What I needed was a lot of fresh air to clear the old head so I decided to fix something that has been bugging me for quite a while. It has also been bugging the postman, delivery men and visitors. In fact a couple of delivery men had refused to deliver at all.
I took the photograph above after I had started work sweeping and shoveling mud. The right side originally looked like the left side – all semi-liquid tyre tracks and water.
It took a little bit of hard slogging.
Anyone care to take bets on how soon it will be covered in mud again?
And I think I’m going to need a ton or two more gravel.
In the meantime, I would like a bit of help from you lot. It’s a simple query. I’m told it may be some kind of whiskey.
At the time I was a mere child of 56. I was still semi-employed by RTE but was free to do my own thing, so I had set up my own little web design business, and did a bit of teaching on the side.
All that stopped eventually as the teaching was tiring [had to get up at half five in the morning!] and the business had become too successful for my own good. I quit the lot and retired gracefully.
At 56, the thought of being sixty was sort of daunting. I just had that feeling that it was the point where I would really class myself as “old”. But it passed painlessly and I didn’t feel old after all. I began to think of seventy as being old instead. After all is said and done, mentally I was still somewhere between eighteen and thirty [some would say younger from my style of scribbling] and actual numerical age didn’t mean anything.
So today is yet another milestone. I would love to say I don’t feel any different but aching limbs and a recent heart attack belie my mental age. Reality is beginning to creep in like a cold draught at the back of my neck.
I had the misfortune to see part of a television programme last night.
It was one of those “around the country” programmes where they do items at various locations. For some reason the only thing people seem to do in Irish villages is arts or crafts, but that’s beside the point.
Last night they focused on a wee village in West Cork where a primary school has apparently produced a “rap” thing about “climate change” which has gone “viral”.
Now there were a few things that pissed me off about this. There is that “viral” thing which apparently means more that their immediate families have watched it. Then there is the whole insidious thing about brainwashing infants [they seemed to range in ages from around five to nine] about the climate and terrifying them into having nightmares.
The worst part about it though was the “rap”.
I know it’s traditional for us olders to moan about the younger generation’s choice of music. I’m sure my parents silently cursed the Beatles, the Stones, the Who and all the rest of them but I stand by my position that there was some damned good music there.
That is not fucking music! It’s a bunch of kids reciting lyrics [full of slang] while jiggling around on a fixed spot and poking their fingers in random directions. This recitation is produced on a monotonous drone preferably with a Bronx accent and with an accompanying raucous beat that never changes. It is reminiscent of some of my worst hangovers.
I have heard that the lyrics are supposed to be some sort of modern poetry but I don’t go for that. Proper poetry can be music to the ears [if you go for that sort of thing] but rap is just rapid-fire words where the occasional word rhymes.
Music in my book consists of melodies, preferably with harmonies. Those are completely non-existent in rap. It’s just an electronically produced beat that throbs around the head like a bad toothache.
So maybe I’m an old fart who can’t keep up with modern trends. Maybe there are people who will disagree with me. Maybe I am missing something.
It has been sort of blustery here for the last few days.
It started with Ciara apparently, Ciara being the tacky name they gave the wind. So Ciara hung around for a while and then magically transgendered into Dennis without any letup in the wind.
So It’s now Dennis that is battering my trees.
The main reason I dislike wind is because of the trees. I have a lot of them but distinctly fewer than I used to have, due to previous winds. I had a fine avenue of Silver Birches down the lane, but one by one the wind got them and there isn’t a single one left standing. Not that I would notice that much because I still have loads of other trees left standing.
Fifty or so odd years ago there wasn’t a single bush or tree on the entire estate, or indeed in the whole area. My parents [bless ’em] decided we needed some shelter so they used to do raids up the mountains to rob saplings out of the various woods. Each was then brought down in the boot of the car and carefully planted around the place. They did a lot of robbing.
It is amazing how much a tree can grow in fifty to sixty years.
Most of them are grand in a wind. They just sway around and some of ’em sling pine cones around the place. But there is one – a Silver Spruce – that my mother planted as a “specimen tree” on the main lawn. It is a massive monster, forty to fifty feet high and used to be a perfect conical shape, but the winds have taken their toll. The is a huge chunk missing from one side where a massive branch came down so it’s not exactly symmetrical any more. Since then several more branches have dropped off it but they usually get stuck somewhere up the tree which gives it a very threadbare look. I noticed a few minutes ago that another huge branch has split off and is stuck up there near the top. I suppose it will fall eventually.
Then there is another line of Silver Birches along another boundary with the neighbours. Those trees have a habit of shedding a branch or five during a storm, and again, the branches tend to get stuck in other branches before eventually falling down. I see Dennis has damaged one of them again. There is a huge branch resting horizontally near the top of one tree. It’s right over the spot where Neighbour parks his brand new pride and joy of a car.
I am to report [subject to the provisions of the Jury Act 1976] for jury duty at Skobieville Court on the 24th of March at 10 am.
10 am? Are they fucking kidding me? That would mean getting up at some ungodly hour in the morning which is not right for any man nor beast.
Mind you, the thought does appeal. I can see myself finding any little scut guilty just because I don’t like the look of him. The real icing on the cake would be to sit on a case where Son-in-Law was involved – “Guilty Yer Honour and a recommended minimum sentence of life”. I suppose they wouldn’t let me sit on one of his cases though.
The reality though would be more a case of dragging myself out of bed, having terrible trouble finding parking only to find I wasn’t required. A pain in the hole. So I am playing the exemption card. If I’m over 65 I can excuse myself without any further reason.
There are advantages to being a pensioner.
In the afternoon I went to renew my driving licence. It meant a grand spin up the motorway where I happily played with my cruise control. I arrived to find four or five people ahead of me all sitting playing with their smart phones. I looked around and noticed a screen on the wall with a keyboard. I investigated and found it was a sort of log-in system to simplify queueing. I entered my name and sat down. My name was called next because the other people hadn’t noticed the system. There was a rush for the screen!
So they took photos of me and took samples of my signature. Everything fine. Licence will arrive in the post next week. She gave me a receipt which was strange as I hadn’t paid anything. I queried this and she smiled sweetly and told me it was free.