Mai time had come

mai_tai

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.

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!

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?

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!

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

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?

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).

The invisible blogger strikes again!

Hello people! It’s me! I put a new post on! Hello! Well sorry for all the exclamation marks there, but I swear I’m invisible on this here blogging site thingy. Oh I’ve had a few readers, well, one that I know of this week, but some people get hundreds and I need to find out exactly why I don’t. I don’t think search engines like me very much. I was told “Oh it’ll be alright when you get picked up by a search engine, then you’ll be well away”. Well I haven’t been and I’m not. Maybe it’s because I put on too many of these whingy “Why isn’t anyone reading my blooooooggg”??? posts. Right then, I’ll stop that right away and wait for another reader to come flooding in.

Anyway, trying to be funny as ever, I’ve been on a bit of a bread thing comedy wise this week, whereas all my jokes seem to be bread related. You could say I’m on a bit of a roll! (Sorry). I know, I should use my loaf more and try to come up with funnier stuff than that, or I won’t get ANY readers at all! I should sell my jokes, I certainly knead the dough (groan), I’ll just have to (french) stick at it. People say I’m usually funny, but not at the moment because they don’t find bread jokes very funny. They think I’m crackers and say that I waffle on too much. It’s just that I see so many people laughing at the jokes of others and I suppose I want a pizza the action. Maybe my jokes are just too corny (cornbread) as they all seem to fall flat (flatbread). Someone even shouted something about Foccacia at me, at least I think that’s what he said. Maybe what I need is more filler, instead of just these silly bread types. Still, did you hear of the baker who got eaten by one of his own loaves this week? It was tiger bread! I’m terribly sorry and will try to do butter, sorry, better next time.

Maybe this ‘Great British Bake Off’ programme has gotten to me. Doughnut fear, brave readers, for I shall return with another slice of humour soon!

A big rock in Mallorca

Es Calomer small

I went here the other day, to look at a lighthouse (Cap de Formentor) and to look at this big rock (Es Calomer). I climbed up (and down) a truckload of precarious looking concrete steps and pointed my camera at that there rock and because I did, you can now look at it too. I also realised that I don’t like heights like this, especially when people are coming and going past you in all different directions and I could very easily have ended up in that very water you can see below. I therefore declare this sight ‘Beautiful but deadly’. The photo is all my own work, but I think from now on, I’ll take pictures of things a lot closer to the ground!

I don’t just write stuff you know!

Hi! It’s me again! Well, who else would you think it was, on MY page? As my most recent choir has once again gone ti, sorry er…belly up, I thought I should find something new to do. I have recently had an old, broken down camera replaced and with a lack of suitable hobby, I thought I should (re)take up….wait for it….Photography! Yay. So this is my feeble attempt to add a few of my paltry photos and maybe solicit some kind of comments, on just how awful they are. I find that a lot of photographers way better than me, (that’s probably all of them actually), seem to get famous by photographing things that are already well-known landmarks anyway. So that beautiful hill they took a picture of, has been there for millenia! Oh yes, I know that the right time of day and lighting has a lot to do with it. Then they go off and ‘tweak’ it and add some things and take some others away, thereby almost making it a completely different image than the one they started with! In light of this (see what I did there)? I shall put on a picture of mine, that I just took a few hours ago, of a famous local landmark. Then you can all marvel at the wonderful description of it (Pulls Ferry, Norwich, UK) where the stone was brought into Norwich, in order to build the big, even more famous, Norwich Cathedral. There, now you know that, you can stare at the image for a few hours and slowly begin to realise, that I must be the next David Bailey or Ansel Adams. I’m tired and can’t be bothered to find out what type of pictures they take, but it’s probably women or some such, while I’m trying to do landscapes! Ho Hum. Anyway, I’m off to bed now, so please (Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwnnn), no, that was not an instruction, that was me yawning, I told you I was tired. So please enjoy this amazingly good picture of an old building, reflected in and next to, an even older river. (You should be able to click on it, to make it even bigger)! Please feel free to comment and to pour admiration, all over me. Thank you! Thank you! (Bows and leaves for the bedroom).DSC05562

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?

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!

Writer’s Block

This week, having nothing up my sleeves but a couple of old arms, I thought I would address the problem of writer’s block.

I have had it before but, I always find that, once you start writing something, anything, you no longer have a blank page staring back at you. In fact, some of my best writing has started like that. (He says ‘confidently’ while hastily clutching at straws, that seem to be floating all around, but just out of reach)!

Unlike the character played by Jack Nicholson in “The Shining”, I find that it doesn’t help at all to just sit there, typing ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’. Plus, like in the film, I’m sure it would just send me as crazy as he was!

No, it’s always best, for me at least, to just start something and then, when ‘the good stuff’ finally comes along, I just delete all the other nonsense like this and carry on, typing out my next ‘best seller’. (Oh please, would anyone who’s listening up there, just send me some good stuff? Like now, please)!

I feel sure that something good will be along in just a minute, but while you and I are waiting, here is some music… OK, just kidding! I may be clever and all, but I can’t do that. Talking about music though, did I ever tell you about the time I was in a choir? No? Well, I was in a choir. It was quite recently in fact, but then it died. Again. (There had been two choirs over the years & they both ‘passed away’). Maybe it was something I said, or sang even? I think I’m bad luck when it comes to choirs, as this one was really very good. It’s location was even haunted by a little ghost girl, apparently. I don’t know, maybe that was why it failed. Maybe she didn’t like the sound of people singing in her ‘home’.

Oh darn. I just had an idea and then it went. Or was it…um…no, it’s gone. Well I’m sorry dear reader, but this week I think you will just have to put up with a load of old twaddle! It’s funny, because I’ve never dried up to this extent before. Well there was that one time, when I was on stage, playing a character in yet another ‘farce’ in an amateur dramatics group. Oh, didn’t I tell you about that either? Well I was…… (I’m sorry to interrupt this blog, but I’ve just decided that enough is enough. Normal blogging service will be resumed as soon as possible). Oh dear! I wouldn’t wish the dreaded writer’s block on anyone!

I should be back by next week, with something better hopefully. See y’all soon!