Friday, 30 April 2010
Although in my day there were some Masters whom we simply daren't play up for fear of the consequences, there were others who were regarded as a soft touch and who were noted for being unable to keep a firm grip on classroom discipline - and I guess that's still just as much a facet of teaching now as it was then and probably always had been. However, what's different is that in my day there were repercussions. Being sent to see the Headmaster was known to have unpleasant results - and refusing to go wasn't an option. I don't know what the standard of discipline generally is like in the school at which this incident took place, but I can't help feeling that the abolition of caning has contributed an awful lot to the deterioration in standards of pupil behaviour of which this sad incident is a perhaps rather extreme example.
Thursday, 29 April 2010
As we got down to near where the brook is, a football appeared in front of her, closely followed by a young lad. Too late: she darted forward and grabbed his ball in her mouth. "Oh, shit!" he exclaimed, but I persuaded her to relinquish the ball and apologized to him. She didn't want to keep it, just to play with it, and although I got her a ball of her own at one time, she doesn't find that nearly as much as playing with other peoples'.
Monday, 26 April 2010
I've taken some assorted photos of this and that when I've been writing entries on this blog, just to add a bit of colour and illustrate what I've been doing - so I thought I might as well upload those as well. I wasn't expecting them to arouse a great deal of interest: they're hardly unique and in one or two cases the technical quality isn't very good either. So it was to my great surprise that I found when looking at the stats for my photos that the new set of 18 images have clocked up over 220 views in the space of twenty-four hours to make it the second-highest number of views in a single day for my stuff, and by far the most popular are three of me in my muddy wellies on Easter Day. Huh? Go figure. Not that I'm complaining: it just seems an odd choice and not the one I'd have predicted. Anyway, here's the pic everyone seems to have latched onto as their favourite....
Sunday, 25 April 2010
Saturday, 24 April 2010
A growing innovation in recent months is an absolute deluge of charity clothing collection bags left in the letterbox: the idea being to fill the bag with old clothing (and sometimes but not always books and bric-a-brac as well) which will, allegedly, be collected on a specified day later in the week. Except that I've never yet seen anyone actually doing the collections, resulting in any full bags left littered about the street. I'm skeptical too about how much of the money actually goes to the charity concerned, and how much of what's supposed to be resold actually gets siphoned off as the collector's profit, because judging by the number of bags we get left - sometimes two or three a week - it seems like big business. I've so many of these wretched bags accumulated at the moment in fact that to fill them all would take every single item of clothing that I own! So I'm just going to use them as bin liners, which will save me buying any, and the clothes I don't need I'm going to sell on eBay. After all, charity begins at home, as the old saying goes.
Friday, 23 April 2010
And I found a place to get my shears sharpened after all! I took them in on Tuesday (and they were supposed to have rung me when they were ready, but didn't) but I was able to collect them this morning - £5 + VAT. The guy said he'd had to bend the blades back a bit to make them align properly which must be why I'd been ripping everything out with them instead of cutting it. Yay... life is good!
Tuesday, 20 April 2010
It does of course give a bad name to the majority of sellers who are honest and conscientious: certainly I've had some real bargains, as well as fair treatment as a regular customer - all of which counterbalances a proportion of duds from idiots out to make a quick buck for little or no effort. It hasn't put me off buying anyway, and I will say that on the couple of occasions I've had to claim refunds recently, I got my money back both quickly and easily.
Monday, 19 April 2010
Hardly surprising in a way: I did find online a professional tool sharpening service which would cost £6 - reasonable enough - but plus £4 for the return carriage plus whatever it cost me to pack them securely and send them (probably another £4). Against that, the cost of some new ones with a 5-year guarantee is £13. So on the face of it, it looks like it's pretty uneconomic to get them serviced. Which is true of an increasing number of consumer goods of all shapes and sizes these days: the high labour cost of fixing something like a toaster or a coffee machine for example means I wouldn't even try, and with something like a washing machine the call-out charge alone tots up to almost £100. It all amounts to a considerable disincentive to even try and prolong the life of anything by repairing it. I daresay the scrap metal guy who comes round in his lorry touting for business does rather well out of it all, though.
Sunday, 18 April 2010
Saturday, 17 April 2010
Friday, 16 April 2010
Wednesday, 14 April 2010
I remember the first time I said it at school. It was at secondary school (I don't recollect ever hearing it at junior school) and I was twelve going on thirteen. We were playing a game in the playground and I got a bit tongue-tied and it slipped out by accident. I blushed furiously. The game stopped. My classmates were gobsmacked and fell silent until Robin King exclaimed incredulously "Brooksbank just said 'Fuck'"!! *shock, horror* I tried to explain, but to no avail. It was almost like some weird coming-of-age ritual: I'd said the f-word and so I was now grown-up - no longer an innocent little child. This was in the days before it was allowed to be used on TV or the radio, and certainly none of us dared use it within earshot of the Masters.
I never dared use it at home. My parents never swore in front of us as kids, still less at us - not until I was a teenager and my mother if roused to a fury would let rip with a "bloody" or two. I knew better than to do it back! It's odd, because even as an adult after I'd left home I still never swore in their house. I've never gone in for using it in public at all in fact. It wasn't considered good etiquette at work: we couldn't do it it front of the customers of course, but even out of earshot of those who were the cause of our displeasure there was an unwritten rule that the f-word was a bit much.
So I tend to save it for those occasions when something or someone really drives me to it. Which is using it to its best advantage, in a way: I mean if you use it as an everyday element of ordinary speech like that eight-year old was doing this evening, it ceases to mean anything.
Tuesday, 13 April 2010
Monday, 12 April 2010
Anyway, I got up, loaded the washing machine with some towels, stacked the dishwasher and got them both going, and made myself a pot of coffee. Did a bit of early morning surfing till around eight when the dog barked at the postman's arrival, signalling that everyone else was now awke, too. Perhaps predictably, by lunchtime I was feeling pretty weary, and had a siesta!
And it's great, of course, to be able to do it - to set my own hours according to what my body tells me it's got the energy to do, instead of being condemned forever to the 9 to 5 mentality with a boss glowering at me like a schoolteacher for being five minutes late in the morning. I'm much more productive doing things when I want to, rather than getting paid to do them according to a nominal timetable, and I suspect an awful lot of other people are as well. There again, someone poor soul's got to mind the shop!
Sunday, 11 April 2010
The other side of the path which bisects the area, we go past a small pond. She used to like to dive in, and during the summer when the water was low and the sun was hot, she'd wallow in the shallows looking just like a little hippo. To our surprise today, there were a couple of ducks swimming there. I don't know where they've come from: two or three years ago a volunteer conservation group cleaned out the pond, removing the shopping trolleys and other items of junk and debris that mindless vandals always seem to delight in leaving behind them wherever they go. Maybe it was they who sponsored the ducks? However I decided they wouldn't appreciate their morning swim being interrupted by a hairy hippo wannabe, and we moved on.
We made our way over and sat on the little bench for a rest as usual, just as this picture shows - it was taken about six years ago, I guess, when we were both a little younger and a little more hairy. The bench looks much the same, though!
Saturday, 10 April 2010
Friday, 9 April 2010
Thursday, 8 April 2010
Wednesday, 7 April 2010
On the other hand, I do remember one boiling hot summer's day when I was eight going on nine, putting on my father's big hobnailed army boots and sitting around in my bedroom in them: I must have been absolutely roasted! My mother came in, took a horrified look and told me to take them off, thinking I'd gone mad. I escaped getting punished for it, and I never did find out whether she told my father what I'd done.
When I was eleven I went one better! On the top floor of the rambling old house we lived in there was a boxroom in which I discovered one day two pairs of my father's old army motorcycle boots. I put on the black ones which were a size 7, so they weren't that much too big for me, and I loved the way the thick leather came all the way up my legs to my knees. I had a playroom in the room just next door, and I used to wear these boots undisturbed for many a happy hour up there - undiscovered but with the thrill of doing something naughty. I don't know what happened to them, but one day when I went to look, they weren't there anymore. I guess my father must've had a clear-out or something.
That put paid to my boot wearing activities for a while. We weren't allowed to wear boots to school, so I knew my mother wouldn't buy me any of my own, and I could hardly ask her given the reason I wanted them! So I had to wait until I'd grown up, had my own money and could buy what I wanted with it. In fact, by one of odd those quirks of fate, I got a motorbike in 1979 and thus got a pair of motorcycle boots of my very own after all. Not only that, for most of my adult life, I've worn boots of one sort or another: even now I tend to wear them in preference to shoes most of the time.
I can certainly trace it all back to that hot day as a boy when I tried my father's on, but I can't help feeling there may be something even further back, earlier in my childhood, buried deep in my subconscious, for boots to have held such an attraction and fascination for me all these years.
Tuesday, 6 April 2010
I shall cast my vote: I've done so ever since I got a vote in 1969 (when the voting age was still 21) because I happen to think unless you do you have very little moral right to complain afterwards if you don't like the outcome. I can't work up a great deal of enthusiasm, all the same. I remember some elections in the past with some character to them (and real characters in them) - and I stayed up half the night watching the results come in. All the present politicians come across to me as rather bland and colourless: there's no-one who's charismatic enough to inspire me with a vision of a future that I really, really want to be a part of.
Which puts me in mind of the old 'acid test' saying: "Would you buy a used car off this salesman?" I wouldn't buy so much as a bike off any of 'em!
Monday, 5 April 2010
Over the course of the last eleven years I've had somewhere in the region of a couple of dozen genital piercings performed, a few of which of which I still have, and because I had many of them done in the company of like-minded friends, I had pictures taken of them, and submitted them to BME. All except one I think are disembodied shots of male anatomy which could belong to anyone, but on one memorable occasion after I had a guiche done, the piercer grabbed the camera and took a shot of me with a huge grin on my face displaying his handiwork! I'm not going to re-post it here. Not because I'm ashamed of it, I'm not. Nor because it depicts anything illegal, it doesn't. It's simply that, taken out of context, at best it's just going to titillate and at worst possibly shock the unsuspecting viewer.
This brings me to my main concern. Whenever I've been photographed doing something incriminating - be it just potentially embarrassing (say if my employer had discovered it), or actually illegal (and I don't think there is anything that falls into that category) - I've taken a risk. In my case the risks were fairly minimal, but they're there all the same. My privacy, in terms of who can see what I get up to, is important to me and while whatever is posted on the Internet is always liable to be illicitly downloaded, copied and circulated for a purpose other than that for which it was intended, the principle of safeguarding hidden identity should be both paramount and sacrosanct.
Sunday, 4 April 2010
But today she wasn't around to complain, so I sploshed happily through the mud just as I loved doing when I about seven. In places it was quite deep and I could feel the suction gripping my boots as I pulled to extricate myself, and I heard the satisfying sluuurp sound. A bit further on there was surface water deep enough to wash it off, but only temporarily as I walked on a bit further still and started all over again. I guess I'll forever be a bit of a kid at heart, but it was a lovely fun way to spend Easter morning. I always find there's something innately satisfying about re-creating treasured childhood memories and experiences - especially those of things I wasn't really allowed to do at the time!
Saturday, 3 April 2010
I was back at school - or rather I'd just left. Because instead of staying on into the sixth-form and doing A levels, which is what I did at the time, I'd left at the age of 15. It wasn't altogther clear why but for some reason the impression I have (or had) is that I couldn't stop on. I think I may in fact have been expelled! At the time it wouldn't have mattered, but in my dream it did because the school-leaving age was the present-day one of 16 and not 15, so I'd left illegally - but without anybody realizing it. I was pretty sure my parents were going to get into heaps of trouble with the authorities as a result, although I seemed to be more worried about it than they were. Having been the youngest in the class I'd effectively completed my education and finished my exams a year early, so what the hell was I going to do or study for another whole year (the year in which I turned 16) - when I didn't want to go back and/or the school didn't want me back? I'd done all I needed to, so what an utterly futile waste of time it was going to be. At which point I neatly solved the dilemma by waking up!
I've no idea what brought that one on. Sometimes I can relate a dream to something I've seen or done recently which has a vague connection, but at the time when I was writing about my schooldays and putting up my website and I thought I probably would dream about it, I didn't. I daresay it's probably just as well that we don't have any real control over what we dream about. Or at least, I never have, even when I've tried to concentrate intently on something as I dropped off to sleep, in the deliberate hope of dreaming about it.
Friday, 2 April 2010
Getting back into the swing of doing all that again this week has been plain sailing. I've been tempted by the odd piece of cake or two, but I've been strong willed and kept my resolve. And I'd forgotten how good it felt to wear a corset! I can see the effect slowly producing results when even after I've taken it off, my stomach is noticeably flatter now. I look better and I feel better. And since today is Good Friday and it's a holiday, perhaps I should improve on the shining hour by taking the dog for a walk in the woods: I'm sure she'd enjoy that!