The Blog of Zakspade

 June 2017 Archive
Contact me

Friday 30 June, 2017

‘Editation’ - the process of editing.

Yes, I realise that it isn’t a real word, but who is to say it won’t become real sometime in the future?

Shakespeare did it. Apparently the word ‘assassination’ was coined by him in Macbeth. Apparently the form, ‘assassin’ existed before, but there was no word for what an assassin performed.

So, when I edit a written piece, I am performing some editation.

The creation of words and phrases is not the preserve of The Olden Days. Joseph Heller wrote a book called, Catch-22 (1961) It is said that he initially intended to use the title, Catch-18 but it wasn’t felt catchy enough.

Forgive the unintended semi-funny there…

Before Mr Heller used the title, the phrase never existed. When you describe a choice as a catch-22 situation, you are tipping a nod at our Joseph.

The next time you find yourself picking over the exact choice of words you are writing on the noticeboard in the kitchen, remember you are engaging in editation, and remember where you first saw the word.


64 with a Byte
Thursday 29 June, 2017

My blog on Thursday 22 June, 2017 was called, 64. Part two of the tale was posted up here on Sunday 25 June, 2017 and was entitled, 64 and a Bit. With the way things have developed, I have been left with no choice but to write and post a third part; thereby inflicting you all with the title of this entry: 64 with a Byte.

Titles aside, what has unfolded has been an experience that started with exceptionally low expectations which moved upwards with the onward movement of events towards the eventual outcome.

And I am a happy, if somewhat surprised, bunny.

Kingston have advised me that they will be sending me a replacement.

I started the correspondence with no expectation of a positive result - which was reinforced by the initial response. However, the little point of my writing about the matter and pointing Kingston at my words may have had an impact. It may not. But whatever happened, someone decided to treat it with a little more customer-weighted care than I initially experienced.

The Amazon review I wrote that carried fuller technical details of the fault will be amended to reflect the way things turned out. What failed hasn’t changed. How it came about is how it came about. However, it would only be fair to relate the fact that Kingston addressed the matter positively in the end.

The ‘deal-breaker’ I had anticipated (being required to send back the failed device), didn’t happen. I was told to keep it and dispose of it appropriately. As I cannot delete the data that presently resides upon it, I was reticent over letting it out of my care, so it will be taking a holiday in the oven shortly…

Submitting a complaint with a bite and politeness can only be a good thing.


Wednesday 28 June, 2017

Yesterday, on my walk into work, am old dear pushing one of those three-wheeled, walking frames circled back towards me before taking a tumble.

She hit the grass beside the cyclepath so I was semi relieved in that I wasn’t expecting cuts and grazes upon my reaching her.

She seemed okay so I set about examining her trolley as she maintained that she had not been trying to turn about and it had actually veered off to the side. It checked out as working fine so I returned my attention to her in full.

She had a fresh graze on her cheek that she had most definitely not picked up when I saw her fall, so it struck me that she had fallen previously to my seeing her go down. I asked where she was headed and she said she was meeting her daughter at her workplace; the nearby supermarket. So it made sense to follow her the short (for me) distance and watch over her.

The reason for the wayward behaviour of the walking frame trolley became apparent: she was very slow and she chose to hug the edge of the pathway - presumably to stay out of the way of anyone passing her. Unfortunately it meant that a rear wheel would run off the edge of the path and drag the trolley and the lady around and onto the grass and into a slow-motion crash.

The slow walk to the supermarket continued after a little ‘driving instruction’ from me. Upon reaching her destination she made me promise not to say anything to her daughter. By now I knew what section she worked on and her finish time, so we parted inside the store and I headed to the Customer Services Desk to check the daughter was indeed in the store as the old lady had assured me.

Sure, I promised not to say anything to the daughter, but I had had my eye on the Customer Service Desk as I entered the store and my subterfuge.

Yes, all was as I had been told, and the nice lady on the desk would go off and discretely update the daughter for me.

I had still not broken my promise and firmly believe I am serious MP material...


A Very Human Eric
Tuesday 27 June, 2017

I recently had a couple of pieces published in a magazine about how a car I once owned. The first detailed how the car became to be known as Eric, and the second referred to how he collected lots of kiss marks over his bodywork from lipstick wearing female passengers back in the 80s

I know, I know, in these enlightened times maybe the fact that I mentioned that those responsible were female rather than male, or a mix, means I am probably homophobic and kick kittens. Or something.

So, to balance things up, I thought I would write about something I saw yesterday while I was shopping in town.

I spotted a chap with many tattoos down his arms. They extended to the inside of his arms as well. As anyone with tattoos will tell you, the skin there is sensitive and the process of being tattooed there is more painful than elsewhere.

The same can be said about the back of the neck, but to a lesser degree. However, I understand that the side of the neck is painful for many.

Yes, the young man with his tattoos had them on his neck as well. My use of the word young is important. Lest I am accused of ageism, I will make my point.

The tattoos were all dark and very well defined. Fresh. Clear. Distinct.

Give him another ten years and he will be the Fading Tattoos Man. Blurry. Smudged. Distorted.

And still under forty.

But that isn’t the real reason I spotted him and was minded of my Eric articles. No, it was the tattooed kiss mark on his neck that caught my eye. It was a painful to acquire tattoo without as much fun to be had from the process as if he had been collecting a hickey.


Monday 26 June, 2017

The weather over the weekend had us making plans for using the chiminea.

It was nice. The stock of wood I hold as a result of never throwing stuff away was put to good use.


Two, actually.

The other was that in this household it has been mistakenly referred to as a chimera from the day we bought it. We know better now.

I suppose they share features. One breaths fire, the other, er, breaths fire.

Differences? One is mythical and the other is made up from a lion, goat and a snake.

I’m tired.


64 and a Bit
Sunday 25 June, 2017

My Blog entry on Thursday 22 June started thus: What a waste of time and effort!

What was, and why? It was my experiences with a 64GB Kingston SE9 DataTraveler USB memory stick and my attempts to be able to actually write anything to it.

The highly negative reporting of my tribulations was emailed to Kingston Technologies for comment. I was aware that because of the great time that had passed between purchase and failure, I was not going to be able to seek a replacement.

No resolution yet, but it things seem to be heading in the right direction; Kingston responded with a request for full markings upon the device (part/serial numbers etc.) and a couple of photos allowing them to see said information, date of purchase and source, along with my address in order to supply me with a replacement, if they felt able to do so.

My response was to supply the device identifying numbers but nothing else on the grounds that I was not expecting a replacement and that what had happened was what it was: an inconvenient loss of use and money and would be treated as such.

They replied with an offer to replace the thing upon receipt of the photographs and my address.

So, decent photographs were taken that clearly showed all markings and they were emailed off along with my address.

I also mentioned that I was pleasantly surprised. The truth is that I was astounded.

A quick and simple replacement is not yet assured as I am waiting for them to request the device back in return for the replacement. That is something I will and cannot do as the read-only behaviour means that I cannot delete what is already on the stick, and some of it is in the form of highly personal data.

That said, if they are happy to receive it back after it has spent time in the oven alongside my supper being prepared for the night, then I can do that.

They had refused to be drawn on the question of whether such behaviour is by design, that being: when imminent failure is detected, the response is to adopt a read-only status. However, they repeatedly said they do not make memory devices designed to have short lives.

The fact that they never denied the assertion, while skirting around it by replying with an answer in the form of a statement on a different matter, suggests substance behind the allegation. And in fairness, it isn’t a bad tactic to employ - it just means when a device is near to turning up its toes prematurely, the effect is to make waves.

I’m still not holding my breath but I am breathing slower now...


Reigning Cats and Dogs
Saturday 24 June, 2017

Oh, British weather! Where would any self-respecting English person be without it to fall back upon during those moments when polite conversation dries up?

Setting out to walk to work I was faced with a dilemma: travel light, or wear a light jacket to protect against the threat of heavy showers. The former threatened to have me soak from the water possible, while the latter guaranteed my becoming soaked in my own perspiration while offering me a little protection from the skies.

I decided to take a chance and didn’t take a jacket with me.

It was a good choice, but only just. I got to work just before the clouds deposited their load upon the bone-dry ground below. By the time I set off home, the ground was once again dry and the sky was blue and pretending to have never seen a cloud in months.

A phrase I heard during the day made no sense to me: our queen is human. When I checked the origins of those who reigned before her, they all turned out to be human.


Friday 23 June, 2017

Well, that was a surprise. My wife’s Facebook account locked her out because it claimed her PC was infected with malware.

Facebook solution: Download, install, run their supplied scanner to fix the issue and all will be as before.


…she cannot logon with that account on other devices.

…she can use other Facebook accounts without issue on the original computer.

It is just a straightforward scam (read ‘LIE’) from our cuddly friends at Facebook.

Solution seems to be to leave it a while (reports vary between five days and one month) and all is returned to normal.

My solution: Login on a virtual machine, do what they say, let it run, once sorted, delete the virtual machine.

You’ve heard of a ‘burner phone’? Well think of the virtual machine used as a ‘burner computer’…


Thursday 22 June, 2017

What a waste of time and effort!

Back in December 2014 I bought a 64GB Kingston SE9 DataTraveler USB memory stick. I had intended to cart my life about with me: the hole at one end allowed me to use a hook device to latch it to a trouser belt loop. Instead what happened was that I loaded it with dummy data to check it worked then promptly misplaced it…

Come May 2017 and I rediscovered the memory stick. It had managed to find its way behind books on a bookshelf. There it lay unused until I was digging around looking for information the old-fashioned way (i.e. out of a reference book).

Once again I reckoned on using it to cart data around with me. So I gave it a test load to check what I wanted to do was still feasible given changes in my requirements since 2014. One of the test files was a 20GB image of a virtual machine that I wanted available to me at all times when away from home.

Around 50% of the way through copying it from my PC an error dialogue box popped up telling me that it could no longer write to the device.

An interrupted and failed copy of a 20GB file is not something I worry over: I’m old enough to remember 360kb floppy diskettes and their legendary ability to become unreadable if the wind changed direction.

However, what really pained me was the fact that the memory stick now reported itself to Windows as read-only. In fact, it did so on various different machines - some running Windows, some Linux, and one Google Chrome. So the problem lay with the device and not some glitch in Windows.

Oh the hours I wasted trying to alter the status of that memory stick! In the end I even tried to rewrite the firmware - of course, without success due to it being right-protected! Grr!

I didn’t give up until stumbling upon a report claiming the behaviour was by design. Apparently if imminent failure is detected, it becomes read-only; thwarting attempts to write further data that might be lost upon failure.

So I stopped and thought about it. This was a high quality memory stick from a reputable manufacturer that had been used a couple of times before it detected a failure condition looming - and after only a couple of uses.

And because of the time elapsed, there was no chance of replacement.

I had put it to Kingston that it was a highly unacceptable way to behave on their part. No matter, they decided, it was just my tough luck.

Unfortunately for Kingston, it is not my tough luck. It will end up costing them more than if they had just sent me a replacement device as I intend to dissuade as many people as possible from purchasing their products.

Thus far, at the time of writing this Blog entry, I have had three people ask me for recommendations on the basis of my long IT career in the past. All three were directed away from Kingston. So the £20 it would have cost them to fix this has already cost them somewhere around £45 in lost sales - and I intend to make sure that they lose a great many more potential sales.

I have emailed them the location of this Blog entry. They can decide whether to cut their losses. If they do, you can rest assured that I will report their change of heart, but I am not holding my breath…


Wednesday 21 June, 2017

I own dogs, plural.

My dogs are well behaved - sort of.

After having suffered a few years with barking dogs in my old neighbourhood, I vowed never to be one of ‘those’ neighbours which owned a barking dog and left it to bark and bark and bark.

So I spoke to my immediate next door neighbour and asked them not to be polite about things and let me know if they heard so much as a whimper from my dogs - especially now that I now had a third dog (a puppy).

They were surprised I’d acquired a second dog, let alone a third.

I’ll consider that a success in the not-barking-and-being-annoying stakes.

However, with my determination to avoid being ‘that neighbour’ with noisy dogs, I sleep lightly in case the puppy cries or yelps. This last week I have been awakened around four to four-thirty a.m. every day but never by my own dogs.

It turns out that someone on a nearby street has a puppy that is noisy. At first I was getting up and rushing downstairs only to find three dogs fast asleep - the puppy sleeping on his back. Of course, he would awaken and need to be let out, thereby killing my chances of getting back to bed and the world of sleep.

Now I pick up my mobile phone and dial into the webcam situated downstairs to look and see what they are doing. If asleep I try to ignore the yelping and get back to my own sleep, but I seem to be failing as I fear others think it to be my dogs.

I obviously worry too much.


Tuesday 20 June, 2017

I looked up into the sky and I noted a rather desperate lack of the things.

In a way that is good. It means I can bank on walking from home to the town centre before being rained upon. However, it never guarantees me being able to walk back home without getting wet. Those cloud things are a rather sneaky lot. They are not unknown to spring up from seemingly nowhere to form a backdrop to torrential downpours that soak through everything known to Mankind in order to make people soggy.

With my IT hat on I can see how their lack of respect for international borders, can be thought of beyond the becoming drenched phenomenon.

A cloud may gently waft across The Channel or the Mexico-USA Trump-line without a care. Indeed, a particularly hardy soul might even be part of a bank that might make its way across the Atlantic from the Gulf of Mexico, passing Florida, before depositing its load upon the hapless of Cornwall, London or Bedfordshire.

The other sort of cloud might wing its way across the Atlantic in the form of binary bits seeking a device that can decode the series of ones and zeroes thus turning them into intelligence reports on suspected terrorists, plans for dirty bombs, or pictures of fluffy kittens in comic poses suggesting ridiculous human-like traits.

It seems that neither respects international law, either.

Or rather, the latter does, but it is all down to how it is chosen to be understood.

While we cannot yet control the movement of the clouds above us, we can decide whether to trust ours lives to The Cloud.

To the reader of yesterday’s Blog entry, Failed: who emailed me to threaten to report me to the police. It is the likes of you who are blind to the realities of what is going on, thereby supporting the failure to address the issue properly, and resulting in further maiming and death. Bite me.


Monday 19 June, 2017

I woke up this morning to the news that a van has apparently been driven into a crowd of people in London, killing one and injuring eight others [initial reports said eight - it turned out to be ten].

The Metropolitan Police are advising they are treating it as a terrorist attack.


Then I read on further and see it was outside a mosque and the victims were worshippers at that mosque.

Said information is available to The Met.

Consequently it cannot be a terrorist attack - it has to be a revenge attack.

How many times have we heard after a bombing or suchlike that the Police knew the names of the attackers? The System is failing us. Whether the police are too stupid and incompetent, or their hands are tied by a legal system that thwarts their attempts to protect our security, doesn’t really matter in that people still die.

And as the System has failed, there are those who will step in and provide that protection in the only way they can: they will attack and murder each and every last one of those Muslim bastards they blame for the attacks being made upon innocent British people and their way of life.

Without doubt, they will do what our own morally corrupt ‘security’ service won’t or can’t do - they will protect us.

That is the reasoning the hot-heads are using to justify their stance. Talking of it as a terrorist attack is merely the burying of heads in the sand.

While they keep doing that, the misguided hatred and spite will increase and we will see this country descend into a tit-for-tat series of attacks, back and forth, death after death.

It won’t happen? Really? Read the news. Look at what happened in Northern Ireland. The authorities lost control of the faith of the people, thereby allowing Mob Rule to replace their authority.

Thus far those who think they know how to protect us have failed.


Farthers Day
Sunday 18 June, 2017

I suppose it is a nice day to celebrate.

What about those who are far way, perhaps serving abroad with the armed services, or lounging on a distant sun-drenched beach in the Pacific?

Sending cards to such people is such a sweet way of reminding them that someone is thinking of them.


Saturday 17 June, 2017

I should have realised the silence was a problem.

Normally, upon my entering the kitchen first thing in the morning, I tell the older dogs to stay in their beds and get on with releasing the puppy from his training crate and letting him into the garden.

Part of this normality is a puppy behaving crazy to see me as I pull back the cover and open the crate door. However, the other morning there was no sign of activity.

No whimpering and scrabbling sounds were evident as I removed the blanket shielding the crate. When I peered in, a white puppy was sitting there watching me. As I opened the door he waited and it was only after beckoning him out that there was movement and he clambered out and followed me to the back door and into the garden.

It seemed rather odd as I was used to him behaving as if he had been locked in solitary confinement for months and was desperate for freedom. Maybe he was growing up and was at last ready to be left free at nights from now on?

Upon returning inside to prepare feeds for the dogs, I closed the door to the crate. To one side of the crate the bedding had been pulled back and directly upon the base of the crate was a huge pile of poo.

Nothing else in the crate had been touched.

On reflection, perhaps the puppy isn’t yet ready to be left out overnight.


Droning On
Friday 16 June, 2017

I cut across a playing field on my trek into work. With the good weather at present, there always someone or something there as I pass.

The other day it was a man stood motionless and as if holding a book out in front of him at hip level.

My first sight of him was from the edge of the playing field but he was right on the line I intended to take towards my workplace, so I watched him carefully as I approached him, noting that his stance altered not one jot as I covered the distance from the edge of the park to the centre where he stood.

It was when I got to within talking distance that I became aware of a whining sound. Almost immediately afterwards, I spotted the drone hovering in the air ahead of the man’s fixed gaze and immediately in my path at head height a couple of metres in front of me.

As an occasional drone pilot myself, I am acutely aware of others and the danger my drone can be to unwary users of the space about me while I am attempting to fly it without crashing.

I was actually quite impressed - my drone requires lots of input to keep it still in the air. His appeared to have some form of stabilisation facility. There was no need for him to do anything to have the drone just sit there - at head height like a hover fly waiting for its prey.

Well, I say ‘impressed’ - I was less so with the fact that he was in a public space and seemingly without a care for the safety of anyone else.

A complaint went in. Despite the perfect flying conditions since, he has not reappeared. I cannot have been the only person to have nearly walked into his whirring-blades, slice-your-face-open device.


Good Neighbours
Thursday 15 June, 2017

A good neighbour is one who takes in parcels for you when you are out. They don’t leave their dog in the garden barking all day long. A wave as you pass them as you leave for work is the order of the day.

In short, a neighbour does things for you.

The neighbour who does things to you isn’t always good.

I have witnessed a major landscaping and remodelling of the front and rear gardens of a property along the route I walk into work. Yesterday the landscapers piled much of the debris into a pile and set a massive bonfire alight in the rear garden.

A bit of both there, methinks, if the householders warned their neighbours in advance: inflicting soot and ashes on the neighbours (doing things to the neighbours), and warning them of soot and ashes so that the washing could be taken in (doing things for the neighbours).


Wednesday 14 June, 2017

Here we are, approaching the year’s longest day, and I had cause to attend a dentist appointment for a check-up.

Not seeing the relevance, speak slower.

Every time I write the date out, I see the ‘2017’ and it jars. My mind seems to have a problem with it having moved on from ‘2016’ having appeared to have become rather comfortable there.

Still not seeing it, speak clearer.

Life moves at a pace that sometimes seems rushed, but I can handle it at the moment.

No, not seeing it at all, clarify.

Upon receiving a clean bill of health, I was asked to make a fresh appointment for the next check-up. This I did and I came away with a small piece of card with the date and time written upon it.

Suddenly December 2017 is part of my life and I‘m left wondering how I will cope with writing ‘2018’ all the time...


Tuesday 13 June, 2017

Fortunately, on my walk into town yesterday, I did not see any penguins. While that might not seem noteworthy, what you have to realise is what it might possibly have meant if I had.

Imagine for a moment, if you will, that I had arrived home and launched into a diatribe about the various penguins I had seen along the way. I may possibly have gotten as far as describing a good handful of penguin species before my wife rang 999 and called for help.

So it is probably just as well that I didn’t see any.

But what if I had?

What if a circus was in town? What if they featured performing penguins and one, or more, had escaped? Or a lorry transporting penguins from London Zoo to nearby Whipsnade had passed through our town and a crafty beggar had managed to overpower the driver and they all made off?

Given the possibilities, it is perhaps amazing that I never saw any at all.

However, there is an angle I have not hitherto explored: what if I was seen by penguins?


Monday 12 June, 2017

Lots of stuff was moved betwixt garage, shed and house yesterday. Too much stuff, if my muscles are anything to go by.

Ah stuff. Stuff is what dreams are made of and stuff is what breaks your back when you have to move lots of stuff about. Thankfully stage two is to get rid of the less useful stuff and take it down the local tip. That way there ought to be less stuff to move about for which a permanent home is to be found.

The problem with stuff is that when just sitting there taking up space, it merely sits there and takes up space. However, when one gets rid of stuff, it becomes crucial once it has gone for good. Otherwise it just keeps on sitting there. And sitting there, like all good stuff should, I suppose.

The last time I had to move lots of stuff was around seven years ago. Back then I tried to keep some stuff while arranging for some of it to be disposed of, and I am guessing some stuff got mixed up with other stuff and the wrong stuff got taken away to never be seen again.

To this day I find stuff missing.

Only the other day I went out to the garage to use a saw I know I owned, but could I find it? I looked and looked, but there was no sign of it amongst the other stuff filling the garage. Was I imagining it and I never actually owned such a saw as I thought among all the stuff I do own?

As it happens; yes. I found packs of spare blades for the saw in question. Said spares were merely stuff without use because the saw for which they were available to be fitted was no longer with all the other stuff, having probably gone off with the wrong stuff all those years back.

It is not an isolated case. Over the years I have noticed that I cannot find stuff I thought I had amongst all the stuff I do own. However, accessories or complimentary stuff will be there, thus indicating to me that I did once own the stuff being currently searched for in the large amount of stuff tucked away on shelves and hung up on hooks.

I guess sometimes my stuff is just not the right stuff.


Do What?
Sunday 11 June, 2017

I first read on Facebook that the Conservatives had cut a deal with the DUP to allow them to form a government.

That is the DUP who make the Conservatives look like a bunch of dress-wearing, tree-hugging, socialist worker readers. The DUP formed by that nice, gentle, softly-spoken man, Ian Paisley. The man who denounced the Pope in 1988 as the Antichrist.

And Stormont will attract protests from opposing parties in Northern Ireland - bother verbal and legal.

Interesting times ahead…


Invisible Lorries
Saturday 10 June, 2017

Well, yesterday’s walk into work was strange! Not one HGV lorry passed me at any time during my ten minutes worth of quality pedestrian time alongside one of the main roads into the town centre.

This is a road that has a 7.5t restriction at each end.

Every day during my short adventure, maybe as many as six HGV lorries will pass me. Not too big a surprise, but what takes my breath away is when an HGV articulated lorry is daubed with the name of the training school to which it belongs.

On a ‘quiet’ day two or three of those HGV lorries will be from one of three local training schools.

Yet today there was not one such lorry, not one!

I had taken to photographing the training school lorries so as to have their name and phone number in order to allow me to contact them and enquire as to what the legal exception for training school might be. Those I spoke with were very apologetic and I offered to share my photographs with them if they felt the need to take matters further - along with photographs of the very clear signage at each end of the stretch of road.

My offer was declined by each and every one of the companies.

Imagine my surprise when I would see the same lorries using the same piece of road over and over after my wasted effort on the phone. Obviously I knew the same lorries were being used - the photographs featured the same registration plates - and the same instructor’s face would be looking down at me from the cab.

Repeat calls were made. Still my offer of photographs was declined, so I asked if they were OK with my submitting the photographs with their liveried lorries to the local police and uploading them to social networking websites?

Even more apologetic.

I would love to think that my badgering local HGV training schools has made them telling their instructors to obey traffic signs. I wish!

No, I figure I will snap another album of photographs on Monday, after which I will post the results online with a link emailed to the offending company asking for comment.

Unless nothing really changed and all they did was repaint their lorries with invisible paint.


More Parking
Friday 9 June, 2017

Back on 7 March, 2016 wrote about seeing a car regularly parked up against a wooden post and suggesting the day would come when the driver would end up with the hefty post under their car with their being faced with huge bill due to the subsequent damage that would probably ensue.

Well, yesterday I watched a woman trying to do a three-point turn on the service road leading to the back of a local supermarket. My guess is that she drove down the well-signed service road thinking that she could enter the supermarket car park via it regardless of what the signs claimed.

Said supermarket has a dedicated road serving their car park.

The woman had failed to see the notices (or ignored them - I never spoke to her, so I never asked). Either possibility worried me. What if she approached a pedestrian crossing with a schoolchild using it? Would she see the child walking across the crossing? If she did, would she ignore the child? Both seem to be possibilities given the fact of her struggle to turn her car about after trying to enter the car park via the wrong road.

What made me think she was trying to access the car park if I never stopped to speak to her?

It was the fact that she seemed to give up and just drive across the concrete raised border kerbs separating the service road from the car park. She managed to ground something under her car, but the awful noise didn’t make her hesitate - she still gunned it over the meaningless border.

Maybe she was merely escaping from being stuck and unable to turn around?

No, from the fact of her pulling into a parking space, getting a shopping bag from the car, locking it and walking to the entrance of the store, I will stick my neck out and suppose she was satisfied that she had managed to find a parking space after all. Neither the risk of hitting anyone not expecting to see a car coming from the direction she did, or the expensive noises that came from her car as she dragged it over the kerbing seemed to have fazed her.

More parking, with wider spacing, with more access seems to be the way forward.


Thursday 8 June, 2017

I’m hoping not to be too badly affected by wind as I have the last couple of days. Life has been difficult, to say the least! My walk to work is uncomfortable and I am forever on the lookout for relief from it.

Tablets? What are you on about? How would taking tablets improve things?

Hang on a moment, perhaps you have a point. If the chosen tablets were strong sleeping pills then maybe the problem would go away.

That decided, it only remains to determine how to administer them.

Yes, administer. What, how does popping them into my mouth and taking a sip of water help anyone? Have you been listening to a word I have said?

I have no interest in taking sleeping tablets for any reason whatsoever. I was thinking of the drivers who seem to drive like lunatics when the wind gets up. If they were to remain zonked out when their bedside alarms go off in the morning, then they would not be behind the wheel of a speeding vehicle as I walk to work.

It is quite a noticeable pattern: high winds = high speeds. Additionally drivers seem to enjoy driving with gusto as they overtake those who are stupid enough to think that obeying the speed limits is a good thing.

As the wind dies down, the instances of idiocy to be witnessed as I walk along the main road into town seem to reduce with it.

I have a theory. Modern cars are so energy efficient these days they seek to utilise power generated by the wind, and this equates to greater-than-needed-or requested power - hence the breakneck speeds.

As theories go, it is one. However, one thing is for sure: with the dropping of the wind comes a lower threat of harm as I walk into work, thereby ensuring that I am going to be in good enough shape to go to my local polling station and vote…


Wednesday 7 June, 2017

Yesterday the number ‘73’ came to mind. However, such was my awe for the speedy and efficient manner in which the garden shed had been delivered, it stayed that way: crossed.

Today - with the novelty of the garden shed out of the way, and now subject to a list of tasks now that it has to be ‘furnished’ and configured internally - ‘73’ once again made its way to the front of my mind.

In 1973 the slogan plant a tree, ’73 was on everyone’s lips. Well, the lips of many, or some. Dutch Elm Disease had claimed millions of elms by that time after a particularly potent strain hit UK shores back around 1967. To date some 25 million elm trees have been lost in the UK.

Ironically, the largest and healthiest population of elm trees in Europe are now to be found in and around the Dutch cities of Amsterdam and The Hague. The Dutch in the name merely refers to the Dutch phytopathologist (plant pathologist) Marie Schol-Schwarz who first isolated the cause of the disease in 1921.

In 1873 Levi Strauss patented the first blue jeans with copper rivets. Of no real interest to me, but again the ‘73’ is there.

The year 1773 saw what became known as the Boston Tea Party - an act associated with the American declaration of independence of 1776.

Then the reason for the ‘73’ hit me when I looked once again at the date: Yesterday on 6 June, 1944 - 73 years ago, the D-Day landings took place. With the average age of soldiers being around 23 (26 according to US army statistics), that would make the average survivor these days about 96 years old.

During summer holiday employment when I was in sixth form, I worked alongside a couple of chaps who took part in D-Day and the subsequent campaign through Europe towards Germany. After leaving school I was employed at a company where the shop floor manger claimed, erroneously, that he was the youngest paratrooper dropped at Arnhem - he would have been 19 years old.

I feel old, but not 73 years of old.


5 Minutes
Tuesday 6 June, 2017

Back in 1978 The Stranglers released a single called 5 Minutes.

I remember watching the video for the song on Top of the Pops and noting that the BBC had pixelated the countdown timer in the corner of the screen.

The reason, as I recall, was that while the song title and the timer concurred, the actual song length was nearer 3:17 and apparently the dear old Beeb didn’t want to mislead us simple folk.

Well, two chaps turned up with a lorry yesterday morning with my shed in pieces laid flat on the back of their lorry. By the clock in the kitchen I noted that from the time of their arrival to when they left was a mere 50 minutes.

Something that would have taken me a day to do was completed in under an hour.

Or maybe they did take all day and my kitchen clock works like that on-screen timer?


Superheroes R Us
Monday 5 June, 2017

Excited doesn’t begin to describe how I feel this morning!

Today is the day I start of my ascent into greatness.

Today is the day when I become empowered.

Today is the day when I assume the mantle of freedom.

Today is the day when get to inhabit my very own world.

Today is the day when I get to lead my life as I wish.

Today is the day when my shed arrives.

Today is the day when I become Shed Man!


Wait, I Know This One!
Sunday 4 June, 2017

On the downside, I awoke to my bedside alarm at 4am this morning.

On the upside, I only set one alarm this morning and so rose just the once.

On another upside, the small white dog-like thing managed to make it through the night with just this single excursion to the garden without requiring a visit to the kitchen sink and my partly dismantling his crate in order to clean it up after any unfortunate incident that have befallen him.

And yet another upside: my getting up so early gives me a chance to write the day’s Blog entry. You are reading the words of someone who embraced the torture of a 4am alarm call; an alarm that I set with my own fair hand before retiring to bed last night.

There we have a list of positives to offset the fact that it was barely light when I made my way out into the garden this morning. How could it be any better?

That is an interesting and challenging question, especially this early in the morning, but wait, I know this one: having caught up on much needed sleep yesterday, I know what day it is today without having to look it up.


Saturday 3 June, 2017

Standing in the garden in the half light of the early dawn, I knew I was in trouble.

Did I realise I owed someone a huge sum of money? A mobster who would think nothing of fitting me with concrete shoes before inviting me to go swimming at the local lake?

Had I left something in the oven overnight? A cake, perhaps, that was now nothing but a hard blackened lump unreflective of all the hard work putting it together in the first place?

Maybe I had promised to drop something over to someone yesterday but not turned up? Even now they were sat waiting by their front door for whatever it was that I had promised but hadn’t arrived with, despite my assurances?

Then the penny dropped: yesterday. What day was yesterday? What day is today?

While the small white dog did everything a small white dog can do without actually doing anything, I racked my brain in vain as I tried to determine what day of the week it was as I stood watching it.

All I knew for certain was that it was not raining, although I touched the tip of my nose and looked at my finger to check - just to be sure.

That action told me I was never going to work out what day of the week it was as I stood there.

Having taken a long time to do what only needed a short time, the small white dog decided that I could go back inside the house. I decided that while I was up I would write today’s Blog entry. That way I would able to check what day it is today.

Sitting at my PC with keyboard and typing fingers at the ready, I could see in the bottom right corner of my computer screen that today is Saturday. That was handy - now I knew how far into the week I had managed. What I now needed to do was work out what today’s Blog was going to be about, but nothing came to me.

Perhaps I won’t bother writing anything today, after all, it’s a Saturday.


Friday 2 June, 2017

They come when not expected. Whether on the approach to a hidden junction, or a mediums’ convention, they pop up and tell you things.

And so it can be overnight.

Last night I had a dream. To be frank, I don’t remember what it was about, but one bit stuck in my mind.

Some chap hit someone else with a power pack from a laptop and he ended up being charged with assault and battery.

Well, it seemed quite funny during my dream. In my defence; I was asleep at the time, but one thing is for sure; I woke in a jolly mood this morning.

Hopefully I have read the sign correctly and today will be a good one and I won’t be hit over the head with anything - especially if I steer clear of making bad jokes like that.


Thursday 1 June, 2017

It was just gone midnight and I was up to again tend to the puppy.

As it happened, an idea for today’s Blog came to my mind. As I stealthily made my way down the stairs in order to avoid waking anyone else in the household, I fleshed it out a bit. By the time I got to the cause of my getting up, I was of the opinion that I had a jolly good Blog entry lined up.

Puppy sorted, I returned to bed.

For a short while I lay there thinking of what I would write and how I would write it. The subject matter, having come to me so easily, was proving to be fruitful given the approach towards it that now played in my mind.

Once I rose properly in the morning, I was going to be able to dash off the words and be hugely satisfied that I had managed to write something that would, in all probability, provide me with something I might use as a basis for a paid piece of work elsewhere.

I committed it to my memory over and over. It was clear. I was certain. It was good.

Today’s entry is being written in the form that is because I have no idea what it was that so pleased me earlier this morning. Like the morning mist, it lifted and was gone as if it had existed in the first place. However, the knowledge of its existence remained as it had been witnessed, but no trace remained.

Many years ago, I read that all aspiring and active writers should keep a notepad, or similar, by their bed, along with something with which to write. The reason was simple: should an idea take to the air during the night, then it could be grasped and recorded for later use when fully awake and able to make proper use of it.

It was a piece of advice I read and read again down the years. And I did keep a notebook and pencil by my bed. And I did jot down ideas. Sure, they didn’t come to me on a regular basis during the night or at bedtime, but those that did were usually worthy of exploration.

One day I had a very thorough clean of the bedroom. My bedside cabinet came in for some serious attention and decluttering. The notebook went.

I didn’t really miss it because of the paucity of ideas and because those that did pop into my head usually came when I was in a position to make my way to the third bedroom where my writing desk resides.

Back to my stealthy passage down to the puppy earlier this morning: we had a guest staying, so my clattering about in the early hours as I recorded what seemed to be a wondrous idea wasn’t really on.

No matter how hard I try, what I thought of after midnight has gone. What hasn’t gone is the very clear memory of committing the thought to my mind. That is crystal clear.

A notebook sits unused downstairs. It will be pressed into service once I upload this Blog entry. I can do without the frustration.