Archive for February, 2022

the lost bag

Sunday, February 20th, 2022

the lost bag
was there and then not
now disappeared
into a morass of bags
waiting to be found
by a baggage engineer
with scanner

I see a person 
with yellow hi-viz top
swimming in a lake
of orphan bags 
calling out the barcode
awaiting a faint response

“I’m here
here I am
please rescue me”
a lamb’s bleat
when called by its mother

Ravages of Eunice

Saturday, February 19th, 2022

surreal circumstances but 

spirits not subdued

sat in a crate 

waiting for the command 

to flap

wait for it

wait for it

flap now

follow that sun

the ravages of Eunice

The shudder of gusts

better no beer 

for best results

Eunice pummels

stormy relationship

there’s no sun up in the sky

fixing a hole where the rain gets in

travels through storm Eunice

Friday, February 18th, 2022

We woke up this morning with two things on our mind. First was the much anticipated excellent breakfast at the Waldorf Astoria which proved to be the highest quality such meal of this trip.

The second thing on our mind was whether our 12.15 flight to Humberside would be still on. Storm Eunice was forecast to hit the UK hard with government DANGER warnings being issued and many flights being cancelled. 

We ubered it to the airport in a timely manner and our passage through security was without issue other than Anne’s luggage being taken to one side for what was presumably a random additional search.

It was only after we had sat down at the gate that the flight cancellation notice hit. We were directed to Transfer Desk T6 and were lucky enough to only have to queue for an hour. By the time we got to the front of the queue it looked more like a 2 – 3 hour queue.

Unfortunately when we got to the front it turned out that the 1 hour queue was to get a place in the queue to change flights. We were told  to return at 16.20 to rebook. At that point we were  likely to have to go and pick up luggage and find a hotel. Unless we could get a flight to London tomorrow it looked like being Sunday at the earliest we can escape.

It must be said that this is where my years of business travel paid dividends. Our place in the queue drifted out from 16.20 to 18.30 so I said sod it we will pay for the lounge and could well get immediate service there anyway. I couldn’t book the lounge online so went there. To cut a long story short we got in for nowt and have been booked on a flight to LHR later this pm. It always pays to be nice to people.

Our new flight is one of the few not cancelled. Turns out it is one of the few with an air traffic control slots for landing at LHR.

Bit of a palaver at the gate. They wanted to see our passenger locator forms as well as boarding pass and passport. We didn’t have said form. They hadn’t asked for it at the gate when we waited to board the other flight. We had to fill one out using our phones. Bit of a high pressure moment especially as the form was not particularly user friendly. Didn’t ask to see our vaccination certs which I’d have thought was the more important doc.

Airborne. Listening to Sgt Pepper. Brilliant stuff.

One lost hold bag and a £75 taxi ride to Paddington later (Heathrow Express trains all cancelled) and we made it to the Hilton.

plane truth?

Sunday, February 13th, 2022

Thought I heard a plane fly by. Listened to it for a moment then figured maybe it was someone pulling a suitcase with wheels. Happened again a couple of minutes later. Bit odd I thought. Rich tapestry and all that. Could have been someone nicking a wheelie bin or simlar. I will never know. Might have been cars I guess. It was 05.24 am.

Learned something whilst all that was happening. When I look at the time on the clock radio I instinctively do it by opening my left eye. Never thought about it before but this time it occurred to me to check. I do it naturally. When I tried my right eye or both eyes it didn’t feel right. There you go.

I’m downstairs now and upon reflection the noise might have been wind whistling through trees outside. Or the combination of car and wind noise. We have a storm on its way today. Heavy rainfall. 40 – 60mm expected in some parts of the country I read. Must have been Wales, or Scotland. Don’t mind a bit of heavy rain. Snormal. Quitelikeit. 

Today is the sabbath, in Christianity. I choose which day is the sabbath depending on my desired outcome. Clearly it would be inappropriate to do any jobs on the sabbath and the day is nominated accordingly depending on my readiness for such tasks. No jobs today. 

I don’t count packing for our jaunt to Belgium tomorrow a job. Needs doing this morning as we are off to the Dambusters Inn with John for Sunday lunch. It’s his birthday and Anne has volunteered to drive. The point is there is not much packing going to get done after lunch and we are off at the crack of sparrow fart tomorrow.

This will be our first foreign trip since before the pandemic. Two years ago on this day we were in San Francisco. On that trip we felt as if we were just keeping ahead of the covid wave. After we got back the world put up the fences and went into lockdown. 

This trip feels as if we are being one of the first explorers into a place after the pandemic has ended. Belgium, and later in the week, The Netherlands are just going through the slow process of coming out of (yet another) lockdown.

Funny how we have jumped at the opportunity to go on this jaunt. After all, everyone has got used to staycations. Shows perhaps that there will be a pent up demand for foreign holidays as we gradually come out of hibernation.

It’s very rare for us to go out for Sunday Lunch. In fact I can’t remember when we last did it. Must be decades ago if ever. That’s the effect of having 4 kids. Also, to make most use of the day, we prefer to eat in the evening and although I might have to cook it myself I find I can do at least as good a job, likely better, than a pub or restaurant.  The one difference today will be the availability of beer on tap. Seehowegetoninnit.


Saturday, February 12th, 2022

Lay in bed awake last night. 02.41 on the clock. I was lying on my side and could hear my heartbeat. 

I wondered to myself what would happen if you were in that situation and you suddenly stopped hearing your heart. Is that it? Would you be a silent witness to your demise. Your last few minutes with life slowly ebbing away. What would be going on in your mind?

Would you have the gumption to sit up and bang your chest?

Mine kept on beating and I stopped hearing the pulse when my head shifted position. I can picture seeing me and hearing the heartbeat and then the silence once I’d moved.

Was a busy morning putting the curtain rails back up in the front room. All sorted now although some improvisation was needed. Won’t bore you with the minutiae. Suffice to say I came up with the goods. Blows on finger nails and rubs on shirt.

Now sat in the shed watching Wales v Scotland. We are playing much better than last week. Scores are level half way through the second half. Wales won after an exciting last few minutes innit.

The decorating of the front room has occasioned a rethink of the choice of pictures on the wall. We have some new pics to put up from dad’s flat. Pride of place above the mantelpiece goes to the watercolour of his birthplace, the woollen mill at Maesdulais.

cardboard boxes abound

Monday, February 7th, 2022

Went out early this morning to tidy up a couple of cardboard boxes that had blown across the drive from their place next to the pile of stuff that needs taking to the tip. I might have been in Alaska it were that cold. It’s good though, that it were cold. It is as it should be on the 7th February, 2021.

Alaska is a place I’ve never been but feels worth a visit. No idea when. I’ll stick it on my non-existent list of buckets. We are currently booking into 2024 although plans for 2023 are still very much in draft. The intent is there but it lacks the detail. 

The Berghaus fleece thrown over a t-shirt this morning did not adequately fend off the sense of cold. It seems likely that any visit to Alaska would only be made in the summer but even so I’d probs need another layer or two. This is in marked contrast with September 2023 where the order of the day is very much shorts and t-shirt as we head south for St Tropez, Nice and the delights of the French Riviera.

Later after much toing and froing to the garage for miscellaneous tools the curtain rail is back up in the TV room. It turned out to be a two man job when I discovered that the curtain rings kept sliding off one end. Putting up curtain rails is really something that should always be left to a professional. Just like decorating. Pete the decorator has sorted out the new wallpaper much more quickly and efficiently than I could have done. Pete earns a wage out of it and I don’t get stressed.

I used to do all this sort of DIY but nowadays it’s a lot easier to pay someone.

Later did a trip to the tip. The cardboard boxes are no more.

stretch & flex

Saturday, February 5th, 2022

Stretch and flex class this morning. Only one other bloke there. I need this class as I am stiff as a board. Then into the gym afterwards for a bit of treadmill. 

It’s a good time of day to go. Not too crowded. The biggest issue is being forced to watch daytime TV with subtitles. This morning it was homes under the hammer and something with Gok Wan talking with two women about bra fittings.

At least I had ma tunes.

I’m on mute and rolling the dice. This needs elaboration as I’m not really playing craps, the only dice game that springs to mind. The dice being rolled involves me being in a conference call but on mute. When I type here I’m not really concentrating on the call so risk missing out on something especially if I was being asked a question. I’m sure you’ve all done it.

I’ve just realised that other games involve dice. Monopoly for example and Cluedo. Showing my age there. We have numerous Monopoly sets stored in various places around the house. Mostly in the attic, probs. I don’t remember the last time we played the game. Used to play it a lot when we were kids but there again there wasn’t much else to do on wet Sunday afternoons in Wales. My sister @Sue was renowned for cheating, as I recall 🙂

We don’t play Monopoly anymore because it takes too long. In our modern world where instant gratification is the order of the day there is no place for a board game that takes three hours to play. The shorter, dumbed down version is not worth playing. I may see if a few peeps might want to come round one evening for a game. A Sunday afternoon maybs.

Unusually for me nowadays I had back to back meetings from 9am to 1pm. I also have one more at 2pm so have been able to enjoy a lunch of mackerel pate with various bits of rabbit food. I’m doing the fast 800 keto diet which by and large has tasty meals. The rabbit food was a bit boring which has been quite rare for this diet. Worth Pursuing though as I’ve lost a good stone and a half since Christmas


Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022


The long pause after that opening remark was intentional. It’s because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say afterwards. We’ve all experienced it, almost certainly, probs. On this occasion it is somewhat vexing because this morning I thought of something I figured would be a catalyst for content but it has totally left the brain. Or at least moved somewhere else in the brain without letting me know where.

It would be quite useful to install a google thought history in the brain specifically for occasions like this. With it I wouldn’t periodically spend ages looking for my wallet. This is a patentable idea although it’s implementation will likely take some time and chances are I won’t be around to benefit from it.

When you think about it the concept is quite dangerous. Open to abuse. Mind reading. Government intrusion. Someone’s government somewhere. By not pursuing the idea I am doing everyone a favour. Spending hours looking for your wallet unfortunately is just something we have to put up with to safeguard our privacy.

The other thing about writing the word “well” is that by getting something down on paper, albeit virtual, frees up other word generation as is clearly the case here. Whatever you might think of the words. There is a strong element of “who cares anyway”. I watched a very interesting programme yesterday about Scottish landscape artist James Morrison. It prompted me to look up the prices of his artwork (£2k – £4k) to see if there was anything I fancied buying.

My point though is that in the programme Jim, as I will call him, said that he painted purely for himself. What went down on  the canvas was not necessarily meant to represent what he saw in front of him but what his feelings were at the time and not really for the enjoyment of others.

That is not why I write. In fact I’m not sure I am really at the stage of putting stuff down that represents my innermost feelings. I’m not ready for that degree of baring all although I suspect that anything written can never achieve greatness without it. I might get there one day. If I do it will hopefully be before my brain totally degenerates. 

I have been through a couple or three stages in the process which gives me hope that one day I might get there. The first was when I started This is a blog I have not written for in perhaps five years now but it has several thousand posts and when I started it I kept it quiet because I didn’t really know what people would think. Turned out that ultimately 27,000 unique people a month would think it worth visiting, at its peak.

Then there was poetry. I’ve written poetry at various stages all my life but for a long time kept it quiet. Then one day I thought sod it, I’ll tell people about it and started to put it up on It was amazing how many people came out of the woodwork and told me they wrote poetry as well. Quite a few of them are now published on philospherontap, some under pseudonym. That blog has something like 1,500 posts if I remember rightly. No idea how many visitors it gets because I don’t really care. I do it for myself.

When my interest in poetry started developing I looked around for outlets. I found poetry sites with total drivel on them. People desperately trying to conjure up rhymes without any real skill to go about it. Then I thought who am I to criticise?” People might think the same of my stuff. I did join the Poetry Society and entered a competition. Didn’t get anywhere and then realised that with 70,000 or so entries it was an impossible job to pick a winner. That made me think that belonging to such an organisation was a total waste of time anyway. It was probably full of people who wanted to make themselves look intellectual and that there was a lot of expertise in knowing what poetry was all about. 

That was one of the things that prompted me to publish my stuff myself. Originally philosopherontap was meant to be somewhere that all forms of art and philosophy online come together. I looked into the possibility of getting an arts council grant to sit in the Morning Star pub for a month discussing pub philosophy with anyone who cared to join me. Looked like there was far too much paperwork and bureaucracy to make that one work. 

Finally there ‘s the stuff I write on Facebook. I usually put the same content on philosopherontap but typically that’s a superset of what goes on FB. I wasn’t sure whether people would be interested but I thought I’d write it anyway. I do occasionally get some positive feedback. I suppose those who might think otherwise don’t think it’s worth the effort to tell me.

If I don’t write to bare all I think I do write because I enjoy making words string together well. I sometimes lament the fact that my vocabulary is not wider but there again I was once told by an FT journalist that they were expected to write as if the copy was going to be read by an eight year old. Not that I’m suggesting that you have a reading age of eight. 

There again there was one now deceased but well known food writer who was lauded by his peers but I didn’t like his stuff because I thought he tried to be unnecessarily clever with his use of words just to show he knew more words than the rest of us.

I don’t think I’d stick this stuff on Facebook if I didn’t want people to read it. My philosophy is that if you don’t like it you don’t have to read it.

There you go. All that came from the word “well”. Well I never. Off to play snooker. Ciao.

weather and trip planning

Tuesday, February 1st, 2022

Another day. The temperature should reach 12℃ and bobbles just below that for the next week. Google tells me the average high in Lincoln in February is 7℃ rising from 6℃ in January. It is warmer than the norm.

The wind direction over next week is mostly westerly which may explain it although I have no idea what the February average wind direction is. Looking at the snowstorms that they have been experiencing at this latitude across the pond I’d suggest we need to look elsewhere for the cause.

I have been working on an itinerary for our East Coast trip in October. Starts off with the Pink Martini gig at the Royal Albert Hall then off to NYC for a week. It’s the bit after that I’m working on. We finish up in Boston. That’s it then from the long haul flight perspective although I have enough Avios for another big trip and am giving some consideration to an African safari. Never been on safari proper.

The serious big trip is Ireland and South of France in September 2023 in one of our campervans. This is a real adventure and we will be away for the whole month. An unusual itinerary but it starts with a proposed family get together in Killybegs before heading for some rugby world cup action in Nice. I’ll be blogging every day on subject to being compos mentis.

I nearly wrote compost mentis there. What would that mean? 🙂 A rotting brain I suspect which will probably be the by-product of a month on the pop on holiday with family and rugby friends. Both trips demand a fair bit of planning. 

We will probably be offering our campervans out on a month long hire that September as we won’t be around to manage any maintenance or handovers in Lincoln. Promises to be one helluva trip. We expect to stop in hotels every now and again to recover from campsite living. Nice sees an average of 25℃ in that month. No jumpers in sight. I’m getting excited already.

Nice is our ultimate destination as I have tickets for two games in the city. The experience of trying to buy tickets off the Rugby World Cup website was not good. An unholy free for all involving long queues and a poor system that left everyone with a bad experience. At least I got something in the end. I’m content with watching most games in a bar with the others.

There are in theory six or seven vans and motorhomes heading down there in our group. Not everyone will be there for the whole month I imagine but most of us will be. At least that’s the talk. The beauty of throttling back from full time work. In my game it is possible to work from anywhere in any case. Have 5G will travel. I’ll probably I may have a 5G enabled phone by then. Who knows?