Tuesday, 30 May 2017

It is all about dead Cats

We have a beach clean, it is an outing, for want of a better word. The object is to get people out and about, talking and enjoying the freedom of walking on the beach, a simple pleasure well worth the effort. Firms organise them all the time, some even have them in working hours, added bonus. They take a stretch of beach and basically pickup the rubbish. Cleaning up the rubbish that the sea spits out and after the yobs, who do not understand the meaning of littering.

Susan and colleagues from Merlin Entertainments, went on just such a beach clean outing and found the beach to be surprising clean. We do pay a small fortune in rates and taxes to the boroughs to keep our beaches clean, so it is some comfort to hear they are doing a good job. Anyway back to the story in hand. Susan, with her able helpers from Merlin came across a dead cat, actually a thin, wet, dead cat. We could play detective and try figure out how it got there and why it died but that is for another time. Being practical and resourceful, they deposited it into a black bag, along with all the other rubbish they had collected. Once back at the office it was a good topic of conversation until a cat lover wondered if it was chipped. That set the cat among the pigeons, pardon the pun, back to the bins they went and retrieved the thin, wet, dead cat and took it off to the vet. That clever vet took one look at the cat and pronounced it dead and assured them they would check for a chip and if found would let the owners know.
Come to think of it, if it was your cat and had probably drowned while trying to swim to Brownsea island, you would want to know. Get closure and be able to mourn quietly, in the knowledge it will not be coming back. Nothing worse than always looking down the road hoping your cat is walking up to greet you. 
Talking of Susan, she is off to Chessington World of Adventure for two days and then back to enjoy the bank holiday weekend. We expect it to be a warm one with temperatures around 22deg C, 77deg F in American. I will be taking in the sea air over the weekend, interesting to watch all the pale skins turn red, mine included. Funny thing but there is always less people in the sun the second day.
Getting back to Chessington, it is one of the few places you can go on safari and be guaranteed to see the big five. Not many places can promise that, all in one afternoon. 
I must thank you all for the generous comments of late. 

Friday, 26 May 2017

Weddings and assumptions.

It is something like the making of a man, is in the remaking of the man. It is in that remaking, of the man, that he is remembered. 

Redeveloping a website and testing it in all scenarios, is something we can never do enough. We assumed that the new application had been tested to breaking point. But to assume is to make an ass out of you and me. We fell into the trap of not testing all the versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer, IE has been known to drive grown men to tears. In this particular case it did not cope with different screen sizes for a complicated booking system. As I said above, it is in the remaking, of the man, that he is remembered. 

I digress, weddings are the ideal place for family intrigue, glances of disapproval and a time to reflect on how you have aged. It is also a time to take stock on how far you have come. Susan just loves a good wedding, all the beautiful people and the ancient ceremony of marriage, all enhance the magic for her. I must admit, I did enjoy the last wedding we went to, but then I did know quite a few people and through them met others. Enough of weddings, I will have you nodding off any minute now.

May is proving to be a month of all four seasons in one. The days weather is a gamble, you could wake to sunshine and light breeze or rain and strong winds. Or get both in the same day, combined with a temperature drop of 10 deg. What to wear is the biggest problem? Thermal vest or not? Jumper or jacket? These are the daily decisions confronting us when we wake.
Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Marching down the road of time

There used to be a time when we went for a 5 km run in the afternoon and then had a swim in the sea. Days when we were stronger, younger and free of the constraints of age. Now a quiet walk/run of 2.4 km takes its toil. But the joy of movement is still there, that sharpness of mind, freeing creative ideas that would otherwise be locked away through the daily routine of work. No matter your age, unlock the real you and enjoy a quality of life, ahead of your game. Exercise.

Sitting at Sandbanks Cafe, I am pleasantly surprised at the staffs eclectic accents, Chinese, Polish, Scottish and French. I come here often and it is always the foreign staff that greet me and know what type of coffee I drink, the locals pretend to be polite but are, as all council workers, just doing what they have to do, to get through their day. 

Let's stay with Council workers, back bone of the job market. Elections are coming our way and the press and politicians are having a field day. The problem is our lack of trust in both, in equal measures. They make bold statements, promises but we just can not take them seriously. The press make and break people, all in the name of reporting the news. They do insist it is in the public interest, in truth it is a juicy story and they can embellish it today and forget it tomorrow. The politicians are cut from the same cloth. Manifestos, not worth the paper they are written on, promises, all empty.
There is one advantage to their new manifestos, shake the dust off the last election manifesto and put a new cover and date on it and it is all ready to go. All those empty promises left to gather dust are revived, hailed as new and well researched. They will say, 'This is what the public want.' 

The world is crying out for an honest press and an honest politician. How long they will survive, will have to be up to us. The press and the politicians will not take kindly to honesty. If they are strong enough and supported by people of integrity, they might survive.

I leave you on this somber note.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Art, when it is Art

'A piece of art, is only a piece of art if I sign it, therefore it is a piece of art.'

A wooden door, set half way up a wall with two holes at eye level. Looking through the peep holes you see a naked woman, lying spread eagle with a book in her hand. The landscape stretching out behind her to a waterfall. ‘Life cycle.’ Henri-Robert-Marcel Duchamp. He put a urinal on display once, called it Fountain.

Mark and Helen are the proud owners of 2 Gloucestershire Old Spots pigs, Gertrude Cook and Archibald Smythe Cook. Open day Sunday the 25th, come and see our pigs. William has built a pigsty befitting these two noble animals. From the front door you have a paved path, highlighted with solar lights, leading you eye to those noble pigs. Lady Gertrude and Sir Archibald Smythe seemingly oblivious to the mounting interest, Lady Helen attributes it to the special grass left by the Jamaican builders, while going about their daily tasks. Lord Mark explained, 'It is just good grass man.' All I can say is, he is so cool.

Moving on, Gary needs a new car to replace his ageing vehicle. To be fair, he has had it some time. His family has grown, 3 children, the first is now a teenager going on 20. Then there is Dan and Alex who is a 2 years old, or is it 3, I lose track. Most importantly, there is the most beautiful woman in all Italy, Claudia. Gary loves her to bits and she has asked him to get a new car. No that is putting it too mildly, she demands it, clever girl, as asking gets you no where, where as demanding is a statement of fact. The unsaid threat of concrete shoes attached to his wetsuit, does weigh heavily on his mind. 

With all that in my thoughts, I have decided to start a fundraising bid to buy them a car they deserve. I have put £ 50 in the fund and I am asking, with all humility, give generously, show you care and we might, just save them from a Renault or Peugeot. Give generously and help this lovely family from the busses and trains, Renaults and Peugeots.

Had breakfast in Wimborne this morning with Susan and her friend Vivienne. Lovely lady, and a fountain of knowledgeable about Wimborne. More about Dame Vivienne later.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Poole Quay

I am at the Quay, coffee shop as you can see from the photo I have taken. So much going on. Just seen a couple, young, trendy looking man opens his takeaway coffee too fast. Those lids are sometimes difficult to get off. Anyway the coffee burnt his hand. What could he do, the coffee could not be blamed, he gives his partner an accusing stare, he was not a happy bunny. Finally after all his drama she buys him an Ice cream, clever girl. Everyone happy, but I would give her some advice, he is going to be a nightmare to live with.

Sitting here looking out over the quay I am struck by how awfully civilised the average brit has become. Coffee instead of tea, they really have come a long way. 
Quite a strong breeze keeping the gulls honest, as they attempt to steal the food off the abandoned tables. Seeing some chips under a table, reminds me of the philosophy of dirt. Imagine yourself off to work in the morning and you see the last of that delicious cream cake is still on the plate. What the hell, impulse gives raise to a spoon in you hand and you dig into the last bit and it falls on the ground. Oh damn, now you have to clean it up. That tempting last slice has gone from something you desired, to a mess on the floor, which you now have to clean up. What is mess actually? Someone once said that mess or dirt is just 'matter in the wrong place'. That cake on a plate is great but on the floor it is no longer a tempting slice but a mess. What the hell, just pick it up and eat it, it tastes the same, wether from a plate or the floor. Just do not let your wife or children catch you, that will take some explaining.

Talking of explanations. I once read that if your dog urinates on the lawn, thus creating bald parches, which the dog does not mind but offend us, you should pick an area away from everything and wee there occasionally. The theory is that your dog will smell it and mark his territory on you wee. Well you can see where this is going, Sam was a master patch maker so I got a small jug and wee'd in it and pour it over the soak away drain, hoping to encourage him to wee on the drain as opposed to the lawn. Seemed to be working until one day I was having a wee into the jug and Robert appeared, 'What you doing Dad?' Words failed me, not sure if he understood my embarrassed explanation, he nodded but with a hint of amusement. Needless to say I shelved that idea and let Sam create his own style of parch work garden. 

All for now, till anon, as someone I know, would say. Now he says, ' I will FaceTime you this afternoon'. I still wait for that afternoon.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Climate Change

Climate change is a change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns when that change lasts for an extended period of time (i.e., decades to millions of years). Wikipedia 

The indications of human effect, on climate change, are mounting. Conclusions on the research so for are provisional, but almost all science is provisional, research never ends and in the real world we have to act on the available evidence. Everyone has to do, what is in their power to confront the issue, it's no good denying a widely recognised problem. Climate change requires a cautious approach, that tackles the environment threat without undermining economic growth. There are those that seek to use climate change to push an anti business agenda, Eco warriors, radicals, they damage the prospects for a global partnership. Whether we like it or not, we are in this together. Technology and Science have brought us information and progress that is now truly global. We must invest in both and trust the science to help us get to the answers. As I said previously, science is provisional but in science we have had real progress, now it is up to all of us to find the solutions using all the tools we have at our disposal. Also let us not forget, internet technology and the contribution it can make to identifying the major issues and helping simplify the huge amount of facts and figures into something we can all understand. As we must trust science, we must also make sure those same scientists put their arguments in plain English. They in turn will take their findings to their respective governments and this is where we must be weary. Politicians, by their very nature cannot be trusted. Firstly their tenure is normally 5 years and their actions are always tempered by their desire for re election. Climate Change needs more then a regional set of actions, the United Nations should be better empowered to fight this global threat. If we all take responsibility, we may make a difference. Anyone have any thoughts on this emotive subject?

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Legoland Castle Hotel

Yes the rumours are true, we will be going to the Castle Hotel in June. Susan has been invited to the soft opening, to see if it lives up to the high expectations of the Merlin and Lego brands. I am going as an impartial observer. I will bring you the news and developments on this trip as, and when, they its available. In the mean time, try and contain your excitement. 
We are working on a nice little project at the moment, Dorset County Museum (DCM). I enjoy history and writing, fits well with this project as they are custodians of the rich history of the Jurassic era. Soon they will feature Dippy the dinosaur as their main exhibition. The museum has a vast archive of the works and times of Thomas Hardy. Thomas Hardy did most of his writing in and around Dorchester, so this is Hardy Country.  Hardy died on the 11 January 1928, in Dorchester. You would know 'Far from the Madding Crowd', 'Jude the Obscure' and there is many more, all worth a read. 

Back to DCM and our project. We will be giving them a booking system, online ticketing, archive search and a new, user friendly website to take them into a new era. 'Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change.' We need to go cautiously as they will be overwhelmed by the change, a challenge but one not without adventure and discovery. Once we have a decent draft ready, I will post the link. 
Changing the subject completely but I need to tell you about the latest attack on the cloths shops. This daft world we live in has gone the extra mile to create the most idiotic survey. Researches from somewhere have done an in depth investigation into the size of the mannequins, the shops use to display dresses etc. They have come to the conclusion that the mannequins are too thin and if in the real world, would have health issues! They concluded that if people were the same size as the mannequins they would be "considered medically unhealthy".
"There is clear evidence showing that the ultra-thin ideal is contributing to the development of mental health problems and eating disorders.” writes Dr Eric Robinson. I can just see the average shopper being completely demoralised by these creepy models, dressed like people. Makes me think of Doctor Who and the Daleks.

Sad dogs in a modern city

Sad dogs attached to tramps, sad eyes that should be bright. Poole is like all cities, all social classes walk briefly together and never say a word. Hurrying back to their office or home, they walk blind, this is a conscious effort and with their eyes only seeing the pavement, they escape the discomfort of looking someone in the eye and maybe saying hello. The dogs are no different except they have not lost their interest in others who chance by. They have sad eyes but if you make eye contact there is a moment of joy, fleetingly fast the dog looks away, a moment is all it takes to say goodbye. 
This is the world of frightened people who search for all their comfort in their smart phones, while this beautiful, brilliant world passes them by. I do rage sometimes at how technology has robbed life of quality and purpose. Turn the phones off for a day, actually turn the electricity off for a day and let nature take its course, could be interesting. 

My faith in people was somewhat restored recently on a visit to Abbots Wood to see the Bluebells. It rained a little but families where out there walking through a blanket of bluebells, no signal, so no phones except those used to capture the splendour of the vast blue carpet, spread unevenly under the old oak trees. This lasts but a few weeks and then is gone until next year. 
I am sitting in Cafe Nero in Poole enjoying a good cup of coffee before venturing off to the supermarket to buy supper. I think this just might become a regular visit when I need space and a respite from my computer. 
The town centre is slowly dying, empty shops are the norm, as we are all shopping out of town at the superstores. The council, in all its wisdom have put the parking fees up, in an effort to raise more money for them to waste, higher parking fees means less visits to the town centre, less shoppers, less shops. Business rates have also increased not helping the beleaguered small businesses. Progress I suspect will, one day do away with the council, not a moment too soon. 

Monday, 1 May 2017

To Surrender

Everyone has got two places you need to be, one you can touch and one you cannot see, the one where a stranger is a friend. We all live in the real world but escape all too often to our dreams. Our imagination takes us to places that are good and bad. Some dwell there a lot longer then they should and thankfully, that starts the stories, books and works of art.
For me it is writing, I love it, every time I surrender, I make some dream come true, if only on paper. Zucchero wrote the following lines that is the start to any story.
'I heard the oldest story that nobody seems to know, I think it was about that stranger. It was youth, love and it was danger, it was winter but that warm it gets before the snow, it froze my soul. It was about love and pride and the place to surrender.
I’m crying, about some kid that they found, lying on a beach, born in a manger.'

Onwards and forwards. We went to Walford Mill Crafts with two of Susan's friends. Viv and Anna, great ladies who always laugh at my jokes. Enough about me, lets get back to the Mill. Their website describes it as 'Walford Mill Crafts is a flagship contemporary craft gallery in Dorset and a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England.' Actually it as quite fascinating, home craft and artist in residence. It is amazing what they can do with a little thread and imagination. I do recommend the Mill Stream Cafe for coffee and homemade cake, really worth a visit. I had Victoria Sponge as a treat, Susan did share but then it was a big slice of cake. If you lucky you will see otters in the stream, they have a video in the Mill but the real things is always king.

To Pamphill, Wimborne, tomorrow and a walk to see the Bluebells in Abbots Wood, good chance of rain but I am not complaining.