Saturday, October 31

noise cancelling

You know those noise-cancelling headphones, the ones that counter an external noise by playing back the opposite sounds into your ear, and the two sounds cancel each other? Perfect balance.

The trouble is, they're only effective against continuous noises - planes, car engines, that sort of thing. They're no help at all against intermittent racket, like the human voice.

I need to invent a way of neutralising the noise pollution from the garden next door. During the day it's the loudmouth kiddies, usually just as you're about to take a well-earned nap. I used to live next to a primary school playground and that wasn't too bad, but this is something different, two wee shites bawling at full volume across the neighbourhood. It's like the nyaff in The Tin Drum, doubled.

I almost feel sorry for the parents, having to live with that 24/7. But the parents are the same - if they're not revving up their power-boat in the front drive, they're making all their phone calls in the back garden outside my room. I know I should be more forgiving - they're actually Australians so how could they know any better?

I know what you're thinking: why don't I just ask them to consider using their phone indoors like everyone else. Well for one thing they don't seem like people who are into self-control. And besides, supposing I asked them and then nothing changed? I'd have to just seethe.

No, I've stumbled on a better noise-cancelling idea, and if it works I may patent it, like Marlon Brando's drumscrew.

Tonight when I got home from work, the father was shouting down the mobile phone as usual. When I got a call from the Piddledorf Pension Plan, I saw my chance. I took the phone out to the garden. It was perfect - the pension fund is deaf as a post, so I had to shout, and repeat everything several exasperating times.

When I hung up, there was silence next door. I think they must have been stunned to think that anyone else could be as thoughtless as them.

They might get the message, but even if they don't, eff them! I'm getting a taste for the loudmouth way of being. I'm going to do all my phoning outdoors, switching at random into Bavarian, which is even more irritating than Australian.

Saturday, October 24

surrounded by basturns

Poor Albert reurned to work after his holidays to find that the union had made a mess of the pay negotiations. They accepted a 5% pay rise (hooray) but with a 13% increase in working hours. Apparently this came about because on the one hand his employers are a shower of basturns and on the other hand the union are incompetent twats. It all balances out.

On my advice, he turned the situation to some slight advantage, by maintaining the rage. During a dog-walk the murderous impulses are worth as much as two extra cups of tea.

Thursday, October 22

mango net update

The neighbour was right - a kookaburra in fact chased a giant dragonfly into the net. Carnage ensued, but those birds are smart, so when I walked up it dropped to the ground and flew out. The Mark 2 net is bird-proof.

Reading Slaughterhouse 5 at the moment, and loving it. I read it when I was a kid, but it was wasted on me then.

Monday, October 19

second half plans

I wrote this half way through the hols, but forgot to hit publish.

So what am I going to do with the second week of the holidays?

I keep saying I'm going to swim, but since winter has returned the finger skin is all cracked again, and chlorine water gets in and opens up the cracks. But what am I, a man or a mouse? I'll swim today.

Some more walking - I'm in training for the big walk with Albert, and yesterday I did another 3-hour power walk. The partner has had to bow out due to injury, so on the day it may be just me and Albert (plus Albert's dog).

I need to revisit the site called, to research graduation photos of some bloggers and other folk I know.

At the start of the hols I promised myself I would do all those little work-related jobs that are not mandatory but would make my life (and the clients' lives) more interesting. Of course, that resolution lasted just one day, but I hereby resolve to get back into it.

Using an old hula hoop and several long straight limbs chopped from the trees last month, I've built a netting cage around the mango tree. The neighbour calls it my bird cage - he thinks the birds will get in at the bottom.

Sunday, October 18

up and down in oz and nsc

Visiting Albert for the mass walk round the harbour today.

Lost the will to live yesterday. Must have been a dodgy batch of pills. To show you how bad things were - the best part of the day was the three hours I spent helping Cap'n Kev fix up his laptop. I had to develop inner calm as there were no heavy blunt objects to hand.

But today things will surely look up, with Albert's conversational skills and his dog. And there will be cups of life-giving tea, to spur on the heart to the finishing line.

Wednesday, October 14

death and axes

An email from Dances Etc. Thanks to friendsreuntied he's back in contact with Harry, who told him:

Martin who lived with me in Edinbrough unfortunately he experienced an acute psychotic schizophrenia and attacked his parents with an axe very sad and I lost contact with him many years ago. I am still meeting with Ossie from Glasgow/Edinbrough he lives in Kew.

And it appears Harry has forgiven Albert's brother for deliberately freaking him out when we were all working in Germany. Harry was tripping and the brother chased him around the place with a large glass bowl full of lentil soup.

Monday, October 12

halfway point

Half way through the 2-week holidays, what have I done with the time?

Well it's birthday time here, and much time has been spent on that. The partner's side of the family manages to drag its birthdays out over several weeks. On the first weekend of the hols, I took the partner to the cinema for an advance birthday treat (because the actual birthday would be too chock full of social events) and a birthday meal a deux.

Then during the week I had to do birthday shopping for several presents, including an industrial-size roll of those blue and white synthetic cloths that she so loves.

Mid-week, there was a gathering of the usual deifheids for a birthday dinner, where the great food was spoilt only by the incessant conversation. Fortunately, after the first 3 hours I was able to lie on the floor and stroke the dog. I had agreed to drive home afterwards so that the partner could get blootered, but that meant I didn't even have the option of enjoying a shandy.

The Saturday just gone, there was the partner's birthday lunch with the boy of the family, and his girlfriend. That was actually great, because of the waves of Chinese food and the absence of adults. Most young folk have yet to learn deifheid skills. Afterwards, I picked up a box of 20 mangoes at the market, and retired a deux for an "nap" with mangoes. The sheets were due to be changed anyway.

Then we had the shopping expedition to get the boy a present for his birthday tomorrow (yet another party).

I'm not sure that work could be any busier than this holiday.

Wednesday, October 7

tea bliss

Ah, I just had my first tea in two days. You take your first sip and .. oh the joy!

I used to be a green teaheid, now I’ve discovered white tea as well. In hot drink terms, I'm a Celtic supporter. I never usually take sides, so when they invent blue tea, I'll try that too.

Monday, October 5

near death experience

I nearly fell over the side of an escalator yesterday, in one of these shopping malls. The drop would have been several floors. I was doing my usual trick of squeezing past stationary folk who stand to one side of the escalator, when a thick-set woman (though it could have been any weight and gender) stepped out into my path and the inadvertent shoulder-charge nearly sent me over the side. I was wearing a backpack, which helped move my center of gravity upwards.

So next time you're overtaking on the escalator, I recommend bending your knees like Groucho, or you could try ringing a bell to warn them someone's coming through.

Saturday, October 3

gratuitous balance

For no good reason at all, this is a picture of a fit young person saying something. I can't lip-read as well as I used to, but I think she's saying "it's balancing me up".

On the other hand, staring at this picture is definitely unbalancing me. It all balances up.