Always there…

A misty moody start. If you had to pick one defining image to sum up Yorkshire then it would probably be something like this. Or maybe it should be lashing it down with rain.

Our weather is the perfect backdrops for writers. Novels like Jane Eyre, Nicholas Nickleby, Wuthering Heights, The Secret Garden, The Railway Children, All Creatures Great and Small. Even perfect for Bram Stokers Dracula to be shipwrecked here.

It also never fails to give this muppet something to photograph. And he is a muppet…

Yesterday I looked out of the window and over that very tree was a beautiful rainbow. Perfect for a photograph. So with as much speed as I could muster I grabbed my mobile and legged it outside. Arrived at the garden fence. Ready to snap that very tree and the rainbow. Looked down at my mobile to switch on the camera app……

Why am I holding the TV remote control. Can’t remember that having a camera. PANTS.

And with perfect timing. By the time I had ran inside. Put the remote back on the table and this time actually picked up the mobile sat next to it. By the time I had made it outside again. The moment was gone. The rainbow was no more. PANTS.

But with patience the Yorkshire weather will deliver again. It always does. As will my muppetry. It will always be there.

Terry

A while back I started talking about my two favourite authors. The first was Carl Sagan and now it’s time for the second. Many guessed correctly.

The wonderful and sadly missed Terry Pratchett.

Back in 1983 my mum bought me a book for Christmas. She would always buy me a book as a present. I had no idea who Terry was. Mum had heard him on the TV and thought maybe I would like his new book. I loved it….. He became my favourite author.

That was it. A tradition. Every new Terry book would be given to me at either Christmas or on my Birthday. She never missed a release. Apart from one. His last book. She never got round to buying that one, she would have if she had more time.

The Shepherds Crown was a tough read. Memories of mum and Terry. I decided to not read the last page. I can still say I’ve still not finished reading all his books….

Terry now has his own international day. April 28th. Let’s indulge in a bit of Pratchett wisdom a bit earlier than that.

In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they haven’t forgotten this.

Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time.

Evil begins when you start to treat people as things.

Time is a drug. Too much of it kills you.

And what would humans be without love? RARE said Death.

If cats looked like frogs we’d realise what nasty, cruel little b*****s they are.

Always be wary of any helpful little item that weighs less than its operating manual.

The enemy isn’t men, or women, it’s bloody stupid people and no one has the right to be stupid.

The presence of those seeking truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they have found it.

So much universe and so little time.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for a bit of virtual travel. I’ve got an idea. Why don’t we visit one of the most stunning places on the planet. Let’s go to Switzerland.

As a child I would visit my towns library. It wasn’t very big. It had masses of a Mills & Boon books. That’s not really going to float a young boys boat. The library didn’t seem to have that many exciting books. But it had one. It was a reference book so I couldn’t take it home. So every Saturday morning I would carefully get this book. Find a comfy seat and read. This was a book about climbing in Switzerland. I would look in awe at the mountain photos and read the daring tales of the brave climbers.

Switzerland seemed like a fantasy world. Too good to be real.

How could a country look this exciting and this beautiful.

I would dream of standing on top of these peaks and gazing out into the distance. My heart racing as I am surrounded by The Alps.

Then fast forward many years and I’m there. I’m stood on some of those very mountains.

Switzerland is real. It’s actually more stunning than I ever imagined.

And next to me is a little boy. A boy starting his love affair with this magical country.

Racy Book

I wandered into the Village Library. When I say Library it’s really a converted red telephone box. Just enough room to open the door and edge a few inches in before you are face to face with the books. It is well looked after and has a surprisingly large number of titles. But the book range reflects the village we live in. Clear indication of the type of literature residents read before they drop off the books at the Tardis. That’s the nickname our son gave to the ex telephone box- it’s from Dr Who for those scratching their heads.

So I perused the book covers. Jeffrey Archer, Catherine Cookson, Wilbur Smith, Le Carré, Agatha Christie. Books on farming, the military, Bridge Tactics, embroidery. You get the picture. But wait – one book stands out. Fifty Shades of Grey. Somebody’s brave – the village will be holding an investigation. I can see witch trials.

Then a sinking feeling. Bugger I brought that one. I do have a reasonable excuse. In the weeks after my partner died I was not really on this planet. People kept telling me to clear the house . Be organised, get on with stuff, don’t live in a mausoleum. So I quickly (probably too quickly) started sorting out many of her belongings. Clothes went to the Hospice charity. Books to the Village Library.

I really regret rushing the process. I should have done it when I was ready not when others thought it was the right time. Potentially really important memories might have been lost in the rush. I missed the chance of involving our son in the process (when he was ready of course). I’m sure the early purge did me no good at all. If anything it delayed the grieving process. It certainly didn’t help my depression. Just destabilised me further.

So yes back to Tardis. One of the books found in the house was Fifty Shades. She bought it I think for a train journey from the vast array (not) of books available at the station. I remember my partner saying it was tacky rubbish and she was going to send it out as a joke present. Sadly she never got the time to do that. So it was one of about 20 books that found its way to the library.

I can see the look on the faces of some of the village Bridge Club society. I remember the complaints the Utility Company received when they used ‘dirty’ sandbags to anchor down some of its road work signs on our Main Street. It’s stupid but I was genuinely embarrassed that I had dropped that book off. What are people thinking of me. Am I getting the dreaded tut tutting. He should know better, I thought he was a respectable person.

Should I quickly put the book into my pocket and destroy the evidence. I could even bury it on one of our dog walks – forever hidden in the woods, amongst hundreds of white flowers.

In the end I left it. You should never destroy books. Visions of that scene of book burning in the third Indiana Jones movie flooded my mind. It also really helped finding another dodgy book in the Library. Shockingly a Mills and Boon title.

But hang on a minute.

Now I’m panicking even more. My mum would read M&B books, she had a load of them. I cleared her house out. Surely not. Without thinking did I also add this book to the Library as well. Oh the shame. Grief does crazy things to you….

Cryogenics v Books

I was reading a little bit of a Carl Sagan’s Book to our son. Our son asked me to reread a couple of quotes.

We are like butterflies who flutter for day and think it is forever”

“Books permit us to voyage through time, to tap the wisdom of our ancestors”

We then had a long chat about life, death and living forever. Cryogenics came up.

It got me thinking maybe books are a better bet than cryogenics. If you are talented enough to become a book author then your words can live forever. Books are so much cheaper. Books are not as frigidly cold and far more illuminating. I think Carl would vote for books.

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