For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Monday, 13 November 2017

Waiting for opo.

On Sunday we went treasure hunting.

That was welcome therapy to detract from my painful knee, hip, and shoulder.

Daughter, High Horse (school teacher)  has a new project underway - as her brother W would say “she’s on one.” Granddaughter Katie, and I have been co-opted.

I am not sure what all this is about, but earlier in the week I was consulted on how to drill holes in glass. Within the family I have a modest reputation for DIY, but I think that is only because they have less aptitude than me. I recognised this as a challenge that High Horse knew I would be unable to resist. Normally I rebel when somebody poses the leading question “What are you doing on Wednesday?” If you reply “nothing” you are then doomed into an unwelcome  commitment, but on this occasion I decided to play chicken and asked no more about her need for holes in glass. There is some parallel here with my current reading, a bio-novel based on the life of Shostakovich* who refers to Stalin and subsequent communist tyrants as POWER and the author delves into Shostakovich's  guilt and feelings of cowardice at his repeated capitulation to POWER.  I was researching on You Tube pronto, then ordering the appropriate drilling bits on the Internet.

On Sunday it was suggested that I should join HH and Katie for an expedition to Half Moon Bay south of Heysham. There I was instructed to become a beachcomber and slowly scour sand and pebbles for pieces of washed up sea-glass. The glass is opaque as was my grasp at that time, and still, of the planned purpose. So there I was on a glorious sunny day, but with  perishing cold wind direct from Greenland with my Paramo jacket zipped up above my chin, hunchbacked, head down, and the cold starting to penetrate my several layers of clothing, limping slowly, and appearing as some eccentric to the abundant dog-walkers and family groups who were sensibly walking more quickly in the interests of keeping warm and self preservation. 

Katie joined in enthusiastically, perhaps she knew more than I did. I think others had been on that beach looking for our treasure - it was not all that abundant, but between us we collected what HH reckoned was sufficient and then we had  pure joy and fun with Katie flying her kite.

I am now waiting to be summoned to drill holes in glass, the reason for which is still unknown, perhaps it's on a need-to-know basis?

I think I'll go and listen to a bit of Shostakovich, or what about some  suitably abstruse Philip Glass?

* The Noise of Time, Julian Barnes

I have just received a call bringing forward the date for my knee operation to Wednesday 29th November.


  1. All very good fun, Conrad. And good news about the operation being brought forward.

    Just turn up on the day, drill the holes and be surprised by the wonderment of it all.

  2. Delighted to hear that your procedure is, er, proceeding speedily - very good news indeed.
    As for the Great Mystery of the Drilling of the Glass, I wait with baited breath..... surely worthy of a Famous Five or Secret Seven novel!

  3. You don't say how many pieces of glass were collected, nor how big they were, so I don't know whether to guess that the project is a pair of earrings, a bracelet or a chandelier.

    Good news that you've managed to get such an early date for your knee. That should put you fit for more escapades come spring, should it not (hip permitting)?

  4. Alan Sloman - quite right, and ask no questions.

    John J - Perfect - except the secret should never be revealed.


    Gayle - This story would be ruined if we ever found out.

  5. Bear with me for the full explanation - it requires some back-story!

    Over the summer, the government cut our school budget by £90,000 with no explanation. We were already on a financial sticky wicket before this that had required us to close the sixth form and look at redundancies. You can imagine our panic at this unexpected cut. In such a small school, where do you pull £90,000 back from?!?!

    Since September, we have been on an austerity drive - no spending ANYTHING without the Head's approval. Photocopying is on lockdown with only a £5 credit per week - I nearly handed in my notice - how do you teach English without providing text to study? 'Turn the lights off'. 'Radiators down, please'. The list of economies is endless. Finally - 'Please think of ways to bring income into your department'. A new hat I have not worn before - fundraiser.

    It is our Christmas Fair at the start of December and we all have to run a stall to raise some cash for our department - with no budget, eh? Racking my brains, I decided to look for materials that I can scavenge for free and turn into some buyable tat to flog to the parents (who have also been asked to donate £50 per term, per child for this year). Hence, I have had to recruit my aging father and young child to comb the beach, on my day off, for pebbles and glass. Cheers to the government for their systematical destruction of the education system that is resulting in teachers leaving in their droves - I wonder why?

  6. Miss R - thanks for bringing us back into the real world.

  7. Well, I don't want to make this about me but for some reason I read the post as drilling holes in GRASS and assumed it was going to be about worm-charming or something similarly mysterious. I obviously need to stop throwing the Specsavers flyers straight into the recycling. Anyway, enough about me.

    Miss R (HH?) you have my sympathy, which I know is of no real help but you have it anyway. There comes a point where cost reduction ceases to have any meaning beyond being a euphemism for running the organisation into the ground. I've seen it first hand in manufacturing businesses, and latterly local authorities and the voluntary sector (which is where I work). I applaud your efforts to improve matters by increasing income, but education needs to be properly funded, as an absolute priority.

    I am resisting the urge to (as my wife puts it) 'go off on one'; I do enough of that on my own blog. Good luck with it - all of it! You too with the op, Conrad.

  8. Only 2 weeks to wait, Conrad. That’s good news. And I totally empathise with Miss R (who must be HH in disguise). In the NHS we were expected to make ‘efficiency savings’ every year. It was a euphemism for ‘cuts’ of course, as it is simply not possible to become more and more efficient every year ad infinitum. 😖

  9. Dave and Ruth - Thanks for your comments - we seem to have covered a bit more ground than I expected with this post. Yes HH is Miss R - I will drop the former in future.

  10. It's Tuesday and I have used up my £5.

  11. Miss R - Welcome to your new icon.

    What about minutely reducing the size of the print on your photocopies and ask the kids to bring their own magnifying glasses?

    But really it's not funny.