Sunday, September 30, 2007

Congratulations Sir Terry

So, Sir Terence of Wogan has been voted the BBC Radio2 Ultimate Icon of the past forty years

And some people have the gall to accuse the media of dumbing down?

Makes you think.


For those of you beyond our islands shoreline, I should point out that without the presence of Sir Terry the world would be a place in which we encountered wars, terrorist threats, inequalities, floods …. indeed the list is endless.

Had Wogan not been grasped from the very jaws of Radio Telef√≠s √Čireann then we would all probably have no idea that such greatness could exist this side of heaven.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Ein kleines nachtdenken

How does one explain an awareness of being unaware, a drifting within a static void, a painless ache; why, indeed, should one want to capture and explain such an undeserved and undesirable experience? Perhaps it’s the desire to simply interpret a non-experience in such a way that life makes sense. It’s not so much a dark night of the soul as a plenum void!

The moment is everything and yet feels like the very antithesis of anything, a sense of detachment from daily (or any) reality. Why do I use words? Because they’re there; maybe that’s the reason why!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Follow up

A follow up posting, to the one immediately below, can be found on 'Mal's Murmuring' - If you can't stand the aches ... get into the kitchen.

Return of the hammer wielding fiends

Once more the wielders of the lead cored, matted felt, lump hammers are on the rampage. Yesterdays aches, and nagging bruised feeling in the armpits, are now accompanied by a bruised sensation in limbs and torso; even my head has not escaped the fiends’ nocturnal havoc! To be honest, my head feels as if it has been swathed in blankets with the occasional tourniquet applied around temples, eyes, ears and jaw-line.

A sharp spasmodic cramping pain in the right lower limb plays counterpoint to the dull aching shoulders and upper limbs. For a few days the discomforting throbbing armpit has been doing its darnedest to make me forget the progress I’ve been making during 2007. For the first time in many months, the helping presence of my beloved was essential as I showered this morning and, a little rest period following this dowsing imposed itself upon me.

I trust that this minor setback will be swiftly overcome; perhaps it’s simply a belated reaction to the drained resources of physical and emotional stamina consequent upon my recent holiday excursion. Falling falteringly asleep mid-afternoon, in recent days, was quite probably the hammer wielders warning signal.

At least these dully throbbing visitations are not recurring with the same frequency nor, hopefully, of such sustained duration, as was my lot in earlier times.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Thursday, September 13, 2007

If at first .....

When I grow up I want to be a helicopter pilot; I’m just wondering if, when I’m able to come off incapacity, either Yes2Work or the local Job Centre will be able to arrange for me to obtain the necessary training. It’s quite strange really, as a wee small boy I always wanted to be a test pilot until someone disillusioned me by saying I’d need to work at my maths and, perhaps, being good at PE would help. You can barely imagine just how shattered this young lad’s dreams were, to be obstructed at one fell stroke, on two counts, from the possibility of pursuing my dreams.

Anyway, from the age of 14 onwards, I absolutely knew I wanted to do nursing and even made a stab at it when I came of age. When that fell through, there was no possibility of my considering a flying career (even had I been qualified) as the best route would have been through HMs forces which didn’t sit well with my commitment to CND and Committee of 100. Perhaps my (very) leftward political inclination would also have militated against any attempt to join such an augustly representative body of the establishment!

Ignore that slight wander down the allotment path as we return to the matter in hand. Since my first encounter with flying models at that fateful barbecue it seems as if the die has been cast. It’s definitely helicopters for me; I’ve already learnt to crash models and not let it deter me. My determination astonishes me.

My first model, a featherweight Picoo Z proved a natural to crash and bounce, it really is incredible that such a lightweight machine can plummet so rapidly with only the slightest release of the throttle. Within a month, of that first purchase, I decided to upgrade to an ESky Lama V3 and, in less than 24 hours, simply practising ‘bunny hops’ it was necessary to replace three of the four rotor blades. Even the hops proved difficult as the aircraft insisted on a degree of reverse motion as I throttled up. Our friend Mahmood sorted this problem for me yesterday by adjusting the swashplate and off to the practise flight we went. The only thing I managed to break this time was part of the tail trim (if you don’t count a further chipped rotor blade)!

I’ve now installed the FMS flight simulator on my PC and despite careful calibration am still managing to crash any model I set my hand to. If I fly at altitude it’s all too easy to keep aloft but, that swiftly becomes boring! The only solution seems to be to try the real aircraft and, being so well primed in the difficulties, I would ensure that I exercise all due caution and observe all safety precautions when my life’s at stake. It must be difficult for anyone who has not had a major crash to appreciate just how safety conscious one has to be!

When I grow up I’m going to be a born-again dreamer. It’s better to have tried and failed than never to have risked at all!

Sunday, September 09, 2007


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(my) Big Brother was watching us for this customary promenade picture

In spite of my customary post-journeying fatigue, the little holiday jaunt now seems far away. Valiantly struggling against my post-exertional malaise, I seem to have accomplished much since returning to my cherished hearth and home on Thursday afternoon.

Cathy had carefully nurtured the fish, in both pond and aquarium, as well as the tomato plants, in our absence and, only one of the chilli plants was gasping for water. ‘Tis incredible the restorative power of H2O, although I must admit to a preference for rather more vinous liquids.

Friday found me rinsing the pond filters, dismantling and cleaning the pump from the same piscine habitat, and nervously manning the skillet (the first time for over a week) to produce a spicy salmon pasta dish. I’m sure the sight of my halo must dazzle any beholder. What else have I achieved, you may well wonder; I shamefacedly admit to destroying and having to replace three of the four rotor blades on my new and more sophisticated / powerful model helicopter (acquired whilst visiting my brother).

Meantime, I’ve managed to restore my oldest PC, following a major system collapse and, have also struggled since last evening to overcome a major problem with Helen’s new laptop. For this latter instance I had to resort to backing up all the documents, and Outlook Express files, to an external disk. In fact, the problems were such that I could only back up the documents over the network as the laptop refused to co-operate with the external drive! Having backed up these files, I set to wiping the C drive and re-install the machine to its factory settings. Much re-installing of programmes and configuring of the network was subsequently required.

Come to think of it, a minute amount of my holiday time was also spent fixing a computer for my brother, primarily sorting out its sluggishness by cleaning and defragging the registry before adding some more RAM. The machine certainly seemed to hurtle through its tasks with three times the memory installed.

But what of the holiday; if you really must know a very enjoyable time was had by all. Just for the pleasure of visiting my brother and sister-in law, I incidentally put myself through a kind of hell that only fellow sufferers from panic attacks and a dislike of travel could understand.

It made a really great change to visit the seafront each day in such affable company. The journey there was the furthest I’d travelled in a single day for longer than I can remember, in itself that makes it a major milestone. It was also a bonus that the Sussex Model Centre was in such close proximity but, my first two attempts to cross the threshold of this emporium were thwarted by an absence of sufficient physical or emotional stamina!

Having travelled down on the Friday, we were treated to a wonderful Indian meal in Worthing, courtesy of Linda (Jan’s sister) and her better half Russell. (That’s not to say that our hosts Dave and Jan had not previously pandered to our need for victuals; these were in plentiful supply!) Yet another first for me, to dine out in a busy restaurant for a couple of hours, a feat I had been unable to contemplate during most of the past four years.

The morning that we were due to set off on our excursion South, a severe panic attack almost led to me calling the whole thing off and, as history always has a knack of repeating itself, I spent an horrendous half-hour in the stygian gloom of panic, nausea and stomach cramps on the first leg of our journey home but, I (almost) willingly admit that the effort was worth it!

This post also appears on 'Mal's Murmurings' and 'Hirsute Antiquity'

Friday, September 07, 2007

twilight - groynes and boulders

Click image to see larger version

WORTH the jouneyING

Having just returned from a weeks visit to my brother and sister-in-law on the South coast, my blog postings have been temporarily on hold. Unfortunately my stamina doesn't quite run to expressing all I have to say. Meantime, I've just posted a brand new poem, FLOCKS AND CONGREGATIONS, on both 'Mal's Factory' and 'Archive Mined and Freshly Spun'.