Bad day for a lifeboat

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Sunday, 26th July 2015 was meant to be Lifeboat Day, in Cromer, Norfolk, UK. It had been bad weather on the Saturday and so, at the last minute, it was all called off. Cromer has a lifeboat house at the end of the pier, with a slipway, that makes for a dramatic launch, with the lifeboat racing down into the water with a major splash at the end! However, it was cancelled. I heard a lady on the radio say that “We have decided that the weather will be too bad to launch the lifeboat”. Huh? You what? Surely, bad weather is normally the time when you DO launch the lifeboat, isn’t it??? I think that what they probably meant, was that no-one may turn up to see it, due to the bad weather. This has now been rescheduled for another Sunday, being the 9th. August 2015. This should make for a grand day out. The images of a lifeboat above and below, are of the lifeboat “RNLB Lady Of Hilbre” which I believe is a relief lifeboat standing in for the original one based at Wells in Norfolk. I recently had a ‘day out’ to Holkham beach, a little bit down the road from Wells. I always wanted to see where Gwyneth Paltrow had stood in the movie “Shakespeare In Love” and where Stephen Fry had regularly walked on that same beach for the “Kingdom” TV programme. I don’t know if the lifeboat is based here, but this is where it was launched from on this day. I didn’t know it was going to be launched, so that was a bonus for me! I can’t tell you if it was just a practice launch or not, but the tow truck in front, took about half an hour to tow it round the beach to the point it was launched from, so I should think it was just a practice. It was funny to watch it being towed backwards, when I’m more used to seeing them going forwards. I hope this doesn’t sound like I am poking fun at the lifeboatmen though. They are all very brave for what they do and I know I couldn’t do it. The Cromer lifeboat is currently short of volunteers and some of them don’t live close enough to go on a ‘shout’ or whatever they call it in the lifeboat service. So I suppose you could consider this an ‘advert’. I am not saying this officially on behalf of the RNLI though, as I am nothing to do with them, but the service they provide is second to none and apart from giving them a few coins or notes when I can, I am unable to help them in any other way. To become a volunteer, you would obviously have to live close enough to Cromer though and have the stomach for it and the necessary seagoing skills too, I’m sure.

The local RNLI Henry Blogg museum tells stories of the men and boats and their derring do over the years. It is a great place to visit. It is named after one of the bravest men I have ever heard of, Mr Blogg was the coxswain of the Cromer lifeboat and served on lifeboats for 53 years! On the promenade leading up to the Cromer Pier are strips of text, listing some of the ships that foundered out there in the rough waters of the raging North Sea on occasion, and how many lives were saved each time. It is hard to believe that the RNLI has nearly been going for 200 years and is still funded only by voluntary contributions. Anyway, having watched the Wells lifeboat slowly making it’s way around Holkham beach, it reached it’s launch point, where it was lowered from it’s trailer into the water and sped off into the North sea, lit by a rapidly setting sun. I did actually make a video of that, but as it would take days to upload that anywhere, I shall simply leave you with the picture below. After all, they do say that a picture is worth a thousand words. So maybe I should stop all this typing and just upload pictures!

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See you next week!

To Spam or not to Spam

Hi folks! This is NOT my weekly post, but as I was clearing out my SPAM folder, you know, doing a bit of dusting and clearing up etc., I noticed that a few of the messages almost seemed like they were from people trying to send me a genuine, friendly comment or two. Of course some of their websites then fade into impossibility, on the preview anyway. So I just wanted to say, if this is you and you HAVE sent me a genuine message, that then doesn’t get answered, this is probably due to my believing in the SPAM fairy, as she goes around, informing me that this post, may NOT be quite what it seems. I can only apologise and hope this doesn’t offend you. Maybe you should try again. But I think she’s MOSTLY right. Probably.

“North, South, East, West”…

…”Wherever you go, home is best”. Or so they say. I have been doing a lot of travelling today and also a lot of thinking, while the world was rushing away beneath my feet (and the rest of me, come to that). I have way more travelling to do too, before this year is done. Some of it, the more ‘exotic’ kind, gives me more to look forward to. I think, where I live, is not so exciting to travel around and because of that, travelling locally has become a bit of a chore. But when I came home today, the usual sigh of relief left my lips, the kettle went on and I gladly sank into my favourite chair. Yet for people in other countries, they must get excited to come here. Where I live is one of the most beautiful areas of the country, (to my mind at least). People pay a lot of money to stay & travel around locally, so why don’t I love it so much? I came up with the idea that it must be because I am so used to it. We had a friend stay locally recently and she was pointing places out, saying how lovely they are and for a while, I saw them anew. Yes, I thought, they are lovely, arent’ they? If you see someone rushing around in London or any other city, with their head down and walking speedily past other people, it’s a good possibility that they are a local. Yet if they are walking slowly, looking all around and pointing cameras this way and that, it’s a sure bet that they are tourists! So I suppose, I must have been a local where I live, for a little bit too long. Where I went today, I have been many times before. Mostly just passing through, but sometimes staying for a while. So I wasn’t ‘excited’ to go there, but I was looking forward to it a little bit. My old haunts, have mostly disappeared, I was surprised to find. This made me feel older than I should.  So in a way, where I am yet to go, is seemingly more exciting, but only because I don’t know it so well. When there, I will once again, be the tourist. I shall be walking slowly and pointing MY camera this way and that. But no doubt, if I stayed there for any amount of time, maybe a year or so, I would get used to it and I wouldn’t love it so much anymore. I would start walking faster every week, the head would go down and the camera would stay at home. So, I suppose that after all this, maybe home IS best. A bit like when you have a new love in your life, everything is all exciting and wonderful and new. You are both on your best behaviour and try to keep your bad habits hidden. Yet slowly, as the relationship builds, you relax more in each other’s company and well, let things slip a bit! So it is with where you live. I am very lucky to live where I do, but my home has ‘gotten used’ to me and I to it. So from today, I shall really try to see it in a more positive light. While pounding the same old streets in the same old way, I will try to think that this or that street a thousand miles away, is no more exciting than this one is, just because I am hardly ever there. It may seem like a new, more exciting love, but in reality, it is this place, my old, well-known hometown, that I love the most. That old river still flows the same way it ever did. The geese fly in and out again every year. The starlings come and feed at our bird table with their new young, every year. Nothing changes, everything stays the same and that’s the way I WILL see it. I shall look up and around again, my pace will slow and occasionally, the camera will come with me and point this way and that.

Sorry it’s not so funny this week. I’ve gone all ‘thinky’!

My life (edited)

Wouldn’t it be great though? If you could? I have made mistakes, we all have I think. Only mine, well. If only there was a life ‘Tipp-Ex’ or a big eraser, so that you could go back a day, erase it and then start over. Live that day again, only do it right this time. I would have got through a thousand gallons of correction fluid by now & there aren’t enough rubber trees in the world for MY mistakes.

Frank Sinatra’s song “My Way”, for me would go “Regrets, I have a lot, but then again, too many to write down”. Or Edith Piaf’s “No Regrets” would be a whole ‘nother kettle of fish. DELETE. Would be a whole different ball game song.

Whole days, sorry, make that weeks, would go missing from my school life. Things I wish I had done differently, would take another half-life to correct. Jobs, dates, even girlfriends, would fall by the wayside and totally disappear from my life history! But at least I would be happy. Happy? Content? Pleased? Meh? At least I would be. Lets just leave it at that. Maybe it’s not right to tamper with your past though. Or every day would be a sunny day. The school bullies would never have existed and I would always have been head boy. In my dreams.

But there are definitely a few things that I would change. I have always had this idea, that there are about three events in my life, that I did one thing, when I KNOW that I should have done another. Niggling little doubts about getting on that bus, when I should have walked and other such things. But I think they’re just doubts. We never get the chance to ‘correct’ mistakes and just have to learn to live with them.

So what I am trying to say is, if someone gave me the chance to change my life and go back to this or that point and ‘do it right this time’. I know I couldn’t. I would always choose to carry on and shoulder the burden of doubt and just get on with it from here on in. Right?

Don’t be so bloody daft! Now where did I see those ‘build your own time-machine instructions’ again?

Can’t find my latest post?

Hi everyone! If you are looking for my latest post, being Thursday and all, I put it on yesterday as I just couldn’t wait. I know you all sit there with baited breath, awaiting my Thursday posting, but just to confuse you, I posted too early. So there will be nothing being put on here today at all. Sorry. Well, nothing except this of course, but it’s not as ‘funny’ as usual:

The Diabetes Monster!

No. I know. There’s no such thing as a diabetes monster. I have been a type 2 diabetic since 2007. I got a shock upon my initial diagnosis and lost over a stone. That’s about 18 pounds to my American readers. Then I stopped worrying and learned to love my condition. Well alright, I didn’t love it. I didn’t WANT it. But I was getting no symptoms, so didn’t worry about it. Eight years later, I’m STILL not getting any symptoms. But the BS (that’s blood sugar, not the other kind of BS), has gone up a bit.

Someone said to me the other week “Oh you mean you’re blood’s too sweet”. I thought ‘how sweet of her to notice’ only, well, it wasn’t THAT kind of sweet. They say ‘you are what you eat’. So in other words, I AM sugar. Or syrup, or honey, or treacle. Oh stoppit, I’m making me hungry! I must have the worlds sweetest tooth and maybe now the worlds sweetest blood too. For all my brother and sister diabetics out there, no, I’m not eating pure sugar or any of the others. Anymore. There was a time when I could have drunk syrup or poured sugar straight into my mouth. I didn’t, but I could’ve. The worst thing like that I ever did (about thirty years ago), was buy a jar of ‘comb honey’, you know, just a jar of honey, but with a bit of honeycomb in it? I ate that in about three days. I was a pig, I know. But I’m over that now, oink oink! Anyway, my blood sugar readings were going through the roof! My medication was put up to maximum. Then, a revelation!

I was told what the magic word was. Carbs! Carbohydrates, you know like bread, wheat, potatoes, rice, pasta and all the other lovely, tasty things like that. They have to go! Aaawww! I love carbs though. They are the best, tastiest things you can eat. Or so I thought and unlike those endless videos that tell you what their weightloss ‘secret’ is, if you will only watch to the end of the video, (three days later), when you discover that this secret is only available in their instantly downloadable ‘ebook’ and only for ‘X’ number of dollars! I will actually give you this free bit of advice, that my fellow diabetics on a UK forum told me (also free of charge), that carbs are evil! Well no, not evil, but and this doesn’t just apply to diabetics, they not only put up your blood sugar levels, they make and keep you hungry and also keep you fat! I have cut out a lot of the carbs I was eating, even those really, REALLY healthy cereals, with ‘No Added Sugar’ and everything. My blood sugar levels have dropped like a stone and are now well under control once again. Also, for the last few years, I have had an insane hunger, that I thought was uncontrollable! Not now it isn’t, not now I’ve cut my carbs way down.

My dietitians were all telling me that carbs are OK, as long as the bit that says ‘of which sugar’ is low by comparison, meaning how much of those carbs on the label are actually from sugar. So say for example, total carbs are 35g per 100g of product and as long as the sugar part is only a small percentage of that, say 5-10g per 100g, then you’re fine! OK! Hunky-Dory! Rubbish. To a diabetic, ALL of the carbohydrates turns to sugar, which means high blood sugar, bad hunger and more ‘keep fat’ than ‘keep fit’! So dietitians, you’re WRONG, (I think)! So I now aim to eat no more than 50-80 grams of carbs a day. They say you should have 130g a day, but that again, is rubbish. You don’t need to worry so much if you’re NOT diabetic of course, but if you want to lose weight, I can recommend trying a low-carb diet. Of course you should ask your health professional first, I don’t want a law-suit on my hands! Nor can I guarantee that everyone WILL benefit from this. But MY blood sugar levels have gone down, along with my hunger and I am currently losing about one pound a week, it’s not much but hey, after six years of being stuck at the same weight, it’s good to not hear the scales groan so much when I step on them!

So, this is a funny blog? Well it was, but now it’s turned into making a serious point. It just goes to show, that my fingers don’t always type what my brain tells them too. It’s worth it though I suppose. If you can help ONE person they say…Ho hum.

Have a good and sweet weight-losing week dear readers!

The Bus Catcher

Don’t you just love buses? No? Well join the (bus) queue.

When I were a lad, no don’t worry, this isn’t a northern rant about how hard we had it back then! We had funny buses with an open back-end. That is, there was an opening, rather than a door, although some of them had slidey doors that sort of pushed open & shut.

They looked a bit like that one there! These were OK, except in winter, or the rain, or the snow, or the cold, or the wind. (I think you get the idea) We used to freeze! Especially if you were one of the last on & had to sit on the sideways bench seats at the back. You had to climb up to get in these & would usually have to hold on for dear life, while the driver took corners at the same speeds as a formula one race driver! Although the front wasn’t THAT much better either. The seats were usually a sort of plasticky stuff, or even if they were cloth, they had sticky chewing gum on them sometimes, or the remnants of peoples feet. Including mud, although I never got close enough to see if they were smelly too! I used to while away the journey time, by looking at all the adverts overhead & then reading them again & again. If you were very lucky, you might get a seat upstairs, but even as a lad, it could sometimes be hard to get upstairs, as those stairs were very steep & sort of went straight up & straight back down again. These were the most fun when going very fast around corners & again, in the rain. How I never fell down them I shall never know. Also, people were allowed to smoke on buses back then, so you had clouds of smoke to put up with too! Plus we had a ‘clippie’ or conductor on them as well as a driver. The conductor would come around & take your fare from you & issue a ticket, from the funny machine slung around his side. If you were very lucky, an ‘Inspector’ would hop on the bus at one stop & come around checking everyones tickets. I’ve never seen people move so fast! On a later version of bus, smoky diesel fumes used to fill the back of the bus, so while teens & the young used to like sitting at the back, they may look cool, but at the cost of ending up very smelly indeed!

Fast forward a few years. These days, we no longer have a conductor & the bus driver would prefer you to have the correct change. In some places, you have to have the exact money & in others (like London), you have to have an Oyster! Now I like some shellfish yes, but was never too keen on oysters! Although I think this may be some kind of prepaid card like thingy. But buses are warmer than they used to be, they all have doors, (luxury)! But they can still suffer in bad weather, although it doesn’t affect you while sitting on the bus, unless someone with a soggy butt was on your seat before you! There’s no smoking now either.

One thing I have never forgotten, happened in a bus queue in London in 2003. We were all (about 10-12 of us) standing in the queue, a young lady with two kids, was eating some fish & chips out of newspaper (as you do here). When the bus arrived, she rolled up the newspaper into a ball & boarding the bus, dropped the whole lot on the pavement! I, being behind her said “Excuse me, but we don’t do that here”. She just looked at me & turned to shepherd her children on to the bus, I said, “Well at least, that’s a very good lesson to teach your kids”! This time she completely ignored me, while the rest of the queue’rs looked at me like I was stupid. I think this is due to Londoners not being very chatty maybe. So although we had smoky, smelly buses with open ends & weather blowing us all around, at least we had manners. So, some things get better, some get worse & others just stay the same. And I said this wouldn’t be a rant about how we had it back then. I do wish they would make nostalgia a thing of the past!

You wait all day for a blog post & then three come along at once! Maybe. Well, not today, but that’s what we said about buses back in the day. Never mind & like the bus, I’ll catch you later!

The British Weather

Yes I know. It’s all been done before. But this refers mostly to yesterday (Wednesday the first of July 2015). We British love our weather. Do we? Do we really? Well, if we don’t love it, we love talking about it, conferring, discussing arguing and complaining about it. Yesterday, we had a heatwave. A what? It was only 26 degrees! Call that a heatwave? Well it was said that in some places it may have got up to 30, or even higher. It’s been over 40 round the Indian peninsula recently and in Spain and France. Well round about that anyway.

It’s just that we love a good moan and what better to complain about, than something that can’t fight back. Or can it? Since last autumn, people have been complaining about it. It’s not warm enough, it’s too windy, it’s too cold, There’s not enough snow, there’s no snow, it’s cold, it’s still too cold, will spring never start? Will spring never end? What’s happened to our summer and so on. Now yesterday, we had a heatwave. One day. Just the one. Were people happy? Don’t be daft. All I heard yesterday, on the first proper warm day of the year was, it’s too hot! It’s way too hot, this is awful weather, I’ve had enough of this, etc.

I had better whisper this but, I enjoyed it. I do love a good bit of heat. I’m not fussy though. Most of the time, I like it around 21-23 degrees celsius, with little or no wind and dry with a clear blue sky, as you can tell, I’m easily pleased. But when we have been punished with a thunderstorm or the threat of one, every time it gets above 17 degrees, I was getting sick of it! So it makes a change to have something a little over 30. But that will do for me, I don’t need anymore than that, as in this country, it gets too humid and unbearable. Not like on the Med, where 35+ is quite bearable, enjoyable even!

So just when are the British happy with their weather? You might well ask and that’s the whole point of this discussion. The British (us) are happiest when talking about it. It doesn’t matter what it is doing outside, as long as there’s at least some weather going on out there, then people will be chatting about it, in whatever form. At work, at home, In the bus queue, on the bus, or the train even. In the shops, at school, or even in bed. We’re a chatty lot, aren’t we? Well I must admit, it’s better than talking about politics or religion. That’s a complete no-no. Especially in church or the Houses of Parliament!

Oh well, I must go. It looks terribly dark over Bill’s mother’s! See you next week. Oh and don’t forget to bring an umbrella!