Friends Reunited

Friends Reunited seems to have taken a back seat in the Web v2.0 explosion.

Peculiar really, given that Friends Reunited has a much better search facility (you try looking up ‘Belinda Thomas’ on Facebook and then flip to Friends Reunited and use their advanced search page!).

Yeah, I know.

Why am I lying in bed (just gone noon, thanks very much), listening to Millie still howling next door looking up my arch nemesis on Friends Reunited?

Well come a little closer my friends and I’ll tell you my answer…


I don’t know.

There, that’s it.

I think that – starved of sleep and with the edge of reasoning beginning to become unravelled like a kind of tartan travel rug that’s been used a little too often – I’m subconsciously looking for somone to gloat over.

Because I can’t hurt Millie, right?

Right, that would be wrong.

So I want to know how badly Belinda Thomas has fared in life.

I want to find out where she’s failed, I want evidence that there is a Karma that gets the really bad people in the end.

I want to peel apart her life, layer by layer until every one of her mistakes, every moment of the futility of her existence is exposed to my penetrating stare.

And she was really bad to me.

Oh yes.

She ‘dear johnned’ me.

It felt that as soon as I had boarded the train to RAF basic training she rushed to her dining room table and, under the careful supervision of her mother (another cow of cows who deserves the full might of bad Karma) penned the most poisonous of letters to end our relationship of 18 months.


But sadly not even Friends Reunited’s advanced search tool can yield her up to my penetrating gaze.

Which makes me feel a little better.

After all, I rationalise (perhaps mistakenly but hey, I’m so short of sleep I know I’m hardly thinking straight), she really must be crap if she’s not even on Friends Reunited.


Anyway, I have to go now.

I’m going to fashion a couple of voodoo dolls, one for each of Millie’s owners.

And then I’m going to stick pins in all of the most sensitive places I can think of.

Oh boy, can I think of a lot of sensitive places!


More doggy thoughts

Yep, it’s been over an hour since my last post and Millie’s still at it.

So now I’m having ‘fix the doggy’ thoughts.

Weedkiller-flavoured raw steaks pushed through next door’s letterbox fluttered through my head about half an hour ago.

But that would be wrong so I’ve dismissed it.

I mean, it’s not Millie’s fault that her two owners are totally rubbish human beings, is it?

No, of course not.

So I need to fix the owners, not the dog.


hits head against the bed headboard

I can’t do it.

I can’t come up with a way forward.

Robbed of sleep my brain is refusing to function.

Suggestions please!


Good morning!

Ah, Sunday morning.

Breakfast in bed, an ogle at The Lovely S, a quick tap of the laptop.

And all accompanied by the ever-present howling of the bl**dy dog.

It was 02.20 when one of the owners arrived home last night – which silenced Millie.

But he went out around 10.00 this morning and she’s been howling ever since.


The Lovely S just said to me that perhaps we’d better go out soon.

We don’t have anywhere in particular to go.

She just means ‘perhaps we’d better get away from that howling dog’.





This might be badly constructed because it’s a rant driven by anger and because I’m angry I’m not going to be terribly nice.

So there.

See how much I just don’t care?

That’s a sign of anger that is.

This post might also contain swear words but hopefully I’ll have the presence of mind to edit those out before I press the ‘submit’ button.

The time is 01.50 (or ten minutes to two in the morning if you prefer).

I’m awake due entirely to the unbelievable thoughtlessness of our stupidly dim neighbours.

They have a dog, our neighbours.

It’s a kind of Basset Hound.

Her name is Millie and she’s eight years old (but if she was within reach of my hands right now the odds on her seeing her ninth birthday would be remarkably slight).

Millie howls when she’s left alone.

Guess what?

She’s alone.

And howling.

I’ve been upstairs in bed trying to sleep since 00.15 (quarter past midnight).

Entirely, conclusively and demonstrably unsuccessfully.

What selfish b*st*rds my neighbours are.

They know their bl**dy dog howls when she’s left alone.

They know because it’s been mentioned to them.

And now they’ve gone out for who-the-hell-knows how long and left their bl**dy howling b*st*rd of a f*ck*ng c*ck-s*cking bitch of a f*ck*ng dog alone in their house to howl all f*ck*ng night.

I really don’t care if they’ve gone to hospital because she’s having a baby.

That makes it worse in my view!

They didn’t see this coming?

They haven’t had at least six months to think out a dog care arrangement?

They didn’t?

They really didn’t?

Well how stupid are they?

It’s inconsiderate b*st*rds like this who give the rest of humanity a bad press.

I want to ring the police and report the dog for disturbing the peace.

And then I want to ring the RSPCA and report the owners for neglect.



F*ck ’em.

Not a good jumpy experience…

Because the Hunter Trial was canclled I jumped Vin in the arena at home.

Sue had set up a schooling grid of three fences on an eliptical line with the elements seperated by two strides and three strides.

 Vin jumped the first element brilliantly (albeit almost always on the wrong leg because he wouldn’t give up right lead canter).

We did four laps and then added in the second element.

He was slightly hesitant, but we got over and again did four laps.

But he wouldn’t jump the first element when we added that to the string.

I don’t know how much of it was Vin being unsure or me being unsure.

But this evening I’m not feeling very positive about our jumping ability, which is a shame because next weekend we’re in the Mercian Teams Two-Phase competition down in Gloucestershire.

Oh hell.


Hangin’ on the telephone…

Had a call from Mr Vodafone.

Mr V: Hi Mr Jones, you know that your annual contract has expired?

Mr J: Yes.

Mr V: Well, we’d like to keep you as a customer so if you’re happy with the handset we’d like to give you the next six months line rental at half price.

Mr J: Cool!

Deal done, jobs a good ‘un (as they say in Manchester).


Book review: Cannery Row by John Steinbeck

I approached this with considerable trepidation.

It was a ‘set text’ ‘ a novel from the list for the Readers Group.

I haven’t read many works by mainstream American authors though I am familiar with Steinbeck’s work.

As I said, approached with trepidation.

And pleasantly surprised.

Set (as is Grapes of Wrath, a work I know well) during the American Depression, Cannery Row is an examination of people and events in the Monterey district of California.

There is a surprising social ecology to Cannery Row.

There’s a micro’economic/social entity that is fed by the people and acts we encounter; visitors to the whorehouse, the work produced by the canneries and – much to the fore – by Doc’s endeavours.

Outputs of this feed trickle down to the smallest, most insignificant (if that’s not an oxymoron because in this work Steinbeck has chosen no character to be completely insignificant) character and affects their lives.

Is this an indication of Steinbeck’s humanistic views; this sensitive exploration of a smaller model of society as a whole?

If so it makes Steinbeck an idealistic writer, a romantic author.

Certainly one of the pivotal characters – Doc – is an over-romanticised character.

A kind of ‘community elder’, Doc is a lonely man; lonely by choice, lonely by design (as much as any character is designed by its author) and lonely as programmed by his ever’present musical selections.

Doc seems familiar; perhaps there are shades of him in Casy, a character who features in The Grapes of Wrath (the only other Steinbeck novel I’ve read).

Cannery Row displays an interconnectedness between all layers of human society.

From Doc to the bums who occupy the grandly titled Palace Flophouse (a near derelict shack the boys occupy and pay no rent for).

To the Chinese shopkeeper.

To the working girls who ply their trade in The Bear Flag.

The writing is pleasantly readable; Steinbeck chooses not to load the reader down with details of The Great Depression in Cannery Row.

And there is also humour.

And these two things make this book peculiar to read.

Most works that centre on the Great Depression convey the hopelessness, the grinding unimaginable despair of the time.

Cannery Row does not.

It is an undepressive book set in a time of terrible depression.

An interesting contradiction.

Cannery Row isn’t a Great Work.

It’s a small, tight, readable observation of life in a subsection of Californian society during one of America’s toughest times.

But because it is an observational work of the calibre that could have been written by a war correspondent (which Steinbeck had been), it contains the first two but lacks the third of the things that have been drilled in to me that All Great Works Must Have: a Beginning, a Middle and an End.