Tuesday, 26 September 2017

The Scottish National Anthem

My blog is gaining followers from all around the world, I even get a mention by name in this Youtube Video by Amy MacDonald.

O Flower of Scotland, when will we see your like again, that fought and died for, your wee bit hill and Glen, and stood against him, proud Edward's Army, 
and sent him homeward, tae think again. The Hills are bare now, and Autumn leaves Lie thick and still, O'er land that is lost now, which those so dearly held. Those days are past now, and in the past they must remain, but we can still rise now, and be the nation again.

Makes me think of South Africa. Security vs Freedom? 

Wanted to talk about security vs freedom. How much security you have is directly associated with how much freedom you have. In England you have much less freedom then South Africa. But we do have security. Freedom in SA comes at a price, security in SA is on the low side because the criminals have the freedom to rob, murder and steal. They have this freedom simple because they will probably get away with it. 

Take an example I often quote. You approach traffic lights late at night and there is not another car in sight. In England you would stop and wait for the lights to change, your freedom is curbed by your respect for the law. In SA, you would not wait because you do not have that respect for the law, mainly because the upholders of the law are mostly corrupt. There is also the danger of being hijacked or robbed.

Freedom is actually a perceived notion and no one has total freedom. The human race cannot have complete freedom because we would then live in a totally lawless society.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Dog walkers and their stories

Walking Jenson has become one of the most enjoyable parts of my day. Away from the computer screen, emails and clients with, dare I say, different views on what they want, some just plain sad. It is of no matter, if, what they want, is in keeping with what they are trying to achieve. 
'I saw this on another website and I really think it will be look good on mine.’ My favourite.

On a more somber note. I passed a family on the beach today, all quiet and looking very dejected, raw grief etched on their faces, as they tried not to breakdown and cry. Then the young boy could hold back the tears no longer and collapsed into his fathers arms. Sobs racking his little body, while everyone else looked on helpless. One can not help wondering if it was a family member or a pet they were grieving for?
I walked on, thankful Jenson had decided not to run over and jump up. I walked that beach feeling much the same when Sam died and I could only hope they remember the good times, they will feel the lose and, in time, that gets manageable.

Jenson quickly brought me back to the present, mad dash to an old couple sitting on beach chairs with a very old little dog, as he decided they were worth a visit and a play with. Apologised and dragged him off, but they both had big smiles and he had in his own way, brought joy to their day. Puppies do that and I am sure he is milking it to the utmost. He does believe everyone loves him and wants to say hello, problem is he is now almost 20kg of jumping joy.
This Autumn period we are in, a transition between summer and winter, with summer loosing its grip to the colder time. Akin to a crack in a dam wall, no matter how hard you try, the water seems to still get through. So the cooler air seams gently in and the sun takes longer to warm your back.
The sun is setting earlier and this is not a bad thing, in the summer the sun does come up at an ungodly hour, just after 4am and does not set until after 10pm. Makes sleeping a challenge, even the blackout curtains allow light through. Now the sun is making its  way south, leaving us with longer nights.

Actually having breakfast, alone on this occasion, as Susan is working. Does worry me a little as she is burning the candle at both ends. Her mother can not look after herself anymore and work is becoming a challenge. Neither is something I can anything about. 
I over heard a couple in the line ahead of me saying this was their first experience of Internet dating. They both seem quite engaged and ordered a full breakfast each. Later sitting near them I realised he was blowing it. She was trying to concentrate on what he was talking about, but gearboxes were obviously beyond her. Almost want to step in and tell the guy to stop talking and listen.

Thanks for all the kind comments on my Old Books blog, i have read them and have replied where appropriate. I am thinking of publishing some of the comments sent in by those who are not part of the family. 

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Books, old and new

I recently read that physical books are making a comeback, sales are 6% up on last year while digital books have lost a little ground, -1.2% on last year. When I have finished my book I want to see it in print, glossy cover and when you hold it, it will hopefully convey through its weight, the many hours spent writing and rewriting. It will be something to touch and carry with me, being a mass of ink, paper and glue, its physical presence will be something. I hope most people buy it through the internet in ebook form, let's save those trees. For those few who want to own something more physical, who, like me, read the spine and remember what is inside. I would suggest they buy the book and like all books, it comes with that lovely book smell. Now I just have to finish it.                                                                                       
Recently read about how the Indians look after their books. Books are a symbol of prosperity and learning. If they drop a book they will pick it up and touch the book to their heads. Newspaper and books are still the main source of news and knowledge. Most of rural indian only heard about their independence from the British rule, by newspaper. Books are still highly valued in India and many household have a library that they are very proud of.
On January 1, 2017, Nikhil Mehta, a well known writer in India said.
‘Books plays an important role in in our life. It is said that books are our best companions. Books are our friends in a real sense. They demand nothing from us. They give us plenty of joy. We also learn a lot from them. They take us into a different world of imagination.’

I will go one step further and advocate the reading of the classics, if you have not done so already. One of the objects of reading the classic writer, is to be able to appreciate whatever is good and wherever it is found. The study of classics forms one’s taste and judgment. I believe once you have read a few of these books, you will appreciate good writing and will go on to read well written books.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Electric Mountain Bikes

Yep the new electric mountain bikes (e-MB) are here. They are a little expensive but if you can afford one then they are the way to go. By a little expensive, I am lead to believe they range from £ 500 to around £ 8000, I could be wrong but looking at a few website you can buy a relatively good e-MB for just over £ 1000.

Lady Vivienne from Canford Magna fame has a top of the range e-MB and claims that it only takes 5 minutes longer to get to work on her e-MB then her car, although this has not been officially confirmed. That is not bad really, the wind in your hair and the sun on your back, cycling the quaint English country lanes to work. The bonus is you do get electrical assisted exercise and you will feel very self righteous. In fact I would say this is going to be the mode of transport for the future and the future is now. 

Lady V told me that her model comes with a heated seat, which vibrates. Now that could bring some pleasure in the otherwise boring process of pedalling and I can understand why that put such a smile on her face, as can be seen from the photo I have uploaded. I am a little surprised at how lovingly she is holding that saddle. Such luxury and all on a bicycle.

The only problem, that I can see, is the English weather. It is not called the muddy island for nothing, cold and rain are the norm for most of the year. I only see them being used for about 3 months of the year and then on sunny days but if it brings pleasure then all I can say is go out and try before you buy, you might get to like them.

We must wish Lady V a very happy birthday, not a day over 50 and still up for a bottle of red wine and a huge, rare steak. I think I mentioned it in a previous blog, Lady V is in Susan's weight watchers team. This is one sport that if you lose you win, strange but true. Lady V picks her matches and after the nights celebration and the huge steak, she wisely decided to pull out of the game the next day. Susan was there and did lose, so the team is still strong after that win. Well done Susan, - 4 is no mean feat to have won by.

Monday, 4 September 2017


Optimism, great thing to have but I fear the Brits seem to think it is an eye problem. 

I was at the AirShow in Bournemouth yesterday and after a rather long lunch in a very cramped restaurant, we went out to see the Air display. Everyone was quite upbeat for the first hour, we saw a helicopter out at sea and a display by a Mig 15 jet. The helicopter flew around and then landed on the naval frigate. The Mig 15 flew passed and then did the same about 10 times and that all happened in the first hour. By now we were all a little bored, lets get another drink, great idea and everyone went back inside and missed the Red Arrows. 

One optimised was heard to say, “They will be back.” Not to burst his bubble but that was it for today. The food was rather good and the weather was perfect for an Air Display, so 2 out of 3 is good, isn’t it?

Enough grumbling, I have just read an extract from Winnie the Pooh. This to me is true optimism.
Piglet and Pooh decide to take Eeyore presents for his birthday, he is stuffed donkey with a deeply cynical and pessimistic view of life. Happy to share a negative view of things. 

“EEYORE, the old grey Donkey, stood by the side of the stream, and looked at himself in the water. 
“Pathetic,” he said. s' That's what it is. Pathetic.” 
He turned and walked slowly down the stream for twenty yards, splashed across it, and walked slowly back on the other side. Then he looked at himself in the water again. 
“As I thought,” he said. “No better from this side. But nobody minds. Nobody cares. Pathetic, that's what it is.” Extract from the book.

In all fairness he is rather philosophical and can give great wisdom at times.

What to take to a donkey who has nothing. Piglet decided to take a balloon he was given by Christopher Robin and Pooh decided a jar of honey was just the thing Eeyore would enjoy. 
You see where recycling presents started, goes back along way really.

On the way to Eeyore, Piglet tripped and broke his balloon, Pooh ate all the honey and rather then go back and get him something else, they took him a broken balloon and an empty jar of honey. Eeyore was over the moon, for once he was feeling very positive and loved the presents. I suppose when you are a stuffed, cynical donkey with a ribbon on your tail, named Eeyore and live in a 100 acres wood, the smallest distraction would be a bonus.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Things to come.

Now for that 2nd event I was leading you on with. Robert not only turned 21 but has now passed his driving test and is legally allowed to drive. Just a word of caution, he is normally on the road at about 10am and 12 noon, might be better if you delay your journey until he has navigated his way to gym and back.

In all fairness to Robert, he has this thing about getting full marks in what ever he does and his driving test was no exception. The examiner could not find any faults and gave him a clean sheet. Something like his first exams in America, where he was marked 120 out of 100, only in America can that happen. As if this is not enough, he has a car, as can be seen from the attached image, and is extremely happy. We can only wish him happy travels and loads of fun.
On turning 21, I feel I need to say a few words to a young man who is at the start of his life's journey. Practise tolerance, listen before you speak and only offer advise or opinion when you need to. Follow your dreams and never be afraid to try something new. It is only through trying and sometimes failing that we can succeed. Remember dreams can only be reality if you really believe in them. The fool thinks he knows everything but a wise man knows he has so much still to learn. 

Mark Cook turns 50 and my advise to him is enjoy it. You might feel 18 but remember you have 32 years experience as well. In all fairness, it is not the police who are telling him to slow down, it is his doctor. Happy Birthday Mark Cook, Lords of Holtwood and surrounding areas. 

Warning: This article is not to be read by those of a sensitive nature.

I often get asked why I drink proper coffee and not instant. Life is short, my seven score years and ten, allotted on an average basis to all of us, is nearing its time span. For that reason alone, I prefer not to drink instant, plastic, coffee.  Drinking freshly ground coffee is liken to a good wine, you saviour it gently. 
Expresso is pure coffee and with the proper coffee machines, the best but if you prefer your coffee a little lighter, then the Americano would be my choice. Americano is really hot water infused with an shot of expresso. Most coffees are expresso based, but use milk in various forms. If you wanted to make this drink at work, you will need a coffee machine, quite simply it is the only way to drink coffee, with only the expresso topping the bill.
I has a very straightforward instruction for preparation:
  1. Warm a coffee cup, not a mug, they for instant drinkers, must be avoided.
  2. Place cup in coffee machine, select one cup setting and watch the magic happen.
Voila! And your Americano is now ready.

For those without a coffee machine, get a coffee machine and get a life.