Thursday, August 22, 2019

WARNING non-explicit chocolate post

Today I am considering a piece of male anatomy but to avoid being targeted by bots, weirdos and advertising I decided I'd better not use the correct term for it - or any of the familiar euphemisms. This left me with a tricky decision: what to call it.

Every word that came to mind would undoubtedly have led to you, dear readers, suggesting I should seek help. So in the end I concluded it would have to be a word that I wouldn't mind receiving adverts about. And the word I am choosing is ... drum roll ... chocolate.

Please do not read anything into this!

So, anyway, why am I writing about chocolate? Well, I am delighted to be taking part in a Blog Blitz run by Claire Baldry, founder of the Books For Older Readers website. Yesterday on my writing blog I wrote about the importance of libraries and today I've included an excerpt from my first novel, This Time Next Year.

In the excerpt Alison, the star of the book, is discussing with her best friends, Pippa and Bev, the number of chocolatey partners they have had. 

Pippa says, 'Men are so sensitive about their chocolate,' to which Bev replies, 'And goodness knows why! Once you've seen one, you've seen them all.'

In the shower this morning I suddenly wondered if that were true. I have a vague recollection of a series, probably light comedy, we watched where the fact that one of the men had an exceptionally large chocolate was a standing joke. I can't remember anything else about the show and daren't google it. 

I asked Husband a) if he remembered the show; and b) his opinion.

He said a) it does ring a bell; and b) some men have bigger chocolates than others. He added, 'And I probably have more experience than you as I used to be naked with thirty men every week.'

That is definitely a better sample poll.

(Why is it that in everything I am writing I am hearing innuendo?)



Tuesday, August 20, 2019

My brain is a he

In a conversation - with myself - I referred to my brain using the male pronoun. Interesting I thought.

It's true that my brain is very chauvinistic and old-fashioned, thinking a woman's place is in the home. When I wondered what I could do after cleaning and before I have to go out he said, 'Anything as long as it's useful.'
When I asked him what constituted 'useful' he replied, 'You know, cleaning, washing, ironing, that sort of stuff.'

When I pointed out that I'd already done quite a lot of cleaning today and a rest would be nice he did one of those disapproving faces.

'Does writing count as useful?' I asked.
'Hm, that's a tricky one. I'd like to say yes but really ... what do you think?'
'I think whatever you think; you are my brain after all and the bit of me that's supposed to think.'
'True, so in effect I am your boss.'
'I wouldn't say that. Sometimes I do what my heart says.'
Brain shakes himself sadly. 'Always foolish.'

I'm having difficulty doing anything very much at the moment as we have two very demanding house guests.





Monday, August 19, 2019

The theory of relativity doesn't work

In the car today I was listening to a programme, one in a series, called A Brief History of Mathematics. When the presenter, a professor of maths, introduces the day's subject by saying, 'This is quite hard to understand - even Einstein struggled with it,' you can bet your bottom dollar that it's going to be beyond my understanding.

I'm still getting to grips with Euclid geometry - I did once get 99% in a geometry exam - but I was okay until they got onto imaginary numbers, theoretical physics, n dimensions and the theory of relativity. And it was only a fifteen-minute programme.


Even Carl Friedrich Gauss, jolly clever man sometimes referred to as the Prince of Mathematics, kept his ideas to himself for a long time for fear that he, who of all people was most respected, would be mocked.  

I mean, did you know that 'Without the mathematics to describe curved space and multiple dimensions, the theory of relativity doesn't really work'?
No, nor me.

We're Number One!

It won't mean a lot to many people but I have to record that Wales is now in first place in the world rugby rankings. That's above New Zealand's All Blacks!

It's the first time that Wales has ever been number one so worth mentioning but what really matters is who wins the Rugby World Cup this autumn. Nobody remembers who's in the rankings; everyone remembers who wins the world cup.

Also being number one piles on the pressure so we'll enjoy it for a moment and then forget it.
And while we're on the subject of being number one, a joke by Swedish comedian, Olaf Falafel, has taken the prize for the Funniest One-liner at the Edinburgh Fringe. His joke:
"I keep randomly shouting out 'Broccoli' and 'Cauliflower' - I think I might have florets".

Well, it made me laugh.

Update
The Tourettes Action charity has asked for an apology from Olaf Falafel for his insensitive joke. Full report here.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

The purpose of grannies

I mentioned to Granddaughter1 that I found these cranes to be rather beautiful and elegant. 
tall cranes
She gave me a funny look. 'Why?' she asked.
I don't know why but they fascinate me.

Normally she is very perceptive. I had three grandchildren in the car. GrandDaughter2 and GrandSon1 were in the back.
'Stop tormenting your sister!'
And a few minutes later, 'Leave her alone! Remember only good children will be getting ice cream.'

GrandDaughter1 in the front sighed. 'Don't say that. You know he will get ice cream. Mummy and Daddy always say that too and they never do it.'

It's true. I have always been an advocate of the 'don't threaten something if you're not willing to carry it out,' method of discipline yet I seem to have lost my way where the grandchildren are involved. Grannies aren't meant to tell off, that's the thing; grannies are meant to spoil.

Aw, well, here are Younger Son's kittens.

Cooking with grandchildren

They taste good!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

In which our plans are thwarted

Husband's idea
'Let's drive to the new university bay campus and walk on the beach behind it.'

So we set off and arrive only to find there is no option but to park in the designated car park and it costs money. Neither of us has any.

My idea
'Okay, let's walk by the river and see the old copper works remains.'

After eventually finding somewhere to park (for free - thank you B&Q) we strolled by the river down towards the old ruins. Only to find them closed off for renovation - or making safe perhaps.
Amazing to think this was once the heart of Swansea's industrial zone. The banks of the river Tawe were home to copper smelting works, the river taking the ships carrying the copper all over the world.
For a time Swansea was one of the most important ports in the world.
Pic: University College, Swansea
This rather natty little gadget was situated at the entrance to the works.

Wind the handle and you can listen to the tales of a number of characters from that time, such as Captain David Morgan, who would spend a year at sea at a time, taking copper, nitrates, guano, and hides between Chile and Swansea. You can listen to his (short) story here.


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

When Redcoat taught me a lesson

2006
There's a new face in Zac's (new to me anyway). He's of slight build, wearing a red coat, and with alcohol on his breath. He sits at a table and his eyes are focused somewhere way beyond the confines of the room. I guess that he has stumbled across the place and is grateful for somewhere warm indoors to spend an evening; I think he will be asleep before long.

We're continuing in the run-up to Christmas with a look at Mary. 

Redcoat isn't asleep but is following intently. He has always felt that Joseph is undervalued. Several times he interrupts and in a rambling, drawn-out fashion - the pauses typical, I think, of a drunk getting his thoughts together - makes this point. Given the chance, I would exchange knowing smiles with someone. If I had been in charge I would have been tempted to step in, in one of the pauses, and carry on with what I was saying, hoping he would get the message, but Sean waits patiently until he is sure he has finished. Others speak up and acknowledge the truth of what he is saying, giving him respect. Then Sean asks me to read the monologue I had written.

At the end of the bible study the first person to come and speak to me is Redcoat. 'That was incredible,' he says. I am humbled.

2009
There was a visitor in Zac's last night, a man who was very different in appearance from another time. Redcoat has been in rehab in Edinburgh for the last 16 months and now he's clean, he's been given some basic accommodation in a church where he does some work, and he's about to start at bible college. He shared a little with us last night about how things have come about and how he hit the very bottom before he was ready to surrender. He admitted honestly that each day is still a struggle but that his life has been turned around. 

2014 
Redcoat is around Zac's for a while, celebrating five years of being drug-free. He is preparing to attend university to do social studies.

Last night
We heard that Redcoat had died. No further details so far.

He made an impact on me and, judging by his Facebook page, on many of the students he befriended. He was cheeky and funny, clever and kind.

Too many people lost. The tragedy of Zac's.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Toilet rolls and candy floss

I thought I'd bought my usual green seedless grapes but when I got home I realised I'd picked up the 'posh' variety. 
But guess what? They do actually really really taste like candy floss!

I eat too many grapes as it is. Note to self: do NOT buy any more of these.

In other news I received my first delivery of Who Gives a Crap toilet paper recently.
100% bamboo, no plastic wrapping, and 50% of profits donated to build toilets. Delivered to my door by a friendly lady who could ask for more?