Sunday, February 27, 2011


By an odd combination of circumstance I took my cooker to the theatre the other night. A disappointing evening as Derek Jacobi, who was due to perform as King Lear, had lost his voice due to illness and the show was cancelled.
The cooker and I returned home and had an early night in the end.
The main feed pipe to my new radiators is slowly creeping along its preordained path. I follow the careful dictum of measure twice and cut once.
In the back of a Shop in St Asaph my shiny new Rayburn has arrived. It gleams redly inside its packaging.
Down in the valley a man plans how much shale should be delivered to fill the ruts on my track.
She Of The Townhouse fiddles with her new Bilberry but steadfastly refuses to consider backing it up.
And here I sit surrounded by unawareness of the fact that there is a referendum here on Thursday.
So I creep towards conservatism.
Maybe it is time to get back in to the gym....

Monday, February 21, 2011

Best Served Cold

About three weeks ago a woman who lives far lower down in the valley took a swipe at me with her car. In her defence I guess she was in a hurry.
A lorry driver stopped to ask me directions and, as I pointed him in the right route, Ms Road Rage mistook the cause of her hold up.
She leant upon the horn of her car to draw our attention to the fact that she was there. She probably alerted the rest of the committee of The Llechwedd and District Sheepdog Trial as well.
As the lorry pulled off I stepped out from behind to apologise and explain, only to be subjected to a tirade. Abuse directed at people who felt it was perfectly acceptable to chat with their mates in the lane and hold up the world.
I didn’t really have time to reflect on the fact that this was a little unfair at the time as she proceeded to emphasise her point by driving straight at me, and accelerating to the task.
I was able to sidestep but in being brushed aside by her car the wing mirror came in to contact with my thigh and snapped off.
By now the poor woman, and I feel she must have had problems earlier in the day besides a few seconds hold up, was incandescent with rage at my inconsiderate stupidity.
A further helping of Anglo Saxon aspersions on the level of my intelligence and the nature of my parents relationship was cast from the window of the car. And then with a flourish she rallied off in the direction of The Old Walled Town.
I was a little bemused at the time and later realised I was in shock. I was uninjured and didn’t think about phoning the police until the next day. By which time of course there wasn’t much point. I also rationalised that anyone that out of control was bound to feel full of guilt and remorse.

And so I have done my best to cheer the poor woman up since .
Every day, sometimes twice a day, occasionally three times, I have given her a cheery beep on my own horn as I pass her house in my car. First thing in the morning and last thing at night……

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Batchelor Pad

“Do you want that ironed?”
In an instant the reflex inner voice whispers Double Take
The alert level shifts to Defcon 4.

Then I remember that she mentioned wood last night and the inner voice debates Round House, curiously appropriate in the circumstances. She Of The Townhouse has been threatening to work on one of these for some time.
The boy and I leave for the workplace.

I do what I do.

All day there is this nagging doubt in my mind as I listen to the background chatter. Not the repartee of the staff room I hasten to add. I meant the secret word triggers in the stream of consciousness. She is up to something but I lack intelligence.

Eh? Oh stop being silly, you know what I meant.

All day long I feel the threat of thunder from a clear blue sky.
As I come in through the door Asbo gives me the most hangdog of expressions. I can tell he is feeling that he has let me down.

Upstairs I find that my bedroom has been invaded by a low tech wardrode. A wardrobe made of recycled scaffolding planks and an old hessian sack.

As usual she has made an incredibly good job of it.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

A Sign Of The Times

As I exited Aisle 13 today, my eye was taken by a sign that some mischievous imp had less than subtly altered. Amazing what you can get clubcard points on nowadays.
You will note of course that I have been careful to obscure the name of the supermarket to save their blushes......

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Industrial Light And Magic

Dave and I contrived many great schemes while drunk, and by the cold sober light of day you could see the tumble weed blowing across them easily enough.
The computer game where all you had to do was press the ‘any key’ and the smurf would be crushed by a large falling weight was one. Though years later I did turn that one into a reality.
We never did figure out what level two should be.
Picking on English walkers high up in the mountains was another. Sharing coffee and small talk we would establish their provenance and then feign complete geographical ignorance.
“London eh? Isn’t that somewhere in England……”
We always felt that done with sufficient straight face it was bound to be a winner but they never asked us back.
Ah well.

One sure fire winner though is a little secret that I shall let you in too now. This sleight of hand is bound to impress and, I can say with some confidence, is a sure fire hit with the ladies, or indeed with the gentlemen should that be your persuasion. It involves no more than a few quiet and well timed moments under just such a starry sky as it is our good fortune to enjoy on Hallett’s Mountain this very evening.
Gather close and don’t breathe a word to the others.

Flashing overhead at a giddy pace there is a network of satellites devoted to providing telephone communications and other electronic jiggery pokery. These are called the Iridium network. You probably haven’t heard of them unless you have been involved in some fairly extreme expeditions or sail far out of sight of land. Perhaps if you haul sledges across the Antarctic. Maybe you are a lone round the world yacht person. In that case the Iridium network may well be your lifeline and source of companionship.
For the rest of us…well rest assured they are there a few miles above us.
And they are shiny. They have at least one very flat shiny surface. A flat shiny surface that every now and then catches the sun.

When this happens in your line of sight it is like the sun being reflected from a large window pane on the far side of a valley some miles away. All of a sudden where there was nothing there is suddenly a dazzling bright flash. The sort of flash that would amaze the observer if they just happened to look in the right place at exactly the right time; causing them perhaps to stand in jaw dropped wonder at the heavens above.

Fortunately the flashes, or “Iridium flares” as they are known are, though little known, incredibly predictable. Predictable even down to the very second they occur.
With just a little knowledge and an accurate phone set to buzz a few seconds before the critical point one can surely impress the object of affection.

You can point to the sky and command attention to the exact spot where an otherwise inky prospect will suddenly catch reflected fire.

Hey it works for groups as well but come on……..

Try it yourself here.

Catch you on the other side one day Dave…..