Tuesday, 27 October 2015

The apple of my eye, but not the Apple of my eye

It has happened many times before. I spend ages psyching myself to purchase an unjustifiable, expensive item, and having finally decided to go for it, I optimistically visit the retailer expecting them to be grateful for my decision to part with my mountain of cash to their advantage, and for me to have pleasure and good service in realising the real item, as opposed to its virtual manifestation nurtured and agonised over during the lead up to this event.

Yesterday, with daughter (High Horse) and granddaughter Katie and HH's friend Zoe, we made the one and a half hour trip to Trafford Park in Manchester, ostensibly to treat Katie for her fourth birthday by visiting Legoland and Sea Life.

But, I had an additional mission planned to the Apple store: the purchase of a new iPhone 64gb 6s Plus (see what I mean by "unjustifiable" and "expensive").

Legoland went well. I then suffered watching the others tuck into what looked like good grub at Wagamama whilst I settled for green tea, (I am following the Fast Diet involving two days per week with only 600 calories - I have lost over 10lbs in the last three weeks). So, when it was time for my own highlight at the Apple store I was already flagging a little, but buoyed by anticipation.

We were greeted by a surly assistant who promptly told me they didn’t have my specified phone in stock. He said that they receive daily supplies and they may have the item tomorrow. Well, there is no way I could have faced another round trip the next day.

On-line with Apple a direct purchase stated 1 to 2 weeks delivery. If they can deliver daily to the Trafford Centre why can’t they give a one day delivery to genuine customers who have committed themselves to the purchase and therefore more deserving of good service than theoretical unidentified customers who just wander into the store?

After that I endured some trailing-on-behind round a couple of female clothing shops, and then we were off to Sea Life which was a little disappointing.

Despite my own let down it was sheer pleasure watching Katie at full tilt all day - she enjoyed every single moment. That was all hugely worthwhile.

Back home I had no alternative but to place my Apple order on-line, but with little pleasure feeling disillusioned at what should have been a pleasurable experience being turned into yet another retail frustration. I do favour Apple products but I have never been starry-eyed about the brand - they are as susceptible to poor service as most others. 
Katie's first solo driving experience

Karaoke - the song was Nine to Five, but K was doing her own thing

K masters chop-sticks for the first time (she's"very advanced")



Monday, 19 October 2015

MERLIN

Is sound the most powerful of our senses?

My brother is frequently moved to tears when he experiences a performance of Cosi fan tutte. I have also had similar feelings from music, Tchaikovsky's 6th symphony for instance.

Last night I watched a documentary about RAF display teams covering the 75th anniversary of The Battle of Britain.

On the Tarmac invited guests sat in camp chairs to watch a fly past of Hurricanes and Spitfires. They included a 94 year old be-medalled pilot veteran of the battle, and as one would expect for someone of that age he sat dignified and immobile awaiting the arrival. As the fly past approached he became more animated and finally arose halfway from his chair and the expression on his face unfolded in a flash to enthralled excitement and in particular his aged eyes switched on like sparklers on Bonfire Night.  I reckon most of those guys thrived on the adrenalin in the same way as racing drivers do, but here it was just the sound of those Rolls Royce Merlin engines - so distinctive, evocative, and as emotional for me as the Tchaikovsky.

The Lancasters of Dam Busters fame had the same engines. Permission was given on that raid to over rev the engines for the steep climb out from the dams, and that, exceptional whining, almost screaming is memorably captured in the film.

I acknowledge I run the risk of romanticising aspects of a war that was appalling in all aspects and that should never be forgotten.

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If you click in the top of the video it will take you to YouTube and you can then view full screen.







Sunday, 18 October 2015

What time do you get up?

My brother has just posted about SAD (seasonally affected disorder):

"A medically identified condition whereby one tends to be depressed by winter. Augmented in my case by rising at 06.25 into a dark world.

Brother arises early to pursue his novel writing.

I have posted this as a comment on his blog, but also grabbed the chance of using it here.

I empathise with your early rising. Circumstances have dictated that I now arise at 6:00 am on three mornings per week to receive granddaughter Katie at 7:00 am while Mum (High Horse) goes off to her teaching job. On one of those mornings my duties only extend to dropping K off at nursery at 9:00am, and on the other two I pick up at 12:00 and supervise until teatime.

The big difference here is that your version is voluntary and mine enforced. Yours requires more self-discipline, but mine is, I guess, more traumatic  physiologically - I feel like a limpet being torn from a rock. When daylight prevails earlier in the year I have a feeling of smug satisfaction that I am making best use of precious time and would say to myself, if I was arising at say 8:00 am, “I have wasted half the day". Such contrasting differences are sure to affect my mental state in opposite ways.

Having said that I enjoy my role. K is all delight, and much better behaved with me than I think she is with her mum. In particular listening to the building of language and intonations is fascinating - it is a bewildering miracle of human development - how the hell does it happen?
Taken today

Katie will be four next week. This photo was a year ago.



Sunday, 11 October 2015

BOSTON TO BARMOUTH SLIDESHOW


Here is the slideshow of my recent walk from Boston to Barmouth

280 miles

18.5 days

Click on the link, then click on the first photo to start the slideshow in full size


CLICK HERE FOR SLIDESHOW


Friday, 9 October 2015

Memorable days with friends

Blonde Two described a companionable day in her latest post -http://twoblondeswalking.com - A Perfect Dartmoor Day, 9th Oct., and it sparked off a memory from Easter 2004 when I was Munroing in the Arrochar hills with my friend Sol.

Sol had completed the Munros by then, but he was more than happy repeating some with me. He is the eternal optimist - he can always see the first patch of blue sky on a dreich day and although a few years older than me, he never seems to tire, and is always ready for more. On another day on that Easter we had driven several miles in my car to the start of an ambitious Munro outing using our mountain bikes.  Back at the car, after that long day, I was looking forward to the comforts of the caravan and  started putting the bikes back on the car, but Sol said, "don't bother with mine, I'll cycle back ".

Our Arrochar day was satisfyingly strenuous with perfect snow conditions, glorious blue sky all day, and again, I was deservingly, in my mind, thinking of the rewards of the descent to our caravans for a meal and a relaxing evening, and as I was so pondering, Sol's words have stuck with me ever-since, "It's great isn't it? You just don't want to go down do you?".

Sol on our Arrochar day. Cameras have improved a lot since 2004.

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Coming soon - Boston/Barmouth slideshow