Don’t you just love a know it all?
There you are sitting quietly and enjoying the sun, now it’s finally made an appearance, when a large shadow blots out the light and a loud voice asks if “This seat is taken?” referring to the spare chair next to you.
You politely look up from the book you’re reading to inform the unknown enquirer that it isn’t ‘taken’ and they are welcome to use it.
They thank you and sit.
With the obstruction now settled next to you the warmth of the sun is immediately restored, and you return to the complex plot of the indulgent murder mystery you were enjoying.
“Isn’t the sun wonderful?” the arrival asks just as you’re trying to get your head round a new blood stained clue.
You don’t wish to be rude so you answer, “Very,” but you also don’t want to perpetuate a conversation so you remain head down, avoiding eye contact.
Unfortunately the one subject this numpty has no knowledge of is the art of reading body language.
“I lived in Bahrain for three years,” he announces, “Forty degrees in the shade, day in day out.”
You sigh and look up from your book. Bad move.
“Really….how interesting.” Even worse because you have now offered an in.
“I use to play golf out there….well they don’t really have golf courses, just sand and greens. I was part of the women’s PGA golf tour you know….”
You have nowhere to go and as you glance around at your fellow travellers with a look of ‘Please help me’ on you face you have to accept that….
You’ve been hit by….You’ve been struck by….‘A Smooth Know It All’
Now luckily this didn’t actually happened to me today, but rather to the poor unfortunate sitting just a few feet away from where I was also enjoying a rare kiss of warmth from the sun. Yet everyone in earshot knows that the ambient peace has just come to a very abrupt end.
Several folk give up, get up and leave, others (like me) settle in for a bit of entertainment….and I’m not going to be disappointed.
To try to record or even remember the ensuing onslaught meted out on that poor individual, whose only desire when he awoke that morning was to immerse himself in a really good book, would be impossible. To say the least we were transported around the world, played every sport, met every imaginable famous person who had ever lived and spent several fortunes in the process.
Wow, and all that before lunch.
Well here’s my tribute to him and the many like him who just excel at ruining someone’s day.
What Do You Know?
Can’t you tell that I’m a smart arse?
Have an answer every time,
And I know you’ll love my stories
Every anecdote sublime.
You’ll be hooked by revelations
Gripped by every single word.
Laughing at my clever humour
Loud and proud, I must be heard.
This my umpteenth cruise with Freddie
They consult me every time
I know every port in detail
Where to shop or wine and dine.
Port talk speakers, what do they know?
And the singers, pile of poo.
Entertainers? Bunch of posers,
I could teach a thing or two.
I can tell you want to be me
Don’t deny, I see your face
Cause your life will be so much richer
If I let you take my place.
I know exactly what you’re thinking
That you love me, can’t deny.
You hang on every sentence
Every other word being I.
But please don’t try, you can’t out do me,
Been there, seen it more than most.
Bigger, better, more expensive
‘Is that all?’ my favourite boast.
You should really do things my way,
Entertainer, champion Brit,
Not to mention greatest lover
Can’t you tell I’m full of s**t.
15th September 2015
Sea Day….time to reflect!
I’ve been out of the habit of writing for the past few months because my days have been taken up with a ‘slightly more’ demanding project. Life has certainly been hectic so far this year (something I’ve not been used to for a long while) so I haven’t had much spare time to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) and the desire to be creative has been severely beaten into a corner by apathy and fatigue.
But now things are different and I find myself returning to a more acceptable state of lazy limbo again. This being the ideal opportunity to re-establish my relationship with my reliable companion and boredom buster, ‘writing’ (or technically….typing) I charge the battery on my neglected laptop and begin the search for inspiration.
Now if someone had told me that writing is a bit like exercise, meaning the less you do the harder it becomes to get back into a functional rhythm, I would have seriously laughed at them for suggesting such an absurd notion.
But at this moment in time I have to admit I couldn’t be more wrong.
I’m sat in the most ideal place, surrounded by a million and one things to take pleasure in and yet I’m struggling to string together a single coherent idea. I’m even starting to wonder if maybe my lack of attention has ticked off my abandoned friend and companion and it has no desire to return to this heartless traitor.
I reflect on the times when ideas had come so fast that many were forgotten long before being recorded. They ended up in limbo somewhere in the back of my mind with a hope of their resurrection on a barren day, but even these little gems have deserted me.
Inspiration is definitely like a snowball, the more it rolls the more it grows. But it has to be cultivated and supported because if neglected it may very well roll off down the hill, taking all the good ideas with it, and that means the process has to be started all over again.
Where is that inspiration?
It’s such a fickle friend.
Sometimes it overwhelms me
With ideas that have no end.
Another day it taunts me
And tells me many lies,
Promises an insight
But delivers nothing wise.
Why won’t the words come quickly?
I’m stuck with no idea.
I need you Inspiration
Right now….I’m over here.
Give me mountains not a molehill,
I need a new intent.
I promise to stay faithful,
If you help me I’ll repent
And I promise not to leave you
Just like I did before.
Please help me Inspiration
Come feed my mind once more.
14th September 2015
Well here we go again.
The last few months have been very busy as well as a touch draining, but things back home are almost back to normal again, so it’s time to head off on another adventure (it’s possible that not all of our trips were well deserved….but this one is J)
We’re off for a cruise starting in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada which then takes us all the way down the eastern seaboard of the USA to Miami. Then we’ll return back to the UK via the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Azores.
As usual we stayed at in a very comfortable Premier Inn last night and the process of embarkation this morning was faultless and efficient.
Normally there’s not much going on during the first day that hasn’t already been commented on in previous blogs….except today something different happened.
Muster is always a bit of a necessary evil. The vast majority of passengers have gone through this drill many, many times before and trudge bored and uninterested to their assembly station. We all reluctantly listen to the master drone on about the safety of the ship and what we should all do in the event of an emergency. Then we all don our life jackets with a distinct lack of enthusiasm and stand wondering how much longer this is going to take before we can get back to the important matters in life….like eating and drinking or watching the hapless stevedores kicking the last few pieces of luggage across the dock and onto the ship.
But one of the assembled has become quite poorly, quite suddenly and is in desperate need of medical attention. Now this is not an uncommon problem on a cruise ship, after all a fair number of our fellow travellers are well over their allotted three score and ten….but most of the previous ‘code alphas’ have at least been able to enjoy a modicum of the holiday before disaster has stuck. This poor person is off loaded into the care of the NHS whilst a thousand others who remain onboard head off for the sun, the sun that poor individual was hoping to enjoy as well.
I’m suddenly reminded that life is, and will always be, unpredictable.
I consider that my dear lady and I are really fortunate to be able to take these trips and I hope we never take these experiences, or our health, for granted.
But the incident did get folk talking, specifically about their own ailments and the medication they take to control their many problems….so I give you
Please Forgive Me if I Rattle
The tablets keep me going,
They lower this and that,
There’s a tiny one for water
And a larger one for fat.
Three are for my ticker,
Two to keep me sane.
A puffer eases breathing,
Sixteen capsules numb the pain.
There’s a daily dose of aspirin
So my platelets don’t occlude,
And a blue one gives a little lift
For when I’m in the mood.
There’s a yellow one for weight loss
Which results in smelly poo,
And a pretty shiny pink one…
God knows what that will do.
Now my kidneys barely function
And my heart beats way too strong,
It’s because I’m hypertensive
That I have to play along
With this medication buffet.
Omeprazole stops acid
With Gaviscon on the side.
While Metformin fixes sugar,
Quinine stops cramps at night,
A heavy dose of iron
Puts anaemia to right.
Diuretics, just the start.
And a hefty swig of Lactulose
Plays a most important part.
Now when it comes to pain relief
I’ve tried the blooming lot,
Codeine, Morphine, Pot!!
And I’m sure a course of HRT
Would really do me well,
It’s the only thing that’s missing
From my medication hell.
So forgive me if I rattle
It’s because as you may guess
It’s the drugs that keep me going,
Is it really worth it?…YES.
It has been a while since my last post here and I apologise to those who have visited my blog only to find the cupboard bare. Now it’s not that I’ve had nothing interesting to report but more a lack of internet access during our last couple of trips.
I fail to understand why some cruise companies can offer a very realistic and affordable package to get online and some can’t….but ‘hey ho’ them’s the breaks.
Earlier this year we took another chance to visit Norway, the land of the Northern Lights. But as a bonus the trip also coincided with an opportunity to witness a total lunar eclipse of the sun. Here is the piece I wrote at the time…..
Even at the best of times I’m not a great fan of standing in the rain and getting soaked, worse if it’s also icy cold and blowing a gale.
I really struggle to understand as to why some of the great musical composers have glorified what is essentially a cold shower by associating the experience to being ‘happy again’ or suggesting it’s something you should do with the ‘one you love’ in order to glean the very best out of a relationship. I’m certain a nice warm bath together would achieve a much better outcome.
Either way a box of tissues should be readily available.
Anyway, here I am standing in a puddle of freezing cold water with my feet slowly going numb, my hair is saturated and a steady procession of drips are meandering down the back of my neck in search of somewhere to accumulate and make my existence even more uncomfortable….if that were even possible at this moment in time.
Now believe it or believe it not, I’m quite content to stay in this same spot for at least another hour or so despite the fact that I am a self confessed wimp and a warm, dry environment is just a few feet away.
Am I completely mad? Have I finally lost the plot?
Well no more than usual, but I do have an exceptionally good reason to be doing this. Today is Friday 20th March 2015 and I’m standing on the upper deck of the cruise ship Oriana just outside the port of Torshavn in the Faroe Islands. The time is 08.40 and the moon has just started a rare transit across the sun. At around 09.40 there is to be a total lunar eclipse.
Unfortunately the heavens are almost fully veiled by a heavy grey cloak of cloud which is determined to spoil the day for around two thousand expectant pairs of eyes. But there is hope because there are a few tantalising gaps which allow the onlookers a brief glimpse of the moons progress as it slowly engulfs it’s mightiest of companions in this small corner of the universe.
Everybody is furtively scanning the firmament….pointing and gesturing in various directions….estimating the wind speed and the subsequent movement of the swirling vapours above us.
Will we or won’t we?
Then a gap opens up and quickly the assembled don the cardboard glasses which have been issued to protect fragile eyes from the harmful light. But the combination of the dark filters and the natural foggy barrier on high renders them all but useless this time.
Now as it happens I’ve actually come fully prepared….for once….and had the foresight to bring along a couple of sheets of dark blue gel. These have been cut into several strips which I can combine any number of to get a good view of the proceedings, as well as affording the required protection.
There’s just enough time to see that the moon has managed to cover around half of the sun and then, just as quickly as it appeared, the ongoing spectacle vanishes behind another encroaching bank of cloud.
Time passes and the tension increases….as does the volume of cold water collecting in my underwear.
There’s a surge of chatter with a frantic waving of arms from a nearby group who loudly voice the suggestion that if all two thousand of us blow at once then maybe….just maybe….we can disperse the offending obstruction.
Then a bright shaft of light hits the sea half way between us and the horizon and another multitude of voices rise as one to demand the captain quickly puts the ship into warp drive to delivers us ’OVER THERE’….ah well, if only.
With just a few minutes to go a hush of reluctant disappointment descends to mute all but the insanely optimistic into silent reflection. And at that very moment I observe many of my fellow cruisers looking to the heavens whilst quietly muttering. Many a request for divine intervention was being offered to the almighty, maybe in return for the promise of abstention or a greater future commitment….and as if in appreciation of this renewed dedication there was a sudden and significant response.
With almost perfect timing the cloud cover clears enough to see that all but a thin sliver of the sun remains….and it’s bright enough to make the cardboard filters useable and necessary.
There is an audible gasp of gratitude (there will be plenty of opportunities to review any rash, spur of the moment promises made later)
The next few minutes were undoubtedly some of the most dramatic I’ve encountered (certain events aside J)
At first the thin sliver of sun which remained seemed to hang around unchanged for quite a while. Then in the last few seconds before totality there was a more noticeable movement of the moon, until the solitaire ring was displayed, a flaming diamond on a golden band. This pinpoint of light finally vanished like someone had flicked a switch.
For just a second or two everything disappeared from sight….AND THEN….there it was….the iconic sight of a total eclipse….the black disc of the moon surrounded by a corona of radiant light.
For two whole minutes the ice cold trickle down my back didn’t exist and I just didn’t care how numb my feet were anymore.
No words can truly describe the event itself but for me there was reflection.
Along with fleeting thoughts of the terror this phenomenon bought to my ancestors, there was the understanding that these eclipses have been occurring for millions of years, long before I came into existence, and they will continue to do so long after. For the attending it was special, but in the grand scheme of things it was just another day at the office for Mother Nature.
Once again I marvel at the wonders of our universe and realise that in the bigger picture I’m quite insignificant after all. But at least I got to make my mark and humanity has to acknowledge that no matter how trivial my presence is in the grand scheme….I was at least here to witness one of natures’ most amazing spectacles.
The Hokey Cokey……….what’s that all about?
Growing old is certainly better than the alternative……dying young
Not sure who should take the credit for this quote……but it’s definitely not me……still a great quote
Before my book was published last October I spent a good part of my days writing (exactly what you would expect from an aspiring writer) It was great because I could stretch my imagination, create characters and mould their lives, which then inspired me to develop the process further, build relationships, assign personality traits and generally……have fun by my own rules in the world I designed.
This was great fun, and it gave me that tingle of excitement which encouraged me to continue on a daily basis……until the inevitable happened, and as the last chapter concluded there was a feeling of loss, a conclusion to my fun. My characters had finally served their purpose and it was time to let them meet the world (hopefully)
Then a new kind of excitement came along in the form of the finished product, brilliant, but as a self-published author little did I realise how my days would now be taken up.
I still have many ideas racing around inside my head and I long to once again take the ‘Storyteller’s’ chair, return to my desk and create anew, to feel that tingle once more…but I can’t.
Why? well because if I want the world to meet Freddie and the lovely Lisa then I have to market the product. (It’s like the old joke about Dennis Waterman….write the theme tune, sing the theme tune) So I spend my day trawling Goodreads, Authinomy, Booklife, etc…….writing reviews for other fellow dreamers in the forlorn hope they may do the same for me.
And I have to ask myself……what am I doing?
I’m in a quandary because I want to write more, create more, it’s what I enjoy doing. But what’s the point if my efforts won’t be appreciated by others. I have to admit it’s all a little soul destroying but what choice do I have?
Oh well…….tomorrow……maybe……just maybe 🙂