3rd Law Part 17

Just installing a piece of software from Dell. I recently upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 8 and the computer won’t work like it used to. For example I have a SIM in it that needs some driver software call Dell Mobile Broadband Manager. This seems to have disappeared during the upgrade. Dell won’t let me search their website before verifying that I am a genuine customer. The software download is so that it can interrogate me to validate that I am allowed to look for the driver on the Dell website. That’s control for you. So much control that I now have the message “We’re sorry, we encountered a problem and were unable to complete the service tag detection. You can either Try Again or Cancel to select another option.”

Huh. I’m on holiday now. It will have to wait until I get back to work. It isn’t the end of the world as a) I’m supposed to be going offline whilst on holiday and b) I have two phones I can tether the laptop to use for internet access during the week hah – laughs in the face of adversity/authority (delete depending on your mood).

It’s early here in the Davies household and rather than lie in bed waiting for the alarm to go off I’ve decided to get up and let the 3rd law take over. In this case I’m not surfing tinternet I’m writing a bit of the 3rd Law book which seems to work in just the same way. It would seem that the Third Law permeates other areas of life as we know it. Inneresting. There could be a doctorate in this. Taking it to the extreme it could mean a Nobel Prize. Wow. I didn’t realise when I began all this Third Law stuff that it could be so big! It isn’t yet of course but in might be.

I have around 45 minutes before I get up off the settee and make a pot of tea. This is later than is normal but I did say we are on holiday so I am affording us a little lie in. I’m good like that. Generous. Notice that I didn’t say generous to a fault. That would have been going over the top and is really up to others to say. I don’t want to be remembered for being “that guy who used to go around thinking he was generous to a fault.” What a plonker.

I’m not generous to a fault. Happy to give a tip where a tip is deserved and am often being seen to complement someone on their new hairdo – nice words are not hard to come by and if it makes someone’s day then why not. You will have noticed that I kept that bit gender neutral. I didn’t want to be accused of sexism or “being after something”. I’m sure that it is perfectly possible for a bloke to appreciate a nice comment about his hair just as much a woman.

It is more likely that one would comment about a man’s facial hair rather than the stuff on the top of his head. The former will attract statements such as “that’s a fine brush you’ve grown there Martin” whilst the latter is more likely to be in the vein of “thinning a bit on top I see, I’d shave it all off if it was me”. I can see Martin stroking his moustache, rightly proud, whereas the nameless chap in need of a home shaver will have no choice but to agree in a manly but resigned to his fate manner.

Never been into moustaches myself. They are a bit ticklish and I don’t like the way they pick up bits of food. Yuk. Sometimes when we go camping I give myself the week off shaving. I don’t mind a bit of the rugged look when kipping in a tent. It’s all part of the adventure even though we are probably on an organised campsite and pitched in between two large caravans with satellite TV dishes on top where the inhabitants retire every evening to watch a continuous stream of soaps. Huh (to be accompanied by contemptuous sound effects).

There was one year we went camping with a few other families, one of which had a caravan but where all the others were in tents. One morning the skies opened and about a month’s rain fell in two hours. We all huddled under the awning of one tent. The caravan owner, Alistair, was desperate for us to retreat to the comfort of his caravan but we would have none of it. I still have a video of the morning showing a river of water running off the front of the awning. The rain finished and the campsite having the benefit of the good drainage from a sandy soil soon returned to normal. This was in Jubilee Park in Woodhall Spa. Last year we were there and it also rained. I took another video and posted it to YouTube. All it was was water bouncing off the tent. I also decided to monetise the video but got an automated message from Google, or some oik saying that this was an unsuitable video for monetisation! Some people have no idea, or perhaps they were members of the Caravan Club!

We have been camping since time immemorial, the Davies family that is, not the human race. We all know the human race has been living in tents since the dawn of time, or words to that suitably dramatic effect representing the thousands of years of human evolution in a few short words. The Davies family started camping in a borrowed tent when Tom, our first born, was a baby. It was a small tent but we weren’t the family of six that we now are. Having a small baby on our hands we had finished eating and were ready for bed quite early, eight o clock say. I remember playing my guitar inside the tent trying to get him to sleep. It probably looked odd from the outside seeing the tent all closed up with the sound of a lullaby coming from within.

I like to think that my dulcet tones had the right calming effect on the kids though as they grew I did on occasion have to raise the tone to represent slight crossness. Also I’m not sure I know any lullabys on the guitar though it might have been “Summertime” which was one of my staples for singing the kids to sleep. I have been known to sing myself to sleep at the same time especially having just arrived home jetlagged from an overseas trip.

Poor Anne would look forward to my return from these trips having been looking after the kids on her own all week. The funny thing was that I, who would have spent the whole week wining and dining in posh bars and restaurants would be looking forward to a simple meal of beans and toast whilst Anne, who had spent the week living on beans on toast would be after something a little more upscale. Life huh:)


Go to 3rd Law part 16

3rd law part 18 here

3rd Law Part 16 – voicemail

Voicemail! It used to be called answerphone but not anymore. Blame it on globalization. I wonder who first thought of calling it that. Presumably someone from a former colony, the good ole u s of a. I don’t mind really though there are some things that could be different. Spellings for one and the fact that quite often when filling in a drop down form online when it comes to the choice of country you often find United States first in the list. Clearly a spelling problem for the software developer who must think that U comes before A though if you follow that logic The United Kingdom, Uruguay and the United Arab Emirates would also be before Australia, Azerbaijan and any other country beginning with the first letter of the alphabet.

There must be another reason that the USA comes first in the list though I can’t for the life of me think what it might be. Must be having a bit of a mental block. Senior moment though obv I’m not old enough to have one of those.








Oh sorry just nodded off there for a bit. Head must have hit the return button on the keyboard. I’ve probably got a back to front carriage return symbol imprinted on my forehead. I know it doesn’t work like that really but the idea is a goodun. In the old days of the typewriter it couldn’t have happened. As soon as your head hit the keyboard, or whatever it was called way back then, one or more of the metal bits with the letter moulded into the end would have sprang up and hit you in the eye. The resultant sharp pain would almost certainly have woken you up and having cleaned the ink off your face you would have continued typing, clacking away clickety clack clickety clack (for that was the sound of the typewriter dear reader).

Reading that last sentence you could be forgiven for thinking that the sound of the typewriter was very similar to that of a train – many readers will not have heard a typewriter in action except maybe in an old black and white movie film.

Reality is very different. Oh yes. A train sound might be described as a clickety clack clickety clack but believe you me it is a far deeper and more resonant sound than the typewriter. Perhaps it needs a different font. I don’t know. A train would also have the occasional choo choo and chuff chuff slotted into the text so that it would really be quite clear that it wasn’t the sound of a typewriter being depicted on the page.

Both are historical entities now though we still have trains. They tend not to have the chuff chuff bit unless you are at a railway museum so somewhere like that. I quite like going to railway museums and riding on steam trains. I once went on an excursion on the Union of South Africa, the last steam train to leave Kings Cross station on a passenger service. It’s a Gresley A4 Pacific – the same design as the Mallard which still holds the world speed record for a steam train. This particular trip was full of anoraks nerds train enthusiasts who had all brought goggles with them so that they could stick their heads out of the window of the moving train without worrying about the soot and grit from the engine getting in their eyes. It was quite funny seeing their faces covered in black soot but with white bits around the eyes – as if they had been skiing. There was another moment where one of the enthusiasts walked quickly through each carriage telling everyone we had just reached seventy five miles per hour. I don’t think we were meant to be going over seventy so this was extreme flouting of the railway authorities. Huh, come and get us, if you can find us…

As it happens we have a train set laid out in the attic. It’s a big L shaped attic, maybe seven metres by seven metres and the layout itself is around 7 metres by three metres. It doesn’t go around the L shaped bit if you can imagine it. There are three loops so that’s roughly 60 metres of train track and we have a number of engines including, wait for it, The Union of South Africa. Get on!

It doesn’t get played with very much. Building the layout was an excuse for a few beers on a Sunday afternoon whilst listening to some old records. That’s vinyl, not mp3 download, iTunes, shared, pirated, streamed or any other modern format. Ok the occasional LP has a scratch but by and large they are ok.

The deck isn’t in the attic anymore though. One of the kids has it in their bedroom. Retro is cool these days and I do have 250 or so LPs to play including Led Zeppelin’s 4th album in green vinyl. I bought it off my pal Rhys at Bangor University. One of my favourite LPs was Frank Sinatra’s greatest Hits which I left on the deck one day. I got back to my room and the sun had melted it. It was all crinkled. I was gutted. I’ve never been able to find that same record again.

That’s life as we know it Jim. I used to watch that programme as a kid but not kept up with the multitudinous series’ since. What was it called? Star Trek that was it. Sorry if I sound a bit dim there. I don’t keep up with telly stuff.

When we were kids we used to watch a lot of telly. Nowadays the kids get chastised for spending too much time in front of a screen but we used to do it all the time. Ok I also used to read a lot but still watched far too much TV. Saturday mornings were great – White Horses, The Lone Ranger, The Banana Bunch. They don’t make em like that anymore. I have a lot of books these days though I don’t read as much as I used to.

When we started to have kids I began to buy up some of the books of my childhood. I wanted my own offspring to share in my boyhood experience. I gave all of mine away which I regret now. I bought a few Enid Blyton Famous Five’s. My god what drivel! To think I used to love them. It just shows how tastes have changed and also how little literature there was around for kids in those days. Blyton was a pioneer.

Nowadays you can get stuff like Alex Ryder that is truly gripping true to life adventure stuff. Well I know it isn’t really true to life but it all feels totally plausible. You should read one or two – you’ll be hooked. Same goes for Harry Potter who is totally believable. I need to get myself one of those wands. You have to use them carefully though because they can do some pretty powerful stuff. Levitation for example. Never saw any teleporting like they do in Star Trek but I guess Star Trek was (is?) much further into the future where technology is that much more advanced.

Harry Potter is in the here and now. It must be. I’ve seen the sign for platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross Station. QED.

3rd law part 15 here

3rd law part 17 here

The third law part 15 – the fireside chat

Sitting here by the fire listening so someone else’s choice of music. It’s ok. He has similar tastes to me. Bought some smokeless fuel from B&Q this morning. Some packaged “instant light” stuff. It’s not right. Coal should be delivered on the back of a lorry and the bags emptied straight into the coal hole. We don’t have a coal hole any more. It went along with the pantry. Sacrificed for a side extension – two bedrooms a garage, utility room and downstairs toilet.

I’m not complaining, just sayin’.

I occasionally think about getting a coal bunker and taking delivery of a proper load. We used to have one when I was a kid in Wales. I remember Mam used to lie in front of the fire. Then when we moved to the Isle of Man the house only had electric radiators which weren’t particularly effective and probably expensive to run. Mam then used to lie in front of the radiator, behind the settee!

Mam and Dad moved house around ten years or so ago and the new place is warm as toast. So warm in fact I get too hot there. Ours is a big house and quite draughty which you get used to. The fire when lit is a real luxury to have. We don’t really need it. When the house was built central heating was the domain of the rich and our house had a fireplace in both downstairs living rooms. The one in the TV room is long gone, it went at the same time as the coal hole.

I think most people don’t have open fires anymore though they always seem to shift a lot of coal at the Garage on Burton Road so perhaps I’m wrong. They don’t have their purchasing right though because they keep running out of smokeless first. Considering that the garage is in a smokeless zone you wonder why they even bother with the proper smoky stuff.

I know I know, people travel into Lincoln and pick up coal on their way home. They should get themselves a coal bunker then. It’s a much cheaper way to buy coal.

Dunno what got me going on coal, other than I’m sitting here enjoying the company of the fire. It’s ‘orrible out there. Drizzly with the promise of hail and snow later. Bring on the real stuff. The big flaked deep drifting hole up for the winter stormy weather blotting out the sun snow. Ya have to lurve the stuff. Never mind about the aftermath. Enjoy the moment.

Anyway it isn’t snow at the moment it’s drizzle as I said. Rain is a bit of a pain if you are a bespectacled individual as I am. I used to think it would be a good idea if someone invented windscreen wipers for specs but thought that they would probably not be practical due to their being too heavy. You would think that problem could be easily overcome in these days of advanced technology wouldn’t you. Doesn’t appear to be the case.

If you are not a wearer of glasses it is hard for you to appreciate the total freedom represented by walking in the rain, face up to the heavens and letting the water run down your face. I take off my glasses sometimes to do it. Freeeedommmm. I was just imagining doing it then in case you were wondering.

Mind you don’t get me wrong I like the rain though there comes a point after forty days and forty nights where one does look forward to a bit of sun. There’s nothing quite like a summer’s day in the back garden, sipping a glass of something cool. The best bits about those kind of days are the evenings. It’s not often we can sit out in the evenings here. Maybe a week’s worth in a year. We are too far North. It’s good when we can though I do suffer from mozzies. They love me. The answer is to sit around the firepit – the smoke keeps them off. It’s worth ending up smelling of woodsmoke and it is easy enough to have a quick shower before going to bed. It’s back to the fire theme by the looks of it which wasn’t deliberate. Stop arson around Tref.

I’ve moved now from the living room to the kitchen where I am cooking roast pork for Sunday dinner. I’ve followed Michel Roux Junior’s tip for getting good crackling which is to pour boiling water over the skin of the pork before putting it in the oven. You have to dry the skin afterwards obv though as I think of it not all of you may have realised that you have to have dry pork skin to get good crackling. Especially the vegetarians amongst you who have no real need to know that information.

Might come in handy in a pub quiz one day though that does assume that you frequent such forms of entertainment. I don’t like pub quizzes myself because I have no idea about TV soaps and football which it seems to me is what half the questions are about. I have watched one episode each of East Enders and Coronation Street just so that I could educate myself about the genre, if that’s the right way of putting it. Must have easily been 25 years ago now. I doubt much has changed. Characters come and go and from what I can gather come back again. Woteva. Get a life people.

The other thing about pub quizzes is that some teams have loads of people in them which unfavourably stacks the odds against the smaller teams. I did once go to a Scout Group Family Quiz on a Saturday night in the Bailgate Methodist Church Hall of all places. Not my idea of a thing to do on  Saturday but one sometimes has to make these little sacrifices for the sake of the family. On this occasion Anne had to take one of the kids home at half time so I kept up the honour of the Davies’ and soldiered on for the second half. Blow me down if the first set of questions wasn’t about the Bible. Being a rampant non church goer married to a Sunday School teacher I felt helpless. I also felt that it was fair game to phone home to find out the answers to some of the questions which is what I did. Eyebrows were raised but when challenged by the Minister I explained and of course he, being a good Christian, understood and accepted the situache.

Pub quizzes are not helped by the fact that they are in pubs. Obvious I know but what I’m trying to get across is that when I’ve had a drink or two I get even worse at the quiz. It doesn’t really matter though sometimes there is a lot of cash at stake. I’ll never make my millions at pub quizzes.

I do occasionally buy a lottery ticket. Maybe two or three times a year. It is very rare for me to even get one number right. It has certainly been years since I won anything. Since the first year it came out I’d say. I think I won a tenner the first time I played it but not very much since. It’s how they get you hooked. Didn’t work in my case witnessed by the three times a year entry level. I do sometimes see people queuing up at garages to spend tens of pounds on tickets though. Probably those who can least afford to do so. Ah well.

I bet on the gee gees once a year when they run the Grand National. I’m sure it’s the same for most people.  I never win anything, or at least don’t get all my money back. I quite like going to the races themselves as opposed to watching them on tv and we have been known to go to Market Rasen for a day out. Usually the budget is a fiver a race but we’ve never had cause to pop the champagne.

One year we had to get a tractor to tow our car out of the mud! Didn’t have the Jeep then. There’s something about a race meet that is different to when you watch it on the telly. I suppose for one I have usually got a bet on at a meet which won’t be the case for the telly – except of course the Grand National. You also get the real life atmosphere, roar of the crowd, thudding of horses hooves – y’awl understand?

I’ll just go and put some more coal on the fire… 3rd Law part 14 here. 3rd law part 16 here.

Third Law Part 14 – thief in the night

I saw on Facebook just now that a dog had killed someone’s cockerel.   Not good. The trials of life in the country I guess. A friend of mine keeps chickens in the centre of town and had a cockerel that was the subject of regular complaints from a neighbour. You do hear of people moving into the countryside and finding themselves woken regularly at a very early hour by a farm cockerel. For such people I have no sympathy. It is a little different for those living in town where cockerels have probably not been common features in the urban landscape for hundreds of years now. Having said that I was a bemused bystander where it came to my friend’s situation. I wasn’t affected by the dawn cock crow and didn’t mind him having a cockerel. I think the cockerel eventually died – the strain of having to service all the hens must get to them all in the end.

A regular supply if fresh eggs is no bad thing. Makes a big difference having your eggs fresh. You don’t notice it until you’ve tried. Almost the same as with bread though not to the same marked extent. Fresh bread is a real luxury. I went to a baking master class once at the cockerel owner’s place (the one in town, not the one in the countryside). The baker told us that in “the old days” mothers would not let their kids have bread until it was a few days old as otherwise they would wolf the whole lot down. Inneresting eh?

The subtitle of this bit of the third law is “thief in the night”. Please note that only refers to the death of the cockerel initially referred to and has nothing to do with the rest of the piece unless it slips in accidentally. I’m thinking swimming now. I started swimming last summer when there was a general consensus that I needed to lose weight. The treatment is working and the inches have been disappearing.

The one thing about swimming is that it gives you a lot of time to think. The pounding of the lanes could be an intensely boring exercise were you unable to “get into the zone”. There isn’t much looking around to do. I can’t see much without my specs anyway, even to the point where I have to ask an attendant the time when I think it is getting near to when I should be getting out. This is important as I normally stop off for a swim at Yarborough Leisure Centre on my way into work and I need to make sure I’m not (too) late in.

Even though I can’t see much I do like to wear “mist resistant” goggles, given to me for Christmas by my sister Ann, fwiw. Her family are also swimmers. They are real pros compared to me. I asked one niece if she would like to come swimming with her old uncle Tref. I said I was a pretty slow swimmer at 25 minutes for 20 lengths. She said she did 16 lengths in 5 minutes. Hmm. We had a race and even with a handicap of having to swim four times as far as me she still won. Fair play.

Anyway in pounding the lanes I get, as I said, time to think and to observe. The first observation is in swimming techniques. Some are really annoying. There is one woman who bobs up and down a lot and her feet seem to go at twice the rate of mine, an unfeasibly fast stroke rate. For some reason I find this irritating. Then there are the women who seem to just go for a chat. This too is irritating when I am there, totally focussed (ish) on the task in hand.

Some people swim faster than others. Most swim faster than me. I’ve long since stopped worrying about being passed by old dears who seem to glide effortlessly by. I’ve not been able to work it out. I suspect it is down to the length of my inside leg. I always buy “short” legged trousers and I reckon that the power in swimming comes from the leverage obtained from the longer leg. For the record there is an etiquette when lane swimming. The written rule is that you always swim in a clockwise manner with the slower swimmers sticking to the lanes marked out for that purpose. The unwritten rule is that if you catch up with a slower swimmer you don’t try to overtake. You just wait until nearly at the end of the lane and turn around early thereby finding, if you are lucky, a totally empty pool ahead of you. There are exceptions to this. If there are only two of you in the lane it is perfectly acceptable to pass on one side as you are not likely to encounter another swimmer coming the other way. Sorted.

Being pretty blind I have come to recognise the regulars from their outlines. If I saw them in the street, me with my specs on and they fully dressed I’d probably blank them. They’d think I was a right antisocial bastard. The average age of the regulars tends to be on the high side though you do get a younger cohort coming for the very early swim. I can’t understand how they have the discipline to do this. If they are coming out at 7.30 when I am getting in the pool they must have been up and at it by 6am wouldn’t you think?

I tend always to use the same locker, number 333 or triple Nelson. That refers to a cricketing term – Google it. I also like to use the same end changing cubicle as it is slightly bigger than the others. I reckon I only get it a third of the time as other swimmers must have the same idea. Sometimes people leave their clothes in the cubicle rather than using a locker and it can be a bit annoying when this cubicle happens to be my favourite. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a massive deal but I thought it worth mentioning. One of the culprits might read this and change his or her ways. Unlikely but you never know.

By the way I know that some of you will be thinking that these Third Law posts are longer than your average post. Well that of course is because the third law says time goes faster when using the internet so in practice they shouldn’t seem to take any longer to read than one of say 500 words which is normally considered to be more of a sweet spot for posts. I’m a reb I am.

That’s all. Gotta go swimming. Cockadoodledoo.

Part 13 is here.

Part 13 is here.