A Classic Album, Re-imagined…

Finally. You will notice that I am blogging at a sensible time of day. This is because I seem to have returned to normal sleep patterns – hooray for that!

Two pot noodles this morning to keep me going until tea time. One by Soba, one by Naked Noodle. The Soba one was better.

Been playing through the Mint album, listening back and reshuffling the tracks to create a new running order. It now goes: Coming Apart – On Reflection – Inexorable – Afraid To Fly – Eddy Cheese – Rat Race – Need – Gotta See The Sun. IMHO it sounds great like this. The only drawback is that the scrappy guitars (my scrappy guitars) at the start of Rat Race are more prominent this way around for some reason. Oh well, it gets better as the song goes on. In fact the album sounds better and better each time I listen to it. SO proud of what we achieved as 19, 20, 21 year olds, none of us full time musicians. Also a belated thanks to Andy Wolfe our producer – thinking back I am sure that it was him that provided the piano solo on Need, rather than Chord or Nat… eternally miscredited on the record sleeve, oh dear me.

Now the sleep is fixed, I am feeling much more mentally stable. It helps that we have food in the house too. Nice sunny weather today again. Clean and tidy house. No fleas. Reading the second Walling book, about cows.

Mum and Dad are down in Cambridge fixing a trellis to Simon’s shed, and digging up the grass to relay topsoil. Apparently there is a nice pub within walking distance of the estate, over fields, near to the river where Simon photographed a heron the other day. Sounds nice. Meaghan has had a day away from work today for a midwife appointment, which is good news, and much deserved I imagine.


A Pea sized amount

Just one of those mornings where everything is good.

So excited for Simon and Meaghan, to be awaiting a new arrival into the family, little “Pea”, in February. Mum and Dad’s first grandchild! And Rach and I will be Aunt and Uncle for an eighth time. Looking forward to seeing S & M at Christmas time and then with the baby in the New Year sometime. I know they will be great parents, hopefully M will be able to take enough of a career break to look after Pea until nursery or whenever without having to go back to work in the meantime. Mum and Dad going down next weekend to Cambridge to work on their garden and keeping the view of the scruffy neighbours down to a minimum.

Sheep book going well. I have learnt that the New Leicester breed was interbred with many other breeds, not because it was inherently beautiful or pure in itself, but the genes of the New Leicester when mixed with other types of sheep were great at improving various characteristics of their build, e.g. their muscle mass, wool quality or just general shape and size. Hence the New Leicester was known as The Great Improver. Amazing what science there is behind modern agriculture. I wish I was a farmer, although I am not sure I could stand the blood and guts, too squeamish. I could cope with mud and manure, but blood and offal – no way. I would, however, love to ride a tractor, Land Rover or quad bike around the place.

Going to have to restock on Whittards tea very soon – am out of black and oolong tea, and the puerh and green tea I have is getting fairly stale. The last black tea I had I really enjoyed, it was called Piccadilly Blend and had strawberry and cornflower elements to it which gave it a lovely flavour and colour. Still waiting on today’s milk delivery, paying the price for cancelling Thursday’s delivery, now I have run out!

Yesterday the whole of the West of the country was hit by Storm Callum, which brought high winds and heavy rain. Wales was worst affected, but there was flooding in Kendal and Borrowdale, and the River Greta in Keswick, and River Derwent in Cockermouth, rose pretty high too. Looks to have calmed down now though, although there is more rain forecast for later in the week.

What made me happiest yesterday was the fact that despite the rain, I got out for two quick walks around the block. It’s only a couple of hundred metres round Derwent St and Horsman St and back, but it breaks up the monotony of being inside and allows a bit of daylight to soak into the skin. Wore my new daps as well which were pretty comfortable.

Rachel is off to Church this morning, it is All Age Worship at Crosthwaite, the first time the new vicar (Revd Andy Murphy) will have seen this event I think. Although Rachel’s team is not involved this time!



Change is gonna come

So. Woken up by the sound of hooligans joyriding around Sainsburys car park. The unseasonably warm wind tonight has obviously made the youth think they can do what they please. As well as carrying the sound of screeching tyres and booming exhausts across the town.

My nemesis, Jim, chose this particular hour of the night to start having a go at me. Saying I had never done anything that made a difference. Not true. Calling me a coward. Not true. Picking up on grammatical or language errors I made during the day. Annoying. Saying I should move to Durham if I don’t like it here. Unlikely.

In all honesty I would move to Durham in a flash if I thought I could get rid of Jim and his pernicious, degrading comments at all hours of the day. But there would doubtless be some other know it all Catholic Tory gun nut of a neighbour in County Durham who would be equally unpleasant. Anyway, we have a lovely house here, Rach has a great job, we have friends and a support network, the scenery is beautiful. We were here first goddammit! It does make me think though. I would love to be back in my University town, with all the jazzy students and some prospects of getting involved in something interesting. Just going to the Library  or a café would be a revelation for me.

Something has to change though. I can’t live next to this idiot all the rest of my life, he is making me miserable. Maybe we could move house within Cockermouth. The Laureates development on Low Road looks nice. But expensive for what the houses are.

Have contracted a secondary infection in my throat, sore and painful, and tired all day due to lack of sleep. But the day was saved by getting out in the evening with Rachel to Crummock Water. I drove, the sun was just setting, the warm wind was rustling in the trees and there were few other cars about. Got a few nice shots, but they turned out very pixelly as the light was low. The idea was to drive over Newlands and get chips in Keswick, but we were both too tired so came home via Sainsburys, Rach cooked me a Jalfrezi in the microwave, result!

Chicken Kievs

Awake at 3am but feeling good, thanks to a shower and some clean pyjamas. Cooking chicken kievs (from Booths) for a midnight snack.

Simon T is disappointed after another tight loss in the rugby, this time to The Perse, the nearest rivals of The Leys in Cambridge. 19-17, could have won it. Poor lad, that is four narrow losses and two big wins this season, sounds like he is doing something right despite not all results going his way.

Glad to see from the Soundwave videos posted this week that my amps and other musical equipment donated are all getting good use already. Some cracking new tunes posted from the Soundwave youngsters and the DisChord girls.

Started reading a book about sheep (Counting Sheep, by Philip Walling) – no, this is not to help me sleep, just to help me understand the role of the sheep and of farmers in general in feeding our society through the ages. Could be a good one.

Listened to Verdi’s Requiem all the way through this evening with Rachel. Brings back great memories of the first year at Monmouth School, being in the treble choir and singing our little hearts out at St Marys Church and on tour in Vienna. A truly rousing piece, although I had forgotten just how much waiting around there was between the first Dies Irae chorus, and the reintroduction of the trebles with Sanctus, Sanctus (the fourth movement). One of my Instagram acquaintances was even at the Stephansdom in Vienna today and posted a lovely picture!

Reasons to blog: Part 1

I think I have just discovered a new coping mechanism: WordPress!

Having suffered from schizophrenia for nigh on fifteen years now, and become totally socially isolated and withdrawn, combined with the fact that old age naturally pushes us into loneliness and inactivity, I have found myself staring at Facebook blankly for hour after hour, day after day. A list of friends from my past life reassures me that some other idiots are up at this time. But it is strangely difficult to reach out to them individually. And embarrassing and shallow to post an attention-seeking post about What is On My Mind.

However, if I can write creatively on a blog, and rest assured that the only people who see it are myself and whoever I else I choose to see it, this may be an answer to getting my overactive brain to settle down in the night time, and get some of those demons off my chest too!

You know who got me into Word Press in the first place? Hal Robson-Kanu. That’s right, the Wales international footballer. I had read a couple of Word Press blogs before (Solway Shore-Walker being the best), but it wasn’t until I read Hal’s retirement statement that I considered other modes of Internet communication apart from the malevolent Facebook and Twitter. Mr Robson-Kanu is a Wales football legend and will always have a place in my heart for his amazing “Cruyff turn” goal against Belgium in the 2016 Euro championships, taking Wales through to the semi finals!

So, look out for more from me in future.

I’m having trouble trying to sleep…

Went to bed at half past ten. Awake again by half past one. What to do? This is every day for a month and a half now. Tried the mellow house mix. Tried a milky drink. Tried lying down in a darkened room with my eyes closed. Nope. Up all night again. I hope the postman comes early tomorrow because I have important parcels to be delivered, wouldn’t want to miss them!

Trying to decide who to support in the English Rugby Union Premiership. In past seasons this has been Bath, but despite their strong squad and attractive jersey, there’s something about the team that I can’t get behind. Maybe it’s because I remember the 90s when they were feared champions of Europe, and inflicted heavy defeats on the Welsh teams. But anyway, this season I am torn between Bath’s local rivals Gloucester, and northern scumbags Newcastle Falcons. Both have nice kit. Gloucester are marshalled this season by England renegade Danny Cipriani, a mercurial talent in the latter stages of his career. Will he get a regular international berth this season? Who knows. Newcastle Falcons are managed by the rather posh Dean Richards, who has put the scandal of Bloodgate behind him to assemble an interesting team. Unfortunately they sit rock bottom of the league at present.

Going to ring my gran tomorrow. She is 95 years old and becoming less independent and mobile in her dotage. Poor Granny, she is beginning to realise her own limits and feeling very sad about her powerlessness in the face of upsetting World events such as Brexit and the presidency of Donald Trump. I just hope that she can manage to look after herself until the next visit from my Mum or my Auntie Kay.

OK that’s it for now. Hopefully this blog will become a regular outlet for me, I have enjoyed putting some thoughts down, maybe someone somewhere (me, in a year’s time) will enjoy reading them!