Monday, 31 October 2016

The story goes on ...

31 October

Why do so many folks seem to hate Monday? Or is it the British desire to find something to moan about? Whatever the reason, For me it’s another to be productive on my lappy or with pen and paper.

Our feathered lodger was playing silly games again yesterday, but this time it was on my neck where she was pecking away happily there. No, I didn’t chase her off, she wasn’t hurting anything, but she did make my hairs stand on end at times. At least she is coming to me, Maxi never has, although he is getting better since Arnie has been here. Mind you, she has got into the habit of pooping every time she lands on the screen of Jan’s lappy - pets eh .. who’d have ‘em.

Oh dear, crazy season is likely to continue on right up to and through Christmas. Year after year the news on telly shows films of passengers who have left it too late to travel home, arriving at London stations and Victoria coach station after the last service has left. This year it’s likely to be even worse because the railway system is closing down over the holiday for upgrades to be made. The airports are likely to be facing strikes. These workers really do know when to pick their times don’t they? For me it smacks of blackmail more than strikes for worker’s rights.

It’s Halloween today, for those who get excited in the thing, we don’t, but hey ho … However, clicking through the MSN home page and I found this story … There is no doubt that witchcraft has been a huge fear for people going back through the ages. However, whether or not it actually exists I shall leave to you to decide for yourselves. For me, it doesn’t and that’s probably why I like the Harry Potter books/films, simply because I don’t take them at all seriously.

However, that is the role of fiction surely? No matter what genre you read, you don’t need to take them seriously at all. I mean, how can you take sci/fi seriously? Fiction for me is the chance though, is to get away from real life for a few hours and to escape into a world of make-believe. Even crime fiction can allow us to do that. I mean, how many of us personally know a murderer? I certainly don’t. Crime writers can really allow their imaginations to run away with their storylines. That is why I like writing them.

For instance, my first novel, The Mission, is based here abouts but ranges throughout England and Wales. My killer in this one travels around killing quite a number of people, and the chase to catch him. The murders are all different, as are all the victims, which means no clear MO can be found. He taunts the police as he goes on. My biggest worry however, is that life will mirror the fiction, something I would hope all writers feel.

Today’s photo …

Reflections of me.

Today’s funny …

What noise does a witch's breakfast cereal make?
Snap, cackle, pop.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Silly season begins

30 October

The crazy season has begun. Last night we sat watching a DVD we bought on Thursday, Mankind’s Last Stand, not a bad DVD but Jan wouldn’t want to watch it again, but a three quid we’re not complaining. Anyway, while it was on we heard the fireworks going off outside somewhere. It really is past time these things were banned for public sale. There’s a greater amount of noise growing against the open sale these thinks. One particular photo I was a dog who picked up a lighted firework and had it go off in his mouth; not a pretty sight at all.

Another craze is that of Chinese lanterns. Yes, they look good as loads of them float off into the night. Photos are taken, and later shared, but no concern is given to where they end up. Not so long ago CCTV cameras caught one landing in a waste processing plant. Within a few minutes a small blaze had begun among the waste awaiting sorting. Pretty soon a major incident was declared as the fire got out of control. It took many days for the fire to be properly extinguished.

Lucky no-one was injured that time. Not so the burns on the head of a horse after one landed on it. Farmers are paying the price when these things come down and cause their life stock to panic, run off in the dark blundering into trees, ditches, rivers – the list is endless. Burning haystacks and hay barns happen fairly often these days. At one time it was thought that the internal heat causes some of them, but how many are now caused by one of these lanterns coming down on or near such a store? We will never really know.

In the past our government has bent over backwards to protect the farming industry. They are the real reason that we still play silly sods with the clocks twice a year after all. So why haven’t they acted to protect them over fireworks and Chinese Lanterns? Maybe a back hander somewhere along the line? Again, we will never really know.

Back handers … hmmm … I wonder … The US is not far off election day. At the end of it there will be a new President and a lot of new faces in congress and the senate. But what doesn’t change? What always remain in place after the election? Here in the UK we call it the civil service, the long standing and long suffering blames carriers when it all goes pear shaped. These men and women are the one who have the real power in government. They are the ones who shape policy based on the promises made by politians. They are the reason that so many of our laws are drafted in such a weak state that the old coach and six can be driven through them.

It’s not that these are thick or stupid either. Oh no, they wouldn’t got where they are if they were. No, it’s because they are the wheelers and dealers. I firmly believe that if they personally might lose out somewhere along the line, they work to ensure that things are drafted so they don’t. So much for Queen and Country hey!

Enough of all that … Today’s photo …

Twycross chimps.

Today’s funny …

What are baby witches called?

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Secure living

29 October

After writing the blog yesterday I had a look at the DVLA website and sent them an email asking how I would go about getting my licence back. I was surprised that I got a reply within a couple of hours. First step is to see my GP to ensure I fit the medical conditions required to hold a licence. After that I need to fill in a form (so much for the paperless office then), and sit back and wait. What I didn’t know was that if I carry proof that the application has been sent off, then you are allowed to drive. Anyway, the ball is in play …

MSN is claiming that Typhoon jets were scrambled to escort a jet liner to an airport after controllers lost radio contact with it. Ordered to go supersonic, the fighters escorted the airplane to Prestwick airport. An investigation has begun as to why the controllers lost contact, which was restored just before the airplane landed. The cost of the operation must have been quite high, but what price do you put on an aircraft full of passengers. 9/11 has caused more hassle down the years. And yet, that’s the security problem we live with these days, so sad really.

These days we all have to notice of the security around us. Almost everything we do has a security angle to it. I’m sat here writing this on my lappy, you are likely to reading it a computer of some sort too, and we all need to ensure our computer protection is as secure as possible. Need any cash? Then you need to be careful with your PIN at an ETM in the high street. Personally, I try to get to the one inside the bank, not the street one. Our identity can be stolen very easily for those who know how.

Yes, we all need to watch what we are doing, and what is going on around us too. In these days there are far too many malcontents living here. In many cases we have no idea who is a treat and who isn’t, therefore the need for being security conscience full stop. Of course, not all of these are looking to harm you physically though. Steeling your money is just as painful, hence the need for care at the ATM.

Oh dear; another possible cause of T2 diabetes on telly just. This time it was yesterday’s Countryfile Autumn Dairy that we recorded to watch later. Well, this new cause (new to me at least), is down to light pollution. I don’t like it anyway simply because of the loss of the star field. However, included in this cause is the use of smartphones. Ah well, I should be OK seeing as I hardly use mine anyway; and anyway, I already am a T2 diabetic.

Today’s photo …

Another tile display from that pub on Thursday. Sadly I couldn’t get in front of it properly.

Today’s funny …

What do witches eat at Halloween?

Friday, 28 October 2016

A decision is made and theft; the curse of modren living

28 October

Yesterday turned out to be a decent day actually. Jan had an appointment for a MRI scan at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Selly Oak, in Brum, and I went with her. It’s been a long time since I was last down that way, and oh boy, there’s been some huge changes on the A38 through Brum since then. The scan went off fine and we were out of the hospital and on our way home just on an hour after arriving.

I was surprised that it was Jan’s neck, rather that her lower back which was hurting. We took a few minutes to fit her Tenns machine before we left. Around 20 minutes later we were in a pub with our normal pint of diet coke. It is an old pub and I was rather taken with the tiles in there and the ceiling details. Although I got photos of some of them, I haven’t had chance to do anything with them yet. From there we headed home after dropping into Asda for some shopping and the Hinckley Knight for another drink. We finally got in at just before 6pm, in time to for the news.

I didn’t even turn on my lappy at all yesterday and apart from reading more of the sci-fi novel I have on my Kindle app, I didn’t even try to look at any social media at all yesterday. So yes, I can live without then – for a short while at least. There was no way I was having a second day without them today. I have decided that I am going to try to get my driving licence back after yesterday, so I need to get on-line to DVLA and find out what I need to do to start it all off. Hopefully I can get it back before Jan goes in for operation early next year. I have a feeling that it won’t be easy though.

Kile lives in a village called Hartshill, which is close to a local beauty spot called Harthill Hayes Country Park. From one part of it you can see Leicester over the easy of us, a really good viewing point. The downside is that there are hills all around them, which can make walking anywhere more than a tad difficult at times. No matter where you live in UK though, nothing is safe and sound. Sam and Danny (Kile’s step-dad), have found out about that the hard way this morning. Danny’s motorbike has been stolen from outside the house. He needs that bike to get to work too. Nowhere and no-one is safe from the bloody thieves!

It would help if penalties were harsher, a lot harsher, but of course, the cops need to catch the thieving toerags. That is getting a lot harder with the lower number of cops we have these days. Then once they are caught The Criminal Protection Service, or CPS, has to decide to charge them or not. Let’s say that they do charge them, the magistrates are so hog-tied they are really limited in what penalties they can apply. No wonder crime is so rife!

Today’s photo …

I’ve sorted out yesterday’s photos now, and this is the one that first caught my eye.

Today’s funny …

Did you hear about the man who went to a fancy dress party with a woman draped over his shoulder and told everyone he had come as a tortoise?
When asked who was the woman on his back, he replied, "that's Michelle."

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

A waffle ...

26 October

Jan has come out with I was expecting at all. Last October I gave up my driving licence because we though I had Parkinsons coming on. Well, I hadn’t so now Jan has been having a think and has suggested that I apply for it to be reissued. In a way I’ve been expecting it really. On the odd occasion we have had a full day out I’ve noticed she looked very tired.  Our trip to Southampton was too much for her in one day, and I think that has been playing on her mind a wee bit. Just lately we have also been talking about taking up birding again next year, and perhaps that has been worrying her a bit. I have been thinking about it now since Jan mentioned it, but I haven’t actually done anything about it yet, but I suppose I should do now she has mentioned it; we’ll see later.

Kile had a GP appointment yesterday afternoon and Jan took him to that, and ended up waiting for over an hour. Jan finally asked what was going on. The problem was the way his name’s spelling, Kile, not Kyle. If they knew that when the they first booked him, then why didn’t say at the time, or earlier. The practice is in Atherstone, I’m pleased we didn’t use that one. Whatever, we got to keep him an extra night anyway, he’s due to be taken home around 3pm. Peace will return for a week or two. Actually, he’s not a bad lad, well, at least when he’s here he is.

The market is calling out to me right now, but right now there’s a strong wind blowing out there and really don’t fancy trying ride in on my scooter. It gets far too cold for it in a strong wind. Mind you, the Saturday market is much better.

Anyway, I’m waffling again, so I’m off …

Today’s photo …

Part of Coventry city centre.

Today’s funny …

How do you terrify vampires?
You ask them if they would like some garlic with their steak?

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

A true picture of diabetese?

25 October

Another rough day yesterday, that’s why no blog.

Did you happen to see the item on the 6 o’clock news last night? It carried a major report on diabetes, followed up at 7.30 with Inside-out. It could really scare the pants off some people you know, but in reality, there was nothing new in there for me. The same warnings have been spoken about for some time now. For me though, the picture of that man’s foot before he lost his toes was a shocker. His left foot didn’t look all that good either.

But here’s the point, he didn’t accept his diagnoses when he was first told. Now he is paying the price. For years, I had been warned about my weight and I also took no notice. I was diagnosed around 15 years ago, but even so, at that time it hit me hard, even though I was expecting it. After the first rush to take a lot more care, I soon slipped though. Now I’m living pretty much a normal life and thankfully my diabetes seems to be well controlled. I think stopping the booze has helped a huge amount. And now I do have the occasional bar of chocolate, but I don’t usually go mad at it.

I do have another problem with that TV show though. It seemed to me that the full blame for the problems are down to the individual patient. Some allowances were given to people from South India, but then pointed the finger back to the individual or their family. The problem with all that, is that it may well be down to them or in some cases their family, but how much damage will the programme do in the minds of non-diabetics. Obesity is already the target for abuse out in the street as it is, that show will only make things worse. Two of my friends are Type2s too, and neither is obese in any way. One of them, Martin, has been very careful with his diet for as long as I have known him, so how does that work then?

As it is right now, the general public are not very knowledgeable about the condition anyway. One of the Facebook groups I take part in posts regular items that list misconceptions about diabetes as it is. Things like your friends keep reminding what they think you can or can’t eat; comments like, ‘It’s not a real illness is it?’ That is just two of them. Such comments don’t do us any good at all and only shows how ignorant of the condition the general public are.

There is one organisation who have a lot of questions to answer, and that is the food makers and sellers. The food industry really do need to do more to make their products much more healthy all round. A larger percentage of their products are aimed at children. These products are bright and colourful, and of course, loaded with sugar, even if they don’t use that word. Even breakfast cereals are full of sugar too. Once the products are made and sent out, the retailors start their fun and games. Racks of nice, sweet packs of sweets and so on and on display, all of them under some sort of offer. Parents then come under the pester power of their kids – and then they wonder why obesity is such a problem.

And don’t me started on the alcohol side of things … … …      

One of the major issues we might have if we did move to Spain, is the health care provision. From experience that last time I was in Mallorca I found it to be good, but that was in a private hospital, paid for by my travel insurance. To get the same level of care we would need to get health insurance, at least I think we will. Spain does have a NHS but I’m sure how good or extensive. That will need to be considered quite a bit before we made sort of decision.

Today’s photo …

A shop window display.

Today’s funny …  

Why did the ghost work at Scotland Yard?
He was the Chief In-Spectre.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

On reading

23 October

Yesterday turned into a nice day all-round really. I had my trawl of the charity shops, however, I didn’t find what I was looking for, but I didn’t come back empty handed. I came back with six books, one of which is an Asimov that haven’t read. Apart from the additions to the Foundation trilogy, I thought I’d read all his sci-fi books, but Nemesis is a new one on me. There’s a set of three Yas too and another one new that is a follow up to The Incredible Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. When that one came out it appeared as a recommendation in one of the writing mags, so off I went to Waterstones to but it along with two all others. What I didn’t know was that they were all hardbacks, ah well, they were all good reads anyway.  

Another set of YA novels. You know something, there’s a dangerous world outside your front door folks. Maybe we should be grateful to YA writers for their warning to youngsters about just how dangerous it can be. Oh come on, of course I know they are all fiction! But where dies fiction start? It starts in a writers’ mind. There are folks out who don’t write their dark dreams but carry them out. They all come from someone’s mind, and if by any chance YA novels get through to the youngsters and they become more aware of the dangers out there, then that’s fine by me.

Actually, I’ve found some of these YA novels pretty good, The Hunger Games being one such example. The genre is like any other genre though, some good, some bad and some indifferent. I have one sitting around here somewhere about how a young girls life is changed when the moon is knocked out of orbit and moves closer to Earth. The novels tells the story of how lives are changed by it happening. That one is an indifferent one that I can’t even remember the of, let alone the writer. There’s another one I have, again I can’t remember the details but it’s about another young girl who finds her way into a kingdom where the animals talk and can do magic; of hear …

So then, how did I get on with The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon? Actually, I really enjoy it. In fact the only King I haven’t got on with is Under The Dome. Perhaps watching the TV series first spoiled it for me, I don’t know. But there again, the way the last few in the TV shows seemed to go off line quite a bit anyway. Sad really, it was fine up toll then. Anyway, back to the little lost girl. Of course she gets found, but I’m saying how that happens. To be able to carry a 290 page book with just one main character is a remarkable job well done. The play on emotions with the constant danger along with the constant wish to be saved leaves the reader wishing for more. Well done Mr King!

Last night I began another Kathy Reichs novel, Speaking in Bones. It’s amazing how a writer can take the bare bones (in this case, a part set of bare human bones), and spina full length story from them. But that my friends, is the sign of a bloody good writer. So far this one too is shaping up to be another good one. Of course Reichs is a forensic anthropologist by profession, so to some extent she is well verse in taking so little and building up a full story behind the bare bones in front of her. So, why not turn that to you advantage away for the day job? No problems with that for me.

A word of warning folks, our UK clocks go back one hour from next Sunday morning, gives us an extra hour in bed eh …

Today’s photo …

River Windrush, Bourton-on-the-Water.

Today’s funny …

An tourist went to Portsmouth to see Nelson's flagship HMS Victory. On the tour of the ship, the guide pointed out a raised brass plaque on the deck. "That's where Nelson fell," said the guide.
The tourist was unimpressed. "I'm not surprised, I nearly tripped over it myself."

Saturday, 22 October 2016

The sooner we're out the better!

22 October

Saturday morning and all’s well. Even our feathered lodger was chirpy as normal yesterday, for which were pleased about cos we didn’t have to take her to the vet. Jan has an idea that she managed to pick up and eat something she should have done while we she was out and about in the living earlier in the day. Whatever, she’s fine now. Later today as long as the weather picks up, I’m off into town to trawl the charity shops. What I’m really after is a copy of a book I let go a few months ago, it’s on Photoshop Elements 12 and there’s a few things I want to look up in there. Of course, if I find a few novels on the way … well, of course they will join my wee library too.

Love it or hate it, BREXIT will happen. But now the EU officials are threatening to use French only for the negotiations for how it’s supposed to happen. I’ve been wanting out for years now, and that is the type of pettiness that has made me want out in the first place. At the moment they claim they don’t want the UK to leave, and yet they are going to make things as hard as possible for it happen; can you think of a better way to keep us in the club? I can’t.

The sooner we are done with them the better for the UK. Do you want an example? Canada has walked out on talk for a trade deal because one small area in Belgium who is holding it up. Why? Because the political system in Belgium needs the agreement of all its regional parliaments to agree to everything. Wallonia has said ‘no’ and that’s it. Seven years of time, effort and money down the drain for nothing. No wonder Canada walked out.

This one actually shows the major weakness in the EU. If a region of 3.5 million people can scupper such trade deals, then how can any system really be united? They can’t! There are issues over the policing of each state, the different justice systems, the standard of health care and education, and oh so many more that divides the EU.     

It might be pointed out the USA is a federated country and seems to work well. Does it really? I wonder? Each state has its own government yes, and each can make its own laws and courts system, organises its own education system, health care and so on. However, they all come together for defence. A trade agreement would be negotiated nationally and agreed nationally. So why does the USA work and the EU doesn’t? Simple really, The USA was formed in 1776 with the Declaration of Independence, followed by the War of Independence. At the time only 13 states were involved and the last to join the Union was Hawaii in 1959.

The ECC was founded just in 1957 and came into effect in in 1958, becoming the EU in 1992. So in reality it’s still a baby that needs to be nurtured. However, I don’t think that those who founded it foresaw that it would be run by unelected bureaucrats, or that it would make trade agreements outside the union so impossible to agree too. Nope; the sooner we are out the better!

Today’s photo is definitely Hedwig, no idea what happened to it yesterday …

Today’s funny …        

How many baritones does it take to change a light bulb?
None. They can't get up that high.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Stinky apples and a round day

20/1 October

I did begin to write yesterday’s blog – as you will now see …

Running late today, simply because when I first got up I was feeling very sicky indeed and had to stop and move away for a while. Jan gave me one of her anti-sickness pills and slowly its eased off, for now at least. Just which I knew what caused it. Feeling tired with it too.

… And that is as far as I got. I’ve no idea what caused it but I’m feeling a lot better today. Let’s see how far I can get today …

Obviously, no writing got done yesterday either. Not only that but no reading got done either until I got to bed that is. My current bed rime read is another Stephen King, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. This is a story of a nine year girl lost in the woods and being haunted by who knows what, but she is slowly becoming immune to the fear of the voices in here head. Apart from the odd occasion of when the odd adult is brought into the story, but not for long, the whole narrative is about that one girl. Yet another good one from Mr King.

I wasn’t the only one who was under the weather yesterday, our feathered lodger was too. She was so bad we really did think that we would need to take her to the vets today if she wasn’t any better. Well, she is better, very much better in fact. She’s flying as normal and getting into everything she shouldn’t be. Jan’s bonsai seedlings have been found and are now in danger of being eaten to stubs.   

First off then, we’re having fun here with a parcel addressed to Jan. Inside it were two knitted mermaid-tailed things that have been returned to a seller, but Jan didn’t sell them. It looks like the package was ripped open at some time while Royal Fail had their mits on it. The person returning them (and I’m surprised either, they really are terrible things), give their name and address and reason for return. At no point does Jan get mentioned anywhere. There was a second package re-wrapped in it with yet another similar thing in it, and that one is addressed to Jan. What the heck is going on? I’ll let you know …

Just lately I have taken to peeling my apples before I eat them. Around 9pm last night I’m pleased I have done so. On Tuesday, I made a bit of booboo when we were shopping. There was a load of apples going for 50p a bag. I looked at them and they looked fine, checked where they were from, Gala apples from Kent, so I picked up three packs. It wasn’t until last night that I started unpacking them that I noticed one was from Germany. Where ever I can I buy British apples, not imported ones. But that wasn’t all; those German apples really do stink badly of the chemicals sprayed on them. Once the skin was off though, the rest was nice.

Today’s photo … Hedwig.

Today’s funny …

What do you get if you cross a tomato with a potato?
A potato with bloodshot eyes.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Keeping up

19 October

That large parcel was collected about an hour after I posted the blog yesterday, so we’re not stuck in again today after all. We did get out for a few hours yesterday and called into the Hinckley Knight on the way home where we had a nice meal. After that we got home just after eight pm to find that we had very little space left for us to park. Jan did well in getting in the space there was but now we have a boot full of shopping we can’t get to; that will be fun in a short while, and all because some selfish toe-rag won’t park properly!

I’ve had an idea buzzing about in my head that I ought to try to see what the battery life of this lappy is. So this morning I have set my stop watch off as I pulled the plug and to get some idea as to how long it will last. The idea is that if I know how long it lasts, I might be able to take it out with me and get some writing done. I could of course take it to the library and plug it in there, which is fine, but for some reason that idea doesn’t grab me as much.

Yesterday I sat reading an article in Writing Magazine and across something that I felt really stupid in not thinking about it myself. Criminals use the internet to commit or help commit crimes. That was something that wasn’t thought about when the US Defence Sec; set up his task force to bring all the various areas of the US armed forces together to use just one system and not the three different ones they were using at the time. That decision was ultimately lead to the setup of the internet and years later to the world wide web.

Lesson learned; I won’t forget that one in a hurry. It might be a tad difficult to work it into my current work though apart from the new Fred Copper which needs a re-write anyway. Which reminds me of something that I have included in there, the Soham murders and the aftermath of them. Copper is a senior Cambridge cop but was on leave when that case came up and he was home too late to get involved in it. Something else I need to consider is the new Police Commissioners that has been created and how they will affect how the police do their jobs. And don’t forget the savage cuts to police budgets over the last few years.

I read a funny on Facebook the other day about an elderly lady on a cruise in a ship who remained on board going back and forth on the same route time after time. It turns out that it was cheaper to do that than to pay for living in a care home. But you know what? It wasn’t all that funny really was it? Like all these types of story there’s an element of truth in them. Care Home costs are really high these days, as we see on the news pretty often when stories come out about care homes going bust, or handing back contracts to councils because they are not paying enough to cover the full fees.

And on it goes my friends, money gets tight and the weakest among us suffer from it. Out in the natural world it’s called ‘survival of the fittest’. But surely we humans are better than that. Surely can come to some sort of system where the weakest among us are looked after when the time comes that they need the help the most. If we can’t, what sort of society are we?

Today’s photo …

Burger, egg, mushroom and cheese bake, my dinner one time …

Today’s funny …

What did Baron Frankenstein do when his monster's head fell off?
He made a bolt for it.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Another wasted day ...

18 October

I had a great idea on Sunday that we could go out for most of today, see, great eh? It sounded oh so easy, but I had forgotten that we have a large parcel to be returned and it’s due collected this morning, or that is what we hoped for. The timing for it though is between 7am and 9pm, so that means we can’t go out at all today. Tomorrow is no good cos Jan has a house group to go to. Plans, why do we bother.

Yes indeed, why do we make plans? We still have that parcel awaiting collection. There was no sign of any courier yesterday at all. So another day wasted for nowt – again! Well, Jan has cried off her group for tonight so we can do what I had planned for yesterday. She will be on the phone to the company in a short while but we are not waiting in all today, that is for certain.

For some time now have dreamt about living in Mallorca. Jan has always had this idea that the closer she get to the equator, the warmer she will be, not a bad idea either. It’s also one that I like too. That is why we watch so many of the Escape to the Sun type of shows on telly. It’s become clear that house buyers abroad get a lot more their £s than we do here in the UK. One we watched yesterday featured a couple with £60,000 to spend in Florida and the properties they were show were really good, we might well have gone for one of them.

The major turn off for me was the location, Hurricane Matthew being the pointer of how things are out there. But that’s not all really. Florida tends to have a lot of alligators cropping up in various waterways. Well, they should be easy enough to clear of, but you know what, I’m not so sure about rattlers and cotton mouths. I’m very nervous about snakes all round, and having animals like that living so close by, I would be very terrified all the time.

But there is another reason why we would think hard and long about any such move; Kile. He is terrified of heights and the idea of actually going on an airplane really makes him shudder with fear. Of course, he’s 12 now and it really won’t be long before he comes to the point where he will not want to spend a full weekend with us. Of course, ultimately the move would be for us, not for us and the rest of the family and that is where we would need to be looking. Anyway, lack of dosh prevents that happening right now.

This coming weekend is our normal weekend for having Kile. He really is a stubborn little sod at time you know. It’s clear to us that he is bored and yet he insists he’s not. On Friday we left him stay up a bit a longer and again, it’s clear he’s tired, but getting him to go to bed really is impossible. At least he does get on and do his homework without any fighting.

Today’s photo …

This imposing building was built in 1893 and eventually became the main entrance to the Manor Hospital, off Manor Court Road. A small fortune was spent on doing up the A&E but after only 18 months they decided to move all the services to the George Eliot Hospital, or the Hussy I call it. This place is now home of the local mental health unit. Now there are fears that it too will become surplus and everything will be moved over to the new site in Walsgrave, Coventry. A number of people were saying it was just rumours, then I heard that even more money was being spent on the Hussy, and that for me means the death of the Hussy.

Today’s funny …             

A passenger sitting in the back of a taxi taps the driver on the shoulder to ask him a question. Suddenly the driver screams, loses control of the vehicle, nearly hits a bus, mounts the pavement, and stops inches from a shop window. For a second, everything is quiet in the cab, then the driver turns round to the passenger and says: "Don't ever do that to me again. You scared the living daylights out of me!" The passenger apologises and says he didn't realise that a little tap could scare someone so much.
The driver replies: "Sorry, it's not really your fault. Today is my first day as a taxi driver - for the last 25 years I've been driving a hearse."

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Halfway through the month - again

16 October

We’re halfway through the month now and I’m sat wondering where the year has gone. Thing is, it’s gone and it’s too late to do anything useful in that lost time. Let’s hope things are better next year.

I did get down into town yesterday and wherever I went there were displays of Halloween stuff, yet another yanky idea that has crossed the water, or flown in on a jumbo jet – so much for broom sticks eh? It’s something we have never got involved with apart from the time when our church ran an evening of Christian fun as a counter to it. Another year we had a pile of tracts to give out if the kids came calling; they didn’t but we were ready if they had.

There was no entertainment in town yesterday, which is a shame really. The council has managed to get some pretty good bands to play the town over the years. Perhaps they thought it was too cold? Well, I wasn’t at cold, even on my scooter, and I saw quite few guys walking around in shirt selves, so no, it wasn’t too cold. Something else that was marked by their absence, was the lack of Poppy sellers. I’m sure in the past they have been on duty early October. Maybe next weekend.

For Reading Addicts is a Facebook group I take a regular part in. One way I take part is in writing book reviews. Just now I have posted the latest one on Peter James book Billionaire, I mentioned it a few days ago, and finished it last night. I’ve yet to read one of his books that I haven’t enjoyed, so much so that while I was in WH Smiths yesterday I saw another of his I hadn’t read, A Twist of the Knife, a collection of short stories. That should be last of his books I needed to buy to keep up with him.

Seeing as I was in town on me scooter, I had a look in The Works. That shop was the only one that hadn’t gone ghosty-mad. However, it has gone Christmas mad, so much so that their normal 3 for a fiver offer was gone. Some of the same books were there but now priced at £3 each, that works out at over a £1 increase. I left them alone. I left there and had a look in HMV but none of the DVDs really caught my attention. In the end I got bored with riding about with no purpose so after buying some fruit and a rather nice looking savoy cabbage, I headed back home.

Today’s photo then …

The moon through the trees, taken just down the street from us.      

Today’s funny …

How many doctors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
That depends on whether it has health insurance

Saturday, 15 October 2016

A wee mix ...

15 October

Kile arrived here yesterday straight from school and it looks like we will be having him every Friday, but just for the one night. He is here because he has IT homework to do again. Normally he doesn’t have access to a computer or printer at home, that’s why he’s here now. It does annoy me that this work is being given out without any thought as to if the child has access at home. Kile is lucky, he can come here to do his, but what of the others? I can’t believe he is the only one in the same position in the school.

They have now been allocated a council house. It’s in the same village and guess what? It’s opposite the local comprehensive school. Even so, they still can’t get Kile a place in there. That means he will still have to get the bus into town to go to Etone, walking past the local one twice a day. How stupid can a system get eh?   

My plan for today was to get ready to go into town but right now I’m feeling very tired again, not as bad as yesterday but still tired. Of course, I would be sat down on my scooter but even so, when I’m this tired I start making mistakes and out on my scooter could be a tad dangerous for others. That’s the last thing I want, to be hurt someone just because I’m tired. I’ll see how I feel later though. It’s market day see and I want to have a look around, but I need to scooter for the bit of shopping we need.

That writing course I enrolled for is working out pretty good, and I’m not the only writer who is doing it too. That’s good; we all have our own viewpoints and experiences that can be shared. I’ve already pointed out one area where I need to get sorted but there are others too. We are given passage from top-pine writers to read and have to answer questions about them. One passage is from Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock. The context is in descriptions, yet I didn’t see it as such, I saw it as narrative. However, I did come to see it as description t in that he is describing how his character is feeling, thereby giving us a picture of the man’s nature.

The reason I saw it as narrative was because of something I read some time ago. The course is saying that description is the key to good writing. The other item claimed that too much description slows down the flow of the story line and might cause readers to get fed-up and move on to another book, and probably to another writer too. No writer wants that!

Today’s photo is …

The ceiling light reflecting and refracting on the screen off
my mobile. I’ve been trying to get this for some time and this one is the best so far.

Today’s funny …

 How many Technical Support staff does it take to change a light bulb?
"Well, we have an exact copy of your light bulb here and it seems to be working OK. Can you be more specific about the exact problem?..."

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Sat in waiting again ...

13 October

Facebook is a strange beastie at times. Jan brought my attention to one she saw on there yesterday that claimed that the Queen would retiring but instead of Charlie getting the top job, she was handing it over to William. Anyone with common sense about them would know it was a wind-up straight off, and yet I wonder how many did actually get taken in by it. Well, it didn’t catch me. And I’m sure it didn’t catch Jan either. I’m not a royalist, but I’m not an idiot either and know full well that after the chaos caused in 1938 when Eddie wotever, gave up on the job, it caused such a huge problem for the new guy Georgie, that it won’t be happening again in our life time.    

The budgies are kicking up right now simply because I haven’t opened their cages yet, which has upset them cos we normally have the free-flying during the day. At some time test the pull-cord warden assist call system. That is due to happen between 9.30 and 12.30. I’m not so sure they will get them all done in that time though. There are far too many flats in scheme and even though we have been warned, they can’t be sure that everyone will be in. I mean, come on, most of us are elderly or infirm and they may well have forgotten about it and gone out, it does happen folks, it really does.

My lappy threw a wobbled yesterday afternoon while I was editing a load of photos form my Nikon P6000 compact camera. About half way through them the screen just went blank and no matter what I did with it just wouldn’t do anything else. Eventually I have the idea of removing the battery, waiting a few minutes and then trying to start up again. Well, it worked, and thankfully the images I had already worked on and been saved so it was on the last few that needed to be edited. Computers are good tools but by heck, when they go wrong, they really do go wrong; I’m relieved that yesterday was an easy fix.

The other night I began reading Billionaire, an early work off Peter James. It is hopefully the last of his I have yet released. I said the other day that it was a bad time for it to be released, but what of right now? The story line has two money men who are attempting to cause a war between the then USSR and the West by using a weak leader of an Arab state, in an effort to make even more money. Does it sound familiar perhaps? Currently we have Russia flexing its muscles over Syria and the West warning them to behave. There is still a lot of resentment about the role of the bankers in the 2007/8 crash, and in that book its bankers and investors who are the real baddies, yet again. Come on Peter, it’s the right time to push this one now.

So, today’s photo …

Our visitor trying to remove even more hair.

Today’s funny …

Knock, knock. Who's there?
Dublin who?
Dublin up with laughter.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

More on writing

12 October

There’s an old saying that goes along the lines of there being a book in every one of us. That may be so, but there isn’t a writer in every one of us, or is there? Perhaps some folks just don’t think about becoming a writer; perhaps others think they couldn’t be a writer. There may be those who would love to try it but are afraid of rejection ridicule, or perhaps not being good enough to be compared to likes of the current top line writers. I felt a bit of that a couple of years ago over my Fred Copper books. They are set in Cambridge; my fear was that they would be judged as just being cheap copies of the Morse books that are set in Oxford. I soon overcame that one when Simon Whaley put my mind at ease when I ask him about it, so thanks Simon.

On the opposite end of the scale there are others who think writing is easy, that they could bang out a new book every year. What these folks don’t realise is the actual amount of work involved in produce each book, let alone one a year. In a way, they are right, it can be easy to write. I wonder how many manage to finish NANOWRIMO every November, and that is just 50,00 words in 30 days, just shy of 1700 words a day. What isn’t easy is the editing, the proof reading and once published the need to market your work, both to an agent or a publisher. That is when the hard work begins.

An easier way might be to self-publish. However, there are some serious scams out there waiting to catch out unwary writers. There’s also the ‘vanity publishers’ who promise is the world, charge the earth for it and do nothing or next to nothing for it. So then, I have begun my subscription to Writing Magazine again and the first copy carries the story of Adam Croft, a self-taught writer-self publisher who has sold £1millions worth books. Now he is a man I want to read about and learn from.

If at any time you meet someone who claims to be a writer but then says they do it because they love writing and are not worried about making it to the top, then they are telling porkies. We all secretly hope to become as well known as the current top list of writers. However, to get there you need and enormous amount of luck, as well as a book that a publisher is will to take a chance on and run with. The chances of that happening when you are pounding out a new one very twelve months, only to find out later that they are all very similar.

That is something I have realised with my writing I’m sad to say, at least, in one aspect. I made a note about it last week to make sure I change one part of the story line in Bristol Fashion. I hope to do that later, if I can think up a way of getting the story back on track. I have two ideas spinning at the back of mind, so I should be able to do so. And so it goes on …

Right now I’m not at all happy with the new Fred Copper I’m part way through. It feels weak to me, and if I feel that, how what will others thing of it? That one needs a through re-write I’m afraid. There are elements of it that are fine and will remain in the re-write, but there’s a lot of crap in there too. Even when I take the crap out, they won’t be ditched, oh no, they will be pasted into a new document where they will sit and wait for a more suitable place for them.

Yesterday I had my B12 and Flu jab. Our GP is now giving out a survey form for us to fill out a week after having the flu jab. It’s about any side affects you might fell after getting it, although the nurse was pretty quick to add that they were not expecting anyone to have them.

So, today’s photo …

It’s not all boy’s toys.

Today’s funny …

Customer: Could I have a puppy for my son please?
Pet Shop Assistant: Sorry sir, we don't do swops.