Blovember #30 – Under Duress

Finally we’re here. 30 back to back posts and I am still none the wiser regarding what makes the best stats. As I am constantly reminded, “it’s not a competition”. We’ve covered this before; it is.

I am sitting on the sofa with my ten year-old daughter being forced to watch complete mind pap called Strictly Come Dancing – Take Two. Brucie – mercifully absent –  is bad enough but this is milking the brand a step too far imho. As far as I can work out it is dissecting the past performances and future chances of the contestants. The alleged celebrities that have spontaneously dropped into the studio are actually there because they all have something to plug. Otherwise the entire program is a ghastly saccharine luvvie fest.Boring. Barf.

Reflecting on the last month, this self-imposed discipline has actually marginally improved my writing by making me more concise and I am grateful. Radio Silence now.

Thanks for directing me towards this, Miss Musings From The Sofa.

NaBloPoMo 2012

Blovember #29 – Follow Your Heart

Yes, I know it is a trite and overused thing to say. Nonetheless, there is far too much analysing to the ‘nth degree that people feel they need to do and, more importantly, be seen to be doing.

Why? I think thinking things through repeatedly is rarely a sign of intelligence and wisdom. I think it’s a sign that you are a bit hard of thinking. You either know the answer deep down or you don’t. Either make the decision or take steps to find out what you need to know. Or as I once heard it put so very delicately, “Shit or get off the pot“. (how cool – the expression has it’s own Wiki entry!)

The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris

Thoughtfulness, on the other hand, is not thinking the same thing over and over and over and…you get the idea. It is thinking though often complex possible outcomes with many different and variable factors. Kasparov is thoughtful. You are procrastinating.

Most people are just stalling behind the façade of thoughtfulness because their heart is screaming the answer and it’s not something they want to hear, so they try to obfuscate the noise by “thinking it through”.

You’ll make bad choices from time to time. You’re human so get over it. In the meantime be liberated by acting on what you feel is right and enjoy the release that comes with it.

Now, where did I leave my wallet?

Blovember #28 – Patience

It comes and goes.

As seasoned and dedicated readers of this blog will know, I had a bit of a messy crash on my bicycle on the 27th May of this year. I snapped the right femur just below the ball – of ball and socket fame – and smacked up my right clavicle. This has lead to a permanent metal addition to my right leg and temporary metal in the right shoulder. Call me Metal Mickey. The airport will be fun at Christmas. Previously I have bounced back quickly from my knocks, but this time…oh boy it is sloooow. And I’m frustrated. Really, massively frustrated.

    The hip & the shoulder   

I have just changed my physio as the nice guy I have now has resisted all my appeals to put together a plan. I want a PLAN. I need something to measure myself against so I have short, medium and long term goals. I need to know how I am progressing and I need to know what the consequences of shirking are. I will happily shirk my exercises etc if I am just dumped with a pile of print-outs from the Internet and a suggestion is made that I sort of try to maybe follow them. I require structure and joint participation.

I am very fortunate to have both a great surgeon and private healthcare – thank you Mrs S, it means alot – so getting the necessary physio and choosing when and where I’ll have the shoulder re-filleted are things I can have a say in.

No pressure on the new physio but I intend to get back on my shiny new bike and do more riding. I plan on walking without my “Well helllloooo, Sailor” roll. I’d like to take a few steps at jogging pace  and I want to know I can swim and climb.

Not much really, just back to the old me.

Broad Conversation

What an affirming afternoon we have had today. The Children’s Book Tree was off icially launched today, the 5th December. We had a rousing speech from David Fickling about the power and magic of stories and books; Sally from The Children’s Society spoke movingly about the children who will benefit from your generosity and then Rebecca from our Children’s Department spoke persuasively about how books change lives and, who knows, how a gift from the Children’s Book Tree might transform the life of one of the recipient children. David then read a wonderful Neil Gaiman story from A Little, Aloud, For Children   Keep your eyes peeled for a piece in the Oxford Times and…Keep spreading the word!

We are working with The Children’s Society to make sure that a little bit of extra joy is brought to hundreds of children who are less fortunate than most. For the first time this year we are…

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Blovember #27 – Mum Trucks

If you are in the UK you’ll be familiar with the term Mum Truck/Chelsea Tractor etc to refer to the school-run mum’s in vast 4×4’s, ostensibly bought to protect little Tarquin and Jocasta from all that dangerous traffic out there (which they singularly fail to see that they are directly perpetuating).

A little bit of reading on the psychology behind this makes for pretty simple understanding of why a  4×4, the bigger the better, is the natural choice. Driving comes with various risks so to mitigate them you’re higher up, the doors have a satisfyingly solid “thunk” when shut and they are four-wheel drive. OMG, a Four…..Wheel….. Drive.

The real off-road fanatics know that 4wd is only part of it. Tires, skill, clearance and the like make up the most part. However, the car manufacturers work very hard and spend lots of money working towards the right “thunk” sound and reassuring consumers that a 4×4 is the best choice for get-anywhere driving immortality.

It can make for astonishing exchanges when you try to drill into why a four-wheel drive is so superior. Remarking that they are often shod with very sport biased tires is met with puzzlement. Suggesting that a front-wheel drive Ford Fiesta with proper winter tyres will be safer and more efficacious in snow (the fear of every Brit mum that lives more than a mile from a city-centre) is dismissed as absurd. “But I have a four-wheel drive” is the refrain. Apparently four-wheel drive is a magic panacea for ill-suited tires and limited driving skills.

Presently there is much flooding round our parts in the UK. “Oh my God. Water  is everywhere.  Not to worry, at least I have a 4×4 and I know that that is a Good Thing, is the thought that the urban 4wd owners have. With all the off-road derived cars, in the manual, they list various clearances for going off-road, the natural home for these vehicles. Amongst these is a wading depth. E.g.: what is the maximum depth of water can I safely take this vehicle through? Simple enough. 700mm for a Landcruiser apparently.

Yesterday I followed a Toyota Landcruiser Colorado  -a tarted up £40k+ Mum Truck  but actually a workhorse with leather and sat-nav added – to a piece of flooded road that came 1/3 of the way up car wheels. The driver baulked at the water, drove experimentally into the first few feet it (of run-in not depth) and then promptly panicked and executed an 11 point turn to go around c. 10 miles. I guess that hubby has been lying about 70cm all this time.

Mum Trucks can wade:

It is often observed that the closest to off-road that these luxotanks  get is when Mum mounts a curb on the Zig-Zags in front of the school to drop off  T and J from the nearside door. After-all, who cares about anyone else or indeed the environment as long as the mantra of safety first is clarion? Personal safety that is, not  anyone else’s safety. Screw ’em.

Things that make me smile


Blovember #26 – Feeling Important

I love a good story and a good story-teller pulls you into their sphere by making you feel that they have chosen to tell you, and you alone, a special secret. When you leave the encounter feeling as if you know hold a special grain of knowledge that no one else does you feel somehow more important. And who doesn’t like to feel important?

Jokes that aren’t simple “ba-da-boom” one liners are also good for this, because if the punchline is delivered correctly – and the joke is appropriate to the audience – the laughter has an extra edge because not only are you sharing  the fact that it is funny but that you “get it”. Not everyone will “get it” so you are now in that special club of people that the joke teller thinks will be able to “get it”, and we are back to feeling important.

Which takes me eventually to Transactional Analysis, Warm Fuzzies and Cold Pricklies. Show me someone that claims not to enjoy Warm Fuzzies and I’ll show you a liar.

Blovember #25 – What A Drag

It’s one of those days where everything is a drag. Then I remembered my Blovember/NaBloPoMo commitment. Bleah.

I ache, am cold and the weather is shit and so on and so forth. Don’t expect much because you won’t be getting it.

Today, Rule #5 is out of the window I’m afraid.


Blovember #24 Won’t Get Fooled Again

Having rolled out of the house with a cup of tea and a banana inside me I got to Wickes and started getting a massive hunger. There was the little trailer style greasy spoon in the car park but not enticing as the man frying everything looks like his last shower was a few days ago.

Around the corner is a Mucky D’s. I don’t do McDicks. We all know that they are the poster child of the obesity epidemic we face. Evil in a bun, an ill Morgan Spurlock in Supersize Me are the images in my head.

Hunger makes you start to rationalise things in a whole different way. The bush tucker challenges would be a doddle if you’d  starved Nadine Dorries for the preceding week and I’d tune in to watch that. But back to Fat Ron’s: I rationalised that their position in the spotlight means they have to be lily-white about any and all claims. Hell, they must test and retest and then test again to ensure there is no way anyone can come at them. So I pulled into the car park searching for the Drive-Thru lane and there isn’t one. Oh Gawd, I’ve committed so now I’ll have to go inside, so I do. Despite it being the outskirts of Oxford I felt like I stepped into a surreal movie set with the chippies darting in and out to test the systems by ordering capuccino. I perused the menu, the backlit board behind the tills and Johnny No Stars pesters me for an order whilst I am so clearly still reading. Why do they do this? Do most customers have it committed to memory or can’t they read to start with?

Ooooh looky, a Breakfast Burrito for £2.49. You’re hungry Shadders, don’t dwell on how they can get a burrito and fill it with a sausage pattie, bacon, egg AND a hash brown with my choice of ketchup or brown sauce all for £2.49 You’ll love it, it’ll hit the spot. Unfortunately I happen to know too much about food sourcing, animal welfare and labelling regulations.  I stamp out the thoughts about powered egg, tracing paper thin bacon and pig welfare ‘cos it looks gooood. Damn does it look good on that big shiny menu, so I order one. “5 mins sir, they’re making it to order”. Oh yum, even better if it’s freshly cooked. I pay my money and in about 3 minutes I get passed a bag. Straight out to the car and unwrap it and it looks just like the picture. I’m salivating like Pavlov’s dog now so I take a huge bite.

Hmmmm – what I have is something that tastes of stuff and ketchup. I try to be unbiased in my criticism and attempt to differentiate the tastes. Trouble is I can’t. It’s warm stuff in a wrap with ketchup. I fell for it again.