Sunday 16 January – first song of the day to shuffle is, ‘Lazy Eye’ by Silversun Pickups and it’s my first weigh in. I have been trying out the new Weightwatchers, pro points, for a week now and have lost 4.5 pounds (2kg). Not bad for a week. I start the day with a slice of toast, and my new discovery, a smear of Gentlemen’s Relish. I love the salty taste.
Today is birthday dinner day, my partner had a birthday on the 15th and my ex-wife has hers on the 18th. We combined the two and had a meal to celebrate, along with wifey’s two children. As it’s a joint birthday we combined the ages, therefore having a cake that sported happy 94th birthday. We had roast beef and roast chicken, a couple of bottles of fizz and obviously cake. (Which, because it was chocolate, I didn’t like)
Sunday evening brings the usual dose of drivel on the TV, so called celebrities dancing; I use the term dancing loosely, on ice. I saunter through the show, not particularly watching the action, because I am waiting for one thing. Robert Van Winkle AKA Vanilla Ice. He may be a one hit wonder and a capable skater, but this is not reason enough to watch him, I watch him because I can’t stop chuckling at his Lego wig. He’s obviously wearing a rug, but it looks like one a Lego man would wear. I hope the tape is good, it would make great viewing if it slipped off mid skate.
Monday 16 January – What is it with junk mail? Is today national post junk mail through Barry’s door? I’m in the kitchen making my first cup of tea of the day. The iPod doing it’s job playing that haunting Raveonettes ditty, ‘All Boys That Rape (Should Be Destroyed), when the first item of junk drops on the mat. A pamphlet promising me ‘inner peace’ if I join a local religious group. Barely ten minutes go by when the letter box rattles and more rubbish arrives, this time ironically the leaflets are for a slimming club and a take out pizza menu. Next to arrive is a catalogue for household products, that I never purchase, but still each week one drops though the door.
Goldfrapp play the atmospheric, ‘Horse Tears’ as the postman arrives. I have several items of legitimate mail mixed with two items of junk, a broadband offer from Virgin and an offer of free membership to a gym.
I spend the day doing some research for a new magazine article, and as the reggae/dancehall vibe of Pentonville Blues by Glide and Swerve, feat: Boy George starts to play, yet another piece of junk mail arrives. This time a scrappy looking piece of paper floats down to the kitchen floor, a homemade flyer for someone named Daz, who apparently will take away any unwanted household appliances.
Tuesday 18 January – As The Eagles finished playing ‘Desperado’ I parked the car just outside town. I decided to take a chance and park on a piece of land that has recently had the clamping warning signs removed. It’s a brisk walk uphill into town, so that should help with the diet. Out of nowhere a voice calls, “Ciao, Barry.” I turn and see my friend Silvana, it’s her birthday so I respond, “Ciao cara, buon compleanno.” It’s nice to have a little nugget of Italian life, albeit in the middle of the Potteries.
With Marc Almond shuffling to the fore to play ‘Empty Eyes’, I enter T-K-Maxx. Like my iPod I begin to shuffle between rails of cut priced shirts. I’m flicking through the stock on show, nothing really catching my eye, when something does catch my eye. My attention is drawn towards a young man with one of those gauging ear piercings; you know the kind that stretch the lobe open. Now the type of body modification isn’t what makes me look, it’s the fact that he’s looking at shirts too, but he has hooked a hanger with a shirt onto his ear lobe to keep his hands free. I smile and mutter the word ‘genius’ to myself.
As I walk back to the car I take a few snaps of the derelict land that’s been left to rot, after the building of the towns’ supersized superstore. No names mentioned, however I do like the name of one of the now impotent streets, ‘Slippery Lane’ I bet it’s a bugger to walk on in winter.
Wednesday 19 January – Why is it that supermarkets have the ability to sensible people into imbeciles? Today I take a trip to our local superstore and the first thing I see is a woman loading her three children into a shopping trolley. The children are aged between 3 to 7 at a guess, and don’t have the ability to stand still. The woman tries in vain to push the trolley as the kids inside it jostle about. The accident that’s inevitable then occurs. As the mother navigates a turn the trolley tips up and spills said children onto the floor, the conclusion being 3 wailing infants and disdainful looks from fellow shoppers.
I walk down the dairy aisle as the iPod starts to play Mr Hudson, ‘Learning To Live,’ up ahead of me is a young man having difficulty reaching an item from the top shelf. Rather than ask for assistance I watch as he climbs onto the bottom of the fridge. It was very hard not to laugh aloud, as he lost his footing and slipped ending up kneeling in the yogurts. I do hope he can get the stains out of his jeans.
I see there’s a statement from Katie Price, AKA Jordan in the newspapers today. Not usually one to spend time here talking about people in the media; notice I didn’t use the term ‘celebrities’. But who out there didn’t think her marriage to Alex Reid would last long?
Thursday 20 January – I’ve been listening to a lot of Billy Mackenzie the last few days, as I have to write a magazine article and have chosen to write about him. (I’ll publish it here when my lecturer has marked it.) At 14.00, and as Bow Wow Wow play ‘(I’m a) TV Savage’ I click save and it’s finally complete. I’ll leave it for a few hours, review it and then send the final draft by e-mail.
I realised today that I’m a pasta snob, I opened my kitchen cupboards and realised that I only have branded pasta, no stores own brand. In Italy there are hoards of brands of pasta, and my favourite is De Cecco, which is relatively inexpensive there, but is at a premium here in the UK. Another good one is Delverde, however that’s hard to find here and is another costly brand.
I don’t to sound like an old moaner, but at the moment I’m finding being semi retired a bit of a chore. I have endless things that can keep me occupied, but over the last week I’ve become quite an expert at procrastination. (As I type this a menu for a Chinese take away has dropped through the letter box.) The problem I think is I don’t want to be here, I want to be over in Italy sorting out my house and land, and it’s this that’s colouring my moods.
On my way out in the evening listening to, ‘Tell Tale’ by The Specimen, when up ahead of me a lorry slowly pulls out of a side road. The road is a narrow track, obviously the German driver has fallen victim to the SatNav. I stop half wondering why he pulled out when he could see me coming, and half thinking, he’s going to get stuck. He manoeuvres as best he can in the narrow streets and suddenly comes to a halt. The driver climbs down from his cab, comes towards me and asks for directions. I tell him I don’t know the road he’s looking for, and he walks away. Yes walks away, not back to his cab, but in the other direction, leaving his lorry blocking the road. I have several other cars behind me now, horns beep and one disembodied voice shouts out a profanity. I wait, unable to turn around until the driver behind me has done so. As soon as it is my turn to do a three point turn and exit the scene a police car arrives to assess what’s going on. I leave him with my red tail lights disappearing down the road.
Friday 21 January – I have a bacon sandwich this morning as the Apple device I am attached to plays, ‘Jag Vet En Dejlig Rosa’ by Robyn. A quick look on the web and the translation from Swedish to English is - I Know One Lovely Rose.
Very little happens today, I change the look of this blog, mooch around reading other blogs. I’m surprised that so many have people that have clicked the follow box, and are followers of the blog. I check my stats and have lots of people coming back to read this but very few people bother to comment here, or follow. Puzzled??
We take a trip to Trentham Retail Village in the afternoon, to pass the time. Whilst there we bump into quite a few people we know, all of whom seem to be at a loose end too.
Saturday 22 January – I take a trip into town, pulling onto my newly found parking area. (Won’t be long before others discover the lack of clamping signs too, but for now it’s all mine… ha ha ha aha panto villain laugh.)
As I’m walking along it strikes me that when in town I very rarely look up, just straight ahead at shop fronts. Looking up reveals some beautiful old architecture, that is mostly ignored.
Walking through the shopping centre amuses me, as there’s a woman obviously in a hurry heading towards me, and she’s dragging along a small boy. She is oblivious to what is in front of the boy, and promptly drags him face first into a post. I snigger and her response is to chastise the child, asking him what he’s ‘playing at’.
I’m browsing the DVD section at our local HMV, when I catch a conversation that makes me snigger once again. It’s between three young eastern European lads, and goes like this. Lad 1 – “You can’t move for them anymore, can you?” Lad 2 – “I know, and they’re taking all the houses up near us.” Lad 3 – “Yeah, they should all f*** off back to Poland.” Lad 1 – “It’s just too easy to get into this country.”
I return to my car, which has now been joined by two others. Turn on the ignition, plug in the iPod, and drive home with, The late, great Billy Mackenzie singing, ‘Give Me Time’.
Apologies for any typos etc, didn't get time to check it over before posting.