28 Jul 2014

And Then We Took Advantage….

Hasn’t it been nice? The weather’s wot I’m talkin’ about. First off I did what any sensible old person would do and moved the sofa closer to the window to take advantage of the fine weather and catch a little breeze through the open windows. However, I remembered the ‘advice’ proffered by our Public Health ‘experts’. This advice, I’m sure you remember, was to draw the curtains.

With that task completed it seemed to us that we’d defeated the purpose of the sofa moving manoeuvre so, after a quick vote, we cast caution to the light zephyrs, donned our most baggy of all baggy clothing, greased up and took off in the car. Correction. We never left the ground. We drove off in the car.

The above is the reason for no posting, should you’ve noticed, as we venture forth, or sally fifth, depending on which way the front of the car takes us, early doors and meander back late evening after taking in a meal in whatever hostelry we’re passing when hunger strikes. Interestingly, as all country pubs now seem to be primarily playgrounds and eating joints, I have to say we haven’t, to date, encountered any bad meals. We have, however, encountered the occasional deflated bouncy castle which was a tad disappointing as there’s nothing like an energetic bounce about to put the final fine edge on your appetite.

As the first of two uses of by-the-by, I see the health police have said old folk need to do some strenuous exercising every week. Why not have neighbourhood bouncy castles for the use of pensioners only? Free and on the NHS of course. Can you imagine the excited, delighted whoops and hollers coming from those suckers as  twenty or more oldies rediscover their glorious, adventurous childhoods? Once a week? They’d need to renew the bouncy castles once a week. Oh, wait a minute. First we have to imagine the paperwork that’d be involved. That’s that then.

It should be noted that, after the first excursion, we avoided locations with lots of people as, although we were baggily attired, we just stood out too much when compared  to the favoured dress, or lack thereof, of your average Brit when the temperature climbs to twenty. Also, thus far, I’ve managed to contain the urge to have a ring punched in my nose and/or a small shiny ball shot into my tongue. And we’re also devoid of any colourful illustrations on our bodies. Hay, it’s their body, their choice, right? It’s just a funny feeling being in the minority. I’m betting the next phase/craze will be to rebel by getting tats removed.

Anyhoo, it’s been good and we hope to continue should the weather choose to cooperate.

So why am I here today and not wandering country lanes, or kicking up sand on the beach, or sitting by a babbling brook? Which reminds me; any more babbling and she’s going in the brook. That’s a joke, okay? I have the seatbelt adjusted so’s it has to cross-over across her mouth.

Where is me? Right. Why am I here. Car service is why. All cool with just the second use of by-the-by.

By-the-by, to pay I reported to the youngish cashier lady.
“Not much this time. Free service so just the MOT and that’s thirty-four pounds. How will you be paying? By card?” Asked the youngish cashier lady, easing one of those card reading lookin’ thingies towards me.
”No, I’ll be proffering paper money. There you go.” said I, handing over two, not too crisp, twenty pound notes.

I’m betting you know what’s coming next.

The youngish cashier lady reached for her calculator to figure out what change I was due. No, really, she did! Quick as a flash I said, “No need for that! You owe me twelve pounds!”
”That sounds a lot. I’d better check.” Time passed. “See? Forty take away thirty-four leaves six! We only owe you six pounds! You need to brush up on your mental math!”  Said the smiling sarcastically, youngish cashier lady.  That is, mostly, a true story.

Quote;  Kimberly Novosel.

“I used to cover my windows in heavy curtains, never drawn. Now I danced in the sunlight on my hardwood floors.”

23 Jul 2014

And Then Till Trouble….

For as long as I can remember I’ve used the abbreviation ’till, ‘till,  to my amazement, when I typed ‘untill’ the other day the spell chequer burst into hysterics! It be until. Would you Adam an’ Eve it!!  Man, I was shocked. So shocked was I that I did a little research which confirmed my wrongness on all counts and thus I’ve pasted it below for anyone with a passing interest. Hello? Hay! Don’t run with scissors!! One of you could at least close the door!

The case for till
It would follow that till evolved as an abbreviation of until. However, till is actually the older word, being about eight hundred years old in comparison with until’s mere four hundred years. Until came into being as a compound of till, which originally meant to—and still does in Scotland—and the Old Norse word und, which means up to.
Since till is the etymological forefather of until, it makes sense that it would be the best choice for a shortened version of until.
The case for ‘til
Using apostrophes to replace letters happens frequently in English. Think about goin’ or rock ‘n’ roll. This makes ‘til seem like a natural shortening of until. Besides, since when do we add an extra letter (the second l in till) when we abbreviate words?
The verdict
Till is generally accepted as being more correct than ‘til. According to the Associated Press Stylebook, till is the way to go. And, depending on which dictionary you use, ‘til is either an accepted alternative spelling or a spelling error. Despite some sources considering ‘til not technically wrong, it’s best to use till as all sources consider it correct.
But what about til?
If you feel you must use t-i-l, be sure to use an apostrophe at the beginning. Til with no apostrophe is always incorrect.

So there you go. Or, at least, there I go – now I know. If that was ever explained in school, I must’ve been looking out the window at the time till  the teacher got on to something of interest. Or ‘til the bell rang.

Anyhoo, right now, until I type here again I’m off to till the veg patch till it gets too dark to till at all. So ‘til the next time, ta-ta.

Oh, by-the-by. You vape? If so, you may find this open letter to Dr Chan, the Director of WHO, which will obviously be ignored, of interest.

Quote;  Jennifer Crusie.

“His sentences didn't seem to have any verbs, which was par for a politician. All nouns, no action.”

             Dorothy Parker.

“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favour you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”

22 Jul 2014

And Then A Check-up….

This morning I wended my way for a dental check-up. Not the deep cleaning I endured some time ago.

It was another lady one!! And, man, aren’t all these professional people so damn young nowadays? Isn’t it a fact that we’d all prefer to consult with someone older than ourselves so as to give us a feeling of security as we rely on  their vast, accumulated knowledge, wisdom  and experience? This isn’t easy once you reach an age and I quickly popped through that flimsy, permeable membrane that separates my world from the real world after considering the folly of having someone in their eighties rummaging around in my mouth; possibly with a laser drill.

“Morning. Please sit down. No, here. Right, how’s everything?”
”On the whole, pretty good. It’s just that my left knee’s started to…….. Waaaiit a minute!! This isn’t the Doctors!!”
”Sorry. Everything’s fine thanks.”
”Right. Good. Let’s take a look. Put these on.” and she handed me a pair of safety glasses. I gave her a look that said, you’re kidding, right?  and said, “You’re kidding, right?”
She shrugged and rolled her eyes which seemed to indicate it was some sort of Health and Safety requirement. She said, “It’s a health and Safety requirement.”

I shook my head and donned the plastic glasses. I shook my head again and the glasses fell to the floor. I bent to pick them up, as did the young lady Dental Assistant, resulting in a banging of heads. The young lady Dental Assistant put them back on, shook her head, took them off and put them back on me – not too gently, indicating I should stop shaking my head. And definitely stop laughing.

After a brief poke about, there not being too much left to poke about, the young lady Dentist announced, “Everything looks okay. That is, the ones you have left look okay so I’ll just give them a polish. The few you have left that is.”
”Cool.” I replied in an attempt to sound young and cool.

Mere  moments  later  the  young  lady Dentist  announced,
“That’s it; all done. Just have a good rinse-out and, please, try not to spit on the floor.”
”So I do what then? Try to spit on the ceiling?”
”Wh…. Oh. That’s a joke, right?”
”Actually…. Yup, it is. Or was.” and eager to leave these young folk with my equally young fellow-well-met persona, I exclaimed excitedly, after running my tongue over my teeth, “ Oh, wow!! That is so, like, awesome!!  They feel, like, so totally, like, awesomely clean!”

With their last barely audible words following me, “See you in six months. Oh, can we have our glasses and bib back please.” I left, closely followed by their last looks which seemed to say, ‘How sad is that guy then.’

Back in the car I devoured an exceedingly sweet, incredibly big chocolate bar  and revelled in the knowledge I don’t have to brush my teeth again for at least five months.

Quote;  Edmond Manning.

“Men often think submission indicates weakness, that letting someone else take charge betrays a character deficit. But we all submit to strangers who drill into our teeth as long as we can see the parchment on their wall which reads ‘Dentist.’”

20 Jul 2014

And Then, No Advice….

Having survived the recent searing heat, close to 23C at times round here, imagine my alarm to learn on the BBC ‘news’ the weather person announce that thunderstorms were possible so, “Be prepared in case you’re caught in one.” Now this was most alarming as we were planning on going out but there was absolutely no follow-up help or advice regarding how or what to do to be prepared for getting caught in a thunderstorm! How remiss of them is that then?

Oh my. What to do!! What to do? We stayed home; cuddled, cowering in the cupboard under the stairs is wot we did.

Pardon? Hay, we’re not stupid! Of course we had sun-block max on. Hats? Of course. But that’s only common sense, right? Water? We did without water to ensure a plentiful reserve of sun-block and that took up all the spare space.

In due course a storm did indeed arrive at our location and, hunkered down as we were in the cupboard, I was quietly confident we’d huddle-out the ‘storm’ in relative  safety. Eventually, however, and against my better judgment, I gave in to my little nest of vipers perpetual pleading to leave our safe environs to go and watch the storm.

Suitably attired in loose clothing, the air still being warm an’ all, wearing our floppy hats and with a further liberal coating of sun-block smeared on our faces and hands, we put up our steel framed umbrellas  and  found a relatively sheltered position under the big sycamore tree to watch the lightning.

That’s the sycamore tree next to that funky, jazzy sounding little wishing well.  {If you do play the link, it could well be bouncing round your head for the rest of the evening. It may even follow you to work tomorrow.}

By the way, for those of you marvelling at my stupidity regards watching the lightning, please relax. Part of it was just a bit of fun. You really think I’d waste good sun-block just to go outside in the rain to watch lightning?

Just before this posts final full-stop, you may enjoy this piece from Mr Owen Paterson.

Quote;  Joseph Addison.

“Mirth is like a flash of lightning that breaks through a gloom of clouds and glitters for a moment.”

19 Jul 2014

And Then A Captain Announces….

If I was still an international jet-setting Roughneck, I’d be more than happy to hear an announcement from the flight-deck that went something like this;

“Good morning ladies and gentlemen and welcome to this flight from where we just left bound for where we’re going.
We are now at our cruising altitude and this is the time I usually announce our estimated arrival time. Today will be slightly different so let me explain.
This Airline, with the agreement of International Ground Control, have, in their possibly misguided wisdom, routed our flight to overfly several global hotspots and even a couple of proper war zones which are, apparently, infested with utter nutters. Some are relatively harmless nutters seemingly armed only with video cameras and Internet access enabling them to post their scary ramblings on Facebook, YouTube and the likes. Sadly, a few others have access to some serious weaponry and
I’m sure most of you will have picked-up on recent news regarding various flying machines that have been knocked down by these bad boys. Some intentionally and some by mistake. No, really! By mistake!
This Airline has given me, as Captain, full responsibility for this flight and as such, my first absolute obligation, as Captain, is the safety of all on-board – I repeat - my first absolute obligation, as Captain, is the safety of all on-board  and secondly, to take care of this aircraft – hay, you know what one of these babies costs?
Now, I find I have two choices. I could sit back and stick to the designated hotspot flight path which could possibly have us flying over a couple of nutters who see us, turn to each other with one saying, ‘Ten says you can’t hit it.’ and the trigger guy saying, ‘Twenty says I can.’ and thus gives us up front some short-lived adrenalin pumping excitement, and you lot some short-lived grief, as we bob and weave, duck and dive, stall and throttle-up in a vain attempt to avoid a miss-guided missile.
However, I’m going with my second choice and, as Captain of this flight, with responsibility for the safety of all on-board,  I’m going to tell Ground Control and the Airline to file their original flight plan where the sun don’t shine and I’m going to route us round all the hotspots and war zones with as safe and timely flight track as possible.
Owing to the happy-go-lucky state of the world at present, and thus the alarmingly large number of hotspots, this route will add about two hours plus to our flight time but will improve
our chances of reaching our destination immeasurably.
I’m sorry I can’t give you a one hundred percent guarantee of a safe arrival because, as safe as these beauties are and, as unlikely as it may be, other stuff can happen.
I apologise in advance for our late arrival but feel sure you’ll all agree – better late than never.”

Quote;  Chuck Yeager.

“Most pilots learn, when they pin on their wings and go out and get in a fighter, especially, that one thing you don't do, you don't believe anything anybody tells you about an airplane.”

17 Jul 2014

And Then It May Be Warm….

I do hope you’ve all been paying attention to the news today warning of the possibility that it could be hot today and may even hover around 20 C. through the night. Or you may indeed have spotted ol’ Big Shiny burning bright through your windows.

The important thing is to take care; him thing Big Shiny can burn you!!  Keep your cloths on but keep ‘em loose!! Stick a hat on!! No, on your head. Drink water!! Stay indoors if you can!! Close the curtains!! Okay? You get all that? And the warning to smear yourself with sun-block, a form of cooking oil, was repeated so often and so shrilly, I had to check that  Dave Cummerbund and his gang hadn’t slipped through some of that emergency legislation stuff making the rubbing on of said blocker grease mandatory.

Is the population now so infantilized that they need all these media warnings when it’s hot or cold or wet and/or windy? Or is it the case that too many mad people get to the top of too many pointless and unnecessary ‘organisations’? The latter would be better but still so sad.

If it is the latter it’s just another example, should one be needed, that the bottom’s full of wonderful people; only cream and ass-holes rise.

I’m guessing that in the next couple of days a person of the green persuasion will pop up and blame the seasonably warm weather on Australia dumping that ol’ carbon tax. Which reminds me; where’s my bestest ever pal Crazy Davey lately? Has he been quiet or wot? Come on Crazy!! Help us out here. Say something and sow the seeds for some posts! We need some light relief during these warm, doom laden days.

Quote;  Johan Goldberg.

“One upside of the heat. Kind of cool to see a cat pant.”