Beyond the Sphere

Nothing escapes
Not even time
Not even water
Not even wine
Surrounded by darkness
Drawn in with the light:
The sock that went missing
In the washer last night

Just where does the washing machine take those garments it takes a fancy to?

Perhaps it spins the items so fast on the spin cycle that the garment’s molecules vibrate out of our existence, and into the washed out land? The innards of a Black Hole? The dark side of the Moon?

All I know is I’m now down another sock. I’ll need to buy some new pairs at this rate!

The air was thick and humid.

Heat trapped beneath the thickening clouds above made everything feel close. Tense. The light, subdued a little by the cloud cover, had a yellowish tinge to it.

Every so often the silence was broken by a long rumble of thunder. And within the rumbles came the occasional bright flash of lightning. Just a flash, no bolts or streaks.

My legs felt heavy as I walked. It felt as though I was walking against something, as though something was pushing me back every step I made. But I had to keep going. I had to keep moving forward.

I had to get back before the rains came. The signs were all there, a storm was definitely rolling in.

One step in front of the other, clothes stuck to my body as I moved. I had to keep going.

…But the rains would have been welcome.

Bank Holiday Monday

It’s Bank Holiday Monday
That feels like a Sunday
No different from a Saturday
But hey!
Just as Friday
With a hint of Thursday
And a touch of Wednesday
Blended with Tuesday
Four walls
My walls
Keeping the outside out
Not quite a lonely planet
But that’s how it feels

No trip to the beach
No barbecue, I’m glad
No polite conversation
But I’m not sad

It’s Bank Holiday Monday
Or one very long day
From when lockdown started
The outside departed
To today
Life in a ghost town
Gentle silence all around
Nothing much to make me frown
Mostly (apart from what’s going down
In the news)
But that’s always the same
Different players, same old game
Feed the fear
Spread the panic
Everywhere full of the pandemic

But it’s Bank Holiday Monday
So it’s a fun day
A part of one day
When lockdown said hey!
Stick it out

And most, I can say
Did.

Vote of confidence

A Beyond the Sphere election special post.

Without images.

It’s General Election day in the United Kingdom today. They come around more frequently than Leap Years in modern times, and are just as much fun.

We’ve had hours of promises and counter-promises, proper gander and hip hop rap, heartfelt apologies for previously bringing in the wrong thing whilst in a previous government, and sincere promises that this time they’ll do better. We’ve been threatened that one thing will happen if we vote for such a party, and that will happen if we vote for a different one, we mustn’t vote for X because of Y, C can’t stand because of B, W was recorded saying this about Q, P became a block of ice, and blah blah blah…

I’m not politically minded. I can’t stand all the squabbling and bickering that goes on between politicians. I couldn’t bring myself to watch the ‘TV debates’ where nobody was interested in what any of the politicians had to say, but most folk were interested in what they had to say wrong.

I didn’t listen to the opinion polls, because I’m not interested in anybody else’s opinion. I did notice, however, how subtle messages the like of ‘you must vote this way’ came through in the oddest of ways; for example a TV programme review flipped itself round to one of the politician’s interests. I just stopped reading the review there.

But tonight I did my bit and went and cast my vote.

I walked down the dimly lit alley to the polling station. I pushed the door which needed to be pulled to open – they’d covered the ‘pull’ sign with the ‘polling station’ sign. I walked across a vast empty room, to a row of desks that were arranged in an L shape at the far side of the room. A man and a woman sat on the left, and two other women sat behind the tables directly ahead. The polling booth was over to the right.

“Hi” said the man, as I approached the table he was sitting at, not knowing whether I needed to go to him or not. I handed him my polling card as I said “Hello” in return. He asked me to confirm my full name, and then checked that I had gone to the correct polling station, which, luckily for all of us, I had done. It was the address on the polling card, so I couldn’t really have gotten it wrong.

The man gave a series of letters and numbers to the woman sitting next to him, and she announced that she’d written down a completely different set and questioned why she’d done that. She wrote down the correct series, and the man then handed me my polling slip.

“You MUST mark ONLY ONE X” the woman said, pointing to the polling booth at the other side of the room. “And then you MUST bring it back, and pop it INTO THAT BOX there” – this time she pointed at the ballot box beside the end of the table where the man sat.

I walked slowly across the room, noticing how eerily quiet and empty the place was. I marked my paper in the booth as instructed, and folded it as I walked back the ballot box to cast my vote. My slip was half-way into the slot when the man asked “Er… did you get that ballot slip from us?” I did that three way double-take look you do when you ask yourself if you were being asked the question. I looked around the room, and I was still the only person in there. “YES, he did.” said the woman. “Yes, I did” I also replied, not actually sure whether I should have been speaking at that moment but the correct words formed as I did so, so it must have been alright.

I then left the polling station, walked back along the dimly lit alley and then rejoined what felt like reality. This reality. Tomorrow’s may be completely different. Or it may be the same. Or it may appear to be the same, but really be completely different.

We just don’t know.

And by Jiminy will we be told about it for months to come.

Beyond the Sphere now returns to its regular irregular programme.

I will write a post about absolutely anything, it seems!

My mobilius phoneous unceremoniously leapt from my hand earlier today. Other people may describe this as an act of ‘dropping’, but today’s incident was far more than a mere drop.

1) It landed face down (glass-side) on a hard marble surface

2) The crack sound as it landed resonated and reverberated all around

3) A minor earthquake was triggered, such was the extent of the impact

4) Half of the screen stopped working

5) The other half half worked

6) It still connected to my car phone device, so I could still call

7) I cannot retrieve some of my latest photos from the device.

However, I’ve ordered a new replacement which will be here shortly, and have taken a photo of the now wonky screen using one of my other mobile phones. I have a few, just in case.

And on that topic, I think I may invest in a leap-proof case this time as well…

But I can’t help liking the grungy style graphics from the now defunct phone… and when I blur my eye slightly (only one mind!) I think I can see a face in profile. Ah, no… it’s gone again now.

Although fun, it is a rather expensive way to create art, and wouldn’t recommend it for anyone else to make art this way.

We’d Love To Hear Your Feedback

Six words.

Just six words that have an unnerving affect on me.

They are just words, I know. Maybe I shouldn’t let them bother me quite as much as they do, but ugh! They really bother me.

I can’t seem to do anything without getting one of these letters or emails or text messages or phone calls nowadays. Oh, how I long for the days when I can just go to the shop and buy something, and as soon as I leave the experience ends there. Or use a service and when it’s done, it’s done.

‘They’ say they want the feedback so they can improve their services. ‘They’ say it is for customer satisfaction. ‘They’ say it is for marketing purposes. ‘They’ always seem to ask for this, yet wherever you go everything is always as it has been.

‘They’ say it takes five minutes to complete their ‘customer satisfaction surveys’. It probably does, per survey, but when you get asked for feedback for every bloomin’ thing you do those five minutes can add up to an hour or two.

I had one manager of a mobile phone store once tell me to give the store a mark of 9 or 10 on how well they did, when I received their survey, otherwise it would trigger an investigation within their internal review team. Unfortunately, the manager lied to me regarding the wording of a contract, after I had to wait for over an hour to be seen in the first place, so they didn’t even get a score of zero from me. I never responded. I’d already lost an hour waiting to be told how to answer the question.

I made a phone call earlier today to an energy company, and as I was trying to give a little more detail regarding my enquiry, the advisor simply cut me off mid-sentence and asked me a totally different question. I then, shortly afterwards, received a phone call from their internal review team asking how well they did. Well, I say phone call – it was from a robot. Same as with the mobile phone store, they didn’t get any feedback. (Phone calls nowadays ore recorded ‘for training purposes’, so they may hear that call, should their internal review team get round to listening to it.)

The dentists want to know how they’ve done. The computer shop want to know how they’ve done. The Bathroom-fitting people want to know how they’ve done. The petrol station want to know how they’ve done.  Even places where there is no alternative to go to want to know if I would recommend their services.

Aaaarghhhhhh!!!!!

Companies! Please!!!

If you do not know how you are operating yourselves, then it is rather a poor show, don’t you think? Instead of investing in these tactics, why don’t you just provide a good service, or, if you want to show off, a really good service, and have done with it. If you mess it up, and you will, no worries there, just have your customer services team on standby ready to handle the complaint.

Sigh.

Maybe I’m getting old now, and this is the start of the onset of grumpiness. Mind you, I must have started getting old when I was a teenager, because I have been somewhat grumpy (in certain circumstances!) since then.

So… does this question cause you to feel the same way? I’d love to know. Please leave your feedback in the comments below…

(A grumpy Six Word Saturday post)

As an avid comic book fan, I have quite a collection of comics spanning the last five decades just waiting to be read again. Here’s a couple of stacks that are just waiting for their time.

It’s a good job they are very patient!!!

Posted for Becky’s #timesquare blogging challenge. Link below.

Hello my darlings,
How are you?
I have a message; maybe two
Listen carefully to what I say…
When I call and your telephone rings
Let me speak, let me sing,
Hear my voice and then allow me
Access to your own PC
There’s a problem on the line that I must fix,
This is no scam, I have no tricks.
You must provide me with your password and pin
You know, just so that I can get in
To check your accounts are all fine, above board
We don’t want to disconnect your internet, I’m sure.
It’s to check it’s all OK and, oh yes,
I have a parcel for you today
We can deliver it tomorrow if you’re in
Please confirm your address again
Hello? Are you there,
My name is Pam
I know I sound just like a man
But no, its your line you see…
I’m from your phone company, you can trust me

Not all scammers are foul-mouthed and rude individuals, although most are if their call doesn’t go their way. They are nowadays trying other tricks to gain access to homes, computers, money… anything they can get their hands on, really.

Be very careful and alert when answering calls from numbers you don’t know – landline, mobile, out of area, international or withheld. They will try anything. Even under threat of massive fines, they are still at it. If anything sounds too good to be true, it more than likely is – do not be conned. Do not fall victim to this diabolical and evil section of society who will most certainly burn in hell for their actions.

Mwahaha!

Normal, light-hearted Hallowe’en posts will resume shortly, I just wanted to attempt to bring home a modern day horror story that occurs day in day out all year long. Reminders are always useful, I find.

JUN GUL DRUMS
BEAT A RITH UM
CHAN TING VOY SES
LOUD AND CLEAR

HUFFS AND GRUNTS
AND FEAR SOME
STAN SES
WAR TRIBE MAR CHEZ
EVER NEAR

RARRR

RARRR

ROAR RING FROM
THE  LIVE LEA CROWD
THUN DRUSS ECK OH
ALL A ROUND

JUN GUL DRUMS
BEAT A RITH UM
CHAN TING VOY SES
LOUD AND CLEAR

SCREAMS OF BAT TULL
DREAMS OF PEACE
SCA TERRED SY LENSE
SO IT SEAMS

RARRR

RARRR

WHIST ULBLOWS
GAME SPEG INNING
CHEER RING FROM
THE ROW DEE CROWD

UP AND DOWN TWO
SIDE SCOMP EAT TING
THUN DRUSS ECK OH
ALL A ROUND

GOALS AND MISSES
KICKS AND PASSES
FROM THE START POINT
TO THE END

JUN GUL DRUMS
BEAT A RITH UM
CHAN TING VOY SES
LOUD AND CLEAR

HUFFS AND GRUNTS
AND FLUSS STIRRED ANT TICKS

AND VIC TORY DAN SAYS
DRAW RING NEAR

RARRR

RARRR

Nature is amazing, isn’t she?

In the corner of the Garden is a little grave where Simba lies sleeping, since she took her soul up to the Great Cattery Heaven.

When she first departed, we marked where she lay with a simple but artificial red rose. We always say ‘hello’ to her, when we see her little place, but over time the rose became weathered and battered. It was replaced by another rose, but in time the same happened to that, and they vanished from the plot.

Recently, the corner of the Garden has just been bare, lawn-covered and bathed only in glorious sunshine.

Earlier today, two magpies were in the Garden, a mother and her baby. The baby was  lying on the grass, watching her mother busying herself doing what magpie mothers do. She hopped in the sunshine, and walked in the shade. Back and to to the dry tub where we normally leave water for the birds and other creatures to drink.

I went out to fill the tub, and the magpies flew just a little further away to a safe distance. I watched them for a while, as they watched me, and then I returned back inside.

A short time later, I looked out of the window, and saw the baby magpie lying on the lawn in the corner, seemingly pecking on something on the ground above where Simba lay. What the baby was pecking at was red.

I waited for the birds to fly away again before I went out to investigate what was going on.

Can you imagine my surprise when I saw a red rose on the place where Simba is sleeping? It was one of the red artificial ones, which have been misled for quite a while. But for it to be in the very spot where it lay originally, apparently placed there by a baby magpie – well, that makes you think.

I don’t know if you remember Simba, there are a few photos of her dotted about throughout the blog… she was a gorgeous black and white cat with the friendliest of personalities. Black and white. The colour of magpies.

Like I say… Nature is amazing isn’t she? Full of Fabulous surprises.

(The picture that accompanies this post is a quick and wobbly digital doodah of a magpie. Or that’s what it’s meant to be anyway! I can’t recreate the beauty of the real thing.)

I’m pondering reality today.

Quite possibly, I’m even questioning it. Mind you, with a reality like mine at times, there really is a lot to question!

Is reality what we see, hear, feel, touch and smell around us… or is it what we think and interpret it to be?

I’m now questioning myself. Am I real? Am I even here?

Lately, I’ve been seeing quite a lot of helicopters flying hither and thither up above. Travelling this way and that, some slowly, some at speed. Most folk would say that there’s nothing unusual in that, and they could even be right… but the fact that I am noticing more of them, does that make it unusual? Take Monday, for example. I was at the place of W, and there is a lot of wasteland at the back, after an old abandoned factory was demolished last year. There’s nothing on the vast open land now, apart from a few piles of leftover bricks. It gets very windy when the gusts get up! Hovering above the land was a helicopter. A black and white one. Just hovering there. Perhaps they were searching for someone hiding out in the open. I don’t know. It didn’t make sense. Maybe I’m looking too deeply into things, and the pilot was just practicing hovering, as a learner driver would practice reversing around a corner.

Another helicopter flew over on Tuesday, so low I could feel the pressure from the rotor blades… within my ears. Within my head, in fact. I do find myself pondering the notion that something is going on, something that we will NEVER get to find out about.

It’s not very secret, if that’s the case though. They aren’t being discreet about their covert activities.

See? Covert activities are taking place around me. Everyday. I’ve noticed them.

Walking down a street, I get the eerie feeling that I’m being watched. A person reading a newspaper swiftly pulls it up to cover their face as I walk by… and they cough. As in code. There. Over the road. That woman on her mobile phone. She’s in on it. She’s interpreting the cough as I nonchalantly glance around. And, right on cue, a helicopter flies overhead. A car sounds its horn behind me; although it is on the road driving away from me. The woman with the phone waves at the driver. The car stops and reverses around the corner, and turns back on itself, pulling up beside the woman, who swiftly jumps in. The registration number on the car is… there isn’t one! It’s a black car, with blackened windows all around, and it is now pointing towards me.

I turn. The man with the newspaper has vanished from the bench where he was sitting. The helicopter travels overhead again – it’s circling. I notice an electronic advertising sign change what it’s advertising – I’m sure just before it changed I saw a video of me looking around. Nah – I must have imagined that. Why would all these people be looking for me?

It’s because I know they’re up to something. That’s it. It must be.

I’ll just have to pretend I know nothing and carry on regardless. Or maybe, that is what they want me to think…

Gah! All this second guessing has me circling just as all those helicopters seem to be doing.

It isn’t only helicopters and strange-acting people, though. When driving, wherever, whenever, at whatever time of the day, if I drive past a road junction, a car will either just be pulling out, or just arriving at the junction. Traffic lights turn red the moment I reach the line. Cars seem to be racing behind me on dual carriageways, yet pull in behind and don’t overtake.

And people I think I know surprise me all the more.

Maybe I only know a certain aspect of their character, and I’m noticing a different side to them I haven’t seen before. Does this make them the same person, or a different one entirely???

Or is it little ole’ moi who’s changed, and I’m seeing all these subtle differences around me; noticing a shift in reality, only slight but most definitely there?

I don’t know.

So, I’m pondering reality today.

Have you noticed any subtle changes lately?


Dear The Word Happy,
Such a cheerful word you are! I feel delighted every time I see you, even ecstatic at times! You invoke jubilant, pleasant and upbeat emotions which add to the Feel Good factor no end, and we here at Beyond the Sphere love to Feel Good! Thank you for being such a convivial word!

Dear The Word Convivial,
You roll pleasantly off the tongue. Such a fun and bouncy word, you deserve your own letter!

Dear Inner Typist,
Dear Fingers, to call you by your proper name, you do make me smile with your typos… but ‘thonge’ for ‘tongue’? I know the letters are close together on the keyboard, but they aren’t that close together in comparison for the word being typed. Still, thanks for the chortle!

Dear Spring,
I see signs of you sneaking in everywhere now! Thank you for your discreet entrance… however be aware that Winter is still hanging about.

Dear Longer Days,
So much better to see more Sunshine! Sunshine! Just the word brightens up the place, and yes, brings in the Feel Good factor. It’s nice to still see daylight at 6pm nowadays.

Dear Temptations,
I know you are teasing me into Feeling a different kind of Good… but I really am trying to Feel Good on my own, thank you very much. I will feel much happier when you stop tempting me. Just letting you know.

Dear Inspiration,
I’m looking forward to hearing more from you. I’m happier when you spring into my thoughts, out of the blue, so I can get really creative and caught up in the moment. Would you mind making me a little happier and calling by a little more frequently? Thank you.

Dear Negative Thoughts,
Would you mind awfully moving out of the way to allow more good and inspirational thoughts in? You serve your purpose as a means of balance, but you do not need to linger around once you have appeared. Your space will be better filled with inspiration anyway!

Dear Dreams,
Please call by and fill my mind with more good thoughts and ideas, more often of you can do it! And please flick the ‘remember me’ switch when you’re done and on your way out. I find it frustrating when the dream has been fabulously good, and I remember it being fabulously good, and I don’t remember what the dream was about! I’ll feel much happier when the sleep side of me is just as inspirational as the awake side.

And Finally, Dear Blogland,
It’s Friday! It’s a day to Feel Happy! Actually, every day is a day to feel happy, if you can allow yourself to do so. Even for a minute or two… just allow it! It’ll grow and grow. Like magic! If, however, you always feel happy on a Friday or any other day, continue to do so… or allow even more happiness in! There’s more than enough to go around… so go one, Blogland… Everyone… grab yourself a whole big bunch of happiness and remember to PASS IT ON!

Thank you for reading,

P.S. I thought I’d end this edition with a mere happiness quote…

… well, we are all of us, each and everyone, a creator and should be able to find or create happiness in everything that we do.