Sep 17, 2019: Grass

As part of Operation Do A Little Bit Of Stuff Every Day, a name which I have attached to the act of spontaneously doing little odds and sods around the house, I took to the front garden for a bit of fresh air this afternoon.

The area where the privacy bush (god rest it’s branches) used to live has been left to run rampant since we removed that wooden nemesis and run it has. Aside from being, previously, a thriving cat lavatory it’s been an area in which plants have just spread. And when I say plants I mean weeds. Probably. I don’t know. They might have been something Carole planted. I have no idea.

They’re most definitely not there now, though.

I hoe’d them out of existence this afternoon as part of a cunning plan to get that front bed sorted into the gravelled, pot displaying, masterpiece it is going to be. Probably.

My plans weren’t fully thought out, though, so I’ve literally just removed the plants. I still need to find the weed suppression liner which is somewhere in the shed and that wasn’t really an option this afternoon because it felt like it was going from “do a little bit of stuff” to “committing to doing quite a bit of stuff” and I’m finding the spontaneity of the whole affair to be much more fun.

Also, annoying next door yoof and his mate were on the back doorstep smoking pot and I was getting a headache just being in the same county as them. So I gave that bit of it a miss. I’ll have a look for the liner tomorrow, that’s the plan as it stands at the moment.

But my favourite moment as I cleared this area was that I discovered, amongst the foliage, a treasure.

A Charmander.

An actual Charmander.

Toy,.

But still, a Charmander.

In the long grass.

Which is exactly where video games have told me they’d be.

Sep 16, 2019: Monday

I woke up this morning earlier than I wanted to. I tried to go back to sleep but, alas, I couldn’t.

I was awake, in part, because Carole was pacing the house trying desperately to psych herself up for going to the dentist. Something which she hates, even though she has found a dentist who doesn’t endanger her in any way, shape or form. And does all his work via a long stick as he stands in another room.

I then couldn’t get back to sleep because Carole received a phone call from said dentists cancelling her appointment and she was running round the house shouting “Yes!” like she’d won a 1980’s television game show.

That’s the difference between us – when my dentist appointments get cancelled which, let’s face it, they always do it annoys the buggery out of me and I don’t make another one for ages because what’s even the point? Whereas Carole celebrates with cake and balloons and immediately makes another appointment right there and then.

For someone who dislikes the dentist, she has a very proactive stance where new appointments are concerned.

So I ended up getting up, and finding myself in the kitchen making both a chilli and a loaf of bread. Because two things at once is super fun. And to add an even more danger, I decided to try a new method of bread baking which I had not tried before and was, essentially, making up on the fly.

This is what early – okay, earlier than planned – mornings do to me. I find myself doing things later morning me would say “no” to. It’s a good thing, I suppose. But it’s also a terrible thing because now I’m in the kitchen trying to make bread while also making chilli and hoping none of the ingredients cross-contaminate.

Oh, and I have to make the chilli so that it carries almost no kick as otherwise Carole will start coughing like she’s been poisoned.

It is all go!

And in the middle of all that a guy comes to the door and knocks in some sort of tuneful rhythm. I go to answer, he knocks again. And as I open the door he apologises for knocking again because he was in a dream world.

Or, conversely, because he heard me say “Enough with the smart-arsed knocking, already…”

He was sent away quite swiftly after that.

Sep 15, 2019: Monsters

I have recently discovered a new podcast.

For me, this is quite a big deal because while I know a lot of podcasts – a LOT of podcasts – exist, I don’t generally listen to podcasts. When people say “check us out where you usually find your podcasts” I don’t have a place. Well, I do. But that place is generally the website of the podcast themselves. I don’t gravitate towards iTunes or wherever else I should.

Because I’m some sort of podcast luddite, or something, who hunts them down individually.

I listen to – now, updated to include the new one – THREE whole podcasts. It could easily be more. It probably should be more. But it isn’t. It’s just three.

Do The Right Thing – a comedic panel show type affair which is hilarious, nearly killed me by choking at a recording in Edinburgh several years ago and answers many of life’s more pressing questions.

Victory Points – a board game podcast from the brain and attached mouth of Becca Scott, she of the red hair and loveliness from Geek and Sundry’s Game The Game. It’s a delve into boardgames, the way people play them and just stories from around the table.

And now, Death By Monsters, a podcast about monsters, mysteries and conspiracies.

Death By Monsters, or my awareness of it, was born from my love of Game The Game on G&S. One of the hosts of Death By Monsters is Paula Demming, who can be found playing games on Game The Game occasionally. And so through that, I discovered this podcast.

And it’s brilliant.

I basically listened to all of the back episodes – which is not that many in the greater scheme of things – in about a day. Basically binging a box set’s worth of stuff as quickly as possible into my ears. I’m halfway, if that, through the last one (until tomorrow) which is about Shakespeare and the did he or didn’t he authorship nonsense which is a departure from my normal fare but still great none-the-less.

The episodes on the monsters, ghosts and more “X-File”-y subjects are by far my favourites – which is pretty much all of them – because the dynamic of the three presenters is just brilliant. You’ve got Matthew who believes, wants to believe and is open to anything. You’ve got Paula who is a bit weird about ghosts/demons/daemons but is generally on the sceptic side of the fence. And then Nick who, almost without fail, declares everything as straight up bullshit.

You’ll have gleaned, from these pages, that I love shit like Finding Bigfoot, UFO Case Files and whatever else. And this podcast embodies my love of all that in so many ways. And they do actual research and everything. Look at things from all angles. Cover everything off. And then Nick says it’s all horse shit.0

The topics they’ve covered though – such as Bigfoot, the Jersey Devil, DB Cooper, the Bell Witch, the Dyatlov Pass – are all handled superbly. And considering it’s a comedy podcast – it really is – there is surprising reverence, particularly in the case of the Dyatlov Pass incident in which nine people died under mysterious circumstances in the middle of the Ural mountains. So much so that it’s even a two-part episode to allow the set up and reveal of the story to be played out in an unrushed way.

The Bell Witch, meanwhile, comes with a disclaimer at the beginning that they will be discussing child abuse and if that’s not for you, to maybe skip this episode before launching into the story, discussing the head of the Bell house hold – the probably alleged but almost definite – abuser in this case with a very firm “You know what? Fuck him!” attitude whilst still covering the topic of the abuse (child bride, 12 year old punched in the face by a ghost, naming a child Zadoc) delicately.

It’s a brilliant podcast. It’s everything my cryptid, unexplained, bizarre, what the fuck brain needs.

I’m off to finish the Shakespeare one right now, in fact.


Sep 14, 2019: Home

Carole’s back from Lisbon today. So cue endless tales of trams, stairs, strange thin buildings and custard tarts. And, if it’s anything like Barcelona, a gazillion photographs of which Facebook and Instagram have been treated to the best 200 or so!

It’s a happy day. I’ve missed her a lot. Worried about her a fair bit and marvelled at the fact that she even had a custard tart at all!

But it’s also a sad day.

As I left for work this afternoon, I gave a fond farewell to the calm order that the house is currently enjoying. Everything in its place, neat and tidy and calm.

All the chaos – when I left – contained to the back bedroom. Carole’s sanctuary. Her study hole and place of calm(!) where she reads peacefully and learns things.

But Carole is like a hurricane. She can blow through a room and leave a trail of destruction in her path. And it’s adorable. But also amazing that one woman can do so much in so little time.

I’ll get home and there’ll be two or three glasses or orange juice dotted about. Her unopened post, that I left in a pile, scattered to the winds. But she’ll appear like she’s not moved – just come in, dropped off her bags and slumped on the couch.

She’s a marvel. It’s some sort of super power.

I’m bloody happy she’s home!

Sep 13, 2019: Lawsuit

The phone rang yesterday when I was in the middle of something important, exciting or otherwise busy-time. Usually in these instances it’s my mother, calling to tell me something obscure.

It was not.

It was 0844 number, so I let it go to aswer machine. Because no good comes of answering such things.

It was a recorded message, and even better than that, it was a recorded message that started before the preamble of the “please leave a message” recording had finished.

So I missed the beginning.

But I’m in big trouble. If I don’t respond to this one, out-of-the-blue, Windows-narrator voiced message then there will be serious consequences.

Apparently there’s a massive lawsuit and I have to respond.

I know nothing about things of that nature but I imagine there is more to lawsuits than a recorded computer-speak message. You know, legal documentation. That sort of thing. Most legal shit needs writing down at some time in its life otherwise there aren’t many legs to stand on.

But hey, this very serious lawsuit is just doing stuff by the phone. And I need to call back with a lot of data protection information that surely won’t be used for any sort of nefarious activity.

Oh and I’m totally sure the message is for me. Because the message said “This message is for you” in it. No names, no pack drill. Just whoever is listening.

My favourite bit was the end, though. It signed off, in its Windows-narrator-voice, saying “I am officer [name I can’t remember] and I hope you have a blessed day.”

I mean, that’s legit shit right there, isn’t it. A law suit, verbally, for YOU, with a case handler who hopes you are blessed during your day. Despite the serious consequences of failing to provide all your information to the kindly case officer.

Oddly, I’m not going to do that. Despite the message being for me because, you know, I heard it.

I’m going to chance it, throw caution to the wind, and just have a blessed day!