Short Jaunt…

For my 50th, my friend surprised me with a trip to Prague, she paid for a 4-star hotel bed and breakfast, transfers, flights and 20kg bag in the hold. I am not too sure if airlines about the world are as tight fisted as the UK ones, but Ryanair you have to pay for literally everything. Seating used to be free, but now you have to pay for that on top of the flight. Baggage is extra no matter what now, apart from a very small bag that can go under the seat in front of you, no overhead lockers in use now.

So, off to Prague, we go tomorrow (Sunday) for a few days. The dogs have been booked in with the kennels, paid for our seats, booked parking, which is expensive too, and special assistance for M. The special assistance is usually great as we get through the airport in no time as we are escorted to a disabled section, and M is taken in a wheelchair through, so no hard slog walking and I don’t have to push! Not sure on the way back though. Rome was great, Amsterdam was crap, Ireland a dream, so fingers crossed.

We are staying at the Grandior Hotel & Spar in central Prague, and have decided not to plan anything, just go with the flow, so we will not be restricted. I am looking forward to all the food I will admit. I like to try all the foods on offer when in another country, no point sticking to familiar food, we have to live a little, although I doubt it will be as good as the food in Italy, but not as bad as that in Amsterdam, which I thought was really bad, even the burgers, well, apart from Burger King, which was okay.

Since we have a good few hours in the airport, the flight which is only 2:15 I decided to get a new book (why as I have loads not read yet) to while away the hour traveling.

We have decided this will probably be our last foreign jaunt as it really takes its toll on M. We live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world with massive changing landscapes, mountains, lakes and so much more, so why not explore our surroundings. Wales is quite literally on our doorstep, we can see the mountains from our beach each day, and to the north, we can see the mountains of the Lake District. A 20-minute drive and we can see the start of the Pennines, so what’s not to love. Also, we can take the dogs with us everywhere we go, not to mention saving a fortune on kennel fees.

This time tomorrow we will be on our way…

Audiology

I went for a hearing test just before my 50th at Boots and was told that my hearing was a little below what they would consider normal/age-related, that I could not hear the ends of words properly and that my tinnitus could be looked at. I have never heard pure silence for as long as I can remember, so the high pitched sounds of tinnitus at what silence sounds to me, thus I am used to is, but it does do my head in when it gets really loud and drowns out talking or competes with it.

If you have never been in an acoustic room, it is bazaar indeed. When I walked in it physically felt different and as the room seems to have a deadweight feel about it, it is quite the sensation, or lack of sound to be exact. I could hear the air conditioning, the girl moving her foot on the floor like it was all next to my ears, as I said, a very odd sensation.

I was put through lots of questions on what I had difficulty hearing, what I found comfortable and uncomfortable, what I miss in conversations and what sounds if any give me discomfort, and if any of the things we talked about bothered me and what scale it was. All in all, I was not concerned about my hearing, but it did bother me slightly when I missed conversations, but I explained that I do lipread so when I struggle I use this technique. One of the things we discussed was my facial trauma when I was 17 (face smashed in), and that this could be the route of the tinnitus, however, if I could not remember hearing properly prior to this we will never know.

I did sounds tests, speech tests and one that the tiny speaker sat on the bone behind my ear. The conclusion was that my hearing is fine apart from a tiny loss in my left ear in the higher frequencies, which she said was within normal parameters. She did say that we all have different levels of volume that we feel is “right” for us and exampled this with her and her sister, she preferred the TV on quietly which was perfect for her, but her sister liked it loud which she, in turn, found too loud and uncomfortable, but assured me that her sister had perfect hearing. My tinnitus needs to be worked on, and she gave me papers on this and advised using brown noise and nature sounds when in a quiet room as this will stop the “ringing” being overbearing as the nature sounds etc will take away the focus from it. Another example she gave was that we are “hunter-gatherers” and as such when things go quiet our ears go into overdrive listening for predators, and when in the dark there is no stimulus to the eyes, so hearing is even more aware. This all made sense when she explained it as at night when trying to fall asleep the “ringing” seems to be mega loud and kept me awake. Funny enough when I went to bed I told my Echo Show to wake me up at a certain time and she asked if I wanted relaxing sounds, which was white noise with bird sounds in the background, and hey presto, I did not notice my inner noise, so top marks to Alexa for that.

The speech test as odd and the person speaking was an American lady and I had to repeat what she said. I could hardly get the last ones, but did manage to pick out some words, so did better that a lot of people. Great stuff!

Although she said that hearing aids could improve clarity, she did not feel it necessary, which I could not agree more with. I do not feel I need hearing aids at all, I just need to start concentrating when people are talking to me and stop zoning out, as this cold be my problem.

So, what more can I say but great results, I’m not deaf or hard of hearing, just switching off LOL.

Family hey!

I have written about my paternal side of the family in the past and the fact that they are distant due to my father and his lies.

For those who do not know, my father was having an affair from when I was a baby and continued for 15 years until my Mum filed for divorce. The man was a bully and outright shit! When Mum divorced him he told all his family not contact us and then told them that we had moved to another town and he had no idea where we all went. My Mum still lives in the same house and has done for close to 50 years. This was his way of abandoning his kids and becoming a father to her kids. That’s the long story short.

So, one of my cousins C contacted me and asked if we fancied meeting up, which I did, and we met up quite a few times with her sister and M too. I took them all out for lunch a few times too and we got to know each other all over again. However, September last year C and her husband were having a party as it was their 25th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, we were in Ireland visiting M’s parents and could not make it. I let her know, and she said it was a shame, and that was that. A few weeks after she sent me some photos of the party, which looked sombre, to be honest, and I replied with “looks like you had a great time” and other platitudes whilst she told me how great it was.

After not hearing from her I decided to message her to see how everyone was and was told: “K and I have taken retirement, nice to hear from you, take care.” Well, that was short and sweet. M and I took it that her reply was a polite way of saying “fuck off I’m not interested”. Her attitude surprised me as she was the one who contacted me and wanted a social life with us. However, I would guess that our absence from her party is the crucks of her problem and she decided to spit out her dummy/take her ball home as we say. I even asked my friend who I work for what she thought and she agreed that it was exactly that, and maybe because we were not fawning about her then she was not interested. Obviously, not having contact with me for close to 40 years she would not know that I do not and never have fawned over anyone. It is not my style and neither is it M’s. We are sociable, but not to the point of a lot of people who do not seem to be able to function without others being around them. I find that type of life stifling. When I was young I was a social butterfly, but being old now, I have settled down. Again, we enjoy the company of others, but do not feel the need to be in the company of others all the time. Maybe we are the odd couple, but I know lots of people who are like us, as some who do not socialise at all.

I wonder how many readers are social butterflies or like us, happy to socialise, but it is not the be-all and end-all.

Taking the piss, an update…

The more I thought about it and the more I read your comments, the more shocked by the audacity of the wealth management guy. I knew I would have to bring it to a close.

So, the WM guy was emailed and told that his ideas were not plausible, not only for the amount of disruption that we would end up with, which frankly was the main reason, but the drain on my power, that I pay for and in the end are responsible for. Other things that I was not willing to deal with would be if we were away and their use of gates, lights etc tripped my electrics and caused a power outage that would bring about the death of my livestock, also, if there was a problem with equipment, then they would need me to be there for electrical contractors to fix and for my power disrupted at the same time. If I was away and the gate failed, then no one would be able to reset and get them out, and these were just a few high hurdles that I was not willing to deal with or be exposed to. A single LED light would have been fine, but this, no, no and no!

He was polite about it, as he had to be as I am not beholden to him. He was told at the time that no one was going to do anything with the land, and if he wanted to fix it up then it was on his own head, and with as little disruption to everyone. In the UK (not sure if it is the same anywhere else) commercial rentals are the responsibility of the person who rents them, that is, decor, alterations, repairs etc., basically, whatever you want to do, you have to pay for, which he knew. He was given a rent-free period as he did quite a bit of work to get rid of the crap that was on the land and removal of a makeshift storage building. I say building with the loosest of definitions.

He has decided now to run the cabling from his building and will tarmac all the areas between his place and ours all the way to the rented area (which has a concrete floor), and “make it nice for you”. I think the use of “you” was his way of an apology for the messing about, but in the end, it will benefit him and his workers. The work will be done in March now.

One of the agreed parts is that they have not stuck to was that the areas gates had to be closed and locked every night. So far they have used it three times, twice I have locked it up, but this evening I came home to find it all open and decided screw this, so left it open. M thinks because I locked it all up the other two times that he has not realised that his staff have not done their job and by leaving it open will point to it not being locked and he will kick someone’s arse. I hope so!

Scientology with Joe

Thanks to some of my readers I watched the Podcast/Videocast of Joe Rogan and Leah Remini talking about Scientology. I really like them both, so to have them on the one show talking about the aftermath of Leah’s journey within the “church” was inspiring. Joe trying to convince Leah that she should do pot was brilliant, and I could almost be convinced that she would have gone for it if he had pursued it a little more.

If you have not seen it and are interested in watching this 2:15 video, then look no further.

One thing I think I have in common with others outside the “church” is a deep fascination with the whole “religion”. I am currently reading Bare-Faced Messiah by Russell Miller, and am enjoying reading about LRH’s real and fictional madcap life. Even the parts that are true are almost tall tales in themselves. I can see why he was a prolific fiction writer.

Over the weekend I also watch Going Clear. I have the book by Lawrence Wright and am looking forward to reading that as I presume it will be a lot more educational than the film, but the film was very interesting. I have seen it before, but at the time I do not think I took too much interest in it. This time I absorbed it from start to finish.

We also finished watching Leah’s second series of Scientology and the Aftermath, and I have to say I am hooked. Leah has a quality in doing these documentaries that I really like and as for Mike Rinder, he is just a fountain of knowledge. The last episode made me laugh as Aaron Smith-Levin’s dog is not considered an SP (suppressive person), or should that be an SD? Along with the fence between him and his Scientology neighbours, it finished on a high.

Taking the piss…

Yes, I know, a little vulgar, but the only title I could think of was from Morrissey, which I was tempted to use, but thought, who of my visitors would guess this. Oh, the alternative was The Edges Are No Longer Parallel.

I consider myself a good neighbour, and as well as chatting to my neighbours, taking in parcels etc., I put the bins out for my immediate neighbour as she is getting on. We will ignore the fact that her son lives with her but is too screwed up to do that in case someone looks at him, she also says he is lazy and quite useless at doing anything asked of him. But this is another story for another time.

So, my story. There is a company in the village that deals with wealth management to the far right of our house (a large gap of land separates us). The owner has now rented the land at the back of my house for car parking space for his office people, leaving their spaces for their filthy rich clients. Fair enough, but, it is dark at home time, and none of the females there wants to park there due to the dark, the only lights that shine by it are our garden light. The condition of them renting it was that they locked the gates every night and little or no disturbance to us. They had spruced it up and it looks quite presentable now. But, the two days they have used it over the last 2 months, I have had to lock up as they drove out and left it wide open.

So, the other week they asked if I would be willing to help with a security light from my house so they can see. I was happy to go along with it thinking, it will just be one LED light that runs off my garden electrics. Being this north in the UK, we have about 6 hours of very dim sunlight, so solar lighting isn’t all that good. They were going to get it installed and would pay me for the use of power. All good so far, however, not content with a light, they decided that they wanted full security floodlighting throughout and electric sliding gates with high tech passive infrared scanners that they vehicles would use to auto access the area, and computerised fobs for visitors, of course, I had no idea of these new plans, and unbeknownst to me, they had arranged an electrician to survey my home with a view to installing massive armoured cabling from my house to the land. So from a single wire from my garden to the rear with a light to a full-on project. WTF!

I had spoken to the owner of the company and told him he cannot under any circumstances disturb M, or expect him to do anything when I was not at home. He agreed as he knows M’s conditions, but then blatantly ignored it and arranged for the installers to call when he knew I was not there! M ignored the workers calling as he knew that it was a condition of mine.

Now, my home is on three floors. The ground is a small area that contains an anti-space and one of my staircases (my neighbour lives under our first floor (2-bed place, so you can get the size of our home). The first floor is the main living area with my lounge, kitchen, bathroom, main bedroom, two square hallways, one with my spiral staircase to the next floor which contains another two large bedrooms and another large hall. The logistics of this is that my electrical fuse box is in the furthest point in the house, and to install all this crap, my electric system would probably have to be upgraded which they have not considered as this costs money, all my floors and carpeting pulled up through the whole house to get the armoured cable from said box to where the main staircase is and then either take it through one of the closets and then through the wall and down to the downstairs hall and eventually out the building. The last part would be visible which would be a big no for me. The other way would be to put it through the wall to the outside and all the way around the house to the said place. Apart from being unsightly, the amount of cable would be enormous.

I only found out about their plans when T, the gate maker who I have known for many years called me to say about the electrician needed access to do the survey for the electrics for the gates! I asked what he meant and what was going on and quickly put a stop to it all.

I have told him that if he wants to do all this, he will have to get contractors in and run the electrics from his office as his plans were just not feasible.

The whole episode really proved to me how much people will take advantage of a goodwill gesture and run with it until they have ripped the balls clean off. In conclusion, lesson learned!

KAL, A Beginning

So I started by KAL – Paris Toujours, but managed to read the pattern wrongly as part of the repeating was classed as Garter Pattern and Lace Pattern, but the first of the repeats was Garter Pattern x 6. As the pattern is two lines I wrongly presumed that this meant line 1 & 2 repeated 6 times, therefore giving 12 lines, then the next part of Lace Pattern being repeated 10 times, thus making 40 lines, but it should have been as they stated 6 lines of Garter, therefore just to repeat it 3 times, then the lace one repeat of the 4 line pattern 2.5 times.

With this error I frogged the lot and started again. The picture above is the mistake knit but only so far as the garter pattern.

I am enjoying it, but as there is no one else that I know who is doing it, it is not like a full knit along. I could be the only one doing it after all, I know that this is very unlikely, but one never knows.

More to come as it grows larger.

2019 – My Video

I decided to make a video last year and am continuing to build on it each day. My start point was 31st October as this was when I got the software. Each day consists of anything from 1 to 3 seconds of video to mark what I was doing, even if it was a dull day and I did nothing, I had to take a video. I am looking forward to seeing 2020 when I finish it on 31st December.

Enjoy 86 seconds of my life over 62 days (1.387 seconds each day)

Book 2 – Troublemaker

A few years ago I watched a BBC documentary about Scientology and found the whole thing fascinating and a little jarring at the same time. So last year we discovered on Sky that Leah Remini had done a documentary series on Scientology after her leaving the church. I had only ever known her from “The King of Queens”, so thought it would be interesting from a comedy actresses point of view. We watched the first series and are nearly finished with the second. Whilst watching I found that the story she was telling was quite familiar with what I had heard from not only the BBC documentary, but other people who had also left.

A quick search and there it was, “Leah Remini – Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology”, a press of a button and I had bought it.

I knew of L. Ron Hubbards writings of science fiction novels, and when I was in my late teens (late 80’s) I attended a “fair” in Liverpool that had many things from occult societies to religious nuts, D&G, and a whole host of things, but, little did I know that one of the things there was the Church of Scientology. The girl I was with persuaded me to do a “dianetics test” with her to see what kind of personality we had. We did it and that was that, and I never thought about it again. But people were really into the “findings” and wanted to take things further. I was a student who had no money so I was out. Lucky me!

I’m also a very sceptical person and find the whole cult/religion thing outlandish. I am agnostic, and cannot commit to the belief that there is or isn’t a god or higher being. I mean, if he/she were introduced to me and could prove it, then I would change my mind, so until then…

Anyway, Leah tells of her being brought into Scientology at the age of 13 and how her life went through her 30 years in the “church”. She talks of neglect of children as the “church” believes that all people are responsible for their own lives including children, which I find outrageous. The physical and mental abuse that goes on is quite startling, but I suppose this is true of near all religions and is not something that is unique to Scientology. One of the eyeopeners is the cost to all of this and that people get themselves in so much debt in order to cross “The Bridge To Total Freedom” by completing courses, auditing, and being forced/managed into donating massive amounts of money, Leah donating millions. Signing a billion-year contract to join the Sea Org was something that made me laugh as if something like that could be upheld. Leaving the “church” Leah lost most of her Scientology friends as they were forced under the rules of LRH to disconnect from her as she would be labelled a suppressive person. One positive thing that came from here “church” activities was her husband who was not a Scientologist when she met him, and was, as she put it “more fucked up” than she was. She does name drop quite a lot, so keep a dustpan a brush at the ready to sweep up the names.

Her book is quite raw and revealing and if you don’t mind lots of bad language/cursing then give it a go. My view of Scientology has never changed, but my eyes have been opened up a little more to her candid writings.

One final thought, LRH was a science fiction writer, which should tell us all we need to know about his billion-dollar religion.

Book 1 – Frankenstein

First book of the year read.

I decided to go for another classic as my first book of the year. I love classic literature and have read many, but I had never bothered with “Frankenstein; or, the Modern Day Prometheus”, to give it the full title. I think it was due to the constant stream of films that were based, however loosely on Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s novel, don’t you just love her name?

As it was written in 1817 the language is quite different to ours 203 years later, with words changing meaning over the centuries, but the darkness in the tale is very apparent. Not that that was a problem, as mentioned, I have read many classics and gothic novels. One thing that did strike me was how different the novel is to the films. I felt like I was reading a different book to that of the depictions of cinema. Frankenstein was horrified by his creation but lacked the ability to kill it, so ran from it. The monster fled and learned to speak whilst hiding and spying on a family, helping them out without them ever knowing, When he came face to face with Frankenstein later, he told him of his journey after rejection and promised to destroy everything Frankenstein ever loved. As a result, Frankenstein lost his family and loved ones at the hand of his monster, who followed him about the world including the UK. But the most surprising thing was this was all told to someone on a ship whilst they looked for the monster and relayed via letter. Again, never depicted.

I have always ran by the fact, to me at least, that a book is much better than the film or TV show of it, and this book proved again to me that it was.