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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

There is always room for something else you don't need

Resistance is useless!

Ah, how those prescient words of the Darleks came back to me this morning!  Actually, they came back to me yesterday, but it was on charge and so it didn’t really count until, fully charged today, it did its thing.
            As Doctor Johnson so very neatly put it when Boswell tried to distract him from playing Candy Crush on his iPad, “A man who is tired of gadgets is tired of life!”  And who am I, a mere poet-taster to go against the Great Man’s words!
            Which is a roundabout way of explaining that, as we went out to lunch to add another venue to Toni’s blog (http://catalunyaplacetoeat.blogspot.com.es) I pressed the button which brought my new robot hoover to life.  Toni has christened him with a name that I have instantly forgotten and we sallied forth, leaving said Robot to ‘do’ the second floor.  Needless to say, I had already checked that he had some sort of sensor to stop himself hurtling downstairs.
            When we came back he was bleating plaintively, asking to be fed and was in a different room from the one that I had placed him in before we went out – so that much prove something.  And there was dust in the little container for collecting such stuff.  Tomorrow the living room and kitchen because, after all, the whole point of these things is not only do you not do the hoovering, but also you are most pointedly not there while it is being done.  So we will be forced to go out to lunch again tomorrow, just so the hoovering can be done!
            Toni is still deeply sceptical (though also just as clearly deeply fascinated) and I am delighted.  This happiness will last up until the internal batteries explode or the brushes wear out or both.  And it is only then that I find that the only replacements are hideously expensive and only available from a small village in some outlandish province in deepest, darkest China.  Ah well, as I have always said with gadgets, “Enjoy!  Before built-in obsolescence catches up with you.”  Wise, if sad, words.

Send the bloody thing in!

How many partners of those doing an Open University course have had occasion to voice the deathless words in the title?
            They have had to suffer detailed descriptions of the bureaucracy (and I still can’t spell that word, thank god for Word and its dictionary – though sometimes I so mangle the letters that even the ever-patient Word can offer no suggestions) and, these days the electronic hoops through which one has to jump before the work can get where it needs to go.
            It is at times like this that one of the sayings in my family comes into its own: “Anything is better than nothing!”  I do realise that this is not always true in all cases, but it is sufficient to give a little kick up the academic backside when necessary and so it justifies its existence.  And I think that I would maintain that it is more true than wayward in most cases!
            All the necessary work for my next piece of work has been done.  It is just putting it in words that it the difficult bit.
            I have, as usual, and much to Toni’s amazed disgust, left what I have to do until the last minute.  It isn’t actually, but, as I am going to Barcelona tomorrow I really should get it out of the way before it is due on Thursday at mid day British Time.
            As this piece of work is unmarked and merely a guide to initial thoughts (through compulsory) you would have thought that it would be a relatively easy thing to polish off.  It isn’t.  And continues to be problematic.
            Why, I hear you ask, am I not working at it rather than writing this?  I reject the idea that this is displacement activity – though, god knows, I could write a fairly comprehensive handbook on the subject – it is merely releasing my writing flow.  I regard this in the same way as a sort of ‘freewrite’ where the words flowing from my fingertips will, inevitably, result in the academic stuff that I should be writing being released.
            Perhaps I should put it to the test, as I would like to sleep this evening and not stay awake wondering if I will have the time to get the thing done before the deadline.  And we all know, thanks to the publicity which is given to the American Civil War, exactly what that phrase meant in reality!

To short?

The weather has definitely changed for the better.  It is still blustery and if you are in shadow it is not warm, but on the whole you can imagine summer happening without too much mental activity on your part.
            This being the case the question of appropriate apparel comes to the fore.
            I have, throughout the year, been true to my sandals.  My feet, unlike other extremities I might mention, do not usually get cold.  I hate wearing shoes or sports shoes and so I have worn sandals.  I have rejected the accusations that I am making myself look like an ageing peacenik from a bygone age of innocence and bad clothing, and I have stuck to my footwear of choice.  Catalonia is not warm in the winter, though a damn sight warmer than the UK, and I have allowed myself to be persuaded into jeans.  Now that the weather is, or indeed has, changed, the question of shorts presses itself for consideration.
            If it were merely a question of walking about then I might shortify myself forthwith, but the bike is a complicating factor.  I find that riding the bike is colder than walking.  I don’t really see why, it is hardly because I am whizzing along with the wind tearing at my flesh, but it is colder.
            Needless to say, no one in Castelldefels is wearing sandals, let alone shorts.  It is not the season to do that and Catalans are not ones to throw caution and their clothes to the winds just because it is hot.  If the date is not right then the clothes stay on.  And lots of them.  So if I decided to wear shorts then it will only be me.  Not that that has ever dissuaded me from a course of action, but I do have to put up with Toni who never fails to mention the people I have blithely ignored and who Toni later tells me stared with open fascination at my sandals.
            So this is a decision not to be entered into lightly.  I have picked out a pair of shorts that have been left to one side of late and am considering.  Seriously considering.

Thalassa!  Thalassa!

From where I sit typing this, if I concentrate hard and the wind is in the right direction and synchronises the movement of some branches I can actually see a small fragment of the sea.  If I use my imagination I tell myself that I can sometimes make out scraps of whitish things that could be parts of waves.
            What I can see, plainly are lots of pine trees.  They are infuriatingly luxuriant and block out a grade one sea view and make it a fourth rate peep-hole sea view on a good day. 
            These trees, after which the area in which I live is named, grow everywhere.  They drop resin on cars which is virtually impossible to get off.  They drop pine needles which sometimes form carpets of vegetation which stop anything else from poking its head above ground.  They drop pinecones like anti-personnel ammo, and they block drains. 
            They also have astonishingly shallow roots and whenever we have high winds (for us) I secretly pray that the ones that block our view will be uprooted.  They never are of course and, given my propensity for writing poems on trees (see: http://smrnewpoems.blogspot.com.es) this praying for destruction smacks a little of hypocrisy, but that is just part of the rich tapestry of contradictory emotions that make us what we are.  I say.

Determination


And now, I can put off working on my outline no more, this is it, a concerted effort, no distractions.  Write!
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