Thursday, 20 August 2009

Boomtown Rats

Just incase you are interested. Yes you. I am trying to out-do my favourite 'wind tubine loving' sister in law in the photo-stakes. Must admit i'm not too sure that wind turbines are the answer to global warming, but they keep a lot of people in work and keep a lot of other people raging inside. I like that!

FYI the words below isn't completely all my work but .......

........forget about plastic bags and turning down the thermostat - the real cause of global warming is, as you may have heard before, cow farts (don't tell them, but I don't think it's just the cows - I might be partially responsible). Basically it seems (from skim reading the piece) that the profligate luxurious living of our generation is taking down the environment, and unless we all cut back on meat and milk and go back to the ways of our grandparents.

Good luck persuading people about this one. Once again I can only conclude that the world is fucked. We've got used to living like medieval kings, eating meat every day and getting exotic fruits flown in, for us to let go rotten in the bowl and then throw away. I just can't see people going back on this. Not just the consumers, but is Macdonald's really going to cut back on the beef? Are you going to be happy drinking a litre of milk a week? Would you go back to rationing? No you won't. Not even to save the world. Because you've got too used to consuming stuff and then chucking it away when it breaks and you're not going to change even if the sky starts falling in (which by the way, won't happen even in the worst case scenarios).
Perhaps the credit crunch will hit us so hard that we'll be sent back to Amish times and by 2010 we'll be driving around in carts and using grain towers as methods of execution. Who'd have thought that the Amish had the right idea all along. The Amish and the vegetarians. Though we'll probably have to get rid of the animals all together, which I don't think is what they actually wanted.

Maybe we should just start with the flatulent men. Because my guess is it is them who are eating too much meat and rich food. So if we just take them out then the atmosphere will clear up and food will be simpler and maybe a few of the cows and sheep can live.
I don't know why I am advocating this policy, because if they start killing flatulent men then I will be first against the wall. Though with a bit of luck I'll manage to blow a hole in the wall and escape before they shoot me.

Nothing much happened today.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Action This Day

This week I have been travelling again and I have been fortunate enough to have a little time on my hands. Below is a short list of the things I have been reading or listening to on my Ipod

Heart Shaped Box (horror book)
Richard Herring blog (lots of news and reviews about the Edinburgh Fringe Festival)

Queen Live (again, but with renewed interest)
The Shee - Cambridge Folk Festival discovery
Carpool - Podcast/Vidcast hosted by Robert Llewellyn
Adam & Joe - Podcast of Songwars

Go on and enjoy......

Curse you Gin & Tonic

Picture the scene......

A barn miles from no where.

10pm on a cool summer Saturday evening in August.

50 middle aged men standing a large circle holding hands together in the dim light. All the men are a little nervous about what is about to occur, but they are also a little excited, some men very excited for good reasons, some for the wrong reasons.

What happened next was unpleasant and messy. In the dim light of the barn the men started to dance, some men danced badly, some very badly.
I was taking part in a barndance in Tixall. A surprise to me I can tell you. But at 35 years of age you need to take a chance or two!
The evening started at 7.45pm, leaving the babysitter at home with the kids and crossing my fingers so they would sleep through. Which they did and always do. 10 minutes later we had arrived at the farm in Tixall, parked the car in a field and taken the short walk to the barn. It was a clear and warm summers evening, which there haven't been too many off this year. the views of the Staffordshire countryside were fantastic and it reaffirmed my opinion that the UK is a lovely and beautiful place, although when it rains that is hard to see sometimes.

A further 10 minutes later and we had found our table and been introduced to everyone. I can't remember any of their names, but this is OK, everyone was very friendly, very different to us and all had the same sober reservations about dancing in a barn in the middle of nowhere. There reservations took a little time and lots of alcohol to subside, but once they did we all had a great time. I think that over the course of the evening I danced at least 4 or 5 dances. In the early dances I very quickly became competitive (as did Christof) and a little annoyed that some of our more mature dancing group were unable to remember the moves. This inability to remember the moves I put down to age and alcohol. Both of which caught up with me (and Christof) a little later in the evening.
After a few square dances, the odd 'dosey doh' and a strange dance of musical 'grab a ladie' nobody wanted the evening to end. Unfortunately by this time it was after 11pm and a lot of wine had been consumed and some of our more mature dancing partners were happy to tidy up, wash their glasses and then leave in an orderly manner and let the designated driver take them home. Unfortunately Christof and I still had a bottle of gin and tonic left, so we were going nowhere. Well not for an hour at least. We spent the rest of the evening in good company with a great couple of people. Now names are my strong point, so we won't worry ourselves too much about these.

At around twenty past midnight we made our way out of the barn and down the long road home. We had a quick stop off on the way to look at some stables which belonged to one of our drinking partners. Not sure why we looked at them, but they were very nice non the less. Due to our large intake of alcohol we were walking back the 2 miles to home. It was a lovely evening, quite warm, the sky was pretty clear and no one else around apart from us. Those 2 miles took around an hour to walk, which even at a cautious inebriated pace is slow. None the less we made in back in one piece (apart from Christof's hic-ups), paid the baybsitter, locked up the house and went to bed.

Not too many hours later the kids emerged into our room fully dressed and ready for tennis club. Whilst we of course support physical activity for the kids neither of us were in the mood. Although I'm sure the parents of Venus and Serena never went to a drunken barndance. Christof took A&P to tennis whilst I lounged around and woke up slowly with number 3 child. the rest of the day was taken at a slow pace, but even though the hangover was grim and I swore off alcohol forever, I enjoyed the barndance evening so much it helped to make things feel a little better.

I think we are on the look out for the next barndance, but I still have my concern that the next one we turn up at will involve less dancing and more throwing your car keys in a bowl.............

Monday, 3 August 2009

Grab it with both hands and don't look back

Whilst I don't believe I am as shallow as a muddy puddle, I have never held myself as a great philosopher. I am more from a school of thought (although not too much thought admittedly) that one must remember the past, enjoy the present and plan for the future. I don't live my life strictly by this code, but it basically explains my approach to the day and all it brings.

As John Lennon very famously and succinctly put it, “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans”. How pleased was he when he came up or found that quote? In reality I believe that that one quote above all so closely sums up todays modern, internet tweeting, facebook surfing, life that you have to remember that he wrote it over 30 years ago in the song Beautiful Boy, for his son Sean. But in reality are things really that different in 2009 to how they were 50 years ago? OK, we have the sat nav, television & DVD, fast food, credit cards and there is of course the internet and all that comes with hours of time in front of LCD screens wishing that your broadband was faster.

All the stuff above, whilst very specific and indicative of the way we chose to communicate, spend our leisure time, eat, shop and pay for our purchases, it is only demonstrative that we embrace modern tools of life, not that we are different people or even better for it. Without waffling on too much, All Mod Cons do not change who were are, just how we get to where we are.

The real difference between then and now is that the speed we live our lives today is so much quicker than that 50 years ago. Travel was slower, expensive and infrequent. Food was more expensive, less varied and based on local, seasonal produce rather than the generic supermarket shelves that sell us bananas, apples and fresh salad everyday of the year. Communication was slower and again more expensive, with letters being the primary way people kept in contact, and phone calls were for the privileged only. We did get a phone at home eventually, although it was the early ninety's and even then it was phenomenally expensive. I suppose today is just faster and more disposable than back then. The colour brown is less popular and postman would be pretty worried about their future if it wasn't for online shopping.

The last week has been a very busy and difficult week. I went back to the Isle of Man for a family funeral without my family, which was difficult but probably for the best. Funerals are of course very personal and strange affairs. It is important to respect how different people cope with grief and the events of a persons death.

Remembering the person who died is the most important action and natural reaction to some one's death. Whether these thoughts are positive (which they usually are) or other, it doesn't really matter, it is the act of remembering that it is important. It allows you to recall your memories of that person and remember what was individual about them. The funeral itself was not pleasant, but it was not unpleasant. The music played meant a lot to those who knew my uncle as it would of meant a lot to him if he was there himself. The service was very personal and the poem; written by my dad; and read out by the vicar was thoughtful and very emotional. After the service we layed flower and earth in the ground and then hung around not really knowing what to do. It was interesting and a little strange to meet my half brother and other family members from a long time ago. Not really knowing what to say, everyone acknowledging the situation and not sure where to go next with the conversation.

But then as with everything the moment was over and we all went our separate ways. The evening of funeral came and went as is the passage of time. I think that we could of spent a little more time remembering those who were not there, rather than drowning sorrows and trying to forget.

My own inevitable demise is something I acknowledge, but I choose not to focus on particularly. I think that at times of grief we have to acknowledge it is there, but we are all too busy making plans, eating fast food, planning a day out with the kids, listening to our favourite songs on the radio, buying a book on amazon or maybe even having the odd glass of wine for a treat.

We need to respect our memories and not dwell on the past too long. One of my favourite blogs recently informed me that,

"I thought I would be sad that my babies were growing up, but I am really enjoying living in the present. That involves moving on and not looking back over my shoulder yearning for the past.
Sometimes I do wish I could hold onto a moment, it would be lovely to be able to pop into photos and visit special times. But I would only like to visit not stay there - I guess this means I'm truly happy (bluerrhh!!). Remind me the next time I'm screaming at the kids!"

This is the point I am trying to make and that is it. And on that bombshell I will give you my choice of quotes about and life and death:

“Dying is a very dull, dreary affair, and my advice to you is to have nothing to do with it.” - Somerset Maugham

"It hath been often said, that it is not death, but dying, which is terrible." - Henry Fielding

"The only thing I regret about my life is the length of it. If I had to live my life again, I'd make all the same mistakes - only sooner." - Tallulah Bankhead

"Live long and prosper" - Mr Spock