Monday, 19 November 2018

Definition of a Writer

Writer / “ruiter”
  1. a particular species that can convert caffeine into a blog.

Folding phones that become tablets and a robot news announcer? These two headlines caught my eye. 

Firstly a folding smart phone, why would you want to fold your same phone? Well it has been noted that the phones are getting bigger and bigger and our tailors are doggedly making our pockets the same as they always have. Solution seems to be having a phone that unfolds into a small tablet. Phones are now 6 x 4", so unfolded, your phone is now a 6 x 8" tablet, brilliant, almost as good as Christmas mince pies in November. 

Now mentioning Christmas brings me swiftly on to the fact that summer is officially over. Whilst that means long days in the sunshine may be behind us, much to Susan's displeasure, another spectacle of the season is making its presence felt. It’s autumn, and that means the leaves on the trees are turning beautiful shades of yellow and red, before falling off entirely.

For those who do not know why this happens. it’s a way of protecting the trees, and making sure they survive the winter and beyond. Leaves die during the winter months. If those dead leaves stayed on the trees, and new, working ones didn’t grow in their place, the trees would have no way of processing food for themselves.

Why the extraordinary colours? When leaves are green they are working as organs for the tree. The green colour comes from a part of the cell called chlorophyll, which processes sunlight into sugars that the tree can ‘eat’. As the weather gets colder, the days get shorter, and there is less sunlight for them to munch on, the rest of the tree starts to absorb these useful parts of the leaves. It then stores them for winter in its roots. As the tree does this, the green chlorophyll is removed, which reveals hidden colours in the leaves.
The first colour to appear is yellow, the cells clear, revealing the vibrant reds and browns that dominate most of the woods and forests during autumn. 

Lesson over, interesting and well worth the research. I am happy in the knowledge I have helped you all to understand the basics of why trees behave as they do in Autumn. Carmine from Canada, sent me a photo of her dog running through a carpet of red leaves. I have attached the photo and just wonder if anyone can see the dog? Reminds me of Robert's photo the red car?

The second headline about the robot television announcer in Japan. From what Susan says, the Japanese are a nation of semi robots anyway, why not just convert to proper robots. Sorry, I mean they are very punctual and correct, in a nice way. The fact that the robot will always pronounce 'Toyota' the very same, every time, will be a comfort to them.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

What is Terroir?

I saw this word on an advert at Caffe Nero and wondered what it meant. Doing a little research I began to understand why the wine farmers always want their vineyards planted in a certain type of soil, altitude, rainfall, humidity and temperature. Collectively, these elements are called terroir (pronounced ‘ter-war’); a term that’s applied to all crops. These elements effect the taste of the wine, coffee and tea. But it is not as simple as that, as any number of other factors also effect the terroirs, or microclimates of these crops. Nearby flora and fauna have an effect on the ecosystem in which the varietals or cultivars are grown. Terroir is a word that encapsulates all environmental factors that could influence the final product. 

Susan asked me if I knew what time the England vs South Africa rugby game started today. Did not know what she was talking about but it transpired that it has something to do with her friend and being dumped? I only watch the start of the games, actually the national anthems and then move on to more important aspects of my busy life. 

Now on the subject of rugby, Lady Vivienne was quite determined to see the England - South Africa game.  Much to her disappointment, her latest boyfriend decided he had other plans. Well, they are now no longer an item, moral of the story, do what the Lady wants or you are yesterday’s news.

Claudia and Gary are trying to rent a house. All I can say it is so boring and everyone involved is awful. They want to know everything and if you do not disclose all your details, your application will be rejected. So much red tape, all to justify their very high costs. One of the agents has the unfortunate name of Snell, nothing fast about them.

Changing this boring subject, we were having dinner with friends the other night and it transpires that everyone loves peeing in the shower with the exception of Susan. I thought everyone peed in the shower, lovely experience and it is all washed away in the blink of an eye. Does have a little narcissism, me thinks.

Talking of narcissism, I read an article on a study by Swansea University claiming people who repeatedly post photos and videos of themselves online showed a 25% increase in narcissistic traits. I must point out, I do not take to selfies willingly and feel they should be only taken on a special occasion. We always take a photo at Christmas, on the beach, and on New Year’s Day. This is not really a selfie but more of a family photo to share with all those other family members who cannot be with us for reasons of their own.

Talking of photos, I took this photo at 4:20pm while having coffee. The days are getting shorter. 

Monday, 5 November 2018

The Joys of Christmas in the Smith/Fay House

At last Susan has bought me an Echo 2 speaker system answering to none other than Alexa. Makes sense as I have unlimited music from Amazon and the Echo 2 is an Amazon product. Being able to tell Alexa to play my favourite music seems a little excessive but we are not getting any younger, the CD players is always on the other side of the room. Well I say bought it, it is a Christmas present so the next 7 long weeks, I will have to be faced with resolve and fortitude.

Michael passed a comment about the Christmas 24 Marathon? Now what was that all about? I know we tend to watch a few movies on the Movies 24 channel but nothing too excessive. As for Christmas 24, well we do enjoy watching a festive film on the odd occasion. Marathon, really? That child has been away far too long.

Getting back to my Echo 2. Seems Susan forgot and she has decided we are not buying presents for each other this year, rather we are buying a combined present. It turns out there is a sofa she has been admiring for some time and this will be our Christmas present. What about the Echo 2 you ask? Well it was on the desk this morning and it is there no longer. I suspect Susan has already sent it back. I wonder what Susan wrote down as the reason it is being sent back. After all it has never been used, definitely not an unwanted present, cannot be the wrong size, only has one colour, not damaged. Wait, it was still in its original packaging so maybe it could have been faulty. Susan has many strong qualities, sending items back is one of those.

Have you seen this new addition of the Poppy. You know the red poppy has been with us for as far back as I can remember. Well they have a white poppy now, this is a poppy like no other, symbolises peace and to remember all this who lost their lives in any war, foe or friend. This goes back some, remember Robert the Bruce, many died then, so is remembered with this white poppy. I am finding it difficult to get my head around this new white poppy. Does that mean all those who gave their lives for England are now popped into a huge basket, populated by Germans, Vikings etc? Maybe you have some thoughts, I am at a loss for words.

It is Guy Fawkes tonight, we celebrate this near blowing up of parliament by having a fireworks display.  Some are breath taking, others are Asda specials, designed to give you the maximum bang for your pound. I do remember following the fireworks displays in our little Vauxhall Astra in the days when the boys were small and I was younger. Susan would find out where all the displays were and we would go from one to another, sometimes missing the start but that was OK. The finale was the best bit. On our way home the boys would want to fall asleep and we would sing naughty songs, so we would not have to carry them to bed, heavy blighters.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Robert the Bruce

Robert the Bruce, the man who defeated the English at the Battle of Bannockburn was born in Essex. A historian believes Robert the Bruce was from a village near Chelmsford, called Writtle. As part of his self-published work, he said there was no evidence that he was born at his mother's castle at Turnberry, in Ayrshire. He outlines a ruthlessly ambitious man who would stop at nothing to become King of Scotland.
He told BBC Scotland: "There is no direct evidence he was born in Turnberry. More recently, it was presumed Bruce would have been born at Turnberry, but the evidence points to Writtle." 
Well reading that makes me wonder what Robert is getting up to in Colchester, I know he is working at the university, but does that involve rewriting a little bit of history?

Winter has definitely arrived, no, not just a slight chill but the real thing. Last night when we went to bed it was a balmy -1.5 degC. I suppose the time is right with November a day away and Halloween in full swing. Did you see the photo of the girls in Susan's office, all dressed up for this scary time of the year?  Susan is the evil looking one with the witches hat, would recognise her anywhere. Makes one wonder how much work goes on there.

With Christmas only 8 Monday's away, this year is calling last rounds alarmingly fast. Time, lost on the youth, accelerated for the old. There is no presence like time, making that presence count is always a challenge. I wake and promise myself I will get everything done that I have been putting off for ages, only to retire wondering where the day has gone. I did walk JB on the beach in the rain, somehow I feel those jobs I have not done today will be waiting for me tomorrow.

All for now, need to do some shopping for dinner. I think grilled chicken breasts, new potatoes, butternut and asparagus. Served with generous portions of red wine.



“We should care for each other more than we care for ideas, or else we will end up killing each other.” Louis de Bernières

Wise words from the man who wrote Captain Corelli's Mandolin. I am very fond of the music and have just pulled out my CD, and finally worked out how the CD player works, we now have the beautiful sound of the mandolin filling our living space. 

Talking of sound and those familiar to us. I took Jenson for a walk on the beach early this morning, well just after 8, thick mist, so thick I could not see the next groyne. The sea was calm and the waves from the incoming tide, collected the shells, rattling and tumbling, before receding, only to start the whole process over again. The mist and the shells, strangely peaceful, as if the world is getting on with its cycle of life. My walks on the beach always bring a new perspective on my day.

Putting together a half page advert and some editorial for a client of mine and have decided to do a full length article on the subject. I always have too much content that I have to cut down to 200 words, this time I have writers license to include all that is relevant. 

I wrote a very good blog the other day and asked Susan just to proof read it for me. She liked it but pointed out that it should not be published. The subject was too obvious and if the wrong people read it they would know who I was alluding too. I agreed but it had a strange effect, I almost went through a writers block for a passage of time.

Clocks have gone back an hour so we are GMT time now, this is for all those out there that love to phone me early in the morning, now I will be ready for you. Talking of time, Robert is in Iceland at the moment and as you all know Michael is in Australia. Top of the world and the bottom, that is why they call it down under. Robert went to the Skógafoss.  Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland, with a drop of 60 meters and a width of 25 meters, and you can walk right up to, but be prepared to be drenched.

All for now.