Saturday, 26 March 2016

"You make that sound rather shitty, Lewis."

Nothing much was said. Normally somebody mentions it, but if they did I didn't hear anything. A family member might bring it up, but again, not a dickie bird, and no, I'm not talking about the cricket bloke either. In fact, I'm sure the expression 'not a dickie bird', has nothing to do with him.

This morning I found myself awake in the dead of night, but it turns out not as dead as I thought. I suddenly remembered and asked myself, "Have the clocks gone forward?" There was only one way to find out. I looked at the digital radio alarm clock. It was almost 0450hrs. I'd been awake almost an hour. There was a programme about somebody whose name I can't remember, but the former mayor of Toronto, who died last week, was mentioned and the guy in question recently got married – to another man and banned what Americans call cellphones from the wedding. Having not listened to the whole programme, I haven't the faintest idea what it was about, although I know one thing: the guy that was getting married hates secrecy and when the reporter asked another guy why that might be, the other guy asked if he could go off record – but still didn't answer the question.

Clear skies? No, just driving rain...
The Six O'Clock News soon followed – the clocks had gone forward – and a story about planned cuts to the UK Border Agency was the lead. Why, I wondered, would anybody want to make cuts of 6% to the UK Border Agency, I found myself thinking, when we've got the so-called 'jungle' on the other side of the Channel and terrorist bombs going off in Brussels. Labour's Andy Burnham feels the same way. Perhaps we can expect another U-turn by the government. The rest of the news was given over to the various Easter messages we can expect from the Vatican, the Church of England and, of course, the Prime Minister.

Something Understood, the programme that always follows the news on Sunday morning, was all about renewal, but, as always, I have to get up so I rarely listen to it; and yet it's quite a relaxing, Sunday morning, half asleep sort of programme with strangely mesmerising music. It's the same week in and week out and one of these days I'll just lie there and listen to it.

So the clocks had gone forward and, of course, technology had already proved itself to be one step ahead of everybody. My iphone, for instance, changes time automatically. Had I set the alarm on the phone I would have woken up in time (had I not been awake already) but I hadn't set it so today might well have been a disaster. Fortunately, it wasn't a disaster, but ultimately it all proves to be a little 'academic'.

I moseyed on downstairs, made tea, toast and Weetabix with blueberries and then remembered there was no milk. Yesterday in Waitrose they didn't have the big two-litre plastic bottles, unless I fancied buying the extortionate Duchy of Cornwall brand – and to be honest, I didn't. One thing I really hate is when there is no alternative other than buying the expensive alternative of something. I'm always suspicious of garages when they place locks on the low cost petrol under the possible pretence that it's out of stock. Rather than fill my car with the 'supreme' petrol, I prefer to find another gas station that might not be ripping me off. That, of course, is the problem. It's hard to know when you're being ripped off these days. "It's the actuator, mate," a mechanic told me recently. "£210." Really? But not being an expert at car mechanics, I had no option other than to accept and pay up. At least now I don't have to struggle into the driver's seat via the passenger door – that was a pain, I can tell you.

There was just enough milk for one strong cup of tea and an almost dry cereal and now, with the time approaching 0700hrs, I could do with another cuppa, but if I want one I've got to go out in the rain to the corner shop, only to find, no doubt, that it's closed today. Today is Easter Sunday, a kind of Super Sunday – Sunday Extra, perhaps, when, everything reverts back to the olden days when nothing opened on the Sabbath. Not that those days were bad. It was kind of accepted that everything was shut and in a way it made for an interesting day. The pubs would open at noon and shut at 2pm and not re-open until 7pm, only a newsagent would be open, but only until lunch time and it would only sell newspapers and sweets, not food. It was a time for lolling around or walking aimlessly through parks and fields, or simply going round to somebody's house or punctuating the day with a trip to the pub, but having the rest of the day wandering about and, strangely, being of no fixed abode.

Andy and I have been liaising this morning on Facebook. "Has it stopped raining at your place?" he asked me earlier. I got up and peered outside. "It's raining now. Abort?" We decided to leave it until 0730hrs before making our decision. I haven't even checked if Phil is standing on the front drive, although I doubt it. He was up for a ride on Saturday, but I couldn't make it. The best day was Good Friday – beautiful sunshine and clear skies – but I couldn't make that either due to 'driving' responsibilities. If we don't ride today that leaves just Bank Holiday Monday and the weather is promising 'more of the same'. In fact, the promise is Hurricane Katy, possibly 'Storm' Katy, although it's widely believed to be heading off north early on Monday morning.

This weekend could be a complete wash-out as far as riding is concerned. If it does stop raining it's going to be wet, which in turn means a wet arse for yours truly – unless I can find my waterproofs. And before you ask, I've not yet serviced the bike or bought mudguards. I simply don't have the spare cash. It's the same old story, I'm afraid.

Hold on, though! The skies are getter bluer, the birdbath is calm, Andy's suggested meeting at 0800hrs. Yes, I've replied, but first let me get some milk from the local shop...if it's open! It's taken two days, but at last it looks like we're game on for a ride. Better find those waterproofs!

Or perhaps not. Just as I was preparing to head out to the local shops the heavens opened. Abort!

It's now 1014hrs and it's been raining on and off all morning. One minute there are blue skies, or bluish skies, the next it's cloudy. As I write this there are grey skies with an occasional appearance from the sun and then some rain. As Jon Voight said in Deliverance, "You make that sound rather shitty, Lewis." 

And below (courtesy of WikiQuote) is a slice of dialogue from the movie Deliverance:

Lewis: Machines are gonna fail and the system's gonna fail...then, survival. Who has the ability to survive? That's the game - survive.
Ed: Well, the system's done all right by me.
Lewis: Oh yeah. You gotta nice job, you gotta a nice house, a nice wife, a nice kid.
Ed: You make that sound rather shitty, Lewis.
Lewis: Why do you go on these trips with me, Ed?
Ed: I like my life, Lewis.
Lewis: Yeah, but why do you go on these trips with me?
Ed: You know, sometimes I wonder about that.

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