Wednesday, 25 December 2019
Hello all my friends & relations!
I know I haven't been writing recently, and am sorry if I disappointed. After I came down with shingles in the Summer I had very little energy, and the little I had I spent on working and keeping myself and the house ship shape - there was little strength left to do other things, and writing the blog had to be put on the back burner.
Things continued to go on in the background, of course. There were visits to Paris, meetings of the book-club, and several intrepid adventures with the Triplets. I may get around to uploading a few photos, and detail some of the adventures.
Anyway, I am feeling much better and hope to be a more conscientious poster in the next year.
In the meantime, take good care of yourself, don't do anything I would do, and if you are one of those misguided people who rather choke on their overabundance of love than share it out, let me tell you I know who you are!
Love & Christmas Cheer
Wednesday, 31 July 2019
Since I unfortunately remained chained to the Little House today - awaiting a delivery that never came! I couldn't properly celebrate International I Love Broccoli Day today. But never mind, I shall do it Friday evening, when I have time and the just the right people to celebrate with!
So instead of the usual broccoli themed recipe, I present to you The Broccoli Song!!!!!
Enjoy it over a bowl of lightly cooked broccoli.
The Broccoli Song :
So instead of the usual broccoli themed recipe, I present to you The Broccoli Song!!!!!
Enjoy it over a bowl of lightly cooked broccoli.
The Broccoli Song :
Monday, 29 July 2019
Alive and kicking - wish I could!
Yes, I am alive, and coping - ish!
So what is happening? Why is the DB-Unit not publishing?
As a general comment, my priorities are (1) working, (2) surviving, (3) socialising, and (4) writing. And that includes all sorts of writing, which is probably why I write so little, and take ten years to finish one book.
Proper, serious, writers put their writing first. They are prepared to lose their jobs, alienate friends & relations, and compromise their health, in pursuit of their muse. I am not that sort of person. For me, life comes first.
It is all too much, and it has been going on for too long. I well understand people who just want to get it over with, although of course 'getting it over with' in this case means getting up from a well-appointed table in a nice restaurant, surrounded by one's oldest friends, and jumping into the darkest depths of a muddy village pond with a large rock tied to the ankle, and then spending several decades surviving on the tadpoles and sticklebacks that foolishly swim into one's open mouth, while being periodically twitted by former friends and long-time foes.
It's all too terribly ghastly.
In addition to having to witness this witless spectacle of a kakistocracy run rampant, I had to cope with a number of other changes and issues at work (and some of them occasioned by Brexit), as well as some health issues and personal set-backs.
Renovating my nose
So I decided some months back to undergo a series of water fasts, to try and shrink the polyps to a manageable size. Basically, this involves eating nothing, and drinking only water, for a week or longer.
I have made some progress, and can breathe through my nose again most of the time. And usually half-way through a fast, and for a few days afterwards, I can smell!!!! Basically, I have a choice between eating food and smelling food ...
I find fasting a bit exhausting, and both during a fast, and in the period afterwards where I start to eat again, I need a lot of rest, and don't have the energy to do much aside from working and sleeping.
This is a major reason why I did not blog, I was just too darn exhausted much of the time.
Gay and Glamorous Living
I celebrated the 26th of April with a good friend, and spent a nice evening reminiscing and talking of the good old days, long long ago.
I also spend several lovely days in Paris, including a few weeks ago when it was extremely hot, and there was nothing for it but to loll in an air-conditioned restaurant inside the club, next to the pool, and gossip with my friends, while partaking of the decadent (but healthy!) buffet bar. A day well spent, we thought!
There have of course also been the usual round of book-club gatherings, Tripletish occasions, and Twinish heart-to-hearts, like visiting the Wellcome Institute's exhibition on magic last Saturday, which was followed by a late lunch at Fisher's, and a serious discussion about self-identification at Pret's.
Later this week is another important social occasion .....
I will make an effort to write a bit more, but if I don't, now you know why.
Life keeps on happening, while I slowly saunter down the pale parabola of joy that is life in England these days.
Oh for the days gone by, when my life resembled that of a maggot in a flitch of bacon, and I was feasting to my heart's content on the belly fat of fortuna!
Tuesday, 16 April 2019
The artistic, charming, and irresponsible Belmondo Fratinelli
It all started off so innocently....
Some time ago I bought a job lot of glass eyes; one I gave to my friend A, who loves all things unusual and macabre, the other two I kept. Suitably mounted, I thought they might come in handy as a burglar deterrent, don't you know.
|Real glass eyes from the 1930s|
I was hoping for a facial mask of some sort,with eye-slots.
Then I tripped across this skull, and fell in love!
First up we had a lot of fun with him in the office! We dressed him up a little, and then skyped all our colleagues who were working from home.
|A hard day in the office...|
Then I took him home - the office can buy their own burglar alarm!
He obviously needed some sort of mount.....
I decided to mount my skull on it. It took an awful lot of blue-tack, and a bit of improvisation, but eventually the deed was done.
Next I had to find a way of inserting the glass eyes. I attached two pieces of a sawed off broom handle into each eye (with, you guessed it, blue-tack), and then (with more blue-tack) stuck the glass eyes on to the other end of the broom handle cut-off.
It looks a little rough and ready, and one eye is deeper in the socket than the other, but that is just what you would expect from a 'walking dead'.
He looked a little bare, so I added a skull-cap.
|Of course, a wig could have been used instead|
|Notice the wooden tripod?|
|I considered adding eyeglasses, but that seemed overkill.|
|For the time being Belmondo lives in the Parlour, though how Queen Victoria will take this I hate to think!|
|And what do you know, later that evening I caught him smoking! |
Don't be fooled by that 'butter won't melt in my mouth' expression!
All in all I am rather pleased with my new house mate, though he isn't half as scary as I had hoped!
Maybe I need to do something with lights inside the skull?
Or a top hat? Like Baron Samedi?
PS No this is not a 'real' skull. Some art student made it, and then it was purchased by a man with many tattoos, and then I bought it from said man. He sold it with the skull cap Belmondo wears in the office, but I think he is a little classier than that.
Sunday, 31 March 2019
The city gardeners of Oxford, having realised with shock and sadness, that the Brexicological madness prevents me from going to La Banne d'Ordanche this year, decided to plant up the park land area in front of my house with daffodils. Daffodils as far as the eye can see. Never seen that before in Oxford! Almost like a flower-field in Hillegom, that bastion of Dutch bulb merchants. Enjoy!
|Other flowers tried to steal inside the daffodil enclosure, but few succeeded|
|The gutter was the only place left for this humble dandelion|
|Aconites, I think, behind the railings|
|The yellow dots are the aconites|
|Grape hyacinths in full bloom|
|Daffodil fields from back view|
And here is one of La Banne d'Ordanche, as a comparison - practically the same!
|John Bercow, the Speaker, has become a bit of a hero to some!|
Lots of photos below!!!!
So it finally happened. Today is the second day of 'Freedom At Last' from the Great Hated Interfering Teutonically Dominated Continental Tyrant Eco-Area - not.
Yes, ladles and gentlemints, Brexit has been postponed, maybe until 12 April, or maybe until 22 May, perhaps even until two years' from now, or possibly like who knows whatever it's tricky innit?
My nerves are shot and I have long ago abandoned even the pretense of focusing on anything other than Brexit. I know that there is nothing I can do, I know that the stress is undermining the sunny equanimity of disposition that is my normal state in life, and I know that Brexit sounds like an own-brand dog-food from Lidl - I just don't care. This is the most exciting, albeit frightening and aggravating thing that has happened in this country since WWII, and I am determined to extract every ounce (yes, not grams, you Europhiliac Traitors) I can muster!
After initially resigning myself to the inevitable exodus from the EU - the people had spoken and must be obeyed - the ineptitude and shambolic mismanagement of the last two years have changed my mind, like those of many others. I simply don't believe that the people who can't even get a deal through parliament can make deals with the rest of the world. And I have become more and more suspicious. Since when were politicians, especially conservative, exceedingly rich, politicians, interested in enforcing the will of the people?
Anyway. I have pulled myself together and did a few things. Firstly, I have signed the Big Petition for Staying in the EU - now over 6 million signatories:
And on last week's Saturday I went to the Great Demonstration.
Preparing for it was a big dispiriting - almost everyone I asked had some feeble excuse for not going. Anything from "but I have a mouth organ playing lesson that afternoon and already paid!", to "there will be violence!" Only my trusty Friend & Favourite Triplet, JB, decided to gang up with me.
To make the experience as user friendly as possible, we decided not to join the demo at the start, at Marble Arch. The path of progress was from Marble Arch to Pall Mall to Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square. The gathering started at 12:00, and the last speakers would finish at 16:30. That would have been five hours of standing and marching, since we had to get back to base after the speeches. Without potty breaks! Doable, perhaps, but not strictly speaking necessary. JB and I were not placard-carrying front-line leaders, we were just attending to swell numbers. So there seemed no reason why we couldn't meet for lunch, and then join the other marchers.
Thusly we met at the club, which is on Pall Mall, for a bite to eat, and joined the crowds at 13:30. Lest you think this was a bit incongruous - exclusive club lunch followed by rioting - let me tell you that this particular club is a hotbed of radicals and freedom fighters. They were swarming all over the club, carrying furled banners, wearing clothes that broke the dress code, illegally using their mobile telephone devices on the premises, and generally exhibiting an air of lawless frivolity.
The staff of the club, mainly foreigners from Europe, had been infected by the general mood, and since I had arrived a few hours before JB, I spent them discussing the situation with the loo cleaner, barman, and security guard at the door. It was a heady, heedless, and revolutionary atmosphere!
By the time we had to leave, the big front doors had been closed. They were unlocked for us, and we inched our way outside, suddenly worried about our own courage - was it safe?
We needn't have worried. Never have I experienced such a crowd of good-natured, cheerful, and well behaved individuals. This was middle class, middle aged, slow-to-anger steadfast-to-their-purpose Middle England, and they did not put a foot wrong. The roads were heaving with persons of all ages, including those too young or old to walk, and aside from an altercation with several skin-heads (soon subdued), who pulled an EU hat from the head of an old lady, there were no incidents.
As we wended our way towards Parliament Square, protesting and poster waving, our march was only interrupted by rhythmic shouting of the newly coined protest chant "Where is Jeremy Corbin?". That fallacious opposition leader was nowhere to be seen, and was visiting some blood-bank for homeless fleas or some similar pseudo-virtuous venue in the northern realms instead.
However, we did have all sorts of inspirational speakers, from politicians like Tom Watson and Michael Heseltine and Caroline Lucas, to a representative of the NHS, who pointed out that before any operation patients have to give 'informed' consent, after having been supplied with all information necessary for making an informed decision. And if patients changed their mind just before the operation, they could withdraw consent. This highlighted the hypocrisy of the politicians involved in Brexityria, who are changing their minds before every vote in parliament, but lecture voters who want to do the same thing on the evils of anti-democratically undermining the Will of the People by wanting to have another vote on the most important decision faced by most voters in their life-time.
Being of a small and intrusive nature, I managed to insinuate myself into the crowds, and slithered like a lizard through the masses and to the head of the demonstration (followed somewhat reluctantly by my more reticent friend), until eventually we ended up on the green lawn of Parliament Square, and had a front line view of the whole venture.
We listened and we clapped and we booed and ooh-ed at all the right places of the various invigorating speeches, and although I did not get as carried away as some when Michael Heseltine commanded us to "go forth into our villages and spread the gospel" it was nevertheless a wonderful occasion and simply monumental.
Now it is back to being worried and upset and really awfully cross about the whole thing!
|Before I went to the Club I drifted through Selfridges - neato deco!|
|Just outside the Club Doors|
|Lots of babies and pushwainlings|
|Some people came with official looking signs, others with home-made ones|
|Pro-Brexit politicians' quotes were on many posters, and highlighted their hypocrisy |
("That what I said when I thought we would lose, but now that we won I have changed my mind!")
|That's our Nigel in a cage|
|Large boards transmitted the speakers' words to those who did not manage to get into Parliament Square itself; there were so many people that most of them had to remain in the roads surrounding the square.|
|The newly coined word 'Brexshit' was featured on many placards|
|The sign says, 'Mimes against Brexit'. I had no idea there were so many mimes in the country!|
|Note the long nose, and the heart-shaped EU flag?|
|I love this Poster!!!!|
|Another innovative thought imaginatively expressed|
|A reference to Blackadder, of course. Balrick always had a keen and cunning plan, unlike Brexicological politicians.|
|A nice sentiment 'Democracy is a process, not an event'. Yes, people don't vote once and for all times, they get to vote often and can change their minds. Democracy 101.|
|Tom Watson spoke|
|Several helicopters monitored the crowds and shot the footage later shown in various news programmes and on Youtube.|
|Pro-EU costumes were wide-spread|
|Anti-Brexit dog, trained to bark at the mention of the word 'Brexit'|
|Getting across two points with one sign|
("I love the EU negotiator Donald Tusk but am not enamoured with US American president Donald Trump")
|At Parliament Square|
|Another pro-EU costume - noticed the blue hair?|
|The Suffragette keeping an eye on proceedings|
If the photos and my blurb isn't enough for you, just google 2019 Peoples' Vote 23 March - lots of info out there!