I must learn to say no!

I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no!life yes:no

I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no! I must learn to say no!

Wow, it’s so much easier to cut and paste such a punishment  as a reminder – instead of writing it out on the blackboard a hundred times? I need sleep more than oxygen at the moment…   Yours Aye.

Beekeepers and a goose…

A chinese apiarist who must ‘bee’ very good with heights…1410193629957_wps_37_SHENNONGJIA_CHINA_SEPTEMBThis daredevil beekeeper in China perches precariously atop the mountains of Shennongjia Nature Reserve in central China’s Hubei province – and it’s all in a day’s work. The fearless apiarist is there to check on his hives, which contain thousands and thousands of bees. The wooden boxes are strategically balanced on the karstic mountains of the reserve and the beekeeper has to carefully clamber on top of them to get to the next one. Daredevil beekeeper in China perches precariously atop the mountains of the Shennongjia Nature Reserve to check on hives

“You’re a better man than I am Gunga Din!” Where needs must prevail they invariably do… I’ll stick to buying my ‘Yorkshire’ honey from the local farm shop, where the only danger comes from being ‘goosed’ by the butchers buxom wife…      Yours Aye.

Juggling several balls & a piano

JugglerThe past few days have been quite hectic to say the least, due in part to helping friends close by, unexpected visitors from afar, and a few long-planned commitments thrown in.images

I’m pretty adept at juggling several balls in the air, but now and again someone tosses in a baby elephant, and a grand piano into the set, which almost catches me out as it means taking my eye off the lead ball to reconfigure every thing. I suppose it’s all about timing and balance, combined with a sense of humour and the flexibility of a rubber duck!  ‘Quack bloody Quack’ – you can’t crack me I’m a rubber duck!)
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The good news is – I have finished my juggling routine for this summer, and the balls are back in their cardboard box. Though I have no idea where the baby elephant or the grand piano went. Not my problem anymore; until next year perhaps…      Yours Aye.

A Question Answered…

Question: How can you down-size from a six bedroom (two storey) property, into a three bedroomed (single storey) cottage, and still take every thing, and then expect it to all fit? Answer: The cottage is a ‘Tardis’ type home that once belonged to a Time Lord Dr. Who?3 After much head scratching, every single box and its content eventually found a place. Which has left me exhausted and confused as to how I was roped into the evolution in the first place. Long term ‘oppos’ & friendship, as well as a call for assistance; thats how…  Yours Aye.

KEEP CALM AND DRINK TEA

imagesDrinking tea ‘cuts risk of dying early by a quarter': Antioxidant ingredients in the drink are good for the heart.
* A study shows that drinking tea reduces the risk of dying from causes unrelated to the heart by a quarter. 
* The benefits of tea are largely due to the antioxidant ingredients
* The study involved 131,401 people aged 18 to 95. 
* Experts also say it is better for you than coffee and tea drinkers are more physically active.yorkshire_gold_teaTea really is the best drink of the day – it can cut your risk of dying prematurely, say researchers. A study shows that drinking tea reduces the risk of dying from causes unrelated to the heart by a quarter compared with those who don’t drink tea. Experts say it is better for you than coffee, although habitual coffee drinkers tend to be more unhealthy and smokers.  The benefits of tea are largely due to the flavonoid content, antioxidant ingredients that are thought to be good for the heart. Study leader Professor Nicolas Danchin said previous research showed ‘divergent’ effects of tea and coffee on heart health. He added, however: ‘If you have to choose between tea or coffee it’s probably better to drink tea.’ Study shows that drinking tea reduces the risk of dying from causes unrelated to the heart by a quarter…

By my reckoning, which is judged on the amount of tea I quaff; I should live for another 100 years? Dear Gawd – the shear thought fills me with dread, perhaps I should switch to coffee…   Yours Aye.

‘Pull up a sandbag and swing the lamp’

I met up with an old ‘oppo’ of mine over the weekend, for what I thought was going to be a ‘pull up a sandbag and swing the lamp’ affair over a gallon of Guinness. Serving alongside ‘Mac’ was always an experience as he was the observant silent type, uttering one line pearls of wisdom with such perfect timing that he often reduced a section of Marines into dying flies. Absolutely dependable and as solid as a rock, until mixed with alcohol, after which the genie was released out of the Whiskey bottle. In his defence it must be said that he was a bloody good Marine who only allowed the cork to be popped & stoppered over weekends and leave periods.S-412-0029-70-000    The genies bottle (aka – ‘low flyer.’)

‘Mac’ originally hailed from the wilds of the Scottish Borders, and after spending 12 years in the Corps he took himself straight off to Europe to seek further adventure (general dogs body in a travelling circus, taxi driver around Marseilles, CP operative in and around Monaco – Morocco – Italy – Africa. General casanova in and around France working as a barman, before opening and running a partially successful bar/bistro in Paris, of which he sold on to finance his travel around the Greek island group known as the Cyclades. That finally led onto his last evolution, and discovery whilst working with local fishermen who trawled nets from a large whaler by hand.) ‘Mac’ found ‘Jesus’ in the form of christianity, he became a christian for the first time in his life, and his crazy world of adventure ceased on a beach one morning on the Island of Syros (a long story perhaps for another day.) Sadly our ‘catch-up’ was not the social catch-up I was expecting…images

Saturday at 12:00hrs in a bar in York; drinking tea and listening to a bible thumping christian spouting ‘the word’ from his leather-bound holy book is tantamount to light torture. At one point I was all for pushing the soft leather-covered book into an orifice where the sun doesn’t shine, which had the desired effect as the conversation slowly ended. As did our catch-up. His journey was taking him onto Edinburgh, where he was going to attend a 4 week christian symposium “Don’t suppose you would like to follow on and attend too?” said Mac in a half-hearted way. My Anglo saxon reply was more positive and to the nth degree. Such is life with its twists and turns and I am truly happy for Mac and his discovery, I just hope that one day soon he realises that his choice and forceful approach almost verges on the fanatical – that could end up requiring the skills of a proctologist.images-1

I recall a conversation I once had with ‘Taff’ the Padre in 42 Cdo, as we quaffed more than a few tins at the Unit BBQ, of which he stated out of the blue “Do you know, it is my opinion that born again christians are far worse than reformed smokers, who incessantly complain about the smell of cigarette smoke” What it meant at the time was beyond me, as ‘Taff’ the Padre had long since kicked his nicotine habit, and he never, ever, pushed his chosen trade into a conversation. More the reason why he was greatly respected, each to their own choice of worship, and in their own way…    Yours Aye.

And Gawd bless you too!

School suspends teen who said ‘bless you’ to another student who sneezed.article-2730454-20ACE38300000578-678_636x382A teacher at Dyer County High School in Tennessee banned the phrase and other ‘godly speaking’ (list of banned words pictured bottom left) from the classroom. After student Kendra Turner, 17 (right), uttered the phrase she was sent to the principal’s office where she spent the rest of the day in in-school suspension.article-2730454-20ACD64000000578-798_306x423 She says she doesn’t want the teacher to get in trouble for the suspension, but wants to spread the word that it’s ok to ‘defend God’. Other students at the school rallied in Turner’s support by wearing handmade ‘bless you’ shirts. Teen suspended from school for saying “Bless-you” to a fellow student who sneezed.

I suppose if Kendra Turner whispered  “Alhamdulillah,” (“Praise be to God”) to her sneezing friend she would have gotten away with it, as the term would have been more acceptable! Just as the word is uttered to a fellow sneezer in the Arabic world…      Yours Aye.

‘Humin’ a new contacts and phone app

HuminHumin is a new contacts and phone app that captures all of your relationships and remembers them in the way that you naturally think…

As I have often stated in the past, “To a certain extent, I am a gadget man.” And while I doff my cap towards Sharon Standifird in the post below; I do think that there is far too much personal information being projected around the molecular airwaves that is open to abuse. Before long we will need an app that  acts as a ‘COMPLETE BLOCKER’ to protect ourselves. It follows that a variety of government listening ‘Agencies’ will see this as a threat, and selectively intercept a person’s every day life who purchases ‘COMPLETE BLOCKER’ Which is a fictitious app name invented purely for this post. No doubt I have already incurred the wrath of the afore-mentioned government listening ‘Agencies’ by typing ‘COMPLETE BLOCKER’ three times, and publishing this post for all to read.dewey-cheatem-and-howe A note from the Mellow Jihadi legal team ‘Dewey, Cheatem & Howe.’ (Which is also fictitious, and a figment of the ‘3 stooges’ writers mind.) ‘COMPLETE BLOCKER’ is not available on the market as it does not exist. However; the Mellow Jihadi blog will quote artistic licence and demand a 25 % fee from any individual, firm, company, or registered organisation, who use the words, or title COMPLETE BLOCKER on any product. Oh Bollock’s! Unintentionally I have typed out ‘COMPLETE BLOCKER’ six times…  You read it here first.  :-)    Yours Aye.

‘Don’t go out master, there be demons!’

Through personal choice and planning I vary my daily routine; specific work and social appointments are the only timings set in concrete. Inevitably my three canines play a major part in my life, their individual requirements for the outdoors being a priority (and mine)… Each day as I undergo my ablutions they remain motionless; quite content to take advantage of the cool morning air that settles on the landing surrounding their sleeping area. It all changes as soon as they hear my walking boots hit the deck; two screaming banshee’s descend the stairs, followed by an old & bold canine warrior with 12 years experience under his fur (Joss is more of a plodder these days, but still up for it.)Fenced sanctuary So far summer has been amazing, the inner fenced garden surrounding my humble abode is proof of that. The outer three acres are also testimony to natures ability of unfettered wild growth, so much so that I had to call upon a tractor-mower to cut walking paths through the waist-high grass, as a mild dew on a morning walk required a boot and trouser change afterwards, with three soaking wet canines to dry off before breakfast.DSC_0043A few days ago just after lunch Joss submitted his ‘snooze chit,’ deferring attendance from our field walk. Hannah as usual tore off through the open access gate that leads into the field, Nipper started then declined to follow, which is most unusual and the first time ever! Even as I passed by and called for him to follow on he just refused to budge from his stance, then he turned and trotted back to the door step pushing up against the glass panel door to enter the house. It was a fine day of which the top picture bears testament, aided by glorious sunshine with a good easterly breeze coming in from North Sea. Hannah returned to find Nipper but he was having none of it, he wanted to be back indoors so I obliged his request, which left Hannah and I to walk on without him.Storm cloud pressure wave As I entered the field through the access gate it soon became apparent why Nipper also deferred, even Hannah was now having second thoughts. Just then a loud rumble of rolling thunder echoed in the far distance. A huge dark weather system was fast rolling in from the west, on top of which sat a curved slim pressure cloud, daylight was slowly turning to dusk at 13:00 hrs? The ominous dark clouds were forcing a drop in air pressure, some thing bad or unpleasant was about to happen so I went and grabbed a camera… At the point of reaching for the camera all three canines were snuggled up in one bed basket, of which Joss was none too happy about.   ‘Don’t go out master, there be demons!’DSC04098The wind was still blowing in from the east, and yet the weather system was rolling in hard from the west (any Meteorological Officers looking in?) Surrounding wildlife had sought shelter, all was still save for the incredibly loud ‘boom’ of rolling thunder, after which an ear-splitting crack of lightning hit the ground. The demons had arrived, and yours truly departed at the double tactically withdrew and headed indoors! There was no room in the dogs basket so I decided to put the kettle on, at which point my humble abode suffered an absolute power cut… Bugger, and far too early for a tot of rum…  Click all pics to enlarge Rolling thunderSitting and pondering life whilst twiddling my thumbs, I suddenly remembered the emergency gas stove and steam kettle. Joy of joy’s, salvation was mine ‘a pot of tea was soon to be.’ I hauled the emergency box out of its hide’y hole and set every thing up; ‘just as the power kicked in and returned civilisation to my humble abode.’ Being stubborn I flashed up the gas and boiled the water into steam the old-fashioned way. Never did a pot of tea taste so good, along with a digestive biscuit, or two! The rattle of the biscuit tin brought down two screaming banshee’s from atop the stairs, followed by Joss the plodder. The field walk was back on as daylight returned. The demons and their mode of transport had rolled over, they were now heading out across the North Sea en-route to the land of the Vikings, Denmark and Norway. No match what so ever for the strength of Yorkshire tea slurped from a tin mug.      Yours Aye.  

Where there’s Yorkshire tea, there be no demons!’

The ‘Reign’ in Spain falls mainly on their pain

Spain has sworn in a new king in a low-key ceremony that monarchists hope will usher in a new era of popularity for the troubled royal household.article-2662329-1EE9C2DA00000578-479_964x618
Felipe VI has taken to the throne after his father Juan Carlos tearfully signed his abdication papers at midnight last night following a 36-year reign. 

Determined to stay in line with the country’s austerity measures, the new monarch, his wife Letizia and their two daughters – Leonor, eight, and Sofia, seven – were ferried through Madrid in a low-key affair after a brief military parade to their first official engagement.article-2662329-1EE9B00C00000578-799_964x999

But the crowds were not unmanageable as the nation’s vast republican faction was banned from protesting – and thousands of football fans are today mourning Spain’s premature exit from the World Cup.

Exit a tarnished monarch, once idolised, now plagued by scandals, Spain’s King Juan Carlos abdicates 

Spain is feeling a lot of pain through it’s financial problems encountered via a double dip recession, as well as suffering massive unemployment running at 30%. On top of which the fanatical football supporting nation (winner of of the FIFA World Cup 2010 ) were knocked out of the current FIFA World Cup by giant killers Chile…  With apologies for the title to My Fair Lady; The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain ;-)      Yours Aye.

Chihuahuas bad ~ Staffies good

Chihuahuas do more damage than any other breed of dog – and if you want a quiet life you should get a Staffie They may be small and look cute, but Chihuahuas cause more damage than any other dog breed, a survey claims. The tiny dog causes an average of £866 worth of damage over its lifetime by ripping carpets, scratching or chewing sofas and digging up flowerbeds. In contrast, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, which are perceived as fierce by many people, make the best pets as they cause the least amount of damage, costing around £178 in total. The study of 2,000 dog owners found that the Dalmatian, Bulldog, Great Dane, Husky, Beagle, Pointer and German Shepherd make up the rest of the top 10 most destructive dogs. ‘Two canine thugs out looking for trouble’article-0-004EEFC7000004B0-704_468x436

The ‘sausage’ dog or Dachshund also has a bad reputation with insurers and is the second most destructive dog according to the survey, with owners facing a bill of £810 to clean up their pet’s destruction, followed by the boxer with total damage of £784. ‘Chihuahuas may be tiny but it seems they will leave you with a bigger bill than any other dog,’ a spokesman for Sussex-based financial comparison site PayingTooMuch.com, said. ‘They might not have the size of other breeds but they can still leave more than their fair share of destruction behind them.’ Some are masters of disguise and quite adaptable… article-2480466-1912ACD400000578-524_634x399 ‘All pet owners expect a little damage from their dog from time to time, but when you add up the total amount spent on cleaning, repairing and replacing, it can be a huge amount. ‘Add to that extra costs from damage caused to other people’s property and bills if your pet is involved in an accident, and you can expect to part with a large amount of money.’Rays of sunshine Staffie Kryptonite Rays of sunshine have the same effect as strength sapping Kryptonite towards Staffies… The study of 2,000 dog owners found that the Dalmatian, Bulldog, Great Dane, Husky, Beagle, Pointer and German Shepherd make up the rest of the top 10 most destructive dogs. Staffordshire Bull Terriers cause the least damage and were followed by West Highland Terriers which cause around £183 worth of destruction over their lives. Third place went to Yorkshire Terriers with a bill of £227 followed by a Spaniel’s £230 and Whippet’s £251. Some people may be surprised that Rottweilers and active Sheepdogs are among the least destructive dogs.

Top Ten Least Destructive Dogs;

Staffordshire bull terrier £178.21
West highland white terrier £182.61
Yorkshire terrier £226.97
Spaniel £230.25
Whippet £251.02
Shih tzu £277.98
Labrador £280.59
Jack Russell £318.94
Rottweiler £346.88
Sheepdog £347.60
Chihuahuas do more damage than any other breed of dog – and if you want a quiet life you should get a Staffie…

Hand on heart I can honestly say that my Staffies have never shredded anything (save for Nipper ripping my walking sock to pieces, which I accept full responsibility for.) As far as a quiet life goes; I’m not too sure that is true, as Staffies are known to be very vocal. One day soon I will include a film clip of Hannah and Nipper tearing around the field, and then you will understand. And they snore like a drunken Irish navvy after pay-day…      Yours Aye.         I await a tempered reply from Kristen; the proud owner of two of the bad boy breeds ;-)

‘Nipper of the North’

Twelve week old 'Nipper'Nine months ago I ‘bagged’ a Staffordshire Bull Terrier X Jack Russell from a local animal rescue centre, just as he was being handed in. At the time it was hard to believe that the malnourished pup was 12-weeks-old, he could easily have passed for half his age, his sad demeanour reflected the life he had endured within his previous home. He was a timid  frightened little runt that had been neglected by his own birth mother, as well as the person responsible for his welfare. Nipper’s immediate foible was one of trust, which was obvious from his behaviour, little did he know his future (and mine) were about to change-for the better.

‘Nipper of the North’ is one year old today!  Animal Rescue Centre file photograph. (Top left)

Nipper's first day at home

Fortunately six-month-old ‘Hannah’ (rescued from the same centre) immediately took to him, and showed him the ropes under the watchful eye of ‘Joss.’ They have all remained inseparable since that first day, and even though the commotion from the rough and tumble can be distracting at times; I wouldn’t have it any other way.   (Three days in and the rough and tumble begins as Nipper finds his feet, and a use for his puppy teeth.)

Nipper growing up with Hannah week 2

Joss is a typical pure bred ‘Staffie,’ an old and bold three badge canine that has seen it all before, who no doubt will welcome one more rescue pup before he crosses the canine rainbow bridge.Joss n Nipper I truly hope so as his chilled out personality as well as his strength of character have been well and truly conditioned into the two youngsters. His appearance belies his age of twelve years, all of which have been spent constantly by my side.

Incidentally Joss now carries a scar that Nipper holds full responsibility over after he run full pelt into the back of him whilst he was stationary. The heavy rear end shunt required a visit to the local veterinary practice two days ago, whereupon Joss had his damaged ‘crown jewels’ removed!   Long grass and a short speeding Staffie X = An eye watering Vet bill…Nipper 1 year-old 18 May 2014Nipper watching a pheasant in flight yesterday. To those who may be considering purchasing a dog, may I just say that you cannot go too far wrong in re-homing one from a rescue centre. With a little bit of care and attention, combined with plenty of exercise and a healthy diet my little malnourished runt has turned into an absolute cracker, as has Hannah. Imagine what may be awaiting upon your arrival; but be under no illusion that you are there to choose them, the canine will choose you and it may well be you are chosen after a few visits. Or if you are lucky you may be selected telepathically upon arrival in the car park…      Yours Aye.

I love a good sneeze!

‘It has to be said that I love a good sneeze ~ an explosive one to bring leaves down from trees ~ and not just one but three in a row ~ if I’m ever so lucky I’ll knock out four!’  E-B.DSC_0021For as long as I can remember I have loved a good sneeze! The tell-tale tickle deep inside the nose that just appears from no where, which causes one to savour the sensitive discomfort (that is also a mild pleasure!) Then the tease of breathing in through the nose in short gentle intakes so as not to allow the tickle to escape; that then builds into an almighty wriggling tickle that needs to be released with the power equivalent to the back-blast of a 105mm anti/tank gun. ‘BOOM!’ Away she goes… Followed by the feeling of giddy rapture due to a nano second of unconsciousness; knowing full well that the next mild tickle is forming as visual sense is regained. This time trying to make the wriggling tickle last longer than the first until ‘BOOOM!’ Followed by the final ‘BOOOOM!’ Which, sadly, is the triple over and done with for the time being at least…         Click pics to enlarge Rapeseed fieldsBeing surrounded by rapeseed crops it would appear that my love for sneezing has to be curtailed, other wise I will be blowing birds out of trees as well as stripping them bare with a good old ‘KERCHOOO!!!’ For the first time ever I have turned to taking a small Piriton pill to stop me sneezing, even though I don’t suffer from the effects of hay-fever. This is more to save the canine’s sensitive hearing, because when I do sneeze even the neighbours in the village five miles away call to ask if I’m finished! ‘Nipper seeking cover from the blast’Nipper taking coverWhat a great morning though before popping a Piriton, and we aren’t even into Summer yet (three triples before breakfast followed by a super four just before lunch!) ;-) Yours Aye.

Lunatics running the asylum

Biden Flubs Boston Bombing Tribute by KEITH KOFFLER on APRIL 16 2014 11:05 AM 

President Obama Tuesday passed the Boston Marathon memorializing duties to Vice President Biden who, typically, screwed it up.Brainless Joe!Brainless Idiot Joe Biden Tells Boston Bombing Survivors “It Was Worth It?”     

“To those quote ‘survivors.’ My God, you have survived and you have soared. It was worth it, I mean this sincerely, just to hear each of you speak. You are truly, truly inspiring. I have never heard anything so beautiful as what all of you just said.”

It was worth it? What is he even trying to say? I assume he didn’t mean their suffering was worth it. Please God, make that not be the case, even if it’s just a mental mixup. He was probably trying to relate that the victims’ remarks made it worth it for him to come to Boston. But really? Was it some kind of imposition And why is Biden heading up the White House commemoration of this event in the first place? Where’s Obama? Holding a personal moment of silence. Maybe Joe begged for the job because he wanted to show Democratic primary voters what a healer he can be. In that case, it wasn’t worth it.?Obama-moment-silence-e1397656611218

I watched Biden speak live and my toes curled up under my feet, the man is an absolute blithering idiot… Several days ago the White House ‘warned’ Russia against further military action in the Ukraine, and then announced that “US Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Kiev on April 22 to demonstrate high-level US support. Dear Gawd, which lunatic is really running the White House asylum?             Yours Aye

Ergonomics of a standing desk

A genuine question to those of you perusing this post. Are you aware of anyone who uses a ‘standing-desk’ from which they operate their PC’s or work stations from? Perhaps you are a user with first hand experience? Is it a passing trend, a designer ‘must have,’ or just plain ergonomic common sense? Of interest; the best bar height is at least six inches higher than that recommended in the graphic below, of which I have no problem with for hours on end (until it comes to leaving the pub at closing time!)stand-up-desk-alignment This afternoon on a local radio station an ‘ergonomic expert’ mentioned that “medical research has been building up for a while, suggesting constant sitting is harming our health potentially causing cardiovascular problems or vulnerability to diabetes!” He went on further to state that standing whilst working is far better for posture when using a PC or work station, though the concept requires a short period of adjustment.22basics-web-articleLarge Unfortunately; just recently I have been so caught up with an online project that quite often a pair of hours whizz by unknowingly, which has resulted in lower back pain and aching shoulders that then requires a good stretching exercise to rectify the problem (followed by a good walk and a pot of tea.) Tomorrow it is my intention to put together a ‘Heath Robinson’ system to test out the ‘ergonomic experts’ theory. In the mean time I would appreciate any valuable input over the pros and cons of standing-over-sitting whilst tickling the ivory’s on the keyboard.             Yours Aye.

Grown-ups LARPing around

arab_bazaar_cairoI may well have previously mentioned  several times or so at least that I have been around the bazaars numerous times whilst on military adventures for Queen and Country. And when the occasion has required it *“I’ve landed me-self with a Gatlin’ gun to talk to them ‘eathen kings.” 1939552_10151988566290920_180951723_n

For just over 23-years I operated and survived in minus hideous temperatures in the Arctic; Operationally patrolled secondary jungle for weeks on end, surviving on bush tucker and tracking skills;Beau Geste

Spent more time in the desert than ‘Beau Geste; And jumped from perfectly serviced aircraft on to land, and into sea. To cap it all ‘as a true Royal Marine,’ – I’ve been part of RM Detachments on Her Majesties Ships of the ‘grey-funnel-line’ thrice. Salt water runs through my veins, and sand from a multitude of foreign beach landings sits in my boots to this day… 

ROYAL NAVY TO TEST TASK FORCE ON HUGE NATO EXERCISESeven medals, three war wounds, and a slight hint of psychological damage on the eve of a full moon – with more scars than the Grand Canyon… Fair to say I have seen life from every angle, and from every dirty corner of the world. But; what I saw today Ladies & Gentlemen, is something ‘I-aint-ever-in-all-my-life-seen-afore!’ 

Allow me to elucidate the circumstances and set the scene that could have been taken from a hazy day in Sodom or Gomorrah. Instead it happened right in front of me as I sat in my favourite spot on the North Yorkshire Moors, overlooking a small clearing within ancient woodland that is fed by a babbling brook…

Having perambulated the route to my small sanctuary I settled down against the tree trunk of an ever green, happy in the fact that my retreat could not be seen or overlooked by anyone due to its remoteness.  Extracting my flask of tea and cold bacon sandwiches from my bergan, I contemplated my return route as I gently poured steaming brown nectar into my old tin mug. Pondering on the two options available I considered ‘the long way,’ which is easier on the heart and lungs but time-consuming. Alternatively, ‘the short passage’ over hill and dale forces the same vital organs to work like a blacksmiths leather bellow’s on overtime, which takes two hours off the clock. I opted for the later as I was without canine company, and my body required a good blow out to get rid of a few accumulated cobwebs.     ‘The short passage – up and over’ Click to enlarge…Short passage route homeJust as I took my first slurp of tea I heard voices in the far distance, it was followed by ‘persons unknown’ cursing as they crashed through the undergrowth of bramble and wild rose. I then heard two people calling out to each other – two male voices, who appeared to be lost - until they appeared in the clearing slightly below me one on either side of the babbling brook that is around eight feet wide, and two or three feet deep. My jaw dropped when I saw them both; it was the most unbelievable sight, so much so that I almost dropped my bacon sandwich from my vice like grip. Fortunately I carry a stout blackthorn staff on my little adventures that is more than capable of cracking a skull if required, though its use is for far more moderate means such as leaning against when I run out of puff, or poking dead things to make sure they are dead (if that makes sense?) bible_guardianangel_warriorangel_20130307Here before me were two grown men dressed up in what I can only describe as ‘fantasy apparel!’ Each wore a pair of dark leather leggings, with a type of ornate steel and interwoven leather breast-plate, adorned by an assassins long hooded cloak. They each had a long staff, and a small waistband dagger, one had a sheathed sword, and the other carried an obscenely large war hammer. They both wore black thick-soled ‘Doc Martin’ boots, as well as blue streaked lines on their faces that glistened from the heat of the day. Obviously the in vogue ‘de rigueur’ accessory had to be matching finger-less leather gloves adorned with chain mail? After much goading from each other one of the blokes attempted to cross the algae covered boulders that sit within the brook, of which the inevitable happened; in he went up to his knees, but even more remarkable was his dropped war hammer floated on the slow running water-it was a plastic war hammer (as were all of their ‘weapons’ and breast plates?) They eventually stood in the clearing and started posing menacingly for photographs using a small camera they had set up on a fallen tree, all snapped using an infra-red remote control. ‘Grrrr – Growl’

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By this stage I was more than bemused as they were referring to each other as ‘Storm Dragon’ and ‘Gallactor!’ They even went through the motions of fighting each other in a slow-motion-type-of-way as the camera blinked and flashed? Enough was enough as I had finished my snack and curiosity got the better of me, it was time to ‘pee on their fantasy bonfire.’ As I stood up and broke cover I bellowed (a good seven on the Richter scale“STOPPPPPP!”  Which they both did, after almost jumping out of their skin – in fact Storm Dragon almost dropped his war hammer and took flight. I honestly couldn’t contain myself as I walked towards them both “What in Gawds name are you both doing dressed up like that?” They both looked quite sheepish as Storm Dragon replied LARPing – it’s fantasy role play.” – “Never heard of it mate” I replied looking quite befuddled trying to grasp the ridiculousness of the situation before me. 

Having recovered their camera we all returned to my little sanctuary (I didn’t wish to be seen consorting with nutters in the open glade) they also had flasks and sandwiches in a nifty little home-made canvas back pack, and as we sipped tea they explained ‘LARPing.’ Their ‘Live Action Role Play’ was that of a mixture of mediaeval-modern-fantasy-steampunk, of which they hoped to gather more individuals through a website they were putting together – hence the photographs. Phillip (Storm Hammer) worked in a bank, and Steven (Gallactor) was a civil servant; they were both in their early 30’s with no girl friends to speak of (can’t imagine why?) I sat and listened bemused as they spoke of their fantasy world, and how they hoped to bring in new members to establish a group that could travel to LARP festivals around the UK and Europe – and perhaps even attend a convention in America.undead_retinue

To avoid any possible invitation I clearly stated that I would rather sit and chew the feet off my legs, rather than join in such a group – but each to their own, “besides I have dogs that need my attention 24/7.” – “People bring along their dogs, as well as cats” replied Steven – who went on to inform me that such canines wear plastic battle armour. Our conversation ended on a high note, and as we bid our farewells I mentioned that the little clearing before us was ‘very’ popular with families and walkers (actually that is far from the truth, I selfishly wished to keep my little haven ‘LARP group free.’) As it happened I needn’t have worried as they had blundered across it by chance and the bramble, wild rose thicket, and babbling brook appeared to deter any possible return.iz-redy-4-larping-cute-dog-loldogs-300x218

I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself as I yomped along the route back home via the short passage. The hideous memory of Storm Dragon and Gallactor playing out their fantasies even took away the rasping burning pain of the steep climb. I also had a cracking idea for Nipper ‘Red-Fang’ and his next Christmas fancy dress outfit, which would also double up as protection when ratting in the fields.  Yours Aye… *“Soldier an’ Sailor Too”