Saturday, 23 February 2013

23rd February 2013 - Cold, cold cold...

Google informs me that King David the 2nd died this day back in 1370.

Despite my claims to my Scottish heritage - I will admit that I was unaware of King David, well the Scottish one. I am well acquainted with the biblical fellow, he of David and Jonathan, and subject of one of my favourite songs - "Hallelujah"..... written by good old Leonard Cohen, though made more famous by a large green ogre called Shrek. At least it was a Green One!!!

So the poor old chap died on this day so many years ago. And I will admit that if it was as cold as this on that day he may have decided to go quietly into that good night...

Certainly, with some flu symptoms, (Man-Flu that is) and an aching back, it was only late evening when I finally crawled from the warmth of the bed and struggled into the living room to hide under a large blanket, curled on the couch.

Goodness knows what the bills will be like later this year. At the moment despite the extra heating ..
It is cold cold cold.....

So here is Hallelujah - LARP style ....

Friday, 22 February 2013

22nd February 2013 - Guest Blog - Dragons

Since I have a sister staying - it seemed only right that we should have a guest blog today...

A Driving Discovery 

Our tour guide in China called adventures into the unknown “discoveries” and we have adopted the phrase.  Today, after checking the laundry on the balcony which was stiff with frost, the trousers were standing on their own, the bird bath covered with a thin sheet of ice, and waiting for the results of the Piscorius bail hearing (aka pre-trial trial) we ventured out into the wild, treacherous unknown on the outskirts of Burry Port.   There be dragons here.    We drove what we thought would be the short distance to the Post Office that Arnold recommended.   Well, five miles later through the narrow streets of Pembrey we found the elusive place.   It was not, as we had been lead to believe, an easy place to get to, nor was it an easy place to park.  Oh but I get ahead of myself.  We first explored the car park on the near side of the railway bridge to get to the Co-op.  A successful discovery.  It was free, easy to get into, and more importantly easy to get out of with plenty of parking available.   We conducted a quick stroll over the bridge to the Co-op to make sure there were no dragons hiding under the bridge on the railway.  We got back to the car without mishap and then drove on to the Pembrey location.  Following that, we followed another set of directions to get to the Mini Supermarket at the petrol station somewhere east (or west) or Burry Port.  

We drove in, found it easy to park and drive out again but did not stop to sample their wares.   Actually, now that we have established that the car park is very accessible and without dragons, there seems to be no reason to venture out to the mini supermarket as the Co-op will provide all essential necessities.  So then, we braved the center of Burry Port where I said that the only way to drive through the town was to straddle the white line in the middle of the road and not hit the cars parked on both sides.   This was accomplished successfully and luckily there were no dragons hiding although there were lots of seagulls attacking the crows.   A parking space was found right outside the Spar shop.   A quick jaunt across the road to the post office, where we robbed the store of mother’s pension money and then we walked back to the car.   It will be noted that we parked outside the Spar which meant there was really little reason to go to the Co-op unless we wanted exotic items such as trifles, smoked salmon and pate.

So the discoveries were all very successful and we returned for a well deserved cup of tea in Mummy’s flat.  She prepared a lovely egg and cheese dish in the oven which was one of granddad’s favorites and now it is time to put our feet up and await the result of the pre-trial trial bail hearing of Piscorius.

Meanwhile, the ice is still in the bird bath.  The trousers are still standing without assistance and the ring doves are cooing at each other and picking up twigs to make a nest.  All is well with the world

Christine Longtin

Thursday, 21 February 2013

21st February 2013 - Of viruses and weather plans

Strangely, it is a full week in Wales where the sun has greeted us in the morning. Okay it sometimes blows over with some gathering clouds later in the day, but the morning tends to have a touch of bright Phoebus shining down on me.

I attributed this mainly to having a sister staying in Wales while her normal domicile is in the "dry Heat " of Arizona, and though the winds are whipping from the east bringing cold breezes that strip the house of any warmth, the brightness is a welcome change from the dreary weeks before Christmas.

From a personal point of view though, the cold air seems to have brought back a viral cough that has plagued me now since Christmas. Twice I have assured myself that it has gone and I am returning to my (relatively) fit state and ready to start loading vans and clearing basements. Even a course of antibiotics which the Doctor assured me could not effect a viral infection but cleared the symptoms in 4 days. Don't talk to me about Placebo affects!!! But if it works - don't knock it....

But with the cold weather, comes the return of the hacking cough, and the spasms that have caused me to strap my back up and hobbler around the room like a 90 year old. A birthday this week was insufficient cause to age me thirty years like some Rip Dai Winkle....

So, what of Arizona then? Are they getting their standard 20 degrees of "dry Heat"??

Well actually they are under snow and it seems that the state has ground to a stop. I recall the panic and erratic driving on the highway when we were driving along the Highway and a drop or two of rain fell with permission of the populous. As anxious drivers reached for glove compartments, or whatever they call them in the US, and leafed through the semi automatic weapons that keep America the Land of the Free to find the driver's manual in search of the  button for the windscreen wipers. As they drift across their 5 lanes peering through the muddied windows... As we decided we would be much safer on a back road rather than chancing multi car collisions...

So if that was rain... what will it be like in Phoenix and Tombstone under a canopy of white???

Well, it seems that the World Golf Championships at Dove Mountain, incidentally one of those rare American world competitions that permits other countries to compete in the competition, is being snowed out today. 

Now if we looked at the weather as we look at our computers we would be thinking about rebooting the system and changing the virus software.

But as for me - I want to buy some of those fine old fingerless gloves that Bob Cratchet used to huddle around the one remaining candle... My fingers are cold as I write...  Perhaps a nice cup of tea!!!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

16th February 2013 - 59th Street Bridge Song

A time comes in life when you really don't wish to count the birthdays, so it was a great pleasure to visit another poor victim of the day and surprise a friend at their 40th Birthday.

In my case - I am really past counting. So when 59th Street Bridge song came to my mind, I happily started humming "Slow down, you move to fast.." Though in reality I am far too young at 59 to think about slowing down. Widening the girth - yes... And sad to say I am strapped up with a back support with a little pain in the back but that was probably from loading the van with all the marquees and benches and trestles.
But that is a sign of activity not inactivity so not really a portent of dotage.

So as we turned up at the Rose and Crown near Coventry to see a 40 year old birthday boy, and he, expecting to have a quiet curry with a mate, looks out at the meanderings of a large white van trying to find a space large enough to store a long wheel base white elephant.

The look of perplexity, followed by confusion and surprise in itself made the journey from Wales to Midlands  worthwhile, and as the hour continued, and more strangers arrived from all over the country, boosting the dining to 37, he slowly crumbled into a birthday heap......

I love surprises.. Especially being involved in surprises for other people. And this one was as good as they get. Even for the Curry house - who had to take the potential booking of maybe 25 or 30 could be 35 confirmed and up to 40 and were not at all phased upon a Saturday night..

We were all "looking for fun and feeling groovy..."

Now next year ....   Next year will be worth celebrating at home - cos afterwards I will have my bus pass....


Friday, 15 February 2013

15th February 2013 - Aliens are among us...

Today, an asteroid wrongly named 2012, or maybe it is just late and should have been here last year, came an astonishingly close 17,200 miles from the earth.  No- not 27,700 kilometres (You may understand this decision if you have seen my previous missives...).

This evening, I am reliably informed, I should be able to look up into the night sky and somewhere near the plough see the passing of 2012. I thought that was a wish of my last New Years Eve, but I can understand that in these days of science fiction, there are many ways of seeing the passing of an era.
No, the night sky, which is actually quite clear this evening, should divulge some indication of the passing of an object universally measured as "the size of an Olympic swimming pool" to those with binoculars or small telescope. I do not intend to here dilate upon yet another system of measurement.

Well Susie has found our old binoculars in the mire and dust at the top of the basement stairs, and an hour washing and wiping have left them pristine and glistening. A nasty scare on the BBC News that the meteor had already passed Australia is put in its place as a mere rumour and the schedule is still that 2012 will pass over Llanelli between 9pm and 10pm this evening.

However, on the same day, no-one seems to have seen the link between this close passover and the real disaster in the Urals today, where a shooting star fell to earth, witnessed by so many vid cams and mobile phones, striking a frozen lake and injuring 950 people ( the current figure at 8.50pm )

Okay - the injuries are mainly cuts and bruises and the result of shattered glass, but video shows the shock wave knocking people over. The Street CCTV shows the glow as the "thing" passes - lighting up the sky. Mr Putin, the body builder leader of the metamorphosis of the USSR, promises help and Russian television is full of scared schoolchildren and Vox Pox.

However, I am totally surprised by the the lack of recognition from my Re-enactment, LARP and generally Geek friends.
I have seen this before - surely they have too?? Why am I alone in seeing what is really happening?? Is it really an age thing?

Turn back only a few decades....  well actually quite a few... 1976.
I so clearly recall the strange intervention onto the world of film when David Bowie became an enigmatic "Man who fell to Earth".  Oh how we thrilled at the funny little globe thing that fitted into a small stand and played music which seemed to have no source!!!. Oh how we marvelled at the television images, not at a maximum 20 inches ( not centimetres!) but wall sized and almost, shock at the thought, in three dimensions.....
How we laughed at the ridiculous concept of private enterprise raising sufficient funds to put a commercial tourist rocket ship into space....   These things were pure science fiction and could never come to pass!

1976 (not 2012).  But I also recall the start. A Meteor flying through night sky, lighting up the horizon.
All right - it was flying over the United States of America, but that was a geographical nicety, it was an American funded film, and was therefore filmed in that great country. It landed with a great explosion in a lake somewhere in the midst of remote states. Today,  a flaming body passes over all those remote parts of the Urals ( they have a population but who would have thought ??) and then strikes a frozen lake in the middle of nowhere.

I am not saying that there is a connection. It is just an observation. But while we talk about 2012 passing so close that our Sat Nav satellites are further out in the night sky, my mind once again reviews the statements of the US Defense when they (laughingly) gave their reasons for not building a Death Star, and the claim that it was not Defense policy to blow up other planets. Was this their real reason??

9pm, and the sky over Llanelli has clouded over. I am not one to be paranoid, but it was crystal clear when I started writing this blog, and now, when I have the opportunity to examine more closely this body called 2012, the skies are misted and there is no way that I can examine the profile of the celestial body to see if it may be perfectly round, bristling with weapons, and hiding an asthmatic Goth leader.

No, I cannot investigate further here in Llanelli. But there are those out there who will strive for the truth. Those who may search the ice and waste of the Urals to see if we have and alien bristling with futuristic technology, or maybe an annoying golden robot and Dusty Bin on wheels.

I am not paranoid. Nor am I demented. But Mr Putin has said that he will sort everything out. The Pope has resigned. We are more worried in our press about the possibility that we are eating Horse Meat, than we are about the utterings of politicians which would better be described as bull***t. I have 200 channels on my satellite TV and nothing worth watching this evening, not even in the night sky....

They are among us!! And they do not want us to know ...   tell your friends ...

14th February 2013 - Valentine's Day

A friend of mine posted ..

"I forgot to get a girlfriend for my Valentine's Card"

As a comment upon current commercialisation of practically everything - it tickled me...

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

13th February 2013 - Ash Wednesday

The intricacies of the Christian Church, or at least the western version which treats Easter as a moveable feast, have always left me a little confused. Today is Ash Wednesday and traditionally the start of Lent, that period of abstinence for 46 days up to Easter itself. This was always based upon 40 days of fasting by JC himself - which always led me to wonder why there was a choice of 46 days for the Lenten Period?? Which again brings me to numbers..  and Triskaidekaphobia as well !!!

And the start is of course ash Wednesday. Pre-dating the anti-smoking campaigners by many years, I see a distinct lack of people placing Ash on their foreheads, possibly due to greater numbers of centrally heated houses and equivalent reduction in fireplaces with smoked wood as a ready resource. Ash Wednesday is immediately preceded each year by Shrove Tuesday, a day of "shriving" or absolution, but so much better celebrated as the day we flip the pancakes. Another great religious festival stolen from our ancient and pagan  histories.

It was only today, as I discussed this with my sister recently jet-lagged in from America that I finally understood the interconnection of its several parts.... She explained it this way..
"Oh yes!! that was the day that the people rolled the stone back from the mouth of the cave and  the Easter Bunnie came out and looked at the Sun, and dependent upon whether it smiled or not, we would have rain on St Swithin's day...."

She may be right - but I still think of this as No Smoking Day....

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

12th February 2013 - Numbers of the beast

It was while lamenting the reportage of snow fall that I last had the opportunity to consider the role of imperial and decimal figures. Today, being pancake day, I had two Crepes with a  spoon full of ice cream. The Ice cream was definitely a "scoop" which does not fall into the category of any of the references that always used to be on the back of my old school exercise books. I know as I go through all the books and papers in the basement that I will in the end find one of those famous books - with perches and rods, fathoms and links. When I do I am sure that I shall comment on asimilar missive.

But imagine my consternation as I read on my google "things that happened on February 12th...". that it was on this day back in 1973 that the State of Ohio (USA) went metric, becoming the first state in the US to post metric distance signs along interstate 71. The new signs showed the distances in both miles and kilometres!!

It was only when I read on that my confidence was revived when I saw that also on this day in 1912 China Adopted the Gregorian Calendar.

That somehow gives me some level of confidence thinking that a country the size of China, with its own script, language and letters adopted a set of numbers for counting days which has a familiarity to my poor brain....

Happy pancake day.

Monday, 11 February 2013

11th February 2013 - Last few seconds of the day

At 11.59pm on Monday 11th February I manage to place my daily blog and keep the "daily" part of the process. It is a day where the Pope has decided to resign, where there is still a scandal over whether there should be horsemeat in our beef lasagne and burgers, and care for the elderly is reviewed in terms of the threshold for payment and inheritance tax is kept to about a million to pay for it....

It really makes me want to move a step forward towards a little smallholding where we eat most of our own grown food, raised animals and where religion and politics are as alien as a closely tyled masonic lodge. Opened a home made cheese today and found it to be almost pure cheddar, less than a month old, but full of richness and with a fine consistency. It is always an adventure when we peel back the green wax and try the taste of the new batch. Each is different!!  The last was sort of Caerphilly, being a little crumbly, but to be fair we have not had a bad batch yet !!.

So a day of gathering boxes from the supermarket. Spent a few hours looking through the sideboard - three drawers and three cupboards and two "blue" bags filled with old Christmas and birthday cards. The Blue Bag is the re-cycle bag here in the UK. And today they are full of memories - but the pleasure was mainly in reviewing one time and deciding to let go. There were the full set of 40 Birthday cards... and 50 Birthday Cards examined for the first time in tenor twenty years ...  Many more photographs found that will no doubt find their way onto the on-line albums...

It s said that if you look at the life of the earth in terms of a clock - the human race arrived at 11.59pm and 30 seconds. If that is true then the timing of this post represents the entire history of the human race.. and is summed up by the decision to recycle previous anniversaries into a blue bag....

Hope that does not have greater meaning in the larger aspect of life in general......

Sunday, 10 February 2013

10th February 2013 - More Boxes

Sunday. For any who have been looking at the blog over the last months, then it will be no secret that I have been converting random possessions of the last 45 years into banana boxes... Today it was the turn of a number of fine old vinyl records that were part of the collection of my father.

There is little real need for vinyl these days, most are already on digital, but there are those who think that the vinyl has some value greater than other media. Personally, they are part of history, there may be recordings that have not  been transferred to new formats, or maybe there are special recordings - I do not know!!

I know that he was a music critic in his early years. Most of the records I packed away today have " Not for resale" stamped upon them and he spent many years writing about the music that he loved to listen to. He was also a TV critic. I know this as I was born back in February 1954 - when on the evening of my birth the first showing of "Quatermass" was showing upon the small screen. I was apparently a breach  birth causing some complications, and was birthed in the upstairs bedroom - but he had to pop back and forwards to check on the progress of the show in case he missed something that was essential for the review....  

I was heralded into this world by science fiction reviews...   today I parcelled up another small section of my life. I also found out that my paternal grandfather who we always though was a bigamist  having remarried while forgetting to divorce my grandmother, actually turns out to be a gentleman - we found that he married his life long partner and mother of his children a little time after the death of his legal wife.  Maybe there is honour in our family yet...

Another box ...

Saturday, 9 February 2013

9th February 2013 - Chilled by the loss of inches....

It is Saturday evening and Wales have apparently saved their reputation on the 6 nations rugby competition which I managed to miss by not switching the television on! The news channels are reporting large amounts of snow across America, something I should have warned my sister about when she decided to fly from the USA to Wales near to my birthday.. But she has a couple of days to let everything sort itself out. It is cool but wet here in Llanelli, but there are chances for more snow across parts of the United Kingdom in the next couple of days.

There is a lot of snow in the States... There will be large areas of Great Britain covered with white stuff over the next few days.. but how much ???  I really do not know !!

It is not that I have not been listening to the succession of weather reports. It is not that I have somehow not listened to radio reports. If I read newspapers, which I do not as they are a good example of that oxymoron (paper I will accept - but clearly devoid of anything that could be defined as news.!!) then it would not be because I had failed to assess the content of the text..  It is the loss of the common inch that confuses me. All the snow apparently has gone European and now not only falls in flakes that never duplicate, but also now falls in amounts that can only be understood by those in the Eurozone.

It is bad enough that they want to take over the pound and drive us into the common currency - a task in which I feel that they will fail. But after decimalisation and the loss of good old LSD (pounds shilling and pence not Lysergic acid diethylamide) the half crown and the florin, we have managed for the most part to resist many of the incursions into pints, pounds and ounces.

But snow???  Surely it is acceptable for snow to fall in Britain in inches!!  If it is thick it certainly should be in feet!! Listening to CNN on my satellite television I do not hear that snow is falling in yards !!!  but in Metres!!
My favourite weatherman here tells me that there may be 10 centimetres of snow ... How much is that ??  More or less than a banana?? It means nothing and does not inspire me to put my wellies on or get a snow plough out.

Snow is cold. I have noted the geographical penchant to vary Celsius and Fahrenheit, seemingly a national trait here in the UK to refer to cold by Celsius   "it is 2 degrees today" but look at the hot weather only in Fahrenheit "It is going to be in the low seventies today"...  I understand this!!. We have a climate that does not "do" extremes. Therefore it is quite acceptable that we would prefer the "hot" weather sound hotter, and the cold weather less extreme....

But snow falls by a certain volume and lies at a certain height when still. Damn it !!  If it is British Snow it should damn well fall in British quantities. And that means in Inches not in centimetres. 

I do not know what a centimetre is in real money. I know I have looked up the conversion rate many times but it is not something that will stick in my brain. 16 degrees Celsius is about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. I can remember this. But there are no conversion from the centi-lies to inches that are exact without using those other foul calculations - the decimal point!!  No good telling me that there are 2.54  centimetres to an inch.. How can that help? I know children for the last thirty years have used calculators where we used slide rule, and now probably have an "app" for it on their phone but for a simple soul, I would like to know that there will be up to 3 inches of snow  ( take wellies ) 6 inches of snow (will need a shovel to get the car out) or a foot of snow ( stay in and have a cup of tea and watch television).

So, I know it is unlike me to have a rant, but surely it cannot be too much for British television and the news media in general to revert to a sensible measure....  sorry - I suppose I have just answered my question !!

So here are a few shots of snow at Furnace Quarry, nr Llanelli. I can tell you there were three inches of snow.. I measured it with my thumb, which I learned at school was three inches from tip to base...  


Thursday, 7 February 2013

7th February 2013 - Ham and Eggs

Now the eggs are hatched and running around in the run - the chicks that is - not the eggs of course, and Rusty has adopted them and cranes his neck into the box to ensure that they are safe and well, I was able to turn my mind back to the other main task in hand. Boxing the house up. This will probably be a recurring theme for a number of weeks, months or years, as there is a lot of house to box. The chicks are safely in the spare bedroom - it being far to cold to put them out at this time of year, and they currently huddle under the special heat lamp that deceptively puts out no light at all but just spins the electric meter wheel, and the video cases are all stacked in their boxes and placed in the top room. The staircase beckoned and the decision to allow the DVD's to follow the plight of their VHS counterparts beckoned. They would be watched sometime in the future but for the moment they could happily stay with Mr Geest the banana home.

As the last cases were stacked, one cover fell to the floor. A home made DVD from 2004, taken at one of our Live Action Role Play events called Renewal. For those unacquainted with Live Action Role Play or LARP  as it is affectionately known, I would direct them to my many videos on the subject on the Vollsanger Youtube Channel. Sometimes called "Cross Country Pantomime", sometimes ridiculed and oft laughed at, it is a game system that allows the playing of a different character, dress up with your friends, eat drink and be merry. It is a sort of re-enactment with commitment - playing up to 24 hours of the day while at event and not just in front of the public for a couple of hours. Interest and commitment to costume is often equal, commitment to plot and storyline is far greater, and it allows imagination to run riot.

And so it is that at Renewal, the main Fest of the year for Curious Pastimes Role Play group, where magic and conspiracy take equal part with battle and heroism, that the Ritual Circle, a sort of stage Stone Henge saw the passing of a group of Vikings called the Storm Wolves. And from the technical box overlooking the circle, the FX crew had set a video camera, unknown to anyone in the circle.

I am not saying that the acting would have been any better had we known. Probably not! We were not acting really - this was role playing and there is a subtle difference. Really!

The opportunity to wear the kit and strut around being important, and the inclusion of a certain amount of alcoholic beverage on occasion to keep the chill out of the bones, the fear out of the soul, and the embarrassment  out of the behaviour all help to bring en event to its own life.

The steaming central altar and the lights glowing from the trees subtly changing the atmosphere and the disembodied voice of the Ritual Circle itself all cause a certain amount of trepidation - after all - characters die in the ritual circle if not careful. The Stone Triptique Arch can open and anything can come out !!!

But not on this occasion - this is for the passing of the Viking Troop who died that day in battle with weapons in their hands, qualifying them to rise and dwell in Valhalla with the All-Father Odin. And rather than monsters, out from the gates come the Valkyrie to collect the bodies and souls of the departed.

It is a type of theatre - but it is not scripted. The outcome in unknown for each player in the circle. The appearance of the Valkyrie was welcome and hoped for but not guaranteed. At any stage, a mistake in authenticity or enthusiasm could lead the "powers that be" to be as fickle as the gods they represented. Indeed, my own character was refused passage to a safe haven for the heinous crime of having married - but that is another story. 

But as the Valkyrie indeed came out into the circle, and gathered the glorious fallen, this was another occasion where I remembered why I had taken up this crazy hobby late in life. After all, an ageing policeman rarely gets the opportunity of being surrounded by so many beautiful young ladies who took such efforts to dress up. I sometimes regret that I was not born in the time of the corset and bodice, but here, in my hobby, I can have some innocent enjoyment of times gone by.

They say that you must break eggs to get omelettes, or to start a flock of chickens, but the DVD that fell from the shelf reminded me of the time that I stood in the Ritual Circle to say farewell to those gallant colleagues...  and a review and re-edit of the film shows the level of Ham involved.

The Full Video - 

16 minutes of Ham... you could boil a lot of eggs in that time !!!

Full set of photos on FLICKR

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

6th February 2013 - Of Storms and Tea Cups

I have a picture on my wall which is a rather large old fashioned tea cup and inside it is painted the raging seas, a distant lighthouse and a floundering sailship.. It is called "Storm in a Tea Cup" and as soon as I saw it in one of those quaint artist shops in St Ives I knew that it had to hang upon my wall.

But as I braved the cold and the wind this morning, I decided that a stroll along the beachhead at Burry Port harbour would make a change for me and a somewhere different for the dogs. They didn't seem to mind the cold wind which cut through my lightweight fleece and tried to whip my Crimson Moon cap from my head, but charged into the sea and cavorted in the waves. The wind was strong and the distant waves hitting the ridge swept spray in to the air and dampened the face, I am convinced that had I sported a beard there would have been Scott of the Antarctic icicles.
"Come on in - the water is lovely"
But the reason for the mention of the tea-cup was the sky as I wondered down the beach. The Lighthouse at Burry Port loomed over the beach and the clouds were striking, ominous and full of rain. The sun bright behind. Other intrepid dog walkers were on the beach, head down, scarves wrapped around faces, gazing mainly at the sand to keep the cold wind from scoring the skin, but I had to look to the horizon and in the space of only a few minutes the skies changed colours several times, from a dark shadow to a russet hue.
Burry Port - by the harbour
There was no storm. The skies just played at Kaleidoscope for a while and it was later when I got home that I was able to warm up a little with a cup of tea. But the cobwebs were blown well away and the dogs managed to shake water all over the car - but that is what dogs do.....
Red Sky in the middle of the day ... err!
I know the old wives tales of red sky at night and red sky in the morning - but in the middle of the day ??

Full set of photos are on FLICKR

Sunday, 3 February 2013

3rd February 2013 - Video killed the Removal Man ...

Over a week since I have managed to get to the blog - and indeed a query from an unexpected reader to ask whether there was a problem!!! Unexpected as I never really expected anyone to be reading the meandering thoughts of and ex-barkeep and prospective farmer / entertainer, but it seems that there are those out there who care - to you - thank you, and yes I am back.....

Well I am back this evening after ten days of hacking and coughing, and generally feeling the affects of Manthrax and Manflu, and after a day of full recovery am rather despondent that this evening I seem to have the phlegm back in the throat and am spluttering over the keyboard. There was a time when I thought it may be allergy based, but the extreme version seemed to warrant the five days of antibiotics, and the symptoms disappeared with deceptive ease.... But this evening I have the thought that I pulled down the interior canvass from the Crimson Moon Tent, and laid it out in the living room so Susie could build her chicken run for the bedroom...  Yes - I know what  wrote there, and it is correct, the chickens are getting to big for the incubator and warming box - and I still have not been able to clear the basement for the few weeks that is required before they get their freedom into the garden.... So .. they have to live in the spare room for a while... Rusty the dog feels that this is a good idea - well when he is allowed inside!!!

So, there is an option that the canvass has set off a reaction again... I prefer to think that rather than dwell upon actually being ill, always a downer, or the other options of allergy, the latest batch of home made wine that I have started yesterday, which we have enjoyed with the home made bread, home made cheese and home made apricot jam for breakfast, the home cured ham this evening ... No they have to be the healthy option - even if they are likely to cause my final demise through obesity....

But there is a connection with a further possible cause - which relates to the future clearance of the house, both to move the marquees to their new home, and to try to sell the house, and that is the next stage in the "boxing of 41". I spoke at an early stage of Alice and my attempt to clear 3 square feet of the basement.
But as my health started to improve, and after a foray up to Morrison's where a very nice storeman promised me all the banana boxes I need - especially if I call in the morning before they have to break them up, saving them an hour of effort!!! I began to look towards the top floor of the house...

Books!!  Plenty of Books!!  that seems to be the story of my life - indeed the storey of my life (see what I did there ?? Here all week!!) But we haven't really looked in the top bedroom for a number of years. The damp patch in the corner was new!! New to me .. if not to the house - we have had so much rain I cannot really tell if it is a problem or a symptom of the flood. But in our case - most of our books are happily esconced in a shipping container down in Pembrey so it was only three full shelves of economics reference,  Norah Lofts and Lensman Series...  and then - the main and daunting task that loomed on the landing that lies between the second and third storey if the house.....   Not books .. No - though equally as bulky!!

The lovely thing about the eighties and nineties was the availability of being able to watch television, more than once!. The onset of the Video recorder was one of those jumps forward in technology that I embraced. Luckily, the issue about the VHS or Betamax missed me and I was able to amass my collection of VHS over  many years. The early days were far too expensive for pre formatted films so my collection was gleaned through many hours of television watching. My music videos were compiled over weeks and months, collecting from various sources from Multi Coloured Swap Shop to Top of the Pops - but each with the aim of capturing those illusive new things - the "Pop Video" - no live performances for me ....

Of course - Youtube now provides a glimpse back into the past - but have they collected what I collected in my 193 three hour videos??  I do not know any more - I have not watched any video for at least five years since DVD cam along. But I do have a catalogue which has a full list... but though I know that the technology is out there now to transfer from VHS to DVD - that looks like another plan - as it will take a commitment of many hours. The task will be to watch all the videos and decide what cannot be duplicated elsewhere and transfer to computer medium. My daughter is particularly interested in the hours of video I took of them in their childhood - and I am concerned that it gets transferred correctly when I have the time and the equipment.. And so - two ceiling high bookshelves, double stacked with videos get transferred into banana boxes for that time in the future when I "might just get the time".

I recall when we moved into this house twenty five years ago, the removal men looked with sheer consternation at the mountain of boxes that comprised our book collection at that time. After the second hour of carrying boxes one mentioned briefly " are this lot for the rabbit to read??" after deciding to stack next to the rabbit cage. But that was twenty five years ago, and twenty five years of more book collecting.... and the videos of course!! Most of them will probably end up in the plastic recycling of course - but only after they have been carried to a new house, viewed and transferred to new media for the future...
But that means that the removal Man will be required to carry all the additional boxes. They are in a neat stack - but there are a lot of them !!!   They will stay here until we are ready for the move..

But they may well be singing the new refrain - "Video killed the Removal Man !!""