Friday, 8 December 2017

Hit The Road Jack.


I am still here. Sorry for the long sojourn (is that the right word?). No excuses really. Except laziness. Although I have been busy doing other things. I always have one or two projects on the go.

I have bought a van. It is a small van but I am making it into a campervan. I already have a campervan as you may know but it is too big and too much of a fuel guzzler for my intentions. Which are to visit more of this United Kingdom while I am still reasonably fit enough to do so.

This little van, a Vauxhall Astra, is very economical on fuel and I shall be able to afford longer trips out. Just me and Mia the German Shepherd.

Anyway I have been preparing it. I have fully insulated everything. and there is plyboard under the tartan fleece lining. There is room for a bed. What more do I need? A cooker might be a good idea?

Here are some photos of what I have been up to.










I have slept in it a couple of times to try it out. It is quite comfy. Mia the German Shepherd has a bed in the front. I have removed the passenger seat to make more room for her.

It is quite cold at the moment. I might wait till it gets a bit warmer before I start travelling. I shall keep a blog about my adventures which I have decided to call 'One Van and His Dog'. Catchy eh? I hope you will follow me. Keep watching this space.











Friday, 27 October 2017

Nuns And Monks


Nuns wear long habits made of rough, scratchy linen. This is one of the reasons they always look so uncomfortable and don’t smile much. The reason nuns wear long habits is because their legs are too short to reach the ground? If you ever see a tall nun she may be a fake. Tall women aren’t allowed to be nuns because it takes too much material to make their habits. There are exceptions to this however. For instance, if a nun has ordered too much material to make her habit and doesn’t want the Mother Superior to find out, she will make her habit longer than normal, therefore she needs to be taller to fit it. Her legs will still not reach the ground, but they will take less time not to.

You may be wondering how I know so much about nun’s legs and their habits? Well, I used to go out with a girl who knew a girl whose sister went to a convent school and she told me she had been told by the girl she knew, that her sister told her she had never seen a nun’s feet. But to be honest with you most of what I know has been garnered from years of never seeing a nun’s feet myself. In fact, even though it is more likely, I haven’t even seen a nun’s foot let alone both feet.

Monks wear long habits too, but their legs reach the ground. I know this because I visited a monastery once and noticed the monks wore sandals and why would they do that if their feet didn’t reach the ground?

Monks habits are also made from rough, scratchy linen. Why, in that case you may be asking yourself do monks look so happy and smile a lot? I think it might be that monks can wear expensive silk underwear under their habit whereas nun’s underwear is made from the same material as their habits. This might seem unfair but when you think about it nobody forced them to become nuns.






Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Plastic Pollution.

I was just watching something on television about plastic polluting the oceans. You would not believe the amount of plastic there is in the sea. Or maybe if you saw this programme, especially if it was David Attenborough presenting it you would. I couldn’t watch all of it. Too depressing. We have ruined the sea. Us Human beans.

Creations litter-bugs I call us. If you analysed that fish you ate for dinner yesterday you would find you had eaten plastic. If you analysed that plastic bottle you drank from yesterday, yep you drank plastic. Go to any beach anywhere in the world no matter how remote and you will find it full of plastic. Some beaches are so full of plastic rubbish that they are almost impossible to walk on.

It’s not only the oceans of course. Take a walk in the countryside and you will find plastic. Loads of it. In the fields. In the rivers and streams. Even in the trees. Yes, we have turned Earth into a gigantic garbage dump.

Having almost completed the ruination of our beautiful Earth we have now turned to space exploration. A relatively new thing for mankind but, and here I go again, you would not believe the amount of rubbish, a lot of it plastic, there is floating around in space. Stuff we have sent up there and then when its usefulness has expired we have simply discarded. I believe that one solution put forward to deal with space rubbish is to send up spacecraft equipped to clean it up. Effectively, space rubbish trucks. Well, I hope they do a better job than the ones on Earth!

When I go for a walk and pick up someone else’s litter I am aware of just what a feeble gesture this is but what should I do, leave it there so that finally in a thousand years’ time it may have disappeared?

I don’t want to be all doom and gloom, but I cannot just ignore what is happening. There are many of us who care about the health of our planet but sadly there are many more who do not. The plastic is a problem but mainly it is those who insist on using it in their everyday lives who have made it worse.

Correct me if I am wrong but surely not so long ago there was no such thing as plastic? I remember paper bags and glass bottles. Where did it all go so badly wrong? Why? Humans that’s why. I hang my head and plead guilty to my part in it.







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.





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.