3rd Law Part 46 – the perpetual day of tinternet

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One of the features of the 3rd Law and its perceived ability to manipulate time is the perpetual day. You don’t notice the change between day and night and to all intents and purposes there is no night. This does assume that you have the stamina to last that long and that in the process of continuously getting up to go and make hot drinks so that they can go cold you don’t look out of the window, or at least don’t notice what is outside the window which is perfectly feasible.

There is also a counter argument that what we are talking about is the perpetual night. Some people think that this is a reflection of an individual’s personality – the glass half full/half empty debate. I’m not so sure. Who is to say that a creature of the night isn’t just someone currently working a night shift though if I was that person’s employer I’d want to know why they spent most of their shift surfing tinternet. If I was on night shift I’d want to spend the whole time surfing. It would make the time go more quickly. That is what the 3rd Law is all about.

It is easy to imagine people wanting to join a 3rd Law club. Somewhere for like minded people to meet up and ignore each other by staring into their screens. This club might as well be internet based. Makes sense. People would communicate via IM and leaving comments in each others’ Facebook or Twitter streams. It happens already. We just didn’t know it was because of the 3rd Law.

There is a dark side of the 3rd Law and that is addiction. It isn’t something most people like to talk about. This is partly because the addicts are hooked to their screens and don’t talk but also because they are in denial. This addiction is of the worse kind. It can be totally invisible, except to those closest to you who notice the gradual degradation in your ability to communicate, other than via social networking platforms.

For families blighted by 3rd Law addiction the yellow post it note is a thing of the past. Their only way of getting a message across to the addict is through the computer. Sticking a post it note on the screen of the computer is to be avoided as it can provoke violence. The only real answer is to call in the professionals and you know what? This form of addiction is so new that there are no professionals. The medical fraternity is still coming to terms with the problem.

3rd Law addiction is so new that it is possible to attract government grants if you say that you are studying it. There have been few takers of the grant because not only do families not want to come to terms with the fact that one or more of them is an addict but also, being a government grant, the number of forms that have to be filled in require a week off work to get it right because the slightest mistake results in the rejection of the grant by a civil servant who is incentivised to save the government money. Job creation schemes gone mad I say.

This isn’t entirely fair on the civil servant because 3rd Law addicts themselves have been known to apply for the grant and spend the money on expensive jars of coffee. Remember this is coffee that gets made but never completely drunk. It makes sense to stop wasteful public spending like this.

Coffee manufacturers (growers?/both?) love the 3rd Law. Profits have shot up since the advent of tinternet and this is despite the fact that the environment that fertile ground for the 3rd Law is the same environment that facilitates online shopping and finding the best deal for coffee. Despite this the price of coffee seems to remain high. No accusations of cartel have yet been made…

It is quite possible that there is no internet near to the slopes of Brazil, Colombia and Kenya where coffee is known to be grown. I could look it up but I wont. I quite like the smell of coffee but the taste rarely lives up to the promise. Especially when it has gone cold which it frequently does, obv.

As I write this I have just realised that I made a pot of tea about half an hour ago. Bloody 3rd Law! Stewed tea is something I have had to get used to since my head started getting into the 3rd Law. It’s just as prevalent as cold tea but worse in a way. You have to put up with cold stewed tea instead of just cold tea. Huh.

3rd Law Part 45 here

3rd Law Part 47 here

3rd Law 45 – internet dark matter

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I had a dream. Normally I don’t remember dreams. This one must have been on the edge of wakedness, if that’s a word. It is now. So I remember some aspects of this dream.

I was living somewhere on the coast when some massive disaster threatened the community. I think it was the threat of invasion from somewhere. The leaders of the community decided to evacuate to the beach where for some reason it would be safer. We all trooped into a jumbo jet (might have been another bit type of plane – it didn’t feature in the details of the dream) that had crash landed on the cliff edge above the beach and slid down the emergency chute onto the beach.

The beach was a hive of organisation with people handing out emergency rations and directing us towards shelters that were being built out of sheet materials that had miraculously appeared from nowhere. After a while I noticed that the shelters were being built below the line for low tide. This advice was contemptuously ignored so I took the family back to our house.

At some point a deputation of invaders arrived to look around. The only people left were us. We had in the meantime either managed to fortify our house with an unbeatable array of defences and weapons or we went out to greet the invaders and had a friendly chat with them – what had all the fuss been about? I don’t think I fully finished off the story in the dream but that was the gist of it.

Whaddaya think? Do any other readers have a strange dream they can remember. Don’t worry. I’m not about to set off on some line of psychoanalysis here, though I might if the dream is juicy enough. My dream wasn’t the Martin Luther King visionary type of dream though without getting a shrink in to look at it I can’t 100% guarantee that.

We might get invaded by aliens and have to hide on the beach because for some strange genetic reason stemming from the planet of their birth their vision is restricted to above cliff level. The planet of the cliff level visionaries. Had someone invented the varifocal lens on their planet that could have sorted their eyesight problems and allowed them to see below the line. Of course that would have meant we beach dwellers would have been toast. What a bit of luck!

The one thing that amazes me about the whole story is that a planet of aliens intelligent enough to invent intergalactic travel couldn’t invent a simple varifocal lens. I’m not sure what these aliens looked like but I do have this strong gut feeling that they were from a different galaxy. Otherwise I wouldn’t have mentioned it.

It’s important to get these things right. Some sort of journalistic integrity applied to the 3rd Law. It’s funny that a physical law of tinternet should be able to engender integrity as part of its sphere of influence. I keep finding new facets to the 3rd Law don’t I? If you’ve just joined the conversation at this point then you might not know what I’m talking about. In fact I might not know what I’m talking about most of the time but that, dear reader, is just, one, of, those, things. Commas inserted there to create a pause between words though the sentence didn’t really need it. That emphasis was unnecessary. Dear reader.

I must stop calling you dear reader. I’m sure you would prefer me to use your first name. Ok Leonard it is then. For now. Until I feel like calling you something different. After all it would be namist to stick with one reader’s name and I don’t even know if Len is reading. Notice I slipped in the abbreviation there. I don’t know if he is a Len or a Leonard. It matters to some people. Lesley, Les etc. Doesn’t matter to me.

I might have upset Len here but it’s one of the risks you take when you live life on the edge, when life is governed by 3rd Law rules. Life is short. Get over it. Len. Les. Des. Dave. Phil. Go out and cut the grass if it bothers you. The 3rd Law isn’t available as a podcast. Yet. Good idea though. Might put it to the publisher sometime. Sometime in the far distant future in another galaxy where time stands still long enough for me to do so. Time standing still is the polar opposite to the 3rd Law. It’s the dark matter of the internet. We are pretty sure it exists but nobody has been able to find it yet. Internet dark matter could be the source of lots of problems: page not found, emails not arriving, twitter fail whale. Yea yea I’m sure there’s a good reason but the unenlightened medieval believer in alchemy, superstition and the power of prayer in me tells me that there are dark forces at play here.

It’s always obvious with hindsight isn’t it? It takes someone to make that initial discovery, the eureka moment, to make it thus. I like that work eureka. Wasn’t sure whether it should have been capitalised. Eureka. Presumably it is Greek seeing as it is attributed to Archimedes though how that bit of the story got kept over the centuries of its telling I don’t know. Maybe the first thing Archimedes did after running naked from his bath and down the street shouting eureka was to realise his predicament, run home to grab a towel to cover his embarrassment and site down to pen his exact thoughts. After all it was one of those momentous moments in history. One you would want faithful capturing (of!?). You have to get these things right and I know for a fact that ole Archimedes would not have had a smart phone to immediately record his findings before he forgot.

It would have been a bit awkward having someone recording him running down the street in the nude anyway. The nude bits here are what I recall reading about the event in my youth and may not be totally accurate. However seeing as there was a bath involved there may be some truth in it.

I quite often whip out my phone to record a moment, lest I forget.

3rd Law Part 44 here

3rd Law Part 46 here

3rd Law Part 44 – the typewriter and the pile of cigarette stubs – yeugh

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The toast pops up and I spring into action. Not quite the same as the whistle going and me climbing over the parapet to go into the line. Actually nothing like it at all so the analogy isn’t a particularly good one. The toast has been buttered and consumed in rapid order. We are off out for a Saturday night in Newark to watch a popular music concert. Madness you say, knowing what home loving types we are. Yes indeed Madness I say. Night Boat to Cairo, Baggy Trousers, Embarrassment etcetera etcetera etcetera.

I do like Madness though when I last saw them which must have been five years ago in Brum I remember saying to one of my pals “the didn’t do Come on Eileen. It’s one of my faves”. Course turns out Eileen was not a Madness song it was Dexys Midnight Runners. It’s a mistake anyone could have made. I made it. Haha. Hah. Wouldjabelieveit!

Next day and it’s my day, apparently. Father’s day. Not my birthday. I got a card from my daughter in Durham. Very nice. She sent it a month ago. Nothing like making sure it gets there in time. How often do you wake up realising it’s your little nephew Johnny’s birthday tomorrow and have to rush out and buy him a last minute card and hope it gets there in time.

Doesn’t happen in our house. Anne is super organised like that. If it was left to me it would happen every time. Years and years ago I bought a job lot of Happy Birthday Father cards from a closing down sale at a stationers shop. There were seven identical cards with the same picture of a red car on the front. My dad got the same card seven years running. Not sure if he ever noticedJ It amused me.

I do the writing of cards in our house. Something a bit more than “hope you have a great day, love xxx”. I can’t be more specific than that because every message is different. Tailored towards its recipient. The biggest problem I have with writing messages in cards is my handwriting. My handwriting is terrible and has grown steadily worse since computers arrived on the scene which is quite a long time ago now.

Word processors have killed off the art of handwriting. It occurs to me that there could be a typed equivalent of your handwriting becoming more of a scrawl as you get older and that is the number of typing errors you make increases. Doesn’t mean to say these errors are visible to the reader thanks to the power of the spellchecker. Means it takes longer to type though. I type pretty fast but sometimes find myself going over stuff and correcting it which is the bit that takes the time really.

Still I prefer typing to handwriting. My hand always used to get tired as I recall. Now I just get RSI! I went through a phase of having to use the mouse with my left hand because my right wrist got sore doing it. Seemed to have phased that one out and am back on the right hand now though half the time I use the pad on the laptop instead of the mouse.

Must have been a real pain in the old days when people used typewriters. The old fashioned ones with the levers that swing over and bashed the paper when you tapped a key. I can picture them now. A lone author hunched over his desk tapping away long into the night. A pile of scrunched up paper overflowing from the waste paper basket at the side of his desk. Several coffee cups on the table, all with some cold dregs in them.

I could add an ashtray into the scene. It would be authentic. The thought of the smell makes me feel sick though so I won’t. Especially as the pile of cigarette stubs grows.  You won’t find no pile of cigarette stubs in an ashtray in this house nosiree. Don’t even think we have an ashtray. Anyone daft enough to want to smoke has to go out into the garden.

The other thing that isn’t used a lot in this house is the sugar. Sure we use icing sugar and castor sugar in baking but the granulated stuff that goes in tea and coffee doesn’t get used. In the past whenever we’ve had some building work doing it’s been interesting to see how quickly the sugar goes down compared to normal. When I was a kid I’d have a couple of sugars in a milky coffee but at some stage of the game I weaned myself off it. Did it gradually by cutting down the amount I was using and eventually it went completely. Now the idea of sugar in tea or coffee makes me shudder a little although I have been known to stick a little in a latte if the coffee has been on the bitter side. Cue advert with woman smarting at bitterness of her coffee when a bloke arrives shaking coffee beans in one hand and holding a jar of Nescafe in the other. Might have been some other brand of cawfee but the concept is there.

On the subject of adverts I remember the time when I was a kid there was a strike on tv. Not sure if it was a ban on adverts or what but I do remember that when normal service was resumed I seemed to think that the adverts were more entertaining than the programmes they cut into. Probably have bigger budgets. Nowadays adverts are a pain in the arse. Not that I’m a big TV watcher but there are one or two compelling shows like Timewatch (yawn say the kids) and Storage Hunters (yippee say the kids).

I’m in to things like Timewatch even though there can be long stretches where very little happens and even when something does happen it’s usually just someone finding a tiny fragment of a bowl at which point a team of experts hurriedly gathers around to pronounce it early twelfth century or late 11th but not the circa 800AD that they had been looking for.

Storage Hunters is so bad it’s compelling. Yesterday I switched the box on in the middle of the day to see if there was any sport and found to my huge joy that SH was on. Imagine my disappointment when I found that I’d already seen it 🙂

3rd Law Part 43 here

3rd Law Part 45 here

3rd Law Part 43 – there is no tennis

There is no tennis. It is all repeats. It is raining. We all look forward to the British summer. We get fed up with the winter.  We sit there dreaming of sultry days where it is almost too hot to do anything other than sit eating a picnic in the shade then dozing off to the gentle sound of the languid river lapping away at the bank. As the afternoon cools we wander back down the river path and find the pub at the bridge. Day turns into night and we stagger merrily home to our beds in preparation for the following lazy day.

In practice it is rarely like that. Just think of Wimbledon and the number of times you’ve seen Cliff Richard entertaining the crowd on Centre Court. Ok only the once and since they put the roof on they’ve not needed to call on his services but you know what I mean. That’s an expensive way of avoiding having to listen to Cliff Richard in my book. Would have been cheaper to send him on a package holiday somewhere distant. A Saga one probs! Could probably have a whip round from people with Centre Court debentures to make sure he doesn’t come back the following year.

Now I know this line of reasoning isn’t going to be universally popular. Cliff has many fans. I don’t mind the lad but his stuff is a little clean cut for my liking. Mind you one of my favourites is “Those Were The days” by Mary Hopkin. Both Cliff and Mary have a Eurovision Song Contest pedigree. When I was a kid we used to have a chance of winning. Not any more. I don’t even watch it nowadays. Don’t really watch much TV.

Anyway I’m wandering off the subject with was British Summer Weather. The tennis in question is Queens which is the warm up tourney to Wimbledon. Not being the mega institution that is Wimbledon the folk at Queens can’t afford a roof. I think it would be a bit over the top anyway. Geddit? I’m pleased with that oneJ

It’s a funny thing the whole issue of being pleased with yourself. It’s ok being pleased in private but I suppose you have to suppress your visible self-pleasure, if that’s the right way of putting it, when in front of others. I guess when it is expressed as the written word and being read by someone who is not in your presence at least you are not around to feel embarrassed. Maybe you wouldn’t be embarrassed. I’m probably talking right out of turn here.

Thinking about it I wouldn’t be embarrassed myself. No idea where I got the idea from. I’m sure there are loads of other things that one can be embarrassed about. Going out with no clothes on for example. Not that that is likely to happen, especially in the UK in Summer. It is too cold and you would notice that you had completely forgotten to put any clothes on doh – puts palm to forhead having previously raised eyebrows.

I can’t say I’ve ever gone anywhere and forgotten to get dressed first. I’ve forgotten to get shaved. Probably done that more than once. I once forgot to drop one of the kids off at nursery school and was half way between Lincoln and Newark before I remembered. We even forgot Tom at home when the family went down to a photography studio for a bit family photo. We took three cars and assumed he was in one of the others.

Only realised when we were all there posing as a group and someone said “where’s Tom”. I had to bomb back to get the lad. I’d set the alarm and everything before leaving the house so when he came downstairs he set it off. Our Tom has always had his head screwed on and even at the tender age of whatever it was he managed to put the code in to disable it. All’s well that ends well and we got the family photo. It’s hanging up in the house somewhere along with a million others.

Actually we haven’t got a million photos. We wouldn’t be able to get anything else in the house if we did. Ourselves even. Not much point having a house in that case. Might just as well call it a self storage unit. These days a million photos would fit quite neatly into a 4Terabyte or so hard drive. Obviously it depends on the size of image file. I assumed most would be around 4.5Megs with some being smaller because they were taken with an older camera with fewer pixels. I’m boring you here.

You have to promise me that if I appear to be droning on a bit you’ll tell me. I don’t want to develop the reputation of being a bore. Zzzzz. If I am boring you I’ll just have to talk to myself for a bit. At least I appreciate my own jokes. Not stand up roll around holding your stomach because they were so funny jokes. Just intelligent witticisms from a lively and inventive mind. That’s ma story and I’m sticking to it. If you tell them something often enough they will start to believe it. Whoever they and it are. Innit.

I’ve noticed myself lapsing into the vernacular on occasion. Innit, wtf, probs, loosa even. Yer mother works at McDonalds was an early one the kids learnt at school. Useful stuff instead of all this readin ritin and hard sums. At this point I should make it clear that references to mothers working at McDonalds are in no way intended as a sleight on your mother or McDonalds. I quite like your mother 😉 and McDonalds.

My fave is a large Big Mac with diet Coke though it never really fills you as a meal. I also like KFC but I always feel crap after one of those. A KFC is something that tastes great whilst you are eating it and then greasy and ‘orrible afterwards. Also I suspect the chips fries aren’t as good as McDonalds though you need to make sure they are fresh at either.

How on earth we got to talking about fast food I don’t know. That’s the 3rd Law for you. It’s a law unto itself, as they say. They don’t specifically apply that saying to the 3rd Law. I just did it myself. Because I can. You need to appreciate that sometimes when I give you something it is because I can and not because it is written down somewhere. Life would be a bit boring if it had to be run according to what was written down.

Ok society has to have rules for it to function and in fact I typically won’t do a job at home unless it is written down but in general it is better if you act as a free agent. The open road lies ahead. Chose to go down it. Don’t look back. Just go…

3rd Law Part 42 here

3rd Law Part 44 here

3rd Law Part 42 – the dawn chorus

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The dawn chorus is in full voice.  With several part harmony. It’s the best time of day, no question though I am pretty fond of the end of a nice warm day. We don’t get em very often. Mornings are more consistent. Expectations are different. You are more likely to have an enjoyable early morning than early evening because the freshness is there whatever the weather is going to be that day.

Maybe part of it is being tired of an evening. It’s certainly a lot easier to decide to do some excercise in the morning than in the evening. You wonder if the birds know what the other birds are saying. The different makes of bird that is. Sounds a bit like different makes of car or washing machine doesn’t it? I could have used the word breed but I chose to give the impression that I was a child of my time, dumbed down and dangerous. The dangerous bit just sounded the right thing to say and not in any way relevant to the thread of the conversation. It was the poet in me coming out.

I, as a poet, am not particularly into dangerous things. It just rolled off the poetic tongue. Not one of those “roll around the tongue, chew it, spit it out and see what it looks like” rolls. Just a “spontaneous without thinking out it came” roll. Often the latter roll results in interesting consequences. It’s the writing that you look at and think, wow, how did that get there? Amazes me sometimes.

Early mornings are perhaps not really the time to be amazed. Tbh I’m too bleary eyed to be amazed. It’s a condition that is only party alleviated by rubbing the eyes with forefinger. You can probably do it with the back of your hand but I wear glasses and it is easier to slip my forefinger in underneath the rim to do it. That way I get to keep my specs on and not smudge them.

Smudging specs is an occupational hazard of the wearer of glasses. Real nuisance because you then need to clean them. That might sound simple enough but you also need to make the decision which cloth to use. Shirt or tie? Well I seldom wear a tie so it has to be shirt. However what you, dear possessor of 2020 vision need to know is that shirts can apply tiny scratches to the surface of a lens thereby rendering them opaque over time. Even silk ties can do this. Opaque lenses are clearly no good. Geddit:)

The only safe way of cleaning specs is to use one of those microfibre cloths they provide in the glasses case when you buy them. Using a proprietary specs cleaning liquid is also handy. Produces very good results. Crystal clear. I can recommend it. Never have any of the stuff in though. Gets used up and there are two specswearers in this house. Notice how I fused the two words there. It was to make you think I had a sweary side. I have been known to swear. When I’m with the lads. To make me sound big. You know how it goes.

Most of the time I don’t swear. Especially on twitter. Not sure I’ve ever sworn in writing like that. I’m sure I’ve used the word bugger a few times and perhaps bloody but these days people don’t count them as real swear words. Not like the too oft used “f” word or the “c” word which really shows you are upset. Or don’t have much of a vocabulary which is quite likely to be the case. Loser.

I do realise that vocabulary is a living changing thing. The words I use have evolved. Simplified really into acronyms. Perhaps that is the ultimate dumbing down. You dropped the apostrophe ages ago. Capital letters and grammar then got kicked into touch and acronyms, and abbreviations were the final phase. Wtf? That’s what I’m talking about btw. Note I didn’t drop the apostrophe. I’m into evolution in an acceptable way. You still know what I mean when I say wtf and btw but drop the apostrophe and I introduce ambiguity. You can also drop a capital letter without really affecting the sentence. If it comes after a full stop you know it’s the start of a new sentence. Drop the full stop and it makes the reading a lot harder.

I’m beginning to sound like a teacher here and a teacher I am not. I doubt that I’d have the patience. Bloody kids. There you go. I swore. I do have kids of my own as I may have mentioned but it’s hard enough keeping them under control without surrounding each of them with 29 partners in crime. The number 29 comes to you from the British education system which in theory has standardised class sizes at 30. Only the state education system. I’d be somewhat annoyed if I was paying a fortune to have my kid educated privately and find that they were in classes of 30.

That would be a nice little earner wouldn’t it. Let’s assume the kid is at a top public school and you, the parent are forking out around thirty grand a year for the privilege. Last time I looked htat is what they pay. Probably more now but hey. Anyway thirty grand times thirty kids is nine hundred k a year. Ok you have the hotel bills and other infrastructure cots to pay out of that but it would be a nice little earner. This is all an academic debate (geddit again?;) ) because privately educated kids are not squeezed into classes of thirty, as far as I know, except for games. You need fifteen a side to play rugby unless you are playing rugby league or sevens.

Anyway four kids at a top public school would cost  a lot of money. Anne would have to get a bar job. I’ve always thought that would be very handy, having your wife work behind the bar of your local. However if Iwas shelling out that much money for the kids education I’d probably not have any dosh left to go down the local even if she was able to slip me a quiet freebie every now and again. I’d have to buy some beer when the landlord was looking.

If I had that kind of money I’d probably not be going to the pub in the first place. More likely to be a wine bar or club. The champagne in pubs around here isn’t that good. In fact I’m not sure the Morning Star even stocks champagne. There would be no takers. Mind you I don’t think it stocks mild anymore either. I bet the yoof of today don’t even know what mild is. They are all into vodka. Mixed with pop. Huh!

3rd Law Part 41 here

3rd Law Part 43 here

3rd Law 41 – good weather for a funeral

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I see raindrops streaking the window. It has clearly just started to spit (ting). I’m wondering if this is the start of a heavier shower. Oops yes. It’s just come on. The reason I was a wondering is because my car is parked at the farthest point from the office it can get and today I am without a coat. Coatless. Naked but for a polo shirt that will do nothing to prevent me getting wet. Soaked even.

My spectacles have no protection. It matters not. A TNT lorry leaves the car park and a DPD van (Global Express Parcels) moves in. It’s the end of a working day. I’m thinking of heading east. I live in the east. Not the far east or the middle east. Just 15 miles east.

The raindrops are heavier now and are racing each other down the window. Something to do I suppose, watch the racing raindrops. People are leaving the office. They are off home. Workers of the world. I’m one of them but I’m still here for the moment being mesmerised by the raindrops and debating with myself whether to make a run for it.

I quite like the rain. I like the noise it makes when it lands on a roof. I don’t particularly like floods though I do like the sensation I get when I jump into a pool of water. As long as it’s not too cold. That would represent a shock to the system. Brr. I don’t mind the cold as long as I am wrapped up warmly. Obv not in a pool of water. I like the cold when winter sets in and I am forced to sit by the warm fire snoozing. I occasionally wake to shove another log on and then drift off again.

Of course it is only safe to do this if you have a fireguard. Especially when using wood. Wood has a mind of its own.  Crackles and spits though you can minimise this by using decently seasoned stuff.

Back to the rain before I totally move off the subject the farmers hereabouts will be glad of it. We have had quite a dry spell of late. Oo arr. I follow quite a few farmers on twitter. You follow one and one farmer leads to another as they say in the grain and potato store that is Lincolnshire. They also grow peas. I once rode on a pea harvester. Terrific. Peas are my fave vegetable and I came away with tow carrier bags full. Gave one to the mums at the Joanne Haylock School of Dance where my daughter had classes. They divvied the peas up amongst themselves. I kept the other bagfull.

I suspect all the peas are gone now though it is worth asking the question, especially as one of our freezers looks as if it is about to pack in. We have food farmed out to freezers up and down the road. Well one freezer over the road anyway. I think we’ve had that freezer for twenty years or more so it doesn’t owe us anything and we spotted the red light in time. It needs defrosting every year and bizzarely we do it in the middle of winter when it is sub zero outside. We stick all the food in a plastic bin in the back garden and hack away at the ice in the freezer in the garage.

If we get a new freezer that will be one job that won’t need doing next winter. Hooray. It used to get to the point where we had to strap the door shut with one of those straps you use to tie things down on a roof rack, such was the amount of ice in the freezer. The passing of that freezer will not be lamented. No wake. No gathering round the table in the dining room eating cheese and pickeld onions on a cocktail stick whilst drinking the free beer and reminiscing about what a good life old Walter had. A good innings. He didn’t owe life anything or words to that effect. Ya knowworramean.

I never really knew Walter. I just went along for the beer and cheese. And the crisps and sausage rolls of course. I’d quite like a crisp sandwich but I don’t think it’s the done thing at someone’s wake. You can never really tell what flavour the crisps are either – usually plain or salt and vinegar. A crisp sandwich needs to be made with cheese and onion crisps, or beef and it’s no good using the French bread that they usually put out on the buffet table. Needs to be sliced white or a nice fresh white sandwich loaf. Not really good for you anyway though that would never have worried Walter if I know the old boy. Oo what am I saying. I didn’t really know him. He was a passing acquaintance.  A friend of a friend who I occasionally saw in the street shuffling in the other direction in his overcoat and flat cap.

The nice thing about living in Lincoln is that you can just nip up to the Bailgate and see loads of people you know on the way. Not always but often. That sounds like someone’s catchphrase. A cheeky chappie who served his apprenticeship in variety and in the northern clubs before making it to the bright lights of London and getting top billing at the Palladium.

I liked his movies. Used to be on BBC2 on a Sunday afternoon when I woz a kid. Made a change from Lucille Ball. Most of you won’t have heard of Lucille Ball. Yes you, the growing number of people below a certain age. That age changes all the time. Goes up. The only way is up, baaaby.

I’m getting confused. Confused of Lincoln. Walks off in a random direction as if lost.

3rd Law Part 40 here

3rd Law Part 42 here

3rd Law Part 40 – death by falling piano

There’s a trombone in my ear. Not literally. I’d either have to have a huge ear or it would be bruised from the slider on the trombone bashing it every time it slid in and out, or out and in, #yaknowworramean. Sometimes it’s a trumpet in my ear. There’s no way I can tell which it’s going to be because I’m in another room. It’s a lot more trumpet than trombone because that’s just the way it is. In our house. Might be different elsewhere. Maybe an euphonium/flute combo or piano/comb and paper. Having a piano in my ear is a totally different prospect again. Terminal quite possibly.

Piano on my foot is far more likely. Still pretty painful but given the choice I’d have a piano on my foot rather than in my ear any day of the week. Any road up “Do you know the piano’s on my foot.” “No. You hum it and I’ll join in”. The old ones are the best aren’t they? Perhaps not always but we like to think so.

Given the choice I’ve always said that the way I want to leave this mortal coil, shuffle off as they say, is death by piano. I have some pretty specific caveats. The piano must be jettisoned from a hot air balloon desperately trying to gain height. I would be stood directly under said balloon and therefore under the falling piano, accounting also for windage which wouldn’t amount to much considering the likely weight of the piano. If the wind was strong enough to move the piano then they wouldn’t be stupid enough to try and take off in the first place. It could of course be the case that a sudden storm hit the area and caught everyone by surprise. Unlikely though. The weather forecast is pretty good these days.

That doesn’t mean to say that whoever was in the balloon was not stupid. I mean who ever heard of someone loading a piano into a hot air balloon in the first place. Asking for trouble. It’s no wonder they found themselves in the position of having to chuck it overboard.

Would be quite interesting to do it as an experiment. Stick a camera on top of the piano to record the fall. One with a transmitter in case the whole camera was smashed to smithereens upon contact with the ground. It would also make a great clanging sound as it hit the deck. The piano that is not the camera. I doubt that you would be able to hear the noise of the camera amongst all that piano clang. The last chord! You’d have to make sure the piano didn’t land on water or over a bog where all you would hear would be a kind of sucking ploppy noise. Not the desired effect at all.

Anyway I’m not going to do it. Tempting fate. Live long and stay happy. Avoid standing under hot air balloons bearing pianos.  That would effectively be the same as saying your balloon is the bearer of bad tidings which is an equally strange concept. Normally bad news travels fast but not in a hot air balloon. It is unlikely that you would use a hot air balloon to carry bad news. I suppose if you were stuck on a desert island and the only transport you had was a hot air balloon you’d have to use it. No choice really. If you tried to swim the sharks would get you or you would tire and drown. Not a nice death. I’d certainly opt for the death by piano option if it was still on the table, or in the balloon.

If the winds were as strong as they sound as if they might be for you to have to jettison the piano that would of course mean that the news would be travelling a lot faster than the normal sedate pace of a hot air balloon, drifting pleasantly across the Masai Mara Game Reserve. Wonderful views though. You can see the vast herds of migrating wildebeest. One of the natural wonders of the world, apparently. Saw it on some nature programme once. I don’t think I’m imagining it. The thing is if the purpose of your journey was to bear bad news you probably don’t want the distraction of watching wildebeest, or elephants or any other of the “big five”.

I once went to a game reserve in South Africa. We all sat in trucks with a cool box full of beer on each row of seats. It was a rugby tour so cool boxes with beer were the natural order of the day. The game reserve wasn’t a huge one but interesting enough. The different predatory animals were kept in separate pens otherwise they would have had to keep replenishing the stocks of antelop, gazelle and whatnot. Whantnot isn’t a type of animal btw. It was meant to denote etcetera etcetera etcetera. I was being kinda lazy just like I was when I replaced “by the way” with btw. Woteva.

Anyway there we were in this game reserve ooing and aahing at the big five and the medium sized everything else when one of the wheels of the truck started to wobble and proceed to nearly fall off. At this point we were in a lion enclosure. All perfectly safe apparently, provided we stayed in the truck drinking beer. Hmm. The driver radioed for a backup and we sat tight. Drinking beer. We did at one point have to get out of the truck. That’s a consequence of drinking beer. You need to find occasional relief. So we all got out and had a team photo. After the relief bit.

Then we got back in the truck and waited for the replacement to arrive which it duly did. As you may have guessed I lived to tell the tale. As I said my fate lies under that piano and not the horrible death by the gnawing of a lion’s jaws. That would not be nice at all. I seem to be going through a morbid patch at the moment don’t I? Sorry but I can’t help it. I don’t know why. I could shell out a fortune for some shrink to make some stuff up about how I must have been influenced by something in my childhood but no way jose am I going to do that. If you think I would do that you clearly don’t know me. I’d expect to get it free on the National Health. Marvellous institution. Won’t have a word said against it even though you now have to pay to park in the visitors car park at the Lincoln County Hospital. It’s a small price to pay…

3rd Law Part 39 here

3rd Law Part 41 here

3rd Law Part 39 – musical detritus

The table is littered with musical detritus.  A mute, a folder of music and a trumpet case that presumably contains a trumpet because I can’t see it on its stand. There are also two trumpet mouthpieces and, for what it’s worth, a vuvuzela. I must have bought the latter in a rush of blood sometime because it makes an infernal noise. I nearly forgot there is also an orange pbone which is a plastic trombone.

The pbone is quite a fun instrument. It plays just like a trombone.  Not that I can play it, or the trumpet. They aren’t mine. The guitars are mine. One in its case and the other on the stand next to the sax which is also not mine.

We do have a reasonably musical family although my efforts are somewhat pathetic compared to what some of the kids can do. My sister Sue is also a very good musician. Violinist. It comes from a misspent youth playing away at her violin in her bedroom. When I were a lad I learned to play the guitar instead of revising for my exams. The Beatles mostly though I can also play The House of The Rising Sun and one or two others. I’m terrible for remembering chords though I can usually play ok if I have the music in front of me.

It’s a slight regret that I can’t just pick up an instrument and sit in on someone’s jazz jamming session. In the pub maybe. I have a reasonable voice though I sometimes think I’m tone deaf. It annoys me that I can’t just listen to something and tell what the chord or note is. How we all manage to live through our disabilities. We have to although I’m not so sure that not having a very good musical ear ranks as a disability. Not like only having one leg or being blind.

Those of us who are not one legged or blind (other disabilities are available) are very grateful for the fact mind you. The Paralympics in London in 2012 changed all our perceptions in respect of people with physical disabilities. We should use the example of the paralympians as an incentive to look after our own bodies. I’ve had a dodgy foot for the last two weeks which has been hard enough, or at least a nuisance. It’s getting better now which is a relief for everyone concerned. ie me!

Note I didn’t say blessed relief there. Didn’t feel like it. I’m not in to blessings and stuff like that anyway. Smacks too much of a priest laying hands on me. I can sort it out meself thanks of at least I can call the AA. I’m a member. I get my membership as part of my bank account which is quite handy. I get a load of other benefits as well. Travel insurance for example. Used to get free entry to airport lounges but that has finished. I don’t think I flew anywhere in all the years that lounge entry was part of the deal. It doesn’t come free of course. I pay for it but presumably I must think it’s worth it. Never really checked.

I’m not particularly financially minded. Money isn’t a motive although obv we all need money to live on. I seem to spend all of mine. Never been able to save a bean. I’m not really into material goods. I prefer to spend my money on improving the quality of live. A better bottle of wine for example. Nice bread, a decent steak. You know the sort of thing.

I like my steaks rare. Just so’s you know.

3rd Law Part 38 here

3rd Law Part 40 here

3rd Law Part 38 – tennis balls and chocolate coloured paint

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The sun is doing its level best to peek through the clouds. Struggling mind you. I have a warm cup of tea in my hand which helps to warm one hand up but we all know what happens to warm cups of tea where the 3rd Law is concerned. It will be cold very soon. I might make another.

I do have to pop out this afternoon to buy the milk that I forgot to buy when I popped out this morning to buy milk. Came back with lots of good stuff for tea but no milk. Also I want to buy a job lot of cheap tennis balls. We have been playing cricket in the back garden and have lost every single ball in the house. Used to have loads of them. We still have real cricket balls but there is no way we are going to use them in the back garden. Recipe for disaster.

I did buy the kids 5 real cricket balls. Very handy for when we go to the nets. We lost one within 5 minutes of using them. Didn’t fancy looking in amongst the nettles when we were only wearing shorts. We quite like going down the nets. I throw a few balls down. No bowling. I’m rubbish at bowling. Throwing from close range is far more accurate and a test for the batsman. Then after a sensible amount of time we go and sit in front of the clubhouse and watch the game in the middle. It’s good when we win though tbh it almost doesn’t matter. The good bit is just sitting there taking in the relatively slow pace of the game. V relaxing.

There are occasions when someone brings sandwiches around together with other left overs from the players’ tea. We have been known to fill up on the sandwiches, pork pies and cakes before heading home for our own meal. I used to take the kids to the ground in the winter. Both rugby and cricket were played there so there was all year round sport.

The deal with the kids was that they could have anything they liked, within reason, provided I was allowed to have a few undisturbed beers with my pals. It’s an ideal place for the kids to run wild with lots of other kids there and no doubt one or two more responsible parents keeping an eye on them. Chocolate was off the menu but crisps, peanuts and fizzy drinks were allowed. The problem with this arrangement was that they never had much of an appetite when they got home and their mother would wonder why they didn’t each much of their evening meal. It’s all part of growing up!

When I used to play rugby the combination of 80 minutes of effort on the pitch together with a few sherberts usually resulted in me falling asleep on the settee after we had finished our meal. There were a few knock on effects of this. First of all we soon stopped asking people around for dinner on Saturday nights and in turn stopped being asked. This is because I would always fall asleep. It was probably embarrassing for Anne but there was nothing that could be done about it other than not play rugby. It would be perfectly ok if dinner was with someone else who played rugby because both males would fall asleep. It wasn’t just me. It is standard practice in the rugby fraternity.

There was one occasion where I was about to nod off and Anne insisted that I helped her chose the paint colour for the front room before I did so. I argued that the reason that I didn’t contribute to  these decisions was because Anne always ignored my suggestions and ended up choosing what she had originally wanted in the first place. Ergo no point in me thinking about it. I was ok with this situation. I didn’t really care how the house was decorated anyway.

On this occasion she persevered and I chose a yukky chocolatey brown, just to make a point. “That’s fine, we’ll have that” she said. At this point I admonished her as I had just chosen the most horrible colour I could find. Turns out it wasn’t chocolatey brown but terracotta which apparently was all the rage at that time. Hmm. I turned over and went to sleep.

The following weekend I got home from the match, ate dinner and, you know by now, went to sleep. I woke up a couple of hours later to find that Anne had gone and painted the front room whilst I slept. The verdict? A horrible chocolatey brown. It didn’t look good but fortunately the next day when the paint had dried it looked ok. Men huh?! Women Huh?!

It would be reasonable to think that after my rugby playing days were over the falling asleep on the settee by 8pm became a thing of the past. Unfortunately instead of playing rugby I would go and watch it. This had the side effect of me being in the bar by half time and therefore starting on the beer much earlier than had been the case. Although I didn’t have the same on pitch exertion to tire me out its replacement with several additional beers ended up with the same result.

Nowadays if we are off out on a Saturday night early doors beers need to be avoided. You know it makes sense.

Back to the present there is a boy mowing the lawn for a quid which apparently includes laying out the cricket square. I need to pop out to get some tennis balls. Ciao baby.

3rd Law Part 37 here

3rd Law Part 39 here

3rd Law Part 37 – 18th birthday parties and signs of age

There’s a metal sign in our garden. It’s black and heart shaped and has the number 18 painted on it. It’s a hangover from our daughter’s 18th birthday party. Not hangover in a bad way you understand, as if we had drunk too much. It was put there on the day of the party and there it has stayed. When I look at the sign it makes me smileJ

She’s away at university now and still comes home during the holidays, unlike her older brother who only comes back when his mother cracks the whip. I don’t mind. I’m sure I used to spend a lot of my time away during the holidays. I once persuaded mam and dad to fund an extra week’s hall fees so that I could “do some work”. I spent the whole week in the pub and it was only on the Sunday night that I decided to knuckle down and actually do something. Ten minutes after I had sat down at the desk there was a knock at the door and there were mam and dad. “Surprise! We didn’t think we’d actually find you working”. As a treat we headed off to the Black Bull in Beaumaris for a slap up steak dinner. It was many years before I told them the truth.

I graduated in 1983. 30 years later our firstborn is about to do the same. His time at University has been productive. Not too much work though probably significantly more than I did. Having said that I did an engineering degree which had 27 hours of timetabled work in the second year. That’s a full time job.

I lived a two minute downhill sprint from the engineering department. I had everything timed to perfection. Get up at the last possible minute, swift breakfast then a sprint down the hill. I used to  have the same thing for lunch every day. Breaded lamb cutlet and chips from the chippy on the High Street. Why change a winning recipe?

When I finished my degree I didn’t particularly want a job though I did apply for an engineering position at the Beeb.  I went for a look around the local BBC studio and the guy there told me every single question that I would be asked at interview. It took several months for the offer of an interview to come through by which time I had forgotten everything. Ah well. The roll of the dice.

If you’re gonna gamble make sure you use your own dice. Words of wisdom. Must have been some really streetwise geezer who thought that one up. Probably a mobster or similar though I imagine a mobster would just point his tommy gun at you and tell you to hand over your wallet. There’s a lot to be said for electronic money. You can’t hand it over though someone could hack your account. Be careful not to disclose your passwords to anyone. Even your mam. She wouldn’t know what to do with it anyway. At least my mam wouldn’t.

It’s my dad who spends the time on the computer. They were fairly advanced in signing up for a broadband line when they retired. Now dad is on Skype and Facebook though I doubt he ever uses it. I signed him up for both. He has the iPad apps and could sit there chatting to his grandchildren. It will take time but he’ll get there. After all he is only 79. My grandmother was 89 when she died so in theory he should do better.

Imagine a 79 year old’s school report. Must do better. Shouldn’t have left his homework on the bus. Number 79 from Carmarthen to Llanelli via Cross Hands. Might not have been a number 79 though there is a finite probability that it was. When dad were a lad they used to go on a charabanc every year to Aberystwyth for miner’s fortnight. The miners would be in the pub from very early on departure day. Things haven’t changed. Two weekends ago I went to Twickenham on a stag weekend. The beers were opened at 7.45am. It was a steady day of it. Nobody got drunk. We’re too old for that sort of thing now.

I did see something on Facebook this morning. BBC Lincolnshire asking what were the signs of age that fans had seen. For me it was having to have varifocal lenses in my specs. Cost a fortune, partly because my prescription is so strong I have to pay extra to get the thinner lenses. Otherwise I’d be wearing jamjar bottoms. At the barbers this morning, Antonio’s on Burton Road, I noted the fact that once my specs were off I was in Antonio’s hands. Couldn’t see a thing. There’s a trust relationship a punter has with his barber (or hairdresser, hairdresser is fine, not my cup of tea but who am I to comment). We even started talking about where I was going on my holidays! Wtf?

That isn’t a blokey thing to talk about. Problem is I don’t want to talk about football. I doubt that Antonio reads the same stuff as me though I’ve never asked him. I know that in his youth he was a singer in a band in Lincoln. Not bad. It only came out because when I was waiting one day I heard him discuss it with another customer.

There are two barber’s chairs at Antonio’s. Him and a sidekick whose name I have never gleaned. Antonio is fast. The sidekick is slow. You want Antonio. He can’t pay the sidekick that much I’m sure. None of my business. I like a number two back and sides with a trim on top. Zzz, zzz, snip, snip and done.

These days I shave in the shower and I’ve noticed that the sideburns on the left side of my face grow longer than on the right. This is because I shave right handed. I don’t actually have sideburns but by the time it comes to the next haircut I very much have a left side sideburn. No worries. It’ll be trendy one day.

Some of my clothes are so old they will soon be back in fashion as well. When I was a kid I desperately wanted a pair of parallels. I think my mam relented in the end. Probably as they were going out of fashion.

3rd Law Part 36 here

3rd Law PArt 38 here