Monday, 30 January 2017

The time has come ...

30 January

I’m finding it difficult to write this blog today. The reason is that it will be my last one. You see, even though I have enjoyed writing over the years but it’s taking up far too much time, time I could better use in my actual novel writing. On top of that I shall reduce how much time I spend on social media, again, lots of fun but so much time flies by with it.

So my friends a kind readers, I say farewell and goodbye.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

SIMs, rain and woofers ...

28 January

Jan has just spent around 15 minutes on the phone to Virgin. We are expecting a new SIM card to arrive and this morning there was a package from them in the post, and open package! It seems that the SIM was in there at time of postage, now it’s lost. Jan phoned to let them know. If someone finds it or has pinched it, they won’t get anywhere with it cos they’ve blocked it. We have been promised a new one on Monday. That’s fine, but she really could have done without that crap today.

I’m sitting here looking out the window at wall to wall sunshine. I won’t be going anywhere though. The ground out back and the roads out front are well wet. The forecast last night were for a short of period of sun before the clouds of rain are back. It looks quite cold out there too – weather forecasters eh! Well, they’re at it again; according to an item on MSN the ‘big freeze’ is changing to a month of storms and rain from next week. Oh dear, should we be concerned, and if so, what are we going to do about it. I wonder if the Red Indian rain dance performed in reverse would help? At least this is a relatively short-term forecast I suppose, but do you remember the long-term forecast of the barbeque summer … … …

We both love dogs and we both would love to have one. So why don’t we get one? Two reasons really; 1, cats and dogs are not allowed in our ground floor flat. 2, and even more important, we both know that we are no longer able to look after one properly. It’s sad really, there are so many dogs held in re-homing centres all over the place. Dog’s Trust in Kenilworth, RSPCA in Coventry and one Leicester. We used to go and visit them often at one time. We visited Battersea Dog’s Home in London one time, and that was the last one we went too. The dogs there looked so miserable and dejected, that I left with tears in eyes and it took us some time tp get back on the road after it.

Sometime after that we did get another dog from the local Dog’s Trust, a little Pomeranian bitch, one of pair found as strays in Eire. The male was adopted fairly quickly but the bitch remained there at the Trust – until we saw her. We passed all the challenges they demanded we meet, paid our £100 and after three weeks we took Amber (her new name), home. We had been told that they had no history for her, but we took the chance. At the time we were assured that Poms don’t shed their hairs – wrong! They do and we knew I had an allergy to such dogs. I could increase my use of medication to counter that though, so not really a problem.

What was a problem was that she did not like kids at all and even went for Kile when he visited once. He refused to come again while she was there. We walked her along the canal to our favourite pub, The Greyhound (yeah, I know), and sat outside with our drinks because it was such a nice day. There were a number of kids running around and Amber stood there watching them and growling every time one of them got too close. That was it; we phoned the Trust and they agreed to take her back. Is was a sad time for all concerned but as the Trust staff said, they could now make sure she went to home with only adults.

Today’s photo …

Cindy-pup, the Yorki-duff.

Today’s funny …

I took my dog to the vet today because it bit my mother-in-law.
Did you have it put down?
No, of course not - I had its teeth sharpened.

Friday, 27 January 2017

NO! It needs to be heard a lot more

27 January

Kids; I have a love/hate feeling about them. Even as a teenager I had no time for them at all. Even now my fear is being stuck in a small contained are with screaming little monster. And yet, it’s not really the kids fault, is it? In most cases the parents allow them to get away with pretty much what they want while at home, so when it comes to being told off or made to do something they don’t want, they kick up a fuss. It’s the adults who look silly to me, not the kids. At least our son knew what the word ‘no’ meant. When he heard it he knew that it did mean no, not in a short while. Tom still knows it too; that’s why he need something he asks for Jan, well, he used to now he lives in Ulster he can’t shout for help any more.

We know of one couple who would never correct their daughter and never refused her anything. They are paying the price now though. None of her brothers and sisters will have her anywhere near them, and certainly not near their own kids. She creates chaos in and around her where ever she goes, happily married couples have almost come to separate because of her. Not so long ago she caused a lot of hassle in and around Jan. At Jan had the support of her friends from church to turn to when they were around, and of course, I stood by her when she told me what was going on.

I am sure that she is just one of many people who are like that. I’m beginning to wonder if old Farter Trump is one you know. On face the face if it, US politics changes from president to president. However, the US civil service and the clinging lobbyists, never changes, just as happens here. At some time he will upset them enough for them to say, ‘No, you can’t do that.’ That is when the world will be most in danger. And that is when we will all need to fear what the man does next. Hopefully, there will be enough strong men around to keep him calm and under control.

The current situation reminds me somewhat of a Stephen King story, The Dead Zone, where a man comes out of a coma and has the power to see the future when he has physical contact with someone. Wrapped up in it is a charismatic politian running for the White House, and gets it. He then starts throwing nukes about. Coma-man sees this before he shakes the Politian’s hand. He works to stops him from getting the job, but dies in the attempt. WWIII averted. Let’s hope there’s someone around to stop Farter at some point. Today Tottering Terry May will meet him. Not much salvation there folks, talk about the blind leading the blind … By heck, how did we end up in such a state as this.

On a brighter note, I shall be going off into town in wee while for ride around. It’s cold out there and rain is forecast for later, but I’m looking forward to getting out and about for a few hours. A call into Smudges will be useful, and of course there’s the works to visit too. And I’m sure I can find a pub for nice sit and read while slurping a diet coke.

Today’s photo is another from QE hospital …

Two great looking motorbikes, a Triumph and Harley ...

Today’s funny …

What do you use when a tree gets a puncture?
A lumberjack.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Wrong hospital ...

26 January

Yesterday afternoon turned into a bit of a nightmare. Jan had an appointment for a bone density scan and she thought it was at the Royal Orthopaedic in Selly Oak. We arrived, parked, paid £3 for 5ive hours parking only to find out we were at the wrong hospital. We should have been at Queen Liz, Brum’s huge new hospital. As we were only ten minutes away we raced off to get there on time. Again we parked up and Jan set off straight away while I sorted out the car; she was five minutes late but they still did the scan, for which we were very happy about.

The plan then was for me to meet her at the main entrance. What I did see when I got there? A WH Smiths and a Costa; Smudges first and I bought Girl on the Train plus another one. Off to Costa and my normal plain black coffee, it was awful! I said I was drinking it outside and they put it in one of those cardboard cup-things they use. Never again! Jan joined me and we set off back to the car and made our way back to the car and off we went. By that time it was just after 4pm and the traffic on the A38 out of town was building up. The M6 wasn’t much different with the variable speed limit signs set of 40mph. We eventually arrived home at just after 6 o’clock.

That new hospital really is huge; I thought the new Walsgrave in Coventry was large, the QE is a lot larger. The reception area is a massive empty space, at least 50 feet high, perhaps more. Jan said she had to walk around a mile to where she needed to get to for the scan. The only down side to place, for me at least, was the silly revolving doors that so many places have these days. I’m always thing that I’ll get stuck in them one day. That’s not happened of course, and it’s the only thing of that nature that has me in it’s grip.

Have you heard of the Black Dog Tribe? It’s one of a number of organisations (this is run by SANE), that supports folk who suffer mental illness and the stigma that comes with it. One of their posts on Facebook yesterday showed pills being stung together. It stuck me that at the time I saw it that I was still on Amitriptyline, and anti-depressant medication that is an effective pain killer at lower doses. I’ve been on them for longer that I care to think about now. I hated taking them in from of other people, OU students at the time and I would them out and take them, hoping that no-one noticed. Why? Anti-ds=mental illness=stigma; go it? At that time, I wasn’t suffering depression, but I still felt some of the stigma that such pills carry, that came several years later. I’ll see about coming off them later when I get chance to make a telephone appointment. One more pill less has got to be worthwhile.

What is it with creative minds and depression I wonder? Robin Williams last year, Tony Hancock, Peter Sellers, Vincent and oh so many more brilliant artists suffered with depression so badly that they killed themselves. I didn’t rate Hancock or Sellers all that much but they are regarded as brilliant comics generally. It does make me wonder just how many more creative minds are troubled with mental illness of some sort. And not just in the Arts either; what about mathematician John Nash, who suffered severe schizophrenia for most of his adult life? How many more are there that we don’t know about?

Let’s go back to yesterday to finish off with. When we arrived back home we had to empty the car ready for its collection this morning to go in for a service. We took it easy getting it done, the car was actually in a bit of mess really. Jan’s scooter was first out; our walkers were next load down with six different coats, mainly mine. Jan brought in one bag that had the two new books in it. Imagine my surprise when I looked at them to find that I had bought two copies of the same book! I couldn’t believe I had done that, even the cashier didn’t say anything when I paid. They are listed on the till receipt as the same book too. I hope Smudges in town are in a helpful frame of mind tomorrow when I go there to change on of them.

And lastly – all this weight I’ve lost has had an unexpected benefit. My waist size is well down, no wonder my trousers keep falling down, so we’ve ordered me some new ones. Some years ago we bought me three pairs of shoes, all size 8; I tried them on they filled me well, but I was wearing mainly trainers then, so when I came to wear new shoes one time, I couldn’t get them on. So then, last night I went through to bed I decided to try on the shoes, and blow me, they actually fit again now. I never thought that fat could build up in my feet.

Today’s photo …

This hunk of metal is outside the reception of the QE hospital.

Today’s funny …

What do you call a ghost who only haunts the Town Hall?
The nightmayor.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Writing and Reading, a never ending circle

25 January

The P word cropped up again last night, and it wasn’t directed at me directly either. It’s a longish tale, so if you are sitting comfortably, I’ll begin …

A couple of days ago, I mention that I have a tendency to procrastinate over my writing. In the past, I’ve also mentioned that my reading speed is quite slow, although that depends on what I am reading to some extent. Anyway, I began reading Game of Thrones 6 last week, and yet again I’m finding it rather hard going. This time I’ve only got to around page 140 and I just couldn’t face it last night. So instead I started reading more of the current edition of Writing Magazine, and is the where the P word comes in.

Lynne Hackles is a regular writer in WM and was saying that she was living a very busy life but still managed to write 3,000 words a week. It came to a stop when she had an accident which meant she had to give up her day job along with having all her other activities cut short. She hasn’t taken up another day job since then, and guess what, she still only writing around 3,000 words a week. That is where the P word comes in. The whole point of the article is a reply to the question. ‘What should my word count be daily?’ The answer really is, ‘Write as much as you are comfortable and are happy with.’ After all, writing is supposed to be fun and if the writer isn’t enjoying it, how can the reader enjoy it? Fair dos there folks.

So, what of GOT6? I’m not sure really, same with #7 in the TBR pile. Reading fiction should surely be fun too, and right now I’m struggling with 6. Not only that, there’s rumours going around that #8 is on the way. Thing is, I don’t like waste and the two paperbacks I have cost £16, not a lot really, but still wasted if I don’t read them, and that is without #8 too. There are a lot of books in my TBR pile, I’ve added a couple since I took that photo last week.

Most of them will get read at some point, and I’ve been here before with piles of books to read and I keep on buying. At some point, I decided, ‘NO MORE!’ So I stopped buying any books. I paid a sad price for that one too. We were visiting Trish, Jan’s sister at a camp site just off the A12 in Suffolk. We went off for a walk around Aldeburgh where we found a local charity shop, so we popped in to have a look. I always look at the books when I go in a charity shops and there I found a really tatty paper back that I was pulled to buy. It was hard for me to but it back on the shelf my friends, really hard. Now I wish hadn’t. The books was Letters From America, a Charles Dickens book I had never seen before, and never seen since. A miserly price of 50p too, but my TBR pile was still large at that point, and I’d said, ‘No more’. Oh heck … … …

I have a fancy for a trip to Hay-on-Wye, the UK capital of used books. I’ve been there a few times before and it’s always been a good day out. Normally I got there and come back with a lot of books, it’s a book-buyers wet dream is Hay. Both of the town’s cinemas have been converted to books shops, as has the castle. The choice is bewildering, and I love the place. There’s a one bookshop that has separate section in a large upstairs room, which is full of piles of old magazines. I’ve also had a good look at that lot too, and left there with a number of old mags that interested me. See, recycling old mags can be profitable. Hmmm … maybe it’s time for another run out to Astley Book Farm … ……

Today’s photo …

Oxfam bookshop, Cambridge.

Today’s funny …

Did you hear about the couple who met in a revolving door?
They're still going round together.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

A quickie today ...

24 January

By heck, what a time to get up; 7 bloody 30 is far from being a civilised time in the morning. I’ve got up with Kile this morning to give Jan a lie-in for a change. Anyway …

Today I was due to stay in today because of my new mobile arriving at some time. It arrived around 10 o’clock. It looks pretty good too, I’m sure it work as well as it looks once I’ve worked out how to get it working properly. What doesn’t help is not having a printed manual; I’ve now found one on-line, only 330 pages, no wonder they don’t provide one. Another issue I’ve found is that there seems only one port for both the SIM and the micro-SD card. My old phone is on charge right now so as I’m going to use the SIM from that for the new one, I’m sort of in a bit of a limbo for now. I’ve finally managed to get the older phone charged and stripped down, well, all but the SIM card that is. It will get sorted though, honestly, it will, Jan will get it sorted for me.

So the government lost an appeal case on the BREXT issue. What that means is that because of some person not willing to accept democracy unless it works how they want it, then they can the courts to fix it for them. What a tragedy for us all! At some time, this decision will back fire on the UK in bigger issue that might cause us to be in real danger in some way. It is this sort of decision made by the European court that was one of the many reasons why I became disillusions with the EU. Now we have our own judges doing the self-same things. What chance do we have as a nation when things like happen, even today?

 London fire service had a busy few hours after an explosion occurred in a ground floor flat. Two men have been arrested over it. With ten tenders and 60 firefighters attended the incident, so it was certainly a serious event. Police are not saying much about it other than the two men have been arrested on suspicion of arson. At times like this we can only wait for the event to be investigated before we can know what has happened, however. We do have our imaginations though, and they won’t sit quietly will they. My first thought when I saw it was a bomb maker had made an error. Just lately there have been a number of cases of arson attacks on peoples homes because of some sort of falling out. I shall be watching this one to see what comes out of the investigation.

Good grief, I’m shattered right now. I’ll post this one now before I lose it.

Today’s photo …

A Penguin.

Today’s funny …

If the new president came under assassins fire would his bodyguards shout. Donald Duck?     

Monday, 23 January 2017

Type 2s and comms ...

23 January

There is a lot of miss-information about diabetes doing the rounds these days. The two main types are T1, who use insulin, and T2, who don’t. To begin with, T2 is not a death sentence. When first diagnosed, it might seem that way but we quickly learn that it really isn’t. The next item is life style choices; being overweight and unfit is what causes it, not in everyone folks. Tom Hanks isn’t overweight, and nor in my mate who does the proof reading for me, and yet both have T2 diabetes, my mate is also a vegetarian too and is very careful in what he eats. I have another friend living in Devon who has always been careful with his eating and I was shocked to learn he too has been diagnosed as well. And don’t forget my friends, some pregnant ladies also become T2 during their term of carrying.

Diet is another issue when comes to lack of understanding of the condition. A T2 diabetic can eat pretty much what they like. However, most of us do take great care with what we do eat, although there are the odd few who won’t do so. Sugar we can have if want, but at limited amounts. We know well enough that if we over do the sugar, we are likely to have an adverse reaction in some way. For me it’s a raging thirst and extreme tiredness, other react differently. We are regularly being informed about healthy food choices and how they help us to control our diabetes. Common sense about food and eating is all that is needed. What we need a balanced diet, nothing is out of bounds as long as it’s taken as part of the balanced diet.

We T2s do not use insulin injections. Some of us are able to control their condition by diet alone, where as some of us, me included take tablets and their control is excellent. So if you see someone injecting in public, they are T1 diabetics, not junkies. T1 usually develops in children and they have a major fight on their hands for the rest of their lives. What they need is understanding, not ridicule and anger. A lot of the fuss n bovver is down to the media hype, not real knowledge of the condition so it’s not really a surprise that there are so many people who don’t understand it. Sad to say, that they take everything they read in media/on-line as truth. Ah well … … …

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that my mobile phone contract was coming to an end. It didn’t take long before I had a phone call from India trying to sell me a new one. She got very short answers and I eventually hung up on her. I just don’t have the patience to sit and listen to tell-sales wafflers, no matter where the call from. Anyway, last night I had a look on line to try to see if there was any handset I fancied. There was a nice Sony but at £27pm it’s twice what I’m paying now, same with a Samsung I liked (not the Note 7 BYW). Eventually I decided on a cheaper Samsung with a monthly cost of £13, just £1 more than I’m now paying, it will be here tomorrow. You see, all I want, all I need actually, is a phone that I can make calls and texts from, I don’t need all the other stuff that get added or I can add. Life’s far too short to spend on looking at a little screen and typing while I’m walking, let alone driving!  

The account is in Jan’s name so she made the call to order it and by the time she was finished she had been on the phone for over 30 minutes, that’s why I’d sooner got to the Virgin shop in Coventry. Those type of calls I have no time for. So now I’m set for the next 24 months. And speaking of phones …

We keep getting calls from a company who is asking for a Mr Paul Sockett and it’s really beginning to bug us now. We don’t know anyone of that name, no-one has ever lived at this address using that name, and our landline number is now nine years old and was given to us when we had Virgin installed at our Bracebridge Street home. So where this company manages to link our nine year old number with someone else, I don’t know. Later I shall get on social media and try to find him and, and, and … I don’t yet but at least if do find him I can let the company know where to find him.

Today’s photo …

A moody sky from last year.

Today’s funny …

Car Driver (telephoning after he has had an accident) - Send help at once, I've turned turtle.
Mechanic: This is a garage not a pet shop.