Category Archives: Humour

A New Language or Two

 

I know people who would look at this photograph and think:

“Wet.”

“Cold.”

“Horrid”

Whereas I look at it and think:

“Excitement.”

“Fun.”

“Women in wet tee shirts!”

So what has this to do with a new language?

Well, I am going to learn to sail but before I do, I have to learn the language that sailors use. I will call this language “Nautical”. It’s English Jim but not as we know it.

For instance, the pointy bit at the front is called the “Bow” (as in what a gentleman does when he meets Her Queenliness)

 

The rear end of a boat is “the stern”.

Left is “port” and right is “starboard”. The floor is “the deck” while a wall is called “a bulkhead”. The driver is called “the helmsman”. “Abreast” is not what you see when a woman is wearing a wet tee shirt unfortunately, it means side by side or by the side of. The “beam” is the widest part of a ship or boat. Downstairs is “below” and upstairs is “atop”. A  room is called a “cabin”, the kitchen is “the galley” and the speed of the boat is given in “knots”! Why this should be is beyond me.

Then there’s “athwartship”! (Really? You have got to be kidding me). It means at right angles to the centre line of the boat/ship.

Then you have words where all the vowels have deliberately been removed:

F’r’c’stl’. What’s that then? How do you pronounce it?

M”ns”l. Not a clue.

See? It’s not as easy as you first think. I’m getting there though and once I’ve got it sorted and can speak like an old sea dog, I’ll get on with learning a new foreign language. Probably French.

We have all been to France several times and we murder the French language whenever we can. Recently, on a fairly regular basis, magazines dedicated to French property have started making an appearance.

Then, the other day, PIL asked if we still had the Peter Mayle books, A Year in Provence and Toujours Provence. I said I’d look in amongst the million or so books we have banging about but to no avail. So I went to Waterstones in Canterbury and bought A Year in Provence and, because they didn’t have Toujours, I also bought My Good Life in France by Janine Marsh. I’ll get Toujours some other time. I wrapped the books up, I wrote “Happy Wednesday” on a sticker and presented it to PIL when she got home. They remain unread! Except by me.

I am in no particular rush. By the time CJ finishes school and Uni’ I’ll be getting on a bit so there’s plenty of time.

Then, one day, I will be fluent in Nautical and in French and PIL will suddenly decided it’s time to up sticks, grab our zimmer frames and move to bloody Spain!

Have a brilliant day.

More Dick soon.

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Sailing

A little while ago I wrote some fiction regarding a conversation I had with Mr. Death. You can read it here.

It is a work of fiction but, as with many things, it had elements of true life in it – some of my real life experiences. One of the true items in that story is my desire to learn a new language – French (probably) and to learn how to sail.

Recently, we went on holiday. We went to Antigua. It was bloody brilliant. We flew out via Virgin Atlantic Upper Class (the posh class!) That was an eye opener. I’m not sure how PIL managed it. I think she got the geeks at work to hack into Virgin Atlantic and get us an up grade. Or it might have been her using the gazillion air miles we had accumulated over the years. We arrived at Gatwick, checked in and went to the Virgin lounge. We were offered champagne! It was 6am! Of course we accepted – it was free! We had all kinds of nibbles offered. More champagne was consumed. Our flight was announced and, slightly the worse for wear we staggered off and got on the plane. The leg room! Unfuckingbelievable!

We arrived in Antigua after a wonderful flight, being waited on hand and foot, totally refreshed and ready to go.

It was lovely. Smashing sandy beaches. Plentiful bars and restaurants. Pools dotted around. Absolute bliss. I noted a number of small sailing boats. Catamarans. I thought to myself, I can get started here. A problem arose though. We are a family that goes on holiday and we SLOB! We lie in the sun. We eat. We drink and that was the problem. Greg and I crept off to the gym at 6.30 each morning. We got back, we all showered and went for breakfast. By 9am we were sprawled out by the pool. At 10, when the bars opened we were getting a bit hot so we’d go get a drink. The intention was always to get a soft drink, 10am being a bit too early to hit the hard stuff but the bar man would point out;

“It’s midday somewhere man.”

So we had rum as well. And with no concept of portion control, they were heavy on the alcohol. After a hearty lunch I was probably too pissed to go sailing, let alone learn anything so I didn’t go.

As a great believer in not doing things by half, I decided my first experience of learning to sail would not be on board an eight foot dinghy but on a proper 50 foot sailing yacht! And that’s what we did. We chartered a yacht for the day. It was called Jabberwocky and it was owned by Nick and Kaye, who are two of the nicest people you could wish to meet.

We got a cab from the resort to where Jabberwocky was parked at a place called Jolly Harbour. Antigua is full of places with lovely names like that. We set sail. We had a choice. Snorkelling or beach. We’re slobs so we chose beach and we headed off to a place called Deep Bay. It was on our way here that I carried out my first ever sailing task:

I set the genoa!

I have no idea what that is or what I was doing except it involved some hard physical labour and I think I set the sail in front of the mast. I felt inordinately pleased with myself.

We arrived. The anchor was dropped and we took the little RIB to shore. It was just as you would imagine a desert island to be. Warm seas lapping on a soft sandy beach. There were a couple of other people there but it was heavenly. There was a small fort, Fort Barrington, on the hillside. Greg, CJ and I went off for a wander while PIL and Ed sat on the beach and swam in the sea.

The beach at Deep Bay with Jabberwocky in the background

Time for lunch back on Jabberwocky. PIL, Greg and CJ took the RIB back. Ed and I swam back. I decided on back stroke but because I’m useless, without noticing, I started to swim back to shore. The others found this immensely funny. I just got tired!

Jabberwocky at anchor in Deep Bay

Lunch was lovely. Afterwards, we set sail again heading back to Jolly Harbour.

Jabberwocky setting sail back to Jolly Harbour

Once we got out of Deep Bay, I set the genoa again and joy of joy, I took the helm and steered the yacht on it’s way back to its home port.

Me at the helm of Jabberwocky

I was in heaven. It’s a lot harder that it seems and I’m sure my course was more than a bit ziggy zaggy but I was having a great time. The rest of the family were up at the pointy bit at the front and then they started to sing!

Having an absolutely brilliant time.

 

Over the sound of the waves and the wind in the sails I couldn’t make out the words but the tune was just about audible. One of them them was singing “Sailing”, the Rod Stewart song. Despite my surprise at one of my children actually knowing this song, I felt a huge sense of well being and happiness well up inside me. We were having a great time. My family up at the front burst in to laughter and they all started singing. As they did, the wind carried the words to my position at the helm. This is what they sang:

All together now.

We are sinking

We are sinking

To the bottom

Of the sea

Dad was steering

Hit an island

Didn’t see it

Blind old git

 

Hit the island

Of Antigua

How did Daddy

Manage that?

We have sunk now

And we’re swimming

All because our

Dad’s a prat!

Charming!

Despite this, I will learn to sail and soon I will be visiting a local sailing club and begin lessons. I may just stick to smaller dinghies or catamarans but, who knows, I may go onto larger boats. We shall see and I will keep you informed about my progress.

Of course, let’s not forget that I also want to learn a new language but since trying my hand at sailing, that will now be TWO new languages to learn. The reasons why will follow soon.

Have a lovely day.

More Dick soon.

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Surprises.

The not so surprising thing about surprises is that by their very nature they take you by surprise. Some are bad like the letter I got recently informing me I had been caught on camera in Watford on the 30th April at 0657 travelling at 41mph in a 30 zone. A few days later I had another nasty surprise when the Essex Constabulary informed me that on the 12th May at 1243 I had been caught on camera travelling at 58mph on the QE2 bridge which has a 50mph limit. WTF! Are speeding tickets buses now? Nothing for ages then two come along together! I have no recollection of speeding on either occasion.

I have completed my speed awareness course where we covered the laws of physics, watched videos, had discussions on a variety of speed and driving related subjects. All jolly interesting stuff. I think I only nodded off once. For the offence on the QE2 bridge I have paid the fine and had 3 points put on my driving licence. I have informed my insurers who will happily use the excuse to increase my premiums for the next few years. Bummer!

At times like this I like to take refuge in my garden and have a good old poke around, dig some holes, plant some plants, do a bit of pruning and mow the lawn. Even this can have nasty surprises usually in the form of half buried cat shit where you least expect it and, more often than not, precisely where you are using your hands to make a planting hole slightly bigger! Nothing quite like a handful of cat poo to brighten your day or to discover new ways to curse the blasted creatures! Then there are the surprises where things you planned to happen in the garden don’t materialise. A couple of years ago I wrote about how the foxgloves in my garden were doing particularly well and were giving a good show. I said how easy they are to grow and that I just let them seed where they want. I was a bit smug about it. Imagine my surprise when to my surprise (and disappointment) my smugness bit me on the arse last year and hardly any grew at all, just a few straggly specimens managed to make an appearance.

In an effort to escape from the terrible thoughts I was having about the things I would like to do to the inventor of the speed camera and the fecal land mines laid in my front garden by an assortment of neighbourhood felines, I decided to cut the grass in the back garden. Mowing the lawn isn’t my favourite pastime but it’s the kind of mindless exercise I can live with and the end result always looks nice. So I grabbed my iPod, inserted the earpieces and started to mow. The music, the hum of the lawn mower engine, the sound of the mower blades cutting through the grass, clover and daisies allied with the buzz of a stray stone being picked up and spat out at great speed and smashing the kitchen window soon relaxed me and I started having more pleasant thoughts such as what PIL looks like naked. Probably not a good thing for a bloke to be thinking if he has a pair of secateurs in his hand but it’s fine when mowing the lawn. Then, out of the corner of my eye  I saw something that gave me a very pleasant surprise. Along the fence at the side of the garden there is a line of 25 or 30 beech trees. They may be hornbeam but I can’t tell the difference. I cut them back at the beginning of last year so that they are only about 8 feet high and they are turning into quite a pleasant-looking hedge. Birds nest in amongst the branches and lots of creepy crawlies live there and call it home. Well, in amongst the branches, arching beautifully with the weight of flowers was a lovely fox glove.

All on its own.

It looked just simply beautiful. It had white flowers flushed pink.

It reminded me that no matter how hard we try, Nature will always go two or three better and produce something in the most surprising and unusual places. I was chuffed to bits to see that.

There are three things that most people find surprising about our garden although two of those will be changing. First, there aren’t any roses in the garden. None at all. There was one by the front door when we first moved in but that went a few years ago. I understand why people like roses. They often have beautiful flowers, they come in a huge array of colours and some have a wonderful scent. To me though they are just a mega pain in the bum. They are “gross feeders” so they take all the nutrients and minerals out of the soil meaning copious quantities of compost has to be added once or twice a year or you end up with dust. They attract pests, especially aphids and diseases that spread to other plants in the garden and to top it all they rip you to shreds if you so much as touch them. Not for me. I prefer to be able to sit back and admire my garden.

I also get why people like bedding plants or annuals. Instant colour that lasts for months if you dead head regularly. I just think “aching back” and “sore knees” from planting them in the Spring and digging the blighters up again in the Autumn. Not to mention the increase in getting a handful of cat poo while digging them in. That’s changing though. PIL (aka She Who Must Be Obeyed) wants hanging baskets and that means annuals although mixed up with things like strawberries and stuff. She tends to take care of the pots too and does a fine job with them. They’ll be annuals in the pots as well. I don’t mind. It’s our garden and my only objection to bedding plants is the effort involved. I look forward to seeing how that works out.

The other surprising thing about our garden is the absence of the colour orange. Or so I thought. I’m talking the fruit colour here. Goes with bugger all. Clashes with everything. In a gloomy corner of the front garden there is a big clump of what I think are Welsh Poppies. For work reasons, I tend to be away when they flower in May. They’re yellow. Or so I thought. This year they flowered a bit later and I saw them. They looked absolutely superb in that slightly gloomy corner and contrasted really well with the white flowers in the front. (I have no idea what the white flowers are. Planted ’em years ago and I can never remember plant names. Unlike my memory for the collective noun for wombats!!) Anyhow, they looked really good but they were orange! See. Nature did it again. Nothing to do with me. They are staying. Look at the photo and you’ll see what I mean. Smashing!

On that note I must go as it’s getting late. Have a nice day wherever you may be and whatever time it may be where you are.

More Dick soon.

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Memory.

I was at work the other day. It was quite early, probably about 7 am. I heard a bird start to sing. Without looking I thought to myself, “That’s a goldfinch.” I was right. I had remembered its song. My brain then went into overdrive as it scanned its memory banks and told me some associated information. The collective noun for Goldfinches is “a charm”. My brain then informed me that the collective noun for hedgehogs is “an array” and that if you remove all the fleas from a hedgehog it suffers from withdrawal symptoms. From there my brain informed me that the the collective noun for a group of wombats is “a wisdom”. Wombats!!
Then my brain thought:
“How do I know this stuff and yet some mornings I wake up and can’t remember who or where I am!”

More Dick soon

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House Guests

We have a mate staying as a house guest for Christmas. We have known Elmer for a good many years and while we always enjoy his company, he is a bit of a nutcase. He’s a huntin’, shootin’ type of guy which is something we totally disagree with but he’s a decent enough chap in many other ways. He sometimes gets a bee in his bonnet about something or other and he will rabbit on about it for absolutely ages.

Wabbit? Did someone say 'Wabbit'? Where's my twusty wifle?

Wabbit? Did someone say ‘Wabbit’? Where’s my twusty wifle?

See what I mean? Now all he wants to do is use my blog as a platform to spout on about something or other. I’ve decided not to let him and he now has the hump about it. Never mind, maybe another day. Now I’ve got to go and play Cluedo so I’ll pause it here and come back again shortly………

Be vewee, vewwee quiet. Dick had too much to dwink last night, so I'm going to take adwantage and wight a post on his bwog.

Be vewee, vewwee quiet. Dick had too much to dwink last night, so I’m going to take adwantage and wight a post on his bwog.

I have gwown incweasingwy concewned with all the tewwible things going on.

In Bwitain, we have had a wefewendum wegarding the Euwopean Union and we decided to weave. Or wather, the Engwish and the Welsh did. The Scots voted almost to a man to wemain and are using this is as an excuse to demand another wefewendum on Scottish independence. The Judiciawy were asked to decide on whether this decision to leave should go befowe Parwiament and because they said that it should, they were attacked by the pwess and others for making a deciswion on a law made and passed by powiticians. The countwy wemains divided and no one is weally sure what is going on, weast of all me.

In the United States, the ‘peepul’ voted a man who conswiders it as alwight to gwab a woman by the bottom as their new Pwesident. On his staff is a White Supwemacist. He intends making a man who considers Islam “a cancer” head of the CIA. A man with a Charwie Chapwin moustache thought the same thing about Jews in the 1930s and 40s. Pwesident elect Donald Duck Twump intends having a former US Marine General as Defense Secwetawee. This chap thinks “war is fun” and shooting people is “a hoot”. He turned up to a meeting with a number of Elders and Militia leaders in Fallujah and said, “I come in peace….. I have no artillery….. Fuck with me and I will kill you all.” Sounds wike a fun guy.

The whole World is appawently going to the dogs but then something else happened that convinced me otherwise.

 

 

I watched a Bwitish bwoke with ginger hair standing on a tower 74 metres above a wiver with a chocowate Hob Nob in his hand. He was attached to the tower with a gloweefied ewastic band. He waunched himself into the air and a second or so later, dunked his chocowate Hob Nob into a cup of tea and got himself into the Guinness Book of Wecords.

highest-bungee-dunk-gwr-attempt_tcm25-450770

It made me larf at the cwazyness of it and it also made me thwink of all the other cwazy stuff people do. The Wedbull Flugtag and the Wedbull Soapbox waces are just a couple of examples.

Competitors - Action

soapbox

Then there is the Cheese chase down a steep hill in Gloucestershire.

cheeserolling4

cheeserolling3

cheese-rolling-2

cheese-rolling

Limbs are bwoken, heads are cwacked, hospitals are filled with casualties and yet hundweds of people turn up year after year to take part. The World is full of nutters intent on having a gwaet time.

It was then that I wealised that all was ok with the World and could weassure evewee one that it was so.

Well, until Pwesident Twump gets his hands on the nuclear codes that is.

 

Errrr. What’s going on here Elmer?

Oooops. Busted! Sowwy Dick. I couldn’t wesist it.

It’s ok Elmer. I suppose it could have been worse. It could have been Daffy Duck who came to stay for Christmas.

Ta Dah

Ta Dah

Oh good grief. Daffy?

Yeth Dick?

Yeth Dick?

Do one mate.

Charming

Charming

Bloody hell. At this rate, Porkie Pig will make an appearance.

P..p..p..p..p..p..Pardon me. D..d..d..d..d Did someone c..c..c..c..c.. Did some one call?

P..p..p..p..p..p..Pardon me. D..d..d..d..d Did someone c..c..c..c..c.. Did some one call?

 

Dear Lord. Give me strength

Dear Lord. Give me strength

 

I hope you all had a bloody great Christmas and I wish you a fantastic, happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Finally, a word of advise for all the perverts out there who bought handcuffs as Christmas gifts for their wives, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends and in certain parts of the United States, cousins:

bastard

 

More Dick soon.

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Do I really?

I have been missing from the blogging world for a few weeks now. Mainly this has been due to being very busy not just at work but at home as well. It’s not been helped by struggling to find a subject to write about. My original intention, and Lily Moose will confirm this, was to write about my efforts to build a garden shed. It has to be said that PIL took it all rather well.

Then I thought to myself that really, I have already demonstrated to the World at large that when it comes to DIY I’m a bit of a dork, so why embarrass myself again?

dork

 

A garden shed is a simple wooden structure. Ours consisted of a two piece floor, two sides, four sections making up the front and rear gables, a two piece roof, a double door and some roofing felt. A simple structure but I still managed to fuck it up! I am fully aware of my shortcomings when it comes to DIY and therefore read the instructions very carefully. I took on board the suggestion that I read them again over a cup of coffee.

coffee

In fact, I read them three times over four coffees and then I twice watched the on-line video on how to construct this shed. I immediately hit a problem. The shed was not very big. 8 foot x 4 foot but the written instructions and the video kept going on about ensuring the shed was square! How the bloody hell can a 8×4 shed (a rectangle if my memory serves me correctly) be square? So the first two hours were spent scratching my head.

finger-in-socket-1

In the end, I rang a mate of mine up who is a builder and wouldn’t be too sarcastic and he explained it all to me. So I started the build but soon discovered another problem. To build this shed required 4 hands, 3 legs and intelligence. I was deficient in all three areas so I put my tools away and waited until the following day when PIL would be home. The following day arrived and we commenced work on the shed again. Once the walls were fitted, PIL went inside while I carried on with the build. Floor, walls, gables and roof all went up and then it was time to fit the doors in the remaining space. Somehow or another during the construction the gap at the top of the door way was 46 inches (spot on as it happens) but the bottom was 49 inches! Or was it the other way round? My rectangle was no longer square! So I thought, “Bollocks” and spent 14 minutes dismantling what had taken me 4 hours to build, went in doors, had a cup of tea and suffered the laughter and sarcasm. PIL took it all rather well considering.

So then I thought “Do I really want the World to know that once again, when it comes to DIY, I’m a complete pillock?”

PIL already thinks I’m a plank.

Plank

 

My kids think I’m a fossil.

fossil-hardshellcrab

So simply put.

No.

So I’ve decided not to write about my shed building escapades. No one needs to know so I’m keeping quiet. Sorry and all that, but I really don’t want to write about it. Instead I think I might write about cars. I like cars. Or tell a real life ghost story. One of my mates has also asked to write  as a guest on my blog. Apparently, he wants to “weassure” the World about what he calls “Bwexit” and “The Twump effect”. He may also mention pesky wabbits. We shall see. In the meantime, I have a builder mate to phone about getting a garden shed built.

Have a great day.

More Dick soon.

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An Announcement.

The other day while perusing the interweb I discovered a claim that I had endorsed an imbecile!

Following the endorsement of Democrat US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton

hillaryclinton

by The Simpsons,

simp_fland_canyon_vabf12sc1063_hires2

the Republicans were desperate to find a cartoon character to endorse their own Presidential candidate, Donald Trump.

 (AP Photo/LM Otero)

(AP Photo/LM Otero)

trump; vulgar. to fart.

fart; an emission of noxious gases from the anus.

In early August it was announced in Newsthump that the Republicans had found such a character. Dick Dastardly.

W.T.F.!

While I have never met the bloke, I consider the Trump to be a complete looney toon and there is no way I would endorse this man. Further investigation was needed.

Can you really believe this shit? The Presidential candidates for the most powerful and richest nation on the planet have to be endorsed by cartoon characters. God help us all!

It quickly became apparent that there is more than one Dick Dastardly! Who’d have thought it?

There is me, the cool, sophisticated, handsome, debonair chap of the World and then there is this other bloke who is a cheat, a liar, a thoroughly nasty egg who frequently tied up Penelope Pitstop, the lucky dog filthy pervert

penelope-4

and a ruffian of the worse order. He has been accused of war crimes whilst the leader of The Vulture Squadron and is wanted by British police for contravening the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) for cruelty towards pigeons. Us Brits don’t mind you taking pot shots at pigeons with a shotgun but machine guns are so dreadfully unfair. Bang the blighter up for 10 years I say!

However, there is a fundamental difference between me and the other rascal.

The other Dick Dastardly is a cartoon Dick.

Whereas I am a real Dick!

So there you have it. It wasn’t me so you can all rest easy in your beds.

As a by the by, When the Trump was informed of the other Dick Dastardlys endorsement it is claimed he exclaimed; “I love Dick!”

Why am I not surprised?

Have an outstanding day.

More Dick soon.

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Beard Update.

It’s gone! Shaved it off. No more beaver sanctuary. Poor old Clit Eatswood!

With the milk chocolate colour of the top of my head, the strawberry pink colour over my nose and cheekbones due to wearing sunglasses and copious quantities of factor 15 and now the pale pink lower half of my face, my head looks like it’s been carved from a large block of Neopolitan ice cream!

I look ridiculous!

Bollocks!

Never mind. We go on holiday on Friday so by the time we get back it should have  all blended in. No one will see me like this.

Except……

Thousands of people when I go into town later. Thousands more at the airport terminal. 200+ more on the aircraft we’re travelling on. Plus the hundreds of people at our holiday destination!

Bollocks!

Have a great day. Where’s my hoodie?

More Dick soon.

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The Day I Lost My Hat.

I have this slightly bonkers theory that Western Civilisation starting going down the toilet when men stopped wearing hats. Not baseball caps and such like but proper “Foyle’s War” type trilbys and fedoras.

foyles war2

A long time ago, I had the most fantastic fedora. It was such a dark grey that it looked almost black. It was beautiful. I loved that hat. It was a Christmas present from my girlfriend at the time. Lynn. Smashing girl. I remember one evening we were in her flat in Vauxhall when I suggested that we should go and watch the sun come up. She sighed one of those sighs that women sigh when you suggest something they consider so romantic you just know you’re going to get laid! Anyway, we jumped into my MGB GT sports car

1973-mgb-gt_0

and drove to Ramsgate on the Kent coast which was the most easterly point I could think of, bearing in mind that my thought processes were under the complete control of my penis at the time! We arrived in Ramsgate in the early hours, just before dawn. We parked up on the sea front and saw absolutely nothing. It was foggy and we couldn’t see a bloody thing! Still, it was the thought that counts and we had a lovely time although I do still have a bad back. A MGB GT is not a large car. Unfortunately we broke up soon after but I kept the hat.

Back to the hat.

I wore that hat a lot. I wore it to work. I wore it nearly every day and every night. I cared for it.  I may have slept with it on from time to time. I certainly bonked a girl or two while I was wearing it. It was the smartest piece of clothing I owned. My default dress code is called “scruffy”. Still is to this day. If I was to wear an expensive Hugo Boss suit I wouldn’t look like Gerard Butler.

gerard-butler-hugo-boss-main

More like his Irish mate, Sac O’Shit. Within half an hour of donning any smart clothing I would look like I’d been in several brawls. My hat though just looked the dogs danglies all the time. At weekends I would don my 501s, my Rolling Stones tee shirt (or the Led Zep one or the Frank Zappa one cos he had a moustache just like mine), put the coolest ever black leather jacket on, put my hat on my head and I thought I looked the bollocks. Probably most people on the planet thought I looked like a right whelk but I didn’t care. I was wearing my hat! Girls loved it. I would approach a young lady at whatever club I was in, doff my hat to them and say,

“May I have this dance?”

lm-couple-dancing

or

“Can I buy you a drink?”

Couple of friends having a round of drinks

or

“Fancy a shag?”12222107-censored-stamp

Worked every time.You know what they say; ‘You need a head to wear a hat’ or something like that.

One day I went to visit my brother. I put my hat upon my head and left my place to go to his. (I was wearing other clothes!) My brother lived in Brixton which is in South West London. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Brixton was a very expensive area in the suburbs. The houses were huge. The first road in London to get electricity was in Brixton and it was renamed Electric Avenue and that’s where my brother lived. Eddy Whatshisface wrote a song about it. As time went on though, Brixton started to fall on hard times, the houses were split up into flats and the whole area became a bit shabby. A lot of Irish families moved there and during the 1960s and 70s, a large proportion of the population were from the West Indies. My brother loved living there and I admit I loved to visit. It was always alive, the market was great, the pubs were brilliant and we had a good time whenever I visited.  The hostility between the police and the local population didn’t really register with us although the presence of large numbers of police officers was always a topic of conversation. On this particular visit, unknown to both of us, the SPG (Special Patrol Group) were present and Operation Swamp was in full swing with the police stopping a multitude of young people, mainly black, under the “Sus” laws. The atmosphere was tense and you could feel it so we decided to go back to my brothers flat which he shared with 2 Irish lads. Shortly after we returned, we noticed black smoke rising from nearby Railton Road known as “The Front Line” to the locals. Rioting had broken out and the rioters had set fire to a pub.

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Police arrived in my brothers road and all the shops shut, the street market closed and the whole road very quickly became deserted. All four of us were hanging out the windows of the top floor flat trying to see what was going on when, quite suddenly, a mass of people appeared around the corner like a huge tidal wave. They filled the road completely. There were thousands of them. The jewellers across the road had pulled their shutters down over the windows but within 15 seconds the rioters were in and looting the place. Every shop was broken into and looted. We looked on in total amazement.riot

Just down the road was a Curry’s electrical store. The rioters went through the plate-glass windows and stripped the place bare. Some of them hid their loot under the market rubbish but someone set fire to it. Others took their stuff to what appeared to be a wedding reception a bit further down the road. The newly weds had more fridges, freezers, washing machines and microwaves than they could shake a stick at. We heard people coming up the stairs so we went out into the hall to see what was going.

“We’re taking stuff up to the roof.” they said. This “stuff” was a bloody great washing machine and a fridge.

“No you’re not.” said my brother.

“Oh yes we are.” they replied.

“Not happening mate.” I said

Then they looked again and saw four burly blokes blocking their way. My brother and his flat mates played rugby and were built like outhouses. I’d been a canoeist for donkeys years and had very broad shoulders and a narrow waist. (Sadly, these have now swapped places). So they struggled back down stairs again and shortly afterwards one of them came back with an Easter egg for each of us. How nice!on-this-day-brixton-riots-136397487029803901-150410143414

We went back to watching the scenes below us. Gradually, the crowd moved away and the road was deserted again. Devastated but deserted. We saw an old guy on a moped riding past and picking up pieces of jewellery discarded by the mob. Then, in a scene that could have been from Shaun of the Dead we saw a guy walking down the road. He was looking around in total amazement. I think he lived nearby and after a heavy session the previous night had just woken up and gone out to the shops to be met with the most incredible scenes of destruction. His mouth was wide open and he was looking around trying to compute what on earth had happened and what had he missed. He stepped into the now empty Curry’s store and with unbelievable speed a police meat wagon screeched up, four huge coppers jumped out, grabbed the guy, threw (and I mean THREW) him in the back of the meat wagon and screeched off again. Been and Gone in 60 Seconds!Brixton-Riots-In-London-I-015

It started getting dark. From the roof we could see little groups of people sitting on all the roof tops with their loot, waiting for the whole thing to ease off so they could take it home or sell it. There were more people in the road again and as we hung out the windows, my hat fell from my head and floated ever so gently to the ground below. Some random bloke picked it up. I shouted out to him;

“Thanks mate. That’s my hat. I’ll be straight down to get it.”

Whereupon he stuck MY hat on HIS head and called out;

“Cheers mate.”

and he walked off!

 

With my hat!

 

On his head.

 

What an absolute bastard!

 

I have been traumatised ever since. I never got a replacement. It just wouldn’t be the same. I miss my hat and I often wonder what happened to it. I guess I’ll never know. I do hope though that the bastard who took it suffered a terrible fate. How could anyone take another mans hat?

Have an amazing week.

More Dick soon.

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The Garden

The front garden, which has been my project for the last 12 months is coming along nicely. It needs more plants in it and I got another dozen to plant up on Sunday. Typically, since then the weather has been foul and I’ve not had a chance to actually put them in the soil. I’ve got Astilbes, Lupins, Freesias (my mums favourite if I remember correctly), Anemones and a couple more Geums. I also got several ferns for Eeyores place down one side of the house that is particularly gloomy. I think that once they’re in it will begin to look more cottage gardeny although I suspect more plants will be required to get the desired effect but I’m pleased with it so far. 20160531_113633

The tulips out there did very well on long, straight stems but didn’t last as long as I had hoped mainly due, I think, to the wet weather. The alliums are looking particularly good at the moment as do some other plants I put in last year but have no idea what they are now.

I have been disappointed with the foxgloves though. After writing about how easy they are to grow and how they self seed everywhere, this year, despite having loads growing previously and possibly a billion seeds falling to the soil, only half a dozen have started to grow. What a bummer!20150612_100703

I like foxgloves for their height, their attraction to bees, their beautiful flowers and how easy they are to grow (usually). I can’t help thinking that the extremely wet winter we had has caused the seeds to rot away or, knowing my luck, the seeds floated off and one of my neighbours has a beautiful display.20150612_100842

Having said that, apparently it’s one of the joys of gardening insofar as you never quite know what each year will bring. I’m inclined to go along with that although the sense of disappointment when something doesn’t quite work out how you planned is a pain in the neck or, in my case, a pain in the lower back. Still, very soon now the front garden will be looking splendid and it will be time to contemplate the back garden which is looking more than a tad neglected. We (by ‘We”, I mean PIL) have plans for the back garden. Just about any plants we put in the beds last less than a season due to being flattened by youngsters playing, in no particular order, cricket, football, basketball, tennis, trample dads plants and take off the flowers with a frisbee (the last two being particular favourites with our kids). Once the front is finished, all the plants in the back garden will be transferred to the front to fill in any spaces there and the ensuing space planted with shrubs.2004_OND-BELL-HEBEVI4

Shrubs tend to be more resilient to the kind of abuse my kids hand out plus they don’t seem to be so sensitive to being pissed on by the dog (and by me from time to time when I can’t be arsed to come in). The additional bonus of having shrubs there is that they quickly grow large enough to devour all kinds of balls, frisbees and water pistols. Either that or shrubs have some kind of portal to another dimension where stuff like that disappears for all time. A bit like washing machines and socks.

Now that I have made my sister Boo

Boo. My sister. She often looks like this

Boo. My sister. She often looks like this

happy by writing about gardens and my toiletry habits I am going to go and dig some holes to put our new plants in cos it’s stopped raining. I just hope there isn’t any cat crap out there.

Have an outstanding day. They are the best ones to have.

More Dick soon.auto