Monday, 18 September 2017

Dog walkers and their stories

Walking Jenson has become one of the most enjoyable parts of my day. Away from the computer screen, emails and clients with, dare I say, different views on what they want, some just plain sad. It is of no matter, if, what they want, is in keeping with what they are trying to achieve. 
'I saw this on another website and I really think it will be look good on mine.’ My favourite.

On a more somber note. I passed a family on the beach today, all quiet and looking very dejected, raw grief etched on their faces, as they tried not to breakdown and cry. Then the young boy could hold back the tears no longer and collapsed into his fathers arms. Sobs racking his little body, while everyone else looked on helpless. One can not help wondering if it was a family member or a pet they were grieving for?
I walked on, thankful Jenson had decided not to run over and jump up. I walked that beach feeling much the same when Sam died and I could only hope they remember the good times, they will feel the lose and, in time, that gets manageable.

Jenson quickly brought me back to the present, mad dash to an old couple sitting on beach chairs with a very old little dog, as he decided they were worth a visit and a play with. Apologised and dragged him off, but they both had big smiles and he had in his own way, brought joy to their day. Puppies do that and I am sure he is milking it to the utmost. He does believe everyone loves him and wants to say hello, problem is he is now almost 20kg of jumping joy.
This Autumn period we are in, a transition between summer and winter, with summer loosing its grip to the colder time. Akin to a crack in a dam wall, no matter how hard you try, the water seems to still get through. So the cooler air seams gently in and the sun takes longer to warm your back.
The sun is setting earlier and this is not a bad thing, in the summer the sun does come up at an ungodly hour, just after 4am and does not set until after 10pm. Makes sleeping a challenge, even the blackout curtains allow light through. Now the sun is making its  way south, leaving us with longer nights.

Actually having breakfast, alone on this occasion, as Susan is working. Does worry me a little as she is burning the candle at both ends. Her mother can not look after herself anymore and work is becoming a challenge. Neither is something I can anything about. 
I over heard a couple in the line ahead of me saying this was their first experience of Internet dating. They both seem quite engaged and ordered a full breakfast each. Later sitting near them I realised he was blowing it. She was trying to concentrate on what he was talking about, but gearboxes were obviously beyond her. Almost want to step in and tell the guy to stop talking and listen.

Thanks for all the kind comments on my Old Books blog, i have read them and have replied where appropriate. I am thinking of publishing some of the comments sent in by those who are not part of the family. 

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Books, old and new

I recently read that physical books are making a comeback, sales are 6% up on last year while digital books have lost a little ground, -1.2% on last year. When I have finished my book I want to see it in print, glossy cover and when you hold it, it will hopefully convey through its weight, the many hours spent writing and rewriting. It will be something to touch and carry with me, being a mass of ink, paper and glue, its physical presence will be something. I hope most people buy it through the internet in ebook form, let's save those trees. For those few who want to own something more physical, who, like me, read the spine and remember what is inside. I would suggest they buy the book and like all books, it comes with that lovely book smell. Now I just have to finish it.                                                                                       
Recently read about how the Indians look after their books. Books are a symbol of prosperity and learning. If they drop a book they will pick it up and touch the book to their heads. Newspaper and books are still the main source of news and knowledge. Most of rural indian only heard about their independence from the British rule, by newspaper. Books are still highly valued in India and many household have a library that they are very proud of.
On January 1, 2017, Nikhil Mehta, a well known writer in India said.
‘Books plays an important role in in our life. It is said that books are our best companions. Books are our friends in a real sense. They demand nothing from us. They give us plenty of joy. We also learn a lot from them. They take us into a different world of imagination.’

I will go one step further and advocate the reading of the classics, if you have not done so already. One of the objects of reading the classic writer, is to be able to appreciate whatever is good and wherever it is found. The study of classics forms one’s taste and judgment. I believe once you have read a few of these books, you will appreciate good writing and will go on to read well written books.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Electric Mountain Bikes

Yep the new electric mountain bikes (e-MB) are here. They are a little expensive but if you can afford one then they are the way to go. By a little expensive, I am lead to believe they range from £ 500 to around £ 8000, I could be wrong but looking at a few website you can buy a relatively good e-MB for just over £ 1000.

Lady Vivienne from Canford Magna fame has a top of the range e-MB and claims that it only takes 5 minutes longer to get to work on her e-MB then her car, although this has not been officially confirmed. That is not bad really, the wind in your hair and the sun on your back, cycling the quaint English country lanes to work. The bonus is you do get electrical assisted exercise and you will feel very self righteous. In fact I would say this is going to be the mode of transport for the future and the future is now. 

Lady V told me that her model comes with a heated seat, which vibrates. Now that could bring some pleasure in the otherwise boring process of pedalling and I can understand why that put such a smile on her face, as can be seen from the photo I have uploaded. I am a little surprised at how lovingly she is holding that saddle. Such luxury and all on a bicycle.

The only problem, that I can see, is the English weather. It is not called the muddy island for nothing, cold and rain are the norm for most of the year. I only see them being used for about 3 months of the year and then on sunny days but if it brings pleasure then all I can say is go out and try before you buy, you might get to like them.

We must wish Lady V a very happy birthday, not a day over 50 and still up for a bottle of red wine and a huge, rare steak. I think I mentioned it in a previous blog, Lady V is in Susan's weight watchers team. This is one sport that if you lose you win, strange but true. Lady V picks her matches and after the nights celebration and the huge steak, she wisely decided to pull out of the game the next day. Susan was there and did lose, so the team is still strong after that win. Well done Susan, - 4 is no mean feat to have won by.

Monday, 4 September 2017


Optimism, great thing to have but I fear the Brits seem to think it is an eye problem. 

I was at the AirShow in Bournemouth yesterday and after a rather long lunch in a very cramped restaurant, we went out to see the Air display. Everyone was quite upbeat for the first hour, we saw a helicopter out at sea and a display by a Mig 15 jet. The helicopter flew around and then landed on the naval frigate. The Mig 15 flew passed and then did the same about 10 times and that all happened in the first hour. By now we were all a little bored, lets get another drink, great idea and everyone went back inside and missed the Red Arrows. 

One optimised was heard to say, “They will be back.” Not to burst his bubble but that was it for today. The food was rather good and the weather was perfect for an Air Display, so 2 out of 3 is good, isn’t it?

Enough grumbling, I have just read an extract from Winnie the Pooh. This to me is true optimism.
Piglet and Pooh decide to take Eeyore presents for his birthday, he is stuffed donkey with a deeply cynical and pessimistic view of life. Happy to share a negative view of things. 

“EEYORE, the old grey Donkey, stood by the side of the stream, and looked at himself in the water. 
“Pathetic,” he said. s' That's what it is. Pathetic.” 
He turned and walked slowly down the stream for twenty yards, splashed across it, and walked slowly back on the other side. Then he looked at himself in the water again. 
“As I thought,” he said. “No better from this side. But nobody minds. Nobody cares. Pathetic, that's what it is.” Extract from the book.

In all fairness he is rather philosophical and can give great wisdom at times.

What to take to a donkey who has nothing. Piglet decided to take a balloon he was given by Christopher Robin and Pooh decided a jar of honey was just the thing Eeyore would enjoy. 
You see where recycling presents started, goes back along way really.

On the way to Eeyore, Piglet tripped and broke his balloon, Pooh ate all the honey and rather then go back and get him something else, they took him a broken balloon and an empty jar of honey. Eeyore was over the moon, for once he was feeling very positive and loved the presents. I suppose when you are a stuffed, cynical donkey with a ribbon on your tail, named Eeyore and live in a 100 acres wood, the smallest distraction would be a bonus.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Things to come.

Now for that 2nd event I was leading you on with. Robert not only turned 21 but has now passed his driving test and is legally allowed to drive. Just a word of caution, he is normally on the road at about 10am and 12 noon, might be better if you delay your journey until he has navigated his way to gym and back.
In all fairness to Robert, he has this thing about getting full marks in what ever he does and his driving test was no exception. The examiner could not find any faults and gave him a clean sheet. Something like his first exams in America, where he was marked 120 out of 100, only in America can that happen. As if this is not enough, he has a car, as can be seen from the attached image, and is extremely happy. We can only wish him happy travels and loads of fun.
On turning 21, I feel I need to say a few words to a young man who is at the start of his life's journey. Practise tolerance, listen before you speak and only offer advise or opinion when you need to. Follow your dreams and never be afraid to try something new. It is only through trying and sometimes failing that we can succeed. Remember dreams can only be reality if you really believe in them. The fool thinks he knows everything but a wise man knows he has so much still to learn. 

Mark Cook turns 50 and my advise to him is enjoy it. You might feel 18 but remember you have 32 years experience as well. In all fairness, it is not the police who are telling him to slow down, it is his doctor. Happy Birthday Mark Cook, Lords of Holtwood and surrounding areas. 

Warning: This article is not to be read by those of a sensitive nature.

I often get asked why I drink proper coffee and not instant. Life is short, my seven score years and ten, allotted on an average basis to all of us, is nearing its time span. For that reason alone, I prefer not to drink instant, plastic, coffee.  Drinking freshly ground coffee is liken to a good wine, you saviour it gently. 
Expresso is pure coffee and with the proper coffee machines, the best but if you prefer your coffee a little lighter, then the Americano would be my choice. Americano is really hot water infused with an shot of expresso. Most coffees are expresso based, but use milk in various forms. If you wanted to make this drink at work, you will need a coffee machine, quite simply it is the only way to drink coffee, with only the expresso topping the bill.
I has a very straightforward instruction for preparation:
  1. Warm a coffee cup, not a mug, they for instant drinkers, must be avoided.
  2. Place cup in coffee machine, select one cup setting and watch the magic happen.
Voila! And your Americano is now ready.

For those without a coffee machine, get a coffee machine and get a life.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

An Educated Vote

Smart people tend to under estimate their intelligence and ability while below average people seem to think they are above average, with even the lowest performing groups thinking they are  above average. Now you understand why I advocate a brief test before you can cast your vote. If you pass it will count as 10 votes and those that fail will get one vote. Simple really, I wonder why no one else has thought of it?

The one other thing we have to do is making sure your local politician does what he promises. Maybe a local inquiry, so he or she can explain why they have not fulfilled their promises, if the excuses are accepted they can put themselves forward again, if not then they are banned for 10 years. A type of promises tribunal.

Being an officially lovely day, Susan has a habit of grading the days. We decided to visited another country fair. Canford School Arts and Crafts fair, I know very posh. Much like other fairs, except the junk they sell, is posh junk. I bought a new belt, shoes for Susan, sourdough bread and a huge cinnamon bun. Being a posh affair, there was no music, only the song of birds and a genteel, suppressed laugh, every now and again. Vivienne, Susan friend works at Canford School and you all know how posh she is.

Enough of the showing off, lets turn our attention to something else. I was going to let you into the second big event, I alluded to in one of my previous blogs, but I think it would be best to wait for the correct time and place. Far too early in the day for such big announcements.

Helen bought Susan a Insect House, you know the ones I am talking about, they meant to encourage insects into your garden. Well we have had ours up for a while and like the bird box I bought 3 years ago, they are still not being used. No birds and no insects, maybe I should let the relevant letting agents know that they are there and free. Has anyone else come across this problem? I have put a sign up to let them know they unoccupied, but to no avail.

Friday, 18 August 2017

The Avant-Garde has died?

I find myself, once again, sipping a coffee at Sandbanks cafe. I heard that, yes it is a local coffee shop for me. Life is full of strange happenings but for me sitting here, helps me find the other side of life which is worth thinking about and then putting down my thoughts. Most will be scrapped and a few make it through.

It's a century since Marcel Duchamp submitted his artwork called Fountain to an exhibition staged by the Society of Independent Artists in New York. Fountain was a urinal, signed R.Mutt. I touched on this in my blog 'Art, when it is Art' in May this year. Now we see this urinal as Avant-Garde. Spirit of experimentation and confrontation. In the intervening years, art, has lost its ability to deliver that shock factor, we seem to have seen it all before.

Like buying War and Peace, with every intention of reading it, but in all those years it has sat there, we have only read the spine. Maybe the world is so full of exciting new surprises, Avant-Garde is another concept that just did not keep up. I think the avant-garde is still in all of us but like the spine we only read, we have become creatures of our time and we have let technology rob us of creation.  

Some say my writing is too avant-garde for my readers: I hope it is innovative, advanced, innovatory, original, experimental, inventive, ahead of the times. Long live the avant-garde.

I am watching the British Offshore rowing championship, these are sea going rowing boats, not sure what that is all about. It is pouring with rain here with a brisk breeze. Anyway, they are valiantly surging through the choppy water and rounding the buoys to complete the course. From what I can gather they come from far and wide, even Wales. I suppose most come from seaside towns as I would not expect to see those from the valleys, taking up rowing as a sport. 
This championship is to decide who goes to the world championship later this year, great boost for Sandbanks and Poole. 

Except for those that have to be on the beach the rest are in the cafe trying to stay dry and warm, must admit they do all look a little miserable and wet. This looks like a sport for the young and energetic, far too much effort for me.

 Age moves steadily on and it is something like pushing the ocean back with a broom. Briefly you hold a little at bay then it returns.