It’s the question I get asked most if the subject of my blog crops up. Well the word “Alfie” isn’t usually part of the quest, although someone did sing that line to me on one occasion. However, it confuses most people when I tell them that it’s “About nothing, but then again about any and everything” And that’s more or less what it’s about. What I want to say and when I want to say it. I don’t have a theme. I tried that when I first started with Blogger and failed, although the “From then to now” posts do have a sort of theme running through them. So this is possibly one of the reasons my posts are more random than some other blogs. Something could affect me today and I’ll post about it and then something else could happen tomorrow and I would post about that. Then it could be a couple of weeks before I’m ready to write again.
It’s funny how politics and scandal seem to invade everyday conversation these days. The subject of Boris and the alleged ‘thigh grab’ came up at work on Monday. My colleague was completely bewildered by why she did not do anything about it at the time. I did try and explain, that 20 years ago someone who is trying to establish themselves and build a career simply did not ‘tell tales’ about an employer. If they did, it could have serious repercussions. It is only since the ‘#me too’ allegations came to the fore, that incidents are now being exposed.
That’s enough ‘politics’ for now. Normal service will be resumed in due course.
Unfortunately, my From Now to Then series has had to be put on hold for a while. The friend I ask to ‘proof read’ the posts is not going to be available for the next few weeks. He is in the process of changing jobs which has resulted in him emigrating to Canada. So for the next few weeks or so he only has internet access on his smart phone. Once he is settled, he has promised to continue helping. After all, I need to be as accurate as my memory serves me and it needs to be libellous free. Hopefully it will be not too long as I still have a few things to tell.
Recently, I was asked by a friend if I could do a bit of shopping for him. All he wanted was some blade for his razor. He has a famous brand of razor that uses multi blade cartridges. They are disposable and simply click into the handle. Very popular as they are supposed to give a very close shave. I have never really found them to my taste as I was put off by those horrible two blade disposable razors that were becoming fashionable in the mid 1970’s. I found them very uncomfortable to hold and use, and could never get more than two or three shaves before they were put in the bin.
But to the point of this moan. I went straight to a well known supermarket and sought out the ones my friend had asked for, only to find that the pack had eight cartridges and cost just over £22. I thought that they must be cheaper than that somewhere. I tried B**ts and they were more expensive there and the price in Sup***rug was the same. I was very shocked to see that the packs also had security tags to prevent theft. I bought some, but vowed never to buy them for myself.
This is my wet shaving setup. The soap-mug was a present, so I don’t know the cost. The soap was bought from the previously mentioned supermarket and was about £4.00. But the real bargain was the razor and the blades. The razor was bought on eBay and cost me £2.99 postage free. I came with a pack of 5 double edged blade, an comes with its own storage box. I also bought a pack of Astra blades. They came in a box of 10 packets, each packet had 5 blades. Price, including postage £2.00. But the real bargain was the soap brush. I had originally priced them up as around £6.00 for a ‘genuine badger’ bristle. The ones I got are natural bristle and there were 10 for £6.50, and they are just as good. I usually wet shave twice a week and have an electric razor for the other days, as it is often quicker.
At the beginning of last week I noticed a new bird in the garden. It was small, rounded, grey with a few white spots and a red ring around it’s eyes. I did a little probing around the internet and discovered that it could have been a Diamond Dove. This seemed a ridiculous notion as the bird is native of Australia. Now I know migratory birds can travel huge distances but this thing seemed far too small to travel very far. I took a picture and used, what I now know is Google Lens to try and properly identify the creature. Google Lens confirmed that the bird was in fact a Diamond Dove. I can only assume that it had been in somebodies local aviary and it escaped. It was with us up until around Thursday waddling around on the ground picking up seeds that the Starlings drop from the feeder. It now seems to have gone, which is a shame.
September sees races in the UCI World Cycling Championship being held in Yorkshire. The main racing takes place between the 22nd and 26th, but on the 21st one of the Yorkshire 2019 Para-Cycling International legs is starting locally in Wetherby. A local Knitting/Craft shop has been given permission to have knitted bunting both sides of a 1/2 stretch of the route. So a call had gone out for local knitters to create some bunting in the right colours. I managed to knit 20 triangles making 4 sets. I could have done another five, but was running short of a couple of the colours.
Back in April of this year, I changed the settings on my blog posts to show an excerpt rather than the full post. It was on the advice of someone who was of the opinion that my traffic would increase if I did this. Well after 4 months, it doesn’t seem to have made any difference at all. In fact, it may have even put some people off reading the post if they have to ‘click’ to read. Who knows? So the “Continue reading…” has gone and I’m back to displaying the full post.
I wrote the ‘coincidence‘ post, as this one, using the new Block Editor. I’m determined to get the hang of it somehow. It became clear that the spell checker that was being used was using a US English dictionary when it tried to make me spell ‘theatre’ as ‘theater’. This is all well and good if you’re an American writer, but I wanted UK English . Try as I might, I could not find a setting that related to the spell checker. Both Bing and Google did not help, so I post a topic in the WordPress.com support forum and waited.
One of the more obscure Bing articles mentioned that WordPress uses the browser dictionary. But if I’m using the WordPress Windows Store app, surely that does not use the browser? I couldn’t find a language setting in the Opera browser, so I had a look at Internet Explorer 11 settings, which picks up it’s language from the Windows settings. It was there that I found it. The ‘Country or Region’ setting showed the UK, but the ‘Display Language’ setting was showing ‘English (United States)”. In order for me to use the ‘English (United Kingdom)’ setting, I had to download a language pack from Microsoft. Who decided that we are all American?
I now see what I have been doing wrong. I had the Save setting to Save Draft, but when I close the editor, I was clicking on the Publish button in an attempt to publish as a draft post. I now realise that I do not need to select Publish from the editor. The post is saved regularly as a draft post and I can preview and amend as I do now.
So I now need to work on updating my skills to learn this new ‘Block’ editor. I don’t think I’m going to drop Open Live Writer as an editor, but I think I need an additional string to my blogging bow. It’s funny, I originally started using the WordPress editor before moving to Microsoft’s Windows Live Editor which was part of the Windows Essentials software. When this deprecated, I tried using the blog template in Microsoft Word before I found the open source software ‘ Open Live Writer ‘. So in a fashion, I have come full circle.
My thank must go to @themagicrobot who’s response in the WordPress Support Forums showed me the error of my ways.
Back in 2016, a few months before I retired I heard a rumour that my old school was going to have a reunion. This was to coincide with the ‘celebrations’ marking 50 years since the England football team actually won the World Cup. I asked the school friend that I mentioned in my last post if he knew anything but he had not heard anything. I did a bit of Googling, but nothing about a reunion turned up. I did however see a name, linked with the school. The person, I’ll call him “Eric”, was not at the school for very long. He started at the same time, but after about 4 or 5 weeks he left. His father was an English teacher and had got a job in South Africa. As a consequence we did not have much to do with him. I remember him because he was the same size as me and had the same side parting hairstyle. He was on “Linked in” and I ended up sending him a message just out of curiosity. Turned out he is a University lecturer now, but in Australia. We messaged a couple of times, but he was more into Skype and Facetime video messaging which is something I avoid like the plague. As with a lot of these things, the messages dropped off and I only hear from him at Christmas and birthdays.
Then in March this year, out of the blue he emailed me with a pdf document. He had written his autobiography and thought I would like a copy to “…remind me of bygone times…” To be brutally honest, it was dire. I’m no writing guru, but I could have done it better without trying. Lots of sentences starting with ‘And then…’ or ‘The next day…’ or ‘After that…” For the son of an English teacher, it could not have been worse. But it got me thinking. Should I and could I do my own autobiography? It could not be any worse than “Eric’s” and I would not be publishing it. I wouldn’t want to do a ‘birth to now’ type, but I could concentrate on my work life. It then struck me that I could write it as a series of blog posts, taking say 5 years at a time and writing about the best bits.
So guess what? I’m going to give it a go. I need to work out some kind of time-line and highlight key points and dates before I start, but I think it may just work. So as the saying goes …
I’ve been reading up on various websites about the “art of blogging”. There are so many ‘helpful’ people trying their best to help you/me become a better blogger. Most of them seem to want me to follow their blog and maybe contribute financially to their blog. I tend to pass these by once I see the ‘Donate’ button. Occasionally, one site/post will catch my eye. A particular blog suggested that it is often a good idea to start your blog with someone else’s words, as a hook to get potential readers interested. So this is the point of this post.
I’m going back to 2011. My eldest son, S**** and I are at the Leeds Festival (or Leeds Fest as it it known colloquially). We have just watched the band Madness and he is going off with his friends to do what young people do at festivals. I’m trying to be the ‘trendy oldie’ and I’m thinking I’m going to see the next band … whoever they are. Turned out they were a Sheffield band called “Bring Me The Horizon”, who’s music at the time was defined as “metalcore” which was something I had no idea about. So there I was, at the grand old age of 56, wearing a skull bandana, wishing I still smoked waiting for this band to appear.
It was loud … very, very loud. The singers voice just seemed to screech all the time, but the music was very addictive. I stayed for the whole set … including a particular song that was apparently called “Wall of Death”. This involved the singer telling the audience to form a large circle. By this time, I was towards the centre of the audience and people were beginning to move backwards. the circle was getting bigger and bigger. There seemed nowhere for me to go. I asked a young man who was near to me, what I should do. His words were “Just run and don’t stop!” Which is exactly what I did. There is a YouTube video that shows the event, but the photo here shows the scale. I was never more scared and excited in my life. Although you will ne be able to make me out, I was somewhere near the bottom righthand corner.
Ever since that day, I have enjoyed listening to BMTH who’s music which has turned somewhat into what some call “pop metal”.
Now to the point. The quote is from a song by BMTH called True Friends. The quote is based on a quote by Oscar Wilde, and it is claimed that it is not about anything/anyone in particular.
So that is my attempt at “Start with someone else’s words” Lets see how this one goes.