So…I’m still here!

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I’m sorry folks, I know I promised to write a big bad blog this year, but although I haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’m sorry to say that I’m still here and am still planning to do it. I STILL haven’t sorted out my complaint about an airline treating my partner like doo-doo, just because she has a disability. This is in part, due to the fact that it involves the SPECIAL company who arrange holidays for people with disabilities, the travel company who they booked our holiday with, the airline who that travel company seconded our flight to, even though they have hundreds of their own planes and the people who provided ‘assistance’ by throwing my partner around like an old sack-o’-spuds and leaving her actually sitting atop one of the seatbelt holders! They are all currently passing me from pillar to post and not accepting ANY responsibility. So anyway, if I EVER get around to doing this promised super-blog post, it will probably be about how, not that my partner is disabled, but how the whole world IS disabled. The more I look around, the more things I see that are made into barriers to keep disabled people OUT. We have rules now that say any new buildings must be made accessible to all, but so many companies have found ways AROUND those rules, by building their places into awkward shapes and putting ‘dividers’ about the place, to stop wheelchairs from getting anywhere near. Like one restaurant I know that has fixed seating by all the tables and you are not allowed to put a wheelchair on the end of the table as it’s ‘against the fire safety rules’ and they are legally allowed to (and do) enforce that rule. So in other words, NO wheelchairs are allowed in! Although it’s illegal to discriminate. Work that one out if you can!

WHOOPS! I nearly started writing a post right there and then. Sorry! Hope to see you all soon!

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Mai time had come

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I am someone who, when ‘inspired’ to do something, will stop at nothing to achieve my desire. Not just ‘oh I think I’ll do that’, but something clicks within me. Like many years ago, given the challenge to fix an ‘Anniversary’ clock. Someone put this thing down in front of me, said “I’ll bet you can’t get this going again” and left me with it. Of course, such a challenge to me is more like a red rag to a bull. Let me explain to those of you not in the know, just what an ‘Anniversary’ clock is. You may have seen one. It has a circular wooden base, with a clock movement atop it, below the clock part, at the top of four metal posts, is an arrangement of four (for want of a better word) balls. These spin around, like a circular pendulum, making the clock tick as they stop one clockwise revolution and tock as it completes an anti-clockwise one and so on. All of this is covered by a glass or plastic dome. The anniversary part, is due to the fact that it should run for about 400 days or thereabouts, so if you get it as a gift, you then wind it up on the anniversary of receiving it. I’m not talking about a silly, battery operated one either. No, this was as mechanical as it gets, the four-balled pendulum dangles by a thin strip of metal, like a kind of spring that gets wound up and unwound on each alternating spin and it was this that was the main problem of this clock. My instructor informed us that the best way to see why a clock DOESN’T run, is to watch a working one and try to discover exactly why it DOES run. So I sat there for a few hours watching a good one to see what made it tick (and tock). I’m digressing, so will cut this short. Basically, although it took me about a week of tweaking and watching, (while doing other things as well of course), I completed the challenge and fixed the clock!

The main point of this post, which has taken me ages to reach is that for years, I have wanted to try a (rum-based) ‘Mai Tai’ cocktail. I used to drink a lot of rum when younger and believe that I may have, single-handedly, helped keep the Barbados government budget afloat with my rum-drinking efforts! However, having ‘asked around’, it seems that no-one local, or within over a thousand miles even, makes or sells such a concoction! I kept asking and even printed out the ingredients and handed them to various barmen in pubs, inns and hotels all around, all to no effect. I finally accepted that no such cocktail would be imbibed by me, unless I made one myself. I gave myself a challenge to drink one on Christmas Eve 2015 at the latest. So armed with the internet, (thankfully, as I could NEVER have done it without), I set about researching the history and ingredients of the previously unsourceable Mai Tai. It would have been much easier if I had simply had the funds to take a holiday in Hawaii, the Caribbean or even just California and other such places that DO make and sell such a thing. But it wasn’t to be and so, burning the midnight oil and poring over web-based documents, like Gandalf, trying to research the history of THAT ring. During my search, I discovered interesting characters such as “Don the beachcomber” and “Trader Vic” and their infamous, colourful histories, while trying to find the original and best version of my much sought after libation. Not happy with just any old Mai Tai was I, oh no, I had to find the actual, proper one as, apparently, nearly every bartender and ‘mixologist’ makes a different version. So I eventually found the real one and then spent a few more weeks trying to find the ingredients locally(!) Not an easy prospect at all! I bought some ‘bits’ in the shops, had to find others on the internet and even had to resort making my own in the kitchen! Did I succeed? Of course I did, but the first version, created just the day before Christmas eve, was not very good, although I did it! But have made a much better and more enjoyable one since, but oh my heavens is it strong!?  (I had a different cocktail abroad last year, an ‘Aviation’, only it tasted very good, but very weak as, obviously, the bar wanted to make it with hardly any alcohol, in order to make a massive profit out of me)!!! So now I shall probably have to ‘water down’ my own Mai Tai, in order to save me from being blown away by booze, every time I fancy a cocktail. I’m not much of a drinker anymore and thank goodness for that! I hope this hasn’t left you all shaken? (Or stirred, come to that). Happy New Year! Hic!

P.S. The picture above IS an original Mai Tai and not like any of the red, orange, pink or whatever people will tell you is the correct versions, when they’re not. It’s the taste that counts. Maita’i roa ae. Look that up, if you have the time!

I don’t do lists. So in light of that, here is mine.

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1) Why does Christmas come around sooner every year? Oh I know there’s at least 365 days between each one, but they somehow ‘manipulate’ that for sure. I’m old yes, but not stupid enough to believe that there was more than 100 days since the last one. Maybe it’s a time thing. ‘Inflation’ or something like that!

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2) Why do women secretly have this wish to wipe out or just blind the male population? Just because they appear to be shorter than us men, (I’m only 5’6”) and go around on cold, rainy and wintry days with the points of their umbrellas pointed at our eyes at an angle of about 45 degrees?

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3) Why do people in London have this ‘London Weighting’ thing? They get paid more, just because it costs more to live there. I understand that. What I don’t understand, is why when I visit there, I don’t get paid more for the time I am there and have to pay grossly inflated prices for everything!

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4) How does Santa enter our houses, now that chimneys are a scarce item in new properties?

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5) Why do multi-storey car parks have to be made, so that when you drive around them, unless you can turn on a sixpence, you nearly bang into every wall and then have the tiniest spaces possible, with lots of dividing walls to cause even more scrapes?

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6) Finally, why is Rudolph the only reindeer to participate in Red Nose Day?

I’d better stop now, or someone else on here may think I’ve stolen her list idea.

I wish someone would give me humbugs for Christmas, then I could go around offering one to everybody, saying ‘Bah, Humbug’?

Meanwhile, just remember that “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to feed and be fed in return”. (With apologies to Eden Ahbez).

Enter title here

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I have recently discovered why I am not a better photographer than I am. This is partly due to the above photograph that I took last night. It is a picture of the remnants of sunset, as I sped along towards Norwich in Norfolk, UK and was taken through the car’s windscreen. I hasten to add that my partner was driving, so no need to worry about this photographer living dangerously! As you can see, in the picture, there are two of our local telephone lines atop a telegraph pole. The pole was built and erected sometime during the last century, probably pre-1960! This is the problem. Although Norfolk has loads of great pictures just lying around waiting for people to take them, I can’t seem to find any new ones and so usually end up with something like this. On a photo-site that I subscribe to, there are many of the worlds great sites, taken from many different angles & tweaked to perfection by their ‘takers’. As great as Norfolk is, we don’t have a Golden Gate Bridge or huge rocky outcrops, there are no ‘Uluru’s or Sydney Opera Houses. No Amalfi coastlines or great Hagia Sophia type temples. So all I can do is take pictures of the things we have locally. Some people are lucky to live near many great views or architecture. Norfolk is beautiful, I don’t deny that, but I have just travelled abroad recently and it will be quite a while until I can do it again. So Norfolk will just have to do for now. We have a pier at Cromer from where this photograph of mine comes: DSC00670 But once you’ve taken it as many times as I have, it becomes a bit ‘samey’. Maybe I’ve lived here too long and need a change? I see many people who enter photo competitions have the same pictures as each other. Obviously they can manage to travel to the worlds top photo sites. I am usually too busy for that though. We can all take pictures of the moon though can’t we? DSC00512 (2) Yes, that’ll do and there’s no need to travel. I recently took a few shots of it while in Mallorca, but couldn’t see any difference. So to be a ‘top’ photographer, you need ‘top’ money and the time to spend travelling around. I don’t have either of those and so will just have to make do with what I have here and the odd trip out to different places. Please excuse the title at the top. I haven’t forgotten to add one, just that somehow “Enter title here” fits perfectly, as I have no idea what to call my post this week. I also think that my camera hinders me a bit, as somehow a DSLR makes everything look better, so maybe I’ll go back and take all the same old pictures of the same old things, but make them look better, when I get my first one, hopefully soon. I’m currently trying to get into portraits too. So maybe this new direction will open up new photographic opportunities. I never take ‘selfies’ though, I can’t afford to break the camera I have just yet!

Okay. Now hold that pose, smile and say smelly old English mature cheddar CHEESE! See you next week.

Blogger blogging about bloggers

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I know right? What a ridiculous title! But what it meeeeeans, is that I think as a blogger, I seem to be more successful at reading other peoples blogs and commenting on those. My best ideas come when I have just read someone else’s funny blog. Then I seem to be spewing words left, right and centre! When I have to do it myself. Well, it’s harder. I believe that this is, as I seemed to moan (jokingly) about a lot of things when I started out. For instance: https://puttingmyselfdown.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2&action=edit  which was my first post, all about how much I dislike ring-roads as we call them. Especially the one around Norwich in the UK. Then there were posts about doggy-poop at the beach and mobile phones. All meant to tittilate and touch your funny bone, albeit with a serious undertone. Now I seem to have run out of things to moan about! I think that’s because I STILL moan about ring-roads and mobile phones in real life. The problems that make me laugh don’t seem to change much, but I can’t go on writing about them for ever, can I? New things do come up of course, like my latest dislike about air-travel. I HATE flying! I have flown, in total, for 25 hours! Yet the latest two of those hours (one flight) made me feel just as bad as the first hour. I don’t enjoy it, never have, never will. Mostly because of that strange feeling of nothing being below me. I like my terra-firma, to be a little firmer than that of an aircraft’s thin metal bits. Also, as I’ve never had a flight lasting more than two hours, (a lifetime for me), I’ve never gotten to enjoy the entertaintment system that long-haul routes seem to have. On my flights, it’s all coach and one tiny, weeny little screen for about 30-40 people in each section, if they have any at all!

Oh I’m sorry, I’ve just done it again haven’t I? I promise not to talk about flying again! Well not in this post anyway. Please feel free to read some of my earlier stuff and tell me of your ‘bugbears’, things you don’t like, or absolutely detest even! Who knows? My blog may even feature in there! I wouldn’t be at all surprised. I’ll leave you with this strange thought I have just had. If someone commits a crime on a road crossing, would the police put up those signs saying “Crime scene, do not cross”? Then you’d be stuck, wouldn’t you?

Anyway, must fly! Whoops!

PS Must just let you know that one of my favourite pastimes, when I get the time, which is only rarely now, is I have a FLIGHT SIMULATOR! It’s just a computer prog on this very machine, but I love it! It’s sort-of safer than ACTUAL flying, as you can go off and make a cup of tea or something if you get bored. Maybe that’s why I hate flying so much, as you have to climb into a real plane and risk life and limb in order to do it. Getting to the other end is the payoff I suppose, but then I can’t settle until I’m back at home, sitting in my favourite armchair, or on here, boring you lot (dear readers)! Oh no, I promised and here I am again. Shut-up about flying already Gilbo! I’m sorry. See you next week? Maybe?

Funny blog? Anyone? No?

Well, that’s it. I knew that last night’s blog post was the funniest thing that I have written in a while. So I just sat back and waited for the comments to come flooding in. “Great post”! “Yeah man, go you”! “Funniest thing I’ve read for years”! “I laughed so much, I ruptured my spleen”! Etc. Only, I’m still waiting for the FIRST comment to come flooding in. I have quite a few ‘likers’ and ‘followers’, but not many commenters. I decided that if I get no comments this week, that I am DEFINITELY, gonna give this whole blogging thing up. One day. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next week, maybe not the week after the week after the week after that. But, oh blow it, I don’t know how the saying goes. I need to get more readers. Somehow…

In Absentia

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There have been no posts recently, as I’ve bin on me hol’s! No, not ‘In Absentia’ as that in’t an actual place. But I’ve been somewhere and now I’m back. So something’s coming. Just give me a while and I’ll be posting again as usual. TTFN!

Fine-Ants Problems

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Well hello again! I hope you are having a fine and happy summer, o readers of my incessant blog! We’re not, in the UK that is. The weathermen (and women) tell us that “it’s going to be a lovely day tomorrow, with temperatures up to 22 degrees celsius” and then it isn’t. It’s cold (16 deg.), wet and rainy, then on the next forecast, they say “Well it’s been a lovely, warm day today” and it wasn’t. So maybe they’re just pretending, as there’s nothing they can do about it. Anyhow, I’m digressing as, the main reason for this ‘rant’ isn’t the weather at all, but rather money. ‘Finance’, not like the title at all is it? It certainly isn’t funny and neither is money.

We recently had to change some money from ours into theirs for a holiday, at the rather French sounding, ‘Bureau de Change’. Why can’t they just call it money exchange? Anyway, this is from British Pounds into European ‘Euros’ that I’m talking about here. I spent weeks watching the euro exchange trends, seeing it bounce up and down against the pound, like a pony-tailed young girl in a tennis dress at Wimbledon, trying to win a few points against it’s opponent. The Greeks couldn’t seem to sort out their problems with the ‘single currency’ and I waited, like a hawk, fluttering it’s wings and hovering above a mouse or vole, ready to pounce the very moment the Pound hit the magical 1.50 mark. Or 1.45, or 1.44, you get the picture. But it didn’t and when the Bank Of England didn’t do what it was supposed to do to the interest rates, the exchange rate suddenly fell like a stone and I, like a rat leaving a sinking ship, dived into the nearest foreign exchange to change my money at a paltry 1.38! We had got some Euros a few weeks earlier at a higher rate, so we’ve still done fairly well I suppose and only lost a few pounds into the bargain. The last time we went, we only got 1.20, so we’re still way ahead of that now. At least I now know that I couldn’t work in finance. Never mind ‘Black Friday’ or whatever, my nerves are now so bad, that on my first day there, I would be the first out of the window, even if things were going OK! I know I shouldn’t joke about such things, but I could never handle such a high-pressure environment. I get worried if I over-inflate my tyres, never mind the bloomin’ economy!

What I do dislike about changing money though, is the porkies they all tell! That is, porky-pies (lies). Bit of rhyming slang there. They say, “Oh come and change your money here, we don’t charge any commission”! Rubbish. So the actual foreign exchange rate for the Pound to Euro is say, 1.42, that means that on the online comparison site, the place you intend to change your money at, will say 1.40 or 1.39. When you get there however, it will say 1.38 or even 1.36! I always ask why this is and they say “No, we don’t charge commission, but we have to make money somewhere”! In other words, they DO charge commission, but call it a ‘different’ exchange rate. Then if, while on holiday, you haven’t blown the lot on bull-shaped bottles of Sangria and china donkeys in hats with holes for their ears to poke through, as presents for the family, then you get robbed again, when you try to change your money back! The rate to get your pounds back, always means that you lose quite a lot, just on those two transactions alone! So it’s always best to really enjoy your holiday. Forget about blowing a load of cash on things for Auntie Flo et al and just stuff yourself with spicy foreign food and strange herbal concoctions of the local spirit, to use the money up. Then when you get to the ‘Bureau de Change’, you’ll have such a bad head, you won’t care if you get much back or not!

I hope you have all had/are having/will have a great holiday or just a great summer if you’re staying at home. Whatever you’re doing, make the most of what we have left of any good weather as, as I always say, it will “Soon Be Christmas”!

My life (edited)

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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!