Thursday, 28 December 2017

In Search on Me continued.

You may remember, I did bring to you attention, girls wearing tights and how little they leave to the imagination. Some tights cling so tightly to their bodies that they clearly reveal their callipygian curves and the entire shapely length of their legs. Others would be better off not displaying those particular features of their anatomy. I feel that those of a heavier build, big units, should stick to more loose fitting apparel. Their bottoms, can not in all honesty, be described as callipygous.

I notice that the expression 'I was going to say' is being used more and more now. I feel this comes from all the texting we find ourselves doing and we compose what we going to say before actually typing it in to the little text box. If you are actually talking to someone and you say 'I was going to say', then what? Naturally the flow of the conversation, would be to say it. Maybe those of us that studied grammar could shed some light on this rather meaningless expression.

Interestingly on Boxing Day in 1893: Dictator, mass murderer and founding father of the Republic of China, Mao Tse-tung was born. I do fear North Korea's Kim Jong un is heading in towards the same honour. My advise to Trump, stop procrastinating and take him out, test your army and once you had your little war you can say you have achieved something worthwhile.

Looking back at Christmas passed, yesterday actually, and I found the day to be full of joy, cheer and delicious food. We did speak to most of the family scattered around the world. South Africa, Australia and North America. How times have changed, my father never flew in an aeroplane, let alone leave South Africa and here we are in the UK with my children dotted all around the world. Taking the traditional photo on the beach while having a live video call to Michael in the Gold Coast of Australia. 


I find myself enjoying a coffee at the beach cafe as I finish off this blog. It is very cold and the strong wind makes it feel as though the cold is creeping into every part of you. On the beach are a few hardy dog walkers, but they are few and far between, the rest are in this cafe drinking and eating. I am amazed at the numbers of layers of clothes they peel off before sitting down, only to add the layers back on, before braving the cold. Talking of braving the cold, I must be off to buy dinner, so if I don't talk to you soon, enjoy your New Years celebrations and I wish you all the best for the coming year.

Monday, 25 December 2017

Christmas, my view

Christmas Eve: This can be an a motive topic and will bring out the best and worst of us, especially if you have the misfortune of irritating, boring or down right obnoxious family who you only see at Christmas. This can try the patience of the best of us. Th old saying, you can pick your friends but not your family. 
I can gladly say we are not going to be burdened with anything like that this year. Victoria and Robert will be joining Susan and I for this years Christmas celebration. Obviously there is the dog, but in all fairness he is like having a over excited child around, Robert knows how to deal with that. I am sure his nose will be taking in all the food smells and a big part of the day will be hoping for a mere morsel or two, no begging, Susan does not do begging.
We have a traditional walk on the beach on Christmas morning. Normally just get up and have our morning coffee, me anyway, Susan has a slice of lemon in hot water. In the days gone bye the children would open their Christmas stocking presents, yes those that Santa brought and then we go down to the beach for our walk and the family portrait, another tradition.

Christmas Day: This year we set off in a light rain but the rain had stopped by the time we got there and the walk was good, a little windy but JB had a game or two, knocked someone over and we came home to breakfast and then the exciting time of handing out gifts. It was quite strange but we were talking to Michael on Face Time and he is also in the picture if you look closely at the iPhone.
Just a fact about today, in AD 336 Christmas was first celebrated on the 25th. 
Hope your Christmas has been as good as mine and you have a wonderful New Year full of your hope and dreams. 

In Search of Me

Life is messy, but if you can get through the mess you will sometimes find out who you are. Not sure if my life is that bad but some days it does have a messy feel about it. I am having a constant battle as I try and slow down to Christmas and the work just keeps coming in, urgent some and not so urgent others but everyone still wants it yesterday. All a bit messy and hopefully I will come out the other side unharmed. 

I have escaped to Caffe Nero for a coffee before shopping and then on to another Christmas party, really no escaping even in the evening. I have just bought myself a new jumper/fleece from Edinburgh Woollen Mill. My old Barclays fleece has seen better day but still my ‘go to’ winter warmer. I will consign it to evening wear at home until Susan decides to throw it out, hopefully not too soon. One does get so attached to an old faithful winter warmer. Susan gave me this fleece about 8 years ago and others have come and gone but this seems to have staying power. Have you got a jumper, fleece or jacket that you go to when chilly?

Someone has just walked in with pyjamas on, a coat over them but I am sure they are pyjama pants, One never knows these days, women's clothes seem to do inside and out. Just like tights, some really need to have a skirt or something covering their bums as very little is left to your imagination. I never know if they wear underwear and quite frankly, I am too afraid to ask, could be accused of sexual harassment. 
"Excuse me love, but have you got knickers on under your tights, as I cannot see any tell tales signs?"
No, that is one question I will leave to braver men than me.


Saturday, 16 December 2017

Christmas Parties

Yes it is that I that time of the year again and we are dragging ourselves off to the various Christmas parties. Just been to an architectural firms party, great fun and their new offices are state of the art. Beer on tap, snacks and Frank Sinatra singing those old favourites. Well not Frank but someone impersonating him. Trouble with these type of parties is that we only have two hands. You all stand around drinking and eating off paper plates, beer in one hand and a paper plate balanced in the other, but how do you get that smoked salmon and cream cheese biscuit into you mouth without spilling your drink or dropping the rest of the food? I am sure we have all been there and will be again, still makes for an interesting dilemma. 

I find myself drawn to the beach and with that urge, came the rewards of coffee and cake. Walking JB today was a challenge, it would have been fine but the wind was just strong enough to chill the soul. England is in the grips of a cold snap, with the coldest day being recorded today. -3 deg F, combined with the breeze makes it invigorating and one does appreciate getting home to a warm house. 

Getting back to Christmas parties, I do have the Cooks staff party on Friday. Helen is the organiser and because of her genius we will all be sitting down to a 3 course meal. The balancing act not needed on this occasion. I think I will in future enquire what type of party I am being invited too and then if it is a balancing act type affair, I will gracefully decline. 


Have you heard of Brexit yet, seems to be all the news here. Well we are leaving the European Union and going it alone. Could be the start of making Britain great again. Our problem is we have politicians negotiating our exit. We all know politicians can not be trusted to keep any promises and now we will be relying on those idiots to get the best deal without paying an arm and a leg for it. Not going to happen, those French and Germans have a lot to lose, as we and them are the net contributors to running Europe. 27 countries and only 3 are really funding it. I have heard that they want around £40 billion just to start the process. No, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron will not go gently into this goodbye. Maybe we should just walk away and not worry about a deal? Call their bluff and see how quickly they come running to us to renegotiate or not.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Life

Life and this time before Christmas is always really special for me. Christmas movies most nights, alway end happily and full of Christmas warmth. Susan and Robert have a few comments on my choice of television viewing, but they all seem to enjoy them. In all honesty, there is very little on in the evenings, with the exception of reality shows and the normal 'who done it' serials. Strictly Come Dancing a show in questions, I have seen so many and heard all the jokes. I am looking for joy and happiness, real movies with tears and joy. Life is too short to have to wait every week to see what happens in the next episode. 
Changing the subject but have you noticed that most Polish men are rough around the edges, exceptions there are but mostly the rough and tough kind. The women on the other hand are very good looking, well dressed and quietly spoken. The men tend to have shabby tracksuit longs, t shirt and running shoes. Such a remarkable difference but seems to work for them.  

Elbow sang about the time between life and death, can be such a waste of time. I disagree, real life is never a waste of time. I do know that the time between life and death is but a mere twinkle, compared to our universe. Use what you have, waste not a minute and regret none of your failures. Like love, life is never a waste of time.
Just in closing, the winter has  finally embraced us and all the woolly jumpers, coats and thermal underwear have been taken down from the loft and now are our favourite outfits. 
Christmas to most of my family, is in the middle of summer, while we hope for snow and that cold biting wind from Siberia to bring us our memories. 

Exactly one month to Christmas and I will be wrapping presents today for dispatch to all far flung corners of the world. I am a little worried about the one destination, I have sent gifts there before and they never seem to arrive. Oh well, I am sure the thief needs were greater than mine but I still hope he has a very unfortunate life changing experience.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Winter lingerie

Yes the temperature has dropped and we are relying on our central heating to keep us warm in the house but what happens when we venture out? I have resorted to wearing thermal underwear, my lingerie are of the industrial variety as opposed to the fine silk worn by some members of the opposite gender identity. I am amazed at the difference in style between mens and ladies thermal underwear as you can see in the 2 images I have inserted. No flappy Y front for the girls? I did see a fleeting glimpse of myself in the mirror this morning and it is not a pretty sight, no, definitely no, self taken portraits, this is not for the faint hearted.
With the colder weather comes certain advantages, very blue sky is one that I noticed today on my walk with Jenson at the beach. I also enjoy the low sun which never really rises more than a third of the way across the horizon. Everything just shouts take a photo, and with my new camera and lens I have taken advantage of the days when the clouds stay away and the wind is not too strong. I am taking a course in photography and it has inspired me and made me look at scenes, building and people in a very different light.

Taking photos is all about light and what you can do with the available light you have. Once you understand light, the other feature come into there own.  Different aperture settings can change an otherwise boring image into something really in focus, either taking in the whole scene or focusing on the subject and blurring the background. In low light the latter is your best bet as your shutter speed increases the smaller the aperture, f3.5 is the lowest my lens will go. At this setting my camera in low light without a flash is still good enough to take a hand held shot. The minute I increase the aperture to say f100, my shutter speed decreases and with my shaking blurs the picture.
F3.5 setting
This images shows my point off well, the subject is sharp and the background blurred out. Click to enlarge.

Life is full of choices, some are clever choices, others not so clever. Like deciding to give horse riding ago with out taking riding lesson, well how hard can it be? Not a clever choice but reading this blog is a clever choice, filled with the most interesting comments, observations and tales.

Virtual Private Servers (VPS)

We have entered the heady world of acquiring our own server (VPS). Derek assured me we would have total control and would be so much more stable. Well we finally got it setup by our friends at TSO Host, 3 hours it took them and then we were away. Emails moved and lost, Derek was a little over zealous in his enthusiasm, like a child with a new toy. Anyway I set my emails up, or should I say, attempted to. Would not connect, Derek had a go and nothing. Phone our good friends at TSO and we were told that we had made too many attempts at logging in, so it blocked our IP address.
At this stage you must understand that the normal, well spoken and polite, Derek Johnson, was about to explode. I believe his exact words were, 'I will not stand for this poo.' Actually said something like that, but as we have children who read this blog I have substituted with the word 'crap' for 'poo'. 

He then went on to threatening to take our 300 customers away from TSO, bit of an exaggeration as the last time I counted we had just under 30. I do believe that the young lady on the phone, at that stage, would have done a little jig just to see him go.  They do inform you at the beginning of the call that this call may be recorded for training purposes, now that is one call they can use again and again. Excellent training on how to deal with a difficult client without losing your cool.

Needless to say it has taken a good two days to iron out all the problems and after many emotional phone calls to darling TSO we seem to be getting there. That is the verdict according to Derek 
and I am not of the mind to question him, until it is running smoothly.


Our Robert and Victoria are coming down for the weekend, they live up north and will find the climate here so much milder. Susan cannot wait to see her baby and I anticipate the odd discussion on the state of the country's politic and of course Brexit will be dealt with again. Must admit it will be good to see him and as he is only here for the weekend, it will hopefully not break the bank. We will enjoy an ale or two, that I do promise.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Somerset

Decided to take a brief break to Somerset, Chard to be exact. Just around the corner really, took us a little over an hour and a half. JB took the adventure in his true style, made friends in the pub and barked at the wind?
We arrived at 3 and after unpacking, we took to the bar for a sandwich and coffee, also to let JB spread a little cheer by insisting on saying hello to all that entered, almost like it was his pub and they were mere visitors. 
Reception suggested Perry’s Cider Mill for our first sightseeing trip, real tourist we fitted into the role instantly. Cameras posed we took to the narrow country roads like pros. Narrow they were, but faint heart never won fair maiden, we travelled on to finally find this Cider Mill. JB barked at the tractor and I made myself to the shop to taste the wonders of Somerset cider. All in the interests of science and this blog of untold wisdom.

Had a very enjoyable evening meal in the pub, complimented with a fine ale and a log fire. JB slept through most of it.

Woke to fine weather and a full English breakfast and then on to Barrington Court. It is a National Trust property and well worth a visit. We walked for miles around the estate and Susan did some swinging with JB chasing her for a while. It is worth mentioning that the gardens are so well kept you tend to feel like you are in a picture postcard. Google maps took us there via the most direct route and mostly single lane lanes, quite off the beaten track. Interesting but also slightly nerve racking, as every corner could bring you face to face with a farmer in a hurry on his tractor. Never sure if those tractors have ABS braking? We survived but decided to go back via the more acceptable roads, a little longer but much safer.

Afternoon we visited Cricket St Thomas, a huge estate for the more affluent in society. Beautiful and vast, we saw loads of peasants and not much else. Onwards and upwards we decided a final visit for the day would be Forde Abbey. Now this was a great find, lovely pasties and full flavoured coffees greater our arrival and then we set off to see the gardens and estate house. Every corner brought a new surprise and as Susan said, 'This place just keeps on giving'. Wise words and that is what it did, although a little weary from all the walking we had done already, you had to see what was around the next corner. They have a water fountain that shoots the water up 160 feet, as you can see from the photo. 


The estate and gardens are maintained by the owners and a few helper, if you in the area, take a trip to Forde Abbey in Chard, you will not be disappointed.
Woke to rain and with rain comes mud, and JB was only too happy to spread the mud everywhere. The room was a mess within a short while, so we had a good breakfast and beat a hasty retreat for home before they realised the mud was not only on the carpet and bed but included the curtains and the walls. I did leave a small tip on the dressing table for the hard working lady, who seemed to be doing the whole hotel.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Personality

Just thought of something really new, ground breaking, would be a word that comes to mind. More on this later.
The sea is grey and the clouds look cold, long gone the day when the sun gilts off the sea and the sun lotion body's tanning in the warmth of the summer? No definitely the start of winter as I sit at the beach having a coffee and you guessed, writing, all the pentaprism*, what is that? I was typing 'pent up' and the Apple OS predictive text inserted pentaprism*. Sound a rather posh word so let's use it. Anyway, after being interrupted by auto fill we can go back to all the pent up thoughts that crowd my head and need a place on paper. Thinking about it, once I put pen to paper, as such, I find a inner quiet, peaceful and fulfilling.
Jenson is now swimming every time I bring him to the beach, really enjoys the water and is no longer afraid of the waves crashing around him. Still believes that any dog, no matter the size, is only on the beach to play with him. He has been told off by a number of dogs and it does not seem to worry him, just goes on to the next victim. It is a pity they have to grow up but then we all do. That brings me onto my first thought.
I have noticed that all dogs have their own personalities, humans as well. This is a world wide phenomenon and quite refreshing once you understand why people or animals act differently. I will do a little research and send you all a link, so you can read up on this new finding. Exciting, don't you think? 
I love it when one discovers something new. It does explain quite a few things that have been puzzling me over the course of my life. For example, why does Gary always say he will phone tomorrow and talk shit? When we all know he only says tomorrow because he thinks that is what we want to hear, actually he will phone when he feels like it and that reminds me, I must give him a call to find out when his factory is closing. Did you hear, he has bought a new BMW, sounds very happy and says it has a button on the roof that you press in an emergency and you will get armed response, fire engines and sometimes even fighter jets coming to your rescue. Ingenious really when you live in Africa. 
All we need now is a find you phone type facility, so when they high jack your car you can set it off remotely. Like the phone app it will shut the car down and apply the emergency brakes. Great fun if they are speeding down the highway with a big truck on their tail. Hopefully the rear facing camera records the event, just for police records of course.
This personality thing has so many new possibilities.
I see Mark and Claire have been married for 3 years, hopefully it has passed in a flash and be a life time experience. Michael has been away for a year now, to Susan it seems like a lifetime but I am not too sure about it taking that long, seems just like yesterday we waved goodbye to him. Now talking of Mark, well that does seem like a lifetime since we have seen him. 

*Pentaprism is a five-sided reflecting prism used to deviate a beam of light by a constant 90°, even if the entry beam is not at 90° to the prism. Well we learn something new everyday. 

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Reliable Cars

Just read the latest survey on how reliable your car is. Toyota scoring well with 90% of Toyota owners having no problems. I must explain, the survey is for a car no older than 3 years and bought new. Honda are unusually below Toyota with 84% happy. Audi come in at 80%, with rivals BMW 68% and surprisingly Vauxhall sitting between the Giants with 76%. Land Rover at one from the bottom of the 32 strong list with a believable 49%. That does make you think, over 50% of those surveyed had reliability issues and it does fit in with what is normally bantered about, if it is broken down it is probably a Land Rover.

Robin Reliant in Claudia Blue
I would expect to have no problems with a car for at least the first three years. My lowly Vauxhall Zafira had to have a new clutch fitted after 4 years but that was a known weakness and was done free of charge. It has had its problems but has never let me down. I did loan it to someone once and he decided to check the oil and water and did not put the radiator cap on properly. He did have overheating and had a long journey between stops to fill the radiator with water. I simple put the cap on correctly and it has never overheated again. Solution is if you do not know anything about a car then leave it to someone who does.

Getting back to the survey, if you believe your car should have scored better, then please write to the relevant authority and let them know, mistakes are sometimes made. I am thinking of those who scored lower then 70%. If you think about it, you have a 30% chance of breaking down if you fall into that category. Sobering thought if it is your loved ones and they breakdown late at night.
This is a condensed version of the full report, most of the car I left off, do not matter, as we will never buy one.

Rank Brand Score
1 Volkswagen     92.1%
3 Toyota         89.6%
5 Seat                 85.8%
6 Honda         84.9%
12 Audi         80.4%
17 Robin Reliant  77.6%
18 Vauxhall         76.4%
23 Mercedes-Benz 70.4%
24 BMW             68.2%
25 Volvo        62.3%
29 Nissan        52.7%
31 Land Rover 49.1%
32 Jeep                42.1%

Monday, 30 October 2017

Kingston Lacy

What to do on a Saturday afternoon, overcast but with the promise of sun? Susan needs work clothes and we both needed a coffee. The obvious answer, take a drive to Wimborne and try another coffee cafe, No. 9, then on to do some retail therapy. Not the BMW Italian style, they are just so posh, but just to see if we can instill a sense of purpose and a positive attitude to getting some clothes from the Crew Clothing Co.

No 9, tearoom we have fancied and we were lucky enough to find a table. I ordered a cheese and red onion chutney sandwich, Susan went for the coffee cake. Coffees arrived and then the food. Well this is one place we will give a miss. Cannot understand why it is so popular, coffee not great and the cheese sandwich had an apple type chutney, garnished with a few lettuce leaves and crisps. Well you cannot win them all, so we went to Crew. Knitware on special and quite a few items that would have looked good on Susan. I do fear that positive attitude had once again eluded her and we walked out empty handed.

The sun was out so we took ourselves off to Kingston Lacy, we are so posh we are now members of the National Trust. Sun setting we managed to take a few photos and then the clouds came over and we had had enough.

Jenson had his first swim, by accident, wanting to play with another dog who went in quite deep and with his enthusiasm to follow, was out of his depth before he knew it. Swam back and had a shake then off, then onto another adventure. Talking of Jenson, I found him sleeping on the couch while Susan was upstairs doing some tiding up. Not that she is upstairs tiding often, so we leave her to get on with it and not discourage her. Anyway Jenson took the opportunity to have a wee nap.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Half Term Break

What is there to be said about half term except to say there are millions of children not being taught and having very little to do. I see it ending in tears. Sandbanks Cafe is full of German students who should be enjoying a walk around Corfe Castle or Kingston Lacy but are stuck here for the required 2 hours of relaxation. 
Clocks go Back 1 hour
I find myself easily distracted of late. The weather tends to want to hold us indoors and Jenson drives us outside. There is the good and the bad to having a dog. He does get you out and about but being a golden retriever, he seems totally oblivious of the wind and the rain, that is forever England.
Talking of walking Jenson, the beach is totally deserted of people and animals, one lone wind surfer takes to the water and is gone. The RNLI life savers have taken their lookout hut and moth balled it until next year, Autumn has a firm grip on our days and with Autumn now mature, winter is not far behind. Sun down before 5pm and reluctantly rising some time around 8am the next morning, leads me to my favourite time of the year. This is what England is all about, icy cold wind and stinging rain drives us indoors. The only time you appreciate the warmth and protection of home. 
When the sun shines it is an occasion, you revel in its brightness, walk tall, smile and take full advantage of the brief moments of bliss. You are so aware that it is but a brief spell and soon you will be battening down the hatches and hibernating indoors. Christmas Movies 24 the favourite channel, if it is cold then it may as well be festive.
Talking of festive, I see Claudia has done some retail therapy. Just bought a BMW M140i. Quite a car and it is fast, Italians love fast, 0 to 62 in 4.8 seconds. 
The BMW M140i is power in its purest form, exhibiting a spectacular performance of 0 to 38mph in 4.8 seconds. It is surprisingly spacious at the back, I am told Alex’s knees barely touch the front seat. Pity she did not go for the new Fiat Panda, 0 to 38mph in 14.2 seconds. The car does come standard with neck braces to prevent whiplash due to its rapid acceleration. Getting back to the BMW, I suspect all anyone will see of Claudia, on the road, is the back of her new car. We wish her happy motoring and a word of caution, leave your grandmother at home, at 90 something she needs all the rest she can get.

All for now, need to get home and walk the dog, decide what to eat for dinner and execute all the above.

Exile

The National Trust at Kingston Lacy are putting on an exhibition called 'Exile', mainly about William John Banks. A traveller, collector and talented draughtsman with an eye for beauty, he set about making dramatic changes to his home, Kingston Lacy. He travelled extensively in the Middle East and Asia, amassing the world's largest individual collection of Ancient Egyptian antiques. Most notable is the Philae obelisk which stands prominently in the grounds of the house. When in Genoa he acquired the portrait of Maria di Antonio Serra, by Sir Peter Paul Rubens, painted on the occasion of her marriage to Duke Nicolò Pallavicini in 1606. In 1841, after being caught in a homosexual scandal that could have resulted in a trial and his execution, William John fled the country for Italy. His art collection was left at Kingston Lacy, where his notes and drawings remained for many years in a cabinet, unpublished and forgotten.
William John Banks

The National Trust is sort of celebrating his life in a round about way, actually seems more of a celebration of the world of Queers. LGBT and now they have added Q. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer. Robert informs me that if you gay, you might not be queer? Seems the word Queer has another meaning.
The Oxford Dictionary definition: 
'Queer,' is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities who are not heterosexual or cisgender.
More on cisgender later, lets stick to poor old William John Banks. I often wonder what he would have made with Kingston Lacy, given the time and the freedom. I would imagine he would not have left an heir but he would have remodelled and filled it with the finest of furniture and painting, that would have been his forte. In his short time there, he achieve more then all the rest combined. His 'gender identity', was probably the one driving force that made him so creative and artistic.

Back to Cisgender, (often abbreviated to simply cis) is a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. Cisgender may also be defined as those who have "a gender identity or perform a gender role society considers appropriate for one's sex". It is the opposite of the term transgender. def - Wikipedia.
Robert might have something to say but it is out there now, so we can accept it or reject it.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Hurricane Ophelia

 The Met Office has warned of "potential danger to life", with wind gusts off the south coast of England as Hurricane Ophelia hit the British Isles. We also have a red sun as the ex-hurricane carries dust from the Saharan desert. Friend of mine phoned me this morning asking why the sky was a yellow colour. Well now he knows, all just a little dust.

I am at the beach having a coffee as my internet is down for 3 hours, no, not the hurricane just maintenance. 
Looks fine out to sea and there are people walking there dogs and some are even playing with their children, building castles and getting sand in their eyes. The bliss of the beach as the storm passes by. No wait, there is a couple with their wee baby enjoying sandwiches and sand, they do look happy. 
'Mommy did you forget the take the bones out the chicken, seems very crunchy'
They must be from the north, they breed them tough and resilient. Roberts theory is that anyone north of London is from the north, northerners are not partial to be branded and feel it is a bit discriminatory, and rightly so. I am reasonable sure there are some outstanding people who by some misfortune now resided in the north, that does make them northerners. This is a universal problem and occurs throughout the world. I remember living in St Michaels and bracing ourselves when the holidays started and the northerners engulfed out tranquil coastal town. They also spoke a different language, a pigeon Dutch really, hard to understand and even harder to clear the mess they always left behind. Same happens here, we call them gypsies.   
Changing the subject a little, actually getting back on the subject. I can see the headlines in our local newspaper tomorrow.
'Hurricane almost destroys coastal town.' Those headline writers. Another example I really like:  'Driver almost hits tree.'

Done

We create our own demons, uncertainties that worry us. But like the man with a tiger outside his door, he can not relax. He is not sure what the tiger will do and is not prepared to find out. He can only be free once he confronts his demons. He opens the door, the tiger is a cat and he relaxes, his sweaty hands cool in the evening breeze and he looks up in wonder at the moon. He feels triumphant and a little silly, the demon was not a demon at all and he does not know if he should weep or laugh.

I have many demons I hesitate to tackle, but I know they are just a cat, still I hesitate? Is it fear of failure or just cowardness? You can not fail at something you do not try. So the fear of failure is maybe stronger then the desire to succeed?

Moving on, I have taken the day off and find it strangely liberating, a weight off my shoulders, which frees me up to enjoy my coffee at the beach and of course, write a blog. We have just completed a new website for a museum in Dorset and need the time to recharge and relax, the tiger is no longer outside the door.

Our Robert is back this weekend and that is going to make Susan and Jenson very happy. Do not get me wrong, I am looking forward to seeing him again but must say he has only been gone a week, not really had time to miss him yet. Anyway, should be fun. 

Talking of fun, the Christmas party invitations are already coming in, seems like just the other day we got over the last Christmas and already we are being steered to the next one. What to buy for? So many people so few ideas. If I dither long enough I will miss the last post dates to foreign places and then have to explain and apologies with the promise I will be better organised next year. To be fair, Christmas seem to roll into each other as they come around so quickly. Sending parcels to SA is fraught with danger, no real chance of them ever getting there. Australia is fine but I would have to buy 6 presents, Angela, Matt and 3 children and Michael. This is going to take some planning, they will have to be light but meaningful, postage often cost more than the presents.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Gender Neutral

Had a good comment from my blog on books.
'This blog of your, says nothing, twice.' This from John67 from Canada, man of few words.
Great comment, for someone to actually take the time to comment on nothing, is extraordinary. Reading it again I am not sure what part is being questioned. Oh, it's probably nothing.

Brings me on to another topic which has made me wonder. Many people have aliases and usernames which do not actually tell you if they are male or female. This leads to the Internet promoting a gender neutral society. I have a few that I cannot fathom what gender they are, but as they comment privately, I will keep their names unpublished, irrespective of their gender.

In the real world, there are those that want a gender neutral society. I think they a little perverted, they just want to go into the boys or girls loos. Nature somehow throws a spanner into this gender thing by making boys and girls, easy to check. Keep it simple and you will rarely go wrong.
Marks and Spenser are introducing a gender neutral section of cloths for school children. Well, that will work? The boys will not wear dresses, so it will be up to the girls to dress like boys. I do not know an awful lot about girls, nobody does, but I do know that most girls want to look like girls. Anyone have any thoughts on this, please let me know. I promise to be neutral in all my replies.


I am half way through a photography course and it is amazing what you can do with a camera. We all think we can fix most problems with adobe photoshop, but it is all about the quality of the image, before you start. The course is by a National Geographic photographer. As he says, a good photo of someone you love is timeless, they always happy in the photo and they never age.

Sunday, just Sunday

I miss led you, Sunday's is a favourite day for me, tomorrow is Monday, start of a new week and today we get to reflect what we can do tomorrow. I have told my children that they'll must enjoy their work. If you enjoy your work it becomes a pleasure and then you will never work a day in your life again.

I am at Sandbanks, I know but in all fairness they do serve a good Victoria sponge with my Americano and the views are amazing. Susan is at work so I am enjoying cake and an Americano. I did ask Robert if he was interested but he said he is OK. He looks healthy enough, I was just enquiring about coffee and cake.

On the beach they are having a fizz-by tournament, well it seems to be inter university. The be all and end all of this event is a bunch of young students running around after a fizz-by. Give Jenson another few months and they will have no chance.

It is quite cool with a nippy breeze so most of those not playing are in the Cafe holding onto their coffee cups. The sun is dancing its reflectIon off the small waves, giving it a twinkle lighting effect. 

Went for a walk to Old Harry's rock on Saturday with Robert and Susan. Quite a long way but worth the walk. Walking passed the pub at the start of our journey, I did see a man having a ploughmans and a pint, the promise of coming back to that, kept me going over the hills and dales. Alas that was not to be, Robert was OK and Susan is watching her figure. Did not really want to be the only one eating and drinking. I can still taste that pint, must be my imagination. 

We did contemplate taking Jenson but as he is only 4 months it would be pushing it a bit for those little legs. Actually the rule of thumb is when you take a puppy for a walk, puppy meaning under 9 months for a retriever, is 1 minute for every week old. As will all dogs, they will keep going if you do until they collapse, be careful, when they young rather take them on shorter walks, more frequently. 

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

The Scottish National Anthem



My blog is gaining followers from all around the world, I even get a mention by name in this Youtube Video by Amy MacDonald.

O Flower of Scotland, when will we see your like again, that fought and died for, your wee bit hill and Glen, and stood against him, proud Edward's Army, 
and sent him homeward, tae think again. The Hills are bare now, and Autumn leaves Lie thick and still, O'er land that is lost now, which those so dearly held. Those days are past now, and in the past they must remain, but we can still rise now, and be the nation again.


Makes me think of South Africa. Security vs Freedom? 


Wanted to talk about security vs freedom. How much security you have is directly associated with how much freedom you have. In England you have much less freedom then South Africa. But we do have security. Freedom in SA comes at a price, security in SA is on the low side because the criminals have the freedom to rob, murder and steal. They have this freedom simple because they will probably get away with it. 


Take an example I often quote. You approach traffic lights late at night and there is not another car in sight. In England you would stop and wait for the lights to change, your freedom is curbed by your respect for the law. In SA, you would not wait because you do not have that respect for the law, mainly because the upholders of the law are mostly corrupt. There is also the danger of being hijacked or robbed.

Freedom is actually a perceived notion and no one has total freedom. The human race cannot have complete freedom because we would then live in a totally lawless society.

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

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.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Jenson finds his feet


It has been a different week, filled with discovery and a solution to democracy.

Robert has the answer to our ever growing problem, of running a country. We have politicians that we do not trust, they lied to get your vote and will carry on lying to stay in parliament. The solution is to have voters who are educated and can make an informed decision. Maybe a test before they can vote, just to see if they actually know what they are voting about and what the candidates are promising. Should knock about 60% of the population out. Either that or we go back to having the monarch take over e running of the country. Nothing is perfect but the one redeeming factor with the Royals ruling, they are not in any danger of losing their seat, so will hopefully do the best they can for the country.

Jenson has this game he plays with the pigeons. They come to eat from the feeder and he bolts down the garden, frightening them off, job done he thinks, but the pigeons are wise to this 12 week old and simple comeback for more food. He bolts down again and those stupid pigeons take off in fright, you see where this is going, endless fun is had by the 12 week old bundle of fluff.


Did I tell you the Cooks of Holt Wood fame, are coming around on Sunday. Mark being a building control inspector, knows the overall size of all the houses in Holt Wood and is determined to build a bigger house. Helen and I have a very substantial bet, she is swore to secrecy and will not tell Mark Cook, but if he builds the biggest house I get the pot, if not, then I am ruined but that will never happen. Mark is a man of vision, Lady Helen is the stabilising and calming influence, hope it is not too calming when it comes to building their dream house.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Just to let you know


This is the first of the big events that I spoke about. Jenson Baxter of Dorset the 2nd has arrived. 10 and half weeks to the day and we have been taken over by this bundle of fluff. Regal and fearless, this warrior of the 21st century has already taken over this house. The house is littered with newspaper as he come to term with where he does his ablutions.

Jenson Baxter of Dorset 1
Susan is weighing out his 70 grams of food and unlimited water. He does like it outside and will be a little confused as to where he will be sleeping. I am sure that he will find some comfy place and curl up after a long day and sleep like a puppy. Actually he fancies the carpet that Sam like so much.
Buy a pup and your money will buy love unflinching, that cannot lie. Perfect passion and worship fed, a pat on the head and he will be a friend for life. Nevertheless it is totally fair to risk your heart for a dog.



He will have his own Facebook page shortly, watch this spot.


Saturday, 29 July 2017

Capitalism

Capitalism, not really doing the job. The rich might get richer and there will be crashes which affect everyone to different degrees. We will fix it and it will crash again but why fix something that will breakdown? What is the alternative, I wish I knew, but I do know what we have is corrupt and flawed.
In this socialistic state we live in, we have over 40% of the work force employed by the government in various shape and form. We, the tax payer, pay for all this and it will rise as the years go by, leading to complete corruption and another crash. The civil servant is so out of touch with the real world, it is almost criminal. They believe the world owes them a good living, minimal work and a generous pension. 

Take for example two people I know, have the same accident, neither are work related. They hurt their shoulders quite badly. One works for himself and the other works for the council. The one working in the private sector is back at work after 3 weeks. They both have pins and screws in their shoulders. The council worker, in a clerical role, knows the system and will be off for about 9 months. 

Then they will play the stress card,  going to work after such a long time will be stressful, so they will gradually get back into work, two days a week to start with and if they find after a month they can cope, they will be asked to do three days, you get the picture. Twelve months after the accident they might be at work. This is not entirely their fault, we have allowed the councils develop a system that is open to abused, quite legally, by those that know the full extent of what they can get away with. We paid for this and will continue to pay, they know the system and will milk every drop they can, to get out of not doing a days work. That is 40% of our labour force, my advise, get rid of half of them and inform the others that it is not the duty of the government to give them a living, that is their responsibility.

Someone once said, 'Ask not what the country can do for you but what you can do for the country.'

Enough gloom and doom, life does strive forward. This blog is really a rant as the Borough of Poole have put our rates up again.

Michael has bought himself a Jeep, a Grand Cherokee in fact. 4 x 4 and big enough to sleep in on his numerous trips to quiet beaches and other places of wonder. I have a feeling he has done about 20 countries in approximately 240 days and now finds himself in Australia. Happy travels and please remember to send the odd photographs of your adventures.


It happens again, Susan has bought me a small gift, that is one of my favourites. A gift voucher for Coffee, Panini and Chocolate cake at Druckers Patisserie. Will definitely be using that shortly.
All for now, big things in the pipeline over the next 2 weeks but more about that later.