I’ll be honest, cars leave me a bit cold. I can just about tell a Mini from a Rolls Royce, and I’m more likely to comment on a car’s pretty colour than what horsepower it is. I had the same car (a Hyundai Accent) for years. It was a retro classic..no central locking, no power steering, and it even had a cassette player! But my dad , bless him, kindly gave me his old car last week, and I must say I am absolutely delighted with it! It’s a Nissan Micra SX (no idea what that means!) and it’s a lovely car to drive. I don’t know how I lived without power steering all that time. I can now actually play CDs in my car, and roll on hot summer, because now I have Air Conditioning! Woohoo! Thanks again dad! x
OK, that heading got some people’s attention..and probably a few dodgy hits from search engines too.
The most fascinating viewing on the web this week must be the live webcasts on Big Cat Live.
“After 12 years of broadcast, Big Cat is going live! An unprecedented three weeks of live webcasting leads the way so you can follow the fortunes of Africa’s biggest predators and their prey 24-hours a day. With live webcams, daily videos and field reports and a week of live television beamed directly from the heart of Kenya’s Masai Mara game reserve, the big cats are coming closer to you than ever before”
Oh, no..I can’t believe I missed TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY this year! It was a source of endless fun in my old job. I used to love telling clients “ARRR..your artwork be ready me hearties!”. How much more fun would it be now “ARRR you be spending the night in The Clink for being a scumbag me hearties!”
In the meantime….Lift the skin up, and put into the bunt the slack of the clews (not too taut), the leech and foot-rope, and body of the sail; being careful not to let it get forward under or hang down abaft. Then haul your bunt well up on the yard, smoothing the skin and bringing it down well abaft, and make fast the bunt gasket round the mast, and the jigger, if there be one, to the tie. Init blood!—Richard Henry Dana, Jr., The Seaman’s Manual (1844)
An hour doesn’t seem like a long time really. If you are watching a TV programme or going for a stroll, it’s nothing. But when you are sitting on a cold concrete floor, holding the hand of a little boy who is in agony from stomach pains and trying to reassure him that everything will be ok and the ambulance will be coming soon, it seems like a lifetime. The sad thing is, it’s not the first time it has happened. When I am on patrol, I am often the first member of the emergency services to come across a medical incident because I either witness it, or am led to it by a member of the public. Of the incidents I have been involved with (dozens to date..I have lost track) on only two or three occasions have the paramedics arrived within half an hour. I have nothing but praise for the ambulance personnel themselves. They have no control over the calls they are sent to or the number of units that are available. What is disgraceful is the lack of funding that causes these delays (made worse by idiots making fake 999 calls or phoning for an ambulance because they have chipped a fingernail). While I was waiting with the little boy, I was told three times over the radio that the ambulance was on its way, only to also be told three times that it had diverted to another ‘more urgent call’. What kind of world do we live in, when a thirteen-year-old boy, lying on the ground with agonising stomach pains for almost an hour isn’t considered ‘urgent’.
At least the outcome wasn’t as tragic as this story.
1. I Can’t think of a hundred things
2-100. I hate lists
I love accents. It’s what makes us all unique and God help the day we all start to speak like BBC News Readers or Trans-Atlantic Accent telesales people.
One thing that fascinates me is what would happen if a person was moved to a different location every year or so..what kind of accent would they have?
I’m talking about a fairly major move to a different part of the country or another English speaking country, not just down the road. I guess a good guide would be Christian Bale, a man born of South African parents of English heritage, born in Wales, who lived his early life in England, Portugal, and the United States. The ending result being this mishmash! but then why does he just sound like a Londoner in this clip!
Having recently read this story by my dad about the passing away of one of my last remaining relatives, I was reminded of the happy times I had as a child, and the wonderful grandparents and great aunts and uncles I grew up with. Although I had fond memories of all of them, I had a particular soft spot for my paternal grandfather (a title grandad would have found a bit over the top!). To me he was just “Grandad”. A wonderful man, who I still think about over thirty years after he died. As an only child I never felt I missed out on having brothers and sisters, because I grew up with Grandad. We would play together, go for walks together and enjoy the sort of relationship that most children would have with brothers and sisters. Whenever I needed a toy to play with, Grandad (who was a carpenter by profession) would trot off to his workshop and come back with some hand-crafted bat, racket or doll’s house for me to play with. Actually, ignore the doll’s house bit..I was a bit of a tomboy and it was a more likely to be a fort than an penthouse for Barbie.
Whenever I went out with Grandad, I felt like I was in the company of royalty. It would take an hour to do a ten minute walk. Wherever we went, people would come up to him and say “hello Jack”. Old people would ask him when he was going to come round and “sort out their gardens”. They treated him as though he was some young gardener even though he was probably as old or older than his clients!
We would go on huge walks, usually ending up in some some South London park which always involved watching part of a cricket match. I am still traumatised by one occasion when I decided to play by some funny stripey wooden fences and waved back at the nice men who were waving at me, only to discover I was playing by a cricket “sight board” and the nice men weren’t waving, but were actually telling me to “get the f*ck away!!”
Grandad took all of this in his stride, like he did with most things. He was the kindest, most easy-going person I have ever met. He only ever lost his temper with me once, and it was such a rare occasion I still remember it to this day. One day I was holding my doll over the edge of our stairs, threatening to drop my frightened bit of plastic onto her bonce when Grandad appeared at the foot of the stairs. “Don’t do that” he said in his usual calm, soft spoken way. For some bizarre reason I decided to let Dolly go plunging to her doom. Grandad looked at me and said very softly “you naughty girl”. I can still hear his voice now, so rare was it that this man who i idolised should come even close to raising his voice at me.
I could go on to write a whole book about my grandad, and one day I probably will go on to do so. Until that time I hope the above snippits will give you some idea of what a wonderful person he was, and what an impact he had upon shaping my life.