Monday, 26 June 2017

Where the Couch Potato Scores.

It’s a well attested fact that busy days seem to go by far quicker than non-busy days. And if it’s true of a day, I suppose it must also be true of a lifetime. And since I subscribe to the view that perception is the whole of the life experience, I’m tempted to assume that lazy people must effectively have longer lives than busy people.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Explaining Today's Silence.

Since nobody is talking to me I feel no obligation to answer.

But of course, if I'd married Kate Beckinsale when I had the chance things might have been very different. What follows is a picture of said Kate. It looks nothing like her (as most of her stills don’t) but it does look very like somebody else I know (or used to, sort of…) That being the case, I think I might keep it.

I often wonder why I bother writing a blog, although these late night, trivial, enigmatic and utterly pointless ones are among my favourites. Maybe that’s why nobody is talking to me.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

On Pecs and Puerility.

The latest advertising horror to arrest my attention on YouTube is the old-guy-with-pecs ad.

Men Over 65 Need to Read This!

That’s what it says. Really? Really.

What Really bothers me, you see, isn’t so much the old-guy-with-pecs (although that’s bad enough), but the big-breasted bimbos-in-bikinis who stand around doing fake adoration. If there’s one thing that would discourage me from seeking the dubious distinction of having prominent pecs, it would be the danger that such a lamentable version of the opposite sex might take an interest in me.

No, no, no. When the time comes to suffer the ignominy of invisibility, best rely on the prospect of reincarnation.

Dotty Logic.

I was reminded today of something an ex’s mother said once. She and her husband came to stay with us for a few days when we lived in Northumberland, and one day we decided to make the trip up the coast to Lindisfarne.

(Lindisfarne is quite interesting. It has a mediaeval priory and a castle – which is actually a Tudor fort to be precise – and is the place where the first Viking raid on England took place in 793. It was also the setting for Roman Polanski’s 1966 classic Cul-de-Sac.)

So anyway… Lindisfarne is also known as Holy Island because that’s what it is: a part time island. The road leading to it is a causeway which is covered at high tide, and so there are boards at each end showing the safe crossing times.

When we arrived at the causeway we stopped to read the board in order to plan how long we could stay on the island, and then Janet’s mother said:

‘We’d better look at the other end as well. It might be different from that side.’

Friday, 23 June 2017

Simple Wisdom and Creature Bits.

I met the local odd job man and his 41-year-old Land Rover again today. He told me that people often approach him with offers to buy it, so intrigued are they by its aged and rough-hewn charm, but he always refuses them. ‘Why won’t you sell it?’ they ask. ‘Because then I’d have to walk home,’ he replies. He also told me that he tells his friends off for being addicted to buying things and throwing money at the commercial world. He shows promise.

*  *  *

There was a big black tomcat prowling around the entrance to my garden at dusk this evening, and he stopped in mid-stride to watch me for some time. To me he looked spooky in the half light, and maybe I looked the same to him because when I said ‘hello’ he prowled away.

*  *  *

And then I saw something I’ve never seen since I came to live here. One of my twilight bat friends flew into the confined space inside my little porch and flew out again. It reminded me of a true story I told on this blog some years ago, but it bears repeating because different people are reading it now.

I was watching on old black and white Dracula film on the TV late one night. It was a little after midnight when a bat flew out of the fireplace, crossed the room and landed on the TV set. That sort of thing doesn’t happen every day, and I thought it must surely portend something. Pity I don’t remember what happened next, but it seems that bats and I go back a long way.

Another Connection Muse.

'Life moves on, Jeff,' was the only cruel thing she ever said to me.

But, of course, it wasn’t cruel. The concept of cruelty is abstract and belongs to intent, not action. It would only have been cruel if she’d intended to hurt, which I’m sure she didn’t. It was a factual assessment and entirely proper in the circumstances.

But the brevity of the statement did make it harsh, and it did hurt my feelings. It still does all these years on, every time I think about it. It surprised me, too, because I had come to think of her as being incapable of harshness. She said to me once: ‘I like to think that you and I understand each other.’ Well, that’s one thing I misunderstood about her and I suppose it’s always good to learn.

I’ve stopped missing her several times over the years but it always comes back undiminished. Maybe one day it will stop for good. I’m sure she would approve.

This post comes courtesy of the rain. I was going to do more gardening.

Useful People and Bits.

How about a male encounter for a change? Encounters with men are a relative rarity for me so I suppose it’s worth a mention – briefly.

Today I met the village odd job man. Personable sort of chap, drives a 41-year-old Land Rover which looks more like a home made tank with the rivets showing and a hole where the door handle should be. Strong as a bull elephant and willing to do anything from building a wall to refurbishing the old village well. Makes no apology for being poor and seems not to consider it in any way remarkable. Knows how to shop, and takes delight in teaching others the art of shopping cheaply.

But he does like to talk incessantly, and his articulation falters a little sometimes. Nevertheless, we got on up to a point – until I managed to get away.

*  *  *

I’ve started waking up in the morning feeling washed out, depressed and ill, and sometimes it takes about two hours for me to get into gear. I’m putting it down to either the changeable weather or the onset of bipolar. Apart from that I’m still keeping my nose above the briny swell.

*  *  *

I fitted a window stay to my kitchen window today. Can you imagine living in a house for eleven years with no stay on the kitchen window? It means I can now have the window open to let the steam out even when it’s windy. Such luxury. Such progress…

*  *  *

I’m waiting for three emails from three very important people. I'm expecting to get two.

Edited to add: Probably only one.

*  *  *

The following YouTube track illustrates why I refer to the sound of the cello as ‘midnight music.’ I don’t know what genius invented it, but how perfectly it captures the human capacity for melancholy.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Two Jays for JJ.

The jay is one of the seven members of the crow family which live in Britain, and my bird book says of them:

As one of Britain’s most wary birds, the jay is more often heard than seen.

I think I’ve seen a jay twice in the eleven years I’ve lived here and never in the garden, but now I’ve started getting regular and frequent visits to the bird table from two of them. So, this being something of an extraordinary event and me being the superstitious sort much given to wondering about the validity of portents, I thought I’d look them up.

But then I changed my mind because the last two times I did that the news was bad – and it proved to be accurate. This time discretion can weigh heavily on the scales and let sleeping omens lie. The jay is a very good looking bird, and that will do for now.

And I thought I might mention that the red climbing rose on the south wall of my house is blooming more prolifically than it’s ever done before. So I just did.

Stroppy Insect...

... a little green one. He’s been hanging around my desk all evening, but he must have been attracted by my body heat.

A little green insect climbed onto my hand
And offered to dance with a bow
I said ‘would you like an old French sarabande
Or a Viennese waltz just for now?’

He said ‘I will take what the hell you can make
Of the music you’re listening to
And if you decline I will take it as sign
That you haven’t the hint of a clue’

He got blown off.

Spookiness and Familiarity.

Mel said to me the other day: ‘… but you’re not easily spooked, are you?’ (She is!)

I’m not actually. I’ve had so many things hanging around me since early childhood, so many inexplicable things going on nearly everywhere I’ve lived, that I suppose I’ve got used to it.

But I was in the shower tonight and wondered what it would feel like if I saw something in the misty, ill-defined view of the room you get through the shower curtain. Suppose I saw something dark walk through the door and then disappear. That would spook me.

But the mere thought of it doesn’t. Being an old hand at that sort of thing, I have a pretty good idea of what’s likely to happen and what isn’t. Inexplicable shadows moving across the wall, yes (it happened twice in my last house.) But dark shapes coming through the door? No.