Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas 2013

Peace and love and hope and joy to you and your loved ones this Christmas time.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Didn't Mean This Post To Be About Mia. It Just Turned out That Way.

I am spending all my time with Mia The German Shepherd at the moment and things are going well with her training. Now that I am a retired man I am able to spend lots of time with her. This is something that I have not had the luxury of with previous dogs, what with work always getting in the way. It definitely makes a huge difference. Mind you the weather has been terrible since she arrived. Wet and windy all the time and the paddock is a quagmire. I haven't let that stop our walks though.

Today, despite the most awful wet weather, we went for a walk with my extremely beautiful daughter Jodie and her dog Skye the Labrador. It was excellent. There was no aggression from Mia towards Skye at all. I felt good about that. It is so important to me that she gets on with other dogs. However Mia did show aggression to other dogs we met in the park. Still work to be done there.

Mia had a free run in the paddock today after I had shut the hens away for the night. She came back to me every time I called her. Very satisfying.

I left Mia alone while I went to the house to take pictures of the Christmas decorations. She has stopped barking and getting stressed when I leave her for a few minutes. Oh dear, when I returned she had stolen a box of sweets and eaten a few, What amazed me though was that she had very carefully unwrapped those she ate. It seems that coffee cream is her favourite flavour. I didn't tell her off. This was her first bit of naughtiness indoors.

Here are some photo's of the decorations.

Happy Christmas to you all.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Oh No, Not Another Post About Mia The German Shepherd!

Last night I thought I would try to impress Mia the German Shepherd with one of my many talents. Obviously there is still some way to go with her training. Adoration and hero worship are difficult skills for a dog to learn.

Monday, 16 December 2013

More About Mia The German Shepherd.

Phew! Day four with Mia the German Shepherd draws to a close. It is hard work but every day gives me another little insight into her character. And hers into mine of course. I spend an awful lot of time shouting, "NO MIA!" Well one has to be firm with her. She is a big dog, and needs to know who is boss.

She is so lovely and affectionate with people, which is wonderful. Sadly she appears not to feel the same about other dogs. Every time we come across a dog on our walks she lunges at them, barking madly, giving the impression that she wants to tear them limb from limb.

But I am now of the opinion that this behaviour is not simply aggression. I think it is fear. I come to this conclusion because of the way she behaved to my extremely beautiful daughter Jodie's dog Skye today when they came to visit. Mia's reaction at first was as I described above, and she definitely wanted to bite Skye. But EBD Jodie was surprised at Skye's reaction to the aggressive behaviour. Because Skye who is a very timid dog appeared to be totally unconcerned. This made us think. We then, with a certain amount of trepidation, allowed Mia to get closer to Skye. Close enough to touch each other. Success! No biting.

We all went for a short walk across the back field. Short because it was bucketing down with rain. Mia still displaying a little aggression sometimes but by the end of the walk I can tell you that we all, human's and dog's, were far more relaxed.

I still haven't let Mia off the lead (I fear she would run off and never be seen again if I did) but come the time when I do, I think it's going to be fine. Mind you, keeping her on the lead is a good thing. Today she was not pulling so much and my arms have resettled back into their sockets. She is learning to walk to heel already. She is not totally restrained at all times though, EBD Jodie gave me a long lead to use in the fields. I want Mia to be able to experience things and she must be allowed to investigate and have a good sniff about.

Mia barks at everything. The birds on the bird table, a slightly raised tuft of grass in the field, an errant plastic carrier bag, even a leaf falling from a tree! It is almost as though she has never had much opportunity to experience the world outside. Strangely though she did not bark at a fast trotting horse and cart that went hurtling past us today! Weird that.

Bonnie the Ginger Cat has not run away from home, but Mia is still scaring her by barking every time she see's her. Mia now sleeps in the bedroom with me, - on the floor by the way. I'm not that soft- with the door closed and Bonnie can then come indoors safely and have her food and a bit of home comfort, at least until the morning. She also sometimes gets brave enough to come indoors when Mia and me are out. Bonnie is my only real concern regarding Mia at the moment. I am sure they will accept each other in time - at least I hope so. I just have to keep reminding myself, it has only been four days.

Sorry there are no accompanying photo's. The weather has been awful since she arrived.

Things are going to be fine. Today progress was definitely made.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Meeting Mia the German Shepherd.

My Extremely Beautiful Daughter Jodie came with me when I went to meet my prospective new canine friend. I was so grateful for her company because my sense of direction is non existent and even the shortest journey can become an odyssey. So with EBD Jodie at my side and also bolstered by my new Sat Nav we only got lost three times, and arrived at our destination only 20 minutes late. Marvellous things these Sat Navs.

It was love at first sight when first I met Mia the German Shepherd. She is truly beautiful. Here is a picture. What do you think?
She likes this chair

She likes this chair too

And she likes my bed
Mia is a big girl. Bigger than Sadie. She is one year and two weeks old. Indoors she has been behaving very well, but outside she is a bit of a nightmare to be honest. I think she has been taught some commands. She will sit if she is asked enough times, and EHS George who arrived home for the Christmas holidays yesterday, discovered that she will shake hands. She does not appear to have any idea about how to walk properly on the lead (my arms are almost out of their sockets). She barks at any other dogs she sees, in fact she barks at most things and even seems to bark at nothing on occasions. She is desperately in need of being taught some good manners. She also jumps up at people in greeting. Some things have to be nipped in the bud straightaway.

She barks at Bonnie the Ginger Cat. In fact Bonnie is very reluctant to come indoors now and I suspect it is the loudness of Mia's barking that is putting her off. She has been in a couple of times for a quick snack, but soon scarpers off again. I have had to put a temporary door in place to keep Mia from her. But eventually Bonnie will get brave enough and hopefully all will be well.

Due to my foolishness Mia chased the hens. She caught one, but was so surprised that she didn't know what to do next and dropped it. I think I shall keep her on a lead until she gets used to the fact that the hens are part of life around here.

Mia has been brought up in a town and lived in a flat. She knows nothing of the countryside at all. It must be quite overwhelming for her to see all these large spaces and I must constantly bear this in mind.

Her temperament with people is very sweet. She seems to be very affectionate. When we first met she greeted me like a long lost friend. Already I have noticed that she becomes stressed if I go out of her sight. Even in this little wagon if I walk into another room she wants to be near me. I am dealing with her neediness by going outside and leaving her alone for a few minutes at a time. Most of the time I shall have her with me, but sometimes she will have to be left on her own and she has to learn to deal with that.

She is good in the campervan and was no trouble on the way back yesterday. Actually I think she quite likes the van. We drove to the shops today and I left her in it while I shopped. She was quite relaxed about that.

She was no trouble last night, but she will not sleep in the bed I made her. She is either in a chair or on the hard floor. She woke me this morning at 4.48. I told her to go back to sleep and she did. Eventually I got up at seven thirty.

It is early days of course. She has only been with me for 36 hours. I think we will do OK. I have lots of time to give her.

I must get to bed now. It is past midnight. I have to be up early. I have got a dog to take care of.

Oh I nearly forgot. On the way back from collecting her, and with the aid of my marvellous Sat Nav we only got lost four times!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Just A Quick Note

Hi there. How are ya?

It's seven in the morning here and still dark outside.

I can't stop long because I am picking up my Extremely Beautiful Daughter Jodie at eight. We have a bit of a journey ahead of us. EBD Jodie is keeping me company. We are going to meet a young German Shepherd bitch (one year old) who is urgently in need of a new home.

I hope we like each other. I shall let you know what happens.

Have a lovely day.

Be It Ever So 'Umble.

Good morning! Or if your name is Paul Forster seasonsfullcircle.blogspot.com and you live in New Zealand, good evening. If your name is not Paul but you live in New Zealand, good evening to you too. In fact, let's not mess about here, salutations to you wherever you are and whatever the time is.

Thanks for stopping by my humble blog. I say humble but I don't know why. The very fact I'm writing it at all makes me think it can't be that humble. Humble.adj having or showing a modest or low opinion of your own importance. Do humble people write blogs about their everyday lives? Is it a good thing to be humble? I don't know. The Dalai Llama he's a humble bloke, wouldn't you say? Lots of people love and admire him. And Gandi? Well how humble do you want to be? All in all I think humble is probably okay. Except if your name is Uriah Heap the Dicken's character. He is obsequestiusly humble. Obsequesiously. Obsiquiciously. Obsequisciously. He is so smarmy. Do you see what I did there? I left my spelling mistakes in. This is to show you what a truly humble person I am.

The fact that I really do not know how to spell obsequesciously is actually unimportant in the scheme of things. It is not a word I use every day. I am going to make a startling admission here, I didn't use the word obsequiciosly once in the past twelve months! Yes I know, shocking ain't it! But it is true I assure you. I have wracked my brain cell in an effort to verify this fact.

At this point I would like you to take part in my spelling test. This is how it works. You have one chance to spell the word obsequiciously correctly. No cheating now. Do not look it up until you have tried.. Let me know how you get on. If you didn't manage it and admit it then you are a humble person. If you did get it right, well I'm saying nothing okay. Oh! Except congratulations on being a good speller.

I have my dictionary to hand (it isn't my dictionary. I borrowed it from Tricia several years ago and have now claimed it for my own) and I am going to look up the correct spelling of obsequesiously right now. Excuse me a moment or two.

Well that is a shock I can tell you. I think the reason why I couldn't get it right even after so many tries is that I have been mispronouncing it. You know what this means. It means that all my life I have been saying a word that doesn't even exist! How excruciatingly embarrassing! Not really. Me? Embarrassed? I am far too humble. Anyway as I said just now, it's not a word I use often.

This has been one of those posts where I sit down not knowing what to write about. Had you noticed?

Monday, 9 December 2013

The Right Approach.

When my friend Ronald Thorpe, age 9 1/2, broke a window at school by accidentally hitting it with a cricket ball, the teacher on duty came storming into the playground, grabbed him by the collar of his shirt, shook the living daylights out of him, screamed at him, called him all sorts of nasty names, making him cry in front of all the other kids, and then kept him back after school until he had written 500 times, 'I will not break windows with a cricket ball again' or words to that effect.

When I, age 9 3/4, broke a window at school by accidentally hitting it with a cricket ball, Mr Hewitt strolled out to find out why it had happened, asked me if I thought it was sensible to play with a hard cricket ball so near to windows, explained to me that was how accidents happened, and told me in future to play cricket with a soft ball at the far side of the playground away from windows.

All of us kids liked Mr Hewitt. He was a fantastic teacher. Always easy to approach if we had any concerns about anything. I will never, ever, forget Mr Hewitt.

We all hated the other teacher, and do you know what? I can't, for the life of me, remember what his name was.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

I Bet Victoria Wood. Haha Get It? Victoria Wood (Would). It's A Play On Words.

I  have just spoken to my extremely handsome son George on the phone. I say just spoken. In actual fact it was over an hour ago. As we said goodnight I told him I was going to go to bed early because I had earlier fallen asleep whilst reading the newspaper. It never turned out that way though. Here I am still up and wide awake. I shall tell you why.

What happened was, I switched on the television. Don't ask me why. I knew there was nothing on I wanted to watch. It's just something I do occasionally, switch the tele on for no particular reason. Yes I know it sounds daft, I mean I was going to bed so what was the point?

It turns out there is a programme on called 'dinner ladies'. It's a situation comedy set in a works canteen, and it is very funny. It is written by and stars Victoria Wood the singer and comedian.

Anyway I start watching it and soon find myself laughing out loud at some, indeed most, of the lines uttered by the different characters. Genuinely a laugh a minute. At least it is to me.Victoria Wood is an extremely funny lady and a very talented writer.

I gets to thinking to meself: I wouldn't mind having a go at writing some funny one liners. How hard can it be? I asks meself.

So here I am. Sitting here. Trying to think of something funny to write....

.... I might give it another go tomorrow. I mean how hard can it be?

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Double Headed Magic.

Some people wouldn't like the idea of a railway track at the end of the garden. I am not one of those people. To me the sight and sound of a train is somehow very comforting. It is not something easily explained so I won't try too hard, except to say I feel it is perhaps to do with coming home, and the promise of happiness, comfort, and love that coming home brings with it.

Occasionally, like today for example, magic happens on that track too. This beautiful photo of two old steam engines pulling together, taken this morning by my friend and neighbour Steve says it all as far as I am concerned, without another word being needed.

Photo courtesy of Steve Johnson.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Pee'd Off

Dogs have been on my mind quite a lot recently. I hope to find a suitable puppy soon. I'm fairly sure I shall choose a German Shepherd. Boy or girl? Well I wasn't too fussed either way until Willard the 'sort of Sheepdog' came to stay for a few days last week. He had a habit of peeing on everything. Not indoors, he wasn't that uncouth, but he did seem to think that everything outside was there to be pee'd on.

Actually now I come to think about it he may have pee'd indoors, I have to sleep occasionally and he might well have taken the opportunity. There is a bit of a strange smell emanating from behind my armchair. I was blaming myself for it but suddenly I'm not so sure. I shall purchase a can of Febreze first thing in the morning.

He pee'd on the tarpaulin covering the wood pile. He pee'd on the anvil outside the workshop, in fact he really liked the anvil and 'blessed' it several times daily. He pee'd on every tree and every upright post he could get to. He pee'd on the van wheels, the tractor wheels and my bike wheels. He pee'd on the legs of the garden table, all four of them I do believe, and he pee'd on the chairs. He pee'd on the hen house and he pee'd in the hen's drinking trough. He tried to pee on one of the hens, namely Miss Gray, but she got out of the way just in time, and he pee'd in the pond. He pee'd on the bin where the hen food is stored. There are quite a lot of sheds around the place. He pee'd on all of them. He pee'd on the chainsaw. Luckily it wasn't running at the time. Once, after he had eaten his dinner, he pee'd in his own dish. After his stay and as he was leaving with his owner Glen, I couldn't help noticing that as he went through the gate, he pee'd on it.

Now I do happen to know from experience that female canines also pee. But the thing is they pee far more discreetly. They mostly pee delicately onto the grass but if they do feel the need to pee on something they tend to do it on flat ground. In fact with a female you sometimes wouldn't even know they are peeing. They tend not to have the males determination to 'own' everything with their scented pee.

I'm thinking my next doggie friend will be female.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag

Autumn 1963. That's me, kit bag balanced on my shoulder, walking along the road that leads from the village to the croft where Mum and Jimmy live. It's about a three mile walk. It's a fine walk. I always enjoy it. On this section, to my right, across a narrow field busy with curious black Aberdeen Angus bullocks is the beautiful river Don laden with sparkling granite rock, and to my right a gently sloping hill, home to Scots pine begins it's journey into distant mountains.

The slightly inadequate tinkling of a bicycle bell causes me to stop and turn. It is Jimmy. He is on his way home from his work in the local quarry. He throws a leg over the saddle and dismounts expertly.

"Fit like Loon," he asks. It's the local dialect. It means how are you boy.

"Nae sae bad," I answer. Not too bad.

I haven't seen Jimmy for nearly a year now. The last time we met I was in a tremendous rage at him and my Mum and I threw rocks at them, breaking windows, and cutting Jimmie's head. I was back in a children's home after that escapade, and then joined the Merchant Navy. This was me coming back from my first voyage. I wasn't sure if I had a home to go to, but had decided to chance my luck with Mum again. She was usually quite pleased to see me after our separations.

Jimmy, a man of few words, and I walked on in silence, side by side for a few hundred yards.

"I'll tak it," he says, gesturing towards my kit bag.

"No, no really it's fine, I can manage."

"Gies it here noo," he says, reaching out a powerful arm, grabbing the bag from my shoulder and settling it with one swift motion across the handlebars of his bike. And then without another word, cycles off in the direction of home.

That small gesture of kindness, from this quiet, dour Scotsman, who had good reason to dislike me, had a huge impact on me, and I viewed him in a different light from that moment on.

In that gesture Jimmy had acknowledged me, shown a caring aspect that I had been too young to appreciate about the man before. He had shown he cared. He had put our unhappy past away. He had moved on, and in doing so, he had allowed me to move on too.

Maybe at the time I didn't realise the significance of this event. Sometimes we have to look back to glean the benefits. But today I still remember the moment, and that speaks volumes.

We were friends after that. Relaxed in each others company. We didn't have long together though. Jimmy died the next summer. Swiftly taken by cancer.

It wasn't just a kit bag he carried that day. It was a bag full of hope. I love you Jimmy, you miserable old bugger. I promise you I shall always carry someones kit bag if they need help.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Coming To You From My New Office.

I'm sitting at my new desk writing this. I got fed up with having an office in a cupboard so have adapted my bedroom to incorporate an office too. As befits my new status as an author of course. Office is probably too grand a word considering the size of this place but it feels good to have a bit more space. I shall show you a photo or two. Hold on a minute while I try to figure out this camera once again.

It would be good if it were possible to continue writing whilst uploading photos don't you think. I expect now that someone is going to tell me that it is possible.

Anyway this is my bedroom/office. What do you think of it? I like it because I can lie in bed now and watch the birds feeding on the table outside. My bed incidentally is made from a couple of wooden pallets and a sheet of plyboard. It is only three feet wide, however I have cunningly made it so that it can open out to a larger size should the need arise. Pre planning as they say. Also when I am writing, during moments of reflection I can admire the view through the window instead of peering into a cupboard as I have been doing for the past couple of years. Sorry about the curtains. I haven't got around to sorting them out yet. That is fabric on the walls. The square pattern was a duvet cover and the other is a patchwork quilt cover. I have stuck it all on with PVA adhesive. No really don't laugh. Honestly I kid you not, it is much cosier than it looks. I anticipate that women will be flocking to see my new office, and once they notice the bed, there is no telling what might happen. Forethought that's what a man needs. Especially when he is getting to that stage of life when his good looks might depart at any moment. D'you see the book I'm reading? That's me that is, Mr Nice.

Sorry but I have to go now Match Of The Day has just started on TV. I didn't realise it was so late. I might be back later.

I'm back! Sorry about rushing off like that. Worth it though. My team won. Won! We thrashed that other lot four nil. Thrashed 'em! Shouldn't gloat really, it's not very nice for the losing team. Where is Mr Nice now? Ought to be magnanimous in victory. That's the sporting way. And in defeat too of course. That's what I have always told my football hero, my extremely handsome son George. Mind you it is quite difficult to keep one's emotions in check at football games. And let's be honest here, four nil. That's what you call a result.

I have realised that my lack of  regular postings on this blog might be down to the fact that I have not been out and about much lately. I mean if I don't go anywhere and I don't meet anyone, then there is no material to get to grips with. I am going to have to do something about that because the brain needs stimulation if it is to keep going.

Actually please disregard that last paragraph. It is patently nonsense. Why would I think like that? Me! The bloke whose imagination very often takes me on some wonderful journeys. No need to even leave my chair or bed. Just let my vivid imagination do it's weird things.

Do you think the world would be a nicer place if there wasn't so much separation in it. I mean from the beginning, before land borders were formed. What if no borders had ever been formed? What if people could travel about wherever they wanted. There must have been a time. When did it change? No passports, no visa's. If you wanted to settle somewhere you could and if you didn't? Well that would be fine too. Different races wouldn't come into it because we would all just be human beings. Maybe religions wouldn't have formed either. I am just imagining it now. It is difficult, I realise that. Now that I think about it, even animals have their own territories, and have border disputes. Perhaps borders are simply a part of the human psyche. Oh well, it was just a thought.

Willard is staying with me for a few days. Willard is a dog. Sheepdog type. He used to come courting Sadie the German Shepherd. Many is the time I have sent him packing. But he is older now, wiser, and well, we were all young once. Why I remember like it were yesterday the time some bloke caught me on the doorstep with his daughter. If you think it isn't possible to clear a garden gate and run for your life with your trousers around your ankles, let me confirm that it most certainly is.
Willard is seventeen years old, that is a good age for a big ol' dog, and a bit blind and deaf. No trouble at all though. I think he likes it here. I think he likes me. I like him, he is a lovely old chap. Bonnie the Ginger Cat isn't so keen though. Willard, as far as I can make out wants to be Bonnie's friend, but she is having none of it. Mind you she is still coming indoors despite his presence. She has given him a couple of whacks and hissed a bit, but Willard isn't bothered. I think they could become friends given time. I think Bonnie will adapt quite quickly when I get a new puppy. Willard is sitting by my feet as I write this. It's a nice feeling.

I'm off now, EHS George is skyping tonight at nine. He wants to see what my new office/bedroom looks like. See you again soon I hope.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Email Alert And Other Stuff.

Hallo my dear readers.

First off I would ask you please not to open any emails sent from me inviting you to click on a link. I have been hacked and didn't send any emails with attachments. I have now changed my password so hope this won't happen again.

This is one of those days when I am at a loss to think about what to write about, so let's see what happens. Does the word lets have an apostrophe? I don't know. I don't suppose it really matters in the scheme of things. Tricia helps me with punctuation and grammar when I get stuck. She used to be an English teacher which is very useful. Do you think the word 'very' needs to be put in front of useful? Surely useful means just what it says. So what is the point of 'very'? Perhaps 'extremely' would be better? Extremely useful. Maybe extremely is too extreme? 'Most useful'. How about that? I think I shall move on from this topic. My head is beginning to ache. Beginning to ache. What does that mean? Maybe I should have just said my head is aching? Oh crikey! See what's happening. I am definitely moving off the word topic now.

Bonnie the Ginger Cat is acting a bit strange lately. She has taken to giving me a smack with her paw for no discernible reason - I just had to look up how to spell discernible. She still likes me I think, because she still likes to sit on my lap. She used to give Sadie the German Shepherd an occasional smack. I think it was to show Sadie who was the real boss. Sadie used to simply ignore her. Maybe Bonnie thinks she has to keep me in check too? She gets really sulky when I tell her off for her bad behaviour. Makes me feel guilty too. It'll be interesting to see what happens around here when I get a new puppy.
Bonnie the boss cat.
My extremely handsome son George has passed his first two exams at university. He has been inquiring about joining a local football team in Liverpool and is going to a training session tomorrow. I am pleased about this because he is such a good player. I am not just saying that because he is my son. Well perhaps I am, but it is true. Did I tell you that he has become a football association coach? I asked him if he would mention that to the new team. He says he might do, but I suspect not. He is such a lad for 'hiding his light under a bushel' as the saying goes. Have you heard that saying before? We do have some strange sayings in England.

Anyway, the things he is doing up there in Liverpool such as learning martial arts and now the football give me hope that he is settling into life away from home OK. He will make good friends at the football club too.

I am feeling more positive about things now and can feel my creativity wanting to return. It is a month now since Sadie the German Shepherd died and I am no longer constantly feeling her presence at my side. Tricia is going to visit EHS George at the weekend. I shall be looking after her three little dogs while she is away, so I will be doing some dog walking again.

In my last post I made some references to God and religion. I don't really consider myself religious to be honest. I suppose I can best describe myself as an agnostic. I am saying this in view of the recent dreadful typhoon in the Philipinnes. All those deaths. So many people made homeless. People who in most cases had very little anyway. It sure does make me think. Why would a benevolent God allow that to happen? I suppose people of great faith would be able to explain His thinking. I can't.

It is 2 am. I think I shall go to bed now. Goodnight and God bless -Well why not?

PS. Remember to ignore any email links, purporting to come from me.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Who Want's To Be A Millionaire?

I bought myself a steak yesterday. Cooked it in the frying pan. Had it with chips and petit pois. Really enjoyed it too.

Believe it or not it was my first proper meal in a month! Yeah I know, crazy isn't it? Truth is I have been trying to catch up with the vet's bill and other stuff so have been even more frugal than normal. Ran out of gas a month ago and couldn't afford to buy a new tank, so no cooking anyway. I have been living on cereals and ready meals since. Yuk! Mind you I suppose the cereals are good for me. Got rid of my fat tummy too. Every cloud as they say. Anyway yesterday I looked at my account and thought to myself -who else would I think it too? - 'hey that's looks healthier, I think I shall treat myself.' So I did. Not only that but I also managed to put £40 into my new puppy fund. It may well not stop in there for long, but it's a start.

I never have much money. Strange that, what with me being so multi talented and all. Or so people tell me anyway. The trouble is I am one of those people who somehow manages to struggle through the hard times. Always have been. It's a gift. I am not particularly religious but I swear by my mantra - if that's the right word - that 'the Lord will provide'. He usually comes up trumps God bless him. It seems to me that long ago He, in his infinite wisdom, recognised my lack of motivation, and set about giving me a bit of a helping hand. Of course I did try to succeed. I don't sit about not trying, but there is another saying, 'the Lord helps those that help themselves'. Very good of Him. Mind you He did put me through one heck of a tough apprenticeship. I think I shall leave my religious leanings there for now. Wouldn't want to push it too far.

This being broke business, it's quite weird really because - listen, I shall share a secret with you. Don't tell anyone okay? - because the truth is, I am a millionaire. No listen, it's true. Look at it like this. Here I am living in my showman's wagon, which I made myself out of reclaimed materials. But, and here's the important bit, my wagon is in a field. I own this field. In southern England. It has it's own access road from the main road. There is a severe housing crisis. Do you see where I'm going with this? Developers are desperate for land to build on. This is a prime site. Houses are soon going to be going up all around this area. Not a nice thought to my way of thinking.

Anyway a developer gave me a huge valuation about five years ago. Huge! Phenomenal! Is that how you spell phenomenal? What a strange looking word. I have rounded that valuation up a bit to allow for the years since. They could fit a lot of houses on here. So there it is you see. I am a millionaire, just don't have the cash in the bank yet.

And I never will have, because I will never sell this little haven of mine. What would I do with all that money anyway? For a start I would have to find somewhere else to live. That would take a big chunk out of the money. I couldn't live in a town. I tried that and hated it. Lonely places towns. And how could I afford it, even with all that money? I would be able to buy my dream car, but you know, the dog would soon mess that up. Honestly I cannot think of anything that would enhance my life to the degree that I would sell this place.

Please don't get me wrong, when I was younger, I would have wanted to realise this asset, I would probably have spent most of it on wine, women and song, and squandered the rest, but age gives one insight, and dare I say, a little wisdom. Thank goodness!

It can be a struggle sometimes, especially in the winter cold, but I have managed so far, and as the saying goes, 'what doesn't kill you can make you stronger' or something along those lines. I am a rich man in the love of my family and friends. You cannot put a price on that.

I am having beans on toast for dinner tonight. Ain't got the money for anything else. That steak took up all my housekeeping money. I still think it was worth every penny though!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013


I wish I hadn't watched this video. I am just so incensed by this woman, this so-called teacher. I am too much of a gentleman to say what I truly feel about this foolish, ignorant, abusive, unfeeling, patronising person. Far too much of a gentleman so I won't say those things. I am very unhappy too about the person who thought this was a worthy cause and put this video in the public domain.

I feel such sorrow for the young student who was shouted down. All she wanted to do was to put across what appeared to be a very valid point. To reduce her to tears for this, is to my mind unforgivable. And then to prevent her apologising -unnecessarily in my view- furthers her upset.

The lecturer should really give some thought as to whether she is in the right job and consider her position. To treat anyone, let alone a young girl in this way is completely wrong. I can only hope that the young student is strong enough to rise above this, and not be too harmed.

Rather than helping the fight against racism, I fear this lecturer does more harm than good. In fact I think it is so patronising towards black people.


Not too sure if this link will work. If it doesn't you can maybe find it at upworthy.com. I think it's a site that is supposed to make you feel better about things. Not this time for me though.

I am not alone in my anger. If you watch the video, please also read some of the comments made afterwards.

Oh well I have had my say. I am angry. I am upset. Maybe I am wrong. But it is not wrong of me to express an opinion. Not that this lecturer would agree.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Thinking About My Extremely Handsome Son.

My extremely handsome son George is, as far as I can tell anyway, enjoying university life. He likes his new digs and flat mates. He loves Liverpool the home of his grandfather and great grandfather, and he loves his beloved Everton football club. His great grandfather - on his mothers side - was one of the founders of the club. George's grandmother recently gifted him some shares in the club. Golden shares they are called. These shares have been in the family since the very beginning. Everton is not a rich club so they aren't worth a fortune. Even if they were I doubt if they will ever be sold.

I don't have a reason for telling you about Everton. It just popped into my mind, so as is my way, I wrote it down. That's what I do. Write down thoughts as they occur to me. Sometimes it leads to exciting writing. Sometimes it doesn't.

EHS George had an exam today. He thinks he did all right with it. I am sure he did. He spends a lot of time in the library looking things up and revising. He is a good lad. Not one for doing the usual freshers things such as partying and drinking. That's not his style at all. He has been to a couple of parties, but he tells me he left them early. He doesn't touch alcohol at all. Tried it and didn't like the taste. He doesn't drink tea or coffee either. Never has. I know he has the occasional Coca cola, but all he really drinks is water. He has made a couple of good friends who seem to be of the same mindset as himself. I suppose if you take sport seriously it is not a surprising way to be.

Wednesday and Saturday he gets on the train and goes to do a martial art. I am not sure what type. I know it is a Japanese one. Something to do with turning an aggressor's attack back on himself. If EHS keeps on going to the classes I had better watch my step.

Sometimes he feels homesick, but as I remind him, he can get on the train home whenever he wants. It isn't as though he is a prisoner in Liverpool. Actually he can, if the trains run on time, be back home in just a few minutes over four hours. This reminder is enough to calm his home sickness.

He has actually been home a few times since he started at uni. I think he likes to make sure things are still the same here. He is not a lad who likes change too much. In fact he doesn't like things to change at all, and I understand this. There is such comfort in familiar things. I think I will mention OCD here. He has it mildly. Another reason I am so proud that he took the chance to do his course so far from home.

I didn't tell him that Sadie the German Shepherd had died until his last trip home. Tricia and I both thought it best not to. He would have been very upset and we couldn't bear the thought of him being sad and far from home. It was awful keeping it from him. He phones me every night and knowing that Sadie was poorly he would always ask after her. I have never lied to him before, and would quickly change the subject. Hiding my grief was difficult but somehow I managed it. I told him as soon as he got back. Apologised for the deceit. Of course he understood my reasons, and took the whole thing really well. In fact he was more concerned about me than anything. I sometimes forget that he is not a boy anymore. He is a young man. A strong young man.

At those times when I get to worrying about him too much, I remind myself that I was far younger when I went off to sea as a merchant seaman. It's life. One just has to get on with it. That is it and all about it, as they say.

It is a sports science degree he is doing. At first he was a little dismayed, as were quite a few of his peers, to discover that this involved more science than actual sport. But I think he has got to grips with it now, and is getting stuck into it.

He is also looking into joining a football team in Liverpool. I hope he finds one he likes. He loves to play football and is a really good player.

It is half past midnight. I am tired now. Good night and God bless.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

I Need To Write This Down.

I feel completely lost not having Sadie the German Shepherd around to take care of. Only to be expected I suppose after ten years of constant companionship.

There is a feeling inside me at the same time that I may be behaving like a big wimp over her death, but I can't make the feeling go away. Living alone with a pet might possibly make the sudden loss more hard to bear maybe. Of course I have lost beloved pets before and felt extreme grief, but this time it seems even harder.

The fact that it was me who had to make the final decision is still tearing away at me. This, even though the vet said her condition and her age made any hope of a recovery impossible.

Her last night was so traumatic. She refused to stay indoors with me, and took herself off to her outside kennel. I am sure she did this because she just wanted to be left in peace and to get away from my constant fussing. As it was I stayed up all night with her and was so concerned that I called the emergency night vet twice. Both times though she seemed to recover enough to relax a bit. As it was we already had an appointment with the vet for the morning and I knew that it was time for her suffering to end.

She is buried in the paddock at the place where she liked to lie down. She could watch the whole field from this place. She could see right down the drive and she could keep an eye on the wagon door. I like to think she is doing these things still.

Why am I telling you this? It is not for your sympathy I promise you. Although your thoughts and expressions of condolence have comforted me. Perhaps I am not telling you. Perhaps I am just writing my thoughts.

Some people will think this is too much grief to feel. She was only a dog. But she wasn't just a dog, she was my friend.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Hello Again.

Hello all. I am still here but have not been in blogging mood for a while. I'm still not, to be truthful, but I shall try to keep it going until the writing bug resurfaces, as I am sure it will. Along with the rest of my creativity hopefully.

I am missing Sadie the German Shepherd terribly. Bonnie the Ginger Cat seems to be missing her friend too and has taken to sitting on my lap again. Could be just coincidence perhaps but I really think not.

I am thinking of getting another dog. This place seems so empty without one. And I haven't been for a walk since Sadie the German Shepherd died. My first thought was to get an older rescue dog but I must think about Bonnie the Ginger Cat. Although she loved Sadie, she does not appreciate other dogs coming to visit and always runs off and hides until she is sure they have gone.

When Sadie the German Shepherd first came here I had a cat called Stig. He was so upset that he ran away and was never seen again. I would hate that to happen to Bonnie.

So I think I shall get a puppy this time. Bonnie should be able to deal with that. Mind you it is all rather academic at the moment because I don't have any spare money and am still paying the vet's bill.

Finally thanks to all who have purchased my book, I hope you were not too disappointed. I have no idea how many I have sold, because all I get when I log in to Amazon is that there have been no sales. I know that isn't true.

I shall be back soon.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Published. Elbows Off The Table.

'Elbows Off The Table'
By John Kennedy Bain

I have done it! I am an author! My book is published on Amazon Kindle and is available in the Kindle store, wherever that is. Unfortunately I seem to have made the title page a bit skewed, but everything else seems to be fine.

I haven't got a Kindle so I can't read it myself, but that's OK 'cos I know what's in it. But perhaps there are other ways and places to read it?

On a serious note I must warn you that this book about my childhood contains descriptions of child abuse that some will find upsetting. And the language! Oh dear! This little book is not for the faint hearted.

However I have I think also managed to inject some humour into it. This might sound strange but it is now more than fifty years after the events depicted, and I think it is my sense of humour that has mostly helped me through. I realised whilst writing that I have used humour as a healing balm for most of my life.

I have made a small change to the author's name (that's me) since I published this. I have added the name Kennedy in memory of my Mother. Despite everything, I did love her. None of us is perfect.

Monday, 21 October 2013

My Song For Sadie The German Shepherd.

Thank you for your kind and supportive comments about Sadie the German Shepherd. I cannot even begin to explain how much they mean to me.

It is always sad to lose a beloved pet, but although I am an emotional kind of man, I cannot remember the hurt being this bad before. Maybe it is simply what happens as we grow older. Or could it be that we spent so much of our time together?

Sadie the German Shepherd was without doubt the kindest, most gentle and patient dog I have ever had the privilege to share my life with.

Here is a song I have written in her sweet memory. I managed to hold it together until just before the end of the song when there is a bit of an emotional wobble.

There is a reason why I share this sad song with you but I cannot formulate the words as to what that reason is. Something to do with music as therapeutic and the purpose of all art is surely to provoke a response of some sort.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Goodbye My Dear Friend.

Faithful friend. Loyal companion.
Brave protector. Confidante.

                               R I P

Sadie The German Shepherd  18-10-2013

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Update On Sadie The German Shepherd.

Sadie had her procedure under a local anaesthetic, to drain all the fluid away from her tummy yesterday. They were able to use a local anaesthetic because she is such a gentle easy going old thing.

Unbelievably they drained almost a gallon from her before they had to stop as she was getting very uncomfortable. Her tummy is still swollen despite the amount taken away.

The diagnosis at the moment is that the problem is with her heart. She is a very old girl now. Walking any distance is a problem for her. I am making her a little cart that she can get into if she gets tired on a walk.

She is on a course of diuretic tablets. She has another appointment at the vet on Friday.

She ate half of her dinner last night and was very defensive of the bone Tricia gave her when the cat got too close to it, so she still has some spirit in her.

She is up and about this morning. We might take a little stroll later and see how she gets on.

Thank you all for the good wishes. It means a lot to know you care. I am sorry for not updating earlier but last night I was feeling rather tired myself.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Sadie The German Shepherd Is Unwell.

My lovely friend and loyal companion, Sadie the German Shepherd is very unwell. Today our usual walk across the fields to the village shop came to an abrupt halt after just a couple of hundred yards when she suddenly collapsed to the ground unable to carry on.
Although she still got excited at the prospect of a walk, this last week she has just got slower and slower, but I put this down to her old age. These slow walks suited me too because I am having trouble with walking myself. In my case claudication, or as it is usually known, hardening of the arteries. This was diagnosed in me two years ago, but walking with Sadie has helped me keep it at bay. However until today we both still managed to do a couple of miles a day.
After a bit of gentle persuasion I managed to get her home again, but those few hundred yards took us about an hour.
Sod's law managed to find that my vehicle is off the road at the moment, but my good neighbour Steve came to our rescue and took Sadie and me to the vet.
Just a few weeks ago Sadie the German Shepherd was in rude good health.
Sadie's tummy is swollen and hard. The vet says it is caused by fluid. He drained some off and there was blood in it. It is being sent for tests. He suspects a tumour. Tomorrow Sadie is having a three or four hour 'procedure' to drain her tummy of this fluid and then the vet will be better able to see what's what.
She has been prescribed diuretic tablets in the meantime. This will hopefully make her feel more comfortable tonight. She hasn't eaten all of her dinner these last few days and tonight she has left some in her dish, but at least she is still eating.
As I write she is asleep and snoring gently in her bed. I take this as a good sign, At least she isn't in pain.
I will keep you informed about her condition.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Me And That Best Selling Book Of Mine.

Here is a bit of an update about my attempt to self publish my book as a kindle thingymajig. I have tried several times and I have on occasion managed, not without some difficulty I must say, to get past the signing in stage. But that's when it all goes pear shaped because nothing seems to progress from there. Although I did manage to fill in my income tax details today (yes they want all that).

Today's problems began when they asked for my bank details. They need somewhere to deposit my royalties apparently. First they need my IBAN. This is an international bank account number. I have never heard of this so have no idea what to do. There are numbers associated with my bank account but nothing resembling this. Then they require my BIC. This is the bank identifying code. I have no idea what this is either. I am able to identify my bank because I sometimes see it when I walk down the high street in town. I never realised it needed an identifying code. I have always thought it's address would be a good way of telling where it is.

I get so frustrated with the whole flipping rigmarole that I tend to give up and tell myself I shall try again later. Sadly later could turn out to be weeks or even month's away.

So there you have it. I have not even had so much as a sniff of getting my best selling book published. I need help that's for sure, but I suspect that asking one of these self publishing firms to help me would be very expensive and I ain't got no money.

This book 'Elbows Off The Table' does exist I promise you. It is written, I have a printed out manuscript, and it has been proof read several times, and it is also saved on a memory stick.

Are you sure you want to read it? You might be offended by some of the graphic content, not to mention the bad language, enough to make a sailor blush it is. Blimey, and it only details the first twelve years of my life!

Anyway that's what's been happening with my book. Perhaps I shall have another go tomorrow. However even if I do, I know it is highly unlikely that I will get any further along with it.

Oh I almost forgot to mention that the book needs to be formatted. Just the very word fills me with trepidation.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Just At The Moment.

Sadie the German Shepherd was there as usual, waiting at the gate for me. Bonnie the Ginger Cat was there too as she occasionally is. Not waiting for me though, she simply enjoys Sadie's company. The hen's were by the gate also, scratching away at the ground, searching for morsels.

I hadn't been away long, perhaps half an hour. I had been picking up a bag of layers pellets for the hens from the local feedstuff's store.

As I opened the gate and walked up the drive, the dog and cat beside me and the hen's fluttering and excited before us, it suddenly occurred to me just how lucky I am to be living this simple life.

It had been a dream of mine for years, this alternative way. This is almost the way I imagined it. I don't really want for anything. Having loads of 'things' has never interested me much. Maybe I could get a little bit excited about a big new shed, and I will admit to a love of Jaguar cars, but I can manage without these things.

Of course I have had this feeling of contentment before but just felt it more profoundly today for some reason. It has a way of disappearing just as quickly as it arrives too, so has to be savoured.

I hope you have contentment in your life too. If you don't I hope you find it soon, and please forgive me these few moments of sharing mine.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Strength Of Character.

Strength of character. It's a great thing to have. Sadly it seemed to be lacking in my immediate forebears. You notice I use the word forebears? I did that because I didn't really want to say parents, but who am I kidding? I'm not casting blame. We are what we are when we are, if that makes any sense? I lacked it in my younger days, especially my teens. Lacking any strength of character was perhaps a reason why I was in trouble so often. But hey I had other issues to deal with. Not that I was too aware of them at the time, consciously at least, and I certainly wasn't into soul searching. That came later.

Looking back, I realise that my climb back to self respect came mostly in the shape of two particular probation officers. I shall tell you their names, because they were good men: Mr Record and Mr Garland. They saw some good in me. I am grateful for that. It didn't happen overnight though. There were quite a few lows, and brushes with authority before I finally came to some kind of agreement with myself and realised the futility and error of my ways. Not that I'm a perfect example of how to live one's life of course. I still have the occasional aberration. But I do try my best. I suspect I have developed a degree of character, and though I say so myself, it does have some strength to it.

My extremely handsome son George has lately displayed a strength of character that I lacked at his age. He is moving out of his digs at university this week and into new ones. He got on well with his flatmates but he disagreed with them on the subject of drug taking. EHS is vehemently against them. I am not going into details about this. It would serve no purpose. He decided he couldn't stay there. He told his flatmates why he was leaving and they understood. It makes me so proud that he stood by his principles. He showed strength of character.

EHS George's mother has strength of character. He must have got it from her.

What would I have done in those circumstances when I was a similar age? I suspect you probably know the answer to that.

PS: Over a hundred thousand page views. Thanks everyone.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

A Facebook Status

Due to some accommodation problems my extremely handsome son George's start to university life in Liverpool has not gone too smoothly, However I think the situation has now been resolved. He will move to new 'digs' next week. I will be writing more on the subject soon.

It isn't only this blog I have been absent from I haven't been on facebook for a while either but today I put this status up, and thought I would just share it with you, to let you know I am still about.

Had a lovely walk and catch up with my friend Samantha today. We went to Bury Hill and walked with Sadie the German Shepherd and Ned the Border collie along the Monarchs Trail. A nice warmish day for it.

I hadn't seen Sam for a couple of weeks and remarked that I thought she had lost weight. She told me she hadn't but explained that she looked a bit thinner because she hadn't washed her hair! Only a woman could come up with an explanation like that me thinks. I didn't bother trying to understand what the hell she meant because being a woman she would probably have a perfectly reasonable explanation and that would only have confused me even more!

Anyway it did get me thinking. I need to lose a bit of weight, so I have decided not to wash my hair (what there is left of it) for a few days! You never know, after all women are always right. So look out for the new slimline me.

There was a slight problem when our walk began. Apparently she could feel something touching her bottom! It definitely wasn't me! In fact I was walking just ahead of her. On investigation it turned out that a strap from her coat was hanging down and I spent a few minutes trying to sort it out for her. Too long it seems because she suddenly decided I had spent far too long looking at her bottom. Anyway she decided to try and ignore the problem and we went on our way, albeit with her mentioning the errant strap every once in a while. It must be awful to have something constantly banging against ones backside!

After a while something distracted me from Samantha's backside. Something I have never seen in all my 36 years. We were met with clouds of butterflies for almost the entire walk. Namely the Speckled Wood butterfly. I have never seen this particular butterfly in such profusion before and it really made this walk special. There were hundreds of them settled on the trail and as the dogs loped along the butterflies rose up in fluttering clouds. Absolutely wonderful and such a good sign that there is hope for nature.

So a good walk and I learned some things: Don't wash your hair if you want to lose weight. Speckled Wood butterflies are doing OK in the ecology, and women's bottoms look good in those black leggings as long as they are not too fat!

EHS George is home for a long weekend I picked him up from the station just an hour ago. It is so good to have him home.

I will be back soon. Have a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

EHS George Is At University.

My extremely handsome son George is now at 'uni' in Liverpool. I drove him there on Saturday, stayed to get him unpacked and settled in, and left to come back home on Sunday afternoon.

His student accommodation is quite spacious. There are four rooms to each flat and each has their own key to their room. There is a communal kitchen and sitting room. Also each room has an on suite bathroom.

Our parting was difficult to bear. We are both sensitive and emotional types. There were tears. I hated leaving him.

He is missing home, particularly the animals and familiar things. But he has flatmates and hopefully soon he will have lots of new friends.

 I suspect that he will be making the journey home quite a lot in the first few months. It takes about five hours by train. Of course if he asks me to come and get him I will be there like a shot.

Two hundred and seventy two miles. That is the distance involved. Not a lot is it? My new satnav told me it would take four and a half hours to get there. Haha maybe it would if I had a fast car and didn't make any stops on the way. Sadly I don't have a fast car.

Today is induction day for EHS George. He will meet his course tutors and fellow students for the first time. I am hoping that he will soon be so involved that he won't have time to feel homesick.
The accommodation blocks

How long will it take for me to get used to him not being at home?

The Liverpool seagulls are no respecters of royalty. Just ask Albert.
I can feel a blogging break coming on. I need to concentrate on other things for a while. I will be back.

Goodbye for now.