Our manor

Here is a screenshot from a TV programme presented by former MP Michael Portillo called Great British Railway Journeys, this evenings episode is called Exploring Albertopolis, rail track between High Street Kensington & London Bridge, if you look at the area from top right quarter you will see a rooftop that is both triangular convex and concave and all the way down, underneath that is Borough Market, yes, the place where the terrorist attack took place recently. Midway top left is where Chris and I use to live, ‘igh above the streets and ‘ouses, all part of our manor, in fact the stories I could tell you about the whole district would either make you laugh or cry. 

As a Londoner, and proud to admit, we will NOT be shaken or stirred by the atrocities that idiots and extremists get up to …. to coin a phrase, …. bring it on sunshine, we ain’t going nowhere.

A picture a day in June … June 1st. So long farewell …

IMG_4199The debris you can see here on my garden and front steps  was originally constructed by my fair hands twelve years ago. It took me hours of virtual planning, nothing drawn up on paper, all measurements settled securely in my head and then actually building a wonderful recreational area in my back yard. You may also remember me telling you a while back about the incident of ‘purchasing’ a showroom ex-display hot-tub?

Out on one of my many adventure days with my dear Dad we ended up in Newton Abbot in an outdoor leisure establishment. Goodness knows why, well, truth is, we got lost looking for a new DIY outlet and had to turn the car around in a scrubby industrial unit area, at the entrance a sign said “cheap swimming pools”, well, we had to go and see this for sure, and my Dad whose humour was very dry and cheeky entered the unit with his usual glow of enthusiasm.

In his broad accent, he asked where the cheap swimming pools were, the sales person said they didn’t have any as such, the sign was just a hook with bait on, which obviously worked as we were pulled in. There were big hot-tubs, small hot-tubs and a tiny eight sided wooden tub which was bubbling away for demonstration purposes in the corner. After swashing his hands about in the warm bubbly water he asked how much it was, it was boldly labelled ‘ex-display’ with the sum of ‘two thousand pounds’ to clear. The salesperson told him it was an old model and had been superseded, Dad puffed his cheeks out and said, tell you what, if it’s still here when I return I will give you a grand for it , (knowing he wouldn’t be back) but, you will have to deliver it free of charge and he headed off towards the door, “a thousand pounds you say” replied the salesman, tell you what, you can have it for seven hundred and fifty pounds, right here and NOW.

‘What the actual fcuk’ I thought to myself, ‘what is he going to do now, got himself in a bit of trouble here, where on earth has he got that kind of money from’  I pulled him to one side, he just smiled…..

So, a few days later, here we are, this huge lorry pulls up outside MY house, “hot-tub” shouts the driver. Yup I reply, (honestly, I mean, what was he thinking?) Looking about and over my shoulders up and down the road hoping the neighbours would see what was going on we watched as this massive crane hooks the tub up on slings and dumps it right on the pavement, he hands me an envelope with loads of paperwork and drives off to his next scheduled stop.

Now this thing is massive, weighs a ton, and it was empty. Checking the instruction manual I managed to work out how to disassemble it backwards, and believe me, it was a nightmare, but the saving grace was, that as it was built like an interlocking log cabin, we were able to carry it piece by piece, and believe me, there were many pieces, we carried them through the house and into my tiny rear courtyard which was a sun-trap. Working late into the eve and all next day we assembled it back to its former original glory, building a lovely decking area around it in the process and made it into an oasis of calm. Dad only used it once, it was on all the time, and with friends and family we had lovely evenings, even sat in it whilst it snowed one New Years eve.

So, whats this got to do with the attached picture I hear you ask?

After twelve years of use and being in a damp humid area, over time nature eventually takes its natural course, rot sets in, suddenly leaks develop and with spiralling maintenance costs disposal was imminent.

This pile of rubble and wood is the rotting detritus of happy times and just going to waste, and although you can throw away material things, the memories that were made and such fun and laughter created that are associated with it are unforgettable and will always remain.

Ennui, Angst, Weltschmerz and Smuck!

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I have been banging my head against a wall for what seems like ages now, and to use just one word to perfectly explain how I feel, and that is “Ennui”.

The only reason I have used this word today, was simply because, my dear friend whom I adore, wrote in conversation yesterday “total ennui”. So I had to check it out, apparently it is French for boredom. Nowadays, in English, it is though to be defined as “a feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction,” ennui also has a nuance of “self-indulgent posturing and European decadence”

Funnily enough, that’s the strange thing, I am not bored, I simply haven’t the time to be bored, there is so much going on in my life its hard to put things in an order of completion. The only things I hear these days are builders making fashionable noise, hell knows what they are doing, havent seen anything that resembles anything constructive as yet, but they sure know how to make a mess.

Someone somewhere always has a trimmer spinning and yes, right now, “can you hear it”? …. a bloody petrol powered hedge trimmer, all this constant revving, … does my head in. 

Which I guess brings me to the next fashionable word, “Angst”.

These few weeks from today are definitely going to be stressing, what with the General election taking place here in the United Kingdom, and not wondering which political party are to be elected and then the fear and worry how they are literally going to direct us into, a) further turmoil and uncertainty and fear of un-made-un-promises, or b) try to save a ship from sinking. Siegmund Freud used the word ‘angst” to explain generalised anxiety. I dont think he was wrong.

And the third word for today is “Weltschmerz”.

It is German, meaning “world pain or sadness’ Perhaps I am suffering from all three of these expressions, perhaps im not, but, here are the facts. Yes, the world is in pain and it is definitely sad, …. but, we can’t do much about it by ourselves! What is the point getting upset by a petrol driven trimmer operated by a dim-witted half brain who thinks he’s Emerson Fittipaldi?  Not worth it at all. And finally, there is nothing wrong with grasping a little time to sit back with a Dry Martini and lighting up a Gauloise whilst plotting future plans and thinking just how lucky I am for what I actually have, instead of what I have not.

Right folks, I’m off now to clear up the detritus that the builder whom I paid yesterday for clearing my back yard has left behind, sucks doesn’t it? Having to part with hard-earned cash when, I could have done the job myself.

And finally Esther, that word quite simply is “Smuck” !

 

Glossing over the passed …

autumn_night_wind_by_7yashka7-d34gietThe North Easterly wind doth blow, straight across the bow of the property, old and weather-beaten this 120 year old pile is perched high upon the precipice like the ghostly RMS Goliath poised to steam full ahead out of the cliff face, its inhabitants, asleep and trapped by time encased in an air bubble. Poor old Parker sits guarding outside, somewhat unloved and slightly chilled to his monocoque bone as he watches this aged monster, ready to strike at any moment upon attack.

My newly painted door with black gloss is ajar, held open, yet restricted by two heavy security chains, wedged between the gap accommodating access is our door snake, blue and grey striped with bold white eyes and a red fork tongue. Woe betide any unwelcome guests. “Hiss off” he says.

The time of the penultimate hour before date changes into the next day stretches its sixty minutes. Safely on the inside of the house, but on edge, I can hear the wind creeping under the oak floor and wiggling itself behind the skirting boards, there is no escaping from the intrusion of this force.

No doubt the cousin of the Mistral and Buran will try to frighten us with its powerful and cold gusts throughout the night, and I thank whoever for small mercies, for I might have been one of the unlucky ones who due to no fault of their own might be sleeping rough this bad night, I pray you sleep well as is possible and that your God may help keep you safe.

The many souls of lost sailors and travellers, gust and wisp pass by the door, rattling the window panes attempting to make contact with the living, hoping that they may be re-saved from their untimely demise, trapped in the undead state, never having passed over to rest their immortal spirit, all crying desperately to get back to their loved ones and families, boom, bang, the wind howls even more.

 

Who dun it ….

*Disclaimer* This is a work of semi fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Monday 27th March 2017

I really am pissed off this morning, when you are given dates and times by companies for appointments and non of the fore mentioned traders stick to that ‘window’ I get really narked.

There is NO need for complacency or this attitude of when I feel like it or when people do not have a plan B.

Since Friday of last week, everything seems to have gone tits up, my neighbours heating has failed, the boiler has been churning away for twenty-five plus years and been plastered, stitched up with Gaffa-Tape and bump started far too many times to mention. This weekend has been freezing cold with easterly winds and now that the system has gone into lock out the house is not habitable, my friend who is not of 100% health and his land-lady has this “really couldn’t give a f**k” attitute gets my goat.

I have taken him in complete with his two dogs and we are bunking down in a small apartment, on the other hand the person in charge is probably still languishing in her mid morning bath and reading a who dun it, well, if nothing is done by Wednesday, there will be an actual who dun it, and the person who will have dun it will actually be me.

This morning my house was due to have scaffold erected around the whole building so as the painters and decorators could start forthwith. Yes, you guessed it …. NOTHING !

And tonight my landlady will contact me and ask, and I will have to be polite in my reply with a NO!

Two weeks later …..

The house is restrained and secure behind an installation of modern art, an erection of galvanised scaffold, single rung ladders are attached on different levels at precarious angles, safety gates on each staging and simple thick planks act as kickboards which, in my mind’s eye a good few of them have already been designated for my newly designed avant-garde rustic dining table.

A sophisticated plan which involves an after dark operation, the sylph like hunchback villain strikes with the clumsiness of a primate on diazepam, along with his imaginary bumbling partner in crime, the invisible Japanese rat,  Felix. Purloining the same said items, together they move with the clumsiness of a badly edited 8mm analogue movie. Of course, at sixty years old who would consider pointing a  finger of suspicion at me in normal circumstances. I proffer an answer wearing slippers and pyjamas adorned with breakfast stains when opening the door to the plank police the following morning. We discuss the mystery whilst sipping builders tea sat against a cloth-covered surface, in sight standing against the wall, is an old green table, now obsolete and superseded.

The last week has been overseen by one of the landlords, he with the rather lax attitude and sad pathetic grin stands with his hands behind his back and surveys the exterior of his half-share of the property with his pale and gaunt skin he looks like Charles Laughton, he of bell ringing fame, his red eyes circled grey from the latest cadaver range of funereal cosmetics, pale and gaunt  ….. Goodness knows what thoughts are rattling around in that spacious void balanced upon the crumbling building blocks which are clearly drawn and labelled C1 & C2 in The Lancet. A slow reacting device clogged up with cobwebs and many out dated memories, the only thing whirring today is the notion of him having to pay for these repairs. Deep harrowing rifts dredge deep into his concentration, departing with his earned cash isn’t going to be easy, accumulated from his other slowly rotting and decrepit properties which are dotted around the country like malignant tumours scattered upon an epidermis.

This week ….

The other landlord, who is in fact a lady, has taken shift duty, a canny lass from North of the border, an esteemed and eminent Professor of music, no sense of reality, just an outlook on her way of life in accordance to her own rule book and law alone. There is no meandering allowed off her path, it’s either black or white, there are NO grey areas where she is concerned, the DNA strands that make up a sense of humour were not activated upon conception, and at this time of life, at least three score years plus many more later,  it’s never ever likely to be.

All quiet at the front of house this afternoon. Golem the Glaswegian weasel and his bunch of merry dib-dabs are busy transforming my rear courtyard, the contents of a special size six litre kettle of wishwashwhite are being applied to the vertiginous boundary wall whilst a mysterious and eerie sound of a violin being tortured emanates from the apartment above. I consider sending myself outside to retune their over voluminous radio weilding my special all-purpose hammer and ranting, instead, I breathe in ….. and I breathe out!

All is well with the world, …. all I need now is ten chairs, they don’t even have to match.

Why? You ask,

Simply because, life isn’t about conformity, push your own boundaries once in a while, step on the grass a few times, throw away that bottle stopper and drive your car like you stole it on occasions.

Live life ……

BTW, I didn’t really nick the planks. <grins>

Ditsy is as ditsy does …

Thursday 23 March 2017

For the past few days I have been staying next door at my mates house, not feeling 100% he has been keeping an eye on me, and believe me, I have appreciated that very much indeed. However, today, I have an appointment at Torbay Hospital for a scan and I am worried sick.

Time now is 13:30, I have scuttled back around to mine for a freshen up, bath, bit of a tidy and clothes change. Upon entry the cold hits me, reason, for two days my heating has been switched to the off position, not on automatic like I thought I had located on the remote timer/thermostat. Instead, the internal ambient temperature has dropped way down below 15C, the East wind is blowing straight through my waterfall thin glass windows and the interior is like an industrial ice-box. My forgetfulness is becoming a little too often I might add.

Anyhoo, my bath has now been drawn, usual time run of eight minutes, producing the perfect depth for me to wallow about in which is less than half the time it takes to actually run, perhaps I should shower?  you ask, perhaps I should !  I reply!

My hair is now three weeks overdue for its cut, my stylist Chris will be wondering WTF, so unlike me, staring back at me from the mirror is an aged hippy,  I attempt to trim my now more salt than pepper beard growth with an electric clipper that hasnt a full charge, it now snags my face. Pulling the top of my head hair high through my fingers, rock and roll hippy is not a good look and courtesy of some expensive hair product I scrub my thinning locks up, I dont know why that name has been given, I suppose its more easier to sell a product named product than a can of grease called grease.

With a warm white fluffy bath towel wrapped around my wrinkled body I head to ward the computer to print off my medication list, trying not to get too confused with the file named weekly shopping, my goodness, more items on this than the mark off list for Lidl AND Sainsburys combined. There are so many items, infact, there goes the old adage, shake him and he will rattle like a pair of maracas …… Aye aye aye caramba !

So, ….. Im off now, speak to you a little later with either some good or not so good news.

Here is the news, it would appear its good news.

Life goes on …

17576-Life-Goes-OnMonday 20th March, First day of Spring 2017

Spring …. the ambient temperature has dropped to a low and mizzle confronts my vision across the bay, the property opposite me suffers yet more scaffolding, it never stops, for a new build, it really is piss poor quality.

I seem to have let my home get into a disorganised category recently, to be honest, I am disgusted with myself, this is so unlike me. I have been easily distracted and with so many other things going on in front of us it would appear that shit has happened underfoot and only now I can see just how much there is, this is NOT good.

My health has taken on a new spin, not for the good either, breathlessness, water retention, malaise and given every chance I could sleep on a knife-edge for days. My GP suggested specialist blood tests to check my engine is running correctly and there are no drops in pressure in any of my cylinders, diagnostics reveal that there is a problem. Hence my appointment on Thursday for an echocardiogram, basically a scan. Inherently I already have a condition called AF (Arterial fibrillation) where my heart misses a beat (often) and has a mind of its own, even though its full of love, it appears to be not pumping the love enough!

I always thought that swollen feet, ankles and legs only happened to old people, suddenly, I am one of those old people …. You tend to forget just how lucky we may have been not to have started failing earlier, many of my contemporaries and school friends have long passed by. Suddenly this old vehicle is showing severe signs of breaking down, a few auxiliaries have been repaired, a titanium brace inserted, the fuel that runs around my arteries gets a daily top up of additives and now the bodywork is showing severe signs of wear, the gearbox is still active, but sadly the engine is failing, and fast.

Beginning of this year, I set upon a ten-year plan, just like a business plan, I have every intentions of keeping the doors open during that period, there may be a few days where I have to close early but unless bankruptcy comes quick without warning, aim and purpose will be to keep on trading .

I have a duty to be here for my bestie whilst he takes his own rugged path of recovery and better health, as much as I would love to, sadly I cannot commit to a new puppy or a rescue dog to add to our small canine family at the moment, but, never say never, ever.

Anyway, I cannot sit here maudling anymore, I have housework and shit to sort out.

Summer is around the corner ….. bring it on !

Playing “The best of” by LeAnn Rimes this morning.