Posted in Blogging, Junk Shop Finds, TV and Films, Videos

Ghostly Babble

I recently watched a video by Russell Brand on the subject of ghosting. He said sometimes people really don’t mean to do itĀ but if they do, it’s telling you something about that relationship. You don’t have to give that person up, but need to change your expectations. That is true, but I’ve realized that sometimes the ghoster is genuinely tired or depressed, but is still glad to hear from you. So Russell is right to say we should change our expectations — but sometimes it’s less about how valued we are and more about how the other person thinks, communicates or operates. Probably he meant that too, as it’s about managing ourselves and not others, accepting that others can’t always keep up.

So, is it possible to ghost one’s own blog? I accept it’s disappointing when a blogger writes posts you like but only twice a year! The best bloggers are the reliable ones who post frequently. There are YouTubers I’m always in the mood to listen to, and if they disappeared (which some unfortunately have), I’d feel at a loose end. Some have longish gaps between videos, for whatever reason, and I start casting around fractiously for recent signs of their existence. It’s worse these days because of frightening current events. I need ingormstion, reassurance and the sense of agreeable company.

That should have been ‘information’, not ‘ingormstion’  but it’s what happens when you type on the phone.

We are in my sister’s car in the town centre, drinking Costa coffee. I took it into my head to ask for espresso, and the small paper cup that came back felt strangely light.

“Awww,” I said. “A baby coffee!” and felt senselessly maternal. Drawing back the plastic lid, I found a tiny splash of dark coffee inside. It barely covered the bottom, and had a light fringe of pale bubbles.

It was certainly strong — tasted like hot Guinness. I don’t like Guinness. I’m more of a sweet stout person.

I started this post because a text said I was 80% through my data allowance. Having turned my connection off, I wondered what I could do that didn’t need the internet, and remembered my blog. Perhaps there’s a lesson in that. We are more likely to get on with pet projects if our option to go online and pootle about is curtailed.

The only thing I bought in town was a Red Dwarf boxset. TV is very dull, so every night at supper time we watch an episode from my collection of DVDs. We’re currently part of the way through the Upstart Crow boxset. I asked my mother which was her favourite actor in it, and she said Kate. Mine is Kempe. He gets a brief monologue in each episode and always makes me grin. He said real comedy isn’t what you say, it’s what you don’t say. I think that’s quite often true! When minds meet without a word being said, it’s funny.

Back to the topic of online videos and podcasts; I both love and detest them. They are where the real conversation is, but too often there are no captions and I can’t follow. More and more, when scrolling through Facebook, I find videos from platforms other than YouTube. The likelihood of them having captions is thus decreased by 99.7%. If there are captions, it’s because somebody burned them into the video, which I’m always grateful for. šŸ„° I used to wish people didn’t do videos when they could write an article instead, but I don’t now. I just wish I could follow many more.

To finish, here is a video I found on YouTube a while ago, less than 5 minutes long:

Posted in Cooking, Junk Shop Finds, Life and Family

Pretending to Follow a Pasta Recipe

This morning I found a pasta and peas recipe before I even got out of bed. On a whim I shared it to the family chat thread, and was stunned when my mother instantly replied that we could try it. I had thought she would object to the peas. She asked if it had sauce, and I said vegetable broth, though I could imagine using a stock cube. Would she prefer a white sauce? A mildly cheesy one, she said.

She adores cheese! You would not be able to part her from a nice sharp cheddar for all of the tea in China, though I don’t think parting people from their cheese is a good idea anyway, not in most cases.

“Is that ham in it?” she asked next, and I said pancetta… but we could use bacon or chicken if she prefers. You know, we can kid ourselves we’re making this dish, but it’s really going to be macaroni cheese with peas and a sprinkling of meat.

My sister arrived in time for coffee, carting a coat stand that I won at auction. It’s nice, if slightly rocky on its feet. It stood rather meaningfully on my toes when I was disinfecting it, so I guessed it was in a foul mood. I told it it was lucky to get a lift in my sister’s car because it would have been in an even worse mood if it had had to catch a bus by itself then walk to our house from the bus stop.

When I was dragging it upstairs, I discovered the entire top lifts off the pole. This discovery almost cost us the hall mirror, but fortunately the pole didn’t quite whack it… just flailed frighteningly about before steadying.

In the late afternoon, I ordered from the local supermarket. I said to my sister, “You’ll notice the only fruit I bought this time were bananas! They picked out terrible, languishing satsumas last time.” They don’t usually send bad fruit, but having been bitten once, it seems rational for me to be shy of being caught out a second time.

I ordered ingredients for the (hem hem) pasta and peas dish, including spring onions and the cheese in the recipe, Grana Padano. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never heard of it, but now I want to know what it’s like. What’s the point of having a life if we don’t try new things? The recipe includes extra virgin oil — Mum hates olive oil and I’m not all that keen myself. Nevertheless I got a small bottle of olive oil that claims to be mild. We’ll see!

There were other things I bought out of curiosity, just like you might browse the supermarket shelves and pick up stuff you’ve never seen before. I couldn’t leave the bag of gnocci where I found it. “What IS this stuff??” (Adds it to trolley). Jalapeno pretzels? Want!

In recent blog posts I was writing about cold feet when blogging, and today another blogger said it’s natural — we all feel that way. It takes courage, but it’s nice that the world keeps turning and we keep hitting the ‘publish’ button.

Oh, I still think we’re crazy, especially in these hair-trigger times, but I love that thought anyway.

Earlier I’d put my beautiful new coat stand at the back of the computer room upstairs, so naturally went to say goodnight before retiring. It sneered about the untidiness of the room and said it wasn’t terribly homely. I told it it will feel better when theĀ morning sunĀ is pouring through the windows. It might even have the odd pigeon peering in to say hello.

I know… but a little friendly humour in life goes a long way. šŸ™‚

Posted in Books, Life and Family

Of Books, Brachets and Friendships Gone Bad

30 Sept 2020

Finished Howl’s Moving Castle (Diana Wynne Jones) and began The Once and Future King (T.H. White).

I like Diana Wynne Jones books. I haven’t read Howl’s Moving Castle before, but loved the Studio Ghibli animation when it came on TV some years ago. The book was entertaining too, and cozy. I liked the idea of hiding away in that castle, but wondered if the different doorways made it easier to assault than if it had only been accessible from one town.

I read The Once and Future King when still at school. It was enjoyable at first, then I started to struggle, so I don’t remember much about it. I bought it for Kindle when it came up as an Amazon deal, and now I’m reading it again, feeling amazingly happy. It reminds me of the old days when life was simple, by which I mean as a teenager I could sit and read while Mum slaved away in the kitchen — now it’s the other way around, heh. Anyway, I always had a special affection for The Sword in the Stone.

I’m just a few pages in, and already I’ve run into a shower of words I don’t know, most connected with falconry, though I doubt if it will stop there. The Wart is lost in a scary medieval forest at night, but has met a beautiful knight and his brachet. I knew what the brachet was before the Wart went behind a tree to look at it, but I’m not sure where I read the word before. In this same book, maybe, but there are other suspects such as the Dorothy Dunnett books.

I should be sleeping but am wide awake because at teatime I dropped off when the Coronavirus Update was in full swing. Woke and found myself firmly gripping a full mug of tea with one hand clamped over the top. Was enjoying the heat of it tucked against my ribs, but now it was cold. Just lucky I didn’t spill it everywhere while dozing!

Looked at the reporters who were asking questions of the Prime Minister and his advisers and wondered if they ever smiled. Mum turns the sound off when they come on… she used to listen, but quickly tired of them. In fact, they send her blood pressure up so she has to turn them off to calm down.

As I was saying, I should be sleeping now but instead am writing a diary entry cum blog post on my phone using a bluetooth keyboard. I love the keyboard because it makes me feel more in control. I can type at the speed of thought (!) and can go the extra mile. Dabbing things in via the phone’s virtual keyboard is so slow and difficult that I wilt at the idea of writing more than I have to.

My reading lamp’s bright LED lightbulb went phut a few nights ago so the room is pretty dim. There’s a funny little lamp that changes colour from pink through orange, green, blue, pink. It’s soothing, and last night I left it on when I went to sleep.

The phone app confuses me… I accidentally scribbled over my text and don’t know how to erase the marks. Shouldn’t have been possible! Why should anyone want or need to do that? Good grief.

I picked up my iPad a few minutes ago and found an email from a friend. She says she’s in a book club and they talk to each other in a chat app of some description. I wonder what books they have been reading? Maybe I could join one too, though it could be annoying if I’m in the mood to read The Once and Future King when they want me to read something else. I was in an informal book club years ago but it fell apart before we ever discussed anything because the leader began hissing like a steam kettle at another member for recommending light novels and romances. I read a couple anyway, as I reckoned if the other ladies liked them enough to recommend them, they could be worth trying. I can’t remember — don’t think they were my cup of tea but they weren’t awful.

I recommended Beverley Nichols’ garden books, especially Merry Hall. One of the members said she tried to get them at their library and they didn’t have them but they ordered them for her. The books were a success with her, so there was *that* positive outcome at least, before our wee book club drew its last gasping breath.

I was wondering why people fall out with each other. My family might get annoyed with each other at times, but we don’t start hating each other or trying to end relations. I wonder what are the factors that cause things to go bad when they don’t have to?

Perhaps someone starts bearing grudges and keeps putting the boot in, using a nasty tone while pretending it’s just humour, and in the end it’s more than flesh and blood can stand. Once I asked Mum if there were good reasons for ending friendships… I was still friends with A at the time so you can see my thoughts were already trending that way several years ago. She said the only reason you could possibly have for ending a friendship is boredom! Much later, A said something hurtful when I was trying to cheer her in a dark moment. Mum advised me not to object because I’d only sound huffy — but I think now that I should have stopped right there. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Posted in Christmas and New Year, Life and Family, My Cats, Notepad Conversations

Feeling Our Oats in Partial Lockdown

My iPad takes me straight to the last email I received from the family friend who died. It’s not my most recent email, but the iPad is old and glitchy and jumps to old emails halfway down the list. There’s nothing unusual about the email itself, but it makes me sad every time. I keep thinking she’s still out there and we will see her soon.

I was on a chat thread to my sister and mother this evening:

Me: “I feel like having a peaceful Christmas rather than a frantic one.”

Mum: “Are we having one?”

Sister: “Did we have one last year?”

Mum: “Yes”

Me: “Of course. I went mad cleaning and putting plastic hooks on the bannisters. Each one demanded to be pressed on for a minute before moving on, then we had to leave them a while before hanging the lights. Then on Christmas Day I could barely keep my eyes open.”

Mum: “At least they are mostly still there”

Sister: “I think the idea is not to do everything last minute. Ha.”

Me: “Are you writing your letter to Santa now, then?”

Sister: “Still summer.”

Mum: “Give Santa time to write back and say sorry out of stock”

Sister: “Maybe we will all be locked down”

Mum: “Glasgow now”

Sister: “Yes”

Mum: “Goodnight.”


I suppose there won’t be crowds in rainy streets to contend with this Christmas, lockdown or no.

Was thinking how I had thoughts and reactions to each bit of the chat but voiced none of them. “I remember watching various things on Christmas Day — there was a Finding Nemo sequel that I thought was awful, though I loved the octopus. There was an animation about a snail and a whale who went on a trip together — I loved it but Mum was bored by it. I ordered things from China in December and they didn’t arrive till early January — a frog brooch, a nightie with a tropical design, gold organza gift bags (for the frog brooch) and an unusually pretty blue scarf. And whadya mean the hooks are mostly still there? I thought they were all still there! Don’t tell me some dropped off? Still summer? Not hereā€¦ it’s dark, cold and rainy. The autumn winds are blowing and I’m thinking about Halloween. Hey, that’s funny — even Santa will have trouble sourcing goods. He’ll go through the catalogues and everything will be greyed out like on the supermarket website.”

We order food from the supermarket and my sister collects it, but last time when I was looking through our favourite items, a large number were out of stock. Scott’s Porage Oats; Green Giant tinned sweetcorn; shredded duck pancakes; croissants; Tiramasu dessert; cream-filled doughnuts; Tunnock’s caramel wafers; Mum’s favourite bottled water; the better varieties of tinned fruit. I messaged my sister and said, “There isn’t another rush on supplies, is there??”

“Not that I’m aware of,” she replied.

There better not be. Some of those are near impossible to get anyway, but I got worried at the oats and water disappearing. Perhaps people are starting to stock up for Christmasā€¦ certainly can’t do this at the last minute this year. My sister found the oats somewhere else, though, so all is fine. It’s just that supermarket that had sold out.

It wouldn’t surprise me if we were the ones buying most of it! Mum has porridge every morning, and it has to be Scott’s Porage Oats. I bought different ones once and she wouldn’t finish themā€¦ I had to.

A cat deprived us of our supper last night. It was macaroni cheese and he licked it when we weren’t looking. He didn’t even eat it up, snip snap — Mum said we wouldn’t have known if she hadn’t seen him do it! Tonight we had ham hock gratin, which I covered with an upturned dish. The cat used to think our food was awful and wouldn’t touch broiled fish or roasted chicken, but his taste buds have matured with the years. Next he’ll be helping himself to Mum’s Scott’s Porage Oats. Though perhaps that’s why we get through it so quickly…

Time to sleep.

Posted in Life and Family, Notepad Conversations

Keeping Track

We sat outside today — nice and sunny. It’s strange how the great outdoors has a cheering effect on a person — must be all that Vitamin D streaming down. My sister has been hard at work getting the garden neat and tidy, whereas I tend to do the indoor chores. I told Mum one of the things that drives me nuts is putting a thousand-and-one bits of cutlery into the dishwasher, then putting them all away again when they’re clean. She said it used to drive her bats as well. It helps to leave the cutlery basket out and put cutlery straight in while waiting for the dishwasher to fill up, but then everything collects again on plates and in dishes when the dishwasher is running, so it’s not something we can do all the time. Maybe I can get a spare cutlery basket from somewhere and exhort people to put their own cutlery in.

Just when everybody was saying lockdown would be a great time to start keeping a diary, I stopped writing mine. I’m not a consistent blogger either but could try to combine the two for a while. I’d like to write a little every other day.

I was saying in my last blog post how we haven’t been out, but when people from another household were allowed to visit if they kept their distance and preferably if we sat outside, we had a friend over for coffee in the garden — not today; a little while ago. Like the one who died, she took us out for coffee sometimes before the lockdown, and wrote conversations with me. I enjoyed these because we have similar political views and she has a good sense of humour. I had a notepad with me at the patio table but mostly kept quiet and let them talk. Joyce wrote a note to say they were talking about how easy it is to lose track of the days during lockdown. I sat and thought about this for a while, then wrote that if Death in Paradise wasn’t on TV, it was probably Saturday. She smiled and went on talking with Mum, and after a while I wrote on the pad that if there was a bucketload of Columbo on television, it was more likely to be Sunday. We smiled, then laughed a little, then disintegrated and laughed a lot. I didn’t intend it to be that funny, but we got a little hysterical. Probably anything would seem amusing when we finally got company!

Sometimes I worry I live too much in my own head — for instance, if there is a group of people online and a few people talk while others read and remain silent, you think maybe everyone agrees with those who are speaking. You think if they didn’t agree, they would say so. I don’t think that is true, though, and we have to keep alternative realities in our heads as we go along. Perhaps the people speaking are the only ones who think something while everybody else is just ignoring it and letting things pan out. I found myself wondering about this in the empire-building game today. A few people were being quite outspoken about how things should be arranged in the group. I thought the leaders might object, but they said very little. One person left without a word, but I suspect he was planning to go somewhere else anyway. Did he leave because of what the other people said, or did it have nothing to do with it? Lacking any kind of feedback, we can’t make assumptions, but I have a bad habit of constructing narratives of what might be going on. Perhaps we can’t help but do that in trying to make sense of our world, but we stumble through the fog and make wrong turnings.

I used to wonder why people would listen to things they didn’t agree with and say nothing whatsoever, but one of the reasons could be that they wish to avoid it turning into a slanging match. Debate rarely seems to work and people never change their minds — at least not when others are looking! Actually, I’d be wrong — people do change their minds, but only if they find new information that they trust.

The game developers brought in a new feature that was unpopular. The very first day it appeared, I called it a hamster wheel, saying it was too much work to be fun. One of the group leaders sounded a bit cold, saying more advanced players needed something extra to do, and the feature was optional — we didn’t have to do it if we didn’t want to. I had to acknowledge that was true, though secretly I was disappointed by the unfriendly response. I kept quiet for several days, then suddenly the same person accepted a bunch of my trades. He’s been a bit absent and hasn’t been playing the game much, so I wasn’t expecting it — wondered if it was an olive branch. I don’t know. I’m probably guilty again of sketching out a narrative that isn’t true! Maybe we all do, all the time. Maybe he didn’t mean to sound cold just as I didn’t mean to sound grumpy, and maybe he needed these goods for something.

It’s just a game anyway; I don’t take it that seriously. It just interests me how it shadows real life, causing me to think about human interactions.

Time to sleep.

Posted in Lost in Thought

I Still Don’t Have a Bullet Journal

I’ve been trying again to write a bullet journal. Decided to start simple — won’t buy a beautiful expensive notebook and illustrate it. Won’t fill it with habit trackers, mood charts or ‘collections’ to fill in every day. I won’t even waste time numbering pages and writing dates. Start small…

Even that appears to be beyond my will. I have plenty of cheap notebooks of different sizes that I could experiment with. I like the idea of a little notebook that’s always with me, and I can reach for it whenever I remember something I need to add. I like the thought of only having to reach for one notebook for various purposes, whether it’s something I need to do, buy, or record for posterity. I even like the idea of doodling in it so that it ends up being vaguely arty anyway.

Well, I spent all night reading about how to make bullet journals, then all morning trying to plan what I want in mine. The problem is, I scrapped so much of the recommended structure that it’s not going to be an actual bullet journal. It won’t even be a planner — just something to write lists in. I won’t ‘migrate’ items… they will stay where they were written the first time. I don’t want to waste the notebook by leaving lots of blank space. I don’t want to tear pages out or write items to be scored out later, like a temporary grocery list.

There’s a proper ‘shopping list’ kind of notepad I can use… just write ‘milk, butter, potatoes,’ then tear the pages out when done with them. It still seems a waste… I’m likely to do what I’ve always done: write lists on scraps of paper and put them in my coat pocket.

Well, I don’t have to put grocery lists in my bullet journal if I don’t want to. How about To Do lists? I rather liked the idea of writing them for a specific month. October 2019 — halloween decorations, Christmas shopping, plan scrapbook. It still seems like a waste. It’s not as if I have children or a packed social calendar — having to remember to go out to dinner, make sugar plum fairy costumes etc. I’d have things like ‘pick up electoral ID from council,’ as I’m one of those sad people with no form of photo ID. I can’t drive; I’m not an OAP; I’m not a student; I don’t travel.

I still wanted a bullet journal, but the thought of making a genuine one with an index, future logs and monthly logs drives me up the wall. I could have a section in mine for an inspiring quotation, but find that idea annoying as well. Is the artistic bullet journal the modern day version of a sampler?

For a while I seriously considered daily logs in which I would write one sentence a day, fleeting thoughts or…. but I already have a diary. I also have an ‘Ideas Journal’ for creative inspiration, and there’s no need to duplicate that.

It leaves me wondering what I’m going to do with all these blank notepads if I’m not going to write in them at all? Future Ideas Journals, perhaps. Conversations with mater or handwritten diaries.

My iPad diary is for fleeting thoughts and memories.

The blank shopping list notepad is for shopping lists; otherwise I can use scraps of paper anyway. There’s also a magnetic pad on the fridge, though there’s never a pen nearby!

I have a Things app for reminders (including when the bins have to go out).

Those are all I need. And yet…

Posted in Reluctant Landlord

Wrestling with a Radiator Brush

Spent all summer preparing my house for renting out. New kitchen, new blinds, new curtains, new lampshades, new beds, new vacuum cleaner, new garden tools, new stuff, fixed stuff, replaced stuff, redecoration, dead garden rejuvenated and replanted by sister (she has gardening experience, which I don’t, and chose plants for their hard-wearing quality).

Cleaned the place myself rather than get a cleaner in. The last tenants were in the house for ten years, and I’d forgotten whatever I learned the first time. It wasn’t till I was nearly finished that I noticed a lot of stuff down the radiators. I had to buy a new radiator brush as my original brush had disappeared, and it was shocking what was down there! Every single radiator spat out at least one sock. When people blame the washing machine for eating their socks, are they sure it was the washing machine? As well as dust, I found supermarket leaflets, cardboard packaging, oil-soaked rags, dried orange peel, pink wool, desiccated rubber bands, pencils, hair grips, a 5p coin, a National Health Service card, small toys and a pair of silver angel wings.

The radiator brush wasn’t as effective as I’d hoped. The first time I pushed it down the middle, it jammed as though caught by a steel trap. That frightened me till I worked out why it was getting trapped and how to release it. The wire was bent into a flattened hook at the tip, and it was this that was catching on the bottom edges of the radiator. I can understand why it was designed like that, as you wouldn’t want to leave the wire tip sharp, but it’s a difficult brush to use. I could only push it down a little way so it wouldn’t catch again.

Worse than that, it was poor at excavating the dust, which would fly out briefly and go back in. One tight crevice was stuffed with an oily rag (I couldn’t see what it was till it was out), and the brush managed to get trapped in that. It was a nasty few minutes till I was able to extricate the brush, after which I swapped over to a bamboo cane to push the rag down the rest of the way. Even then the rag was stuck at the bottom, and I had to weevil it out with my fingers. Yeuch.

The bamboo cane was definitely better at getting the junk out. The brush was useful for bringing up dust to the maw of the waiting vacuum cleaner… brush in one hand, vacuum nozzle in other, and plenty of sweary words whenever the brush got stuck.

My main frustration was that it was difficult to find time to clean the house. I would walk over early in the morning, but all too soon had to take off again to make supper for us at home. Things always took longer than I thought they would, the radiators being a case in point. I had a happy vision of myself sweeping out the dust in minutes — wasn’t expecting all of the debris and difficulties, and of course had to clean the floors afterwards. Even obtaining the bamboo cane wasn’t as quick as you’d assume. No canes in the shed, so I tried the loft. There was one the right length, but it was in a dark corner where there were no floorboards. The last thing I wanted to do was bring down the ceiling, so I crawled very, very carefully…

Having inched back to safer ground clutching my treasure, I was horrified to spot something else that had to be sorted out. You think you’re nearly finished, then yet another problem rears its ugly head! Everything takes longer than you think, or perhaps I’m just very bad at cleaning and organizing. Either that or I’m a Scottish version of Anne Shirley, listening to the Pachelbel Canon and dreamily washing sitting room windows in sunshine… felt as though I had all the time in the world.

I was annoyed with myself — felt a real rookie. Imagine if I’d got everything squeaky clean and beautiful, and proudly turned it over to tenants, blissfully oblivious of ten years of dust and rubbish still baking away inside my radiators. At least none of the debris was mine, because I can remember cleaning them when I originally moved out.

Meanwhile, I’ve become a radiator brush connoisseur. Pounced eagerly when I noticed the local garden centre had a beautifully made goat’s hair one with beech handle. So soft! Warily checked the tip for a hook — thankfully none! Cost three times as much as the other, but it’s a better, slimmer brush that’s less likely to cause problems.

The new tenants are due to move in later this week. I should celebrate, but after accepting them I felt even more stressed and worried, and wondered if I should have seized the chance to give up being a landlord and run like the wind. It should be a huge relief that somebody wanted it, but there’s still so much that could go wrong. To rent or not to rent? Either way could lead to disaster — sailing between Scylla and Charybdis.

I’m not pleased with myself — I should have been able to sort the house out an awful lot quicker, but next time I will remember the lessons learned. Just hope it won’t be another ten years that go by before I can visit my old home again.

Posted in Books, Lost in Thought, Reluctant Landlord

Dented and Daunted

Personal diary extract: Sunday 28 April 2019

Will need to pay out for new kitchen and appliances, dining chairs, redecoration, blinds, window fittings, new beds and bedding. Bin’s lid was broken — should report to council. Old kitchen worktop scarred — tenants weren’t using chopping board. Stainless steel pans grimy and burned on their bases. The biggest has a small dent near the bottom… maybe someone used it as a hammer to bash in a nail?

There are council taxes and power bills, and the agent keeps going on holiday.

By the time we went home today, I was depressed. Hoped I’d feel better if I wrote in my diary, but am in the process of becoming someone else and have temporarily lost my speech. Gradually finding my voice again in another way, if that makes any sense.

At night I finished reading The Abolition of SanityĀ by Dr Steve Turley. Makes me want to read C.S. Lewis! I don’t entirely understand the concept discussed — men with chests, Gaius and Titius, sublime waterfalls. Too many pieces are missing from the picture, at least for me. Why is the Tao important in ways that inner morality isn’t? Is the Tao a kind of universal constitution?

Perhaps combined security and morality is important — even while we take care of others, we need to be secure. You must buckle your own seatbelt before helping anyone else, and I doubt if that rule has changed. That might be one way the head and stomach meet to become the ‘chest’. Rationality takes precedence and balance must be found… we’re in a world where intellect has taken over and is trying to deny human nature, so there’s no ‘chest’ any more.

The above are just my garbled thoughts! An attempt to shine a light in a corner that’s still dark to me. I will obtain C.S. Lewis’s books and see if I can understand this thing better.

I’m less hooked on Facebook than I was a week ago, which is brilliant. Can’t blame the political groups for being open’ rather than ‘closed’… my favourite has the specific aim of sharing discussions and information as widely as possible. Fortunately I’ve found a closed group with similarities — not as good, but it offers a useful safety valve.

There’s not much being talked about that’s new just now. It’s recently been about the launch of The Brexit Party under Nigel Farage. Voting intentions for the European Elections. We got our poll cards a couple of days ago. Bill Cash has a court case against the government. Ann Widdecombe joined The Brexit Party and was expelled from the Conservative Party. (That suddenly made me think of my dream about Donald Trump firing me from one job because I was better suited to another!) JRM’s sister joined The Brexit Party — one of the first candidates to be unveiled.

It’s a little samey at the moment, and my focus has shifted. I’m excited about getting a new kitchen, though I’ll never have the fun of using it myself. The cost scares me, as well as the logistics of getting the house ready to rent out again. Will the next tenants be better… or worse?

Mixed feelings, but we’ll muddle through… we always do.

Posted in Life and Family, Music I Like

Musing About Facebook and Other Things

A Message to You Rudy by The Specials:

I love this song. I challenge you to hear it and not dance, nod, tap your feet or fingers. It’s been in my head a lot over the past few days, and today I found myself dancing in the kitchen, even though it was only playing in my head and I was waiting for the kettle to boil! I felt happy and summery, which is strange at this time of year. But that’s this genre of music — I can’t think of many (if any) that make you sad.

Gosh, that new kettle’s a slow boiler. EU regulations, or just cheap?

Am fed up with cooking and in the mood to mess around a bit more. I found the old blog draft I was looking for; the one about internet reading. It was written three years ago exactly! Will publish it soon, though held back by the plaster on my index finger… clicking the mouse doesn’t work well, but the keyboard isn’t happy either.

As a Brexiteer, I thought I’d lost a cousin on Facebook… possibly a Remainer? I sighed and plodded onwards, then a couple of nights ago received a friend request and realized he had set up a new account. The old one is gone or inactive, and all his friends and family had to sign up to the new one. He ‘liked’ a couple of my posts, and I scratched my head and thought “a few days ago I was convinced I was persona non grata! And now I’m getting likes.” It’s good when we are slow to jump to conclusions, and it also feels good when friends and family put up with you even if they don’t agree with your views or understand your interests. Mind you, I haven’t told them about the dancing! šŸ˜

I checked it wasn’t a fake page I was being invited to, and found myself talking to his sister after years of silence. She’s the nearest to me in age. Turns out life has been Heap Big Stress for her lately; you don’t get a full picture from the dribbets you read on Facebook. She sent a photo of their family Christmas so I’ll need to look out a return photo. Maybe the one of the Christmas tree… or the other one of the Christmas tree. Or one of another 500 pictures of the Christmas tree? I can’t decide!

Do you think one day they might have a giant library of all our photos? They’ll look at mine and decide they don’t need to keep hundreds of photos of the same Christmas tree when just one will do. Will they keep thousands of photos taken by every person who has lived? I don’t see it. Our pictures and words will die with our hard drives, along with our family Christmases.

Finishing up with a haunting song…

Pipe Dreams by Travis.

I’d pray to God if there was Heaven
but Heaven seems so very far from here
and it all boils down to the same thing
just a yin and a yang or a couple of pipe dreams
and it all boils down to the same old pain
whether you win or you lose isn’t gonna change a single thing

Posted in Life and Family, Lost in Thought, Rants, Weekend Coffee Share

Sticker Trouble

If you were having coffee with me, I would probably talk your ear off. It’s nice strong coffee, though, and we’re having it black (unless you insist on milk).

It’s bin day tomorrow so I took the trash out. Washed things sitting around, emptied and filled dishwasher, took care of houseplants. They have greenfly again, so I took them out and gave them a good blasting with the hose. I will blast them a few more times during the day, but not too often. I asked Mum why *her* plants never got greenfly, and she wrinkled her nose and pointed at her begonias. I noticed the little lavender spriglet was drying out again, so I shot it outside after a dousing, and told Mum I’d try leaving it outside because it keeps drying out too much in the house. It will certainly die inside. Outside is its best chance.

The coriander was completely dead, so I emptied it outside and stored the pig-shaped pot in the shed. The soil was all pretty wet… it was probably over-watered.

One of the things Mum bought when she was out with a friend this morning was over-packaged pears. There were four, and I immediately pulled them out of the packaging to place them in the fruit bowl, and realized two weren’t just bruised, they had cuts in the flesh and the juice was running. You couldn’t see the damage because of all the stuff they were cocooned in. I showed them to Mum, and she frowned.

“It says ‘from Italy’,” I said, reading the front of the covering film.

I was thinking about it while emptying the coriander skeleton onto the flowerbed, and remembered how sometimes you’d buy a pumpkin or a squash, and remove a big supermarket sticker only to find a considerable dent or other blemish under the sticker. When pumpkins are intended to be the decorative centre of somebody’s festive display, it’s an mean-spirited thing to do (oowoowoowoo), but I don’t know who puts the stickers on in the first place. The supermarket or the producers?

Probably it’s not something we should formally complain about… pick your battles, as they say. Presumably most squashes and pumpkins have flaws and blemishes, and it would be like moving to the country and complaining about farmyard noises at crack of dawn. The fact that somebody has deliberately hidden flaws with carefully-placed stickers does leave a bad taste in the mouth, though. The daft thing is, if they put a blemished pumpkin in the wonky veg section and discounted it by 10p, we would rush to buy it. At least we would know about it beforehand and be pleased with our bargain!

Stickers must cost money, and ultimately the customer and the environment both pay; the real issue is probably why they put stickers on loose produce anyway.

Having mused over this during the funeral of my poor coriander, I stored the pot and headed back into the warm.