Sunday, 31 March 2013

Tangerine Dreams

Guess what, I've been writing. An actual story.

And it works. I think.

I was aiming for a particular voice style. Light hearted, curious and fascinating. Douglas Adams meets Terry Pratchett.

It may not be perfect, but I was reaching for a lofty goal. What I've got is good enough.

Well, it's a start.

What I wanted to do was come up with just a sample of the style. Like going to B&Q for a tiny pot of paint just to check that you like the final colour.

So I put together a few pages of a scene that had been buzzing around my head.

And I like.

I've entitled this blog post with the name I came up with for the short part that I have written.

I have some more ideas for scenes, a general idea of a plot with entangled threads of sub-plots involving interesting characters and a setting concept which has infinite scope.

It does sound too good to be true. It's one of those creations that feels more like a gift than an idea. A gift that I have to convert from a few sketchy insubstantial images into a living breathing reality.

Can I pull it off?

If I don't try, I'll never know.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

What Colour are Your Teeth?

I'm going to be writing a lot more from now on. Maybe not more blog posts, but I'll be writing nonetheless.

You see, I have a plan. And it's genius. It's so good that it would be a crime NOT to do it.

Well, that's what I'm telling myself anyway. My inner motivational speaker.

This plan involves a story. A story which I think is pretty unique. I'm not going to tell you too much about it, that's for another day. But I will post about its progress.

So because I'll be writing more I have bought myself a portable BlueTooth keyboard so I can properly type wherever I happen to be. I prefer a speedy tactile keyboard to an error prone pen. I'm writing this on my iPad using the new keyboard right now!

The keyboard feels a bit cheap but it works really well!

So with all this writing there'll be a whole lot of reading to be done.

Can you do it, loyal drainers?

Can you do it?

Thursday, 28 March 2013

When I Grow Up

This is the poem I wrote and performed as a One Page Poet at the Artists' Hangout on Wednesday. I said I'd post it.

It's about finding your inner child.

In Buddhism, we often talk about having a 'youthful' organisation. This doesn't mean the practice has not been going very long or that it's full of children. Instead, it means that those who practice should aim to possess a youthful spirit. To have a childlike (not childish) state of mind.

My goal is to reconnect with the boy I left behind. I was inspired to share this with the other Hanger Outers, so I wrote this poem.

Hope you enjoy it. It's called "When I Grow Up".

When I grow up
I want to be
A fireman

When I grow up
I'll dance my
Days away

When I grow up
I want to play
For England

Such hopeful things
That children
Often say.

Some people think
Youth's wasted
On the young

The playfulness
The thirst for life
The glee

But look within
Yourself and there's
A puzzle

What awful crime
Has forced those traits
To flee.

The wonder's gone
The magic's vanished
The verve has gone to sleep

The dreams have left
And playtime's over
Toys in a rubbish heap

Monsters, fairies
Not real

Santa Claus
Exchanged for
Bitter truth

Flights of fancy
Swapped with dull
Real life

What chance is there
To bring back
Hope of youth.

Relax, my friend,
You can

Return the joy
That you've left

A simple fact
But hard
To realise

Youthfulness is
Just a state
Of mind

Rewind the clock,
Don't work too hard
And play

Reclaim your smile,
Act the fool
Run wild

Sing out loud
This simple phrase
Each day

"When I grow up
I want to be
A child"

The Long Yell

Not 'yell' like a shout but the first syllable of the word yellow. Confused? Don't worry, I'll get to it.

It was the Artists' Hangout tonight and it was hugely enjoyable. One of the best.

No. For me, the ACTUAL best.

The theme for tonight was the colour yellow. People dressed in yellow and brought various yellow items to decorate. We'd spent the afternoon yellowing up the place.

All in all, it ended up being fairly yellow.

There was a guest MC tonight; it wasn't Ian all the way through. A lot of it was presented by a young chap who has just passed the first round of auditions to become a Blue Peter presenter. He was filming a video all night to use for the next round. I wish him the best of luck! He was great with the kids; even the terrifying Saskia!

I performed as one of the One Page Poets. Tomorrow, I'll simply post the poem as my blog.

Yes, I know I'm a lazy bee-atch.

I thought the poem went rather well. My poem was about finding your inner child, something that is very important to me at the moment. A couple of people really liked my words; the music act for the evening linked them into one of his songs. I thought that was pretty cool.

But the main event for me was the performance Ian and I gave as The Fabulous Ricola Brothers. We starting writing a script around last Friday and so only had a few days to learn the roles and rehearse. It was difficult to get the words right during practice and I at times I worried that on the night it was going to be a disaster because I'd forget what I had to say.

But it went so much better than we'd even hoped. Even the ad-libbing was tight. What a buzz!

Speaking to people afterward, it seemed that everybody loved it! I know that I did.

I said to Ian I would call this blog 'the long yell' and I did. That was the way I described how I wanted to deliver the line including the words 'yellow night'. With a long 'yell'.


Happy to be here on-a Yell-ow night.

I want to do the whole thing again! It gave me a feeling that I'd forgotten even existed.

I became somebody else. I don't mean that I became Ricardo Ricolo the gymnastic Romanian - although I did enjoy pretending to be him for a short time. No, I mean I became a version of myself that has been locked away in heavy chains of social paralysis for far too long.

Ashley meet Ashley.

Ashley Ricola.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Practice makes perfect

Rehearsing again for the Artists' Hangout tomorrow. I can't say too much about it really.

In fact, like I said in the post a few days ago, there are lots of things I can't talk about too much at the moment.

The hats and moustaches arrived today for the weather or not festival. Can't say too much about that either. When we've done it I'll post about it.

And if you're good, I'll post pictures.

Blimey, even I'm excited about that!

The bad news I had yesterday involved a very good friend. He had a death in his family. Cherie and I were shocked and deeply upset for him.

Going to go now, this is just a quick post. I now have to practice some more for tomorrow.

I've got the afternoon off work to get ready, practice some more and help set up.

I'll need it. The practice, I mean.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Not good.

Sorry. Had some really bad news.

No post today.

I'm lost for words.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Too many cats, not enough bags

Yes. It's true. I'm worried that at least one cat won't be contained in a sack of some sort and will roam around miaowing to the world about all the things that are being planned on the down low.

I've had a ridiculously busy day. OMG.

It started at 630. I did all the tidying, laundry and washing up that we were too mashed to do yesterday. I made breakfast and got ready. I then took Cherie to Kerry's for a Buddhist meeting and took Nat's girlfriend, Lisa, home.

William and I then visited the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry. We weren't there long because they had some kind of event on for very young children. The place seemed very different and aimed at kiddies. We had a look, got bored then left.

I did try to explain the importance and character of simple harmonic motion and its application to mechanical and electrical engineering. William tried his best to look interested.

We went for food on the way back. In this time of economic downturn even the once busiest of retail parks has tumbleweed blowing across the car park. We stopped at Pilsworth where there once was the best cinema in the area along with many high street restaurants.

The cinema is now up for rent, the Chiquitos has closed and the Pizza Hut had only a handful of customers. At lunchtime on a Sunday.

How the mighty have fallen. I can remember when the whole place was so busy you had to pay to just wait for a table at the best restaurant! It will always be part of my psyche as the only place from which I ever did a runner.

Yes drainers, I ate and ran. Back in the 90s. Not because I didn't have the money or was feeling naughty.

It was just because the place was so busy the waiters couldn't keep up and the service was really abysmally slow. So, I got up and just left after waiting for an hour just to pay the bill.

Anyhow... Back to the cats.

After the pizza I took William back. I'm glad he had a good weekend; he told me so.

I then returned home and fell asleep. Like you do.

We then went to a rehearsal for.... And here we meet the first cat. I can't tell you what it was a rehearsal for. It's kind of a secret. But it was a few hours of chaos.

After that, I was very hot and tired. But there was more to do.

I took Cherie to chant with Christina and returned home to practice for... Ah, I sense another cat. Shove it firmly in the bag. I'll tell you all about it later, faithful drainers.

After picking up Cherie from chanting we watched some cheesy Romcom and snuggled on the sofa. The snuggling made me happy, the movie made me mad. It was one of those really unfair and quite one sided chick flicks. The kind where if the tables were turned and the lead role was a male everyone would call him a shit for treating the supposed love of his life really horribly. But for some reason, because it is a woman in a chick flick its all fine because its done in the name of true love.

Whilst watching it, I was on BookFace posting about... Wait... Do I hear miaowing? Shhhh.... Say no more. Where's that other bag...

And now I'm here, posting this from the bedroom. Feeling really guilty that I had a lardy pizza but fulfilled because of all the events of today and really happy that Wills had a good weekend.

STOP PRESS! I forgot to mention something amazing! One of my very best and very oldest friends is getting married! He invited us to the wedding today. It's in July.

Saturday, 23 March 2013


Had a brilliant game of Absolute Balderdash. Still the best board game we own. You're always guaranteed a howling good laugh and no mistake.

We played it by candlelight because of Earth Hour.

Very cosy.

Ginger drinkers.

Sorry, that's a very random thing to say. But I have to tell you about it. I'm always harping on about spell checkers frangling my words. Well, I tried to type "g'night drainers" as a way of signing off this brain drain and my phone changed it to "ginger drinkers".

A mistake? Or is it cleverer than I give it credit for?

You decide...

Bitter Cold in Costa Coffee.

Not only did I forget to post yesterday, I forgot that I forgot!

What was I thinking, letting all my loyal drainers down.

Must. Whip. Self. Soundly.

What's all this snow about, then? Its nearly April. Bloody loads of it. All white and fluffy. Houses that look sugar coated. Fields that look like huge trifles.

All these food metaphors are making me hungry. And I've just eaten a rather naughty chocolate tiffin from Costa.

I'm waiting for Cherie. She's having a photo shoot. Dressed as a school girl.

Not that kind of photo shoot. I've told you about that mind before.

No, in the style of Hogwarts. It's for Caroline, the Hufflepuff.

I'm sitting, right now, in Costa Accrington watching the local muggles trudging against the wind with beet root faces and gritted grins. Everyone is buttoned or zipped into woolly coats. Hats and scarves against the brazen gusts.

Tonight, it's Earth Hour. You have to turn off your lights and electrical gadgets for an hour. We've taken part over the last few years. This year, I think it's been badly publicised. So I did my bit by shouting about it to my BookFace amigos.

And today is the final day for submissions for the Clitheroe Platform Gallery Open. Cherie is submitting some butterflies in a piece entitled Butterfly Carnival. Well the Latin name for that, which I can't pronounce never mind write. Her submission is at the last minute as usual. The window for entries closes at 4:30pm.

She's just called me that she's finished at the photographer's.

I'd better go and brave the blizzard.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Bad Day

I was right. Today was a bitch.

A fracking bitch.

Two people made redundant from my team. Good people.

Another person handed in his notice. Also a good person.

Plumber our moving radiator pipes called. Hot water pump goosed. Ch-Ching.

He called again. Three position switch also buggered. Ch-Ching.

Got home. Plumber had put my key through letterbox leaving me keyless. Cherie working late. Nat at girlfriends. Totally lucked out.

Totally locked out.

Sat in car for two hours getting boreder and colder. Really needed to go to loo.

Call from Cherie at 7. Meet her at Tesco. Went to pick her up.

Call from Nat at 730. Picked him up from girlfriends.

Cherie realised she only got half of the shopping from Tesco. Return. Chance to go to loo. Toilets closed. Of course.

Got home. 830. Went toilet.

Knackered and pissed off.

Yet somehow, still smiling.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Tomorrow's Not Looking Bright

Had a successful day at work today. Slow, but steady. Tomorrow's the final day for the redundancy. Two people will be going from our office. I feel so bad, but not half as bad as the guys under the sword of Damocles probably feel. They don't deserve it.

Took William to guitar and then went round to Ian's for a bit of a laugh.

Tomorrow will be a shitty day. How does one keep smiling through that?

Breaking Bad

I've started watching Breaking Bad on NetFlix. I'm impressed.

Cherie doesn't like it because it seems to glorify drug use; or at least make it seem acceptable. I agree and understand her point of view. It's definitely not a pleasant show.

But the characters are very three dimensional and well acted. I can't help thinking what I would do if I was in the same position as the lead character. I would struggle but I wouldn't choose the same route as he has. But I can understand his motives.

When I was in the school debating team, we had to discuss the issue of morality on television. I had to answer the point that illustrations of wrongdoing encouraged people to behave in the same way. My response was that as long as the effect of the action was shown then it was fair to air the show. An example I gave was the children's program Grange Hill (well, I was 13). An episode may show one of the kids doing something really naughty. The story would then unfold and then the unfortunate boy or girl would have to deal with the repercussions.


That's one of the things I like in Breaking Bad. The actions of the protagonist aren't free of karmic retribution. There's physical consequences such as getting beaten up or losing money and emotional ones such as guilt and anger.

It feels like a picture is being painted which is as clear as crystal (meth). It is completely fair and unbiased.

Do this shit and expect shit back.

That, and Mr White is a secret bad ass.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Post Demolition Tidying

I missed my blog yesterday because there was lots to do! So I'll do two today. A quick one just now and a meatier one later.

When I finished work yesterday I got home and started making some cauliflower, fennel and watercress soup. Whilst that was cooking, I had a go at tidying the house ready for a Buddhist discussion meeting at our house. Remember, the wall's just been taken down and the area replastered.

It's all finished now; all neatly plastered with new skirting boards. They've even cut a piece of laminate flooring and put it into the gaping hole in the floor where the wall used to be.

A really good job and quickly done!

But it left a lot of mess! Dust everywhere. And all the stuff that had been moved out of the area to accommodate the change had to be moved back. And there are not as many walls to put things on anymore!

I had to cart all the stuff around by myself. Cherie was at her mum's who was poorly.

I managed it! And all in time to pick up John Parrat for the meeting!

And the soup was delicious.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

What did I do today? Erm...

Crikey! Almost missed today's Brain Drain! I forgot. Cherie and I have been very forgetful today.

I was going to write all the things we'd forgotten today, but I can't remember them.

Ba-bum! See what I did there?

Haven't really forgot. We didn't go swimming. I didn't take the remaining junk to the tip. We totally forgot about going to Christina's.

And at the Victorian swim practice we didn't take the money we were supposed to and I forgot all the routines!

And I forgot not to eat chocolate. Well, ignored it, actually.

I did finish the poem for the hangout. That's good. And I copied down all of the handwritten poems from the faded frames in our bedroom. They're getting harder and harder to read as the sun bleaches them. (* what sun? *)

Made a super tasty tea. And lunch actually.

For tea we had steamed M&S wild SockEye salmon on a bed of spinach with wasabi. For lunch we had home made chunky guacamole on a bed of spinach. See a pattern?

We bought too much spinach.

Started watching Breaking Bad on NetFlix. I enjoyed it. Cherie didn't. It does glorify the horrors of the seedy drug sub culture.

I had thought up a truly terrific sentence to end this piece on a life enrichingly positive note. One that you'd keep with you for the rest of your days on this merry go round we call Earth.

It was earth shatteringly, Pulitzer Prize winningly good. I tried to write it but the pen I used broke because it wasn't worthy of being the channel for the delivery of this portentous prose.

Bu thent, I forgot it.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Cracked Glass and Lost Twenties

Mmmmm..... Beer.....

I've had very little alcohol since the start of this year. The odd pint and glass of vino.

I bought some San Miguel today and I'm gonna have one in a minute. I deserve it.

It's been another busy day, Drain folk. Taken some of the crap from the side of the house to the tip. Done some shopping and lots of cleaning up. Started my poem for the Hangout.
Planned some wardrobes for the bedroom. Cherie then re-planned them, properly.

I know my place.

We then went to the shop to have a look at a wardrobe range.

We had shopping issues which all got magically resolved without any hassle. I bought a photo frame for a present and had to swap it when I found the glass was cracked.

Cherie got cash back at Asda and left it in the self checkout. She needed the money for supplies from the Asian shop. She realised when she couldn't pay for the curry ingredients and we had to dash back to reclaim the lost cash. Astoundingly, she got the money back.

I couldn't Adam and Eve it! Lucky break. A boomerang twenty.

I could do with some more of them.

We went to Peter's birthday party. Unfortunately, none of the other wild swimmers could make it. Would have been great to have seen them all!

It was fancy dress and I tried to go as Neo from the Matrix trilogy. I looked more like Roy Orbison. Cherie went as Emma Peel from the New Avengers. Very saucy, missus.

One of Peter's mates showed us photos of him swimming in a very clear natural pool. Apparently, near Rydell Water. I think we should get more details and plan an AWS outing there in the summer. It even had a natural water slide for the adventurous ones.

Going to have my beer now.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Tex Mex at the Station

Wills is here! Everybody say "Hi Wills!". He says hi back.

We went out for a Mexican meal at the Station pub in Helmshore. I've been looking forward to it for quite a while. It was actually good; not terrific. They'll deliver to Oswaldtwistle for orders over £20.


Watching Comic Relief now; sorry, the cause is good, but it's just not entertaining. Cherie is cursing at the computer. She's trying to type up notes from a recent meeting.

The wall job is still not finished, but it's looking good.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Tearing Down the House

Oh my God! The wall is gone!

The kitchen stroke dining room looks so strange without it. There's a lot of space, and we've had lots of ideas about what to do next.

We really need that new kitchen.

There's still some plastering to do and the remnants of the electrical sockets and light switches need properly locating. The old radiator pipes need to go somewhere too.

But I'm in awe at how quickly and hassle free the job has been so far.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The Wall that Went

Half way through the week. I can't wait until weekend.

It's Peter's party on Saturday. It's fancy dress in the theme of characters off of the telebox.

I thought of going as Neo from The Matrix. But I need sunglasses and mine broke.

We're having a wall knocked through tomorrow. Like you do.

It'll be there in the morning and gone when we get home. How's that for service?

I've been clearing out the two rooms that will become one. The conservatory is packed with junk; I mean, packed with precious things. Where's it all going to go?

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Daisy's Hair Cut

Spent the afternoon in A and E today with one of the guys from the office. Boring, but better safe than sorry. He'd been complaining about a headache and then his face turned white and he couldn't remember anyone's name. It was all very worrying. Needless to say, I rushed him up to the hospital.

He was very confused and obsessing about not being able to understand why he had forgotten the names of people. In the car on the way there, he kept mumbling under his breath absently.

The hospital was bleeding useless. It took them ages before seeing him because their computer system went down. When they finally did see him, they gave him a prescription for aspirins and sent him home. He has to return within 72 hours for a CAT scan.

I made awesome soup for tea and then Cherie and I trimmed the dog. I held her firmly still. She cried and whimpered as she struggled to get free.

The dog, not Cherie.

Cherie did the shaving.

She looks better now. I think she feels better too.

The dog, not Cherie. But then again...

Meanwhile, I am covered in curly black fur and I smell of wet dog.

An attractive look.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Taplow Court

Had a very busy day yesterday, so I didn't get to blog.

A very long day that started at 545 and ended at 2330. It involved driving to Taplow Court for a Buddhist meeting from 10 until 5 and then a trip into London to see my wonderful friend Nancy.

She had made lentil soup which was just ready when I arrived after fighting through the traffic on Vauxhall Bridge.

We watched a corny monster movie and went to bed.

I had a bizarre dream in which I was lucid dreaming. A dream within a dream. To make the lucid element of it work, it had to spin round 360 degrees on the bed, head and feet turning about the axis if my tummy. In the dream, windows were like a liquid you could pass through and I could fly. I soared free around the roof tops of London. Zipping through the London Eye, around Big Ben under Tower Bridge. I felt alive and unrestrained.

Was kinda cool and very vivid. I remembered it all in great detail.

I drove back today bringing a present for Nancy's mum for Mothers Day. Cherie and I took it round when I got back after my 4 hour non stop journey through the snow.

We both chanted at Christina's then went to bed early.

A really full weekend.

So full, in fact, I had to miss having William, a Buddhist meeting at the Civic and a rehearsal for the synchronised swimming event.


Friday, 8 March 2013

Week Off - Day 5 - Women's Day

Yes - today is International Women's Day. Because of this, it's possible for venues to stage the Vagina Monologues for free. They're putting it on at the civic and Cherie is performing some of the pieces.

I'm really excited for her. And nervous too.

I've just dropped her off at the Civic. She looked gorgeous.

She's very nervous - we didn't have time to do Gongyo first because, gasp of surprise, she wasn't ready in time.

I know that she doesn't need it, but I wish her luck. She just needs to stay calm and enjoy it. I know she'll be fine - she's a powerful, confident woman.

She-Ra Princess of Power.

Me? You're asking about me? I've not been well. Again. But I'm better.

I'm heading of to Taplow tomorrow; kinda wish I didn't have to, actually.

I've got all my stuff ready because I'll be setting off at about 6:00am. I need to get some things done tonight before I go to the Civic.

So I'm going to go and have a shave.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Week off - Day 4 - Snot Bucket

Yup. Dat's Be. Snot Bucket.

You have to read dis ibagining you have a blocked dose.

I feel really boorly. Got a bad cowd. I thought I'd write dis anyway. But I don't feel like I want to spend too long writing.

Just wanna sleep.

Typical - getting sick on a week off work.

See y'all later.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Week Off - Day 3 - The Bonny Tilers

Corny, I know.

Well, it got you reading, didn't it?

And I bet you have an inkling what Mrs D and I have been up to today.

The floor in the downstairs loo. I was quite daunted by the task - but we did it! In very good time too.

Looks really good.

Cherie is finishing the grouting whilst I take William to his guitar lesson.

We struggled cutting the tiles. They're quite thick and weak. Like some people I know.

Kidding - you're all awesome!

The tiles are hard to actually cut and once cut, they're hard to snap without breaking. I had borrowed a tile cutter (thanks Andy C) but it wasn't up to the job I'm afraid. I tried cutting with my Dremel ("Dremel's don't cut", I'm reminded, "they grind!"). Well, it was unexpectedly successful but I found myself going through too many carbon discs.

I went out and bought an inexpensive (I thought) electric tile cutter. What a piece of kit! From Homebase.

Yes, I thought you'd be shocked, I was too. You can get up off the floor now.

After the whole "paint stripper" shenanigans of the other week I thought I'd never buy anything from there again.

I was really impressed by it. Water cooled, dontcha know. Diamond edged blade.


All the tiles were cut straight and neat, very few breakages (the tile to blame not the cutter). But I did get "tile milk" everywhere - a white mixture of water and tile dust that seems to appear randomly everywhere and isn't easy to get rid of. You should have seen my hair!


So, the floor is now tiled. Walls, radiator and woodwork are painted.

Another job from the work queue finished.

Next, please.

Week Off - Day 2: The Terminator

We went to visit Cathy in her new flat in Bury today. It's really lovely. She made us a terrific vegetable tart.

But today's blog has to be about something else.

Because I have to mention the guy I saw at the end of our street.

There are roadworks on the road at the end of our estate, blocking the exit to Union Road. Over the past few days, there have been guys in day-glo workman's jackets directing traffic. I don't think they're with the council, or whoever it is who is digging up the road. They look more like they are working for Oswaldtwistle Mills, directing people into the car park as a kind of sign to show they're still open for business and accessible to all those guilded consumers. They wait idly for an approaching elderly couple in a car and then point absently at an empty parking space.

But today's guy was different. Today's guy strutted.

Today's guy wore a jacket that boldy declared "Security" across the back. Today's guy looked mean.

Today's guy was...

The Terminator.

We set off from home to go to pick up Christina ready to head off to Cathy's pad. There he was standing importantly in the centre of the junction at the end of the street, boldly challenging all traffic.

He noticed my car as I drove up Orchard Drive. He spun urgently and dashed over with an air of facist importance, the metal rims of his sunglasses glinting in the bright glare. As I approached he slowed his pace then stopped. He expression changed slowly into a knowing smile. He gave me one of those man-to-man looks like we had a shared secret; sort of an "I know who you are!" grin. Then he continued nodding slowly at me as I drove out onto Moscow Mill Street.

I imagined him thinking,

"That was a close one! He nearly got me then. But don't worry. He's one of us. That guy's on our side. Go get 'em tiger".

I checked in my rear view mirror, he was still watching us and grinning proudly. I almost expected to see him salute as we drove away. Maybe he'd then put his hand to his ear, listen to some coded message being piped in through a secret headset and then dart off randomly. Protecting who knows what from the not sure who.

Tonight I will sleep soundly in my bed knowing that The Terminator is confidently guarding Moscow Mill Street; pacing back and forth in Ossy Mills car park.

Keep it up, soldier.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Week Off - Day 1

Guess what, Drainers! I'm off work!

Woo hoo!

And so is the Mrs! OMG - at the same time!

Are you surprised? Shocked, even? The Deankins, at home during the week? Together? No kids?

You'd think there'd be all kinds of holiday shenanigans. Tomfoolary, larks, japes and many other generally good things going on.

How about... decorating. Painting. Sanding. Tiling. Drilling. Screwing (with a screwdriver... I don't know; your dirty mind...)

Barrels of laughter. Ho ho ho! He he he!

Boo hoo hoo - more like.

I jest - I'm not really phased by this at all. In fact, I'm positively grinning.

I get to spend time with my beautiful flower girl. And that bathroom really does need finishing.

If we don't do it now, it'll never be completed!

So, I raise my paintbrush high; defiant. Let the paint scraper be my sword and the tile cement spreader be my shield as I bravely go into battle with a bare room full of negative feng shui.

See you on the other side!


Sunday, 3 March 2013

Steam Punkery

The Mad March Tea Party was hugely enjoyable. I had a whale of a time. The costumes were a feast for the eyes. The pro punkers had some dandy intricate accessories. But honestly, I think us Steam Punk virgins did a fairly impressive job.

Caroline and David made some terrific goggles. Good work!

Kerry seemed to enjoy herself. She did seem to have gone a little bit insane towards the end, but that's allowed on your birthday.

It was great to see everyone there; and to see how much effort everybody had put in.

The whole thing was very well organised yet had an organic feel to it. The idea of an authentic tea party was genius.

I really liked Katya's tea urn. An amazing piece of artistic kitchen equipment. Every home should have one.

Looking through the photos on BookFace, (and yes, we still have to upload ours) it is clear that we all had a good time. At the end, everyone pitched in to clear up. Again, rather organically it seemed. All of a sudden, there was a spontaneous whirl of activity as chairs and tables were stacked around the room.

It seemed to me that there was an after party just waiting to happen. But unfortunately, it didn't happen.

I particularly enjoyed the company of a beautiful flower girl. A gave her a sixpence and she gave me a posie. Later, I took her for a ride in Hackney cab and we became well acquainted.

And who knows; more there'll be more flowers later.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Mad March is Almost Here

End of another busy day. I can't believe that we've done so much in only a 24 hour period.

I blitzed the house this morning. We hosted a Buddhist leaders' meeting. We went shopping for birthday presents. We wrapped the presents. We went to a rehearsal for the Victorian swimming [just as bonkers as last time]. We went to a birthday party. Cherie did box office for Volga Olga. I put the finishing touches to the steam punk outfit. We ordered Indian [safe Indian for Cherie] and watched a surprisingly excellent movie called "Defendor".

I recommend the movie - don't be put off by what you think it might be. It looks like a superhero spoof movie. It's not. I found it quite moving - it reawakened a little of my faith in my fellow man.

Tomorrow is the Mad March Tea Dance steam punk thing - and Kerry's 50th. Kosen Rufu in the morning at our house - and I'm hoping that lots of smiling happy people will come to chant with us.

Today I feel like a rich man. Not in wealth. In friends and happiness.

Love you all.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Prayer for the Lost

At the writing table at the Hangout on Wednesday, I wrote a short piece inspired by Ian's "Writer's Block" book. I had to write a story in the form of a prayer.

I really enjoyed writing it and people were surprised by how much I'd written in a short time.

Hope you enjoy it - it's rather silly.

Our Father,

Who art in heaven, I have have a bit of a problem. I suppose I should start at the beginning. But then again, you probably know all about it already. After all, you are omnipresent.

It must be hard, omnipresence. Not the physical splitting of yourself to cover such a large area, although that does sound fairly nasty. No, I'm talking about the sensory input. Seeing many glorious and terrible things sights from across the globe. Hearing tales and prayers from all of humanity.

Must be exhausting.

If you can find time in your busy deity schedule, could I ask you to keep an eye out? You see, my dog ran off. George he's called. A border collie. I've had him for fourteen faithful years.

Then he just took off.

I thought we were friends. When I stroke his soft fur it comforts us both. He sits at my feet on cold nights in front of the roaring log fire.

He's never brought me slippers, but then again, I tend not to wear them. But I just get this deep knowing feeling when I gaze into his deep mournful eyes that if I had slippers he would joyfully leave them by the bed.

He's that kind of friend. But now he's gone.

And I can't help feeling it's my fault. Because he's on Aldi dog food now. The prime juicy chunks had been replaced by dry ashy biscuits.

Maybe I'm over analysing but he's the kind of animal you know is wiser than you.

And now he's gone.

Please God, keep him safe.