Saturday, 16 January 2016

G'day

Good morning.

It's a mournful day. I feel all 365.25*40 of my days today. They weigh heavily on my shoulders. I'm sitting here, while Jonathan laughs and bounces about the living room, and thinking why this should be the case.

Life is, in many ways, a series of symbols. Like %. % is a symbol. So perhaps I feel this way because of the symbolic nature of birthdays. Something, something ineffable, has passed. It's not %. % isn't ineffable. Nor is >. Or £. Or ¥. No. It's something more than that. Youth has fled. And taken my sandwiches with it.

Then again, perhaps I shouldn't get hung up on symbols. Perhaps there are more effable reasons to feel this way. We live in times. More than that, we live in times. Even TIMES. Maybe. Maybe we live in times. Maybe that's what is bringing me down.

Isis. El Niño. A new financial crash. A failure of the Western liberal democratic model to bring prosperity and stability to North Africa and, by extension, the rest of the world. Unrest in Venezuela. Unrest in Islington. Islington itself. TIMES.

It all adds up to stuff. Can I really expect my sons to grow up? Particularly with Islington literally on the border of our Parish?

So I'm sitting and thinking. Feeling it all. Wondering what the cause of all my unhappiness, and weariness and generally [not-feeling-great]iness is. Sitting here. 40 years old.

On balance, however, I'm not convinced that it is about symbols, or the state of the world, or the futility of the future. Instead I'm going to pin it on the significant volumes of beer I drank last night.

Yes, I think that's probably it. The beer.

Ow. My head.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Friday, 8 January 2016

Robin of 2015

So, there are two ways you can approach this thing. Confront the misery and pointlessness of existence head-on, or slather the year in so much walnut-whip the one can barely taste the horror beneath. Shall we go with the sunny-side-up approach? Why not?

(Fergus is helping me write this. Thus far all I've got from him is, literally, "Blah blah blah blah blah")

2015 started with New Year. No one was killed in a terrorist attack. Or at least no one we know. This was the recurring theme of the year, for family Davey.

(Fergus would like to point out to you that he resents the time I am taking to write this and would much prefer to spend the time playing the Doctor Who game on the CBBC website)

It's difficult to pinpoint an artistic highlight of the year. In 2014 both Fergus and Jonathan were shocked and appalled by Jonathan Jones' outspoken attack on, well pretty much everything. They both plainly felt he should cut the crap and say what he really thought. But with no particular artistic windmills to tilt at last year, Mr Werewolf (well worth a look) come in second place to the Hoxton Garden natvity production, 'The whoopsy-daisy angels', which was both uplifting and uplifting. Barely a dry eye etc.

(Fergus proud to point out he had lead part as one of the whoopsy-daisy angels)

Following in the footsteps of Bertie Wooster we took the boys to Cannes. They were largely unimpressed. "Trite, provincial and above all, French", was Jonathan's analysis. I find this a little shocking given what we paid for the plane tickets, and the fact that he was addressing his comments directly to the Mayor, but what can you do? He's such a precocious little chap.

Other travels were pretty successful. We got very wet once we'd actually located the accommodation at Acton Scott farm. Fergus and Jonathan didn't care in the slightest as they got to hang out with Little Robin, Adam, Russell, Zoe, Frances etc. I then, somehow, managed to run DougStock III in Ironbridge in a reasonably successful way. It appears that 29 adults and 17 children were successfully billeted and none of them died. Many thanks to those who assisted in the noble endeavour. They don't know who they are.

I walked 30 miles in a day. If you think that is stupid, Colin, Abi and Robin walked about 150 miles in 5 days.

(Fergus has just noticed that a new box of 'Rice Krispies' has arrived and is eagerly crunching into it, but given that this is occurring in 2016 I'll keep it back for next year)

I didn't tweet a single thing in 2015. Which makes the world a slightly better place I feel. In general I kept my output of abusive, anonymous, misanthropic internet comments to a minimum this year, and thus met (more or less) my New Years resolution.

It rained a lot. You may have noticed.

One significant occurrence was the decision to swap household insurance provider. We'd been happy with the service paid by Bradford and Bingley over the two years we'd been in the house (which, to be fair, entailed us giving them money and asking nothing from them in return, as we'd neither been burgled nor the victims of arson) but sometimes it comes to the point where it's best, for all parties, to make a change. Will update you all in a year's time to let you know how it's going.

(Fergus left in disgust at this point)

There was some significant progress in my ability to pass myself off as generally competent, as well. We got a shed. WE GOT A SHED. I've even added some shelves to it and the haven't fallen off yet. And a bit of board where all the tools hang from hooks and you draw an outline round them to remind yourself which tool hangs from which hook (Nb. Don't do this using spray gun tools make excellent stencils but you have then painted tools bright pink. On one side). I also replaced the broken door of a washing machine, which I think basically means I've qualified as a plumber.

Coincidentally all four of us had birthdays in 2015. This year we gave the boys presents, which they enjoyed. Or at least had the good grace to pretend to enjoy.

Absolutely nothing of significance happened at work, but Kate went to Paris in December and returned with a global deal to tackle climate change, properly. So one of us has something to brag about. When I stand before the Pearly Gates I wonder if I can use the fact that I helped her with her packing for the trip as leverage?

Brunch was cancelled.

So there you go. A fairly swift, quick, whistle-stop, detailed, roller-coaster, insightful, lively and above all tawdry run through our year. And all in 140 characters.

Enjoy 2016 and above all don't get killed by some pathetic medieval religious nutter with a crap job and no girlfriend.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Wings stay on

There's a Far Side cartoon where 'Ted' reaches for a switch which, unbeknownst to him, causes the wings of the plane to fall off. Fergus now knows how Ted felt. Except for the splatty bit at the end, thankfully. That sensation will have to wait.

There we were. Driving along the M1. Southbound. Somewhere between Birmingham and London. It's a dull drive. It was dull weather. It was either raining or about to start raining. Road conditions were not at their best. It was, to be fair, slug-ugly weather for driving.

I was bored. Jonathan was, by this time, bored. The novelty of being in the car long since worn off. Kate was either bored, or stressed by the fact that Jonathan was bored and trying to exit the moving vehicle. He does that, often. I wasn't paying attention to anything but the road. I wasn't paying attention to Fergus, who was riding up front with me. And was bored.

The new kind of modern, fangled automobile doesn't have an old-fashioned hand-brake. I like the old style hand-brake. It is pleasing to pull on, and off. There's satisfaction there. I can see advantages to a hand-brake powered by a switch. But only to someone enfeebled in some way. Or with no left hand. I disgress.

So Fergus was bored. The hand-brake switch was within reach. It wasn't exactly clear to him what it was, so he experiemented.

Remarkably it didn't end horribly. There was a bit of grinding, and a beep of complaint from the dashboard, and some cussing from me, but nothing that will leave any mark.

Thank goodness for that.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Essex

We* usually go away at about this time of year. Just for the weekend. Nothing serious. A break between the burning heat of summer in England, and the festive cheer of Christmas. Anything to break to monotony of November.

This year we've been particularly bold and forsaken the West Country, the North, the South and the Heart of England and gone for Essex. Which is, to be honest, a lot quicker to get to from London, which is important if you can't leave until after school on a Friday. The calculus of children, eh?


Observations. It's a lot nicer here when it isn't raining, sleeting and blowing a gale. Creeksea Place Barns come highly recommended, whether for a weekend of walking or a Hen Party (that's what next-door are up to). And they are repairing the roof on St Peters-on-the-Wall. Scaffolding. Wherever I seem to go, there is scaffolding. I think it's a genetic thing, passed down from my father. Who was, once-upon-a-time, a scaffolder.













* select group of world-travellers

Friday, 11 September 2015

Boxing

I don't generally think about boxing, but this article, which is brilliantly well written, crystalised to me the realisation that boxing is as much part of civilised society as, say, racking heretics or stoning homosexuals.

People pay to watch chaps beat each other senseless. Sometimes the chaps die. Often they are left with brain injuries.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Wow

Brian Cox just said something in our kitchen (OK, from out of the radio in our kitchen). Which led me to this thing which is just so bloomin' cool. Mindblowing, really.