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1 - April Fools Day! Up around 6:30am . . .listened to the news and huh? Has the world gone mad? Madder than usual!! Hang on what day is it? Aha MUST be an April fool! God I hate this day. Theres no art in fooling someone. Its like lying. A seizure of power over someone kinda. (Thou shalt not April Fool? That commandment was probably conveniently written out of the bible during one of the many politically inspired re-writes and translations by some power crazed pope or other (like all that other stuff was!!)!) Some people spend their lives doing that and think nothing of it!! Sickening! Hate it. Roll on midday! . . Did the mountain of dishwashing chores and waited before walking Sally, for Sis1 to call in and Mum to phone. Sis1 called in briefly somewhere around 8:30am and dropped in the card and Easter egg (I dont do Easter!) shed bought for Mum. Mum called soon after, as Id asked her to, to confirm she was on her way to get the bus and coach. . . walked. Quickly took a couple of local series of photos for DS near the field where a huge amount of building work has gone on since he went. That small derelict plot of land that is now loads of rather smart flats. Shame about the area! . . .muesli and orange juice breakfast . . quickly PCd the pics and mailed them . . . did some vacuuming. Dunno why always have to try and tidy up at least a little before a parental visit! Weird. . . left Sally at home and drove to the bus station, hoping to catch Mum as she got off the coach at 12:45pm. Damn absolutely no where you can park down there!! Stopped in a no parking zone just behind the bus station and tried calling Mums mobile. Typical her phone was turned off! Rolled a cigarette and then my phone went - Mum calling me from a shop across the road already. Bus musta got in a bit early. Told her where to stand and drove to pick her up. Got lost in the damned one way system and ended up having to go all around all over the place before I could find my way there. Screeched out of traffic to a halt next to waiting Mum, and in my rush, succeeded in driving into the kerb!!!!! Damn!!!!!! IDIOT! Drove home and checked the nearside wheel. Shit!! Theres damage to the side wall of the tyre!!! Oh well. Spilt milk and all that. Figured Id just hope for the best and forget it until it blows and I crash! If I survive, Ill put the spare on. Would have worked if Mum hadnt insisted on reminding me every now and then over the next couple of days, which succeeded in keeping me all up tight about it!! . . presented Mum with the Easter egg from Sis1. The silly thing was, it was a Cadburys Flake one, exactly the same as the one that Mum had bought to give to Sis1!!!!! If each had kept their own it would have saved all the bother!! I definitely dont do Easter!! . . . chats and coffee and debates about whether or not I should wait outside the funeral in the car or actually accompany her in. Eventually agreed Id leave Sally at home and dress appropriately and escort her in. Dressed up in my best funeral black suit, black tie and white shirt (the same outfit Id last worn at Dads funeral!). Dunno why, but I unusually figure I look pretty good in it!!!! Should have been a funeral director although probably too many dog hairs stuck all over me for that! . . . set off real early around 2:20pm and headed across town towards Canford crematorium. Couldnt resist a brief detour or two for Mums benefit. Quickly drove up the street where her Dad used to live and then drove up past where Dads Mum used to live. Could still see traces of Babies Tears growing on the bricks of the garden wall. Transplants from there have populated Mums garden, and transplants from THERE have populated Sis1s garden and covered mine! Funny legacy of Grandma but I AM mindful of it. If I ever move house, Ill have to take some along with me. . traffic was awful and got all up tight we wouldnt get there in time, but eventually arrived a little after 3pm in time to see the hearse of the preceding 30 minute conveyor belt slot, slowly arrive! Dead busy place!. . parked outside the cemetery and slowly walked up past all the unkempt and many in ruins, forgotten graves to the chapel. Had to check with Mum I looked ok, walking along with my hand in my pocket holding my hernia in. Real bulging and painful! Indicative of how up tight I was about um - everything I think!! Near the entrance to the crematorium chapel we suddenly spotted the familiar faces of Auntie M and Uncle C, which was something of a relief. Im not sure how, but once the switch of recognition had been flicked on in my head, it seemed as though they hadnt changed at all since when I was about ten! Seemed strange to me that as we stood chatting, Uncle C launched into a Im not religious type conversation with me, which seemed to immediately take in terrorist bombings and the crusades! It was quickly established we were of broadly similar mind. With hindsight, he was obviously far more conversant with what to expect from your average funeral service than I!
It IS extraordinary to me that having reached the age of forty whatever I am, I have only ever seen three dead people and two funerals! I dont think that is necessarily a good thing. It does seem in todays society that death is kinda sanitised and hidden and something that mysteriously affects only everyone else. I think I would have a better attitude towards life and living, if from an earlier age Id been given a better understanding of my own mortality and had been fully exposed to the natural business of dying and the dead, rather than being all protected from it as though it wasnt any of my business. Its ALL of our business! I havent figured out much about life, but this I know there are only three things in life about which you can be absolutely certain. 1. Sooner or later you ARE going to die. 2. Before you do, to a greater or lesser extent, you ARE going to experience suffering. 3. No matter how much you surround yourself with family and friends and loved ones, at the end of the day, your experiences are uniquely yours, and yours ALONE no one can experience anything for you, not any part of your life, nor the moment of your death we ARE fundamentally, ALONE!! (How is it that so many people are SO afraid of solitude?)
As we chatted, Auntie D arrived in her hearse, and just as had been done at Dads funeral, the hearse pulled in and waited half way up the crematorium driveway, waiting for exactly the correct time to arrive. Click - I spotted uncle B and Auntie J who didnt seem to have changed at all. I had to introduce myself and tell them how I used to be that remembered little boy. Eventually the hearse and following cars slowly pulled up and the very small crowd of family and friends, none of which I knew, assembled to follow the coffin inside, accompanied by whatever music was playing. The family took the front pews, mostly to the right, and the rest of us were thinly scattered around behind, all facing the coffin on its pedestal at the front, with a photograph of the late Auntie D and her late husband propped against it looking back at us. I couldnt really make out what she looked like. I felt guilty being there. I didnt know her any more than the minister, who in his fetching long black ball gown began conducting the service. It struck me he was rather slow in controlling everyones nervous awkwardness, and half of us were sitting and half standing and no one knew which to do! We were eventually called to our feet and were supposed to sing the hymn All Things Bright And Beautiful. There was an embarrassingly small amount of singing going on. Some of the family were clearly too upset to utter the words. I wasnt upset, but found myself unable to even silently mouth the words and I wasnt alone in that! Maybe if I sang All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful: Evidentially the accidental product of natural selection. Hmmm maybe not! It seemed Im sure, to everyone, that it was a tediously long hymn under the circumstances! At long last the man in the dress invited us to sit as he proceeded to remind us that we were gathered there to celebrate and give thanks for the life of Auntie D. There was a brief summation of some of the chronology of her life, but it was oh so brief and seemed little more than a stark list of names and places, and felt thoroughly inadequate. An individuals lifetime experience is something enormously huge. Then he invited us to listen to a reading from the bible, and off he went about Jesus languishing on the cross and calling down this and that and we were being preached to!!
|St. John. Chapter
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
It felt SO utterly wrong and inappropriate.
Not at all a comforting image! (Mel Gibson has something to
answer for!) I tried so very hard to pretend I was full of faith
and listen from that perspective, but even then what was going
on, seemed somehow selfish under the circumstances
and seemed to somehow attempt to avoid the harsh reality of the
familys this worldly bereavement! It was awful! It just
didnt do what I think such a necessary ceremonial ritual
should attempt to do. I believe it is necessary for a funeral to
be personal and unique and conducted in such a way,
traditional(ish) or not, that the hearts of those
assembled are firmly opened to their love, loss and grief.
Readings, pop music, humour use whatever tricks you can
but crack open those flood gates and bring on the tears and start
the healing. Theres a time and place for grief
THATS what funerals ARE for. God knows it aint no
time for preaching!!! It wasnt a complete loss.
Between the bible readings somehow one of the granddaughters
retained her composure enough to step up and falteringly recite
from some of her grandmothers works from when she was in a
writing circle. War time memories and a short poem a short
but moving testament to the enormity of the loss of a lifetimes
experience. We were invited to bow our heads for a prayer and
then the committal. I could not bow my head and close my eyes as
many did, and took the opportunity to have a good look around at
the chapel, the coffin, and the backs of some sobbing heads. All
of a sudden the minister had moved seamlessly almost unnoticed
from the prayer to the committal, and with a gentle whirring the
trap door beneath the coffin opened up, the coffin slowly dropped
down out of sight and the trap door re-closed! Without any doubt,
some of those poor people opening their eyes from their praying
were suddenly confronted by a surprising absence of their dearly
departed!! Good grief! Oh how SO much better it had been at my
Dads funeral where the committal was simply a sombre ceremonial
closing of some heavenly ornamental gates, to
symbolically separate us from him, and away from which WE were
required to walk when we were sufficiently mentally prepared to
begin to face the parting.
Once again the necessary theatrical orchestration seemed to go a little awry and the family from whom the rest of us took our lead, didnt seem to quite know when they should stand and leave and there was an awkward pause. Eventually one of the funeral directors, no doubt mindful our 30 minutes was up, acted as urgent usher and we all followed the family outside as some perhaps meaningful to someone, tune or other was played. Everyone assembled near where the single bouquet of flowers had been placed for viewing outside around the back. There was a little panic amongst us as questions were asked as to where the charitable donation cheques in lieu of flowers should go. I grabbed one of the funeral directors walking past with the photograph of the deceased, who seemed happy to accept them all on our behalf. All except Auntie J who seemed unduly distraught (who cares?) that shed forgotten to bring hers and had left it laying in her hallway! Everyone stood around awkwardly and had a chat except me of course who knew no one, cant make chit chat at the best of times, and just stood there like a mute penguin, with one hand apparently playing with himself in his pocket (holding a painful hernia), looking up at the ominously smoking crematorium chimney above our heads!! God I wanted to get away from that social stuff. Felt SO awkward. Think Mum knew and thankfully ended up holding onto my arm like I was meant to be there. After what seemed like an eternity, everyone was invited to return to Auntie Ds flat for chats and some eats but thankfully Mum felt that should be left to the family and it wasnt really our place to go.
So, there it was Id been to my third ever funeral! My grandmothers funeral I can now remember, not at all. My fathers funeral was of course the most important and most recent, but even so has largely faded from memory! The embers of that memory were somewhat rekindled by the experiences of this day and comparisons were inevitable. The overwhelming conclusion from the experience? The distress and arguments and agony that we all went through to meticulously construct Dad's funeral it was absolutely worth it! If wed not bothered and had ended up with a Bible reading service like Id just witnessed, Id have been absolutely horrified and felt cheated and used. I didnt fully appreciate it at the time but damn it all, Dads funeral was a bloody good one. It was his - and it was ours - and Im glad. Even glad that Sis2 went to such infuriating lengths to have it all printed out on special paper for everyone who came. Wish theyd done the same today would have been nice to have re-read whatever that grand daughter had read. Dads funeral WAS a bloody good one! Ha! :o) I did discuss this a little with Mum over the next day or so which fitted in ok, since dad and his illness and his funeral and all that stuff seems to be almost Mum's sole topic of conversation!! I guess thats as it inevitably would be for the time being at least. :o(
Auntie M and Uncle C invited Mum to come back and see their new house that shes never seen. Id earlier suggested that we should be flexible and that if any such suggestion was made and she wanted to, Id happily go along with it. We bid our farewells to Uncle B and Auntie J and walked quickly back to the car. We followed Uncle Cs car back to their house. Blimey Hutton is a lot further than Id imagined! Down the motorway past Weston Super Mare and down all sorts of little country roads! Didnt really know where we were at all. Were given a quick guided tour of their bungalow with its nice country field view but declined the offer of a cup of tea. All very nice but no matter what they say, you DONT buy the view (theyd recently fought to prevent a blocking new build), and I think I preferred Mums bungalow and garden. Thankfully Uncle C insisted we should follow them back out of the place and he lead me the unknown way, all the way back to the motorway junction before peeling off with a wave goodbye. . eventually drove all the way back (being reminded about and worrying about my tyre) and got home around 6pm after having stopped off to buy a cod and chips takeaway for each of us. Mum with chips was the decoy I needed to escape a full on greeting from Sally, and managed to dash up and change out of my black suit before she covered me in fur. Ate Mum left much of hers for fat Sally. . weather had turned awful. Left Mum watching TV and walked in rubber in the torrential rain. Walked the extra up to the shop and bought a 99p can of Red Bull stimulant drink to help with keeping me awake if I needed it. . fed Sally her food and fish and chips and took my time gathering stuff Id need while Mum caught a TV show shed wanted to see and thought she was going to miss. Briefly looked up and showed Mum the website of the woman who's book she'd read and enjoyed and had spoken about. (Merry-widow - survival guide to widowhood by Kate Boydell). All loaded up and left home around 10pm. Stopped locally for gas (25.03ltr @ £19) and couldnt resist an impulse buy of a new hair clipper set they were advertising on top of the pumps, for a probably overpriced but seemingly cheap £4.99!! . . arrived at Mums after midnight. Quickly unloaded the car and set my sleeping bag, pillow and double duvet up on the mattress in the garage. Had the usual argument with Mum about how she wanted me inside, but how I genuinely preferred to sleep in the garage with cigarettes and Sally rather than be in the house without. I insisted so she insisted I take the electric heater out with me, but it was around 8 degrees C out there which is lots warmer than Ive done, so I didnt waste money by using it. Tried calling BB to touch base but seemed like she hadn't arrived at her new hotel place yet. . . drippy nose cold and draughty! Damn Id forgotten it was best to sleep with my feet towards the garage door! Couldnt be bothered to swap round persevered and eventually to sleep around 2am. pa
2 - Woken by Sally around 6am but managed to snooze on a little until she insisted I get up by sticking her wet nose in my face around 7am!! Grrrr! She didn't need to poop or anything - seemed as though she was just excited about the walk she knew she would likely get! Headachy and yawny - not enough sleep at all - only around 4 hours! Damn forgot to pack Annadin tablets!! . . .coffee and cigarettes and eventually set off walking around 7:40am. Cold and breezy but a beautiful clear blue sunny sky. Did the long walk down to pooh lane. The first bit of that walk is horrid. A narrow country lane without a pavement, only wide enough for one vehicle at a time, that is used by rather too much speeding rush hour traffic, as a cut through to the main road out of Brixham. I ALWAYS walk Sally to my left for her safety I have to walk on the left hand side of the road so that she is in against the hedge, away from the passing vehicles. Trouble with that is it means I have to walk with my back to the speeding traffic squeezing by, which more often than not doesnt slow down, and occasionally passes by SO dangerously close that I cant help myself hurling abuse after them, startling the hedgerow birds! Plenty of pheasants calling and visible walking in the adjacent fields. Ive never eaten pheasant. I cant stand hunting, but if I lived down there, I think Id probably at some point just HAVE to buy me an airgun and - have a go for food, AFTER plenty of practice to make sure a single shot would effect a sure and instant despatch. A woman was walking up pooh lane with an excited, panting, Labrador type dog, all plastered in wet mud. I exchanged a word as dog walkers do, and she remarked how hed had a great time this morning and had sent up five pheasants. Not a phrase I would have used, which kinda suggested she probably had eaten pheasant and maybe one shed shot herself sometime. . . on down into the woods and passed a guy walking a couple of dogs. One of them was SO small and wiry and timid looking. It was called Roo and definitely looked like a Disney character. Sally was sociable as ever and stood for the usual bottom sniffing!! ( Pooh. Did you do that? ). . . slipping on the mud, followed the trail down through the trees, not seeing much except the next best place to set a foot. Not long until the bluebells magically appear but not yet. A hushed cigarette in the woods, sat on my usual fallen tree (now bearing considerable de-barking scars, consistent with a battering from the front sprockets of hopping mountain bikes), straining to hear whatever could be heard. Theres a lot of unseen nature going on in those woods. Couldnt spot the laid back woodpecker having an occasional tap. Hues of mostly winter brown, but small spring buds of yellow green, bursting out on every pregnant branch. I could spend much of my life in such a place given the chance. Id tidy up fallen trees and make firewood. Id laboriously move stones and rocks around and make low, dry wall places to sit. Id take my time and choose those trees to thank and sacrifice to make a shelter, and create a grassy clearing for sits in the summer sun and night time fires under starry skies. :o| . . down to the pebbly beach at Churston Cove for some stick and pebble throwing and Sally swims. She had a brief romp in the waves with a young dog called Paddy owned by a guy with an Irish accent . . . climbed up the cliff path and reached the top up by the holiday chalets, legs aching and lungs bursting, only just able to gasp a return good morning to the two old lady dog walkers sensibly sticking to the flat grassland on top. . . down the path between the holiday chalets and past what appears to be someones attempt at some sort of open air memorial to the gun emplacements, that were sited there as a defence against German invasion during the war. Im not sure what a boffers gun is, but that linked pair of old rusting naval anti aircraft guns pointing still threateningly skyward, seems to fit the bill in my mind. Tempting to try and set my camera down on something and take a photograph with the self timer, of me behind the guns, for the later addition of a caption referring to sorting out those damn pooping seagulls! :o) . . . on down onto the pebbles at Fishcombe cove for Sally to paddle and pretend to be an experienced old salty sea dog, only to be shown up by a womans chocolate brown Labrador that was just born to swim. . . another leg aching, heart pounding climb up into Battery Gardens to sit with the view and recover with a cigarette in the sun. Eventually along the roads, the long way back to Mums past the dentists, pub and shops. (What was it Mum had said? The happy, bubbly young dental receptionist who shone like the sun, who I recall from my last years emergency visit, has been diagnosed with leukaemia and is hoping for a life saving marrow donation from the states!!!! Life just aint fair. :o( Cant possibly have had anything to do with those x-ray machines they use in there. Can it? ) . . . gave Sally her breakfast and recovered with smokes and then a coffee and chats with Mum, skipping breakfast and discussing where we should go to eat out. The suggestion of going into town for a big fried, all day breakfast, found favour with me. . . persuaded by Mum to read a couple of chapters of the Merry-Widow book Big Hearted Man by Kate Boydell, as Mum did whatever and eventually got ready to go out. I had to admit, it WAS a moving, good read. I even ended up borrowing it and bringing it home, intending to read it all . . left Sally safe in the garage and drove toward town with Mum. Parked up on the hill where Dad would often park (took a quick panoramic photo of Mum with the blue sky and boats in the bay behind her) and walked the rest of the way down, some time after midday. Toured the charity shops and then settled on the Tittle Tattle place, that Mum hasnt been in since they changed hands, and where the last time she went in there, the service was such that she had been put off returning. Waited with a coffee and then tucked into the big double sausage, eggs, bacon and everything else, all day breakfast for £3.95 each. Mum didnt want her sausages, so - thank you very much. :o) Very full. Mum happy to return there again. . . walked back to the car, up the hill which had become a mountain, and drove back to Mums. . . just couldnt face going to see Uncle and Auntie TJ as had been suggested next time I was in town. Theres a limit to how much being on my best behaviour, and being in company, and making conversation, and not swearing, and not smoking when I want etc, etc, I can take. So, SO tired and concrete neck and shoulders headachy - just HAD to nap. Told Mum to wake me if I was out for too long, and retired to the garage with Sally for a sleep. Managed a couple of hours but retained my headache. . . walked Sally around 6:30pm with Mum down to Battery Gardens, Fishcombe Cove for a Sally paddle and back. . fed Sally and loaded the car up ready for leaving, not forgetting the Easter eggs Mumd bought for me and Sis1 and the wicker basket Sis1 had put a flower display for Mum in, which had turned out to be infested with woodlice and creepy crawly things after itd sat in Mums living room for a while! lol . . . hugs and goodbyes. Yet another final reference to Dads funeral from Mum. I admitted that I saw things a little differently now. It occurred to me I probably meant that in a broader sense than she realised (thanks to the passage of time - and the prozac!), but I left it at that. Im sure wed both been rather careful with each other but I think it had been ok. . . headed back but definitely too tired and headachy for safe driving!! Got onto the dual carriageway and quickly drank my tin of Red Bull. Placebo or not, it gave me the boost I needed and I stopped yawning and buzzed straight home worrying little about the possibility of an imminent death if the front tire blew out at 85mph. Neeyaaaaa whacanyado! . . home alive (Yayyy a parking place right in front the house) and unloaded by around 10:30pm. Touched base with Mum to confirm safe arrival . . . touched base with BB . . . TVd . . . PCd and sent a copy of the couple of photos Id taken to Sis1&2 . . . to bed exhausted around 1am. p
3 - Up near 8am . . . walked and found 5p . . . touched base with Sis1 and advised her I have a familiar looking Easter egg from Mum for her to pick up whenever she is passing if I dont eat it first! . . . PCd this for hours! Seem to be in a funny wordy mood where the last couple of days need to be recorded here as if seen through a microscope!? Didnt seem to end up with much, but I skipped food and it took me all day and I didnt get it finished then!!? . . .ate some biscuits late afternoon and immediately after, had to lay down and nap. Slept until around 6pm . . . walked in rubber in the gale. Got home a bit shaky in the legs through the exertion and lack of food and decided to head back out and treat myself to a kebab and chips from the takeaway. Bad timing - big queue of people all waiting to be served. I ordered one no chilli easy on the salad, AND a bag of chips and paid the £4.50 (!!!!!) and waited in the rain outside because of the no dogs sign and dripping Sally. Ended up stood out in the wind and rain for around 15 minutes!!! Grrrr. Slightly detoured on the way home to see what all the emergency ambulance action was in a nearby street. As I passed by, the paramedic crew appeared out of a doorway carrying a sick, very still, child in their arms to the back of the ambulance. The distraught mother followed quickly soon after. Peoples lives in the balance! :o( . . . feasted on the huge kebab and chips and then gave Sally the little I always deliberately leave for her with her food. . . BB called but I was feeling too tired and full of kebab for much chatting . . . struggled to stay awake feeling horribly exhausted - to bed before 11pm . . .woken in the night by the wind and big rain battering the house! p
4 - Up around 7am. Weather has quietened down a bit sunny spells . . . walked around the saturated field past all the discarded where they broke umbrellas! Collapsed one down and relocated it to a nearby bin. Are people really SO stupid as to need a warning on the damn things? Do not use in strong winds! . . I was asked for a light (and obliged) by some young teenage kid wanting to light up his first joint of the day!!! He seemed to be about to share it with a young kid doing his early morning paper round!!! Jeeze!!!. . . PCd this at length!! Briefly called away when some coloured, bible type people called at the door wanting to spread the word! Well I guess it IS that time of year. I made a joke before they even spoke, that there appeared to be a godly aura about them! I was polite and jovial but forceful and said no thanks it aint for me. Think they got off pretty lightly considering the dour existential thoughts and feelings I was having in the middle of typing all this journal funeral nonsense! I've had enough of typing and thinking - I'm done for a while! Wonder if that kid doing his paper round wants to share? :o| . . . cooked up some chips and peas and defrosted some roast chicken for a late lunch . . . napped until woken by the ansaphone around 5pm . . . touched base with BB and then PS . . . walked in rubber in the April showers . . . tried the new hair clippers I'd bought. They're MUCH better than what I've been soldiering on with. Got a bit carried away and ended up with a proper skin head cut! Oh well - save doing it again for a while . . .BB called . . . PS popped round for chats, TV and biscuits till early . . .ate corned beef sandwiches and crisps. . . TVd/PCd till earlier. Sally was acting weird as I got ready for bed and demanded attention? Turned out she had a stomach upset and needed to use the garden. SUCH a good dog. Hosing down the garden in the early hours! ps
5 - Up late after 8am. . . walked late and fell into a confrontation on the cyclepath over the field with some kid (one of two) speeding across on mopeds. I blocked his path and shouted obsenities and said 'I'll have you off!'. He drove onto the grass and around me. I'm probably just sowing the seeds of future troubles! Dunno why I was in the mood for all that - although - if everyone protested and didn't turn a blind eye, I'm sure they'd soon stop and just stick to the roads. As if to ease my conscience about my outburst, as I was walking back out of the field, some father was there with his two young children, teaching them how to ride their little pedal bikes. Sat on my usual seat for a cigarette after having picked up some of the nearby litter and put it in the bin. Hocus pocus like, I was rewarded for my efforts - found 5p at the base of the bin. :o) . . .PCd this . . .felt lack luster and tired and just sat around . . cooked up a big fried double sausage/bacon/egg, baked beans, potatoes, fried bread lunch and then slept for a few hours . . .TVd. . .balanced my accounts . . .walked. Didn't feel very well for the rest of the day. . .BB called . . .ate a couple of bowls of cornflakes . . . TVd until bed around 11pm. pa
6 - Up around 7am. . . forecast says sunny spells until more April showers later. Walked around 8am and carried on down to Eastville Park and along the river and back up through Fishponds. Just down the road in the little brook, was a heap of stolen dumped stuff by the look of it. Some guys work tools (professional compressed air tools?) and such - all just dumped in the water! Couldn't find anything with an address on it, it looked kinda too late to salvage anything much and I was just setting off on the long walk, so I just left it all there. Dunno how long it's been there - plenty of daily dog walkers must've ignored it every morning! What a sad personal tragedy that must have been for the guy who had it all stolen!! :o( . . Back home by around 10:45am. . .TVd . . . cooked up a huge double everything fried lunch again . . .managed to avoid napping and PCd/TVd the afternoon away as heavy showers of rain and hail came and went . . . touched base with BB . . . walked . . .TVd . . . ate corned beef and grated cheese sandwiches with bags of crisps, biscuits and a small chocolate easter egg Mum had sent me back with . . . BB called . . . TVd until bed around 11pm. pas
7 - Up around 7:30am. . . walked in the sunny spells . . .PCd this . . . Sally barking in the garden drew my attention to builders on next doors roof investigating her damp problems. Oh dear - yes my garden IS higher than her floor (always has been) and yes that probably IS causing her some damp problems (although I know for a fact there isn't a damp proof course in there anyway - and most of her problems are from a leaking roof!). Ugggh - builder starts on about how my garden should be excavated back and her wall tanked and then my garden replaced!!! :o( Opened the gate up so they could come in and look. As long as they don't start insisting my conservatory needs to be pulled down to allow access to THAT party wall!!!!!! Oh dear! They should have seen it all before I did my patio - excavating that to such a lower level MUST have made the damp SO much better next door. I don't relish the prospect of having loads of disruption from whatever they persuade her to have done! I guess my honeysuckle (planted right in against her wall) is gonna have to go, no matter what she has done! :o( . .uh oh. Picked up something nasty when surfing! A 'system restore' seems to have done the trick - I hope!! . . .BW called to touch base and talk about some party or other he's been invited to (ex work colleague), and that I could go to also if I wished. I thanked him but declined - I've learned my lesson about such things (the school reunion farce comes to mind!) - I don't even try to do that anymore (ESPECIALLY ex work and mostly people I wouldn't know!! What a nightmare THAT would be!!!). E-mailed him a panoramic photo of the pub where it'll be held with some directions - cause he wasn't sure where it was and it turned out to be one of those I'd recently photographed! :o) . . . fried up a big lunch . . . napped for a few hours until around 5pm . . .did laundry chores . . . Mum called and said there was a TV show on shortly I may wish to watch, featuring Brixham coastguard. I DID watch it - but seemed yet another one of those reality shows where actually nothing much at all worthy of a whole program, happened! . . . walked late (and caught in a rain shower as a result!! Grrrr) and found a retractable blade 'stanley knife' by the swings!?! . . . removed from the fridge and opened up the small bottle of lager I'd found on the grass in Battery Gardens when walking Sally down at Mums the other day. Bit dodgy - but it DID look safely unopened. Opened it (bubbled like lager) - sniffed it (smelled like lager), gingerly dipped a finger in and tasted it (tasted like lager) - drank it (made me tipsy like lager). If it WAS some horrible booby trap left behind as a prank by some drunken yob - well - he'd re-sealed it perfectly and must've had a lot to drink himself before he'd 'refilled it'!!! Ewwww!!! lol . It seemed ok. Free beer. :o) . . . BB called . . .ate corned beef, grated cheese sandwiches and crisps - and biscuits - and chocolate! . . . TVd until bed after 11pm. pds
8 - Woken by Sally climbing on the bed and licking my face around 8am. . . walked and found a penny . . . left Sally at home and drove to Kingswood to get my shopping done before the usual Easter Bank Holiday shopping crowds mayhem. Stocked up on everything - and then some, and spent nearly £65! Should keep me going for a while!! Seem to be really into eating a lot at the moment!? Also threw away £13.50 on a 50 box of the brown, liquorice coated Rizla cigarette papers I smoke and always buy in bulk. After all - if you're an addicted smoker, you can't ever afford to run out!! :o( . . detoured and briefly popped in the library on the way home, looking for books with old photos of Bristol in them. Surprisingly nothing much on the shelves which fitted in with what I had in mind. . An amusing crow was walking up and down next to one of the high level library windows and was franticly pecking at the glass making an awful distracting din! Competing with a reflection maybe? :o) . Did take out a book - 'Derek Robinson's Best Green Walks In Bristol', cause it seemed to cover much of what I do with Sally and may provide ideas for exploring a new walk route or two some time. . . drove home past the building site I'd photographed last week and was amazed at how much of the new buildings were already up! So much for returning there and taking a series of pictures of the site as it developed (in the hope of maybe doing an animation)! Missed the boat already!! Also looks as though where I'd set the camera up would be a useless vantage point - a house is appearing right in front of it!! Ho hum . . . browsed through the 'walks' book and then surfed a bit, looking up local stuff and fantasising about putting together something of my own - or yet another whole new website at least! lol Shame I can't take Sally into libraries with me to do the hours of research! Maybe if I pretend she's a guide dog? Hmmmm - bit of a give away if I'm sat there reading I guess!!. . . cooked up a big fried lunch and slept the afternoon away until around 5:30pm . . . PCd this. Some feedback from the site "Every time i try to look at your journal, it goes to the page then it it automatically goes to a site map, with a horrible sound, like shutting a dog in a door." Hmmm - sounds like something to do with that Java code for the alert box I put on there (or is he just pressing cancel?!! lol). I never have checked to see if my site is viewable with Netscape or what happens if Java is disabled in peoples browsers, or ??? etc, etc, etc (all that other website stuff I know nothing about!)!!! I'm just an amateur after all! Frankly - after all this time - all things considered - it's quite incredible that any of the site is still up for anyone!! The longer this journal goes on (never mind the neglected rest of the site) - the more I seem to want to continue with it - like a rolling snowball. It's amazing to me to be able to conjour up details of otherwise (immediately) forgotten moments in my life. Wish I'd kept a journal in my youth. Still - a weird thing to be doing nonetheless!!! lolol :o) . . .walked . . .ate corned beef, grated cheese sandwiches and crisps. . PS popped round for chats, doughnuts and chocolate biscuits until early. . . BB called . . .PCd briefly before bed in the early hours. ps
9 - Bank Holiday Friday. Woken by Sally climbing on the bed and licking my face at 8:15am. . .better than the forecast, sunny morning. Packed my tripod into my ruck sack and set off walking around 9am. Once round the local field then walked all the way down via St Georges Park and headed for the centre of Bristol to take more 'remember that?' shots for DS. Not a good day hernia wise! Seems to be affecting my bladder capacity more and more!! Had to tie Sally up and use the public conveniences in St George on the way down!! . walked down through Lawrence Hill and grabbed a panoramic series of the Packhorse Pub. Was gonna do that on the way back (if I had enough memory in the camera) but figured I'd best do it then, when the sun was in a better place. On down to Castle Green to let Sally run around a little and to take a series of shots attempting to get all six churches (I think it's six?) in the picture, together with the new temple of the modern day religion - The Galleries shopping centre!! Captured the Crown in St Nicholas Market before making my way to the centre. A small detour across the centre for a shot of the Bunch Of Grapes pub before back to take a series or two of the Watershed and the waterfall type steps they've built there, near the decking where the water taxis pick up and put down. Couldn't resist walking across one of the waterfall steps with Sally, just to see what she'd make of it. She wasn't over keen - and nor was I when I had to carry on with wet socks! Found a penny. On across Peros Bridge and past the Arnolfini which was a messy building site and grabbed a pic of the 'Thekla' night club boat moored in the docks. Grabbed a panoramic of the 'Hole In The Wall' pub in the background with one of the Bristol Packet tour boats cruising by. Followed the docks on round to the Granary (used to be the famous night club - now luxury loft style apartments!) and took a couple of pics of that. Grabbed a close up panoramic of the old, old Llandoger Trow Pub (the one that has something to do with the Treasure Island book - but I'm not sure what!) and the Old Duke jazz pub opposite. By this point I was in need of a bathroom again and figured I'd start heading home and use the public conveniences on Lawrence Hill. Very painful hernia - had to walk all the way holding it in with a hand in my pocket! Miserable. Grabbed a couple of shots at the Old Market roundabout of Old Market and the Evening Post building (12:20pm and 10 degrees C). Eventually painfully reached Lawrence Hill only to find that the loos were closed!!! Ended up having to hold myself all the way back up to the public loos in St George before relievng the pain! :o( Sat in the park for a cigarette and a quick stick throwing for Sally before heading back home and (worried about the lack of memory in the camera) taking rather uninspiring single shot photos of the St George Fountain and then every pub I passed. The Three Horseshoes, The Mechanics Arms, Worlds End Inn, The Bell, The Lord Rodney, etc, etc, etc. . . back home by around 1:30pm still in some discomfort! :o(. . . PCd the picks for a couple of hours and then left the machine running for ages mailing them to DS. Ate four small jam doughnuts and a banana to give my grumbling stomach something to work on, and lay down to nap some time after 4pm. . woke just before 7pm! Looked like a different day outside - big bank of grey cloud filling the sky. . . walked . . . sat in the mild evening garden for a while. . . PCd this. BB called. PCd more of this until gone 10pm!! . . . ate five small defrosted sausage rolls, a bag of crisps and a banana . . . TVd/PCd till gone 1:30am! Watched lots of the news and all the horrific reports from Iraq. Hope for peace died this day! :o( p
10 - Woken by Sally climbing on the bed and licking my face at 8:20am! She seems to have got into a routine!? . . .damp and grey outside. Much more like our usual bank holiday weather! Walked . . .ate a bowl of muesli and a banana and promptly fell asleep until around 1pm!!! . . . finally put in the effort and cleared the huge pile of dirty dishes ("um - all of them I think!") that's been putting me off cooking for a day or so . . . read a bit of the Merry-Widow book Big Hearted Man by Kate Boydell I'd borrowed from Mum. Absorbing read but rather spoiled by all the grammar/spelling mistakes - suspiciously like those you end up with if you just run a spell checker across a word document! Didn't they get someone to proof read the damn thing? (and no - I don't bother to spell or grammar check ANY of this!!). . . cooked up a late afternoon/early evening fried 'lunch' of four sausages and double everything else, followed by some chocolate biscuits!! I definitely 'feel' fatter of late!! . . . walked - slowly - like someone who'd eaten too much, and then some more - and THEN had coffee and biscuits! . . . good grief - what an absolutely disgraceful schedule of TV for a Saturday night - let alone an Easter weekend! Oh well - may as well keep reading. . . BB called . . .left the TV off for the first evening in a long time and read. Read some more - stopped for a coffee - read some more - and so on and so on. I rarely read anything these days - not sure why I find it so hard (lack of memory has much to do with it - hard to keep track when you turn the page only to find you've forgotten what name was who!). If I do try and read anything, it helps to be able to do it all in more or less one go. By around 2am I'd finished the 230 something pages of the moving true story, without crying - just!! . . . my favourite, infinitely wrongly used punctuation mark is ! I just looked it up in my concise oxford dictionary!! exclaim - cry out suddenly, esp. in anger, surprise, pain, etc. Yep - that pretty much sums up my thoughts on/in life! !!! ! ! pss
11 - Woken by Sally climbing on the bed and pawing my face just before 9am! Bloody hurt!! . . .walked and found 5p. Remembered I still had the easter egg mum had sent up for Sis1, the weather looked ok - figured I'd walk it over and deliver it (and maybe get a seasonal photo of me wearing some appropriate headgear, which I rememebered she had still hung on a nail in her garden somewhere - made of barbed wire by some builder who worked there some time ago, who'd clearly not earned what she'd paid him!!). Returned home, loaded up my rucksack with the eggs and a wicker basket to be returned, and headed off at exactly 10am with Sally down through Fishponds to Vassals Park, along the river, over the old Frenchay bridge ('built by subscription in 1788' according to the plaque - nowadays closed to vehicular traffic, and with an impressive array of miniature stalagtights hanging below!!), over Frenchay Common, back along the river and eventually up to Sis1s by 11:30am. Thankfully this time she was in. Coffee and brief chats. Got Sis1 to take a photo or two of me in seasonal headgear for the laugh. Things almost got out of hand when I asked if she had any tomato ketchup! She was all in favour of lashings of stigmata and even wanted to annoint my head!! Upon reflection, despite having a damn good laugh about it, we decided not to bother because it was probably in rather poor taste - tomatoey mostly! lol :o) . tried touching base with Mum but engaged. Back walking after an hour or so, as the weather brightened into sunny spells. Headed back the way we'd come, past the early show of bluebells and all the way back to Vassals. Really warm and bright and my hernia wasn't giving me any trouble at all, so treated Sally to the long way back, all along the river towards Eastville park. Really busy out - kids and people and loads of dogs! Too busy. Took a detour and did a bit of 'mountaineering' and managed to climb up and onto the less traveled path that follows the OTHER side of the river, and avoids the crowds and car park at Snuff Mills. Sat for a breather and a cigarette at the Snuff Mills weir only to have to quickly get Sally back on the leash as an unusual couple came walking down with a couple of ferrets on leads being taken for a walk! Sally would have killed them for sure, given half a chance! Dunno why people have such pets - and more curiously why they feel obliged to take them for such an unnatural walk on their shiny red leads like that. I'm convinced it's more about the owners ego than anything else! 'Look at me, aint I special.' Ruined that bit of the walk because I had to keep Sally on the lead for a fair way and then wrestle her past them! On up through Eastville Park, along the roads, across the big rugby field and then past that poor guys tools, still all dumped in the river. They were 'Sams' tools apparantly! I guess poor Sam the man no longer can! :o( . . back home tired with coffee by 2:45pm. Sally seemed licky grateful as I wiped her down. The thought "Well Sheba? Am I doing ok?" went through my mind :o| . . . touched base with Mum and said thanks for the eggs and such. . . PCd this . . .uh oh!! Sally seemes to have developed a limp?!! Had a real good look at her but couldn't see anything wrong. Maybe she's just stiffened up after SUCH a lot of running around - after all, if I walk for ten miles, she must do at least double that, chasing squirrels and sticks and swimming, etc. Incredible athlete. Oh dear - I've gone and worn my dog out!! . . . cooked up another huge fried meal of 4 sausages, fried bread, two eggs, mushrooms and beans (leaving just a taste of each for Sally to eat before licking the plate clean). . .napped and slept (through a couple of ansaphone messages) until woken by the alarm I'd wisely set for 8pm . . .walked late and found 5p. . .one of the ansaphone messages was from Sis2 saying she had some good news she wanted to share! Tried calling her back but just ansaphones. Tried calling Mum to see if the news was what I suspected. Mum had apparantly promised not to say, and wouldn't confirm - but it seemed likely from her attitude, I was right. . . PS popped round for chats and chocolate biscuits until early. . .Sis2 called again and confirmed that she was engaged. She seemed happy. :o) . . . touched base with BB late . . . to bed after 2am. ps
12 - Up around 8:15am, although I suspect the sound of Sally climbing the stairs woke me just in case I was about to be pawed again! . . . walked very slowly just once round the local field keeping a close watch on how Sally was walking. Hard to tell - maybe the slightest hint of a little stiffness, but thankfully she seems ok. Gave a hello to the old guy (the expert on herbal remedies for dogs!) who I've not seen for a while. Oh no!! One of his two 'rescued' dogs - the old gentle boy called Henry, passed away in the night some weeks ago. :o( . . .sat in the garden in the sun for a while . . . sat around feeling 'blah' not feeling like doing anything . . . TVd but absolute rubbish on again all day. . . ate garlic sausage and grated cheese sandwiches, crisps and chocolate biscuits. Slept most of the afternoon away . . . walked and found 5p. Whole neighbourhood seems really quiet, as though everyone has gone away for the bank holiday monday. . .BB called . . .ate a banana and a few bowls of cornflakes. TVd until 'early' to bed before 11pm. ps
13 - Up around 7:15am. . . walked . . . PCd this . . . sat around . . . briefly popped back out with Sally and took some pics of the local shops and field and e-mailed the shops one to DS. . . satisfied my recent strange desire for some rice and cooked up a rice, mushrooms, onions, peas, mushroom sauce concoction. Ate a bunch with four pieces of bread and butter for lunch. Disappointingly tasteless! . . . slept the afternoon away . . . walked . . .guest book entry 'slapping my wrist' for my easter hat photo! Credit me at least with a sense of humour and an open mind - the latter of which, seems to me, is too often the first casualty of any 'faith'!! . . . touched base with BB . . . ate more rice concoction. Seems to be 'wind inducing' - not good on the hernia!! :o( . . . TVd until bed at midnight. pd
14 - Woken by Sally at 7am . . .out walking with Sally at 8am and headed all the way down to the river Avon at Hanham. Couldn't stop John Lennon's 'Imagine' going round and round in my mind! Saw a fallow deer!!!!! Incredible - only a few miles from the centre of town. I was so excited, I was hopping up and down and pointing at it for Sally to see as it ran off, white bobbing rear, into the undergrowth. Luckily she didn't see it because she was distracted by an approaching dog. If she HAD seen it, she would definitely have given chase and goodness knows when (or if!) she would have given up and come back to me! Special moment. . down the river and back up through the woods and headed for my favourite seat for sitting and having a cigarette. It's been vandalised and no one can sit there any more - and the same to another one nearby too (a more impressive picnic table and double bench - now a useless ruin)! :o( Very depressing. . walked back up the Conham Vale footpath, crossed the new wooden bridge over the small pool next to the river that was all a wriggling with tadpoles, and climbed the steep new steps that lead into the huge Dundridge Lane sports field. What a lovely area to live if you have a dog and strong knees! Some old guy walking a german shepherd got talking and started telling me all sorts of tales about confrontations hed had with this person and that dog walker, and how he punched this person and had that dog walker call the police on him etc etc!! Sheeesh?!! Moving swiftly on - followed the streets and crossed the main Bryants Hill road and let Sally back off the lead to follow the footpath up through the unspoilt sliver of greenery betweeen the houses that is Magpie Bottom. Rushed to get Sally back on the lead!! Two very young kids were noisily racing around all over the place on little off road motorbikes, with their father looking on, as other passing young children and dogwalkers had to try and keep out of their way! As I continued walking by all outraged at their selfishness, I couldn't help myself shouting above the din to the father - "Are they yours?" He said they were. "It's hardly appropriate is it?" I said with some restraint (mostly because he was rather bigger than me - well - most people are!). "Won't hurt for five minutes will it!" he said, in that way that 'such' people do. "Well - I think it does!" was my rather pathetic reply. "Well I disagree!" he said - and I kept walking, away from the continuing racket and racing around. T'was a small thing of little consequence, but seems to me that those young kids are being taught by their father that they can do what they want, when they want, irrespective of the law, irrespective of the damage they are causing to the environment, and indifferent those around them. . ended up feeling rather down and more and more at odds with 'people' in general! :o( . . found a penny along the way. Back home before 11am . . . TVd/PCd/touched base with BB. . . dished out the last of the rice concoction for a late lunch but mixed in some chopped up garlic sausage and sprinkled some grated cheese over it before I heated it. With four pieces of bread and butter - much better than before. . . napped until gone 6pm . . . walked and found a penny . . . PCd this . . .BB called . . .ate garlic sausage and grated cheese sandwiches with crisps . . . TVd until midnight. pa
15 - Woken by Sally licking and pawing me at 7:11am . . .walked after 8am and found 7p . . . PCd this . . .sat around feeling down - downer than I reckon I should on prozac!! . . . ate biscuits and bowls of cornflakes and napped for a few hours . . . TVd/PCd looking for old photos on the Bristol Council Records site but couldn't find any, despite having just read about some on the TV text pages!?? Surfed and bumped into a couple of sites with some old pictures on but of course all of them were all about just making money and charging for copies. Couldn't resist doing a screen grab of one of them (horse drawn carriages, tram etc) and then leaving Sally at home and rushing out up Kingswood with the camera (and a hand drawn diagram of the old print to try and find the correct vantage point - turned out to be in the rush hour traffic in the road!!) and seeing if I could do a 'now and then' type thing. . BB called . . PCd and managed a pretty reasonable result. Only trouble is the damn file size again - full blown version is near one and a half megs in size!!!! Took a while to e-mail THAT one to DS!! Couldn't resist knocking up a tiny version (335kb!!) and putting it on my cable webspace (cause I'm all out of webspace!), just to give an impression for here. Pretty cool I reckon. :o) . . .walked late. Stopped for a £2 sausage and chips takeaway on the way home . . . BB called . . . TVd until bed around midnight. ps
16 - Up around 7:40am . . . walked in the drizzle . . .checked the car still starts and then balanced my accounts. . . surfed a bit looking up old Hanham photos. My dentist is down that way so I figured I may as well have a go at another 'then and now' photo or two while I was down there for my 6 monthly check up. Drew pencil outlines of three old photos, got clean, left Sally at home and drove to Hanham a quarter of an hour early. Danced with the traffic before my appointment and managed to get enough shots to give em a go. In to the dentist for 12:15pm - waited hardly at all and then after the briefest of checks in my mouth ( I told her about my loose, painful teeth presumably caused by grinding my teeth in my sleep when I tried giving up smoking - which now seem to have luckily settled back down to normal), and a quick polish, I was back out!! Paid the £14.12 NHS fee, booked up my next 6 monthly appointment and that was that. Quickest I've ever known it! I can't help it - I'm convinced she doesn't put in the 'preventative' work she should do. She just seems to respond to my answer to her 'any problems?' question. If I say no - I'm outa there real quick. I remember years ago when a dentist would meticulously examine EVERY tooth, EVERY visit, and call it out to his assistant to mark on a chart! Doesn't happen any more. . stopped in the library and took out a few books on old Kingswood. . . PCd the pics and managed some reasonable results. (Here are the miniatures - Hanham High Street 1 (237kb) , 2 (315kb) and 3 (287kb)) . . The more I mess with this stuff, the more I appreciate the older buildings! Some of those which have been knocked down were intricate and beautiful, full of character and craftsmanship - modern replacements (IF they haven't just made the road wider!!) are just ugly boxes in comparison!! Very sad. I've always felt I was maybe born a bit too late (apart from all the wars of course!!) :o| . . .ate a microwave beef curry and four slices of bread and butter for a late lunch, as the PC spent ages e-mailing the full size animations to DS . . BB called . . .PCd this . . .slept until around 7pm!! . . . walked in the misty damp and found 2p . . . quickly threw together a new page on the site to display the recent animations, using the cable web space. SUCH a shame it's impractical to put the full blown versions up - I get a kick out of returning to look at them myself! . . .cooked up a chicken kiev with chips . . . TVd/PCd till early. pas
17 - Woke around 5:20am with some noise or other! May have been Sally - not sure? Managed to get back to sleep. . .woken by Sally after 8am . . . walked with a ruck sack loaded with a waterproof coat, tripod and two of the library books on old Kingswood. Headed back to the building site up in Kingswood I'd photographed the other week. Waste of time - vans were parked all in the way of my vanatge point, and at least one storey has already been built! Think I've missed the boat there. . carried on up Kingswood and wandered around all over the place trying to get 'now' shots of all the pictures in the library books. Definitely not the best light conditions for playing that game - some hopeless failures! Really 'got into it' and got all buzzy and even accosted some poor passers by in the street, just so I could show them the hundred year old + pictures in the book of where they were stood right then. Some old guy with his wife got all excited - he was in his eighties and could remember exactly what I was showing him (where the open fields used to be where Kingswood park is now) - and even came walking back and told me all about the tram centre that used to be just up the road!!! Amazing. Living history. He'd never thought to look in the library for such stuff - I think he may now. Cool. :o) . . Sally was as good as usual and patiently put up with being tied to this and that all over the place. A fearless young boy in shorts (he insisted on telling me he was wearing shorts!?) pulled away from his mum and the pushchair and ran up to make friends with Sally. She seems pretty good (backs away a little still) about such attention these days, so I just carefully supervised her response. She was cool - the young boy ended up hugging her and unexpectedly giving her a kiss on her back!!!!!! Temptress! lol :o) . . eventually had enough and headed home after midday. Found 3p along the way. . .PCd the rest of the day away playing with the pictures. What a waste of time! What IS the point??!!! And yet - I'm strangely fascinated by the results! I can't explain it, but I feel kinda more at home with the world of the old black and white images. . .BB called . . . left the PC running trying to upload big files to my cable webspace (2hours+!!) and walked. Walked the extra up to the corner store and bought milk - found 2p. . . cooked up a chicken kiev, peas and chips and ate at last - finished off the dribble of red wine that was left in the cupboard. . .PCd this and modified the new animations page to show all todays efforts and to enable downloading of the full images if any interested passer by wants to . . . BB called . . . TVd until bed around midnight. pad
18 - Woken by Sally somewhere around 6:30am!! Snoozed on until she insisted I wake up around 7:45am!! Grrrrr. . . walked and found £1.05 . . . PCd and looked at the interesting link DS had sent me. Makes ya wonder what would happen if terrorists ever DID succeed in letting off a 'dirty bomb' somewhere heavily populated like London or New York or somewhere!!! . . .felt a bit yuckie and unwell and couldn't help laying down and going back to sleep . . . woke around 1:15pm feeling absolutely gurgly starving and a bit wobbly! Guess I didn't eat enough yesterday. Needed immediate food intake so ended up eating huge quantities of cheap biscuits with coffee . . . did the piles of dish washing chores . . . put the uncooked piece of chicken I'd found in the freezer left over from when BB was here, in the oven with a bunch of potatoes to roast a little after 3pm. . . touched base with BB . . .turned out to be so little meat on that bit of carcass it only 'just' made enough for a meal! Good job I'd done enough roast potatoes for 3 meals. Ended up eating the whole lot all in one go, with some mixed veg (in the back of the freezer - must be at least 18 months old!!) and three quarters of a pint of bisto gravy!!!!!!! Pig! Nice though. . . ended up sleeping it off until woken by the alarm around 7:15pm. Just once - just once I'd like to wake up from a sleep and actually feel refreshed and full of energy rather than all yawning, achey and ready for more sleep like I always seem to! Moan moan grumble moan. :o| . . . walked with a hand in my pocket. Damn bulging hernia been giving me lots of discomfort all day, empty and full! . . . PS popped round for chats and chocolate biscuits until early . . . ate bowls of cornfalkes before bed. pas
19 - Woken by Sally at 7:45am. . . walked. Bin men emptied the bins today - different day to usual because of the bank holiday. Like normal all the empty bins were left scattered around the pavements. A poor woman was coming up the street with some kids and a double buggy pushchair - obviously a nightmare for her trying to get by all the bins! Pushed one or two out of the way for her into peoples gardens as I walked down the street and commented to her in a friendly way as I passed 'it must be a bad day for you'. It got worse!! As she carried on through the obstacle course, squeezing between a bin and a neighbours car, she accidentaly knocked the wing mirror off the car (actually must have been broken already to fall off so easy)!! As she frantically tried to fix it back on the car door, I had to smile and was SO tempted to call out for her not to bother. It was the neighbours wreck of a car that's in daily use that hasn't been taxed for six months or so. Tee hee. :o) found 4p . . .spotted the big library service van parked out in the street again. I'd seen it there before on more than one occasion and had figured it was just parked there while the driver had a break. This time it appeared to actually have people inside browsing the books!? Went out to see and it turned out that it is a regular fortnightly mobile library service. Wow incredible such a thing still exists in this cost cutting day and age. Must be a god send to some of those old people in the area who cant get around. Nice one. Couldnt resist joining up and then joining the couple of ('other'! lol) old ladies and had a rummage through the selection. They need to computerise!! Found at least three copies of the same book on old Kingswood! ALSO found one titled 'Then and Now' which is along the lines of exactly the game I've been playing! Oh well - 'nothing you can do that can't be done' . . Ended up borrowing four books of old postcards and photos around Bristol. . . had a look through the books and ended up getting all 'into it' again and headed out back up Kingswood with Sally and my camera for more walking about. Looks like something is soon gonna happen with the old derelict church up off the main Regent Street in Kingswood. The old rusting ornamental gates were open and evidence on the lane of something having driven down there recently. Couldnt resist wandering down and having a damn good look around the place. The church is now in a hell of a state with much of the roof blown away and all the doors and windows breeze blocked up, and big rubbish skips indicating someone is starting work on the site. Wow a BIG piece of prime building land! Oh dear - what can those lunatic planners have in mind for all that? . Such a sadness about the old graveyard, SO overgrown it was hardly possible to climb over the undergrowth let alone see any of the graves, except some of the more elaborate large ones growing out of the layers of ivy. Tried to pull some of it off and read the inscriptions but some of the stones had been hard hit by frost over the years and the words were now lost for all time. Funny feeling looking at those graves - not just words but 'people' - their hopes, dreams, loves, lives - lost. Dunno why anyone would want to be buried only to end up being forgotten like that within a generation or two and to then share your final resting place with drunks, drug addicts, vandals, weird clicking guy with dog! Either that or these days youll get dug up and moved and reburied elsewhere to make way for a new supermarket or apartment block or, because of the shortage of cemetery space theyll start talking about reusing old graves and stacking new dead people in on top of you - or you end up being the star of some TV archaeology program as your remains are excavated by university types with funny hats, and then some other face is rebuilt in clay on your skull! I want to be cremated and ground up for sure - and quickly forgotten as are all but the fewest of the few. Walked and clicked for a few hours and then shopped a little before returning home around 2:30pm! . . . put the reduced price minced steak and onion shortcut pastry pie I'd bought, in the oven. . . BB called . . . returned Mums ansaphone messages and touched base . . . ate half the pie, and very nice it was too. Followed it up with three small doughnuts and then inevitably had to lay down to sleep it off . . . woke around 7pm feeling too hot and really rather naseaus!? Wonder if that pie was a bit off?. . . walked feeling sick and found 3p . . . sat around feeling fragile until around 9:30pm when I felt sufficiently recovered to eat and enjoy the rest of the meat pie!!! . . . PCd this . . . BB called . . PCd till early. p
22 - Woken by Sally at 7:30am!! Awwwwah!!! Headachey. . .walked and found 4p. . .Yayyy. :o) £100 premium bond win in the mail. . . muesli breakfast . . .SO tired - but ended up PCing/smoking/drinking coffee all morning because I think I'm 'maybe' getting somewhere at last!! :o) All this concentration - I'm feeling rather woozy/dizzy!!! Need more sleep! . . . stopped around 2pm for some garlic sausage and grated cheese sandwiches with a couple of bags of crisps. Touched base with BB . . . lay down to try and nap but I seem to be all 'wired' with all this PCing and I just couldn't stop thinking about the damn stuff!! Ended up getting back to it and PCing through until around 7pm!!! . . . walked and sat on the grass for quite a while trying to unwind. . .fried up some sausages, bread, mushrooms and eggs . . . BB called . . . very tired - 'early' to bed before 11pm. paa
24 - Walked Sally in the dew at sunrise, just before 7am, feeling a bit light headed, wobbly and hungry, suffering from over smoking and holding a painful hernia. . . muesli for breakfast and then at last, lay down for some sleep at around 8:30am . . . woke round 12:30am, I think because I was all kinda caught up and stuck in my duvet! I'm missing a nice warm sunny day. . .tooth ache!! Ate garlic sausage, grated cheese and mayo sandwiches with crisps for lunch . . . PCd this - but with some difficulty! Still tired and fingers seem to be made of rubber and hitting all the wrong keys! I need a break from PC stuff!!. . .uhuh! So much for having a break!!! Ended up messing around PCing until early evening again! Signed up for another webspace on Freeserve. They seem to have changed how it's done and you get kinda trapped into having to go on line and use their weird web builder systems. I just figured they'd changed it all and that was what I HAD to do, so I spent ages and ages sussing it out and laboriously uploading bunches of files to make up a site - only to eventually find that I ended up with damned banner adverts on top of it!!! I'd rather not bother than have that!! Turned out that once I'd got my head around how, I could just upload stuff to a 'normal' space like I'm used to. Ha! Wasted a bit of money on phone charges being on line 'pay as you go' working all that out! Grrrrrr. Anyway - I now have a new space (30megs I think!?) to play with. http://www.royalforestkingswood.fsnet.co.uk/ . Tee hee :o) . . .now I AM gonna have a rest . . . walked . . .touched base with BB . . . ate a packet of five sausage rolls . . . TVd until bed at 11pm. pas
25 - Woken by Sally at dawn before 6am!! . . .loaded up my ruck sack with a tripod and a bottle of water and walked. Carried on out of the field and headed off in a roundabout way up to Cosham hospital for more photo taking. Walked around the place several times failing but absolutely determined to find the correct vantage point to take a 'now' shot to match the old one in a book. At long long last I found the right spot - only it was behind a locked gate in a new pharmacy car park!!! As luck would have it a workman turned up and unlocked the gate. I explained what I was doing and was then free to get my shot. Ha! :o) Found 2p. Carried on in a roundabout way towards Kingswood Park to take more pics. BH was cruising by on some new plastic rocket ship motorcycle and stopped to say hi. . Cut through the main churchyard seeing what there was to see. Impossible to get a decent picture of that church because of all the buildings and big mature trees! Stumbled across a whole bunch of squirrel activity in the graveyard. Held onto Sally's lead real tight and stopped and watched for a bit. Couldn't resist another go at taking a photo through my binoculars - despite the real pain that it is to do! Worked out ok-ish and got a squirrel sat on top of one of the grave stones. :o) Given a proper camera and telehoto lens, and a slightly different angle - that would have been a pretty damn fine shot! Almost tempting to go back there some time with some nuts and my proper camera. . . thankfully eventually ran out of camera memory and was able to head home. Found an Abbey National cash card and a phone top up card near home!! . . . PCd some of the pics and altered this and that on the new site until around 7pm. . .walked! Warm summery evening with lots of people walking dogs and sitting on the grass and such. All of a sudden from out of the top of the field, someone was calling out for help!!! Help! Someone help me! Helllllp!! Thought it was the usual cry wolf type nonsense from idiot kids at first, but one of the lady dog walkers started to walk over to look up the street as the pleas for help continued!! Figured it was something 'real' so started running got Sally on her lead and ran out of the field and up the street towards the three guys who were wrestling up against a wall!! Oh jeeze!!! What am I getting into here?!!!! Two of the guys were restraining the third! As I approached I made eye contact with one of the two - I maintained eye contact as I got closer and then asked him to give me a good reason why I shouldn't help the one who'd been calling for help, who the two of them were wrestling with. I can't recall quite what the answer was, but it turned out that they all knew one another and they were restraining him because he was responsible for various thefts from their cars and such, and they were gonna hold him there until the police arrived (one of the small crowd of onlookers who'd come out of nearby houses had called the police - 999 emergency.) They alleged he even had arrrest warrants out on him! So - the guy who'd been calling for help was actually the 'bad guy'. I sat around nearby on a wall, just in case things developed in a bad way, and as a deterrent for anyone trying to run away in my direction. Difficult to know what to believe in such circumstances, but there were lots of people all stood across the road and here and there just watching - and no one was actually throwing punches, so it seemed like all that WAS the truth. Confirmed still further when a shout went out to a passing car which then dangerously screeched across the road and pulled to a halt. The driver leapt out and came running over as though he was about to start punching - but he didn't. Turned out he was the brother of the guy being restrained, and once he'd calmed down a bit, he seemed all in favour of waiting for the police to come and arrest his brother!! All smacked a bit as though maybe the guy being held, was a thieving drug addict - he kinda had that look about him (if you know what I mean)!?! Time seemed to stand still - and no police appeared. In fact at least 15 to 20 minutes went by, which seemed quite a lot for an emergency call response, with someone struggling to try and escape!! At some point it was decided that the guy would be better off being imprisoned in his brothers car. They all pushed him inside and then stood all around at every locked door making sure he couldn't escape. He ended up stood up remonstrating with them with the upper half of his body out of the open sun roof!!!!! Bizarre. I figured enough was enough and it wasn't my place to just be rubber knecking. headed back into the field with Sally and slowly wandered off. In the far distance I could hear an approaching police siren. They finally arrived by the time I was half way down the field. I guess they did whatever had to be done. All very weird. . . . badly in need of food! Cooked up a fried ham, chips and eggs feast at around 8:30pm. . . PCd pics . . . BB called . . . PS popped round for chats and biscuits till early. pas
26 - Woken early by Sally but managed to snooze on until around 8am . . . walked with my ruck sack again and eventually headed back up to Kingswood. Deposited the PSB win cheque in the building society and handed in the cash machine/phone cards I'd found yesterday. Returned one of the books to the library. Messed around in the park taking more photos for a couple more panoramics. Very hot and sunny. Huge amounts of empty beer cans and bottles and litter all over the place! Looks like some yobs have had a party and then just up and left everything behind without a thought for anyone else. Grrrr! . . back up to the shopping centre and had the nerve to set up the tripod amongst the crowds and get a couple of new panoramic sequences to play with. One up on Regent Street and the other down in the Chase shopping centre. Certainly putting some work into this new project! Eventually ran out of memory so back home to PC the pics. Found 5p along the way. . . cooked up mushrooms, eggs and chips for a late lunch . . . slept until woken by the alarm around 7:15pm . . . BB called . . . walked and found a penny. . .PCd . . BB called . . PCd through till around 1am, mostly populating the Cosham Hospital page on the new site with some images! . . . ended up eating garlic sausage, grated cheese and mayo sandwiches with some crisps around 2am!! . . . eventually to bed around 3am. p
27 - Woken by Sally just before 8am!! . . .walked and found 5p. Stopped off back at home, grabbed my tripod and headed back out. . . workmen were hard at stripping walls in a nearby house. Couldn't resist poking my head in and asking advice about dealing with damp and damp proofing and such - which was exactly what they were obviously up to. As far as I can tell, what I've been doing (inserting a DPC, using damp proofed cement and bitumising the walls prior to plastering) is about as good as it can get - which was a relief to hear. :o) . . headed off up to Twomile Hill to take a pic or two - or maybe actually several! Found a lighter . . .back home going on for 11am. Returned Mums ansaphone call and touched base. . . skipped lunch and PCd all the pics (at length - bloomin hard fiddley work! Funny 'hobby'. Not enough hours in the day! I'm bound to burn out soon! ) . . .BB called . . . finally (around 6:30pm!!) managed to get todays quota (TwoMile Hill road pics, a new pan and another and started a god spot (which could be a whole site in it's own right!!)) done and uploaded. . . PCd this . . . walked and found a penny . . .PCd . . . BB called . . . TVd/PCd till early. pa
28 - Woken by Sally around 7:30am!! Headachey. . .walked. Very much cooler out than of late. Unpleasantly so. . . picked up my building society book and headed off up Kingswood intending to draw some shopping money out. Took one of the library books with me just in case I could do some photos on the way. Somehow I got all focused on 'the project' again and forgot all about drawing out the money from the building society!!! . . . took pictures of pubs and churches and streets and all sorts of nonsense all over the place. SO hard to get a decent shot of the main Kingswood church. Only way to get one is in the depths of winter when there are less leaves on trees - I've left it too late! Had a go at doing one anyway, but wouldn't you know it. The minute I decided to finally take one, I find them putting up ugly scaffolding around the tower!! . . very chilly in the breeze and eventually started to drizzle! Bad light for photo taking! . . had a wander around in the derelict churchyard again, trying to match a shot in the library book of 'the back view of Whitefield's Old Tabernacle in Park Road'. An adjoining part of that huge derelict church area off Regent Street. Should have been an easy shot to match up, what with all the grave stones and such, but actually turned out to be quite impossible. The whole area is SO overgrown I couldn't fight my way though all the trees and brambles and certainly couldn't see most of the grave stones, many of which appear to have been toppled and or vandalised! The tabernacle itself, is still there amongst the jungle but is a burned out shell surrounded by debris, litter and dumped junk! Terribly sad state for everything to get in. :o( Found a useable Halfords socket wrench - and a handbag (that maybe ok once washed)! I suspect junkie muggers who steal shoppers' handbags, dump the unwanted stuff in the undergrowth there!! :o( Difficult not to fantasize about maybe spending a few hours a week up there clearing trees and brambles and such. There again - it's probably only the impenetrable undergrowth that saves what is left intact from being completely destroyed by vandals. What a world! Hardly surprising it's hard to be happy! . . I was cold and damp and started to feel as though I was beginning to burn out, and was suffering pretty badly with a bulging painful hernia, so headed home after midday. Found 7p along the way. Had to pass the kebab shop on the way and couldn't resist treating myself to one for lunch. . . struggled to stay awake and PCd the pics all afternoon. . . mum called to touch base and confirm auntie B'd had her hip replacement surgery (after a 9 month wait!) but it hadn't gone as well as hoped, they'd broken her leg doing it (??!!!) and she would have to stay in hospital for a bit!!! Oh dear! . . . LB called asking me to feed her cats in a day or so. . . didn't get as far as I'd hoped but called a halt to PCing the pics around 7:30pm. . . unpleasant, cool, breezy and grey out - difficulty forcing myself to walk. Walked in rubber in the rain and glad when it was over. . . PCd some more . . . BB called . . . ate garlic sausage, grated cheese and mayo sandwiches with some crisps around 12:30am! . . .briefly touched base with BB . . . to bed after 1am. paaa
30 - Woken earlier by Sally but managed to sleep on until she insisted I wake up around 8am . . .walked. Carried on walking and headed up to the building society and drew out some cash (via the Kingswood Heights building site for a quick pic or two of the evolving build.) Found 3p. Drew the money out and headed straight back home. .oooops! Rushed up and fed LBs cats a bit later than they are used to. I KNEW I was gonna forget!! I'm SO wooly minded at the moment!!! Never been so wooly!?? . . . drove with Sally and the library books and the camera and tripod and headed towards the pet food store. Stopped off in Hanham on the way, left Sally in the car and grabbed a couple of pics and then a panoramic of the High Street. Succeeded in just about getting me visible in the reflection on the Indian Takeaway door. lol :o) . .bought a 15kg sack of PAL complete for £17.95 and 48 tins of Winalot for £18. As I put some of the tins in the car, some old lady had to call out and warn me my trolley was rolling away!!! Good greif what's the matter with me?! Am I fit to be driving? . . . stopped off in Longwell Green for more photos. Couldn't figure out what was where, so ended up poking my head in the church and asking the group of old people that was there having a coffee morning, where All Saints church was. That WAS it - the front had all been rebuilt! They insisted I come in with Sally and show them the library book and old photos!!!! Sally had biscuits. :o) Was shown a neat old photo on the wall of the dedication of the first stone laying of the church. Would have made an excellent and unique 'now and then' picture opportunity. Sadly couldn't get a decent enough picture of the picture with my camera - despite the old guy happily taking it off the wall and holding onto Sally as I crawled under a table with it, in an attempt to try and stop the light reflections on the glass!!!! lolololol All I ended up with was a blurred image - and plenty of me on my knees in fingerless gloves and him looking over my shoulder reflecting! lolololol Bizarre behaviour!! :o) . .took photos as it began to rain . . drove on to 'Sally on the Barn' and took more - and one through the binoculars of the barn's namesake. . briefly stopped on Willsbridge Hill and leapt out and dashed down on foot to click the Willsbridge Mill . . on to Warmley for more. Those poor old library books. First they get burned - then they get drenched in the rain! . . . back home after 1pm. Ansaphone message from DH - something about wanting me to check out something on the web?. . PCd pics . . . briefly stopped around 3pm to eat garlic sausage, grated cheese and mayo sandwiches with two bags of crisps. Tried calling DH but got automatically redirected to someone else!? . . walked after 8pm . . .fed Sally then straight back up to PC some more!!! Obsessed or what?! . .uploaded the latest and then PCd this until gone 1am!! . . .ate a bowl of muesli and touched base with BB before bed after 2am. p