Sad Music, Dark Literature and Positive Thoughts 2

The new blog hang out for Harry…the Man.

Category Archives: Going Out

(Sittin’ on) the dock of a bay, or running the London Marathon

I mentioned in my post last week that my nephew Otis would be running the London Marathon that Sunday for Charity.  Hence the title of this blog as his father named him after the singer Otis Redding – a singer who, sadly, passed away in his twenties.

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The London Marathon progress tracking map during the event

On Friday evening, Otis set off from my Mum’s bungalow to London as he has a friend who lives in London.

Saturday was St George’s Day which means a number of fish and chips themed promotions in England.  On Saturday evening, Gloria and I joined my Mum at a Fish and Chips supper with accompanying quiz night at Mum’s local Church.

We were on team nine which included a seventeen year old boy coincidentally named George along his mother.  Being a typical teenager, he was a little short with his mother.  Those two took over round one which was deciphering the names of phobias.  George mentioned a few times that he was sure of the definition of this phobia and of that phobia although he had failed Latin.  That highlighted the difference in the education that he and I had both received.  It was good to have him on the team or round one would have been very embarrassing for team nine.  He was useless with the songs lyrics round, however, and embarrassedly watched his older team mates right down answers even to songs that were released within the last two years.  I say songs in the last two years but I really mean ‘song’ as I recognised the lyric from “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.

George was good company, as were the whole team.  I’d happily go for a drink with any of my team members from that evening.  But we finished fourth – we were cheated! (Joking)

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Otis’s progress page on the London Marathon website

Anyway, Sunday was the London Marathon.  I didn’t see Otis on television as the BBC seemed interested in following the professional athletes.  I was able to follow his progress online so my excitement remained high.  Otis slowed down dramatically after the first fifteen kilometres which is not too surprising.  From the photos on the London Marathon website, I can see that the pain started to hit him half-way through the course.

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Otis after successfully raising over £500!

He completed the London Marathon at 3:30pm having set off at 10:09am.  I had been texting updates to his mother all through the afternoon and then I telephoned my Mum at 3:45pm with the news that he had completed the course.

He stayed dans chez friend in London with his friend after the race and is due back at my Mum’s bungalow tomorrow.

You’ll notice that I wrote ‘dans chez friend’ – mixing French and English.  ‘Franglais’ is the nearest most British people come to speaking a foreign language!  As last weekend was St George’s Day I’m showing off my national heritage. (lol!)

Otis inspired me with his efforts on Sunday.  He raised more money offline than he did on his page on the London Marathon website.  Several hundred pounds for charity for five and a half hours of pushing his body through a big pain barrier.  Wow!

Otis, you’re “the man” this week.  For now, I’m relegated to “Harry…a man”!

Thinking of Mothers’ Day…on #InternationalWomensDay

Hello all.  Later this week, I’ll address why I didn’t upload this post about Mothers’ Day at the weekend and instead waited until today.

Anyway, with it being International Women’s Day, it is probably right that this post is about the main women in my life.20160305_MothersDayMeal_195759

I was working at the weekend, and so I arranged a meal on Saturday evening as Sunday was a non-starter.  At the meal were my Mum, Yasmin and Yasmin’s Mum who is…er…Gloria!20160305_MothersDayMeal_195720

I arranged the times and booked the table earlier in the week as I wanted the evening to be as smooth as possible.  Thankfully, it proved that I can get this organisation thing right!

At three minutes past 6 in the evening, or 18:00 by the twenty four hour clock, I signed off from work and took Gloria to the car.  At 18:20, I picked up my Mum and gave her some flowers and a pot plant which she was overwhelmed by.  At 18:50, I collected Yasmin from her flat.  My Google Maps timeline shows that we arrived at the Harvester at 19:29.  We sat straight away as I had pre-booked the table.

As a thank you for booking the table online, I even got one drink free.  That made my large orange juice taste better!

Yasmin enjoyed her usual drink – Rose wine – while Gloria had a coffee and my mother a hot chocolate.  Yasmin was the only one to have more than one drink!  20160305_MothersDayMeal_220436

Yasmin had also been eating all day.  This might sound bad that she also wolfed down a starter and main meal but she has been off work with illness and had not been eating for several days.  Before the weekend, she had been living on a diet mainly of cups of tea and glasses of cordial.

We finished up by going back to Yasmin’s flat.  Gloria photo-bombed the photos that she took of Yasmin and I as she was reflected in the mirror above our heads.  I’ve cropped her out of the photo on this upload.20160305_MothersDayMeal_220413_cropped

Anyway, that was a great weekend which was rounded off with a couple of great women following me on Twitter.  You may know about Sarah Brown, the wife of the most recent socialist Prime Minister in the UK Gordon Brown.  I’ve highlighted Elena Hagopyan’s profile as you are possibly unfamiliar with her.Followers

Have a great #InternationalWomensDay everyone.

Remember, guys, even just changing the way that you and your friends speak about women behind their backs makes a great difference to equality.  Before you make a crude comment about a woman that you know, ask yourself if that’s how you would like people to speak about your mother/ neice/ daughter/ girlfriend/ wife.

Yasmin’s birthday…Valentine’s Day…

I have been flitting briefly onto social media in February thus far.  I type this in explanation of the erratic days that I am posting and visiting everyone’s blogs.

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Yasmin’s outfit for her 24th birthday outing

And why these odd habits these two weeks?  Well, you can blame the two ladies who refer to me as ‘my husband’ or ‘my Dad’ for this.

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Chocolate fudge cake and lager shandy…a good afternoon out!

Yasmin has celebrated her 24th birthday this month.  I’d given Yasmin some money to buy a birthday outfit and it happened that the money was enough for two dresses, perfume and even a little something else.

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With lashings of ginger beer

I also booked her the actual day of her birthday off work to go and help her buy her outfit.  The photo shows one of the two dresses just before I took Yasmin and three of her friends to their night out on the town last Saturday.  In the early hours of Sunday morning, I picked them all back up and drove them back to Yasmin’s place to sleep.

Gloria and I spread our Valentine’s Day celebrations over both yesterday and today.  Yesterday, I took Gloria out for a meal and today she returned the favour.  After today’s food (a Sunday roast followed by chocolate fudge cake) we went to Church with my Mum.

I ended up explaining my earring to a few people at Church this evening by describing myself in terms of being a pirate.  I said that the earring would be used to pay for my burial if I fatally lost a cutlass fight on a small island.

No-one seemed to believe that I really am a pirate.  I don’t know why.

My Mum’s milestone birthday

There are a few phrases which I hear again and again that both make me groan with annoyance as well as smile to myself.

One such phrase was this one that I heard several times in December, “Where has the time gone.  It’s not that long ago since the start of the year.”

I would groan inwardly to myself when I heard this.  I reasoned that the person I was speaking to had let the precious hours within their year slip past them.  They were wasting their life.  If they had filled their time with non-repetitive and worthwhile actions other than sitting watching television or some other time wasting activity, the year would have felt like a year to them rather than a few days that had somehow flowed uninterrupted into each other.  I would also smile to myself that I had had the foresight to not let all of my time escape me without being used – I wasted some minutes but not all.

And so, I always answered in the same way, “Yes, the start of the year seems like only eleven months ago.”

Already, so much seems to have happened to me in 2016 and we have not yet finished the second week of this leap year.  It is true that I have had some help in filling my time.  There was the office Christmas party last Friday (in January…I know!) and my mother’s 80th birthday last Sunday.

Ah, yes, my Mum had a great extended birthday weekend.

On Saturday, she invited Gloria and me to her bungalow for a small afternoon meal.

Sunday, Mum’s birthday, consisted of a trip to Church in the morning, lunch at my sisters’ house with a guest appearance by my other sister from North Lincolnshire (I was not at this meal); and then an evening service at a different Church with me.  This service was conducted by an old family friend, a Reverend like my late father, who led the congregation in singing ‘Happy Birthday to You’.

Finally, on Monday Mum had her 80th birthday hog roast at yet another Church.  Gloria (and I) baked the cake and my sister’s bloke and his brother provided the hog roast.  Gloria would have been at work but, to my Mum’s delight, she was able to come.

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Mum and Gloria

The reason why Gloria did not go to work was that she was given some emergency time off.  Unfortunately, Yasmin was very unwell on Sunday and after the hog roast Gloria and I collected Yasmin’s prescription and drove up to give it to her.  Anyway, that’s another story.

It was a wonderful afternoon.  Oh, my apologies if you are reading this on a smartphone as you may not see the whole of the photograph without opening it in a separate browser window.

I made one observation.  At the end of the engagement, I was washing up all of the plates, mugs, glasses and cutlery and looked around the kitchen.  Also helping in the kitchen were my sister’s partner, his mother and also my sister’s eldest son who is one of two children from her first marriage.  In other words, we were demonstrating how it’s nonsense that kitchen chores are all women’s work!

I hope that I enjoy myself just as much on my 80th birthday as my mother did.

And so, I’ve been enjoying a work free week

Working has a few major advantages over not working.  Whilst being able to pay your bills is probably the major reason, I thought that I would spend a few moments musing on a different advantage – without the stress of work the enjoyment of holiday time would not be so sweet.  I mean, how do you enjoy a holiday if you spend your whole life at leisure?  What are you doing on holiday that’s different to normal when it is the case that you never go out to work?

This week, Gloria and I have been on holiday from our respective employers and have thoroughly enjoyed the time.  This is in spite of us not venturing very far from home.

Apart from being on holiday from work, one thing that we don’t do every week is to buy takeaway food.  And so, we have eaten out every day and loved every mouthful of the experience.

Doggy bag - all that remains of our meal out this evening

Doggy bag – all that remains of our meal out this evening

We’ve only eaten once today – this evening at the local Indian (or is it Bangladeshi?) restaurant.  We both had a starter and both of us had a main course but neither of us had space in our bellies for pudding.

Actually, I did venture into the workplace today as I had to pick something up that had been delivered there this morning.  A few people spoke about work things to me while I was in the office.  I pretended to listen intently but my brain is usually able to ignore work things when I’m not on duty.  It’s an awesome talent and helps to keep me on the right side of high anxiety.  One of my colleagues even moaned that he worked late last night and suffered the same fate that I did last week.

Time for a cup of tea, I reckon.  And praise be to God that I’m free to do all of this.

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