Herself likes the radio.
I got her a new one recently. It’s a neat little box that I run off the Interwebs [saves a mess of cables]. The main thing is that it has good quality sound even if it doesn’t have Athlone or Hilversum on the dial.
I usually am within earshot and can hear the gentle murmur of music [Classic FM] or speech [RTE Radio 1] wafting out of her room. I saved a load of other stations for her but she rarely listens to them.
I was sitting here this morning, reading mails and staring out the window when suddenly she banged up the volume to Very Loud. The sound of Freddie Mercury and Queen singing Lady Ga Ga at the Live Aid Concert filled the parish [and probably destroyed a scene or two in the Disney film – I can but hope].
When I first met Herself back in the days when everything was in black and white [you’ve seen the photographs?] she was an ardent fan of Gilbert O’Sullivan. He was king and she loved him. It was a massive tick against her in the Pros and Cons list but was something I just decided to suffer.
My own musical tastes are fairly wide. I like classical and I like a lot of pop, though I tend to block my ears against the vast majority of modern shite. Opera and Jazz are a huge no no. A while ago I was in her room one evening flicking through the television channels. I came across the Queen concert in Wembley on the Arts channel and tuned in. I expected the usual complaints but instead she asked me to turn it up. We watched/listened to the whole thing. Herself was converted. She is now an avid Queen fan and could listen to them all day.
I like Queen. I wouldn’t rate them as the Best Group Ever [no one really fits that slot] but I would rate them as the Best Performers. Freddie Mercury had an ego that overflowed Wembley Stadium but he was a genius when it came to crowd control and audience participation. He also had an incredibly powerful voice.
The sound of Lady Ga Ga finally faded and Herself turned down the volume again.
“I don’t know why I ever bothered with that Gilbert O’Sullivan fella” says she. “Queen are brilliant.”
She has just changed channel.
She has just turned up Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus.
We have come a long way since Gilbert’s day.
There is a strange phenomenon here in The Manor.
Last night I had a grand sleep. I have been having what may be termed as switchback nights where I have a rough nights sleep followed by a good one. Last night was a good one.
Early this morning the doorbell rang and woke me up. I lashed on my dressing gown and opened the front door, which is just beside my bedroom. I wasn’t expecting any parcels or packages but nevertheless I hurried as the postman is always in a hurry. There was no one there.
I went back to my bed as the shortcase clock chimed six. Bugger! It was too early for the post anyway. I had fallen foul of the fucking ghost again. I didn’t get much sleep after, and about an hour later the bell rang again. I ignored it this time.
I should explain that the doorbell is an old fashioned electric bell. It’s not one of those chimes that play silly songs or anything. It is loud enough to wake the dead. It’s mounted on the ceiling in the Old Manor [a couple of hundred years old] at what was the back door which is now open to the New Manor [nearly seventy years old] and is clearly audible there.
We moved back here over twenty years ago and we often hear the doorbell. If we both hear it there is someone at the front door. If only one of us hears it it’s the ghost again. We have both heard the ghost version and I have no explanation for it. It is a distinctive sound and couldn’t be confused with anything else. Naturally, Herself hadn’t heard a thing this morning.
It was strange initially living in what must be a haunted house but we are used to it now, Apart from the doorbell we sometimes hear someone moving around the Old Manor and I also get distinct smells there too. Sometimes it’s a sweet perfume-like scent and other times it’s the smell of frying rashers. I have no complaints about those scents but there’s no explanation for them.
I don’t believe in ghosts, but …
Picture the scene:
A bare room with an oval table in the middle. The only decoration is a sign on the wall indicating that this is Action on Smoking and Health, Meeting room 1. Underneath, someone had scrawled [very badly] “Death to all smokers”. The seven chairs around the table are all occupied by a rather depressed looking group.
“We have to come up with something new,” said one of them. “We have to justify our government funded salaries somehow.”
Heads nodded gloomily. There was a long silence.
“We have tried banning advertising and even the display of cigarettes but that didn’t work” said another.
“We thought the plain packs was a winner but that was an abysmal failure.”
“We could try banning smoking anywhere?”
“We already banned smoking in all enclosed spaces and buildings. All that did was force many pubs to shut.”
“How about making the pictures on the packs more lurid?”
“I dunno. A picture of someone on fire? A picture of a body that has just been hit by a train or of someone who has just jumped off a ten floor building?”
“It wouldn’t work. They just ignore all the pictures. We suspect they all know they are photoshopped.”
“I have it!!” cried the newest member. “How about lurid pictures on the cigarettes themselves?”
“An interesting idea but they would only see a bit of the picture unless they rolled the cigarette. We could use just words though? It’s about the only thing left that we can do.”
Heads nodded enthusiastically around the table.
“How about Smoking causes lung cancer Smoking causes heart disease Smoking causes emphysema?”
“Smoking kills half of users 7 million people a year and reduces quality of life?”
“That doesn’t make any sense but I like it!”
“This is brilliant stuff lads. It’s a winner. It will stop smokers in their tracks. It will definitely work.”
“All we have to do is think up some more messages and then make them pass a law, forcing Big Tobacco to print them on every cigarette.”
Our nurse arrived this morning for her weekly visit.
She cheerfully announced that she had to drive half way around the mountains to reach us as the village is completely closed off.
This doesn’t bother me today as I hadn’t intended going anywhere. I cut the grass yesterday which of course involved fitting yet another tubeless tyre with an inner tube [it’s the last one but I had had for foresight to buy a tube for just such an event] so I am somewhat knackered to put it mildly.
It does strike me as somewhat ironic though?
Our country is at last beginning to ease itself out of all those fucking restrictions. People are rejoicing at pubs and shops and all being reopened [if only for outside service though, but the weather isn’t too bad]. We are beginning to awaken from the pandemic nightmare.
And what happens?
While everyone else opens up, our village shuts down tighter than a camel’s arse in a sandstorm!
Does anyone else spot the irony there?