Monthly Archives: October 2013

Home is any four walls that enclose the right person…

Which wouldn’t be me. As for Asbo

Just the wrong kind of walls…

424980_10150708723606041_1819417037_nWere it not for the house-sitting I’ve been doing for my sister, I would no doubt have finished the few things I’ve been working on; I’d been looking forward to it too— but after spending most of today getting over yesterday; which was spent in much the same way as today; and then moving back: I’m in a full-blown phase-state. I’m sure you’ll all know a variance of it well: a lack of decent sleep leaving you feeling half-awake, physically drained and not too clever; have work in your head but getting to it requires the services of the part of your brain’s that’s already in bed.

This is what shifting houses can do to me, it can throw me out of whack, out of sleep and leave me rather worse for wear; and this is before factoring in Asbo the anti-social beast my sister calls a pet. I should ideally have come home during the day, sat at my table with my view, next to the kitchen and been irritated by my own cat: she’s allowed to do that, she’s a monster I can take all the credit for, but Asbo— though he’s a magnificent looking creature, he has an inherency to maim and strike fear into you. Physically, it’d be all too easy to describe him as low-maintenance because he’s either indoors sleeping or outside prowling— but that doesn’t take into account the time spent dressing the assorted wounds he inflicts as a matter of course. In deed, thirty seconds after arriving on Tuesday, I was bleeding from where my right calf used to be.

My sister thinks this is all wonderfully amusing, it’s just her way— she actually called me up to see how things were going and if she was surprised I was still able to answer the phone she hid it well. She said there was some chicken that Asbo and I could share if we wanted. I told her he hadn’t asked for any and of course, she felt the need to point out, he’s a cat, of course he hasn’t asked you… I told her I’d just eaten and’d left some for later— she said, Oh, you’d better check that…

“The little shit, he’s…”

What’s he done?”   *snorting*

“He’s finished my sodding dinner!”

What was it?”   *still snorting*

“Chicken… Don’t you dare!

“So he did want some chicken…”

“&%$£%$!”

*click*

Neither my dinner, nor the cat was anywhere to be seen…

Anyway, the other side of physical side is the stressy side— the anxiety of letting him loose, which isn’t much worse than knowing I’m in the house alone with him. It’s just I like to know that if he wants back in, I’ll be ready; maybe in some deluded way hoping that he’ll return the favour by not mauling me every time he sees me.

So naturally the knock on effect isn’t much fun; I feel slow and far, far duller than is usually the case. I need a quiet evening with the doorbell unplugged and a decent night’s sleep, then hopefully, I’ll be able to finish some work.

A man is like a cat; chase him and he will run—

Sit still and ignore him and he’ll come purring at your feet…

Helen Rowland

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What does Casper, Head & Shoulders & fingernails have in common?

Really, honestly, truly?

Probably nothing— but this is all a bit of a rush-job!

And kind of how I actually sound in real-life…

goalExcept that the friendly ghost actually was the prime-shaker responsible for my non-participation this evening. The soiree I was invited to didn’t really appeal to me that much, it never does. The parent’s godchildren were going to be there and because someone with no brain whatsoever decided to take my advice, they now have kids with 90% of their bodies without so much as an ounce of bejesus in them. However, after actually watching Scream they did comment— much to my amusement— how much they were enjoying it until Casper started killing everyone— thereby laying their own stepping-stones for years of future therapy. I decided it was in my best interests to leave them to their baked potatoes and Transylvanian Stew.

I can then vaguely recall having an important revelation whilst tearing off my fingernails so I had something to give to the trick or treatersabout something or other but alas, as with most things today, my mind has just turned the other way in embarrassment— shunning me like a giant turd…

I am aware of course that turds do not shun or be shunned; are merely flushed away without a second thought. It’s just I found the idea of a giant shunning turd, particularly on Hallowe’en, an amusing concept. If for no other reason, because it would be the last thing I’d ever expect to come get me; just like Casper with disco-hips and a twelve inch tempered-steel blade. I mean, come on! It’s not a kids film, stop taking anything I say seriously!

One thing I do remember though, was a little ditty I had whilst flicking through hundreds of thousands of television channels, attempting to find some gore for this evening and failing miserably. Anywise, between the profanity I was hurling at every unsuccessful attempt, was born a new cure for food poisoning. If Head and Shoulders could wipe out the microbes that cause unsightly bonce-flakes after a few applications, imagine the speedy recovery from the pain of a dodgy barbecue you could make from downing just a few shots of the ammoniun laureth sulfate rich formula. Naturally, some form of long-glass milk based cocktail could probably be developed to take the edge off the really bad cases, but I reckon that, even if I’m wrong, I could still be on to a winner.

The rubbish that occupies my mind sometimes is just, well! Dangerous, if you’re stupid enough to take it overtly literally. Whatever, I want a snack.

So now this post has been taken care of, I need some rest and a cup of tea— and owing to an unexpectedly busy day and no sleep last night, I haven’t had time to bring together in a glorious arc, the relevance of my recent brain-foraging. There’s a plan to it all I’m sure and something about today’s about to harbour a severe rattling fit if I ignore the popcorn for a second longer, so-no more ado:

Happy Hallowe’en; and should you find yourself my way and don’t fancy eating a bowl of nail clippings

I’d knock very carefully…

An ultimately pointless piece & the irony-box…

Overload or mood as metaphor:

It’s not overly difficult to be striken by pink, when the pictures I’m thinking in clash

The recovery starts when colours feel like bullets…

218038_10151214972321041_292642255_nA nice smote pink can do the trick, sometimes it’s something altogether more violent: violent colours for violent moods. Sometimes it’s something unpleasant for a foul one, sometimes delicate or spiritually arresting even— but nothing to get arrested with. Sometimes it’s something from the satin-range with its carefully selected blend of subtle whites with ‘a hint of brain’ or something similar. Anything really, to aid the relief of migraines— or something else… Just nothing that looks too sticky.

It can be a ghastly thought— a lack of style, a collection of both. Anything.

It’s enough to make you scream at times— in lines mostly: straight ones, bendy ones, it doesn’t really matter; lumpy lines too— it certainly makes turning a corner particularly interesting— not the easiest thing in the world to do at the best of times, but if you’re in the habit of frequenting just the one room and treating all other rooms, as little more than extensions to that room and to the utilities you find… well, they’re rooms too. Stuff can be a pest.

But they’re not, because they’re little more than cupboards in the house that is no longer a house— just a giant pantry with fewer doors— bigger mind; and floors little more than a convenient place to put things.

A pirouette on the other hand is still a pirouette, just no longer a turn. It is a dance, or— since we’re on the lines, it’s the turn of economy: an extension of something that’s part of a dance— when accompanied of course; because a twirl without music is little more than a spasm, and I for one, prefer to do my spasming in the company of friends, which cancels out any semblance of being a part altogether.

And then there are the lists: comma, comma, comma…

It’s easier to lampoon what grates you, in the same way it helps to imagine idiots are made from cheese— it’s fun. It’s one of those versatile food stuffs that not only tastes great but is a self-contained irony-box— and in itself, a rose-tinted; white-washed review of bad taste only far, far sweeter— you can obliterate it in so many ways.

Either way it’s ultimately pointless;

Except the bit about the cheese anyway.

The Art of Babysitting: the lowest paid high-risk job in the world…

Spare the rod, spoil the child—

Boys will be boys. And so will men…

This could have been possible without the help of a few like minded individuals, but it would not have been nearly as fun to put together. I just hope that that enjoyment shows on the page. It’s also nice to have the blame for conjuring up such rotten behaviour shared. What was omitted of course, will stay that way.

19171_281714681040_1679334_nThere is no such thing as a perfect mother or a perfect father for that matter. So it stands to reason that babysitting, as an art form is impossible to master. This doesn’t mean that an attempt to do so is futile, it just means the odds of success aren’t exactly weighed in your favour. We do live in the age where man has voyaged to beyond the unquestionable fathoms of the deep; leapt from the edge space; we do have Usain Bolt, and children are being born at a much younger age, year after year, but like the babysitter, parents are doomed from the start it’s an insurmountable mountain that must be negotiated from the moment they arrive to bring joy, warmth and happiness to them, and it is their responsibility alone to confuse and disturb them. The humble babysitter however, has no enduring claim, other than to provide little-more than a form of cheap entertainment; a gift if you like, from the parent to child, as a pay off for abandoning them to seek out entertainment of their own.

So, what follows is rule number one, of one, in multiple parts: not exactly the key to being a good babysitter so much as it is the key to surviving babysitting…

You see, the problem that most of us encounter whilst looking after a couple of mitching-snipes, is that we still think of them as children. This is not the case, it is a basic thought-error and wild under-estimation from which trap, should you fall into it, a lifetime of therapy could be necessitated. Children, under the supervision of a babysitter must be thought of as miniature-creatures, since they regard us at best as pretend people. We don’t really exist in the sense that we have powers to anything but occupy space or heaven-forbid we actually tell them to do anything they ought be or not be to-do and this is something a miniature-creature can work out by simply exchanging looks with a sibling, or ogling us.

Within a moment of surmising we harbour weakness, they will begin to determine inappropriate actions amongst themselves and begin to divide the bibs they intend to plant on us whilst nabbing the regulars of acceptable behaviour in the bud, one nip at a time: they truly believe that anything goes. You may as well resort to pirate talk straight away; but arrghhs and it meb’ees will only hold them at planks-length for so long, because they are scheming little terriers who love nothing more than to leave you sunk and drowned whilst they strip your quarter decks and fetch you a kop of the unfortunate variety across the cheek, up the bracket or if you’re really unlucky, right in the mouse-trap leaving you shivering up and down whatever timber you have remaining…

This is where your counter-planning must begin if you’re foolish enough to enter Amityville without any. You must muzz, before being muzzed, because you are vulnerable within seconds of being seen. The rule starts here. You must be sure to keep your movements to a minimum. A for limp example, will be noticed uncannily, because while you are hanging up your coat, items of furniture will be being moved with the express purpose of clipping it, regardless of the room you enter and they somehow manage this without uttering a single syllable. Therefore, if you do have a limp pretend the affliction bothers the other leg, or both, or if that’s too much, a pair of baggy trousers will suffice.

Naturally, if you manage to navigate the obstacles without so must as an inconvenience to your balance, never put it past a creature to shimmy in with a nudge or two of your own. Sometimes as a defensive strategy, an accidental clip round the ankles of your own works wonders to keep them on the other foot. I knew of one brood strategically placing roller-skates around the house when breaking in a new babysitter, so it’s important to remain focused.

Any successful completion of a booby-trapped path can earn you respect, but you have to be quick to register any sleight nods of approval this fetches you because it’s as stealthy as their next move…

If they can’t topple you through material mischief alone, they will be forced to barter with you and ask you seemingly innocuous questions that you freely submit to answering. This can be dangerous, as they use this information to be beastly. Remember, these are not children. And you my dears, are not real.

So when they ask you if you’d like a cup of tea, return the compliment and suggest that you will make it; being careful not to trip over the rocking horse that has by magic appeared by your right foot and the marbles by your left and proceed to the kitchen, whenever possible, alone— but should that be impossible— by making positively sure that you lead whether you know the way or not. Knives and other stabbing instruments have the unlikely habit of becoming unhinged and accidentally lethal at this point. You should make sure there is nothing suspicious about the kettle, and make doubly sure you don’t find yourself standing in a small puddle of water before engaging it.

Just in case you’re still a little apprehensive, I’d recommend a startled leap away from the counter. This is a cunning ploy. Not only does it grant certain observations to be made, it give you a chance to draw your own conclusions as to the motives of your creatures. If they launch themselves back and hurt themselves, so much the better, you can inform the injured party that it was in fact their sibling that caused the wounds, so by creating a diversion whilst finishing up with the tea. If they merely stand firm with a look of excited wonderment on their faces, you know you’re in for the long haul. Not only do they have their code to protect, but they are, in all actuality, going to make pretty certain that you never leave the house alive.

This is when you must plan pre-emptive revenge if you’d been in a rush and had forgotten to before accepting the appointment. For my guarantee, comprehensive enlightenment is always sought, and I employ the services of a master. Her insight into the ways of the sneak are beyond reproach, therefore her advice, beyond question:

  • Turning one child against the other by favouring them; preferably the older child…

  • Threats and bribes…

  • Feeding them huge amounts of tryptophan to induce sedation

  • Winning them over by allowing them to do things expressly forbidden by their parents under the guise of deal-making and secrets; staying up late and watching TV…

If however you do not have the heart to drug your tiny adversary, and you just want them to know who’s boss make their tea the Mongolian way and use salt instead of sugar. This is when you can start to turn the tables back on them; regardless of its shape. Reverse psychology on a creature is a powerful tool. Not only will they seek personal compensation for damaging their palate, they will also chuck a little hurry-durry your way. Combine this with a sneaky aside to the untainted sibling by suggesting his brother, or sister is a wimp and you’ll be granted an honorary high-five on the spot. If you play your cards right the brothers, or sisters will spend the next little while exchanging names and daring each other to drink the tea at which point, one of them will, have rush to the toilet, and be sick…

With one down it’s easier to work on the other one. This can be achieved by suggesting he is beastly, and he should apologise immediately, and keep him company if that fails, you should use the ‘golden ticket’ method:

  • Show them a horror film or ghost story; anything that deals with keeping all limbs on the bed, under the covers and keeping quiet so ‘it’ will not find their next victim…

I remember to always keep a copy of Scream handy, and simply tell them it is the new Casper film. They will be horrified by the antics of the unfriendly ghost; and go to bed.

With the job done, it is important to reflect on what has passed. I tend to believe that in order to be a good babysitter, you must think in the language of kiddish monsitous if this means you have to put your self to bed early for being naughty so be it: for it is quite possibly the lowest paying high-risk job in the world.

With the ultimate goal of ensuring that everyone is alive and the house is intact when the parents return; even when the odds are stacked against you, it’s not entirely unfair to know the rules for playing a little hard-ball now is it?

‘Children sweeten labours, but they make misfortunes more bitter.’

Francis Bacon: ‘Of Parents and Children’

Nothing’s changed much in 500 years has it?

The Art of Kitty Maintenance…

Such temperate palms doth pitter like rain—

Our misery is their entertainment…

I’ll forgo the usual introduction and instead reproduce a cartoon I found in the hope that it will at least seem to justify my labours as much to you, as it does to me. And of course, make them appear all the more sane: kitty maintainanceWith the exception of a few pursuits I could be pressed to lay a hand on without overly taxing myself, I can honestly say that owning a cat is one of the trickiest. The word itself: pursuit, perhaps sums up the very relationship we have with our feline friends better than any other. Let me assure you, I’m in no way making allusions to that sound they make when they’d like to make us think we are causing them botherations I am deadly serious. The word pursuit is perfect; implies a chase and more often than not, it is we who are doing the chasing.

I like to think they prefer it this way, because no matter which way you look at it, there is an inevitable run around that occurs from day to day which can leave you wondering where your next breath will come from. This is something cats consider beneath themselves, for they are animals which have indifference hard-wired into them; they are the same creatures which can sleep for three days then fall forty feet onto solid ground and land gracefully: panting therefore is something they gaze upon with a kind of indignation reserved for the owners of lesser pets. I’ve little doubt that in their minds, such behaviour would no doubt spoil their whole aesthetic. It inevitably comes down to the simple question: who owns whom? For it’s a simple truth that, as much as we would like to believe otherwise: it’s thems which does the owning which unnaturally brings us full circle to the original point of pursuit

Cats need to be tackled— something easier written than done, but there you have it. There is no other way of putting it: their outward gaze may be one of calm, knightly almost but underneath beats an epicentre of cruelty and uncompromise. This is something I have noticed over the years and despite the odd exceptions— tackling gets you respect. It also allows you to retain a little dignity, once you realise any hope of clinging onto all of it is sadly unrealistic.

Cats operate on an entirely different biological clock you see, but this is all part of their tactic to confuse and befuddle their owners. They’re the peace-time equivalent of P.O.W.s wanting to get home by first irritating their captors. Autumn, since she is my case-study, has long since been banned from watching anything that might encourage behaviour of an overly irritating manner, because like many of her kind, she doesn’t need any.

She has just the three settings:

  • Sleep

  • Play

  • Eat

Sleep time for cats is a curious affair. They can be in a vegetative state for hours, be curled still and dreaming of catching sparrows and offering them as gifts and still become alive at a moments notice to create havoc and make us cry. This is where they differ from us. We wake up and generally plod about and walk into things for a few minutes, whilst spending the next few hours trying to remember who we are.

It’s also the time they boast the ability to operate in all three states simultaneously. When they sleep they dream; when they dream, they are invariably thinking about food. When they want food they think it’s cute to get our attention; firstly by playing and then by making the most unremitting sound imaginable: some of them not dissimilar to a crying baby. This is where they differ from dogs, who haven’t the ability to produce more than a half dozen utterances; whereas cats have a resonating chamber granting the them powers of production over something in the region of a hundred-odd noises designed to register a frown, wake the dead or put you off whatever it was you were doing at any time of the day or night.

Luckily, cats will sleep on average, a full twenty hours a day if for no other reason, so they can be fresh to disturb their ‘owners’ whenever they damn well please. When they are not however, they are hunting lap and don’t be fooled into thinking it’s an act of love. Altruism and cats do not mix: it’s because your lap is warmer than the floor, or invariably the chair or bed it was sleeping on. You only have to ask yourself how many times you’ve left your chair only to return and find a cat’s curled up or contorted on it sporting a big grin as though born there… It’s all part of cats’ sleep time.

Play time is next, and there is only one lesson here to be learnt. Cats play when they want to play: Period… There are no exceptions. Autumn for instance barely moves. She does occasionally stretch and sigh; looks good doing it too; and though she’d never dream of doing the two simultaneously in case it affected her balance, she rarely plays. A couple of times a day though, usually at about the time she feels she deserves to be rewarded with food, she goes a little do-lally-tat. This is the only time she really ever shows herself up: as much as I worship her little paws, she is perhaps the most ungraceful creature alive. She’s got the art of lazing about and extending her little legs down to a tee; and looking beautiful goes without saying; but her landing, leaping, running and methods of evasion leave a lot to be desired.

So when she’s tear-assing up and down the stairs because a video tape has just tried to bite her; or she’s mistaken the central heating for something unfriendly with that startled look of abject horror in her eyes: she flies— which is all the more remarkable because she’s a bit of a waddler at the best of time; speed her up and her back legs resemble those dwarfed-horses. But when she’s calmed down and realised there is nothing to fear from the crisp packet in the corner, she becomes far more sociable: at least this is what she’ll have you believe.

Being cute means give me attention, and it’s all part of their ‘not to be messed with’ policy. Yes— they play mind-games too. The spasming out they do is an ulterior act, made out for their own ‘peace of mind’ just to have you chase them around the house and just to convince themselves they’re still the ones running the show. When on the face of it, it’s the only running they ever intend to do. This is one of the few times we are in accordance with them why run, when we could be eating. And with hunger, comes the most familiar cry in the cats arsenal. It is easily the most disturbing:

Take me to your feeder

It’s as close a translation as I can manage but yes it’s there to inform us that it’s time to eat: the final piece in the great triumvirate of the kitty universe. It’s also their favourite time of the day, and quite possibly the only time of day they truly make you feel as though all their love is a bit of a sham.

There’s little you can really do to null the emotional trauma they inflict upon us at feeding time, besides preparing a little; and the easiest way to do that, is to be your pet. As hard as it may be; when you hear the thud of a cats’ imperfect landing at three in the morning and wide awake, beckoning you for strokes and companionship to brace the outdoors it’s best to turn the other cheek and instruct it back to bed…

Your success in this instance will be nil and your cat will never tire of repeating herself. She will do her best to trip you up so you fall down the stairs and hurt yourself, and run away feigning fright at the tumultuous racket that ensues but she’ll be back; just about the time you want to hit the sack again pretending she hadn’t just tried to kill you and that she really is your best friend.

She’ll wriggle about and purr and lick and yelp a little if she can be bothered, but deep down she’s thinking only one thing, and that is that ‘you’re an imbecile!’ And when she’s had enough and you’re just about ready to nod off on the downstairs carpet she’ll hop onto all fours, give her head a flick, and ignore you.

This is not letting them know who’s boss. Not that I can really speak I get up two or three times a night when hear Autumn’s ungainly thud on the floor and every time give her exactly what she wants.

But this is where I am taking the sports to a much higher level. I am using her own tactics against her; I play to her strengths at least I believe it to be that way. If she wants love when it’s inhuman to expect it: I won’t play ball when she gets her ‘munching’ face on…

You must be cruel to be kind. Or in the case of felines in general cruel to avoid having misery thrust upon you, since it is their main goal in life.

So just remember: cats are not your friends. Why do you think that they are not mentioned once in the bible? They are sharp and cunning even the thick ones! So play the game by their rules and the two of you can live harmoniously,

If you give them an inch

They’ll own you…

And they say there’s no rest for the wicked…

On Procrastination…

Mrs B once said, when asked what she’d like to read—

I am still about procrastination … but that could be that I am procrastinating on finding another topic!

Needless to say that was in 2004…

548125_10151091945136041_908074081_nStarting is always the hardest part, or is that beginning? Starting begets beginnings I suppose. If only I could get as far as that. Sometimes it’s just too hard.

I had an idea at first— for the beginning, but abandoned it. It wasn’t bad, in fact I quite liked it— the thought of it I mean, but the start is always a thought too many and a beginning too few and I always get the feeling I’ve been overtaken by the thought of having to do more than simply think it. And then I consider it. That’s the best part. What would it’d be without having done it? I pore, and I always convince my self to sleep on it.

This is where all the best things aren’t done. I sometimes pretend to sleep, just to see what doesn’t happen— and I’m mystified when I realise I’m not doing it. I don’t want to you see. Because the way I see it, there’s no point in avoiding something if you cannot sleep; and then sleeping to forget it when you’re only going to wake up with a hint of something you’d neglected to put there. And then it’ll bother you ’til you remember it— because you’d have to. And sometimes it’s just too hard.

It’s like getting back to the beginning again; right where I was going to be when I started it yesterday. Only I couldn’t remember what I wanted to say. It’s not that I was trying too hard; it’s just I recalled the killer word: The ‘E’ word. There should have been two of them in ‘demon’— at least it sounds that way to me. Perhaps they couldn’t’ve been bothered much either that day— and lacked the killer word too.

It was right after that cuppa I’d made after the comfy mock-snooze on the pea-green beanbag I’d been engaged in, that it suddenly dawned on me that I’d forgotten something else. This pleased me a great deal. Had it’ve been lingering— even ever so slightly, I may have been a little miffed; but it had gone. The fact that I could, even started to displease me after a while— but the longer the displease, the weaker the ‘effort’ it required and it killed too little a time— time I never really had anything put aside for anyway. To plan too far ahead in my eyes is to get ahead of one’s self— especially around the eyes, and it’s preferable to hide from these things rather than encourage one’s self to do anything about it. A day doing nothing, is sweeter than a day wondering anything. And a day wondering anywhere is an even greater waste.

They say of some, that they take, ‘one step forward and two steps back’ and I say ‘twaddle!’ Primarily because I like the way the ‘d’s’ sound and feel on the tip of the tongue when you’re overly deliberate with the ‘-le’; and secondly, because anyone worth salt would simply stand still, sit down or remain and just be— exactly where they were. Let’s not split peanuts over the minimum effort debacle, when you can eat the whole nut with none what-so-ever, and still pip the nincompoop by a nose. If only you could be bothered…

If I could only get passed the first bit I’d be fine.

Where was I?

I’ll finish it tomorrow…

Image: something I designed for my classroom

Reflecting on laziness, Hungarian commanders, an author’s middle name & a one armed man…

Those familiar, would know Montmorency:

And those not, should be; a dog born with more than his fair share of original sin…

527026_10151214972026041_54942606_nI was a familiar stranger once in a city of few lights past the open fridges in Electrical Appliance Retail, which glowed as cigarettes do in darkened rooms. These are reflections which inevitably lead to what I describe as: Klapka moments.

I was a student at the time— a status which allowed a certain degree of latitude with tardiness, which is all well and good since my time spend horizontal was more circumferential than to a certain degree. Sometimes it overlapped and sometimes it crossed; sometimes into a whole new day and sometimes I didn’t have to move a single muscle. This was speculative posturing, tailor-made for study, especially in front of the television: it was all about the visual learning experience.

I remember discussing the prospects of sharing such moments— a moment shared is a moment halved after all— and a bonus surely, since the other half could clearly be made up elsewhere. The idea however was dismissed as foolish— in fact the very notion was rejected so effortlessly; done so with nothing but an unimpressed twitch: I’ve seen shuffles and glances last longer. Unperturbed, I proudly informed her— the effortless shuffler— that I could sit for days without moving, but again, was greeted with another sideways look that this-time almost breached the perpendicular.

It was a subtlety that was again to be misplaced, although this time only everso briefly. I can only describe it as a moment of empathic clumsiness on my part. I made the mistake of offering to ‘lend a hand’ to a man who was struggling to retrieve a dropped wallet. It was a comment that wouldn’t have been quite so Caligulan had the man— on closer inspection, been in possession of both his arms. I don’t blame him for the stern expression he imparted, but its implying wish to take from me, that what he was sadly lacking was unmistakable. Personally, I don’t blame him.

It wasn’t an intentional blaze of cruelty— I actually felt for the chap despite feeling amused by my own lack of tact…

It was wonderfully surreal accompaniment: a side platter:

A salad bar on a day of free pizza…