New start

To those of you who followed this blog before – sorry I’ve been away for so long. It wasn’t intentional but one day lead to another and next thing I knew I was blogging entirely on Quercuscommunity.com and ignoring Sherwood Days. For those of you who have popped across from the other blog, welcome.

Fair warning, I tend to ramble, and I don’t have  a grand plan for reopening the blog. All I know so far is that I want to focus the other one a bit more by bringing some of the less focussed subject matter here.

I’m not really selling it am I?

For the moment I’ll leave things here, and start with a proper post tomorrow.

 

And another thing…

I went to the supermarket this morning on my way to work and by the time I came out I had eaten breakfast, bought bread and been told that a friend of mine had died. Last I heard the hospital was pleased with the way things were progressing, which just shows that you never can tell…

For once, words fail me.

2015 – two funerals already

It’s been a hectic month, starting with cooking two Christmas dinners on the farm, progressing to a serious chest infection and ending, last week, with my mother’s funeral.

It was the second funeral I’ve been to this year. The first was sad, a lady of 86 who embodied pretty much all that was good about old-fashioned values and being active in old age. I often used to look at her and compare her to my mum. She was much healthier and fitter, but in the end you can’t ignore the call.

I haven’t mentioned that to many people, but now it’s over I feel more like talking about it. If you don’t like sentiment you may not like me doing so, and if you don’t like levity in the face of death you may feel the same way. To be honest, this is a good way to talk about it, because I don’t have to endure people trying to be sympathetic or asking me how I am. It’s not that I’m not grateful for the concern but there’s no good answer.

She was 85, she was well-cared for, but she had Parkinson’s Disease and life wasn’t great. . For about six months before she died she was significantly worse each time I visited and a week before Christmas the doctor warned us she was slipping away. It was a release for her and it wasn’t a shock for us. Nobody wanted it to happen but it had to happen and it was about as good as it gets. It wasn’t the youngman’s death that Roger McGough wants, but for a lady of 85 “a curtains drawn by angels borne, ‘what a nice way to go’ death” is much more suitable.

I often say that I’d like to die of a massive heart attack whilst driving a coach load of tax inspectors along a winding cliff road with no safety barriers but actually I wouldn’t mind slipping quietly away surrounded by my family. There’s an ornate brass plaque in the church commemorating a man called Herbert Selwyn Scorer. I’ve been reading it for over forty years when I visit the church. I bet he’d have liked to slip away surrounded by his family at the age of 85. Instead he shuffled off this mortal coil at the age of 29 surrounded by the Prussian Guard.

My sister organised the funeral and did a tremendous job. At one point she was worried that there would just be half a dozen family and a few others, all clustered at the front of a cold, empty church.

In the end we had people travelling from as far as Lancashire, Surrey and Norfolk. Mum was 85, as I have said, and at that age you’ve outlived a considerable number of your friends and family, with others being too old to travel, so it was a good turnout. To prove this point, my sister had attended a funeral for Mum’s best friend in the same church just five weeks ago.

None of this, of course, is of any interest to my mother, but it was very important for my father. That’s what funerals are about really Although it’s important to pay respect to the deceased it’s also important that the survivors are able to feel good about saying goodbye in a suitable fashion.

Selfies

I took a few selfies this week because I need photographs for profiles. Unfortunately though I take a picture of myself, many of them seem to feature a complete stranger.

The pictures feature strange-shaped heads, bulbous noses, shifty expressions and a middle-aged man who looks like he didn’t sleep well.

The nose and head shape is (I hope) a problem of perspective. The shifty look is caused by squinting at the camera whilst attempting a three-quarter view. That just leaves the worn out middle-aged man. Sadly there is only one explanation for this…

No wonder so many people opt to be anonymous or use photos of film stars, and that’s before you take the unsuitable background into consideration.

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An article I was reading earlier in the week suggested that putting a face to the blog would get a better response. however, having frequently been told I have a great face for radio, I have to question the wisdom of this. Time will tell.

This one is seasonally adjusted, though probably not very useful come January.

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Celebrity? Modestly? How words change.

I’ve just been reading “Celebrity Couples who live surprisingly modest lives” and been left spluttering with so many things that need saying and not enough mouths.

Disclaimer: If you click the above link and find yourself lost for words, infuriated or wasting your life on trivia, don’t blame me, blame the internet and the tempting array of links it offers as you log in to your email.

For one thing, how can a couple be a “celebrity couple” if I haven’t heard of them? I admit that I’m not the man most likely to be up to date on all this celebrity stuff and I’ll concede that some of the couples may be well known though unknown to me. However, I’ll ask people to concede that simply being known isn’t the same as being a “celebrity”, which needs a sprinkle of glamour to make it true.

I’ll make a quick sidestep here to show my thinking.. “I’m a Celebrity…Get me out of here!” consistently features people who aren’t celebrities and in any right-thinking society would be prosecuted for fraud if not for being terribly irritating TV. They have just announced a winner – Carl Fogarty. He’s a good bloke and deserves to be called a celebrity after all he’s done. Second place went to someone who came second in the X-Factor. Not really the same is it?

Same goes for Fogarty’s MBE. He wins four World Superbike Championships, Isle of Man TTs and loads of other stuff, risking death on the way round. He gets an MBE. If he’d won a couple of Olympic Golds, risking a pulled hamstring, he’d have been given a knighthood.

Such is the strange and arcane way of the British Honours System.

Anyway, back to the “celebrity” couples. Their modest lifestyles include saving money in the bank (sensible, but then they do have  alot of it), using money-off vouchers (just plain miserly) and living in homes worth only $1,000,000 (or $2,000,000 in one case – how modest!). Best of all is Kate and Wills, our favourite Royals. It seems their modest lifestyle includes doing their own shopping instead of getting a royal retainer to do it for them. What sort of world do we live in where doing your own shopping is considered out of the ordinary?

And yes, I’m not famous, don’t have an MBE and live less than modestly due to having no money. It may well make me jealous. But does it make me wrong?

 

One extreme to another

Fresh on the heels of my journey into Rugby League, and Outlaws’ fund-raising surge, I managed a trip to the other extreme. No, not Rugby Union, far more extreme than that. Flower arranging.

It was an accident, honestly. I’ve been asked to buy some baskets for making up Christmas presents and the best place to get them in Nottingham turns out to be the biggest floristry supplier I’ve ever seen. OK, it’s also the only one I’ve ever seen.

Even if it wasn’t I’m not going to admit it.

You can get something called a thorn stripper for…(allow tension to build)…stripping thorns. I love tools. I’m generally not good at using them, apart from the Birmingham Screwdriver, but I love looking at them, though I’m no longer allowed to buy them.

It’s a whole new world for me, including competitive flower arranging, which got me thinking.

If I’d persuaded my sons to take on floristry instead of rugby would we have bypassed.the multiply broken noses and various other injuries, or would they still have got them in defending their choice of hobby?

 

It’s started

On a slightly damp, grey morning the walk started. Silly to have expected anything else in November. All the usual suspects were there, as were a number of fashion faux pas. Is it OK to say faux pas in a Rugby League post? Come to think of it, is it OK to say faux pas anywhere apart from The Tatler?

George Orwell is my guide on this – Rule 5 says no, but Rule 6 probably allows it when you think of the alternative phrase in my mind.