The wrong door

I was recently notified that I had a new follower on WordPress. As is my habit, I checked out the site. He seems to be a pleasant young man, and is studying in his last year at university. His site seemed to mainly consist of photos of attractive women, some well-known apparently, (though not to me) in various states of undress. From the comments, I deduced that many of the photos were possibly ‘Internet fakes’, shots of popular women, with the naked attributes of someone else manipulated onto the original. In amongst all this, I found other posts scattered, on very different subjects.

I replied to one of his posts, thanking him for following my blog, and indicating surprise that he had done so, as his style of blogging, and featured content, was so remarkably different to my own. I wished him well, and left it at that. However, he replied soon after, informing me that the reason he featured so many naked ladies, was to attract traffic to his blog, so that the more serious content might find an audience. He added that he had achieved over 250,000 views in less than two years, and was currently experiencing a daily view rate of 500+, so would soon reach the magic figure of 1,000,000. He asked me how many views I had received on my own blog, after more than three years. I replied again. If he had that many daily views, surely he could make a good income from advertising, if he left the WordPress platform, and converted it to his own site? I also told him how many views I have accumulated, less than 40,000.

He soon commented on this, telling me that he did not have enough money to start his own website, but as soon as he graduated, he would do just that, and start to earn a very good income from the increasing number of visitors admiring the naked ladies on his blog. I will refrain from naming him, or posting a link to his blog, but I do wish him well with his future. It would appear that he has a good future to look forward to.

This got me thinking about the world of blogging once again.

We all blog for different reasons of course. These have been discussed previously, here and elsewhere, so do not need further elaboration. But I was struck by the success, in terms of visitors, of the young man I mention. Almost a third of a million people, all wanting to see photographs of naked, and near-naked women. This on a web already overwhelmed by images of nudity, and sexual content. I am not a prude, and do not judge anyone who wishes to look at legal images. Censorship is a slippery slope, and is a scalpel to be wielded with some precision. But I could not help feeling apart from this. In a community of bloggers trying their best to be heard, expressing their innermost thoughts and desires, or artistic aspirations, the success of an intelligent young man is measured on how many people want to look at naked women. We can choose not to look of course.

I was reminded of an incident from some years back. I entered a restaurant toilet, and had a feeling something wasn’t quite right. It looked familiar, but somehow different. It slowly dawned on me that I had gone into the Ladies by mistake, and I hurriedly left. It was an easy mistake to make.

I had opened the wrong door.

A death in the family


Three years ago today, Julie’s Dad died suddenly. I wrote this post the day after, and I am re-blogging it today, in his memory.
That year, we both lost a parent, and luckily had each other to turn to.
Since I published this, Frank’s ashes have been interred in a peaceful woodland cemetery in Rickmansworth. It will be allowed to return to nature. That is something that Frank would have liked a lot.
Rest easy, Frank. You are never forgotten.

Originally posted on beetleypete:

On Sunday afternoon, Julie’s dad died suddenly. He had enjoyed a traditional Sunday lunch , followed by a nap, and he was at home, with his wife, and sister-in-law. Something happened, yet to be determined, and he died almost immediately. Paramedics and Ambulances attended, but were unable to save him. We drove down to Watford, a journey of three hours, and Julie was able to see him, and say her farewells. Aubrey Francis Clarke was 83 years old. He was a family man, and loved nothing more than the company of his wife, three daughters and son, as well as his grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

There is no point looking for Frank’s obituary in The Times, or The Guardian. He was not an actor, playwright, or distinguished musician, or even a politician. He was a man who worked hard all his life, to give the best chances to his family…

View original 291 more words

Life, and nothing but

Do you ever feel that life is like some kind of fairground ride? The roller-coaster feelings that just dealing with life involves can leave you with those same stomach-churning after effects. You get on, pay your entrance fee, (by being born) but you have no idea if it will be the thrill ride you anticipated, or ultimately, just an annoying damp squib.

Things flash in and out of your life, like the scarier parts of the Ghost Train. You sort-of know that they are fake, but you go along anyway, just for the ride. When you go to the sideshows of your life, the shooting galleries, or hook-a-ducks of everyday existence, you hope to win a prize, but know deep down that the odds are fixed against you. When you buy a ticket for an excitable ride, promising to thrill, it rarely delivers.

These exhibits of the carnival replicate those in life. Candy floss is sweet and fluffy, smells wonderful, yet disappears in an instant. Hot dogs and burgers entice you with the aroma of frying onions, but leave you feeling greasy, queasy, and unfulfilled. Like life, funfairs display facilities that offer much, and deliver little; unusual experiences that feel contrived and somewhat fake. It seems to me that the carnival is like a mirror of life, promising thrills and excitements that are unrealistic, and difficult to achieve.

Nothing has happened today. Not a thing has gone wrong, and no event has occurred to make me feel this way. I have simply thought of life as like a funfair, with its not-so-thrilling thrill rides, and its promise of exotica that does not materialise. It is not a criticism, far from that. It is something simpler, and more obvious. It is a realisation, just that.

Ollie’s close-ups

When my friend Antony came to visit, he took lots of photos. One is the well-used picture of myself with Ollie, which I feature on my ‘About’ page. He also took two close-up shots that really show Ollie’s character. I know how much most of you love to see pictures of Ollie, because you tell me!

So, here are two portraits of my canine companion for you to enjoy. These are huge files, and if you enlarge them you will be able to appreciate the detail.


And a slight turn of the head…


This photo is not actually of Ollie, but is identical to how he looked as a young pup. I found it on the web, and was amazed by the similarity. Julie has many shots of Ollie on her mobile phone, so one day, I will put them on the PC, and show you an Ollie gallery.


A big sleep, and a long walk

I went to bed before midnight yesterday. For a weekend, that is a little early, but there are times when I feel as if I have been sitting around for too long, and need to lie down. I had a good undisturbed sleep, until I was woken up by the yapping of some dogs along the road. When I stumbled out of the bedroom, I was surprised to discover that it was almost 11.30, and I had been asleep for nearly twelve hours. Julie said that she was leaving me for five more minutes, before coming in to make sure that I was still alive!

With the morning slept away, I resolved to make something of the afternoon, and decided to drive Ollie over to Neatherd Moor, which is three miles away, on the edge of Dereham. He likes it over there, as he sees many new dogs, and there is a large area to explore. Almost as soon as we left the car and entered the first field, we saw a girl with a Shar-Pei, something of a rarity. This dog was six years old, and slightly larger than Ollie. The young girl was walking her with another small dog, a snappy terrier. I would have liked to have taken a photo of Ollie with his new ‘girlfriend’, but snapping shots of girls who are not yet teenagers is best avoided, I feel. I didn’t like to ask her to let her dog off its lead either, so here is a photo of the moor instead.
(All the following photos can be clicked on, to view larger files in detail.)


The area is intersected with wide and narrow paths, including some public footpaths. This is one of the main entrances to the moor, shaded by a plantation of trees. Unfortunately, the local Council has been very generous with planning permission lately, and new estates are being built right up against Neatherd Moor. I fear that it will soon be hemmed in by these projects, and much of the open feel will be lost.


On the west side of the moor, I got this view of the Dereham Water Towers in the distance, behind the farm. There is the original Victorian red brick tower, and the space-age modern replacement. These are two of the highest buildings in the town, and the modern one is something of a landmark. The old tower is actually for sale, with plans to turn it into housing. Here’s a link.


Despite warm weather, the light was hazy, almost misty, so not ideal for photos. However, with the weather set to turn wet and windy next week, I decided to take them anyway. After walking for well over two hours, and covering some six miles, we returned to the car via the duck pond, which has recently been enlarged. Ollie had a drink there, but would not linger for a photo.


It was a pretty good walk for both of us, and made up for my extended sleep.

Significant Songs (90)

Addicted To Love

I had always liked Robert Palmer. Other than the fact that he came from Yorkshire, I would quite like to have been just like him. Good-looking, sharp-suited, with hair that had just the right amount of style, without being too long. And he could sing too, and sing well. He was only three years older than me, so grew up around the same music scene, and seemed to like the same sort of music that I did.

He started singing whilst still at school, and eventually became lead vocalist of the reasonably successful group The Alan Bown Set, who had progressed from their start as a Blues band, to become one of the leading Soul music acts, by 1969. A year later, Palmer met renowned female vocalist Elkie Brooks, and in 1972, they formed the R&B touring band, Vinegar Joe. I saw this outfit at a club in London, and immediately recognised the singing talent of the little-known Palmer. Despite some moderate success, and the release of three albums, he was soon embarking on a solo career, and was signed to Island records, in 1974.

Working alongside such luminaries as Lowell George, and Allen Toussaint, he achieved some recognition in the USA, though not at first in his home country. However, by the 1980s, he was having chart success with a string of singles, including ‘Looking For Clues’, and ‘Johnny And Mary.’At the time, pop videos were becoming all-important for record promotion, and Palmer caught the mood, with his stylish appearance, and bluesy vocals backed by a driving beat. By 1985, he combined this new music style with a video of high quality, and enjoyed huge success with ‘Addicted To Love.’ This video was considered outrageous at the time, for its use of identically-dressed and made-up girls, who were obviously not really playing the instruments they were holding, but were purely there for ‘eye candy.’ Nonetheless, Palmer’s songs held up, and a similar video followed, this time for ‘Simply Irresistible.’

By the late 1990s, he seemed to have lost focus. After so long in the music business, his constant change of direction and musical style was confusing both his loyal fans, and any new audience alike.
In 2003, he died of a cardiac-related problem in a Paris hotel room. He was 54 years old.
Here is the video. It doesn’t seem at all outrageous now, does it?

A walk to Old Beetley

As you will all be aware by now, I live in Beetley Village. Most of this area is an extension of the original Saxon hamlet, now referred to as Old Beetley. This is just over one mile from our house, and although part of the parish, has a distinctly separate identity. With the fine weather still gracing us with its presence, I decided to leave early today, and take Ollie for a longer walk than usual, including an excursion to Old Beetley, to see the church of St Mary Magdalene.

Some of this walk is on country roads, so Ollie had to be on the lead. he really doesn’t enjoy this, as you can see from this photo. His tail is not curled around his back. A sure sign that he is unhappy.


The current church dates from 1320, built on the site of a church that would have stood there since Saxon times. Like most local churches, it is rarely open. Services are only held on the first and third Sunday of each month. At other times, the building is locked. It is tucked away behind some modern houses, and the graveyard surrounding it has many old gravestones still intact.


The tower was enlarged during the 16th century. It is still one of the tallest structures in the area, and can be seen from all around.


Continuing on to the village crossroads, I came across this memorial bench, surrounding a young tree. Jude will appreciate the inclusion of a bench this time, even one that is quite recent, as it was erected in 2013. It is slightly wonky, as it is not placed on even ground. The photo is level, I assure you. The house opposite is one of the few remaining old houses, as most of the substantial properties to be found there are relatively modern.


We made our way back across the fields of the farms that surround this area, using public footpaths to avoid the roads that cause Ollie so much distress.