The Blog of Zakspade

 May 2017 Archive
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Cool
Wednesday 31 May, 2017

Well, things appear to have died down since my Blog entries earlier this month on the subject of Global Warming (Global Warming - Friday 12, Heart Warming - Saturday 13 and Not Warming - Tuesday 16).

No longer am I in fear of protesters camping out on my front garden under my bedroom window chanting all night long. Nor am I concerned that any of my limbs will be broken. I am not even afraid that I will drown in the rising waters that will surely accompany the warming that is surely headed our way.

It is entirely possible that those who suggested I was destined for a negative experience at the hands of Man and his single-minded drive to murder the Planet, have re-read the original piece and concluded that humour was intended.

That said, some of them did point out that they had spotted the use of humour and their ire seemed to be directly linked to the fact of its use in connection with a subject that they considered no laughing matter.

Why my return to the subject?

Well, despite my assertion that all has quietened, one single person decided to carry on their tirade of abuse and threats. Interestingly, while they have the ability to string words together in a manner that makes plain their wishes, they are not savvy enough to know how to mask the source of their emails.

Out of the 19 days that have passed, he (she?) managed to make the effort to write 15 emails to me; of those, 14 feature abuse, threats and foul language. None - not one - has been replied to by me until my mention in this Blog entry.

Thanks to their constancy I now have the town of their origin, the ISP used and the times/dates reported by the email server handling their vitriol and spite. Armed with this information, it is simple to pin down the household and subscriber. The ISP is one who does provide services to organisations such local authorities (libraries etc.) but using a different IP scope, so I am pretty certain this is a private home.

On the plus side, I know they regularly read my Blog because they refer to newly written and unrelated content, along the way. As a result I know they will be reading this Blog entry. Therefore, though it, I will give them a choice: carry on with the abuse, or deal with the outcome of my emailing a complaint to their ISP along with the inclusion of the data identifying their access to that ISP’s service.

Of course, they may consider my words to be devoid of intent or true knowledge. That may well be. However, I would like them to note that I have not quoted their moniker in this Blog entry but I am happy to mention Rotherham so that they might be able to identify themselves.

No further information will be forthcoming from me at this time in case they feel the urge to threaten once more; I wish to ensure that I have not prejudiced any prosecution under the law by revealing their identity openly ahead of legal action as a result of my complaint - which I am sure their ISP will feel obliged to instigate.

As a general thing; email threats and abuse are not something worth considering. However, when presented with such overwhelming evidence that will provide identification to the authorities, it is hard to ignore.

So, Mr (Mrs? Miss?) Angry from Rotherham, will I receive continued threats and abuse, or do I commence my submission to your ISP?

 

This is Blighty
Tuesday 30 May, 2017

Yesterday was the Spring Bank Holiday.

Yesterday, millions of people who normally attend work; didn’t.

Yesterday, Life, for some, went on as usual. TV and radio personalities carried on being famous. Emergency service personnel continued saving lives. Weather forecasters continued to get it wrong.

Folks, it was a bank holiday, for Heaven’s sake! Who needed a weather forecaster in order to know it was going to rain? This is Blighty, after all.

 

Trials
Monday 29 May, 2017

It was just gone 5am and there I was, stood in the garden wondering whether the small white object claiming to be a representative of dogkind was going to do a Number One or a Number Two, or neither so as to stop me sleeping if I managed to get back to bed.

At this time of year 5am means daylight. It means lots of birdsong but nothing else. All is otherwise quiet.

Birdsong gets boring pretty quickly when stood with arms crossed while wearing a dressing gown in one’s back garden as a four-legged fiend pretends to be doing important things.

The cloudless blue sky became interesting when I spotted a silver flash at the head of a vapour trail. The low sun had glinted off the body of the aeroplane flying at many thousands of metres above the surface of the world where normal people were asleep.

When I looked about me I saw a number of such vapour trails, or contrails as they are sometimes known, criss-crossing the sky.

I know how and why they are formed. Well enough that they didn’t really interest me too much, until I remembered standing out the front of the office where I used to work many years ago with one of the owners of the business.

The Big Boss had been talking to me about something that was obviously not interesting enough for me to recall. However, what I do remember from standing there on the steps in the sunshine with him was what he said when he spotted a contrail high above. He launched into an explanation of what they were in reality, as opposed to the commonly accepted and scientifically proven cause of their existence:

They were drugs released into the atmosphere by the CIA, and their friends, to sedate and quell any subversive tendencies of the proletariat.

This was someone who paid my wages.

Suddenly trails across the sky had become a trial.

 

BBQ Hell
Sunday 28 May, 2017

The plan is to have a BBQ during the half term school holidays. Nothing big. Not a party. Just in place of a normal lunch.

As intentions go, it is nothing special. However, what grief it has caused!

Food shopping has to be adjusted. If the weather turns, then we end up with stuff better suited to what we miss. Should be wait until the last minute? Maybe I ought to pop out on the morning to get in BBQ food?

Of course, in any ‘normal’ country, it wouldn’t be an issue. However, the worry is that by the time I have purchased suitable supplies, we will end up watching a wet BBQ cooker from the dry of the conservatory and be reduced to beans on toast.

When I lived in Europe, the weather could be relied upon. Here it can change in the blink of an eye.

Welcome to BBQ Hell!

 

Did I Mention Sad?
Saturday 27 May, 2017

As I walked to work I was passed by an extremely loud car. Such was the volume, I was expecting a hot hatch with flared arches and a cherry-bomb (read: loud) exhaust.

One of my eyebrows shot skywards when a 2006 Jaguar XJ saloon roared past me. The Confederate flag design covering the car’s boot lid added to the incongruity of the vision that had caught my attention.

Once my mind had let go of the relief I felt knowing the owner of the noisy vehicle was not a neighbour and likely to be waking me at all hours as they left for work or shopping, a single word slipped into focus:

Sad.

 

Fad 2
Friday 26 May, 2017

Back in the day, when I was in short trousers, the world was flat, and Ken Dodd was a pop star, there was a phenomenon known as football hooliganism.

It was quaint. People claiming to like football attended matches on the pretence of watching a team they claimed to support play another team that they didn’t. Chanting from the terraces would take place and witty phrases would issue forth; sometimes for their team, sometimes against the other team.

However, the real reason was to form up with fellow tribe members and attack those affiliated to the other side. The degree to which you caused destruction, physical pain and suffering, released blood of the enemy, and generation of mayhem; all indicated just how good and hard you and your selected team were overall.

Various ploys were used to maximise the effect one hoped to attain. Maximum force was usually employed, with little input from the brain, in order to achieve newspaper inches and reputation.

Then the authorities started to become better organised. Pitched battles were fraught with the risk of being headed off as one tried to bloody the noses of opposing fans and little old ladies. Smashing up shops would carry the risk of a police snatch squad hauling you away from the rest of your clan and ‘processing’ you during the match.

The apes had to evolve, and that they did.

Tricks were employed to inflict harm upon rivals. One such tactic was to sharpen the edges of 2p coins and lob them onto the football pitch at players from the opposing team. The choice was down to the best combination of weight versus cost: five weapons slightly less weighty and dangerous could be used against a single 10p piece. The old 50p would have been the best, but not better than 25 lesser weighted projectiles.

Thankfully it was a short-lived weapon in the armoury of the football hooligan.

Yesterday I witnessed the return of its modern successor: the fidget spinner.

School kids playing football were being targeted by others who were not playing because they had been ousted from the football pitch by them. They were lobbing fidget spinners at them. Thankfully none connected with a player. And a good job because they seem to be much better suited to being a projectile weapon than the humble 2p coin.

Thankfully another fad that will die as quickly as it sprung up - I hope...

 

Fad
Thursday 25 May, 2017

As I walk about the town where I live, I see discarded CO2 soda syphon charger bulbs lying about the place.

It isn’t the odd one. No, they are along pathways on my way to work; in the grass of the parkland near my place of work in the town centre; the playing fields where I walk my dogs – everywhere!

The online price works out to around 50p for each bulb, but their cheapness surely isn’t the reason they litter the place, is it? And I’m sure there has not been a run on cocktails and the like in the local pubs; so, why?

Their widespread appearance across the town in gutters, rain gullies, ditches, car parks, and anywhere you care to mention, had me wondering. Then I stumbled upon the fact that they are not CO2 but NO (nitrous oxide) cartridges.

NO is what is known as ‘laughing gas’ and it seems that using it to get high is a craze sweeping the nation. I must have missed it, but I managed to catch up through reading about it online and now my ISP thinks I am a drug-loving hippie dude. If anyone from Government security get to look at my browsing habits, I am going to be locked up for a very long time…

Interestingly the fad seems to have reached a peak during 2012/13. It has only been prevalent where I live since the beginning of this year (2017).

I obviously live in a cultural backwater.

Those who live here might beg to differ, and so I will yield to them on this point. I will leave them happy knowing they probably have a better picture of things than me as I hail a Hansom Cab and head across town and back home.

 

The Christmas Rush
Wednesday 24 May, 2017

A mere seven month period which will pass in a seeming blink of an eye, is what separates us now from last-minute panic shopping.

People (mainly men) will be scouring the shops looking for suitable Christmas presents for their Loved Ones on the Eve of Christmas. Regardless of the fact that supermarkets will have been selling Christmas decorations for the previous two or three, months, there will be those who never saw it coming.

I confess that I have been there.

Not this year, however. No, I am prepared. I will prevail.

How? Well, I have drawn up a document that plans my actions leading up to Christmas this year. In meticulous detail it shows me where I need to be, when, and doing what. I will not be included among those who are running around on Christmas Eve flashing my credit card at shop assistants in the hope that I might buy my way out of trouble by purchasing Big and Bold.

We may currently be undergoing a pleasantly summery, dry, sometimes sunny, warm spell, but my eye is on the future lest it creep up on me and turns me into one of those who are reduced to panic measures.

Already I have noted that Christmas cards are extremely cheap when bought now - if you can find any (tip: check online - you’ll be surprised).

No, my clever thinking will have me avoid becoming one of the masses struggling through heaving shopping crowds during the immediate lead up to Christmas, and it will ensure the avoidance of being wide-eyed and stricken on Christmas Eve when I discover it is impossible to get That Item in the colour/size/flavour required.

If you think I am being smug, you are totally correct. I am feeling smug and happy to be so - spread the word!

Now, I put the Plan down somewhere. Where did I put it? I need to go over it again to see what I need to be doing today.

Maybe I will look for it tomorrow, or the day after.

 

Lucy
Tuesday 23 May, 2017

I awoke to the alarm as set by me for 2am this morning.

The sound disturbed an interesting dream. I don’t recall the precise details other than ‘they’ held me captive and were about to kill me. So I made the decision to become immortal.

As things go, it wasn’t a bad idea. Maybe not the best, but I was asleep, so deciding to become superhuman strong, break my bonds and walk away without breaking into a sweat, didn’t come to my mind. However, I did decide to somehow to be able to destroy my captives.

So all would have been well were it not for the fact that they turned out to be indestructible.

Resolution never appeared due to that 2am alarm sounding and waking me before my sleeping mind could find a solution to my predicament.

Apparently the ability to control aspects of one’s dreams is known as lucid dreaming.

Not everyone can do it. Even those who can do so will tell you it isn’t something they do each and every time, or whenever they chose.

Fortunately I have always had the ability to take control of my dreams - ever since I was a kid. I say ‘fortunately’ - what it means in the end is that I have not had a nightmare since being knee-high to a dwarf grasshopper.

Well, I say ‘nightmare’...

If you define a nightmare as being a dream involving something unpleasant happening to you, then I suppose I have had plenty of them. But - and this is the good bit - when being chased by an evil blue-skinned monster intent on sinking its teeth into me, I will stop and turn and casually take hold of it by whatever appendages it may have and precede to rip it apart without it managing to break my skin which has suddenly taken on the property of impervious armour.

So all my nightmares become dreams during which I overcome whatever sets out to mess with me.

Lucid dreaming, for me, does not involve determining what I will dream when I put my head down. No, it is more of a reactionary thing that serves to protect me from whatever my subconscious decides to throw at me during the night. I have no control over dream topics and how they start.

Consequently, no matter how hard I think about it before I drift off into sleep, I have never had a dream about a woman called Lucy.

 

Weekend
Monday 22 May, 2017

Where did the weekend go, did anyone see it?

I’m sure I put it down here somewhere about. No doubt it will be right in front of me and staring me in the face once I stop looking.

There were so many plans I had for the weekend: lots of things to do that were vying for the top position on my To-Do list. Unless I can find where the weekend went, they will continue to pester me.

I remember going to sleep on Friday night - then I’m here, Monday morning, writing this Blog entry. It is the bit in between to which I refer. There were hours and hours of it to be experienced, except...

...those hours seem to have vanished!

Maybe I should put out an appeal? Or start a fund-raising website to raise money to pay for a search by professionals?

Or maybe I should let it go and figure another one will be along?

Yes, that’s it! I will just bide my time and look to get those To-Do tasks done next weekend when it pops up.

But wasn’t that what I planned last time?

 

NNAS 2
Sunday 21 May, 2017

I thought I’d keep the geeks happy!

Yesterday was an ‘interesting’ day. Or rather, the afternoon was frustrating.

My Not Network Attached Storage (NNAS) was unreachable because when the box was connected up to a monitor and keyboard, it was plain to see that either the motherboard or the system hard drive had failed.

Not to worry. Out came the hard disk for me to confirm whether the drive or the box were at fault. If it turned out that the data was available (the PC had died, not the drive), then hooking the drive up to another PC via a dedicated external interface was going to have it all moved across to safety.

Or rather that would have been the result were it not for the fact that the interface device itself also failed.

Two hardware failures in one go. The worst bit of it was that I ended up wasting an entire afternoon because I had discounted the possibility that the difficulties I was experiencing were down to a second hardware failure and so I was working on what I thought had become a data recovery issue.

Not the end of the world. Instead of hooking the drive up via external means, I will put an OS on a spare (known good) PC and physically install the hard disk inside. From there I will determine whether the drive or the other PC is at fault.

Again I am thankful not to be in IT. I will probably do this sometime tomorrow when I have more time available to me than today. Had it been work-related then an SLA would have been breathing down my neck, along with a service manager calling into question my motivation regarding keeping my job (way to go with motivation!) and my hair would be turning greyer and greyer...

 

NNAS
Saturday 20 May, 2017

One for the geeks out there, I am afraid.

Everyone knows that ‘NAS’ nowadays usually is an acronym used for Network-Attached Storage.

By ‘everyone’ I mean all those who are geeky enough to know a Terminal Server from a tennis serve.

I run a small storage server in my garage. It holds backups and data away from the main building. Off-site storage, if you will. Basically a glorified PC running with a huge drive and an attached USB drive to mirror its own in-built drive.

Of course, to save space, it runs headless. No keyboard, no mouse. Just the box with that very large USB drive hanging off the back.

A couple of days back, I lost sight of it over the network from the house. I can see the garage from my study upstairs, so I know no one stole it. I popped out to double check it was actually powered up as the colour printer out there was still visible, but it was apparently up and running.

However, with no peripherals attached, there is no way for me to check the box is working as I cannot remotely connect to it.

No, in my IT days I would have dialled in and taken a look at the status of the server via a Remote Insight card, or similar. However, as it is just a PC, that is not possible. So powering it down and affixing keyboard and monitor to allow me to see what is happening is required.

It has been over 48 hours so far and I’ve not managed to get time to set it up and fix things. Had I remained in IT then it would have been ALL HANDS TO THE PUMPS! However, stress-free living means less grey hair. With having shaved my beard off this morning, I now look under 30 (note that this Blog is not illustrated).

I suppose I had better get out there and have a look at it. As it stands my NAS is really a NNAS (Not Network-Attached Storage).

 

One for the Road
Friday 19 May, 2017

On my way home last night, I found myself behind a woman walking ever so slightly slower than me. There was light rain coming down and I preferred to pass her and hurry on so I checked behind me before stepping out on to the road to move around her.

On approaching the main road onto which the street opened, I took a left to the pedestrian crossing and rejoined the path home...

...only to find the same woman again ahead of me and now hogging the extra-narrow path upon which we were both walking.

While I had opted to do what I tell my daughter - use a pedestrian crossing to negotiate busy roads - she had decided to not do. By walking in a dead straight line she managed to make up some 10 metres on me and so, once again, become an impediment to my progress home and the warm sanctuary from the rain that it promised.

I assure you, I am not one to become stressed-out over someone walking at a slower pace ahead of me, not even in the rain. But when they take shortcuts across busy roads near schools at my expense, I take exception.

As I came close to her I uttered the words, ‘Excuse me,’ and I passed her as she moved over.

There, that will teach her!

 

Clowns
Thursday 18 May, 2017

Heard on my walk into work yesterday:

‘No sir, I’m not a clown. However, sir, you are an unfunny clown; a fact proven by your parking across a cycle path and drop kerb.’

I missed the next bit because the target of the comment lowered his voice as he said something to the young man with a bicycle who had just scraped against the offending vehicle as he had tried to squeeze between it and a hedge. However, it accompanied some finger-pointing. But I heard what came next:

‘Yes sir, but I still maintain that you are an unfunny clown and your attempted defence of the indefensible demonstrates that you are a cretin as well. Feel free to assault me and prove to all those watching us that you are of a lower intelligence than you have so ably demonstrated by how you chose to park.’

I glanced about and realised that I was not the only person watching this ‘confrontation’ and the owner of the selfishly parked car did the same.

‘Fuck you,’ were the next words out of his mouth as he stared at the well spoken chap who had dared to suggest there was something amiss with parking across a pedestrian way. This was followed by a very loud and clear, ‘Fuck all of you!’ as he looked at those of us who were watching.

Two spectators took out their mobile phones and started to take photos of the abusive man.

‘Especially you cunts!’ he cried pointing at them as he stormed off to his car, got in, started it and wheelspun away, narrowly missing the cyclist.

Forgive the language but I am merely reporting its use.

Maybe if parking across footways and their ilk were treated as the socially unacceptable acts they are, then morons such as the driver who thought abuse was the way forward might be forced to behave better without having to be fined?

 

Nil by Mouth
Wednesday 17 May, 2017

No, I am not writing this from a hospital bed. However, I do have a very long beard.

Eh?

Believe it or not, there is a link. I resolved to not shave or trim my beard until I hit a particular body weight. Once there I intend to shave my beard off entirely. However, although I managed to shed a couple of kilograms, the next couple are proving stubborn.

I am now considering wearing a t-shirt with ‘Nil by mouth’ upon it so as to help ward off those with chocolates to offer.

 

Not Warming
Tuesday 16 May, 2017

Goodness! I never realised that the subject of global warming attracted so many odd people.

Well, I don’t mean those with a genuine interest in the subject, with opinions every which way. No, it is those attracting the term troll to whom I refer.

After my Blog entries, Global Warming and then Heart Warming I thought no more - until I received yet more emailed feedback.

Gosh, some people have both too much time on their hands, and they ought not be allowed out in public without wearing some form of restraints. I considered indulging in a little ‘naming and shaming’ of some of those who used the strongest language and so I examined their communications carefully ahead of doing just that.

Then I discovered that many of those who bravely threatened or ridiculed me had masked their actual email origins. When emails clearly from the same person and address turned out to have IP addresses pointing to sources in different countries, I took the time to look a little more closely.

With adjustments for time zones of servers, some of the more abusive commentators seem to have managed to travel over 8,000 miles in less than 11 hours and managed to still read my Blog and email me. Upon even closer inspection the email addresses are bogus.

Basically, there seems no point in publishing names and email addresses up here.

However, the fact is they are able to, and do, read this Blog.

So, ToP GuN, find yourself a dictionary that doesn’t feature so many expletives. And while you are at it, pass copies out to Scratchy Cat, Your Wrong (sic) and the others who like to rant and rave in a crazed fashion - but from afar and from within the shadows lest you be recognised and branded the mouthy cowards you are.

 

The Gyroscope
Monday 15 May, 2017

It appears that the craze amongst kids at the moment is something known as a fidget spinner.

And I have to say I find them fascinating. When I managed to obtain the use of one recently, it held me captive for well over two minutes before I got bored with it.

Interestingly, every time I showed a child what happened if they span it up and tried to turn their hand while gripping the fidget spinner’s centre, I received a look of surprise.

It was clearly time to break out one of my own toys from when I was a kid - a Gyroscope.

So far it seems to beat the fidget spinner each and every time it is introduced to a child in possession of a colourful bunch of precision bearings.

Maybe a ‘new’ craze is in the offing?

 

The Swish
Sunday 14 May, 2017

As I arrived back home on Friday just gone, I could hear a ‘swishing’ sound. It was as if the wind was howling through slack overhead power cables.

Except there was barely a breeze blowing.

It wasn’t loud at my house and I was unable to pin down from where the sound was coming, however I was aware that it seemed some way off and therefore was probably a good deal louder at its source.

Once inside my house the sound was no more and so I forgot about it until I prepared for bed and took Mr Puppy out into the garden.

There it was, and seemingly a lot louder; probably because it was no longer competing with other extraneous noises at that late time. Oh how I tried to determine the direct from whence it came, but to no avail!

Being unable to establish the likely source was of no consequence to me because closing the patio door was enough to silence it. Not my problem although I supposed that not to be the case nearer that source.

I got to wondering about it again when I heard it loud and clear as I took Mr Puppy back out into the garden at just past 1:30am. I now began to seriously speculate upon its origins. However, once again, back inside the house, it was silence and so I returned to bed and slept.

Up and out in the garden again at 5am, Saturday and no sound. That was it. It was over. Gone. No more. I would never get to know what caused it. For a moment I thought about it then decided bed was a better place to be and so I sought it out.

Saturday passed in a blur of Saturday-ness and nothing of real note occurred until toileting Mr Puppy before my bedtime. There it was; that ‘swishing’ sound in the air was back. And again at 1:30am in the early hours of Sunday morning!

The only sound at 5am this morning that reached my ears was that of the rain as I waited for Mr Puppy to decide whether he like this bit of garden better than that bit of garden before he was prepared to do his stuff.

If again present at 1:30am Monday morning, I will probably throw on a pair of stout shoes so as to better facilitate my trek as I set off in search of the source of The Swish as I have now termed it in my head. Hopefully it will not turn out to be a trap set by aliens to lure people like myself into their clutches.

Keep reading this Blog if you want to find out - although if they have decent wifi it might be hard to tell.

 

Heart Warming
Saturday 13 May, 2017

I had quite a bit more feedback over my Blog from yesterday (Global Warming) than anticipated.

There were quite a few who reckoned it worth their time to berate me for trivialising the seriousness of the disaster facing our planet. A couple of the people were known to me but the majority were strangers.

Just as well, I suppose, because some of the language used to describe me was - shall we say - ‘fruity’?

Talk about making it personal!

Anyhow, while the negatives took me aback, it turned out that they were just less than 10% of the feedback I received by the time I sat down to write this Blog entry. Or to put it another way, of those who read the piece and managed to find the time to contact me, over 90% said nice things about it (not so much me, but hey-ho).

Again, a few of the names were of people known to me, but a fair number were total strangers.

There was one comment on the piece that went on about how it was a clever bit of writing that exposed the, ‘bogus nature of a scam perpetrated upon civil folk who just want to spend their hard-earned Dollars on living rather than worrying.’

I wasn’t sure whether to put that one in the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ pile. Feel free to decide for yourselves.

What is true, regardless of good or bad responses, is that the subject caused more people to bother to comment than any other Blog entry posted up here thus far. The fact that the vast majority were positive is something I find rather heart warming.

 

Global Warming
Friday 12 May, 2017

I believe the figures out there do indeed suggest Global Warming is a real phenomenon.

That said, and given that scientists are happy to point out that the Earth’s climate has veered between hot and cold over the lifetime of the planet, I’m yet to form a belief over whether this episode of warming is caused by Man or not.

At least that was true until recently.

As I write this I feel an urge to state clearly for all that I now firmly believe not only that Global Warming is real but that it is caused directly by the actions of Man.

How come I have reached this position? Well, a theory surrounding it came to my mind recently (during a period of brain-numbing boredom yesterday afternoon, in fact):

The world’s climate is warming up because more people are wearing coats.

There you have it; the actual reason sea levels are set to rise and extremely nice holiday locations are going to be swallowed by the encroaching sea.

And the only proper theory out there explaining why and how there is a link between it and Mankind came from me. And you are part of this revelation because you are reading this! And the best bit is that it also contains a solution to the problem. And I appear to like the word ‘and’ this morning.

Coats? Let me explain.

You know how it WILL rain if you hang the washing out, water pot plants in the garden, or wash your car? As it happens, this well-known occurrence is the underlying cause of Global Warming. In the same way that the weather will go out of its way to be wet when you bank on it being dry, it will be warm when you put on a coat expecting it to be cold or cool.

Now, while this might usually be only a rather localised observable fact; when you realise that as the wealth of the World increases, more and more people can afford decent coats, then you will see that, overall, it becomes a more wide-spread issue that is greatly magnified by the sheer numbers of those involved.

Yes, coat-wearing leads to warmer weather.

So the key to saving beach bars from flooding is to always go out in flimsy attire no matter how cold the weather forecast claims the day will be. Sure, because you have no coat, then the forecast will be correct this time and you will end up cold and miserable, but you will be doing your bit to save the planet from becoming a sauna-hot with all of your favourite holiday destinations being sacrificed to the seas.

 

Hangover
Thursday 11 May, 2017

It was a good night out.

I’d not been out, down the pub, for a good few years. An invitation from a chap I once worked with was deemed a great opportunity to see the interior of one, or some, of the local hostelries. I weakened.

I’m not a drinker. When I was a young man, while my friends built up a tolerance to alcohol, I maintained a strict temperance approach to outings to the pub.

The result was twofold in that I was usually the ‘designated driver’ and in later years I have retained a certain ‘lightweight’ air about me when alcohol is proffered in that I can reach falling over status at a cost of well under £20.

Last night I excelled. I managed to get through six pints of stout while at the same time getting to see some of the local watering holes from the inside.

One of the benefits of being unable to ‘hold my drink’ is that it isn’t possible to take in enough so as to cause my body any undue stress. Or to put it another way: I don’t get hangovers.

And this morning is no different - even after managing to down more alcohol than I have done in a great many years.

I managed the walk home at closing time without falling asleep in the gutter or losing my front door key. Getting ready for bed went off without incident: I even managed to get both my socks off without crashing to the ground.

However, I do seem to have a headache this morning.

That is the dreaded hangover!

Is it? I’ve popped a couple of painkillers, but I still managed to get up to attend to the puppy at 1:30am and 5am, AND I am sat here writing this Blog entry at 5:30am.

Have I got a hangover or a mere headache? I guess I won’t know until I re-read this Blog entry later today, or tomorrow, and cringe at the grammar errors...

 

Getting Old
Wednesday 10 May, 2017

I maintain a ‘prompts list’ which contains ideas such as titles and suchlike for writing. From time to time I will be walking to work and something will pop into my head and I will note it down for later.

A few days back I made an entry. It reads, ‘Blog. Getting old.’

I clearly recall the moment: the exact place I stood as I made the note and what I was thinking at the time. Or rather, what I was thinking immediately after I made the entry.

After?

Yes, what crossed my mind was this: Will the words, ‘Blog. Getting old,’ convey the writing idea clearly and will it mean what I want it to mean when I see it later?

My mind replied with: Yes, no problem. The idea is so good and clever; those bare words will carry the whole idea.

And here we are today having struggled since last week to call to mind precisely what I was thinking about when I made that note.

I can only liken it to one of those times when one walks into a room and forgets why.

My failure to summon up the memory of what I wished to write about is probably an indication of my getting old, but I’m not sure.

 

Small Things
Tuesday 9 May, 2017

Becoming the owner of a puppy is nice

It promises a dog that will be trained to the standards and expectations of you, that new owner. It is probably the colour and breed wished for by you, that new owner. And it is hoped it will be no bigger than aimed for by you, that new owner.

All good, and plain sailing - not that I am suggesting you train your dog to don a cap and wear deck shoes.

But while there is the lure of wonderful future benefits, there is still the puppy stage to get through - and it is why this Blog entry is being written at 5am.

My household welcomed Finn 19 April, 2017 at the tender age of seven weeks and six days. Many might comment that it was too young, but he was weaned and so having been through this before - nothing beyond us was envisaged; and nothing has been so: except that the seven-year-old dog already ensconced here from the age of eight weeks provided the memory of what it all entails that was seven years forgotten.

Ah, the coming down stairs to carnage wrought upon the interior of the puppy’s crate and the impromptu bath time that followed - actually not so bad when he is happy to stand still in the kitchen sink while a coating of ‘stuff’ is washed from his coat. Dealing with the mess inside the crate isn’t so easy.

Setting the bundle of fluff down on the floor while I get to work on cleaning the dog crate only to have it leave a puddle on the floor only two minutes after having had a wee in the garden - that’s one I had forgotten.

Watching the cuteness of a puppy bounding across the floor towards the older dog is also good. At least until the discovery that during its passage it was hidden from view behind the coffee table for 20 seconds during which time he managed to do a Number Two on the carpet.

In order to avoid the routine that was puppy bathing and dog crate renovation each morning, a regime of getting up twice during the night to take the puppy into the garden was introduced. In part it was due to the fact that Finn was not very vocal with regards to his activities or desires (other than wanting to be fed) - and so anticipation and pre-emptive action became the order of the day rather than reaction to indicated requirements.

Oh the joy of standing in the rain in the garden while he takes refuge from the downpour under a garden chair. I like that one, yes.

Hard work, very

However, the satisfaction when he lies down and is quiet when the command, ‘Quiet!’ is issued and he is pointed at, is great. As it is when he waits for me to enter through the back door before he is beckoned in - as all the training books tell me (a dog goes through a doorway after the owner, not ahead - something to do with pack leader setting, or something). The joy when I point at his dog crate and say, ‘Crate!’ and he heads straight for it and flops down inside - no matter what he was doing previously.

He is approaching 11 weeks old and his progress so far is such that I can easily get over all the dog poo related activities that take place around the clock.

But I will be a very happy owner when he can get through a night without being taken out into the garden during it...

 

Other Things
Monday 8 May, 2017

My intention has always been to maintain a regular blog.

That was my intention.

Life, on the other hand, has a habit of stepping in and messing up plans and intentions.

It can be a bit like that, can Life.

However, having taken Life warmly by the throat and given it a stiff taking to, my intentions seem nearer to the top of the pile.

So now you can all look forward to a regular series of blog entries. Or so I hope. Life is nothing if not unpredictable...