Tag Archives: existence

Elsie Rae

Well it had to had to happen, I suddenly got old, I was in an instant in the grandparent category with the arrival of my first grandchild, a young lady by the name of Elsie Rae.

She was unfashionably early (by a month) and with a wonderful name evoking not only the past but the future (she has a name that could, if she so decides, be the perfect choice for an artist, writer or musician).

Of course when this happens all the memories of my baby children come flooding back, the routine that develops quickly and seems to stretch for years and feels as though it has always been the routine.  And now my babies are 16, 20 and 23!

My wife and I worked in partnership and I can see echoes of me in the way my son and his partner are doing just that.

Of course it comes as a big shock to the system, becoming a new parent.  It changes lives and feels such a huge thing to be in charge of a new life.  The first few weeks are the hardest, even for those thinking they have prepared everything to the nth degree.  You can’t plan every aspect of life, especially one so new and they will quickly learn to be flexible, to go with the flow.

We are looking forward to being grandparents (I have had my flat cap ready and waiting for ages) and especially taking her for days out.  Of course the big difference is, most of the time we’ll hand her back and leave the parenting to the parents so there is a little less pressure on us.  We’ll be there to help out when we can along with our counterpart grandparents.

Our little Elsie was lucky to be born on a trip to Wales which means she is Welsh.  she does also have other claims to that nationality with her Great Grandad also being fully Welsh but being born there just adds that extra little bit of credibility.

I feel quite privileged that my wife, all my boys and now my granddaughter could all have the choice to play or represent Wales or England in which ever area of interest (usually sport I grant you) they wanted.  I have to stick to England or Great Britain of course which is fine but I always prefer a little choice.

And so a new stage in our lives starts.

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Creative Space

In the real world I have to try and work to earn money to keep me and my family going.  It’s not ideal, there is so much I could be doing with my life; writing, composing, travelling, eating etc.  I find that when I am working my energy is taken up with working and at the end of each taxing day I struggle to create that time needed to do something entirely selfish and express my creating leanings.

I’m now in a ‘resting’ period.  It’s a time where I put the word out through various networks that my last contract is now done and, as I’m far too young to retire (and will probably never be able to do so anyway given the ever increasing age of retirement and a need to keep eating and paying the bills), I am readily available for more work as soon as possible please, if you don’t mind.

Of course it’s given me a chance to catch up on those things I never get to do when working but gardening (the ever long battle with weeds, the grass jungle and the monster hedge), completing home DIY, decorating and getting the house in some sort of reasonable state of tidiness take priority over dusting my guitar down or remembering the password to my blog site (and yes as you can see I did manage that eventually after leaving my head with only a few hairs and turning the air a delicate shade of blue).

Things are quiet and this is good in that I may well get that chance to breath some life into my artistic endeavours.  But of course the longer that gap stretches that self same spark is smothered a little; I know all too well that those endeavours don’t create me any income and that I need to increase my efforts to get some paid work before the weather gets colder and I have to put the house on the market (thought it’s now in very good shape, the new porch is looking lovely and the garden is serviceable).

Something will come along and off I’ll go.  Once more I’ll promise myself that when away I’ll put aside at least an hour every evening.  And this time… Well you never know your luck dear reader.  Can I ask you for a favour?  Please give me a nudge. Please give me a kick before I lapse once again into silence.  I really don’t want to wait until the next ‘resting period’ and I don’t want my ‘creative space’ needing yet more weeding.

 

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The Little White Lie

And so I now find myself in a land I don’t know, a dimension where the laws of physics or some such mystical nonsense no longer hold sway.  It must have been while I slept.  Perhaps it was those greys the little blighters, deciding a trans-dimensional shift was the order of the day ignoring ritual back passage shenanigans (they must get very bored and to be honest I’m sure it’s a chore).

In my previous existence not telling the truth was a sin of a sort and not looked upon as a way to influence people, make friends or get a job.  In fact one sniff of such dishonesty and your copy book was blighted, burned and the ashes scattered.  A little white lie could be just as damaging as a dirty big honker (though a million plus parents will tell you differently I’m sure, it’s all down to the situation and season).

Here it’s different. In fact the bigger the lie, the more outrageously crass, the bigger the reward.  It’s as though the lie becomes invisible, it becomes a mis-truth which we all know boys and girls is not the same thing as a lie, it’s cosy and smart and smiles a smile you just have to forgive… Or forget.

I’m in bed by 6:00 most nights, I leave the window wide open. Those big eyed guys from the far flung galaxy – where a trip to earth is like a holiday at Butlins (but with extra bodily embarrassing games that make carrying a water filled balloon clenched between straining buttocks look safe) – are welcome to come back and take me home.

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The Human Machine

Has it ever occurred to you how much like machines we are?  In fact there is lot indicating that we are in fact biological machines with a built-in mechanism for shutting down.  We need fuel to keep going, need repairing when parts of us fail and even go rusty (well in the joints anyway).  Unfortunately we can’t be kept running forever and once you shut down there is no way of starting you back up again, even if you got a full restoration.

There are probably some really good Sci Fi stories out there about this and those of you with a Creationist belief will point to the creator of these ‘human’ machines (or animal machines as all creatures great and small share at least a large part of the same design; I’ll conveniently forget here about those that seem to exist for a very long time, micro-organisms like the corals etc. – there’s a good long list here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_long-living_organisms – or Bruce Forsyth, Cliff Richard et al).

I believe in evolution and the wonderous process that has resulted in such marvelous biological designs but what if we were designed and built with a good self-replication mechanism?  Is there anything you think could have been designed better and why?  I know my wife didn’t suffer as much as some women do with pregnancy and child-bearing but is it really the best way to reproduce?  And what about the male reproductive tackle – does it have to be in such a sensitive and unprotected place?

We as humans naturally presume we are the pinnacle of evolution or God’s creation but what creatures have a better design do you think?

I’ll go for cats who as we all know actually own us (especially my cat Oliver who has me so very well-trained as I’ve discussed here before).  You could argue that they are still prone to cruelty from we ‘superior humans’ but even so if you’re ‘owned’ by a good human life can be pretty near perfect (pun intended).

I think the insect world could arguably be as good or superior to humanity especially ants etc. who live in well organised societies.  Yes they can still be wiped out by us humans but I think we only inflict damage not total destruction.  And given the number of people on this little blue planet it could also be argued that we are a ‘swarm’, similar to the locusts that sweep across landscapes the world over.  There is certainly a lot of evidence that we’ve changed the planet, sometimes to the detriment of other life forms far more than any other creature.

Right now I need to go tackle some ants in my garden.  There is a war going on and I think they may just be winning  but as long as I can stop them getting in the jam I’ll be happy (I don’t mind the pips but I draw a line at crunchy ant parts – I am a vegetarian after all).

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Living in the Future?

I have a dilemma.  I’m soaked in a society where the old mixes with  the new in a way seemingly unimagined by Sci Fi filmmaker of the past or indeed the general public.

It must be very hard to produce a film based in a future of say about 40 to 60 years from the present.  Just look at Bladerunner – an excellent gritty looking adventure set in Los Angeles in 2019, 6 years from now!  The film was made in 1982 (the year I left school so quite a long time ago) but I’m sure the venerable city doesn’t look too much different to how it did 30 years ago (though I’m sure if any of you are more familiar with the place you’ll tell me if I’m wrong?).

Even books can get it wrong (I’m thinking 1984 here though of course there is no Sci Fi wizardry in this classic book and looking at it from the 1940’s quite possible to imagine such a dystopian future).  None the less anything set in a future within our lifetimes does seem to replace everything rather than embellish it with the potential new.

I have noticed a tendency nowadays to set things in the ‘near’ future which can be a little bit of a copout.  It means they can use current land and city scapes, dress the characters up pretty much as they are now and even use the same vehicles.

I think the job is made harder by some of the things that set time periods apart in the past being less important now.   Hair styles for instance.  There is a clear distinction between the hair styles of 1964 and 1974 and again from 1974 to 1984 but I would argue that in general our general everyday hair styles are now pretty much the same as they were back in 1984 (and I’m not counting the trendy styles seen in film and on TV).  Ok there were a few differences but not as many.  The same with clothes: again look at the mid-60’s to the mid-70’s and then jump to the 90’s.  Yes it’s still possible to look at a TV programme or film from the early 90’s and see the style differences but they are less subtle.  I have worn jeans, t-shirts and trainers for a long time (not the same ones obviously and I do wash them occasionally ) but in general, the same style.  Watch something from ten years ago and you’ll not see much difference stylistically.

At this point I just have to talk about ties.  Just what are they all about?  Men have been wearing basically the same bit of cloth around their necks for a hundred or more years – but why?  What use do they have?  In the sixties the futuristic programmes showed a distinct lack of ties in the future, a future we are now in (think Space 1999 etc.) yet we still wear the things.  Of course they do have some uses: they are excellent devices for soaking up coffee or soup (and as long as they don’t dry out too fast you can refresh yourself later) but otherwise quite dangerous (always make sure you don’t dangle it in a shredder at least if you’re wearing a white shirt – red ones are much better in these situations).

The biggest difference that sets the decades apart is in the technology.  Mobiles/cell phones are getting bigger (which seem a bit of an anomaly really given how we laugh at the bricks from the ’90’s) and TV’s are now flat, thin large screened and can show programmes in HD and 3D (though for some reason you can still see Bruce Forsyth..).

There’s probably a lot more examples (and please feel free to mention them here) but the point is that where in the past the changes were big (black and white TV to Colour, short hair to long etc.) now they are small and subtle.

And so our future will look pretty much the same with similar if not the same buildings, populated by similarly dressed people but if you look closely…

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Where Did the Time Go?

Firstly a profound apology – I once more find myself neglecting those who have supported me and followed me and helped me across the depths of cyberspace; I thought I’d post something up here only to notice that my last blog entry was November last year!  I did make a promise to be more proliferate (and I’d hoped the coffee would help get me back to that state of artistic enthusiasm I’d displayed before!).  But once again I let the real world – or at least the one that pays the bills and drives me to up the black coffee intake – push my artistic pursuits to one side.  And so I send you all my deepest apologies and I promise I will try.

Time does seem to slip like silky sand through my fingers, especially if I don’t keep an eye on things and all I wanted to achieve is left in a messy pile on the carpet (and it takes an age to vacuum it all up again).  So now I’m trying some positive thought to get me out of this ditch I fell into.  The sides looked far too steep to climb and for a while I was getting myself resigned to a life lived with the annoying pain of unfilled dreams.  The sides of the ditch seemed to be getting steeper and muddier and no matter how hard I tried to climb it just made my clothes damp and dirty and made me feel ever so tired and weary.

I’m not a religious person and I don’t believe in God (whichever God – and I know some of you do which is fine – I used to work for a Church based organisation of which there were several flavours of Christianity that some of my colleagues believed in so therefore in general religion was not discussed and therefore harmony was achieved).  I do believe in the power of people – it is within each of us a power for good and bad, an ability to create or destroy and that includes ourselves.  And so I started to try to believe in myself.

Now I’m not getting carried away, I’m not going to start thinking I’m the ‘new’ anything or any better than a million other people who write, sing, compose paint etc. but I am going to start believing that I have some talent, enough to continue and above all feel happy in it what I do.  Yes I’d love to have recognition which is where you wonderful people come in, a little bit of kindness and kind words go a long way.

In short I am trying to concentrate on the good things I have, to push those bad things to the back and not let their negative nagging get the better of me.  Well let’s see how it goes.

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On Ones Own Visage

What do you think of yourself?  Are you comfortable in your own skin?  When you look at yourself in the mirror (presuming you can and many people can’t) who do you see?  I can look, in fact in order to shave without creating a scene from a Stephen King book in the bathroom it’s essential, but I always see something or somebody different.  It’s not a psychic thing, I’m not seeing faces of ghosts and I’m not getting confused with the window (which can be embarrassing especially if naked and is likely to either get me arrested or remind my neighbours that we haven’t had a huge amount of quality summer around these parts).

But each time I do look I can either wonder if shaving is possible eventually in total darkness or that yes perhaps I do have some semblance of normality and perhaps the ladies may get a treat when I’m out and about (if it’s dark and they have their glasses safely hidden in a pocket or bag).  The other day I looked in the mirror and saw my father, which is fine he’s not a monster and has in fairness given me a large number of genes so I will have some resemblance but my dad is now in his ’70’s.  So I saw my face really as I imagine it will look at around about the same age!  It was a slight shock but it was very early in the morning.

I tend to think I look younger than I am, I certainly feel a whole lot younger than I am and the grey has only just started to push through with fine silver hairs visible close up (though my eyebrows have been silver since several years back for some strange reason though if you glance they do look blond(ish)).  I still have a full head of hair though it is getting thinner especially at the front!  There is some history of being follicularly challenged on my father’s side but I’m holding out that my mother’s genes will be the stronger (my grandfather still had a fullish head of hair and my uncle still has his mostly in place).

Anyway back to that mirror.  I do not spend hours admiring myself in it.  I look when I need to and when I want to pull a few faces to see how many wrinkles appear and then stay in place!  I’d say that I look as though I was pushing towards my 40’s, especially now I’ve lost a few pounds (and am desperately trying to keep it off – it is soooo darned hard, the call of the chocolate is sooo loud and persistent!).  But maybe I’m kidding myself, I’ve never seen myself as a ‘catch’, more a middling kinda guy, not the ugliest man around but not a ‘hunk’; I’d not get picked to model jumpers for catalogues anyway!  If I was an actor I’d get the quirky interesting friend roles, I’d be a less manic (and slightly slimmer) Jack Black, or a more nerdy Kevin Bacon.

I’m an avid people watcher and sometimes I catch myself wondering what others see or do they even notice me?  I even catch myself wondering ‘do any of these ladies see a fanciable chap or are they close to reaching for a sick bag?’  Of course sheer statists mean that everybody will be ‘fanciable’ to somebody but it alway makes me feel slight uncomfortable if I notice somebody looking; I wonder if I’ve not dressed properly or perhaps I remind them of an old teacher or pet.  I even wonder if they have seen something resembling an attractive human being and their poor little tickers have missed a beat (I know I must have had this effect a couple of times, I have had a couple of girlfriends in my past life (before I had my wife and three children, a mortgage, a dog, a cat and fulltime job) but then I was a lot younger of course.  It also makes me feel a little guilty, I don’t know why.

So what do you see?

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