26 January 2008


Nothing lasts forever. Here in the Blogosphere, you encounter other bloggers with blogs you get to like. They become cyber-friends in this brilliant worldwide web. You might think they will last a while - and some do but others fall by the wayside like straw blown from a wagon in late summer. Why do they go? Often it's because they simply became tired of blogging and had nothing left to say. Others probably found lives to live unlike we sad gits that are left behind. Those former bloggers are probably living it up in beach condos in Costa Rica or hiking in the foothills of the Himalayas. Ah well...

It's almost the end of January. Time for a clearout. In my list of favoured blogs there is much inactivity so I have decided to dump "Hanging Hope...", "Zandrea!", "Cruising the Bullette", "Arm The Insane" and "Retarded Rugrat" - this last one is the hardest to dump because I still like that blog and it is well-maintained. It's just that Dawn - a Sheffield gal - who runs it switched from Blogger to Word Press and I don't know how to transfer her new address to my sidebar. I can be quite stupid when it comes to HTML, templates and all that jazz... like sitting in a Maths lesson at the age of thirteen - bored to the bone. (Later - I amazed myself by finding out how to save Dawn from The Black Hole of Blogobscurity - See:- Retarded Rugrat)

To replace these former favourites I'm going to try to add "MOPSA" from Devon UK, "Goddess of Clarity", "Mutterings at The Mill", "Arcane Enigma" by David in Auckland NZ and "The Golden Hill" by Sam in Ohio. These high level IT actions will probably take hours to perform with much "cussing" as hillbillies might retort. But like I announced at the start of this post... nothing lasts forever.

23 January 2008


Right: Thomas Crapper - another Yorkshireman.
He didn't invent it but he did popularise the flush
toilet in the 19th century.

In writing this long post, I suspect I will offend numerous visitors because Shhhh! - Excretion isn’t something that we are meant to comment upon! It is secret. Most of it happens in private in locked cubicles or bathrooms. Of course, unlike women, men often have the dubious pleasure of urinating alongside other men into porcelain troughs – but look straight ahead lads! We don’t want no willy watchers!

In modern film, sexual encounters are rife. Sometimes they are simply titivating and sometimes these private couplings are handled with intelligent craftsmanship as part of well-developed drama. Sex is one of the Lord’s better inventions but does it take up as much of our lives as excretion does? I think not. So how come film after film ignores this vital common feature of human existence? All of us pass out waste materials every day and yet if aliens from outer space based their knowledge of humanity solely on our films, they would surely think that everything we consume is internally processed with no waste products resulting.

People just don’t talk about excretion until they have problems with it and they are forced to seek medical support. You don’t throw tales of satisfying bowel movements into everyday conversation or ever compare notes on the consistency and colouration of one’s stools. I guess I’m losing some of you now because excretion is in many ways the final taboo. Urrgh! What is this Mr Pudding going on about? Has he lost it? Disgusting!

Excretion can be funny and it can be embarrassing. I think everybody could come up with rather entertaining tales of particular excretory episodes. Picture this…

I am twenty five years old and I have been “downtown” Sheffield for a few drinks on a Saturday night. I am not drunk. I am walking home because I am too mean to even consider paying for a taxi. Behind the tiny “Hendersons’ Relish” factory, I feel the urge to urinate growing stronger so I walk through an open gateway and in the industrial shadows I wedge myself between two large plastic waste skips to take a leak. Ooooo! What a relief! Know the feeling dear reader?

I zip up and make my way back through the factory gateway only to bump into a police constable doing his rounds. Suspecting I have been up to no good in the works entrance, he asks me what I have been doing and I tell him. “Prove it!” he says – so we wander back through the gateway. We separate the two waste skips and he tells me to shine his torch where I have just siphoned the python. Locating the still steaming puddle, he accepts my story and sends me on my way, telling me I have been lucky not to get arrested for urinating in a public place. He might have lent me his helmet!

It must have been the same year – after eating a dodgy chicken at the weekend school camp in Scarborough – I found myself in front of a class of fourteen year olds reading an awful book called “Trustee from the Toolroom” by Nevile Shute – definitely not recommended! Something chicken-related stirs in my nether regions and I start to leak uncontrollably. I sprint out of the room telling the kids I have to pick something up from the staffroom – Yeah, some swimming trunks! But that’s another story.

Please add your own excretory tale in the comments - for possible inclusion in a new anthology. I haven’t come up with a title yet…

Above - sewage treatment plant on the outskirts of Tallinn, Estonia.

21 January 2008


It seems as if most inhabitants of Blogworld have pet words and thanks for all the extra suggestions - a sample of which I give you below:-

From Brad Gorilla in Seattle - "peon"

From Muddy Boots in my homeland (East Yorkshire) - "barmpot" (There are plenty in Bridlington!)

From "but why?" - lascivious" and "kumquat" and please don't apologise for imports as the English language is forever opening its doors to new words - hence "bungalow" (Hindi) and kayak (Inuit) for example.

From Anonymous - "discombobulated" (meaning utterly confused)

From Jennyta - "ululating" - as in the sentence "Keith was on guard while Jennyta was ululating behind the hedge."

From the Goddess of Clarity in New York - Of course - "clarity"!

From the delectable Mutterings and Meanderings in northeastern England - one of my favourites - "malarkey"... sometimes written as "mularkey"

From MOPSA in the south west of this sceptred isle - "oodles"...

Words. Lovely aren't they? Like fresh clay waiting to be moulded into beautiful artefacts or into weapons we can hurl at our enemies. Any more words?

18 January 2008


In my last post, I began by asking if you agree that the word "doodling" is a nice word? This led me on to thinking about my favourite words in general - and here they are - a mixture of words that I love for their sounds and words that I love for their meaning. According to the British Council - following a survey in 2004, the most loved word in English is "mother"... But here are my words though I could easily add a hundred more...

shenanigans nincompoop doodling remember moreover altruism claptrap translucent honesty skein creativity undulation taboo multifaceted mysterious azure asparagus bonkers hazy ripple dignity hurricane slippery prestidigitation marshmallow leveret justice freedom scintillating illumination dream…

What goes around comes around. Since starting this blog I guess I have thought of favourite words before. Ooops, sorry! Have you got any favourite words of your own you would like to share? Please add in the comments....

14 January 2008


Doodling is a nice word don't you think? It's a lazy sort of word that meanders across your mindscape like a river slowly curling across its floodplain towards the sea. Doodling is often about passing time and it's about daydreaming - switching off and retreating to your own little bubble - but this isn't always the case.

I feel no shame in coming out of the closet to admit to the world that I have been a lifelong doodler! Give me a pen and a blank sheet and it isn't long before faces appear, distant gothic cities, fields and hedgerows with distant mountains, mythical beasts and geese flying into sunsets - but most of all faces - millions of them. If I had saved all of the doodles I have ever done, I could have wallpapered this room I am sitting in - including the ceiling and the floor.

As a school pupil, doodling became natural in those subjects that I found most disengaging - Chemistry, Physics and French. Latterly as a school teacher, doodling mainly happens in meetings when I am not leading them. Over the years, I have come to learn that doodling will often help me to concentrate on what is being said - it may appear as if a doodler isn't listening but that's a biased non-doodler's view and some people never doodle. It just isn't in them.
Doodling is an odd kind of "art" because nobody really plans what they will doodle. You don't even know for sure that you're going to doodle. It just happens. The mood or the circumstance takes you and something starts to form on the paper.

Psychoanalysts could have a field day interpreting doodles. With my ongoing obsession with faces, an onlooker might surmise that I either love my fellow human beings or I have spent the best part of a lifetime trying to understand these other - rather weird - humanoid creatures who also walk my planet.

Doodlers need not be ashamed of their habit. Make no apologies. For people of certain mental persuasions, doodling helps concentration, creativity and problem-solving. It can be a kind of self therapy. One day soon I will scan a few of my doodles - even though the vast majority have simply been binned like rubbish - and post them on this blog. But for now here's a couple of doodles I found via Google Image Search:-

10 January 2008


Perhaps the title of this post should have been "Hypocrite". Tony Blair - our Labour prime minister until his unsurprising resignation last autumn - has just agreed to take up a lucrative part-time advisory post with JP Morgan, the Wall Street based investments banking group. It is said he will earn £500,000 a year from this. Since leaving office, it is reputed that he has already earned £500,000 on the world lecture circuit and his autobiography is set to raise at least a further £5 million for the Blairs' family treasure chest.
I am not normally one to knock Blair and his legacy because I think he presided over an amazing time for Britain - a time of growth, low unemployment, technological change and reconstruction. But on this subject of personal wealth, he seems way out of kilter with the core values of the Labour party. All that seems to be way behind him now. He is living the high life of transatlantic jets, drinking coffee with the enemy while forgetting the downtrodden and the long socialist tradition that gave him his spurs and his place in our great nation's history. Shame on you Tony!

5 January 2008


I wrote this poem back in July after hearing news reports of the senseless street killing of a British Muslim youth called Abukar Mahamud (aged 16). The poem was formenting in my email files till I rediscovered it just today. I have always had mixed feelings about London - perhaps about all cities. They can be so vibrant and yet so threatening. Historically, it was never the way that human beings were meant to live - in tarmac and concrete mazes huddled together, competing for money and streetcred.

London 2007

Like saints in stained glass windows
Pin-striped dealers
Transmit laser beams of scorn
As the trundling tube rattles on to
Ickenham and beyond

On Wardour Street
A mischievous gust of wind
Lifts a call girl’s organdie dress
Momentarily revealing
Suspended stocking tops
As she pays her cab fare
And she doesn’t care
For change.

Breathless in the suburbs
An anonymous teenager
Called Abukar
Runs from the bandits in bandanas
Collapsing like a fugitive
In a puddle of Cabernet Shiraz coloured blood.
He was someone’s son.

A radio helicopter
Whirs overhead
Though Abukar is dead
They scan growling traffic
Clogging the city’s arteries
And the latest pile-up
On The M25…
This is Dick Whittington
For Five Live.

In Speaker’s Corner nobody’s speaking
In Poet’s Corner nobody’s writing
An old Amen Corner number
Drifts from a ghostly white van
That turns the corner into
Hanbury Street at Spitalfields
“Bend me, shape me, anyway you want me

Long as you love me, it's all right…”

No poets composing lines upon Westminster Bridge
Just a doner kebab in a Styrofoam tray
And a bottle of Bud from the fridge.
With beggars and blaggers and baseball-capped bullies
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The leaden promise of nimbus clouds
Gathering in the thickening air…

1 January 2008


How the years fly by! Here we all are in 2008 and last night I was in the local pub where bon homie was in pleasant abundance. We linked arms and again sang the first few lines of Robbie Burns's ancient ode to brotherhood, friendship and taking stock of one's life. There are several verses and this is just one of the least remembered sections. "A right guid willy waught" sounds like something vaguely rude but it actually just means a really good drink together:-
And there's a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right guid willy waught,
For auld lang syne.
Happy New Year to all visitors to this blog - old or new. Let's pledge to do our best to make this a happy year in which we face life's trials and tribulations with courage, enjoy the good times with relish and give a helping hand to those who need assistance.