Saturday, September 30, 2006

Yesterday, driving...

home from work eastbound on the elevated Mancunian Way a black van with black windows harassed me. In the outside lane of busy traffic I drifted past slower vehicles watching for my exit. From the rear I saw a black van jinking between lanes, undertaking and overtaking until it was so close the wasp insignia on its bonnet filled my mirror and I thought, hmmm. Cool was my name calm was my disposition as I mooched at 40mph toward the exit. Waspy van meanwhile exuded irritation, bobbing a bit this way drifting a bit that way, not easy in the two eastward lanes that trapped us both. Seeing a space I moved to let it pass and once alongside its passenger window descended showing the driver to be a huge wasp giving me the V. Such rudeness.

"Fuck you too wasp!' I shouted "And it's autumn, not much time remaining for your kind. Yeah!"

But she was gone.

Whilst descending from the M way I noticed a squirrel truck pass in the opposite direction loaded with acorns. The driver seemed exhausted and smiled weakly, at least I thought it was a smile but it might have been a grimace because with squirrels it's sometimes hard to gauge. Recently I gave wide berth to a squirrel whose grimace reminded me of Humphrey Bogart, he was sipping bourbon from an acorn cup in Crowcroft Park. Later beneath his home tree I declaimed Ode to Autumn by John Keats hoping it might raise a cheer but on verse two he hiccuped out of his hole and told me to fuck off.

So for the rest of you

Ode to Autumn, by John Keats.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'erbrimmed their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, -
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing, and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

It occurs to me...

and not for the first time that dogs are astonishingly dim. This afternoon in Salford I followed a white van from whose passenger window poked the head of a small dog with tufty hair and lolling tongue. There are those for whom such a sight might indicate intelligence or even higher cerebral function like a thought, say...

"Hmmm it's too hot. I know, I'll lean out of this window. Yup, that's done the trick."

Except it didn't calculate the lampost that whacked the fucker's head right off. Bounced straight over the bonnet of my car and into the road behind where it was crushed by a lorry. The dog didn't even notice. Now how thick is that?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

This evening's golden sunset...

was pressed beneath the weight of a stupendous maroon sky.

John Wayne's 1968 film 'The Green Berets' concludes on Danang beach where he too gazed at a wondrous sunset though one dipping eastward over the South China Sea. If Mr Wayne wanted a sunset he got one, no matter what the geography. I'm not keen on eastward setting suns because the view from the rear of my house is not so good.

Reflecting on this I thanked the heavens (literally) that JW is no longer with us.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

As a matter of principle...

whenever in France I make an effort to eat horse.

Monday, September 18, 2006

In the part of Manchester where...

I work is a shop that sells pig snouts. I noticed it the other day whilst window shopping at 'Hooves'. 'Hooves' is a specialist emporium devoted to all things hoovey. Arranged in the window are hooves for every ocassion. Horses hooves (of course) cows hooves, the hooves of goats, gazelle, sheep, you name it they've got it. Some of the hooves were fashioned into tasteful ornaments that would grace any living room. Others were formed into vessels for the safe soaking of things such as false teeth overnight, or say in a matching pair of fawn's hooves, contact lenses. I understand an attempt was made to hollow out an unusual casserole dish from the hoof of a waterbuffalo but apparently it melted and stuck the oven door shut. That particular line failed shortly before the Hooves stock exchange disaster when gum futures went belly up. Thankfully the business survived, as does the shop motto, 'Your never alone with a hoof.'

The pig snout thing is curious though so I went in and was confronted with an embarrassment of riches, in the pig snout arena that is. There were toffee pig snouts on sticks, frozen pig snouts dipped in flavoured yoghurt. Pig snout shavings soaked in maple syrup. Pig snout glace for the decoration of cakes. Candied piglet snouts arranged as necklaces that children could wear and eat at the same time. Two pig snouts tied fashionably with silk proved popular with ten pin bowlers as a means of keeping fingers toasty. Behind the counter stood glass jars bulging with pig snout joy but my eye was drawn to the caramelled pig snout brittle as I'm particularly fond of brittle. I purchased half a pound of this pig snout heaven, this dialectic of deliciousness, for everyone knows once the brittle is gone the chewing goes on. Hmm hmm hmm hmm hmmmmmmmmm...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Everyday since...

I saw the physio last Wednesday at his insistence I've been putting a hot gel pack on my injured knee to promote healing and ease pain. Amazingly the knee pain has gone, completely eclipsed by huge burn on leg pain. Well, it's a solution of sorts.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Went to see...

a physiotherapist this early evening. He worked on my knee for an hour, squeezing, pressing, kneeding, pushing, working his fingers into that damaged ligament. Then he got hot gel packs and did some more business. Me? I groaned and moaned and cursed and winced and cried and begged, I even offered my PIN number to make him stop but there was no mercy in his dark professional heart. I was reminded of those westerns when the wounded gunslinger gets a piece of wood to bite on while they dig the bullet out of his gut. I would have killed for a piece of wood.

And he laughed, oh how he laughed, all the way through. He told me I was a bad boy, that I required punishment,that I must be punished, that I deserve the cane... no, sorry, that was another therapist...

Hmmm, note to self. Must not mix up therapists.

Anyway it bloody hurt.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Went out jogging in...

Crowcroft Park last night and blew a ligament in my knee. Said knee currently looks like a balloon in middle of leg. Indeed I've hired Lilliputians to tie the thing down so I can get a good night's sleep. Were it not for the Lilliputians being up all night drinking and afornicating I'd be having a good night's sleep.

Never let Lilliputians in your bed. They're worse than crumbs.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

There's this mad idea...

that fortunes can be read in the leaves of tea. I'm a tea-bag person and resultingly always thought my future would remain a secret. Dropping a tea box this morning I swear the liberated bags fell into the winning sequence for tonight's national lottery.

I'm sceptical. A number of the smaller bags had arranged themselves into lawyerspeak declaring that the fortune hereto produced was subject to errors depending on whether they were opened for morning tea or evening tea and therefore any fortune could be deemed invalid if the correct conditions were not met. Unfortunately the correct condions had fallen under the washer so I've no idea what they were. By now the shebang had become so stressfull I got the hoover out.

And it wasn't even lunchtime.

So I went back to bed.

With a coffee.

A less malign drink.

I find.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Even though the funfair...

has gone Crowcroft Park remains unsettled. The field arena is scarred with deep gouges made by heavy machinery, huge grooves filled with rainwater criss cross the area. Yellowed templates mark the grass where rides such as The Vomitarium, Sick Your Guts Up and the crude but effective Heave! temporarily stood. It was really no surprise that anything by Barf Bros might feature spinning as the central entertainment feature. Incidentally the entrance was indicated by a huge open mouthed neon head that in green and yellow lines sprayed the letters Barf Bros in an arc under which patrons passed. Nice touch I remember thinking, the whole event begins with someone being sick on your head. I'm not going to go on an on about this (see 21/8 blog for that) except to say that the experience of being washed, sprayed, sluiced, and flooded by the gallons of sick thrown from the rides left my skin wrinkly for days. For those who can't be bothered reading the previous blog I'll give you a taste, urf urf. One ride popular with the local youth was simply called 'Bucket'. It entailed being spun round in a large wooden bucket (plus handle) until your stomach was empty. When the exit sluices opened patrons not removed on the swell were flushed from the machine by rough types wielding high pressure hoses, so no matter how badly you might feel it really was in your interest to get up. Some laughing youth deliberately held on for the hosing, but hey, folly is youth's middle name.

However, the purpose of this post is to record how odd the park remains. Yesterday I kept glimsping things whilst jogging around the inner perimeter, movements that drew my eye, strange objects that were there and then gone. I'm sure I saw groaning bodies and other detritus caught against the parks railings as if a great tide had passed but when I looked directly all was normal. A gnarled oak that used to lean east-west now leans west-east and the line of old bench seats popular with the elderly have begun nipping wildly aside just as people are about to sit. Of course the elderly blame the youth except there no longer seems to be much youth. At the park entrance some families have put up posters asking have you seen this young person or that young person but no one really knows.

It's as if the fair left holes in the grass and holes in the neighbourhood.

Funny, I now recall reading in large copperplate letters on the padlocked doors of their final lorry as it pulled away, Barf Bros of Hamelin.