Tuesday, 31 January 2017

My Right Buttock.

Yesterday, at Wickes in Littlehampton, ignoring the ‘elf ‘n’ safety notice telling me to ask for help I lifted three heavy bags of builder’s sand into my van. As I turned to lift the last one, I felt a sudden sharp pain in my right buttock.

As I drove home, favouring my left buttock on the seat the pain got worse. It felt as though I had twisted my right buttock muscle.

On arrival, back at home I consulted my extremely handsome son George Bsc, the recently qualified sports scientist.

“George,” I said to him, “I think I have twisted a buttock muscle.” I described the pain and how it had happened, “what do you think son?”

“Yes,” said George, “It sounds as though you have twisted a buttock muscle dad.”

“What can I do about it?” I asked him.

“Run it off dad, run it off.”

Today, despite not ‘running it off’ my right buttock has untwisted slightly and feels better, although my left buttock which has been burdened with more effort than normal does feel a bit painful.

The best thing to come out of this of course, is that my son's expensive education has not been wasted.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Bread Oven Project.

I have just started a new project. I intend to build an outdoor bread oven -actually you can cook most things in it but bread oven is what it is most commonly called.

Yesterday, being a bright and sunny day seemed a good time to begin making it, So I prepared the base. It will be built on an existing earth embankment so all I needed to do was dig out the soil to a comfortable working height and make it flat.

I then put sand/gravel on the flat bit and placed some paving slabs on to that cementing them in. That is as far as I got. Looking at it this morning I think I shall have to make it a little bit longer.

It is raining hard today so the next stage - a clay tile floor - has to wait a bit.

Here are a couple of photos of progress so far.
Sartorially elegant even when working hard.

Mia The German Shepherd checking for level.

Incredibly detailed drawing for project bread oven (not to scale).
I am excited about this project and upset that the weather has turned against me.

I will of course keep you posted on my progress. There is a lot to do yet and no certainty it will work but I will enjoy doing it.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Bread And Cheese. Bread And Cheese.

Mum and I are walking back home from the village. We have left the war memorial behind us where it meets the fork in the road that heads off to Aberdeen one way and to the village of Kemnay in the other behind us. It is late in the afternoon. We have been to the Co-op collecting the divi. There are fields on that side of the road and on this side, shielding the nine-hole golf course, are heather, gorse and a few trees, silver birch, hawthorn and several tall old Scots pine with their flat tops.

Suddenly, mum puts a hand on my arm stopping me in my tracks, “Listen” she says, tilting her head to one side and smiling, “can you hear it?”

“What?” I say, straining my ears to listen. It is quiet except for some birdsong.

Mum purses her lips and whistles a little tune. “That’s a yellowhammer’s song," she says, “It’s saying, ‘a little bit of bread and no cheeeese’. Listen.”

We stand and listen. Now I can hear it too. Yes, that’s what it is saying, no doubt. It is saying that.

“There it is,” mum says, “there on the hawthorn. There,” pointing, “there.”,

I can see it now, singing its little heart out.

As we stroll on mum plucks a leaf from a hawthorn branch, “Taste that John,” she says, folding in into a tiny parcel and handing it to me.

“No thanks mum,” I say doubtfully.

She pops it into her mouth and chews on it. “It tastes like bread and cheese,” she tells me and plucks another leaf for me to try. I fold it as she had done and take a careful nibble with my front teeth, “eat it properly,” she says laughing.

I pop it into my mouth and chew. It tastes slightly bitter. I cannot taste bread and cheese at all.

“What do you think?” she asks.

“Yes, nice,” I say, not wanting to disappoint, “nice.” 

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Where Am I?

This is a practice run. I just spent ages trying to find this blog. What happened was, I made a blog for Bonnie the Ginger Cat and then I couldn't find this page. I had to go to my Facebook page and follow my own link. My normal way of getting here now links to Bonnie's page. I really shouldn't fiddle about with things. Will I ever learn?

I shall now hit publish and hope for the best.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Joy of Winking.

When I first learned how to wink I was still very young although until the auspicious day I finally managed it I had been practicing hard for months. After that first successful wink I went on to practice further. My aim was to learn how to wink and tilt my head sideways at the same time. Being young I mastered this very quickly. Adding the clicking noise by sticking my tongue against my upper palate took a lot more practice but finally, aged seven and three quarters I became an expert at this technique also.

However, it has always been a source of great sadness to me that despite years of trying I can only wink with my left eye. I live in hope that one day I will eventually achieve a right eyed wink. I am getting old. Time is getting short but I will never give up trying. Never.

Tomorrow I shall be talking candidly about disappointment concerning my eyebrows.

Thank you.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017


When I got to the launderette yesterday it was quiet. Just a young woman emptying two dryers and neatly folding white sheets and towels into separate piles.

“Good afternoon,” I said cheerfully, “that’s quite a pile of laundry you have there.”
With a towel held under her chin in the process of being folded, she looked up at me, a quizzical look in her eyes.

“Laundry,” I repeated,” you have a lot of laundry.”

“Lorn-der-ee,” she said, stretching the word out slowly, “lorn-der-ee.”

“Washing,” I said, thinking she must have misheard me, “you’ve lots of washing.”

She laughed and seemed to be talking to herself as she repeated the word, “Lorn-der-ee.” Then, not looking up she added, “It’s not my lorn-der-ee, it’s from work.”

“I presumed as much,” I said smiling.

“Pre-joomed,” she said, laughing quietly to herself, putting the washing into two large bags and pressing it down firmly. “Pre-joomed.”

I held the door open for her as she was leaving, with a bag in each hand “Goodbye,” I said.

She looked me straight in the eye and laughed, “Good harf-ta-noon,” she said loudly.

Later, watching my underpants tumbling in the washing machine. I couldn’t make up my mind if she had been making fun of me, or if she was just stupid. In the end, I decided she thought I was a posh git. What a bloody cheek!

Sunday, 8 January 2017

The Moon And A Tractor Wheel.

A big thank you to my favourite commenters for your good wishes concerning my health. I haven't been to the doctor about it. I shall tell you why: I haven't been well enough. Ha ha that was a joke. Except it is true. Another reason is I don't want to sit in the doctors waiting room coughing and spluttering and spreading germs to everyone else.
There is another reason. This cough fever virus is a nation-wide thing. I looked it up on google -yes, I know I shouldn't, but I did. There is nothing doctors can do about it apparently. Anti-biotics don't help. The advice is take plenty of fluids and eat plenty. I have been following that advice. It takes three weeks to start feeling better so I am almost there.

To lighten the mood. Here is a photo of Mia the German Shepherd with her favourite ball of the moment.

Mia the German Shepherd

A friend phoned yesterday. She was nearby and wanted to visit. I was out walking Mia the German Shepherd when she phoned and in the middle of a coughing fit. I told her it would be a bad idea to visit, She could also hear it was a bad idea. After we said our goodbyes. I walked on for a few minutes still coughing and spluttering like a good 'un. That thing happened where you think you have hung up the phone but you haven't. I heard her voice coming from my pocket. John? John are you okay? I pretended I hadn't heard and hung up properly. I was so embarrassed by my retching.

I wish I could think of something amusing to say to lighten this post but I can't. Wait! I just remembered this photo I took of my Beautiful Daughter Jodie setting up the telescope she got for Christmas. I manipulated it a bit as a joke. I shall now attempt to put both the photos on here. Hang on a minute.

BD Jodie setting up her new telescope

I have manipulated the photo. Don't tell her that is a tractor wheel. She thinks it's the moon.

Thanks for calling by. I will be back soon.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

I Have Had Better Days.

A few days before Christmas I became unwell. A virus was 'going around' apparently. It started like I was going to have flu and I wished I had had the flu jab, but it wasn't flu. Not that I know what it was. Should say 'is', because it is still with me a couple of weeks later. A dry cough and feverish. Uncontrollable. I cough like crazy and it hurts my back and sides. For the first week the cough was unproductive. This last week it is shifting something at least.

I have strangely, during this illness had one or two very good days where I thought I was over it, but no, it is still with me and I am tired and weak. I don't know what dying feels like but one day I thought my time had come I felt so bad.

I am sure you don't want to hear about illness but I feel like writing a bit and it is what's been happening lately.

Beautiful Daughter Jodie and Extremely Handsome Son George have been taking care of me in my hour of need.

Seems I only have a couple of readers these days, so I'm hopefully not upsetting too many people by writing about not feeling well?

I gave up on the children's book I was writing. Just didn't have the right feeling about it. But last week I began writing another one. Well, I wrote just over a thousand words of it in one session before it came to a halt. I shall continue with it when the mood takes me. It's about a six year old boy who discovers, quite by accident that he can fly.

I am thinking that I am getting old and the self sufficiency life-style is becoming hard work. I am thinking about doing some modernising. Hot water would be nice for a start. Be good to have a shower without having to traipse down to the house.

This blog needs some more time spent on it. I don't know whether it has run its course or if I am just being lazy? I always have good intentions with it but lately it isn't happening. Seems I say that a lot too.

Thanks to those who stick with me. It is much appreciated . You know who you are.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

School Day.

Normally, when it’s time to leave for school in the morning I turn right at the end of the lane and walk up the road. I say up the road, because the first quarter mile or so is up a hill. Well, more of a gentle slope if anything. The rest of the journey, a couple of miles in all, is downhill and that is gentle too. So, up or down to school it doesn’t matter much. It gets there in the end. It’s the same on the way back except longer uphill. Anyway, that is my normal route to school.

Today, just for a change I turn left at the end of the lane, walk about twenty yards until I come to the railway bridge then carefully climb over Mr Gilbert's barbed wire fence, deliberately ensuring my crotch doesn’t get snagged because it can be painful when that happens and I have a devil of a job to get free. Hold on to the post, left foot on the middle strand, swing right leg over on to middle strand. Swing left leg over onto middle strand and jump both feet clear.

It can be a bit of a scramble climbing the steep embankment but I soon get a decent grasp of tussock and haul myself onto the railway track. The morning train has already passed. There are only two trains a day and the next one comes from the opposite direction late afternoon. I know this for certain but, just to be safe I always make sure nothing is coming before I go onto the track. From up here I can see the River Don sparkling and flashing in the not too distance and I resist the temptation to go back and get my fishing rod.

If I happen to have any copper coins in my pocket I might place one or two on the line to be flattened when the locomotive passes. Usually I use halfpennies. The idea is to make them the same size as a penny but they don’t fool Mrs Florence in the sweet shop because they are too thin. Sometimes I flatten a penny but there isn’t much point in double sized skinny pennies.

It is not easy walking on the sleepers. They are either too close together or too far apart for my natural stride, but I give it a go. Then I try walking in the gaps between them but it’s not natural so I end up walking along the side of the line on the gravel chippings.

Soon I reach the farm where Gavin lives and I climb down the embankment and do the barbed wire climb again into the field where the cows are. I run over the field into the farm yard and knock on the farmhouse door. Gavin’s mum answers. She has a rosy face and white hair. She makes delicious cakes and is always nice to me.

“Morning Mrs Gray,” I say, “is Gavin ready?”

“Goodness me loon,” She exclaims, “Gavin left a good wee while ago. Ye’ed best hurry. Ye’re going tae be awfy late.”

“Thanks Mrs Gray,” I shout, as I run down the yard to the road. I run until she can’t see me because I want her to think I care about being late and then I slow down.

The bell rings when I am still a couple of hundred yards from the school gate and I slow to a dawdle. I hate turning up late when everyone is lined up in the playground and looking at me. I shall wait until they have all gone inside and then I shall.. No. I don’t think I will bother with school today, first lesson is double maths. I hate maths.