Monthly Archives: March, 2013

If I could turn back time

Yes, I know, 2 in one night, shocking isnt it? Make the most of it though, it could well be the last for a week though, due to work and things.

As someone who travels a lot by train, there is an anniversary today that I’d rather forget. This isnt because of anything more than my love of esoteric little branch lines, a handful of which survive today, but the vast majority of which were doomed from this date in 1963.

Yes, the Beeching report, ghastly thing that it was. Alright, dont get me wrong, some of those lines were so financially unviable that it was a miracle they lasted that long, but even so…In all honesty, the one I would most loved to have travelled, the branch line across Dartmoor, to Princetown didnt even last that long, it had closed in 1956! But this was the date that so many wonderful little branch lines were sent to their doom. Thankfully, not all the closures he wanted happened, a look at the map of lines that Beeching wanted left would look shorn, even against todays network, the highlands of Scotland for example would be barren, but thankfully they arent.

Yes, I regret that I will never get to travel some of these lines, and enjoy the scenery, but time travel is not yet a feasible prospect, even if it doesnt stop us fiction writers using it as a medium. I know, I did recently, though I went back further than the 60’s when I did! Lets just say it was a fun way to set a story in 1920’s New York, and leave it at that.

Thankfully Beeching is long gone, but sadly, so are lots of wonderful local railways, and a few main lines too. Maybe you can look back on a few in your area after reading this.

The video, more modern, though with an apt title

Part is better than the sum

I suspect there are numerous cases where the original concept sucked, or even totally sank, but one gem survived from it, all the same. A popular area for this is movies, where the movie might have crashed, or been truly awful, but within that, that one shining beacon shone through.

Two movies I could easily have nominated for this are Absolute Beginners, and Give My Regards To Broad Street, but given both were generally designed as a window for a pop atar, and the awful record they have anyway, lets ignore those for now. Instead, lets take a movie that was meant to be taken seriously, but couldnt be if it tried, Mannequin.

The storyline was corny, and extremely saccharin, guy falls for mannequin, she comes to life, and general mayhem ensues. And yes, at the end, they get married, and probably go on to live happily ever after. I know how bad it is, I once saw the movie, and believe me, I know!

But for all that, there is one delight for me in this movie, the big song from it, by Starship. I know it, its the only reason I hunted down the movie to watch it in the first place, and wish I hadnt bothered! But the song, even today, still love it, though I never want to see the movie again.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

PS Feel free to suggest your own fine examples of moments like this, it would be nice to hear from a lurker, just for once!

Summer sports

Yes, seriously, the summer sports are starting up, so it must be summer. Looks out of the window at several inches of snow, hmm?

But its true, the baseball season starts next Sunday with a first time divisional match up. No, no new teams involved, Texas Rangers meet the Houston Astros. Its just that well, they werent in the same league until this year. Houston was part of the 16 team National league, where the pitchers bat, and make fools of themselves, and Texas were one of 14 teams in the American league, where a designated hitter saves us from that comedic moment. I’m sure there must be a pitcher somewhere who can bat well, I’ve just never seen him! On the other hand, there probably isnt one, seems more likely!

So yes, the reason for this, Houston have moved into the American league, balancing up numbers at 15 apiece. It means inter league play all season long, so NL teams will be playing a hitter sometimes, AL pitchers will have to bat sometimes, so… probably some good facepalm moments there, especially among the latter!

Cricket, well the traditional season opener between the county champions, Warwickshire, and the MCC is already under way. No, not in this country, dont be daft, the pitch would be under several inches of snow! No, they are out in the UAE, sensible folk that they are. But a fortnight on Wednesday, the county season is due to get under way, lets hope the weather has imnproved by then!

Sadly the football (soccer) season still has about 2 months to run, before crawling away, seemingly just for a few days, until the ghastly event returns again in July. Of course, it actually goes on, some European countries play summer soccer, due to their winter conditions. I wouldnt fancy playing in Tromso, Norway in January for example lol! Desperate punters at work would probably bet on Albanian division 27, if we gave them the chance though, rolls eyes! I suspect there isnt one, but if there was…

Right, to the video, and yes, its baseball related. He may not have been the greatest harmonica player who lived, but he was certainly one of the greatest baseball players, and sadly he’s no longer with us, dying recently at the grand old age of 92! So, in celebration of the baseball season, I present…

Here comes summer?

Seriously, just at the moment its hard to believe that spring started 3 days ago, and we go over to Britsh Summer Time a week from now! Anyone reading this over here in the UK probably knows the tale, a massive snow dump this weekend, judging by my efforts to walk in it this morning, about 8-12 inches in all, I would guess? Even more ironic given that this weekend last year, the temperature got up nearly to 70, and today it couldnt even reach freezing point at 32!

But something happened today that has never happened to me before, I set out for work, but never got there. Not my fault, but all the same, a hell of a culture shock given we are nearly at the end of March. Put it this way, I knew it was going to be hard work, I warned work accordingly before I even left here of that. I couldnt check on the internet to see if any buses were running (they werent) because the Metro website had crashed, through overuse!

Anyway, I walked the best part of a mile through deep snow, hoping that if I hit the main road, there might be some buses on there (no!) as that road would be clearer, but it was hard work to put it mildly. As stated, no, no bus came along. Just as I was pondering which option to take, to give up and go home, or walk into town, along came a lady in a taxi, and offered us a lift. So I got to town at least. Next, the railway station. Got there, train supposedly due just over 5 minutes later, running chronically late! Got on, had to stand, but hey, under the circumstances, lets just get to Leeds, and play it from there.

Thing is, train didnt leave, just sat in the station. About 20 minutes later they admit that there are points, and signal problems ahead, no idea if and when we might be leaving. About 10 minutes of this, and I give up, start to head for home, via a shop to let work know I’m not going to get there. Walk about 2 miles back home, in the snow, ploughing my way through. Hey, I think I know how a dog in the Iditarod feels now lol!

I have no idea if tomorrow is going to be any easier, but at least I now know how long it takes me to walk into town! Snag is, whether the replacement buses (yes, definitely no trains tomorrow, engineering work) will be able to get to Leeds anyway! Wait and see, I guess!

Oh, the video, yes, a piece of pure Stevie Lou cynicism here! Almost as old as me, and thats saying something!

4 weeks from now, I’m on holiday, fingers crossed for better weather by then!

The Less Fortunate Ones

in case anyone is wondering, no, I’ve heard nothing back from work yet, so none the wiser on that matter. I might know more tomorrow, but as its probably Monday before I get chance to post here again, it might be a while before you know. And yes, thats another reason for blogging tonight, to forewarn people, the next one might be a while in coming.

So, as I have no other real material thats new since yesterday, what shall I talk about. Had a quiet day, did some writing, which was fun, did some holiday tourist stuff for next month, but otherwise, kept much to myself. Probably for the best, as annoyances would have got in the way of things if I’d tried much anyway.

But, however lousy we might think our lives are, and how much worse they might be after tomorrow, and the Chancellor has inflicted more pain on us, in his attempt to get the country out of the mess primarily created by the idiot bankers, compared to some, we have it easy. You must have seen them, the ones who live on the street, and must really suffer in this cold weather. I might have had 1 or 2 cold nights in my time, but these people do it day in, day out, for how long? Who really knows?

Dont get me wrong, I’m not that sympathetic. No, I dont give money to those there, I’ve heard too many tales that it just gets drunk away on alcohol to do that. But at the same time, I have no idea how they survive it all, day after day, and I hope I never have to find out. But given that tomorrow, most of us will be bemoaning our fortunes after the budget, just cast a thought for them.

The song, well I guess this seems quite suitable.

You’ve got a friend?

Yes, that is a cynical question tonight btw, and relates to someone who was a Facebook friend of mine, but isnt any more. Still, I wont say too much for now, as I’ve thrown the whole issue over her, and someone else over to management at work, and dont want to influence events by commenting here at all, especially as I know of at least 1 regular reader of these postings who works there as well, and I’d hate for him to know the details before management have the chance to deal with it. Guess this is the time I find out just how transgender friendly my workplace really is!

But on other matters…Yes, Facebook friends, how many do you really know? Just did a count of mine for example. Current total is 80, I have actually met…37! Seriously, less than half! Several of the others are long term online friendships though, but even so…Its silly, isnt it? Assuming you’re on Facebook, dear reader, do the same, and see how good your percentage is. I’d be surprised if many got to 70%, let alone over 90% somehow.

Funny thing is, a few of my dearest friends arent on that list, they arent on Facebook! I avoided it for years, in all honesty, got talked on to it at my previous workplace, and just never left. Mainly because I got involved in several Irish Cricket groups, and I’d hate to leave them behind, even if I wouldnt miss much else. I certainly wouldnt miss all the games on there, nothing annoys me more than getting invites to games, or to send flowers, or the like, and yes, I have deleted people who keep ignoring my requests not to do so.

You guessed it, no, I’m not on Twitter, and the other numerous similar sites there are, just of no interest to me at all. As for instant messenger, err, well I’m on Yahoo, but log in very rarely, and always invisible when I do. That might be a time issue, as well as a lack of interest one though. Seriously, I only keep it because there are times when its handy to be able to just bounce off something with one of my friends in the US, and thats often the easiest way.

Let me guess, I’m a miserable so and so, arent I? You’re probably right, but if so, what are you reading this for, lol?

Right, the video, a Carole King classic, and I think you’ve worked out the title already

Hey, that age number has gone up!

Yes, as mentioned earlier in the week, its my birthday today, and that number clicked up to hit 55. Its been my sort of day to be honest, a lay in, a quiet day here getting on with things, and a lovely meal out with the others from here tonight. Agreed, nothing terribly exciting there, but that suits me fine. I’ll save the excitement for 5 weeks time, when I go on holiday. Not that it will be a wild, debauched affair, anything but, but figuratively at least I’ll let my hair down, hard to actually do so when you have it bobbed lol!

Oh, as to what I wore tonight, I took the middle route. Heels, though not the really high ones was what I wore. Quite a nice surprise that it was warm enough for shoes, lets hope that lasts! I could have worn the high heels, can walk quite well in them now, and can even do decently in stilettos, but in public, for the first time, no, I took the easy way out. Must wear the high heels out sometime soon though. Stilettos might take a bit longer for that, but my ‘driving’ in them is improving dramatically, so at some point in the future, I may well wear them too.

Yes, I wore blouse and skirt, but more because I wanted to wear green (irish ancestry, and St Patricks day tomorrow thing), and the only green dress I have is in the laundry basket at present. I probably could have worn the pink dress I’ve been wearing all day, with no one blinking, but green just seemed right today. More than it did in the rugby today, but lets not say more about that…facepalm!

Because of the climatic possibilities for Rochester in April, its hard to plan in advance as to what I’m taking to wear while over there, could be anything from 20 to 70, or anywhere in between, so choosing clothes, and footwear will end up being a fairly last minute decision. Kansas in September should be easier lol, almost certain to be hot, probably with a capital H! But I suspect a combination of skirts, trousers and a dress will go in the case all the same. Footwear, no idea! Heels certainly, high heels, not so sure! Flats, definitely! Winter boots, I hope not!

Right, now for the video. No, its not Altered Images, did that last year apparently. So lets go for something radically current, the new single from OMD, due to be released very shortly. All I can say is that the train in this is far more reliable than Trans Pennine Express are ever likely to be.

Its not Betjeman, but it is Metroland.

Whats Another Year?

Yes, its approaching that time of year again when that number beside your name ticks upwards. Yes, my birthday, and nowadays that number holds a bit more significance, as it hits the mid 50’s. Its Saturday btw, but with my killer shifts over the next 3 days, you arent going to get another posting from me before then. So…

I know, its silly to let a day get to you this way, but as that age number keeps going upwardd, you start to think about your own mortality, and how much, or maybe how little you’ve done with your life, and that maybe your time to change that is beginning to run out. Yes, I should have a bit of time left yet, but all the same…

No, I have no major celebration plans made, indeed if I have my way, it will be a fairly quiet day. Well, I suppose if the weather improves sufficiently for me to wear a dress when we go out to celebrate Saturday night, it might add some entertainment factor to the event, especially if I wear high heels, something I’ve been practicing walking in, with perhaps surprising success. More likely low heels, but lets wait and see how I feel, and how the weather is. If its as cold as at present, its more likely to be a top, and warm skirt than a dress anyway. And certainly if there is any snow about, no way am I wearing high heels! I’m not that good yet to cope with that.
Even tried stilettos and got by, though I’m certainly not confident enough to wear them out yet, just in case I need to move quickly or something. But I’m getting there…And there was I thinking of getting rid of them, as I’d never wear them lol! Now, just maybe… though neither pair for walking very far as yet, thats for sure, especially as I tend to need to dash for a bus at night, and there is no way I could do that in heels!

Beyond that, its beginning to look like a lively social calendar for the next few months, by my standards at least. Rochester in April, when hopefully Louise brook’s spirit might drop in for a while. OMD concert in May, Irish Cricket in June, and then off to Kansas in September. I know, by some peoples standard, nothing exciting, but for a dull little thing like me, living it up! Other than that, work, work, work, I suspect!

So yes, by the next time you hear from me, it will be another year in my life, that of age 55. So aptly, the video seems suitable, and yes, it is the obvious one from the title.

Left to my own devices

Life as a singleton is funny at times. No, not that I’d want to have it any other way now, but its funny how many think that I should have someone in my life all the same. The matter came up again this week at the hairdressers, when she asked me disbelievingly if I was going away to the US on my own again. Of course I said yes, and got a little gasp of amazement, as if it wasnt a done thing.

But seriously, one of the beauties of going away like that on my own, is that I can simply do what I want to do, and that suits me perfectly. If I want an extra half hour on the internet at the hotel, no one is going to nag. If I want to stop for a coffee, I can as well. I can do the museums I want to see, do the sporting events I want to do, and have no concerns about concensus on the matter. Yes, there are times when I see these discount deals, for 2 people that I think they might be nice, but…I soon realise I probably wouldnt be good company for the other person, and soon forget the idea. Not that I really have anyone who could be the ‘other person’ anyway, but the theory is there at least.

But alright, before anyone says anything about my last 2 trips to New England, and teaming up with Kate, then yes, you’re right, had a wonderful time, but we werent actually living in each others pockets 24/7. Indeed, the first time, we werent even staying in the same place lol. Only about a mile apart, but… Last year, we were at least in the same hotel, which was handy, as it meant I didnt have to fuss about a US compatible mobile phone, which helped. Also, we seem to be similar types, get on together, and generally have a good time. But if we lived with each other, would we get on as well, who knows? I doubt it now, not because of us, but just because in a long term sense, I’m used to my independence too much by now.

As I’ve been told by my dear friend, James, never say never, but I cant see it happening. I suspect the more years you spend on your own (and its nearly 13 for me), the more you get used to just your own company. Thats not to say its not nice having other people in the house here, because it is, but they leave me pretty much ‘to my own devices’ which suits me great. There are times when being a single, non driver can be a pain, especially when away, but I’ve got round it pretty well much of the time, though there are things I dont get to, simply because of the getting there and back, one will be an indoor (American) football game just outside Rochester when I’m there. Yes, they are a Rochester team, but they play 6 miles or so from where I will be (or indeed from downtown), and as public transport is poor, especially on a Sunday, it wont happen. But hey, I’m used to that by now.

Right, the video, yes, the obvious one, no surprises there.

In The Early Morning Rain

Seriously, I have no idea what happened to those temperatures in the 50’s, but they never happened. Today at least, it struggled to hit 40, let alone anything more than that. And given that it drizzled, or worse, most of the day, I didnt bother to go out. I did yesterday though, went over to Bradford, for some fresh air and a stretch of the legs. And yes, alright, I came back with 2 tops from charity shops, at a combined cost of £2.99, hey! Err, they both cost a lot more than that originally, I should think. I also came back with a pink dress from the market, cost £10. No, alright, I’m not sure I need it, or how often I’ll wear it, but it was nice, and looked a bargain to me, so…

Right, the down point, I wore my new shoes. Yes, new shoes, and no socks, for a few hours walking around town, yes, they rubbed a bit. Alright, a bit might be a lot, but anyway…a couple of toes are now a bit tender, but not as bad as they were last night! Yes, I’ve tried to stretch the shoes since then lol! I’m sure they will be fine now, and the toes will recover in time too.

But now, wait for it, the weather gets worse! Its being forecast that we will get snow here tomorrow afternoon, so even if I was contemplating an outing on a Saturday (not seriously), that would be enough to put me off anyway, even if it wasnt for the fact it will be raining before then anyway. No, I dont need to go out, but as its going to mean 3 days in a row without going out, I might get restless before I go back to work on Monday. No, Sunday, and public transport (even more so with rail engineering work around here at present) as it is, I wont be going anywhere, I very much doubt.

Oh, and in other news, I’ve been writing again. No, nothing that JK Rowling and her like have to worry about, its a quicky, under 2000 words. Nothing classy, sort of plays to my kinks, but I’ll leave that as all I’m telling you on here. Lets just say that the ‘heroine’ might wear something silver at one point lol. But yes, it was fun, even if it only happened because I’m off most of this week, I wouldnt have the time otherwise.

Oh, and for those of a gambling nature reading this, no, I wont be giving any tips for Cheltenham next week in this blog, despite my job lol! Still dont have a clue about what will win, all the same. And no, I wont be wearing silver to work next week, however apt it might be, given how crazy it will be. Well, not unless someone wants to sponsor me to do so, for Comic Relief and all that…silver hood needed if you want me to do that, mind, lol! 😛

Right, now to the video. A comment on the weather, and yes, unfortunately, I am old enough to remember this first time around