Wednesday January 27th, 2016

If I had a dream last night, I don’t remember it.  As usual.

Just sayin’.

Actually I should say “this morning” as I didn’t go to bed till about 6:30am.  I was watching the Andy Murray game at the Australian Open which didn’t start till about 3:30am.  I told myself I’d watch the first 2 sets and if Andy was ahead, I’d watch till the end and if it was 1-1, I’d go to bed.

Well the first 2 sets took so long that I decided to go to bed no matter what.  But ever the sport lover, I still kept an eye on the score while in bed…….and reading Treasure Island.  I know.  How sad is that.

By the time it was all over, I could hear people going to work and even the mail had almost arrived !

When I got up at midday and put on the telle, the rerun of the game was almost at the point where I’d left it.  So yes, despite knowing the outcome, I watched it.  Of course I did.


After breakfast….at 2pm………I put on a load of washing and went upstairs to bleed the radiators.  As you do.  My central heating system was installed by the Romans and needs a lot of TLC to keep it ticking over. Once a month or so I go around the 8 radiators and bleed them, by which I mean I use a special key to open them up to let out any air that may be trapped in the system. I do this even if a radiator is uniformly hot, just in case.

Today everything was tickety-boo but when in my little bedroom, I made the mistake of glancing at some photos that I store in that room…..and that was it for the next 2 hrs.

I have hundreds of photos.  Old school.  Non digital.

My love of photography started when I first went to boarding school as it had a great photographic society with a well equipped darkroom where I could develop and print my own photos. From then, until I got my first digital camera, I was an avid clicker and amassed a huge collection of photographs.

The things is, for some time now, I’ve been trying to find one particular photograph. It’s a black & white one I took and developed at school and when I recently made Facebook contact with one of the boys in it, I naturally wanted to find the photo to send him a copy of it.  Despite having seen it loads of times over the years, now that I really want to get my hands on it, it’s gone awol.

This isn’t that unusual for me. Several years ago I mislaid a mobile phone for over a year. Last year I mislaid a power pack (for recharging mobile devices) for months, even having to buy a new one.  I’m currently “missing” half a bag of baking potatoes I got at Costco.  I opened the bag and gave half to Daphne but I’ve no idea where the other half is.

It’s not like I live in a stately home with dozens of rooms and lots of hiding places. I only have a modest castle !

So anyway, this school photograph is keeping the tradition going and every so often, when I’m in the small bedroom, I go through all my photos somehow hoping it will magically appear each time.  My ability to lose things in this house is matched only by my optimism in eventually finding them again.

Yes, you could argue that even my optimism is misplaced !


I haven’t actually got many photos of myself over the years because I was usually behind the lens, as they say.  Back when I was a solo tourist in N. America, I did sometimes set my camera up on a tripod and basically take a selfie.  I mean if you are standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon, at the top of the CN Tower, in front of Mount Rushmore, getting sprayed at Niagara Falls or (with someone) eating crab chowder at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, you want yourself in at least one of the photos !

But holiday times aside, I have very few photos of me.  Today I found one or two in the very old collection and here they are.

First up is me with my older brother.


Although it may look like my brother was putting a protective arm around me, he was actually holding me steady so he could smash that ball in my face as soon as the photo was taken.

Most of the photos taken of us in those days have us with our hands held as if we were praying. My parents were VERY religious and my mum would go to Mass every morning. That’s every morning, not just every Sunday morning. Often she’d be the only one there. In fact, sometimes even the priest wouldn’t turn up so mum said Mass.

Nah, that bit’s a lie.  She only performed weddings and christenings.

Me In Short Pants

Moving along a few years, it’s 1962, I’m now 9 years old and I’m at primary school.

And that’s about it as far as my memory of it goes. My primary school days are a blank except for two events. The first was when we were playing outside and I threw a brick like a shot putt and hit another boy on the head. Needless to say he bled like a stuck pig, was carted off to hospital for stitches and I got into trouble for that little escapade.

Being a Catholic I had to punish myself and so for some bizarre reason I told myself that I’d take responsibility for the boy’s death if he dropped dead within the next 2 years. Being 9 years old and therefore not being known for thinking ahead, I gave no thought to what that would involve.  As luck would have it the boy was as healthy as an ox for the next 2 years, we both left primary school and a huge weight was taken from my young shoulders.

Ironically, speaking of a huge weight, when he was 15, that same boy was passing a building site when a loose brick fell from the 10th floor of a new hotel and killed him instantly.

Yeah ok that’s a lie too.

Skipping ahead many years now and here is one of me with some friends I met on my very first trip to America in the summer of 1989. I met them when I stayed a few days at Daytona Beach, Florida and we got on so well that they invited me to spend that Christmas with them at their home outside Atlanta, Georgia.

Me & The Browns

I returned to visit with them several times after that but sadly, we’ve drifted apart over the last decade.  This photo shows me with the husband, Donnie and his/their 2 kids, Kayla and Korey. I’m holding Kayla, who is now married with a few kids of her own and as Donnie’s wife Cheryl was heavily pregnant with Korey when we met in that summer of 1989, it’s easy to work out that he’ll be 26 now !  Yikes.

Moving swiftly along, here is one of me in my work attire. I don’t know where it was taken or why, but there aren’t many of me at this age, whatever age that might be, so I’ll hang onto it.

Me In My Work Days

Actually I do know where it was taken….my back garden.  I think it may have been taken by my mum as, being a mum, she always wanted photos of me and rarely got them. After my dad died in 1986, mum would come over to stay with me most years and would never leave without a photo.

When she died in 2003 and I was the executor of her will, I was clearing out her house in N. Ireland and made sure to keep all the albums and boxes of photos she had collected.

This one was in there.

Finally a photo from one of my many visits to the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. I love that place as I have always been a “space geek” and this was a proper selfie I took when on the viewing platform near the Apollo launch site.  I put my SLR camera on a metal railing, set the timer and as this was in pre digital days, hoped for the best when the photos were developed.

Me At The KSC

It’s a bit “in your face” and doesn’t show much of where I was – but I know where I was, and now so do you !


Enough of this photo trip down memory lane; the movie I watched before bedtime was “45 Years” starring Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling.  It tells the story of a married couple preparing to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary but receive shattering news that promises to forever change the course of their lives.


I suspected it would be slow going, given the age of the actors and the storyline but I felt like I’d aged 45 years watching it.  If you thought Nebraska was slow, that was turbo charged compared to this.  I’m all for allowing time for character development but there isn’t much point if the audience is falling asleep.

The acting, when it happened, was as excellent as you’d expect from these veteran British actors and the Norfolk scenery was delightful, although we seemed to get several seasons in the space of one week but maybe that’s how it is in Norfolk.

I also have to say that I was well impressed with Charlotte Rampling’s slim, youthful figure although her legs were like two drainpipes which didn’t seem healthy to me !

I’m just not sure there was a story worth telling. I read that the short story it was based on only had 12 pages and if they’d allocated a minute to each page, the resulting movie might have held my attention.

But they didn’t, and it didn’t.  By the end I didn’t care what happened to either of them as long as SOMETHING happened.

It didn’t.

Suddenly Treasure Island seemed like a much more exciting proposition so I went to bed.

One thought on “Wednesday January 27th, 2016

  1. Pingback: Friday February 5th, 2016 | Retirement Rocks

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