?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Bramblings


Ramblings on life

Recent Entries · Archive · Friends · Profile

* * *
Over one hundred years ago Mr Nichols, Superintendant (pro tem) of Zion Baptist Sunday School in Cwmcarn, Monmouthshire, was concerned about the continued spiritual welfare of the lads and young men from the village who were rushing to join up to serve King and Country.  Many of them were, or had been in 'his' Sunday School.

And Thereby Hangs a TaleCollapse )

  So this Sunday I'll be Remembering the goodness of God in the Land of the Living, among other things.

  How about you, Dear Reader?
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music:
A mighty fortress is our God - attributed to Martin Luther
* * *
It's good to be in touch with your emotions.  To know how you're feeling.  To know when you're angry, sad, happy, bleah, and why.

  Women are generally better at this.  Partly it's gender stereotyping - 'women are emotional, men are tough/logical/whatever'.  Sometimes, too often still perhaps, it's used perjoratively.

  But then, men who aren't in touch with their emotions a) can't identify them, b) can't analyse why they're feeling the way they are, and c) don't know an 'acceptable' way to react.

  After all, women, being 'emotional' can at least burst into tears when life 'just gets too much'.  That done we can mop up, have a cup of tea and some chocolate, then get on with life.

  What is a 'tough' man to do?  Why are so many young men committing suicide?  Why are so many men of any age verbally hitting out at, or even beating up, the women in their lives?

  If a man is feeling 'desperate' or 'lost', where does he go?  If he finds life in general and his inability to affect it to his or his family's advantage results in him feeling angry - what does he do with those feelings?

  Does a young man, having 'lost his way', go out and top himself?

  Does an angry man, rather than try to address the root causes of his anger, decide that it's his female partner who has made him angry and take it out on her?

  Apparently far to many do.

  So being in touch with your emotions is a Good Thing.

  What isn't such a good thing is being ruled by your emotions - for example the angry man who beats his wife to relieve his anger.  Or the far too many desperate young men who are taking their lives as the 'only way out'.  Apparently 'suicide' is the biggest killer of men aged 18-28.

In love?Collapse )
  Then there's the whole 'feeling low' thing.  There's feeling low, below par, fed up because . . .  Sometimes it's the lowness due to an anniversary - the death of a parent/sibling/partner/child/friend/pet.  On such occasions it can be easy to fall into a low of 'what might have been'; particularly, I should think, with children.  And it can be tempting to really wallow there, 'they'd be this age now. What would we be doing?  What would they be like?'  All idealised of course.  Those of us who know real children know some of what a real pain they can be!  But 'what might have been' can be a great trap and very hard to escape.

Feeling 'Low'Collapse )

  Right, nuff said.  The sun is a-shining, it's Thursday and it's time to go raid the market.

  Y'all have a good, and cheerful, day now!



  *I don't wear black anyway.  Definitely not going to start wearing it come winter.
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
happy happy
Current Music:
Happy - Pharel Williams
* * *
Dear Philip Hammond,

  now you've given us your 'there may be an end in sight to Austerity (somewhere way down the line)' budget, am I supposed to be impressed?

  I realise you have to 'balance the books' and that all departments and areas where public money is spent (or for the past eight years, cut) are continually asking for more money.  I run our home, we have a fixed income, fortunately we manage to live well within it.  (*Thinx: should I have said that?  Will he now try to tax us extra as well?  Particularly as I've never voted Conservative and don't intend to start!*)

  But seriously - your much trumpeted 'extra £130 per year' for earners of basic wages?  How is that supposed to help - other than even a small increase in income is better than none?

  £130 per year works out at just over £10 per month.  That's one cup of 'posh coffee' per week, or three if you patronise your local market stall.  How long before the rising costs of food, fuel, etc eat that up?  Before next April when the tax cuts come into effect?

  And I note that it's actually Up To £130 per year.  Many on basic wages will get less than that.  And too many on basic wages are already working all the hours they can, two jobs even, and are still not managing to pay all their bills.

  Will they have to continue using local Food Banks?  In the Twenty-first Century?  In one of the richest countries in the world?

  What I also note that you didn't shout about was the fact that you're giving those who pay the higher rate of income tax an extra £410 per year.  I wonder how many of them vote Conservative.

  For that matter, I wonder how many of them will be thinking, 'Oh goody, maybe that'll cover the increase in the cost of my rail season ticket next year so that I can afford to continue commute to my high-earning job!'  On the railways!  Have you tried travelling on the railways recently?

  I could go on.  My husband recommends that I read the full 250 page Budget Report, which he has downloaded and will read.  I think I'll pass on that.  But I certainly won't be 'bought off' with the promise of 'up to £130 extra per year' and 'jam tomorrow', perhaps.

  Yours sincerely,
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
disappointed disappointed
* * *
One of the 'joys' of getting older is that parts of you start to wear.  'Wear', you understand, not 'wear out'.  That, I understand, comes later.

  Thus it is that I have an arthritic right knee and, as supporting act, Flo my somewhat homicidal metal stick.  Genetics is wonderful!  Mum has osteo-arthritis.  I have prospects.  Fortunately for both of us our final prospects are much brighter.  Heaven here we come!

  Anyhew, the thing about having a duff joint somewhere is that it throws your whole body out of alignment.  Then other joints start adding their voices in sympathy.  Or maybe it's in protest at the extra weight-bearing they're being made to do because 'out of alignment'.

  My knee has taken to not weight-bearing when I've been off it for a while.  Sitting watching TV is ok, I have to keep getting up every hour/hour-and-a-half to visit the loo (it's those buckets of herbal tea!)  Plus I've discovered that if I stand up really straight first, I can managed to walk down the passage without having to hang on to the walls!  Which is just as well as I don't really want finger marks on the new paint.

  However things are slightly less wonderful when I need a quick trip to the loo in the middle of the night.  (Me?  Quick?)  For that I require the support of Flo, at very least around the bed and out onto the landing.  This is where hotel rooms with en suites win.  Still, with all the Pilates my pelvic floor muscles are pretty good these days.

  Anyway, the upshot of all this (leaning heavily on Flo, not Pilates) is that now my right elbow is adding its voice to the general chorus of complaints.  I suppose I should be grateful the right knee is much quieter these days.

  If I played tennis I suppose I could call it 'tennis elbow'.  I've never been able to play tennis - the ball comes my way and I lose sight of it just when I need to know where it is to hit it back.  I reckon it's because the ball disappears behind my (not that prominent) glasses frames.  Does anybody read this?  But then, I've never been that interested in tennis.  Not when I was a school, definitely not since.  And Wimbledon?  Ya-a-awn!  So really I have non-tennis elbow.  Fortunately it responds to paracetamol/aspirin.

  Unfortunately it objects more the more I knit.  As I always knit, there's a pair of socks (for travelling) and a cardigan currently on the needles, with other garments/items on the to-do list.  Hmmm, remind me to finish those stranded mittens.  It's getting to be stranded mitten weather.

  Pardon?  The elbow?  Oh, yes.  I'm currently on the bottom ribbing of the Moonshine cardigan.  This is further on that it might sound as it's a top-down knit.  Only the sleeves and front bands to do after this.  Anyhew, the non-tennis elbow is having a moan, even with 'chemical coshes', so progress has slowed markedly as I teach myself to knit in the Continental or Picking style.

  I've always knitted in the English or Throwing style, being English and all that.  It's what I learned.  But I am nothing if not adaptable, so I'm trying to save/rest the right elbow and mistress a new techinque.  This is, apparently, terribly good for my brain too.  We are encouraged to keep learning to do new things, take up new hobbies, learn new languages, throughout our lives.

  So while Moonshine may be progressing more slowly, the elbow isn't as vociferous as it was and my brain is benefitting.  Three birds with one stone, how about that, Dear Reader!

  How's your 'bird hitting' record?
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
accomplished, if slowly
* * *
Not entirely put off train travel by last weekend's debacle (see previous entry) I decided to take in a bit of culture up in Town, having first checked that BiL thought he would be fully up to it.  He broke his leg a few months back, is out of plaster a while since, but still on crutches when out and about.  BiL reckoned that he was.

Train Rant - you might want to skip this!Collapse )

  Anyhew, we settled on the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum) in South Kensington, with an option on the Chelsea Physic Garden, weather permitting, as it's a mere bus ride away.  Or maybe a quick canter around the Natural History Museum - skeleton of Blue Whale in entrance hall and Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competion Winners.

  As 'twas the weather was WET so we 'did' the V&A.  BiL is a member, so first stop, the Members Room for lunch - playing sardines in the lift (4 people max.  Fun when one of you is on crutches.)  Further 'fun' was provided by other (larger) lifts being 'temporarily out of order'.  So we either had to play sardines or clatter up and down imposing stone staircases.  At least imposing stone staircases have fairly wide steps and aren't steep.

Fashion and NatureCollapse )

  After all that we repaired (playing sardines again) to the Members' Room for tea/coffee.  BiL might have quite happily stayed there, but I hadn't gone all the way up to Town just to drink tea.  So we hobbled off to take in:- some of the poppies from the Fields of Blood exhibition that had been held at the Tower of London.  Ten or so in a glass case were interesting, but somewhat underwhelming compared with the whole Tower moat full.  And then the thought that far more people died of the ensuing Spanish Flu after the Great War. . .

Value for Money*Collapse )

  And then they threw us out because the staff wanted to close up, count everything (just in case) and go home.  Fortunately by then the rain had stopped.  So we staggered down to the environs of South Kensington underground station, assessed the crowds and retired to the local Pret a Manger for sustenance (as far as we know, we aren't allergic to anything they might have not thought to tell us about!)  Then caught a bus back to Clapham Junction station in the late-rush-hour-traffic in what turned out to be plenty of time for my train back (which was only two minutes late.)  Though we had wondered at times!

  And I was home, having a restorative cup of tea well before bed time.  Mind you, it's taken a few days for my gammy knee to recover fully!

  How have you been spending your days, and other people's membership privileges, Dear Reader?






  *It was value for money too.  As mentioned, BiL is a V&A member, so we got into Fashioned by Nature and the Jameel Prize exhibitions for free.  Not to mention the Members' Room.
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music:
Piano Trio in G Minor - Clara Schumann
* * *
* * *
As four* of the women in the family have birthdays in October, we generally try to get as many of the thirteen of us (plus assorted girlfriends as they feel sufficiently brave) together for at least one Saturday.  This is to help us all celebrate.  To help keep up with each other, cos boy are we spread wide these days.  Also to keep in touch with Mum, who "will be 90 next year!"

  We are still based in Portsmouth.  The rest of the family have moved, some several times, generally to more and more rural areas.  A few years ago Mum moved out to the village near Stroud where Sis had been based for a good few years.  Sis, living the nearest to Bristol, had been the one 'on call', though we all called in regularly.  I got the train (direct route) once a month.  Now it's at least two trains and a bus (if you're very lucky,) taxi or ask Sis or one in her immediate family for a lift.  We don't drive.  Never needed to.  Ain't about to start now.

  I may have blogged about this recently, the way that it looks like we've stayed in the same place and they've all moved to places increasingly inaccessible by public transport; like they don't want us to visit!

  Anyhew, getting there last Friday was easy, if a tad tedious because FauxGWReliablyunrealiable insists on running two coach Sprinters on routes which are regularly full when they run three coaches (eg: the Portsmouth-Cardiff trains!)  Plus they insist on running them late, delaying them further and, often for no apparent rhyme or reason, cancelling what they still laughingly call 'services'.

What A Way To Run A RailwayCollapse )

  Anyway, we found a very nice boutique hotel; seven bedrooms, excellent restaurant, lovely freshly cooked food, awesome pizza baked in their wood-fired oven, friendly and helpful staff willing to stop and chat with you. The Kings Head House.  Definitely recommend the place.

  So we unpacked and went and spent the evening with Mum and her little black spaniel.  And that was good.

  We had a bath, hot water, lots of it, lots of bubbles.  Small snag - it was a very clean, slippery bath, even with the bath mat.  We've suggested they install some form of handles so people can lever themselves upright safely.  We both managed it, but we're still (fairly) fit and mobile.  Good ol' pilates!  Still, I can see why people use a shower.  KHH management are 'looking into it.'  And they will.

SaturdayCollapse )
 
SundayCollapse )

  That was this year's October Birthday Bash.  Next year, being Mum's 90th, will be more splendid, if the Lord leaves her with us that long.  But we're hoping to get together at least a couple of times before then.

  How was your weekend, Dear Reader?




   *It has been up to six** at one time, when H's Mum and BiL's wife were still around.  A long time ago there was also Gran - who'd married the Grandad saved by his Sunday School Bible (see earlier entry.)  But most of us are genetically related.  Hence I don't bother even thinking about Christmas preparations before All Saints' Day.

   **Seven (five now), there's a cousin too, but we rarely see her these days.  Shame how families can grow apart.  S'pose that's one reason we try to have the October Birthday Bash.

  ***No-one was actually injured during this journey.  I got cross, I knitted.  (I may have lost the "I knit so I don't kill people" badge, but the sentiment is there.  Just hope the other knitter we met arrived before she finished her scarf!)  I calmed down.  I have most of a sock as a result of this weekend's travelling etc.  I also have a sore right elbow, so the sock might take a while to finish!
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
accomplished accomplished
Current Music:
6th Symphony 'The Pastoral' (3) - Beethoven
* * *
I've recently started a correspondence with a friend from LJ.  That's right, Dear Reader, LJ bloggers are also real people and you can actually write directly to them, with their permission of course.

  And one of the best things, for an 'oldie' like me, is that it is actually correspondence.  The written word.  Pen on paper.

  No, silly, not quill pen and hand-made paper which I make myself from rags - from the off cuts of the clothes I've made.  Or pens from feathers I scavenge when geese on the local pond moult.  It's actually some generic ballpoint pen on . . .  Well, so far it's started with a card and progressed onto several pages of A4 paper.

  The first letter I started while away, so it was a case of writing on the unprinted side of whatever paper I'd kept for just that purpose.  That's the purpose of using the blank side, rather than the purpose of writing letters.  I reckon I actually have some of a pad of Air Mail paper, from when I used to write to friends in Zaire and Thailand.  But they've long since moved back to the UK and my stationery cubbyhole is a total warren of dust bunnies.  Until I round them all up with the Dyson, I don't know whether there's any left.

  The second letter started with a card too, then moved on to the blank side of saved printed paper and eventually to some narrow feint (ruled) A4 file paper.  This really cramped my style.  My 'best joined up writing' is legible (with care) but does require more space than the 6mm provided by narrow feint paper.  I reckon this pad is H's, his writing used to be on the tiny-verging-on-miniscule side - back in the day when we wrote to each other.

  I've since located some wide feint, leftover from either my or the children's studying days, though I'm not entirely sure that 8mm rulings will be quite wide enough either.  Maybe we'll find out with the third letter.

  Maybe I'll find the Air Mail pad, though that's unlikely.  The next few weeks look a tad busy to be bothering with chasing dust bunnies in that particular corner.  H pointed out that there are some sheets of lightweight, blue A4 paper in one of the desk drawers, but not in the top three.  The lower two seem rather stuck - maybe I should try the Dyson on them too?

   Recently I've looked in various shops as I've been out and about, but today 'Stationery' seems to cover everything from cards to note cards, pencils, pens, notebooks (lots of sizes, designs and binding formats), file paper (yes, it's still made), printer paper, paper clips, staples, staplers (also 'clipless'), scissors (straight or fancy edged), rubbers (that's 'erasers'),  pencil cases, desk tidies of various shapes and sizes - not to mention a whole raft of 'novelty' items.  What I haven't found is plain, simple, or adorned, writing paper; let alone Air Mail weight paper.

  From this I conclude that the art of actual letter writing, putting pen to paper, is dying out; if not already moribund.

  Yes, well, Penpal and I are keeping the mails flying.  Though I fear my next letter may well start on a card and go on to ruled file paper.  I suppose it's better than the plain side of printed sheets, if less potentially informative.

  Email?  Penpal prefers the pen and paper approach, and I'm happy to oblige.  She says she marks emails as 'to be replied to' then forgets.  I know what she means.  Now all I have to do is remember to take the finished letters with me when I'm likely to be going anywhere near a Post Office (and they're fewer and further between than once upon a time) and remember that I have it with me when I'm near one.  With my (lack of) memory!

  Apparently learning poetry is good for improving your memory, or so studies have shown.  Hmmm, where's my personal anthology?  Is that, too, under the dust bunnies?

  Y'all have a good day now!



  *As in 'writing and it's accoutrements'.  As in 'keeping still' is 'stationary'.

  Hmmm, much of my stationery has been stationary so long that the dust bunnies have multiplied all over it!
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
amused amused
Current Music:
the dehumidifier humming (it doesn't know the words, or the tune for that matter!)
* * *
This weekend is the Fareham RailEx Model Railway exhibition.  The forecast was for rain.  So we went.

  As usual there was a vintage bus to pick us up from Fareham station, how else does one travel to a railway exhibition if not by train (and vintage bus)?  One of the other bus passengers said that it made him feel like singing 'Summer Holiday'.  I reckon the bus was actually older than that!

  There were a good few exhibits:-  ineteen traders, three societies and twenty-seven layouts, of varying sizes and scales.  There's an overview here filmed by a visitor today.
 
   It's about twenty minutes long.

  I particularly liked the Clydach Railway (009 gauge) - a narrow gauge seaside layout set 'somewhere in Wales'; Karolina Falls (On30 gauge) - built by an entrepreneur 'somewhere Out West', with a real water waterfall complete with rowing boat spinning in an eddy; and Angst-Lesspork (009 gauge) - a tribute to guess where and guess whom, complete with wizards, witches, trolls, Watch, Clacks, etc, etc.  Oh, and Moist's railway.

  There were larger scale (up to 0 gauge) and smaller scale (down to N gauge) models; covering variously sized base boards - from something which would fit into a large suitcase to something requiring several 8' long tables and three or four operators.

  As last year, the exhibition was held at the Fareham Leisure Centre, so there were various small people around going to/from dance classes, swimming lessons, or with Grandads and or Dads in tow to see the trains.  There were lots of bigger people around too.  The fit/exhausted-looking ones to exercise.  The others, mainly men, most with white/little hair, to see the trains.  There were a few women (me included) but railway modelling and exhibiting seems to still be a mostly male preserve.  Keep it under your hat, Dear Reader, or someone might start making a (totally unnecessary) fuss!

  No, H hasn't made his own model railway.  He did look into making a model of Ryde Pier in the loft a good while back, but life (two children and my periodic bouts of serious Depression) rather got in the way.  Maybe when he finally retires . . .  Though he did mention the Watercress Line recently - full scale engines at light railway speeds on a rather short line neither end of which connects to the 'Other Railway'.  Yet.

  We both enjoyed ourselves and, having arrived earlyish, managed to get round before there were too many people.  Being 6' tall I am at an advantage in such situations.  You can tell the experienced small people MR exhibition visitors - they carry boxes, or even folding steps, so they can see over the edge of higher base boards.  And they carry them themselves.

  Then lunch, and being in the Leisure Centre there were 'healthy options'; consult bus/train times, and head for home.  On arriving at Fareham station we found the down platform full.  Pompey were evidently playing at home this Saturday.  Against Gillingham.  That's Gillingham, Kent (pronounced 'Jillingum'.  The other Gillingham, Dorset, is pronounced 'Gillingum'.  Don't know whether it has a football team, but they don't pr)

  Apparently Portsmouth are (or were) top of League One, Gillingham were ranked around twenty places below.  Alas this didn't prevent them from beating Pompey 2 - 0.  I dunno, what was Kenny Jackett thinking?  Hubris?

  Having forgotten to take my knitting three times this week when I went out, I finally managed to remember it today.  So the second sock foot is a little longer.  I'll be turning the heel soon, provided I remember to take it with me!

  The 'at home' knitting project, the Moonshine Cardigan, progresses.  It's knitted top-down and I'm going on eight inches down from the armholes.  The way the weather is at present - warm one day, dank the next (forecast warm and sunny again tomorrow) - it's going to be a race between how far I can get before Autumn really sets in in a 'chilly all day' way.

  Soon I'll have to stop Moonshine and work on something warmer, probably lengthening the Hitofude I knitted last Spring.  It's been too warm since for a lapful of wool.  Then it'll be time to reknit the purple aran into something smaller round - about six sizes smaller.  Ah well, aran-weight yarn is a quicker knit, even if the aran design isn't.  And I'll have leftovers for cosy mittens and things.

  Which is probably 'nuff for now, what with Strictly due to finish and everything.  We haven't put the fire on yet, managing with jumpers, blankets, socks and mitts.  Just as well it'll be sunny again tomorrow.

  Also the new Dr Who.  What are the BBC thinking of?  Dr Who has always been children's/geeky Saturday early evening viewing, often from behind the sofa.  They even consigned it to various mid-week evening slots in an attempt to kill it off.

  Then someone who'd grown up behind the sofa revived the programme, and the rest, as they say, is TV history.  I'm not sure what'll cause more consternation - a female Doctor, or the new prime-time Sunday evening slot!

  Y'all have a good day now!
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
accomplished accomplished
Current Music:
The Runaway Train (not that there were any)
* * *
Remember Monty Python's Flying Circus?

  It was a mixture of comedy, surrealism, slapstick, silly walks, swearing (being young 'the Pythons' were pushing 'Auntie' BBC's barriers all the time) silly songs, cross-dressing (mostly in the Pantomime sense, and cos 'the Pythons' were all men,) cartoons and, well, general silliness, but with an intelligent twist.  Usually.

  Many songs and phrases have entered the language - 'This parrot is an ex-parrot', the Lumberjack Song, 'Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition', 'Spam, spam, spam, spam!', 'What do we want?  A shrubbery!' (Don't ask.)  Even now, people above a certain age half expect to see a large foot descend from the sky when they hear the opening bars of Sousa's Liberty Bell march.  And if that's all so much gobbldy-gook to you, Dear Reader, should you have a few hours to spare, go search YouTube.

  I remember the Spanish Inquisition episode, and not just because it only had the one swear word (right at the end.)   Men in big hats and bigger cloaks bursting into all sorts of scenes.  Unexpectedly.

  It's not just the human language that took on phrases.  Even a budgie learned one, eventually.

 

  Did that work?  If it didn't, sorry Dear Reader, I may have broken the internet!  Just one thing, Disco is a budgie, not a parakeet, despite what the rest of YouTube seems to think.

  Seem to remember Bro had one like that.  He'd draw the curtains and let it out to fly round.  It would perch on the bell of his euphonium when he was practising, chatter away to its reflection, then slip and fall in!  Oom pah PAH!

  Many thanks to extemporanea, who usually posts Wols on a Tuesday.  See, S, it's not just your ol' Mum who has silly thinks on a Tuesday.

  Y'all have a good day now!
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
amused amused
Current Music:
Liberty Bell march - Sousa
* * *
There are several ways of looking at the phrase 'Other People'.  I'm focussing on two, the two words.

OtherCollapse )

  And then there's

PeopleCollapse )

  So, Other People.

  Your view, Dear Reader?
Current Location:
as usual
Current Mood:
thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music:
Fedora, Intermezzo - Giordano
* * *
* * *

Previous