Archive for November, 2022


Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022

It is dark out. I like the dark early evenings yanow. Cosy. Roast chichen for dinner. Tasty.

The run up to Christmas is fast approaching. Not there yet but plans will have had to be made. Trefbash is planned a year ahead and there are some calendar items that are also regular dates in the diary. Our Christmas party is on the Saturday of the Lincoln Christmas Market. Every year for the last 30 odd years. The Morning Star carol session is on the Wednesday before Christmas. No idea when that started.

Kids travel plans are in place, mostly. Everyone still comes home. It will not always be thus but for the moment it is so. It is good.

When I were a lad it was always the Crosby Hotel on Christmas Eve with the Crosby Silver Band. Then we would head into Douglas to party. Christmas morning, pre kids, could be a bit of a blur. Kids stopped all that, especially when it became physically impossible to transport everyone to the Isle of Man and keep the presents hidden.

By the time Christmas Day arrives we are usually partied out. There is an element of survival involved in making it to New Year. The weather is usually rubbish and we scrabble around for something to keep ourselves occupied. 

In recent years the Cooksons and Davieses take it in turns to visit each other for a couple of nights starting on Boxing Day. These are good get-togethers of the Davies clan. Gets expensive when you consider we need four hotel rooms. Who is counting 🙂

I’m not a big New Years Eve fan. I prefer to stay in with a steak and a very decent bottle of red. Don’t really get the Auld Lang Syne thing. A bit artificial in my mind. 

I also like the self imposed austerity that January brings. Most of us look at it as an effort to shift the pounds put on during the hedonistic ten days of mid winter feasting, in practice nowadays the month or more of larging it up. Historically it is nothing to do with shifting the pounds. It was more likely due to the need to make sure supplies lasted until the next harvest. Not any more.

I like the run up to Christmas.

Blurry life

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022

Blurry start to the day after yesterday’s long lunch that lasted until 10pm. Slow boat to Lincoln leaves Gare Du Nord at 10.13am. Makes no Seines that sentence. It is all a state of mind. Reality is racing.

There’s an Irish bar next to the Moulin Rouge. O’Sullivans by the Mill. They will be open now. Last night a quickly faded memory.

The food at Au Boin Coin was a lukewarm disappointment. The wine was fine. All things come to pass. We move on. I’m glad I have memories of good times there. 

We ended up at a local bar near the hotel. The French were playing the Aussies at Association Football. The home supporters were very animated. Emotional you know, the French.

It is Thanksgiving in the USA tomorrow. I feel as if I can identify with this having recently stayed opposite the beach in Cape Cod where the Mayflower pilgrims first landed and then subsequently visiting Plymouth across the water.

The age of Steven has been left inconspicuously behind us.   The borough of Pete lies ahead.

Down the tracks. Wrong side of the tracks. Track twenty nine.

Your left hand doesn’t look right.

Take it easy. Easy on Wednesday afternoon. As the song goes.

Running 15 minutes late into Nuarque due to a near miss at Biggleswade level crossing. The wade of Biggles. Big Les.

Trefbash is two weeks tomorrow. Make sure you bring your dancing shoes.

The sabbath

Sunday, November 20th, 2022

It is the sabbath. My attention will turn to all things spiritual. To facilitate this I will put on my best suit and not do anything that might be seen as enjoying myself. This afternoon I shall sit in our best room, reserved solely for the purpose and for the occasional receiving of visitors, and drum my fingers in a bored manner on a sideboard.

Dang it I’ve just realised I don’t have a suit. That royally buggers up the plan. Instead I’m now having the usual relaxed start to the day. Slept well, particularly assisted by a certain amount of beer consumed over the course of four games of rugby yesterday.  A long day. I didn’t make it beyond the end of the first half of the Ireland game whereupon I withdrew to the TV room to watch the snooker with Anne.

I have breakfasted both well and trendily on crushed avocado on sourdough toast. Didn’t have any avocado left so this was replaced by bacon and mushrooms. I realise that this makes it a completely different dish but just thought I’d have a bit of a play there 🙂

Today I have a number of tasks in mind including the fitting of the new bike carrier to the car and chucking the box as it takes up a lot of room in the hall. Once I’ve done that I’ll need to find somewhere to store the bike rack. A place has been identified in the garage. 

This place is currently taken up by a top box that has not been used for many years. In fact I doubt it was used much at all in its day. The top box therefore needs to be disposed of, on Facebook Marketplace along with a number of roof bars that fitted cars long since sold on and likely now recycled into spitfires or tanks or railings or whatever they do with old cars these days.

The useful life of the top box was short because we bought a trailer. The trailer served us well for perhaps ten years of camping and family holidays before being consigned to the corner of the front garden as a storage for old camping gear that would probably now better be consigned to the municipal recycling centre (ie council tip). A trip to the tip also features on the jobs list as we have a number of bits and bobs next to the bins that need taking down there.

I suspect the time is also nearly upon us where I need to flog the trailer. It has a lockable lid and still plenty of useful life in it. Someone will want it. We don’t need it as nowadays we have a large 4×4 that fits two of us and a load of luggage in extreme comfort and which can take an expedition roof rack with side ladder should I ever want the expansion space. I’ll probs buy the expedition roof rack with side ladder anyway as it looks v cool. Would be v good for our expedition to the South of France in September next year.

Anyone else planning a trip to France for the Rugby World Cup?

I Sit

Saturday, November 19th, 2022

In the early morning darkness I sit. Nothing to be seen. It is absurd that I am awake. I am totally alone. To all intents and purposes stranded millions of light years from anyone with whom I might be able to communicate. Total isolation. 

My laptop provides a surreal connection with the rest of ‘humanity’. Online activity is far away. Cricket in Australia. Doesn’t really matter whether it is a 14 hour flight or a million years at the speed of light. It is elsewhere. Outside the dark space of the room.

I sense that I can hear air molecules vibrating against my inner ear. No noise. No sound. I become very aware of my body. Almost imagine the blood being pumped around it. I feel lucky that my blood is contained within the appropriate arteries and veins. Would be bad news otherwise. The occasional wheeze from a nostril. My little toe. I never give my little toes a thought but I do now. Scratch nose.

Makes you realise that you are in a state of living. The alternative does not exist. There is no state of not being alive.It is fortunate that I am able to give this some thought. A descent into isolation driven despair has not yet started.

The day ahead has a sporting nature. Four rugby matches. This is challenging and requires much preparation. I never shave on the day of a game of rugby. Never have. Would always shave after the match. I did shave yesterday. fwiw.

Strange concept: the shave. Without it we would all be very hairy. The blokes anyway. What’s that all about? Why do men have hairy faces and women not? There will be a reason. I’m not so interested as to want to spend time finding out. I just ask the questions.

It is important to have a good breakfast the morning of a game of rugby. The nature of the breakfast will be different depending on whether you plan on running around the pitch for eighty minutes or consuming quantities of beer before settling down to watch the game. Amazes me that I used to run around a rugby pitch for that length of time. Goodness me. 

Today’s breakfast will prepare me for the armchair. The full cooked job. May not have tomatoes in but the tomato can be sacrificed. The sacrificial tomato. A new concept. Unlikely that this exists in any other culture.

I sense that the cricket is not going as well as we might like but it is too early to tell. Game of two halves. The option of watching it in the shed is there but I am not confident that it will be a sufficiently rewarding experience to merit heading to the bottom of the garden. I’m settling for the occasional glance at the score.

There is no off season for sport anymore. As a consumer I am ok with this. Cricket season ends. They go on tour. I realise that this is largely motivated by money but I am ok with that. It justifies my subscription to the Sky Sports channel and allows me the luxury of telling myself that the picture is great and wasn’t it well worth spending the dosh 🙂

Time to make the tea.

Park Lane

Saturday, November 19th, 2022

There is a fair in Hyde Park. It looks like a classic setup with roller coaster, big wheel and one of those tall towers that drop you from a great height. It looks surprisingly as if it belongs to the space, nestled as it is amongst the autumnal trees. 

The park itself is an oasis totally surrounded by sprawling concrete. Red London double deckers move effortlessly and silently along Park Lane. There is little to be heard from the nineteenth floor.

Five union jacks briskly demonstrate on high.

I had planned to go for a walk in the park this morning but I am totally stuffed after a very full breakfast with John. My challenge now is to survive the upcoming lunch at the Punjab.

Silence of the lounge. Only resident to begin with until, believe it or not, Bill Thomas walked in. Small world. Sat now looking out on the traffic on Park Lane. London black cabs of all colours stream by. My bose phones shut out most of the background noise although I can half hear a conversation.

Hyde Park is a nice spot to stroll around after breakfast of a morning. Really the only reason to stay here other than the prestigious address. I wanted a hotel in Islington but they were playing hard to get.

ad hoc

Wednesday, November 16th, 2022

The kitchen shows the remains of breakfast, as yet uncleared. On the butcher’s block the component ingredients are still in view. The wall has a proud display of four photos of grown up children. Cooker light is on. Clock ticks. Life still.

Off to the smoke for a gig. Pylons are playing the O2 Academy Islington. Staying at the Park Lane Hilton. Not by any means the nearest hotel but the two in Islington were sold out. I will need to change trains in Nuarque. The next direct train doesn’t get me there in time for a conference call.

The murmur of conversation floats over my shoulder. Occasional laughter. Those in front of me sit there quietly. Listening.

On the platform opposite a member of staff lets himself through a door marked “Private”. Goods train trundles through the station.

Easy day ahead. Decision of the day? Tube or cab.

We fly past the Students Union and on through the University of Lincoln, split in half as it is by the railway line. A tale of two campuses.

North Hykeham and Swinder by. 

A still day on the Lincolnshire Nottinghamshire borders. Crops remain in some fields whilst others have been put to the plough. Endless countryman toil.

Colling ham and Nuarque.

A man buried in a book. History of Thieves by Ian Cobain. Nags with coats adopt various poses.

Farmer accompanied by two dogs poised with shotgun in middle of large grassy field. Nothing else in sight.

No ticket check on train but we did need to scan QR code at the barrier.

Dark early. Dar curly.

Monday, November 7th, 2022

Dark early. Dar curly.

Dunno bout you but I’m sat here letting my breakfast go down before getting some jobs done and heading to Caadiff for the weekend. Paolo Nutini gig tomorrow night followed by Wales v All Blacks on Saturday. A let your hair down weekend in prospect methinks, if ya knowworramean.

Probs get my hair cut whilst I’m there which I realise is somewhat contradictory to the ‘let my hair down’ comment. Unless it means down on the floor. In snippets, so to speak. When I last had my hair cut in Cardiff it was at a Turkish barber around the corner from my sister Sue’s and I wasn’t particularly impressed with it so would need to find somewhere different.

There is a scenario whereby I leave it until London on the 8th December which is the date of the next trefbash. I had a brilliant cut and wet shave before last year’s trefbash60. Barber called Andrea, recommended by my cousin Ken who knows about these things. 

Maybs that’s what I’ll do innit. In fact I’ve just checked and their website won’t let me book beyond 2nd December so will sort it out in a week or so.

I’m driving a different car to Caadiff. LandRover have lent me an Evoque as mine is in the garage getting fixed. Quite nippy fair play. I’ll need to be careful though having only yesterday received a speeding notice from the local Bill. First one in perhaps ten years. I try to be a good boy these days.

If you fancy a beer tonight I’ll be in the Crafty Devil at around 5pm and thence to the Corp before hitting a curry.

Silence. Either I’m getting deaf or Cardiff is quiet at 9am on a Sunday morning. Everyone is at home getting ready to go to chapel. Probably a bit of both. Or recovering from the rugby day out yesterday.

Fairly easy morning in prospect. My only deadline is to pick Anne up at 16.35 from Newark Northgate. Might stroll out to get some more milk in for breakfast. Sue’s place is handy for the shops.

I feel a potato rosti coming along this morning. Why the devil not? Sbeenawhile. See what ingredients are in.

The tree outside the bedroom window is covered with red berries. Not too many leaves left. A mixture of yellow, green and russet. If I watch them long enough I daresay I will see a leaf fall. 

I have been inspired to play Les Feuilles Mortes on Spotify. Yves Montand. Not Edith. It’s a great version. Just came across it. Will play both. We are off to Paris in a couple of weeks. Already getting into the mood.

Later the living room is also silent but for the sound of two keyboards. Interesting to listen to the two different tapping techniques. There is poetry in it. That’s a new concept. The sound of the words being written and the actual poetry.

Outside it still rains. Not biblical. Merely relaxing. This is Wales. From where I am sat I have a picturesque view of the courtyard that is Sue’s garden. It is a good space.

There is an element of calm before the storm to the morning, the storm being my having to jump in the car for an extremely boring drive home. Motorway more or less all the way. Looking forward to seeing Anne 🙂

The good space. Calming. Shoulderrelaxing. Feel the tensions draining away. That’s a good word, ‘shoulderrelax’. Unlikely to ever make the Oxford English Dictionary but that doesn’t take away the simple fact that it has merit. It is important to keep the double rr as is the true pronunciation which is effectively to speak the two words shoulder and relax in rapid succession. The speaker should not be tempted into saying shoul derrelax which means nothing. Nothing at all. Stupid. 

Feels good to have invented a new word. All words vanish into the ether in time but this one should be savoured whilst it lasts. A quick and easy way to demolish a word would be to turn it into an anagram. An act of vandalism. 

In one sense you could look at it as an example of creativity in the same sense as a beautiful pot being destroyed and all the pieces glued back together being seen as a work of art in its own right. 

In the case of the word and the anagram the end result is unlikely to be appreciated in the same way as the pot. The anagram is unlikely to be able to show the same meaning as the original word. Maybe I’m wrong. No one cares really including me 🙂

Storm a brewing. Only sensible place to be on a night like this is at home in front of the fire. Metaphorical fire in my case as I am sat in the shed where the heating is provided by the diffused background warmth of a panel heater.

The shed is brightly lit. It has not yet switched to the mood lighting normally prevalent when occupied during the hours of darkness. It is not dark outside although nearly so.

Listening to James Taylor. Feeling v mellow. The shed is a bit of a refuge from the building storm.

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Monday, November 7th, 2022

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