‘The Ditching of Dodgy Derek’

Breaking in a strange vehicle (or vice versa) is for me a rather prolonged and edgy affair.  Not only are the wipers invariably positioned where the full beam headlights used to be, thereby prompting an episode of energetic windscreen washing when trying to send a message about courtesy to some oik in a beat up Cortina with speakers the size of Kent on the back shelf, but all manner of other instruments have generally been transposed to novel and entertaining locations. Men seem able to climb into new  cars (or vans, trucks, and quite possibly tanks) and instantly blend with … Continue reading ‘The Ditching of Dodgy Derek’

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‘New Technology and the Problems of Public Neologising’

Something else likely to result in periods of isolation in a single room interspersed with episodes of careful questioning is Bluetooth technology.  My phone has it[1].  In addition to keeping my diary, taking pictures, downloading emails, and signalling the arrival of texts with a burst of birdsong (the first time was a shock – there seemed suddenly to be a flock of sparrows in my pocket), this thing is voice-enabled so you can give oral instructions to have it answer calls, make calls, and sustain conversations while located completely out of sight[2].  You’re advised to choose for activation an unusual … Continue reading ‘New Technology and the Problems of Public Neologising’

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‘More Visitations and the Beginnings of Strange Utterances’

No spotlights this time, just a large orange globe hanging about somewhere east of the leylandei in the copse that screens our lane from Death Row (which I think the actual residents call sheltered accommodation). Mars is to be the nearest it has been to the earth for millennia, or possibly just decades, and both astronomers and astrologers are in a lather about it; the former more because of the frothing astrologers than anything else. I pop out to look and there it is; a large orb glowing Halloween orange and hanging just above my neighbour’s kids’ bedroom – which … Continue reading ‘More Visitations and the Beginnings of Strange Utterances’

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‘The Mothership and the Wheelie Bin’

We were visited by a Mother Ship last night. Woken at 2 a.m. by a sound as of a mighty rushing wind, I found the house to be under the scrutiny of a light bright enough to qualify for the X Files.  Back and forth it went and back and forth went a little white van along the lane just opposite, clearly caught in the electromagnetic phase-shift graviton field that every child knows is generated by these things.  Eventually it headed off down towards the cement works where it must have transported its target off-world because it never came back. … Continue reading ‘The Mothership and the Wheelie Bin’

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‘Gertrude’

The sock drawer used to be a safe place. An ordinary place from which socks, neatly cuffed into pairs, could be drawn for wearing. But now Gertrude has moved in and Gertrude likes her privacy. Gertrude is large and black and she darts quick as you like to the front of the drawer as it opens; hanging there, pulsing, her long legs bristling until the retrieval is over – which it is, very quickly. Her intelligence is mysterious, immeasurable, palpable. While Gertrude owns the sock drawer, I will wear tights.   From Not Being First Fish by P Spencer-Beck.  Available from … Continue reading ‘Gertrude’

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‘Kitchen Forensics’

My resolve falters as I reach the kitchen door. It will be huge and offensive. It will require a delicate touch. It will be mine to deal with – yuk! As I approach, an advance scouting party of flies lifts off and disperses itself across less appetising surfaces to wait, I imagine, for the all-clear. Well, not for a while and not here I tell them. I peer forensically at the agglutinated mass, put on gloves and aim a squirt of surfactant at the festering heap. Then, dissecting out two small bones and a piece of cartilage, I wonder for … Continue reading ‘Kitchen Forensics’

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‘Micro Management’

‘So they want us to use a particular font of a particular size and a particular colour for our email signatures?’[1] ‘Yep’ ‘And there’s no corporate stationery or template for this?’ ‘Nope, you make your own.’ ‘I see.’ I think it over, devoting a whole nanosecond to the process, which still seems rather too much in view of the subject matter. I deliver my judgment. ‘And when, collectively, we blow it out of our arses, do they want it to be a particular fragrance?’ Ok, not exactly constructive, I’ll give you that, but when the boat’s sinking, you don’t call … Continue reading ‘Micro Management’

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‘The Bridge’

I am moseying along the river bank, heading towards the old wooden bridge. In the far pasture over on the other side, a batch of newly turned-out cattle is cavorting and bucking in celebration of its liberation. Also on the far side, well ahead of and oblivious to the cattle, is a family; a two + two of seemingly stranded townies who are staring with incredulity at the stile over which they must climb in order to cross the bridge. Each of them is carrying rather more bulk than is strictly necessary, and they clearly see the narrow step up … Continue reading ‘The Bridge’

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‘I Don’t Like Mondays’

I am travelling to work as usual but I have changed my route slightly with a view to using the outdoor parking area. So, tootling gently along and preparing to turn right at the appointed moment, I am mildly irritated to find that there is an obstruction accompanied by a degree of ill-tempered inter-vehicular communication, blocking my preferred exit so I have to drive on to the next one. It’s 8.15 on a Monday morning, I already don’t need this. Missing that turn means heading for the underground car park, a dismal affair at the best of times, but with … Continue reading ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’

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‘McCartney and Hendrix Should Not Be Held Responsible’

Did we talk about my guitar lessons? No, probably not.  Well, after a zillion years of consuming the product of other people’s efforts, I’ve decided to take a shot at it myself. I did used to play, plucking out a melody on an upside-down old acoustic and receiving the adulation of family members, but that’s where it stopped. When you’re a leftie, anatomically speaking, in the early sixties and have the social constraints both of class and being a GIRL, the idea that account might be taken of your disadvantage never occurs to anyone. Yes, we had Paul McCartney but … Continue reading ‘McCartney and Hendrix Should Not Be Held Responsible’

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