Tuesday, 29 January 2013

From Grumpy to Grampy.

When I woke up this morning he had gone. Thank God for that I thought, I can get things back to normal. I'm talking about the miserable old bastard who occasionally takes over my life and pretends to be me. I have no idea where he has gone to or when he will be back. The thing is, he is sneaky and creeps up on me whenever he thinks I might be getting too happy and content with my life. Anyway he isn't here just now so I won't dwell on him. Oh, except to say that it was all the kind comments from you that made him decide to move on for a while. I thank you too. Sincerely. From my heart.

My daughter Jodie is coming tomorrow, with my granddaughter Maisie (I know I don't look old enough to be a grandad). How do you spell Grandad? Like I just did? Or does it have two D's in the middle? It doesn't matter really because when she see's how young I look she will be too embarrassed to call me it. I expect she will invent some cool nickname for me. She is fourteen years old, I have missed such a lot. I am going to spoil her.

An old acquaintance who saw the recent article about me in the newspaper has sent me this photo that he took in 1986. That is me with my horse Lucky. The young man sitting on the cart is my nephew Peter, one of my late brothers boys. Can you believe that I used to drive that horse and cart everywhere? I even had a gypsy wagon and me and Jodie would travel around in it. What happy days they were.

And look at me in the photo. I look about twenty years old. I was actually thirty nine years old! Hey maybe I'm imagining it, maybe I do look thirty nine. What do you think? No! Don't answer that! I remember being very fit. I still did a lot of distance running in those days.

Where is my beard? I thought I had always had a beard. When I showed this photo to Jodie she remembered that this was at a time when I had just shaved the beard off. I went to pick her up from school, and she burst into tears when she saw me, because she had never seen me clean shaven! It must have been quite traumatic for her. The incident certainly stuck in both our minds.

Another thing noticeable about me in this picture is that I must have left my fat tummy at home that day and gone for the flat stomach look. I must have a look around for my six pack abs. I haven't seen it for some time.

Anyway that's enough about me. No really ladies. I'll talk more about myself next time. You can have too much of a good thing you know, despite what they say.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Not Such A Tough Guy.

What you can say is, you can say, "Hey I'm not hurting, I'm an emotional tough guy."

What you can say is, you can say, "Hey I'm not going to let that get to me."

What you can say is, you can say, "I'm just moving on, no problem."

Oh yes, you can say these things. You can say them to yourself easily enough. You can even say them to your friends, although they may well detect the hesitant stammer as they catch in your throat.

You can say these words easily enough. What isn't so easy is to mean them.

Perhaps I make myself out to be stronger emotionally than I actually am. Well there is no perhaps about it. The truth is I am hurting. I am an emotional wreck this morning. Serves me right I suppose. I ought to know that you can't satisfactorily deal with a problem by ignoring it. That is an ill considered thing to do and in those cases where another person is involved, I have come to the conclusion, that it is very hurtful to disregard another's feelings even if it is done in the red midst of anger. I am sorry for that.

This blog serves many purposes, but one of the most important is that it allows me a platform for my thoughts, and to share them with others. It is very helpful. I am grateful for that.

PS. Some of you might have noticed I am no longer on Facebook. It might look as though I have deleted you. I haven't. What I have done is temporarily deactivated my account. I enjoy Facebook, I am missing it already. I am sure I shall be back on it again soon.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Birthday.

What an unhappy couple of days I have had, but it has been extremely handsome son George's nineteenth birthday and that has cheered me up a bit. I didn't want to be miserable on his special day, and made a determined effort to keep a smile on my face. We had a nice birthday lunch. He has gone off now happily to a birthday party with his friends.

The day got better when out of the blue, my daughter Jodie, who I haven't seen for, unbelievably six years, suddenly appeared at the back gate. We hugged for ages, and there were tears, happy tears, and then it was as though we had never been apart. I am so happy now, and feel more positive about everything. Soon I will get to see my granddaughter again.

It turns out that she has been reading my blog from almost the day it started, so she has a good idea of what has been happening in my life. But it was the article in the newspaper that caused her to come and see me.

George's birthday will be remembered this year.

I hope you have had a good weekend.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Fame At Last.

It has been so long since the interview that I had completely forgotten about it. But yesterday it suddenly appeared. If I hadn't been told by a friend that it was in the paper I would have missed it completely.

Quite a good write up. Now I suppose I had better get some more work done to put in the RAG. RAG is the The Ramshackle Art Gallery not what I call the local paper. That would be rude.

Now please don't worry, fame will not change me and I will still talk to you. Please make an appointment first though. I am going to be a busy man. I shall try and find room in my busy schedule to say hallo.

Autographed copies of this article are available at the very reasonable price of £50.00. Please add another £20.00 to cover post and packing. Available for a limited time only. So hurry up please!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Too Many Wives.

There was an article in the paper today about a bloke whose wife had left him. Apparently, according to her at least, he had not been paying her enough attention. Neglecting his husbandly duties in the bedroom, was the thing that finally made up her mind to leave him.

He was a bit upset that she had left, but not overly so, because he still had his other six wives living with him!

Still, I can understand he would be a bit annoyed. I mean her leaving like that meant that he had one night a week when he had no one to sleep with. Of course if it had been me I would have asked one of the other wives to do a double shift. After all how could the poor bloke be expected to sleep on his own, even for one night? Life can be so unfair at times, especially to men.

You might be somewhat surprised to hear that I am in bed on my own tonight. But it is true. I have sent my wives away for the night. We haven't fallen out, it is just that I have been taking such good care of them all recently that I really need to recharge my batteries. Oh blimey! When I say recharge my batteries that is simply a figure of speech. Obviously any woman married to a man of my bedroom prowess has no need of marital aids, battery operated or otherwise.

What's that you say? You didn't realise I was polygamous? Oh yes it's true. I have to be. I have, to put it delicately, a very high drive. One woman wouldn't be able to cope. So I, being a gentleman, chose the polygamous lifestyle. The fact that many women find me irresistible also had a major influence on this decision. I hate to let any of them down you see. Unselfish to a fault, that's me.

Oh no! I have done it again. Allowed my imagination to run away with itself. I am so sorry. What happened was that having read the newspaper article I got to thinking. I got to thinking that it would be nice to have a wife for everyday of the week. I mean just think. No more having to put up with the 'I have a headache' excuse ever again. All that would happen would be, give her a couple of aspirin and ask her to send the next one in.

Yes I know, I'm a very sad man. All I thought of was the sexual side of things. Never gave a thought to the practicalities involved in having seven wives. Things like having to buy them lots of sexy lingerie a bigger house for instance, and the financial side of things. Crikey I would have to work! Mind you, believe it or not, the bloke in the article was unemployed. He lives with all those wives and he is on benefits! Although come to think of it, if you have lots of wives, you wouldn't want to waste energy on working, would you?

Anyway I have calmed down a bit now, and come to my senses. The whole idea of all those seven wives would in reality be horrendous. But the real thing that gave me the most cause for concern, was the thought of having to put up with seven mothers-in-law. Horrendous!

I think I shall just stick with the three I have!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

What Day Is It?

What day is it? I'm not sure, maybe Tuesday? Or Wednesday? It has been a nothing much sort of a day. Started cold. Got colder. Warmed up a degree or two. Snowed a bit. Snow turned to sleet. Sleet became rain. Then it got dark.

I watched television this evening for an hour or two. Ask me what I watched. No don't bother. I can't remember. All I know is that it was crap. Inane rubbish. Honestly I can't recall any of it.

Oh I do remember something. It was about the birth of the railways. It was spoilt by the presenter feeling the need to shout everything at the top of his voice. At one stage he decided that he would run and shout at the same time. This was so that he could demonstrate how quickly the railways grew in the early days. He obviously thinks of TV viewers as brain dead idiots. He might have a point.

My brain isn't working properly now. This is another of those times when I can think of nothing to write about. Give me a minute please.

Once upon a time, when I was still a callow, unrough youth, I went into a bar and ordered ten large whiskies. My intention was to see how quickly I would get drunk. I drank them quickly one after the other, just knocking them back. I vaguely remember falling off the bar stool. Nothing after that. I suppose you might call that a failed experiment.

The first time I ever properly did 'it' with a girl, was on a cold night in a small heated greenhouse, behind a cobblers shop in a small village in North East Scotland. I remember that it was a pleasant enough experience, but nothing to write home about. More experimental than anything actually. On my part anyway. I can't speak for the girl of course although she seemed to know what she was doing, and the greenhouse was her idea. Not that I would have written home about it you understand. I got a slight burn on my leg from the paraffin heater. We were discovered by the greenhouse owner. Who having heard a pane of glass shatter as she accidentally put her shoe through it, shone his torch on our nakedness, whilst shouting that he had phoned the police and would be talking to our parents. He did neither of those two things as far as I am aware. In our haste to leave she left her knickers behind. I like to imagine that the mans wife found them eventually and accused him of getting up to no good.
Neither she nor I were put off by this incident, and continued doing 'it' in the backseat leather sumptuousness of her brothers car, which he had left unlocked in the garage, whilst he was serving in the army in Germany.
Eventually I felt I had learned enough about 'it' from her and moved onto pastures new. Or she might have dumped me. I can't remember. OK she did dump me. I was still a learner but I never stopped experimenting and eventually I became an expert lover. Something which, if the opportunity arises, and not just the opportunity, I still like to have a go at to this day.

Tuesday? I think it's Tuesday.

Monday, 21 January 2013

A Diary Entry For January 21st.

Went for a long walk with Sadie the German Shepherd today in the snowy woods. We strolled rather than strode. Very enjoyable but dangerous under foot. My thumbstick saved me a few times. Found I was missing Samantha and Ned.

The birds were noisy. Heard a woodpecker drumming a few times, and saw a Jay too, a secretive bird. The Song Thrush was undeterred by mine and Sadie's presence. As were the blackbirds. They take on an extra boldness in the freezing conditions.

Spoke to an old man who was collecting thinnings from the Birch trees. He told me he was taking them home to work on them, as he was expecting more snow. Can you believe I neglected to ask what he would do with them?  Most unlike me. Perhaps he would use them to make besoms (witch's brooms)?

The Yew hugs the Beech. A love story hundreds of years in the making.
A couple of days ago I made a stew and set it to cook in the slow cooker. I tried it today. Nobody told me I needed to soak the broth mix. It's like eating gravel. It is still cooking. Hopefully the gravel will soften?

The Yew was determined not to let go of the Beech.
It is late now. I have been watching a football match with Extremely Handsome Son George. Our team were dreadful, but managed to hold it to a draw.
Click on this to enlarge it.

I shall read in bed for a while, John Grisham, The Pelican Brief. He tells a good story.

Good night. God bless.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Old Guy On A Slippery Slope!

I suppose I ought to know better at my age, but sledging is such laugh out loud fun. I hope you are enjoying the snow too.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Abbreviated Exclamations!

The phone rings:

"Hallo. This is John Bain sex guru and associated gynacological services."

"Hi John it's Yola."

"Hi Yola. How are you?"

"I'm fine John. More importantly how are you?"

"Yeah I'm great thanks Yola."

"Are you keeping warm enough John?"

"Yeah I'm fine."

"Have you got your fire lit?"

"No the fire is useless I can't be bothered to light it."

"You must be freezing John."

"No I'm fine really. I have got lots of clothes on. I'm quite snug."

"Well make sure you keep warm won't you?"

"Yeah of course. I'm pretty tough you know."

"You can't be too careful in this cold weather John. Take care of yourself. I am making a risotto for dinner tonight. Would you like to come and have dinner with us?"

Thanks Yola. That sounds like a great idea."

"OK then. I shall give you a shout when it's ready. See you later, and keep warm!"

"Looking forward to it. See you later. Bye."


Yola is my nearest neighbour. She is a professional cook and she makes the most tasty meals imaginable. The back of her house is just a few yards from my boundary. In fact it is so close that I can see right into her bedroom window. She was a contestant on a well known television cookery show once. She should have won it easily but the judges were all bleedin' idiots! But she is definitely a winner in my book.

It was after she had put the phone down that the revelation suddenly hit me. In the abbreviated text speak of a young person. OMG! WTF! Yola was phoning me to check I was all right and keeping warm. OMG! She was making sure her elderly neighbour, moi, was OK in the cold weather. WTF!

The risotto was delicious. So tasty. I think it was butterbean squash -whatever that is- with bacon and chorizo and spinach and all sorts of lovely ingredients. We also had several glasses of a very nice South African Sauvignon Blanc.

Quite right too. If you are going to look out for your elderly neighbours well being, it should be done properly I say. Thanks Yola.

Er, before you ask, Yola already has a bloke. He does martial arts!

I hope you are all keeping warm in this cold weather, or if you're from sunnier climes, keeping cool.

See you later.


PS. This old guy is going sledging tomorrow!

PPS. My main PC has been fixed. Hopefully I will be able to collect it from the repair man tomorrow. I hope to be putting photos back on this blog soon.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Launderette Blues.

My washing machine is outside in one of my many tumbledown sheds. I'm not sure which one because it's been a while since I last used it. The rigmarole involved in setting it up is the problem. It isn't simply a case of loading it up and switching it on. There is a process to go through involving extension cables and hosepipes and screw on fittings. Having done all that there is then a long wait for it to do it's work and don't even mention getting the washing dry, particularly with all the damp dreary weather that we get in England these days. I'm not sure why it rains so much these days, but I suspect the Common Market, the European Union, and too many foreigners being allowed in.

Being realistic about it, all the extra people who have taken up residence in Great Britain weigh an awful lot, this must be causing the land to sink, thereby causing the sea levels to rise, which then adds to all the water in the atmosphere. Hence more rain. You know it makes sense. Not only that but nature has to provide drinking water for all these extra people. Not to mention the amount needed to flush all the extra toilets!

So what I do is: I take my washing to the launderette! It only takes twenty five minutes in one of their machines to wash everything and then half an hour to dry it all. Three quid, that's all it costs. While it's washing I take Sadie the German Shepherd for a walk in the park. While it's tumble drying I have a read of the newspaper.

Naturally if there happens to be an attractive woman in the launderette, I will give reading the paper a miss, and spend some time chatting to her. Trying to find out if she is single or available. In the case of a married woman I will attempt to find out if she is bored with married life, and if so is she ready to take a lover! Perhaps an older more sexually experienced man to add some spice to her humdrum life.

My favourite launderette chatting up technique is the one where I pretend to be absolutely hopeless at working the machine. They love to see a man helpless. This method rarely fails. In the unlikely event that it does, my next technique is to allow myself to get into a state of complete chaos when folding sheets. Help is always forthcoming, and when they see my beautiful black satin sheets, they become greatly aroused. Which is completely understandable.

Today there was an attractive woman there when I went in. She gave me a great big smile too. Result I thought to myself, and immediately put on my best, I'm totally helpless in this environment face.

"Hallo John," she said.

Oh blimey I thought, she knows me. I smiled back at her, trying to recall who she was. There was something vaguely familiar about her, but other than that nothing. I decided to be honest and admit I didn't know who she was. Woman love honesty in a man.

"I'm so sorry," I said, " but the thing is, I have just got back from a secret government mission during which I suffered a knock to the head, and I'm afraid I can't recall how we know each other."

"You did my portrait a few years ago," she reminded me.

It came back to me then. "Oh yes, I remember now, but I can't remember your name. It's quite an unusual name I think." I spent a few seconds trying to remember it, but it wouldn't come.

"It's Carmel," she said, "Please don't call me camel, I might get the hump."

"Of course it is," I said. "How on earth could I have forgotten and you being so pretty too?"

She smiled at bit more at my remark and said, "Flattery will get you anywhere."

She told me that the portrait I did was hanging on her living room wall, which I thought was nice. Then she ruined things by saying none of her friends thought it looked like her, and in fact she didn't think I'd done her justice and that I must have been having a bad day when I painted it. But she kept it on the wall because she supposed it was a work of art anyway.

Well that was a bit of a downer, but at least she hadn't destroyed the painting, so I decided to let the hurtful remark go. We then got on to talking about computers. I told her how much I enjoyed having a computer these last couple of years, having once said I would never have one. I told her about this blog and how much I enjoyed writing it. Her reaction was that she thought it all sounded like a complete waste of time and that I must lead a very sad life!

By this time I had realised that I was talking to a very negative person, and began to see her in a different light. She went from being an attractive woman to a complete ugly old cow in the space of just a few sentences. I noticed that she had very thin lips and thin hair to match, and a sharp hatchet face that looked as though she sucked a lot of lemons. This is why the portrait didn't look like her. I had obviously painted what I saw the first time we met.

Luckily my washing was dry by now and I didn't have to talk to her any more. She wanted to help me fold my black satin sheets, but I was determined not to let her anywhere near them. No lady, you ruined any chance of getting between my sheets!

Of course I behaved like a proper gentleman, and said goodbye politely as I left, "Nice to have met you again Camel!"

Three quid in the launderette. Worth every penny. You meet all sorts in there.

PS I don't really have black satin sheets. Sorry to disappoint.

Saturday, 12 January 2013


I'm sorry to mess you about, but the thing is I have decided to discontinue the two art blogs,  The Ramshackle Art Gallery and The Artful Little Sketchbook. I haven't been giving them any of my time for a while, and to be honest they seem quite pointless, because this blog is all about my life and what happens here at Speckled Wood. All my artistic creations come onto this blog anyway, so the other two seem to me to be unnecessary and redundant.

Did you know this place I live is called Speckled Wood? Unofficially of course, I mean it isn't registered under that name. I just thought it was a good name because the Speckled Wood butterfly is the first butterfly I see in the early spring. The butterfly is so named because it's brown and yellow colouring blends in so well with the sun shining through the leafy trees.


Muriel was supposed to be meeting our elderly neighbour Peggy at the bottom of the driveway where they would catch the bus into the city and do some shopping.

With just a few minutes until the bus was due Muriel was becoming concerned that Peggy had not yet appeared. When she saw the bus appear over the top of the hill she knew that Peggy would not be in time to catch it, and knowing how out of character this was, Muriel decided to let the bus go past. She was now extremely concerned and went to Peggy's house to find out what was going on.

There was no sign of Peggy downstairs so Muriel shouted up the stairs, "Are you there Peggy?"

"Aye Muriel. Thank heavens ye've come. I'm needing help."

Muriel quickly went upstairs to the bedroom and found Peggy sitting half dressed on the edge of her bed, looking pale, distressed and in floods of tears.

"What is it Peggy?" asked Muriel, "whatever is the matter dear?"

"I canna' walk, my legs won't work. I think I've had a stroke Muriel. I'm paralysed." Peggy sobbed.

It was while Muriel was lifting Peggy's legs up onto the bed to make her more comfortable that she noticed something odd. "Oh Peggy," she said laughing with relief, "No wonder ye canna walk. Ye've not had a stroke at all. Ye've put both your feet into the same leg of your knickers!"

Oh well this true little tale sounded funny to me when Muriel, my Mum, told me it. But then again she always did tell a good story. Maybe that's where I get it from?

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Cordially Invited.

Hallo it's me, the miserable sod from yesterdays post.

You are kind you know. If I had read a post like yesterdays I would have said something along the lines of: "Get a grip and stop feeling sorry for yourself. You don't know how lucky you are. There are people starving in the world. You have got a nice life. It's your choice. Get on and enjoy it. Don't come on here feeling all hard done by."

Something along those lines. Yeah that's what I'd have said. Because I can't be doing with miserable types. That's why I didn't like myself yesterday. You didn't have a go at me, which you would have been entitled to do. I mean if I make you unhappy have a go at me for it. I'm fairly certain you don't come here to be faced with doom and gloom. Anyway that's why I think you are kind, and an understanding lot.

It is because of your understanding that you probably know I would not react to an unhappy post in the way I just said I would. I would try to be understanding. Impart a few caring words.

We cannot be full of joy all the time. It is true that people are starving in certain parts of the world, and of course this is very sad. There isn't much I can do about that personally, apart from tossing some change into the collecting tin when I can. What I'm trying to say is that things are all relative. My unhappiness might be a small in the scale of things, but it is still unhappiness. Flipping heck I do ramble on a bit don't I?

I like myself again today. It was a short lived bout of self pity. It doesn't happen often, and when it does I certainly don't feel the need to impose it on others. It was just that I got fed up with being nice. It happens sometimes.

But anyway I am back to my nice self today, and with that in mind I cordially invite you all round to my place for a tea and biscuits party tomorrow at eleven. Please bring your own cup, some biscuits, and a tea bag. Oh and you should bring a chair, I only have one chair and Sadie the German Shepherd has claimed that. While I think of it would you bring a log or a lump of coal for the fire. Thanks. Maybe a pack of firelighters too. It is going to be cold tomorrow. Which reminds me the water might be frozen. Perhaps you ought to bring some bottled water.

Oh how stupid of me. I just realised. I can't do tomorrow. I am going walking with Samantha at eleven. I don't want to miss that. That would make me very unhappy.

So sorry but I shall have to cancel the tea party. We'll make it another time. I'll get back to you on that.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Unfocused Nonsense.

My brain, or perhaps I should say my mind, works in a higgledy piggledly way. It seems unable to simply take in a piece of information and absorb it. Instead it reduces the substance of said information and scatters it to all the various little hidden nooks and crannies that comprise my grey matter.

It has done this, as far as I am aware, since it was first created. I lack focus. I'm not complaining. This is just the way I am. It might explain why I have not utilised what talents I have to make something of my life. To give my life more substance. To settle into a more comfortable routine. To discipline myself. To find a purpose. To..... Well perhaps you get my drift?

I am in general a failure. This life I lead. This free spirit I pretend inhabits my consciousness is a bloody sham. Sometimes I just wish that John, the happy go lucky bloke, would bugger off and leave me in peace to act like a miserable bastard. I get pissed off sometimes being a nice man. Where is the fun in being nice. It is so bloody boring!

Back in the days when I was bad, when I would spend most weekends locked up in the local jail, I don't remember it being boring. There was excitement. The adrenaline flowed. I never knew what was going to happen from one day to the next. It was fine by me. It didn't require me to have focus.

Nowadays I know what's going to happen next. Nothing.

I shall be fine. I just need to rob a bank. Get some excitement going. Find some focus. It has to be in there somewhere. I just need to bring it out of all those bloody nooks and crannies where it is scattered and hiding.

This has been a rubbish post by a bloke pissed off, fed up, miserable, unfocused, worthless and various other crap variations of the same.

I apologise. See, there it is, I'm apologising. I am too bloody nice for fucks sake!

Sunday, 6 January 2013


Jimmy and I had finally got all the potatoes dug up and he was piling them carefully, creating a mound about six foot long. It was about three foot wide at the base and tapered to just a few inches at the top. When he had got it made to his satisfaction, we covered it all over with straw. The straw had to be thick enough so that no potatoes could be seen through it. We then covered the whole thing with soil. One of us on either side shoveling the soil on. It was good earth, created over the forty years or more that Jimmy had been working the vegetable plot. A good thick layer of this fine tilth was needed and I recall that it was quite strenuous work. When the job was completed though I did get a sense of satisfaction at a job well done. Jimmy told me that this pile of potatoes, straw and soil was called a 'clamp' and it would keep the frost off the potato harvest until we had the time to get them all bagged up.

Mum called us then for tea, and we collected the garden tools up and began walking towards the house. The  vegetable garden was on an embankment about three feet high at the side of the driveway. It was while we were walking along this embankment that Jimmy lost his footing and fell down the embankment onto the drive. As I say it wasn't a very high bank and Jimmy had landed on his hands and knees. He was soon on his feet again and apart from a bit of pain in one leg, and being a bit shaken up he appeared to be all right.

Next morning he was in some considerable pain. It was bad enough that Mum went to the nearby farm and asked Mrs Gilbert if she could use their phone to call the Doctor.

When the Doctor arrived he diagnosed Jimmy with, I think sciatica, I could be wrong. But it was a painful leg Jimmy had. He was a tough man was Jimmy, and if he stayed in his bed you can believe he was in severe pain. He was sixty four years old, so a fall like that might be expected to have some consequence.

A few days later and Jimmy wasn't getting any better. In fact he was in worse pain. The Doctor came again. I don't know the ins and outs of what happened, but an ambulance was called and they took Jimmy away to hospital.

It wasn't sciatica. It was cancer. Kidney cancer. It had been there for years just waiting for something to give it an excuse to finish the job off. A simple little fall. That's all it took. How many times had Jimmy walked along that embankment? Thousands of times, and all it took was one little fall.

Mum went on the bus every day to visit him. I asked if I could visit too but Mum said no. Why she didn't want me to visit I don't know. I still don't know why to this day.

It was six weeks before Jimmy came back home. The undertakers brought him back in a hearse. They put him on a trestle table in an open coffin in his and Mums bedroom. Mum had put white sheets over everything, even the windows. It was what they did in those days in that part of Scotland. Maybe they did it everywhere else too. I don't know. It was all new to me this death thing.

Lots of people came to see Jimmy in his coffin. People I hadn't seen before. Why they wanted to see him lying there dead I don't know. What I do know is that none of these people came to see him when he was alive. Not that I ever noticed anyway. They drank tea and ate sandwiches and cakes and sausage rolls, and said what a fine man he was. Maybe some of them meant it.

Mum asked me if I wanted to see Jimmy. No that's not right, she didn't ask, she told me to go and see Jimmy. I wasn't too keen to see a dead man and tried to say so, but Mum said it would be fine. He looks like he is sleeping.

That's not Jimmy. I don't recognise that man. Jimmy was a big, burly man. That bloke in the coffin is almost a skeleton. Mum said I should kiss him goodbye. Look Mum I don't want to kiss a dead man, especially this dead man. You say it's Jimmy, but it doesn't look anything like the man I saw just six weeks ago when we were digging the potatoes. You say he looks like he is sleeping. No he doesn't Mum, he looks like he is dead.

I did kiss him. I kissed his forehead. It was cold and hard. Like kissing marble. I'm glad I did kiss him goodbye though. I think it helped me.

Maybe if I had been allowed to visit him in hospital before he died, I might have been able to tell him, that despite all the arguments and setbacks he and I had had during the short time I lived with him and Mum, I was beginning to like him. We had begun to get on well. He was trying to be like a proper Dad. I sensed that.

Perhaps I wouldn't have said any such thing. I was a teenage boy, and a delinquent. Could I have found the words? Could I have said them even if I did find them? Possibly not. Probably not.

Here they are now Jimmy. I love you. I love the memory of you. Thanks for being a Dad, or at least trying to. Thanks for letting me dig the potatoes Jimmy. I did get them all bagged up eventually. They were good those potatoes.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

A Shocking State Of Affairs!

I'm sitting up in bed writing this on the IBM thinkpad. I do not have the faintest notion of what I will be writing about tonight, so let us see what transpires. Transpires? Excuse me while I go and look that word up.

It is OK. It means what I thought it meant. I don't know where I get these words from? Sometimes I think I must have got an education when I wasn't looking.

I am quite missing not being able to put photos on here. I know it is possible because computer minded people have told me, but I have tried and can't make it happen. Never mind. In fact I still think it miraculous that I should be able to communicate with the world in this way at all, let alone sitting in bed. Is it all done by wireless signals? Beats me.

I remember the 'wireless', which is what it was called before it became known as the 'radio'.

"Please Miss, can we listen to the wireless? Oh please Miss can we? Please."

Why it was called the wireless I do not know. It had wires everywhere. Well it had two wires that were obvious. One where the electric went in and the other was the aerial. However if you ever took the back off the wireless you would find lots of wires. I was quite relieved when it started being called the radio. It was one less thing to worry about.

I just had a thought, what happens to electricity when it goes into a piece of electrical equipment? It must get used up somehow, but where does it go when it's finished? It must have to go somewhere. If it stayed inside the equipment we would only ever need to switch something on once and it would run forever. I suppose what I'm saying is: Why does electricity run out? Where does it go? When you switch a light off, does the electricity hang about on the inside of the switch? Why doesn't it explode through?

How on earth did anyone ever think of inventing electricity? I mean crikey it is a hell of a leap from a gas light to an electric light. Did someone one day say to himself, "I'm fed up striking matches to light this gas lamp, I think I shall invent a gasless lamp. Hmmm, where to start?"

Of course he would have to think how to make it work without gas. But electricity? Who would think of inventing that? I just cannot get my head around it at all.

"Hallo mate, what you up to today?"

"Oh I thought I'd try and make a light that doesn't use gas."

"Have you thought about an oil lamp at all?"

"No of course not. That would be a backward step. Anyway I want to invent something that doesn't need a match to light it."

"You are bloody mental mate! Have you given any consideration at all to the little match girls? How are they going to earn any money if no one needs matches? Before you know it there will be little match girls dying of cold and hunger in the streets! Anyway it can't be done, a light that doesn't use oil or gas. I never heard the like!"

I think at this stage most people would give up and start thinking about inventing something else. But not our bloke. He is determined. Surprisingly he succeeds too. All he had to do was invent copper wire and magnets and make the two things move really fast in a circular motion and there it was, electricity. Dead easy! I'm surprised nobody thought of it before! Of course he didn't call it electricity at first, he just called it 'stuff'. It was only when people realised that it could give you a bit of a jolt if you touched the bare wires, that it got to be called electricity. Probably named after the Greek god of lightning whose name was Electra. Actually I might have just made that up. They might have even thought about naming it after the Greek god of shocking things, whose name was Jolt. They probably decided against that though because Joltricity doesn't have the right ring to it?

I wonder what the first person to die from an electric shock thought when he found he couldn't let go of the wires? We will never know the answer to that sadly. I expect his last words contained an expletive though. Or maybe half an expletive. He probably said something like, "Ooooh fuuu..."

Why don't all electricians wear rubber boots at all times? If I was an electrician I most definitely would!

By the way, if you are ever trying to mend something electrical and someone tells you that they have definitely, positively turned the electric off at the mains, do not under any circumstances believe them!

And that my dear readers is what has transpired due to me not knowing what to write about.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Me And Ms Roberts.

Happy New Year everyone! Here's hoping it is a good one for us all.

My main computer, the one I normally write this blog on is up the creek. I am tapping this out on my little IBM thinkpad, and it is a bit fiddly to type on. Not that it really matters because not much has happened since my last blogpost. By the way it is nine minutes past three o'clock in the morning, and I can't get back to sleep. Do you know why? No of course you don't. I shall tell you. It is because I am too hot! Yes, it's January the 4th, mid bleedin' winter and I can't sleep because I am too bleedin' hot! I haven't got the heating on too high either because I don't have any heating. I cannot recall in my lifetime being too hot in winter in England. What is going on? I blame immigration. All those immigrants coming over here and bringing all their hot weather with them! Something should be done about it!

Never mind that though. As I was saying, nothing much of interest has happened in my life so far this year. On January the 1st I took myself off to London for the day. Just for a change of scenery really. I went to the British Museum. Quite an interesting place, but to be honest I didn't take much in because when I was there I got talking to this really attractive woman. You'll never guess who she was. Give up? All right. It was the famous Hollywood film star Julia Roberts! Yeah I know I couldn't believe it myself. Of course I recognised her beautiful smile straightaway. You can probably guess what happened next? Yep, that's right she invited me to spend the night with her. She was staying at the Savoy hotel and was a bit lonely. She kept on about how attractive she found me. To tell you the truth I was tempted, I mean what bloke wouldn't be? Well maybe Elton John wouldn't! But as I said to the lovely Julia, "Sorry darling," I said, " but I have to get home to shut the hens in for the night." She took it quite well and even gave me her phone number in case I changed my mind, but I couldn't have done it. I mean who would let the hens out in the morning if I was getting up to naughty shenanigans with the lovely Julia Roberts international film star, all night?

You made all that up didn't you John?

OK maybe some of it. It wasn't the British Museum it was the Natural History Museum. But it's true about the hens! There are a lot of foxes about and you can't take chances where livestock are concerned.

On January 2nd a most remarkable thing happened. I was busking in the local town square. Actually I say busking but it is a bit more refined than that because I am an extremely talented singer and guitarist and the term busking does not do justice to my entertaining skills. I only use the word for expediency. I only use the word expediency to show you how very clever I am with my use of the English language. Anyway, I digress. Digress! There I go again.

So I'm singing and playing my guitar, and doing a bit of dancing -I'm an all round entertainer. Did a bit of juggling too- I say juggling, what I was actually doing was juggling two chainsaws, a hedge trimmer and a lawnmower, but never mind all that, what happened was: this bloke came up to me, introduced himself as a theatrical agent and offered me a million pound recording contract! It was Simon Cowell! Him off the tele. I couldn't believe it! I turned him down. "Sorry Simon," I said to him, "No can do, I'm meeting Julia Roberts this afternoon, and I have to go home first and crate up my hens, 'cos I'm taking them with me." I think he understood because he gave me his phone number and begged me to give him a call as soon as possible. The poor bloke was almost in tears. But what could I do? I mean come on! It's Julia Roberts I'm meeting!

Yesterday January the 3rd, I went shopping in the supermarket with the lovely Julia, she needed toothpaste. She gets through a lot of toothpaste, those teeth, that smile! You will never guess what happened? I had no sooner walked through the door when there was a helluva noise, a band strikes up, and lights flashing. It turns out that I am their ten millionth customer! How amazing is that? I got a years supply of cat and dog food and as much personal grooming stuff and condoms as I could cram into a trolley in five minutes. I was so pleased. Particularly as I had made a new years resolution to do everything possible to make myself even more attractive to women this year. I love impossible challenges.

It is now twenty seven minutes past four in the morning. I really must get some shuteye so that I am full of energy for the day ahead. You just never know what the day might bring. "Go back to sleep Julia. You really are insatiable, and don't forget it's your turn to let the hens out in the morning."