Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Doesn't Time Fly When You're Enjoying Yourself.


    It's six years today since I first did a blog. (Put this way it reminds me of a child having it's first 'potty poo!) I'm not sure how or why I started. Six years, a fair old part of anyone's life. Even more so when you're on the 'ancient' side. Yet its something of a blur.
    Six years ago since we had a black President in the USA. Changing times, the beginning, if I remember right, of a bleak period, in Britain and the rest of the world. Talk of slumps, recession. A long, long period of Europe in general 'going under', Spain, Greece, Portugal etc struggling to survive. The longest period of gloom and doom I can ever remember. But did it REALLY affect me and my family I wonder. Well, there's six years of blog posts to gauge the personal side of life in this time.
    Undoubtedly, we revolve around ourselves, our immediate family and home.Few in Finland, India, Angola or Japan, for instance (place I have comments on my blog) will have too much interest in dear old Britain and its problems. But I bet their own lives revolve round family; the joys and headache of bring up children. Beginnings and ends; the young and the old. So the death of Franscoise, beloved mother and grandmother was more important to us than mere recessions. Likewise a birth, in our case Ted, gives joy and hope; a feeling of natural continuity in an ever changing world.
    I often wonder why I blog. (As do, no doubt some of my 'readers'.) Its an ego trip in a way. But more important to me personally, is the discipline of deliberately writing, thinking, doing. (Note how the last two weeks have been the longest 'none post' period in the last six years.) Physically, and mentally at times life is not easy. Oh to be young again! But life goes on and so does Old Grumpy and his blog!
    In six years many bloggers have come and gone. Some have sadly died; I can think of many more who, for reasons of their own no longer blog; inevitable in this turbulent, ever changing world. In my early blogging days there were many who helped and encouraged me. ( In six years I have only had one rude comment. A brilliant indication that the blogging fraternity at large consists of friendly, outgoing individuals)
    So onward, ever onward. Hopefully there will be one or two more posts yet. (No targets, but I am surprised to find I have done over four hundred posts in the last six years!) Now I fancy a go at a YouTube blog. Any experts out there? Plus any printable suggestions what to do with over four hundred posts!


WEDNESDAY, 16 APRIL 2008

In the beginning

Hooray we're away. Watch this space. As the old man used to say, 'softly, softly, catchee monkey.' A saying incidentally that one of my daughters finds incredibly naff. After several attempts this blog is finally off the ground, courtesy of a good friend, Chris who has the most incredible knowledge of how computers work. Thanks Chris, I feel as if I've now fully entered the 21st century. So 'What's it all about, Alfie?'
I suppose firstly, in a way it's an ego trip, hopefully allowed at my age. Secondly having had various health problems, nothing new at my age, I need to keep what's left of the old brain going. Thirdly, I write regularly, make little out of it but need an audience (the old ego trip again). So off we go and let's see what develops. But firstly, after all the excitement I need a lie down!

6 comments:

kyozan said...
This old fart is an unsung genius. I have not laughed so much in a long time. Recommend him to all your friends. His blog promises to be a hilarious, entertaining, and highly enlightening ride.
Lindsey said...
Hello!
I'm the woman you met in Lady Harriett's bedroom at Shugborough whom you didn't think would leave a comment. Ta-da! I even signed up for a google account just for you. Bet you wouldn't get this level of aftercare from that English Heritage lot.... One more for your great virtual audience. Good luck x
MâHâßuß ßHuiyân said...
I just found your blog and want to say thank you ! What an enjoyable time looking through so many sites. It is really nice post thanks for sharing and just keep up the good work !


Saturday, 8 March 2014

NOT Just Another Day.

Saturday March 1st, 2014, one day in the life of Grumpy Old Ken!

    Woken around 6am by Cat, Mo or Crackers; take your pick! We, my wife and I stay in bed for much, much longer! We were married over forty years ago, but I'm in love with my wife as if we were married yesterday!
    Breakfast consists of cereals,  a cup of tea and later two boiled eggs; food much later (early evening) consists of macaroni cheese and the odd biscuit or two.
I study the television, mainly for the news. I study too my IPad throughout the day, again including the news! I read The Times for, guess what, the news!
    The day is sunny and bright, very enticing for March. So much so that we drive to Formark Reservoir, a local beauty spot a handful of miles away. We buy chips and cups of tea and sit outside. We are jointed by an elderly male hiker. We converse; it is a pleasant interlude but too cold to endure for more than ten minutes. We return to the car and listen to the Burnley versus Derby County football match on the local radio. (Both my wife and I have season tickets at Derby County.) Unfortunately Derby County lose, inducing an air of depression, though not for too long.
    We return home and light the wood burner. Television dominates the rest of the evening. Saturday night programmes are, in our eyes at least, unexceptional so we 'catch up' on programmes missed over preceding weeks, plus some more football!  This time we 'watch' rather than ''listen'. And thence to bed around 1130pm.
    Many of us tend to live our lives on 'automatic pilot.' It is good to pause and take stock occasionally. So what have I personally learnt from this 'unexceptional day'?
    One, knee surgery on my knee dating back to May last year has not gone well. Thus my life is dominated at present by my 'new' knee. Very painful, very limiting; But there are so many in this
 world in a far worse position than myself. Two, I never fully realised how dependent I am on my good wife. Who made the fire, who fetched the paper, who boiled the eggs!  (I never was very domesticated, but partly, but only partly due to my 'disability I doubt I could 'exist' without the 'saintly' Paulette!)  Three, talking of existing, I doubt I could exist without my iPad and computer. At seventy plus years food for thought. Four, the chips bought at Foremark were probably the worst I have experienced in living memory; no mean feat! Five, of far more importance was the gentleman hiker. He was pleased to sit with us; it soon became apparent as to the reason why. This gentleman was hiking alone, having lost his wife to cancer several years ago. Which led me to a discovery of which I was unaware. 
    Apart from our friend the hiker ((not counting the cafe man) my wife and I spoke to no-one in person for the entire day; not one solitary person other than each other. In a city of two hundred and thirty thousand plus souls, to me at least, a most surprising occurrence. My wife and I are lucky, we have each other; others are not so lucky. Rich or poor, loneliness for many must be the most dreadful daily affliction.    
   
An unspectacular, unexceptional day indeed; day 27147 or thereabouts of my life. Yet it is not 'Just another day.' All the days of your life are special, remember, we have NOT got unlimited days on this earth. Make every day count in whatever ways you think fit.
Now for the most interesting part. The posts of kind readers concerning a day in their lives. In no order they show the variation, of circumstances and lifestyle of 'bloggers that I know"!

ANNE, a retired lady from Somerset.

On Saturday 1 March 2014 husband and I were away from home, staying in Pershore in  Worcestershire at The Angel Hotel.  The reason for our beak away from Somerset  was to see son and his children who live in Pershore and also daughter and her little girl who live in Stratford upon Avon
So, we woke at usual sort of time -7.30 - and I made us each a drink in the room and, after our morning ablutions we went down to a leisurely breakfast at just after 9 am.  The hotel  is well appointed and has a charming dining room.  I ordered a pot of coffee and had bacon, tomato and mushrooms followed by lovely warm, crunchy toast and Seville orange marmalade. 
It was a beautiful day, with blue skies and sunshine.  At around 10.30 am we left the hotel and drove across to Stratford to daughter’s, arriving at approximately 11 am.   Granddaughter was very surprised to see us as Mummy had not mentioned it to her.  We admired the alterations that have very recently been made to the kitchen and dining room, and chatted for an hour or so (with tea and coffee) and then strolled in towards the town itself for lunch (about 20 minutes).  We walked through the lovely gardens bordering the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, which were crowded because the weather was so good. 
We went to a cafe in Sheep Street called FourTeas which has a “forties” theme.  The waitresses were dressed in pretty print dresses with matching scarf turbans and white  pinnies.  The menus were after the fashion of the Ration Books we were used to in the 1940’s and there was all sorts of memorabilia and photos all around the rooms.  A popular cafe, there were quite a few birthday parties taking place each having a cake presented with the staff singing “Happy Birthday”.
Fortunately we didn’t have to wait too long for a table and eventually ordered lunch,  poached eggs on toast for me as we had had breakfast and I knew we would be eating again in the evening.  We left as soon as we had finished as there was quite a queue for tables.  Husband walked home with granddaughter and daughter and I browsed the shops for a while, making a couple of purchases.  I bought some baking cases shaped like tiny flower pots and some greaseproof circles from a kitchen shop.  Had a look at some fashion shops but wasn’t tempted to buy.  We strolled back to daughter’s and had yet another hot drink before husband and I took our leave of them and drove back to Pershore arriving at around 4.30 pm. 
Husband (who has not been too well lately) went for a rest and I walked along the road to my son’s home.  Sadly he is a divorced man but was about to go and collect his son (13) and daughter (10)  who would stay with him overnight and they would spend the next day together.  I went with him to meet the children and he dropped me with my granddaughter at the shops to make a few purchases.  The main reason for this was because it was his birthday on 4 March and we were just buying a few extra things for him and also a birthday card.  We had arranged to meet son and grandson at The Angel at 6.30 for dinner. 

Son and grandson duly arrived, we ordered our meals, I ordered chicken curry and for dessert had sticky toffee pudding and had a lovely chatty relaxed evening.  Once the meal was over I took the children up to our room where they wrote Daddy’s card and we wrapped his gifts in readiness for the next morning when we would “do birthday” with him.  They left us at around 8.30 and we just went to our room and had an early night!

HELEN, an English lady living in Costa Rica.

Saturday March 1st Helen Devries, pensioner, living with my husband and assorted animals in the country in Costa Rica. Rose at five to let out the dogs and heat milk for the lamb. Fed lamb, cleaned up after lamb, took a shower and made breakfast. Read the newspapers on line and caught up with e mails to answer. Handed care of lamb to my husband. Coffee break...coffee made by me. Prepared lunch....and ate it. Went down to flop about in the pool for half an hour, then on return did some filing, drafted a letter for my husband's solicitor, went shopping. On return, made afternoon coffee, cut sugar cane and bananas for the sheep, cattle and horse and fed same. Caught up on blogs. Put chickens and ducks into their pens for the night. Made supper...ate same. Messed about with clearing up the kitchen which looked like a tip, listening to the BBC on the radio. Let the dogs out again. Showered and went to bed at about 10.00pm. 

ANITA, a lady from the heartland of America.

I'll be back to read your previous post that inspired this one. Until then, here's my 3/1/14 day: Woke up at 6 a.m. Went back to sleep. Got up at 8. Took the dog outdoors to pee. Ate cereal. Sent email to a parent of my daughter's friend to find out when I should pick her up from last night's sleepover. Showered. Responded to text message from another daughter who is at a retreat (she is breaking out in red splotches). Drove to pick up my daughter from the sleepover. Stood in the foyer of the parent's home and talked for 15 minutes. Drove back home while chatting with another friend on my cell (she's giving me pet sitting details and instructions because she'll be gone today and tomorrow). Got home and ate a Lean Cuisine frozen meal for lunch. It wasn't enough, so I heated a seafood cake in the oven and ate it. Put a load of laundry in the washer. Paid a bill online. Responded to a business email. Needed a boost, so I fixed and Got waken by my alarm went to the bathroom brushed my hair and teeth poured my frist cup of coffee got dressed went to work had another cup of coffee while I opened the work site. Went to office and sit to do some paperwork. flew off the handle. Spent the next 5 hours checking on workers Ran to get supplies Came back and lined out workers again Had some lunch Went and made sure work was getting done Closed up shop after getting tomorrows supply list Set down to do paperwork that did not finish Made sure work site was properly locked up Wrote a report that I have ignored for a week. Now after a 15 hour day I am going to get something to eat. Take a shower. Go to sleep, so I can repeat tomorrow. on Day 27069; Just Another Day.

KEITH, a retired gentleman from Leicestershire.

 I can tell you now about a day in my life cos every day is the same! Get up. Breakfast. Read Yahoo News. Check emails [none]. Wash the pots. Have a lie down and a nap. Lunch. Have a lie down and a nap. Watch the news. Have a lie down and a nap. Evening meal. Write witty post for my blog. Dinner. Have a lie down and a nap. Go to bed. Y'know, just lately I just can't seem to get to sleep at night. S'pose I ought to cut out writing witty posts; that might help. on Day 27069;

MELINDA, a young lady from America.

Greetings fellow Ken fans!

I'm Melinda, 57, retired former educator, who lives alone in a small town in the heartland of the US.

I just love a Saturday.  I don't know why, but it seems longer (in a good way) than the other days of the week.  And I don't exercise over the weekends, yay!

I awoke to my clock radio and listened to the local news and the weather forecast (very cold and snow).  I arose and stood still for a few seconds to see how my arthritic knees, ankles, and heel were going to treat me today.  

I went down to the living area of my basement to start the wood stove.  I pretty much stay down there during the winter months - so cozy!.  Since I only have enough wood to last a few more days, I thought I would spring clean that area.  I turned on my usual NPR Saturday morning fare to listen to Car Talk and Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me.

After those programs were over and most of the cleaning completed, I headed up to the kitchen to fix a late breakfast.  I ground espresso beans to make my version of a mocha.  While the coffee brewed and filled the air with my favorite rich, robust aroma, I read Friday night's local newspaper.  I took my coffee and toast down to the basement and watched an online episode of the British soap, Eastenders.  I think I was meant to live on Albert Square.

I read for a while.  I try to read 100 pages a day.  Then, as usual, I spent way too much time on the computer.  I checked email (I don't know how I ended up with 5 accounts), and looked through blogs and photo streams through my Feedly account.  Most of the photos are of Britain.  I believe I must be preparing for my next life in which I will be born there.  I yearn to return to Great Britain while I'm still in good health.  I would like to find a tour I think.

Ate some chocolate chip cookies.

I washed a load of clothes.

As I do on the first day of each month, I cleaned the coffee bean grinder and espresso machine.

Ate some chocolate candy.
I wrapped a birthday gift for my daughter-in-law.  I tried to get fancy, so it took much longer than it should have.

For supper, I fixed ham & beans and cornbread, and tidied up the kitchen.

Ate some more chocolate candy.

Watched some television and more computer time.

Took a bath, put on my jammies, brushed my teeth, and returned to the basement for yes, even more TV and computer time!

I tend to stay up really late (1:00 or 2:00 a.m.).  I have found if I go to bed too early, I tend to lie awake in the dark which seems to exacerbate my worries and fears (about dying and not being found for days and whether or not my house is built over a sink hole, as you do).  I watched TV until I could barely keep my eyes open, then read in bed until I kept falling asleep.  I discovered that after I turn out the light, if I start counting backward from 100 I don't think/worry.  Sometimes, I will picture writing the alphabet in different fonts.  Is that weird?

I often think I fritter away my days and that I should be doing something worthwhile.   I volunteer at the hospital a couple of days a month which isn't much.  I read about retirees who learn to paint, author books, create beautiful objects, become active within the community, etc.  One day recently when I was berating myself because I hadn't accomplished anything that day, I thought, "You know what?  I didn't hurt anyone, I didn't break any laws, and I didn't create problems.  I really enjoyed my day doing the activities that gave me pleasure!"  So until I find my retirement role, I've given myself permission to enjoy my little corner of the globe. 

Best wishes for health and happiness fellow read

BRENDA Smith
Married lady, now retired, living in semi-rural Perthshire, Scotland.  One cat.

Got up at 8 am and let the cat out.  Noticed that it had finally stopped raining and that it might be quite a nice day.  Also spotted on the calendar that it was St David's Day, but there isn't a daffodil in sight up here at the moment.  Ate breakfast with my husband - we rarely have the same thing as he likes one cereal and I like another, he likes toast and I prefer almond croissants, he drinks orange juice and I prefer apple, he likes tea and I need coffee first thing, but we've been happily married for 46 years, so we must have something in common! 
Let the cat back in through the kitchen window and fed him.  Let him out through the door five minutes later.  We never know whether he's coming or going. I don't think he does either!
Checked my smart phone and iPad for messages (one on each, so answered them).  Logged in to my laptop and checked bank account and progress of parcel ordered earlier in the week.  On its way, so they say.  So is Christmas!  Decided I hate the term "silver surfer", as some upstart website dared to address me!  I'm not silver, I don't surf and I've been using a computer for over 30 years!!
Showered and dressed in jeans and a warm jumper, as it's still chilly out there in spite of the sunshine.  Flicked a duster around half-heartedly (and only because the sun showed up the dust) while waiting for the washing machine to complete a load of sheets which I'd stripped from the bed.  Re-made the bed with the help of my husband (a rare event, as I usually have to do it myself).  Tumble dried the previous day's washing to dry it off completely and put it all away. Hung out the bedding to dry in the sun - a first for this year!
Walked to the shop for a newspaper and some milk, chatting to a couple of neighbours en route, so journey took longer than expected.  Checked out the details of the local Snowdrop Festival held over this weekend and decided to follow the snowdrop trail after lunch, which was a toasted cheese and ham sandwich.  This was made in our ancient sandwich maker which is no longer manufactured and we worry how we'll manage without it when it finally gives up the ghost.  The modern versions just don't compare!
Husband joined me for the snowdrop trail and we enjoyed a lovely walk through the town and out along a country lane, with snowdrops in abundance everywhere you looked.  Over 10,000 new bulbs were planted earlier in the year and they were all looking wonderful in the spring sunshine.  Both felt guilty that we'd not volunteered to help plant them.  I took lots of photographs of snowdrops, as photography is a hobby of mine.  The walk took us to the art studio of a local painter, where we gratefully drank coffee and munched on delicious home-made almond cake for a small donation.  I bought two of the artist's cards as they are ideal for special friends' birthdays.  On the return journey home, we were able to admire a large mural she had painted for the festival.
Let cat in as we entered the house and fed him again. Brought in bedding which was almost dry and smelled wonderful after being in the fresh air.  Made us both a drink and then husband retired to his study for a snooze, while I downloaded the photos I'd taken on to my laptop and edited them.  Spent an hour or so online, mainly on a photography website, where I view and comment on other people's photos and they do the same on mine.  Answered a phone call from daughter who lives down south and had a lovely chat with her, then cooked the evening meal and ate it with my husband from trays while we watched some TV.  Cat joined us on sofa for a tickle and a snooze (cat, not us). 
Nothing interesting on TV later, so we watched a couple of shows already recorded.  Let cat out for final time (wish we had a cat flap, but it's not possible).  Made a hot drink and both read more of the Saturday newspaper, which has so many supplements, we never get through them all.  Let the cat back in again and we and we all settled down for the night at about 11.30 pm.  I read from my Kindle for a while, then it was lights out and goodnight.

Michael Fitzgibbons, a busy, retired Australian
Saturday 1st March 2014. 


It's hard to actually say when my day begins. I am usually awakened by the needs of one of our dogs. To be accurate its the old one, who is like me and sometimes needs to do a call of nature in the night. So any time from 3am to 5am is when I first wake. Today it was 04:35 and by 4:45 the deed had been done and I was able to go back to bed. We have had a deep frost during the night and the grass was white and the ground crunched underfoot. As usual, I don't try to go to sleep, I just cocoon myself in bed. Then I listen to one or more podcasts. (I did however manage to nod off later)


The Podcasts that I listen to are all pre downloaded from iTunes onto my iPod. The current series I'm listening to is called 'Damn Interesting.' Its hard to say what the content is going to be for each podcast. It could be a short story, it could be an excerpt from a book. It could have an historical flavour or it could be factual. Out of the current batch of Podcasts (free download) I enjoyed my latest night time listening, it was called 'The Conductor.'


The Conductor, has nothing to do with music, this podcast was about the worlds most lucky and at the same time, unlucky person.  I don't know about you, but I find thunder and lightning to be a spectacular natural phenomena. Best when viewed from a distance, the power of nature can be awe inspiring. However, when actually caught in a lightning storm it can be very frighting. Lightning is a massive discharge of static electricity that occurs when there is an imbalance in the electrical charge between the cloud and the earth's surface. Put very simply, it is a giant electric spark in the sky - but a very powerful one. It can stop a person's heart and on occasion has been known to cook their internal organs. 


A popular saying about lightning is associated with chance. How often do you hear the phrase 'as much chance of happening as being struck by lightning.' Yet, on average three people die in the UK each year from lightning strikes. In the UK, up to 60 people every year get struck and survive, but it's estimated that more than three-quarters of them suffer some form of permanent disability.


Apparently men are four times as likely to be struck than is a women. This is believed to be because men are statistically more likely to be outdoors. Golfers are probably at greatest risk, because they are likely to be caught in the open far from shelter. There are three types of lightning strike. A direct strike is when it hits you and goes to earth through you. A side flash is when it hits another object and jumps sideways to hit you. A ground strike is when it hits the ground then travels through it, hitting you on the way. 


So as you can imagine, I was thunderstruck (pun intended) to learn from the podcast about Roy Sullivan who worked as a park ranger in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Roy in his lifetime was hit by lightning on no less than seven occasions and survived all of them. He gained a nickname "Human Lightning Conductor" or "Human Lightning Rod." Roy was recognised by the Guinness World Records as the person struck by lightning, more recorded times than any other human being. (Actually he was hit eight times) However, the story seems to be about the man with the same number of lives as a cat. The subsequent events surrounding each strike adds an even more remarkable chapter to his life.  He may have been unlucky each time he was struck, but he was also remarkably lucky afterwards. More surprising is Roy's wife who was also struck once in her own right. Unfortunately Roy later ended his ninth life with a self inflicted gunshot wound. 


I awake from my slumbers again. A cloudless sky and that type of bright sunshine that only comes with a frosty morning, pours in through the portholes. I make two tea's one is 'Chai' for the Memsahib and the other is 'Yorkshire' for me. Then its back to bed and podcasts.


A short nap later, its breakfast time and the Memsahib who is already up and about, prepares my usual treat. A brown bread, bacon, egg (duck) and tomato triple decker with a cup of steaming hot tea. Then I'm cajoled out of my pyjamas and into the shower before dressing to take the dogs for a walk. Today, its along the crispy crunchy canal towpath. The weather this morning is bitter cold but the sun feels quite warm for the first day of March, Care has to be taken underfoot to avoid the remaining crusty but squidgy mud and iced over puddles. Soon, everyone is glad to be back into the wonderful warmth of the boat and peeling off the outer layers of cold clothes. I suppose I should have mentioned the boat earlier.  We are currently spending quite a bit of time aboard our narrowboat which is just over 50 feet in length. Narrowboats vary from around 25 to 70 feet in length. 


So I'm back on board watching the old girl Abbey. She is such an indomitable character. I suppose as dogs go, she has been around for quite a long time. (15) In that time she has obviously observed us at close quarters. She was once aware of every slight inflection in our voices. So for instance, whispering about going to the vet was sure to alert her. But now she is as deaf as a post and seems to be enjoying the quiet solitude. However, she continues to observe what we do and more to the point, she knows exactly when we are scheduled to do it. Because Abbey suffers from anxiety attacks when left alone - we have to organise our outings whilst she is having one of her frequent and silently undisturbed siestas. 




As for Abbey, the day tends to start much closer to 11am than 8am. I have just laid out her breakfast food. She sidled up, gives it as close a visual inspection as her one good eye (cataract) will allow. When she finally decides that we are not trying to poison her. She carefully extracts one tiny piece to conduct further taste tests upon. So, she makes a unilateral decision that today the fare on offer is not up to the expected standard. Now, she has to make a judgement call. Ignore, eat or its to be buried. As usual, she decided to go for the latter option. 




With consummate ease the old girl decides that the carpet can be rearranged to cover the dish of food. A quarter of an hour later and after much pushing and thrusting with her nose. The dish has made two laps round the coal scuttle. But the task is still unachieved. Its at this point she becomes a bit irritated. There are several short pauses while she re-evaluates the situation. A further short bust of nose shuffling round the bowl leaves her even more frustrated.



Abbey
A change of plan is required, so after a senior moment, she decides to lay alongside the dish guarding the contents from our other dog Poppy. Poppy starts much earlier in the day 6:30ish and has long since had her breakfast. She has been known to clear up unattended food. In fact her dish has been washed and dried ready for future use. 


The old girl decides that a short walk might help. So she paces up and down the boat several times. Returning to look at the food bowl once more. Even more pacing up and down is obviously called for. Then on her return to the dish, there is a low whimper of frustration before a further futile round of carpet nuzzling.
Abbey has a drink from her water bowl, another senior moment before contemplating the situation once more. She regroups from a position in front of the nice warm stove and a new strategy is decided upon. She eats half the content of the bowl, thereby reducing the amount of food to be buried. This is followed by a further protracted round of nose shuffling of the carpet around the bowl. However, even with the amount of consumables reduced by half, the burial task remains unachieved.

Its at this point that I am brought into the 'equation for persuasion.' She places herself in my line of sight. With occasional backward glances towards the food bowl. However, I choose to remain ignorant of her commands. Now there is an added, soft low whimper or two. With more frequent glances at the food bowl. I have still not made any eye contact. Its time to up the anti! There is a small whimper which comes with a light and delicate touch of a paw on my shin. Followed by a glance at the dish, however I still choose to ignore the request.

The ultimate weapon is now deployed. This is when a hairy chin, propping up a hairy face is placed gently upon my knee. I can see in the midst of the faded ginger mop of the Fox Terrier breed, two dark eyes. (one is slightly milky from the cataract) Both of which are in close proximity to a small dark nose. Now, whilst some of her faculties have either stopped working or have been blunted. The nose is as good as its ever been. Chocolate can easily be detected and the nose soon points the rest of the dog to where its located. The nose this morning has a thin covering (a menu) along the ridge, consisting of what she has eaten so far. 


There is another small pleading whimper, from the hairy but wonderfully cute monster. I acknowledge with a stroke and she immediately looks at the food bowl, before returning her gaze to me once more. "OK" I say, getting up I place the bowl on the galley top out of reach. I'm not sure why I hold the conversation with her, as she hears almost nothing in her silent world.


With a sidelong glance, (is it thanks?) she heads for her bed. She begins to turn round and round in circles. Then she makes several turns in the opposite direction, before resuming back to circling the other way again. There is an unsatisfied slump of her rear end, before I am placed in her gaze once more, I ignore her. She returns to circling again, first this way and then that. Followed by another unceremonious flop to her haunches. I am once more the object of her gaze and attention. So I give in and move her bed a little closer to the stove. Then I gently lay her on her side after fluffing up her bed. There is a contented sigh, as she lays back once more. Now she wipes her nose and hairy face on the pillow. It goes quiet and there is no movement. An eye drop is quickly placed into each eye. The eyes close, just as the blanket is tucked in at the edges. 


Arranging my day, is such a tiring task. I know my place and so does she.


Now, its mid morning and I have a few chores to do. Starting with me stoking up the stove. Then I fill the coal scuttle with fuel for later use. The solid fuel stove actually keeps the boat toasty warm. Once the boat chores are done, then its a trip back home to repair the garden fence. The gales over the last few weeks seemed to be trying to move the fence next door, one section at a time.  By late afternoon I had cut back about ten different types of climbing plants that had overwhelmed the fence-line. The climber cover was so good, the plants had been holding the fence together. Soon the first two panels were replaced.  But the wind still has a cold bite when the sun is behind the clouds. Then as the weather took a turn for the worse and as the light was beginning to fade, it was time to pack up the tools for the day. I returned back to the boat. 


Feet up and a couple of large cups of percolated coffee later, its time for a bit of work on the blog. First a quick run round my favourite bloggers - including Grumpy Old Ken - and then its on to create a blog posting of my day. I have been blogging now for four years and this is post number 1617 to be published. I have a further 98 posts I'm working on and most are almost ready for publishing.

Most of my blog is written with the tongue firmly planted in cheek. Based around the day to day chit chat when we are out cruising. However, much as we like boating the rivers and canals around the UK. Its nice to moor up the boat for the winter months in a marina.  Even when moored up for long periods, I'm never left short of inspiration, as there is always something on the news that grabs my attention. I also do a bit of writing for NarrowBoat World an on-line newspaper for the inland waterways.  I also enjoy reading old newspapers from a 100 to 200 years ago. I search for old waterways articles and use them to stimulate new posts, often contrasting then and now. Actually its quite an eclectic mix of subject matter that eventually gets published.

Now, its early evening, and its time for our meal. The Memsahib is a wonderful cook who  always makes up a mouthwatering daily menu for the week ahead. Today its baked potato done in the hot coals of the boat stove. With a topping of chilli and cheese. The Memsahib will have a glass of wine and its a small beer for me. 


Now its mid evening and time for another walk around the marina for the dogs. Then we settle down to watch a bit of television. (football) Then a bit more blogging for me and the Memsahib usually does some knitting. This time its a chunky woolly boaters jumper called a 'Gansey.' The dogs winter coats are also hand knitted as are almost all of the other dog coats around the marina.

Its, late in the evening. The Memsahib is always first to bed where she likes to read electronic books on her Kindle. An hour or so later after the dogs have had a last walk, its time for bed. Tonight's podcast is the amazing story of Mary Toft. In September, 1726 Mary began to give birth to rabbits. Yes, that's right 'rabbits'! The local surgeon, Doctor John Howard, responded to the family's summons and hurried to Mary's house where, to his amazement, he helped deliver nine of the animals. They were all born dead. Nevertheless, this didn't lessen the amazing fact that she was giving birth to them.....

I start to feel the heavy eyes and decide to listen to the rest of this podcast later... 
Good night.. 

Mick settled down for the night at about 11.30 pm.  I read from my Kindle for a while, then it was lights out and goodnight.

Thanks, everyone for your help. Something occurs to me. If this is what we did on a certain day, I wonder what the rest of the people in the world did. Population of the world at 8.50pm on the 8th March, 2014 estimated at

                        7,218,209,450  !

                                                                                                                                   Grumpy Old Ken




















Monday, 3 March 2014

'D' Day instructions. see previous three posts.

Last day for sending me your 'submissions'. I want to post on Saturday 8th so lets say Thursday 6th March.

My email addresses if required.

kenneth.stevens1@ntlworld.com

ken_stevens@hotmail.co.uk

Every submission welcome. long or short. I too observed Saturday the 1st closer than I would normally and in spite of it being a 'nothing' day I learnt something. All will be revealed!
                                                                                                                                      Ken


Wednesday, 26 February 2014

'D' Day Cometh

    Following up the invitation to take part in my experiment (see last but one post,) the day I have chosen is Saturday, March 1st.
    Anyone who follows my blog, regularly or otherwise  is invited to respond. All I require is that you record your day in as much detail as you want. Please do not do anything special for this blog; YOUR day, YOUR thoughts. Your day you might think boring or unimportant but it is important to YOU. It is one day in your life, never to be repeated. One day in a life of probably many, many thousands. (If you live to be 100, you will have lived over 36,500 days!)
    No day, however mundane is wasted; it's lived, not wasted. But every day is a gift in a way. How we use it is up to us, consciously or otherwise. (We don't think about it because most of us assume, rightly or otherwise, that we have more, hopefully many more days to experience.
    I will publish ALL responses as a blog post around a week or so later. You can respond by blog comment, e-mail, anyway you deem fit. You don't have to be one of my 'followers listed on my blog. (I know some of my readers are not listed anywhere.) Length unimportant, as little or as much as you like. I will list EVERY response. I have NO idea how many of you will respond, but if makes you think, good! From wakening up to falling asleep, what did you do on Saturday, the first of March in the year 2014?
Please give some short identity and profile details, unless you're very, very shy! Thanks.
Photos welcome.


)

A

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

A Bit of This and a Bit of That.



    I walked unaided across the hydro pool this week. I know its only small  and the water supports you but this was the first time  I've walked unaided for many months. Some fool didn't bother to unlock the lift that goes from the underground car park up to the theatre. ( I do theatre review for a free paper when I can.) It made life very difficult indeed. Abled bodied people often don't consider the disabled. I must confess I didn't until my present dilemma. It's survival of the fittest in this world I'm afraid.
    The play I reviewed was The Odyssey; Greek mythology and all that. For the first fifteen minutes I was mystified. Which brought home to me how ignorant we often are. (I didn't do Greek at school, only Latin.) I reckon I have taken in a million trillionth of the worlds knowledge to date. I'd better hurry up with my reading, times running out!
    My mind is so taxed nowadays, what with the lack of mobility and the lack of sleep. I spend hours pondering the daftest of things. Why, for instance does this cat that has adopted us lick my toes and more ominously, bite, yes bite my fingers. Is it affection or is it trying to eat me! I honestly reckon it doesn't know it's a cat. (Called Mo because it runs everywhere, Cat on occasion, and Crackers because everyone says  'That cats Crackers!'  And why are my dreams so repetitive, like a stuck record in a juke box. I think about it on waking. Now of course I dream about dreams repeating themselves and stuck records!
    I\we spend most of our time at doctors, dentists and hospitals. (Physio alone takes up four afternoons (My wife attends a class mainly attended by ageing heart patients. It is not true they study embalming and flower arranging for funerals on alternate weeks. Ah, the joys of getting old!
    I have not forgotten the future post concerning 'A Day in the Life of ' (See last weeks post.) I have a date in mind in the next few days. I was intrigued with the comments made concerning my 'plans'. It is fascinating to read of other peoples lives and how they/we see ourselves. In the last blog I remarked that I am convinced everything we ever do, however small is stored forever in our 'minds.' I am indebted to
 rhymeswithplague for enclosing this poem by Noel Coward. He thinks exactly as I do, but so eloquently. That's why he was famous. Me, even the postman delivers my mail elsewhere! (rhymeswithplagues blog is well worth a visit, as are all those who took the trouble to comment.)
       
Nothing is Lost
by Noel Coward

Deep in our sub-conscious, we are told
Lie all our memories, lie all the notes
Of all the music we have ever heard
And all the phrases those we loved have spoken,
Sorrows and losses time has since consoled,
Family jokes, out-moded anecdotes
Each sentimental souvenir and token
Everything seen, experienced, each word
Addressed to us in infancy, before
Before we could even know or understand
The implications of our wonderland.
There they all are, the legendary lies
The birthday treats, the sights, the sounds, the tears
Forgotten debris of forgotten years
Waiting to be recalled, waiting to rise
Before our world dissolves before our eyes
Waiting for some small, intimate reminder,
A word, a tune, a known familiar scent
An echo from the past when, innocent
We looked upon the present with delight
And doubted not the future would be kinder
And never knew the loneliness of night.

"Nothing is Lost" by Noel Coward from Collected Verse. © Graywolf Press, 2007.
     One other thought in this 'hotch potch' of a post. Reading this post I am reminded of poetry in relation to my school days. I can remember only one poem by heart. (Go on then, fifteen lines of it) Its called 'The Ice Cart by  Wilfred Gibson. How strange  that this poem has been retrieved  from the dark recesses of my mind by reference to Noel Cowards poem. And why, I wonder , have I remembered this poem. Were  any of you, I wonder, given poems to learn as a homework or a punishment at school. And have any of you remembered a poem from school, for any reason. One last thing. This post, this 'hotch potch' of a post Reminds me of the saying 'Normal Service will be resumed as soon as possible. (Old ones amongst you, explain to the 'young ins' where these words came from.} Which in turn reminds me of Arthur English and his immortal words!

'I dunno what the devil I'm talking about
Play the music! Open the cage!

(Arthur English's words are very apt. The change in format etc is accidental, due to my lack of computer skills. Will revert back to normal when I fathom what I've done! ****, ****, Apple systems!)