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Life

One Less Pigeon

While making a cup of coffee earlier, my youngest daughter ran into the kitchen, pointing into the garden as she ran – our little black rescue-cat was stalking two hapless pigeons. He was crouched, flat to the floor behind a bag of garden cuttings, while they pecked around in the undergrowth on the opposite side.

After perhaps a minute of waiting, waiting some more, and waiting even longer, we all gathered by the windows, watching him. He finally exploded from his hiding place, and grabbed one of the pigeons at it tried to escape in a silent cloud of feathers.

The next few moments was unintentionally hilarious. My other half ran from the back door, waving her arms at him, ordering him to let the pigeon go (it was still alive, although slightly dishevelled, and hanging from his mouth by one of it’s shoulders). He ran across the garden with it, struggling to carry it, and vanished under a nearby hedge.

We didn’t see what happened to it after that, and he didn’t come home for anything to eat at lunchtime. I think we can work it out.

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Life

Minutes

One more day until the weekend. Twenty four hours. One thousand four hundred and forty minutes. Actually, that’s a bit of an exaggeration – it’s already heading towards midnight, so maybe eighteen hours. One thousand and eighty minutes. I’ll stop now.

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Life

Tantrums

After a bank holiday weekend, I’m back at work. Back in the study. Back in front of my work laptop. For the first time in about five months, I’m wearing something other than cargo shorts and a t-shirt. I guess this is where I have to admit it’s September, and start pulling fleeces and hoodies from the drawers. Today I’m wearing jeans, walking boots, and a dark grey hoodie – you may as well start calling me Elliot, and ask when I’m starting F-Society.

I wrote that opening paragraph at lunchtime. It’s now a quarter to midnight. It’s been that kind of day. I’m not sure I have much to add really. I can’t write about work, I won’t write about family, so you get the contents of my head instead.

(a short pause while I push a load of forgotten rubbish off a desk in the corner of my brain, and then have a coughing fit from the cloud of dust that ensues as a result)

This evening I flew a pretend Boeing 737 to Port Elizabeth in South Africa, along with the group that my Dad regularly “flies” with. Perhaps the most entertaining part of the entire endeavour was hearing a grown man have a temper tantrum at the end of the flight (not me, honest). Thankfully air traffic control communication requires “push to talk”, otherwise the entire group might have heard me laughing like Mutley.

Anyway.

Perhaps it’s time to go make a bowl of cereals, watch some rubbish television, then fall into bed.

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Life

Frustrated

I’m stepping away from the social internet for a while.

Everywhere I look, all I see is keyboard warriors writing at length about politics, social injustice, gender bias, racism, and any other thing that has triggered them on a particular day.

Here’s the thing – social networks surround people with those that share similar views – so all they are doing is preaching to the choir. Here’s another thing – most people don’t want to start a conversation – they just want to promote their often badly informed views and opinions as widely as possible.

If those expounding at length about the injustices surrounding them invested anywhere near as much effort in actually doing anything, they might succeed in moving the dial a little, rather than just making a lot of noise about where it’s pointing.

Of course the internet isn’t entirely full of soap-box activists. There’s a quiet army of regular people, just trying to get from one day to the next without being called out, or drawn into anything too horrendous.  That doesn’t mean they don’t care.

If you see me posting about flying pretend aeroplanes, exploring imaginary planets, or adventuring through sewers as a mad Italian plumber over the coming weeks, you’ll know why.

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Life

Friday

It’s Friday afternoon, with a bank holiday weekend stretched out ahead. I’m just taking a break from work for a few minutes to write this. It’s been a strange sort of week – filled with source code, testing, integration, head scratching, and quite a lot of frowning.

Rain is gently falling outside. Late yesterday the rain arrived suddenly – with a flash of lightning and clap of thunder. The internet connection dropped out instantaneously, and didn’t return for half an hour. It dropped out again earlier today for half an hour or so. I took it as a sign, and stopped for lunch.

I’m looking forward to a relaxed few days off, but fear that might not happen. The inlaws are visiting over the weekend at some point for lunch – and the lounge is filled with six months worth of things not put away by the rest of the family. I imagine tempers will flare on the part of everybody involved when asked to do something about it. We have somehow amassed more jigsaws and board games than most large toy shops, and my other half has slowly transferred more crafting projects than I knew existed in the universe into the lounge.

I sometimes wonder how the kids would react if I picked up the various things they have left on the floor, and threw them as hard as possible at the wall… cups, plates, mugs, glasses – all of it – smashed to bits in front of them. Shoes and clothes thrown directly into the rubbish bin. They would end up in their underwear, eating directly from saucepans with their bare hands within days.

I’m listening to Spotify again. Idina Menzel today. I haven’t listened to her in a while. She’s singing “I see you”. It’s kind of wonderful.

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Life

Thursday

It’s nearly 10am, and I’m sitting in the variously titled “study” or “junk room” at home, working. I’m a software developer. My job usually involves sitting in front of a computer all day, trying to turn somebody else’s ideas into reality. Sometimes it’s interesting. Sometimes it’s frustrating. Sometimes it’s incredibly annoying. I won’t get into why.

I’m listening to Spotify. I made a retro playlist a few weeks ago – it’s playing now. Debbie Gibson is whining about something or other. The start of the song was quite good, but the louder she gets, the more whiney she gets. I’m moments away from clicking the “next track” button. Ah crap. Tiffany is now singing about being “Alone Now”…

The second coffee of the day is sitting next to me on the desk. There are bubbles of fat floating around the rim of the mug – we accidentally bought full-fat milk the other day, and I’m the only person that will drink it. I hate wasting things.

I quite like working from home, but I really need to start doing something about fitness. I haven’t been running for the last few weeks. It’s too tempting to stay in bed until work starts on a morning – especially given that my commute is essentially the six or seven footsteps from the bathroom to the junk room. I think perhaps home working suits some people better than others – even though I think of myself as a black belt at procrastination, I’m also a bit of a lunatic when faced with long and difficult projects – burying myself in them and confounding expectations all around me.

I am often my own worst enemy, because if you continue hitting things out of the park, people begin to expect it.

I resurrected my old Filofax diary the other day. I’m using it alongside the bullet journal at the moment, which I know is a bit mad. The bullet journal records the things I do each day – the filofax records the things coming up in the future. I somehow have always preferred paper over Google Calendar, Outlook, or whatever else.

My coffee is going cold. I should drink it. Heart are now singing Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters. I might have to sit, drink the coffee, and listen.

This post was brought to you by procrastination, and apathy.

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Life

Legacy

I don’t think it’s any secret that I’ve been struggling to post anything worthwhile to the blog for the last six months or so. You might think after nearly eighteen years writing online that I would have this whole thing figured out – that I might be able to turn the tap on, and words flow out.

I used to write so easily about anything and everything. Quite often I would write about nothing at all. I even wrote about writing about nothing at all.

The main thing that keeps me writing these days is the legacy of eighteen years worth of writing sliding down the hillside behind me. It would be a shame to stop now, with this huge unfinished story stretched out behind me. Sure, it might not be about much, but it’s mine. I did this. I wrote this.

None of this will make any sense of course – seventeen years worth of it are stored in a Google Drive folder – you can’t read the great majority of it. I sometimes delve into the past, and read a few old posts – smiling at how candid and open I used to be.

I sometimes wonder if that guy will show up again.

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Life

A Walk in the Park

We went for a walk this afternoon in Basildon Park – about an hour from home. Perhaps the highlight of the walk was a dragonfly deciding to land on my knee while sitting on a bench, waiting for the rest of the family to catch up.

Quite how my family manage to walk so slowly is a complete and utter mystery to me – I walked with our youngest daughter, and tried to stay at the back to avoid leaving everybody behind, but time and time again we found ourselves in front, with nobody in sight behind us. It became a running joke.

We filled our pockets with acorns along the way – with plans to plant them all over the garden. If there’s anybody here in perhaps two hundred years time, they might wonder where the hell all the oak trees came from.

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Life

Hitting it Out of the Park

Miss 16 received her exam results yesterday morning – passing eight of the nine exams she took with flying colours. While it’s easy for me to write it, it wasn’t easy for her to achieve at all – she worked her backside off for the last two years – going to early morning study sessions, weekend workshops, and more.

She will be the first to tell you that she is not the most academically gifted student – which makes her results all the more special. Finally her future looks assured – two years at college studying uniformed services, and then on to her dream of a career in the police.

The next hill for her to climb is fitness. She’s already on a diet, and starting to look towards fitness. I’m quietly hoping she “finds her tribe” at college – she’s always been quite solitary in the past.

I had promised a reward of some sort for passing her exams – and that arrived in the form of a new Filofax through the post this morning. If you’ve not seen them, they are a leather bound diary and notebook – in many ways the predecessor of Bullet Journals. Throughout secondary school she had a planner supplied by the school, filled with events, dates, and notes – this will take the place of that one.

In other news, we have been playing an old board game at home called “Dungeons and Dragons”. Apparently it’s a copy of an older board game called “Hero Quest”, and both have become collectors items. I looked up the boxed game we have, and it regularly goes for quite a lot of money. Who knew? I’m pretty sure I bought it from the bargain bin of a discount store about fifteen years ago.

We’ve also been playing a ridiculous dice game called “Bang”, where you sit around a table and pretend to be outlaws, and a sheriff from the old west – variously trying to shoot each other, and dodge arrows – all by throwing dice, and theatrically pointing your fingers at each other and shouting “bang!”. It’s more fun than it sounds – particularly after a few drinks.

I’ll never forget our youngest daughter playing Risk for the first time, a couple of years ago – threatening her sister that when it was her turn, she was going to “get wrecked”…