Air raid sirens and Monday mornings

Crikey! I’ve just heard the air raid siren sound. I hear it very often at work, and, thankfully, it is shortly followed by the all-clear siren. Today is the first time I have ever heard it in Aquatom mansion. The wind must be blowing in my direction. Which is a little frightening if they needed to sound a real air raid siren and the wind was blowing the other way. I suppose though they will probably turn it up a little so the whole town could hear it if it was needed for real. Which is hopefully never again.

I know it will need to be tested, so it makes sense to test it at a regular time, but I wouldn’t know where to go or what to do if it was real… or even if it was a real test (you know like sometimes in work they test the fire bell, and other times they test the evacuation process) – but I’m sure we would be told well in advance of a real test where we would need to go. At least, I think I’m sure. I’ll probably just have to follow everyone else running randomly around if not. Eek.

Years ago, they used to test the air raid siren at 11 o’clock at night. That used to always worry me. It was always eerie how it could just be heard within the silence of the night.

I think it is strange how some things we hear are eerie, and other things are simply things we hear. Take a school bell – a hand-bell. Ding-a-ding-a-ding-a-ding. Nothing eerie about that, unless you hear one on a Monday morning when there is no school in the area. Even more eerie when you hear children screaming, laughing and playing and then nothing after the bell. The wind must have been blowing in my direction that day too, when I heard it. Do schools use hand-bells nowadays? I thought they were all on the electric alarm bells now. What makes it even more eerie, is that Aquatom mansion is built on the site of an old school. Oooh…

I’ve had a quick look at ‘air raid siren’ on Wikipedia. I was taken to the page for ‘Civil Defense Siren’ and read that the alarm is used as an air raid siren, tornado siren, tsunami siren, fire siren/whistle, flood siren, weather siren, time/curfew siren, or other outdoor warning siren. I think the only reasons why it could be used now, apart from the test, is possibly the fire and flood warning, but every Monday at 10am indicates, thankfully, that it is a test. Or that we may have high tide every week – some parts of the town are prone to flooding. Due to the bizarre weather we experienced toward the end of last year (2010 sounds so old news now, doesn’t it?), the tornado siren could be included now, but it looks nice and still outside. Well, apart from the wind that blew the siren in my direction in the first place. Wind. Eek.

On the subject of air raids, a memory has just popped into my head. I remember looking out of the window in work one day, when a Stealth Bomber flew past, it looked just beyond the building opposite. That wasn’t something we saw every day in the office, and a couple of colleagues were commenting on it. I can’t be one hundred per cent sure, but it may have been on a Monday, at 10am. Oh ‘eck…

But… but…!

It is day two in my challenge to post every day. Day two. Three hundred and sixty three days to go. And my mind is blank. Arrgh! There is nothing in there at all. Nothing. It is completely empty. Hollow in fact. It makes a nice change, to be honest… No! Think about this post…

Yes, I’m aware that I’ve posted today already. That was my normal post. This is my postaday2011 post. I did say that I wanted to post more, and expected to be able to do just that until February at least, and I will. February and beyond. That sounds like the next Buzz Lightyear movie, ‘To February and Beyond!’ It is bound to be a rip-roaring success if ever they make it. If anyone from Hollywood is reading this post, I can do an excellent dashing hero voice if you are short of anyone to play Buzz. Do actors ‘play’ the animated characters they are adding the voices to? Before you say “but, but” and then quickly make up a reason for not hiring me to play the part, I’ve been told that I sound like Brian Blessed at times. Well, once, and that was when I got a little over-excited on a phone call in work. Well, it was the salutation and I wanted to make an impression on the caller.

That has reminded me of my first job, when I worked on the telephones. I developed a really ‘plammy’ accent whenever I answered a call. All of my colleagues were doing it too, it wasn’t only me, so I was just keeping up with the Joneses. Thinking back, I don’t know why we all had these posh telephone voices – we were speaking to local people, so we would have had the same accent as them anyway, but we ‘had’ to speak differently on the phones. We weren’t trained that way, or even asked to do it, we just did. I don’t know if the people who called Directory Enquiries even realised we were doing it either. We do some weird things at times, don’t we? I think I started to tone it down slightly after a couple of years as I started to speak that way in real life.

Accents are funny things too. You wouldn’t think it would be possible to say a word so differently to a person from another town or country, and some, I’m sorry to say don’t even sound like the word should sound. And speaking of countries, I can not speak another language other than English. I can say the odd word in French (avec, moi) but that wouldn’t get me very far if I found myself lost in France. Ooh, another movie – Hollywood, I’ll be no good for this one. I can say a couple of words in German, Welsh and Spanish too, but again I’m appalling. If ever I find myself in conversation with a French, German, Welsh or Spanish person, I find myself speaking in very slow English. That’s fine if they can speak English, but not much good if they can’t. Luckily for me, most can. I mean to say though, if they spoke to me in, say, very slow French, I’d be none the wiser. I remember being in Canada once and I was asking a shop assistant a question, in my slower and not plummy accent. I don’t think she understood me and she spoke English. Accents!

I’ve just found out an interesting fact about the word ‘accent’ though. The Latin version is ad cantus, meaning to (ad) and song (cantus) – which makes sense really. When we speak I suppose we are singing. And no, Hollywood, no amount of money will pay me to sing for you! Voice-overs are one thing, but to ask me to appear in Mamma Mia 2 is taking things just a little bit too far…

Champagne and Ham Salad Sandwiches

I treated myself last night. A bottle of Champagne and several Ham Salad Sandwiches. The sandwiches were delicious; slightly smoked ham, crisp lettuce, strong red onion, and fresh and ripe tomatoes, rounded off with a dash of mayonnaise. The bread was simply a white uncut loaf with a crispy crust (obviously it had been sliced to make the sandwiches!). The flavours complimented each other perfectly and I could easily have eaten more.

I’m not particularly keen on Champagne, however, but after the first ‘eugh’ moment from the first sip it kind of grew on me. It didn’t completely grow on me, but it started to taste better the more I drank of it. I find the bubbles strange in Champagne. They seem flat to me. Flat bubbles. Un-fizzy effervescence. I know it doesn’t make any sense, but that is how it was! The bubbles in a glass of lemonade are far more lively, and I’ll be the first one to admit that lemonade tastes better than Champagne anyway! However, last night I didn’t have any lemonade, but I did have a bottle of Champagne in. As you do.

Was there a reason for having Champagne? Was it because it was New Year’s Day? No. No reason at all. I just wanted it. I wanted to treat myself. No fuss.

Well, a treat every now and again is good, isn’t it?

In fact, I’m going to think of everything that I eat and drink from now on as a treat. After all it does help to sustain me, and I do love my food! Mealtimes should be special occasions and celebrated! Up until now, I have merely taken them for granted, but no more! Just think of all the special occasions I now have to look forward too! The moments to savour. Oh, I’m feeling so good! 😀


Ambling aimlessly

In Thoughts and moving forwards I was working out the types of posts to keep within my blog, and those not to use again. By the end of the post I had decided not to use anything that I would class as a moan. I’d actually decided that at the beginning of the post, and everything else I was going to keep in. I was also thinking about adding some kind of structure within my blog, meaning that I’d add a certain category of post on a Monday, a different one on a Tuesday, and so on. I’ve decided to scrap this idea too. I think sometimes not having a set structure breaks things up a little and allows for more freedom. I have a set day to day structure with work so this dictates the times when I can post, so having the category dictated as well would actually make things a little more difficult for me. Plus I’d possibly have to wait a whole week before I can write about what I wanted to and with the way how my memory works this isn’t a good idea.

At present, though, everything is staying as is. Well, without the moaning.

I’m reading through a lot of blogs to add to my recommendations page – there are thousands of them, and I find lots of them really interesting. Some I have found are very good, but haven’t been updated in a while, so I don’t want to add these, unfortunately. I still visit them, however, and will add them if the author starts to post again, but sometimes we move on to other things. I like different blogs that look at things in different ways. The reason I add a blog to my recommendations page is mainly to go with my Feel Good theme, but also for me to have my links all in one place. I suppose that I could subscribe to the blogs, but I really want to share any good blog that I find with the visitors to my blog. To use a certain advertisement tag-line ‘Life is for sharing’, and this seems as good a way as any. Again with the structure. Do I sort them alphabetically or randomly? In date order or any old way? At the moment they are not in any order at all, but when more get added I will need to look at this again.

The reason for this post? To add a little clarity to the chaos! It may appear that I am ambling aimlessly through my writings and findings, but I’m not. Really, I’m not! I’m ambling aimlessly through most other things that I do – things that I haven’t got a clue with (but I still get them done anyway!) – but this blog is an idea in motion. Like a river it flows. In some places, it flows faster than others. In other places it branches off into little streams. And in other places something stops the flow. Unlike a river, my blog flows in every direction. It can flow through time and space, imagination and reality, rhyme and reason, art and design, and fact and fiction. It is my mind in written form.

Imagine a very long corridor with doors all along each side. The corridor is my mind and the doors are my thoughts. Some doors are more open than others, and others are completely closed. The closed doors hold the secrets and surprises. The open doors allow me to see ideas, memories, dreams and other ‘flashes’ as I amble passed them. I can choose which doors to open or close when I concentrate, but sometimes the doors open or close themselves when I forget or get confused. Now imagine other corridors alongside, above and below this one. Each corridor is connected, so they are still my mind, but sometimes I find myself in two corridors at the same time (you can do things like that in your imagination!), so I’m ‘physically’ in two minds about something when I experience this. And if I am thinking deeply about something, I’m in a corridor way down in the basement somewhere.

Which is where I am now. I was only writing about structure and went completely off track. With a mind like that is it any wonder I can’t have a set structure? No, I’m happy with randomness. Happy makes me feel good. Feeling good is one of the main themes of my blog. A new theme is ‘No fuss’ which was revealed to me last night, so a set structure is also fussy. Randomness is fussless.

So, I’m not ambling aimlessly after all.

Start as we mean to go on!

Once again Happy New Year! I can really say that now as I’ve arrived in 2011! Twenty-eleven or Two-thousand-and-eleven… I wonder which is the ‘proper’ way to say it? I must admit I’ll use either…

Last night’s celebrations were a bit …odd. I went out to my regular haunt which was busier than usual. That was odd for a start, but it was New Year’s Eve! As I approached the door, the supervisor came over to me and shook my hand. I wished him a happy new year, but then added ‘for later’ as it wasn’t new year yet. This was before I had even stepped foot in the place, and just outside the door I met a friend who I haven’t seen for about a hundred years. She said “Hi”, as did I, and then she said that I looked different. I said I’m older and she said “Don’t be daft, of course you’re not!” As complimentary lies go, somehow this one doesn’t work. Still, it gave me a nice smile for the first part of the evening.

I like being by myself. I may look sad (and some people do say that to me from time to time, including last night) but I’m not. I can do my own thing, which I think everyone really wants to do. At times, I wish there was someone who could experience the same thing at the same time as me and with me, but I know that when something of great meaning happens there is someone there sharing it with me anyway. I’ve always been introverted with an extrovert’s edge. I love my own company, and most of the time prefer my own company, but also enjoy the company of others. I’m described as ‘shy’, which I’m not, but it is easy to go along with.

A girl said to me last night “Are you here, all alone on New Year’s Eve? That’s so sad” I never had chance to say to her that I was fine as she was busy trying to haggle a deal with the manager, so to her I was a sad man sitting in a corner all alone. I don’t mind being judged, but it proves that what we think and what we see really are two completely different things.

The night quietly progressed after that. Midnight came and went. Literally. No paraphernalia, no brass bands and trombones, no ten minute shut down, and no countdown. A quick ding dong ding dong during a piece of music and that was it. Blink and you’d have missed it. I loved it! I laughed. No fuss. A good theme for this year, I think…

I gave away several hugs just into the new year, but only to people who I wanted to give them to. Luckily, they all gave one back, so it was really nice. After all of the hugging I decided that I wanted to eat, so came home.

What did I learn? The older we get, the more we appreciate the simpler things. Only I never get older – that must be the vampire in me!

What did I see? Myself through the eyes of others. But should I change myself for what I think other people want to see?

What was new? Everything! A new year, a new start.