Monday, 18 August 2014

Five random notes

  1. There was another gorgeous butterfly in the garden earlier, but it scarpered before I could get the camera. “Not ready for my close-up, Mr de Mille”, I heard it mutter as it fluttered away. Mostly black, with bright red flashes on its wingtips.  Any clues?
  2. Back in May, I turned the central heating thermostat down to 180C: it’s just clicked on (5.35 pm)!  Outside, it’s 150, and hasn’t been much more all day.  How am I supposed to get those tomatoes ripened??
  3. The letter ‘i’ on my keyboard is making an ominous clunky noise.  Could this be due to the residual presence of dried red wine? 
  4. Rummaging through a drawer for an old butter knife, as one does, I came across the fork from a cutlery set I was given at my christening, back in 1942.  (The rest – knife, spoon? –  is lost; as is the butter knife.)  It’s solid silver, little lion on the back to prove it, and is engraved with my initials.  I found this quite moving for some reason.   I also discovered that, if you tap it on a hard surface, it plays a very interesting chord. 
  5. Does anybody speak cat?  I can communicate with most dogs, but cats are mysterious.  I was sitting out under my bus shelter when a tabby who frequents the garden crept out of the shrubbery.  In the past, any friendly approach by me would be rebuffed with a startled stare and a dash back into the bushes – but this time it crept up, miaowing threateningly, came close enough to be briefly stroked, rolled over on its back and allowed its tummy to be tickled.  Then it jumped up and ran away like a scaredy-cat.  It might just be hungry, of course, but it’s not going to get fed around here.  Or it needs counselling.  Mysterious.      


Thursday, 14 August 2014

The Only Word Is Exxes

“I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here. 
The sketch is attractive, your authored material stylish.
nonetheless, you command get got an nervousness over that you wish be delivering the following.
“unwell unquestionably come further formerly again as exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this hike.”

What I loved about this particular spam comment (which originated, as always, from Russia) is that it purports to link to a tanning salon in Braintree.

And its ‘found’ poetry.  The bastard child of Ezra Pound and William Burroughs after a good night in?  I particularly like “case you shield this hike.”

I HATE SPAM.  But just occasionally it throws up a gem.  Another recent one praised the insight, erudition, eloquence, etc. that I’d evinced in a photograph of a butterfly.

The real purpose of this post, of course, is to see what spam comments it attracts.  I’ll share the best, if any.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Lights out

I’m writing this just before ten o’clock, though I won’t post it until after eleven.

I can’t honestly act in personal remembrance of anyone who died, because none of my ancestors or relations did, as far as I know.  This doesn’t stop me from being aware of what happened, and I have read long lists of names on memorials, not just recently; but does it sound harsh to say that names are not the same as personalities?

I’m going to switch on the TV in a moment.  (The TV is, of course, a source of light.)  All but one of my house lights are off, but that’s not unusual at this point in the evening, so I can’t claim to be making any kind of gesture.

Just a last thought – wouldn’t it have been more affirming to ask everyone to switch their lights on, or light their candles, one by one, rather than extinguish them?  Or do we have to wait another four years for that?


It’s now 24 hours later.  I’d intended to add a postscript to the above – but as I was watching the ceremony, in the dark, I reached out for my wine glass and knocked it all over the computer.  It’s taken until now for the keyboard to dry out enough that ‘s’ doesn’t come out as ‘\s’, ‘q’ as ‘zq’, etc.  I’d spent the night and half the day worrying about whether I needed to buy a new keyboard, or a new computer, or what… but as you can see it’s now back to zqnormal (only jkidding!/)

I missed the last bit of the ceremony, obvs.  I see that a girl movingly proposed that names (or even the absence of them) can in fact be used to construct personalities – and that it doesn’t actually matter whether those are real or not.

As a final, slightly confused, thought: small mistakes (spilt wine, shot man) can lead to huge stupid consequences (new computer, world war), if we’re not careful. 



Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Monday, 7 July 2014

Fall again. Fall better.

It was fellow-blogger Rog who pointed out, ages ago when for some reason I had touched on the subject, that once you pass seventy you don’t ‘fall over’ any more, you ‘have a fall’.  Well, judging from how I felt on waking up last Monday morning, I reckon I must have done both on my way to bed the night before.

I don’t want to go into details, even those I can remember.  Suffice to say that whilst I was failing to tidy the kitchen, the builders had been in and repositioned the staircase.  And I turned the landing light off instead of on, easy mistake.  And it was very late.  And …

It’s a cracked rib.  Been there, done that (you can’t wear a T-shirt under these conditions), so I knew what lay ahead.  The doctor was very sympathetic once I’d spun him my carefully concocted yarn about getting out of the bath, and gave me a truckload of codeine phosphate tablets.  They’re 15mg, and I’m allowed up to four at a time, up to four times a day, so I have plenty of dosage flexibility.
One of the instructions on the leaflet is ‘DO NOT drink alcohol with codeine phosphate, as it may affect you more than usual.’  I considered and rejected a couple of smart-ass sophistries – does that just mean don’t wash them down with wine? and can’t I just drink less than usual? – and have been experimenting with de-alcoholized wine, which is wine that’s been made the proper way then had nearly all the alcohol taken out.  I can report that it’s not (quite) as unpalatable as you might think.  The shiraz I’ve tried tastes almost like a cheap, rather sweet shiraz; and the wuzziness caused by the codeine neatly compensates (nearly) for the missing alcohol.  You can get used to anything.

The list of possible side effects is awesome – twenty of them in all.  If I’d had them all, there wouldn’t have been much of me left.  As a quibble, number 19 on the list should really have been number one.  (I’ll let you guess for yourselves what it is.  The clue is there.)  The most interesting one, though, is number 17: ‘Hallucinations’.  Sadly, I don’t think this has happened, though you can’t be sure, can you?  

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Sky over here, this evening

Mare's tails?  Mare's nest?  I dunno.  Vapour trails, probably.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Hyperactive teenage tadpoles (cont’d)

Has anyone been ‘upgraded’ to the all-new BT Mail service recently?

Have you yet torn out all your hair or smashed yourself in the teeth?

BT have been trailing their divorce from Yahoo for over a year now, and the decree nisi finally came through last Friday.  You’d think that’d be long enough to provide, at the least, a stable service which doesn’t crash every few hours (if it manages to load in the first place); also that one would be able to do, at least, everything one could before.  (It’s supposed to be ‘better’, to use their word.) 

But no.  I had a call from a nice man in Mumbai, who unfortunately had clearly never seen this system before.  He took over my screen and clicked around all over the place, checking all the settings I’d already (obvs) checked, before informing me that ‘this function is not supported by the new BT Mail’.
(For the record, the function in question is the ability to skip to the next or previous email.)

I fumed for a bit, and muttered about switching to gmail.  (This may yet happen, those of you who have my email address, watch this space…)  Then I clicked on to Blogger (another Google ‘service’), to find that my dashboard can now only show one post at a time from my so-called Reading List.  I’ve been away, so hadn’t noticed this, but apparently the problem has existed for at least a week; hundreds of people have complained, and been exhorted to be patient.

I think I’ll buy a batch of postcards and first class stamps and send my communications by the Royal Mail.  Oh, hang on –

Send me an email, drop me a line, stating point of view.