Gravity is a terrible thing

Imagine you are a map of Great Britain. (If you don’t know what that looks like, go here: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@54.4785782,-3.9977368,6z It’s that big bit right in the middle with “United kingdom” slapped all over it). When I was young, everything was in the north. But over the years, it’s all begun to slip a bit. What was up North, later moved down to the Midlands and as each year goes by, so it all heads further South, until it’s ‘on the coast’ with no more South left!

You hear people say that someone old is ‘over the hill’, I always found that a bit cheeky. But I think I understand it now. You’re on the ‘good’ side of the hill when you’re young, everything’s firm though soft to the touch, (well, most bits), a bit like a good old orthopaedic mattress. Then as you ‘start the climb’ you may get a little pain, like growing pains. Or you may notice the occasional grey hair (like I can remember that far back)! Your hair may recede just a little as well. Joints crack, bones click and what was the young you, that used to bounce out of bed, can’t even remember when you lost the ‘bounce’ and gravity seems to be holding you down. The ‘mattress’ becomes soft and saggy and loses a lot of it’s support.

I believe that you are over the metaphorical ‘hill’, when you get to that point. Where the grey has begun to spread, like some foreign invader taking over your head, one hair at a time. I find that life is a lot like a top Hollywood movie. There always seems to be a bit, somewhere in the middle of the film, where they show the passing of time in a few moments, where different scenes speed by and it is always accompanied by music. Well, I have definitely gone through that bit, there wasn’t any music and I don’t remember that bit happening, but I woke up one morning and suddenly years seem to have passed me by. I saw a TV programme about a man who had been in a coma for 18 years and woke, still believing that he was the younger version of himself and not this older one. I feel a bit like that.

As far as gravity is concerned, maybe it’s that, that helps pull you down the far side of the hill, once you have reached and passed the summit. It certainly doesn’t stop you reaching the top though! Life is full of milestones, like your first birthday. 10th and 13th birthdays are important too. 16, 18 and 21 all follow quickly. Then things slow down a bit, as middle age comes and goes without you really noticing. I never noticed life beginning at 40, in fact, I’m still waiting for that bit to happen! Once you head on down the hill, those milestones become millstones, weighing you and all your bodily bits down, as your face sags a bit, followed by your shoulders, stomach and well, I think I’ll stop there, but you get the point.

I am attending a gym, where I regularly try to reverse up the hill a bit. I try to re-firm everything up, by running on a treadmill and getting nowhere fast. Then it’s the rowing machine, where I still get nowhere fast, only backwards. Then once again, I fight gravity as I push weights heavenwards, while gravity fights against me and succeeds in pushing them back down again. I lean this way, I bend that, I stretch and squat and end up sweating and gasping and feeling like the money I pay to be a member there, might actually be worth it. I know of course, that I am simply fighting a losing battle, but I daren’t give up the fight. I will not be invaded by fat, I will ‘tone up’! It makes me tired just thinking about it. Sometimes I think the only weight I lose, is the weight that leaves my pocket in order to pay for all this. Some days, I don’t go, other things need my attention and I don’t fight them. My ‘get up and go’ left quite some time ago, like a long-lost-lover, running away and having an affair with my inspiration. The only thing that keeps me going is hope. I see lots of young people there, with perfect figures. Young women bouncing up and down on the treadmill, as they run, their ponytails bounce along with them, going this way and that. Young men with bulging muscles, but trying to make them bulge a little more. I have bits that bulge too, like the fat that hides my six-pack, which I am sure is under there somewhere! The hope I speak of, is what I think when I see the few people there who are larger than me. Some of them are considerably larger than me and my hope is that I never get quite that big! But they are there and that is all that matters. They have a longer journey than me to become fit, a harder struggle, but their attendance proves that they, like me, want to change themselves for the better and I salute them.

So, I say, sounding all ‘inspirational’, that I will not let gravity win just yet. I may be well over the hill, past it, old, well old-ish anyway. But I’m taking up a new hobby and that is hill-climbing! (Maybe even mountain climbing), but I have a way to go yet, I may be getting on a bit, but I still can’t see the bottom, (of the hill that is)! This will not be my last blog-post. I hope. I shall see you all again, on here anyway. All I will say is, if you are still on the climb and can’t yet see the top, please make sure that you enjoy it. Do everything you can, while you can and if the opportunity to do something comes up, grab it with both hands and throw yourself into it wholeheartedly, just like I didn’t. I used to say, “I’m young, I can do it later”, to whatever it was. But I soon found out that later doesn’t come, you rarely get a second chance at anything. So if opportunity knocks at your door, then open that door quickly, before it goes next door! People used to say, “Don’t worry Gilbo, one day your ship will come in”. They were right, it did, but that day, I was at the airport!

I say, don’t let gravity win. Fight it, until the bitter end. See you all next week.

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Have I made a mistake?

So I always wanted to ‘do’ a blog of my own. I’m getting readers, as my stats show that I am, but why have people stopped commenting? If anyone reads this & doesn’t want to comment, could you please, at least, put a number, somewhere between 1 & 10 to show how much you like the blog in general? With 1 meaning it’s rubbish & 10 meaning you love it. Just to let me know whether to continue with it or not. I think I probably need to make it funnier. So in light of that, here is a joke to (hopefully) brighten your day:

Stand-up comedian plays at a large venue. He tells the best jokes he’s got to the biggest audience he’s ever had. No-one laughs, not even once. When he finishes with his big finale, he bows & walks off, but everyone just stares at him straight-faced. He goes to the bar to ‘drown his sorrows’. Knocking back his third whisky, he says to the barman “I gave them everything I had tonight & they didn’t laugh. Not a titter could I raise, not even with my best joke. What’s wrong with me? Have I lost it”? Barman says “No mate, your timing’s off, that’s all”. Comedian says “Can’t be, I’ve been told I’ve got the best timing in the business”! Barman says “No, that’s not what I mean. You should have been here last week, tonight’s the Inland Revenue conference”!

Thanks for stopping by, Gilbo.

Mo-bile phones

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The song title La donna é mobile (From Verdi’s Rigoletto), I always thought meant “Hey Donna, can I borrow your mobile”? But, sadly, it doesn’t. It means something like ‘The woman is fickle’. Shame, because I like my translation better.

From Wikipedia, bile is “a dark green to yellowish brown fluid, produced by the liver of most vertebrates, that aids the digestion of lipids in the small intestine”. That is the perfect way to describe my thoughts of moBILE phones.

They are everywhere. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if suddenly, an alien species erupted on Earth. One green bug-eyed alien alighting from deep within each of those slabs of glass, metal and plastic that you’re probably reading this on right now! E.T. won’t need to ‘phone home’ then, will he?

I believe that these personal ‘slabs’ have become far too popular! When I was a kid, we didn’t even have a phone! Didn’t need one! Yes OK, so we had someone in the family with heart trouble, but if they went a bit wobbly, we would simply run down the street, cross over it, round the corner, over another road, down past the pub and straight into the phone box. Simple! It was either that, or knock the neighbours up at (CENSORED) O’Clock in the morning, asking to be let in to use theirs. We did get a telephone, eventually. I was Nineteen-and-one-quarter before one of those contraptions entered our house. Yes, a ‘Telephone’. Actually INSIDE our house! Imagine that? There were two whole choices back then, you either got a sort of square one, with the sound of a ringing bell as your ‘ring-tone’, or you could have a ‘trim-phone’ which made a sort of trilling sound. But, Oh My was it ever sexy? It was all curvy and voluptuous and…AHEM! I’m sorry, the ‘old days’ do get me a bit teary eyed. Now, where was I?

Why do I hate them so much? The ‘phone’ part of the whole thing is nearly irrelevant, that’s why! Go on, ask yourself, how many times do you use them to call somebody? That much? Oh. Well most people I know seem to text, or check social media updates, or take pretty pictures, or check their calendar, or search for a recipe on one of them there ‘apps’ thingies, or do any of a million other things. That’s the trouble, they’re so darned versatile. Why can’t you just queue at the phone-box in the rain like we all used to, back in the good-old-days? You’ve probably put thousands of diary makers, calendar makers, cartographers (map-makers), recipe book publishers, etc, etc, out of work! All because you can now do everything on your tablet and I’ll bet that’s the bitterest pill you’ve ever had to swallow right there! (Disclaimer: Please don’t try to do EVERYTHING on your ‘device’, could be a bit messy).

I do however, love cinema, but I hate, hate, HATE it when people use their phone in the cinema. You can see them everywhere, lighting up the dark, with their rectangular, bright flashy lights illuminating the inky blackness, like excited fans, waving their lighters about at a music festival! I like to try and guess where the last one to turn off will be, about a few seconds after the movie starts. Though sometimes one or more will stay on through the whole movie, as ‘wotstheirname’ texts his/her friend with the latest story updates during the whole ruddy movie! Ooooooh! Then, the very moment the credits roll, up they pop! Lights in the ceiling come on and phones in the seating area come on even quicker to check social media updates or ring the kids, or to see how Auntie Emily‘s amputation went. Nowadays though, it’s even worse. The cinema actually tells you to turn your phone ON (as if it was EVER turned off) and to check their in-house app, to play along with this or that game or whatever. The CINEMA! Oh the shame of it. Makes my blood boil! I had a lady plonked herself down in front of me once, she was just ‘that’ tall. You know the one, ever so slightly taller than the bottom of the screen, so that a bit of the picture had a semi-circle of black hair right in the middle of it! Ooh! Then, just as I was taking yet another bite out of my extra-large hot-dog, her darned ring-tone went off, barking like a dog. Well, how my barbecue sauce that squirted right out of the roll and shot towards her seat, didn’t hit her and go straight down the back of her giraffe-length neck, I’ll never know. Even James Bond peered out of the screen at her, trying to find his next target.

But now I’m ashamed. I have to admit that, due to unforeseen circumstances, I have to get one. A smart-phone of my very own. Oh the ignominy! We have a mobile already, but a really old one. We also live in a place that has next to no signal. So if you want to make a call or send a text (that’s all it does, hurray!) You have to stand on the end of a branch on the apple tree, place the phone between your toes and stick that leg up at 45 degrees like a girl on a ballet barre and wahaay! A signal, albeit one bar only. That is also with the ‘best’ provider for our area. I think that’s only a half-G signal even then. Why do they call them SMARTphones? If they were so smart, they’d find a way of making my bill either nil, or lower than it actually is! But to think, I have to have one. Think of a broken man, bent over and walking along shaking his head, while staring at the floor in shame. That’s me right there!

Have a great week & be sure to call back soon, just please don’t do it on your mobile!

Blog posting times

Hi all. If anyone happens to drop by & read this. I would just like to say when I will be posting updates from now on. As I used to attend the course that started all this on a Thursday at 7-9 p.m every week, that is when I will TRY to update with a new post. That is UK time Which is currently 1 hour ahead of GMT for those in other places. I always wanted to do a blog. The course & the people on it, inspired me to take action & they are the only reason I am here. If you read my posts & like them, then please tell others, if not, then ‘Thanks for dropping by”. Please also feel free to tell me why you didn’t like it. Hope to make you laugh again soon!

By  the way, if you are wondering about the header image, It is from a panoramic image I made from four different shots taken of Alcudia Beach in Mallorca, back in Sep/Oct 2010. I know you can get cameras that take panorama’s now, but that was a very old digital camera & I love that beach, so had to take a bit of it home with me, in my photos.

I used to say that, “there are always wonderful photos everywhere I go, but I have nothing to take them home in”, so I bought a camera.

Don’t miss my next new post tomorrow night (Thurs. 21/05/2015 @ 7-9 pm UK time) when I’ll be telling you just why I don’t like mobile phones. No sir-ree, not one little bit!

Cromer – Jewel of what?

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Disclaimer: I actually love Cromer (on the North Norfolk coast) & visit it a lot & a little thing like this will not put me off. Fish, chips & a pint on Cromer Pier is what makes a year a year. The following ‘rant’ is for entertainment purposes only.

(For those who don’t know cromer, it has cliffs, complete with sets of stone stairs, going from the top to the bottom & back again. There are also varying ramps, so you can wind your way up & down them).

When in Cromer, I like to do ‘physical jerks’. That is, I like to try to improve my fitness levels by going up the stairs & down the ramps, no need to go crazy now! Then, I go the opposite way, ending up back at the bottom of the stairs. (This is the ramps down by the beach huts & the stairs nearest to them, not the ones in front of the ‘Hotel De Paris’).

There’s just this one thing that puts me off. Well, I say ‘one thing’, but it’s multiples of that one thing that makes it worse. DOG POOP! Oh, sorry to shout there, but it really gets up my nose. Well, no, not actually ‘up my nose’ of course, because that would be much worse & nearly as bad as visiting the public loos that smell so bad, you try to ‘take your rubbish home with you’, like it says in the lay-by’s of Norfolk.

It tells you to clean up after your dog. But if your dog doesn’t clean up first, how can you be expected to clean up after it? Well you know what I mean. I once counted 17 different little ‘packages’ all the way down the ramps, some fresh, some not-so-fresh & some positively historic! I even took pictures! I posted these on social media to no avail & was going to send them to the local district council, Only I didn’t. I meant to. The road to hell is paved with good intentions & all that, but I didn’t. I couldn’t. Be bothered.

I have nothing against animals of course, but rules is rules & their owners should have cleaned it up. What’s the point of trying to get tourists & holidaymakers to visit our beautiful county’s coastline, if it’s covered in poop? “Come to Cromer. Jewel of the North Norfolk Coast. Look at the dog poo”! Who’s gonna come here then?

I sometimes wish that this seaside town would move out of the Victorian/Edwardian era & into the twentieth-century at least, (most places seem to be shut by 4pm). But some people like it staying firmly rooted in the past. We once went to have a drink on the pier during ‘carnival week’. There was no chance of having a drink though, because everything shuts! No wonder they don’t make enough money if all the pubs/chip shops whatever are closed during one of the biggest days of the year (during the procession). I don’t suppose they’re closed all week, ‘cos that would be daft. Wouldn’t it?

Oh & don’t get me started on those darned windmills. “Cheap electricity for all”? Like hell it is. It costs more to have ‘green energy’ than it does the messy old coal-fired way, etc. They even try to say that people will come to Cromer & Gt. Yarmouth to ‘see’ the windmills! Like hell they will. Tourists coming to look at big windmills? What a load of nonsense! They’ve destroyed our beautiful vistas of looking out to sea. Now you just look out to see windmills!

Cromer, North Norfolk. Land of poop & wind. Oh give me a break! Preferably a wind-break, so I don’t have to look at it! (I think I should say again, that I love it really & I’m only semi-serious).

Hello world!

Karen is the person I (and you) have to thank for me starting this whole blogging thingy. Her name had to be the first word on here, to remind me who to blame! Also Izzy, Michele & Nicola. (You know who you are)! I told them I wanted to blog about home cinema, photography and travelling. “No”! They demanded. “You’re too funny, go make people laugh”, they said. Well, I hope they don’t live to regret it that’s all. Just to give you an idea of what to expect, I offer you below, dear reader, a taster of what I do. I don’t mean to make people laugh, it just happens. I called my site “Putting myself down”, as people are always telling me not to. I always reply, “Well, somebody has to”. It’s just that people used to put me down (for no reason other than jealousy I suppose) and I sort of got used to it. Please be gentle with me though, it’s my first time. Well, here it is, hope you like it:

Ring-Road Races

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I love roads. I hate & I mean hate with a passion, ring-roads. (Roads that encircle a city, for supposed easy access, for those who don’t know). Or anything like it. Oh but I love dual cabbageways (carriageways) as I call them ‘cos you can go at different speeds in different lanes & overtake & everything, but ring-roads really get on my nerves. “Why”? I hear you ask. Well, because everyone on them, not counting you or me of course, are total & complete utter nutters! The trouble is, they’re two lanes, then they’re one lane, then two again! They shouldn’t say ‘ring-road’ for a start. They should say ‘racetrack’! You know what I mean. Imagine this, there you are, pootling along at about 30-35mph when suddenly, a bloke in a big, powerful car, (you know the ones), pulls up next to you at the lights. They’re always in the right (fast) lane all the time, they live there. “Brrrrrrmmmmm”!!! Goes his gas-guzzling, fuel-injected, V8x8=64, tool-eater (2L) whatever type of motor. Suddenly, you’re no longer in your own city, you’re at the Nurburgring! You stare across at him, he stares back at you, from his slightly bigger, slightly higher car, (so he can look down his nose at you), you look at your dials, ‘now, how many revs have I got?’ you think to yourself, ‘can I take him?’ You press the accelerator, a tinny, little “whum, whum, whum”, comes out of the engine bay. You sit there, in the left lane at the white line, no sorry, I mean on the ‘starting grid’. You slam it in 3rd. Whoopsie! Slam it in 1st. You floor the accelerator, the clutch is whining, the gears are screaming, your bum is itching. The lights change to red ‘n amber, the crowd goes wild. The lights change to green! You let up the clutch! The car races forward, by one whole foot, as the bloody thing stalls! You look across, only to see that ‘Sebastian Hamilton’ is nowhere to be seen, you look off into the distance, only to see him going over a pelican crossing at 90mph, spinning a little-old-lady round in the process.

Thankfully, it’s a quiet Sunday afternoon & no-one else saw you fluff it. You start the car, you pootle up to the roundabout ahead. Of course there’s roadworks & temporary lights, so when you get there, Mr big car-driver is still there & stares at you in the driving mirror. For all his speed, he got nowhere. You follow him along the road, more traffic now, so he can’t get ahead. You both get over the roundabout at the same time. Two lanes merge into one, so you both go at it, he won’t let you in, but you’re determined not to lose again, so neither of you gives an inch. He sounds his horn at you, “HONK!” You sound yours back “peep.” You edge forward just a touch & he backs off, not wanting to scratch his paintwork. Yes! You won! You punch the air, the crowd are on their feet cheering. Half-a-mile further on: Oh no! Another set of lights, another starting grid. You pull up & wait for the inevitable, Mr big man slowly pulls up beside you, grinning from ear to ear. Defeatedly, you switch on your indicator & turn off left down an unknown road, when the lights go green. “Honkity-honk, honk, honk” goes Mr ‘look-at-the-size-of-MY-manhood’ as he disappears off into the sunset. Oh the shame. Now multiply that by about a thousand & that’s any city’s ring-road. They can bring back single-lanes anytime!