Isn’t it ironic?

This post should really be included in my Significant Songs category. However, with few exceptions, they are generally songs that relate to certain periods in my past, and memories, good or bad. The song that popped into my head this morning relates to two current issues affecting my life; feeling ill, and the weather. I have already posted about feeling unwell, so I won’t elaborate on that. As for the weather, well you all know how much I complain about that, don’t you?

After almost a month of rain and damp, I awoke this morning to the unfamiliar sight of bright sunshine. The room felt warm, and the clouds were no longer black in colour, though they were still there of course. Between the slowly moving pillows of cloud, I could make out blue sky, and sun rays were actually entering the room. I gazed at this spectacle with the wonder of someone who has never experienced it before, as if encountering the ocean for the first time.

I decided to get up immediately, and make the most of this rare bounty. But in all the excitement, I had forgotten I was ill. My efforts to exit the bed were similar to that of a robot in dire need of oiling and maintenance. Limbs failed to respond as they should, and the movement of my hips was accompanied by sharp pains, with a dull ache coming from my back, for good measure. The usual few seconds required to get up and put on a dressing-gown (not the fluffy one today, too warm) were extended to well over a minute, as I hauled my reluctant carcass from the mattress.

Walking as if my knees and hips were fixed in position, I made it out to the kitchen, putting the kettle on, and greeting a still-dozing Ollie, bleary-eyed on his bed. Once the morning coffee was ready, I took some pain-killers and shuffled off to sit on the office chair, the most comfortable option at the moment. Reading through some blogs, and replying to comments from last night, I was aware of the sun increasing in intensity through the window of the small room. The nicest day in weeks, and here I was, feeling like I had been hit by a car during the night, and that it had reversed back over me later, to ensure the job was done correctly. I chuckled at the irony, and the song came to mind.

When Alanis Morissette released her song ‘Ironic’ in 1996, I doubt that she had Beetley in mind. Or for that matter, an occasionally very grumpy retired Englishman, shaking his fist at the black clouds overhead. But as a wet July gives way to the hope of a brighter August, it has become the soundtrack to my summer, in 2015.

My third anniversary

Today marks my third year as a WordPress blogger. Since the first short and tentative post in 2012, much has changed on this blog. I have even started a second blog, added more categories to this one, and recently I began to add photos too.

I have lost some followers, mislaid others somewhere along the way, and attracted lots of new ones as well. Many have become real blogging ‘friends’ and have introduced me to very different lives, in unusual places all over the world. I have been privileged to read some incredible writing, and some deep thoughts and poetry. There has been work of academic standard to enjoy, alongside the no less valued tales of everyday life from other parts of this country, or all over the planet.

Pictures and photographs have been posted to be admired, criticised, or just seen. Old friends contacted through blogging, news caught up on, and families reunited. Moans and gripes aired, films reviewed, memories and nostalgia wallowed in. And my education continues, with fascinating historical posts, journeys to far-flung corners, or to places nearby that I had never even heard of.

I have discovered viewpoints that are very different to mine, also life experiences that are surprisingly similar. Bloggers of all ages, united by writing and interests, never divided by years.

My totals and figures are nothing exceptional, by the standards of many bloggers.
Total posts. 740
Total views. 36,000
All comments. 7,600
Followers. 653 (Including Twitter and E-Mail)

But all that is a far cry from what I expected, just three short years ago. It seems longer, and in a good way. It has become a part of my life that I would miss if it stopped. It has real value.

Unfit for duty

After posting about being too hot or too cold yesterday, last night saw me having to retire to bed when it was still light outside. I had felt a little strange all day, with aches and pains around my hips and back, and had already taken some pain-killers, to be able to take Ollie for a walk. The unrelenting damp had affected the joints in my hands, and I couldn’t seem to get comfortable, in any position.

By early evening, I also had a splitting headache. I couldn’t concentrate on my nightly news fix on TV, and after cooking and eating the evening meal, I was soon checking the clock, to see if it was too early to call it a day, and collapse into bed. Just before 9 pm, I took some more tablets, apologised to Julie, and went to bed, securing the chinks in the curtains against the light from the garden. I must have had something wrong with me, as I slept right through, without any disturbance, until 8.30 this morning.

I woke up feeling as if tiny evil goblins had spent all night hitting me with their little hammers. Every bone and joint aches, and I am walking like a 100 year-old lady. There is something lurking inside me, some unnamed virus, only staved off by nearly twelve hours of sleep. My head feels wobbly, and barely attached to my body. If it had nuts and bolts securing it, Frankenstein monster-style, I would definitely be tightening them up by a few turns. One thing is certain, I won’t be getting much done today.

In 2013, I wrote this post, about how it feels to be ‘off sick’, when you are not actually working. After a lifetime of having to call in a sick report, to a manager or company, it feels very different when you only have yourself to answer to. There will be no ‘phone calls from someone supposedly ‘checking on my welfare.’ No callers at the door, to ensure that I am actually at home, and nobody to have to see afterwards, for the ‘back to work interview.’ With no more six-monthly appraisals to endure, I will not have to listen to a list of all my days taken off sick, and whether they were certificated or not. There will be no dire warnings about exceeding acceptable sick time, or perhaps not being paid on the next occasion.

Despite being free of all this, I still feel absolutely awful, so it doesn’t help that much. I will still have to take Ollie out, though for a shorter time than usual. I then have to drive him over to the Vet in Swaffham, for a review of his skin problems. I have also just cancelled my shift at the windmill tomorrow, as I can’t face the stairs, feeling like this. The first time I haven’t turned up in six months, so not bad.

I’ll just have to take more tablets.

A Beetley phenomenon

Last night, I experienced yet another example of something that has become a part of our lives, since moving to this house. After retiring to bed at a reasonable hour, my sleep was disturbed some time later, when I began to feel very hot in bed. We only have a lightweight duvet, as the house is generally draught-free and well-insulated, so we never feel the need for anything heavy on the bed.

On the rare occasions when it is very hot and humid, we might resort to sleeping under just a sheet, or use the large pedestal fan that we keep handy. But it hasn’t been that warm lately, so we have carried on with the thin duvet and having the window open, as is our habit.

After waking with discomfort from the heat, I flipped the cover off, leaving about half my body exposed outside it. I soon began to cool off, and slipped back nicely into a deep sleep. Less than an hour later, I woke up feeling too cold, and reversed the procedure, snuggling back under the covers. Sure enough, some time before dawn, still dark outside, I woke up once again, feeling uncomfortably hot, and flipped off the duvet once more.

This continued throughout the whole night, as it frequently does. When I finally woke up this morning, I actually felt exhausted, and seemed to have had no benefit whatsoever, from over eight hours in bed. We have talked about this a lot, this nightly warming of the house, the unusual feeling of never quite being able to achieve a good balance between warmth and cold. We have even given it a name.

Too hot in, too cold out.

Significant Songs (86)

Lido Shuffle

I first noticed Boz Scaggs from his involvement in the Steve Miller Band. They were formed in 1966, and were a rock band from the west coast of America. This was not generally the kind of music I liked, but the combination of guitar, vocals, and unusual songs seemed to separate them from many similar groups at the time. After leaving their roots in Blues for a flirtation with the emerging style known as psychedelic rock, they eventually released the song ‘The Joker’, in 1973. This was a massive hit, and raised their profile considerably.

Like many groups at the time, they had a mixed line-up, with members leaving and joining. One of those was Boz Scaggs; guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist, with a very distinctive style. In 1968, Scaggs began to release solo records, with some success. In 1976, he released the best-selling album ‘Silk Degrees’, containing this song and other hits, including the highly-acclaimed ‘Lowdown’, and established himself as a solo performer worldwide.

Although he never managed to repeat this success with subsequent releases, this catchy pop song has stuck in my mind ever since. I often find myself humming it, even when it has not been played on the radio for ages. I cannot say that it is a great song, far from it. The lyrics appear to be meaningless, and seem to be there just to complete the rhymes. It is nowhere near as good as ‘Lowdown’, but it is irresistible, and sums up a time and place in pop music. Make up your own minds…
This is the shorter version, released as the single.

Checking my calendar

Heavy rain again all day, non-stop. It’s still raining tonight, and guess what the forecast is? You got it. It’s not just Norfolk, as most of the country is getting a real pasting from the unseasonal weather. Sports events cancelled, holidays washed out, and homes flooded. Businesses that rely on summer trade will go bust, homeowners in some places are out shopping for new furniture, and even the Americas Cup off the coast near Portsmouth had to be cancelled, due to strong winds.
(I thought sailing boats needed strong winds, but apparently they would have capsized. What do I know about sailing anyway? Nothing, is the answer to that.)

Out with Ollie as usual this afternoon, I had to abandon the shorts, due to a cold breeze, and go back to joggers for warmth. The heavier waterproof coat had to come out of storage, and I had to wear the wellington boots again, as some of the area around the Meadows is under water. After twenty minutes trudging around under my trusty umbrella, my face was actually cold from the wind. But my feet were too hot, as I was wearing boots designed for sub-zero temperatures. If this keeps up, I will have to buy some lightweight unlined wellingtons, just for such occasions. Just over an hour into the walk, it felt more like March than July, and I resolved to check my calendar when I got home, in case I had lost my mind, and a few months too. After two hours, I had endured enough, and headed home. Once I had shed all the wet clothes, I did check my calendar, a paper one that lives on my desk, featuring characters from Thomas The Tank Engine. Sure enough, it was July still. High summer in the UK.

On the plus side, I did manage to get something out of being housebound for most of the last three days. I conceived and wrote a new film article, which I have sent to James at Curnblog, to see if he wants to publish it. Hours of research into seven films, and a good time spent checking the proof, correcting and re-writing. Time well-spent, and no guilt that I should be doing something outside. If he decides it is good enough, I will let you know.