Third Law Part 10 – The Boat

Sometimes I practice the third law whilst wearing earphones and listening to music instead of surfing. It’s difficult to know whether this is a genuine alternative. I suspect not but sometimes there is no choice and on a boat in the Mersey estuary heading for the Isle of Man I am in one of those ongoing “no option” situations. No cellular signal = no internet access.

Actually this may not be entirely true but if such a connection exists it is almost certainly diminishing and a drain on the laptop battery which, in the absence of a power point, I need to last the whole journey.

You will have instantly noted that I am on the way to the Isle of Man. This is an annual pilgrimage to see my mam and dad for Easter. We do see them at other times of the year but usually it is on the mainland. The ferry journey to Douglas is not only expensive – knocking on £500 for the car and six of us, but also a full  day’s journey as we have to drive over to Liverpool to catch it.

In going to the Isle of Man there is an element of going back in time. This is partly due to the quaint olde worlde aspect of the place and partly down to my rule of going offline when on holiday. No twitter, no email, no Google+, Facebook or any other online destination guaranteed to prove the Third Law without a shadow of a doubt.

I like to describe this as the process of going offline and re-entering or reengaging with society. You have heard about the fact that every cigarette you smoke knocks an hour off your life (or whatever the factoid is).  Well every week you stay offline lengthens your life by a month, or certainly appears to and it is often the appearance that matters, to some people anyway.

I’m not big on appearance, being a bit of an internet dweller where such things are either irrelevant or can easily be manipulated according to your choice of profile picture. It is difficult then to modify this practice when it comes to real offline behaviour. That’s why I like to spend some downtime in places like the Morning Star of the Strugglers where nobody really gives a toss about what you wear. Afaik.  At least when they mention my shorts or loud shirt they don’t do it in a derogatory way, I think.

It’s hot on this boat. I have discarded coat, fleece and shirt. Before you start to get worried I should hurriedly mention that I am still wearing a tshirt. It’s my red “Training” tshirt purchased from LA Fitness, Newark’s small clothing and accessories display. I guess most people buy stuff to train in.

I bought it because I had caught the first train back from London having spent an unplanned night there. The previous day I had been about to enter the gym when the phone rang. To cut a long story short it was a chap called Keith who I proceeded to meet that night in a pub in Kings Cross and then to whom I offered a job.

I can’t remember where I stayed that night. Perhaps with my sister in Balham but perhaps not. Anyway I didn’t have any clean clothes to change into the next day. When the train arrived in Newark I got off and went to LA Fitnes for a shower and purchased an outfit there.

I like that sort of spontaneity. We don’t do enough of it. So anyway that’s where I got this shirt from and I am wearing it now much to everyone’s relief I’m sure. It’s funny how a shirt can be the source of such relief. One can imagine the whole of the Niarbyl Lounge letting out a big sigh of relief as they realised “there was another layer”. They are a discerning lot the occupants of the Niarbyl Lounge. They have all paid three quid each to reserve a seat there and every conversation is conducted in hushed tones. We are a very refined.

Not as refined as those in the Mannanan Premier Lounge where people have paid an extra eighteen quid for the privilege of free cups of tea and coffee and the personal service of an attendant. There being six of us I didn’t fancy forking out an additional two hundred of her majesty’s best spondooliks  for the round trip.  We did at one time travel first class but then they introduced the “no kids under the age of eight” rule which annoyed me no end. Now that we have no family member in that category it is expedient not to fork out the extra cash in anycase.

For those of you that have not yet experienced it they get more expensive as they get older. On a logarithmic scale I believe. If you don’t know what I’m talking about google it. Logarithmic that is – I doubt google search is intelligent enough to understand the finer points of the growing cost of kids as they progress through their education.

It’s almost dark out there now. According to the skipper we are approximately half way, at least that’s what he said over the tannoy a few minutes ago. I call him skipper because I can’t remember his name. He must have told us. They normally do when telling us the ship is about to depart and run through the safety procedures etc.

I am, if you haven’t already spotted it, admitting that I didn’t listen to the safety announcement. I was listening to 10cc on my laptop. Not good, not responsible, I know but there you have it.  My interest in 10ccwas rekindled a few years ago when I was out and about in Cambridge with Terry. We were on our way to or fifth or sixth pub, can’t remember exactly, when we came across a poster at the Corn Exchange in the middle of town.  The poster said “10cc on tour”. Bugger me if they weren’t playing in Cambridge that night.

In we walked and they let us in free of charge – there was only half an hour or so of the gig left. The great thing of course is that bands reserve their best songs for the last half an hour and there we were: Dreadlock Holiday, I’m Not In Love, Rubber Bullets etc etc. I was in heaven. All my childhood favourites. What a night.

At this time I must point out that the sum total of all my favourite songs of youth were not just those produced by 10cc. There are others, but you understood I’m sure. The list is in fact a long one and one that I revisited and spent a small fortune acquiring digital versions of in advance of my 50th birthday beach party last December.

In my ears at this very moment is Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.  One of the greats.  I remember the DJ at a school disco telling us it wasn’t really a dance track but he played it for us anyway – we were, after all, the customers.

Anyway back to the safety announcement. If you are reading this it means I must have survived the trip to post it so all’s well that ends well eh? Said with a slightly impish grin on my face suggesting I thought I had been a very slightly naughty boy but got away with itJ

The main cabin of the ship is downstairs from where we are by the way. Noisy and full of kids under eight. Let’s move on.

Brief intermission

During that barely perceptible interval the Davies boys headed out on deck. It was v windy and there were some lads there having an illicit cigarette. Preferring not to die of passive smoking and having emitted a loud fart which we all know can be highly dangerous in the presence of a naked flame, we withdrew to the safety of the bar where we purchased some cold diet cokes for our refreshment. At the same time, John, the youngest of our party, returned from the ship shop (and Bristol fashion – sorry had to get that one in) with a large bag of M&Ms which he generously shared around.

We hung around the bar, as boys do, swapping stories and generally enjoying a bit of banter. Later, drinks consumed and with no mutual desire to prolong the session, we returned to the Niarbyl Lounge and safety. The bar was in any case about to close as re were about to enter Manx territorial waters. At least I think that’s the reason it shut – they weren’t very specific when they made the announcement. Sounds good anyway if possibly totally off the mark. It clearly can’t have been the skipper because I’m sure he would never have made an announcement that left its audience still asking questions. I’m happy with my thought process – I wouldn’t want to be driving off the boat with doubts in my mind as to the reasons the bar shut. It would be a huge waste of some brain processing cycles that could have been applied to the creation of the most famous poem that was ever written

Probably not. Driving a car is no the best environment for writing good poetry, especially in the dark and even though I know the road very well.

It has changed a bit over the years mind you, the road that is. That’s progress, evolution even. The addition of a traffic light or two is evolution. It’s the road adapting to traffic usage patterns, assisted no doubt by the fine men of the Douglas Corporation. I assume they are men though I dod see a female civil engineer a few years back. She was in charge of a gang of men lifting the new Peel Marina bridge into place. Very exciting it was. We stood there for ages watching the crane work its magic.

Waaaa, one time, head nods rapidly up and down. The music is taking over and the ship is coming into harbour. That’s what I call the third law in action – offline mode.

3rd law part 9 here 

3rd Law part 11 here


3rd law part 9 – gobbles, gold top and the IOM southern agricultural show

It’s raining on the roof of the world. Well on the roof of my conservatory at least. I can hear it and I can see it. Being a bespectacled person I can also often provide advanced warning of the imminence of such precipitation. It only takes a drop or two. There is probably a scientific formula that states the necessary rainfall density (drops per square metre) required for this early warning mechanism to work and likely includes the value of the surface area of the specs (glasses – not specifications – use of the latter word would not have made contextual sense in this sentence). Today I am sitting inside the conservatory so talk of an early warning system is immaterial.

I have just come back from town. A trip down town is never countenanced lightly but on this occasion I had to buy Joe a pair of trousers before we go on holiday. The task was made harder by the fact that he was not there with me and I had instead his little brother John in tow. Anyway I came away with some trousers and bribed some peace off John by taking him to Cafe Nero.

I am not the biggest fan of sitting in coffee shops. I think people do it for the sake of it. This time was different. We had good window seats and my phone was out of order so I had to talk to my son! It was great.

We sat there looking out of the window. The biggest question was who was in the goldfish bowl? Was it us sat inside or was it all the other people scurrying along under their umbrellas or huddled overcoats. We were the smaller box but there again when you go and visit an aquarium you sometimes go through a small space under a tank and look at the sharks and fish swimming around you.

The right answer is in the mind of the questioner. There is no right answer and all answers are right, without question 🙂  Just put that bit in as an afterthought and the smiley face indicates that I was quite pleased with myself. That is something completely within my control in this case. I could have chosen a different emotion. Exhibited surprise perhaps or even nonchalance. It isn’t beyond the realms of the imagination to see how one might say that sentence again in a nonchalant manner, twirling a stick as I go along. I don’t know how to do a nonchalant emoticon btw.

Anne’s cousin bought me a walking stick for my 40th birthday once. Ok ok I know I don’t sound as if I am forty. In fact I’m not. That was nearly ten years ago. Can’t believe it! I’m still a kid. Who but an immature adolescent boy could write such drivel anyway? Huh.

It’s not the warmest of rooms today, is the conservatory. Warmer than outside maybe but really merits a thicker sweater than I am currently wearing. I’m actually wearing an Animal hoodie, quite consistent with being an adolescent. My mum bought it for me last summer – there’s a general thread of consistency running right through this bit of writing don’t you think?

Well we can kill that one off straight away.

You don’t see much gold top milk in the shops these days. It’s mostly just full fat, semi-skimmed and skimmed. I’ve never quite seen the point of skimmed milk. It’s just coloured water if you ask me. Also once weaned off full fat, which is of course normal milk, and on to semi skimmed it is difficult to go back and the idea of drinking the ordinary stuff let alone gold top. There again, you never see it any more…

This leads nicely to the fact that I have just taken delivery of hte February issue of Agri-News, published for Manx farmers by the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture. The kids signed me up for it when we were at the Southern Agricultural Show outside Castletown one summer holiday. We go there every year – the Isle of Man not the Agricultural Show. Not that I mind going to such shows. In fact I very much like em.

Its good to keep in touch with our farming roots. My lot were farmers if you go back far enough. These days the Davies family is in the internet business. Wasn’t much of it around way back when. In fact you don’t have to go back very far for there not ot have been internet. Its one of the reasons that the third law is not yet widely known, although I have never met anyone that either disagrees with the hypothesis (theory?) or has been able to disprove it.

I’m not sure whether either hypothesis or theory were the correct words (and there was no real reason for the word “theory” to be in brackets either) but you know what? It just doesn’t matter. Not a jot or an inch or a gobble or a quack. Note the mixing of terms of measurement there. The latter two were not even that but they instantly came to mind – from the song “If I were a rich man” AND NOT EVEN IN THE RIGHT ORDER. Caps accidentally switched on there but I couldn’t be bothered to undo them.

I once recorded the first verse of If I were a rich man on our answer phone – me playing the guitar. At the end of the song I just said “please leave a message”. I found later this was a mistake. I was away on business in the Soviet Union and every time I rang home I had to wait a whole minute before I could leave Anne a message. In those days the costs were something stupid like £5 a minute. Ah well. It was an expenses job anyway.

As I approach the one thousand word mark for this episode the words begin to slowly run out and stop exactly there.

3rd law part 8

3rd Law part 10

Editor’s footnote: for authoritative post on rainfall measurement techniques see here.

3rd Law Part 8 – Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

3rd Law Part 7

The concert had its good bits and some bits where the violins strained a bit – everyone is tired on a Friday night, but these occasions are the whole point of playing an instrument. I didn’t get to bed until nearly midnight but the body still wakes up early so here I am again, streaming.

There are three sounds I hear. One is the gas ring hissing away on the cooker. It’s too early to put the central heating on – it would wake Anne up. Instead I use the cooker.

The second sound is the clock and the third is the keyboard with me tapping away at it. I notice that I seem to do a lot of typos these days. Typographical errors as was in the days of the typewriter. Maybe it is only this morning because I am still a bit tired.

I will go back to bed when I take the tea up. That second doze is a good one. The typewriter would have made a much bigger noise of course. A real clacking. My iPad makes no noise at all. I probably switched off the keyboard sounds. Stealth typing. I don’t use the iPad for writing stuff that needs speed of finger and thought. Or should that be thought and finger?

Sounds almost like the name of a pub aimed at literary types. It almost certainly has book lined walls and maybe even uses remaindered pulp fiction as beer mats. There is some poetry in there somewhere, a statement. Your book was crappy so I’m just going to use it to stop my glass marking the table. Bathos? Is that the right word. Certainly a deep disappointment.

Perhaps not. The author probably just got paid a fee for churning it out to a recipe that some bimbo (male or female – I’ve just retargeted the definition on the fly to avoid accusations of sexism) thinks they find interesting or suitably mind numbing on the beach, or both if that is possible.

Have you noticed that my paragraphs are quite short. A lot shorter probably than in that bimbo’s book. I suspect it is all to do with the font size I use in Word. It makes words look bigger on the screen so I may artificially be shortening the paragraphs although I’m not sure that there is an international standard for paragraph length. It would be difficult because different countries have different average word lengths.

I said that in quite an authoritative manner though I’m not at all sure as to the veracity of the statement (good word veracity – slipped it in to see what you think). Authoritative is also a good word though I won’t labour the point. The Germans I know for a fact have some really long words. The Welsh are also known for them but in actual fact that is based on just a single village name in North Wales. Anglesey to be more specific. Anglesey isn’t the long word, its the place where the village is. I’m not going to reproduce the long word here. It would make this paragraph too long.

Carriage return sorry “enter”. “Carriage return” is dated. Readers of this stream of words should not be confused into thinking that this is a product of the 20th, or even the 19th centuries. When did they invent the typewriter? Who invented the typewriter come to think of it? I could find out but I’m not really that interested. Ditto the refrigerator.

Due to the sheer professionalism with which I approach the writing of this stuff you probably will not have noticed that I am now using Word2007. It has a lot more features than my previous version, Word2003, well it seems to, but the problem is that I am still learning it. It took me a while to find the “strikethrough” icon for example. But I’m starting to bore you here. Shakespeare didn’t leave comments in his margins informing readers that he had deliberated over his font size or the size of his quill.

My hand writing is terrible by the way. I would have been useless with a quill. Ink spots and crossings out everywhere.
For the technically minded amongst you I have written 698 words in roughly 45 minutes. I don’t know exactly because I haven’t yet worked out where to look for the statistics on this new Word package. I only know my approximate editing time because I looked up when I started tweeting this morning.

Enthusiasm is grinding to a halt now in any case as the body reminds me that it is still a tad tired and wants to take a cup of tea up to bed. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

3rd law part 9

third law of tinternet part 7 – addiction

3rd law part 6

I’m staring at a towering in-tray. Most of the stuff in there can probably be thrown away or recycled. The point is I just don’t know because the higher the pile gets the less likely I am to tackle the job. It has to be said that usually when I do take on the task, which isn’t that often hence the height of the pile, I find a letter that I should have opened 2 months ago, or one that I had been waiting for but wondered why it hadn’t arrived yet.

It’s almost amazing that we still get physical mail. At work it will mostly be junk that gets binned immediately (or when I get round to it 🙂  ). Most people have learned to communicate by email, or instant message or twitter.

As the kids get older the snail mail system does lead to some amusing problems. Tom and I get letters addressed to T Davies. It irritates the heck out of him that I sometimes open his mail by accident. How was I to know? There hasn’t been anything uber-embarrassing yet. Just bank account type stuff.

Kids need to have their privacy though and at first it is a difficult one to get your brain round because “you have always controlled everything” when it comes to your kids. The hardest one was when he left home to go to university.

The old university thing is an interesting one. I did bugger all work when I went to uni. Had a great time. “Didn’t hurt me.” The problem comes when you have told your own kids that that is how you conducted yourself. Now I have nothing to contribute to the debate. As long as you pass and don’t get kicked out is all I can say.

You may have noticed a certain lack of flow in this writing this morning. It’s not because it’s morning. It’s because I keep jumping back and fore from twitter to Word. I keep doing it but not because I have an active twitter conversation on the go. Hardly anyone I know is awake. It’s because I’m addicted.

I freely admit this. It’s part of my rehab. It’s not really. That just came out but there could be a germ of an idea there. “The Philosopher On Tap rehab clinic for internet addicts”, specialising in healthy country walks without your phone. We could have individual lockers for people to keep their laptop battery and power supply so that internet access was denied.

For it to work people would have to admit that they have a problem in the first place which could be an issue. I’m not sure that “internet addiction” is a clinically recognised ailment yet. It should be though and someone has to invent or discover it for the first time. A bit like the “Third Law”.

There you go. I’ve just discovered something else. I won’t google it just in case someone else has already done so and not told me. That would be so disappointing. Can you detect an element of denial creeping in here? It’s a sure sign of addiction though I feel I am getting my addictions mixed up. How can one possibly have an addiction to wanting to have invented things?

I bet Leonardo Da Vinci didn’t have the same problem. Not that I am comparing myself with Leonardo you understand. He was the only inventor I could think of at such short notice. Barnes Wallis also springs to mind, the inventor of the bouncing bomb.  But I thought of Leonardo first and he probably invented more stuff than BW, not that I’m sure of my facts on this one.

Anyone who feels they have an addiction to the internet should leave a comment on this post. All comments will be treated in total confidence – our therapists are fully trained. Most of them have already been through the treatment themselves.

It can be quite tough at first so we do break you in gently. It typically starts by getting you to turn your phone to silent. That way you still have the comfort factor of the phone in your pocket but are already beginning the process of being weaned off. With the most difficult of cases we get them to gradually reduce the volume of their ring tone, or change the ring tone to something less intrusive.

I used to have “phone call for Trefor Davies, phone call for Trefor Davies” as my ring tone. My daughter recorded it. That would have been a good start for our treatment programme because I could never hear it – especially if I was in a pub and engrossed in conversation. I had to change it in the end because I kept missing phone calls and we must remember that the purpose of this treatment is not actually to stop you talking to people but to stop you using the phone to access the internet.

Talking is in fact encouraged under the POT Clinic rehab programme. POT Clinic makes it sound like something different. Mixed messages there. I might have to re-evaluate the name but it will do for now.

Branding is ever so important don’t you think:) . Most of my clothes have got one brand or another on them. It isn’t what you are thinking though. They are mostly ones I have been given for free through work – none of the names on the t-shirts are ones you would recognise. I’m not a poser, just a cheapskate.

Talking about t-shirts I am just making another pot of tea. I found 4 teabags in the tea pot. Obviously not cleaned out in between “rounds”. I use 3 teabags first thing in the morning but only two during the day. Need that little bit more of a kick first thing obviously. It isn’t a huge teapot.

3rd Law Part 8

the pilgrims – 3rd law of tinternet part 6

click here for part 5

It’s six am on a Sunday in October and I am up and sitting in the kitchen. I thought I’d write some poetry but I have disruption going on inside my head. I keep mentally humming the tune “In the wee small hours of the morning, when the while wide world is fast asleep”. In fact I lie awake and think of all the girls and never ever think of counting sheep.

It is as if I have noise pollution going on in my brain. This isn’t an excuse for writer’s block. I imagine that where that is concerned there is nothing going on in there. I fancy a cup of tea but in thirty minutes or so I will be making a pot to take up toAnne so I’m not sure. The kettle is on now anyway. Strange but the kettle is quite noisy and all of a sudden that noise has replaced the song in my head.

I am not in control. I feel as if I should be able to dictate what goes on in my mind but outside factors are interfering. Continue reading “the pilgrims – 3rd law of tinternet part 6”

the early bird – 3rd law of tinternet part 5

click here for part 4

I wonder what the birds think at dawn when no man is around. Contempt I would imagine for why would anyone want to miss the best part of the day? The early worm will have gone!

I look out of the window and see the slightest of movement of leaves in the small plant pots on the doorstep. The air in the conservatory is still. The remains of yesterday lie scattered on the lawn. A table tennis bat, dismantled hammock frame, a blue plastic hoop and toys spilling out of a shed door that these days never closes. Can’t close.

That shed’s days are numbered. It is going to be a barbecue area with a grapevine growing round the side. I don’t do many diy jobs these days but Continue reading “the early bird – 3rd law of tinternet part 5”


click for part 3

I was out kayaking this morning and drifting around in the breeze on the lake my mind drifted up to see lots of fluffy white clouds drifting by. I thought to myself, how wonderful. I thought how can I write something artistic about those fluffy white clouds? But then it occurred to me that it must be practically impossible to write anything about fluffy white clouds that hasn’t already been written. They are such an obvious thing for people to get all wistful and romantic about.

The old lateral thinking machine did kick in and I then had one of those eureka moments. Clouds = internet. Hmm. A bit tenuous really. How do you go from kayaking and then watching clouds to talking about tinternet? Who cares.

Continue reading “3RD LAW OF TINTERNET – Part 4”


click here for Part 2

I’ve been potting some chilli plants. Got the seeds a few weeks ago in Focus Do It All and sowed them in a tray in the conservatory. As if by magic the seedlings started to come through and got to a point where I deemed it appropriate to move them into pots. In all I have 20 or so, some of which I have moved outside and one that I took In to the office. When I am not in my room I jack the aircon temperature up as high as it will go. He he he. Looking forward to plenty of burn later in the year when I get harvesting.

I’m not really a gardener. I live just down the road from Tesco. However it is sometimes nice to do gardening type stuff. Usually it is a rush of blood that gets things into the ground but after that the weeds take control. Pesky things :). I did plant a lot of peas one year and managed to get a couple of portions out of it all. Shame really because Continue reading “THIRD LAW OF TINTERNET Part 3”


click here for part1

I’m back in my usual seat in the corner of the kitchen. It’s a pew we bought from Anne’s church, St Peter in Eastgate, for £130. I’m told that the going rate at auction is £30 but what the heck. It’s charidee. £130 is what the new flexible seating costs per seat.

The church’s loss is my gain. As seats go it is absolutely rock solid. Bedded in by thousands of bottoms, mostly now dead and buried. There is something poetic about having it in the kitchen with me, a confirmed atheist, sat on it writing. I also eat on it of course. The kids fight to sit on it when we are eating.

Continue reading “THIRD LAW OF TINTERNET part 2”


philosopherontap logo featured image

My homepage is Google. It all started there. Don‘t ask me how because I never know where it is going to take me. Normally I just sit there and let it take over. Sometimes I just visit the same old sites. Every day. No imagination but I don’t really care. It’s a comfort factor. A bit like sitting in the same armchair day in day out. Same pair of familiar slippers maybe.

Anyway on this day I decided to do it differently. Like driving to work in a different way to the way you normally go. When I drive to work I’m usually on autopilot anyway. I don’t notice the route. I set off and I get there. Sometimes I Continue reading “THE THIRD LAW OF TINTERNET”