Monday, 16 October 2017

Trains And Tubes.


I went to London recently from my home in the countryside. I was attending a meeting to discuss legal stuff about my childhood tribulations. I wish I could tell you about it but I am sworn to confidentiality. I can say that things are moving forward despite disgusting attempts to blacken those of us who went off the rails after we left 'care'.



This little video is just me chatting about my day.



Saturday, 30 September 2017

Ode To Bonnie Bain.

Well, yes, she may be just a cat

And well, yes, a ginger cat at that.

And well, yes, she may flick out a claw

As I step by her on the floor

And well, yes, she never eats

Things I buy in shops as treats

And well, yes, when she sleeps on my knee

If I should move woe-betide me

And well, yes, she may be just a cat

But there’s nothing wrong with that

And when I hear her gently purr

And when I stroke her ginger fur

Oh, what peace, what peace she’ll bring

Bonnie the cat, sweet ginger thing.




Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang


Cor blimey! Bleedin’ glad to get the old daisies off. Me plates are killing me. And me ‘ammer too. I’m like a right raspberry I can tell you.

I only walked a couple of miles but it was ‘ard going. Wish I’d taken me ‘addock but Mia the German Shepherd needs her lily white.

Anyway, I’m Pope in Rome now. Get the old kettle on the Conan. Cup of Rosie. Nice Steffi Graf and off to Uncle Ted I reckon.


Thursday, 21 September 2017

Of Mice And Men And Offended Women.

“You was that artist, wasn’t you?”

I wasn’t sure if it was a question or an accusation so I hedged my bets by answering with a vague smile.

“Bognor,” he went on, “you had a little ‘ut on the prom?”

“Yes,” I said, “that was me. That was a long time ago.”

“We still got it the picture you did. It’s in the loft somewhere.”

“Oh well, at least you didn’t throw it away,” I said.

“The wife nearly did. She said I looked alright in it but you made ‘er look too young. I wouldn’t let ‘er chuck it though so it’s in the loft somewhere.”

“I’m pleased to hear it,” I said.

“You never know I said to ’er, it might be worth something one day.”

“When I’m dead you mean?” I joked, “I hope the mice don’t eat it first.”

“What mice?”

“The mice in your loft.”

Just then his wife approached. “Do you know who this is?” he asked her. Before she could reply he went on, "‘e’s the artist."

“What artist?” she asked, looking at me with a vague smile of confusion.

“‘E done our picture,” he told her, “you didn’t like it of you. Remember? On the sea-front Bognor?"

“What picture? When?” she asked looking at me closely.

“The one in the loft,” he said, “rolled up. ‘E’s the artist.”

Suddenly it dawned on her, “Oh that! No, I didn’t like it. Sorry. Yes, it’s in the loft somewhere.”

“I hope the mice don’t eat it.” I said.

“What mice?” she asked.

“Oh, you know,” I said, “lofts sometimes have mice in them.”

“I don’t think you’ll find any mice in our loft,” she said sounding quite annoyed.

“He told me we had mice in the loft too,” said her husband as they both walked off without even a goodbye.

Later on when I was thinking it over I realised that I didn't care about the picture being in the loft but  being in the loft 'somewhere'? Well, that hurt a bit.

I hope they have got mice in the loft and I hope the mice eat the picture or even better make a nice comfortable nest out of it.











Sunday, 10 September 2017

Walking It Off.


Weight loss update.

In the last five days I have walked 18 miles. I have walked for 8 hours and 32 minutes mainly across rough farmland.

In the last 10 days I have lost 8lbs off my target of two stone.

I am not dieting just eating less and walking a lot more. I only have to fight hunger in the evenings.

Just to think that this time last year walking was so painful my son-in-law bought me a mobility scooter. 

In the shower today I looked down and was able to see my willy! 







Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Sending It And Landing It.

“Oi mister,” a young boy called to me as I walked with Mia the German Shepherd across the playing field today, “I like your dog.”

“Thank you,” I replied, “I think she likes you too?”

“I’m used to big dogs,” he called back running up to us, “I got one identical at ‘ome ‘cept it’s a Rottweiler and something else mix.”

We were then joined by his friend, a lad of the same age about eight or nine. I had seen the two of them practising tumbling head over heels earlier. The new-comer had been particularly fearless in his efforts. “I thought you were very good and brave at the head over heels tumbling,” I told him. On hearing me say this the first little boy bristled.

“He can’t land a back flip though,” he told me indignantly, “he can send it but he’s frightened of landing it in case it goes flat.” Turning to his friend he added, “that’s true ain’t it?” Turning back to me he said, “I can send it and nearly land it and I ain’t scared either.”

“I ain’t scared.” said the other lad quietly and he looked at me earnestly to make sure I knew it.

“Do you want to see me land it?” The first one asked me. Before I had a chance to answer he said, “Watch this mister.” And he did a backward flip landing on his hands and knees. “Nearly,” he said and did another flip this time landing on his feet but with his hands on the ground.

I was by now getting worried that he might break his neck in his attempts to impress me so I congratulated him on his efforts and began to walk away.

“Wait mister, wait,” he said, “I got this. One more go all right?” He positioned himself ready for take-off and swung his arms. Suddenly he stopped and with a look of great concern on his little face he said, “don’t worry if I get it wrong mister okay, it ain’t dangerous.” With that he executed what to my eyes was a perfect flip. “I done it!” he exclaimed, “that’s the first time I ever sent it AND landed it.”

“Excellent,” I told him, “ten out of ten. Well done young man.”

“Is your dog friendly?” asked the other young boy and gave Mia the German Shepherd a pat on the head. “I ain’t scared of landing it mister,” he said conspiratorially and ran off to join his intrepid friend who was heading for the swings.

I continued on my way feeling rather grandfatherly and was pleased that I had learned some gymnastic terminology from the two boys. I also wondered, just for a moment whether I would be able to send and land a back flip.




Sunday, 3 September 2017

Do You Like My New Hat?


Sometimes, I just think I will sing a song and make a video recording so that's what I do. Usually it is when the weather is inclement and it is raining hard. Before computers and the world wide web I probably just used to sing to myself. So, you can blame the bloke who invented the web.




video

Friday, 1 September 2017

Lean Mean Love Machine.

A couple of days ago when calculating the requirements for the pedometer app on my phone I discovered I am about two stone overweight. That is 28lbs. That's like carrying a bag of coal around all the time. Just a small bag, not like in the olden days when bags of coal weighed 56lbs. When men was men! I once worked as a coalman. But 28lb's is still a lot. An unnecessary burden. I am going to cut out potatoes and bread for a week. Do an extra dog walk every day. The weight will fall off  I just hope I don't have to buy a bag of coal before I lose the extra weight. If I lose two stone I shall be able to skip about like a young  gazelle. I have started to lose it already. Had to take my belt in a notch today. Dead chuffed about that. I suppose I shall have to prepare myself for extra attention from the ladies once I have regained the lean, hard, wiry physique they used to lust over? Bring it on!







Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Wood Pigeon Clock

I was woken - or should that be awoken? - this morning by the sound of a wood pigeon perched in a nearby tree telling me the time was six-oh-one. Six-ooh-won, it cooed, six-ooh-won. Six-ooh-won. How does it know the time so precisely I thought and decided to check its accuracy by looking at my mobile phone which was on the shelf beside my bed? I was somewhat saddened to note that the time was actually six-oh-nine. But on thinking it over decided it had done extremely well for a wild creature which even from its lofty perch was probably unlikely to be able to see the time on the village hall clock. If indeed it knew how to tell the time from a clock.

I dozed off again only to be woken - or should that be awoken? – by the insistent cooing of a collared dove telling me -in Arabic- that God is great. Al-oooh-akba, it cooed. Al-oooh-akba. Why, I thought, is it cooing in Arabic? I decided to check the collared dove’s origins on Google. It turns out that it originated in Asia. It could therefore be Muslim. This explanation was acceptable to me and I turned over and went back to sleep. I awoke naturally about an hour later. All was peaceful apart from the gentle twittering of small birds. None of whom seemed to require my attention.








Wednesday, 23 August 2017

The Surreal Last Supper


This is a painting I was recently commissioned to do. It took me about six weeks to complete. That is a long time. I usually like to finish a work in one or two sessions. I like to work on my painting at night and into the wee small hours. This disturbs my sleep patterns which are always quite erratic anyway. Perhaps this is what caused the strange mood I spoke about in my last post? Anyway, I am much improved today.

I hope this painting doesn't cause offence. I have called it, 'The Surreal Last Supper. Painted on plyboard. It measures 60in x 30in.

The man who commissioned this work had only one stipulation: That he should appear in it. That is him playing the double bass. In reality he plays bass guitar but I changed it. He is a Scotsman and the mountains you can see are Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands. I will leave all the other symbolism for you to decipher. He was very pleased with the finished painting I am pleased to say.

Please click on the photos to enlarge them.























Monday, 21 August 2017

A Quick Note.

Hello my dear friends,
                             
                                       I am not myself lately. I don't know why. Except I feel something is missing. I am not depressed but something is not quite right. Physically, I am well enough.  I am however going through a very lazy streak. And yet, at the same time I am fairly busy. I am learning to play the cornet and read music. I am learning to speak Scottish Gaelic. I am painting and drawing. I am taking walks with Mia the German Shepherd.
But as I say, something is missing. I feel the need to do something more. I don't like this feeling. This feeling of something needing to be done. Does this happen to you? I don't like it at all. I hope it will soon pass. Soon resolve itself.
                                     Much love to you.





Friday, 28 July 2017

Statins And Glasses.

Exactly a year ago today my son-in-law gave me a mobility scooter because walking had become so difficult and painful. I tried it a few times -feeling very self conscious I must say. It was okay but of course I couldn't go off road with it so walks with Mia the German Shepherd were not so much fun.
I had been thinking for some time previous to this that the statins I was taking for cholesterol might be causing my walking problems because I was generally feeling tired and weak. I made the decision to stop taking them. A few weeks later I suddenly realised that I was able to walk a bit further without pain and about two months later I was walking a whole lot better and further and feeling much healthier too.
Today, I can walk almost as well as I ever did albeit a lot slower and not quite such long distances but that I presume is down to my age- I am seventy next week.
I am so glad I stopped taking those statin tablets. I am sure they were the cause of my problems. I have no idea what my cholesterol levels are nowadays and I don't care to know. I would rather have a high cholesterol level and feel healthy than have low cholesterol and feel like...

I hope you are well too.

Here is a little video I made. Nothing to do with my health just me talking about a visit to the optician yesterday.






Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Stick Throwing.


When I was at the park today I watched a bloke throwing a stick. He was a tall thin bloke. He looked a bit stick-like himself. He had on a baseball cap and some of his hair was poking through the gap at the back of it. What he did was, he threw the stick as far as he could and then he ran and picked it up and threw it again. I watched him doing this while I was walking around the park with Mia the German Shepherd. After about ten minutes of throwing the stick he picked it up and sat down on the bench at the far end of the park looking a bit knackered. He looked at me as I approached and I smiled and said, “You ought to get yourself a dog and save yourself having to keep running after that stick.”

“The trouble with dogs,” he said, looking at Mia and sounding a bit out of breath, “the trouble with dogs is they chew sticks and make them all slobbery and then you have to find another stick.”

“That’s true,” I said.

“And another thing,” he said, wiping his shirtsleeve across his face, “I have had this stick for a while now and I don’t want it getting damaged.” At this he held the stick up for me to admire. This caused Mia the German Shepherd to get excited. Luckily, she was on her lead or she might have snatched it from his hand. As sticks go I must say it was a fine-looking stick. “I always cut the ends of my sticks and round them off with sandpaper,” he went on, “this is the best length and diameter for throwing and I leave the bark on to get a good grip. This one is one of my best ones.”

“How many sticks have you got?” I asked.

“Fifty-three,” he said sounding quite proud of the fact.

“Well,” I said, “it sounds like a good way to keep fit.”

“Oh, I don’t do it to keep fit,” he said, I just do it because I enjoy it.” And with that he stood up, threw his stick with a mighty grunt and ran off after it.





Thursday, 1 June 2017

Back Pain And Errant Underwear.


This morning I had difficulty getting out of bed due to excruciating back pain. I had to slowly roll onto my tummy, get onto my hands and knees and crawl slowly backwards off the bed. It took me ten minutes to put my socks on and another ten to finish dressing. Getting my jeans on was difficult too as I had trouble lifting my feet to get them through the leg-holes.
Eventually, I decided it might be a good idea to have a bit of a walk outside. While walking I noticed a large lump on my right leg. This was quite worrying, but further investigation revealed the problem to be yesterdays underpants which were stuck down the leg of my jeans. I intended to pull the errant underpants (F&F Tesco 9.99 pack of three) through the bottom of the leg of my jeans but was unable to bend my back to do so. So I lay flat down on the grass and dragging myself backwards I was able to get my jeans down far enough for said underpants (they were the black ones. The pack contains white, black and grey) to release themselves. Getting my jeans back on whilst lying on my back on the grass was a very painful rigmarole but was eventually achieved with the help of a nearby hooked stick and I have to confess some swear words.
I consider myself really lucky that I do not have a girlfriend at the moment because I don't think any woman would believe me if I had to explain why my new underpants (the white ones) are covered in grass stains!






Monday, 22 May 2017

Maybe Just Scribbling. Maybe Not.

I have recently acquired a Microsoft Surface pad. I can draw straight onto it. I love it! Some people think my scribbles would make a good children's book. Here are a few samples of what I have done with it so far. Starting with one I just did.




 This gap is here because although it's fun to draw on it is fiddley to use and I can't get the pictures where I would like them. Scroll down please.






 














                                                                                                                                          John.

My New No-Dig Vegetable Plot









Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Tomatoes.

Once upon a time, long, long ago there were these two blokes and they had a giant glasshouse where they grew loads of tomatoes. One day, around about the same once upon a time time one of the blokes, let’s call him Harry for the sake of expediency and also because that’s what his name was or is? I mean he could still be alive. Depends how long, long ago long , long ago was.

Anyway, never mind all that it’s irrelevant. Yeah, one day Harry says to the other bloke, “I have had an idea Norman.” That’s what the other blokes name was, Norman.

“What ideas that then?” said Norman.

"Well, I been thinking. You know how labour intensive it is picking all these tomatoes?”

“Yeah,” says Norman, “and it’s bloody boring.”

“Well,” says Harry, “what do you think of this idea? Instead of picking each tomato off the vine why don’t we just sell the tomatoes with the vine attached?”

“Don’t be stupid Harry! People want their tomatoes picked for them and anyway they don’t grow on vines. Tomatoes grow on haulms.”

“Yeah I know, but hear me out mate. We call them vines ‘cos it sounds nicer and we tell customers that.. and hear me out mate, hear me out.. we tell ‘em that tomatoes with the vine still attached are healthier and taste better! What d’you think of that?”

“I’m listening Harry.”

“Well, here’s the best part mate and though I do say it myself, it is brilliant! We  charge loads more money!”

“So, let me see if I have got this right. You are proposing that we do less work picking, employ less staff, charge more money for our tomatoes because they grow on vines and also tell everyone our tomatoes are tastier and healthier because we leave a bit of the vine attached?”

“Yeah, that’s it Norman. It’s brilliant! What do you think?”

“It’s absolute bollocks Harry! No one would be gullible enough to believe it. Now come on, let’s get this lot picked. Tomatoes on vines? Never heard such nonsense!
                                             
                                        THE END







Monday, 13 March 2017

Anaphylactic Shock Almost.


A strange kind of day really. I’d been out for a walk with Mia the German Shepherd and my extremely handsome son George. –their order of importance in my life is not to be construed from that sentence.

Anyway, we were almost back home when out of nowhere the biggest, angriest, buzzingest flying insect I have ever seen suddenly attacked me. I flailed me arms blindly to frighten it off. But it didn’t work. That insect, who I had never seen before kept up its attack and it managed to sting me twice on me neck.

“It got me George!” I cried out, “it got me in me Gregory Peck!”

“Why are you talking cockney rhyming slang Dad?”

“Because I’m in shock probably but never mind that,” I screamed, “just get the bloody thing off me!”

“I think it’s gone Dad,” said George calmly.

“I can still feel it on me Gregory,” I shouted, “get it George! Can you see anything? Kill it son! Kill it!”

George has a look at me neck. “It left its sting behind Dad. Hold still, I’ll pull it out,” he says.

“Hurry up son for gawd’s sake,” I plead, “I think I’m about to go into anaphylactic shock.”

George gets the sting out and I manage to stagger home, holding on to me son’s arm tightly.
Six inches long it was that sting. The biggest sting I ever seen. Well, all right maybe two inches long. Okay then, maybe that is a slight exaggeration, But it was at least about a quarter of an inch long. Maybe an eighth of an inch then. I don’t even know what the bleedin’ insect was to be honest, but it was really loud and scary.

Me beautiful daughter Jodie is luckily there when I gets home. She is really caring and she gets her box of essential oils out. “Hold still Pater,” she says, “let me dab some oil on it. I have got some tea tree oil but that has a very strong smell or what about some lavender?”

“Yes,” I says, “lavender will do, chuck some lavender oil on it.”

So, she dabs a load of lavender oil on me Gregory Peck and I have to say it felt a lot better and I smelled nice too. I smelled a bit like a nice old granny smells. No, not of wee. Some old grannies use lavender to make themselves not smell of wee. I smelled like that.

You are not going to Adam and Eve what happened next but I will tell you anyway.

I’m in the builder’s merchants buying some cement and hydrated lime for me bread oven project and the bloke behind the counter looks at me a bit funny, “What’s that smell?” he asks me, “it reminds me of my granny.”

“Oh, that’s me,” I say to him. “it’s lavender oil.”

“It’s a bit overpowering,” he says.

“Yes,” I say, “it’s all over me Gregory.”

“What’s your Gregory?” he asks looking puzzled.

“Me neck,” I tell him, “me Gregory Peck. Its cockney rhyming slang.”

“Oh, thank gawd for that," he says laughing, “at least it ain’t all over your Hampton Wick!”

Yes, as I said, a strange kind of day really.







Sunday, 26 February 2017

The Strange Case Of The Missing Nightdress.


Tricia, my extremely handsome Son George’s mother, is always losing something in the house - usually it is something she has sold on E-bay - and I am the go-to guy she always calls to help her find things.
“John,” she says recently – that’s my name, John, “John, can you help me find a nightie?”
“A nightie?” I ask.
“Yes,” she says, “yesterday evening I put two nighties on the piano and when I went to get them just now to wrap them up for posting, one of them is missing.”
“Are you certain you put two nighties on the piano?” I ask.
“Well, I was certain,” she says, “now I’m not.”
At this stage I go into my finding things mode. “Let’s go over the course of events as they happened last evening,” I say, “so, before you put the nighties on the piano, where did you take them from?”
“The computer room,” she says, “and I went straight downstairs and put them on the piano.”
“And you didn’t do anything else except go from the computer room down the stairs to the piano?”
“Correct.”
“Have you asked George if he moved one of them?”
“Yes, and he didn’t.”
“Have you looked everywhere else in the house?”
“Yes, George and I have searched high and low. One nightie is definitely missing and I am getting very annoyed.”
“Well, all I can suggest,” I say being a bit mischievous, “is that a thief must have sneaked in during the night and stolen the missing nightie. Try and think back again,” I add, “did you get distracted in any way when you were about to put the nighties on the piano? Did you phone ring? Did anyone knock at the front door?”
“Oh,” she says, suddenly remembering, “Tony Frost called in to collect some money I owed him.”
“There is the culprit then,” I exclaim triumphantly, “Tony Frost must have stolen the nightie.”
“What on earth would Tony Frost want with a woman’s nightie?” says Tricia.
“He’s a bit weird,” I say.
“No, he isn’t,” she says.
“Well,” I say, “I don’t trust him. What sort of nightie was it anyway?”
“It is a vintage white cotton nightdress, with nice lace trim around the edges.”
“He definitely stole it,” I tell her, “The bloke is a dealer, saw it was worth a few quid and pinched it. Maybe he stole it to wear. I bet he’s one of them transvestites. I’ve always suspected him. Phone him up and ask him.”
“What, ask him if he a transvestite?” says Tricia.
“No,” I say, “phone him and ask if he took a nightie off the piano.”
“I can’t do that,” says Tricia, “it would be so embarrassing.”
“Well,” I say, “just ask him if he accidentally took it. He might not even realise he has it. It might be in his hand-bag?”
“He doesn’t have a hand-bag,” she says.
“Only joking,” I say, adding, “but you should call him if only to help solve the mystery.”
Just as she reluctantly reaches for the phone, it rings. “That’ll be Tony Frost ringing to say he has found your nightie in his hand-bag,” I say laughing.
Tricia answers the phone. It is her friend calling about something or other. Knowing she could be on the phone for a long time I decide to have a look for the missing nightie. I go upstairs to the computer room. On top of a chest of drawers I notice a cotton garment. It is white and has a lace trim. It looks to my admittedly unpracticed eye, like a nightie. I take it downstairs. Tricia is still on the phone. I catch her eye and hold the nightie up for her to see. Her eyes light up. “Can I call you back in a minute?” she says to her friend.
“That’s it,” she says, “where was it? I have been looking all day. Thank goodness I thought I must be going mad.”
After I explain where I found it and after Tricia has told me for the umpteenth time how very grateful she is it suddenly dawns on her. “I am so glad I didn’t make that phone call to Tony Frost,” she says, sounding very relieved indeed.
“I still think he’s a transvestite,” I say.
Not that there is anything wrong with that he hastens to say.







Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Last Oven Update For The Time Being.

I dismantled the bread oven - well I took the top off it. I had to do this because I wanted to lay a brick floor - hoping it would retain heat more. It got extremely hot, but it still did not retain the heat long enough in my opinion. It certainly bakes a loaf but one bake per firing isn't enough. I think it should cook for at least a couple of hours each firing. I am going to get some proper oven bricks. They are pricey but I think I can buy second-hand ones. When I rebuilt the dome I used a large flower pot upside down. I figured it was clay and should withstand the heat. It did.
I think you have heard enough about my bread oven.This is the last update until I get it working properly. I don't want to bore you.
Upside down flower pot.

Brick floor.

Good news regarding my Extremely Handsome Son George's wildlife pond. Last night for the first time since the pond was made there has been frog and toad activity. We have lots of spawn.
Frogspawn in the wildlife pond.


Snowdrops have bloomed in the paddock. Gladdens my heart to see them. Spring is in the air.
Mia the German Shepherd and snowdrops.

Labrinthitis - do you know what that is? I first had it a few years ago and it has struck me again. Hopefully it will not last long this time.

Thanks for coming by.





Sunday, 19 February 2017

Bread Oven Progress (Or Lack Of) Number 6

The good news is, my oven does bake bread. The bad news is it didn't bake it properly. Not crusty enough for me.
I am not happy with the ovens ability to retain heat -which is very important in a bread oven. So I am going to have to make some modifications. I think another layer of bricks inside. I think perhaps I will use proper firebricks that retain heat, rather than the reclaimed house bricks. This will require some dismantling but I have got plenty of time on my hands as you may have noticed. I am not despondent. I love experimenting. Here are some pics.
First attempt.


Tasty.




Almost but not quite.

I baked the first loaf in a tin. It didn't rise properly. I discovered I had used self raising flour. I should have used plain flour. I then found the yeast I used was almost 2 years past its sell-by date! EHS George and BD Jodie liked it though and soon demolished the whole loaf.
My next attempt- with the correct flour and new yeast rose nicely but didn't cook properly. Although once again it did taste delicious.
I will persevere. I will succeed.


I do have plenty of firewood for the bread oven. No problem there at least.