No cats were hurt during this …

As you may have noticed I’ve been away for a while. No, wait a moment, let me explain, NOT away as at Her Majestys Pleasure, but away from the keyboard of my magic Ewriter. So, this ‘little’ actual happening has been on my note pad since August.

Today I feel that I must share it with you. So…

Early morning spasms awaken me, creatures of infinitesimal size run around inside my arms and legs as if they are on a marathon, chomping and treading about like hungry crazed parade ground soldiers.

The TDL (to do list) is quite extensive today, the car is booked in for a full professional valet, a requirement as it just happens to be one of my OCD things, especially after transporting a member of the feline colony over every hill, along four motorways, down every dale and across seven county borders toward the Essex coast recently.

So, here is the reason why.

This road trip was the first chance I would have been able to do a few good miles non-stop. ‘Mamma bear’ as she is referred to, not by me I must add, is sat shotgun. Charlie poo on the back seat in the borrowed transporter cage nestled securely amongst suitcase, carrier bags, bath seat and a saucepan complete with lid plus ad finitum of miscellanous rubbish accumulated over a twenty day period.

I’m sure that many of my readers are well aware feeding any animal before travelling is NOT a good thing. I had asked if *it* (I’m calling it an it, because I don’t like OR relate to cats) had done it’s business and possibly wee’d, hopefully she would refrain from feeding it last night, but as she felt sorry for it, she did.

Just as Brabinger was passing Junction 27 on the M5, suddenly, and without warning, we were encased in toxic fume. There is only one smell worse than cat poo in a litter tray, and that’s fresh cat shit in a car. It was everywhere, just like a Maze prison protest, fortunately all behind cat cell walls. The drive to the next turn off from the motorway seemed like an eternity, we heaved, well, you can guess what it was like. Pulling off to the junction lay-by we skidded to a halt, I manhandled the stinking flimsy cage out of the rear space, stuck my hand into the pit of hell and pulled out all soft bedding, sodden with detritus I bunged it into a carrier bag, the dress, I must add was NOT mine, had originally been folded nicely, it was now in a heap on the rear parcel shelf.

This life form had to go, and that meant right now. At that point the vile creature bolted between my arm and the edge of the carrier flap, luckily it was caught by its foreleg and passively chastised. Me? Absolutely seething!
The journey was then resumed, but, what we didn’t know, was that it wasn’t going to get much better. As if raising the volume on the radio was going to make matters better, perhaps numbing my hearing might compensate my sense of smell, as said before, just like my ears, I don’t wear my nose for beauty, didnt.

The only problem now was that my passenger had lapsed into dance mode in the front seat, believe me I have feelings for people who suffer from ADHD, extreme OCD or any self phobia but not knowing their background or personal circumstances and how they would react meant that driving along at ten percent (ish) above the national speed limit was a little spooky. ‘Right’…  I think to myself, time for change of tack. My left hand turns the digital receiver to the off position and switch to Sally SatNav. Considering I have never ever used it whilst driving on a motorway before, and the concrete slab road reverberating through the run flat tyres, burnt deep frequencies from ear to ear in a straight line, totally annihilating the voice of the seductive instructress.

Coming up to the apex of the Gordano Avon flyover I open all four windows, it’s the only chance to get rid of the impossible smell of cat crap. Perhaps, with a bit of luck or a God-given mysterious way, the cat and its belongings, all of them, might just get sucked out in a green haze vortex and eventually land in the back garden way below the preformed galvanised stanchions of the highway towering way over the suburb of Portishead.

“Holy Cat Crap” shouts Batman as he fist pumps the air and disappears into a wormhole!

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The devils wear dog collars …

Another early Saturday morning, it’s 06:40, the two latest editions to the menagerie have slept through from 10:30 last evening, it’s a steady progress. They both awaken because I am strirring, two tiny creature with noisy squeaks and whines greet me with such sweet innocence and beauty, how on earth can you get angry with anything quite so lovely?

Little Missy is sat in her bed, made up of a dark brown suede effect with a green and light brown tartan cushion, this one also chewed to pieces, just like the two previous. Yes, she’s a minx alright, of the previous, a zip runner had gone missing, however it was found twelve hours later in one of her steaming hot precious dog eggs. This of course does explain why she was having an off day,  I certainly wouldn’t have liked what she was experiencing. She just sits there and stares at me, waiting for my hand to enter her territory within the cage and pick up her empty dish, she pounces, I coordinate badly. As gravity takes over, it hits the side of the water bowl, making enough noise to wake the dead and empties the content on the floor. At this point little happy bouncy ‘monkey boy’ stirs, he bounds out of his matching dog cave and leaps onto my arm like a sexual deviant, his greeting consists of a sharp dew claw grasp and a fine toothed ‘Boston’, If you know about wrestling, you would understand that particular movement. In fine fettle they both start to sing their greeting. Hurriedly, I get the first meal of the day prepared, half a tub of ‘Butchers Dog’ puppy food each, lowering the meal gently into the enclosures, I am aware that each canine food critic is short of a napkin and manners, any that may have been learned are immediately dismissed, each are head in before bowls are on the floor, quickly I return to pour two tiny casuelas of puppy milk, not very pleasant in aroma I must add. In true haphazard style the contents are spilled from the plastic bottle decorated in the bi-colours of the Plymouth Argyle football club strip, I struggle to put the green screw top back on to the white bottle single handledly. Knowingly, and by how it is lapped up quickly, means it’s mighty damn good for them. I stand back, chest plumped out, ….that’s our babies!

Untrained puppies are such devious little rat bags, they have no conception of any value or worth. We must have changed at least a thousand pee mats in just over a month, but they  make it so much easier to keep an area clean of spillage from loose excretionary orifaces than rather have scrub carpets. No sooner as clean pens shine, there are stinking patterns and pee stains not dissimilar to drip paintings by non other than the abstract expressionist Jackson Pollack. Perhaps this could be my big break, especially with a new idea for Dragons Den, all we would need are ready made frames and a certificate of authenticity.

I check my watch, it reads ten minutes to eight, perhaps if I sit quietly on the electric recliner chair and set to mortuary position one, maybe the dancing macaques will quieten down, especially if I pull the cover over myself completely. Hoping for an hours extra rest, at least. From the morgue slab the corpse breathes out its last breaths of shhh’s and coooes, the creatures start to take note and settle, they haven’t twigged yet that biggest monster of them all is under the sheet …… oh the indignity of it all!

Lesson number uno, if other dogs are in the household, feed them also, even if it’s happens to be almost three hours earlier for them. They will not settle, until so done. Rspecially when trying to sneak an extra hour of morning rest. At least tomorrow i’l be prepared for that one.

Changing rooms …

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So, it’s over! My well-chosen professional decorator has finally finished his magic, the colour chosen has made such a difference. This  transformation is out of this world. Here, now, comes the worst part, the case of putting many, but not most of my items back in their original place.

However, there is a caveat, much of it wont be going back to its once marked GPS coordinate. They are now deemed to a box for redistribution to a worthy cause or even worse, destined to the bottom of a cheap black bin liner from the poundshop, praying that the seams dont split before I manage to get it down to the dustbin at the bottom of the steps for the refuge technicians to sift through.

My biggest heartbreak is that I have decided to rid most of my books that have been not just once, but often twice read, and I mean it, it really does break my heart. Always since a child, I wished for a library, but times and necessities dictate, instead, now a substitutional wallpaper and the few loved books will adorn the top of my white marbled fireplace, sadly partly disguised by a radiator cover, oh how wonderful it must have been to have had a living fire in the kitchen!

Please tell me though … “Where on earth does all the rubbish come from? ….

For fear of reprisal, I certainly wont go into a diatribe or write a list for all you readers of what I have actually thrown out, as you would most probably wish to reassess my sanity. Perhaps, after all, that might not be a bad thing. I have been merciless. In fact, I could quite possibly be the original Ming, him, that of tyrannical fame on the planet Mongo. Sadly not the priceless vase. Even so, I certainly wish I had one of those, sorry, let’s make it a matching pair, all packaged up and sent off to that exclusive auction house in Mayfair. Imagine, even after paying the absurdly ridiculous commission, one might come away with a six figured sum, on a good day even a seven.

All, well almost all of my dvd’s have now been packed into a box once containing puppy training sheets and heading toward a new organisation here called “HumanityTorbay” I do hope they will adorn the bookcases well, especially for a lonely person seeking a warm nights shelter, perhaps a laugh or two will cheer their tired souls. As also are the many autobiographies I have collected over the years, life about many of the celebrities I have aspired to, to be honest, I’m quite the nosy Parker really, wanting to know about their business and secrets they wished to shared with the general public. I was quite happy to part with hard-earned cash to continue keeping them in the lifestyle accustomed. My favourite though was Kenneth Williams, I cannot but help read it in his voice, …. told you I needed some help medically!

Today of all days is my annual inspection from the company who manage the property I live in. One of the saving graces are that the company owner is a very good friend. As my house, yet again, looks like a bomb has hit it and ready for an onslaught of car boot shoppers, we move boxes and find softened areas opposite each other to sit on and talk over above the height of the rubbish due for collection, we sip coffee and share badinage, one of the many lovely things about this lady, she never has a bad word to say about anyone, yet swears like the proverbial trooper, for that I can forgive her.

Her parting words are “well dear, it will look absolutely wonderful when it’s all finished” and smiles.

I reply with a cheeky grin ……. she then giggles and says, “On that note, time for me to f**k off then!

…. I open another box, staring deep into a content full of memories in material form.

Atlantic Highway …

The only way I am feeling this particular morning is again just plain knackered, the bigger dose of Pregabalin knocks the stuffing out of me, the bonus is it gives me an extra bounce of ‘the devil may care” atttitudes once im finally awake. Today is one of my thrice yearly check-ups with my consultant, the clinic is based on the opposite side of the Devon coast from where I live. Whichever route I decide to take, the journey is a going to be a bitch, that being either by road or rail, today’s coin flip chooses road trip, see how excited I am ….  “road trip, Road Trip, ROAD TRIP !

One saving grace of the four wheel choice is that I can have an hour extra to bathe and pamper myself and try to relax a little before I head off up North through the mid extremities of the county. Splish splash im outta da bath, now drip dry clean, I select my rags du jour and transform myself into a super dooper uber model. Believe me, I’m no Ryan Reynolds but no harm in thinking you are. I pull my grey trews on, covering a nice pair of choice cut designer briefs, then twist my buttons through the orifices of my blue and white checked shirt and roll the sleeve cuffs up over twice and finally adjusting the button down collar. I slip my naked hooves into my Loake deck shoes. Almost ready, a tiny spray of EDT, one under my chin and a quick squirt behind each knee arch, a tip I picked up from my late Aunt Doreen, a big tall power woman who laughed just like Hattie Jaques. Looking down at my grey tight chino legs I bend down and flip each leg hem over upwards which gives me a very ‘out of town strange’ appearance which makes me look just like the nob on the front of this months GQ magazine !.

Never classed myself as “out-of-town strange” A quote often used by Americans describing a loose sexual encounter requiring same from another area or town. Well, if the cap fits, here goes … another nob on a hopeless mission!

An hours homework last evening gives me three sat-nav destinations already printed out on an A4 sheet, as I mentioned the drive is likely to be unpleasant and timing the traffic is likely to be another logistical nightmare.

Top of the ‘to do list’ says petrol, goodness knows why, as our car is diesel, tend to guess its just a long standing pattern. Filling up at the station I am hypnotised by the McDonalds across the road, just ike the weakest link that has snapped I end up munching on a Sausage and Egg Bagel meal with the hash brown stuffed inside the artery clogging treat, habit forces me to remove my plate and I munch with rabid vigour devouring it with just one insisor like an aged beaver munching on his log. I leave, and route takes me to the new South Devon Link road, I am instructed to head towards the infamous M5, this is not one of my favourite routes, plantechnicans and lorries hauling live stock trundle along this stretch of road, weaving all over the place due to road cambers and wide open areas susceptible to wind conditions of manic proportions. Nearing junction 27 I see the sign marked Barnstaple and “Atlantic Highway” although its over 70 miles away, I am aware that the end is in sight, well, a very long way away, buy never the less. The fact now means a long stretch of dual carriageway which traverses every hill and dale along the way, through the Rackenford forest cutting and high bridges over the villages and hamlets below which sit either side of the beautiful Otter railway line.

As I near Landkey, I now see the famous road sign framed in blue, a portal to the other-side, where stress is relieved and memories are made.  Truth is it’s just a link road running along the North coasts of Devon and Cornwall accessing all the beaches, camp sites and tourist facilities. I attain a feeling of de-javu with a somewhat kind romantic air and heavy of recollection, a slight sense of fun and mystery, surfboards strapped to the roof of VW campervans laden heavily with beach bums and ravers heading toward the “Tunes in the dunes” concert. A weekend of hedonism, wacky backy, alcopops, baked beans and plenty much of the old mooky pooky between the lithe bronzed dudes with bleach blonde locks in bermuda shorts and the slim Betty’s sporting the latest spray on bikinis.

I near my destination, just over the hill is the beautiful Atlantic, resplendent and powerful, it calls me, alas there is a nurse with a needle and half a dozen empty vials waiting to express my haema for analysis. Perhaps next time I should throw a small tent in the back of the car and make a night away of it, sit in the dunes by a crackling log fire made from driftwood and stare at the stars while listening to the waves which are just out of reach in the dark of the night.

I see my consultant, she is pleased with my progress, we chat briefly about the state of the nation, interior design and eclectism, even Martin Cranes’ electric recliner chair is pulled into the debate. Suddenly, out of the blue, just  like the 1966 World Cup last minute goal she gives me the bad news, and I mean REALLY bad. I am numb with shock.

My next appointment will  be in January …..          I breathe a sigh of relief. So no tent adventures for me then. Phew! Thank the heavens for that.  To be honest, I’m more of a Premier Inn kind of guy than a sand in my sleeping bag Joe.

Our Atlantic Highway is our equivalent of the Californian Big Sur and Route 1, Miami to Key West in America, I certainly know which I prefer.

Precipitation Symphony in H2O

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One of my all time favourite sounds is the un-composed melody of falling rain.

I am sat here this chilly morning with my back to the open door, yet I can hear this cacophony from behind me as it hits the leaves on the aged vine and then down onto the gravelled path below, every single note totally different to the next.

“Like a snowflake, each raindrop personnally carved and tuned by either an Angel or a Goddess”

This is just the continued rotation of the hydrologic cycle which has not stopped since the world was created, around and around, knowing nothing else.

And just as it started, it suddenly stops. The Conductor now lowers his Baton, turns to the crowd and bows.

There is no applause.

 

The Black Swan Occurance …

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 17.46.21.pngGradual !

Seismic !

Cataclysmic !

Three states of gradual buildup of stresses within the earth occurrence over many years.

This is me, my life, my teens and twenties, my thirties, forties and fifties and now my sixties.

Here I am, nearly sixty-one years old, recently delivered of a new puppy, making tentative arrangements for a landscape gardener to transform my rear courtyard into a Tuscan piazza and a date set for a professional decorator to magically change my living space into something totally beautiful and wonderfully surreal with just a few swish like movements of his magic brush. Yet here I am, nervously poignant with bated breath as to whether the tiny paint matchpots will actually satisfy my palette, even though my final colour destination has not yet arrived, I am still one of an intrepid mind.

Here is the dilemma. As of yesterday, I visited my neighbouring hotel, not far along the isthmus, the beautiful ‘Berry Head’. Upon entry I notice that the recently refurbished lounge and bar area complete with their spectacular colour-ways and design, match everything I tentatively had decided upon, even right down to the leather foot stools. Problem is, do I always want to keep reminding myself as to whether I want to actually be in “an” annex of a rectory where the once Rev’d Henry Francis Lyte lived who at the time wrote”Abide with Me” in 1847 or the fact I had actually made the decision before, well not before that particular date, but before a so-called interior designer did, who may have possibly charged a small fortune for the pleasure of doing so?

This is the story of my life, it’s the “Oval Room Blue saga” all over again.

Cataclysm strikes like the proverbial volcano with a capital C !

What is a ‘Black Swan’?

A black swan is an event or occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation and is extremely difficult to predict; the term was popularized by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a finance professor, writer and former Wall Street trader. Black swan events are typically random and are unexpected.

 

 

Mistaken identity

“A photo a day (not) in June.

I suppose you are wondering what a red “Poundstretcher” shopping basket is doing on my doorstep? Well, listen in and let me explain.

Thursday or Friday is shopping day for us, either we go together as a pair of whinging pensioners bickering all the time or as a single whirling dervish trying to beat the week previous’ time.

Morrison’s bags in hand and car key at the ready, I start my stopwatch, it reads 10:36, by my reckoning I should be returned, unpacked and eating lunch wraps by 2pm.

This particular day is busy, seems the national speed limits have been declassified to a lower number and there is no way Brabinger can be let loose. Eventually pulling into the car park I find a space, a bit further away than the normally unreserved reserved space nearer to exit, but, what’s a bit more exercise going to do? Kill me?

Bingo, I spy an unleashed shopping trolley and with my folded A4 shopping list I aim it toward Lidl, noticing the lovely plants outside the next shop. I think to myself that a few of those lovely French lavender’s would be great in my garden, ‘got to love the bees haven’t you!

Anyway, a trolley nearly full, approximately seventy-five percent worth,  it is checked out in superb time, twenty-five minutes, that’s one for the records. Not really a trick, but far easier to bag your goods at car than be pressurised at checkout. So, all bags now filled and lined up neatly in the boot, now for those lavender plants.

I trundle the trolley back and kindly give it to a lady searching desperately for her pound coin. We exchange pleasantries and continue our set tasks, I head to “Pound-stretcher”, grab a red shopping basket, staring at the amount of customers I assume that they must be busy, I huff at the length of the queue, but I was determined, I placed three plants in the basket ensuring the fold up handles did not damage the flowering heads and with my left hand grabbed a fourth and joined the wavy line of eager shoppers wishing to exchange cash for goods.

What seemed like an eternity and getting claw fingers from holding on tight to the loose planter I saw an empty cashier, I plonked the items on to the counter, to which the red tee shirted assistant informed me that they were in fact not their items but ones sold by Lidl. Embarrassed I had wasted time in that queue I slipped out and joined yet another heaving line of cash only shoppers in the correct establishment. Eventually, and with a strange look from the lad with a blonde Mohican I placed the alien shopping basket on the conveyor, showed him the solitary bar code and said that there were four in total. Whilst I handed him my ‘purple-back’ he pointed at the red basket and gave me yet another funny look.

I got back to the car, no more Morrison’s bags to transfer the plants into …….. what shall I do? ‘thinks thinks’

Et voila …….

I will take it back, honestly.