Tuesday, February 28

the benny hill brunch invitation

The brunch was surprisingly enjoyable - just benny and me and our partners and a nice lady. For once there were no deifheids invited. Amazing what a difference it makes, without the incessant drone of self-promotion. You can actually savour the food instead of seething through gritted teeth.

Of course, if I was a better person I would get on with everyone, like Jesus or politicians.

I'm reading three books, including two autobiogs in parallel: Keith Richards, and the NSC benny hill. The other book is by a Brit doctor called Dalrymple, about his years of working in prisons and schemes. Amazing how many NPD sufferers he meets.

Saturday, February 25


Walked for 4 hours up the river in hot sunshine. Decided to get the ferry back. Luckily the bliss partner pointed out that it was an express service and we needed to change ferries half way. Otherwise I would probably have stayed aboard and ended up on the other end of town.

Whenever my bliss partner and I go to Europe, we take different routes, on different days, and different airlines. So we're not exactly a typical couple who fuss over each other and do everything in step.

Anyway, when I got off the first ferry, I realized the partner hadn't remembered to get off. Last I saw of her, she was deep in conversation with the lady sitting next to her.

So I drove home without her. She eventually got a bus home and went straight to sleep, while I climbed trees in the garden - I don't want to piss myself off by telling you why, but all I'll say is that the garden cancer monster vine that I spent a week slaying in January, has metastasized at the other end of the garden. I googled it, and found out that they can grow a metre a day! So today I was up a ladder scraping the trunks and poisoning them with glyphosate. Its next move will be to drop all its cluster bombs, but by then I aim to have put up nets to catch them.

After mowing the lawn I cooked dinner in the pressure cooker. An organic chicken, with olives, prunes and root vegetables, herbs and garlic in a wine sauce. Big success!

Anyway, I've been on the go all day, and it feels great to be knackered. Tomorrow we've to go and see New South Caledonia's answer to Benny Hill. It's strange being with someone who was famous last century, when you've never actually seen his TV shows but people keep asking for his autograph, and other celebs and politicians stop him for a chat. For a change he hasn't invited the deifheids, so I'm going to go along. He's a very nice guy and a great host, in the conventional sense. Keeps your plate and glass filled, while regaling you with show biz gossip. Whereas I'm the sort of host who makes sure you have absolutely everything you need, then says "right, I'm off, enjoy yourselves!"

Wednesday, February 22

since the old dear died

In the years following my old man's death, I observed myself changing in a number of ways.

Similarly, since the old dear died last year, I've noticed some changes:

• I tend to be more fidgety. Though we weren't close, maybe somewhere in the back of my mind I had always retained a sense of the old dear being in control of the world. And now that she's gone, there's nobody looking after everything. The remedy for my new restlessness is either to get religious, so god can take the place of the old dear. Or I can tackle it by getting back into tai chi, or even meditation except that would only set Hotters off again.

• I tend to be more angry, aggressive, reckless, impatient. That's the downside, but the upside is I'm more spontaneous and outspoken, so maybe I'll just live with it. I think it's because I'm aware that now the old dear's died, I'm the next cab off the rank, and time's running out.

• I'm more sloppy, lackadaisical. As above (time's running out). Life's too short to try and keep on top of everything. But I feel conflicted about giving in to this - you have to be organized to make progress on things. I still fill my (smartphone) diary with things to do and people to contact, but then I never read what I've written so I never remember to do anything.

• I'm thinking more about infirmity, and slow dying vs. quick death. Though life keeps getting better in some ways, I'd still rather go in my sleep tonight, than suffer for years in pain or getting bits chopped out of me.

• I'm thinking more about younger folk, and the challenges they're likely to face in their lifetimes. Most of my generation will probably get to conk out before the worst of the future happens. I remember a couple of days before the old man died, I broke the Lockerbie news to him, but he was already beyond caring.

This photo shows the old dear in the 70s.

Sunday, February 19

out of order

Rather than preceding each picture with its own explanation, I thought I would try a bulk photo dump like some other bloggers do.

In the process I discovered that when you give up trying to fine-tune things, the stupid computery thing rearranges the pictures out of order: approaching a bliss busker, birds on a fence, busker close up, pavement coin, and stress-testing Albert's TV set.

Thursday, February 16

yochi taiga

People are either in the yoga or tai chi camp, but not both.

In Embra I taught myself yoga but I neither understood nor enjoyed it. But I was sure it was better than tai chi, which was for fairies and space cadets.

In Glasgow I became a tai chi fan, and looked down my nose at self punishing yoga types.

On moving to NSC I drifted out of tai chi and back into yoga classes, and stayed there happily for years.

Last night I thought I'd see how much I could remember of the tai chi form. I got stuck at several points, and had to use a book to remind me, but I finished it over about an hour. I thought today my legs might be knackered, but in fact there's a spring in my step. It's very strengthening. I followed that up with some yoga this morning. Maybe they can co-exist after all in the same person. Maybe they can balance each other up.

Saturday, February 11


This morning we found a previously undiscovered (by us) 3 hour walk along beaches, forest, and quiet streets. I kept thinking "the dog would have loved this".

Back home for lunch, and we spent the whole afternoon in bed, playing scrabble, finishing my book, drinking wine, and other adult pastimes. I should be ashamed, but I'm not.

Walking to work yesterday morning, Bach's Matthew Passion on the headphones had me gasping with each new tune. I know I'm just a heathen piggybacking on the spirituality of holy folk, but that music really lets you feel the awfulness of the crucifixion story.

Monday, February 6

swimming balance

Swimming report:

I only had time for half a mile yesterday, because I was meeting Kev after, and because I got a minor strain in a hip, from kicking too enthusiastically. 
But the good news is I worked out a tweak for the breathing. After the arm lunge, you exhale as far as you can. PaHa! Nobody can hear you cos you're underwater. Right to the point where it feels like the sides of the lungs are sticking together. That way, when your head surfaces again, you're ready for a maximum involuntary suck in.

Of course it takes timing too. Otherwise you make a goose of yourself by shouting out loud, or blowing a fountainous raspberry in front of yourself. Or inhaling water and choking.

A few years ago, in the piddledorf pool, the old dear said I was the fastest swimmer she had ever seen. A huge exaggeration, unless perhaps I was also the only one she'd ever seen. But it was kindly meant, and the first time she had ever shown anything approaching pride in one of her kids. 

My technique has improved since then, but I'm a few years more decrepit. It all balances up. 

Saturday, February 4

last day of freedom

Friday. Angelo Dundee just died. I'm the lucky one because I'm alive! Blessing-counting time.

Today is the last day I can "work from home". As soon as you wake up, you remember that bowl of DIY muesli soaking overnight in the fridge, and you jump out of bed. I followed up with one of the few precious jocko tea bags, then did 2000 steps on the stair master.

Now I was warmed up, I moved to the gym machine, and excelled myself without injury. The first picture shows today's peak settings for the triceps pull down. The machine's original weights are the black ones selected with a pin. Because the steps between them are too gross, I added a home made board on the top, for smaller weights so I can fine-tune.

Today's triceps exercise showed a huge improvement, partly through use of some mental imagery which doesn't belong on a family blog.

Next, the hamstrings. I use much lighter settings for them. You'd think it would be the other way round, because hamstring muscles are much larger than triceps. But it's also to do with the gearing of different pulleys.

Next, I'm doing Quads, and a careful bench press taking care not to reactivate an old elbow injury. Starting settings:

At the end of last year I lost my list of New Year resolutions. One of them was to use the gym twice a week, instead of once in a while. If I follow up, then according to my theory, I'll end up wanting to push people over (triceps), give them a kicking (quads), and run away (hamstrings).

There's still half the day left, and then it's the weekend!

Friday, February 3

black and white thinking

Cap'n Kev is an Aussie. Australia has many fine people, and some of them are liberal thinkers. On the other hand, when white South Africa came to an end, the role of world capital of white supremacism fell to Australia, where many Aborigines live in bantustans in poverty, drunkenness and disease.

Albert leaked me a copy of his email correspondence with Cap'n Kev:

Kev: Did you see that TV show that said there was a link between race and intelligence?

Albert: What's the punch line? ;)

Kev: It looks at IQ studies over many years that say the same thing; blacks are dull, east asians are smart. We're somewhere in the middle.

Albert: I reckon IQ is a social concept, not a scientific quantity like speed or weight. I mean IQ is by definition a measure of those human qualities that allow people to function especially well in modern western society.

If the world had developed differently, perhaps with a hotter climate, and Australian Aboriginals had survived best and dominated the world, their culture might measure people using something called perhaps AQ, reflecting people's abilities in tracking, bush tucker, etc. Whiteys might be down at the bottom of that scale.

Thank goodness things didn't pan out that way, or we would be surviving on reservations as no-hopers, with no interests except drugs, coffee, horse racing and slot machines.

Today's photo reflects the infinite number of possible worlds, and the current perfect Albert.