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Category Archives: Ramdom


A play at the New Victoria Theatre, one I have just watched,

I think it is set in the 1700’s, so five to six lifetimes ago. It could have been my great, great, great, great grandparents working and living in those conditions. And this is what makes the theatre so different than the cinema, the subject material.

Plays can be watched without knowing what the subject matter is before going, some are funny, some sad, some political, some adapted from stories known, with a little twist or two, and then there are some that get you to reflect on what we have now. This is one of those plays.

I have seen plays based on the celts, living off the land, grass for a mattress and stars for a roof. Plays about a time of the war, of shortage, separation and loss. Of social struggles and of political struggles to improve the working or living conditions of the working class. And it is there, played out before your very eyes, close enough to touch it. The emotions of the actors played out through the tone of voice and posturing, no post production tweaks, it’s there, it’s raw. And no play is the same, because they all want a different story to tell; or a different viewpoint to share.

Tonight’s play left me thinking at how far we have come as a people in such short a time, but at what cost?

At what point did civilisation create slums?

When did we think it was acceptable to have people living in such poor conditions, making living a time of survival because of what money your parents had? No fear of predators to hunt you down, but a fear of the water from well down the street and the diseases it harboured. A hunger that could not be fed by finding and hunting for food, because the landscape was no longer the hunter gatherers hills and plains of the people, rather the land of the few.

When did people become less-than? And less well-off  than those that wore the furs of the animals they ate, and drank from water of streams, unpolluted by industry, homes made out of stones and straw?

At some point we as a people accepted, that for some, this would be a step up in living standards, but had it accepted as being more civilised than the savages before.

And we are only six lifetimes away from that. And yet for some we have not moved from it at all.

Reflections 2018 w32

Sometimes writing these blogs comes easily, sometimes it is just slow on the uptake.

This weeks subject came to me when going for lunch after picking up monster, my nephew.

As it was going to be dinner time when we set off on the 19 mile trip, and passing a farm shop en route, one decided that a ploughman’s pork pie would be for my dinner. They are expensive for what they are, but as an occasional treat, worth it.

What makes this pork pie different than a normal one?

This has no crust top, cutting down on the pastry, whilst replacing it with spring onions and cherry tomatoes, there may even be a hint of mustard in the meat part as well. This was to be washed down with a curiosity cola, also expensive for what it is and also a treat.

But whilst waiting in the queue, I placed the bottle back and walked away.

There was one person serving, he also did the butchering, all in view of the queue. We all watched as he freshly cut the rib of beef for the first lady. When he had finished he had comments on how well he did the butchering, especially with an audience watching. A lighthearted exchange of words continued whilst he continued to serve the lady, £63 was the cost, a price she was very happy with. He handed her her receipt and took the bottles of wine from the next customer to scan them. This is when this customer was lost, possibly forever.

I stood watching as he wiped his hands down his apron, used the till and handled the change to the lady. At no point did he wash his hands in the sink once the meat was bagged, even though the sink was one step behind him, nor did he do it after serving and nor did he wipe the till down. If he was to have leant over the counter to get the baked goods from within it, he would have had a high chance of raw meat dropping off his butchering apron onto cooked meats and cooked pies. Even if that customer had the good fortune of bloodied hands being washed before handling.

If he does not wash his hands after handling raw meats, whats the chance he washes them after going for a pee???

No, I don’t think I will be going there again.

And you can no longer feed the pigs either, a great way to get rid of fallen apples.

Reflections 2018 w22

Today was supposed to a trip to the Etruria canal festival but due to the weather it was altered to a play centre.

The usual suspects were there, myself (obviously), My Son, Mum, my Sister and here two little ones. The idea being they would be occupied and kept dry, that and my nieces wheelchair would not sink in the mud. The dry part was not so successful.

The place was relatively quiet at the beginning so I was grabbed by my son to chase him around the child sized hamster assault course/cage, this is what normally happens when we get here, this is also not what my sister was expecting; thus she was dressed inappropriately, which somehow was my fault in not knowing that she did not know that she also would be dragged into the cage, even though I did not know she would be. In fairness I think it was the speed at which my son gets around on hands and knees that threw her, and maybe the speed that her fat b……d of a brother gets around as well. In my defence I have to try and catch my son. He mocks me with the floss if I don’t give 100%

The play surfaces of the multi level cage of pain are padded, which helps old joints and feet from any impacts, I have learnt to just throw myself around in there and not worry about it. However even with the pain meds I am on, plus the over the counter pre dosage, the play centre is like a credit card…I will pay for it later. And right now it is later. One normally has a fortnight to recover before it happens allover again but because of his holiday rearrangements and my exe’s birthday I only had a week this time.

Besides my back gets cracked in there, loudly, which could be a good thing – or a bad one, we will see the next physio appointment, it might improve the A4 piece of paper exercise drawings to do. It will defiantly help a chiropractor when I can afford one, more movement in my spine.

One downside though…

No ice lollies for sale, not a one. The kids where going around hair sodden, the adults that are on it were in various states of redness/sweatiness/sodden hair and they are only thinking about selling them…WTF?

Hot Kids + Hot Adults = Ice lollies sales

They don’t even have ice-cream for the parties – again WTF?

So we came home and had them.

My sister has had a challenge thrown at her by my Son (nearly 7)…When we beat them next time…

I have told him…

Next time she will dress for it, AND will want revenge, so will be triple determined to catch us. Even more so when she reads his gauntlet throw-down he came up with after she had left for home.

That day is gonna hurt!

Reflections 2018 w15

Today the sun came out – enough to make my arms pink, a far cry from the sleet and snow we had a fortnight ago. April is going to be a yoyo month.

Having spent the afternoon in the warmth the sun, I came back in the house rather tired. The first rays of warm sunshine always knock me out and sap my energy, so I posit a hypothesis that one is conditioned by the environment one lives in.

When the sun comes out it dehydrates me, it burns my skin – leaving it dry and brittle.

The dehydration leaves me with a constant thirst.

I sweat a lot, creating a damp environment around my body (I know not pleasant).

I naturally seek shade.

I, on walks, have occasioned to soak ones feet in a river, stream, or lake.

Now lets look at my natural environment – Stoke on Trent.

We have on average 7-10 days of rain each month. However on the months of the Highest  average temperature we also have the Highest amount of rainfall. Cloudy days are not recorded. Rain/cloud cover is a good chunk of our weather system.

Therefore Stokies could quite possibly be Hydro-powered, and that is the reason for my energy sap when in the sun.

Reflections…Week Forty One

canstockphoto8630797It may be time for big boy pants.

There has been very little happening this week, so like many an English gent before me, I shall complain about the weather.

I do not know what the blazes is going on this year but the weathers gone mad. One can fully understand how our predecessors thought the Gods were angry with them, with whats been going on, to be totally honest, I am beginning to wonder if they were right.

To top it all off it has coincided with the solar eclipse.

So – no sun, hurricane after hurricane after hurricane, tropical storms, more storms, red sun and a storm. Whats next frogs and locusts from the sky?

Did we ask for a sign they are upset?

Global warming is not happening, so it has to be something other than science, definitely the Gods.

Maybe it’s not the Gods, but rather one angry mother. She has given us clues as to what we are doing wrong, but we have ignored them, or made them worse, so now she is shaking us up.

Unfortunately the decision makers seem to have their heads firmly up their posteriors, making decisions that do not even seem to be making sense. So it up to all of us to make changes that will help the planet, because if we don’t, we will only have a rubbish tip to live on, if we have even that at all.

This has been my proverbial barber small talk session, weather to politics, I’m not a sports fan!

But it may be warming up next week, still warm enough for shorts?

Paddle in the sea.

DSCF0934As the mid-way point of yet another Bank holiday has passed and the rush to the coast to enjoy the good weather, judging by the lack of traffic on the roads here, I have allowed a small smile to cross my lips at my choice to go a walking barefoot earlier in the week.

The weather forecast was for a sunny day, but to honest I have not been to the sea since last time I wrote, so being able to go, I would have gone regardless. There is a peace wandering down a near empty beach, the sound of the waves being the main auditory input.

Once, there was a feeling , nay, a longing, that the sea gave me, a draw unto itself if you will. I felt I understood what it was that made the first people venture forth unto the unknown toward a new destiny, the very sound of the waves calming the spirit whilst enthralling it . I revisit the coast now to try and rekindle the feeling. Walking with the hot sand enveloping my toes, a thought came to mind.

Do the people, who may have never even seen the beach, fleeing their country due to war get that same feeling?

I was a toddler when first introduced to the sea, so the memory of seeing this great expanse of water for the first time is lost. Did the sense of wonderment gradually build up, or has it always been there? Does the sea have a subconscious connection with the human brain? The sea has claimed many a life, by being what it is, no emotional drive or impulse, so we should fear it as we fear all things that can cause harm. But as a species we are drawn to it, why? It goes beyond gathering resources and materials, there is an affinity with it.

I pondered this a I wandered, my body taking its own path, no real destination for either, when suddenly I was bought back to the now with a wave splashing up my thigh. I had inadvertently been paddling in the sea, not much excitement in that statement I grant you, but I, over half a lifetime ago, stopped paddling, because the sea was too cold. And here I was knee deep in the sea and not minding the temperature one bit nor caring how long I had been in it.

The inadvertent paddle left me with a sense of familiarity and memories locked away from my childhood Holidays came trickling back, times of hours spent in rock pools catching shrimp or gathering molluscs. The feeling that the sea used to give me may have faded, replaced by a small spark of hope; hope that nature will ultimately be my guide to where I need to be, or at least the path I need to be on.

A thought also goes out to all that embark on the journey across the sea, may your journey be a safe one.

Time with Dad

DSCF0960I don’t have many happy childhood memories of my Dad, at least ones that don’t involve work. Many a memory is linked to the allotment, repairing cars, coupon rounds and even working together for too many years. Try as I may, I cannot recall ‘playing’ memories, just Dad and me.

He taught me how to fish at Talybont – that memory is gone.

He taught me how to use my first woodworking set, a set I can still recall today — also gone is building things with him.

My first go-cart was built by him — but not played on with him.

Bike riding — gone.

Sledging — gone.

Some memories have remained from holidays, teaching how-to and catching shrimps, cooking them along with other collected shellfish, but after a while it was more of sending me to get them. Getting nearly stuck in a cave trying to free some crystals is a good memory. But I don’t have the same type of memories at home.

This has led to some strange looks in therapy, so It must not be the norm. Often leading my thinking toward  ‘I missed out on something.’

Now he is old and hard work, some of the time; no, most of the time if truth be told. Heads are butted often, especially over the computer; it has now become the laptop so he can’t break it as easy. My stubborn streak is defiantly from him. And still I work on the bloody allotment.

And this is where we have just come back from. Dad has been for a number of years, ill, but he managed to keep his hobbies going. The allotment and beekeeping, sadly last year he had to give up the beekeeping as he has become allergic to bee venom, so the allotment is the only thing left, and that is now under threat. I have made some, not too radical, changes to his plot; three raised beds so he can sit and garden and one bed raised not as high as a trial. This has upset the bloke running the site, it’s not 1950s enough.

Trepidation of the change is to be expected and I have talked him trough the whole process, but he has been told no to helping himself to wood on the site, twice, and he has taken offence and is trying to start a smear campaign against Dad. But stuff him ,back to me and Dad.

Today was the third time Dad has been able to get up to the plot this year due to time spent in hospital, and the first time he has been able to plant. The long hard slog of  removing the rotten old beds and placing the raised ones on there new home, then filling each with a trailer of  horse manure and compost, eight trailers worth, is over and now there has been a reward for me. Dad managed to plant without getting on his knees and without pain, And he looked happy doing it. We came back laughing and smiling.

I may not want my son to have the same type of memories as I have of my Dad about me, and I defiantly tell him I love him,  but at the end of the day, we know we both love each other no matter the faults. It’s just done a different way is all.