Thursday, 29 July 2010

Televisual Simulacrumating Device: Update

Although most of my recent activity has been of an out-door related nature I haven't entirely abandoned my important experimental work in the lab.

The original tube of the T.S.D. (black and white) gave up the ghost so, after a bit of skip dipping, I have replaced it with a modern colour version.

The whole assembly has been mounted on a cabinet I found in the loft. I've attached a fetching lamp, a plasma ball and am planning to incorporate a dvd player (or not).

The reason I'm not sure about the dvd player boils down to the fact that, as can be seen here, my iPod provides a perfectly respectable image for most general viewing.

It still looks, and is, incredibly dangerous.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

What The Hell Is That? No.1: Zumba.

We have some neighbours who spend part of the year in Florida and the rest of the year here in Felpham.
Every year Mrs. Neighbour returns and enthuses about a new way of keeping fit.
This years biggy is 'Zumba'.
All well and good but, somehow, Linda gets dragged into these enthusiasms.
While her and Mrs. Neighbour went off 'Zumbaring' I goggled and found this:

Good grief!
I think I'll stick with my Canadian Airforce Exercise manual.

Adventures In Modern Cycling No. 13: Arundel.

I know the signs and the signs are obvious I've got another nasty attack of bicycles.
I didn't set off to visit Arundel. My plan was to bypass it and head for the top of Bury hill just to prove to myself I could do the long climb to the top but, as I approached the town, I thought I'd just pop in to Peglers outdoor pursuit equipment shop and have a look for a new pair of walking shoes (although most of them look like 'trainers' nowadays).

I followed the South Coast Cycleway from Felpham to just beyond Yapton then did a left toward the village of Ford where the majority part of the population resides at her majesty's pleasure.

Ford is an 'open' prison, which seems to mean that one can come and go as one pleases, filled with naughty professional type crims.
BTW Drinking the water here is a sure fire cure for Alzheimer's  disease as evidenced by the miraculous recovery of one Ernest Saunders.
Top tip here, should you find yourself penniless and in need of alcohol, drugs or mobile phones have a poke around in the bushes between the prison and Ford railway station where these items are carelessly dropped on a daily basis.

Past the level crossing at Ford railway station is where I decide to make a bit of an effort, slip into top gear and pick off the other cyclists on the road ahead of me. It all goes well and my lungs stay in my chest.

Arundel is a cute little town made out of money, antique shops and a big castle non of which holds any interest for me as I enter Peglers.  I tell the polite youth behind the counter what my requirements are knowing full well that even if they have the type of shoe I'm after they won't have it in my size.
The polite youth returns with exactly what I've asked for in my size and tells me that they've been reduced to £40 in the sale.
I now recommend Peglers for all your outdoor equipment needs.

My new shoes only just fit into my bag and I decide not to ride to the top of Bury hill. Instead I head back the way I came and visit the Ship and Anchor pub.
I've never been to this pub before and to be honest it looks unprepossessing (next door to a campsite).
On entering I'm surprised at the range of real ales and even more surprised to find my favourite beer, Betty Stoggs bitter, not only that but they do bowls of cheesy chips. Result!

Whist eating, drinking and batting wasps away I notice an example of the type of building I like.

Probably made entirely from asbestos.

The rest of the ride home is uneventful and ends with a large pot of tea and chocolate biscuits.
Tonight's BBC 4 schedule has 3 bicycle related programmes listed.
This is as near to a perfect day as I've had all year.

Feelings (Mixed).

When I read, on the Retro To Go website, that the Trinity Square Car Park in Gateshead is about to be demolished (by a division of Tescos) I didn't know if I should feel happy or sad.

I then considered that the only reason for any sadness was that the car park was the scene of a (pretend) brutal murder in the film Get Carter and therefore has 'iconic' status.

So, happy-ish it is then.

p.s. Linda looked at the above picture and decided that the horse was probably dead now.

Intimitdating Birds: The Seagull.

I'd never noticed how truly malevolent, cold and alien the eyes of seagull are until today.
This gull watched me eat a sausage roll.
It paced menacingly back and forth never letting the ever diminishing food out of it's steely glare.
Once I half-heartedly shouted 'shooo' at it but it took absolutely no notice of me at all and continued pacing.

Round the corner from where I live the residents, widows who, having fed their husbands to death, replaced them with small dogs and started the process all over again,  have banded together to eradicate the 'Seagull Menace' (© Bognor Regis Observer) from their guano encrusted enclave demanding that the local council sends some poor sod round to shoot them all.
Now it occurs to me that if one chooses to retire to the seaside one should accept that the seagull is part of the whole experience.

I wonder what seagull tastes like?

This Other Eden.

The view from my shed is deeply pleasing this year.
All the hard work I put in during Jan/Feb/Mar has paid off in spades.

The only slight problem has been the bay tree which, like most others in the area, became blighted by an infestation of a scale insect.

My honeysuckle is the best it's ever been and smells wonderful.

And I've managed to grow strawberries!

O.K. So I've not managed to grow very many strawberries and woodlice ate one or two of them but, considering the fact that I don't remember planting strawberries, they've been a pleasant and tasty surprise.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Indicators. No. 1: Of Ageing.

You know you are getting old when the National Health Service is your drug dealer.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Another Song: This Small Stone.

This is one of those songs that came into my head, more or less, fully written.
I wanted to say something about causality and how there can be no action without consequence.

There are one or two 'clunks' to write out of it but it works as it is for the moment.
I'll post an audio link when I finally get a recorded version I'm happy with (which may take some years).

This small stone
Chipped from the rock of ages
Worn smooth
In a torrent that still rages
It's sharp corners
Washed into the stream.

This small stone
Skimmed across the surface
Touching lightly
Then sinks to find it's own place
Among the others
In the depths below

But the ripples that it caused
Within that fleeting moment
Pushed the edges away
And started the waves
That made the rushes sway

This small stone
Abandoned and forsaken
Of no matter or importance
It's measure never taken
A footnote in
The greater scheme of things

These few scribbled words
Hidden in long forgotten pages
A record of a time
Of dignity exchanged for wages
Spent on things
That sank away in time

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Le Tour Effect.

The Tour highlights programme  airs between 7 & 8 p.m. on ITV 4.
As soon as it's over I get the 'Dobson' out of the shed and, along with every other cyclist in the local area it seems, go for a spin.

I've noticed that this year's most popular replica jersey is that of H.T.C. Columbia (Mark Cavandish's team).
I spotted the odd polka-dot jersey around.
I wouldn't have the gall to wear any of the Tour jerseys and certainly not the polka-dot one.
Pull that on and you're making a serious statement about your climbing ability.

I'm not entirely free of cycling outfit vanity and have bought myself a racy tweed cap:
I've not noticed it having any significant effect on my cycling performance.

I stopped on my way home to take a few snaps of the 'Dobson' against the deep blue sea:

I'm starting to think I could ride this bike from Lands End to John O'Groats.
No, really.


I was waiting in an uninteresting corridor.
I was waiting for Linda to arrive.
I wondered how much of my life I'd spent in uninteresting places waiting for something to happen.
Must run into years by now.
I wondered why designated waiting places are, usually, uninteresting.
After waiting for 15 minutes I noticed something on the floor:

Now that's what I call interesting!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

An Uncomfortable Situation.

I was doing some portable appliance testing for a local charity shop the other day.
I stopped to have a cup of coffee.
I began to get the feeling I was being watched.
Turns out I was being watched.

We stood looking at one another.
I decided to take a picture all the time convinced that the moment I moved the bird would startle and fly away.
I went through the complicated camera selection rigmarole on my mobile phone, aimed and snapped.
The bird just kept staring at me.
I began to feel slightly uncomfortable.
After a while I began to feel intimidated.
By the time I'd managed to tear myself away from the bird's ambiguous penetrating gaze my coffee had gone cold.
I looked back but the bird had gone.
This sort of thing happens to me on a frequent basis.
I blame Hooting Yard.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Up The City Folk Club.

I M.C. the City Folk Club in Chichester.
Any given Friday evening one can experience an eclectic mix of acoustic musical performance art.
Here's the star turn from last night:


Thursday, 15 July 2010

Le Tour.

For the first time in many years I have been able to watch every stage of the Le Tour de France.
I love it!
This year's shaping up to be a classic.

The end of today's stage saw a bit of 'argy-bargy' between Mark Cavendish's lead out man, Mark Renshaw, and Julian Dean for which, at the time of typing, Mark Renshaw has been thrown off the tour.
I can't comment because I'm not an expert.
Cycle sprinting always looks like a bear pit to me and I'm always surprised there aren't more serious accidents.
I was reminded of this horror from the final stage of the 1991 tour:


Saturday, 10 July 2010

An Offer You Can't Refuse.

I've watched 'The Godfather' film and know that receiving a horse's head is not a good thing.
Recently West Sussex received a horse's head which was placed, temporarily, atop the downs on the Trundle.

It's very impressive and will eventually be sited on the Goodwood race course.
(I've included Linda in the picture to give an idea of just how big it really is but, trust me, it's even bigger.)

Linda was more interested in looking at the sun through her binoculars.

Doing The Funky Chicken.

A member of our folk club plays a fiddle tune called 'The Hen's March To The Midden' which is usually accompanied by the tune 'The Four Poster Bed'.

The tune title has fascinated me since first I heard it.
I did a bit of digging in Interwebshire and found this:

This is what can happen if one takes folk-music to seriously.

How To Squeeze A Rubber Chicken.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010


This Saturday saw the tragic deaths of a mother and daughter.

I saw them only last week to say good morning to.
Their parents/grandparents live next door to Linda and me.
It's all terribly sad.

On their way to church on Sunday the grandparents, despite requests from the police, were ambushed by a reporter from the Daily Mirror.

If you want my definition of 'revolting' that's it.

A Daily Mail reporter caught them on their way out of church.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Blue... Hmmm....

We had to give the house a lick of paint.
Madge lives in the flat down stairs and her son picked the colour.
He's an artist and is very sensitive about colour.

The flat used to be a Wedgewood Blue.
Understated and very 'coastal pastely' I used to think.

There were a great many cracks to fill:

Then the new paint was applied:

I took the above picture in the  early morning sun.
When the sun's shining on it I find it difficult to look at.

I'm not an artist.
What do I know.

Linda likes it.