Wednesday, 24 August 2011

A couple of 'downers' in the last few days.

1) I'm without a phone. Noticed it was dead on Saturday morning but may have been off for several days before then as only use it about once a week, and then mainly only to talk to my sister. Never had a mobile and don't have access to anyone else's phone.
Website of firm from whom my phone is rented from gives phone number to ring if there's a fault to report. Brilliant! They apparently have no email address to contact them - and they're at the other end of the country.
Went out on Mon looking for a public phone booth which takes coins (such a rarity nowadays). Only found one - and it was out of order!
So to Post Office where saw a middle-aged lady (with purple-dyed hair!) who kindly rang the number I'm supposed to ring on my non-functioning phone. Passed it to me and, after explaining problem was told it'll be put right later that day or, at the latest, by end of Tuesday (yesterday). It's now Wed. Same situation, and I have no means to ring them back unless I return to Post Office and ask a favour again - or write, which will take several days to get response. Maddening! Feeling very vulnerable. Hope I don't have a need to call any emergency services in this period.

2) One of my small retinue of feline visitors through the window has not appeared for some days and I fear the worst. Growlie (my name for her) was the smallest and longest-lasting of my visitors who'd been in and out for about 10 years, but last week she started getting sick in my flat every time after just pecking at the food I gave her. She got untypically quiet and not her usual feisty self, nodding off in the corner of my kitchen. I've seen her sitting in the front window of the house next-door but one where I don't think she was very well cared for. Her suspicious and downright hostile attitude to all other cats, and even to me at first, led me to believe that she was being mistreated and not unnaturally felt that the entire world was against her. But she got to trust me and only a couple of months ago for the one and only time, she curled up in my lap.
She may yet re-appear but I get the feeling that her illness, whatever caused it, may have signalled the end - and that her owners had decided she wasn't worth the expense and trouble of keeping.
Maybe I'm making too much of it, and it's only a rehearsal for the inevitable time when one of my own duo leaves his own pampered life, but the thought that poor little Growlie may have indeed gone for good, as it's looking, is still a wrench.



Btw, Maybe there's no cause for concern here, but does anyone know what's happened to blogger Andrew from 'The Widow's World'? His (currently) two and a half weeks' silence is rather unusual for him. - and, while of course hoping he's okay,  I am missing his blogs.




Thursday, 18 August 2011

Showing me gnashers!



When visiting my big sis last month she gently chided me that when I smile, particularly in photos, I never show my teeth. I could have reminded her of the probable origin of this; but I refrained, even though she would have remembered it.
 I'd have been about 9 or 10 years old and had one of those kiddie scooters, riding it everywhere with gusto. Then one day, in mid-hard-ride the front wheel came off - and I went literally arse-over-tit right over the handlebars, and bit the road. Not only was my chin deeply cut but one of the front teeth got chipped, not completely, but it did take a small chunk out of the front of it. With time that gap in the tooth's enamel turned a very conspicuous brown, only covering about 5% of one of the front teeth, but a blemish significant to be noticed by anyone I talked to. Growing increasingly self-conscious about it, I started showing my teeth as little as possible till it became a habit to keep my mouth closed unless absolutely necessary.
   That was the situation right until my mid-30s. All that time I didn't visit any dentist even once. I was too frightened at the thought that they might want to extract all my teeth, something which actually happened to my late elder brother when he was also still just in his 30s. Eventually I did go and the situation wasn't anywhere near as bad as I'd feared - one extraction, maybe three fillings - and he capped that front tooth. Ever since then I've made dental visits regularly and never had any serious dental problems since. But the habit of keeping my lips shut has become hard-wired.

    But back to the smile. Here are a couple of pics which I took yesterday and this morning, chosen out of a total of eight attempts, because it's so hard to smile on demand without showing the effort underneath. (When I need to smile I think of either cats playing or of Laurel & Hardy.)  I think the one on the lower right above (this morning's), is the better of the two.



By the way, I had an appointment with the dental hygienist yesterday, a regular event which I dislike even more than a visit to my 'proper' dentist. In my experience all these hygienists appear to be she-monsters who seem to take out their own life's frustrations on you - tug, scrape, yank, poke, jab! This one yesterday was bizarre. She kept asking me questions while working on my mouth - and not just questions that required a 'yes' or 'no' answer - which alone would have produced an indeterminate 'Aaaaaah!' no matter what you wanted to say. With sharp instruments in one's mouth, as well as that saliva-suction thingy, you can't even nod or shake your head. But there was no stopping her. She would go chuntering on:-

   "Have you been flossing regularly?"
    "Aaaaaah!"
   "What work do you do?"
    "Aaaaaah!"
    "Where does your accent come from?"
    "Aaaaaaah!"
    "Can you come again in six month's time?"
    "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!" 


Anyway, that's all over for a while. But don't expect to see my gnashers again for some time!



Monday, 15 August 2011

Worthing Birdman 2011


This annual event took place over the weekend. Both serious kite-surfers and those in novelty costumes and contraptions jumping off end of pier and trying to achieve long distance and time in air before landing in sea. Saturday was disappointing. Only two managed a jump before the strong winds made it necessary to call it off until yesterday, which was better.


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Flashback 1997 - When I was a runner.

The pretext for posting these pics is to illustrate my short-lived hobby of 'serious' running.  - and besides, my late mum and my sister are the only ones who have ever seen them.
Both events were done when I'd turned 50 the previous year, the first showing me after completing the London Marathon (my one and only) and the other (with me in the centre) the 'Great North Run' on Tyneside - still the biggest annual half-marathon in the world, in terms of number of participants. I'd only been running for less than 5 years before 1997, but since then there's been a spectacular fall-off in capability. So far this year I haven't even managed to run a single half-mile without having to stop, hee-hawing loudly for breath. My doctor tells me, with a self-satisfied smirk on his face (which I'd dearly love to rub off somehow) - "Ah, don't forget that you're growing older!" Some comfort, as though I didn't know that myself. The troubling part is that the deterioration in performance was so rapid from about 1998 onwards. In that particular Great North Run I'd finished in 8,450th place, which, though sounding dire, was actually well in the top third, and which, even though I say it myself, isn't all that bad for someone of my age at that time who'd only been running for a very few years.
     Anyway, I'd be deluding myself if I thought that those days could ever return, but it really is a great disappointment. I haven't dared take part in an official event since about 7 years ago when I participated in a 10-miler, with maybe just a hundred runners, coming not only among the last 10, but actually beaten by a guy, doing the whole course pushing a woman in wheelchair! But he was very muscular - at least that's my version!
So I stopped myself attempting such follies again, just to avoid self- and public embarrassment. Besides, these days I doubt if I'd ever be able to complete the course, even at a slow jog. Oh well, it seems that my glory days are truly over.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

My first '5 on the 5th' - Subject : My Town (Worthing, West Sussex, England)

                                                                 My contribution to 'Stephen Chapman's blog - '5 on the Fifth #26'


In order from top:-

a) The domed building is the 'Dome' cinema on the sea-front. One of this country's first, it started operating in 1911. It still has one of the old-style long auditoria and a few years ago a second small screen was added upstairs. I visit here occasionally, but the films shown tend to be only the big blockbusters. If I want to see a quality art-house or non-English language film I've got to look elsewhere.

b) The Connaught is Worthing's main theatre, starting as a cinema in 1914. In 1935 it was converted to a theatre and since recent years it now alternates between live theatre and films. A second cinema screen was added in the neighbouring property, which, now and again, shows 'minority-appeal' films. But for regular art-house films I've got to travel to nearby Brighton, which I do nearly every week.
The last live show I saw at the Connaught was 'Cowardy Custard' a couple of months ago - a compilation of Noel Coward songs with Dillie Keane and 'Kit & the Widow'. And excellent it was too.
I also the final 'Harry Potter' here a few days ago. I make no further comment, though I could. Well, okay then. In terms of my own personal enjoyment - 3/10.

c) Harold Pinter lived here! True, only from 1962 to 64, but it was also the very place where he wrote what must be one of his and this country's greatest 20th century plays - 'The Homecoming' - bleakly and disturbingly funny. Pinter was and is one of my 'gods' and even now I feel privileged to know that he lived and breathed in this vicinity, just 10 minutes walk from where I'm living. He gave a BBC radio interview in which he talked about living in Worthing and taking his dog for a daily morning walk down to the sea-front. Awesome stuff!

d) Brookfield Park on the far eastern edge of the town. The picture was taken the three days ago on what was to be the last day of the current hot spell.

e) Looking westwards with Worthing pier in the distance.