Saturday, 28 March 2015

The tyranny of the empty teacup

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Friday, 27 March 2015

Not working

It's strange really. I formally finished the day job at the start of December and since then I've carried on being an OU tutor and I've been doing some contract work and some unpaid work. Other than that I've been reading and spending time with Calum and visiting parts of the county that I love or that I haven't been to before. The main thing I've not done is feel guilty about not having a 9 - 5, Monday - Friday job. Funnily enough I was in much the same situation when I started this blog but I had a wee bit more work lined up and I lived in Bishopsbourne.

It's the guilt that I'm finding most surprising though. For all of my working life the imperative has been to be employed. Not just for the money but because we, men especially, can be defined by what we do for a living. I think I would probably frustrate anyone trying to nail that down given the range of employment I've had but still "having a job", or "having a full-time job", has been more important than the really important stuff for much of my life. I had a chat with a very wise careers advisor about this and we agreed that I might see this as a practice for being retired and in those terms it is very enjoyable but I still cannot get over the lack of guilt.

Fishing - Hythe, 27/03/15
I've never tried this kind of fishing - I have been out long-lining when I lived in Whitby - and this really doesn't appeal but who knows what I might take up to fill the available time? I'll certainly be planning some duvet days and I aim for them to be guilt-free

Number 1 son on the beach at Camber

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Beach fishing

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Camber #nofilter

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Reading while I wait

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Sunday, 22 March 2015


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Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Misty afyernoon #nofilter

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Friday, 13 March 2015

Now we're somewhere else

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From Sir Terry

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Picnic for two

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Thursday, 12 March 2015

Saturday, 7 March 2015

25 maps that explain the English language

25 maps that explain the English language - Vox:

I thought folk might be interested in this - all of the people reading this speak English but probably represent a number of the variants shown.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Today was a good day! (In pictures)

I didn't have the bacon roll although it was very tempting. Instead I had some of the healthiest cake in the world - and it was very scrummy indeed so though it was good for me I also enjoyed it!  

There was tea and lots of chat and laughs. We talked about what we've been doing since the office closed and offered advice to one of our number who had an interview at a Benedictine school that afternoon. I advised drinking a couple of bottles of Bucky and a few Brandy & Benedictines to demonstrate piety. You'll probably recognise that I am not and never have been employed by a religious order and thus my advice was based more on a hunch than any empirical evidence. On the plus side - I've never failed an interview to work for a religious order so my advice may have some value. 

Afterwards I went to see the sea because it's the only sensible thing to do really. This photo shows the Seven Sisters from Birling Gap. It's a place I know well and erosion is carving away chunks of it each year. The National Trust are losing the car park at such a rate that they will need to charge £20/hour to keep the income at the old levels. 

Despite all the signs warning that the cliffs are fragile there were families sunbathing on the beach next to fresh falls of chalk. Now chalk may not seem heavy but this isn't the same as the stuff the teacher might have thrown at you for yawning in class (or was that just me?). This is big angry rocks off the stuff and it's arriving after falling a couple of hundred metres and, just to jazz things up, there are big flint nodes in the debris too. If you fancy sunbath down at Birling Gap it's always best to stay away from the cliffs.

I'd hate anyone to think I'm getting into geology (or "rock fondling" as it is often called) so I'll not mention that Winchelsea and Rye sit on top of islands of rock surrounded by the alluvial plain which forms the flat land and marshes along this stretch of coast. So I drove up the hill to Winchelsea (which is where Spike Milligan is buried) and down the other side and then round the hill that Rye sits on.

The blip shows a better shot of the landscape at Birling Gap. Click on these images to see them in loud - all taken with my phone or tablet.     

Wednesday, 4 March 2015


Some more lamb shots - I think if you click on them you'll get the full-sized shot

The first shots shows the lambs suckling - their tails were rotating in opposite directions which made it all look like an aircraft taxiing.

Family shot
Family shot

This'll throw you!

Look! I'm writing a blog post! How retro is that? The reason is very simple and I'll try to explain it.

Last night I caught up with Echo Mouse who was one of the first people who commented on this blog 10 years ago. Mouse and I have been in touch, via social media, all these years and I've watched her become the Queen of Canadaland in that time. She worked incredibly hard to set up the Mastocytosis Society Canada, a charity which works with sufferers, carers and clinicians involved with mast cell disease. A tremendous achievement by any measure.

After our chat (and a bit of sleep - those crazy Canadians have some weird time thing going where they are awake while we are asleep) I started reflecting on the nature of these virtual connections. Mary Chayko (who I also follow on Twitter) wrote a book called "Connecting" (2002) about how we connect with people - real and imagined - using a range of media. The imagined people are the characters in films, plays and on television. She argues that social connectedness exists in a kind of multimodal continuum and I think that this is more valid now than ever. I reviewed this book for FirstMonday and the review is still available - scroll down this page to find it.

Mouse and I are unlikely to meet given that she lives in an igloo, surrounded by polar bears, many miles from here. But we still have a connection which allows us to chat, offer support, tell jokes and maintain a friendship. By the same token - yesterday I was exchanging texts with a friend I haven't seen for a dozen years. We speak on the phone and chat about our children and the world from our perspective - another connection facilitated by technology.

After chatting with Mouse I also started reading early posts on this blog and, better yet, some of the discussions which took place in the comments. I make no great claims for the quality of the posts but the quality of the comments was incredible and I'm wondering whether I should start blogging again as it offers a different outlet for some of the stuff in my head. Blipfoto serves as an outlet for photography and blog-like postings but this space need not connect with an image and that offers a different freedom. Of course I can post images and I've thrown one in here for those who don't like words :-)

I may be back.............