Thursday, 21 August 2014

Rocket Science

We have sound engineers coming all the way from Nottingham in a minute to see if they can sort out the pounding bass-line coming from the flat roof of the new restaurant, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights.

I went down late one Saturday night to complain about it, but when I got inside the bar, the music levels were quite acceptable - prognosis: the problem was the flat roof acting as a drum-skin.

I have been telling them this for quite a while now, but they have come up with all sorts of other reasons, such as the volume of customers soaking up the sound, etc., and up until today have declined any invitations to come up and listen for themselves.

When the manager called me yesterday to arrange for the engineers to get access, we talked about the situation a little more and he responded to my saying that the problem was worse at weekends by telling me that they had a different music 'profile' on Fridays and Saturdays, and it was more a case of the type of party music played, rather than the volume it was played at. I expressed my disbelief that it could be so complicated, and returned to the drum-skin theory.

Eventually, he admitted that they had installed a Super-Woofer bass speaker right onto the ceiling below the flat roof.

The engineer told me yesterday - from Nottingham - that they had told them not to do that, but they insisted. He is re-positioning it now as I speak, and will be up here in an hour or so to test out the theory in practice...

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Confessions of a hypochondriac

I've learned a bit about the two types of bronchitis recently, having contracted - I think - the viral one which I mistook for a cold a couple of weeks ago. I am told it could last for up to a month, and - being viral - would not respond to any mis-prescribed anti-biotics that might be issued by a lazy doctor.

The other sort is actual lung damage, and lasts for three months (presumably the Winter ones) of the year - often caused by smoking or the breathing in of irritants such as harmful stone dust or chemicals.

It just so happens that this chesty cough arrived as I had - in between smoking - sanded down a particularly unusual and crystalline white stone, and after that I treated it with some hydrogen peroxide mixed with a very dry and dusty powder bleach which I tried very hard not to breathe in as I blended the two together.

Of course, I wore a dust-mask when I sanded down the stone, but - for want of a new one - I found a dirty, old, discarded one which had seen better days. Normally, I carefully wrap up these masks in plastic before I go home, because my workshop turns into a rat's playground at night. I know this because of the hundreds of footprints in the dust everywhere, but since I did not intend to use this mask again, I had left it unwrapped and was about to throw it away. My reasoning was that it was 'better than nothing'.

Being one of those people who wake up before dawn and realise that they may not be alive for more than a few days afterwards, it took a lot of self-conrol to arrive at the self-diagnosis of 'chronic' rather than 'acute' bronchitis. When you compare the names, there is not much to choose between either of them, but I have found out that it is better to be chronic rather than acute.

The symptoms of most fatal diseases - especially ones caught from rats - always seem to be described as 'flu-like' in the initial stages, so I was relieved that I only had a hacking cough rather than aching joints to go with it. At least I could rule out an early death through the ingestion of rat's piss - for the time being.

Many people go to doctors just to be reassured, but I don't go to them for the opposite reason.


Woman goes to the doctor for a full examination, and after she has put all her clothes back on, the doctor gives his prognosis.

Doctor:  "You have acute angina."

Woman:  "Never mind about that, just tell me what's wrong with me."

Monday, 18 August 2014

More choice

Idly staring at this church gate the other day, I wondered why it had a semi-circular paved area on the side away from the opening, so I looked a bit closer.

It opens both ways on this rocking, double hinge arrangement, it hangs from a pin at the top and the latch plate curves upwards both sides. Ingenious.

Carry on.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Old man's trousers

Two fashion posts in one day - lucky you.

These dark blue, linen, generously cut trousers I sport were bought for a mere £5 from a charity shop yesterday, and were very well made in Greece - judging from the label, they were bespoke made as well.

It's hard to tell with a crap camera and failing, pixilated light, but these are double-pleated fronts with plenty of Victor Sylvester - i.e., ballroom in abundance.

They are the closest thing to proper 1940s cut trousers I have seen that were not made in the 1940s, other than by Armani.

I love them, especially at that price.

The shirt is Hilfiger and the shoes are Crockett and Jones - of course.

Do my tits look big in this?

Has anyone seen the new face of Marks and Spencer's lingerie department? She is a classic English Rose with slightly flushed cheeks, but that may just be the effort of keeping up appearances.

I haven't actively sought out her image, it's just that if you log on to AOL news here in the UK as I am forced to do, a little advert in the corner has her selling their wares in a variety of positions, today's one being a reclining one in a softly-lit boudoir.

M & S have always been renowned for their underwear, but usually the sort of pants that spring to mind when they are mentioned are, traditionally, St. Michael's Y-Fronts. The place has been struggling with their image for years now, possibly because most people admit to shopping there for sensible undergarments only, and these things are usually hidden beneath clothing from other outlets, so comfort is the main criteria when choosing them.

The loyal clientele who have been buying drip-dry, beige, uni-sex, jacket and trouser uniforms from M & S have all died now, and since these outfits were bought by the wife for the husband and herself, they are looking for a new customer-base to fill their place. They seem to have settled on the slightly older, slightly larger woman who is trying to have as much risque fun and fantasy as she can before being relegated to sexual invisibility by the generation below her.

They have tried to appeal to younger customers in the past, but this has always been a complete and utter, laughable disaster - a bit like your mother referring to the club you are about to go to as a 'disco' in front of all your friends.

Of course, the latest models are all in their early twenties, but they have obviously been chosen to represent the best that any woman over forty could ever hope to aspire to, without actually attaining the eye-catching imperfections in the nick of time before their bodies go irretrievably South, as everyone's must. The pink flush to the cheeks of their new 'face' is not broken blood vessels.

It is a terrible truth that despite the onset of old-age with all its attendant maladies, men are never fully free from the sexually frenzied merry-go-round of seduction and flattery, and not just because of the cruel biological programming which instructs our minds to fool us into believing that we still have the bodies of twenty-five year-olds, and can behave accordingly.

If a twenty-five year-old woman thought that she was unattractive to even a ninety year-old man, she would be mortified with shame and pain. It is our duty to be dirty old men for their sake, and suffer the consequential abuse in stoic silence.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Time to burn

Do you believe anyone other than the Dalai Lama who say that they have no regrets?

How simple do you think it is to learn from your mistakes?

How difficult is it to actually waste time?

Do I regret the minor celebration I had last night for the successful conclusion of H.I.'s Summer Schools and the selling of my friend's Volvo to an 87 year-old woman, or the commiseration shown to the 28 year-old woman who did not get the job of General Manager of the pub at which I was celebrating?

The last one is pretty easy - I only regret the mild headache I have this morning, not the late-night call to a nearby restaurant to complain about the loud music impinging on the very different music coming from my speakers.

I announced the decision that I would not be doing anything that I did not actually want to do this weekend yesterday as well. This means that I will not be driving H.I. to Bristol to see a friend's exhibition there - I've had enough Art for a few weeks.

My only concrete plan for the next two days is to buy a pair of door knobs. I am open to any ideas about the rest of the time, just so long as it doesn't involve getting into my car and driving somewhere.

The door knobs will mark the imminent completion of a project which has been dragging on for about two years now, just as they mark the transition of this philosophical post about life, the universe and everything to one more suited to a Lifestyle blogger.

For about 24 years now, I have been opening and closing our bathroom door with a mild but persistent sense of disdain - it is a 1960s, plain plywood-faced one which doesn't fit properly, and is surrounded by very elegant, Georgian, panelled originals.

It has never had a lock on it, so any visitors using the facilities become constipated by the possibility that their ablutions may be interrupted at any moment by someone just walking in. The fact that they are told that if the door is closed, there is someone else in there, or if it is open, there isn't, just doesn't seem to calm them down.

Some years ago I spent three months converting a small farm house near Shaftesbury into a slightly bigger one, and the first thing we did was to demolish the bathroom wall. One interesting thing I learned from this is that it takes almost no time at all to get used to bathing or using the toilet (sorry, Hattatts - lavatory) in public, especially if everyone else is forced to do exactly the same.

I bought this real wood, four-panelled door which was roughly the right dimensions, and took out the very nasty wooden mouldings which ran around the edges of the panels, then I found some much nicer mouldings, having hot-stripped the paint away from the rest of the woodwork.

The door only needed half an inch trimmed off both sides of it to fit perfectly (I hope...) so I took it to my friend's woodworking shop and leaned it against the wall. It stayed leaning there for two years.

Last week, I - sort of - regained my interest and cut off the sides with his table saw. It took about 30 seconds.

To cut half an inch off both sides of this story, I can tell you that the door is now fitted with the mouldings and a new latch, and the whole thing is primed and ready to hang. I am planning on coinciding the hanging with a day spent in Bath waiting for my mechanic to do about 10 minutes of work on my Volvo.

If you can learn anything from this post that isn't to do with woodwork, it is that it is quite possible to write at length about nothing, just so long as you have nothing better to do.

Stay busy.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Get back on your heads

Ok, Holiday over. Back to work, you lazy bastards. No pictures for you.

Here in England (but more so in France) there has been a dramatic and very nasty upturn in anti-Semitic attacks and abuse, as a result of the conflict between Hamas and the Israeli government.

It has only been a couple of hundred years since ordinary, God-fearing Jews were called 'child-eaters' in Merry Olde Englande, and now they are - right here and now in our major cities - being called 'child killers'.

It is now absolutely impossible to organise a simple and peaceful protest about anything without it being hi-jacked by extremists with another agenda, and any protests against the disproportionate use of force against Palestinians have been hi-jacked by a combination of very nasty and very stupid - usually both - thugs, who are as close to neo-nazisim as you can get these days without being barred from walking the streets.

Ordinary practising Jews are having dog shit put through their letter-boxes and despicable graffiti daubed on their walls - 'Death to all Jews' being quite a popular little sentiment, even amongst non-Molsems.

In this country of the lowest common denominator, Paediatric surgeons are believed to be paedophiles, Moslems are believed to be terrorists and all Jewish families are believed to be child-killers.

For fuck's sake, why can't we grow up?