Saturday, July 30, 2005

50 Free Rides

The Earth goes spinning through space, carelessly ticking off the days with each revolution, and follows its trajectory – meanwhile...I go careering, headlong, out of control into the future…
Another few hundred million miles and I will have completed my 50th free ride round the sun.

There are things that come pretty high up on my list of hated things. One of them is the sacroilliac nerve….never have a back…another is impatient motorists on German highways and a new member of my list-of-hated-things is 50th birthdays…and the fact that you are subsequently “in your fifties” UGH!!!

Actually, being 49 is a bit of a pain too - I mean, what is the point of being 49? It is a complete waste of time - you might as well just be 50 and get it done with.

Hmm…but wait a moment…here’s a thought…

Now, I don’t really admire much of what the French have given to the world either, be it wobbly-voiced singers or frog-leg dinners… but I could make an exception for their counting system.
Most languages I know have a relatively straightforward way of counting. You have units up to ten and then names for the multiples of ten until you reach a hundred - you know; thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy and so on.

Well the French found that too complicated perhaps or rather too simple so they have words for the tens up to sixty and then whoever was inventing the language gave up – perhaps he hopped out for a frog-leg lunch and never came back – anyway, the French count normally - until they get past sixty nine. Then the confusion starts - there is no “word” as we know it in French for “seventy” so they just go on counting: sixty-eight, sixty-nine, sixty-ten, sixty-eleven…and when they get to sixty-nineteen (79 to you), what comes next? Sixty-twenty??…non, non…sacre bleu…here they go totally loopy and say “four twenties” quatre vingts…and having gone down that slippery rue there is no stopping them, four twenties and one; four twenties and two; four twenties and three…
Ninety? No problem… “four twenties and ten”

So, how about if we did something similar in English after forty. We could get to forty-nine and then say, for example; two and a half eighteens and five; two and a half eighteens and six…
That way I would never reach the big five oh!

And instead of being in my fifites, I would be in my two and a half eighteens…now that I can just about live with!

Friday, July 29, 2005

First Day - Last Day

William's first day...Sept 11th 2001 Posted by Picasa

William, my youngest, finishes junior school today. Is that sad or what!? It seems like only the day before yesterday when he was being interviewed for the newspaper on his first day (Sept 11th 2001 by the way). I know this time flies and seems like only yesterday stuff is a cliché - but like so many clichés it is one because it happens to be true!
I remember when I finished junior school, sitting in the classroom all alone, watching the other kids through the window going home and feeling...what...erm, a nostalgic kind of melancholy... sadness - "this is the last time I will be at this school"...I obviously had difficulties with farewells even then.
William said, "uh is strange..." I think he feels the family melancholy too.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Just Remembered

Reading this post Sunny Sunday (thanks, Doris, for the inspiration)…reminded me of the evening before I flew over to Liverpool for my last “visit” to my mother. I knew it was going to be the end for her and I wanted to talk to my kids about it and prepare them for it a little. As it turned out only my two daughters weren't busy and had time but we went out anyway to a local beer garden. We had some beer, shared some memories about their granny and shed some tears.

And the funny thing was that although it had been my intention to help them, they ended up helping me much more! Great kids…

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

5 Weeks And Counting...

5 weeks today since my mum died and I am still numb about the whole thing. Here is a poem from her funeral.

Farewell my friends

It was beautiful

As long as it lasted

The journey of my life.

I have no regrets

Whatsoever save

The pain I’ll leave behind.

Those dear hearts

Who love and care. . .

And the strings pulling

At the heart and soul. . .

The strong arms

That held me up

When my own strength

Let me down.

At every turning of my life

I came across

Good friends,

Friends who stood by me

Even when time passed me by.

Farewell, farewell

My friends

I smile and

Bid you goodbye.

No, shed no tears

For I don’t need them

All I need is your smile.

If you feel sad

Do think of me

For that’s what I’ll like.

When you live in the hearts

Of those you love

Remember then

You never die.


Don't Know What This Proves...If Anything...

I played a gig last night in a bar in Munich. It was the first solo gig I have done in ages. As always it was a mixed public but there were lots of Americans in their early 20s who really enjoyed it and came up to me after and said things like, "hey, good gig, man", "oh man, good music", "oh wow man, that was cool!"
This is all very gratifying of course but they were in their early twenties, right, and I am in my...ahem...advanced 40s, playing music from, say, 30 years ago. Now when I was 20....way back in...oh my god...1975, if some almost 50 year-old guy had got up in a bar and started playing music from 30 years before, late 1940s, then I don't think we would have been clapping, dancing and singing along...

Hmmm...I would welcome your comments on this curious phenomenon...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Dental Arithmetic

Before.........and......After Posted by Picasa

Don't let a dentist come into your mouth. Now is that good advice or what...?! Depends on the dentist I suppose...

To be fair this guy did a good job with the gap where my gold filling used to be but once you let them in to do one thing they just can't hold back and the next thing you know they have started that awful dentist's litany..."4 distal, caries, 5 upper missing, 6 across periodontose, 3 distal xxx...and as they go on and on, you begin to feel more and more worried...I did a lot of dental arithmetic trying to work out how much this was all going to cost me.

And the funny thing is people who used to hate my gold filling now say that they really miss it...!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I'm Filling a Gap...

...where my gold filling should be... Posted by Picasa

Bollocky gold filling, the one in my front right incisor tooth, the one which has been in since I was 14, has just fallen out! I was just innocently tapping my teeth, as you do, lost in thought...actually thinking about podcasting...and - dink - out it fell. That is a very eerie feeling.

It now looks as though I am a half vampire...and going to the dentist in Germany is a very expensive business too....argghhh!

So it seems as if I will simply have to give up smiling...shouldn't be too difficult.

Friday, July 15, 2005

My Memory: A Formal Complaint To The Blind Watchmaker

I may be finally cracking up...I just put some toilet paper into the WC and as I opened the pack I smelled the paper...this momentary wiff opened up a multimedia, technicolor sequence of memories of my absolute favourite camping site on Thasos in Greece where I spent many wonderful holidays with my kids years ago! It started with a picture of the sun-splattered marble washrooms...and then panned out to the olive groves by the beach and the sound of my flip-flops slapping the path on the way back to our camper...then I felt a slight cool breeze from the sea and in my nose there was the mixed scent of pine trees, sea-salt and sand...I could even feel my old mozzy bites starting to itch...and caught the faint remnant of a bad head caused by late night red wine washed down by Metaxa...

Now if you had asked me, "do you remember the smell of the toilet paper on Thasos in Greece?" I would probably suggested that you were losing your Elgin marbles - but it seems I DO! And if I can remember that then what other arcane bits and pieces of total junk do I have stored on my cerebral hard disk?
I mean in this case it was nice to come across a wonderful little bit of frozen joy from the past...but there are times when I would be quite satisfied if I could just remember an idea I had just had or even why I had come into a certain room and what I was looking for.

This device in our heads is called a "memory" after all and if you look in your computer's memory you kind of expect it to be able to give instantaneous answers to questions like, "what is this person's surname?" or "where does that person live?" - and there is even a search machine to help...but in this lump of meat inside my skull..? No chance... (by the way, another bit of evidence against "intelligent design" for you creationists out there!)
How many times have I caused myself mental torture by saying, "oh, yesterday I ran" and then spent hours agonising over the name of this person into whom I ran? Or made the absolutely fatal error of asking myself "how did the music to ... go?"

But just wave a roll of toilet paper under my nose and ...whoosh - off we go to Greece...hmm, actually maybe it's not so bad this memory lark....where's the bog-roll?

Monday, July 11, 2005

This Is Good...I Think...

I just got this communiqué from the UK Songwriters' Song Contest thing (see "UK Songwriters' Thingy" below)
Now, if the contest really exists - which I still somehow doubt - then it's good news...if it doesn't exist and is just a way, albeit an increasingly highly complicated way, to con me out of 50 euros then it is sort of no news at all...

"Dear UKSC Contestant,

The status of these entries is currently set at "STANDBY".

This means that your entries have already successfully passed through the first two stages in the UK Songwriting Contest and are now with the semi finals selection panels. If you successfully pass through this judging stage your status will be changed to "Selected" and you will receive an email telling you about your exact position in the contest.

On the other hand, if the entries do not pass this panel and do not make it to the next stage of the contest the status of this entry will be changed to "Unselected" and you will receive an email from us telling you about this. We will notify you as soon as we hear back from the judging panels and we hope we have some good news for you soon...."

As I am in need of some good news at the moment I will take it as such...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Two Weeks..

It's 2 weeks today since my mother died....TWO WEEKS...already. I feel I have been swept along on a tsunami of arrangements, phone calls, insurance claims, passport offices, paperwork and now normal work since then. I am getting a guilty conscience about my blog seems if I think, "oh, I will just wait an hour before blogging...", that the next moment I look it is two days later.

However I will make a concerted effort this evening to sit down and write...see you next week ;-)

Sunday, July 03, 2005


Sorry to anyone who has been checking this blog and finding the same thing over the last week. There was simply too much involved in getting my mum's funeral sorted out to find the time and peace to blog.
Now I hope I will have some space cos I need it to start my own mourning and grieving...