Tis evening. Outside, the temperature has dropped below zero and all sensible beings have kept to their lairs. It is not a night to be abroad. For some it is their first winter. For many it will be their last. Struggle’s end. A frozen lifeless body. No time to mourn. Survival.
It was long since ordained that Sunday mornings should be a time of rest. Relaxation. With that in mind I tuned the sonos in the living room to Classic FM only to discover I had arrived in the middle of an ad break. For KFC! Did I hear that right? Fortunately calm has now been restored and I am listening to a bit of Dvorak. Aahhh.
There is a small espresso at my side, fresh off the stovetop and I have time ahead of me to indulge in the required restorative inactivity.
My use of the “Living Room” Sonos speaker was not straightforward this morning. Not compatible with the relaxation it was meant to facilitate. Turns out the Sonos S1 Controller on my macbook needs upgrading to S2. However the upgrade button doesn’t appear to work. I had to resort to using my phone which is fine but it isn’t really acceptable that the laptop version doesn’t work.
Further investigation has revealed that Sonos don’t have a Mac version of the S2. Hmm.
All appears to be well in the Davies world. I’m not taking into consideration any “external to the bubble” factors here: global warming, a corrupt/inept political elite, food shortages etc. Two of us are up and at it with the third still sleeping off last night’s rum tasting evening at the cricket club. sfine.
In the news this morning is the death at the age of 64 of UB 40 singer Astro. People come and people go and after the flurry of interest has faded away he will fade from our memories but for the moment we think of him, and his family. The issue for me is that he was only 64. Time was, admittedly when I was so much younger than today, 64 was a long way off and not an unusual age at which to die. Now with only a month to go to the big one (oh no six oh!) it is quite a sobering thought.
It makes sorting out your life plan all the more urgent. Mine includes focussing on just doing stuff I enjoy. This means no stressful work and a concentration on creative projects. Easy really. This Christmas will be a watershed.
I’m quite looking forward to my 60th birthday. I really enjoyed my 50th which felt more like what 40 was supposed to be. I have a couple of big parties planned, one, trefbash60, in London at the usual venue and the other at home in Lincoln. If you are coming to either I really look forward to seeing you.
It’s the first time the date for trefbash has coincided with my actual birthday. It’s a terrific gig and I typically only remember who was there because we have a photographer which this year is going to be Paul Clarke again. The theme is Pirates of the Caribbean. Better start thinking about your outfit.
Outside, a colour laden washing line sways gently in the breeze. Important to have colour in your life. Don’t be blue or grey. The exception to this is my friend Martin Levy who carries grey very well. Only wearing grey makes choosing his wardrobe easy and his outlook is far from grey.
I am pondering a change in direction with my shirts and jackets. This isn’t one to rush into but I feel a simpler style might be in the offing. We shall see. It may be that the shirts and jackets I seek may not be available in the shops which is not that much different to half the ones I already have so maybe that doesn’t matter. You will find out when I find out.
In the meantime there are pictures to put up and garlic to be planted. It is Sunday morning after all. A time to get the jobs done 🙂
Interesting that the “country needs an opportunity to let its hair down”. Note so does the opposition.
Interesting that politicians come out of the woodwork as football fans, make speeches about it in the House of Commons and wear England football tops newly sourced for the occasion. Don’t they realise the contempt this engenders.
Interesting to see the unleashing of a drunken nationalistic fervour.
Interesting to watch the periodic build up of hopes and expectations – beware they are mostly dashed in the final analysis.
Interesting to observe the lack of understanding when English people find that Scots, Welsh and Irish are ambivalent to the outcome of the final.
Interesting that cheating seems to be accepted as part of the modern game (they should introduce the sin bin).
Raoul Castro has finally taken his bus pass. I have visions of him travelling around on the front seat of a rickety old 1950s bus taking in the sights of Cuba. And why not? After a long career in public service people need to be able to finally put their feet up before they pop their clogs 🙂 I wouldn’t have thought they play much golf in Cuba so he will probably have to find other things to keep him busy. Writing in to the Havana Times and similar.
That’s the sort of thing I could envisage doing. After my breakfast of boiled egg and soldiers washed down with locally grown coffee, sat outside on the patio, I’d get my writing pad out and pen letters on subjects close to my heart. Complaints about the bus service. Stuff like that.
I’d probably stroll into town, maybe catch a bus, and meet my pals in Cafe Arcangel. It is one of the city’s best coffee shops. The sort of place you can while away the hours, glancing occasionally over the top of your newspaper at people going about their business in the street outside. The owner Joao always has a cheery smile.
In 1803 Britain declared war on France. This is not a concept we can get our brain around these days. Not declaring war on france specifically. Just declaring war. We have had wars in recent times but they tend not to involve a declaration. We just pick on someone smaller than us and send in the tanks. Or drones.
An unusual opening sentence that. I think I overheard it on the TV and wrote it down. I no longer recall the context. This is of no consequence. I haven’t even gone to the effort of finding out why war was declared. Some French shenanigans somewhere no doubt. Or English. Nowt to do with the Welsh or Irish. The Scots would have been on the side of the French.
We have declared war at least three times in my lifetime. The Falklands and the First and Second Gulf Wars. These are all events that were played out in the media to a greater or lesser degree. Nowadays we all sit back and watch battles happen on our screens.
A time of change. Turning over an old leaf.
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.
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.
“One who searches widely over an area in order to obtain something, especially food or provisions.”
This morning I went foraging.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 trefor.net and maybe 1,500 on philosopherontap.com. 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.
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.
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.