The Blog of Zakspade
August 2016 Archive

 

The Last One
Wednesday 31 August, 2016

Throughout August, my Blogs have been written about things I have seen, done or heard. Each has been different, however they all had titles in the format: The ????? One.

I didn’t start out with a plan - it just happened that I wrote a Blog entry that was followed by something that seemed to beg to be given a title that followed on from the last entry.

And so the theme began.

But this is the last one; at least with that style of title.

Writing a Blog is for me about developing a writing habit and maintaining a commitment to the concept of deadlines. It also allows me to test styles, ideas and opinions. Sometimes feedback is positive, sometimes it is negative, however it is always valuable.

Each communication received causes me to think.

In addition to writing, and being published (away from this Blog), I like to ‘bait’ email scammers. It dates back to when I was working in IT. I originally used to collect viruses when they were simple things, but they became more complex and sinister. Taking up the time of scum who seem to think a career should be about conning the vulnerable in society seems to me to be a better hobby.

Recently I have had a few lengthy exchanges with scammers who thought I was a soft target and ready to part with money or personal details valuable for ID theft. Each came to a halt when they eventually came to realise that they were the ones being strung along and their ‘victim’ (me) was actually doing the driving.

Unfortunately the last one I partook in ended abruptly when he/she/they realised they were not going to get my full name, address etc. when I was asking them to provide THEIR personal details in order that I might be able to ‘legally’ purchase a cell phone in order to call their courier from my farm in Ireland that doesn’t have a landline...

I had told them that due to the UK choosing to exit the EU, the Irish government had been forced to introduce legislation to compel those wishing to buy a cell phone to provide a sponsor letter from the authority or person requiring them to buy it.

Stupid and ridiculous, but it that was not the thing that made the scammer go silent. Nor was it the fact that I would never used the names of my fictitious priest and bishop twice (preferring to use four or five different names per email). The claim that I wished to donate part of the money they wanted to give to me to replace the lead on the local church because the old lead had gone rusty didn’t make them run away either.

No, it was the overly dogged insistence on my receiving their personal details for the LETTER OF AUTHORITY as I termed it.

It looks to me to be a good idea to run a second stream on this Blog of email scammer exchanges in the hope that I might receive feedback as I do with the writing. That way I might learn better strategies to avoid premature termination.

Of all the straws that contributed to breaking that particular camel’s back; that seemed to be the last one.

 

The Damp One
Monday 29 August, 2016

The plan was to drive 16 miles there, collect the package and then 16 miles back. No cash was expected to change hands, but by the time I arrived, I was looking to bill someone for danger money.

The first part of the outward journey was dry with only the threat of rain. The second half was through what some would call heavy rain, but others might more accurately describe as a torrent of water aimed at the ground from up high. To call it ‘heavy’ would be akin to labelling Hitler in his bunker as being ‘mildly agitated.’

However, the actual process of taking possession of the package was undertaken in sunshine although most of the trip back home was accompanied by either a touch of drizzle or dark clouds threatening to unleash a cascade of skin-soaking rain.

The word ‘uneventful’ comes to mind, except until I got to within a couple miles of home. Driving through a local village, I came around a bend to be confronted with the sight of the next 100 metres of road filled with water, stretching kerb-to-kerb. I came to a halt and selected first gear; intending to drive through at the speed of a brisk walk.

It was as I began to move that I saw the little red car stopped just beyond the flooded area turn on its hazard warning lights. I stopped, slipped the car back into neutral and applied the handbrake as I took a fresh look at what was ahead of me.

It had started to rain again and it was beginning to turn into a downpour. I did not feel like running those 100 metres to ask the driver if they had conked out after trying to negotiate the flooded area. It was too far to shout and ask, and it was too far from home to walk the rest of the way should I manage to join the little red car by the side of the road with possibly soaked electrics.

Being the coward I am, I checked behind then reversed back a bit and turned around. The local bypass looked a better option. Unfortunately the nearest route to it was on the other side of the flooded portion of road, so I had to back-track quite a way in order to get home.

So, the 16 miles there turned into 21 miles back. Not sure it makes much sense to always plan routes like that, but at least I didn’t have to get out at any time and absorb water from the air. Without doubt, yesterday was a damp one.

 

The Blind One
Saturday 27 August, 2016

The dialogue that passes between cyclists and car drivers is so full of nice things. If one ignores the expletives, name-calling, questioning of parentage, and other communications usually made at high volume.

It always leaves me smiling. At least it does when I’m not involved.

I drive and I also ride a bicycle quite a bit. My bicycle took me on a jaunt to Europe some years back and we have covered a good few miles together. So I tend to see it from both sides and regard cycling as healthy for you as long as you avoid being mangled by someone in a vehicle bigger than you.

Rare is the bicycle I see with rear view mirrors attached. Usually cyclists turn and look over their shoulders. Sometimes those with an apparent death wish don’t bother and seem to place their safety in the hands of nameless people driving unseen vehicles approaching at unknown speeds. A rather random way to live, but that is their choice.

Motor vehicles, on the other hand, usually do have rear-view mirrors. That saves drivers the effort of having to turn and look over their shoulders. However, it would seem that it has caused some to dispense with regarding anything behind them as having any existence whatsoever.

What do I mean?

Well, I followed a car up a road with parking spaces along the far side. The fact that I could stay within a couple of car lengths while going up a slight incline shows how slow they were driving. It seemed obvious they were looking for a parking space across the road.

And lo! A car they had just passed edged into the road. The car driver hit their brakes, slammed their car into reverse and shot backwards towards me.

Having reversed at high speed to position themselves to turn into the soon-to-be vacated parking spot, they braked hard and kissed my front wheel. Not having a car horn fitted to my bicycle, the only thing left for me to do to let them know I was directly behind them and now touching their rear bumper, was to rap hard on their tailgate with my knuckles.

The sudden noise from the back seemed to cause a reaction because they shot forward again and stalled their car.

‘Sorry mate, I didn’t see you,’ were the words that no one could have guessed.

‘No mate, you just didn’t look,’ I replied as I peddled off up the hill.

The DVLA grant driving licences to all sorts of people. Today I met the blind one.

 

The Difficult One
Thursday 25 August, 2016

Yesterday was the hottest recorded day in the UK this year so far. It certainly felt hot when I spent the day at Whipsnade Zoo.

To get to Whipsnade Zoo one has to negotiate some quite steep roads up into the Dunstable Downs. I was driving a car, so that wasn’t difficult. Had I been cycling, I rather fancy that I would have been keen on having a nice cold drink before having a rest at the top.

I turned into the car park across from the zoo entrance and started to find somewhere suitable to park. There was a need to select somewhere with a hard surface because a wheelchair had to be used, so I drove slowly as I sought out a likely spot.

As I entered a spur of the car park, the power steering assistance failed. When driving at walking pace, the sudden loss of power assistance when trying to direct a Meriva means a degree of heavy hauling not really compatible with a day that is hot, hot, hot!

However, overcoming the loss wasn’t that difficult. Stop; turn off the engine; wait a second or two; restart the car. Then on I drove looking for that ideal parking space.

As it turned out, I asked a parking attendant where might be best and he pointed me back near when I had come in and said he’d meet me there and let me through. I feel I ought to remind the reader that today was hot, hot, hot and was certainly already hot, hot, hot by the time we had arrived at Whipsnade. Even so, the chap jogged over to where we awaiting him, despite his gear weighing him down. Top marks, that man!

Seeing where we needed to be, parking was easy. Access to the wheelchair was easy. Getting over to the underpass to travel under the main road to the main entrance was easy. Guiding the wheelchair down the slopes into the underpass was easy.

Pushing the wheelchair up the slope at the other end was not easy. Especially not on a day that was hot, hot, hot!

But of all the things that difficult on the day, that wasn’t really it by a long shot.

I pushed that chair about: up hills; down hills; over uneven ground; backed it over kerbs; while all the time leaking sweat into my clothes as my body reminded me that the day was hot, hot, hot!

Was the hardship of pushing a wheelchair bearing my wife a labour that was something I considered difficult? Again, I have to say, it was not.

Well into the day, once my rucksack had been substantially lightened by the consumption of the food carried for a picnic, and the bottles of water were empty, we spied a small shop selling refreshments. Ice-cold refreshments on a day that was hot, hot, hot! And I was very hot, hot, hot! And sweaty.

In we went, and the air was cool. Ah! We chose our bottles and it was while we stood in the queue for the till that it happened. I was desperately thirsty; I was holding a really cold bottle of orangeade; I had been melting because I was hot, hot, hot; but I refrained from cracking open the bottle and drinking its contents before paying.

Of the day’s events, that was the difficult one.

 

The Stupid One
Tuesday 23 August, 2016

The start to today was early. It wasn’t a case of lots to do; in fact, it rather the opposite. However, the one thing that had to be done had written off the whole day.

After the shenanigans of last Friday when the newly acquired car tried to kill me, I arranged for it to be seen to by a Vauxhall dealer in light of the fact that the power assisted steering failure is a known fault on the model now owned. That was the reason for the early start to the day. It was that and two dogs to be fed before I set out for my 8:30am appointment.

It all went well and I arrived at 8:25am. Upon giving my name and car’s registration I was told the booking couldn’t be found. While I could manage the loss of steering assistance from time to time, I was not going to be extremely happy with being messed about.

A check on their system by the clerk revealed that I was booked in but not until the following Tuesday. I was a week early rather than the five minutes I at first thought I had been. This was backed up by my double-checking my own notes and seeing that I had mis-remembered the time and date.

Oops.

The receptionist dealing with me said she would go and check to see if it was possible to squeeze the car in for its diagnostic check, but I thanked her and told her I could very probably live with the issue until the proper booked time rather than having people running around to try and accommodate someone (me) who clearly cannot handle a simple thing like a date on a calendar.

The fact is that she was trying to be incredibly helpful while I was merely the stupid one.

 

The Astounding One
Sunday 21 August, 2016

There I was, minding my own business, when two idiots of the order moronicus dipshitius screamed their way across the park, over and over, on their road registered off-road style motorcycles.

Those who were relying on the ear-splitting noises coming from their seemingly tortured motorcycles, might have reported them speeding across the park at 70- 90mph, but trust me when I say that flat-out across that playing field on a road-going pretend motocrosser would have been nearer 45mph.

Still fast enough to kill a dog, a dog walker, or any one of the children playing there.

Was I astounded to see such idiocy? Not really, as they have been there before playing the same game of chicken with park users. However, this time I was in a good position to phone the police while they raced about.

The fact that I had a good clear signal for my mobile phone was amazing, given my location at the time. But that was not the event that astounded me.

That my mobile phone was with me and capable of use was handy. I dialled 999 and was asked which service I required. I told the emergency services operator, ‘Police,’ and waited.

And waited.

The operator came back on the line and apologised as the police were not picking up. And so I waited.

After a while the operator came back on the line and apologised again for not being able to put me through.

I had heard stories of people ringing the non-emergency police number; 101, only to find themselves placed on hold or having to wait for forty minutes or more to get an answer, but I had rung 999 at 3:42 on a Saturday afternoon as I was witnessing a life-threatening act taking place. This was unexpected.

Time for clarification, I thought, so I asked the operator if there was a problem. He told me he was waiting for someone from the police to pick up the line from him.

After a while, the two mindless scumbags shot off away from the park area and raced past me. The operator again said something but I had to ask him to repeat it because the plonkers almost deafened me in the process and had drowned out his words to me. He had again been apologising for the police not yet picking up from him.

As the two motorcycles had left the scene, and I hadn’t managed to record their numbers (which I might have done with the camera on my mobile had I not been on the line waiting for the police to answer my 999 call), there seemed little point in continuing to wait.

I explained to the operator what had taken place and felt that there was no longer any need to be put through and to consider the call wasted. He carefully asked me to confirm that it was me who wished to terminate the emergency call, and I agreed. The alternative was to wait for goodness knows how much longer and end up being dragged into a situation revolving around making a call with nothing happening.

Of the events that took place, it is that the emergency call will now be recorded in the statistics as having been abandoned by the caller that is the astounding one.

 

The Tricky One
Friday 19 August, 2016

It has been an interesting day. The weather has broken and there is light rain in place of summer, but that isn’t what has made the day interesting.

A trip into town was required. As an appointment was to be attended, it seemed a good time to collect some items ordered and paid-for online. Getting them home meant using the car. While at it, a huge 14kgs sack of feed for my beagle seemed a good idea as the boot would feel less unused and unvalued if filled with something. Oh, and dropping a prescription in to the pharmacy.

And a cute, tiny, pink dog tag for my other dog was to be picked up. Although the car was not needed for that, it was added to the list of things to do.

So which do you, fair reader, feel was the thing that attracts the label Tricky One?

Well, items that an email claimed were at the store ready to be collected, were nowhere to be seen. In fact, the assistant told me that the reference number was of the wrong format and when a surname was supplied, a search they made of their orders system revealed that there was no orders under that name.

Odd, but until I got home to check, there was nothing to argue. But that wasn’t tricky - that was merely entertaining in a vaguely frustrating way.

The dog feed for my beagle was in stock and was purchased without any problems. That was certainly not tricky. The prescription dropped in at the same time had a query attached to it that was resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. Nothing tricky there, either.

On towards the appointment via a small pet shop to collect the dinky little dog tag with my contact details engraved on it. It was ready for me and all the details were present and correct. Nothing to see here - move along!

Appointment attended and it was off back across town to where I had left my car. The light rain created within me a determination to get there in a timely fashion so as to minimise my dampness.

Upon my arrival, it was plain to see that another car had parked in a manner that was to cause me a little grief in reversing out and facing the right way in order to exit the car park. However, I’ve been driving enough years now to not have an issue with a little bit of fiddly manoeuvring back and forth to get a car where I need it to be; so began the chore, and I would not have called it tricky.

Success! As I slipped the car into first gear to pull away after escaping the mindless parking of the adjacent car, the power-assisted steering cut out. Again, it was not tricky as I hadn’t managed to pick up any speed. I turned the ignition off and back on and it was all hunky-dory once more.

It was when I was near home that things became tricky. I turned off one of the main routes through town and into where I live. The junction is a roundabout meaning that oncoming cars have to stop to let me make a right turn. Which was just as well as the power-assisted steering went on strike once again.

Hauling the steering wheel first one way to complete the turn and then back the other way to allow me to stop the car in a conveniently placed bus stop lay-by, was a little tricky.

Yes, of all the things that needed doing today, I think it fair to say that that was the Tricky One.

 

The Perished One
Wednesday 17 August, 2016

The day started out well. A bedroom wall was to receive its second, and I hoped, final coat of paint.

And so it turned out.

So I ended up with half a day and barely anything to do by way of tasks. Except popping into town to post a parcel, but that would be an easy cycle ride into town after which this Blog entry would be written while I sit in the garden drinking Pimms.

Well, not in the garden because the light is too harsh and I cannot concentrate while peering at the screen trying to make out what I have written. And I don’t have any Pimms in the house.

The cycle ride into town and back went off without a hitch, almost...

The end of the left handlebar grip was coming unravelled. I had bought the mountain bike in the summer of 1991 and within weeks I had determined to avoid black rubber marks over my hands through wrapping strips of an old towel around the rubber grips. They stayed in place during the whole of my ride to Europe in ’91 and stayed intact until now.

Upon getting home I figured that it would be the work of but five minutes to pick the towelling off and rewrap it as before. As I peeled it away, it became suddenly clear that it had not been a failure of the towelling but the black rubber handlebar grip underneath had gone rotten and broken up. The strips of towel no longer had anything to be wrapped around.

The day was now possibly at its hottest. The ride home had been sedate not because I am lazy, but because it was just too hot to push any harder. Now I was stuck in my garage (hot from having the sun beating down on it) and having to wrap padding about the end of my handlebar to replace the disintegrated rubber grip before binding the towelling about it.

Deep joy! Oh how I love those five minute jobs that turn into 45 minute challenges as beads of sweat run into one’s eyes.

My heart was not favourably disposed towards that failed rubber grip. There was nothing in me that mourned its passing despite the many thousands of miles we have travelled together as we adventured across Europe, Milton Keynes and Leighton Buzzard.

Trust me when I tell you: I brutally, and without qualm, removed and discarded the perished one.

 

The Hot One
Monday 15 August, 2016

Not too long a list of things to do. Not if one ignores the things planned previously to the latest directives.

First, I took the dogs out for a walk. It went well in that the big dog didn’t try to eat the small dog. That was a result.

Got home and waited for a parcel to be packed so as to take it into town to be posted. About ready to leave and the big dog got sick on the living room carpet. Odd because the smaller dog was clearly uneaten, so it must have been something else he ate. Upon rushing to usher him outside, he decided to empty the rest of his stomach contents over a different part of the carpet.

Adherence to the planned schedule for the day was already lacking, er, adherence.

One clear-up later, the much delayed walk to town and the post office was embarked upon.

The sun had been shining all morning, but now - due to the hold-up setting out - it was beginning to bite. The walk into town was uneventful - except for the ignorant driver of a car who thought it better to park on the path rather than impede any other cars trying to get past. Said driver will no longer be referred to in this Blog as I have no desire to have my hosting service withdrawn due to my posting lots of rude words up here...

Walked into the post office. Walked out of the post office. Had a bite to eat before the walk home. Sat in the open to eat and became acutely aware of just how bright and hot the sun had become.

The walk home was equally uneventful in that the stuff that didn’t happen on the way into town didn’t happen on the way home. The same person who I will not be referring to was still too stupid to park on the road rather than the pavement.

Then came the little job of preparing to paint a bedroom wall.

Simple - except it needed the bed moving away from one of the walls. Unable to move the bed out of the room, because of there being nowhere to move it to, it became a ‘simple’ matter of just up-ending it and standing it on the headboard, except...

...some shelves I had put up on the opposite wall stopped me from lifting the foot of the bed once I had moved the head away from the wall I wished to paint. I was faced with two choices: dismantle the bed or; get creative.

As it was becoming very hot and sticky due to the continued shining of the sun and my exertions prior to the bed-moving exercise, I opted to display a degree of ingenuity that far surpassed my usual level of resourcefulness in order to achieve the feat of not overheating. A bit of twisting here, and gentle shoving there, resulted in a single bed sat on its end. And it was attained without me collapsing from heatstroke or making an unwanted dent in a wall.

Tomorrow is Wall Painting Time. Right now is cooling-down-and-writing-today’s-Blog-entry time.

Golly, it’s turned out to be a hot one!

 

The Other One
Saturday 13 August, 2016

I was trying to delete some files over the household network and the process failed, and failed, despite numerous reboots.

Something was up because I could log on to the remote computer locally, or from another computer in the household, and delete the files without issue.

Finally I managed to track it down to just the one computer. I took it off the network and had it rejoin. I stopped many services on that computer and the remote device in order to pin down exactly what it was that kept me from doing what was a very simple thing: deleting unwanted files.

My hair began to thin due to my having pulled so much of it out. It reminded me of why IT was something I opted out of some years ago. It was driving me around the proverbial bend.

I allowed a few days to pass while I got on with my life doing other things. Upon my return, I felt sure that armed with a refreshed outlook on the matter, I would uncover what was stopping me from being able to fully access the files so as to be able to delete them.

Then it struck me: I was now wondering about file access and not file deletion. My approach altered and I set about trying to determine the file attributes in case there was something ‘odd’ about them that had escaped my notice from before.

It was as I tried to interrogate the operating system that I received the biggest clue: it refused to tell me.

The act of not telling me told me everything I needed to know. I checked my profile and discovered that the login ID I was using was not an administrator-level account. Although it was authenticating over the network, it was merely being denied the required access to enable the deletion of those pesky files.

How could it have happened? I wondered and wondered before it came to me: the account I was supposed to use was the other one.

 

The Missing One
Thursday 11 August, 2016

The idea of writing a Blog is, for me, something to keep my typing fingers exercised during the bits in between deadlines.

At least that is the plan.

The reality is that I have a life to lead outside that of writing and I must fit creative musing in and around things that form The Real World. Consequently, when buying a car, and three writing deadlines all come together, I managed to miss writing a Blog entry.

Not good, but it is not as if I haven’t been busy.

On the car front, I now enjoy determining the best way to load stuff to facilitate doing whatever it is I wish to do, instead of going through different permutations of what cannot be done. A small thing, to be sure, but it is highly satisfying to have multiple positives instead of a stream of knock-backs.

On the writing front, a couple of magazine articles and a local newspaper column contribution deadlines came together unexpectedly. That is to say, the conjunction ought to have been expected, but I didn’t look far enough ahead to spot it coming. Consequently, my fingers have been very busy across my laptop keyboard this week. A bit like the Old Days of finishing coursework the night before it is due to be handed in the following day.

Except...

...a few Late Nighters didn’t have me remember, or make sufficient time, to write a Blog entry for last Tuesday.

As per my schooldays: Must try harder.

 

The Sleepless One
Sunday 7 August, 2016

As I write this blog entry, I have been awake too long already. I woke to what seemed to be the sound of an electronic drum machine, set to random beats, at 2:30 this morning. I had lain in bed listening to the cacophony as it faded in and out due to it being far away; the noise being carried on the wind from elsewhere.

There are times when the act of getting out of bed is avoided as if trying to kid one’s body that no one is awake. That is why I managed 15 minutes of the deep erratic beats coming and going. It felt as if an audio version of Chinese water torture. Eventually I gave in and rose to close all the upstairs windows in the house.

Windows all closed, I returned to bed. Such was the nature of the tonal quality of the noise that it was not being heard through open windows - instead it just came straight through the tightly shut main bedroom window.

By 3:30 I was seriously annoyed. I got up and re-opened the windows because I was of the opinion that I was damned if I were going to suffocate because of what I considered to be the act of an imbecile or imbeciles. As I suspected, it made zero difference to how much was reaching me in bed. So I went downstairs and ventured into the garden in order to try and pin down where the disturbance was coming from.

Audiophiles will tell you deep bass sounds are ‘directionless’ in that they give no indication to the human ear where they originate. That is the reason why a bass speaker can be placed anywhere in a room whereas the main speakers need to carefully positioned. With only low frequency noise reaching me, there was no way to tell from where it came. However, I did manage to tell that it was not just some spotty oik of a kid playing with an electronic drum machine. No, it was techno of a fast, furious and loud variety.

My plan had been to phone the police. I figured that many people nearer to the actual party, or whatever it was, would already have done so and that by adding my voice, the pressure to act would be increased. Obviously nothing had been done thus far. It was now getting on for 4:00 and still the noise kept me awake despite it obviously being far away. Unfortunately, with no information to supply by way of perceived direction etc. there seemed little point in bothering to get into an argument with an emergency services operator on 999 telling me that I should have rung 101.

As far as I was concerned, 999 would be the correct number to have called because a failure for the police to attend before daybreak may well have resulted in a member of the public closer to the action taking the matter into their own hands and blasting the sound system with a shotgun, or similar. The police would come out to that - make no mistake - but they would have ended up seeking the person who did the job that the police seemed to be unwilling or unable to do.

Whatever, I opted to return to bed and try the stress-free option as I knew that being tired and then potentially worked up over a jobsworth lecturing me in the early hours was not going to help me catch up on the sleep I was now missing.

It was well on the way to becoming light before the row stopped. A check of the time after waiting in case it was merely a momentary change in wind direction told me it was now 5:33 in the morning. I relaxed and looked forward to slipping into what little sleep time there was left to me.

I merely dozed a little and listened to a thwack, thwack, thwack that sounded very much like the tail of our dog wagging against a wall downstairs. I ignored it until his puppy friend decided she wanted to go to the garden just before 6:30. I’m tired because last night was The Sleepless One.

 

The Long One
Friday 5 August, 2016

It crossed my mind to write an interminably long diatribe that would consist of incredibly long words and sentences after my last blog entry that was very short, but I decided against it as I am still tired.

For a moment it occurred to me that I might merely write a few words and pad it out with something like: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, ut suscipit, arcu diam justo pellentesque blandit proin, leo labore venenatis magna maecenas urna faucibus, porttitor suspendisse. However, that would have been cheating and, besides, it doesn’t actually mean anything.

Well, I say that, but it means something to those who know what it is and what it is for in the world of typesetting and website design. It is a form of false Latin, designed to look like meaningful text but merely a collection of characters bunched into collections that look to be words. Its purpose is to act as a placeholder when designing layouts and so forth.

Okay, so lesson over, now on to writing a long blog to counter the short one that came before it.

I toyed with the idea of asking if anyone knew pi to a few hundred decimal places and following up by typing pi to 200 places just to show off. However, when I did a check over what I had originally written, I found that my spelling-checker and word-counter had taken the number as two words: ‘3’ was the first, and the 200 numbers after the decimal point was counted as the second word.

With that out of the way due to it being a non-starter in terms of wordage, I decided to move on to other things.

My mind began to query whether it needed to establish a theme or topic about which to write, then expound all aspects of it to the nth degree and grind it down in a manner that was particularly verbose and intricate.

Maybe I could examine the longest day of the year and explain the reasons for it being so, I thought.

The thought didn’t last long. I vanished when it occurred to me that I would need to check some of the maths that underpinned the explanation. At the moment, doing maths is not my strongest desire. Well, I was prepared to type in a value of pi to 200 places, but that is not maths - that is just tedious typing (or copy and paste if one is feeling lazy with a capital ‘L’).

Then it hit me: today feels like the long one because I was unexpectedly awake very early. Therefore, 5pm - while not considered to be late - for me was quite a way into the day. Indeed, if my yawning was anything to go by, either I was suffering from the effects of a puppy yet again demanding my attention when I preferred to be asleep; or a feeding basking shark had taken up residence in my household.

So, be prepared to be assaulted by a barrage of words all aimed at conveying the fact that my perception of the day thus far is that it is a jolly long one and somewhat longer - so it seems - than the longest day that is known as the Summer Solstice.

Today is my Friday Solstice and I just wanted you to know that...

 

The Short One
Wednesday 3 August, 2016

Being of a smaller-than-average height, I am used to my wife (who is an inch taller than me) referring to me as, ‘The Short One.’

However, this blog entry is not about my being shorter than her.

It is about the fact that I have been going to bed at normal times at night but have a puppy that wakes me early: 1am and 3am this morning. Normally she sleeps through until somewhere nearer 6am.

Add to the mix the fact that I cannot ‘catnap’ during the day, and maybe it is easy to see why I am tired as I write this.

I say I can’t catnap - that isn’t strictly true - I can drop off and grab some shut-eye during the day, but I usually feel wretched when I awake. Therefore I end up worse off than if I merely stayed awake and tired.

So, today’s blog entry is The Short One.

 

Chocolate
Monday 1 August, 2016

It wuz a busy morning, it wuz.

Slipping into a West Country burr and chilling seems to be the best way to overcome the hectic morning that kept me busy before 9am.

We have a puppy, Bonnie, and the morning routine is: early rise for toilet; return Bonnie to her crate for a short while; a wait until feeding time; another airing in the garden immediately prior to feeding her and our five-year-old beagle, Darwin.

Except this morning was going to be different as we had a young visitor anticipated. So an even earlier alarm was set so as to attend to Phase One of Operation Puppy before my daughter’s friend arrived before 7am.

By itself, said arrangement was easy to deal with, however, it was not by itself. Another of her friends had stayed overnight and the two girls wanted to sleep on the white carpet in the photo studio. Their choice.

The morning plan was altered by having two young girls sleeping in the path of a puppy on her way to attending to her ablutions in the garden first thing. So it was agreed the previous night that they would remain silent as the merest squeak from them would have resulted in a puppy veering away from the rear door and toward the girls so as to be fussed, thereby guaranteeing indoor bladder relief.

I know my puppy.

What actually happened was that I entered the studio to find a chocolate bar wrapper beside the two girls on the white carpeted floor of the stage area. Chocolate was smeared and crushed into the white carpet. In case I forgot to mention it, the carpet is white. The chocolate was brown. The mixture didn’t look good and contained the noises of a puppy in its crate back in the house who had heard me on my way to unlock the back door.

Now I was not going to have to worry about a puppy with a full bladder being distracted by two small humans - instead I was facing a chocolate treat across the path of said fluid-laden puppy as they ran to the back door.

No time to do anything other than tell the girls to stay where they were so as to not spread the chocolate mess across any more of the white carpet: Bonnie was demanding release.

Bonnie was made to sit while I opened her cage. When the command, ‘Go!’ was issued, she sprang out and headed off towards the back door - ajar because I had wised up after a spate of early morning puddles due to her being held up for crucial seconds while I unlocked the door. However, I was forced to keep pace with the doglet so as to make sure that she didn’t deviate from the path to salvation.

Then it got really busy. In came Bonnie while the girls stayed still and quiet so as to avoid further damage. Bonnie was led back to her crate and I then set about assessing the mess.

A need was established to let Bonnie out into the garden once again as the young friend turned up. Unfortunately, Bonnie has come to know that the second airing is followed by feeding time - which this morning wasn’t due for another hour. A third airing was required but she was too focused upon feeding - so breakfast for both dogs was in the garden - requiring all the relevant paraphernalia to enable it to take place.

Then I moved on to rescuing the white carpet from the chocolate...