What a tit!

I bought a new Mac – Apple Mac I mean, (not just another rain mac for my collection). So, I had this Mac that was causing no end of problems for my art, as you know, I like to do digital art, https://woodslog.wordpress.com  – I first had a Mac when I was at college I expect, around 2000, one of those little plastic iMacs they were doing, it was ok, then I had a tower G4, then a G5 when the G4 became redundant, then I went and got a 27inch iMac, which was that last one that caused me so much trouble. I bought that thing in 2011, and expected it to keep going pretty much for the rest of my life, since it cost in excess of a thousand pounds – It was a good machine when I got it, price wise and power wise, it could handle just about anything, but the graphics card was poop, so there was a recall by Apple & they fixed it for free, I thought that was pretty god, but then about 6 years later, the card died again – this time it was up to me. Well the computer was buggered, so I followed desperate advice off the net and put the card in the oven – it worked! It came back to life! It was like a miracle, I wouldn’t have to buy another Mac, but the story isn’t really that much of a happy fairy tale, I’d lost a lot of work I hadn’t backed up, and I’d had to open the back up and mess with things I didn’t understand, so it was a bit of a desperate experience.

Anyhow, I wasn’t prepared to buy a new Mac at that point, I wanted at least 10 years service for my investment, so I soldiered on, I had to buy an external drive a few months later, cos the main disk seemed to be crippled in some way, I don’t know, maybe things just don’t last forever? So anyhow, with the Graphics card half melted, and an external drive instead of the main disk, and a fan control thing on it, because otherwise the Mac had lost its marbles and would blast its cooling fans like a hair drier, onward I went. It was useable, though hampered by occasional crashes. These crashes became more frequent in the last year or so, it was again becoming difficult to do anything ambitious, like riding a bike held together by sellotape. 

So I got this new Mac, I paid £1000. for it, pretty cheap compared to the newest iMac 27inch machine, which is slightly more powerful, but I didn’t want an intel based machine, I still have faith in Apple, and I wanted their new M1 chip, not that I understand the details and inner workings of computers, but I’m told this is the future, I’m excited by the future – or I like to be!

Why get another apple after all this trouble? Well why not? It’s what you’re used to I guess. Things are looking up at last digital art wise, now I have to buy another screen!

Down the River!

The river nearest to me growing up was called the Ouse – or more specifically, “The Great Ouse” cos there is another Ouse in the UK, (its a different river) which passes through York, but we didn’t know about that, cos it was a long way away. Yes, you’re right, this is interesting! At least from where I’m sitting – I now live much closer to York and the other Ouse, but its the Great Ouse I woke up dreaming about. We used to get in canoes, in the youth club and go from the village I lived in Clapham, Bedfordshire, and paddle down towards Bedford town, but then it does a U-turn, and goes to Bromham or something. mostly we’d go upstream to the next village of Oakley, this makes perfect sense, because the road runs the same way – you can’t see the road from the river, as its a way off, and anyhow, you’re down there in the river channel, looking at ducks, swans, water rats, fish, rocks, stuff like that. Its harder going upstream than down, it makes your arms ache a bit.

Its a very gentle river, and pretty easy to go along – only when the level is really low you might have to get out and carry your boat near Oakley, where there’s a weir, and some rapid bits. 

But where does the river go beyond Oakley? I know it goes through Felmersham and Pavenham, and Carlton, and Harold I think, and the other way, it goes towards Bedford, but first it does a U turn, and goes to Bromham, or was that before Oakley? Ok lets have a look at the map –

Well you can see it bends about quite a bit – You might be going along a road and think, “whats the river doing here? I thought it went the other way?” It runs rings around you, you have no idea where its going. Its just as bad if you go along the railway line, it crosses the river 5 times in a few miles – WTAF??

Yes, its pretty flat landscape, the river can hardly tell which way is downhill, hence the meandering. Clapham to Bedford on foot, is about 2 miles, if you went by boat, it would be more like 8 or 10, and you’d have to navigate all sorts of weirs, go past loads of farmland and peoples back gardens – at Bromham, its all water lilies, very pretty, people have long gardens with tall trees, nice lawns, boat houses, that sort of thing – then you get to Kempston, which is all drug addicts and finally Bedford, which is a mixture of posh folk from rowing clubs, and more drug addicts and goths!

But I digress, when you look at a map, you can see where you are and where everything else is, but when you’re actually down there on the ground, its all about what it feels like to be where you are, you got no real idea of where anything else is, you got to experience the journey to know what its going to be like when you get to where you’re going, and what that will be like when you get there. It won’t have much to do with the map. 

I lived in Kempston for a bit, so I know what the river is like there, and I know all those villages from the roads, cos the school bus went through picking everyone up. The river used to flood at some of those places, it would flood in Clapham when I was young, you’d need wellies to go down the high street, so I’d usually just go the other way if it was in flood.

Also, if you go west of this map, I used to work in Olney, where the Ouse passes through there, we used to swim in it at lunch break, its still quite deep there, but its quite a shallow river at many points along it. I see from a bigger map view, after Olney, it goes through Milton Keynes and Buckingham, then ends near there, so if you got in your canoe round there, it would be all downstream to Bedford, but it’d still probably take about a week to do it – it would be nice if the weather was ok, a worthwhile trip, but I don’t know if I’d recommend it? You would need to take a tent, and there’d be no TV etc.

The river is only really navigable from Bedford to the sea, about 60 miles east. Mostly thats all managed water ways, they drained the marshes (Fens) altering the rivers course, but you can take a bigger boat along there.

Here’s the Ouse at Bedford


And here it is at Felmersham

Turvey is nice too!

Here’s a flood

And here’s what its like at Kings Lynn, going out towards the sea!

What gets me up in the morning?

So I was looking up this Gary Numan song, its called Prayer for the Unborn – one of his better songs of his reincarnation

Thats pretty good, but what was troubling me was more like a febrile nightmare! Well I thought I’d have a lie in, cos it was cold out of bed, and I’d got no plans for the day, so I lay there thinking ah, this is nice for the bones, but then my mind started to wander through some pretty shady territory, the song Crocodile Rock by Elton John was running through my mind, then it morphed into “The River” by Bruce Springsteen  – then to escape that, I’d go back to the Elton John song, but then it’d just go back into Springsteen again, and back and forth, it was so awful, in the end, I just had to brave the cold and get out of bed! Seriously, those are two damn awful songs to have in your head, especially if you don’t want em! I don’t want to be singing anything in the morning, I want to be left alone – I can’t do this! I really can’t!! 

Stepsley Ford

Stepsley Ford is near Greys Inn Essex, beyond Southampton on the Welsh borders, where these three giant trees dominate the landscape. You can just see the small village Of Stepsley (as the locals call it) there on the left of the picture. On a stormy night like the one shown below, it almost looks as if the trees are crossing the ford, hence the name Stepsley Ford, its as if the trees themselves were stepping over the the river which lies between the trees. In fact, there is no natural crossing at that point, so perhaps it was just wishful thinking on their part? No one knows how long the trees have been there, perhaps hundreds or even thousands of years!

Boating Holiday!

When ya go on your hols, and you got to get on a plane, and its all that security and queueing, and waiting, and then the bare knuckle ride of flying itself – its a bit of a hassle non? I mean, we’re not scared are we? 

Its just a little inconvenient and nerve wracking, but its worth it right? Fair enough, but have you ever tried going by boat? Its easy! You just rock up at the car park, then wander into this hall where you queue for about like, 2mins, they ask your name, tick it off and say fine! Go get on the boat! Yeas, thats the way to check in! After that, you wander about quite relaxed, slightly concerned the boat may sink, but you can always have a good meal, watch the floor show, go and have a wander out on deck, watch the sun go down, then in the morning you wake up in Europe!

Well we went on this 2 day trip to Amsterdam, its cheapest way to do it on a. 2 nighter, special price you see – there’s a buffet meal you can book for about £10. Its an all you can eat, with a carvery, curries, lasagne, vegetarian, fruits drinks, fruit itself, literally, all you can eat !! Its amazing, you see people piling their plate so high, then going back for more! You can do that! You really can! Its not like on a plane, where you get some poxy plastic tray, piddling about with 2 tiny potatoes! On the ferry you can eat and eat till you literally burst! (I saw several passengers actually explode!)

Well we had a super time in Amsterdam, so here’s some photos, I would like to go back and explore Holland a lot more next time, as it was only short.

On the way home, we got back to Zeebrugge a bit early, so we got the train down to Blankenberge seaside resort to kill a couple of hours – there wasn’t much there but this weird velodrome, all the bikes have been dismantled and welded back together to function as funny bikes – honestly, I was so amused watching the kids there, riding bikes that go backwards instead of forwards, or bend in the middle, or have oval wheels! Ha,ha, so funny to watch! I thought it was pretty surreal, 

I took my own footage, but I just showed that one above cos its such sharper and better 🙂

I love Belgium, (Zeebrugge is over the border in Belgium) we’d previously been on a trip to Ghent and Bruggge, + a trip to Brussels, where we visited the Magritte museum – its a strange place Belgium, to have artists like that, and weird entertainment for the kids such as the Velodroom!

Florence Holiday

Here’s some pics of my trip to Florence from 2004 or whenever it was!

Here’s the locals having a parade! (or getting ready for one)

This is Siena

And this is a church back in Florence

You go in these churches and photograph everything, and I thought I’d photographed this Michelangelo crucifix one, but I hadn’t! anyhow, I really liked it, so here it is off the net

By Wikinade – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4772756

Rather nice isn’t it? Its made of wood – quite slender – no one knows for certain who its really by, but it looks ok to me – what you reckon? Some of these old churches are lovely!

A couple of ghost stories!

Aha! I saw this on TV a couple of years ago, I mentioned it before somewhere on here, and I still remember the girl in it – she’s like a waif! I don’t remember that much about it now, so I’d like to watch it again, but I don’t suppose that will ever happen, we don’t tend to re-watch things around here. 

She’s playing the part of a successful cellist, but she’s got this ancestral thing she’s looking up – down in old Wales, and thats when it all get eerie! Its a ghost story!

Anyhow, another good ghost story I saw last year, was called “The Green Man” (its a repeat of an old show I missed in the 90s) Its got good acting by Albert Finney, and its a fine story too (originally by Kingsley Amis), about this rambunctious old geezer that owns a hotel, a cosy old English sort of place anyone would love to have. Its an interesting place with interesting people, but then thats where the whole things goes a bit off topic, yeah, somewhat! 

Razors!

Just been on a shopping trip to Tesco, what a nightmare! People everywhere, practically bouncing off them trying to navigate the aisles, they got no celery and no thyme, couldn’t find my razors – can’t even remember what I’m meant to be looking for? Series 3 Gillette pro glide? Or was it 4 or 5? Everyones going oh yes, very nice, I like that, ooh, lovely! None of these people give a fuck about the immigrants in the concentration camps do they? Not interested – they want it back the 1950s, when everything was lovely – well, screw that! 

Anyhow, had enough of that, so went the the chemist over the road, found what looked like my razors, but you had to rip them from the rack, cos they secure them, so did that, then went to the queue – there’s about 8 people, and they’re not moving! Everyones waiting for their prescription – I got no time for that, I’d sooner grow a beard – so I put them back, I’m out of there.

I made this malt loaf, but it wouldn’t rise, its in the oven now, but it’ll probably just go straight to the bin, can’t get it right lately, I got the day off, so I did a quick picture on the Mac, hasn’t crashed, so will post later, after I do another one, featuring Melmoth, since I’m now reading the original from 1820, got to say, its damn good read, very inspiring! Anyhow, did that, then had to make a stew, so got that in the slow cooker, went shopping, (nightmare) Now had some soup, and some bread, settling back down at last to do my next picture – its been mania! 

Aha, malt loaf out the oven, its risen while its cooked – that was unexpected! It may actually be edible! Made bread yesterday, came out ok, but not got any air in it.

Oh yeah, had a really great dream last night! 😀

The secret to my failure . .

The secret to my failure is – well, no one wants to know that do they? People want to know about success! Success deserves an exclamation mark(!) But failure, well, its just what it is – but seriously, while I’m here, listening to Fleetwood Mac “Tusk” album, its so good, so meditational, and thats the secret, don’t meditate! If you have time to listen to Fleetwood Mac, (Tusk album in particular), you’re going nowhere baby! Destination zero! 

I haven’t played this in a few years, I don’t have time, but I always love it when I do – it slows time down to a level so slow, its like meditation – you can see if you wave your hand in front of your face, how time has slowed. This isn’t about real life, but if it were, life would be so grand, so blooming bleeding wonderful, well, you’d be a success – we all would be! 🙂

I’m not the guy I was when I used to play this album, back then, I’d be high as a kite, smoking my weed, but I don’t do that no more, and tho I miss it, I can’t get on with wasting time like I used to. 

Its not time wasting, to relax listening to music, its good for you, but I can’t do it anymore, cos I have other things to do, like writing this, while I play these songs. 25 or 30 years ago, I’d snuggle into the sofa, in a warm room playing this album, now I dash off a blog about what I’m doing, while I do it – isn’t that contrary? 

Ok, I’m going to relax . . . . 

Yawn! Enough of that! Gonna skip a few tracks, I want to get on with doing my own music, thats the thing, when you make your own music, you can’t listen to someone else’s at the same time. Man, I need some ganja, but I know what I’m like now, I’d just want to go for a run, Fleetwood Mac don’t smack their bitches up right!

Fleetwood Mac’s not that funny . . 

That’s Enough For Me!

I know I’m not Wrong

I walk a thin line

Ooh! This is good when the marching band comes in! 😀 😀 

“It’s A Sin”

I was watching that “It’s A Sin” on tv last night and it got me thinking about my experience of that time. Back then you couldn’t just wave your erection in the car window like you can now – seriously, one still can’t wave ones erection, you couldn’t then, and you can’t now – never could! Believe me, I’ve tried!

That is the nature of homosexuality, its not really something you take up lightly, or maybe you do? What do I know? 

Last week, I was compiling the jobs I was at between about 1980, and around 92’ – I had over 22 jobs!  I wasn’t in some line of work where you just move around a lot, I would just get a job, get fed up with it, and go and get another job somewhere else – I was certainly a bit of a miss-fit. If I felt the job was dead end and going nowhere, I’d leave – I tried to settle, but never could – they’d call me the wanderer! 🙂

Hmm, thats not very gay is it? Its a fantasy, I didn’t wander around with my two fists of iron and get loads of women, I would have liked to, but as I say, that’s mere fantasy.

I probably got loads of stories about all these workplaces, memories of people and places and so on, but ultimately, it was a waste of time! 

The last of the 22 jobs fell through, and I knew I wasn’t very happy living the way I did, so I took a year or 2 out to get stoned, then went to college to do art. It was great, because I was about 28 or 30, and at a dead impasse, and this was like a second chance – I hated school when I was younger, but now I wanted it – the teaching was good, and interesting, and I was surrounded by young girls, pretty ones, the best of the bunch tend to like art, so there I was, sat down by the river, surrounded by these girls, you can never have too many girls, no one cared if you were gay or straight, it was a good time IMO.

After that, I went and did a degree, and did well on that too, and got teaching quals, I thought maybe I’d get a better job, but also, at the same time I’d been doing some cleaning work for the council to help pay for my education. In the end, I just carried on with the council job, and I have been there for 20 years or so now – the job is rubbish, but I’m not really interested in teaching or getting more money, I have enough to pay for paints and stuff, and I don’t really care about selling art or being successful at that either. I was talking to someone about it the other day, and she said its because I don’t have kids. She’s probably right, if you don’t have to have them, why would you? 

Getting back to the gay thing, I don’t fancy blokes as a rule, I’d sooner fuck a woman than a guy any day, and yet this never seems to “cut it” with women. I don’t think I shall ever understand them. I actually feel that I understand them very well, but I don’t know them in the way that I ought in order to be a classical straight man – do classical straight men know anything? Anything at all? They seem a bit Neanderthal to me, I like it, I think its great, to react like a reflex – must be amazing! I’m too damn philosophical, thats my problem. 😦