May Madness continues… after the excitement of the coronation I realised I did not need to take down my bunting, but just add to it and celebrate Eurovision 2023. Some ribbon from HaberDasherDo and a few safety pins..
...then I discovered Amazon would deliver a flag by 10pm… which turned out to be a bit bigger than I expected.
Teddy has been carrying the Ukrainian flag since Ukraine was invaded last year.
The Eurovision Song Contest was started in 1956 and I doubt those who participated in those early black and white days would recognise the colourful stage productions and strange outfits in the twenty first century. There are many more countries participating now, some newly created borders and a few countries not in Europe… Some countries have always loved it, while in the United Kingdom many of us may have been indifferent or embarrassed by our song entries. Sweden famously produced Abba whose songs have been a background to so many lives and when Ireland hosted the contest in 1994 the interval entertainment of Riverdance took on a life of its own and millions have been thrilled by the many live Riverdance shows.
Last year everything changed when the UK actually had a song people were talking about and seemed to have a chance of getting good scores, Sam Ryder with ‘Space Man’. More importantly Ukraine was was going to enter and despite the awful suffering of their country send a positive message to the world. Their Kalush Orchestra won with ‘Stefania’ and the UK came second. Ukraine should have been the host this year, but sadly that would be impossible so as second place holders the UK was chosen and are jointly hosting with Ukraine in Liverpool.
It is the first time for 25 years we have hosted the contest and for those who have always loved Eurovision and Liverpudlians, there is great excitement … and it’s catching. Whatever you think of the various songs a lot of people are having fun, both locals and Ukrainians in exile here. On the news you can have a break from what is going on in the rest of the world and see happy people gathering in Liverpool. There have been two semi finals and tomorrow is the Big Night...
Most of us have never witnessed a coronation before and anticipation varies from excited crowds camping out for days to catch a glimpse, to those who are ignoring the whole thing. Whatever your views it is guaranteed to be a colourful spectacular, with lots of lovely horses, beautiful music and human interest. Not guaranteed is the weather. It rained for the Queen’s coronation, you wait 70 years for another coronation and it will probably rain again! We have never gone to events involving crowds and camping on pavements; I admire people who do, but like many will take the easy way and watch on television.
On my walk home this morning I endeavoured to catch some coronation atmosphere…
A reminder that we have had three royal events in less than a year.
If you want to be sociable and take in some ambience without going to London many councils are putting up big screens and you can bring a picnic. I think I may favour my sofa to damp grass…
Some shops and houses are flying the flag, boasting some bunting…
One of these may or may not be my house…
Whatever your views on royalty, King Charles III has a lifetime of knowledge and more intelligence than most / all of our political leaders! Whatever your religious views, he acknowledges a higher power; unlike politicians who often think they are God. He was telling us to look after the planet long before other leaders recognised there was a serious problem and his interests cover everything from farming to music and of course people…
It’s never a good idea to wander through a writer’s mind, especially on a Monday.
Do you rush round cleaning and tidying when the in laws are coming, are you nervous when important visitors are expected? Spare a thought for President Macron who had to cancel the visit of King Charles III as the place was in too much of a mess…
Most of us worry about the cost of running our homes. This is nothing new. We are reading Jude the Obscure for our book club. Jude and Sue are going for a very long walk on the wild heathlands of Wessex and with no coffee shops in sight and poor Sue getting weary, they call at the only cottage for miles around. They end up sharing the mother and son’s dinner and staying the night. In conversation the cottager complained she will never get her roof fixed because the price of thatch has gone up so much.
Yes, I’ve been to the Giant gallery again.
I’ll leave readers to comment… while I take a wander down to the beach.
Welcome to the 2222 British Isles literary study cruise. We will soon be passing by the tiny islands of St Catherine’s, Boscombe, Pokesdown, Hengistbury and of course our destination Southbourne. If the seas stay calm we will be landing for our visit to the National Trust property, the newly restored Tidalscribe House. Has anyone actually been on land before? No I thought not, make sure you take your land nausea tablets as soon as we get the berthing go ahead and before you leave the lecture theatre.
The twenty third century has brought many exciting discoveries, not least of which was the decoding of ‘The Internet’ which turned out to be real, not a myth at all, with the discovery of more historic documents than we could have dreamed of. For students of literature, just as exciting was the unearthing of the ‘voices’ of the early twenty first century when people still lived on land. At last it has been proved that far from ambling mindlessly towards global disaster, vast numbers of ordinary citizens were intercommunicating with the rest of the world and trying to counteract the ignorance of bumbling world leaders.
A lot of citizens wrote what they called ‘blogs’ and ‘websites’. As well as exchanging information they had a highly developed culture of writing, often issuing books on primitive hand held electronic devices.
Today’s lecture is about an author who has not come down to us through history, but was discovered by sheer accident. When at last in recent years a select group of scientists and academics were allowed on land, they chose an island that seemed to have largely escaped the destructive storms of the twenty first and twenty second centuries. The 2029 forced emergency evacuation of the then south coast left houses as if the owners had just stepped out. In one of the houses was found a vast collection of paper books apparently all written by Janet Gogerty. Just as our ancestors did, the scientists tried an internet search and discovered Janet Gogerty had a website called Tidalscribe. She had written thousands of blogs as well as ‘publishing’ many novels and short story collections. If her writing is to be believed, her life and times were much stranger than we have imagined, but her novel Three Ages of Man is uncannily accurate in describing ‘the future’, our life and times. This is the book you will be studying in detail on your degree course.
When we enter the house you will see the author’s book collection in hermetically sealed cases, but the National Trust has preserved the house as close as possible to the way it was left. On her desk sits the antique computer, beside it a half full cup of what is believed to have been coffee, not a banned substance then. Also handwritten notes on paper, faded and barely legible in a strange script, which leads us to wonder if they were intended to be transcribed as her next book or were some mystery message to the future. We will never know what happened to her after she left her home, was she one of the minority that survived?
It is that time of year when Bournemouth council, or more accurately BCP Council now ( Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole ) tells us by how much our beach hut rent has gone up, with various explanations as to why. We were on the waiting list for six years and I guess most beach hut people will pay up rather than lose the six foot by six foot piece of concrete they rent. It’s best not to calculate the cost per minute of sitting in the sun, making a cup of tea or having your own private changing room. There are people who go every day, but most of us have other things to do, places to go and gardens looking accusingly at us. I had not visited since last year, though I have walked past to make sure it was still there. The council does not own our huts and how ever much we have paid, the hut is worth nothing if you can’t unlock it. Weather and salty air play havoc with padlocks, whether they have keys or a combination lock and pulling the shackle out can be as impossible as pulling Excalibur from the stone if you are not the future King Arthur.
Luckily I brought WD 40 from home. I have never known what WD 40 is actually made of, but I love the scent and apparently WD and duct tape are all you need to solve most DIY problems. There is a can of WD 40 in the beach hut, but that is not much use if you can’t get in… I used a lot of WD 40 and had to resort to going away to wash half a can of it off my hands then sneaking back, when the second padlock wasn’t looking, to open it.
When you walk down here it feels like being on holiday.
When you see your patch of sea you know it was worth the money and the struggles with the padlocks.
As the padlocks soak up WD 40 and you soak up the winter sun and eat your sandwiches you know it was worth it.
Then after two bites of your sandwich the weather changes, your tea gets cold and you wonder if your friends will regret saying they would ‘pop in’ for a cup of tea.This is why you keep blankets at the beach hut…
…but the sun will probably come out again before it goes down.
A staff member stood at the entrance to Wilko, apologising that the computers were down and they were only taking cash. I was vindicated, smugly waltzing in with a £20 note in my purse. Anybody who has been to Wilko’s will know you can get quite a few things for £20.
How many of us have been ’treated’ to a meal by younger relatives only to see them turn from the till and say ‘Have you got any cash on you, the card machine is broken.’
Will cash be phased out, should it disappear? Covid hastened the avoidance of real money in those early pandemic days, when we were told to avoid touching anybody or anything. Even shops that had been cash only started accepting cards. Anyone who has hands that don’t work properly, whether through stiff joints or peripheral neuropathy, will ruefully remember their school days; Saturday shop jobs when they were amused to see old people tip the whole contents of their purse onto the counter, as they could not see the coins properly. Swiping your piece of plastic, phone or watch could be seen as a great way to avoid fumbling around as the queue at the till builds up behind you. So why should we preserve the Royal Mint?
How can children learn about money if they can’t see it and see their pocket money disappear when they buy comics and sweets? Who doesn’t look back fondly at jobs where their weekly pay came in a brown envelope. If your salary goes straight in the bank you never see your hard earned money.
You may be reluctant to buy a coffee if you have to break into a shiny new note, but loose change is handy, vital for lots of things. Putting the smallest coins in your piggy bank probably won’t amount to a holiday, but you can have fun pouring the contents into a Coinstar machine or taking a bagful of coins to an amusement arcade. If you are selling raffle tickets at your club’s evening event you hope everyone has real money in their pockets. At the library coffee morning there may be glares if you have no coins to drop in the ‘voluntary contribution‘ tin. Then there are the times parents have used a coin to unlock the door of the cubicle in the public toilets when their child was locked in…
Counting up other times I need cash there is the Big Issue seller ( yes I know some of them have card machines now, but ours haven’t ) , spending less than £5 at the greengrocers and putting a pound in the saucer for the Wick Ferry.
Money is part of our national identity and a highlight of your first holiday abroad is working out the ‘foreign money.’
Do you take cash out with you? Wads of notes because you are laundering money or just a fiver and a few coins?
Guerrilla shopping in its purest form means only ever using cash, it is the opposite and perhaps the antidote to the big shop. When you go to Superco and use your plastic, phone or watch to pay and swipe your Happy Superco Shoppers’ card to earn points ‘they’ know exactly what you have bought, how much you have spent and when. In seconds your lifestyle has been assessed by Algo Rithm. We don’t know who he is, but do we want him to know everything about us? He has friends everywhere so anything could happen. When you go to the doctors or clinic to have your diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol etc checked they will frown at you and say
‘Hmm, I see you bought a bottle of whisky, two giant Toblerones, a dozen Cadbury Crème Eggs and no fruit or veg last week.’
The guerrilla shopper slips under the radar, using every shop in his neighbourhood and beyond, buying a few items at each, never visiting any location at a regular time or day. There is no record of what he spends, eats or reads.
There are many other reasons for being a guerrilla shopper, apart from being a criminal or paranoid. If you are on a tight budget you can take advantage of the best prices and offers and get your clothes and crockery at charity shops.
If you do not drive and wish to avoid Dearburys’ Delivery knowing exactly where you live as well as what you eat, then you must shop at every opportunity, buying only what you can carry, fit on your bike or clamber onto the bus with.
Adventure is a popular reason for guerrilla shopping, providing excitement without going hunting or to a war zone and fun without going on holiday. Guerrillas do not ‘go shopping’ they go on an expedition to find vital supplies. Will you manage to get enough for dinner, perhaps come back with a surprise bargain from the charity shop?
Even in rural areas the guerrilla should be able to shop; the milk machine at the dairy farm shop where you put your coins in and fill your reusable bottle, the free range eggs with the honesty box at the farm gate in a lonely lane, farmers’ markets and ‘pick your own’ fields…
In Southbourne Grove we have a treasure trove of shops, the only place we’ve lived which has gone up rather than downhill. As well as Sainsbury Local, Tesco Express, CoOp and One Stop, the guerrilla shopper could buy one onion in the greengrocers, a chicken leg at the butchers, a roll at the bakers and brooms and batteries at Southbourne General Store. There are also all the shops you could want for gifts or leisure and plenty of coffee stops. The only thing we and other shopping areas have not got any more are banks…
If you are using cash you still have to get it from somewhere. Cash machines mean you have to use your card; Algo Rithm will know you have been there and a hidden camera will take your photo…
Have you tried guerrilla shopping? ~What are your favourite shops?
While others were posting their 22 achievements for 2022 and their 23 goals for 2023 on Facebook, I had got as far as putting the washing machine on. As bloggers wrote about their Word of the Year I was contemplating making chicken stock, checking the washing machine filter and finishing my Christmas cards.
On the writing and blogging front in the early 2020’s I have not had a novel on virtual tour, excitedly revealed my new cover or started a new novel.
If I am going to choose a word of the year perhaps it could be TIDY. Tidying is an unavoidable activity closely linked to cleaning; both are tasks that take us away from more creative pursuits. Whether you are tidying up after Christmas visitors or faced with dusting when you take your cards and decorations down, most of us start the year with tidying of some sort. We might even enjoy the virtuous feeling of getting the year off to a good start and after vacuuming turn to our computer to tidy up our internet banking or our digital lives.
Perhaps one of my aims for 2023, apart from starting a novel, could be to learn Latin. I love the brevity of Latin; Word of the Year replaces four words with two, Verbum Anni. It would take us half the time to write and read blogs if we all wrote them in Latin.
Do you have a word of the year or some worthy aims? Will you trek to Everest Base Camp or tidy your sock drawer?