Like most people, I remember where I was on 9/11/2001. I was standing in the street outside a sports bar on the island of Corfu. I was on holiday. We stopped to stare at the big tv screen and watched the twin towers fall.

I remember thinking about the audacity of the act.

au·dac·i·ty [aw-das-i-tee]
noun, plural au·dac·i·ties.
1. boldness or daring, especially with confident or arrogant disregard for personal safety, conventional thought, or other restrictions.
2. effrontery or insolence; shameless boldness: His questioner’s audacity shocked the lecturer.
3. Usually, audacities. audacious acts or statements.

I didnt know the people in those buildings or the rescuers who had gone in to save them.
I remember thinking only of the audacity of those who did such a thing. How does one plan and envisage such an act?  How does one think its ok do such a thing? What sort of mind dreams that up and executes it?  I still wonder.

A hug to all America today.


Dividing the Spoils

I am going into Hospital on Friday for a relatively small procedure to fix a bit of me that is falling off. There are several bits that need a good mechanic, but this one is probably a bit more dangerous to be left alone, so I am going to have it fixed. People dont die of it, nor is it a dangerous procedure, but you know, one gets to thinking….

Anyway, I was wondering, since I havent made a will, perhaps this would do? Is a blog a ‘document’ and if I state my wishes here, would it count?

If it does, I want any money left over after expenses to be divided equally between my two sons. They can take any of my posessions that they want. Check the books carefully before you send them to the charity shops, as some of them are first editions. I want my wedding ring to go to my youngest son’s lady.

That’s all really… I think I am of sound mind. You might question that after reading this post 🙂


Work by Ford Madox Brown

Why do you work? Why do you do your job, that particular job you do?

Do you do it for the money? Do you do it because there is no better job available?

I do my job because it suits my life pretty well. I can manage the physical demands on my body (just), it’s close to where I live, it is mostly emotionally rewarding, the hours suit me and the things I want and need to do outside work.

Mostly the boss leaves me alone to get on with it, but comes down pretty heavy if I mess up. Fair enough.

If I do it well, the boss mostly doesnt tell me I did well. Achievement goes unnoticed, or unremarked. I think this is not a good way for a boss to be.

Bosses get rewards by being bosses. They have a higher level of esteem and self-esteem through their job, and tangible rewards in the form of better pay and better conditions. Those at the lower levels, like me, are not rewarded in these ways. My pay is about as low as you can get in this country, I have little or no status in the company, and only the comfort of the friendship I have for and from my colleagues and the expressed satisfaction of my clients to give me emotional rewards.

I think it is the duty of employers and bosses and managers to encourage and reward their staff at lower levels. The loyalty of their staff (without which their job would be a nightmare) should be acknowledged frequently.

Oops … wrong Mother.

I was born with one long-sighted eye and one short-sighted eye.  Also I was born with a squint, not surprisingly, since my brain tried very hard to see with both eyes but got confused.  For a long time I wore those horrible NHS specs which were in fact instruments of torture but some optician thought would help.


The earpieces were bendy springy wire things which dug in the backs of your ears… it felt like two pencils being bored into your head.  To make matters worse I had to have one eye-glass covered with opaque stick-on paper, which nobody bothered to trim very well, and scratched my cheek painfully. Consequently I pushed the specs to the end of my little nose (I was about 4 or 5 at the time) to relieve the pressure on the backs of my ears and the scratch on my cheek and – Hey Presto – I could look over the top of the horrible cloudy glasses and carry on letting my brain decide what to do with my eyes and squint away merrily.

The glasses having failed to correct my squint (though nobody knew why, because nobody asked me), I went into hospital at the age of seven to have the squint corrected… both eyes.  I was the only child in the hospital with Two black felt-tip marks, one over each eye.  All the other children only had one.

I came out with two relatively straight facing eyes, but still short-sighted in one and long sighted in the other.  Opticians thereafter, tried to correct my vision in several useless ways, the main one was that they tried to correct the long sighted eye to be more short-sighted and the short-sighted eye to be more long sighted, with the hope of me seeing somewhere in the middle.  This didn’t work at all, the result was simply that I had appalling vision in both eyes, had to sit at the front in school to see the blackboard and used to follow strange women out of shops because they were wearing a red coat, because my mother was wearing a red coat that day.

I did find lots of tricks to get myself through life, like the red coat thing, even though it backfired occasionally and I got smacked a lot for not staying in the shop with my mother.   I remember on holidays, memorising the stains on the hallway carpets between bathroom and bedroom so I could find my way back, and recognising people by their shape and colouring because I couldn’t see the faces of most adults, being too far away down there near the ground.   I remember putting my hand out for every bus, because I couldn’t see the numbers until they were practically going past, and getting shouted at by the bus drivers when it wasnt my bus and I had made them stop for nothing.  I remember  never being able to catch a ball, because of my lack of stereo vision, and always ending up in goal at Lacrosse, netball, etc. When someone throws a ball at me, I put out my hand to catch it and it flies by about 18 inches to the right. It made me hate ball games, and hate being the one nobody wanted in their team.

Then, when I was about 22, I went to an optician who recognised the problem.  He told me that my brain had been forced to make a choice and had opted for the short-sighted eye, presumably when I was a young baby in a small world,  or because my favourite occupation was reading as soon as I could read.  This opting by my brain meant that, while I could see a fairly good distance with the long sighted eye, my brain had shut it down and made me look through the short-sighted one.  Therefore, he said, what we need to do is put a very good lens over the short-sighted eye, make you see better with that one, and forget about the long sighted one.

I stepped out of the opticians in St Anne’s Square, Manchester, and saw this.


I stood and stared at it for about 15 minutes…. and stared…. and stared.  Then I stared some more, and some more…    I had passed it a thousand times, and never seen it.  Now I could see all the beautiful carvings, the windows, the towers and turrets and the total gothic splendour, where before there had been a big brown blurry blob.

I still wear glasses today, and I still tend to match people’s names to their shape and colouring,  I still see my fingerprints better than clouds, but when I need to see something, I can actually see it.

Some parts of this semi blindness for a third of my life have been advantageous, some not. My hearing is Very Good, to the point of painfully good sometimes, if too much noise is around me it can be unpleasant.  I am very aware of sound around me.  I can’t see 3D images, or those funny pictures where you have to put your eyes out of focus to see them.  I still can’t catch a ball if you throw it to me.  (Though I can juggle, but juggling isn’t actually about seeing the catch, but controlling the throw).

So, if you have a child with a squint, or who follows strangers out of shops, don’t smack them, or make them wear revolting and uncomfortable spectacles.  Find an enlightened optician.  Or open up the world some other way, like a pair of binoculars for Christmas.

A bit OCD?

click to see gif

I am not the best housekeeper…  Dust doesnt bother me too much, I dont keep obsessively tidy or organised.

Certain things, however, I do keep tidy and it upsets me a little to see them disorganised. Perhaps rather, it pleases me to see them tidy.. I am not sure which it is, perhaps both.

Examining this question, I find that if it makes life easier, my life easier, to keep a thing tidy, then I will tend to do it. So my tidiness is linked to my laziness, just as my untidiness is.

Example:- I keep my linen cupboard tidy, almost obsessively, because I like to be able to find a towel or a sheet easily, not to have to dig around. I could find the right cloth or towel quiet easily if i just dumped them in a certain section when they were laundered, but actually I go a little further, and fold them in a certain way and stack them in order of largest on the bottom and smallest on the top.  I just like the way this looks.  It is practical AND pleasing.

BUT my desk seems to get in a mess very quickly… but everything is still handy, easy to find, because my desk is a small space.  I let my desk get untidy, even though I like it tidy, because its not actually easier to find things if I keep it tidy, its just more pleasing. So… Pleasure doesnt override my laziness in this case.

I guess I am just lazy. The tidy sections of my life isnt OCD… its laziness :¬) Am I relieved?

Little Red Light

No, this isnt about some sleazy district of Amsterdam…

My under-the-counter freezer has a little red light on the front of it… this is a bad thing.   It should have a little green light.

I looked it up on the net to see what could be the matter.  Its not very good news. Its most likely the compressor that is not performing properly and that means I need a new compressor, which costs more than the freezer cost to begin with, not to mention something called a ‘re-gassing’ which is also expensive.

I remember my first freezer, which was a second hand chest freezer I got from a friend for £30 way back around 1984. It was huge, about the size of the ones they have in supermarkets.  My neighbours used to bring their turkeys to me to store before Christmas.  It was so huge I dont remember it EVER being full. It sat in my garage for years, chirrupping away to its self, never giving any offence, just being cold.  I had it through about three house moves, and winter and summer it just kept going, until finally it stopped being cold in about 1999 and I left it behind at my last move.

It never owed me anything, and I remember saying that if it died on me full of food I wouldnt gripe, because it had done such good service.  I remember the day my oldest son stuck his tongue to it trying to reach an ice lolly … we tried to peel his tongue off the ice, leaving a few tiny rosy taste buds behind, until his whimpering drool dissolved the ice and let him go, like the break of a stern kiss.

That old freezer lasted close on twenty years without a murmer.  I have had this little freezer about four years and now its broken.

They dont make things like they used to…