A time of change. Turning over an old leaf.

57 Varieties thoughts

the clock that ticks

It’s 4.30am. Downstairs in the front room I hear a clock ticking. I did not know we had such a mechanical device. There must be a battery involved as clock winding does not form part of our daily routine. The clock has been identified. This must be a device new to the house or why have I never noticed it before? We have no real need for this timepiece. There is always a computer of some sort near to hand with a highly accurate representation of the time. There must be a decorative element to the horological deployment, an aspect upon which I feel largely unqualified to comment. The responsibility of a different department. At this time of day the ticking, soft and barely audible though it may be, represents an unnecessary intrusion competing with the sound of passing cars outside.

The allegorical nature of the ticking clock is also unwanted at this time. 

The sound of the traffic reminds me that we live in an urban environment. With the curtains drawn it should be possible to imagine I am sat in a remote cottage. Outside it is pitch black and devoid of sound other than the wind and rain beating on the window pane. All sensible life forms have their own curtains drawn to the outside world. Heads down. This is not the case where I am sat.

57 Varieties thoughts

Easter Sunday musings

Listening to religious news programme on radio 4. It is Easter so everything is more intense. This is after the recent fire at Notre dame and now a terrorist attack on a church in Sri Lanka. There was also a piece on a monkey God called lord someone or other.

The intensity of the conversation seems to me to exacerbate the strangeness of the whole concept of religion, in particular the organised variety. I get people wanting to know how they got here but the structured way of worshipping a “god” seems very artificial.

57 Varieties thoughts

The forager

One who searches widely over an area in order to obtain something, especially food or provisions.”

This morning I went foraging.

The method:

Settle on a menu for tomorrow’s dinner. Check out what you have in the fridge/cupboard and make note of missing ingredients.

Express your intention is to forage for the requisite foodstuffs. Head to Waitrose with hessian bag.

Patrol aisles occasionally picking up produce and placing in bag. Fill bag.

Exchange money for goods and take home free coffee for life partner.


This will typically work for any menu, exotica aside. The ingredients have to be available in quality supermarkets near you. There are alternative versions involving multiple sources and locations but I am not covering those scenarios in this post. Stick with mainstream cuisines and you will be safe.

Enjoy foraging…


Classic Sunday afternoon in January

Classic Sunday afternoon in January. The wind is howling out there and it will soon be dark accompanied by plummeting temperatures. When I was a kid this would have meant watching a cowboy movie on the TV or perhaps playing a game of Monopoly with my sisters. Just trying to survive Sunday afternoon until the week reset itself and Monday came again.

To some extent very little has changed even though the choice of entertainment has increased massively. It doesn’t feel right sitting in front of the TV all afternoon though. Most of it is rubbish anyway. My alternative is to sit at the table the conservatory looking out at the weather and write.

It will gradually get darker and at some point I will decide I need to turn on the wall lights, dim as they are. The day will have morphed into night. Life will change. Life takes on a different complexion at night in winter. Cosier. As long as you are indoors and warm and the curtains are drawn.

Watching the TV in the evening seems more acceptable.

I’m glad I’m not a plant.

poetry thoughts

Thoughts on poetry

Just come back from Anne’s concert band Christmas Concert where the guests were expected to form a choir. I was ok with this even if it came as a bit of a surprise. We sang some ABBA medleys. I noted two things.

Firstly ABBA’s lead singers were girls who could sing higher notes than I can. Secondly as I stood there staring at the lyrics I realised how sad some of the songs were. ABBA produced some fantastic songs written in the main by the two guys in the band and I pictured in my mind the girls seeing new songs that would become huge hits for the first time and wondering what they thought of them.

This made me think of the whole subject of poetry. That’s what these songs are. Poems written to a tune (or the other way around). A couple of weeks ago Anne and I went to a “Classics with Coffee” morning at the Blue Room in the Lawns. We had a pleasant morning listening to a pianist and, separately, a poet. It struck me at the time that listening to others read out their own poetry doesn’t do it for me. I have to be able to sit there staring at the words on the page, just like I did this morning with the ABBA songs. Now this isn’t to say that I wouldn’t sit there listening to a poet I liked read out their own material but it would definitely be enhanced if I had the words there in front of me.

That is all.


Eurostar and therefore offline

Offline again. Eurostar. Only have a partial Spotify library since I switched SD Cards in my phone. On the plus side I haven’t noticed videos being unresponsive anymore, or at least slow to respond. On the minus side I forgot that I needed to download all my songs. Started doing this but got a long way to go. At least I have a Satchmo album to keep me entertained until connectivity returns.

It has now but bandwidth is normally rubbish so I’m going to type a bit and then post these random ramblings. As I head for the border the clouds seem to be returning to England. Don’t know about Wales and Scotland but experience suggests that the likelihood is they will be the same.

Strumming a bit of Edith Piaf right now. I found out about EP when I first moved to Lincoln. I remember it was a beautiful weekend and I’d bought a bottle of red from the Portuguese guy in the Grapevine off license on Burton Road. He told me to let it breathe for an hour or so. There was nobody else around that day so I fixed myself some steak and chips and consumed the bottle of red to the accompaniment of Edith Piaf and Louis Armstrong. Perfect laid back summer.

Thats where we need to get to. The no responsibility chilled out plateau of youth.

I can’t believe how pants the mobile connectivity is along the UK section of the Eurostar line.

Woman sat opposite has just put a coat on over shirt and cardigan. I’m sat here in a t-shirt.

I keep looking at the mifi to see if any bars have appeared. A forlorn hope.

Summertime is on. The ultimate in laid back cool. I feel as if I want to shut my eyes and float out of my seat

Woman opposite looking bored now. Daughter is engrossed in her iPad and the husband is buried in Auto Gids car magazine looking at listings.

Now onto mood indigo. Serious class.

Can’t quite see what sort of car he’s looking at. It’s all in Flemish, or Dutch anyway. Might as well be Greek. I’d work on today’s greenhouse vid but it doesn’t need anything doing to it. I’ve even left the bit in where I was making Darren move back away from the camera. Just waiting to get to sensible connectivity at the hotel.

Just noticed he has a matching blue coat to hers. He’s put the mag down and is trying to nod off. She’s picked it up. Nice to have mutual interests like that…

Have switched off mini and trying the train wifi. It uses cellular connections so unlikely to be much better. Especially in the tunnel. Might succumb and head to the bar for something to do.

Have moved to something livelier – Summertime Throwbacks album.

Just declined the standard onboard fare in favour of a can of Kronenbourg. It is a Bank Holiday in Belgium after all. Meeting Andrea at the hotel at 7.30pm to go for a meal. No point in filling myself with cardboard quiche and rice salad and spilling the modules frites, or whatever lies in store.

I’m staying at the Hilton Grande Place. It’s about the cheapest I’ve ever seen it – the EC lot are all away on holidays or similar. As a Hilton Diamond member they have already upgraded me to a King Exec Junior Suite. Makes life easier.

Interesting speeding through the flat countryside en route to Brussels. Big WW1 battleground of course. You do occasionally get a glimpse of a cluster of war graves. Symmetrical. Orderly in death and quite unlike the chaos that was almost certainly the environment in which they died. We don’t know how lucky we are. Live life to the full. It’s the appropriate way to honour the war dead. I look out of the window and imagine ranks of soldiers marching to the front.

This offline state has meant that I can’t do any work. Was sort of thinking of preparing for tomorrow’s meeting. Already done most of it but you can never do too much preparation innit.

Spotify is slowly downloading. There is a trickle to mobile dat making it through. As if it was escaping through enemy lines:)

The country side is full of greens and browns about to become greens. The cows are sat down. Cmon ladies, up you get. Can’t having this pessimism.

Bit of Abba on now. I accidentally clicked on my fave’s playlist when checking how many songs had downloaded.

About to arrive at Lille. I think it’s only 30 mins or so after that.

Little ole Lille. Underground station. Not particularly memorable or grand. Crap really. Maybe there is a grand old station above us. Lille Centrale.

She is now doing her lipstick. Occasional bursts of connectivity coming through. One or two Facebook Messages and Slack.

Very industrial agricultural landscape around us. Large scale stuff. Huge fields.

I think I may soon be able to upload this.


If all my online presence disappeared…

The hot topic at the moment is whether to delete your Facebook presence. In my mind I’ve extended this to the idea of all online trace of you being deleted.

It’s a strange concept for someone who has spent much of his adult life building up an online presence (ok being able to “go online” hasn’t existed for that much of my adult life!). 3,000 or so blog posts on and maybe 1,500 on All my Facebook posts. It is all part of me. An extension of me. It’s an online diary. Autobiography. A means by which people will be able to look back and get a picture of Tref.

I’m not sure how I would feel if all this was deleted. It doesn’t really matter in the great scheme of things. We are all destined for oblivion anyway.

I guess my philosophy is that life is one big work of participation art. I try to participate. If one avenue was blocked off I’d have to find another route whatever that route was.

That’s all.


My specs need a clean

My specs need a clean. It is surely the work of seconds to whip them off and wipe with my shirt. In fact I’ve just done it. Much better now. I’m sure you understand. Clarity.

Anne is in the kitchen. I assume so anyway. I am sat in the TV room with the TV switched off. Nothing on worth watching. Rarely is tbh. Anne always keeps herself busy.

A red light flashes on the cordless phone  by the settee. I’m not sure the phone works any more or at least it needs a new battery. I’ll stick it on the jobs list.

Over on the settee there is a dress, black with red, pink and grey tulips. Pretty sure they are tulips. I think it’s going on eBay. Anne wears them a few times and moves them on.

The weather forecast for Easter weekend is not good. Easter is still over a week away but here in Lincoln we feel that Spring can happily now enter into our lives. Existence.

I have been reading Mussolini, His Part in My Downfall by Spike Milligan. This is volume IV. I’ve just finished vols 1 – 3. Note inconsistent numbering conventions there. Reb.

Been moving some books around. Need more space in the big bookcase in the living room where all my history books and the Welsh and Manx interest stuff resides. Book demotion.

The printer is silent. It sits there patiently, waiting to spew forth. Maybe it’s watching me. We ignore it most of the time but it is connected, hackable. The answer lies in the socket.

The featured image is a random photograph just taken for the very purpose. Felt a change was needed from the philosopherontap logo, excellent that it is. Specs have been cleaned.


Soon I will die

and be forgotten

I am a baker. I have mastered the basic art of survival. I make bread. I put food on the table for my family. My cow provides us with milk, butter and cheese. I brew ale and use the yeast which is a by product of the brewing process in my bread. Bread cheese and ale are all I really need. The wheat for the bread is grown in the fields around my house and is stored in jars I keep for the purpose. I keep pigs and hens and sometimes catch fish and wildfowl from the rivers, fields and woods around me. This is all hard work. My back is bent and you can count the years in the lines on my face. Soon I will die and be forgotten.

I am a baker. I buy the flour, salt, butter and yeast from the supermarket. I like baking my own bread. I do it for my own personal satisfaction and not out of a need to feed the family. Survival is not my game. Occasionally I cook meals using the finest ingredients money can buy. I spend my years getting the most out of them. Laughter has lined my face and I like to drink ale. I have time on my hands. Soon I will die and be forgotten.

the art gallery thoughts

which came first

post box or berries?

the art gallery thoughts


the North East wind blows

Chill descends over city. Wind from the North East. Norway. Siberia maybe. Sideways glance into alleyway.  Homeless man huddles. Dirty sleeping bag.

Wind direction for him not good.

Did not stop. Climbed hill home. More coal on fire.

What is wrong with world?


Death of a man

Gaia accepts returns

I found out recently that someone who lived nearby had died a few months ago. I had not noticed the passing of this person. I doubt that he will be missed by many if anyone, other than perhaps his wife. Another leaf fallen from the tree of life and reclaimed by Gaia.

chinks thoughts

Dead Hedgehog

first victim of winter

We on this planet, we are all the same. We all have the same basic needs. Food, water, shelter and good health. This applies whether you’re human or wild animal, in this case hedgehog. A lack of one of the basics has led to its demise. I almost wrote untimely demise but who is to say what is timely. We all want a long and happy life but we all have to go sometime. When that time comes has a strong element of luck. This guy ran out of luck. It’s worth thinking about the hedgehog for a short while and then moving on. If the body is still there tomorrow I’ll move it into the flower bed where it can be scavenged or simply decompose, away from the full glare of the kitchen. Goodbye hedgehog. Although we never knew you we liked you.