Thursday, 29 April 2010
Oh, I wish I could have thought of a better word than 'thing' in the above line but that will become clear as you read this..............it's not a long missive. Mine aren't in the main.
To get back on topic.
I left home at about 4.00pm, or 1600hrs in police parlance, to go to work early. As I left I got the warmest, biggest, sweetest, loveliest hug off.........................guess................Granddaughter. Obvious innit. She is one of those people who can love for just the sake of it. A giving person. Generous.
I drove into work feeling warm and happy.
I got back tonight..........oops sorry...............this morning...........and ambled into the kitchen.
On the worktop facing me was a new bottle of whisky and a glass..........to be used.
Might not seem much eh? Mrs AWB works full time. She must have gone out after I'd left and bought this ready for my return. She will have been tired but she thought of me.
She knows I like a snifter at the end of a long shift.........but she went that extra mile.
Those two 'things'................that word again......brought to my mind how varied love can be.
My Granddaughter's love for me will be a million miles from Mrs AWB's. I'm lucky enough to have others love me too.......as I love them. Family ... friends. Each so different.
Oh, the joy of it. I think love, in all its shapes and forms, is possibly the most exhilarating 'thing'.........that bugger of a word again..........we can experience.
A thought. To love others do you have to love yourself a little too?
Think about that. A lot of people who seem incapable of love also seem to dislike themselves.
Ergo...........those who feel at ease with love must feel at ease with.........or even love.........themselves.
I'll be open here. I like me. I have all sorts of doubts and my self esteem follows what I can only describe as a roller coaster ride. But I still have an inner faith in me which allows me to throw out passion, love and all the rest.
Does that make any sense?
Buggered if I know.......but then I'm sitting here at 0400hrs plus............on my second LARGE whisky.
Is it any wonder that the word 'thing' was all I could think of?
Good night..........morning?.................oh heck................I think I can hear the birds.....................an early morning chorus.
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
A lovely quiet, balmy night with one of those faint breezes that caress rather than blow had set the mood as I settled down.
And then I heard a distant sound. A faint, delicate tinkling. Fairies playing triangles. It came and went and teased my ears as it gently led me into that strange netherworld of neither being awake nor asleep until the latter took over.
It was a wind chime. We like them in our house. Mrs AWB had bought a new one and had hung it up in the walled rear garden below my bedroom window.
Wind chimes reflect the weather. A frenetic jangle in high winds whilst they can enhance an already snoozy kind of ambience, as they did last night.
I awoke to it this morning, the same languid gentleness and it has set me up for the day.
Tuesday, 27 April 2010
If anything the election puts me off even more.
Last week I sat up and watched the aftermath on the News after the second debate between the three main party leaders. A number of things left me cold.
An interview with a spin doctor from each party. What a pointless exercise of listening to three grown men boasting that their 'dad was bigger than yours'. Whose benefit was it for? It was lazy politicking and lazy TV. Nothing of import was said or asked and I ended up playing a game on the laptop with less than half an ear listening to the telly. That kind of cheap point scoring puts me off. I felt more disillusioned after listening them than I had before.
And they get paid to do that!!!
Then there was the replacement to the 'Swingometer'. Remember that? It made some sense but even the enthusiastic guys playing with their toy made it clear that nothing was certain and I always felt it was done with a tongue slightly in the cheek.
Now they have 'The Worm' Oh my word. An audience was given little buzzers to press, I imagine with coloured buttons to match the party colours. They could press for agreement or disagreement as they listened to the three leaders trying to score points. The result; a travelling set of three coloured lines, the worms, denoting who had made the better point.
But what was the point? A debating point here. A debating point there. Meaningless. The commentators enthusiastically analysed each point down to the level of sentence by sentence to see which speaker had been more effective. It was like watching political trainspotters. How can you base a long term decision on such momentary blips in what someone says?
What a trite way to do things. What an apt statement of what politics is all about these days. The moment. A sentence or even a word is examined in minutiae whilst the bigger picture seems to get ignored.
During that same programme it was observed that people had started to switch off half way through the leaders' debate. Well, after all it was the second one. The novelty was already wearing off.
The one interesting fly in the ointment is this. Because Nick Clegg has been given equal billing with the other two his party has suddenly become a contender. Now there's a surprise. I'm being ironic here for if you put three men of similar ability up and you'll get similar results. He was bound to do well, even if only for a short while until the novelty wore off.
I wonder how long it will last. Whether the novelty factor will fade and we'll end up with the liberals coming a poor third again. Now that the spotlight is on them I suspect they'll have some hard lessons to learn. We'll see.
I hope my interest develops. I worry that if it doesn't is it because I'm turning into a grumpy old fart who thinks he's seen and heard it all?
Or is it because there is something fundamental missing from politics and those involved from the rest of us? A genuine connection? I suspect that the spotlight we put them under creates a sort of frightened rabbit approach. They dare not put a foot wrong and will do anything to be seen to be effective in front of the cameras. People cannot behave naturally under those conditions - just look at the weird people who populate the ranks of professional celebrity.
Monday, 26 April 2010
Browsing the web one day recently I decided to look at Google Maps to see if our house was on it. Last time I had looked it was half built; we live in a newly built house and the aerial photo must have been taken in early 2007.
This time it was complete. They've obviously been out in the helicopters all around the country since I last looked.
Not only that they had that street level view thingy too. I could get down at ground level and look at my own home! I wasn't in the garden. My car wasn't there.
But when I wandered the streets around a relatives house I could see someone I knew in the garden and his car parked in the drive. He was looking directly back at me. I could zoom in and look into the windows for chrissake.
Hmmmm..........don't know about you but I find that a bit creepy. I felt like a stalker.
I looked further. I found Mrs AWB's car parked in her place of work. I found a colleagues car parked at my old place of work.
They even have country roads. One of my favourite routes is The Strines road from Penistone to The Peak District. It goes past The Strines Inn. You can travel that road at ground level in a sort of virtual journey.
I marvelled at the fact that when I'm old and decrepit I will be able to wander the country lanes around Chatsworth and the rest.
But I felt and still do feel ambivalent about the intrusiveness of the thing.
And I wonder where it will lead. I wonder what I will be able to view from the comfort of my own home whilst others are viewing me.
Sunday, 25 April 2010
Mid 90's, blind, deaf, in the full throes of dementia. Can you call that a life? Yet the old bird is clinging on to what remains of her existence. Now in a coma she has had nothing to eat or drink for days and her breathing is starting to go through the tell-tale signs of approaching death.
How sad. Her death will not be met with much grief. That has happened gradually over the years. Her mind went over ten years ago. It will be met with some sadness but also a sense of relief. Guilt maybe too.
It brought to my mind the subject of euthanasia.
We haven't talked about it but I don't think anyone close would allow it in her case even if it were legal. Life, even when apparently not worth living is too sacred to deliberately terminate.
Mrs AWB has said she would want someone to bring about her death if she got like that.
'Would you?' I said, 'You can say that now but none of us can know how we'd feel when our life, to others, may not look as though it is worth living'.
There are those who suffer pain and see their bodies deteriorate and welcome death. Not everyone is like that. The lady I mention seems comfortable. We don't know her state of mind for little of it remains. So we have no right to hasten an end that will come anyway.
So now the sourcing.
There is so much advice on the web about 'How to write a Synopsis' and 'How to sell it to an agent' that you can come away more confused than you started out.
I'm following this formula. If it works what I'm about to write may be worth reading. If it doesn't then it could be worth reading too...........a 'How not to....'. Of course it doesn't take into account the saleability of my work.
I bought the 'Writer's Market UK'. It's packed with advice and has listings of Publishers and Literary Agents.
I trawled through the latter and drew up a short list based on the following criteria;
The kinds of fiction they were looking for; the wider the genres the better as mine could fall into a number. I'd class it as general. Many agencies have a narrow remit and many aren't looking for new 'talent' - talent being a moot point in my case.
That they had a website. Most of the websites give an idea of how they like you to send any submission. The websites are also up to date in letting you know whether they are still looking for new writers. They also have a list of current authors which gives you an idea as to the sort of thing they'll publish. A website, to me, can indicate a willingness to reach out.
That the website was open and informative. There are some websites that come over as perfunctory, as though to say -'Well, here's the website but it's only here as a sop to modernisation'. I ignored those.
I've whittled the hundreds down to twenty or so for my initial campaign. Not many. Within this group there are those who want exclusivity. By that I mean that they only want an initial submission to them and no-one else. Given that it takes 6 weeks or so for them to get back to you with the rejection slip it seems a little mean......and naive. How are they to know that you haven't sent off to a dozen others? They'll go to the back of the initial queue.
The rest split into those who want paper submission and those who'll accept them on-line; often with an on-line form to copy and post into.
They'll get the first attempts, followed by the rest.
After that it'll be back to sourcing.
In the meantime I'll wait for some final feedback while I examine the author's lists and finer points within some of these agencies.
Then it'll be crunch time. I'm expecting plenty of rejection slips.
'You'll get bored with it' was one comment she came out with. It's still here after 3 or 4 years - maybe more for I cannot recall exactly how long I've had it.
The accessories? The book I bought languishes in some unknown corner. The pruning scissors have been used, but not often. I even got a little spray can to moisten the leaves with. I've used that twice I think.
However, I love my little Bonsai. A tiny portion of nature that grows in my home and hopefully will do for the rest of my life. I look at it every day, give it a little water and maybe trim a branch or two.
It gives me a sense of peace and continuity.
Friday, 23 April 2010
Or we may simply need an excuse for never reaching an objective.
Does that matter? If we stick to a goal what do we do when we arrive there? Find another one, for life is merely a journey. It is not about arriving it is about the path we take.
So my goal is to enjoy the journey. I can achieve that every day. Or at least most days.
Today we wandered down the M1 again. We'd set a little objective to go find UK Water Features. Mrs AWB has got a fancy for a water feature of some kind and I rather like the idea too. When we decide I'll post about it. The choice is endless and they were very helpful. We liked this one; The Friendship Fountain.
After that it was Cannon Hall just up the road. I love that place. Can you tell? It must feature in a fair number of my posts.
We set ourselves another goal whilst walking the grounds there. To retire to Cawthorne, the village that lies beside the Hall.
Two objectives set in a day. Will we keep to them? Perhaps. The fact that they are there will make the journey nicer though. Something to set our sights on while we wander through our lives.
And that journey?
Well, this morning we enjoyed the Spring. I don't know about you but every year during April and May I get a lust for life. I feel frisky. I get love-sick. I become enslaved to rapture and the sheer joy of life. Every year I watch the new growth of plants and animals with never ceasing joy. In fact I find it more thrilling as the years go by.
Perhaps the contrast between my aging body and the fresh flush of youth, be it a daffodil or a lamb, helps me appreciate health.
Some photos for you.
A poor little duckling lost and cheeping for its parents. Hope it found them.
Noisy neighbours. I got hissed at by one of these characters
Hawthorn expresses Spring for me. A faint, ethereal yellow mist dusts the bare hedgerows to start with. It becomes bolder in its lust for life as the mist transforms into a celebration of fresh new green, a colour we only see at this time of year.
A Daffodil and a Fritillary. One, an exuberant celebration of Spring. The other a subtle statement just as beautiful in its own way.
Metal spiders and other creepies. They were made like those wooden kits of dinosaurs you can get but with sheet steel. Impressive. But I'm not sure I'd want one in my garden.
And finally me. I look happy and content because I am.
No new growth on me, apart from a few more white hairs maybe. I've had my spring.
Today we talked about goals.
It is the journey I'll remember though.
Mrs AWB will sometimes ask me my opinion of, say, a blouse. My heart sinks when I'm approached for an opinion on something like this.
I am scarred by the word 'nice'. It has been thrown back and left its mark over the years so when she asks me now I'll often think of something along the lines of, 'Hmmm, the colour goes with your eyes' or, if feeling brave, 'Nope, don't care for that'
But rarely the word 'nice'. Have you ever heard that word uttered through gritted teeth and turned from the rather sweet neutral sounding word into a verbal assault weapon.
Mrs AWB can do that when she lobs it back like a grenade.
I have a friend who uses the word 'nice' as a kind of superlative. It is said with meaning and in its simplicity it can mean so much more.
Sometimes I bravely wield the word out for Mrs AWB. and because I say it with meaning and not as a flippant, 'I can't think of anything else to say' she accepts it.
You see it's not just the word.
It's the way you say it.
Thursday, 22 April 2010
In fact when I went looking back on my blog I was convinced it had been longer, but no it wasn't. Just a couple of weeks and the transformation is vast.
We were out early this morning, before 9.00 am and joined the rush hour traffic on the M1 to venture down to the Peaks and Chatsworth area again.
Instead of the bacon butties we both plumped for the Eggs Benedict; never had that before funnily enough.
Oh what joy. We've got some of the very same Hollandaise Sauce to go with our own poached eggs in the morning.
In the lambs I saw change, irrevocable change.
In the Hollandaise Sauce I see a desire for stability, to repeat something that was nice. To defy change.
We all do it. Try to defy change. We are forced to deal with it every morning when we get up and see a new grey hair but then try to hide it by either dying the hair or, in the case of my nasal hairs, removing them with a little buzzing nose strimmer.
Often we fear change. A new procedure at any work place will be resisted and people will hanker back after the old ways quite often.
Strikes are usually about some new change that is feared, sometimes without cause.
Mostly I like change. I like the change in seasons. I even quite like the change in me. I'd hate to be thirty-five forever. What has gone before sits in my memory bank and to try to hold onto those memories and repeat them usually ends in a watered down version of what went on before.
All change means is the opportunity for new memories.
That probably means that when I have my Eggs Benedict at home it probably won't be quite as enthralling as what we had this morning.
I'll still have them though......and it will be different because I'll have a different view.
Maybe a sunrise.
Wednesday, 21 April 2010
I rolled home happy and content this afternoon, opened some wine just as Mrs AWB got home and the pair of us wandered around the garden together.
She told me about her day. Yes, it is she who has been given the title of this post at her place of work. Seriously.
I looked at her.
She looked at me.
We both smiled.
The world has gone mad.
Tuesday, 20 April 2010
I'll rephrase it to, ' doing exactly what I wanted'. Now that means something doesn't it. To open up a day like the first page of a drawing book and say to yourself. 'Just what shall I enter onto this page?'. To start a day without commitment. Oh what joy. A day like that is a virgin day.
After lazing around doing nothing apart from drink, eat, piss and shit I decided to watch a DVD accompanied by a bottle of wine, some crisps and any other decadent munchy I could think of to accompany it.
The DVD? Master and Commander
It's a roistering adventure set in Nelson's navy with Russell Crowe as the lead. Now I can hear you say , 'Hmmmph, typical, a 'man' film'.
Yes it is. Why not? It is more than that though. I have a deep interest in history. I am fascinated with times gone by and love trying to visualise what it must have been like to experience different periods of our past.
That film captures a moment as well as any I have watched. It has tried to be true to the times it portrays. The sounds of iron balls 'humming' through the air seem to reflect accurately the accounts I have read. The surgery and how it was performed; a broken arm often meant amputation.
I was enthralled as I knew I would be; I have watched it before. I was transported. I wondered about the awful food they would have had to eat. The brackish water. The drudgery and reliance on shipmates who would be your only companions for weeks or months at a time.
We take for granted our easy, centrally heated world. We tend to look down on the gung-ho attitude of our colonial ancestors as being naive and aggressive. It was our navy and the men who sailed those ships that conquered much of the world.
Without those men, for it was men in the main who drove all this, we would not be what we are.
We would not be living in one of the wealthiest corners of the world.
Saturday, 17 April 2010
My post is an attempt to illustrate the fact that art is all around us. In everything we do we can find it.
Take my job..................oh no..............not that again.............but please bear with me........a chuckle as I nearly said ...............please bare with me. A sweet thought. I'm meandering but I do not apologise for this is my blog and I'll wander through the words as I see fit. If you join me all well and good. If not..........well............does it matter?
The art in my job? I'll give you an example. I'm getting to the stage where I can control what I do, control the calls and engineer how things progress to a degree.
Listening to the 'hum' of the room and individual call takers I have got a sense of who seems to be 'loud' and who not. Who seems to have arguments and who not. Who appears to be in control; who not.
It's easy to get into a confrontational thing with a caller. Think. By the time anyone is ringing the police, even on a help line, they are probably going to be frustrated, angry, confused, frightened...........you name it...................they'll feel it.
So what do they want? Empathy. They want to feel that someone will listen.........and boy do some of the poor sods pour it all out. And that is where the art comes in. I only have a short time to impart that empathy. How can I do it?
Obvious.........the introduction. First impressions.
Most call takers will introduce with a fairly clipped 'XXXX XXXXX Police, can I help you?' I've expanded that.................'XXXX XXXXX police, good morning, how may I help you' I deliver in a slow tempo too.
Those extra words. 'Good morning' - or good evening - plus the 'may' make a difference.
Something else too. Open a sentence with 'Can I.......' and what do you get? A yes or no answer. It is a closed question. Open with 'How..............?' Not a yes or no but an explanation. It is open. The recipient has to think. To think is to pause. To pause takes the heat out.
There are occasions when I can almost hear the 'Oh' at the other end and, so far, touch wood, I haven't had many shouters on the phone........yes we all get them. I think callers expect to get an officer at the end of the phone...........oh, yes, I have been called 'officer'. That leads them to think along the lines of a cool business-like approach. Maybe even harsh. I mean to say, what do you expect if you ring the police?
So when they get my approach it takes them out of the box. It is a little unexpected.......in a nice way.
But the balance has to be fine. I can't be too friendly and relaxed........... that would make the whole thing seem unimportant and give the impression of not caring; of the call not being important. ALL calls are important............to the caller.
My aim is to make the call a nice experience in as much as I can; to take the harshness out of whatever it is they are reporting; to smooth and calm the thing.....to impart empathy and a sense that I care. I do too. To keep in mind that all our callers don't really want to be calling but have some need to do so. Even the idiots..................it is their last resort because they have no others.
Setting the tone is the strongest tool I have.
I got the proof in the pudding today. I was Q-Coached..........without my knowledge and arranged by my trainer. It is a quality measure where a supervisor will listen in and mark the call.
I passed with flying colours, well above average.
Friday, 16 April 2010
I asked to be relieved this afternoon. Knackered, full of cold, coughing, spluttering and feeling sorry for myself.
So, with 3 hours to go in my shift I asked to be let out early. It doesn't count as being on the sick and as long as I don't abuse it it works quite well.
A cold? Man flu? Initially I blamed it on the air-conditioning. It's on all the time to keep the computers at a constant temperature as much as anything else.
Google 'air-conditioning colds' and you get the answer. Air-conditioning does not cause colds. It's a myth.
I'll tell you why. Three months of intensive training has finally taken its toll and with the knowledge that I'm on holiday from Sunday night my body has decided to take its Holiday a little early and give up on the normal defences I can rely on.
Do you get that? You know you are going to have a break and your body kind of gives up the ghost?
So now I'm sat here with a hot toddy and a mind to get another.
What did I gain by going to work when maybe I shouldn't have?
That I can drop bollocks and still survive. That mistakes can be corrected. That perfection is not absolutely necessary.
So I'm glad I went.
However, I am glad I'm home now.
Thursday, 15 April 2010
The only people who seem to have 'The Fever' are the politicians and the journalists covering it.
I use the term journalist loosely. I mean to say, what sort of person can endlessly talk about politics for weeks and weeks in the run up to these elections. It requires a blinkered - sorry, focused - approach I think. The difference between the two is sometimes missed I think.
Take some of the questions these journos ask; A reporter on BBC News 24 making the comment that the constant 24 hour coverage repeating ad nauseum every trinket of 'News' was counter productive and turning people away from politics. I wonder if she saw the irony.
Or another during the budget; A reporter asking an economist, 'Do you think this budget has to be a serious one?' Oh come on, you get paid for that? The economist could have answered 'yes' and left the journo to hang, but to her credit she developed a coherent answer. No thanks to the journo.
Then we have our politicians. Sound-bite obsessed we become aware of words like 'Fair' used and stressed throughout a speech so that the only memory of that speech goes like this;
'Blah blah blah FAIR blah blah blah blah blah FAIR blah blah blah.............' You get the idea.
Each politician, though, has his or her quirks. I've noticed dear old Gordon Brown seems to use the expression 'The British people' a lot; probably because he is a Scot.
We bemoan them all because there appears to be little difference between them. 'They are all the same' is a cliche we hear too often.
I think not actually. Labour believes in state intervention. The Conservatives tend not to. Their records show us that they generally seem to follow that rule
However, in their efforts to win over the supporters who may sympathise with the other side they hide their differences and muddy the gap between them.
Business is safe with Labour.
The NHS is safe with the Conservatives.
To listen to some of the statements they do start to sound more like their opponents than themselves.
Some of the problem is the constant coverage. Once upon a time a journo would spend time meeting politicians and getting a sense of what they were up to. The Broadsheets still do that. But TV? It's there all the time so there is no time to think, no time, it appears to reflect. It is all knee jerk reaction and so we get the type of questions that I quoted earlier. Banal, brain dead things that are an insult to anyone expressing an interest in the subject. Interest killers they are.
The media has too much power and deadens the whole process. Take the debates that are going to start. Stage managed affairs that will probably not reflect a true picture and will be dominated by a desperate desire to avoid mistakes than to impart any vision with passion. Passionless politics. It breeds the very cynicism that has killed our trust.
I remember politics with passion. When I was 8 or 9 I was at some outdoor fete and the local MP had come along to give a speech. It was Manny Shinwell; a hard bitten old tub-thumper you don't see any more.
I don't remember what he said. I do remember being carried forward by his passion. Now whether that passion was genuine or manufactured is a moot point.
But nowadays when we concentrate on the close ups of Gordon Brown's strange facial tics and David Cameron's unfeasibly smooth skin I wonder if we have lost something.
Instead of the old willingness to express and expound we now have a straitjacket mentality governed by a fear of making mistakes because our politicians are under a microscope 24 hours a day.
Does that make for a better political debate?
Wednesday, 14 April 2010
Sometimes when I think of a post I wonder about the title. Usually it is straightforward but once in a while I like to tease; to have you opening up my blog and saying to yourself...........'What the....?'
Isn't that what blogs should be. Fun. A little unpredictable at times. Wouldn't it be boring if you opened a blog up and knew pretty well what you are going to get.
Lately I could be accused of that; the job has taken up much of my thoughts.
So here is a bit of a change.
It's about dreams. I've blogged about dreams before but today I'm going to take a different slant. I'm going to start at the end of a dream and work my way back to the beginning. Well, I'll amend that. I'll work my way back as far as I can make sense of what I can recall.
I'll begin with the end. A good old chase. We all get those I think. This one was, yes you guessed it, me being chased by an Elephant. Never had that before. I've been chased by Dinosaurs, King Kong and various ghostly apparitions. Once I got chased by a shark in a beautifully vivid blue three dimensional deep sea dream - but never an Elephant.
This one wasn't so scary and typically the very end of the dream allowed me to control the chase to an extent. The fear had given way to excitement.
When you wake up that's the first thing about a dream you remember, or at least I do; the very end. It's the bit that makes most sense because your conscious mind has started to play a part and turn the abstract surrealities of your subconscious into manageable 'mind-bites'.
As I lay there I delved further back into the dream and recalled some of those elements that we generally forget once fully awake.
Now here is a weird image. An Elephant dashing urgently across my field of vision with a pipe held in its trunk; the kind of pipe you smoke. And in this pipe was great bog gob of white stuff. Yes, you may have guessed. Elephant semen. The Elephant was dashing because he wanted to use the pipe to impregnate Mrs Elephant. While this was going on I was being watched by a second Elephant, the one who gave chase.
I went further back into my memory. This is where it gets totally unexplainable. Mind you, explaining the meaning of an Elephant with a semen filled pipe does stretch logic. But at least I can describe something that you can imagine even if it makes no real sense.
The unexplainable bit? I have in my mind imagery and concepts I cannot explain; that I cannot really put into words very well and certainly cannot imagine in my mind in any visual sense that I can understand.
The best that I can do is this; Elephant sex but not between two Elephants in the conventional sense; a sort of mutual Elephant wank but at some distance is the best way I can explain it but even that doesn't really capture what is in my mind. Huh? What? He's talking bollocks I hear you say. Elephant sized bollocks too.
But that is what is in my mind. It is a concept rather than an image I suppose. I wondered why it was there; where it had come from.
It led me to wonder about what our minds are really capable of. During the night something was going on in my mind that I do not understand. I find it eery and fascinating all at the same time.
Our consciousness is easy. We rationalise things and form our thoughts into logical chunks that make sense to us.
Our subconsciousness is a different matter. We only get glimpses of it as we come out of sleep and even then we try to throw a blanket of common sense over it.
Last night I think I came as near as I ever have to experiencing my subconscious; a strange abstract world that is as mysterious - to me - as any of the natural wonders of this world or any other.
We are all mysteries.
Monday, 12 April 2010
And then you are off into the unknown.
That first line are the only words that you could say are scripted and even then they are not written in stone.
If not an emergency it'll change and become less earnest, more relaxed, "xxxx xxxxxxx Police, good morning, how may I help you". I'll do that with a flourish and deliberately slow down my speech .........amazing how it can set the tone of the conversation.
It's fun saying good evening at 2355hrs (Police Jargon) and a few minutes later at 0005hrs, good morning.
Oh how little things can please.
But back to the clipped 999 response.
I'll describe a call that does not paint anyone in a bad light.
The call came in.........you listen to get the gist of what's going on, how urgent it is, whether they are drunk, injured, being assaulted or just plain idiots. It could be absolutely anything.
This call came from a frightened young man, a teenager. It wasn't late, he wasn't drunk, he was polite.............but absolutely terrified. He was being chased by a large gang, had got separated from his two friends and was hiding under a bridge next to a river. I could hear the tremor in his voice, whether through fear, cold or a combination of the two I could not be certain. His voice got louder the closer the gang got.............and I stayed quiet and calm.
It was intimate in a kind of way - just two voices meeting in the ether - as I took him through a description of where he was, found him on the map and typed in directions for the police to get there.
I stayed with him until they did. I was a lifeline. He clutched to my voice like a drowning man to a piece of wood and when the police arrived and it was safe to go he thanked me.
Was I moved?
At the time no. I finished off the log and went onto my next call..............a lost wallet.
Only later did I think about that young man.
It's a good job too. You cannot 'think' about the circumstances of these people. If you did you'd go mad. Yet you have to empathise.............or at least you have to if you want to do a good job.
It's a tightrope walk that you can fall off at anytime.
Sunday, 11 April 2010
Sorry guys. You've come to the wrong place.
I've just had a Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. A strange surreal experience. For me it was a work 'day' while for most it was relaxation followed by sleep.
But for a few others.....well, that's why we are there.
Drunks arguing with bouncers. Youths out at silly o'clock setting fire to wheelie bins. Neighbours rowing.
.............and one guy who thought it pertinent to report that he had seen a guy jump out of one car and dash into another!
OK................so it's a crime to be in a hurry?...........'He'd been involved in a car chase' ..........How do you know that?'.........................'He must have been, he was rushing'..............'Did you see that?'..............'Er.....He must have been because he was in too much of a hurry'................'OK........said slowly whilst I think of an answer that doesn't sound too patronising and gets him off the phone without an argument.
I drove home on the quietest of quiet roads feeling the way most of you will feel on a Thursday evening because I only have one more shift before my 'weekend'. I'll finish that in the early hours of Monday morning.........................your Monday morning will be my Friday.
I don't do lunch. I 'meal'. I mean......just what do you call a sandwich at midnight? Supper? Breakfast?
A lot of people don't like this weird time thing. I do. It's different. It helps me think outside the box, to use a cliche, because my life, time-wise, is outside the box.
I'll end on this.......next time you have to dash out of a friend's car into, say, your partner's car because you have to be somewhere in a hurry beware of the CSI Miami fan who sees it and imagines........well.........Lord knows what he or she imagines.
And thank your lucky stars that there are people like me who act as a buffer from the crazies of this world.
We don't just help to save lives and protect people from violence and the rest.
Friday, 9 April 2010
The synopsis is written. It seems OK, although all the guidelines I have read give varying guidance.
The thing is I can faff about titivating the novel, the synopsis and what am I going to achieve.
Nothing; just putting off those rejection letters for that is what I must prepare myself for.
Time to bite the bullet and trawl the web for an agent.
Tuesday, 6 April 2010
I've got to that stage in life when such an event, occurrence or however you want to term it is fairly recognisable.
It was the bacon sarny that did it today.
Today was supposed to be fine and sunny. It started, and stayed fairly dull; but at least dry.......cold wind though.
We had decided to get out and persevered down to 'The Peak District'; the Chatsworth area to be more specific. It's amongst my links.
Funny you know but you can visit a place and get into a habit of wandering around the bits that you know and love without venturing any further.
Today was a perfect example. We must have been to the Chatsworth Farm Shop dozens of times. Usually fleeting visits for it is busy and we go there to browse a little and get some fancy comestibles; horrible word I know but it neatly describes what we look for.
Today I wanted the loo.........for a pee......and happened upon the refurbished Farm Shop Restaurant. I say refurbished; we last went there about 10 years ago. It's been done out for some time.
And what a place.
A 'Room with a View'
We both plumped for 'The Smoked Bacon Sandwich' with a pot of tea between us. At £4 a shout it wasn't cheap but it was Chatsworth. The Duke has a lifestyle to maintain.
But when the Bacon butties arrived we knew we were in heaven. Two buns apiece with three rashers each and a slice of tomato; that's six rashers and a huge pot of tea to share. And then there was the view.
For me it represented perfection for the bacon was divine.......no craving for a drink an hour later which is often the case after that amount of bacon.
And the view? Above you have a shot from our table.
We watched the lambs. They did gambol; honest! There were six who ventured over and played. Mrs AWB suggested that their willingness to get close meant that I must have looked like the farmer.
Hey ho. I took that as a compliment. I've tried to capture the 'Spring Lamb' thing.
The point of this post, which feels clumsily expressed at the moment, is that the joy of life can find you at any time..................oh, what a banal way of putting it.
Where are my words? Where is that fluency that sometimes............all too rarely...... carries me through these bloody posts.
Humph....I've started so I'll finish.
We ended up walking along the riverbank by the Great House.
I so adore the twinkling of sunlight upon any kind of water. It dances and teases don't you think.
And here I am....again. One reason why I post my image; it is a measurement. You see me to the right as I am now; April 2010. In ten years time, assuming I still blog, it will be interesting to see the changes between now and then.
It's a time thing. Put it another way.
It still amazes me how people change so; Me nearly forty years ago!!!!
It would have been interesting to record the changes during those years. I'll just have to record the next...............???? years LOL
We walked up to the house and stopped for a pee before ambling back. I went up to 'The Gents' and fell in behind a young chap with his protege; a wizened, shrunken old fella who wasn't quite there. The young guy reminded me of a plump Elvis whilst the old man looked like something out of 'Harry Potter'.
The poor old sod was obviously in the care of either a young family member or a paid for carer.
He got into the 'Gents' and then did that thing no sane man would ever do in 'The Gents'; announced his presence.
'Hi there' came the jovial comment whilst all the guys around him did that 'man thing' of looking at anything other than other men and keeping their lips sealed.
You don't do that in a guy toilet........it's a no no. But, because we all knew he wasn't quite all there he was tolerated. No one answered though.
He washed his hands............a nice touch.......and sang rather loudly while the drier was on.
I'll remember him for this. When that photo of me, as the young adonis was taken, poor sods like him would never have been taken for days out to the likes of Chatsworth. They were seen as odd and pointed at.
Today that old man wasn't pointed at. He was allowed to celebrate his own life, his own existence.
We've moved on.
Monday, 5 April 2010
Yesterday I returned from work, had a lovely meal, wine and settled down contentedly to look at my emails and my blog. I didn't want to post anything in particular but it's nice to see the photo and see who has been reading.
I was happy. A brilliant shift at work and the prospect of three days chilling out.
And then the techie nightmare started.
A friend had sent me an email saying they couldn't get in to read, 'Was anything wrong?'
I looked and got directed to a totally different site called 'awriteblog.com' and was completely flummoxed.
Then I remembered that I'd got an email from google the previous day telling me that my domain had expired and something about 60 days.
I was annoyed. Why no notice? I posted angrily on the help forum after spending ages trying to find some email address to use and then changed back to the old free 'blogspot' thingy. That's my techie talk. I hoped someone would give me some help.
All the comments to my posts disappeared.....................bugger.
I then renewed my account. They took my money so I wondered if it would get corrected.
Well, in a way. The alien website got hoofed out and now 'awriteblog' was vacant but when I tried to get back in through settings it told that it was used..................probably by me who couldn't attach his blog to it.
Oh bugger again. Still, at least my comments reappeared although some of my links were missing.
My blog was poorly.
I then found the reminder from google...............from a month ago.
Oh bugger, shit and bollocks too.
I had now ended up in a mess completely of my own making.
Another frantic post on the forum adding to my original plea.
I got an email from google notifying me of a reply to my question. it was my own comment. Sums it up. I was now talking to myself and running around in circles.
This morning I looked at the settings, went into the advanced bit with not a clue as to what I was doing. I faffed around not knowing if I was going to obliterate my blog or do some irretrievable damage.
And lo it worked. I'm now back to where I was a day ago.
So if you tried to visit and got diverted now you no why.
All down to me.
PS; the comments seem to have gone again. I'm hoping they return.......otherwise another trip to the help forum.
Friday, 2 April 2010
I came back yesterday tea-time knackered, drained, my mind full and fit to explode with all the new stuff I had had to deal with.
At the door Granddaughter unleashed her affection on me with a huge hug and an Easter card complete with pop-up chick in its egg that she had made.
Mrs AWB had a glass of wine and food ready to throw into the pan after a much needed bath.
The stresses and strains were already lifting.
And while the bath filled with welcoming warmth I looked into my emails and saw that a dear friend had done me a huge favour and taken some time out to do it too.
Like I said, what more could a guy want? Nothing.
I felt as though enveloped in warmth yesterday...........and it wasn't just the bath.
I'm a very lucky man.