It's been a sloth Christmas - grandad's Christmas card

Hanging out in trees above it all, flying a sleigh with big bag of presents 

Raining and snowing nicely-wrapped small gifts, kisses, big red and green dollops

Grounded tree with decorations and star. Snowman. Figure with baby, turtle in a pond

High, low. Up, down. 

Well-balanced and sensible - New Year's resolution for Covid - get the jab

Dank Manchester can be pretty normal

Manchester was tacky. The Christmas market was winding down and the drizzle didn't help. Not as lively and interesting as previous years. The city centre was nevertheless mobbed.

Bill Bailey was appearing at the AO Arena. 4 checkpoints to get in. Bit weird thinking about the bombing. We had a row on our own. Boris came in for massive stick - very funny. Politicians in general were soft targets. Bewildering talent - several guitars, keyboard, cow bells and bicycle horns. Operatic soprano accompanied the flamenco. Highway to Hell was good. Bill likes heavy metal.

Pleasant and comfortable Pizza Express.

Trains empty. Roads busy.


Garden Glimpses - the screw

The screw with a touch of 'croc', some of which might still be in my foot.

A week last Friday. A fine moment for an autumn tidy. Beware the remnants of the wind-swept balcony. Wisteria tamed, for this year. Timid montana in retreat. A second attempt at gathering leaf fall. It'll need another. Next year's mulch looks promising. How many more years will I be doing this? 
  So, for now, going well, but ...
  Pain, and unbelief, no protection from stupid crocs. Rapid retreat to the nurse childbride. Google and the chemist - tetanus and antibiotics. Don't ring 111. Nurse in gp surgery didn't turn a hair. And regular dressings of course, and foot up, don't bear weight, drive or do anything upright.
  One afternoon, whilst the childbride was out with her eating and drinking chums, I read a book.

Stupidity is the first thought. To leave the plank of wood, to not see it, to not wear foot protection. Clumsiness is my middle name, and not improving with age. So no change there.

The second thought was are there any benefits from illness and injury? For a short time only! Would anyone wish to be troubled for longer? A hell of a question.

The injured sole; swollen, red, sore - my training tells me my life is
A lot better now.


Dave's notebook

Notebook - inspiring ageing

How do you put a silencer on a whisky bottle top? The childbride hears me open it from all the remote corners (of the house).


Elaine Kingett, The Times, Nov 20th. A teacher of creative writing. Primarily discussing her love life, aged 72, there are general moments:

'Drink too much, sleep too little, relax with great difficulty, spend far too much time on social media. And my concentration skills are shot to bits and my social skills seem to be going the same way. So what is one to do?'

'The last few years, as I have aged, have taken a toll on me physically and psychologically, and to continue the life and work I so passionate about I need to reboot, rejuvenate and, yes, I hate to admit it - detox.'

'Rediscover my inner strength and reconnect my life. A time perhaps to count my blessings and celebrate a bit more what I have, not what I have lost.'


'Almost nothing is worth giving up for the sake of a few more years in a nursing home (in Bournemouth)' Sir Kingsley Amis.


I share most of these. My social skills - what social skills? I discussed this with my gp once. He said "You're a bloke." "We're all a bit on the spectrum." I don't do social media anyway - except to share my hobby blog. Yes, celebrating the here and now and what I have. It's a continuous process, the tidal preoccupations keep coming in. Breathe.


Garden Glimpses

Our bit of the storm damage and autumn. A potent combination and a mess. There is a long list of mess just now. Hard to be upbeat, especially when the waves keep coming.
We need a vacation - Arnie had an answer.
We also have a man who does - coming in February.