  The puddings are still in the cupboard and the Italian type cake is only half eaten.  Well I say 'half...' Anyway tomorrow I eat more veg and begin to fight the flab.  I even attempted slight exercise again, and slight is the word.  
Christmas TV was poor.  I only found the Chris Tarrant Railways programmes worth watching.  All the rest was films and pap, the usual stuff.  Folks I could have been with this week are now watching 'Downtown Abbey' or whatever it's called, and have been watching several dreary films.  I could have been there grumbling at their TV but stayed here to grumble at my own.  Be assured had I had to watch that 'Downtown' thing again as I had to last time I may well have spoken out of turn!  

Several radio programmes were worth a listen however.

Christmas meditation by Milton Jones, a comic.  

Voices of the First World War, featuring men who saw the 1914 Christmas truce.  This truce was unofficial and took place in limited parts of the line. However it has received much publicity this year, somewhat 'over the top' in my view but worth a listen to the men themselves.  

Desert Island Discs 300th programme.  Most who appear on this radio favourite mean little to me but this man turned out to be a real gem and worth a listen.

With Great Pleasure, items chosen by Ian Hislop.   An interesting insight into Ian and his choice of readings.  Usually this is a good programme whoever is on it.

The rest of the time I just watched football when I could find it!

Oh and my 17 year old great niece sent me a pullover.

Those lights flash on and off too, just wait till I see her........ 


Thursday, 25 December 2014

Christmas Day

May Christmas bring you joy and happiness in spite of it all!
A good and happy Christmas to all my friends worldwide.
I would be nothing without you!  


Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas Eve

I had a problem with the lamp.
The bulb went out as I switched it on.  I switched off, went rummaging and found a new bulb.
I removed old bulb, placed it on desk besides new one and got interested in something on laptop.
I returned to bulb, inserted, switched on - nothing!
I removed bulb and replaced it again, firmly this time, and switched on.
Resentfully I then went two whole days in semi darkness before getting round to checking the plug.
This meant crawling under the desk into a world of dust, dead men's bones and plugs.  Eventually the right one was removed.  Opened it revealed an ageing 3A fuse.  I searched the fuses lying in  heap on the mantelpiece for reasons unknown to discover only 5A and 13A available.  UK standards insist on 3A for lamps.
I trudge out among the masses once again to the Indian ironmonger type shop where almost all those little things you require can be found cheap.  China must love this man!  Having stared at the wall covered in electrical bits for an age he came over and went to the fuses which were naturally right in front of me.  
Home again I replaced the fuse, entered the murky world beneath the desk wondering how long that half sandwich had lain there and inserted plug into its place.
Above I grasped bulb and shoved it where it goes, switched on, nothing!
It was at this point that I noticed another bulb still in the box.
Removing this I tried that one in the lamp, switched on and light flooded the grime filled room.
I had been using the old bulb instead of the new....

It was Christmas Eve in the Care Home
and drugs had not been given out....  


Tuesday, 23 December 2014


The sky appears full of dark clouds as the sun lowers itself into the Americas.  However today was remarkably mild and this has been the warmest Autumn/Winter that I can recall.  Global warming is having its effect.  Of course if we tend to the tropical I will not complain I prefer warmth to cold. The resultant effects elsewhere may however be unfortunate.
I spent much of today attempting to find TV & Radio worth watching/listening to.  I have the tapes/DVD's ready for recording but so far have found two programmes worth noting, and one of them might be rubbish.  Around 33 channels, not counting kids ones, can be received by my cheap TV setup and tonight I see one programme worth watching and one possible.  Dreadful choice as all channels appear happy to delight the dumb and ignore those who wish something a bit more satisfying.  Some programmes are those American detectives made in the 70's, I do not wish to see 'Kojak' these days.  There is hope in the wireless, hopefully...

The Glasgow tragedy, where a dustbin lorry driver appears to have had a heart attack, crashed into the shoppers in the main street killing six and wounding others, gets much publicity.  However around this area we have had several serious road accidents, I suspect caused by impatient or foolish drivers, in which several people have died and others face long days of hospital treatment. To read of granddad and 18 year old granddaughter dying together is more than I can bare, and just before Christmas too.  Other tragedies have occurred most of which we never hear about and the cheeriness of the adverts stuffed with shiny things and smiling faces must hurt dreadfully.  However when I worked at Maida Vale Hospital most patients were sent home and only the needy remained. This led to a more pleasant atmosphere and surprising amounts of alcohol, cake and such like would appear in the open wards.  Patients able to enjoy, in between being drugged by nurses to kill pain, usually have a decent time in the circumstances.  Some prefer it!  Still, it is a tragedy at this time, especially when I am informed my niece was in that street five minutes before!

Is this boring?  It bores me.  While my knee is aching less and I get about a wee bit more there is nowhere to go and nothing to do this week.  Shops crowded, folks disappearing to warm places, and the news drying up as nothing important is put through at this time.  At least not up front!


Monday, 22 December 2014


Today, as promised, I gave myself over to exercise.  The weight must go and I ate healthily and exercised moderately.  I am now hungry, feel weak and ache all over.  My weight stays the same.  I suppose five minutes is not enough but it is the first time for a couple of months my knees have allowed me to do this.  I could not have done this last week.  Cue cries of pain...
I also wandered out a couple of times to look for happy smiling faces like the ones you see on adverts. None could be found.   Just where do all those sparking teeth go I wonder?  Billions of people strode manfully about pretending they knew what they were doing.  Most will be disappointed as this little town has few shops worth Christmas buying in.  My smug comment last night referring to having 'done Christmas ages ago' to a lovely lady allowed her to remind me of all she still had to do!  I did not mention the fun she gets for children, grandchildren and seeing happy faces, she might have bitten me. You know what women are like.

Cats are like women, their logic no man can understand.  This half Persian, half factory cat arrived as a kitten when my brother in law brought it home from the BMC factory.  It proved at that time to much for the kids, they were too young to appreciate it so it landed on us.  My fingers still have scratch marks from the brute!  It grew with its own personality, demanding tea when we all had one and wishing to run outside to check the land at one in the morning.  When the kid stayed with us she drank weak milky tea and one day we saw the cat drinking from it.  Eventually that cup became the cats and when we had tea a milky half cup was placed at the emperors feet so he could join in. A withering glance resulted if this was forgotten.
In those far off days the street lights were not that bright, adequate for the time as the traffic was much less.  Today zebra crossings, lights, flashing colours and bright beans illuminate that street while the traffic hurtles past non stop.  So much quieter here in the backwater.  However the cat wished to examine his patch.  I would find him sitting on top of me punching my face at half past one. This meant I had to get up, unlock the door, wander down to the back door of the building, open that and allow the brute to step outside.  This he did reluctantly while he perused the darkness.  Eventually, after a short eternity, he would race of round the corner of the building, I would close back door, open the front one and find him half inside the door staring into the dim light. Satisfied his kingdom was still there we returned to bed and sleep.
Today I would shoot him!

I noticed the film 'The Great Escape' was on one of the channels the other day. It has become so important to have this drivel shown every Christmas.  I much prefer the real story than one with Steve McQueen overacting.  All the channels have lined up vast amounts of mediocre dross for the season. Hopefully the radio will not disappoint.    


Sunday, 21 December 2014

Carol Service

Not long back from a carol service with fattening mince pies and chocolate sweets.  Time for an early bed I fear, lots of exercise to do tomorrow....


Saturday, 20 December 2014

A Car, a Band, and an Aircraft

The ability of the readers of this humble page never fail to amaze me.  Soub's request to satisfy his petrol driven mind is answered before I awake from my unsuccessful beauty sleep.  So we know this car mystery is a Lloyd Alexander, a wee German car made for the cheap (my) end of the market. How clever you all are, but I suspect some of you at least, know this.  I now find myself wishing I had such a cheap to run car, even if the Germans thought "He who is not afraid of death, drives a Lloyd."

As the football was rotten, the usual boring English stuff, and there was adventure to be had out in the free world I sauntered about the town hoping the market would be full of good things.  Sadly it was merely full of people!  Walking through the shopping centre I encountered around about seven million people there, every third one intent on walking into me!  With the brass band playing something about 'Merry Christmas,' I took note that not one happy face was to be seen.  Occasional excited children would pass, too young to realise happiness had nothing to do with Christmas shopping, and a few smug looks appeared amongst those who clearly had finished theirs. Otherwise it was not as cheery as I had hoped.  Rather sad as I had quite a good day really, boring but quite good.

I really cannot stop looking at the skies, especially on bright cold days like today.  The dying sun offers great skies, especially when vast numbers of polluting aircraft make their way to various local landing spots.  Some high above are passing on to North America at 35,000 feet, others sadly aiming for Luton Airport, a place not to be confused with Washington of Toronto!  Once again there are arguments about putting another runway at Heathrow Airport, already grossly overcrowded, because business leaders say it must be done! Spread them out around the country I say, not all planes need to land in the south east! As I write a China Eastern Airbus from Heathrow heading towards Shanghai has passed overhead, Another from Luton is on its way to Prague while one from Sharm el-Sheikh (where?) comes in the reverse direction, and this is a quiet time!  It is rare to hear aircraft so high above but just how many pass by daily can be imagined.  Flight Radar is one way of following such adventures.  


Friday, 19 December 2014

A Query Answered Perhaps?

That great man Soub has been attempting to identify this car for some time now.  It was seen in Sainsburys car park some time ago and we had no idea what it was.  I still haven't.   Is it a 'Lloyd Alexander' built by 'Norddeutscher Lloyd?  

So the question is can our car be one of these two that he found?

What thinkest thou petrol heads....?


Thursday, 18 December 2014

Drivel Post

Last night I dug out some old, decaying albums and found one or two old pics that I liked.  In fact some were well taken and I was pleased with them, better than those I take today.  These were taken on the old 'Zenit-E,' a Russian camera built like a brick and old by the time it came into my hands, free!   It was the type of camera many learned their photography on and by the use of longer lenses, bought cheaply, and all those other bits I added I got some good shots.  Out here in this small town there is little opportunity for much photography and my wee camera, good though it is, is somewhat limited in its reach.
The problem with old pics is the condition of the print.  This one was taken in the early eighties and is now tainted by bits of dust and other things that I cannot remove.  Not that I bothered of course.
I think that one was taken at Herne Bay on the south coast.  Dusk produces such good skies, especially in summer.

Today I got well away from the Great War!  I met another of my bosses at the museum (all women) and discovered I am now researching World War Two! This is unfortunate as I have not finished the last lot yet!  However I began today and almost forgot to eat, forgot to post this rubbish and forgot something else I forgot.I wonder what it was.....?


Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Another debacle ends

Another debacle in my life finishes.
Leaking cistern (the brethren were OK) impossible to get handyman to fix Friday, planned for Tuesday.  Leaks held until then by tubs underneath, emptied every two hours or so.
Turn water off?
If we touch that tap it leaks or possibly explodes flooding house, it has not been used for 25 years
and they tend to do that.
Turn main one off, where?  Will not turn, even plumber struggled.
10’ o’clock Tuesday I should be in museum, no handyman.  He has gone to fix door that fell off.
He is promised for afternoon.
Late afternoon much prayer was answered when real plumber Darren arrived at the  door.
I hugged him!
He was surprised somewhat.
Now all is working, although the sodden carpet has been dumped and the bare floorboards in the loo are not pretty.  I missed the museum as I was trapped indoors, they did not miss me however.  An email arrived ordering me to research WW2!  I still haven't finished WW1 yet!
This was a small thing really but took days and aggravated greatly, especially when the handyman does not arrive and nothing was said!!!  Only after ten when I called the office did I find out that she knew nothing either! 
However all bar the damp floor fixed and that can wait.
Such things cause much aggro, more than war and disease, unless you suffer war and disease of course.
Today I did nothing, and done it very badly.....


Monday, 15 December 2014


Leith, as everybody knows, is Edinburgh's port.  Until 1926 when the two were amalgamated into one, much to the Leithers annoyance, the port existed very well for centuries.  As a port it was used to visiting dignitaries, passing through to Edinburgh, and saw many an encounter with invading armies. Beginning around a thousand years ago Leith grew up on either side of the 'Water of Leith,' the river wide and deep enough to allow quite large boats to unload cargo.  Fishing and shipbuilding also became staples of the economy early. The first bridge between the two sides arrived around the late 15th century. Scotland was once ruled from Leith by Mary of Guise, as regent for Mary Queen of Scots, who stayed in France.  This led to a siege when the Scots nobles decided on a democratic change, using big guns!  Two mounds on Leith Links are considered by some to be bases for the battery during the siege. 
In 1822 King IV arrived at Leith to much pomp and circumstance.  Walter Scott, he of novel fame, was the man responsible for the myth of Scotland.  The variety of tartan, the romantic highlander, the noble suffering Scot.  All baloney of course!  However he persuaded the first visiting monarch since Mary Queen of Scots to dress up in glorious highland dress, and those who keep in with royalty, and the rest, quickly decided this was wonderful and highland dress as we now know it began then.  It was never thus fir the actual highlanders of course.  It speaks much of London that rarely did the monarch visit Scotland until recently. 
There was a downturn in Leith after the war.  The many distilleries, and just how many were there in those Victorian death traps of Leith, moved out of town by the sixties, the docks lost work, the shipbuilding, always a major employer ceased, and the area became run down.  Attempts are renovating the 'Kirkgate' by a modern 60's style shopping centre fell flat.  However the area has since undergone improvement with the arrival of many Scottish Office administration offices, and the people who work in them, thus leading to a gentrification of the port.  The old royal yacht 'Britannia' now lies moored as a tourist attraction among others.  The port also plays host to the worst football team the world has ever known, 'Hibernian,' renown as a laughing stock they do make the rest of the league look better than they actually are!  
To me it was the place we shopped most Saturdays.  In days of yore when the world was young the shops took a 'half day closing' and Edinburgh, including Princes Street itself, chose Saturday for its half day!  This meant jumping on the bus in our high class neighbourhood and travelling down the straight road into the darkness of Leith.  Leith was, like much of Edinburgh, dark then.  Tenement buildings dating from Victorian times and beyond, busy traffic, crowded shops and masses of people thronging the pavements everywhere.  Before I was five I managed to get lost in 'Woolworth's' at the 'foot of the Walk' and can remember my mother grinning to the shop assistants and other girls who were coming to aid me, or belt me to stop me wailing!  There was a shop near the junction of the 'Walk' where we obtained clothes, also from the 'Thompson' shop over the road.  A small thing but these two shops supplied at least half of Edinburgh & Leith's kids for many years.  My first job was in a whisky bond in Leith, off Leith Walk.  Suffice to say a quick understanding of my talent was soon clear and they got shot of me before a year had elapsed.  Employing 15 year old's is not in my view a good thing.   

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Friday, 12 December 2014

A Day in Wet Loo

I thought the loo floor was damp last night.  I worried a pipe had burst and the central heating was pumping water everywhere.  A closer inspection revealed the cistern was to blame!  I contacted the lovely girls at the landlord's office and mentioned the problem.  An hour or so later John arrived to inspect, mutter "I must get some material," and go.  He was right of course, the whole thing must come out and be replaced.  This will take all day and the next opportunity for that is Tuesday,  I am glad as I will be out!  At the moment the floor is saved by the ex-ice cream tubs catching the drips and this will suffice until repair.  I offered to do it myself and got one of those looks Margaret Thatcher used on her cabinet when they spoke.  My DIY skills are not renown....  

That took up much of my day, that and hobbling down to the sorting office fifteen minutes walk away, well twenty minutes at the moment, collecting a package they tried to deliver yesterday.  The bell is broken also!  On top of this a lamp bulb went click and offered up a lovely blue flash as I switched it on, the new bulb has not taken so either it is bust also or the lamp has gone!  I add this to the list of other things that need repair, do not work right or are dead.  I've just noticed the cupboard door I fixed the other day has once more fallen apart.

Sometimes I am glad I left the health service all those years ago.....


Thursday, 11 December 2014

A Nothing Day

The early sun lies low at this time of year but can give excellent skies.  This picture does not catch the brightness of the sun coming through the clouds but it was dramatic and spectacular.  How we wander around, our heads down, our minds on the daily grind, when just sitting for a moment looking at the sky would freshen the mind and relax us.  Such an activity is easier in some parts of the world of course but the sky is always changing, light is a fantastic happening and just looking in different directions gives dramatic changes of sky.
This was sadly not seen from Tesco where I ventured this morning.  My brain did not follow too well and while crossing between points I dropped the basket I was carrying on the floor.  A passing lass asked if I was OK and I just had to tell her it was just 'early morning stupidity!'  I managed to buy lots of reduced priced overpriced stuff mind.

Nothing else happened.
Much ought to have happened but it didn't.  
I couldn't be bothered couldn't find the time for all that was awaiting attention, so I just read the papers, fed my face and fell asleep.  
Naturally I discovered I had to send more cards, also must send one more wee packet, but the good news is cheap presents and cards are falling through my door now.  None of these contain money I should add, and for any member of my family who may look in (as if!) I repeat NO money was found in the cards!  
I suspect this is a situation that will not change any time soon.

Ah well, I will again stuff my face and watch more football.
It's a hard life....


Wednesday, 10 December 2014

A Normal Day

An eye opens slightly noting the grayish sky seen through the break in the grubby curtains.  The ear picks up a monotone voice offering violence, death and destruction, clearly the news so it must be the hour or half hour.  The body and brain continue to attempt sleep even though it will not come. It reaches half past five, a clear two hours before awakening was planned.  Turn to the other side, turn back, repeat process, still the voice continues monotone like spreading fear and anxiety with a gentle tone, the energy required to change channel not yet appearing the voice continues, the body still awaits seven thirty, the mind continues degenerating.  The other eye opens, looks around, does not like what it sees, closes again.  Sleep is supposed to be continuous for several hours, why then does my sleep run out before my body has finished with it? The grayness now possesses a blueish tinge, the radio has been changed to music and gentle Haydn soothes the brain but sleep does not return.  Vehicles begin to rumble past the window, feet, wearing iron shod boots clump down stairs, slam the main door shaking the building and clatter up the road.  Voices murmur as they pass, probably on a phone, trees rustle as the chill wind rushes down the street.  Thoughts run through the head, fears, dreams, hopes, wishes, all muddled, unclear and heading nowhere.  In the far distance dogs bark cheerfully, aircraft pass high overhead taking lucky folks to sunshine or maybe just Aberdeen, an early morning schoolchild drags his feet unwillingly towards his daily prison. Quarter to eight, still waiting on that last needed thirty minutes the body struggles up into the cold air, another day of joy and happiness will begin if both eyes open and find some degree of focus.  

The box was not big, I was paying, the contents disappointing, I was paying, the one receiving my sister, this was her present plus the cards for everyone else in the vicinity, thus saving me postage. The Post Office was all the way down the road.  I hobbled half asleep and upset that bus driver when I walked in front of him and he missed.  Surprisingly the place was not busy, unsurprisingly one woman was at the counter taking all day over various forms.  However the young lass took my parcel with her constant smile and showed excellent customer service by coming round the counter and helping me back up after she told me the price!  That was my last Christmas item posted and the lass has got used to me now as I have been in several times recently and I am glad that is all over.  From now on the postmen will be very busy and my stuff is on its way. Next week your stuff will be delayed!  Ho Ho HO!  


Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Dusk Phone Calls

With the dark blue sky at dusk, such a change from the fifty shades of gray that have covered us for days, I was strongly tempted to find a 'night' view somewhere.  The only one suitable was 'The Bull.' I admit this is not a picture I would take later in the evening, especially at the weekends, as the crowds leaving the premises are not always as sober as wisdom would hope.  There is something attractive about deep blue sky and bright lights.

Sadly after I wrote that I returned to watching Southampton play Manchester United and forgot to finish it.  I blame late nights and weak head.  The weak head gets many votes around here, just ask the man who brought an old fellow in a wheel chair into the museum today.  I made it clear the way to do it was charge the disabled one £1:50 and the carer goes free, other wise he pays £ and the chap goes free. This is the best way so I took his money and gave him change of £3.   It was as he questioned this I realised I had got it wrong.  I explained as I gave him the proper change that in this manner we often made money.  
I expected to be busier as Christmas is approaching and while some browsed and bought nowt I did manage to collect a good sale from one of the town's well known respectable gents.  I did my best to avoid the rest of the staff as they all suffered colds and I did not wish to add another to my year.  
I came home, ate and slept!  That indicates how hard I work, doesn't it...?

I almost forgot this again!
I just spent an eternity listening to my sister on the phone, how women talk! There is of course regular chat between us, I called only last July, and she dropped a note not long ago to me.  The communication would be better as she now has one of those 'Tablet' things but cannot connect it to anything.  If I receive an email she does not receive the answer, now he aged computer has died and her daughters husband is attempting to rectify the situation I reckon she will be computerless for a while yet.  He being a mere welder will know little about the gentle art of making computers work. 
The purpose of the call was to inform her her the huge parcel will be posted tomorrow, that is if I get it wrapped up tonight, and now the football has come on, what will I do I wonder......

Being bored at one time during this morning I attempted to capture the interesting sky in the distance by picturing the butterfly sticker on the window. All it shows it that the window requires cleaning!  I just remembered my back is aching, I'd better leave that to another....


Sunday, 7 December 2014


Appreciation of art is a wonderful thing, if you can find art worth appreciating of course.  This lot clearly didn't and possibly will produce an essay lacking in the finer understanding of Dutch art.  Not that this matters unless you are going to get involved therein I suppose, and this lot would probably not get beyond one of those Australian soap operas that dominate the telly in soft minded households.    

They might find it ironic that a double decker bus on 'rail replacement service' decided to crash into a railway bridge.  Good job the bus was still empty and the rail line not in use as folks were going to use a bus instead.  Sadly drivers unused to a route sometimes forget they were in double deckers, possibly they are more often driving that route in single deck buses, but occasionally this kind of accident happens.  More often lorry drivers hit the bridge ignoring height restrictions and just run off rather than stopping!  That too happened the other day.  
Also quite interesting was the 'Immigration Judge' who demanded a woman named Patel was brought to court so he could finish the case (an abusive boyfriend) that afternoon.  As her whereabouts were unknown it was said it would be difficult, indeed she might not get time off work.  The judge commented 
“It won’t be a problem. She won’t be working anywhere important where she can’t get the time off. She’ll only be working in a shop or an off-licence.”

Oops, a small slip which has cost him his £150,000 a year job.

Oh yes and being grumpy is good for you!
'Grumpy Cat,' or at least the owner, is supposed to have made around £64 million out of the miserable creature.  If being grumpy does this how come I'm still poor....?


Saturday, 6 December 2014


As the Christmas shoppers have unlimited cash, or so it appears, the shopping centres do their best to bring them in with a wide variety of attractions, usually those that attract the kids.  Today our centre once again went for animals, a goat which as I passed later was standing on a hay bale with the kind of expression that spoke of conquering the entire world, a couple of ducks in a basin of water but quite happy and ponies, chickens and lots of people.  The people I must add were visiting the centre, not stuck inside the fenced of areas with the animals, although this might be an idea worth considering.  There was an aroma emanating from this area but it kept down the aroma of the locals so that was OK.

Now it is late, I am sleepy and my restful mind is being tested by the woman next door.  She has been cooking MEAT!  Once again the fragrance of roast beef is filling the place and I am sitting here nourished badly, a mere seven stone weakling, while she stuffs herself with proper food and I suspect with gravy and all the trimmings.   She must do it for spite!  I will drift off into sleep and dream of meat all night now.  Bah! 

The sun however did reappear today leaving bright golden leaves on the trees.


Friday, 5 December 2014


Actually I have no thoughts.  All week the mind has been dead for the most part.  A strange tiredness, biting cold wind, constant dreich weather and a general slackness all round has been the order of the day.  
I did manage some thoughts in the supermarkets this morning however, and these were not pleasant. When tired and slow brained why is it at that moment those people cross your path?
Bright and early, except that is was dreich, damp and half past seven, I hobbled up to Sainsburys. There I possessed myself of the heavier goods bottles, etc, spoke kindly to the friendly checkout staff, greeted those known to me and returned home for a thundering good breakfast of something or other, not quite sure what, the room was still dark.  Then, refreshed but half asleep I ventured to Tesco for the things the other lot did not stock or grossly overcharged for.  If you wish to get rich open a supermarket or a bank.  Once again the staff were reasonable for a Friday morning but why is there always one woman who is inconsiderate?  This sort of creature is often found in such places but why when I am irritable, tired and weary sadly I find I had to garrotte her as you do. There was no other course of action open to me.  You can find her in the freezer with the pizzas.
Once home I noted the things I had missed.  As the sun actually appeared and removed the grayness I ventured out once more to  find the sun bright but the heating was turned off, there was however the cold blast of winter.  (Actually I'm told 'winter' does not start until December 22nd so this is still 'Autumn.' someone's having a laugh I say).  Now by this time it was almost noon, and this meant the Morrison's would be busy and attracting the wrong sort of customer. This was the rougher sort who drove trolleys into peace loving people, the obnoxious sort who walked into people and didn't care, the sniffy ones that looked down their nose or the type who just kept getting in they way while you attempt to read the price tickets on the shelving!!!   They were all there in the hustle and bustle of the store, they still are, just look in the bins round the back but be wary, decapitation is not always pleasant.
I was shown a video that I cannot pass on to you as I've lost it.  In this a man in a checkout queue somewhere in central Europe is confronted by a child ramming him constantly with his trolley. Several times the man suggests this stops, mum does little to stop the brat.  Eventually the chap selects a carton of milk from the lads trolley and empties it over his head.  Mum grabs child and leaves, man smiles.  

I think I was a bit 'liverish' today....

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Wednesday, 3 December 2014


I've decided to be idle for a day.  
Not only did I have a busy and emotional Sunday (Yes Willie Collum I mean you!) but I also had a very busy Monday.  Marching here and there, helping in the museum on the day off, marching back here and there, and then doing my Tuesday duty with no help whatsoever (except when I broke the card machine). This has worn out my weak and enfeebled body to the extent that I must lie around like a slob (for a change) doing nothing that would require energy.  Pass that tea cup over would you? 
It makes a change to be idle.  
I am much more used to being occupied with things of note, researching dead soldiers, reading good books, watching football and the like, this sitting and staring into space through the grubby window is not something I am used to.  I have had jobs where idleness was part of the day.  One office I was forced into had a dozen members of staff and work enough for five of us.  Allowing for the fact that many amongst them were not of the highest intellect and the puritan work ethic was not an item they had ever encountered it did mean however I was kept busy.  On occasions it was very quiet so I would pop to the loo down the corridor behind us.  To fill in the time I would head in the opposite direction, slowly, oh so slowly, and wander down the back stairs.  This would lead me through the building for a long detour where I would reach the corridor behind the office then return, slowly, oh so slowly, the way I had come.  No-one ever mentioned this!  Even the eagle eyed boss with a Maggie Thatcher venom did not notice any absence.  Of course once computers were installed the workload, which did not increase in volume, increased to the extent that we were forced to work continually throughout the day taking a full day to complete the work one done in two or three hours.  Several members of staff had breakdowns, one disappeared and the boss's head exploded one morning and she was promoted upstairs.  Being to good at the job I moved to higher things.
Work, not idleness is my thing.  I like work, my desk is piled with work, but I find being idle just looking at it is beginning to wear out my heart, I feel a tension there so excuse me while I push all this paperwork to the side, oops, onto the floor, and relax a wee bit.  I do like work, in fact I have watched some of that work pile up for so long it is now past its sell by date and no longer requires my attention, it's just that I have not been able to round to dealing with it, what with all the other work I am sitting looking at here.  Previous managers often used to mention how I collected work around me and watched it carefully.  Collecting boxes in warehouses was an old trick used by some to avoid work.  These rascals were not idling, it was just that by piling boxes high and leaving a small space in the middle they could play cards without needless interruptions from foremen and the like. 
Idling this morning by looking through the grubby window I note many individuals idling, standing there shivering while the dog runs about enjoying the sights and smells of the park.  The owner, wrapped up against the freezing wind is lit up by the sun shining brightly upon them and by the glass of cognac swallowed before leaving the house.  I am not saying the east wind is that cold but I noticed a man feeding anchovies to a penguin earlier!   It would be interesting to work out how many hours a woman can stand still over the period of a dogs life while she waits on the brutes pleasure?  Standing there hoping not to attract the wrong kind of attention she hovers near a tree in the hope of some shelter, the dog meanwhile attempts to hover near every tree in the park oblivious to her distress and near frostbite. This is a form of idling that I can avoid easily.  However I suppose standing at a stop waiting for a bus to arrive is similar.  There you cannot seek shelter for some rude soul will take your place and there may not be room on the bus for you.  The same goes, albeit slightly differently for millions peering down the track awaiting the 7:43 to their destination. How cold can a train platform be?  Those grossly overpriced mobile phones now distract the freezing queues as they wait, murmuring that they have too little cash into their £500 phone.

It is common in Continental culture (do the continentals have culture I ask?) to sit by the roadside inhaling petrol fumes while drinking coffee watching the world go by.   This is not really something 
I would find easy, to boring, and too nosy really watching people.  However watching attractive young women ignore me is something I have become used to, ever since I was about say, oh eleven. Sitting drinking overpriced coffee with stupid names while being rejected is not my idea of fun but it is a form of idleness much loved by many.  How many of the people passing by are being idle anyway?  Are they unemployed, could they be skivving?  Is this parade of beauties just lassies parading as they have nothing else to but be seen?  I wonder, so many people walk the streets during the day you are left asking where they all come from and why do they not work like the rest of us had to do for many years?  

Anyway, I am worn out doing this.  I feel the need to eat and refresh my tired mind and my etiolated frame.  After which the need for sleep must be paramount as I only got about seven and a half hours last night, surely I need more?   I wonder if somebody might feed me to save me the trouble...

Monday, 1 December 2014