Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Summer, The Warmer Part Of The British Winter?

Picture on the left: My friend Philip's boat at the ready for any continuance of the rain.

Picture on the right: My patio on July 30.

I'm beginning to wonder if the summer is the warmer part of the British winter. The 'Met Office' has changed its prediction from an 'odds on barbecue summer' to say rainfall is likely. Now, their weather forecast for the remainder of the summer states: "rainfall is likely to be near or above average over the U.K..." Well based on the fact they got their previous prediction so horribly wrong, back in April; I figure that there latest forecast may indeed be excellent news.
Where I live, in Leek Staffordshire, 'The Queen of the Moorlands', it is common for folks to say, 'ay up duck', or 'ast owright duck?' Now I understand that the usage of the word 'duck' is a local form of endearment. However this 'fowl' word used in 'fowl expressions', did cause me a bit of confusion. I would be walking along the street, someone would say 'duck', and I would take for cover, trying to avoid what I assumed were low-flying objects. Having stated this, based on the ongoing wet climatic conditions, I am sure that the ducks are most certainly 'owright' during this 'fowl' weather.
If this 'warmer part of the British winter' persists; Shares in umbrellas, woolly hats, raincoats, rubber boots and thermal underwear, may be worthwhile purchasing. Shares in sunglasses, suntan lotions, solar lamps, skimpy bikinis and swimming trunks may be as risky as having shares, like I did, in 'Bradford and Bingley'.
Then again, I do look at the positive aspects to this damp and dreary weather. My rain barrel is filling up very quickly. I am thankful that we get rain, there are places on our planet who would love to have a portion of our precipitation. And, when the sun peeks through the clouds, we may get to enjoy the wonder, the beauty, of a rainbow.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Dreaming Of Durham.

"Hello, I would like to purchase a ticket from Stoke on Trent to Durham, please." The lady at the ticket office replied, "Would that be Durham, North Carolina, or Durham, England?" Okay, I'm making that up, she didn't mention Durham, England. Enough already, the lady sold me a ticket from Stoke to Durham, England.
That was on Monday, July 13. At 8:30 A.M., on Thursday, July 16, I headed out my front door to subject myself to the wonders of public transport. Bus number one, the number 18 from Leek, Staffordshire to Hanley bus depot in Stoke on Trent. Bus number two, the National Express to Manchester. Bus number three, a National Express to Leeds via Bradford. Then bus number four, a National Express from Leeds destined for Durham, via, Harrogate, Ripon and Darlington. Estimated time of arrival in Durham, 4:55 P.M.
Waiting for the final bus at Leeds proved to be the most memorable part of the journey. As we queued patiently to get on the bus, this one idiot decided he would jump the queue. He proceeded to put his packsack into the luggage compartment on the side of the bus. Then he smugly showed the driver his boarding ticket. The driver who must have observed what had transpired, promptly told the guy to remove his packsack from the luggage compartment and get to the back of the queue. Oh yes! Result! Full marks to that National Express driver and his no nonsense approach to that situation.
So I sat there on the final bus and relaxed. For in about 2 and 1/2 hours, I would be seeing my good friends Julie and Philip. I was most excited at the prospect of visiting and being witness to the new adventure that they had begun, way up in the North East of England. Just as the bus was pulling into Durham Bus Station; I got a text from Philip inquiring, 'are we there yet?'. Yes we are Philip.
Now I was aware of the weather, even in July, can be, shall we say, somewhat dreary up in that part of England. However, the optimist in me told me to bring sunglasses, the realist in me told me to bring a wooly hat. Upon leaving the bus and being greeted by them, we headed through the streets of Durham. To say that the weather was a tad unpleasant, is a bit of an understatement. The shop with the drastically reduced solar lamps may have been a bit of a clue. Luckily the rain eventually eased to a torrential downpour.
It was time to head out of Durham to the small village they live in about four miles from Durham. 'Gary? You're used to buses? So guess what? We're taking a Park and Ride bus back to the car.' stated Philip. "You're having a laugh? You're shitting me?" I replied. Bus number five and 'bus lag' was starting to catch up with me.
For the next six days I became a part of Julie's and Philip's lives, along with their, shall we say, rather playful dog, 'Zak'. For the next six days I witnessed the wonders of a world where the locals seemed to be talking in a foreign language. I think they might have been speaking English, indeed I thought it best to nod my head at what I guessed was the right time. For the next six days I saw peacocks strolling around the streets of their village, experienced severe flooding and got to go Durham Cathedral. An awe-inspiring place that transported my mind back in time and made me appreciate the incredible skill and determination of those who created such a magnificent structure.
Back home now. My own personal recovery continues. Every outing a personal triumph in my ongoing journey to regain my self-esteem. Thank you Julie, Philip and not forgetting Zak, for making my time in the beautiful city of Durham, England, thought provoking and inspiring. Now, if only I could get rid of this bus lag. "On the National Express there's a jolly hostess selling crisps and tea. She'll provide you with drinks and theatrical winks for a sky-high fee.." 'Divine Comedy' might say that.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009


A lady friend of mine was telling me that she had to drive eight miles to borrow her sister's vacuum cleaner. Now that sucks.
The lady in question, her partner and their dog 'Zak', have kindly invited me up to there place just outside Durham, England. They reckon I need a change of scene and recharge my batteries. They are so right. So it's gonna' be duvet, doorway, destination Durham.
This is not easy for me. Travelling alone, going somewhere new, does create a sense of anxiety. Yet, the excitement of heading out on an adventure, counteracts the apprehension that I am experiencing. This is another positive step forward in my ongoing reclamation of my self-esteem.
So to get myself prepared for my journey up to Durham; I shall now start the recharging of my batteries, by seeing how many random, disjointed thoughts I can come up with. Somewhat different for me, I know. So here we go...starting now.
The next sentence will be made up of some of the most aggravating, overused expressions ever to fall upon my ears. 'At the end of the day, to be honest, I'm not being funny, you know, you know what I'm saying?' You know, (whoops!) you hear such expressions '24/7' (whoops again!).
I would love to see the Coyote catch that bloody annoying Road Runner and cook that smart arse (ass) bird on a barbecue supplied by the 'Acme Novelty Company'. Somehow, I don't think that will happen. No Road Runner, no show, and no more blatant plugs for the Acme Novelty Company. 'Sylvester the cat', for goodness sake, grab 'Tweety Pie' by its scrawny little neck and shove it down yer throat. 'Pepe Le Pew' (you little stinker) time to get 'Penelope Pussycat' and show that stuck up cat that the sweet smell of love is in the air and in your hair. And to you Elmer Fudd, take that shotgun, have a blast, and stick it up that 'wacky wabbits' butt.
So that's almost it. My batteries are starting to getting nicely charged. I'm set on trickle but that's another story. I am rechargeable, or perhaps that should be 'recharge able'. Know I take a few days out and look forward to being with kind, decent, positive friends. I leave you with this. No matter how bad life may seem, celebrate the goodness in you, and, in turn, you will see the goodness in others. Until next time, I bid thee farewell.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Positive About Being Negative?

There are people who are positive about being negative. I know what it's like to be so consumed with such a negative outlook, that any glimmer of positivity may appear to be some bizarre fantasy. A possibility only for others. Does it have to be that way?
I have met people so obsessed with their negative world, that anger, bitterness and resentment, to a perceived hostile society, dominates their very existence. I am aware that a series of disillusioning events in someone's life can make them feel that living is pointless. Does it have to be that way?
I realise that this is not a competition and I would never disregard the perceptions of a negative person. However, much of my life has been crap. I know what it is like to spend Christmas Day and my Birthday alone and isolated. Yet, instead of being angry, bitter and resentful, I, if anything, have become more determined, more resilient, to embrace a positive life.
With caution, and I hope diplomacy, I have challenged folks with their overwhelming negative attitude. I have attempted to illustrate the positive moments that have I have witnessed in their lives. Sadly, this seems to have been a mistake. Many negative people do not like being challenged. How dare I challenge their negativity. Perhaps it is because they feel safe in their uncomfortable comfort zone. Perhaps they need to be 'right' that the whole word hates them, and to sabotage such feelings, would jeopardise the self-imposed rut they are so determined to wallow in.
To all the negative people; I wish to inspire you. No matter what a perceived uncaring world throws at you, rise above those negative clouds that make you so sad. Search and never give up for those people who are good for you, and in turn, you are good for them. Believe me, you do have choices. Do not immerse yourself in the doom and gloom. Dare to embrace a better life.
Deep within you does indeed flicker a glow of positivity. Fan those flames and learn to experience the goodness that is within your reach.
I celebrate the blue skies and the sunshine in my life. The dark clouds and rain but fleeting moments. I am strong, I am resilient, determined to lead a positive life. Nobody will ever, ever again diminish my right to a happy life.
Self-fulfilling prophecy? Your own worst enemy? Negative speculation? Misfortune-telling? Negative inevitability? Anger, bitterness and resentment towards an unjust world destroying you? If you can say 'yes' to any of these questions; Is it not time to take a new, more heartwarming direction in your life?
If a few people have devalued you humanity; That is very sad. If a lot of people have devalued your humanity; That is even sadder. If everybody seems to devalue your humanity, perhaps you need to take a close look at yourself.
Having visited the dark and lonely place that lies at the end of negative road, I empathise with the plight of the tortured souls. Please know that if your life is lonely and desperate, I will do my utmost to understand and support you. Positive about being negative? How about, positive about being positive? With respect, I thank you for your time.

Thursday, 2 July 2009


Homophobe: 'someone with an overwhelming fear of homogenised milk products'? Homo Erectus? Mooo..ving swiftly on.
So who first thought of the idea of using cow's milk? Was it a case of one thing leads to an udder? Was it a matter of someone thinking that it would be a really great idea to go and squeeze some cow's teat and see what happens? Did the person in question get some rather perplexed looks from those who may have witnessed this act? Did they perhaps think that this person needed to talk to a professional about their rather strange urge to grip the dangling underside of some startled, and no doubt, very confused cow? Would they recommend, that said person, make an appointment with a 'psycowatrist'?
Okay then, now lets get the milk joke out of the way. It's an old joke but, what the heck, I think it's kinda' clever. This lady wanted to have a milk bath. So she asked the milkman: 'I would like to order enough milk to have a milk bath please.' The milkman replied: ' Would you like it pasteurised?' She responded: 'No, just up to my shoulders'.
So why do we drink cow's milk? When was the last time you had a glass of cow's milk and a bale of hay for breakfast? Let me put it this way. When was the last time you saw a collection of cows lurking around the maternity ward? Can you imagine some cow wandering into the maternity hospital and demanding: 'Hay' lady! I want your human milk and I want it now!' Can't really see that happening. However, if it did, the cow might as well go all the way, have a glass of human milk and a full English breakfast with an extra portion of fried bread.
If you 'googled' 'milk' or 'cows' and ended up on this blog expecting to find out some fascinating information; I am truly sorry for any inconvenience. May I just say, well done though, if you managed to read this far. So, now it is time to end yet another completely silly blog. Our mission, to one day make 'Monty Python' seem like serious drama. I've had a dairy good time doing this blog. Now please smile at the cowmera and say; 'cheese'. That's it, I've milked this blog for all it's worth. 'Moo', or is that 'boo', followed by a 'groan'? Homo Erectus?