3rd law

3rd Law Part 36 cold hands and tiddlywinks

Typing with cold hands is a lot slower going and one is prone to make mistakes. Have you ever noticed? I specifically mention this because my hands are at present cold. It’s been a sunny day but there is an edge to it, especially since next door’s sycamore tree is casting a substantial shade over the conservatory.

The weekend est arrivee as they say in Paris, and Perpignan. Tools have been downed and I’m in for a bit of relaxing third law, some mental escapism. Is all escapism mental anyway? I suspect there is strong mental element to it. We all like to dream. I’m a dreamer. Why not?

Although life is wonderful sometimes the real world needs hiding from. You only have to look at the news. Ever noticed that the news is normally mostly bad news? Who needs it? Just switch off that damn telly will you?

I’m sat in the kitchen because cooker is on and it is giving off heat. The hands are slowly warming up. I’ve donned a pair of socks. On my feet not my hands. If I put socks on my hands I probably wouldn’t be able to type at all, let alone slowly. Counterproductive. Socks on hands.

Mind you there are occasions when socks on hands are lifesavers. In Antartica for example. If you went to Antartica and forgot to take your gloves you wouldn’t last long. In that scenario it would be very useful to wear a pair of socks on your hands. A few pairs even, depending on how thick the socks were. Make sure you still have a pair or two for your feet though because taking your socks off your feet to warm up your hands would mean your feet get cold which is no good either.

If you haven’t got enough spare pairs of socks and can’t borrow any from anyone else then the only sensible recourse is to turn around and head for home. As quickly as your sock encrusted feet will carry you. And make sure you don’t touch any bare metal with your bare hands. Bad news.

There I go again. Talking about bad news. Move on Tref baby. Move on. I only used Antartica as an example, like I said. An extreme one. It could have been any other cold place, like Farenheit’s shed or wherever it was he discovered that you could go colder than zero degrees centigrade. Must have come as a big surprise to find out that you could get colder than nought degrees. Bet he chuckled to himself and said “hey hey hey, wait until I tell the boys about this”.

The boys in question, and I can’t say I’m absolutely certain about this, would have been his fellow scientists at the local science club. They meet at the local church hall on every third Thursday of the month unless it is a Bank Holiday.  Quite interesting, the stuff they talk about. How to turn corned beef into gold. The difference between green flux and pink flux, whatever they are. And don’t ask me why I said corned beef. It just came out that way. Lead would have been more believable although lead is a fairly expensive metal itself. Not as expensive as gold mind you which is ridiculously expensive.

Gold has also caused lots of problems. Wars and small scale armed robberies. When I say small scale I do not seek to minimise the impact of the armed robbery itself. It can’t be very nice to be subjected to an armed robbery. “Hands up or I’ll shoot” or “hands up and you are mincemeat” or words to that effect. I’d stick my hands up pdq. Innit?

It isn’t just gold that robbers so armed robberies for. Sometimes it’s cash, I assume or broccoli. You’d want to be a pretty desperate armed robber to commit such a heinous crime for the sake of a crown of broccoli. Desperate or totally thick which isn’t out of the question. I imagine most armed robbers end up getting caught. They got all the great train robbers in the end didn’t they? I dunno.

I’ve never considered doing an armed robbery myself. I was well brought up. I know the difference between right and wrong. Make love not war. Man. My parents didn’t specifically put it like that but they’d probably agree with me.

Cut to a flashback from Tref’s childhood

Little Tref: “Dad is it ok if I take my cowboy gun down to the post office and do an armed robbery. I need some money for sweets”.

Dad: “No son. Armed robbery isn’t right. People would be frightened for their lives and someone would be deprived of their money”.

Little Tref: “Oh really? Ok then dad, I won’t”.

End of flashback

I do remember having a cowboy outfit when I was a kid. I had a pistol and a holster. Think I might have had a rifle too.  I remember once having my photograph taken by a parent and putting some dust in the barrel of the gun so that it looked like smoke coming out. Disappointingly it wasn’t visible in the photo. We lived in a council owned house with a tennis court out the back. I don’t think the net was there anymore.  I would have been too small to play tennis anyway. Probably wouldn’t have been able to see over the net. Happy days.

Now I have problems, worries, things that keep me awake at night. Actually I don’t particularly. That isn’t to say I don’t wake up in the middle of the night sometimes. Often due to the consumption of beer the previous evening. When I do wake up I sometimes pick up the phone and watch the Twitter stream.  Because most of the people I follow on Twitter are in the UK there isn’t very much action there in the middle of the night.

When I started out on Twitter I followed a load of Americans. It didn’t take me long to realise that this was a mistake. I’ve nothing against Americans but culturally their tweets were different to mine. Talk about going to the mall or grade school or who the Pirates are playing today. Don’t ask me who the Pirates are or what sport they are playing. I just made the name up though there could well be a team called the Pirates. Sounds as if they should come from Pittsburgh or Pensylvania. Not Penang though because that’s not in America. It’s in Malaysia. I know my geography. Unlike the pool attendant who I chatted with at a hotel in San Jose once. He asked me where I was from and I told him “The UK”. “Is that near London” he said. Hey!

I spend quite a few evening unfollowing those Americans. There isn’t a block unfollow tool on Twitter. Took me ages. Worth it in the end though. I still follow some Americans. Have to have someone to keep me entertained during those middle of the night sleepless vigils.

When you wake up too early and then nod off again that’s the best bit of sleep I find. It’s a real result. V refreshing. The dreams you have during that time are the best. Not that I can ever remember them.

I wrote a poem once about surfing the internet when my eyes were closed. There were screens on the inside of my eyelids. Cool or what? I once woke up with my eyes closed. I remember saying to myself “hey I’m awake but my eyes are closed”. Cool huh. Anne would never have found out though in actual fact she was probably asleep herself even though she is a light sleeper. It’s a totally useless fact anyway. Never going to appear in a pub quiz. And I don’t like pub quizzes. They are full of questions about football and TV soaps and other subjects I absolutely know nothing about.

The one quiz question answer that sticks in my mind is “Also sprach Zarathustra”. Not sure if I got the spelling right there. Actually I’m not even sure I know what the question is. Something to do with music but no idea who or what. Just sounded like a handy answer to me. Far more interesting that “Eastenders” or “Manchester United”.

I have to tell you that I have only watched Eastenders once or twice ever. And then probably not the whole programme. How people can waste their time on rubbish I will never know. Far better to spend it writing sections of the 3rd Law. Far more useful. I’ve watched Manchester United a few times. On the telly. Not that I am a Man U fan or even a football fan. It’s just that when you are a sportsman you watch sport, whatever that sport is. Even tiddly winks. Though I don’t think they televise tiddlywinks. Maybe I should suggest it to Skysports.

Actually no. It needs to be a free to air channel. I don’t pay for my TV, apart from the TV License. I certainly wouldn’t pay to watch tiddly winks. I just said that for effect. I can see you all now. “TIDDLY WINKS TF?!!!”

Hey. It takes all sorts.

3rd Law Part 35 here

3rd Law Part 37 here

3rd law

3rd Law Part 25 – the emotional rollercoaster

It’s one of those gentle rain on the conservatory roof days. We need the rain and I am reasonably happy for it to fall especially as I did all the outside jobs earlier. The rain on the roof is one of those highly relaxing sounds. It probably comes with gentle vibrations that make the difference. I’ve been down the cricket nets with Johnnyboy. Rain stopped our play and we retired to the clubhouse to stare out the big plate glass windows at the covers. Rain stop play is also very relaxing. Frustrating for the players I’m sure but hey. I’m in a selfish self-centred mood. Not a bad one and it isn’t affecting anyone else. It’s just that sometimes you have to think of yourself and not worry about the fact that twenty two players, a couple of umpires and the travelling entourage are sat there wondering when the darn rain will stop and they can get on with the game.

I quite like a bit of time on my own, looking out at the rain maybe or just stood at the bar in the Morning Star having a quiet pint. I get quite lonely if I am left on my own for too long such as when Anne takes the kids off to her folks for a few days whilst I am still at work. I can’t cope with it for too long as my tendency is to go out with the boys whilst she is away and that is totally knackering. Two nights out on the trot and now I’m dead.

That makes tonight dangerous as it will be the fourth night out on the trot and we are having a boozy Sunday lunch with friends the following day so it will make it even worse. Ah well. Such is life. Such is the hectic gadabout way we get on with things. Did you like that word gadabout. Not sure when I last heard it. It certainly isn’t in common usage these days. Sounds almost Shakespearean. Probably isn’t. I suspect it is a child of the fifties, introduced to lighten up the post world war two grey austerity of British society. A kind of bright pink word where everything else is in black and white. It survived the swinging sixties but has gradually grown obsolete as its hard core fanbase begins to die off.

Bit morbid all of a sudden and total nonsense of course. I do own a copy of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. Two magnificent volumes purchased from some book club or other when I was younger than today. I could look the word up there. However I am not really that bothered. I could also Google it which would be more in keeping with the nature of this work but again it doesn’t matter. I don’t want you to do it either. I want you to forever have the question in your head. “What is the origin of the word gadabout and is it still in common usage?”

I’m teasing you now. Playing with your emotions like a fisherman plays a salmon that dances out of the water and in a fit of furious pique at having been hooked, sets off on a direct line to the far bank. I don’t know how that particular story plays out because we leave the scene before it has finished. We never find out whether the fish was caught and if so how big it was. All we have is the memory of the ripple in the water heading away from us as we turn and walk on down the river bank to the bridge at the far end of the meadow and continue our journey.

It was definitely a meadow not a field. Meadow sounds much better. Field is too abrupt. The meadow may even have the odd cow quietly grazing, looking carelessly at the scene before her (note correct gender choice) before dropping her head to tear out another mouthful of the lush green grass. I can’t quite make out what sort of cow she is.

Definitely not a Friesian. I’d know a Friesian if I saw one. White with black patches, unless it’s black with white patches. It matters not. Also definitely not a doe eyed Jersey. That’s my description not the official name. A Jersey is just a Jersey. Not a pullover. It might have been a Hereford but we have now moved on and are now out of camera shot.

Over the rise we see a totally unexpected sight. It is a huge open cast mine. A real eyesore and not at all in keeping with the pleasant scene that we have just left. Large Toy trucks that from this distance look almost like ants carry vast quantities of ore to huge conveyor belts that disappear over the horizon. Your emotions are now confused, angry even. How can this have been allowed to happen. Well shit happens baby. Shit happens. Like I said I’m playing with you. There’s a lot going on in this scene. A brutal tattooed gangster holds a beautiful woman at knife point. What’s he going to do? A kid runs after his ball into the path of one of the giant trucks. The driver can’t see that low down…

Let’s look away. Don’t want any of this stuff. Give me nice. Give me laughter and the clink of glasses. Give me the sound and smell of a new born baby. Give me good news. I don’t want no crap.

I don’t know how this colloquial stuff crept in here. It’s not like me to say “I don’t want no crap”. I’m not from the Bronx or Yonkers or anywhere like that. I assume they say that sort of thing in the Bronx and Yonkers though you do have to ask yourself where on earth they got the name Yonkers. I’m not asking about Bronx. Bronx sounds plausible to me but Yonkers? Gimme a break will ya?

It’s getting a bit cold here. I might run a hot bath. We are off out tonight, as you know.

Part 24 ere

Part 25 ere

3rd law

3rd Law Part 16 – voicemail

Voicemail! It used to be called answerphone but not anymore. Blame it on globalization. I wonder who first thought of calling it that. Presumably someone from a former colony, the good ole u s of a. I don’t mind really though there are some things that could be different. Spellings for one and the fact that quite often when filling in a drop down form online when it comes to the choice of country you often find United States first in the list. Clearly a spelling problem for the software developer who must think that U comes before A though if you follow that logic The United Kingdom, Uruguay and the United Arab Emirates would also be before Australia, Azerbaijan and any other country beginning with the first letter of the alphabet.

There must be another reason that the USA comes first in the list though I can’t for the life of me think what it might be. Must be having a bit of a mental block. Senior moment though obv I’m not old enough to have one of those.








Oh sorry just nodded off there for a bit. Head must have hit the return button on the keyboard. I’ve probably got a back to front carriage return symbol imprinted on my forehead. I know it doesn’t work like that really but the idea is a goodun. In the old days of the typewriter it couldn’t have happened. As soon as your head hit the keyboard, or whatever it was called way back then, one or more of the metal bits with the letter moulded into the end would have sprang up and hit you in the eye. The resultant sharp pain would almost certainly have woken you up and having cleaned the ink off your face you would have continued typing, clacking away clickety clack clickety clack (for that was the sound of the typewriter dear reader).

Reading that last sentence you could be forgiven for thinking that the sound of the typewriter was very similar to that of a train – many readers will not have heard a typewriter in action except maybe in an old black and white movie film.

Reality is very different. Oh yes. A train sound might be described as a clickety clack clickety clack but believe you me it is a far deeper and more resonant sound than the typewriter. Perhaps it needs a different font. I don’t know. A train would also have the occasional choo choo and chuff chuff slotted into the text so that it would really be quite clear that it wasn’t the sound of a typewriter being depicted on the page.

Both are historical entities now though we still have trains. They tend not to have the chuff chuff bit unless you are at a railway museum so somewhere like that. I quite like going to railway museums and riding on steam trains. I once went on an excursion on the Union of South Africa, the last steam train to leave Kings Cross station on a passenger service. It’s a Gresley A4 Pacific – the same design as the Mallard which still holds the world speed record for a steam train. This particular trip was full of anoraks nerds train enthusiasts who had all brought goggles with them so that they could stick their heads out of the window of the moving train without worrying about the soot and grit from the engine getting in their eyes. It was quite funny seeing their faces covered in black soot but with white bits around the eyes – as if they had been skiing. There was another moment where one of the enthusiasts walked quickly through each carriage telling everyone we had just reached seventy five miles per hour. I don’t think we were meant to be going over seventy so this was extreme flouting of the railway authorities. Huh, come and get us, if you can find us…

As it happens we have a train set laid out in the attic. It’s a big L shaped attic, maybe seven metres by seven metres and the layout itself is around 7 metres by three metres. It doesn’t go around the L shaped bit if you can imagine it. There are three loops so that’s roughly 60 metres of train track and we have a number of engines including, wait for it, The Union of South Africa. Get on!

It doesn’t get played with very much. Building the layout was an excuse for a few beers on a Sunday afternoon whilst listening to some old records. That’s vinyl, not mp3 download, iTunes, shared, pirated, streamed or any other modern format. Ok the occasional LP has a scratch but by and large they are ok.

The deck isn’t in the attic anymore though. One of the kids has it in their bedroom. Retro is cool these days and I do have 250 or so LPs to play including Led Zeppelin’s 4th album in green vinyl. I bought it off my pal Rhys at Bangor University. One of my favourite LPs was Frank Sinatra’s greatest Hits which I left on the deck one day. I got back to my room and the sun had melted it. It was all crinkled. I was gutted. I’ve never been able to find that same record again.

That’s life as we know it Jim. I used to watch that programme as a kid but not kept up with the multitudinous series’ since. What was it called? Star Trek that was it. Sorry if I sound a bit dim there. I don’t keep up with telly stuff.

When we were kids we used to watch a lot of telly. Nowadays the kids get chastised for spending too much time in front of a screen but we used to do it all the time. Ok I also used to read a lot but still watched far too much TV. Saturday mornings were great – White Horses, The Lone Ranger, The Banana Bunch. They don’t make em like that anymore. I have a lot of books these days though I don’t read as much as I used to.

When we started to have kids I began to buy up some of the books of my childhood. I wanted my own offspring to share in my boyhood experience. I gave all of mine away which I regret now. I bought a few Enid Blyton Famous Five’s. My god what drivel! To think I used to love them. It just shows how tastes have changed and also how little literature there was around for kids in those days. Blyton was a pioneer.

Nowadays you can get stuff like Alex Ryder that is truly gripping true to life adventure stuff. Well I know it isn’t really true to life but it all feels totally plausible. You should read one or two – you’ll be hooked. Same goes for Harry Potter who is totally believable. I need to get myself one of those wands. You have to use them carefully though because they can do some pretty powerful stuff. Levitation for example. Never saw any teleporting like they do in Star Trek but I guess Star Trek was (is?) much further into the future where technology is that much more advanced.

Harry Potter is in the here and now. It must be. I’ve seen the sign for platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross Station. QED.

3rd law part 15 here

3rd law part 17 here