Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Nothing to Shout About But The Stage Is Set..

The new neighbour shouts a lot. I think he's one of those blokes who thinks if you shout loud enough, people will be bound to agree with you. He does have an extremely loud shout, and from what I have heard so far he thinks he is always right about any subject under the sun.

I have never heard his wife shouting back at him. I think she does have a go back though because tonight I heard him shouting: "WILL YOU SHUT UP? I DO THE TALKING IN THIS HOUSE. YOU DO THE FUCKING LISTENING!"
Well actually mate, I have been listening too, and from what I just heard you are a sadly deluded fool.

Sorry about the swear word, but that is what he said. I could have put asterisks but you would still have known what the word was.

Anyway that is by the by. I have again been busy, getting things ready for the big night. It's a lot of effort for something that will only last for a few hours, but hey, you're only young once!

This is how my temporary erection is looking now. Try to imagine it at night with candles and other subdued lighting. Apart from the spotlight which will be shining on birthday boy of course. The stage is set as they say.

There will be a couple of big gazebos erected on the day too. Even though it is not going to rain. Better safe than sorry.

I have no idea how many are coming. I seem to have lost touch with the figures. I will do my best to provide something to eat for the unknown number of guests. I have followed some of the advice you gave me too.

Wouldn't it be awful if no one turns up? Oh blimey O'Riley!

I lit an environmentally friendly bonfire tonight. Doesn't it look nice with the moon in the background? It will be a full moon on the party night. I hope it's not cloudy. When I say environmentally friendly bonfire, what I mean is I lit it at night so nobody could see the black smoke!

Thank you for all your good wishes for my birthday.

Monday, 30 July 2012

A Reasonable Chance Of Reaching Sixty Five.

It is flipping exhausting getting ready for the party. It will be worth it though. It's quite a momentous thing reaching 65. If I reach it! Still a few days to go yet. Anything could happen. I could get run over by a bus for instance. Just imagine that.

Wouldn't it be awful if I dropped dead just a few minutes before my 65th birthday? After all the work I have put into preparing for the party too. I say it would be awful, maybe it wouldn't be. I have no way of knowing, never having had the pleasure of meeting anyone who has experienced what it would be like to drop dead just before a 65th birthday.

I would never forgive myself if it happened to me. I'm hoping to get my money's worth out of my old age pension. And my new suit! Anyway I shall try to avoid that happening, and I shall most certainly take great care if I see any buses next Saturday. Especially the number 700 bus that passes by here. It was a number 700 that knocked me off my bike, just a few hours before my 50th birthday. I could easily have died that day. I was lucky that time though and landed on an old mattress someone had dumped in the hedgerow at the side of the road. As the old saying goes: It's an ill wind that never blows any.... It's an ill wind that blows hardest.... It's an ill wind that has never.... When the wind blows ill there will be.... If the wind is ill never.... There is an old saying but I can't remember it. Anyway I'm not going to push my luck.

If you don't hear from me after next Saturday don't worry, because my actual birthday is on the Sunday, and we don't have a bus service round this way on Sundays.

If you haven't heard from me by the following Sunday, it will only mean one thing: My computer is playing up. Or, make that two things: They introduced a Sunday bus service!

I'm going to stop talking like this now. I might be tempting fate. Come to think of it, I do feel a bit unwell.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

I Can't Think Of A Title For This One.

Sorry about the lack of pictures on yesterdays bit of silliness. My camera was playing up. Yeah right! It was I tell you. I lied about the thong too. I haven't worn a thong ever! Well all right then, except for the time when my ex wife bought me one back from an Ann Summers party. I only wore that once I can tell you. It's not nice when your own wife laughs at you and says that you don't fill it like the bloke at the party did. Never again! Besides, it was very cold that night!

Anyway it was good to write a bit of nonsense yesterday. I'm not sure if I should admit this, but sometimes when I ramble away like that, I make myself laugh. It's a good antidote to some of the heavier stuff that has been occupying my mind lately.

The last chapter I wrote was very sad for me to recall. Sometimes I think to myself, did that actually happen? I can't believe my own childhood. But yes it did. My book is based on things that happened. Obviously I cannot recall conversations from those times exactly, but the events and my feelings as a child are straight from my own memory bank.

Yesterday and today I have taken a break from the book writing. My extremely handsome son George and I have been outside a lot clearing the drive, ready for my party next Saturday. The amount of rubbish I have accumulated over the last twenty years or so is amazing. When I say rubbish that is what it is. I am such a hoarder of junk. I am pleased to say though that I am not finding it too hard to throw stuff away.

Incidentally, talking about my party, you are welcome to come. I would love to see you. Someone. A blogging friend is coming. Female too. Obviously she doesn't know about the effect I tend to have on the ladies. Or perhaps she does!

Friday, 27 July 2012

The Almost Naked Fortunes and Trials Of A Well Toned Man.

During the current warm spell of weather we have been having these last few days, I have been wandering about almost naked. Almost but not quite. I have been wearing a rather fetching little thong to cover my naughty bits. The thong looks good on me I think. I have had it for quite a while now. Ever since I stole it from a washing line in the village.

I say little thong, but obviously, what with me being so blessed in the love equipment department, to coin a phrase, it has been necessary for me to add extra material.

It has been wonderful to be outside in the sun, with the gentlest of warm breezes caressing my honed, slim, yet perfectly proportioned and muscular physique. Like the softest touch of a fair maidens fingertips. The merest fluttering of a butterflies wings. The silken slipperiness of a wispy negligee. Not nylon, I'm talking real silk here. The soft breath of a lovers whisper. The.. Oh, I can't think of any more at the moment. But I'm sure you get my drift.

Liberally applied baby oil, allows my body to glisten in that calender boy way that the ladies find so appealing. The small bottle of oil that I carry tucked discreetly in my thong, gives me the opportunity to allow some of those lovely ladies who grace the village green, the opportunity to apply the oil to my, apparently irresistible, contours. They do fight so, over whose turn it is to be next. I have to be quite strict with them at times. They seem to like that too.

The only drawback to this semi naked lifestyle is that I am frequently being bitten. Not by the ladies, I don't mind them having a little nibble. No, it is insect bites that are my bugbear. They do itch so and swell up, ruining my beautifully defined lines. I have bumps everywhere. Oh no, not that bit, that hasn't been touched. It is always that size!

Oh well I suppose I shall just have to grin and bear it. I did say bear it. Not bare it. There are already far too many swooning ladies on the village green!

Have a happy and relaxing weekend.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Never Judge A Book By It's Cover.

Do you see that man over there? Yes him. Sitting on the bench. The unkempt character. The one with the unwashed clothes. Badly in need of a shave and a haircut. Him. Him. Drinking out of that beer can. Yes that's the one!

Well don't worry. He will not do you any harm. In fact if you ever need a friendly ear, he is the one to go to. He might not look it on first appearances, but underneath that rough exterior their stands a thoroughly decent man.

Now take a look at that man over there. Yes him. The smartly dressed one with the nice suit, and the leather briefcase. Can you see how shiny his shoes are? He is talking to that posh looking woman with the blue hat. Just shaking her hand now. Smiling. Just waved goodbye to her. Yes that's him. Pillar of society he is. Does a lot for charity. Church elder.

Do not trust him. He is an evil bastard. He likes to hurt children.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Everything Gonna Be All Write.

Today I have been mostly sitting in front of this very screen, recalling and writing harrowing tales of an abusive childhood. I have at times brought tears to my own eyes, and wondered how on earth I survived it. I have struggled to remember anything that I could use to add some humour to what will otherwise be a very miserable read.

I am sure that I did laugh occasionally when I was a child, but have sadly concluded, for today at least, that I was a quiet, introverted, somewhat reclusive, and unhappy child.

This book writing is not as easy as I thought. There are some things that are not easy to speak of. At least by someone of my generation. We were not so open as the kids of today are. It is I think, in the nature of us immediate post war kids not to talk of unsavoury things. But to hell with that! I am going to tell it like it was.

As I was driving my extremely handsome son George to the railway station today, it occurred to me that perhaps I should talk to him about the content of my book. Prepare him, as it were for the shocking truths I will be revealing. I think I will do that. When I can find the resource inside me to say things out loud, instead of simply writing them down. Simply? Hah!

It is past midnight. I am all written out for the moment.

Monday, 23 July 2012

A Preview Page From My Best Selling Book.

Here is a look at a bit of what will be my best selling book. This is page 17 at the moment. I hope you like it, and that I have injected just the right amount of pathos to have you sobbing into your morning cup of coffee. I am about six years old at the time of this event. There is a black and white picture of the lodge house and the iron gates I mention in the text, to the left of this page.

                 ELBOWS OFF THE TABLE

My mum is coming. She is coming to get me at the weekend. They just told me. Will it be forever? Will I have to come back here? I have to be on my best behaviour for the rest of the week, or they will tell her not to come. I am excited. How many days is it till Saturday? What day is it today? Tuesday. How many days is that? Wednesday one. Thursday two. Friday three. Saturday four. No count Tuesday as well. It's not long is it?

The days drag. I am on my guard at all times. Nothing must go wrong. My work must be done properly. When I make my bed the hospital corners are the best I have ever got them. Shoe polishing. Scrubbing the floor. Washing up. All these things are very important.

It is Saturday. I am scrubbed and in my best clothes. I have got a new belt. Red and white stripes with a silver buckle. I am going to show it to my mum when she comes. I have done a drawing for her. It is her and me at our new house. With a garden. It is the best drawing I have done.

Sitting on the wooden bench in the gate house waiting room with my small suitcase beside me. It is not just a visit. I am going out with my mum. I am going to sleep at her house. Only tonight they said. I have to come back tomorrow. Try not to think about tomorrow. My feet do not reach the floor and I swing my legs. Not long to wait now. She will soon be here. George the lodge keeper can see the bus stop from his desk by the front window. He will tell me when he sees her approaching the gate.

I press one of the latches on my case and it springs open. It won't close now. Panic. Then click, it is closed again.

The back of my knees hurt, from the swinging. I get off the bench and look at the table with all the boxes of board games on it. Snakes and ladders. Ludo. Checkers. Draughts. Housey Housey. There are a few dog eared comic books and annuals. Flick through a few pages. Try to read a few words, The. And. It. Him. Her.

George smiles at me through the hatch in the wall as I search his face for the umpteenth time. Looking for a clue. Is she here yet? He shakes his head.  Not yet.

I take a book, climb back onto the bench, and look at pictures. But my mind is not on the book. Why is she late? Is she late? Swinging my legs again. My new belt with the buckle. We all got new belts. All the boys. Some of them have got three colours. I only have two colours on mine. Red and white. I would have liked blue on it too. Waiting.

I slide along the bench on my bottom. The bench is shiny. Polished. I slide back again. Waiting. George? He shakes his head again. The window. By standing on the bench and pressing my cheek tight up against the glass I can just about see the edge of the big iron gate. The glass is cold. George? No not yet. He smiles a sad smile. Waiting. One of my shoe laces is undone. I try to tie it back up. I can't tie a bow yet. Tuck it inside my shoe. Waiting.

She didn't come. George says the traffic was probably very bad today. I have to take my little case and go back to the house. It is a long walk, and I keep looking back to the gates. Hoping.

I don't really want to unpack my case. Mum is bound to come tomorrow. But they make me unpack, and I have to put everything back in my cupboard. Tidily. They tell me off for crying. Cry baby bunting. Maybe I wasn't as well behaved as I thought.

Mum didn't come the next day either. Or the next weekend. Or the weekend after that. She must be very busy.

George is kind. He has a pointed nose, and big curly hair, and sometimes glasses. When he sees tears he wipes them off with his big white hankie and gives me a hug. He can fold his hankie into a mouse shape and make it jump up his arm. We play snakes and ladders sometimes. He knows magic things too, and he has got a big tin under his desk with sweets in. Sometimes he lets me have two. George has got a wooden leg. He left his real one in a ditch somewhere in Germany. He lets me kick it and we both laugh. She will come though. Soon. I just have to be patient. I don't mind waiting.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Iron Bars Do Not A Prison Make.

Imprisonment is not a pleasant state to endure, and yet I have endured it a few times in my life. Endured it with stoicism too, and without feeling the hardship that other prisoners often seemed to feel. I suppose being institutionalised from an early age helped me to deal with being locked away. The fact that I probably deserved my punishment, and realised that I deserved it, was helpful to me too.

Not that I didn't kick against the rules at times. I always felt a bit better if I went down fighting. Though fighting is probably the wrong way to describe what happens when four or five burly screws, decide that you will obey the rules eventually.

To my way of thinking though, there is a far worse imprisonment than the locked cell door. It is the prison in my own head. That is the place that has caused me the most heartache in my life. It is in my head that the main battles have been fought. And there is nothing to kick against in there. Only my own contradictory thought processes. It can be an interminably long sentence to endure, but with luck, and a bit of self knowledge it can be got through.

The key that kept me unhappy for so long, was the one that got stuck in the lock early in my life. The key that jammed the door marked 'relationships'. I wanted to be loved, and to love in return, and I made many attempts at seeking that pleasant state. I did love. I used to fall in love easily. In fact I was likely to fall in love with any woman who showed even the slightest interest in me. Sadly though all my relationships failed. Some lasted longer than others. Mainly down to the understanding women involved. But I always knew that they were doomed to failure. Although it took me years and years to finally accept that it was my fault.

I do not trust. That is my problem. If you say you love me, the words are magic and please me greatly. But why would you love me? I would like to believe you. But I don't. I know that you will give up on me sooner rather than later. I keep telling you that. If I repeat it often enough, when the sad day arrives as I know it will. Then I can rightly tell you, as I have been telling you all along: "I told you so."

Today, as I grew ever older, there is still that hope that I will meet someone special. But realistically, it is not going to happen, and honestly I am quietly content with my lot. The prison gates are open now. My mind is free.

This self portrait was painted, soon after yet another relationship had failed. I was lonely and miserable and living on the top floor of a tenement block, in a rundown town. I had no job, no money, and I was cold and hungry. It was, to my way of thinking, far worse than any prison could be. Once again a situation of my own making. When I look at this self portrait I see my life story in it.
Self Portrait.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Thank You One And All.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you my dear readers. Thank you for your comments on yesterdays literary effort. Thank you to my new apostles, er disciples. Followers! That's the word I'm looking for. You have lightened my heart with your kindness. You have lifted my spirits with your goodness. You have restored my shattered confidence. You have.... Wait a minute. I'm over doing it again aren't I? All I want to say is thank you. To express my gratitude. Thanks pals. Cheers. 'Preciate it. Good on ya! Ta mate!

I would like to thank Eileen M, for becoming number sixty nine. Very encouraging always and a great sense of humour.

I would like to thank Red the Elder whoever you are.

My grateful thanks also to Blogger. To my computer. To my friend Paul, who has never allowed his beard to become unravelled in public, and without whose help none of this would be possible.

I'd like to thank the producer, and the director. Thanks are also due to the backroom staff, those unsung heroes, for putting it all together in such a fantastically professional way.

Not forgetting the shelves, which I never got around to putting up.

I would like to thank my mother for giving birth to me. Although to be fair she never had much choice in the matter. That sordid woman in the back room was a charlatan. Perhaps I should thank her too, for being so bad at her job, and she never gave a refund.

To the doctors and nurses in the maternity hospital, who although they laughed initially, nevertheless refused to give up, pulled me back out of the bucket of water and brought me back to life, leaving me only minimally brain dead.

Thank you also to my father, whoever you are. I think you will probably agree that it was five shillings well spent the night you met my mother on that corner.

Thanks are also due to my bank for allowing me the overdraft. The one that has guaranteed to keep me destitute until the end of my days and beyond. I can't even buy a tin of flipping soup these days without you being involved. Well just you wait. It's Saturday. Tonight I intend to have a serious go at winning the lottery. I am actually going to win it. See how you feel then. Let's see how you feel when I transfer my account to an offshore tax haven. You will be on your bended bony knees begging me to come back. And you know what I shall say? I shall say get stuffed!

Lastly, but by no means least, I want to thank the woman who unfollowed me. Without you lady I would still be anxiously waiting for sixty nine to happen. Let me tell you, my waiting days are well and truly over!

Thank you.

I have not forgotten you Jon. Or you Geo. Or you Kev Alviti.

In fact, allow me to say a great big sloppy wonderful 'Thank You' to all my followers. And all my dear readers too. Thank you. Here's to my next sixty nine. If I should be so lucky!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Soixante-Neuf. A Sad Fare Thee Well.

I was quietly patting myself on the back, which is not so easy to do now that I am getting old. Actually if my memory serves me right, which it doesn't always do now that I am getting old, it wasn't easy to do when I was young either.

It can be done, this self congratulatory pat, by raising the elbow to head height and letting the forearm drop behind your neck. In this way the hand will be in the correct position to administer the pat. Another way, probably slightly easier, is to reach across your upper body and over the opposite shoulder. However, it should be said, that neither of these two methods (four methods if both arms are employed) are entirely satisfactory, because they will only result in you patting yourself on the upper back, just below the neck. Which lets be honest here, is hardly worth the effort.

If you are alone when you feel the need for a self congratulatory pat, it is probably best not to even bother, and instead, simply give yourself a few quiet words of praise.

Why was I patting myself on the back, albeit in an unsatisfactory way? Well I shall tell you. I was congratulating myself on reaching the grand total of 69 followers.

"Hooray!" I shouted joyously, and feeling as happy as Larry I began the somewhat tortuous back patting attempt. Now at this stage I should point out that I do not know who Larry is or indeed why he is, or was, so happy. The only Larry I have ever known was a ventriloquists doll that was called 'Larry the Lamb'. That was many years ago when I was a young child. I do not recall that it was a particularly happy lamb.

Anyway, I was in the middle of the third or maybe fourth pat when glancing at the computer screen I noticed, horror of horrors, that I was back to 68 followers. Feeling slightly sick at this sudden and unexpected downturn, I disentangled my right elbow from behind my left ear, and fell to pondering why such a thing could have happened.

The pondering did not take too long. I have been slightly naughty lately in my posts, and I think I may have offended someones sensibilities.

I can only apologise most profusely to the lady in question. We do not all share the same sense of humour, and because I am sometimes serious in what I write, you may have joined me in one of those periods, and thought I was a sensible well balanced man.

You were right to assume that of course. It is true, I am sensible and well balanced. But sadly with a wicked sense of humour. So once again, my sincere apologies.

Incidentally I am not going to unfollow you. Not for the moment anyway. Just in case you see the error of your ways and come back. Or I find out the whole thing is down to a computer error.

Please give me another chance. Please. Get me back up to 69 again. Please.

Oh hold on! Perhaps you had better not. I am too old to change my ways, and my wicked sense of humour is too ingrained. No, you did the right thing lady. Stuck to your principles. I would have done exactly the same. Give yourself a pat on the back.

69 eh! What is it about that number? There is a bell ringing in the back of my mind. What is it? Oh blimey no!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The World's Best Singer Ever.

It is, as I start to write this, 7.23 pm. At about 8.15 pm I shall take myself off to an Open Mic night. There to beguile the ladies, not only with my looks, but also with the rich dark velvety, mellifluous tones of my singing.

I have been likened to Elvis Presley at times. Also Johnny Cash. Actually my vocal range is so huge that you could possibly compare me to any great singer. But the truth is, and I hope this doesn't sound too immodest, I am a better singer than any of the so called  'greats'.

My extremely handsome son George told me just this morning that I would easily win Britain's Got Talent, because I have, and I quote, "the best singing voice he has ever heard, that is the truth Dad. Honestly. God's honour Dad. OW! Dad. Stop twisting my arm up my back. Dad you'll BREAK MY ARM! OK DAD. SIR. YOUR MAJESTY. YOU ARE THE GREATEST! Let go NOW! LET GO DAD, OR I'LL TELL MUM. LET GO. I MEAN IT!".

You just cannot get a greater accolade than that from your own son. He is such a sweet boy.

Well time is getting on. Must dash. Mustn't keep the ladies waiting.

Isn't it lovely news about one of my blogging lady friends coming to my party? What a long way to travel just to see me. I hope she's not after my body! What. You didn't know?

See you later!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

How To Turn A Cooking Pot Into A Chair.

What I was looking for was a big cooking pot. That's why I was wandering round the charity shops. I need a big pot to cook up the chilli con carne` and rice that I want to feed the partygoers with. Actually I just now realised that I'm going to need two big cooking pots. One for the rice too. It's a heck of a task I have set myself. For a start off I don't have a clue how to cook chilli con carne`. Or rice come to that. My cooker is only tiny too. It came from a caravan. That's something else I just thought of. How am I going to fit a couple of big pots on that? And there will have to be a vegetarian option as well. Crikey, better make that three big cooking pots. Help!
Only three rings and a knob missing, but it does for me.
Oh to hell with it! Perhaps I will give the chilli con carne` and rice a miss. After all my party is supposed to be an enjoyable occasion for me too. I'm starting to feel stressed. That's not good. If anyone has any suggestions how to feed the five thousand on a tight budget, please let me know.

My big cooking pot hunt was unsuccessful. However, as I was leaving the last shop this chair caught my eye. Retro I think they call it. Maybe it is not retro. Maybe it is an original chair from the sixties? Maybe it is worth loads of money? Anyway I love the colours and the shape, and it is very comfortable. But I am as always short of money so I sensibly left the shop. Then, mad impetuous fool that I am, I turned around and went back and bought it.

Despite its modern style I think it looks good in my wagon. I love the juxtaposition between the old and new styles. Between the bright colours and the more subdued. I am also quite pleased that I thought of using the word juxtaposition. Honestly I have no idea where these long words come from. I am not, as I have told you before, very well educated. Perhaps it is due to all the reading I have done? Anyway I shall just look up the word juxtaposition in my dictionary, to make sure that it means what I think it means.

Nice juxtaposition here I feel.
Oh lord, after all that I'm not sure if it does mean what I thought. The dictionary says it means... hold on while I check it again... place something closely alongside something else. You probably knew that already. I thought it meant to have two completely disparate things next to each other. Oh well I'm leaving juxtaposition where it is. It's far to nice a word to carelessly discard. Did you notice that I just used the word disparate? Another fancy word. Pure coincidence this but I just looked up the word disparate and it means: Very different from each other. You probably already knew what it meant? Funny that. It is the word I should have used in the first place perhaps?

Shut up John! You really can be quite a bore at times.

Who said that?

You did. You're talking to yourself again!

Anyway take a good look at that chair. It is going to be famous, because it is the chair that I shall be sitting in as I write my best selling book!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Always Choose Your Words Carefully.

Well good gracious me! I am quite frankly shocked and appalled, that an innocent, and harmless little blog post could be construed in such a shameful way. Yes, you know what I mean! I am referring to my birthday party erection in the paddock.. It is not often these days that I have an erection like that and when I realised how sturdy it looked, naturally I wanted to share the pleasure with you. That is all I was trying to do. I really am so innocent and naive in these matters. However I will concede, after looking up the word erection in my dicktionery, that there are other meanings. Although oddly enough, the one that most people thought of, was the last meaning in the dicktionery. I shall have to choose my words more carefully in future, and that is going to make it much, much, harder. Pardon the pun. Completely unintended I assure you.

I am not nearly clever enough to put my party on the internet. I wish I was. But I shall make sure that lots of photos are taken to show you. Though why you would want to see a lot of people falling over drunk is beyond me.

Just to be serious for a moment. I have not been able to get around to leaving comments on your blog as often as normal. I apologise for this, but as some of you will know, I have begun to write my best selling book. It takes a lot of time. A lot of which is spent staring at a blank screen, and another lot of which is spent trying to work out how to work the word processor. It is not easy writing a book. I keep thinking, oh I wish I had said this, or I should have mentioned that. I then go back to the relevant page, make the correction and then find myself rewriting far more than I intended.
Please forgive me if I don't comment, but I am still reading you and I absolutely love to know you are there.

That's it for now. Tricia and extremely handsome son George texted a while ago to tell me they are on their way home from holiday. I have missed them.

By the way I do know how to spell dictionary. I was being naughty when I wrote dicktionary back there. What am I like eh?

Oh hold on a minute. That sounds like Tricia and George now. That was quick. I wonder if they have got me a present?

Yes they have. this is my nice new smock. I love it. Unfortunately I couldn't find anyone to take a photo of me wearing it. However, this old balding bloke agreed to model it for me. That was kind of him. Doesn't it look good on me, er, him?

Sunday, 15 July 2012

A Temporary Erection Problem.

My 65th birthday party draws ever nearer and the excitement is mounting day by day.

Because of all the rainfall we have had lately, and with the comfort of my guests in mind, particularly the ladies, I have decided that I will have a large temporary erection in the paddock.
A temporary erection.
Large structural erections of this nature have never been a problem for me in the past. I have always managed to get them up without any trouble whatsoever. As a matter of fact some of my earlier erections have drawn admiring looks, and appreciative remarks.

This time though I have struggled badly. Maybe it is my age. Maybe I am more anxious than normal due to the party preparations. I don't know. Whatever the reason I have had a lot of trouble trying to get it up, and once up, the damn thing would just not stay up. Eventually I had to tie it up with rope, just to keep it in place!
Nearly up.
However, refusing to be disheartened, and not wanting to disappoint anyone, I struggled on and finally I was satisfied with the result. Well, not entirely satisfied I have to say, because it is still not as firm an erection as I would really like. I'm fairly sure though that with a little more thought I will somehow manage to stiffen it a little more.

It needs a cover too. I think a tarpaulin sheet should do it. All I have to do now is hope that this temporary erection stays up on the night. I might have to lash it down with strong ropes!

I hope you had a lovely weekend.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

A Shaggy Dog Story. 'The Smell Of Wet Dog'.

It is not commonly known that the well known, and frequently experienced 'wet dog' smell was invented in the early 1950's by a Mr Wilbur Smith of Manchester, an area of England commonly referred to by posh southerners as 'up north'. Mr Smith, or Wilbur to his friends. Actually I shall call him Mr Smith, as I did not know him personally. Although as he is now deceased, perhaps it won't matter how I refer to him. In that case he shall herewith be called Wilbs. Wait! That might be a familiarity too far. I tell you what. I'm going to call him Smithy. I'm sure that's what he would have been called at school by his friends.

Smithy was married to a dog lover by the name of Lillian, known affectionately by her friends and family as Lil. Although I did not know her personally, and as she too is now deceased. I shall also refer to her as Lil. I would not of course do this if I was a member of polite society. It is just not done to shorten a ladies name. However, I do not consider myself to be part of the polite society hierarchy. So Lil it is then. Anyway rumour has it that she was not a lady. But let us not go there for the moment. As you know I am a stickler for keeping to the point.

Smithy, or, oh what the heck, lets go for it, he'll never know, Wilby, always referred to his wife as, the dragon, or when feeling warmer towards her, 'her indoors'. He normally only did affection when trying to cajole Lil out of some of the housekeeping money. He did this to fund his sordid, and seemingly uncontrollable habit of drinking beer, in the local pub.

Lil unfortunately was often confined to her bed, due to an undiagnosed illness, that caused her legs to give way without warning. This sad state of affairs had only recently started. Happily, it coincided with the arrival of a new and handsome young Doctor who had set up practice locally. Lil was a regular and lucrative patient, and the young Doctor spent a good deal of his time with her, prodding and poking and manipulating her long legs into many different positions as he tried desperately, vigorously, and conscientiously to deal with her complex needs.

Wilby, Wilbs, Smithy, was , because of Lil's mysterious infirmity, now called upon more and more, to walk the dogs. A chore he detested. Not least because it kept him from his beer drinking. He began to take the dogs to the pub with him, and sorely neglected to exercise them. Lil, noticing that the dogs were gaining weight, soon cottoned on to what Wilbs was doing, when she noticed the dogs were smelling strongly of beer and cigarette smoke. Furious she threatened to stop his allowance unless he started exercising the dogs properly. Actually she had no intention of doing this. She wanted Smithy out of the house during the Doctors frequent visits. Wilby however, was oblivious to this fact, and in a state of utter depression at the thought of a life without beer money, devised a plan.

Using stagnant pond water, cow manure, and dead hedgehog, he concocted a mixture, that perfectly reproduced the pungent and unmistakable aroma of wet dog. He always kept this mixture with him, carried in a hip flask. All he had to do, was remember to splash some onto the dogs, before going home. This subterfuge worked a treat for several months, until one evening tragedy struck.

Smithy, Wilbs, Wilby, left the flask at home! Completely forgot about it. The young doctor, having just given Lil a really good seeing to and in need of a pick me up, spotted the hip flask lying on the hall table, next to the front door as he was going out. Partial to a drop of the hard stuff, he picked up the flask, quickly undid the top, and took a very long swallow of the contents.

Lil found his lifeless body a few minutes later, when she ran down stairs to make herself a cup of Bovril energy drink. The shock was too much for her, and her legs collapsed from under her. This time it was for real though. Smithy, looking through the window, saw them lying there on the hall carpet. He thought they were having sex on the floor. He had suspected there was something going on. He went back to the pub and had a few more pints!

The dogs went back to smelling of beer and cigarettes. There was no use pretending any more. But anyway. I thought you might like to know, exactly how and why, the smell of wet dog was invented.

It is still widely used all over the world. Mainly by pub going beer drinkers!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

From Here To Modernity.

I am using the word processor to write my best selling book, but I am finding it quite difficult to fathom out. All sorts of strange things are happening as I write. One of the most annoying things is, the curser has a habit of getting fatter and fatter. It starts off like | and ends like, oh I can't do it on this. It ends up as a solid black block. Eventually I somehow make it go away, but I don't know how I do it.

Then there are the page numbers. I put a number at the top of the page as normal and start to write. Next time I look, the bloody number is halfway down the page. So I have to delete it and put it back at the top.

Why do certain words have a blue block around them? Suddenly. For no apparent reason?

Why do the double spaced lines revert to single space when I'm not looking?

Why do the lines of text stop in the middle of the page and then begin a again in the middle of the next line?

Why does the curser disappear sometimes?

Why this? Why that?

It's OK relax. I'm not expecting you to answer these questions.

My friend and neighbour Steve came in yesterday to help. All these irritating things I have just mentioned, didn't happen when I tried to demonstrate what the problems were. Typical that. Never mind he was able to explain a few things to me. The trouble is I have already forgotten what he said.

I expect I shall get the hang of it eventually. Onwards and upwards, as they say. Who says that? Actually I have never heard anyone say that, except myself!

This book of mine is going to take forever if I don't sort things out. If at first you don't succeed, as they say. Who says? Who are they? Oh come on it's a common saying. Yes that is true. Many a true word spoken in jest, as they say. Oh good grief!

I am spending more time figuring out how to work the word processor, than I am writing the book. Also I am in constant fear of inadvertently deleting all the work I have achieved. What a horrid feeling that is.

I may not be commenting so often on your blog for a while, whilst I crack on with my book. I am visiting you often though. It is just that when I am on a roll as they say, (who says? Who are they, these people?) I need to keep my train of thought going. A roll? A roll? Better conquer the word processor first matey. You ain't going on any rolls until you do. That's for certain.

I keep getting the feeling that I'm talking to myself. That's because you are. How weird! It is a sign of genius they say. Who says? Who are they? It is also a sign of being stark, raving bonkers.

It ain't easy being a budding best selling author.

Modern technology eh! Where would we be without it? Probably well on the way to finishing my book. That's where!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

With A Cute Little Curl On Top.

Something strange is going on in my head. What's that you say? You knew that already? Oh how very amusing. No I'm serious. Somethings happening in my noggin. I'm having flashbacks. Flashbacks to childhood. Oh I do know I go on about my childhood a bit. But this is different. Now I am remembering things that I didn't even know I had forgotten. Things from a very early age. Things from before I was in a children's home. Things from when I was still with my mum. Things that must have happened before I was two years old. Now that is an early memory.

I think it must be due to the fact that I am getting started on writing my book. Memories are being dredged up. Some good. Some not so good.

I do know from writing this blog, that memories, which were once lost in the wilderness of forgotten thoughts, are liable to resurface when starting to write. Indeed I do believe I have read of this happening. I can't remember where I read it though. Ha! How ironic is that?

I am aware of false memory syndrome. Where someone thinks something happened, when it didn't. When a person manages to utterly convince themselves of the truth of an absolutely imagined event. I am not prone to this phenomenon I hasten to add.

Anyway this little memory that popped up today, which in itself might seem completely innocuous, has, as I reflect on it, given me a nice little lift. I shall reveal the memory to you now.

When I was little I had long straight hair. No that's not it. I'm just coming to the main part, which is this: My mum used to curl my hair, she used to curl my hair with curling tongs. I can remember her heating the curling tongs. I can't remember how she heated them. I do remember that she would brush the tangles from my hair, and spend time curling it. I can almost feel her doing it now. In this memory she is happy. Smiling. Talking away to me. She likes me having curly hair. She thinks I look bonny.

Have you worked out why this simple little memory is so important to me? You probably have if you are a mother yourself. It is important because that act, that motherly act, tells me that despite events that later occurred, there was a time, when she did care. There was a time when she was a loving proper mum.

Oh flipping heck! Now I have got myself all emotional again. What a wimp!

Monday, 9 July 2012

'A Song For The Ladies'.

That dating agency. The one that keeps on sending me photographs of ladies, has finally got to me. So I signed up to it again. Actually as it turns out, I never, as far as they were concerned, left it in the first place. They still had all my details on file. I can understand this in some ways. I mean obviously when a man of my looks and experience signs up, they are going to try and keep him. Men like me are so few and far between. But even so, still sending them out to women, after all this time. That's a bit cheeky. I was a little annoyed by this, when I thought of all the women who have requested to meet me. I hate the idea of being responsible for all that disappointment and heartbreak. Oh well. Never mind. I'm back now. Back to hopefully fulfill a few fantasies. At least I will eventually. I have not paid the dating agency fee yet. I'm not quite ready.

But I have been practicing my 'chatting up the ladies' technique. In fact, I was sitting in front of the mirror today trying out a few lines which I thought might impress some of them. I was saying things like: "Wow baby!  You look so good," and, "No, of course I don't think your arse looks fat in that dress," and, "I love the way the roots of your hair blend with the bleached bits." You know, all kinds of nice things along those lines.

As I was saying these things to the mirror, I thought they sounded really good, and it suddenly occurred to me that the words would make a nice romantic song. So I wrote the best bits down and practiced a few chords on my guitar. This is the result. This was just the first take. It might need a bit more practice. I call this little bluesy number, 'A Song For The Ladies'.

Some of you men might want to listen too. It might improve your technique with the ladies. You are looking at many years of experience here. I feel I need to pass on the knowledge. Not all men have it!

Please share this. With your help I do think it could be a number one hit!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Some Enchanted Evening.

There is an ironing board in Tricia's house. I don't know why. Although come to think of it Granny uses it when she comes to visit. Not to lean on. She does have a walking stick. I did see her ironing once. I think Granny gets roped into doing chores when she visits. Perhaps that's why she doesn't visit often. She probably thinks of it as white slavery. Poor old dear. Still, it is good to keep her moving. Prevents her seizing up.

Where was I? The ironing board, that's it. While everyone's away and the house is quiet I thought I would take the opportunity to use the iron and the ironing board. I was going to an Open Mic night and, on the off chance that some gorgeous sexy woman might see potential in me as a love interest for the night I decided to iron my underpants. Of course me being such an indecisive type of bloke, I couldn't decide whether to wear boxers or my lucky Y-fronts. I have a pair of each you see. It was a mistake to buy those boxers. When I just had the one pair of Y-fronts, these decisions weren't necessary. It was simply a case of, if they needed washing I couldn't go out for the night. Although occasionally I would risk it, after giving my underpants a quick spray with scented Febreze fabric freshener (a wonderful invention by the way) and hope for the best. Or go commando. Which is no fun in the winter, when the temperature drops below freezing.

Well anyway, there I am happily ironing away. I'm singing too. "Some enchanted evening, you will see a stranger, you will see a stranger, across a crowded room, and somehow you know, you know even then. That somehow you'll see them again and again."

I'm well into the chorus when the phone rings. Blast, I thought, just when I was about to change key, for the bit that goes, "Once you have found her, never let her go, Once you have found her. Never. Let. Her. Goooo..." Sod it, I thought. Let it ring. Which I did. Which was lucky, because for the first time ever when singing that song, I managed to hit high 'C'. I felt really good about that. In fact I took it as an omen that tonight would be my lucky night with the ladies. I don't mind admitting, that the creases in my boxers were razor sharp after that. Yes I had decided on the boxers. But I was going to put the Y-fronts in my pocket, just in case!

The phone was being shrillingly insistent. So I answered it. "Hello."


"There's no Barb here. You have a wrong number."

"Sorry to bother you."

"That's OK,"I said. Thinking at the same time that he had nearly ruined my song. But the high 'C' had made me happy, so I felt benevolent. I could tell he was an old bloke too. Old people are always dialing wrong numbers. I put the receiver down.

A few seconds later it rang again. "Hello."


"You have the wrong number again."

"You're not Barb then?"

"No. There is no Barbara here sorry."

"Not Barbara. Barb. Barb the gardener."

I realised that because of his west country accent, what I thought was Barb, was actually Bob. "There is no Bob here either."

"Sorry to bother you." He put the phone down.

 A few seconds later it rang again. "Hello."

"Barb? Barb the gardener?"

"There's no Bob here."

"Are you sure?"

"I'm quite certain. What number are you dialling?"

"I'm not sure if Barb starts with 551 or 552."

"Well this number starts with 551. So maybe you should try 552?"

"I need to speak to Barb the gardener."

"OK then, try the number that starts with 552."

"I'll do that then. Thank you."


A few seconds later it rang again. I pitched my voice lower. "Hello."

"Barb! Barb the gardener?" The old man sounded relieved.

"Barb speaking."

"Ah Barb. Bill Jones here. I was wondering if I could cancel Monday, and you come Tuesday instead?"

"No problem Bill. I'll make a note of that."

"Thanks Barb. It's just that I got to take the Missus to an 'ospital appointment Monday, that's all. An I don't know 'ow long it'll take."

"No problem at all. I'll see you Tuesday."

 "Ow's the wife Barb?"

"She's fine thanks."


"Yes they're fine."

"All right then Barb. See you Tuesday. Bye Barb."


What...? What...? Hey look. The old man was getting into a bit of a state. I only did it to stop him from worrying. I was being kind. Thoughtful. Caring even. What?

There is smoke. Oh no. My lucky Y-fronts! Good job I did buy those boxers! "Some enchanted evening..."

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Big Cat Possibly A Lion, Seen In My Area. I Go Looking For It.

 After hearing that a big cat, possibly a lion, would you believe, had been seen in nearby woodland, I stupidly decided to see if I could track it down. This very nearly was the end of me, and only a few weeks short of my pension too.

The lion sneaked up on me. Thank goodness for Sadie the German Shepherd. She was absolutely fearless, and chased the lion off. I dread to think of what might have happened if she wasn't there. She deserves a medal at the very least.

Sadie and I are OK. She is completely unharmed and back to normal. I have a few scratches where the ferocious beast pushed me into the bushes, but I am otherwise all right. Just a little shaken up and in shock. Please send any gifts, such as large bottles of whisky to my home address. You are so kind. Thank you for your concern.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Nothing Much Of Interest Happened Today.

I got out of bed. Turned the computer on, as I passed it. Let Sadie the German Shepherd out. Got dressed.
Sniffed socks. Decided socks had another days wear in them. Put them on. Went out and opened the pop
hole on the hen house. Scattered the hens some corn. Had a pee in the hedge. Came back indoors. Washed
my hands and face with cold water. Fed Bonnie the cat. Filled the kettle. Switched it on. Made a cup of tea.
Went down to the house. Fed Tricia's cats, Mr Blanchard and Tinkerbell. Mr Blanchard was in need of some affection. I sat on the sofa with him for a while. Told him what a beautiful black and white cat he is. Came back to the wagon. Drank my tea. Which was cold. Brushed my teeth. Sprinkled water on my hair because it was sticking up. Decided it then looked too flat. Mussed it up again. Thought it looked better. Admired myself in the mirror briefly. Stretched the skin on my face with my hands. Thought it made me look younger. Briefly yearned to be young again. Wondered if false eyelashes would suit me. Put two slices of wholemeal bread in the toaster. Looked at computer. Read some emails from you. Felt good about myself knowing you cared enough to comment on my blog. Listened to myself singing a couple of times on youtube. Listened to myself singing a couple more times. Thought I sounded good. Briefly imagined that a record producer might see me on youtube and make me famous. Thought about all the women I would meet if I was famous. Put butter and marmalade on toast and ate it. Wished that the butter wouldn't sink in. Thought I should have made more toast. Couldn't be bothered to make more. Had a drink of strawberry and banana smoothie. Swigged straight from the carton. Congratulated myself on my healthy eating regime. Thought I should have waited to brush my teeth. Put the kettle on again. Went back down to the house. Went to the toilet. Wondered if two rolls of toilet paper would last for a fortnight. Decided it possibly would if I was careful. Wondered if it would work out cheaper in the long run to install a bidet. Realised I had never used a bidet. Wondered what it would feel like. Had a shower, using some liquid gel that smelt like coconut. Thought I smelled very nice. Found out what using a bidet would feel like. Quite a tickly but not unpleasant feeling. Wondered if women like the smell of coconuts. Came back to wagon. Looked at my bank account online. Made myself feel unhappy. Logged out of account. Decided not to look again for a while. Put on my wellington boots. Called Sadie. Put her lead on. Went for a walk up to the reservoir. The rain was warm. Enjoyed it. Came back. Got in car. Drove to shop. Bought newspaper. Bought pack of six jam doughnuts. Paid for these things with a co-op coupon. Came home. Read paper while eating doughnuts and drinking tea. Surprised to find I had eaten all the doughnuts. Felt slightly queasy. Thought of myself as being fat and greedy. Consoled myself by thinking they were only small doughnuts. Went back down to house to see if postman had been. Had a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions telling me how much pension I shall receive next month when I'm 65. Thought to myself, how will I live on that. Consoled myself with the thought that I might not even reach 65. Anything could happen in the next month. Felt slightly depressed with that thought. Told myself off. Decided not to worry. Decided that the Lord will provide. Decided it might be prudent to start believing in the Lord a bit more. Got text message from Tricia. She has left her phone charger behind. Could I send it to her. I find charger and wrap it up. Walk with Sadie the German Shepherd to the Post Office. Talk to a lady in the park. She is nice. I hold my stomach in. She might think I look slim and healthy. Invite her to my party. She says she will come. I think she fancies me. Let my stomach out again when she has gone. Buy stamps in Post Office. Post parcel. Come home. Lie down on bed for a rest. Next door start their petrol strimmer. Give up trying to rest. Get up. Practice penny whistle. Sadie the German Shepherd goes and hides in kennel. Go back down to house. Feed cats. Have a pee. Think house could do with a bit of a tidy. Think about it a bit more. Decide it looks all right. So don't bother. Come back and try to do crossword in newspaper. The easy one. Can't do it. Look at computer again. A few more emails from you. Nice. Thank you. Read a few of your blogs. Leave a few comments. Think to myself how happy my comments will make you. Listen to myself singing on youtube again. Still think I sound good. Listen a few more times but not on youtube because I don't want to affect the viewing figures with my own watching. Wish it would stop raining. Go out to hen house. Collect five eggs. Should have put my wellingtons on. Decide I am stupid for wearing slippers outside. Socks are wet. Think about taking them off. Make pattern on floor of wet footprints while deciding. Try to see how far apart I can make footprints. Hurt my groin. Think to myself how stupid I am. Get hair dryer. Turn it on and direct it at wet socks. Ineffective. Get hot air paint stripper. Direct it at wet socks. Enjoy watching steam rising from my socks. Burn socks. Take socks off. Throw them in bin. Get clean socks from drawer. Put them on. Take them off again and apply Savlon cream to burnt foot. Put socks on again. Nice. Write my blog. Decide to share my latest youtube video with you. Feed Sadie the German Shepherd. Put some party invitations in my inside jacket pocket. Go and see some friends. Give them an invite. Stay chatting for a while. Show them my blog on their computer. I can tell how impressed they are. We listen to my song. I think it sounds good. They smile appreciatively. I can see how impressed they are. We decide to become facebook friends. I come home again. Go down to the house to watch television. Eventually work out how to turn television on. Wonder why it needs two remote controls. Start watching a film about a plane hijack. Fall asleep. Wake up at two in the morning. Wish I had torch to see my way up garden. Get drenched with water from overhanging wet branches. Get back to wagon. Bonnie the cat is hungry. Put some dry food in her dish. She looks at me in disgust. She goes out through the cat flap. I go to bed. Can't sleep. Read for a bit. You know what happens next.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Sadie The German Shepherd Lends A Sensitive Ear.

The door was open. She was at liberty to leave the room. She didn't though. She listened till the end. Sadie the German Shepherd. She has a good ear. Two good ears in fact. She is so loyal. I love her. Sadie probably doesn't understand the concept of love, but I do believe she knows what she likes.

Monday, 2 July 2012

On Ordering A Pizza.

A pizza. Just in case you don't know what a pizza looks like.
Tonight for the first time ever in my long lifetime I ordered a pizza. It's not easy to do. Especially if you don't have a clue which one to have. After a bit of a palaver on the phone with a bloke who spoke barely recognisable English, I told him to just send a plain pizza.

"Wa ain goo en plin pisser," he said.


"Wa ain goo en plin pisser."

"You don't have plain pizza?"


"You don't have plain pizza?"

"Wot you lif?"


"Dilliffa lif? Dilliffa?"

"Oh, you mean deliver! Where do I lif? Sorry live. You want my address?"


Eventually, after another excruciatingly painful conversation, he finally had my address. I presume written down. He repeated it back to me. I couldn't understand what he said, but found myself agreeing with him.

"Yes," I said, "that sounds about right. How long will it be?"

"Issa lar? Issa mejem?"


"You wanim lar? You wanim mejem?"

"Oh. Large please. How long will it take?"

"Issa arva nower."

"Half an hour?"

"Assit, arva nower."

It occurred to me that I had no idea what type of pizza I had ordered.

"What is it? What kind? Is it a plain pizza?"

"Wa ain goo en plin pisser."

"What are you sending me?"

"Issan ice pisser."

I has a horrible picture in my head of an Eskimo peeing in the snow.

"Sorry, did you say ice pizza?"

"Yeh issan ice pisser."

"You mean it's frozen?"

"No. issan ice pisser."

"Oh NICE! A nice pizza. I get it now."

"No. No get now. Arva nower."

"OK. Half an hour. Thank you. Bye."


When it hadn't arrived after an hour and a half. I went to the local shop and bought a pizza there. Very nice it was too. I was just finishing it, when my ordered one arrived. About two hours late!

It is flipping enormous! I had to fold it to get it to fit in the fridge. I suppose I should have taken it out of the box!

I haven't got a clue what type it is!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Being Silly About The Isles Of Scilly!

Phew! I am exhausted. I didn't have any energy today at all. It's not that I have been working particularly hard either. Maybe it is simply me feeling my age. If there is such a thing as feeling your age. I mean how is anyone to know what feeling your age means? Yesterday for example. I don't think I was feeling my age. In fact if I remember rightly, yesterday I felt about 35 years old. Although there were times during my 35th year that I felt quite ancient. Mind you that was usually on a morning after the night before, if you get my drift?

Poor old Sadie the German Shepherd. She never had a walk today. I just could not summon up the energy or enthusiasm. Extremely handsome son George took her out for a run, but it's not the same for her. She likes a gentle plod around with me. Whereas with George it is literally a non stop run, when he takes her out. Not much chance there for a good old sniff around. I shall make it up to her tomorrow. We shall go for a good long hike. According to the weather forecast I am going to need my waterproofs on. So what a surprise, it is going to rain tomorrow! This has been a washout summer. There surely cannot be much water left up there in the sky.
Tricia is going on this little ship.
Tricia went on holiday today. She has gone to the Isles of Scilly. She and George have been going there at least twice a year, ever since George was born. She has to drive to Penzance Cornwall and then it is 4 hours on the ship to the Islands. She is very intrepid. You should see the size of her backpack! She also takes her three little dogs with her.

George will travel on this small plane.
George will join her tomorrow, but he is doing it the easy way. A plane from Southampton airport. His journey will only take a few hours. He is not being selfish letting his mum do all the hard work, but he has a friend going with him this year, and there just is not enough room in the little car for two big lads and the dogs. Still it will be worth all the effort for Tricia when she gets there. She absolutely adores the islands.

I sure do miss them both when they are away. To them the next fortnight will fly by. Whereas for me, it seems more like two years.
A street in Hugh Town, Isles of Scilly.

That's it of course. The reason for my tiredness. I am emotionally drained.  It is so silly I know, but I worry myself sick, during the run up to their holiday. Mostly thinking about how much I shall miss them, or what might go wrong on the journey. It is the same every time. But after a couple of days, I get back to my, more or less, normal self.

Anyway I have to stay here at home. Someone has to take care of Tinkerbelle and Mister Blanchard, Tricia's cats.

Do you think I am what is often referred to as, one of those 'needy' people? Don't answer that! It's a rhetorical question. I know the answer.