Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Almost Famous Ramshackle Art Gallery, Is Almost Finished Again.

The Ramshackle Art Gallery is still not finished. Not that I have been lazy. I am putting in the hours on it but, well you know, you do this bit and then you find out that bit needs doing. Never ending it seems to me at the moment.

However, the construction is complete. I was going to say erection just then, but thankfully remembered just in time how excitable some of you got when I last used the word in an innocent attempt at describing a structure.

The cause of the delay is the amount of clearing and tidying I have to do in the driveway. After my extremely handsome son George and I had only cleared it a few weeks ago too. I don't know how it got so untidy so quickly. It is mystifying.

Another problem has been in the actual construction. Thing is you see, I am a fairly competent craftsman. I actually, in the ramshackle construction, have to force myself not to do things correctly. Sounds crazy I know, but if I make it properly it will not be ramshackle. And I think 'The Ramshackle Art Gallery' sounds better than 'The Properly Made Art Gallery'. Although having written that down for the first time, it does have a nice ring to it and appeals to my sense of humour. But no, I am not changing it now. Besides have a look at this. I have made the sign for the entrance.

This is not where it will be positioned. I am going to site it at the roadside at the end of the driveway, so that all the passing motorists can see it, and dash in and buy a painting on their way to work. Or perhaps better if they do it on their way home. That way I won't have to get up too early. I should make a lot of money. I shall open an offshore bank account and keep the revenue men from getting their hands on it.

Of course the sign will soon be noticed by someone from the council who will tell me to remove it. I will then get in touch with the newspapers, and tell them my human rights are being infringed. I shall take the council to the European courts, the story will be taken up by the television. I shall become really famous, my paintings will fetch a fortune, and I shall realise my lifelong dream of travelling the globe on a pushbike, or maybe a luxury camper van. Haven't quite decided yet. So you see I have everything planned. Well almost. I shall probably go for the camper van option because of my legs. I'm a martyr to them. Oh the pain and suffering I go through. You would not believe. Maybe a private jet, and stopovers in 5 star hotels. Although with air travel, there is the risk of thrombosis. Hey, it isn't easy having loads of money. I could have a personal nurse to take care of me I suppose. She could wear a proper nurses uniform too. But that might cause problems with my blood pressure. What to do? What to do? I shall wait until I have sold a few paintings, and then decide. It is silly putting myself through all this stress. I wonder if I should go for a blonde or a brunette?

I almost forget to mention this, but on Friday afternoon a friend stopped by. He had a trailer and on it was an old shed he had just demolished. He was taking it to the tip, but I saw potential. "Leave it here Clive," I said, because that's his name, Clive, "Leave it here, I shall incorporate it into my Ramshackle Art Gallery.

Well he thought I was mad, because he had sawn the shed into bits so that it would fit into his trailer. However when he saw what I was doing he understood what I meant. "Blimey John," he said sounding amazed, "That, if I might say so, is some erection."

I couldn't in all seriousness, allow such a comment to pass unremarked. "No Clive," I said, "That is not an erection, that is a construction." So you see I do read your comments and I learn from them.

Anyway I have now used the sawn up shed to great effect, even if I do say so myself. Watch this space. There will be more photo's soon for your delectation and delight. Hang on a minute. If he was going to the tip, why was he passing my place? The tip is in the complete opposite direction. He wasn't going to dump that old shed here was he? Come to think of it I was wondering how my drive gets so untidy. I reckon someone has been dumping stuff here for weeks. No no, not Clive, he wouldn't do that. Not my mate Clive. No. Mind you it is quite expensive taking stuff to the tip. But no. Not Clive. I need to get a padlock for my front gate.

I had better stop writing now. I am sure you have far more important things to be getting on with, than reading all this rambling nonsense.

Friday, 28 September 2012

A Wee Bit Over Excited.

Fantastic, it's Friday night! I shall just have a bit of a scrub up. Make myself look even more attractive than usual. Add a dash of my new cologne, and go into town. Where I shall no doubt attract the attentions of several ladies. Which is a bit of a nuisance really, because I hate having to choose between them. I hate letting so many of them down. What to do? What to do?

Do you know what? I just cannot bear the thought of causing all that disappointment. It isn't fair on the women. I have made a decision. I shall stay home. Hey! I just remembered. There are several videos on youtube I want to watch. They are all about stationary engines. Brilliant. I shall be so happy.

I mean why would I want to go out drinking and having fun on a Friday night? Silly at my age. Goodness me, some of those women could have designs on my body. I could end up getting hurt. Physically and emotionally. Phew! Thank heavens I have such tremendous self control.

As a matter of fact I really need an early night. I wasn't able to get the Ramshackle Gallery finished today as I had hoped, so I need to get an early start tomorrow. I shall make the finishing touches to it after I get back from the gym.

Pardon? What was that? Oh the gym. Haven't I mentioned it. I have been working out. Getting my body even more toned than normal. I have been working on my abs mostly. My six pack is looking really good. In fact my upper torso is full of definition. I have been working on my thighs too, I have to be in good shape for the calendar.

Yes that's right. I have decided to have a calender made. It will feature me in various poses, and will be mainly for the ladies, but I feel certain some blokes might want a copy to hang up on their wall. It will probably inspire them to make the most of their assets too.

I will be selling the calendar in aid of charity, 'The John Bain Needs A Holiday Fund'. I will let you know how to pre order your copy shortly. It will be a limited edition of 25,000, so please make sure you order in good time.

Now then, let me see, 25,000 at £5.00 per copy, that works out at £125,000. Wow! Why haven't I thought of this before? How exciting. Of course for my blog followers I shall not charge extra for postage and packaging. I'm not greedy.

Oh my word! Is that the time? I must get on with watching those stationary engine videos before I go to bed. Oh no hang on a minute. I don't want to get over excited. I might not be able to sleep. I think I shall leave it for now. Read a book instead. A thriller. Yes that's what I shall do. Read a book. That should be quite enough excitement for one night. Maybe not a thriller. Perhaps I had better just get some sleep instead.

Have a great weekend you lot, and be good.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

What Is It All About Eh?

        It worked you know. Putting a title that sounded like an online bargain offer. It brought a good few extra readers. Mind you I don't suppose many of them stayed. Oh well. Anyway it is just a bit of fun. I like to make up page titles that attract the readers. Not all the time though. That might be an annoyance.

        I was thinking today. I do sometimes. I was thinking along the lines of, what is this blog about? What is it's reason for being. I know I am doing it because I enjoy it, but it doesn't seem to have a central theme. I am feeling that it should have something to make it stand out, but I'm blowed if I know what.

        The problem I have is I am too scatterbrained to stick with anything for any length of time. I come and go like a yoyo on a string. So a themed blog probably wouldn't last long. Easily bored is the best way of putting it.

        Mind you this need for constant new outlets, this fear of boredom, does tend to make me get on with things fast. I never spend too long on a painting for instance, and I think I wrote my book in quick time. Simply because if I spend too long on something there is a good chance it may not get finished.

        Do you remember those stick chairs I was making last year? I could have had a nice little part time earner there. The year before it was bird tables out of reclaimed timber. They were so popular, but in the end I gave up because I got bored with making them. Even though they were all different. And the quick portraits, I have had enough of them for the moment, and yet they are a good source of cash. I am a hopeless case.

        This blog of mine. Although I have applied myself to it quite diligently these last couple of years, it doesn't seem to attract many new readers lately. I suppose that is what I want. More readers. I suppose that is what all writers want.

        Oh well. I am happy enough in my own little corner of Blogland. Even if it is undefined. As long as I know that you are out there, and you of course and absolutely you too. Especially you. I shall carry on doing my best to entertain you.
I was hoping for a read of that newspaper Bonnie, but I won't disturb you.

        I have just indented the beginning of each paragraph. I wonder if that will add anything special to my words. I don't normally indent them, but tonight I just felt like taking a risk, and living dangerously. I need to be more cutting edge.

I know you are not really asleep Sadie, I can see you looking.

        By the way do you remember the Ramshackle Gallery I am making? Well the good news is, I hope to have it open for business on Saturday. I wonder how long before the novelty wears off?

        The time is half past midnight. Sadie the German Shepherd and Bonnie the ginger cat are asleep. They feel safe in the knowledge that Mac the pup will not disturb them. Especially Bonnie, she really did not appreciate our little visitor. She is happy now.

         I think it is time for me to visit the land of nod also. Good night, God bless.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Great Value Stretched Artist's Canvas.

Today I went into town and bought four canvas's. I hate buying ready made ones, always like to either prepare them myself or simply paint on anything I think will do. I once painted a life size portrait of the Queen Mother on a pair of old curtains. That was on the occasion of her 100th birthday. It is owned by the Library service in North East Scotland now. I often wonder if it survived my home made stretcher and the many coats of white emulsion I primed it with.

But today the reason I bought them was because they were so cheap. They were for sale in one of those cheap shops, you probably know the kind of shop I mean. You go in and notice that it is full of cheap tat, and yet you cannot resist buying something. Well maybe it doesn't happen to you, but I am so weak willed. But not where these canvas's were concerned. Oh no. I have bought canvas from there before and it works really well. It says on the label canvas board, but it is proper canvas on stretchers.

Look at these pictures if you don't believe me. Only £1.99p each. Incredible! You try buying these in a proper art shop and I bet you would have to pay at least a tenner each. Marvellous.

Why I'm telling you this is because now that I have got them back home, they are staring at me. Stark white and blank. Taunting me with their virginity. Saying, take me John. Do what you will, but please don't leave us untouched.

If you paint, you will know what I mean. A blank canvas can be such an intimidating thing to get started on. Actually this evening I feel so intimidated that I am going to put them out of my sight and go to bed and read a book. I am reading John Grisham at the moment. The Partner. I like his books.

Tomorrow I will despoil these canvas's with some random splashes of paint. They won't scare me so much then, and I shall get on with the paintings I need to do. Amazing to think that when I am dead and gone these paintings will probably sell for millions of pounds!

£1.99p each. Please don't tell anyone. I don't want that shop being overrun by all your friends. I may need to go back for some more.

Fantastic bargain price, and so well worth all the stress they have caused me! Blank canvas. What am I like?

Oh yes, by the way. I thought the title to this post might get a few more readers to my blog. Cheeky aren't I.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

I Am A Guinea Pig, Mac Is A Pup, Bonnie Is A Cat, And The Lister D Is A Stationary Engine.

The manuscript for my book is with Stuart my creative writing tutor from many years ago. Isn't it funny how things work out? If memory serves I believe I was thinking about this book then. Certainly the title Elbows Off The Table was thought of around that time.

Stuart is checking it for typos etc and then we will agree on a final draft. Incidentally typos is a word we authors use for mistakes. Just thought I would let you know that. What with me being an author you know.

The reason I say that we will agree on a final draft, is because Stuart has agreed to help me as my mentor/agent as I go through the publishing process. This is incredible good fortune on my part. Not only does it tell me I have written a book he believes in, but do you know how much all this proof reading, editing etc costs? He is doing it for free. Apart from the occasional pint of beer, or bottle of wine.

Effectively I am a guinea pig for a mentoring service he has been thinking about starting, helping budding authors into print. Sounds like a great idea. I am a trial run for him. I just happen to have written this book at the right time. Of course if it becomes a best seller he will earn his reward then. Listen to me. If?

While he is dealing with that side of things, we have decided that the book should have some illustrations. I shall now start on that process. Exciting times ahead. Blimey it is going to be some book!

You can learn more about my agent/mentor Stuart Morris here have a look at some of his achievements, and see why I consider myself so fortunate to have such a talented writer helping me.

Something else happened today that made me happy. I got the Lister D stationary engine working at last. Oh yes, and Mac the little dog has gone back to his owner, although that made me a little bit sad as well. Sadie the German Shepherd is pleased though, and Bonnie the ginger cat is absolutely ecstatic that he has gone.

Finally about Mac, his owner who discovered she is allergic to the little chap, has found him a new home with some of her relatives, who know and love him. He will be fine. And she will be able to keep in touch.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Definitely, Probably, Possibly, Maybe, Perhaps.

Hallo all you lovely people,

I see Sadie the German Shepherd has been at the keyboard again. She shouldn't be worried about where my affection lies. As far as I am concerned she is the perfect canine companion. Not the least bit of bother at all. And walking her keeps me in reasonable shape. I would hate to be without her.
Mac is still here. I was expecting him to go home today, but there has been a delay. His owner is coming tomorrow at noon. That gives me a chance for another walk with the dogs, and then, well it will be nice to be just me and Sadie again.

Here is another update on the best selling book situation. I first finished it a few weeks ago. Then I finished it again a couple of weeks ago. But yesterday I genuinely finished it. I think it is really, really, really finished. Definitely. Maybe. I hope. Perhaps.

It has gone from having 40,572 words to 52,553. I make that 12,000 more words. Now that is a proper book length. And do you know what? I could go on. But I am not going to. It is definitely finished. Most definitely. Hopefully. Perhaps.

Now I am worried that you won't like it. Or you won't like me. I keep thinking I shouldn't have written that bit, or that bit. Is that bit too horrible? You know all sorts of stuff going through my mind. Why have I written it? That's another thought. I don't know. Because I want to. Is that a good enough reason? Because I always wanted to write a book. Because it was a strange childhood. Because people tell me I should write about it.

Because it is a factual book I have changed names. Everyone's names. I am not wanting to create upset. Especially to any relatives of certain people in the book. That is not my intention. Although most who caused me harm are probably long dead anyway. I'm getting on a bit myself too. If I'm going to do it I had better get on with it.

But hey! The good news is, it is definitely finished. Probably. Maybe.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Sadie The German Shepherds Take On Training.

That pup Mac has still got a few more days living with us. We had a perfect life John and I, until he arrived. John fitted into the scheme of things perfectly, and had even begun to read me so well that I could make him obey my every wish. But now Mac, what a stupid name for a dog, has thrown everything into disarray.

John has become a nervous wreck. Constantly thinking about what Mac is up to. He can't sit and relax for more than a few seconds, before  it's, "What's Mac doing?" Or  "Why is that pup so quiet? I'll just check on him."

It is making me jumpy too. I will be just dozing off when suddenly I hear, "NO MAC, DOWN!" Or "MAC, LEAVE IT!" Or, "IF YOU KILL THAT CAT MAC, YOU ARE ONE DEAD DOG. LEAVE IT!" The really bad one is, "DROP THAT BLOODY HEN, YOU LITTLE BASTARD!" It frightens the life out of me.

The thing is you see, John now see's himself as a dog trainer. Not just any old dog trainer either, oh no, John thinks he is the best dog trainer in the world.

"Where people go wrong with dog training," I heard him explain to Tricia earlier, "Is that they think of a dog in human terms. Whereas a proper dog trainer such as myself, who has studied the subject intensively, knows that a dog needs to be controlled in a dominant way. When I am training Mac," he went on, as he scooped a large, soft and gently steaming dog turd into a plastic bag, "I make sure he knows that I am the boss. Oh for fuck's sake, this bags got a hole in it! Have you got any tissues Tricia? Tricia?" But Tricia was already gone. She has got a really loud laugh. "MAC! WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN EATING? GOD THAT STINKS! SIT MAC! STAY!"

Last night, John went off to an Open Mic event, "Sadie," he said to me, "I am going to leave Mac with you. Look after him. Do not fight. My fans are waiting I cannot let them down. It is only for a couple of hours. You two will be fine."

Unfortunately John failed to take into account that Mac could get through the cat flap. I was powerless to stop him escaping. Actually to be honest I didn't try. I was hoping Mac would run off and never be seen again. Sadly though extremely handsome son George heard Mac creating havoc in the paddock and came and arrested him. John had to leave Open Mic in a hurry, and come home. This was a good thing in a way because apparently, according to John, some women were going crazy at his singing, and were threatening to rip his clothes off and have their wicked way with him. So from being the villain of the piece, Mac was now some sort of hero. It makes me sick. Mac got two biscuits. All I got was, "You let me down tonight Sadie."
Listen ladies I don't want to sound disloyal, but I have seen John naked, and believe me you are in for a great disappointment if you are looking for something special.

Oh yes, there is training going on, but it isn't a dog that's being trained, it's John. Oh well, only a few more days and peace shall be restored to the old homestead. Unless he is thinking of keeping.... No he wouldn't do that. Not to me. He loves me. He wouldn't?

Lots of love from Sadie, the German Shepherd. xxx

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Minding My Own Business.

I have just noticed that there is a big gap between the title and where the writing starts. Sorry about that.

Here I am again. I think the gap is gone now.

This is me writing on my old computer with a new hard drive installed. Everything is different. I thought what would happen is that I would have a new hard drive and everything would be improved but the same if you know what I mean. It might be improved, but it is not the same. Even this blog browser might not be compatible, whatever that means. I have reinstalled google chrome because that is what it was before, but to tell the truth I just haven't a clue what it all means. Anyway if I suddenly disappear in a puff of smoke, you will understand why.

Here is a picture of Mac the puppy with Sadie the German Shepherd. Doesn't he look cute. Do not be deceived. He is a handful to look after. I think his owner comes back from holiday on Monday. I might last out until then. Sadly she may not be able to keep him. It seems that she is allergic to him. I also think I might be allergic too. I woke up this morning with my eyes streaming and full of the snuffles. I am not prone to allergies, and things cleared up when we went for a walk. Doesn't seem too promising does it?

On our walk today, we crossed through the park and I was hailed by a woman. "Excuse me," she called, "You should have that dog on a lead."
Mac was on his lead. Sadie was walking free beside us. We were all minding our own business. "Who says so," I shouted back.

"It's because of the dog fouling problem," she says, drawing nearer.

"Look here," I say, immediately going on the offensive, " I don't have a dog fouling problem, if my dog makes a mess I clean it up". I take a handful of plastic bags out of my pocket and show them to her. "Anyway, when did this rule come into effect? I haven't heard anything about it. I have been walking dogs here for thirty years and no one has ever told me to have my dogs on a lead before."

I have to admit to having a bit of a problem with people who tell me what I can or cannot do. I think it is a bloody cheek. To my way of thinking they are saying I am an idiot who doesn't know how to behave. I was on my high horse and I think she was taken aback by my grumpy reaction.

"There is a notice on the fence over there," she said.

"Well it wasn't there yesterday," I said, "And it wasn't there the day before and it wasn't there thirty years ago when I first walked a dog here. So whoever put it there can, as far as I'm concerned take the bloody notice and shove it where the sun don't shine."

"There is no need to take that attitude," she says, "I was only drawing your attention to it."

"Are you the dog warden?" I ask her.

"No," she says.

"Are you employed by the council to enforce their stupid bye laws?" I ask.

"No." she says.

"Well in that case Madam, I suggest you mind your own business and allow me to continue my walk in peace."

I then went and read the notice. Which had been printed on a computer and put into a plastic see through wallet. It stated: DOGS SHOULD BE KEPT ON A LEAD. It had been stuck on the fence with drawing pins, obviously by someone with a bee in their bonnet. I turned to see the woman looking at me, and tore the notice down and put it in a nearby litter bin.

So you see ladies and gentlemen, although I am fairly laid back about most things. If someone upsets me I can get a little bit irate. I am not always a nice bloke. It's not an age thing, or anything to do with being grumpy. I just don't like to be treated like I'm stupid.

Now to find out if this incompatible browser will let me publish this.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

If Fifty Shades Of Grey Can Then Why Not Me?

John next door has lent me a wireless mouse for this laptop. He also gave me a few lessons on how to use this machine, but I can never manage to retain much of the information I am given. Give me a few years and I should get the hang of things.

My big proper computer is being mended. Having a new hard drive fitted. Whatever that means. I said to the bloke, please, whatever you do don't delete my book. He told me not to worry. But I can't help it. I don't fancy writing it all over again.

My former creative writing tutor Stuart has read the manuscript, and I am pleased to say he likes it. Very well written he said. Very honest. He says I have a voice and he heard it as he read. The honest part is what gives me cause for concern. Some nasty things happened in my childhood. I have written about this with absolute candour but there are doubts in my mind about whether they are too personal. But then again, I survived them so what the hell, I'm getting old, what do I care? So publish and be damned! Besides which, that is what the book is about. Or is it? This is something that Stuart mentioned. It is what the book is lacking. What is it's purpose? Where am I going with it?

I think I need to dwell a bit more on my development as a child. My feelings, and how they changed as I grew older. How I toughened up physically and mentally. How my feelings towards my Mother became confused? Those things need some sort of resolution. It will add to the story, give a sense of purpose to it. These are Stuart's thoughts on it and I agree with him. Also the ending was too abrupt. I shall add to it. I think I have more to say. It will not cause too much rewriting.

Stuart thinks it is certainly worth publishing. I should mention that I value his opinion because he is a well known script writer and has done many scripts for television dramas, including some of the most famous ones. He knows what he is talking about.

As to the publishing side of things, well I know I said I wasn't going to, but I think self publishing is the way to go these days. It is so simple. Each book is printed to order, and the commission fees are very low. Stuart has said he will give me as much help as I need. I need to investigate a bit more but I think that is what I will do.

Finding a publisher or an agent at my age would it seems be well nigh impossible. They look for young people who they hope will write many books, so they can earn big money. It is a business after all.

The woman who wrote 'fifty shades of grey' self published and was then taken on by a publisher.
And she can't even write, so I have heard. I haven't read it. I don't need to. I am an established expert where sex is concerned. So you never know what might happen. Anyway best seller or not. I am pleased to have written it.

I shall start adding a few more words to the book as soon as my computer comes back from being mended. I can't write quick enough on this laptop.

Quick update on Mac the puppy. He has a lot to learn about country living, but he already knows about not chasing the hens, and Bonnie the cat is being braver around him. Mind you, I shall not let him off the lead yet, just in case he takes off and is never seen again. It really is nerve wracking looking after someone else's young dog. I'm exhausted! So is he, he has gone to bed. My bed. He slept on it last night too. It doesn't bother me. He is only little. It wouldn't work with Sadie the German Shepherd though.

I still don't know how to get photos on to here. I bet it turns out to be really easy.

See you soon.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Sadie, Mac and I. Getting on Fine.

Sadie the German Shepherd and Mac the Border Terrier cross are getting on fine together. This is down to the pleasant and kindly nature of Sadie mainly. Mac, being only eight months old can be a right pain with his enthusiastic take on life.
Bonnie the cat has had her nose put out of joint since Mac's arrival. She has gone off in a sulk. Mac obviously thinks that cats are for chasing. If he was my pup I would not allow this, but I don't want to tell him off too much. The poor little chap probably wonders what has happened that he has found himself staying with me and Sadie.
He arrived this morning, and the first thing we did before anything else was to go for a nice walk. I didn't let him of the lead and he just kept on following Sadie. He was surprisingly well behaved for a young 'un. Until Sadie caught a rabbit. Mac made a grab for it out of Sadie's mouth and there was a tug of war went on. Mac sure showed his terrier breeding then.
The rabbits are full of mixymetotosis (I can't spell it) that disgusting disease introduced here deliberately in the 1950's, and they are very easy for the dogs to catch. Which in a way is a good thing as it puts them out of their misery quickly.
I had to take my PC in for repair today, and Mac came with me in the car. He was well behaved. Poor Sadie. I didn't dare take her too. I didn't think I would manage two dogs and carrying the computer as well.
When we got back I tied Macs lead to an old car tyre so that he could still move about the place but wouldn't be quick enough to chase the hens. This was so I could get myself a cup of tea in peace. By the time the kettle had boiled he had chewed through the lead and was running free. Luckily he was more interested in playing with the long suffering Sadie than hen chasing. Anyway he came to me when I called. Thank heavens.
They are both in their respective beds now next to each other, sleeping. He looks lovely, as though butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. I hope Bonnie doesn't come through the cat flap when I'm in bed. I need to introduce those two properly.
I was hoping to show you some photos of the dogs, but I can't work out how to do it on this laptop. Sorry about that. I shall try again tomorrow.
It is 11-30 pm. I think I shall get some sleep too. Goodnight all.

Now I have lost my signature. Where the heck is it? Flaming laptops! This seems to be the best I can do. I cannot work out how to get to the bottom of this page?

Sunday, 16 September 2012

I Am Writing This In Bed You Know!

I'm in bed! How amazing. Here I am 65 years old and I am sitting in bed with a computer. If I wanted to I could press a few keys and I would be able to communicate with people all over the world. Incredible don't you think? And I'm in bed!

What a fantastic mind the person who invented the world wide web must have had. I mean how does anyone's brain even begin to conceive of such a thing? The whole thing is totally beyond me.

I just realised I told a lie then. I couldn't really press a few keys and communicate with the world. What I should have said was if I knew what keys to press I could do that. Amazing, and I'm in bed!

Never mind communicating with the world, I can't even understand the new blogger interface. Why did they have to change it? It takes me ages now to even work out how to write a new post. Where all your blogs have gone I don't have a clue. If I find you it is more luck than judgement. Is that what they call progress? I suppose it is. As it is all part of computer land I shall just have to get used to it.

I have just discovered a bit of a drawback to this computer in bed lark. I am keeping my knees bent to support it and my feet keep slipping down the bed. Someone ought to invent non slip sheets, they would come in useful in more ways than one. For instance, supposing I was in bed with a wom... No, no I'm not going to start rambling on again. I could get into trouble.

I really ought to get some sleep. Mac is coming to stay with me tomorrow for a whole week, and I know he is going to be hard work. Mac is an eight month old puppy. He is supposed to be staying with Tricia, but she has three little dogs of her own and a bit of jealousy is happening. I found myself volunteering to take Mac. Sadie the German Shepherd will be all right I think, but I'm going to keep him away from the hens. Oh dear what have I done? If the weather is fine we shall do a lot of walking. Here's hoping.

My knees are about to give out, so I have to go. I will talk again soon. Have a great week. I am writing this in bed you know. Amazing!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Hey Listen To Me Waxing Poetical.

There is a saying. Walking is good for the soul. Maybe I have that wrong? Maybe it's not walking? Anyway something is good for the soul, and if it isn't walking it jolly well should be. Especially if the sun is out and there is just a hint of a cooling breeze in the morning air.

It was out this morning, the sun, with an early warmth, and the trembling leaves on the silver birch suggested absolution from the promised heat.

So we walked, Sadie the German Shepherd and I, across the fields of stubble to the lush green meadowed lea beyond. And then we walked some more. Through wooded glade and downland dale we strolled, my loyal friend and I, until we reached, far from home the wild flower banks of a tumbling, burbling, chalk spring.

Side by side we drank together from the cool waters, and sat, refreshed, content in each others peaceful companionship, in quiet contemplation, watching the excited flight of myriad butterflies and the hawking rapidity of lustrous dragonflies. Listening too we were, to the buzz and murmur of natures collectors and propagators, and the occasional splash of a rising trout.

Hunger it was at last, that spurred us to rise and journey homeward. But never rushed. For this was joy in life pure and simple, to be savoured, like the rich and heady aroma of an aged wine. How true it is, my misquoted, poorly remembered saying. Walking is good for the soul.

As I kicked my boots off later, I thought to myself: What a miserable, grumpy old bastard you were yesterday John!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Fed Up.

I am fed up. Certain things are getting me down. I am miserable, disconsolate, forlorn, unhappy, calamitous, hapless, ill-starred, pitiable, unhappy, worthless, abject and comfortless.

Fed up. Fed up with computers for a start. Who invented them? Why? Life went on all right without the damn things. Fed up with guitars and people who can play them well. The only way anyone can play well is because they are guitar geeks. Fed up with the cost of art materials. Fed up with art too, what is it all about eh? Fed up with bacon full of brine that splatters every surface in the kitchen with, well with splatter. Fed up with car insurers thinking I'm a mug who will pay an extra £100 for the same policy as last year. Look mate I know you are only being friendly so you can earn commission out of me. So bugger off out of it, why don't you?

That's just for starters. I'm also fed up with  house flies, craneflies, wet dogs, cat footprints, drizzle instead of real rain. Drizzle is a lot wetter than it looks. Do not be lulled into leaving your waterproof jacket at home. I am fed up with religion, all religion, and I'm fed up that I have to keep just a little bit of thinking it might be true, just in case. Newspapers, who cares what you think, just report the news, your opinions are crap.

I am fed up with greedy developers building new bloody houses all over this little island, There is no more space, the green bits are required for survival, growing food, wildlife etc. Stop destroying it with your horrible little brick boxes. Stop immigration. That would help the overcrowding. That reminds me, I am fed up with lying politicians too.

I am fed up with hair sprouting out of my ears and nostrils, fed up with needing to wear glasses, and I am fed up with people who say one thing and mean another, look just say what you mean in the first place, it would save me such a lot of time if I could hate you immediately.

I am fed up with getting old, particularly looking like an old bloke, aches and pains, being untidy, lawn mowers, tractors, stationary engines, flat tyres, and washing up. I am fed up with not having sex. Really fed up about the not having sex, because I have almost forgotten what it was like. All I can recall is that it is a pleasant pastime, but I don't know why. What a waste, I am so good at it too.

Some other things I'm fed up with are, cupboards that won't close because the plates are too big, even though it is the same bloody cupboard that the plates were in yesterday and the door closed all right then, grass growing, the fox taking my chickens during daylight hours, and moles digging up the grass that won't stop growing. I'm fed up with Sadie the German Shepherd thinking I am going to take her for a walk every time I move.

I am fed up with boots that leak, socks with holes in, vegetarians, and not having enough money. Judgemental people, I am fed up with them too. Fed up with Summer being over. Fed up with the cost of fuel. Fed up with cars. I am fed up with road markings and sign posts, and potholes. There are more things I am fed up with, but I am fed up talking about them.

I expect I shall be all right in the morning, but at the moment, to be perfectly honest, I am fed up.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

A Little Something About Nothing In Particular.

Good evening my friends. I hope I find you well. Myself? Oh I have a bit of a bad back at the moment, but it is gradually improving. It was caused by another of those heavy lifting incidents I tend to get involved in on occasion. This time it was a large cattle drinking trough I tried to move. Silly of me really, it was perfectly all right where it was. I haven't got any cattle so it is quite a useless thing to have anyway. Except it adds to the general ambiance of the place. I am aiming for a 1950's farmyard look. Hence the old tractor, and various other vintage pieces.

I include myself in the term vintage by the way. Although unlike everything else around here I do still work. Well sometimes. What I mean is I am not broken down. Apart from my bad back that is. And my legs. And my sore toe. And a touch of arthritis. And my eyesight. And perhaps my hearing is going a bit. But apart from that I am fine. Except for my teeth, and the hair loss. Oh and my shoulder, that plays up a bit, and the, how shall I put it? The frequent need to pee. Apart from those few things though I am in perfect working order. So for goodness sake ladies, what's holding you back? Get in touch. Before it's too late. The important bits still work fine. At least they did the last time I gave them a try. Oh hold on a minute. Actually if I'm honest they may not have done. If I remember rightly there may have been too many glasses of whiskey taken. Sorry about this I seem too be rambling again.

I am writing this on my new laptop computer. This is the first post I have done on it, and it seems very sensitive to the touch. A bit like me really. The cursor keeps jumping about, which is a bit annoying, but I shall get used to it soon I hope. My other computer has been acting very strangely, shutting itself off for no reason that I can discern, and threatening me with all sorts of dire consequences if I do not do what it says I should do. I think maybe it is getting old and past its best. Hey, that seems to be a recurring theme around here just now. I am going to leave it to sulk on it's own for a while, see if it comes to it's senses.
Apparently the fault could be caused by something I have recently downloaded. That could only be a website about stationary engines. Which now I think about it is extremely slow. I wonder? I have no idea how to get rid of something once it is in my computer. This sounds like a job for my neighbour Steve. Maybe that is the problem?

I shall now attempt to post this article to the world. After I have previewed it. Which I have still got to learn to do. I wish this thing had a proper mouse. It isn't even plugged in you know. Modern technology, quite amazing!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

The Black Friends I Never Knew I Had.

I found this delightful little film on youtube the other day. It is about an English village in the 1940's. What struck me in particular about it is that it has two black children in it.

Now as far as I am concerned, when I was a primary school child at about the same time as this film was made, there were no black children in England. If there had been I am certain that I would have known about it. Especially when you bear in mind that I was living in a children's home with several hundred other kids. Surely in such a situation, on the outskirts of what was then the worlds biggest city, London, one or two of its inhabitants would have been black? But no. I cannot recall any black children from that time.

So these two little black girls living in an English village must have been a very rare sight indeed, wouldn't you agree?

But now here is a strange thing. When I went to a reunion at that children's home a few years ago I was talking to a couple of blokes of my age, who had been at my primary school at the same time as me. One of them lived in the house next to to mine and the other just a few doors further down. They were very likely to have been among my playmates. What is so strange, I hear you ask? Well, the thing is, both of these men are black! Unmistakably black too. I would have sworn that I had never seen a black child there. Ever.

The point of all this, if indeed I might be trying to make one is: At what stage in our lives do we stop looking at each other as simply another person, and begin to notice differences? Perhaps more importantly, why does it happen?

Anyway here is a link to the youtube film. I am not sure if the link will work directly, but if you do want to see it I suppose you can go to youtube and type it in.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Just Another Quiet Sunday.

Oh I can't think of anything to say. This is an unusual turn of events, but it does happen now and again. Let's see what happens if I just keep on typing regardless.

I am sitting here with a full tummy, after having Sunday dinner with Tricia and my extremely handsome son George. We didn't have Yorkshire puddings with it today because none of the local shops had any left! I can remember the days when Yorkshire puddings were made at home. Does anyone still do that? Not that I'm complaining mind you. The meal was delicious. I am stuffed full. Thank you Tricia.

Earlier today my neighbour Steve came and picked a few apples off the tree. Later he came back with an apple pudding his daughter made. Very nice. Thank you Abbie.

Earlier still, at breakfast I made myself a bacon sandwich. After breakfast I went to the shop to get a Sunday newspaper. While I was in the shop I brought a pack of jelly beans. I nearly ate the lot. I am beginning to realise why I have such a big tummy.

Happily I managed to use up a few calories by doing a bit of work on my proposed 'Ramshackle Gallery'. I have finished putting the roofing sheets on. They are corrugated steel sheets. They didn't half make a lot of noise when I was nailing them on. I tried to hammer the nails in quietly but I'm afraid hammering quietly doesn't work, the nails just laughed at me, "Is that the best you got," they sneered. Well that got my goat I can tell you and I bashed the hell out of 'em. Every hammer blow sounded like a thunderclap. I do enjoy a good old bang. It's not often I get the chance these days. I am sure my lovely neighbours didn't mind me making such a racket on what was a very pleasant Sunday afternoon.

Incidentally when I was on the roof, wondering if it would be strong enough to take my weight, and also if I fell through it would I die? I got to thinking what my last words would be in that tragic event. Nothing too profound came to mind. All I could think of was, "Whoops." Actually there were a couple more words, but I'm being good today so I won't tell you what they were, except the first bit was, "Oh."

I also had a look at my Lister 'D' stationary engine today too. That's all I did. Looked at it for a few minutes.

There is an old amplifier in the shed. I got that out today, just wanted to see if it still worked. It did. So I got out my electric guitar and sat in the paddock, pretending I could play it. I turned the volume right up to eleven, the group 'Primal Scream' use the same type of amp and I really blasted out a couple of tunes. I am sure my lovely neighbours didn't mind me making such a racket on what was a very pleasant Sunday afternoon.

That is about it really. Nothing more to report. Oh I nearly forgot to tell you. Usually on a Sunday I don't go to church. So I didn't bother with it today either. The problem with church is, you get people in there ringing bells and singing at the top of their voices. And that organ! Why so big and loud? It's all far too noisy for me. I mean to say, this is Sunday. It's the one day of the week when you can be guaranteed a bit of peace and quiet around here!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

I Could Soon Feel Quite Rejected.

Twenty years or so ago I did a creative writing course at night school. One of the assignments was to write a magazine article, and send it off. The idea the tutor told us, was that we would find out what it felt like to have our work rejected. I can't remember exactly but I think we then had to bring the rejection slips to the class for a discussion on how we felt about being rejected.

A few days after I had sent my article off I received a phone call from the magazines editor. She said she really liked my article and would like to publish it in the magazine. She paid me £35.00 and asked if I would write some more articles. Of course I said yes. These were published too. Then I wrote a couple more articles for another magazine and they were also published. After that I wrote a few bits and pieces for the local paper for a short time. This new writing career was short lived however, because my word processor suddenly refused to work and I never got around to fixing it or getting another one.

I never did get a rejection slip to take to the class. In fact I had to go and tell the tutor and the rest of the class that my article was about to be published. I was so embarrassed. Everyone was really pleased at my success and congratulated me heartily, as they smiled sweetly. That night as I was removing all the daggers from my back, it suddenly occurred to me that I could now legitimately describe myself as a writer.

Although it was a short lived career, it was a real thrill to see my work in print with my name above it. I called myself Jonathon Bain in those days, simply because I thought it had a better ring to it and looked better written down.

Why I mention all this is because the tutor from those long ago days has agreed to have a look at the manuscript for my book. I am hoping that he might make a few suggestions and give me his opinion on it. I am a bit worried about what he thinks because I have been very honest about some awful things that went on in my childhood. There are some graphic accounts in there. I hope he is not too sensitive.

Well I am going to wait to hear what he has to say, and then I might add another chapter or two, before finally sending it off to prospective publishers.

I have a strong feeling in my bones, that I shall finally find out what it feels like to receive a rejection slip. Or two. Or three. Or four. Or ....

Thursday, 6 September 2012

A Guest Post By An Unknown Author.

Sometimes I think about having a television again. Not to watch really. I know there is a lot of rubbish on it. It is more to have something on in the background. To hear voices. I'm a lonely old sod you know. I can go days at a time without saying more than a few words to anyone. Apart from Sadie the German Shepherd, Bonnie the cat, or Sunny Jim my big old cock.

They are quite good company, but if I say anything controversial in an attempt to get a good argumentative response from them it never works. Sadie just looks at me adoringly, ears up and attuned for the word walkies, while Bonnie doesn't do arguments, preferring to make her feelings known by killing the next small creature that happens to pass by. As for Sunny Jim all he does is mount one of the hens and give her a good seeing to, before looking at me with a big grin on his beak, and crowing in what I can only describe as, 'a gloating way'. I mean really, as if I'd be jealous of a big cock. But I tell you what if he does it once more, gloats at me like that I mean, he will end up as Sunday dinner.

I have tried listening to the radio, but it doesn't do it for me. It is either too high brow, or too utterly inane. I have yet to find anything to listen to that rocks my boat. There are a couple of comedy panel games, but I always forget when they are on.

Instead of a television, I suppose I could get myself a woman. I do think along those lines occasionally. The trouble is though, whereas when you have had enough of the television it can be switched off, with a woman they don't have an off switch. You try and switch a woman off in mid flow, well it doesn't bear thinking about. Not that any man in his right mind would ever try such a thing.

A man has to seriously weigh up the options. Television or woman? Woman or television? They both have their good points, and their bad points. It is one hell of a dilemma. But I have come to a decision.

I am going to look for a woman with a portable television set. In this way when I have had enough of hearing her voice. I can take the TV,  retreat to the shed in the garden and not watch it there.

Now before you have a go at me about being selfish, leaving her on her own like that, please bear in mind that there is always plenty of housework to keep a woman occupied. You see, I'm not selfish. I always take other peoples feelings into consideration.

Disclaimer: This has been a guest post by a very silly man who has now gone into hiding. It is pure coincidence that he also has a German Shepherd called Sadie, a cat called Bonnie, and a big old cock! I have allowed publication because I believe all men should have somewhere to safely express an opinion controversial or not.

Lots of love to all you lovely ladies out there. Oh all right and the men.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The Lister 'D' 1.5 HP 28DH Engine.

You know how I'm always harping on about never having enough money? What? You didn't know that? Sorry I thought you did. Anyway I am, and I do. I have been trying to clear my overdraft for months. Last week I really thought I was getting somewhere. Another week of living on air John, I thought to myself, and you will be overdraft free. I even allowed myself a moment or two of smug satisfaction. Oh dear! I shouldn't have done that.

Look what I just bought with the money I don't have. Isn't it beautiful? Isn't it gorgeous? Isn't it just about the most wonderful piece of machinery you ever did see? Yes I thought you would agree. Who wouldn't. I expect if you had seen it first you would have snapped it up too. And who could blame you? Certainly not me.

It is a Lister engine, built in the 1940's or 50's. There aren't too many left in the world. Becoming rare. So you see, not only am I the owner of this beautiful machine, but I am preserving an important historical item. So actually the sacrifice of my overdraft status is really a small price to pay. I regret nothing.

Of course it will increase in value, everything I buy does. Unfortunately I never seem able to realise that value when I sell something, and always lose out. I once sold a vintage Mark 2 Jaguar car for a few hundred quid, only to see a similar one sell for thousands just a few years later.

But look at the trolley it is mounted on. Look at those old cast iron wheels. Blimey they have to be worth what I paid for it alone. That's a genuine hardwood chassis. How much do you pay for hardwood these days?

But I didn't buy this engine to make a profit. I bought it because I wanted to. That's a good enough reason to do anything. Oh and I almost forgot. It comes with a genuine Lister water pump. This I'm told is worth even more than the engine itself. What a bonus.

Having been assured that it was in working order, "These things go on forever," "There's not much can go wrong with `em," "Worked perfectly the last time it was started," etc, etc. I eagerly, and full of excited anticipation, gave the starting handle a couple of turns. Then a gave it a couple of turns more. Eventually, after a couple of hours cranking, I came to the conclusion that the engine wasn't going to start, but if I didn't stop cranking the flipping thing, my heart might stop. So it is in the shed while I give my next move some thought.

It shouldn't cost a lot to put it right, but money's not a problem, because I have this marvellous overdraft facility, which comes in really useful every time I decide to make myself look like a gullible fool!

Monday, 3 September 2012

Coming Out Of The Closet. Who Me?

I have come to the conclusion that the writing of the book is actually the easy bit of the job. The editing and tweaking bits about, and trying to work out where a chapter should start and end are they hard bits. Not to mention punctuation.

I have thought I had things sorted on a couple of occasions, but I was wrong. This book needs structuring. Oh well I should have known it wouldn't be easy. Every time I open the file to work on it, I find something else to say.

Since I told you the book was 'finished' I have somehow managed to add almost 7000 more words, and I reckon there are a lot more where they came from. I have only written about my life up to the age of twelve.
I think I have to stop adding things now, say to myself that is enough and concentrate on polishing it up.

This situation is rather like doing a painting and not knowing when to stop. It is easy to go too far.

You are probably fed up with me going on about my book. I am sorry, but well, you know, a blog is a good way of dealing with issues like this. It is probably a rubbish book anyway. He says, desperately seeking approbation. Where the heck did that word come from?

I have neglected my blogging duties lately too, particularly the commenting side of things. I am sorry about that too. Please bear with me. I am still here, just rather closeted in my own little world at the moment. Writing seems to have me in it's grip. I will come out of the closet soon. Oh my God! What have I said? I didn't mean it like that. Honest!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

I Still Have All My Own Teeth. I Never Throw Anything Away.

I went to the Dentist on Friday. I needed to have a filling. I never have those gum numbing injections, because I am such a brave strong hero I don't need any help to deal with pain. The Dentist told me I was very brave, but he never gave me a lollipop. I don't think they do that anymore. Give out lollipops I mean. It might be because doing so would rather defeat the object. Bloody killjoys. Look mate if we all had perfect teeth you would be out of a job for a start. The way I see it is if I can't have a lollipop what's the point of being brave?

It is very odd the way Dentists always stuff your mouth full of cotton wool before they ask you a question. I think they do it on purpose. They aren't really interested in the answer. He asked me if it hurt as he was drilling into my tooth cavity. Do you know what I said? I said, "mmmnnpphhmmn naanmmph nnaahhss." Which caused him to drill harder. What I was trying to say was, "Not much, but it is making my toes curl."

My next appointment is in six months time. I am so looking forward to it. There are two reasons for this. One is that I can't wait to have another conversation with him, and the other is because if I keep the appointment, it means I am still alive at age sixty five and a half, and still have teeth. That might be three reasons actually.