Monday 30 November 2015

Spare a thought for...

... my son, B, who dislocated his finger falling off his bike yesterday. Loking at this, someone said, "hasn't he got lovely fingers?" Not any more, he hasn't.

In case you were wondering, he went into A&E and had it "popped" back. The last time I heard from him he was feeling "sore and grumpy".

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Thoughts on geography, maps and Tuesday

I have never been any good at geography. I hated it at school - all those maps, with pink and green patches. I could feel a pale grey mist descending before my eyes as soon as I saw one. I got 29% in my last geography exam, and was invited to give the subject up.

But, I am therefore ignorant. Very. And yesterday, I had a conversation wit my daughter, and was wondering why America is always on the left, and the Eastern countries on the far right, and what would it look like if it were seen from a different angle, with America....well, not on the left. Say, in the middle.

And then, because it was Tuesday, I went on to wonder where Tuesday starts. I know we get it before America does, and other places get it before we do, but who has it first? Whose Tuesday begins before anyone else's?

At this stage, Dsughter said, "well, I've got better things to do than have this ridiculous conversation with you," and went off to do the better things. So I'm no wiser than I was before. (Having said that, I don't recall Daughter having spectacular success in geography, either, so who is she to be so dismissive?)

That's all, really. But someone, somewhere, is already enjoying Thursday, although it's still Wednesday  here.

Friday 20 November 2015

Why I hate window cleaners

It's nothing personal, and I do admire anyone who can combine two of the things I most hate: cleaning, and heights. (Our house is on four floors, and the window cleaners teeter on the summit of a long ladder, with spiky railings down below, just waiting like the jaws of hungry crocodiles). So as a rule, I don't hate them. But this morning, I hate ours.

Picture the scene.Actually, better not. Because I was stark naked in the shower, and this bit of ladder and a head appeared at the window. I kept very, very still, and waited for the head to go, hoping it hadn't notived  me (we have a flmsy blind which is rather see-through). When I went next door to the bedroom to dress, the head was there again. It was all too much. I'm still trying to recover (so, I suspect, is the window cleaner. But then I suppose for him, it'sall  part of the job).

Afterwards, I asked very nicely if next time, please could he and his band of colleagues  knock on the door when they arrive, to let us know they're there.

"No time," quoth he. No time, that is, to knock on all the doors. But he said he'd make an exception for us.

So watch this space (so long as that's all you watch).

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Thoughts after the terrorist attack

Several bloggers have posted thoughtful sensitive posts, but otherwise I think most of us have kept quiet over the past few days, because there is nothing we can say that hasn't been said before, and (I felt) maintain a respectful silence.

But I have heard what I think are some somewhat trite responses from political figures. Jeremy Corbyn has said we should prevent terrorism rather than shoot to kill, but how exactly does he propose to do that? Of course it is always better to prevent carnage than to have to respond to it with weapons, but in this case, prevention seems almost impossible, and we cannot stand back and see ordinary people mown down. And then President Putin has promised that the terrorists who brought down the Russian plane will be found and punished. Good idea, but again, how is he going to do it? The problem is so huge, and so widespread, it must be hard for those dealing with terrorism to know where and how to begin.

These terrorists seem to me to have two major advantages. Firstly, they are scattered round the world in small pockets, so are almost impossible to target. Secondly, they are prepared to die for their cause by blowing themselves up. What can we do against that?

I'm not a political animal, and would be the first to say there's a lot I don't know that I really ought to know. But like most of us, I fear for our civilisation, and for the futures of my (and your) children and grandchildren.

But all I can do - all most of us are able to do - is think of those who lost their lives, and of their grieving families. And wait.

Tuesday 10 November 2015

I've just come across this...

Look at it, then look away. Then please, please tell me why/how.

That's all.

Monday 9 November 2015

Horses v stairs

For some years now, there's been an ongoing argument between one of my sons and me over which is more dangerous; motorbikes or horse-riding. Today, he has won, for I read in The Times that horse riding is twenty times more likely to cause serious injury than riding a motorbike. I have to say, I was surprised (fortunately, he's at a conference in the U.S. this week, so may not get to read it).

But. More dangerous than either, in my opinion, is something nearly all of us do several times a day; going up and down stairs. At the yard where my horse lives, one rider and one instructor have both lost their mothers, killed by falling down stairs. Another instructor was paralysed falling down stairs, and I broke my back twelve years ago falling down stairs. Stairs are dangerous.

And yet do we ever see health warnings about the dangers lurking on the staircase? Red meat, processed meat, alcohol, cigarettes, even conkers...all have press attention regularly devoted to their attendant dangers. We are told to test our smoke alarms, and be careful when handling fireworks. The dangers of driving are regularly aired.  But of stairs, not a word.

Perhaps we should have a Minister for Stairs. Seriously.

Saturday 7 November 2015

More fish, please (a post for Phoebe)

This post greatly entertained my granddaughter, who's currently bogged down with homework and other teen issues (not problems. Issues. Have you notice that no one has problems any more; only issues?). So I promised her another post, just for her. Another sort of non-competitive reader-participation offering.

Fish again (of course). Place (plaice?) names adapted to make a fishy connection. I'll begin with Prawnwall and Codmin. Now over to you (and please don't disappoint her. It's a wet weekend. What else have you to do?). 

Wednesday 4 November 2015

The man up the lane

Apropos my last post, maybe I should introduce more fully the man up the lane. I shall not name him for fear of repercussions (and he does a good line in repercussions). So for the purposes of this post, I shall call him M (but not in a James Bomd way).

M is.....different. Most of us feel that he's not quite ....well, not quite. But his long-suffering neighbour - a gentle, charitable man - says "he's just a very nasty man". I tend to agree.

M shouts. He shouts a lot. He becomes much exercised over what he sees as minor breaches of the law (untaxed cars, bad driving etc). His inner policeman is forever on the lookout for such eventualities. And then he shouts. He can be heard several doors away (us). He wears an official looking fluorescent jacket to add gravitas to his diatribes.

M has a bad knee. Because of this, he has contrived to get himself a blue disabled parking badge, and his own disabled parking space outside his house. This has cause much ill feeling among the rest of us because (a) he can walk as well as I can, and (b) most of us have to park in the same street, and  parking round here is very difficult. This parking space is, however, a courtesy one, and not legally binding. If other drivers encroach on it, which they are entitled to do, he shouts.

(Later) M has just missed a treat. I've just returned from the shops to find a policeman arresting a man  and his bicycle. With real handcuffs.  This kind of thing is meat and drink to M. I feel almost sorry for him. Almost.

But M does have his uses. If there is dog mess in the lane, he will warn (shout) about it. He will even arrange a barricade of wheelie bins around it as a warning. He gets a small Brownie point for this. But that is the only thing he does for anyone (as far as I know).

 I've tried to be nice about/to M, but my patience is wearing thin. Watch this space.

Monday 2 November 2015

Another week of things learnt

1. The best way of finding those tiny splinters of glass I  thought I'd  swept up is to walk about in bare feet.

2. That having spend some years doing the daily "difficult" sudoku in The Times, it is galling to discover that eleven year old grandson, unpractised and untutored, can do it in half the time.

3. And that he can beat me at Scrabble, even when I'm trying. And I thought I was quite good at Scrabble.

4. The M25 really is the motorway from hell (I used to think it was second to the M6, but not any more).

5. An interesting fact about number palindromes, courtesy of Adrian. Thank you, Adrian.

6. That the man up the lane may have ....a problem, but he has shouted at me once too often. I have feelings, too.

7. That I've really got nothing to say, but writing this gives me an excuse to sit down and do something mindless, which I need after the rigours of half term (see 2&3 above).