Category Archives: General

General comments on life as I see it

General Idiocy 2

This story describes one day in my life I would not care to repeat.

At the time, Mavis worked in Duckchester and was dependent upon our deplorable bus service to get her from Pebbleditch to the centre of town. This usually involved a lift from one of her parents to another village about 3 miles away, where buses were more frequent, although not necessarily more reliable. For this latter reason, if I had a need to go into Duckchester, I would offer Mavis a lift, which meant setting out earlier than was ideal, to get her to work by 9am.

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported Author Frank Hank
Will the bus never come?

On this occasion, I had an appointment at Duckchester hospital to check my blood clotting levels (Thanks to advances in medicine, I no longer need to do this). My due time was 10am so after delivering Mavis to M&S, I decided to drop in at Aldi and pick up a few groceries at a bargain price.

When I came out, the traffic pointing left – the direction of the hospital – was at a standstill, so I decided to turn right. I would find an alternative route.

I will pause here to explain that as well as being careless and forgetful, I have a woefully inadequate sense of direction. My plan was doomed from the outset.

I turned right, then left, then left again. Then… where could I be? To cut a long story to sensible proportions, I made it to my appointment with seconds to spare, managing to feel fortunate that they weren’t going to check my blood pressure.

After my thumb had been jabbed and my INR pronounced acceptable, I set off towards home still feeling discombobulated. I was almost at the front door when a reminder popped up on my phone telling me that I was now supposed to be at a friend’s house, 20 minutes away in the opposite direction.  Needless to say, I was late. Her amusement at my excuse and subsequent suggestion, prompted my writing this series of self-depricating posts.

When I returned home, I was greeted by the expectant wag and pleading eyes of Milo (he’s my dog!) His walk was due and how could he be refused?

I stuffed my phone into a breast pocket – my new hand-me-down phone with a nice big screen. My new phone that I actually use because I can read what is on the screen. My new phone onto which I had not fixed a screen protector. Can you tell which way this is heading?

As Mavis was due to be collected from her return bus in about an hour,  I took Milo to the park near her bus stop, and sent a text telling her where to find me. After pulling up in the car park, I released the dog from the back of the car, threw the ball towards the middle of the grass to get him away from any moving cars, and locked the doors.

By the time I reached the concrete path that led into the park, Milo was trotting towards me with the ball in his mouth.  He dropped it expectantly at my feet and I bent over to pick it up.  You guessed it. The phone slipped from my pocket and the screen smashed on the hard pathway. This was not turning into the best day of my life.
Not my phone but you get the idea

We circumnavigated the park, me throwing the ball and Milo hurtling after it. I lapsed into daydreams, throwing, ambling throwing ambling then… where was the dog?

There he was, in the distance, sniffing, cocking his leg, sniffing, cocking his leg.

Where was the ball? No idea!

‘Milo!’ He looked up but didn’t move. ‘Where’s the ball?’ I yelled. He looked about hopelessly. ‘Bring the ball,’ I insisted.

He put his nose to the ground and retraced his route. This of course involved more sniffing and cocking and then, yes, his nose darted to the ground and he lifted his head with a ball in his mouth. ‘Good boy.’ I put my hand in my pocket for a treat and he trotted towards me with his ears pricked,  dropped the ball at my feet, did his beast sit and gulped down his gravy bone. I looked at the ball. It was a sad looking thing with a hole in it. ‘Milo, this isn’t your ball. Go and find your ball!’ He cocked his head to one side, trying to understand then wandered back to the middle of the park to search. He is actually quite an intelligent dog as you can tell.

By now, given the stressful nature of my day thus far, I was feeling a little grumpy. I went to help, but we failed to find his ball. A cheerful lady appeared, rather too cheerful in my opinion, and shared her joy at the beautiful day. I didn’t exactly snap at her but pointed out that mine was possibly not as enjoyable as hers – not sure where my Buddhahood was at this point. When she heard about the missing ball, she insisted on helping me search. Such a lovely lady. I wish I could meet her again and thank her properly.

Despite her help the ball didn’t turn up, so I put the dog on his lead and headed back to the car, where I expected that by now, Mavis would be waiting.

My phone buzzed and I squinted at the message on my damaged screen: ‘The bus hasn’t turned up yet,’ advised Mavis. I sighed walked on and there, right in front of me by the entrance to the park, was Milo’s ball.

Mavis arrived about an hour later.

Dinner was a hurried affair, giving me time to get the house ready for a meeting. I scooted round putting things away, putting out glasses of water for the guests, calming my breathing.

Another buzz on my star spangled phone: ‘Buddhist meeting… at Mary’s.’


General idiocy – 1

As an SGI Buddhist leader, one of my responsibilities is to complete a monthly schedule. This details various meetings for discussion, planning and education and I am willing, but somehow unable to carry out this simple task accurately.

Having been a computer programmer, you would think that an eye for detail would be second nature, after all, a computer program contains syntax that, if not correct, sends a process into overdrive, or stops it from running at all.

What is different about a computer program, is the testing of it. There are as many opportunities as you might wish, to test it out before going public with it. Unfortunately, the schedule is somewhet different. When you ‘run’ it, the first chance you have to know if it is faulty, is when people turn up on the wrong day, or at the wrong venue.

In recent times, I have spotted errors after sending, and texted an incorrect correction!

We call these things, the ones that get in the way of our success, ‘obstacles’. The obstacle in this case was in me! It was part of my karma. I am perfectly able to be careful and thoughtful, but my default setting is Gung Ho (or however you spell it – see what I mean?)

The answer to my karmic issues, is to chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo in order to change that bit of me that causes the mistakes. I can tell you now that, in the case of the schedule, I have more or less succeeded in this determination, not entirely alone as I now have the help of a very natty spreadsheet created by my darling Whizz, who always tries to help when he can, and never aludes to my stupidity.


On Sickness, fear, gratitude and of course humour

Recently Horace called me out of the blue, in tears because she had had a medical shock – I won’t go into details because she wouldn’t want me to. What I wanted to relate was the speed of the NHS  response. It was outstanding and I can only think she has received great protection from the universe.

As a result of her surgery and an ensuing infection she needed antibiotics, so she hobbled into her local pharmacy and passed over her prescription at a busy time.

Assorted Medications (33931804863).jpg

When the prescription had been made up, the assistant, a lady whose first language was not English, almost threw the packet at Horace saying, ‘Read the leaflet and don’t go out in daylight.’

‘Not go out in daylight?’ queried Horace.


‘You mean I can’t go out during the day?’

‘That’s right.’

Horrace was turning to leave thinking that she would read the drug leaflet very carefully, when the Pharmacist leaned out from where she was working, with one finger raised to get Horace’s attention.

I think what my colleague means,’ she said, ‘Is that if you are in the sun, put on a bit of extra sunscreen.’


Child Quote – sort of.

This morning I spent an enjoyable hour browsing old photos in search of one of Horace wearing wellies.

Last weekend Whizz and I visited Horace and Kerching in their home in Canalshire, a place with only one canal, named after its county town of Clanaster. Are you with me?

While  Magicbhunkshire was an oasis of sunshine in an otherwise flooding and windy country, In Canalshire, it was ‘hissing’ down.

Undaunted, we decided to go to a local and amazing Food Festival in Clitheroe. I’m not making an anagram of this because I think you should visit next time you fancy a weekend away. Clitheroe is very pretty and the food festival was incredible. Every street was lined with stalls run by local food and drink producers, about 140 all told. Despite the torrential rain we managed to enjoy samples of caramel vodka, wine, gin, fudge, cheese and more.

Ready for the rain.

Before we left there was some discussion about what footwear to put on. I had little choice having brought only trainers and sandals. Horace hoped she wouldn’t have to walk all day in wellies but in the end, decided they were a necessary evil.

Standing at the bottom of the stairs she dipped her toe into the top of a boot, not looking at what she was doing because she was  talking to me.

‘Erm,’ I said, ‘You’re putting your wellies on the wrong feet.’

I didn’t think I would still have to help my 30-year-old daughter get her footwear the right way round.


On Greed – Mainly the Dog’s

When you get a cute little puppy…


nobody warns you about the inconvenience. Well, perhaps they do but you are too in love with the soft bundle of sweetness  to believe it could ever be anything but delightful. It’s a bit like having a baby really.

I was soon disabused of this view when Whizz went to South ‘Ifrica’ to work, and left me, in the snow and mud, to house train the above ‘bundle of sweetness’. I have already talked about this here, so I won’t go on about it.

Milo, now nearly 10, hasn’t become any less demanding. He follows me tirelessly around the kitchen waiting for dropped scraps and acting as a trip hazard. As an obsessive foodie (like me) he once nicked a lb of sausages that were waiting to be barbecued by a dog sitter (I have never done this despite being tempted), and on another occasion stole half of Mavis’s newly iced birthday cake from where it sat on the work top. He achieved this by taking flying leaps at it and carving it into a wedge shape with the side of his mouth. Tumbleweed balls of moulted fur float all over the house, and that’s without his demands for entertainment with tug of war toys and a laser pointer that sends him, literally, round and round the bend.  Being Labrador crossed with Border Collie he needs a considerable amount of walking and ball throwing and when he gets over heated, he wallows in mud to cool off, as you see here.  Sorry about my voice!

Basically, I thought we had experienced every disadvantage possible until two days ago when he worked out how to open the food recycling bin and ate most of its contents including chicken bones and the best part of a buttercream covered chocolate cake.

Both chicken bones and chocolate are dangerous for dogs and Whizz ‘whizzed’ him off to the Vet’s. There Milo remained to be observed and have an X-ray, which revealed that his body was finding it difficult to digest what he had swallowed. Two injections and a course of tablets later and he came home with a copy of the bill.


He peed in the garden for maybe a minute, deposited a number of huge brown logs on the lawn and seemed to feel a lot better.

His final aberration was this afternoon at the beautiful chalk meadow where we often walk him. It was an unhappy coincidence that I had come out in a hurry without poo bags.

He began to give birth to the food bin liner: about a metre long, slimy rope of green plastic that refused to part from his arse. He bowled towards me with 30 cm swinging behind, spraying brown globules from side to side. I got ready to run but this proved unnecessary as he was worried about the situation and every now and again squatted to relieve himself. But the damn thing wasn’t budging.

It was fortunate that I had a tissue stuffed into my ‘special pocket’ and was able to assist with the delivery.

This is not my special pocket but you get the gist.

If you find the horrible article among the flowers and mistake it for a snake, I apologise deeply. I really disapprove of anyone leaving  ‘crap’ in the quarry and promise to return tomorrow with the proper dog walking equipment and put it in the poo bin where it belongs.

Happy again