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


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.

Fire the Editor

Only been at the helm of the local Mission Community A4 WeeklyZine for seven editions and guess what?

Correct, I got it wrong yet again, swore that black was blue that I was correct, turns out I wasn’t, have put my hand up and accepted blame.

I bet George Osbourne has a lackey or bitch to take his mistakes.

Over and out until the next edition.

Signed …….. ‘dumbo’

P.S. at least I’m consistent.

WTaF !

A photo a day in June, well not quite actually.

Yet another period of fending for oneself plus three terrierists, that such word is normally associated with bad people doing bad things, but if you read carefully it’s doesn’t state that, there is a difference between terrorist or terrierist, the latter would just kill you with kindness or lick you to death, the other, well, they’re not worth mentioning.

Chris has disappeared to the county of Essex on family business, yet here on the gloomy isthmus it’s raining, again! The central heating is on and believe this, it’s almost July. It’s funny that I always seem to have inspiration or my creative juices start flowing when the weather is dire.

So, unlike Dylan Thomas who in his garden had a writing shed which gave him isolation to come up with many great poems and plays, all I have is a temporary desk. Well, if you can call a laptop iPad on my knee just that, then yes. However, I’ve just fired it up and the bloody thing has frozen, probably in protest toward me for not stretching my imagination often enough or exercising my thoughts daily. It’s almost as if it’s alive, I mean, the message says reboot …… is that a personal message to get my act together? 

Hence the reason I’m writing this on my iPhone, squinting through one eye and just using one thumb on the keyboard …… oh such decadence!

Scratch & Sniff … 

Feeling rather guilty of breaking a challenge (a photo a day in June) recently. Suddenly I had the opportunity to try to make amends. So I took this picture this lunchtime whilst walking to my neighbour who lives next door. I was confronted with a childhood memory which always makes me smile.

The smell of fresh rain on tarmac ! ….. Can you see the dampness on the street? Trust me, if youre not sure, place your thumb nail on the picture, close your eyes and scratch as if it were a winning lottery ticket. 

Now can you smell it?