Went the week well?


Skip this if you wish!

What a time I’ve had!  With the pancreatitis choosing to return and not go away (yet), internet problems, a busy Tuesday to handle and the odd fall (one painful), the past days have provided an interesting mix!

Health plus the locking down of most routes in and around the town thanks to two events – one being the laudable but not suited to small towns “Sky Ride” – where hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people get out on their bicycles hoping to appear on Sky TV – guaranteed that we were unable to visit our daughter on Sunday.  Monday was lost in a mix of trying to make sure Tuesday’s book  launch would happen while battling through a foggy mind.  Tuesday arrived – so long anticipated and with an enormous amount of work put into it – and Jenny let me sleep beyond the normal 6 or 7 o’clock!  An immediate loss of at least an hour of doing all those last minute jobs – like actually publishing the ebook and activating various suspended links!  Somehow, with a migraine looming, all got done.  An hour or two later, the migraine hit, but the job was done and I could cope with it.

Wednesday morning was frustrating in the extreme.  It was spent with access to the internet being episodic – never exceeding 30 minutes.  It seemed to steady down, around noon.  Then, at 1pm, it just shut down and refused to be reactivated!  We had absolutely no internet until about 6 on Thursday morning.  Thankfully, nothing dire happened and no urgent queries had arrived while I was offline.  Unfortunately, as the health issues maintained, and even tightened, their grip on me, I’m afraid that I hit that major nuisance: lethargy.  With a brain operating at something like one eighth speed, there’s little hope of productiveness.

Yesterday was still damaged by the lethargy and today is offering little hope of a change.

Movies

For two evenings, Jenny and I have watched movies.  Now, Jenny adores animated movies, which aren’t a particular favourite of mine.  I’m going to list the movies we watched together, with our personal ratings:

  1. Tinkerbell and the Secret of the Wings (Animation)  Me: 4/5  Jenny: 5/5
  2. Brave (Animation)  Me: 3.5/5  Jenny: 5/5
  3. Rise of the Guardians (Animation)  Me: 5/5  Jenny: 5/5
  4. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Live action, starring Nicholas Cage)  Me: 5/5  Jenny: 5/5

Before you start laughing wildly, I will say this: nobody was more surprised than I was when I gave the Tinkerbell movie such a high rating!  In truth, it had a very good, well worked out storyline.  My rating for Brave is based on a sense of something being missing, though I can’t identify whatRise of the Guardians is truly excellent, full of great humour, unusual depictions of some very well known characters, excitement, some very special magics, and… well, the list goes on!  And as for The Sorcerer’s Apprentice!  The casting is sheer perfection, the story has everything it should. and the realisation of the magics and other aspects required by the story perfectly executed.  Altogether, time well spent.

Watched “Dredd”…


Well… just watched the movie Dredd starring Karl Urban.  What a disappointment!  The story was fair enough but Karl Urban was just plain awful!  Why, oh why, didn’t they get Stallone?  He was a far more convincing Judge Dredd.  I’m just glad I didn’t buy it.  Urban moped around and gave absolutely no feeling of power or cold-bloodedness.  Oh, he shot the bad guys and such, and he said the right things, sort of, but there was no sense of menace.  If Dredd were to be like Urban, there’s no way he would become the most feared Judge in Mega-City One!  Indeed, the prophets of the future, who chronicle the incorruptible Judge’s deeds in their comic 2000 AD, would doubtless have found some other Judge who better suited the role!

It’s a great shame, too, as the girl (the rookie, Judge Anderson, he’s assigned to assess) is excellent – bravo Olivia Thirlby!  The bad guys are passable (some more so than others) and their leader is pretty good.  But without a decent Judge Dredd, the whole thing tends to fall flat.  It’s weird really.  The characters are so sanitised that you’d think it was made for a much younger audience, but the special effects are gruesome enough to prevent that.  Stallone, in his outing as Dredd, was so good, it was almost as if he’d been born to play the part.  He was able to live up the name, which is, of course, a play on dread.  Criminals of all kinds would feel dread if Dredd was the Judge they faced – but only if he was convincingly merciless.  Urban just never gave that impression.

The acting aside, some of the sequences were obviously meant to convey the way the psychic Judge Anderson perceived things, but they failed miserably.  Such sequences simply didn’t belong in many of the scenes.  They should have been confined to the scenes where they were appropriate to the events portrayed.  The sets were OK but very limited, with nothing like the extravagantly realised vision of Mega-City one that were presented in the earlier movie with Stallone.

I know that others have praised the movie and given it high ratings, while the Stallone movie has been slammed.  That’s their prerogative.  Mine is to give you my rating: 2.5 stars – and that’s rescued by the story and Olivia Thirlby’s performance!  Now imagine what rating it would have gotten without those redeeming factors!  As to slating the earlier movie, all I can say is that I’ve read the comics and enjoyed them.  The Stallone version fits far better but I suspect it has been regarded as a failure because of Stallone being cast in the lead!  I have observed that he seldom achieves critical approval, yet his movie are immensely entertaining and popular – even if few will confess to liking them!  I certainly won’t bother watching Dredd again, but I’ll be happy to watch Judge Dredd many times more.

Movie: Dredd, 2012.  Starring Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby.  Written by Alex Garland.  Directed by Pete Travis.  My rating: 2.5 stars.

Alternate movie: Judge Dredd, 1995.  Starring Sylvester Stallone, Armand Assante and Diane Lane.  Directed by Danny Cannon.  My rating: 4.5 stars.

Nil Sleep Saturday Becomes Nightmare Week


Yes, that’s right.  I didn’t sleep at all between Friday and Sunday, last weekend.  To be fair to those following my blogs, I need to say that normal service is far from what we have right now!

The simple fact is that some events have conspired to make it impossible to focus on anything particularly well.  It’s family affairs with poor Jenny dashing about all over the place, on top of having had to return to work today after two weeks vacation.  I’m afraid that I’m thinking more about Jenny and the state of things with other family members, including the health of one who was rushed into hospital very early this morning.  So writing meaningful blog posts or doing any of the numerous other things I routinely do have been pushed aside for now.  Obviously, I’m hoping this is short term, but Life has no guarantees – beyond its infallible ability to kick you when you least expect it!

So, there you have it.  Fingers crossed.

(In the words of a song from Jesus Christ Superstar: Can we start again please?)

Recipe Books for Veggies


This is going to be a cross-over post!  It’s about books but the subject is generalised, so I’ve put it here.

I just spent several minutes writing a review of a very disappointing book that I thought was about food and cooking it.  You know the kind of book – I think they’re called recipe books.  This one was nothing but an exercise in yet more lecturing on what I should be eating – never mind what I want to eat!  Here we find a surfeit of information thrust at us, about Organic food and GM food and a bunch of other books that might, I guess, actually contain some recipes (each volume needing to be purchased to supplement this free tome).  Okay, so there’s then a fairly in-depth analysis of 81 foodstuffs – oh, sorry, that should be Superfoods!  Yes, indeed. In-depth.  But hold on a minute!  I don’t actually want any such detail.  All I want is a reasonable notion of what’s good with what and what’s not.  This smacks of sitting with your meal set before you, with each item on your plate carrying a little flag stuck into it with full nutritional information on it!  To be blunt:  I don’t care!  Seriously.  I’ve been Veggie for over 40 years.  That’s more years than some of these people have lived for.

Now let me address the question of actual Veggie recipe books.  They are simply stuffed full of every possible concoction that excludes meat, though hang on a minute!  Some are clearly not Veggie because they contain fish, poultry, seafood and various other dead animals.  Now, when I became a Veggie, it was to stop eating dead animals.  But some of these books are ‘Fad Veggie’ offerings.  They aren’t Veggie at all, they’re books that contain recipes which exclude certain foodstuffs.  That’s all.

Do you know what I’d really like to see?  A Veggie recipe book that’s genuinely Veggie and caters for all tastes.  For every recipe containing some ‘sophisticated’ foodstuff, there should be a good, plain recipe with basic staples.  Down through the decades, I’ve been told to expand my choices by embracing food items that have become very popular with Veggies and Vegans.  To be fair, I’ve tried some of them.  After being made to feel absolutely wretched as a result, I’m informed that they are ‘an acquired taste’.  So, I should persist with eating something I detest until I get used to the taste?  Why?  Some have absolutely vile textures, some it’s the taste.  Why would I abandon the foodstuffs I like for these?  And why can’t I ask for recipes that use good old things like potatoes, cheese, baked beans, canned tomatoes, canned peas, and so on?  Why must I accept sweet potatoes and aubergines (apparently the two Veggie staple ingredients) and a host of vegetables and fruits I can’t even pronounce the names of?  Why do I have to have exotic meals?  And why-oh-why does virtually every other recipe have to include some kind of pasta?  Potatoes are a great staple carbohydrate-based food.  They’re also very adaptable.  Even rice is a great staple.  Then there are pies and puddings.  If I wanted principally Italian cuisine, surely I’d look for it?  (Yes, I know other nations had pasta variants, such as some kinds of Oriental noodles.)  I can’t help but feel that writers of recipe books are just interested in repeating the same recipes, maybe adding a customising dash of something.  Where’s the tradition, or the invention?  What was wrong with that big, steaming pudding crammed with goodness that our forebears enjoyed with great relish?

Here, I deviate just a little.  Our food is being constantly adjusted to make it ‘healthy’.  Things are taken out, others are added, to stop us poisoning our bodies.  This is good, that’s bad.  Until tomorrow when that’s reversed.  Food like bread and canned items last for far less time, and are less pleasant to eat.  Why?  Because the very things that acted to keep them good to eat have been removed!  For instance, salt is removed at every opportunity – and we wonder when people suffer cramp -  so special, expensive drinks are made to help – drinks full of magical ‘electrolytes’, i.e. salts and sugar.  And sugar, which is converted by our bodies into glucose, is something that must, at all costs, be avoided – except that’s most powerfully enforced against children, despite the fact that the brain (a rather useful part of the body) needs glucose to stay healthy and effective!  So what do we do?  Why, we seek a ‘brain food’ and decide on things like fish oils, especially Omega 3.  Of course, it makes everything smell and taste of fish, but that’s a small price to pay, surely?  Assuming, of course, that it feeds the brain in exactly the same way as glucose does.  Given the wealth of information the experts have gathered on food, and the vast number of dangers associated with eating, it’s amazing that the Human Race even exists!  It is truly staggering that we didn’t eat ourselves into extinction.

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Imagine it, if you will:  “We can prove, statistically, that the humble olive was the indisputable cause of the downfall of the ancient Etruscans, who had made it a vital part of their diet.   What?  Well, yes, others have done the same, but there are doubtless unknown factors involved which negate the toxic properties of the olive.  No, we don’t accept the research by XYZ Inc.  Their research is definitely suspect, being based on purely chemical tests without any reference to strict statistical analyses.  Sample sizes?  Oh, yes, well our average sample size is some 1500 sets of Etruscan remains.  Pardon?  Of course we didn’t survey living Etruscans!  There are none.  That’s the whole point.  Well, yes, we did hear that the Government are backing the olive producers and suggesting that our research is questionable.  However, a strict statistical analysis of members of the Government reveals that they have a vested interest in the olive industry, with numerous relatives working directly or indirectly for that industry……” [18 months later…]  “The recent acquisition of FStatView by XYZ Inc has opened previously sealed files to public scrutiny.  It is now known that the ‘Olive Issue’ report, which has seen olive production reduced to just a few dozen plantations worldwide, was fatally flawed and that certain funding grants from General RapeSeed Pty reveal a bias against the olive, especially the oil produced from it.  It is the view of analysts within XYZ Inc that it will require enormous investment in land and planting to begin to put right what XYZ asserted from the beginning – that the olive is both desirable as a food item and actually necessary for the health of all citizens.  Many thousands of ancient plantations were lost in the aftermath of governmental decrees against the growing of olives.  Now, we would like to call your attention to our most recent research findings, demonstrating that rice is one of the greatest threats to public health ever known…”

Birthday-Wedding Anniversary Combo!


Yep, with exquisite timing, tomorrow (28th June) is mine and Jenny’s Wedding Anniversary!  33 years wed, and proud of it.  This auspicious day will be followed by my birthday on 30th June.  That will be my 56th, which doesn’t sound much, considering I feel more like 156! LOL!  Jenny,  being the utterly wonderful person that she is, and always loving, braved a journey into the town centre – a place we detest visiting – to obtain my present (which is for both events!): a wireless mini-keyboard and mouse set from Maplins.  It’s fantastic.  No more trailing cables meaning I have to quickly set them aside for people to be able to get past me.  They are excellent quality, too – with a protective membrane that lies on top of the keyboard and a tiny usb ‘dongle’ which can be fitted into the mouse for transport, so it doesn’t get lost.  But there’s a huge downside!  Because the ink is extremely low in our printer – I can’t print anything out.  That means that, not only have I been able to buy Jenny an anniversary gift – I’ve also failed, for the first time in years, to make her a card.  I am extremely unhappy on both counts.  I hate myself for it, and for the health problems that have robbed me of the ability to do what’s not only right, but what has always been a delight.

A Post From The ‘Hood


You read that right!  This is a message from the ‘hood – fatherhood, in fact.  Oh come on!  I’m well past the middle of my fifties – no way would I know where to start talking about any other kind of ‘hood!

Here in the UK, it was Fathers Day.  Now, that’s a funny kind of ‘special day’.  I mean Mothers Day is simply a rebranding of the Christian ‘Mothering Sunday’.  That’s very definitely an ‘occasion’.  It’s a celebration of Christ’s mother, Mary, and all mothers as an extension of that.  I’m afraid that Christ’s poor old dad, Joseph, doesn’t seem to have rated similar treatment.  Naturally, that didn’t stop Business from making sure that they invented a matching ‘day’ – there was a good profit to be made from it, after all.

Now, don’t get me wrong!  I have absolutely no objection to Fathers Day, any more than I object to Mothers Day.  As an agnostic, the religious origins of Mothers Day have less significance to me, so the lack of the same for Fathers Day is no big deal.  In fact, I very much approve of both days!  Good parents should be celebrated.  I feel for those who were not blessed with them.  Happily, I have to say that my parents were excellent and I owe them a debt beyond any ability to repay.  The only way I could possibly hope to go some way to paying that debt was to try to be as good a father as I was able.  Only my children can determine whether I succeeded.

I was contemplating putting a dedication to my father in one of my books.  I really think it would be appropriate, and long overdue.  The problem I hit was a question of which book.  I’ve already got a dedication in the book I’m writing at the moment, and which is close to completion, and that is such that I would be guilt ridden if I changed it!  I guess it can go in a future book, of course.  I know that I really must do it, whatever happens.

I owe so  much to my father.  He taught me a great deal and has always been there when needed.  He would be now, but for his bad health.  But the important thing is that he gave me gifts you can’t buy!  He taught me about nature, walking silently in even dense woodlands, so that wild animals could be seen.  He taught me caring and honesty, loyalty and integrity.  He gave a love of books and reading by example, being a voracious reader himself.  He even had a go at writing but couldn’t devote himself to it with other things that were important to him.  He taught me not to judge by the standards of others, but by my own conscience, which is why I have always detested any kind of prejudice.  He taught me to hate hypocrisy and to always keep an open mind on matters of faith.  He taught me, above all else, that being a father, a Dad, is so very, very much more than being a mother’s spouse!  When I was little, he had to work 12 hour shifts, but whenever he wasn’t working, he was always ready to do the unexpected, from waking us up to watch a cartoon on TV to getting us into the car and going off to discover new places.  He demanded little of us in return: respect, honesty and consideration.  And he knew that those things come most easily when they have been earned!  But, in truth, the most precious thing he taught us was to be the best parents we possibly could be!

I am proud to share the echoes of my father’s wisdom as they travel down the years with me.  If I have achieved even a fraction of what he achieved, as a father, with my own children, then I am content.

Until the right book comes along and deserves a dedication:

To my father, Ken, who gave me everything!

Eating? That’s A Joke!


Summer, Summer, Wherefore Art Thou Summer?

I know I have a habit of falling asleep at odd times, mainly through either medications taken or excessive pain levels, but did I miss something?  I thought this was June?  You know, that very nice month that blazes into Summer.  Instead, the skies have been grey for ages, the maximum temperature each day is a bad joke, and there’s strong winds and/or rain many days.  I’m pretty sure that’s not what the script for the seasons of the year says.  or have we got a new script writer?  Perhaps it’s in the hands of the writers of a certain BBC soap opera notorious for depressing its actors even faster than it does its viewers!  I demand a return to the correct seasonal weather, with immediate effect.  If this doesn’t happen (Government espionage systems take note) we’ll have to place the blame on the Government and have a revolution!

Seeking Inspiration: Recipes?

There comes a time in everybody’s life when endless repetitions of the same basic meals becomes just a little tedious.  Now, I’m talking as somebody who eats because it’s kind of necessary to continued living.  There are very few foods that make me enthusiastic about eating.  Most of those are desserts, especially certain fruit based ones.  At the moment, I’ve even reached a point where I’m struggling to be interested in sandwiches, let alone full meals!  I just can’t think of anything appetising, and that leads to more waste.  I mean, i have a small appetite at best, so there’s usually something left.  When I’m as I am right now, the leftovers quantity can more than double.  Considering that I’m still trying to regain weight lost, this is not a happy situation.

Now, let me detail the stumbling blocks to creating meals for me.  I am an extremely ‘picky’ eater.  I’m a vegetarian – who doesn’t like the majority of vegetables!  Quorn™ is pure poison to me, especially if eaten in any significant quantity.  Tofu is an unbearably obnoxious chewy, glutinous lump that takes on flavouring less fast than a lump of rock!  I can take good quality TVP (textured vegetable protein), as long as it hasn’t been turned into something like chilli or other highly spiced food.  Garlic and olive oil will lay me out for at least a week, in agony!  I can tolerate only the minute traces of garlic found in things like brown table sauce.  I can take eggs, cheese, dairy in general.  Note that when I say that I’m a vegetarian that means I don’t eat red meat, white meat, poultry, game, fish, seafood, or the extracts and by-products of these.  Oh yes, and I can eat small amounts of nuts but things like ‘nutloaf’ are inviting disaster.  I have an acute sense of taste, so things need to genuinely taste good.  So-called ‘acquired tastes’ are out!  They’re just unpleasantly flavoured things that you can get used to sufficiently to tolerate the flavour.

What do I eat?  Cheese & onion dishes, like quiche, ‘rolls’, ‘pasties’ and similar.  Egg dishes – fried egg, cheese omelette (never plan!) and cheesy scrambled egg (again, never plain!) – very rarely poached or boiled egg.  Lots of different potato dishes, including adding potato to the recipes for things like cheese & onion ‘roll’ and ‘pasties’, cheese & potato pie (preferably baked), and such.  Chips (’fries’ over there in the USA) and sauté potatoes.  Mashed, boiled or (infrequently) baked potato.  Fried smashed-up boiled/mashed potato- sometimes with additions.  Baked beans (especially refried so they go really sticky) and peas (garden or marrowfat but not ‘mushy’).  Fried chopped tinned tomatoes (especially with brown table sauce added – fairly liberally).  On odd occasions, tinned spaghetti in tomato sauce (hoops but straight might do).  Golden vegetable rice, but not other forms of rice (milk rice pudding as an extreme rarity, for dessert).  Macaroni cheese (or macaroni pudding for dessert, made with evaporated milk).

The vast majority of vegetarian ‘ready meals’ and pre-made products are, to me, vile.  I never touch them unless forced to do so.  For example, I’d rather have homemade Veggie sausages made using the proprietary sausage mixes than the pre-made sausages that become iron on the outside, have inedible ends and are often either too spicy or just taste foul.  In fact, I like fairly ‘plain’ food, English food!  I don’t take well to exotic dishes, including things like curry or stir-fry.

Over the years, I’ve created a few recipes for myself, but some of those were based on a time when I had a larger appetite and our kids were still at home and happy to have the same things, from time to time.  While Jenny may enjoy some Veggie dishes, that’s not often enough to make the larger quantity recipes worthwhile.  Unfortunately, by the nature of how some of the constituents involved, making scaled down versions is virtually impossible.  So I’ve been trying to concoct some new recipes.  The problem is: I’m rapidly running out of ideas for things I can feel confident about liking…

Challenging, or what?

Respect


I experienced a flashback yesterday evening.  Weird, but there it is.  It happened. It set in train a period of thought.  When we were out and about a few years ago, I was very impressed with Youth.  Youth kindly opened doors, stepped aside, apologised when they didn’t need to but thought they may have been an obstacle.  Why?  Because I was in a wheelchair and, as I could more easily then, propelling myself.  During these numerous demonstrations of courtesy and compassion, I witnessed a pair of elderly women (I refuse to say ‘ladies’) push past two Youths, who were making way for me.  These women thrust between the Youths and one’s hefty bag banged heavily into my wheelchair (setting off a burst of pain – no apology was forthcoming!).  As they passed, I heard one say to the other: “These kids have got no respect for their elders!” and her companion agreed, so that they maintained their complaining conversation until they were out of earshot.  The two Youths were blushing furiously but said not one word.  I thanked them very sincerely.

I have grown up with people banging on about the need to “respect your elders”.  In childhood, and into early adulthood, I even accepted the concept without thought.  Now, I have to say that it is wrong.  Utterly wrong!  Age doesn’t earn any right to be respected – deeds and behaviour do!  I honestly believe this.  If you want respect, behave accordingly.  Be a role model.  Be courteous and considerate.  Be compassionate and understanding.  Demonstrate that you haven’t wasted decades of Life, learning nothing about how to behave with other people.  Most importantly of all, don’t ask for respect while you exhibit prejudice!  Too often, people who should know better make assumptions about others.  Youth is careless and troublesome.  Kids are noisy and far too prone to dashing about.  Anybody younger is rude and a nuisance that we have no choice but to suffer.  Really?  Those three concepts are so faulty, they barely need counterarguments!  Youth reacts instantly to the attitudes and behaviour encountered.  If you’re rude or suspicious of Youth – expect it to be returned – in spades!  Kids are just that!  Below a certain age they race about, they forget ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, every mission is urgent.  Yet you’ll find they can be polite, caring and, above all, loving.  But there world is moving so very fast – they have to run at full speed to keep up!  As for the more generalised third statement, that’s patently untrue.  People are people.  You’ll encounter good and bad, friendly and unfriendly – but in no greater diversity than in your own age group!

Am I feeling cruel for targeting the elderly?  No.  Why?  Because I don’t believe that respect is a right for anybody!  Wealth, power, celebrity or any other false ‘special’ status – none of these deserve any more respect than the guy who sleeps in a cardboard box in a public park and talks to himself and his invisible friends.  Many of those who demand or expect respect will walk by a hurt woman, or fail to help somebody being attacked, but the man in the box may well come to the rescue!  There’s no telling who will demonstrate true Worthiness!

You want respect?  Be respectful!  You want courtesy?  Be courteous.  Stop looking at people as items in a group – they are individuals and cannot be catalogued by age, gender, Race, or any other false label.

 

Beating The Evil Ones!


Hi all!

Those of you who follow me on Facebook (yes, I am involved with the Demon Portal!) may have seen an announcement I made there today, in the guise of a ‘status update’.  For those who didn’t, I shall repeat it, in a little bit more detail.

Those of you who know me fairly well will know that I am passionate about security on the internet.  I detest those characters who have made it their (very sad) life’s mission to make the internet not only unpleasant but potentially lethal to our computers.  Indeed, I consider it entirely feasible that these people could cause even more damage to individuals.  For example, denying a housebound person their one window on the world, forcing them into a downward spiral of depression culminating in an early demise.  In another possible scenario, a person of frail condition, discovering that the computer they don’t understand has been utterly trashed by a virus could, potentially, at the moment of discovery suffer a coronary, leading, again, to an early death.  Extreme?  Perhaps, but not beyond the bounds of possibility!  I don’t, therefore, care how mentally ill these people may be, there can never be any excuse for their behaviour!

I, along with the rest of the internet community, have been guilty of permitting these vile individuals the (dubious) honour of possessing special terms, denoting their own specialised sphere of activity.  The names ‘Spammer’, ‘Troll’, ‘Hacker’, ‘Black Hat’ and the like litter websites from here to the vanishing point.  Worse, these sick people actually glory in their designations, and form communities… on the internet!  This is an affront to us all.  But how have we handled it?  We continue to use the terms, or we fall back on ‘the bad guys’.  To me, ‘the bad guys’ includes those unhappy people who drag you down into their own sorry worlds of depression, bigotry, hate, and other purely unpleasant natures.

This morning, in  a moment of sheer inspiration, arising from a a comment that elicited a (then) joking remark from myself, I made a discovery.  I could use a totally new term.  A collective term for the worst of the worst, but excluding those people who are simply unlikeable.  It sums up the destructive nature of my target groups while denying them any specialisation acknowledgement.  I also happen to think it’s very descriptive of their nature, and worth.

So, what is this new term?  It is, quite simply: the termites of the internet!  If you feel so moved, please, feel free to use this term whenever you wish to mention any, or all, of the destructive element who plague our lives in this virtual world!

Bragging Rights!


Yep, you read that right!  I’m exercising a father’s right to brag – about my kids!  Again LOL!  Well, two of them, anyway.  I’ve had no real news from Damien, so I can’t mention anything for him, unfortunately.

Reuben 20min sketch - rearing horse Take a look at this incredible ‘sketch’ drawn by Reuben, in just 20 minutes!  His partner, Dawn, is so proud of him, too, that she posted this on Facebook.  In fact, she’s taken to posting his sketches quite often, lately, since his return to art.  Sorry it’s not a ‘cleaner’ image bur it’s a photo’ and not a scan.  You can click on the thumbnail to see a larger image.

Apart from these sketches, Reuben’s making excellent progress with my book cover!  He drew two sketches and I have chosen which one he’s to work up into a colour piece.  I’ve pointed out to him that, if he does as good a job as I believe him capable of, then he could well find that other authors may be interested in him creating book covers, or even illustrations, for them too.  From what I’ve seen online, it could be a very useful supplement to his income.  When the next book is ready, I will be conducting my first ever ‘Cover Reveal’ for one of my own works.

l-plate-printable-template

Meanwhile, in a small town some 25 miles away, Emma is taking driving lessons, and doing very well too!  Conscious of some of the contortions expected of drivers, many of which they’ll never employ in real driving, I’ve advised her to make sure that she tells driving instructors and, eventually, the examiner, that she suffers from Fibromyalgia and that restricts her flexibility significantly.  Hopefully, that will make driving a more comfortable experience for her.  It would be a huge boon to her whole family if she passed her test.  It would reduce the fatigue she suffers from walking and open up their options for family outings.

No family related post would be complete without mention of Jenny!  She has been busy crafting, making blackwork cross-stitch pieces, as well as lovely little colour pieces, for various people’s birthdays, along with ,making their birthday cards.  She’s also making other things, like cots and highchairs out of card, using templates.  It always sounds so easy, when you say that a template is used.  Believe me!  It’s not!  The templates are good, but getting the job done right and looking good demands considerable skill, including choosing the right materials and embellishments.

And, in the immortal words of Elmer Fudd…. “That’s all folks!”