Posts Tagged ‘lifestyle’

Lost things

February 1, 2017

Some things I have lost over the past year.
Or perhaps I should say, some things whose loss I have detected

my brand new mobile phone.  In its purple case.(stolen from my house on Thursday – my own fault for being trusting) I guess it is the prompt for this post.

my (I don’t know what you call them) togs was our term as kids. Maybe it’s a Queensland word; or New South Welsh. The clothes you wear to go swimming. Some people call them swimmers, or bathers, or a swimsuit. – Mine are not really lost: I just left them behind at Southam swimming pool on Thursday afternoon (not long before finding out about the stolen phone). So when I phoned the reception desk to ask if they (it?) had been picked up, I had no words that the man there could understand. He got it finally – ‘Ah!’ he said ‘costume.’ I had lost my costume, or cossie, I now remember hearing other children say.

two dog leads (maybe three?) – I begin to lose count. Now I’m using the least desirable one, a short one made of green webbing. Then I tied a piece of rope to the end to lengthen it, and it suddenly feels super special and satisfying to use. You can get a good grip on the rope.

the ice scraper for the car (maybe it fell out? I keep it in the door, so it’s quite vulnerable to falling out). Grey plastic, and a bit broken, but it worked ok.  I haven’t replaced it: I’m finding that a credit card or the edge of a CD box works pretty well. I’m looking forward to using other random objects that happen to be in the car when I need them.

three brand new books, bought at Browsers in Porthmadog, and still in their neat paper bag. (Two late collections by Terry Pratchett and one book whose name I have forgotten). Must have left the bag somewhere; or put it somewhere . . .


Had to buy another copy for Will


Browsers Bookshop, Porthmadog

Nicholson’s Guides to the canal system. I had several (two to the Grand Union, one to the Oxford Canal) – now I only have the Birmingham one.


endlessly useful and entertaining!

No idea where they went – but that leads me to . . .

a substantial list of objects damaged and stolen by burglars on my canal boat in August. I’m not going to re-visit that!!! Goddamn the scallies.

the manual for my lovely Volvo, not to mention the booklet with its service history stamps, all the way from 2005 – maybe it’s still at the garage??

the battle to stop Alumno from building a monstrous student residence on the canal path. They tore up the trees without a second thought.  They’re calling these big dormitories  ‘PBSAs’ now – Purpose Built Student Residences – not to be confused with the PDSA, the much more laudable People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, which treats poor people’s pets for free.


Under construction: from Court Street.  It is HUGE.  The photo doesn’t do it anything like justice.

my courage with locks. Not Yale-type locks, but canal locks. I was always wary, but now I’m terrified. You can die, falling into a lock.  I’m selling the boat, by the way.

a pair of brown leather gloves. They were lovely gloves: I had them for riding, back before I lost my courage for horses. I was mixing them up in my mind with a different pair of brown leather gloves, a bit too big for me, which I think I found in the first place. So I suppose it’s fair if they’ve gone back into the whirlpool of small items of clothing, sifting their way through the world from one owner to another. I did like them, though.


brown gloves just visible – Rhyd yr Eirin – Wales

the black woolly hat with NYC on the front. Another thing I didn’t buy – it was left behind in the house years ago by some schoolfriend of Will’s, but really soft and comfortable. Most of my woolly hats would seem to be temporary residents. (You don’t need a picture of that – everybody knows what they look like.)

two cheap plastic, but very effective, vegetable peelers (vanished really recently). One yellow and one white: now I just have the green one left. How can I have had three for years and years, and now suddenly only one?


green plastic peeler


less adequate peelers – the red handled one is all bendy; the wooden one is quite good at coring apples.


This is a discouraging post – I’m going to stop and write something better.

some more emails with my brother

March 2, 2015

On 3 Feb 2015 04:27, “NEWMAN, Ross” wrote:

I just felt like a bombastic opening. Once again I have finished my jobs for the week and it is only Tuesday. I have grown weary of my self-inflicted stop-gap jobs, and have begun counting the days until we jet off for New Zealand, there to re-enact the famous Etna Creek Prison Classification Committee Meeting of 1981. Period costume will be the go, simply because that’s what we are still wearing. We (that is, the Classification Committee) remain victorious; the star turn of that distant day, whose name I cannot mention, has enjoyed an almost unbroken stay in prison to this day.

I wonder did any news of our State election reach you? I had vowed that if Labor was voted in I would migrate to NZ. Well, as it happens, neither party is able to form government, so I may have to compromise and live on Stradbroke Is. They, the pollies, have got what they deserve. Prior to the election they were muttering darkly about raising the GST, selling ‘assets’, and restricting retirees’ access to superannuation, while in the same breath voting themselves a huge pay rise.  Spain (or is it Greece?) appears to have been forced down a similar path with the election of that vicar-like smiling guy, who
claims to have somehow found a way of avoiding austerity.

We exhausted ‘House’, and moved on to ‘Outlander’. Suddenly it was pulled half-way through season 1 – how dare they? – so we have switched allegiance to ‘The Tunnel’, which is an English production about a murder in the Chunnel Tannel (oops, but I think I will let it stay). Most of the fun is in the mis-communication between the English and the French policepersons. The crime part is a bit too much torture-porn for my liking. I like a good swift killing, if kill we must. The only actors I can understand are the French, but that’s only because they get English subtitles.

I swam 26.53 for 1500m.!  I stoppeth one in three.

Much love to all and the dogs,

Greybeard, the Loon


On 3 Feb 2015 10:08, “Jill Barker” <> wrote:
Now there’s a coincidence.  I emailed you yesterday. No doubt you’ll find it when you open your home email.
I even asked about the election!
Wherefore stopp’st thou me? I was on my way out – not to a wedding but to walk dogs and then to gaze upon my ship, idle in its icy surround. Was planning to boat today, but not sensible in ice. So I’ll just light the fire and run the engine and read the paper that I haven’t used to light the fire and have a bacon sandwich.  How I suffer! And (it goes without saying), a bucket of coffee.
Beginning to like this idea.


On 3 Feb 2015 10:10, “Jill Barker” <> wrote:
btw I think anyone can mention the name of someone found guilty – it’s in the public domain.  Or is that only UK?

Sent: Tuesday, 3 February 2015 8:16 PM
To: NEWMAN, Ross 
Subject: Re: Greybeard

This is amazing. I still haven’t got my boots on and have to stop and listen to someone singing ‘linden lea’. Really touching.  And thus I connect with both brothers within five minutes.
(Singer was roderick williams if u want to chase it up). (Or rhodri? Maybe)
On Wed, Feb 4, 2015 at 4:12 AM, NEWMAN, Ross wrote:
Good point, but we go to extraordinary lengths to protect the identity of those in our charge. I’ve always taken it for granted. Perhaps the difference is that they ARE in our charge?! Must look in the legislation.

On another note, I’m out of whiskey. May try one of the Irish this time – Jamieson’s has something of a rep, I believe.  Can’t get that Spotted Grouse here, or whatever it is that Andrew drinks. ‘Famous Goose’, perhaps?

As to boating in winter, I can’t think of anything more satisfying than sitting in a tethered canal boat toasting gently in front of a fire and letting the world shiver past. Surely the miracle of buoyancy is appreciated by some part of us?


On Wed, Feb 4, 2015 at 10:01 AM, Jill Barker <> wrote:
I know what you mean about whisky.  Can’t remember any of the names (except Teachers, for obvious reasons – I always knew it was meant for me.  Well not quite always – but ‘always’ since I resigned myself to the teaching profession – incarcerated, you might say, but without the benefits of anonymity).  I needed to close that parenthesis.  In Austrlia all those years ago I recall drinking Jonny Walker – or rather I recall other people drinking my Jonny Walker.  Bear a grudge?  Never!

I like the cheap blends  too, but one can go too far.  In France we found one called Sir [something ridiculous – not Eglamore] that was barely drinkable.  But I have been much enjoying the Aberlour that some kind soul gave me for Xmas – may even have to buy a top-up bottle soon.  But whiskey????  Give me strength!  It’s too sweet-ish and heavy flavoured for my taste.  Speaking of which I had a cocktail at Will’s bar the other day (actually called the Duke of Cambridge – a good name for a French whisky) .

That singer’s name is Roderick Williams – he has the voice that we all thought we had when we sang in the car – not unlike singing in the shower, I guess, for reverb. qualities.  I cam e across a security question today – the make of your first car.  Didn’t choose to use it as I couldn’t reliably predict what I would answer under stress in five years’ time.  (Holden? Beetle? all those family cars???)

Must stop – the dog walk bus leaves at ten –

I blog at:
From: Jill Barker [] 
Sent: Wednesday, 4 February 2015 8:03 PM
To: NEWMAN, Ross
Subject: Re: Greybeard

the bar is the Duke of Cambridge.  The drink was actually a ‘Mitch’.  ref. obsc.

I blog at:
On 4 Feb 2015 22:47, “NEWMAN, Ross”  wrote:
Wasn’t aware there was a distinction between whiskey and whisky, unless playing scrabble. Struggled to choose from the bewildering array in the grog-shop and eventually fled with a Haig on the probably spurious basis of family ties, in spite of alarm bells ringing (in my head, I had paid for the thing). And I was right, Haig is a bit of a harsh brew. May have to mix it with Fruity Elixir from a box. I had just finished a delicious 18 year old scotch (or scotche), but I couldn’t remember exactly what (which shows it is working). Something obvious, anyway, without being Johnnie Walker.
The Water Police breathalyse boaties in Moreton Bay – does that happen on the canals too? There’s a 22’ sailing-boat called ‘Bluebird’ that was designed in Australia in 1947, and went on to become hugely popular. I’ve been browsing the web and checking 2nd hand prices. I could be on a slippery slope … You can google it if interested, but don’t be duped by the Edwardian super-yacht of the same name. (Imagine the barnacles.)

Our government is in care-taker mode, which means I have no work. Aaaahg!





From: Jill Barker [] 
Sent: Thursday, 5 February 2015 7:57 PM
To: NEWMAN, Ross
Subject: RE: Greybeard
I think there is no canal breathalysing. Rules but no enforcement.  Drunks walking on the canal path sometimes fall in and drown – not realising that you only have to put your feet down.  So that’s self-policing in a way.
Caretaker government eh? So the floors will be clean and the doors securely locked.
Re whiskies, I understand the extra e to indicate American whisky (poss. aka bourbon?) While the short version is the scotch. But what of the Irish? I hear you cry. What, indeed. Research needed.
Im on my phone – morning- and wearing out my thumb. Dogs and teeth – avanti.
No work- I sympathise. Sooo boring.
Just make sure you don’t buy the racing car. How rusty would that be?  A fixer-upper, as the trolls in Frozen would call it.
To me 6th Feb



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