Sunday, 26 May 2013

Red hands...

I still can't get those red hands out of my head. What on Earth possessed them?

Friday, 24 May 2013

Finding myself - multiple me...

I thought that that you were meant to go to India to find yourself. Well, I’ve been to India a few times and to tell you the truth I didn’t find myself there at all. I did have a really great time though; it really is a fascinating country. But as for finding myself… well no, not at all.

Strange isn’t it? You start out thinking that you know who you are and then years later, somewhere along the way, you find that you don’t have a clue as to what you are and who you’ve been. Well, at least I don’t, there seem to be so many of me.

Mind you, I have a better idea these days than I did before, I’ve learnt to self-regress you see. No, it isn't bonkers and It isn’t hard. All you do is take yourself off to an imaginary room and wander down a corridor where there are lots of rooms which hold your life experiences. Behind each door is a you. Sometimes you know them and sometimes you don't - those are the ones you've forgotten.

It’s not always as you expect, but it’s helped me to remember things from long ago in detail. Things I had ‘forgotten’ or rather subconsciously hidden away because I didn’t want to think about them. Some of those me's explain a lot about who and what I am, others are just stuff. Sometimes I find myself feeling what I felt all that time ago, other times I just stand at the door and watch as a version of me goes through it all again. Is it real? Oh yes, it’s real. Did it really happen? Yes it happened, I know that as surely as I know I’ve always known that me but have chosen not to recognise him. Call him my inner child if you like.

I think others remember me too. Maybe that explains her silence.

Thursday, 23 May 2013


I’m constantly in trouble because of the news. Well, not the news exactly, but what I make of it. Sometimes I think it would be better to simply react to a report rather than think and try to form an opinion. It can really get me into trouble when I say what I’m thinking. Let me explain.

Last night there was a report on how Tesco clothing is made in ‘sweatshops’ in Pakistan. Workers get paid less than six pence a garment which amounts to about three pounds a day for a ten hour day. The report attempted to make the connection between the factory fire that killed so many people recently, poorly constructed factories, low wages and the huge profits being made by supermarkets like Tesco. I’m sure that there are connections and that keeping costs low does lead to practices and conditions that would not be tolerated in the western world. But let’s think about the alternative.

The reason that these factories exist is the fact that can be run cheaply and make goods at a fraction of the cost they could be made in the west. If the workforce were paid UK minimum wage the cost of the extra salary alone would make each garment produced cost twenty times the cost it is sold for now. That’s without the costs of transporting it to the UK. Add to that the cost of bringing factories up to European standards and suddenly a value T-shirt that costs £2 currently is going to cost £50 upwards – and no, I’m not exaggerating, you can do the maths as easily as I.

Now I might be being a little too objective but I can’t believe that there are many people who would be happy to pay £50 for a Tesco branded cotton T-shirt, in fact I can’t believe there are many people who would be happy to pay £50 for any T-shirt.

It’s easy to look at those Pakistani workers and cry ‘exploitation’ and ‘slave labour’. It’s also easy to decry Tesco and other chains for using cheap labour to boost their profits. But without them there wouldn’t be any ‘sweatshops’ for those workers to work in. Would that be that a good thing? They’d be jobless, and a hard life would become no life at all. Back home the cost of a new T-shirt would be almost unaffordable, certainly few people would have the choice of wardrobe they have now – not that that would necessarily be a bad thing.

We’d return to a time when we might as well make the things ourselves as have them made abroad like we used to back in the past. Back in our past of satanic mills when we worked for much lower wages – just shillings a week – and didn’t expect to own a house, a car, a mobile phone, have twenty pairs of shoes, a laptop, a tablet, a 3D, high definition, fully integrated satellite linked television and eat take-away food instead of boiling potatoes on an open range.

I agree that things can be made better for those Pakistani factory workers; safer surroundings, improved conditions, better pay. But remember where it led us… and don’t be surprised when you can’t afford to buy a new T-shirt.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013


These are the thoughts that ran through my mind in bed last might after watching the news with the terrible pictures of the devastation in Oklahoma. So many dead; surely they could see it coming. They must have had time to get away, why didn’t they run? Outside the direct path of the tornado buildings were left standing, people stood on the fringes and watched videoing the devastation with their mobile phones. It wasn’t fast; the half mile wide tornado moved slowly taking over 30 minutes to cross the town of Moore.

I can’t imagine the violence inside that huge funnel of wind and whirling debris. If I was hit by a tornado would I whirl, be lifted into the air tumbling over and over, passing magpies, cows and old ladies riding bicycles. Would I remain conscious as the wind whirled me upwards and upwards?  Would I scream, and if I did would I hear myself above the deafening roar of the wind? Would the breath be sucked out of me by the hot, humid air, suffocating me before it dashed me against the tangle of trees and broken detritus it had whipped up and lifted from the ground?

It took a long time for me to fall asleep and when I did I dreamt of tornadoes. For me though, it was just a dream. For so many others it was just the beginning of a nightmare.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Goings on…

Here’s a woodpecker on the feeder at the cottage. I’ve only seen one feeding here twice in all the years I’ve been going there. It’s a timing thing; look away for a moment and you may miss something important.

I often wonder what I miss when I’m not looking. I’m not just talking birds here, although I’m sure that whenever I look up away from the feeders I just miss a nuthatch or a waxwing, maybe a disorientated kingfisher, perhaps even a hummingbird or a cockatoo. No, I’m talking generally. What do I miss seeing when I’m not there to see? Do empty rooms fill up when I’m not around to watch them? Do they come alive; and if they do with what?

Maybe it’s like the snails that seem to come from nowhere after the rain at night - not there one minute and then everywhere all at once. Did you ever have glimpses things out of the corner of your eye? Odd movements and shadows, things happening that you’re not quite fully aware of? ‘Goings on’ I guess you might call them. I wonder if the ‘goings on’ are hiding somewhere like snails waiting for you to leave the room so that they can come out and crawl around.

Anyway, I was lucky with the woodpecker. Not only was I there to see it feeding but for once my camera was close at hand and I managed to get a photo. For once I was on the spot and looking in the right place at the right time - looking and seeing everything that was there. Did I say everything? I’m sure that as I snapped the woodpecker I caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of my eye.

Sunday, 19 May 2013


I haven't talked about pebbles much recently. You might remember that I have a very strong liking for them, particularly when they are made wet by the sea and shine as if they are lit by some bright internal light. I believe that some pebbles call out to you, make it impossible for you to pass them by so that you have to stoop and pick them up placing them carefully in your pocket.

Mind you, I also believe that some pebbles speak and others bring you luck and each one has a personality wrapped deep at its heart. No, I haven't talked about pebbles much recently; I haven't been to the beach too often you see. Damn these knees.

The best beach I have ever found for pebbles is Hell's Mouth in North Wales. The beach is made from huge pebble swathes inter-dispersed with grainy rough sand. It's long, miles long ,and often I used to walk it gazing down at the pebbles as I went. I once found one as big as a cricket ball and perfectly spherical, another a perfect egg and the size of a bag of sugar. But it's the colours to be found there that so bedazzle me - blood red, black ebony, smooth purple, yellow, cream, jade green and purest white.

Perhaps I'll go back there soon and see if one calls out to me, I can only hope that with its call it brings me luck.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

The glass factory...

A set of bridesmaid's champagne flutes I have painted. That's the bride in the centre in her wedding dress. I like the bridesmaids dresses and I bet they will have great fun on the hen do. They are all going in biker gear, hence the leather jackets they are wearing on these glasses. All very attractive ladies and not bad likenesses even though I do say so myself.

Friday, 17 May 2013


Hi-de-hi-de-hi, ho-de-ho-de-ho, go go go do the holiday rock.

It was with real sadness that I heard yesterday that Ted Bovis had died. Well, not Ted Bovis exactly but Paul Shane who played Ted in that classic TV sitcom that was Hi-Di-Hi! It must be yet another sign that I am getting old because I look back on the show with real warmth and affection.

Maplin’s holiday camp was such a shambolic, ideas above its station, kind of place. A place for working folk to go to experience a few of the good things in life; ballroom dancing lessons and a competition to see who could stuff the most cooked spaghetti into their trousers. It sounds ridiculous I know, but it wasn’t so very far from the truth; there was a Maplin’s holiday camp every few miles of coastline when I was growing up.

“Morning campers!”

As a child we went to Corton Caravans just up the road from Lowestoft. Corton Caravans had all the usual holiday camp paraphernalia: ‘morning camper’ tannoys, swimming galas, ballroom dancing, knobbly knees competitions, donkey derbies, fancy dress competitions, beauty pageants, bonny baby competitions and of course Topsy-Turve night. A fun family evening where women dressed as men and men dressed as women.

The place was run by the camp compeer who went by the name of Uncle Ron. There is no doubt that Uncle Ronny was of a very theatrical persuasion. I think it likely that he put the camp into camping and he enjoyed nothing better than slipping into a slinky satin dress and donning a huge beehive wig with full panto-dame make-up. He was one of those men that were all smiles on the outside but the minute he was off-camera (so to speak) immediately fell into a deep and desperate gloom; the sort of man who must have hated national service but had enjoyed the comeraderie.

Once, much to my ten-year old boy discomfort, I was left alone in his office with him for twenty minutes or so. He just sat watching as I arranged some flowers, a job my father had volunteered me for some reason best known to his own conscience. Uncle Ron sat watching me, smoking a Benson and sipping from a glass which contained some deep amber liquid. He asked me if I liked art and told me that I was doing a good job arranging the flowers with my nice hands. I was actually just shoving the flowers into something resembling a bouquet as quickly as possible so that I could get away.

The room was windowless, a tiny office behind the stage. Uncle Ron looked bedraggled, the thick make-up from last night’s drag performance not completely wiped away. For all the world he looked like a broken ventriloquist’s dummy as he sat there smoking cigarette after cigarette, shaking as he rambled on about nothing in particular. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you I was ready to run at any moment. There was something too friendly, yet at the same time completely cold, about Ronny. In retrospect I don’t think he was the type of person that should have been entertaining children on rainy afternoons.

I watched a few minutes of Hi-di-hi on YouTube this morning. The story was great, the acting comically superb, and it was complexly layered in a way I hadn’t noticed before - snobbery, rivalry, pathos and slightly surreal - a blending into of a picture of hearty normality; a veneer just managing to cover the tatty reality hiding beneath the surface.

Hi-Di-Hi campers and Ho-Di-Ho Paul!

Thursday, 16 May 2013


You spend your whole life listening to people telling you what to do and then you realise that they never had the answers in the first place either. Perhaps it’s better to listen to yourself. Mind you, they say that talking to yourself is, if not the first, one of the signs of madness and it’s impossible to listen to yourself unless you are actually speaking. Yes, Madness. They also say it’s a thin line between being mad and being a genius, so perhaps it’s best not to listen to them at all – remember, they never have the answers anyway.

Are any of us sure that we are really sane? Well, maybe those of us who have a certificate from our psychiatrists, but the rest of us? How do we know that we aren’t mad? Well, I have no hairs on the palms of my hands. I know, I’ve just checked.

I’m having a hard time at the moment reconciling what I am programmed to be, should be, could be, want to be and what I am. You see the reconciliation doesn’t seem to work, somehow the numbers just don’t add up. At times working out who I am almost drives me mad. Oh, I know that I’m not Napoleon or Henry VIII and I’m pretty sure that fairies don’t really exist, but knowing who I am is a bit of a challenge. I know my name, I remember more about my experiences than most, when and where I was born and I don’t have any uncontrollable urges. I’m even pretty sure that under examination I’d be certified sane, but one man’s sanity is another’s madness.

How mad to you have to be to drive a car at over 200 miles an hour as other cars speed around with you? You have to be mad to try to walk to the North Pole don’t you, or catch a rattlesnake with a stick, or believe that the world was created in seven days, or that some guy on a cross died to save us all?

Mind you just a few hundred years ago the world was flat, the sun revolved around the earth, angels could sit upon the end of pins, there was only ocean where America is now and you were clearly mad if you thought otherwise. If you were really unlucky The Spanish Inquisition would come around for a chat and have you locked away or burnt – and nobody really expected that did they?

Madness I think is part about convention, part what is acceptable at the time and part chemical imbalance. Only a handful of decades ago single mothers were locked away in asylums for being weak minded and it was perfectly okay to force your will on half the world and take over everything. Back then missionaries had native peoples locked up in asylums for refusing to embrace Christianity, homosexuals underwent surgery to cure their madness and dyslexics were labelled as having unsuond mnids.

Even now, in many people’s minds all dictators are mad by definition as are most artists, some writers, and anyone who dresses as a woman who isn’t. All murderers are mad aren’t they? Terrorists too surely, and how about the fifth of US citizens who believe they have been, or have almost been, abducted by aliens? Do YOU see dead people?

Yes, it’s everywhere. Best get your straight-jacket ready. Actually, best put it on.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Why there are no aspirin in the jungle...

I’m dreaming of parrots.

One of the consequences of having a head is that sometimes it hurts. Just what makes it hurt can be various. There are those headachy things that come on in warm weather, the bangers that you sometimes get after a late night, low doors, hammers, too much TV, cheese and puberty.

Teenagers seem to have a lot of headaches. As a teenager I remember life was either all headache or fun, there didn’t seem to be much in between. I expect it was all the new data hitting continually– school, sex, art, sex, art and sex, sex and school, beer, beer and school, beer and sex, beer and sex and art and school. No wonder I had headaches.

“Beer and sex, beer and sex.”

Later it was the stress of work and life traumas that gave me headaches. Rushing here, rushing there, meetings, food, travel, beer, mortgages, sex, wine, children, wine, divorce, art, wine, dating, wine, sex, travel, wine. It seems that the headache potential of my middle years was brain thumpingly good; one long headache really.

“Wine and sex, wine and sex.”

These days I don’t really get headaches, maybe I’ve grown out of them or perhaps I’ve become immune; too old to appreciate them so they’ve simply gone away. Of course it could be that all the years of storing up shit in my head means that there’s no longer any room for a headache to get a grip. New shit, old shit, denial, time passing, broken dreams, old lies, old cheats, bullies, old lies and liars, the treat (threat) of weapons of mass destruction, wine, escape from joy, memories, memories, wine and memories and not a flower, not a flower at all, something else, chop down that tree...

Dreaming of the parrot as it flies up into the tree – flap, flap, flap, bleep, bleep, bleep, bleep, bleep, bleep, bleep.

I awake to the infuriating alarm clock with a headache. A headache? I thought I didn’t get them any more. A headache? Oh well, it’s better than feeling nothing at all I suppose.

So why are there no aspirin in the jungle?

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Car parking problems...

Our road is becoming intolerable when it comes to finding a parking space. Well, to be honest it’s always been pretty bad, but it’s become worse in recent years as most of the nearby roads are now pay and display forcing town workers to seek free parking anywhere they can; as is their right. At least they are mainly gone by six in the evening. They have never bothered me. Often I’ve park in a residential street which was not my own, who hasn’t? Besides (and this is important) nobody owns the parking space outside their home on a public road.

Some of my neighbours don’t seem to agree though.

Initially it was private cones, illegally placed to reserve parking spaces on the road for workmen or family or simply because the cone placer was going out for the day. Only the police and local authority have the right to cone without permission and permit and, whilst you run the risk of criminal damage if you move and damage a cone, I was always very careful moving them from the gutter and placing them in the drives of the cone owners to make sure that they were safe. Of course by placing the cones they ran the risk of being prosecuted for obstructing the highway and, in the event of an accident to a member of the public - like tripping over one - public liability and all the costs entailed with that.

Now the new battle zone for parking seems to have become ‘H’ bar line markings – those single white lines that people can pay for along a dropped kerb if they want to use what was once a garden for a place to park a car. Personally I think allowing people to open up their front gardens as a car parking space should be banned for a number of reasons:

a)      It’s unsightly and can spoil the look of the house, particularly in a terraced row of town houses like ours.
b)      It is ecologically bad. There are precious few birds as it is without removing the shrubs and trees they need to thrive..
c)      It causes even more parking problems, particularly when people still park on the roads and refuse to park in their ‘drives’.
d)      There is the ‘H’ Bar issue to contend with.

Each time a kerb is lowered and an ‘H’ bar painted onto the road at least six feet of other parking space is lost as the ‘H’ bar overhangs the width of the entrance. I have an ‘H’ bar which extends three feet over my front gate (for no good reason I may add). ‘H’ bars are becoming a real annoyance. I woke up this morning to find yet another parking space ‘lost’ to ‘H’ bar. In fact one very ridiculous ‘H’ bar now extends over 30 yards without a break even though at places there is no drive for it to cover.

It’s a good job that it is perfectly legal to ignore these markings and, as you can see by the picture, one resident (the one who had the ‘H’ bar painted) is doing just that… If I didn’t know better I might almost believe that my neighbour thinks their white line gives he or she the right (and only he or she the right) to park there. Fortunately, I do know better, they are purely advisory, therefore there are no statutory regulations relating to them - as my neighbour across the road seems to already understand.

As long as you do not block access to a drive you can park on the white line of an ‘H’ bar – it’s a courtesy thing and down to the individual to choose or choose not to recognise it. Their purpose is merely to highlight to other vehicles that they shouldn't block access to off-road parking areas such as a driveway or garage. There is provision under the TSRGD for the Council to provide these H Bars and they do, although it is classed as advisory, and has no legal standing. Actual obstruction of a driveway is an offence that the Police can ticket for and some Councils have local regulations for areas of residence where there may be power to issue fixed penalty notices. But Manchester council state that ‘H bars are white lines that are marked on the road in-front of access areas. The lines highlight to other road users that they shouldn't block access to off-road parking areas such as driveway or garage’.

No mention of ‘H’ bars having any legal standing by Manchester then.

I for one will be courteous up to a point, but I’m not keen to open my front garden to give me the ‘protection’ of an unused drive. So I’m afraid when needs must, and parking spaces tight, courtesy will be going out of the window and, as long as I’m not obstructing, I’ll be parking where I can – white line or no white line.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Mary, Mary…

I’m a contrary old bugger at times and Mondays are not my most inspired days I’m afraid. Today I’m working on the principle that if you don’t know what to write just start writing and something will appear - a bit like the way way I'm approaching the garden this year. Yes, here I go again on a sunny (though cool) Monday morning. I’ve been checking my seedlings for slug damage again and crossing off potential blog topics as I do so – state of health… nope, state of mind… nope, state of the nation… definitely nope.  It looks like it’ll have to be a progress report on my garden again.

In slug terms, I’m pleased to report that this morning slug damage seems to be minimal despite last night’s rain and my seedlings, which have outperformed themselves in terms of germination rate, seem to be holding their own even in this unseasonable chill. This year I have become a tosser and I think just about every seed I’ve tossed has taken. This is very pleasing as my plan this is not to try too hard this time around and simply see what happens. Lazy I know and quite contrary and not without a few drawbacks.

Firstly: it’s a long wait to a garden from seed and without the back-up of shop bought bedding any colour is going to be a long way off. Now, whether or not I can stand this has yet to be seen. Even so, my ‘other’ might not be able too do so (she only thinks a plant a plant when it has a flower) and some ‘instant garden’ may need to be introduced if things become too fraught.

Secondly: I have no idea what I sowed where. At the moment there are thousands of little green plants which may be pansies or scabious or cornflowers - or any of those other miscellaneous packets of seeds that I found at the back of the drawer and blithely scattered around.

Lastly: I’m not a fan of thinning out, so it’s going to be every plant for himself and only the fittest will survive in the jungle that I hope will be out there.

I suppose that I should have been wise and labelled or drawn a diagram of my sowing. But to be honest I quite like the not knowing and I’m having fun trying to guess what is coming through from the shape of the second leaf pair. There’s an excitement to it that’s a little like not knowing the gender of an unborn child. Actually, it’s a lit more exciting because with children it’s a very limited choice of two.

There are no silver bells or cockle shells and pretty maids, either singly or in rows, are not in evidence. Of course it isn’t completely random, but it’s pretty damn close and there will be self-seeders in the mix as well – remnants from last year and wind-blowns. So, apart from the seed-grown foxgloves that I’ve planted at the back to give a little height it’s likely to be a very willy-nilly, ill-considered, back yard this year.

How will my garden grow? I’ll keep you informed.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Looking closer…

It seems to me that when a lot of people look at something they only see what is in front of their eyes, just taking in what they can see without seeing anything more.

There’s more to see though if you really look. Look closer, get in really close and look at the detail. Sometimes you’ll see another world, beauty that a passing glance is sure to miss. Look from another angle, a different light. See it another way. Open your mind to the possibilities of what you are looking at.

It’s just a nut and bolt on an old copper cylinder that I saw in a skip. A rusting nut and bolt the colour of a rainbow. I got in close and saw the tiny pit marks of decaying metal covering its surface and for a moment it was a small world whirling through a sea of blue ice.

Look closer. New sights and experiences are everywhere.

Friday, 10 May 2013

White noise in Brigadoon…

Isn’t it enough that I’m confused by the seasons without my watch joining in? I have no idea if it’s spring or summer, a few spring-like days, a few hours of summer and then we are plunged back into the autumn with even a touch of winter after dark. Summer sun, autumn winds, winter frosts, spring showers – they all seem to be dancing around at once. It’s as if the seasons were throwing a party and for fun have decided to play pass the parcel, in some weathery kind of way, or exchange clothes just to see how it feels to be another season.

Yes, I’m confused. I don’t know weather I’m coming or going. I have no idea what to wear – tee shirt or sweater, raincoat or shorts – and as if this wasn’t bad enough my watch decided to join in on the party as well.

My watch isn’t one of these new fangled things that are programmed for leap years, thirty day months, or even the addition of an extra minute or two. It requires a little manual intervention and with all this seasonal confusion months really have no chance at all -  and that’s how I found myself a day or so behind last week and running late.

Late - how I hate that word; late is like murder… a crime. But that isn’t for now. I’ll save late for another day.

Sometimes it feels like I’m stuck in my own little time warp. Of course in a normal world, where life is prompted by computerised diaries and each minute of every day is accounted for, this wouldn’t happen. But my life isn’t like that. It is one long round of sleeping, rising and eating; the only break in the repetition is Sunday when I get up at my usual time before realising that this is my day of ‘rest’. Oh, I don’t want you to think that I’m a busy, motivated, captain of industry (I’m not), but my life has evolved into something resembling that background hum you sometimes hear in the summer (whenever that is). Yes, I think it would be fair to say that my life is nothing more than white noise and there are times when dates, or even what day it is, really can’t penetrate the buzzing.

So there I was living a day behind reality, my watch telling me it was the 8th when it was actually the 9th - a day or so out of kilter, a Brigadoon day.

I won’t go into the almost disaster this caused. Suffice it to say I had a couple of deadlines to meet and, me being me, I ‘deadline’ right up to the last minute; although I never intentionally let them whoosh by in a nonchalant Douglas Adams kind of way. As it turned out I realised in the nick of time (whenever that is, was, or will be) that not only was I an unavoidable day late for the previous weeks missed deadline but the single day, unavoidable and unacceptable as it was, was actually two – worse or better dependent on time zone which I can never work out no matter how I try.

Ah yes, I’m confused, you can probably tell and in case you think I find it funny, I don’t. I find it annoying and worrying and something I should really try to do something about. Maybe I should try a jump to the left and then a step to the right.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Pigs might...

Due to a tendency to rant about shitty people today (you know who you are and you have always been so), I'm posting this whimsical thought of mine instead.

I hope it makes you all smile. Not you though Shitty.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013


Magic… what an obviously magical word. It’s a long time since I could be fooled into thinking that the lady had really been sawn in half or actually floated above the floor when the chairs were removed, but it still conjures up all kinds of images in my mind. Of course, there was a time when I accepted magic was real. Like most children I really did believe that Santa’s reindeers could fly and a fairy swapped my tooth for a sixpence when I was asleep at night.

I remember as a child seeing a dwarf for the first time. I’d been taken to a circus, a magical enough place without creatures from fairy tales appearing in the ring. Up until then I’d only seen dwarfs in storybooks along with elves and goblins and gnomes. I spent the rest of the performance waiting for a dragon or a flying horse to turn up. They didn’t of course, but it was a great circus anyway with lions and tigers, elephants, even giraffes and zebras - and it was truly magical.

These days my magic has more to do with the seeds that grow in my garden than unicorns. It’s more about the birds on my bird feeder than magic carpets. Sometimes I find it in the words that occasionally spill out of my mind – not often though. Of course, the red wine helps, but even without it I can sometimes feel or see the magic in a clear evening sky, the branches etched black against the paling blue and the cry of the crow as it watches the sun go down.

Yes, magic is something you make and, even though it gets harder and harder to make with each passing day, I think I’ll keep on trying.

Not today though. There is no magic in the air today. Sorry.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Life is better in flip-flops

Flip-flop weather at last, and about time too. Of course I often wear them around the house in lieu of slippers, but there’s nothing like slipping on your flip-flops and heading for the beach. That’s what I did yesterday, headed for the beach with the flip, flop, flip of my flip-flops clearly audible above the sound of the deep blue, bright white waves as they broke against the sand of Penlech beach.

Penlech was pretty empty considering the warmth and the clear blue skies. A glorious day full of the promise of a good summer after (judging by the amount of weed and wash-up dotted along the beach) what must have been some pretty stormy storms.

Flip-flops on damp sand; there’s no sound quite like it. It seems to say why worry, slow down, relax, take it easy, and for a while I did. Yeah, life is better in flip-flops.

Friday, 3 May 2013

It was different times back then...

and Stuart... 

David next I think.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Less than a fiver...

Well it’s time that they stood on their own feet, became men, toughened up. Not that they have any feet or gender come to that I think, but it is time they toughened up ready to be planted out into the real world.

For weeks they have been nurtured in the house; initially on the kitchen work-surface above the radiator, then on the window-seat in the upstairs lounge. Now, with what seems like sunshine and at least a little warmth, it’s time to go into the not quite outside air of the cold frame for a couple of handfuls of days.

About time too, no doubt about it; at this rate by the time my garden looks like a garden it’ll all be over for another year. I’m not beaten yet though. This lot cost me less than a fiver and my hit rate this year has been pretty good apart from the Scabiosa which hardly came through at all. That's them in the tray at the top on the left. Planting out next weekend I guess.

More later…

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Three monkeys…

Image by MauMau - A great graffiti artist
There’s always something going on in this big wide world of ours isn’t there? Fortunately most of the time I manage to allow it all to wash over me, even manage to avoid it. I’m not saying that I hide my head in the sand, I don’t. I read the news online, watch News at Ten every night, listen to PM on Radio 4, so I know what is going on, and where, and to whom, and sometimes even why. But I don’t take it in too deeply. It is just the stuff that happens, most of which none of us can do anything about other than find it shocking or awful or terribly wrong.

Sometimes I wonder why we watch the news or read the papers. What is it that drives us to want to know about the misery of the world when we can’t do anything much to stop it. We listen to the evil in the world, watch the evil in the world and then comment on the evil of the world as if we are simply not a part of it. Oh, I know that the Band Aids and Comic Reliefs make a difference, but compared to all the other stuff that goes on that we can do diddley-squat about they really are a tiny drop in a vast, storm-tossed ocean.

Maybe we simply have a need to know because we are all part of the same big onion and we need to share experience. But if that really was the case how can we explain the thugs who beat an innocent teenager to death or the totalitarian regime that happily take us to the edge of destruction, even over it? They can’t be part of it can they? They seem to only be interested in themselves.

What am I saying here? I’m not really sure. Ignorance is Bliss? It’s no use crying over spilled milk? Lest we forget? Leave me alone? Maybe I’m simply saying I don’t want to know because, even though I think I have to, I don’t. Or maybe I’m hoping that we might learn from what happens even though history always proves that not to be the case. Or perhaps I can’t be bothered to see it, hear it, or even talk about it any longer. There! I’ve even managed to confuse myself.

Maybe we are all monkeys after all.