7 December 2016

Poem

There are an estimated 130,000 miles of public footpaths in Great Britain. They go here, there and everywhere, leading us to secret places, taking us away from our everyday lives.  This is not the first time I have created a poem that bears the title "The Path".  For example, looking back I wrote another one in March of this year. See here.

6 December 2016

Quiztime

"The words a man says are as deep waters..." - The Bible

In today's episode of "Quiztime", competitors will be given two contrasting quotations. Your task is simply to decide which quote came from the mouth of Donald J. Trump, esteemed 45th President Elect of The United States of America and which quote was delivered by the late Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, 17th President of Cuba.
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A "Men do not shape destiny. Destiny produces the man for the hour."
B "When you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything …Grab them by the p***y … You can do anything."

A "Warfare is a means and not an end. Warfare is a tool of revolutionaries. The important thing is the revolution! The important thing is the revolutionary cause, revolutionary ideas, revolutionary objectives, revolutionary sentiments, revolutionary virtues!"
B “They said, ‘How are you going to change the pageant?’ I said ‘I’m going to get the bathing suits to be smaller and the heels to be higher’.”

A "A person who's flat-chested is very hard to be a 10, OK?" 
B "I feel my belief in sacrifice and struggle getting stronger. I despise the kind of existence that clings to the miserly trifles of comfort and self-interest."

A "They talk about the failure of socialism but where is the success of capitalism in Africa, Asia and Latin America?"
B “You know, it really doesn`t matter what the media write as long as you`ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”
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How did you do? The producers of "Quiztime" make no apology for the difficulty level of this demanding quiz. The answers will be proudly tweeted by Donald J. Trump on his Twitter feed later this month. Unfortunately, "El Comandante" will be unable to assist with this process

5 December 2016

Pictures

It's nice to share photographs with blog visitors. Some of you have  occasionally written complimentary comments about them. Such words are much appreciated. Sharing pictures is more motivational than saving them for my eyes only. If nobody else saw them, what would be the point?

Here are three more pictures, taken in the last three days. Below you can see an ancient squeeze stile I came across when walking between two farms in north east Derbyshire. The squeeze stile remains when the hedge or stone wall in which it once sat disappeared. long ago. The squeeze stile allowed people to squeeze through to the next field but not livestock.
From Ringinglow on Friday afternoon, I looked across the valley of The River Porter to the old tower of Lodge Moor Hospital as a rainbow fell on Harrison Lane. The hospital was demolished years ago and now an up-market housing estate surrounds the tower. Soon after this my camera battery flashed its exhaustion. It was a pity because soon afterwards the rainbow sharpened its colours and formed an impressive arc, framing our city down in the valley.
I took this next picture at The Great Pond of Stubbing where, as you can see, there's a little stone boat house. No boats are moored within it these days. I imagine long ago Edwardian summer days when little groups from the big house at Stubbing Court would saunter down to spend a pleasant hour or two boating on the pond with a wickerwork picnic hamper and a bamboo fishing rod. Not Stubbing Pond or Stubbing Lake but The Great Pond of Stubbing - maybe a good title for a new murder mystery.

3 December 2016

Emojis


Well, I don't know how long it has been there but when creating a new blogpost one of the facilities available on the top bar in Blogger is "insert special characters".  Click on the second of the three dropdown menus there and you will find emojis. 

As I don't possess a mobile phone, I was only dimly aware of what emojis are and how they might be used. I guess they either replace words or reinforce previously expressed sentiments. It is amazing how many different notions and emotions can be suggested with these little symbols. Some of them are very clever indeed.

I have applied certain emojis to members of the blogging community - henceforth to be called blogonauts. Some days even I can be insane. I hope that Blogger don't send that white van over again today. I hate being trussed up in that canvas straitjacket...
πŸ‘°= Librarian - a German princess with secrets... and "Holzofen-Dinnede" in her Swabian belly.
πŸ™‹= Jennifer - a South Carolinian princess with dogs, a parrot and a husband.
πŸ‘¨= Terry - Hinckley's "man of the year". What an amazing accolade!
πŸ‘Ί= Steve - chief enforcer  at The American School library - "Bring em back!"
😜= John Gray - blogger extraordinaire and animal lover - no, not like that!
πŸ’†= Queen Helen from Brissy, queen of quilting and holiday planning.
πŸ‘§= My name is Sue, how do you do? "Here, there and everywhere..." - thanks to John Winston Lennon.
πŸ‘©= Mama Thyme/Mama Bear - Miss Colorado 2016 and lovely mountain lady in fur.
πŸ‘΅= Mrs Weaver, illegal Lincolnshire immigrant - aka Emma Dale.
😻= Lee on Tamborine Mountain - foxy lady and damned good cook.
πŸ˜‡= Ian Rhodes - happy halo man and king of the Sunday Round-Up.
😁= Mr Graham, Laird of Eagleton, IπŸ’—Lewis  showing off his new teeth.
πŸ™Ž= Jan Blawat, feisty no nonsense Sloughhouse chicken woman.
😊= Red - a Canadian glass half full happy chappy eskimo teacher guy.
πŸ˜‰= Chris the Newhaven Pedestrian winking at the world.
πŸ‘΄= Mr Rhymes, senior blogger and wise monitor of blogging morals.
πŸ‘ΈπŸ‘ΈπŸ‘ΈπŸ‘ΈπŸ‘ΈπŸ‘ΈπŸ‘Έ= What is the collective noun for a group of princesses? A herd? A gaggle? Here are Princesses Kylie, Coppa G, Lesley, Libby, Frances, ADDY and Alphie before they descend on their favourite downtown dive - "The Flaming Yorkshire Pudding" to guzzle down shots and dance like dervishes deep into the night.
Did I miss somebody? Oh yeah, I missed you! πŸ˜ˆ You little devil!  

1 December 2016

Abuse

Andy Woodward - brave whistleblower re, sexual abuse in boys' football
Here in  Great Britain, a secret door has been pushed open. Beyond that door in the dank shadows of recent history, vile child abuse has been exposed. This awfulness happened at the behest of several perverted football coaches.. They took advantage of dozens of young boys and overpowered them with their careless lust.

We have seen ex-professional footballers on our television screens, revealing their terrible secrets. Some of them have been in tears. Such things are very hard to talk about - even when you are a grown man. How much harder it would have been to talk about such things when these tortured men were boys.

"How was the football practice Jimmy?"

"Oh fine mum but afterwards Mr Smith buggered me in the back of his Cortina."

It doesn't work that way.

I wonder if there are any other countries in the world that are as  diligent in their rooting out of past abuse as Great Britain seems to be. We keep delving into the shadows, pulling out the monsters when in so many other countries the secret door is double-locked.

I pause to wonder what turns a man into a child abuser. Surely they didn't just wake up one day stretching and yawning and thinking - "Oh I am bored. I think I will go out and abuse a child today." It would be instructive to learn about the backgrounds of these abusers and what made them so. Of course forgiveness would be absurd but it is arguably far too facile to view these predators as evil devils without stopping to consider their life journeys.. Are abusers born or made?

30 November 2016

Hope

Tuesday was a diamond day. Though our night starts to fall at around three thirty in the afternoon at this time of year, the short day we enjoyed was bathed in sharp winter sunlight as anticyclonic conditions settled over northern England. This is the kind of wintry weather we like - not the grey-damp wintry weather that eats into your bones on days when the golden orb fails to seep through thick layers of dismal cloud.

I didn't want to drive very far - just out to Hathersage, and under the railway bridge on the Grindleford road. I parked near Leadmill Bridge, laced up my trusty walking boots and set off along a public right of way that follows the course of The River Derwent all the way to Castleton.

I was in The Hope Valley. I always think that is a perfect name for a lovely green English valley. A valley filled with hope, perhaps the hope of better things to come. Maybe somewhere there are other valleys - The Hopeless Valley, The Valley of Lost Souls, Despair Valley - I can't say but The Hope Valley suits me fine. I have walked along every one of its ancient paths, filled with Hope.

Here are some of the photographs I snapped along my seven mile walk as November drew closer  to its photogenic ending...
Unclothed tree near Upper Hurst
Two pictures of Kentney Barn
Another barn - on the frosty slopes of The Hope Valley
Riverside path that follows the course of The River Derwent

29 November 2016

Strictly

Like 99% of the adult female population of Great Britain, Mrs Pudding is a big fan of the BBC weekend entertainment  phenomenon, "Strictly Come Dancing". It has been running since 2004 and has been a glamorous if fleeting "feel-good" escape from the troubles of the world - both macro and micro. In "Strictly", there are sequins and smiles as each week celebrity contestants battle it out on the dance floor before an enchanted studio audience and a panel of eagle-eyed judges.

This year's contest is coming to a head and the final will happen on December 17th with a new champion dancer crowned.

TV viewers are given the opportunity to apply for tickets so that they can join the studio audience. Every week for the last three years, Mrs Pudding, along with two million others, has applied for a pair of these golden tickets but to no avail. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Until yesterday that is.

She received her dream message from the BBC. She had been allocated two precious tickets for the final show! But how quickly joy can turn to exasperation. Horror upon horror - we discovered that for each show the BBC gives out eight hundred tickets when only four hundred seats are available! What the...?

On the morning of the show, she will need to join the ticket validation queue at Elstree studios very early in the morning if she is to be one of the lucky four hundred. What an absolute pain and to wit a bloody disgrace! The result of this absurd arrangement is that we will have to stay in a hotel down in Borehamwood on Friday night. All rooms in the nearby "Ibis" had already gone last night so I booked the very last room at the 5.8 rated Elstree Inn so that Mrs Pudding can scoot out at 6am to wait in the queue before the validation office opens at 9am. Even Charlie Bucket didn't have this nonsense.

In the end, it is possible that Mrs Pudding won't even get her pair of tickets but assuming she does, please don't think that I will be sitting beside her in the studio. No. That honour will fall upon our lovely daughter Frances who will take the short train journey north from London later that day.

What a cack-handed way to handle the tickets! I mean, why couldn't they just sort out the validation online instead of treating licence payers and fans like this? Making them get up before dawn, possibly in freezing conditions with rain pelting down on what should be a truly joyous day. One thing's for sure - celebrity members of the "Strictly" audience won't have to do this and they will have the prime seats. If not fuming, I am at least simmering.
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