Saturday, 28 May 2005

Lust on Saturday

Please can I have ....

Something like this for my birthday? This is the Lady Sophia from her days back when. I saw some photographs the other day as she is now and there is still that freezing feeling in my vitals.
Many comment on how Joan Collins has defeated time. Loren has not defeated it - time capitulated. If ever there was an advert. for olive oil, this must be it.
The pressure for this sad lapse in the tone of this blog comes from the conjunction of 'almost start of June' and 'August 15th' which will mark another D-Day in the coffin-dodgers fight to avoid the Great Majority. We will soon get the sneaky telephone calls where all Norma can reply is, 'I don't know what he wants'
It is hard for her. It is even harder for me to give off any scent as to what might be a nice surprise on my birthday. We seem to do OK with disposable income and I have never been one to resist that overpowering demand BUY ME given off in places that sell nice shiny objects. This means that I have no pent-up desire for things that would make nice presents. If I want it - I've already got it.
Small story. Young lad in French military academy reaches his 21st birthday still a virgin. His colleagues think this is a sad thing and all chip in five francs so that he may visit the most famous prostitute in all France. The lad is a bit embarrassed during the post-coital cigarette and tells her the story. The harlot with a heart of gold says that has touched me very much; your hard-earned money. I'm going to do something I've never done before. She then gives him his F5 back.
They are not all so hard-nosed. We had a chap in Malaya where the lady used to give him the money for a taxi back to camp.
Planning for shower moves on. Our plumber has visited and it seems he may be able to provide a shower-for-two size enclosure. Sounding good. Now searching net for really big sponges.

Friday, 27 May 2005

Get a shower Fatso

Great moves are afoot! When we moved here the bathroom had a fantastic Victorian bath already in situ. Rather than replace it, we had it reconditioned. Nice job, good solution. However, it has started to wear a bit thin in places; obviously it cannot withstand my scaly bum. Having spent time in the Army, my preference is for a shower. Norma also prefers showering. I’ve enjoyed a number of Sunday afternoons reading in a warm bath with top-ups of hot water just a toe-twist away and find this very relaxing. My shoulders are getting a bit arthritic and there is always the risk that we will have to call the Fire Brigade to hoist me out. Decision is obvious – out the bath and replace it with super-dooper shower cabinet. The over-bath shower is good so we just have to deal with the enclosure. Given the size of the full moon when I bend over to wash my toes, we need a large one.

At this stage, the buggeration factor that is in all projects swings into play. Trays come in standard sizes. The shower we had in our last place was based on a sort of wet-room tray made to my specifications. Biggest I have found so far is about 1200 by 900 which is good but I want bigger. There are shower enclosures for two people at once in the US of A but it seems we Brits still think of showers in terms of cleanliness and not fun and games. We visited all of the usual suspects last evening and today and did not get much further forward. There are showers that do steam, jets all over the place and aromatherapy. These have large cabinets but are expensive and over the top for what we want. So – the search will continue. Praise the Lord for Google.

Thursday, 26 May 2005

Nature Lover

Nature lover. This is not the only evidence of her appreciation for nature and wild things. We were walking round the park today. As we came round the corner of a large bush, I spotted a pigeon about five feet ahead of us. She normally runs in and flushes these as she likes the noise they make as the fly off but this morning I thought I'd re-emphasis some training. She was told to sit. When she did this, I waited for her to sight the pigeon. No response. I told her to watch and she stood up and looked around quite properly but still no reaction to the pigeon that was walking around directly in front of us. I straddled her and used my hands either side of her jaws to direct her gaze at the bird. Absolutely no response. There is little point in my training method in forcing it so I gave up. Made a fuss of her and urged her on so that she could do her instant flush. She went to a point and I thought - this is it - at last! I released her. She ran off about 50 yards to the right after a blackbird. What a wonderful thing it is to have a pedigree dog from a Crufts and trial winning mother. Not.
She might need to abandon this laissez-faire attitude. Norma's quilting group had their end of term party today and she took in chicken legs as part of the buffet. Half a dozen or so left over. Took them with us as we went to Berwick beach. I stayed at the car and noshed a leg. One of the seagulls came down and I threw the half-eaten leg at it. The bird hopped across, picked up the leg and swallowed it whole - paper frill and all. This was just one of the ordinary seagulls and not one of the damned great herring gull like those well-fed looking ones that used to perch on the wall around the Belfast post-mortem theatre. I will have to check that one of these does not hold of Sable and swallow her up - or down.

Wednesday, 25 May 2005

Thursday talk

Seems we have another speeding copper. Story here is quite good. The black box got lost (but has since been found in a different police car) and the evidence reference validity of the reading was submitted ‘late’. I was once advised by one of the Metropolitan police finest black rats to ask for evidence of verification if stopped by a police car – now I see why. Just as police used to or maybe still do, wave their appointments (cuffs, baton etc) around at parade mount why shouldn’t drivers have to confirm they have the paperwork? Problem is, most likely, this case coming so soon after the 159 mph police low-level pilot will just add to the sense of ‘two-layer’ justice system where people are less and less trusting of police.

Another item still resonating in the public ear is the teenage mums. Ms Bev Hughes has told us about the problems of sex education. She says she herself had been embarrassed to talk to her children. It would be old-fashioned and retrograde to ask why, if Ms. Hughes was having problems talking to her children, didn’t their father help? I cannot do other than remember that she used to be the Immigration Minister who resigned on a matter of integrity. Even if 'Ms' is her working title and there is a husband at home. this could well confuse kids regarding the norm of parenthood - a mother and a father.

Integrity leads me on to something else I spotted and support.

This appears to come from a lady young in years but mature in outlook.

Life's never going to give us everything we want. We are the ones that have to either accept what life gives us and roll with it, or become embittered and miserable human beings.

On an ethical and moral level, I was speaking with Virginia last night after dinner we got on the topic of prayer and morality. We talked about how the "right" path is straight and narrow, like a trail through the woods. One small diversion leads to another diversion, to another, and before you realize what happened you're stuck in the thorny underbrush with no concept of where the right path is. The more you walk and try to get back, the more you realize how lost you really are. Though I wish I could take credit for this, Virginia said that when you're lost in the woods, sometimes the best thing to do is stop walking. Pretty soon you'll be able to sense where the sun is and how it moves. You may hear running water, or even footsteps. If you stop walking you may notice a small beaten down path you missed when you were walking with blinkers on. At the very least, it will allow you to get your wits about you and make a plan. The point of this being, quit trying to fix everything now. All of us have made mistakes, and we come to a place where we realize we want to fix our errors and get back on track. However, it's about impossible to just get right back on track. We just need to quit moving for awhile and open ourselves up to the subtle clues we'd easily miss if we were running around in a panic.
I can see exactly what she means. Not only that, but she has said it better than I reckon I could. Her opening para re taking what life gives us sets out my attitude to those who have lost loved ones in tragic circumstance but cannot let them go.

Wednesday witterings

Though I do not expect too many of this blog to be picked up by the fuzz (painful!) and this is slanted towards those detained in America I thought this amusing. There is, from my experience, not much difference from advice a UK defender might provide.

The report of the three young mums is still percolating into my brain. I had an old copper’s take on why this had come to publication now when the offspring were two or more years old. Why had our gallant media not felt it essential that we knew of this earlier? Monday night, all became clear. The BBC TV is doing a series about midwives and the dodgy Derby daughters appear in an episode down the line. In addition to the printed reports, TV news broadcast reports and links to the programme. To me, this exploits the kids even more than the sperm-donors who were involved. What a wonderful world this is turning into.

From there my mind went into the question of old and new methods of education. My main learning period ended about 1952 and was what I might call carrot and stick – except carrots were in short ration. I now accept that I had Aspergers Syndrome.

Back at that time, this condition was not known in England and I was just considered to be a nasty, aberrant, child. Such a person offended the sensibilities of parents and teachers and I received much special treatment to try to turn me into a ‘better person’. When the home and school treatment ended National Service took over.

I think this had a much greater effect upon me. I was totally immersed in the Army methodology. They received loads of conscripts on a regular basis and had the task of reducing everyone, from English graduates to Glasgow goons, down to a common level of unthinking zombie and then rebuilding them as clones of the Ideal Soldier. Whilst there was plenty of stick, there were also carrots. Inasmuch as it is possible, I was cured of AS. I retained some of the signs but these were recognised as variants. For almost all of my working life, my annual assessments contained the phrase, “does not suffer fools gladly”. I used to justify this on the grounds that I was not employed as the Master of an asylum and I made it clear that I did not suffer fools at all.

In my extended family are other AS individuals. One diagnosed officially and others I suspect. There seems to be no consensus as to how they should be treated. I was most impressed by the young lad with AS who went on Junior Master Mind. . I missed the final contest but he certainly achieved what he set out to do – AS kids do not have two heads.

Tuesday, 24 May 2005

Dignity of death

This popped over to me from one of the newsletters I subscribe to. Seems a shame that these prents are disputing the dignity of death. I suppose that, somewhere and somehow, money is involved and it is about what might be due to a next of kin rather than where mouldering remains may lie.

Tuesday tribulation

I’ve had a hard couple of days and today got caught out by the God of putting things off. Coming back from lunchtime walk, front nearside tyre went BANG – just like that. I had been promising myself that I would read up on emergencies just such as this but never got down to it. I then had to combine where’s the bits with where does this go and what do I use to do this all in one go at the side of a narrow country road. I think I’ll do a BBC staff thing and go on strike.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, 23 May 2005

Tittle tattle

Not p.c.
Had a nasty experience with a scruffy looking fungi. Had to resurrect this from the files to get over the scare.

Funny fungi

Don't care how much bacon you put with this!
Pointy Nose dog found this on our morning walk. Normally, I am fond of fungi but this looks just too weird to attract me. This is a shot from my mobile phone camera - didn't know it would look as near good as this. Just think what this would have needed back in the days of wet film. Dark. Stumbling. Dropping watch in darkness. Pouring developer over feet and not into sink. Film unspooling onto floor. The list goes on. Happy digital days.
Equally offensive to me is this. I just cannot understand how the mother has the sheer gall to blame sex education in the school. It looks as if the kids have been taking home study a bit too seriously. Someone came up a while back with the suggestion that there were so many single mums because they were starved of love and attention and wanted something of their own that they could love. Live-in fathers were seen as a distraction. Issuing broody 14 year olds with a reality doll that demanded attention like a real child convinced them that it was not all wine and roses. The mum has a vote. In a few years, the mums will have one as well. What hope is there for any politician of whatever hue or policy being able to explain it so that these kids and mum will understand.
When I was a worker, I used to think I should ask the tax people if I could meet the three families that my tax supported. Just as well - I don't know what I would have done had I been introduced to such as these. It is reported that there is no support from the sperm-donors of these kids. How much does the Child Support Agency cost us?

Back then and baton change

Were these really Happy Days?

“The question is asked – can we afford it? Supposing the answer is No, what does that mean? It really means that the sum total of the goods produced and the services provided by the people of this country is not sufficient to provide for all our people at all times, in sickness, in health, in youth and in age, the very modest standard of life that is represented by the sums of money we set out in the Second Schedule to this Bill.

I cannot believe that our national productivity is so slow, that our willingness to work is so feeble or that we can submit to the world that the masses of our people must be condemned to penury”

Clement Atlee puts the case for National Insurance to the House of Commons 1946.

“The Bill for the National Health Service, which is a necessary part of the structure of National Security, has its place in the queue of legislation and will come before the House before Easter.

The real test of the Bill…is does it take care of the patient? Parliament will apply that test to the Bill when its contents are disclosed, but it can be assured that in design and scope it will provide a completely comprehensive service – from before birth, in the form of ante-natal care, until death. The people of this country will get clinics, a family doctor service, consultants, hospital treatment, rehabilitation, dentists, drugs, oculists and opticians and a lot more. All free…”

Editorial in The New Statesman, February 1946.

“As the number of turkeys available this Christmas will not be sufficient to meet the demand, the Ministry of Food asks turkey retailers to spread the limited supplies amongst the largest possible number of families by cutting birds into two parts before sale. Half a turkey, he believes, will supply a good meal for most families”

The Times 15 December 1945.

These come from a fascinating collection of diaries written between 1945 and 1948. I was surprised at one theme which ran through quite a few immediately after the end of the war where there was a considerable amount of anti-Semitism. This so soon after we were all made aware of what the Holocaust was all about. There are the same comments we see today regarding how Britain had lost its place in the world, no one wanted to work any more and how the Government was failing the country.

Seems I have been tagged to complete an on-line survey. Came out of the blue. I’m not sure what is required of me having been tagged but native cunning led me to these:

01. Total volume of music files on my computer?

Almost none. I have some 250 CD going back to, I should think, the first one made. I used the Mac and iTunes to put the ones I really like onto memory cards which fit into my PDA and I play them from there.

02. The last CD I bought was?

Chip TaylorHit Man. Writer of Wild Thing, I can make it with you etc.

03. Song playing right now.

George Jones – running through the album. Right this moment – He stopped loving her today

04. Five songs I listen to a lot or that mean a lot to me (in no particular order)

These are the ones that mean a lot. So powerful that I rarely play them now but they get my get bits when I hear them.

Two little boys. At the time I was one of two ‘little boys’ with a very close friend. He died in a horse riding accident. No one else could face doing the investigation so, as the Boss, I had to do it.

Slaughter on 10th Avenue. My first real very-grown-up girl friend was a pianist and this was ‘our’ song.

Rifat al Zaad. It is belly dance music. I had a very heavy thing with a belly dancer in Port Said, Egypt.

Devil went down to Georgia. It was TOTP during a holiday in Arizona and it brings that wonderful time back to me.

Get No Satisfaction by Mick. Goes back to riotous nights in the Sergeants’ Mess when we had all had enough to drink and were convinced we could all sing – and dance – like Jagger. And we did!!

05. Which 5 people are you passing this baton to, and why.

Pass – need instructions on this. Hope this does not constitute dropping the baton but, then, I was never much good at team sports.

Sunday, 22 May 2005

Starting off with a plea for help. I recently changed the template from the stock choices to get a wider-looking blog. Usually, I view the new entries whilst still in the gearbox/toolbox/compose/etc mode but yesterday I went to the 22674586 url. What I got was a weak and mangy looking column about 2” wide as a side bar on the page I had last viewed. So, what I would like to know is – does my other viewer see it like that (a thin long column) or “properly” and, do they know where my settings have gone adrift please?

Gemmak seems to have the same view of the weather as I had in my last blog. That’s dealt with the local news then. Down in the South, things are so bad as to be causing concern for exhibitors at The Chelsea Show that blooming will be delayed and HM will not see things at their best. Well, after the year she has had since the last show that must be a major concern to her. Only wants someone to show her their new rose Queen Camilla and the tent roof will come off.

The back-wash from that election seems to be rolling along. Things are being reported in the media that only a few years ago would have led to pistols at dawn or Law Courts at ten but those named and shamed just let things lie. To me, it is unclear whether this shows that the general public has now come to conclude – and accept – that such things are what politicians and tycoons do or is an indication that no one cares what they do. Any accusation made face to face is over-run with blather and insult – Galloway is a good example of what I mean. I saw that ginger-haired woman new minister being asked by Paxman the date that her department took some decision or other. Instead of a simple date format, her reply was a long spouting of pre-learned waffle justifying the decision. Paxo asked her exactly the same question some five or six times and still didn’t get an answer. The TV should just retain Bremner and the Two Johns to answer all political questions. We’d not learn anything but at least it would be amusing.

Some of the blogs of the next few weeks - hopefully not months - may reveal a spiteful nature. I've decided I could do with losing some weight before I cross over to Germany. No specific target and it is inches I'm looking for rather than pounds. Once I get past the first few days it is not too bad as my method is to avoid eating and just do the fluids. Those who will undoubtedly weigh in with 'advice' (listening Mrs 22674586?) will attract the sharpest lightening. I've been doing this reduction thing over the years and know what works for me.