Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

I am replete...
Turkey dinner, pudding and cream plus some excellent Port. I am now listening to 'Dr Who' on the radio catch up with the ever wonderful Tom Baker as I avoid whatever mediocre offerings are on the TV. The Catto family, including the felines and canine, are all full and sleeping off the repast. I have watched Scrooge twice, the Alistair Sims version, entertained the cats with a Christmas Cracker yoyo, exercised the pooch, phoned the family and enjoyed opening the presents. The latter include a Dobson telescope, a fob watch, a clockwork musical robot and a glass tankard. All very nineteenth century and entirely apt for the nineteenth century invention which is the Christmas we celebrate today. A quiet Christmas spent with the family... bliss.

So enjoy, make merry and I wish you all a Happy and peaceful Christmas.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

I must be feeling my age because I cried off yesterdays pub crawl following the Team Christmas meal and opted for a quiet night in with a glass of whisky and the warm fire.

I'd also promised No.1 son more driving experience so I spent some time out with him yesterday whilst he drove his car. It's better equipped than my own car! Having said that, I do prefer my own car as it has more room despite being a small car... It's like the Tardis! I can only assume I am still feeling under the weather after last weeks bug because I cannot stop sleeping. I woke up in the early hours of this morning in the armchair with my headphones on listening to music plus assorted cats sleeping on and around me. Today we were up early and out shopping for the Christmas meals. The meat pack was a gift from my employer and it is greatly appreciated. We traipsed around the local market for vegetables plus locally produced pork pies, chutney, etc... We escaped the busy crowds and thence home for a late breakfast and feet up with some much needed freshly ground and  brewed coffee.
The past week has seen me busy at work and dealing with the main problem our clients face... loneliness. This is particularly so leading up to Christmas and we spend time ensuring people are linked in to various charitable events and meals on Christmas day. Sadly, we live in a very busy society and many people at the margins get left aside and forgotten or ignored throughout the year. I seem to spend much of my time suggesting groups, activities, hobbies, volunteering, etc... to people with my emphasise on connecting and communicating with others. Also valuing and being valued by other people. It's not all about money, status and shiny baubles despite so many people worshipping at the materialist altars.
Talking of communicating, we had perforce to do some of the same when Watson, the small kitten, disappeared for several hours. Wandering the streets and asking around after him. Happily, he reappeared on Thursday evening in a very agitated and frightened state. We believe he may have been locked in somewhere after his curiosity got the better of him. Both he and Sherlock are nosy buggers and are into everything including the drier, microwave, various cupboards and boxes. The Christmas tree and the assorted presents in bags are a source of endless fascination for them and the baubles are now staying in the locked box. Little tinkers.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Aunt Maud was shocked, nay horrified...

"They've arrested Santa Claus, whatever will we tell the children?"

"Don't worry my dear , we have found some replacements".

"If he's not available and you want more bang for your buck..."

"...or there is our neighbour..."

"I would  have asked your brother but he's flat out somewhere..."

"We could always ask Father Murphy when he's free from performing exorcisms ",

"Nah, we'll stick with the real meaning of a modern Christmas".

Excuse the cynicism but, having endured several days of TV / radio/ assorted media I can't but help think the real meaning of Christmas has all but disappeared. I'll stick with family, friends and good cheer of Yuletide.

Friday, December 12, 2014

I watched Question Time on the beeb last night and frankly it has become a pantomime. I am not sure whether it reminds me of this...

... Or whether this is closer to the mark...

The corpse of British politics surrounded by the politicians, their acolytes and media luvvies little realising that once the corpse is stripped of all its flesh where will their next meal come from. The panto dame with the blue hair in the audience was a nice touch or was she the SWP ghost of Christmas past?  All in all, the whole programme has descended into farce.

I finally feel better having been ill with the leurgy these past four days. I made the mistake of going out on Wednesday to collect No.1's car from the dealer and peaked too early. Cue another sleepless night of coughing so that last night I had a full eleven hours of blissful sleep to catch up. Sadly, Mrs C now appears to have caught the bug. My fingers are crossed that this is the only bug I catch this winter. I have a weekend of final Christmas present shopping to do and sitting in No.1's car as he gains valuable driving experience. I may require a large whisky at the end of each day.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

December is going well so far with stolen bikes, repairs required to No.1 son's car and I am full of 'manflu'. Yesterday at work and I felt distinctly under the weather. By last night I had a throat full of broken razor blades, a hacking cough and consequently I couldn't sleep. Thinking of Mrs C's need for sleep I decamped to the armchair in the front room and wrapped myself in a duvet. Still no sleep which was exacerbated by excitable kittens assuming 2 a.m. means it is time to get up. Mrs C found me wide awake still at 4.30 a.m. All in all, three hours sleep over the past 36 hours plus day and night nurse means I have lost track of time. C'est la vie, 'tis the season to be poorly and a few others at work have had the same leurgy.

So I will be drinking plenty of tea, coffee and fruit juice to get me through it all and the very hot Jalfrezi  with extra chillies this evening has certainly perked me up. We opted for a takeaway because I have no interest in cooking or doing much beyond reading and footling about on the laptop. In other news... Are you all prepared for the forthcoming festivities? Presents bought, food ordered, decorations up and all that jazz? I have to admit that hearing others are prepared and sorted for Christmas with weeks to go astonishes me. I have to buy a present for my mother and send some cards out. We'll buy the necessaries for the day during the week leading up to it and then batten down the hatches for a quiet family celebration. I've got the boxed sets of 'Dad's Army' and 'It ain't half hot Mum' ready to watch if there is the usual rubbish on the TV. This evening however, a medicinal whisky may be called for. Wrap up warm wherever you are because it's cold, wet and blustery out there / cold and snowy out there.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

After yesterdays post I thought that I would write a 'Ketchup' post about the past week. The main news is that No.1 son's motorcycle was stolen in the early hours midweek. Despite being kept under lock and key in the front garden thieves made off with it. It looks like a professional job because there was no noise & they must have used a van to cart it away. What tells me that they are professional thieves is that it was done quietly without disturbing the dog. No.1 is furious and upset especially since he still has a years payments to make on it.  The police logged it but no longer attend such crimes as they are kept busy chasing people who apparently offend the thin skinned poltroons on the internet. The insurance company is doing what all insurance companies do when contacted in these situations. Stall, prevaricate and search for their non-payment get out clause in the very small print. Sadly, No.1 has now made the acquaintance of the parasitical insurance companies and he now realises why I dislike them so much, alongside lawyers, politicians, quangocrats and public sector managers. Although No.1 now has a car he is still a learner driver and can only drive when accompanied by a driver with a full licence. Sadly for him, that means walking or public transport to and from work. I am now all for flog 'em. stocks and a large prison in the Falklands for thieving scumbags with very lengthy jail sentences to ensure they don't bother law abiding folks. There is plenty of space there for a prison, it'll bring work for the locals and escaping will not be easy. A win win situation.

In other news we are preparing for the forthcoming 'festivities' with presents bought and the tree up and decorated. We have again opted for a low key family Christmas with small presents and enjoying the day itself. Having said that, No.1 was so down in the dumps about his loss I have given him the car as his Christmas present. I'll add another few months  to my working to make up the shortfall in my mortgage pay off fund. Down the street there are a few houses lit up and interfering with the landing lights for Humberside airport. We have some lights up but very few baubles as these are the natural prey of inquisitive kittens. It's like the glorious 12th for the feline world. They have also claimed the dogs' bed and she sleeps elsewhere now. Otherwise work remains very busy with no let up in the workload and given the economic and social situation, we can anticipate it getting worse next year. Still far too much paperwork...

Saturday, December 06, 2014

I am slowly recovering after an excellent night out. We watched a band called "Banned from Utopia" who are all ex- Frank Zappa musicians and the quality of their playing showed. I have not seen such a tight professional band for many years. Here's a sample of their music...

A great night out with some good friends made even better when I bumped into an old buddy I hadn't seen for several years. We caught up with our news before we all decamped to another pub at about 2 a.m. There could not have been a greater contrast, from a bikers club where the average age was 45 to a pub full of shiny young people. We had one drink there and decided to call it a night and I ensured my friends caught cabs home. Happily, all of this is within walking distance of home, one advantage of living slap bang in the middle of town. The slow recovery is not drink related for a change but, it's my aching back and ankles from standing and dancing for a few hours. Too old to rock n roll?