Monday January 18th, 2016

Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest, yo-ho-ho and a bottle of Guinness.

Top o’ the mornin’ to ya and what about ye, me hearties. What’s the craic

I’m starting to think I shouldn’t have downloaded Treasure Island from Amazon‘s Irish site !

It’s a jolly good read though and despite being tired when I went to bed (bizarre that), I was hooked from the start (yarrr) and read 3 whole chapters.

I think this author has a future.


One of the few downsides to going to bed in the early hours of the morning is that one tends to still try and have 7-8 hours of sleep.

Why is this a downside ?  Well then one misses out on one of the great perks of retirementism.  Ok I think I just made that word up as it’s got a red line under it but it’s staying.  The perk is lying under the duvet, snug and warm on a freezing winter’s morning and listening to people in the street setting off for work.

But one noise seems to be missing from this daily ritual.  The non starting car.  Remember those ?

You’d crack open the car door and sit in a dark cabin as all the windows would be covered with an ice/snow mix.  This would somehow come as a surprise despite having seen that the windows, and indeed the whole car, were covered in snow. With a cheery “oh deary me” you’d get out and and go back into the house to try and find the giant can of deicer that you put somewhere handy after buying it for 50p in the summer.

Unable to find it, you’d boil some water and despite the warnings about pouring it onto frozen glass, you were in a hurry and risked it anyway. Then you’d return the kettle, lock up the house again and dash to the car like a Le Mans racer back in the day – to get inside before the windows froze up again !

Key in the ignition, turn key, start the car.  But the car wouldn’t start.  Lots of chugging and coughing noises and for a change, they’re coming from the engine, not you.  You’re torn between continuing to try and start it, which may flood the thingy that floods, or letting it rest for a minute so you can catch it out with an unexpected turn of the key when it’s not looking.

Ahhhhh it’s cottoned on to that trick.  More coughing and spluttering and fun times ensue before it stops playing silly beggars and starts up with a might roar and lots of black smoke spew out the exhaust pipe, much to the shock of a passing pigeon that was innocently trying to take off, having had its fill from the nearby bird table.

You reverse out of the drive with less care than usual as you’re now late for work and in the process, put the aforementioned sooty and bewildered pigeon out of it’s misery.

Collateral damage.

But like adverts without music and food with taste, those days seem to have gone.  Now on the rare occasions that I’m actually awake for the morning rush to work in LS17, I don’t even hear the engines starting as their owners push buttons in their posh heated cockpits. Some have started their cars remotely, as they sip the last of their coffee from the comfort of their living rooms. Their car seats, windscreens and steering wheels then heat up so that by the time the owners have opened the doors, the comfort level inside their cars is on a par with the living rooms they’ve just vacated.

Even those of us with more entry level cars haven’t experienced the tricky startup for many years, if at all. I’ve no doubt they still take place but I guess car technology has improved so much that they’re less likely now.

It’s a passing that retirees like me rather miss !

I hope that my smugness doesn’t come back to haunt me.


Getting up late, and with an early dinner date (at 5:15pm), I ate nothing but my porridge before setting off to meet up with my cousin at a Toby Carvery near Horsforth. In one of those unlikely stories that usually only happen in movies, I only discovered Liza was my cousin a couple of years ago.  More about that another time.


Yes, yes, it’s a selfie and not even a very good one but in my defense, there were lights everywhere and we did move around but still couldn’t get a position…….oh hell, it’s a memory, ok.  Move on.

On the way home from our meal, I stopped in at my local Sainsburys for a small shop. Who knew that shopping at 7:30pm on a Monday night could be so enjoyable. Well maybe “enjoyable” is pushing it a bit.  Apart from the shelf fillers and the members of staff marking down all the fresh food items (yeah….bargain shopping too), I mostly had the place to myself.


I had a sudden urge to slide along the empty floor or really push the cart hard and then jump inside it.

But I’m 63.  I can resist such urges !

Actually I have several others but none I’m willing to admit to here.  This may be a diary but there are boundaries.




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