Monday, 5 December 2022

Ruined Garden

 The only difference between a blackberry plant and a bramble is whether it's cultivated. A few years ago I let a couple brambles grow in my garden and trained them up some stakes thinking that I could control them and harvest their delicious fruit. I'm pretty sure that I have failed. I took an early crop of fruit off them this year, but I have just realised that I forgot to pick them a second time (despite bringing a load of apples, to cook them with, home from my late mother's garden just before we sold the house). The berries have all been dropped into my garden and there will now be thousands of seeds getting ready to spring up as brambles and take over my garden next year. I don't think I'll ever win control of the garden back from them.

Richard "Agent Orange" B

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Drive to Wales

 Until this weekend I don't think I've mentioned this quirk about my brain to more than one living soul. It's something like an "eyeworm" and I'll read something that sets off a bit of a song in my head. There's an area of Plymouth called Mainstone and sometimes when I was going up the hill towards work I would see a sign that read "Mainstone Craft Fair". I couldn't help but sing to myself "Like a Mainstone Craft Fair" to the tune of Rhinestone Cowboy by Glen Campbell.

At the weekend I heard a segment on the radio with dozens of people suffering from a similar affliction. So even if I'm a weirdo, I'm not completely along.

The best was a man, who drives along the M50 who can't help but sing to himself:
"If you see me walking down the street, and I start to cry each time we meet, Ross-on-Wye"

Richard "Make believe that you don't see the tears, just let me grieve in private 'cause each time I see you I break down and cry… Ross-on-Wye" B

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Vandals

 Instead of a funny story, I have a miserable and frightening story to relate. Early on Friday morning I was woken by a loud noise in the street. When I went out I found that my car had been vandalised. My boring car, thankfully, not my sports car. A kerbstone had been used to smash the windscreen and it had also scuffed and dented the bonnet.

One of my neighbours captured blurry footage of the incident with her video doorbell, and that gave me an exact timestamp. It showed two youths throwing something at my car and then running away. Another neighbour found footage from his driveway security camera and it shows the youths searching his driveway (presumably for something to throw) then walking on towards my house, then walking away (presumably still searching), then walking back towards my house with a heavy object and then finally running away. The youth who searched his driveway had his hood up and was wearing something over his face. It looks very much like it was a targeted attack.

I know what you're thinking, and I don't know. I can literally think of nothing* that I have done that it will be a reprisal for, or of any ongoing behaviour that someone would wish me to cease. I wish that there had been a note on the kerbstone explaining why they're so pissed off with me.

*Unless being rude to an estate agent or complaining to a woman who jumped the queue in Lidl deserves criminal damage as a reward.

Richard "Ring doorbell" B


Monday, 14 November 2022

Is He Being Serious?

 Back in the day one of my college friends sheepishly admitted that she had watched an embarrassingly large amount of "This is Spinal Tap" before realising that it was a joke. The continuity announcer on BBC2 had introduced it as "a groundbreaking rocumentary about one of Britain's loudest bands" and she assumed that she would learn about a band that was new to her.

My sister recently sent me a book that she thought I might be interested in. It looked like it was going to a parody of the new-age hippies. It was called "The Fifth Element" and it's about pyramids, numerology, music theory, crystals, philosophy, geometry and so forth – I assumed that the fifth element was going to be stupidity. It started off strong with an acknowledgements page including a Glastonbury book group and crop circle researchers and that had a spelling mistake and terrible layout. I started reading it and the jokes seemed few and far between and relied on quite a bit of mathematical knowledge. I was an embarrassingly long way in to the book before I realised that it probably wasn't a parody, but I still can’t be quite sure.

Richard "Poe's Law" B

Wednesday, 9 November 2022

Quiz - extra round

 Since the lockdowns have finished, so too have the zoom quizzes. There is one round of questions that I have been working on that I haven’t really had chance to play-test, let alone use. They might be too obscure or too cryptic, but I’ll present them here for your interest. Each answer is a short (but complete) sentence or statement, and it’s well known in pop culture (memes, films, tv etc.)

  1. What did your dog step on?
  2. How many lights are there?
  3. What are we going to need?
  4. In what manner are you never going to recover from this?
  5. Are these the droids I’m looking for?


Richard “quizmaster” B

Monday, 31 October 2022

White Stripes

 Years ago I had arranged a third date with a woman whom I was VERY keen on. It was to take place at my house and I spent a good number of hours worrying about what might stop her from attending. Did she still want to meet me? Were my directions clear enough? Would her car break down? Would a natural disaster destroy the bridge that she needed to use? Etc. While I was nervously waiting for her I checked that my doorbell still worked, imagining that she might come all the way to my place, press the button, I wouldn’t hear it, and that she’d give up and go home.

I believe that this experience gave me a rare insight into the song “My Doorbell” by The White Stripes which goes “I’m thinking about my doorbell, when ya gonna ring it, when ya gonna ring it?”. A song which I used to be able to play the drum part for – but so can anyone.

Anyway for the second time in the 23 years that I’ve owned the same house and the same doorbell the doorbell went wrong. For the second time in 23 years the batteries are still good and it’s the switch contacts which have deteriorated. I wonder how long these batteries will last, and whether I’ll be cleaning the switch again in 2033?

Richard “ding dong” B