Wednesday 25 April 2018

The new gardener.

Due to my great advancing years, the fact that I am writing two blogs and am in the middle of publishing three children's books and really have become sick to death of gardening, we acquired some three weeks ago a fellow who professed to be a gardener.

The first time he came, he was late, but blamed his late arrival on the fact that someone had stolen his strimmer and then proceed to spend the next half an hour putting the new one together, which caused the wife to comment, "perhaps he should be doing this in his time and not ours." To which I had to agree, as I too was somewhat taken aback by his rather casual attitude to work.

He mowed the lawn at the front of the house and then dug up a small flower bed, having managed to drink two cups of coffee which necessitated stopping work for some considerable time to consume both of them and then informed us he had finished his days work and left with eighty five pounds cash.

Having agreed rather sheepishly that he should return in three weeks time, he duly arrived again this morning and promptly had a cup of coffee before setting about the lawn at the front of the house, which hardly needed doing as I had cut it myself only three days prior to this. His skills as a gardener were beginning to look a bit thin on the ground, as he completed the task having not cut the edges or picked up the grass trimmings which had dropped in the flower beds.

His efforts at the front of the house must have been a little too taxing for him as he asked for another cup of coffee, no doubt to enable him to regain his strength whilst he sat down in his van and made phone calls.

Enlivened by his rest and coffee break he then spent the next twenty minutes filling his hedge trimmer with petrol and eventually started to attempt to cut the hedge, having informed us that he would be unable to complete the task before he had to leave, so would complete the job next time.

I have never seen anyone manage to take so little from a hedge using a professional hedge trimmer, I could have cut more off with a pair of nail scissors and was wondering if this was a case of work expanding to fill the amount of time allotted for it's completion or just complete and utter incompetence.

My presence was required elsewhere so I had to leave for half an hour or so and was somewhat amazed upon my return to find the gardener had left as he also had to be somewhere else, I can only assume the rigours of his three hours of work had so exhausted him, that he had to return to his home to have a lay down in a dark room.

Having discussed the matter with my wife we have both come to the conclusion that we need to search for a replacement gardener, hopefully one who might manage to complete a days work, without too many coffee breaks and also one who has the ability to actually do the job.

Monday 23 April 2018

The British Royal Family.

Hurrah for the Duchess of Cambridge who has produced, with the assistance of Prince William yet another child, which means they now have an heir, a spare and a spare spare, although one hopes it should never come to the point where some catastrophic event has occurred which necessitates the use of the spare, spare.

Forgive my slightly sarcastic start to this blog but I couldn't resist and I would like it to be known that I am rather keen on the Royal Family and look forward to their continued success as a reigning family.

I don't know how many countries in the world have a Royal Family but I imagine it is in the minority which I have always thought gives us Brits an air of superiority, especially where the alternative as a figure head for a nation might be President Trump or President Putin, compared to these people our mad king George III looks positively sane. 

Our dear Queen has sacrificed virtually her entire life to the duty of being monarch and has been on the throne for 65 years, which means had she retired at 63 like most other women in this country she could have done so 29 years ago. This rather amazing fact means she has effectively done twice the number of years any woman would do at a job, it might have been better for her had she turned to a life of crime, for with time off for good behaviour she would have been able to retire years and years ago.

The more you think about it the better value for money the Royal Family seem to be, take Prince Charles for example who at 69 is well past retirement age and has worked all his life and yet he still hasn't started the job he is trained to do.

I have, I think left the best until last, what can one say about Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, when it comes to value for money, having only recently retired from public life at 96, leaving a legacy of a lifetime of gaffs, one liners and outright belly laughs worthy of our better comedians, you couldn't write the sort of gags Prince Phillip comes out with.

So I ask you to give three cheers for all of them and in the style of Prince Charles I shall start you off.

Hip, hip, hip............Hurrah!

Friday 20 April 2018

The relentless sun beats down.

It seems only yesterday that I posted the following.

Terrible blizzard in the South East.

Terrible blizzard this morning in the South East, at least two inches of snow.
No breakfast this morning, Oates ran out.
We’re all going to die.
For God’s sake look after our people.

Now in the twinkling of an eye the whole situation has changed beyond recognition.

It feels as if I'm lost in the wastelands of the Kalahari desert, I have discarded my pith hat, or to give it it's proper name sola topee, the relentless sun is now  beating down on my naked neck, my last water bottle ran out hours ago.

I don't think I'm going to make it, tell my wife I love her, I did my best, but I'm afraid someone else will have to continue my mission and finish cutting the lawn! 

Tuesday 17 April 2018


This is a blog I wrote some time ago, but which must have been misplaced as I was waylaid for some reason or another, so better late than never, here is the subject of class.

When the subject of class came up I was reminded of a post I saw on Facebook where there was a comparison between the Titanic and the modern cruise ships to which I responded that they looked like a container ship with a block of flats plonked on top of them and that they had no class whatsoever.

A couple of American fellows took up the case for the modern ships on the grounds that it was progress and that the modern traveller wanted rock climbing walls, water slides, and all sorts of other amusements.

There was some suggestion, that ships had evolved and this was what the modern person wanted, to which I replied, it still has no class and here’s where I felt he started to get his wires crossed, for the reply was, “class distinction went out the window a long time ago.” It was at this moment that I realised what a vast difference there was between the British and American idea of class.

Personally, I can’t understand why on earth anybody would want to be on a ship with thousands of other people, in an environment more like a floating Disneyland, give me the smaller and classier Titanic any day, barring of course the unfortunate incident with the iceberg.

Obviously it would be ludicrous to suggest there was no class system in Great Britain, for not only do we have one but it is as diverse and interesting as you could possibly ask. Rather wonderfully in the UK it is possible to be as poor as a church mouse and yet be extremely upper class, whereas in America one can have vast wealth and yet no class whatsoever, see for example their current President, Mr Donald Trump.

America has no real upper class as it lacks landed gentry and aristocracy and sadly doesn’t even have in place a system like that in the UK where one may be ennobled, although the minefield of British aristocracy is one that would take a lifetime to explain.

There are obviously three basic classes in any country, lower, middle and upper, with a wealth of variety in each class, although I’m guessing it would be easier to change your class in America, for to change class in Great Britain requires more than just the acquisition of vast wealth. For in the UK it requires great patients and the passing of at least three if not four generations and the selection of the right schools and eventually the right clubs.

One has the impression, perhaps wrongly that having wealth in America for three generations would entitle one to call oneself “old money” whereas in Great Britain one’s family has to have been in the funds from the time of William the Conqueror or before.

We are rather used to the down at heel Lord, who through bad luck with inheritance tax or a penchant for gambling has lost most of the family wealth but none the less is still a cut above the average member of his club, even if he is less sartorially elegant and has slightly frayed shirt cuffs.

Most of our Prime Ministers have been educated at Eton and then Oxford University, along with a smattering of others who went to Harrow, one of whom was the only British Prime Minister to have been assassinated, Spencer Perceval in 1812.

I believe it was the Victorians who with the assistance of Prince Albert invented etiquette and the middle class, prior to that one could quite happily eat any meal with whatever knife took ones fancy and now we’re stuck with the basic principle of starting from the outside and working ones way in.

The same can be said of clothing and etiquette, where for example, one wouldn’t want to arrive at The Royal Enclosure at Ascot dressed in shorts and flip flops as some of the more brash elements of today's society seem to think is de rigueur for so many occasions, oh no dear boy, top hat and tails for Ascot.

Having been brought up and educated with the British way of life, I rather like our system of class, especially the faded grandeur of old money, now that’s real class.

Sunday 15 April 2018

Nobby Brasso football star.

At long last I seem to have my children's book Nobby Brasso football star available on Amazon, I shall hopefully put the link here for you all to rush to Amazon and purchase a copy. Now I'm going to have a lay down in a dark room.

Tuesday 10 April 2018

The joys of publishing.

Further to my blog of yesterday and the day before, I can now reveal that my children's book Nobby Brasso football star is available on Kindle or downloads to your tablet thing in glorious colour, how ever due to an oversight on my behalf it is only available in black and white in paperback form.

I seem to have inadvertently selected that it be printed in black and white in the paperback version although quite how I made the mistake Lord only knows and what makes matters worse is I can not change it as it has been published. I assume I will have to remove it from publication and reload it but select colour this time.

I'm forced to wonder why the system didn't detect the fact that I was uploading colour illustrations and inquire of me, "are you sure you want to select black and white, when you are clearly uploading colour?" Obviously that would require some logic in the process.

Is it any wonder that I have to continually blog about the complete ineptitude of computers, I'm beginning to think it's some sort of conspiracy for whatever I try to do on the computer, seems fraught with disaster. I have written to Kindle Publishing for their advice, now I'm thinking, wouldn't it be nice if they had the ability to use logic and to reply to my problem thus. "Yes sir, we see it's working perfectly on the Kindle version we shall just transfer the data from there to the paperback version and all will be well." If only!

I once rather foolishly thought that writing the stories was quite hard work, but compared to publishing it's a doddle, I hadn't realised I was so determined until I discovered publishing!

Monday 9 April 2018

Further to my previous blog.

As I said previously concerning the uploading of my latest book, a short story for children called Nobby Brasso football star, which I am delighted to confirm is now available on Amazon both in Kindle and proper book form.

I would encourage you all to purchase it as soon as you have the chance now it's hot off the press.

Thanking you all, in anticipation.

Tuesday 3 April 2018

If at first you don't succeed.

Just spent all morning uploading my children's book to Amazon and I have to say what an exhausting job it is, mostly due to my incompetence with computer technology.

The finished result is sadly not as perfect as I would have liked, I had two cover designs and for some bizarre reason it wouldn't recognise the best one and I had to design the Kindle version which was also not as good as I wanted. Something else which escapes me now, took ages to find and get uploaded as it wanted a jpeg, which as far as I knew I was attempting to upload. It felt like the entire process took days, but in fact was only a matter of hours, far too many admittedly, but only hours.

At least I have the consolation that after many hours of sheer frustration at least I was happy with the content of the book, a moderately amusing tale for both children and the grown ups who may read it to them.

In the end I succeeded, although the thought crossed my mind, when other professions, like the fire brigade, the police or the army are faced with severe adversity, they end up with a medal, what do I get but a children's short story for sale far too cheaply on Amazon.

When it has gone through the processes which Amazon put it through before publication, I shall make known the details of the book and how to purchase it, for your edification and delight.

If I ever succeed as a writer, or indeed win the lottery, sadly probably the more likely of the two, I should employ the services of a personal assistant, one conversant with computer technology and give them a bloody medal.

Sunday 1 April 2018

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Never a more true word spoken than, if it ain't broke, don't fix it and I'm saying this as a man who yesterday tried to fix his computer when it was only slightly broken.

The problem of having a computer that is only slightly broken is almost the same as having a leg that is only slightly broken, they are both virtually useless, rather like a chocolate tea pot, unfortunately at the end of my fiddling to fix the problem I rendered the computer, completely useless.

Why, oh why, didn't I just leave it alone, the printer may have decided to suddenly start working, just as it suddenly decided to stop working, although I have absolutely no justification for assuming it would start to work apart from my ridiculous optimism.

Unfortunately on this particular occasion I decided that optimism was not going to be the solution so set about trying to solve the problem myself and after loading and reloading the original disc that came with the printer on numerous occasions and attempting various ways which seemed to promise the miraculous rebirth of the machine, I finally found the button to reset the computer to a previous date. I have on a few occasions previously, used this method and found it to be successful when trying to undo something on the computer, however on this occasion it ended in disaster.

This problem has put me in mind of the story told on the wireless on children's hour many years ago, and tells the tale of a fellow writing a letter to his employer as to the reason he is unable to come to work and involves the removal of a barrel load of bricks which he winches from the top of the house, but as it is heavier than he and pulls the poor fellow up jamming his hand in the pulley. The barrel has by now hit the ground and smashes whereupon the chaps hand is released and he plummets to the ground.

I may have got some of the story back to front but you get the gist, somewhat similar to my continued exploits to mend the printer and to cut a long story short, after resetting the computer I was left with virtually nothing left on my desktop, nor indeed in the computer itself!

After much continued fiddling I managed to get some of the most necessary apps and things back, however there are still great swathes of emptiness where once there were usable programmes, I rather fear I will have to get a man in to fix it, oh why did I try to fix it in the first place, it was only slightly broke. On a more positive note, the computer may be lacking in many vital elements but at least I fixed the printer.