Dont buy the Sun.

Dont buy the Sun.
Hillsborough Justice campaign - Remember the 96.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

For Tom

In 'Methods of Paint Distribution', the by now classic Chapter 3 of my book " "Spatter Marks: Design or Perspective? A Post-structuralist guide to painting", the Circular Revolutionary Motion is not mentioned. Similarly, in Chapter 6, the paradigm setting 'Stilettos or Ladders? Recognised Methods of Elevation in Ceiling Painting', the Revolving Chair Ladder is not referred to as a height gaining device. Nevertheless, a combination of these techniques means that I have now distributed paint round most of our kitchen. Some of it, on the walls. It is all Tom's fault.

I am painting the kitchen at Large Mansions, last step before I can begin installing the bamboo, and as usual, I am impatient. I am also, as described in, a terrible, but terribly enthusiastic painter. I have one last high corner to reach and the job is done. I glance around for elevatory devices - the ladder, just in the hallway is far too far away for me to bother walking the six feet necessary to claim it, and I would have to move the table to climb on that. Inspiration hits. Right in front of me is one of our heavy oak office chairs. It is on castors, the height is adjustable, but the seat does revolve. While I do consider the possibility of it revolving for the briefest of seconds, I conclude that if quick enough, I can hop onto it, splatter the paint where I need it and be off before the ubiquitous and supervisory cat notices. I load up my paint brush, and with tin in hand, hop onto the chair, which immediately simultaneously spins and starts rolling away from where I want to paint. I overreach, increasing the speed of both revolution and transverse motion, and, rather inevitably I suppose, end up on the floor in a puddle of paint. There are great big streaks of excess paint all over my previously painted wall, and absolutely none at all where I had intended.

It is, I reflect, a truly Tom moment, and I can imagine it happening to him and recounting the story, with typical self-depreciation, hardly getting to the end before bursting into laughter. In fact, the last time I saw Tom, it was also paint related, which is why, particularly, I am thinking of him today. We were painting my house in Nova Scotia, getting it ready for sale in the summer of 2007. Tom had agreed to help me - someone he hardly knew- paint my house in getting it ready for sale. What he had'nt told me was that he was as bad a painter as I was. But I needed help because I could only be there a week, and as far as Tom was concerned, I was a friend in need, so Tom dropped his plans for the week to help me out. We were, as a paint team, Laurel and Hardyesque in our incompetence. We would paint a wall, then both promptly lean against it half an hour later while having a tea break, peeling all the paint off. The week I was there, the house, empty of furniture echoed every time Tom burst into laughter, which was often. Tom did the cutting in on the ceiling, but because we didnt have a ladder high enough for him to reach, he was overstretching and the line he produced looked like, as he put it, a drunken spider had painted it. After more laughter at how stupid we'd been, we swapped, with him at five foot something painting the low bits and me, at six foot something painting the high bits.

We got the house painted in the end, but dropping Tom back home after the last day's work does not end our story. This is because we sold the Nova Scotia house, moved to England and bought Large Mansions, thereby embarking on nine months of renovations. In the process, we've met loads of brilliant people - Cheap Steve, Pete the Plumber, JJ, Jerry, Andy, Daz the Brickie, and had hundreds of madcap adventures- from dismantling Concretia, to building a pond, from plumbing mishaps and back to painting - exactly the type of slapstick silliness and absurdity that would tickle Tom, and all this laughter, all the fun we've had, all the fun we're going to have, all of it would not have been possible of Tom had not helped me paint, because by selling that house, we bought this one.

It is a cliche, but we are all connected, and its another cliche that there are too many "if onlys.." when someone dies. I hardly knew Tom, but he is, if only he ever realised it, responsible for the fact that I could take my cats for a walk this morning down our lane. He would have found that (ie taking the cats for a walk), very funny, as well. There's no melodrama, or false sentimentality here, the fact is we are all connected. We all affect other people in ways we cannot even begin to count. I didnt know Tom very well, but when I heard this week that he had killed himself my own "if only.." was to wonder that if only Tom had realised how connected we are, how valued he was, how his going would affect his friends, how important he was, how he had helped make people happy an ocean away, then maybe he could have got something out of that, and maybe he would have changed his mind.

I talk to RHB and we agree with Joey Mac that we'll have a "Tom Night" when Joe and Anna visit in a few weeks. We'll tell our tales of Tom ( I only have one so I'll have to repeat myself - no change there then), drink and laugh and listen to some Zappa (or whatever the Hell it was on the CD's he brought when we were painting in NS - it was too far out for me, but we played it loud and proud anyway, air guitars and all). But it wont end after a few drinks, we're connected - there will always be a little bit of that diminutive, kind, eccentric, interested kid in the fabric, not only of this building but in the one in Nova Scotia, and the place in Toronto where Joe and Anna live, and in a hundred other places, and a thousand people that Tom, being Tom, would never have presumed he had touched. But he did.

Friday, 22 May 2009

The New Recruit

I would like you all to welcome the newest recruit to Large Mansions - Diego the Frog. As you may be aware, we still have no floor in our entire downstairs area ( a situation that will be finally remedied in the forthcoming week) .

We do however have a frog, who appeared this week in our pond. Here's some pictures featuring firstly Diego, then Tosh, attempting to kill Diego.
The front garden is now getting close to being beautiful. As part of the idea of the area is to encourage wildlife, we've planted, and demarcated as disposable several additional plants - cauliflower and potato. Hopefully Diego will eat the bugs that eat the plants, but these plants are sacrificial.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Urgent disappointment is recommended

Considering the way things are done in Good Old Blighty, or the US of A, for that matter, I am glad to reside in these great deomocracies. Others are'nt so lucky. For example, over at the old Bosnian Pyramid website, a spat is revealed between Mr Semir Osmanagic (discoverer of the Famous Bosnian Pyramids) and a professor Goverdarica. It seems that Prof Govadorica has annoyed Mr Osmanagic (sheet metal worker) in some way, resultung in a thoroughly objective, scientific investigation into Prof Govadorica's status. According to the Pyramid Of the Sun Website, Prof Govadorica is not an actual professor, but is in fact, a "Honorar aussenplanmassig Profesor" ( Professor to be planned for wages ). The following paragraph, in referring to the hundreds of scientists who've made more discoveries that GOVEDARICA obviousy is a referecne to your's truly, as I must be in that top hundred somewhere.

"There are several hundreds European scientists who specialize in pre-history and are regular professors who have achieved significant achievements and discoveries, much higher than Mr Govedarica has. Therefore, it is false and disturbing for the public to misinform and claim that Govedarica is the most eminent pre-historian in Europe. The Foundation's Press Agency will also ask Heidelberg's Institution and their leading experts who continuously work on many projects (where Govedarica has never participated), if they share the same opinion.

I for one am glad that the Bosnian pyramid researchers are so thorough in their research. It bodes well for the future in trying to determine whether a vaguely pyramidal structure in the middle of Bosnia where there is no other evidence at all of a supporting civilization, actually is, or is not, the largest and oldest Pyramid in Europe. I cannot wait for the results, because if this dedicated team find that the Pyramid, that they have neutrally named THE PYRAMID OF THE SUN, is actually a real life pyramid, I want to be in on the team that does the research in the surrounding territory, unearthing the supporting evidence of a 12000 year old Illyrian civilization. I have already identified, via Google Earth, some mysterious straight lines in the surrounding countryside, lines that have, AND GET THIS, been covered over by Government agencies and relabelled "ROADS". If that's not evidence of a cover up, I dont know what is.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Quarterly Report Financial

Hot off the press and I have just reviewed our financial status for this site. As Chair of the global corporation that is YWNA, I can confirm that we have had 5334 site visits since we went live. We have had a total of 0 clicks on adverts, earning zero revenue. This, in the current market, represents a great achievement because it means that we are not losing any money. Given the scale of this achievement, I have consulted the board and can announce the following performance based improvements in remuneration for the officers of the company:

Mazzer : 150% pay rise. This means I am now allowedt o watch two episodes of Sopranos per day, plus An episode of Gordon Ramseys Kitchen Nightmare USA at teatime.

Calli: An increase in treats from one to two salmon sticks per day. plus an extra tickle.

Tosh: AN increase in treat allowance from two to three salmon sticks per day, plus five dentabits.

RHB: No increase in allowance.

grasshopper: A free trip to Europe, paid for by herself.

Joey Mac: A free trip to Europe, paid for by himself

Legal Eagle: Two extra biscuits next time he visits.

Great Margaret: Some nice chocolate and a big hug.

Sally and Will: relaocation to a city of your choice provided its' Bristol.

Keep up the good work guys!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Trajectories of Leakage: A New paradigm in Plumbing


"You realise, of course" I say conversationally, as RHB lovingly applies the last coat of paint, "That we'll have to dismantle that bannister in order to get the couch into the front room".

RHB smiles beautifically. "No" she replies "You'll have to dismantle that bannister in order to get the couch into the front room". She turns up the volume on her i-Pod and returns to Radio Four's long-running soap "The Archers". I lift the dust curtain and, assisted by all the cats that are available, continue in my quest for the 'Little Leak that Did'.

In truth, the final stages of Phase Four of our renovations are upon us, but nevertheless we keep encountering the odd snag, mostly caused by the fact that although I revel in the title "West Hull's Leading Scenic carpenter and Joint Second Best Academic in the UK" , some of the skills necessary to finish the house have not been mastered by self. More accurately, most of the skills necessary to finish have never before been attempted by self, and given the learning curve necessary to achieve accomplishment in some skills, I gain new understandings into why our lawyer (See "The Adventures of Little Bunny Foo Foo" on this blog) was, as a relative newbie, self described as "practising".

In the current case, a radiator needs moving from here;

and replacing with the three shown here. This in fact represents the job completed.

The necessity for such removal is not limited to one of heat efficiency in terms of optimal placement of radiators, but includes that the previous owners of Large Mansions gave such little thought to Feng Sui, asthetics and good use of space that the first position of the radiator, if left as is, would always result in chairs, couches or sofas always being placed directly in front of the radiator, ensuring that the cats would always be warm, but benefitting no-one else.

As preparation for the move, I look up instructions on the internet, and see a carefully planned 4 step process that takes about a minute to read. It seems an easy job. All that is needed is the correct fittings, a basic knowledge of plumbing and no cats. The job is also, in miniature, a perfect representation of the Butterfly Effect in that until the radiators move, there can be no floor laid down. Until the floor is laid down there can be no kitchen completion as the sofas that will inhabit the front room currently infest the kitchen. Until the kitchen is finished several boxes cannot be unpacked, and until these are unpacked, the Canadians due soon (fleeing the Harpoon tyranny) will have no-where to sleep, because their bedroom is where the boxes are.

After a day's work, the job is done and I proudly show my work to our chief designer, the Red Haired Boffin. She has one minor quibble:

"Why are the pipes visible? That looks crap"

This is not quite the response I was anticipating so I point out that the "window seat" will cover the pipes. These pipes I have laid above the floor, mostly it has to be admitted, because I'm tired of taking flooring up. RHB nods thoughtfully:

"Well the window seat would cover the pipes, I agree" she says encouragingly, "but there is not going to be a window seat in here. Remember?"

"Oh......" I say.

"............Yeah........." I say.

"Well, er........ahem.........yeah.........erm" I say.

RHB is conciliatory, which in itself shocks me to the point of fear, "Let's have a think about it over dinner".

There is no need. She is right. There will be no window seat. There is no space. We did previoulsy discuss this. The plastic pipes running along the floor look crap. The job's a bad'un.

Two days later, and the job is re-completed. The room is nearly ready for paint. RHB has departed for work, reminding me of my promise never to paint again, a promise I have no intention of keeping. The newly plastered, re-plastered, filled, sanded, re-plastered, re-filled, sanded, vacuumed, re-filled walls beckon invitingly. Despite my complete lack of success in two of the finishing skills (see this post and "The Calumny of Plastering" an earlier post) I fully intend to paint. It is likely that at some point in the near future, a new post will appear on these pages "Spatter Marks: Design or Perspective? A Post-structuralist guide to painting".

Next step, the hallway.............................

Other news:

1. In other news, it is not all work for us. We have been going out to dinner. Actually we went out once last month to the home of my friend JJ. Imminent Canadians and house warmers (who at the current rate of knots will be co-incidental) will be glad to meet, or remember for those who visited at New Year, Georgia, Sarah, Jerry, RHB, and JJ. The reason for all the attention being paid to events stage left, is the inaugaration of JJ and Georgia's new wood burning stove. To some, this may be less exciting than being attacked in the woods by a bear, or the machinations of protracted lawsuit, but it was, as always with these guys, a fun evening.

2. I have applied for a Free Elective module next year that involves doing some work in prisons, which I am very excited about.

3. Exams for me are endish of May, so once again, small delays may occur in regular updates.

4. I beat Alf comprehensively in last week's bike race. In your face, old timer!!!!!!!!!!!!