Friday, July 5, 2024

A Load of Ballots

The last time I did a post involving a general election was in 2010 ( ) when the incumbents (Labour) lost to the Conservatives and heralded in an era of capricious, self-serving otiosity that put personal wealth and party before the good of the country. Not particularly out of line with much of the rest of the world though, so who are we to buck the trend?

I remember feeling a particular sense of ennui then because, although I was no great fan of that government, the alternative seemed predictably worse.

You didn't need to be Nostra-bleedin'-damus to foresee that.

Later, the populace would show continued astonishing levels of political acumen by voting for Brexit because the papers told us to, which I'm still not convinced wasn't a cry for help, or maybe a form of collective masochism. If no-one else is going to punish us, we'd better do it ourselves!
Again, no need for Gypsy Rose Lee to tell us how that might pan out.

"I see you're going to meet a tall, dark recession . . ."

I have to be careful commenting on politics on this blog because of the immense levels of  influence I appear to have. 

My suggestion of setting up the Anarchist Hedonism Party were tongue-in-cheek (ew), but some of the policies were obviously taken on board by one recent PM (I know that doesn't particularly narrow things down, but this was the one that looked like a deep-fried mushroom rolled in tumble-drier fluff), who stoically managed to party even under particularly arduous circumstances, even when it was illegal. I mean, that's dedication.

Anyway, in an exact reversal of fortunes just fourteen years later, the government has dramatically (hopefully) changed and and I have a small glimmer of optimism.

I await to see if I'm pleased because Labour are in or just because the Conservatives (or whatever that weird organisation the Tory party has morphed into over the last decade) are out. 

I hope it's the former.

No light there just yet . . .

Monday, July 1, 2024

The Land After Time

All is change, and nothing remains static. Not time nor space, not mind nor face. 

I mean, look how small Snickers are these days.

But it maybe isn't a bad thing. On the borders of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire this week, we took a wander along what used to be quite the Roman highway, connecting two areas of high populace and no doubt ringing to the sound of feet, hooves and cartwheels. Now it looks like this:

Not bad really. Funny to think the M5 might end up like this one day.

We crossed an ancient clapper bridge (human ancient, not really ancient, as it's only medieval) where time has simply made it beautiful:

Dipped our feet in the nerve-sparkling chill of the pellucid river where we could see, lying on the riverbed, cast off stones used by Roman engineers when constructing the nearby road. We're probably not the first to have done this.

Lunch under an ash tree in a natural amphitheatre, watching kestrels and red kites eyeing up my peri-peri chicken salad was an absolute treat. For me, maybe not the birds. Unless they're into human-watching:

If this is the future, I'm all for it.

Monday, June 24, 2024

Wolfing it down

Inside us are two wolves.

I mean, not literally, because that would be quite the medical issue.

Within our minds are two wolves that compete for dominance. The winner is the one you feed.

That’s it. Inside my mind are two wolves.

One is called Snarly Machete-Fang. The other is called Barry.

One is the epitome of wild efficiency, of single-minded determination, eschewing emotions, ignoring distractions and utterly target driven. Ruthlessness and calculation evident in each muscle flex, straining every sinew to achieve the desired goal, relentlessly hunting the ever-sprinting Caribou of Accomplishment to feast on the juicy entrails of success!

The other one is Barry.

Barry seems quite happy really. He was going to focus on the ol’ Caribou of Accomplishment there, but remembered he’d got a lasagne in. Not the Lasagne of Triumph maybe, but pretty good nonetheless. The Lasagne of Agreeability perhaps. With some garlic bread and a glass of something red that isn’t reindeer blood.

Relentlessly pursuing something can be great, and Barry can do that right up until he relentlessly pursues something else just as interesting. Relentlessly veering off to look at trees, rivers, interesting rocks, a woodpecker hole or relentlessly stopping to wee on some moss. There’s a lot of things to relentlessly pursue temporarily.

The caribou seems less important sometimes, as it will always be one step ahead no matter how fast you go.

Snarly is welcome to continue trying to catch it, but maybe there are other more important things to get distracted by. One of the cubs has a dance recital and another is learning the accordion, so that takes up a fair bit of time, ferrying them across the forest for lessons.

Also, Barry’s promised to meet up for a pint with Colin the Tapir of the Mind later to discuss the pitfalls of rhinoplasty.

I feed Barry, is what I’m saying.

Monday, June 17, 2024


Fathers Day yesterday and, 17 years since it first happened to me, I am still amazed that I am one. I got quite a kick out of  my own Dad (now and forever known as 'Grumpy' to his descendants) wishing me a happy Fathers Day in return.


I know. Mad innit?

Seems a bit odd that the universe felt it was perfectly reasonable for me to help produce a couple of new sentient beings when I'm struggling to convince myself this isn't all just a weird simulation. 

Perhaps it doesn't matter. 

We could be in a full, multidimensional consequence of natural law, a spontaneous ripple in the utter static nothingness that would otherwise be. We could be in some sort of large procedurally generated program in a lab next to a thousand others. Maybe everything we know is a naturally occurring hologram on the edge of a singularity or confined within the imagination of a vast dreaming mind with impressive processing power.

Whatever it is, it doesn't take away us having a bit of an exist, and that's got to count for something right?

As a contemporary mammal and for no obvious significant benefit to myself, I obeyed the selfish drive of my genes and beget offspring. As a result I also have to beget a house, some bikes, pets, chicken nuggets, paints, shoes, apples, Lego, Cheerios and now driving lessons!

That's a lot of begetting. And my reward for all this is nothing more than some nebulous yet powerful emotions, a sense of  duty and a warm glow of affection which I suspect is a dribble of oxytocin designed to stop me from eating them like a hamster.

But at the end of the say, when all is did and done, I can't escape the fact that I am extraordinarily grateful to have them, fully aware it wasn't a done deal. They have turned out to be fairly decent human beings that I enjoy having around and it is finally safe to conclude, perhaps tentatively, that I am unlikely to eat them.

Also, for Fathers Day they bought me a T-Shirt with goldfinches on it, which counts for a a lot:

Happy F-day to all the dads and father-figures out there putting the effort in. 

By the way, if you're from the next simulation over, I have so many questions. How fast is your speed of light? Do you have bosons? Did you get anything for fathers day? What flavour Pop-tarts do you have?

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Carving time

My daughter Bonobo is now 14 and very good at art. We suggested she choose it for her GCSEs but she declined saying she wouldn't enjoy it as much if she HAD to do it, which is a lot wiser that I would have been at that age.

Recently she won a raffle prize to go on an arty workshop but needed an adult to accompany her, and I got volunteered.

"What is it?" I asked

"Tetra Pak Printing!" she replied.

"What is it?" I asked. 

"Not a clue!" she clarified.

Apparently, Tetra Pak is not a hunting party of small fish as one would initially presume, but the inside of drinks cartons (made largely by the company Tetra Pak) which have a silver metallic lining and can be used for inscribing in, daubed with ink, and then squeezed in a press with some paper to produce prints.

So I dragged myself along on an early Saturday morning for an art workshop instead of wondering where todays middle-aged back pain had come from (which is what I usually do of a weekend) and . . . 

. . . really bloody well enjoyed it.

Turns out scribing with sharp implements is very satisfying. I did an experimental one first and learned that it was laterally inverted, so you have to think mirror image when a-carving. Probably obvious to artists but not to me:

The press used for printing onto paper is a pasta maker! Which I think we can all agree is the only sensible use for a pasta maker. 

I was then told you could use coloured ink, and ink made me think of squids:

And then I did this, as an after fort:

An after fort! See? Cos it's a castle.

Sorry, puns like this tend to have a stronghold over me.

Anyway, the upshot is that I had a good time with a potential new hobby (I know, I may never, ever do it again) but it really does pay to do try stuff doesn't it?

Within reason I mean. I'm not going straight out to do Morris Dancing.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

About Face


These days I occasionally work in a clinic as a paramedic (primary care has now discovered we can do stuff, and so are making us do stuff). This allows doctors to focus on more more important and complicated clinical issues such as saucepans stuck on heads and hairache. 

The clinic is in an old converted Chapel, and in the bit where patients wait to be disappointed that they're not going to see a doctor today, just some oaf with a stethoscope and a prescription pad, one of the ceiling tiles is missing. 

It's been giving the receptionists the heebies and, in some cases, the jeebies, because if you stare up there you can just about make out a stone face staring back.

I felt this was something in which my nose must be poked.

I approached and stuck my phone up there, fully cognisant of every film where an unsuspecting chap of generally dismissive (and cheerful) demeanour pops his head into a void to cast aspersions on the irrational fears of others and promptly gets his entire fizzog eaten, or melted, or chopped up. Or shagged by a spider alien.

There was something up there.

I moved a chair 'neath the hole and, with other folk holding their breaths and clutching the fronts of their cardies in desperate admiration (they weren't, they were mostly doing spreadsheets and Wordle), I got closer for a more detailed examination.

It was definitely a thing. Like a cross between a gargoyle and a hastily carved cherub with reflux. 

The fact that it's facing inwards seems a bit weird to me. I was about to examine a lengthy treatise on the history, presentation and installation of gargoyles throughout the ages but remembered I'd got a Snickers in my bag and had that instead, so it remains a mystery. I did learn that the word Gargoyle, rather than being etymologically based on ancient romantic mysticism, comes from the old french " Gargouille" which means "throat", and old Greek for gargle. Because they gargle you see. Isn't language amazing?

Anyway, I told the receptionists that the weirdest thing about it was that the missing roof tile was replaced every evening, which apparently wasn't helpful.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Is this thing on . . ?

I’ve just deleted 800-odd posts "I" had apparently done on a variety of topics. 

There I was, thinking I haven’t blogged for nigh on eight years, man and slightly older man, but apparently I have published informative works on a variety of topics including Water Filtration systems, religious imprecations for supporting Christianity in Africa, Gold bullion buying and a few penissy things. 

I've also threatened myself numerous times for not paying debts I don't owe for things I haven’t bought. 

Honestly, I've been working hard in my absence. I'm impressed with myself. 

Which is not new. 

Other than that, I have been off experiencing life as a bipedal mammal with a family and that, it turns out, does take up a fair portion of the day. Today I was idly looking down the internet tubes when I spied my ol' blog here, so I thought I'd give it a quick tidy up, as if it were some sort of unruly digital pubic hair not seen for some time, surprising one when finally revealed with it's unkempt abundance and wild direction.
I still work for the ambulance service because I'm institutionalised. My sprogs are now teenagers who, I must grudgingly admit, appear to be people in their own rights. The world is making less sense the older I get and I think that could be because if everybody else, not me. This is completely the opposite of what I used to think, so I’m going to class it as a form of self-improvement. I hope you are as well as the universe allows, and are able to do the best you can with what you have. Peace