The extra bits...(Under construction).

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Smile....

     Today feels as though something has lifted and my smile genuinely reflects how I feel within my gruff exterior for the first time in such a long time, makes me want to dance in the rain.

Thank You Bev x

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Grumpy...

     Ah to be free of the grind for a while, nice whilst it lasted. I managed to get a walk in with Bear around Nercwys woods, which was far more strenuous than anticipated. And before I hear any wisecracks about getting older and my expanding waistline, the reason, other than feeling older and my expanding waistline, was the amount of wind felled timber lying across the usually easy to traverse trails:-






     I have to admit to being a tad melancholy as I strolled between each minor assault course that every fallen tree offered. True the trails around Nercwys woods are pleasant enough to stroll around but some aspects about them brought home the impact man has and is still having upon the environment. As a species we have plundered, raped and mis-managed this living planet we call home for the pursuit of bigger, better faster and we have scant regard of the consequences left in our wake unless we are directly affected by some act of nature as she shows her pain and discomfort, the floods in the South East of England being an example. We clamour for flood defences and immediate action but in the end short term answers are just passing the buck to those who follow. I heard a snippet on the radio t'other day that perhaps by managing the resources we have and implementing ideas such as encouraging not a concrete jungle in our cities and built up areas but a lush oasis with ideas such as living roofs and waste land turned to traditional woodland. Ideas such as these would, it was suggested, slow the flow of water out from the millions of square feet of barron roofing and paved areas, absorb some of the carbon dioxide we are told is contributing to our woes (as well as other toxins), allow food to be grown in these areas and perhaps help us be more in tune with nature and the seasons...something mankind seems to have long forgotten. Maybe we just want to self destruct, maybe it's our nature? but I for one would like to think a difference could be made if enough education, resources and will power was there. Anyway, rant over (for now) just one thing to add though about mis-management. I guess we all think of Yellowstone park as a great wilderness that we managed in the past without fault? well perhaps not but a recent change of tack in the 70's, well very recent in nature's time scale, saw some forward thinking occur and the re-introduction of the American apex predator occurred with some surprising and truly amazing results. Thanks to 'T' on her wonderful blog, found here, for sharing this link...



     One positive though is that I've kept in contact with my parents seeing them whilst off. I showed my father the pocket watch that I recently obtained and explained to him that even though some material folk think that old stuff should be locked away and just appreciated from afar that I love the feel and the use of such items and intend to try and use more such things in an effort to slow my life and stay in touch with a time when faster, bigger wasn't always better. He listened intently (makes a bloody change), then trundled off without a word! Mum came in with a brew and the obligatory biscuit and I thought nothing more of it, that was till ol' string vest trundled back in and placed something in my hand saying "for you son"...



     It's my great grandad's 25 year service award and retirement gold watch from Imperial Chemical Industries or ICI as tis known. I was dumb struck at being handed such items to be trusted with. I've carefully wound the watch and put it alongside the my silver one and, after decades of non use, it has kept perfect time! So now I have two beautiful timepieces, the silver one for everyday and the gold one for when I'm feeling posh. Oh and speaking of which, using old stuff that is, I've just obtained this little beauty as number 3 of my 52 in a year things to do:-


     I'm selling all my 'modern' fishing stuff and replacing it with this single rod and other 'old' equipment. Instead of sitting my fat arse upon the river bank as I used to when I fished in the dim and distant past I intend to use a basic 'old' set up and rove the waters in search of the fish, well that's the plan. Well I've waffled enough methinks so fare thee well good folk.

John




Friday, 14 February 2014

Away

     Goodly folk of the blogosphere I crave your indulgence for as of the eighteenth hour of the fourteenth day of the month of February in the year of our Lord, two thousand and fourteen (that's today then) I shall be taking a leave of absence for a short but as of yet undetermined span of time. 


     But fret ye not for there is naught to concern thy selves with, no dip into darkness, just a need to recharge my batteries from all the hours worked within the fun factory of late. I shall still, hopefully, be touching base here and now but priorities are firstly rest and some life directional thinking. T'will also be dependent upon were my rotund body ends up in this country over the next days and whether or not there be tinternet coverage. 


So fair thee well fine folk, and we'll catch up soon. 


John 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

No longer a vagrant?

     Well I'll be damned! after the weekend's news that the premises that are my abode at this present time have received a very hard, for the owner in any case, offer to refuse thus meaning that myself and Bear would once again be looking for alternative accommodation, a most unexpected offer has been laid at my door (whilst I still have a door that be) by said property owner. I shan't expand any further on this offer as there is a lot of thought required by all parties concerned before it is to become concrete...if at all. But sufficient to say that I am feeling a tad more positive than this time yesterday.

     My last post was slightly blue (and I do not mean my usual anglo saxon!) and for this I apologise, tis not always easy for myself to lift my head and face the day when my mind is just trying to shut the world out but the comments received helped me realise that I am not the only one who feels this way at times so a thank you all for your kind words. 

     One thing I have found about blogging this time around, something that some folk fail to grasp, is that it is real and that people out there that are sharing thoughts, recipes, knowledge, well their lives, are real people and not some imaginary computer game. As long as you just write about your life as it is and try not to be something, or someone, online that you are not then you'll find this place somewhere enjoyable, somewhere to ask  and give help & advice, somewhere to share knowledge and even make friends. In my last escapade into blogging a few years ago I was guilty of been absorbed into the number of hits and comments, which probably partly led to my blog finishing as I was trying to be liked and popular. As I've said, upon an earlier post on this blog, this time stuff what people think of me for I am who I am, somebody who has been through and put the people who love him through hell. All I do here now is to ramble on about all and nothing and hopefully others who feel as low as I have done may take something from it as I try to rebuild a life.

     Speaking of rebuilding, my Ebay adventure is slowly gaining momentum and the sales of plundered trash er treasures has enabled me to purchase one of those new fangled timepieces. People that know my nature understand that I do not wear jewelry, no rings, wrist watches, bangles and certainly no medallion lies upon my hairy hobbit like chest. I do wear a simple reminder of a loved one around my neck upon a thin leather cord. I have seen far to many injuries in my time as a grease monkey to be comfortable with such adornments and with long sleeves for that matter. I also like old stuff, even older than me, so when a fellow pirate showed me his latest acquisition I was intrigued and I wanted one. Mike the Boar, as said pirate shall henceforth be known, is a creature of opportune and haunts the auction houses for the one deal that will allow him to leave this life of debauchery and ill gotten gain. Oh alright I'll get on with it, Mike the Boar had in his possession a gold plated fob or pocket watch dating from the early twentieth century which he tried to sell me for an unmentionably high sum of groats. I beat a hasty retreat from the rather one sided negotiation avoiding my usual habit of impulse buying anything shiny bright. So here's the Ebay connection (got there in the end) and after several attempts to purchase such an item I've finally settled upon this little beauty...




     .......now I do not profess to know much about such matters so I took my time over the last few weeks, even doing some research on hallmarks and manufacturers and the like but to be honest all that went out of the window when I came across this one. So yes I was prepared to be disappointed when it arrived but I need not have concerned myself. Firstly my homework now allows me tell you a little about the watch;- it is sterling silver and bears the mark for Birmingham, manufactured by one Alfred Bedford whilst working for the Waltham watch company, and it is dated, as far as I can tell, as either 1847 or 1899 the later date methinks being the more likely as there is an engraving upon the inner back cover which seems to support this. The engraving reads "Presented to Mr. P. Clancy by the members of St. Patrick's Gaelic clubroom in recognition of his services Dec 25th 09". The style, I believe, is a hunter's watch as the face is also protected with a silver cover. But for me the watch feels right in my hand or pocket for that matter, it is reassuringly heavy and keeps excellent time. It has not been over-cleaned nor abused but it does have the marks of time all over it (pardon the pun). When all is said and done it feels as if it belongs in my pocket. What this watch has also done for me is to rekindle my love of old, but still usable items so hopefully I'll be bringing you more 'antiques' that I shall be using day to day.

     Told you that I ramble, well the weather has been appalling of late so there are no updates for the allotment I am afraid although I have potted up four dwarf cider apple trees that  I have er ahem recently acquired. But I'll be buggered if I'm going outside in this weather to take pictures for you lot! So, after plans to go a visiting  this evening have been thwarted, I am settling in for the evening to cook my dinner, drink copious amounts of tea and write some long overdue emails. Fare thee well.

John



Monday, 10 February 2014

Not a lot to say...

     Absolutely no time to fart the last few days, work has been manic to say the least, the rugby was disappointing and once again I feel a tad like a vagrant as where I'm ensconced at the moment has had a offer accepted upon it so I guess alternative accommodation will be required once again in the near future....bugger. So all in all a disappointing and soul sapping week.


    I did achieve two things though, one more of the 52 weekly tasks in a year, and I spoke to my parents for the first time in too long. Oh the 3rd task of 52 was to retrieve and box up most of my scattered possessions from several different locations, but I guess there's no bleedin' point unpacking now.



     Not a lot to show for over 48 years on this sphere is it? At least it was nice to spend today's waking moments with Bear...



     ....though she appreciated the sun to much to care about ought else. Hopefully I'll be more 'on track' soon and the blog will reflect this....tell you something though, life is so much tougher without a soul-mate at your side.

John

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Hung Over

 14;10


      Mmmm it would appear that I was the victim of a vessel of grog of dubious nature yesterday evening. Myself and a fellow engineer decided, rather impulsively I might add, to entertain ourselves with a quiet and supposedly brief visit across the border to the city of Deva for refreshment in the form, perhaps, of a finest vessel of grog and perchance a roasted suckling piglet for the day had been long and wearisome and fraught with many a danger. I woke this morning with which can only be described as a hangover from Hades, hence my statement about the quality of grog served last night, but then again, I would think that the law of averages would perhaps dictate that of one of the many, many vessels of grog consumed one of them must have been below par.


     So climbing from my pit at a somewhat later time than would normally be considered decent I ambled manfully to the allotment at which I'm helping out upon. It's amazing how a lazy wind, a bit of back breaking graft and some staunch coffee can return you back to the world of the living. As for the allotment, tis taking shape slowly. I've cleared a further area of debris and jungle and again used the technique of plastic sheeting covered with wood chippings, unfortunately today in my enthusiasm I've used up all the remaining communal stock of chippings and will have to await the next delivery methinks (as will some disgruntled fellow allomenters who cast several disapproving glances in my direction as I lugged barrow after barrow load of chippings away ho hum).





     So hangover or no tis been a productive afternoon and the promise of own grown food to come acts as a wonderful spur. Tis a nice feeling to be slowly returning to the real world and as I seem to be getting better and more of a grip upon what's truly important it does appear that other aspects of my life are beginning to fall into place to give my heart a lift. Sitting on the shed step and feeling my body ache t'was with a lighter heart than for a long time that I gazed out and thought about the future instead of a past now gone.

John

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Task 2 of 52...


      Ah a small task completed for 52 things in 52 weeks...actually started cooking food again instead of buying takeaways, microwave meals and other such healthy options. A simple enough thing I know but for me it marks another improvement, another step forward if you like. And what dire fare did I concoct for my first meal? 


     Well again simple enough, I first softened some onions and one chilli pepper in some butter, with a touch of olive oil to stop the butter burning. 



     To this I added some chopped steak which I took the time to brown. Wish I had smelly ap on this as it smelt mighty fine to a starving nethandral like myself.


      To this I added what ever veg I had that looked past its best;- sprouting potatoes, softish carrots, wilted celery, 50p bargain leaks and a couple of cloves of dog eared garlic.



     I then mixed a couple of tablespoons of ordinary flour into half a jug of water (I don't do measuring), added a veg stock cube with seemed to have been loitering around for decades and banged it in the oven on a medium heat.



     All the time I was preparing this I was watched in fascination by a certain individual, not sure whether it was cooking nounce she was interested in or that it was time to hit the trails.


    So to the trails it was, a couple of hours getting soaked to the bone and then back to....


     bloody delicious and very warming, success ha aha.


John

Saturday, 1 February 2014

There be Dragons....

14:10  

     The first day of the month of February in the year 2014, and mark my words it is very a special day indeed. Not because it marks a complete month without the Black Dog dragging my tortured mind back to the abyss, not because yesterday I survived falling asleep at the wheel of flat cap man's car....



     after yet another gruelling night at the fun factory... ouch! Fortunately the only damage was to the tyre, nor is because tis the first day of the weekend ( not that weekends mean bugger all to me). Oh no my uneducated readers this day marks the first round of matches of the 2014 rugby union six nations where my beloved Wales take on five worthy opponents in defence of the title we have held for the last 2 years.


     Oh gather around people and wait with baited breath for that moment when the ball is hoisted high into the air at the cathedral of sport, the Millennium stadium, marking the start of the men in red's epic attempt to win the title for a third consecutive year, a feat that no other team has achieved for none have been good enough.....till now?


     Oh rejoice in the game where real men play with odd shaped balls. There is no place for the weak in body or in mind on this glorious battlefield. You can forget football where it's fine to roll around in imagined agony as your over paid and pathetic excuses for men try to dupe the referee. No for here any sign of weakness in a man is to pounced upon and woe betide you if you dare complain as your spleen is ripped asunder or tears appear unbidden just because your testicular equipment has been ground into the hallowed turf by a twenty stone prop forward. 


      First up for my beloved dragons is that team of pasta scoffing Italians. They have come along way since joining this competition yet like most johnny bloody foreigner they don't travel to well, a stern test for our first match but one that will cause much wailing and gnashing of teeth if the outcome is anything other than a fine blood soaked victory. To come are sterner tests, two fellow celtic teams. Scottish skirt wearing haggis eaters....a team certainly on the up with a back row, if given possession and time to use it, can rip the heart from a team. Yet they lack a spark, that little something that it takes to scare the fire breathing dragons. Then the Guinness swilling, potato munching Irish navies.... the nearly men till three years ago they stormed to their first, and only, six nations title in the grandest of styles beating all comers to claim a grand slam. But they've been around to long and are predicable in their play, with no plan b if things go awry.


     Then we have the galic connection,  Le frogs. Ah truly unfathomable team of two minds. Who knows which team of French aristocracy will take to the field? Will it be the unbelievably joyful to watch team that play with such natural grace, skill and gay abandon, the team that can make the legendary All Blacks (those other fine men with a taste for shagging wooly fluffy types....baa) appear to be a team of thespian knitting types. Or will it be the team of clueless dithering snail sucking imbeciles who turned up last year hoping they were playing the local W. I.? 


     Have I forgotten anyone of significance? Oh yes England. The team all others love to hate. Tis not truly they're fault, indeed no, they are victims of a British press that believes no other sporting nations should have the audacious belief that they can even compete upon the same field as any mighty English sporting team and then when their house of cards come crumbling down the press act mercilessly damning coaches, players and that biased referee to provide the goat for sacrifice. I've yet to see a member of the press lead a team to victory. But also blame for their dislike does belong to themselves as well, in the past they've flounced around with a certain arrogance yet behaviour off the field has been disgracefully unsavoury at times. These men shouldn't let their country down, as rugby players they are expected to be more. But I digress,  tis rugby I'm talking about not things gone by. Ah England, stick the ball up your shirt and everyone run down the middle of the park...well that's how it use to be but Mr. Lancaster is changing things and England are once again a force to be reckoned with. Tis a shame they still won't be liked, but poor losers never are.

     So there we are, the next few weekends will be hell and heaven for me and many other Welsh men...to the victor the spoils.