Archive for April, 2012

The cafe at Infosec2012, Earls Court, Tuesday 24th April

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Two young salesmen smart in shiny suits
Take a short break, expense account cafe,
Corporate linguists, expert jargonistas
Sit now in silence, pondering their day.

a concise history of trefor davies in twenty thousand tweets (of one hundred and forty characters or less)

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Crossed, a random line in the twitter sand,
twenty thousand statements lost in a flow,
downstream the cybersea, stormiest of places,
tossed, examined, ignored, replied or retweeted,
unseen by most and mostly rubbish
peppered with an occasional gem, perhaps
a reflection of life and personality
insignificant, except to myself.

The modern day Eleanor Rigby

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Wild ambition-fuelled follows,
follow back at your peril,
modern day Eleanor Rigby
waits for something to happen,
a craving in space and time
where are all the people?
do they have other lives?
did I miss something?
twitter is forever.

The three sentences

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Three sentences, gone, unrecovered. A broken promise by Microsoft Word. A rewrite was considered but no, let them be lost, cast adrift on a sinking raft of memories. Time is short and we must move on to arrive at our camp before night time. If we are delayed, fumbling, we will miss our destination and ourselves drift, blind with not even the stars to guide us.

Staring out of the window the yellow headed tulips have opened wide but the reds seem reluctant to follow. A blue painted wooden garden chair sits in splendid isolation on the lawn. The grass needs a cut but it is too wet, as is common practice during droughts and times of hosepipe ban. Thunderous Odin casts down his wrath; his energy arouses false anger.

But still the bird sings, perched in the hedge at the side of the garden. The rain brings the worms up to the surface. The noise of the rain on the roof has drowned out the birdsong. For all I know it works to the same principle of the refrigerator. When the door is shut the light is out. Is this the same for the bird when the rain gets too noisy?

I have to go now. Goodbye.

The leaves are back

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

The leaves are back, it’s been a while,
tender green delicates
emerge blinking in the newly sprung sun.

The rain keeps them fresh, droplets roll,
soak the bedraggled soul
finding shelter under the canopy.

Drink deep, smell that forgotten smell,
wet neck warm face smiling
in harmony with a birdborn chorale.

The Short British Summer

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

Winter has returned to LN2. The rain is pelting down outside and I have lit the fire in the front room – something we had given up on for the summer. On the wireless the BBC news informs us of a hosepipe ban. The domestic cricket season has kicked off but the week of summer is clearly over and soon the shops will be putting out their Christmas displays. We very much enjoyed the salad we had one day last week but are now glad that the Sunday roast has returned. My pair of shorts can go back in the drawer.  The t shirt gets to stay out.  It is worn all year round, from October onwards in lieu of a vest. The tan has disappeared already. In fact I don’t think I got one this year. I was in the office that day. The football season is already back, or perhaps it hasn’t yet finished. It’s difficult to tell. Although we lament the passing of the short British summer I am looking forward to the Winter Olympics in London this year. August is one of the few months of the year we can guarantee snow in the UK. I must remember to leave food out for my feathered friends and to break the ice on the bird bath. Fortunately we didn’t get around to taking the thick counterpane off the bed which is where I’ll be headed shortly to save on gas and electricity.

Great sea journeys – Part 1, The Isle of Man Ferry.

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

The pointer, a time served professional, high vis jacket kept jauntily unzipped, playfully left his pointing until the last minute. It had been quite obvious which way to go but reassuring to know that this was in line with expectations. After all we were on a big sea journey and were happy to know that we were in the safe hands of a team that knew its stuff. The Jeep slid in behind a white van near the front, perfect for an early getaway at our destination.

The harbour had met with expectations. A quay, a lighthouse that looked the part, lifeboat station with bright red barn doors and the RNLI flag flying proudly aloft. Behind it the gas tanks suited the scene and up above on the headland a hotel, now defunct, stood next to the offices and transmitter of the local radio station. Slightly lower down, on the path leading towards the lighthouse stood the camera obscura.

Our ship, the Manannan, was moored next to the larger Ben My Chree, a high sided white expanse of a ferry that plied its trade between Douglas and Heysham. Thick grey smoke emitted from the two chimney pots at its rear. These looked implausibly small at the top of the huge black and red funnel.

We were Liverpool bound. (more…)

Naked and abandoned in the rain

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Today I saw the castle,  naked and abandoned in the rain, for the ruin it really is. In the sunshine an impregnable fortress, the entrance fee bolsters its sense of inaccessibility. Now during a torrential downpour, the car park of Fenella Beach peppered with watery explosions and rivers where no rivers should exist, the sandstone walls show the sorry results of centuries of neglect. I sat quietly, listening to the rain thundering on the roof, watching only a very occasional stray bird making its way home. The windscreen misted up. I switched on the engine and drove off.

Peel 11th April 2012. 6am

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

The sea is not quite as rough this morning. Not a soul about in town though I can see a couple of people fishing on the breakwater in the distance.

It’s a funny communal pattern – sleep by night and wake up by day. Most of us adhere to it. I expect there are one or two alarms going off now – radios coming on, bleary eyed people staggering down to the kitchen to put the kettle on.

It’s 6 degrees centigrade. Still what you might call “fresh”. From my spot looking down on Fenella Beach I can see (more…)

The early morning run

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

The bleary eyed stagger
Fumble for the light
Kettle on autopilot
Oh no – out of tea bags
Scramble around in corner cupboard
Ahah – find new pack
Pour milk into large plastic measuring jug – only one available
Two mugs – my favourite and hers
Rinse out teapot
3 bags
Click whoosh
Tea cosy on and tray upstairs
Back to bed.
The early morning run to the kitchen

Pelagos Venture and the Dream Catcher of Menai

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Names to fire the lively mind
Idyllic seaborn high adventure
gently, rod cast, fish flout,
lights dance the flutterless bay,
distant music – timeless Mediterranean romance,
Water laps across the Southern sky

Sails plough, spinnaker helmsmen battle
wind blown grip’d rigging gaze into the dramatic posed distance,
below, mugs of crew steaming liquid,
racing cumuli cut through white tops.

reality, tucked away in port,
outside the sea clings to winter,
discarded untidy mess of ropes, buoys and fishing nets,
castle abandoned to unseasonal tourists,
rusting orange topped ladder leads down to dribbled river,
cold run eyes freezing water,
stormed seaweed litters overnight road.

Which Brother do we prefer?

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Heavier? Nicer?
Faster? Louder?
Blacker? Meaner?
Possibly all these and maybe more.
Both came from Nagato and arrived within a year of each other.
Both made at the best Japanese guitar factory – Fujigen.
You won’t see another like this for a long time.
Until you are too old to play.

The Horizon

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Unattainable aspiration, reachable only by others.

Third Law Part 10 – The Boat

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

Sometimes I practice the third law whilst wearing earphones and listening to music instead of surfing. It’s difficult to know whether this is a genuine alternative. I suspect not but sometimes there is no choice and on a boat in the Mersey estuary heading for the Isle of Man I am in one of those ongoing “no option” situations. No cellular signal = no internet access.

Actually this may not be entirely true but if such a connection exists it is almost certainly diminishing and a drain on the laptop battery which, in the absence of a power point, I need to last the whole journey.

You will have instantly noted that I am on the way to the Isle of Man. This is an annual pilgrimage to see my mam and dad for Easter. We do see them at other times of the year but usually it is on the mainland. The ferry journey to Douglas is not only expensive – knocking on £500 for the car and six of us, but also a full  day’s journey as we have to drive over to Liverpool to catch it.

In going to the Isle of Man there is an element of going back in time. This is partly due to the quaint olde worlde aspect of the place and partly down to my rule of going offline when on holiday. No twitter, no email, no Google+, Facebook or any other online destination guaranteed to prove the Third Law without a shadow of a doubt.

I like to describe this as the process of going offline and re-entering or reengaging with society. You have heard about the fact that every cigarette you smoke knocks an hour off your life (or whatever the factoid is).  Well every week you stay offline lengthens your life by a month, or certainly appears to and it is often the appearance that matters, to some people anyway.

I’m not big on appearance, being a bit of an internet dweller where such things are either irrelevant or can easily be manipulated according to your choice of profile picture. It is difficult then to modify this practice when it comes to real offline behaviour. That’s why I like to spend some downtime in places like the Morning Star of the Strugglers where nobody really gives a toss about what you wear. Afaik.  At least when they mention my shorts or loud shirt they don’t do it in a derogatory way, I think.

It’s hot on this boat. I have discarded coat, fleece and shirt. Before you start to get worried I should hurriedly mention that I am still wearing a tshirt. It’s my red “Training” tshirt purchased from LA Fitness, Newark’s small clothing and accessories display. I guess most people buy stuff to train in.

I bought it because I had caught the first train back from London having spent an unplanned night there. The previous day I had been about to enter the gym when the phone rang. To cut a long story short it was a chap called Keith who I proceeded to meet that night in a pub in Kings Cross and then to whom I offered a job.

I can’t remember where I stayed that night. Perhaps with my sister in Balham but perhaps not. Anyway I didn’t have any clean clothes to change into the next day. When the train arrived in Newark I got off and went to LA Fitnes for a shower and purchased an outfit there.

I like that sort of spontaneity. We don’t do enough of it. So anyway that’s where I got this shirt from and I am wearing it now much to everyone’s relief I’m sure. It’s funny how a shirt can be the source of such relief. One can imagine the whole of the Niarbyl Lounge letting out a big sigh of relief as they realised “there was another layer”. They are a discerning lot the occupants of the Niarbyl Lounge. They have all paid three quid each to reserve a seat there and every conversation is conducted in hushed tones. We are a very refined.

Not as refined as those in the Mannanan Premier Lounge where people have paid an extra eighteen quid for the privilege of free cups of tea and coffee and the personal service of an attendant. There being six of us I didn’t fancy forking out an additional two hundred of her majesty’s best spondooliks  for the round trip.  We did at one time travel first class but then they introduced the “no kids under the age of eight” rule which annoyed me no end. Now that we have no family member in that category it is expedient not to fork out the extra cash in anycase.

For those of you that have not yet experienced it they get more expensive as they get older. On a logarithmic scale I believe. If you don’t know what I’m talking about google it. Logarithmic that is – I doubt google search is intelligent enough to understand the finer points of the growing cost of kids as they progress through their education.

It’s almost dark out there now. According to the skipper we are approximately half way, at least that’s what he said over the tannoy a few minutes ago. I call him skipper because I can’t remember his name. He must have told us. They normally do when telling us the ship is about to depart and run through the safety procedures etc.

I am, if you haven’t already spotted it, admitting that I didn’t listen to the safety announcement. I was listening to 10cc on my laptop. Not good, not responsible, I know but there you have it.  My interest in 10ccwas rekindled a few years ago when I was out and about in Cambridge with Terry. We were on our way to or fifth or sixth pub, can’t remember exactly, when we came across a poster at the Corn Exchange in the middle of town.  The poster said “10cc on tour”. Bugger me if they weren’t playing in Cambridge that night.

In we walked and they let us in free of charge – there was only half an hour or so of the gig left. The great thing of course is that bands reserve their best songs for the last half an hour and there we were: Dreadlock Holiday, I’m Not In Love, Rubber Bullets etc etc. I was in heaven. All my childhood favourites. What a night.

At this time I must point out that the sum total of all my favourite songs of youth were not just those produced by 10cc. There are others, but you understood I’m sure. The list is in fact a long one and one that I revisited and spent a small fortune acquiring digital versions of in advance of my 50th birthday beach party last December.

In my ears at this very moment is Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.  One of the greats.  I remember the DJ at a school disco telling us it wasn’t really a dance track but he played it for us anyway – we were, after all, the customers.

Anyway back to the safety announcement. If you are reading this it means I must have survived the trip to post it so all’s well that ends well eh? Said with a slightly impish grin on my face suggesting I thought I had been a very slightly naughty boy but got away with itJ

The main cabin of the ship is downstairs from where we are by the way. Noisy and full of kids under eight. Let’s move on.

Brief intermission

During that barely perceptible interval the Davies boys headed out on deck. It was v windy and there were some lads there having an illicit cigarette. Preferring not to die of passive smoking and having emitted a loud fart which we all know can be highly dangerous in the presence of a naked flame, we withdrew to the safety of the bar where we purchased some cold diet cokes for our refreshment. At the same time, John, the youngest of our party, returned from the ship shop (and Bristol fashion – sorry had to get that one in) with a large bag of M&Ms which he generously shared around.

We hung around the bar, as boys do, swapping stories and generally enjoying a bit of banter. Later, drinks consumed and with no mutual desire to prolong the session, we returned to the Niarbyl Lounge and safety. The bar was in any case about to close as re were about to enter Manx territorial waters. At least I think that’s the reason it shut – they weren’t very specific when they made the announcement. Sounds good anyway if possibly totally off the mark. It clearly can’t have been the skipper because I’m sure he would never have made an announcement that left its audience still asking questions. I’m happy with my thought process – I wouldn’t want to be driving off the boat with doubts in my mind as to the reasons the bar shut. It would be a huge waste of some brain processing cycles that could have been applied to the creation of the most famous poem that was ever written

Probably not. Driving a car is no the best environment for writing good poetry, especially in the dark and even though I know the road very well.

It has changed a bit over the years mind you, the road that is. That’s progress, evolution even. The addition of a traffic light or two is evolution. It’s the road adapting to traffic usage patterns, assisted no doubt by the fine men of the Douglas Corporation. I assume they are men though I dod see a female civil engineer a few years back. She was in charge of a gang of men lifting the new Peel Marina bridge into place. Very exciting it was. We stood there for ages watching the crane work its magic.

Waaaa, one time, head nods rapidly up and down. The music is taking over and the ship is coming into harbour. That’s what I call the third law in action – offline mode.

3rd law part 9 here 

3rd Law part 11 here


The Last Paper Round

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

I dropped him off at the start of the round, same as I did every Sunday. This was the last time. The Newspaper, a free one,  had pulled the round. We never found out why but we didn’t ask. We just accepted it.

For me it was the end of an era, more significant in my mind perhaps than in that of the paper boy.

A poignant moment.  No more deliveries, no more brown envelopes rattling with pay. Will the householders themselves miss the “Target”?  Unlikely.

What if it was the last paper delivery “ever”? Easy to let the imagination take hold. Serious significance. The leaving of an old world for a new one. A change in the order, like the closure of the railways.

The last paper, the last letterbox.  Move on, move away, don’t look back.

Cars, unaware of the history, race by.

The paper boy walked home.