Choo choo

I have just turned the tv on in preparation for my favourite show on tv, the quiz show EggHeads.

It is one of these get-rich-quick programmes where you start off with something worth a cent, you “discover” it, then you auction it for $1 million. Utter rubbish.

They just had an old train set on, and for the very first time I heard the term M & B – mint and boxed. And then they went into a spiel about how most toys are worthless, because they have been been played with, and the valuable ones are those that have never even been opened.

And I’m just sitting here thinking how sad that is, to have a toy that’s never been played with.

Fandango’s One Word Challenge (30 June 2020)

There is a rumour going around that I have found God. I think this is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys, and there is empirical evidence that they exist.

Terry Pratchett

for Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC), empirical.

TickTock Tuesday (30 June 2020) – Aswad

I thought I’d create a new challenge. It is a challenge primarily for me, because I’m new to this platform, and because you don’t really know me yet, nor I you. As my name suggests, I am recovering from a stroke, and I like to push myself in all kinds of little ways… including getting to know the Wonderful World of WordPress. Although this is something I will be doing, I invite you, if this idea takes your fancy, to play along with me and share with me some of your own selections.

My plan is: each Tuesday, until I run dry, I shall post some piece of art with which I have some connection – which has helped to mould me, which makes me tick. Okay, a piece of art is a bit vague – it might be a piece of music, a movie, a book, a painting, or ???? – so my phrasiology is deliberate. It might be anything – I will play this post by ear, so I’m not sure what I’ll think of each week. And, I’ll keep posting on the theme weekly until I run out of ideas.

My rules? Well, I’m not big on rules! My choice will be something with which I feel a connection. That’ll be the important thing, just having some kind of fleeting affection for something probably won’t be enough, unless I’m using my choice as an example of something bigger.

It will be one choice per week – I’m aware that long posts can be quite onerous to read, and I’m in no hurry to complete this so if I have two ideas, I’ll probably hold the second until the next week.

In that same vein, I’ve created this block as a Reusable Block, which I intend repeating for every post on this theme. The block ends with a full-width separator, so if you want to skip ahead each week it doesn’t really matter.

I probably won’t post any lyrics, or any kind of analysis – if you like my choice, the information will be out there for you. But I will try to briefly explain why I feel a connection to my choice, just to try and enhance readers’ understanding of what makes me tick.

I will tag my posts TTT and I will go looking for other posts with that tag. If you’d like to join in, please do the same, or comment, or pingback to this post, and feel free to reproduce my graphic. Lastly, I look forward to reading about what makes you tick.

I mentioned last week how this series of posts will shortly be coming to an end. I plan just a few more after this.

I did want to take the opportunity to recap a couple of artists, though. One thing I have learned during this series is to be very careful how I use the word “favourite”, but both reggae music and the band Aswad are right up there. When I feel the music, I feel like I’ve come home.

So I thought I’d present one of Aswad’s today, hot on the heels of my Song Lyric Sunday post, which was also by Aswad. This one has always been one of my favourites (that word again!), since forever, even among Aswad’s other tracks. I’m less comfortable nowadays with terms in the lyrics like little woman, but I suppose that was the parlance of the time – this is one of their earlier tracks, from 1983, and is real, old-school roots reggae.

Of course, none of this music ever charted, but I love it.

Fandango’s One Word Challenge (29 June 2020)

for Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC), arcane.

Brain the Size of a Planet…

I’m gonna throw this in under the banner of Who Won the Week, because I have a real winner here! This prompt is the brainchild of Fandango, who posted a little earlier here.

I joined in this prompt consistently until lockdown. Even though I joined in, I mostly took the opportunity to post almost tongue-in-cheek, because it is far, far easier to find losers than winners. Heck, we elected most of them!

So I was taking part in this prompt until lockdown, but took a break because I wanted the news to get back to a non-COVID variety. I had actually decided that before I posted again, my winner/loser would need to be somebody totally unrelated to the virus. So, here goes…

In the UK, when somebody is issued a prescription, the meds generally come in the manufacturer’s branded box, but the pharmacy puts a sticker onto the box. The name of the pharmacy, your name, the date of issue, and last but not least, some brief directions. It’s not foolproof, but it vaguely personalises the meds.

You get this for any prescription meds. Rather than just the meds thenselves, they are tied in to the patient.

In the UK, there are at least two types of meds. There are the regular type of meds, the kind of thing that people like me take, for their blood pressure or their diabetes, like the image above. Then there’s another type called controlled meds. They are the serious meds, things like morphine, codeine etc. Even cannabis now. The really powerful stuff. As you can imagine there is a ready market for these drugs, hence the name controlled – access is very limited.

Sometimes, our daughter is quite useful for bringing us some tittle-tattle from within the village. She has an ear far closer to the ground than I do.

Recently, she told us about the local drug den. She even stayed there during lockdown. I’m not sure whether she herself uses, I guess she has experimented with them, like most of us. My relationship with my daughter is never deeper than “how are you?” so you can imagine we’re never going to get into discussing serious things like drugs. She does, at least, seem to live a regular life, never seems doped up, when I see her.

All through her stay, our daughter was telling us “this place is gonna be raided soon”.

Seemingly unrelated, we have a neighbour in our leafy part of the village. She has a daughter the same age as our daughter, which is how come we know her. Unfortunately, she has some serious health problems. In fact, my wife, who works at the local surgery, thinks that this lady regularly receives meds for palliative care. High-strength painkillers, I guess. Very much controlled drugs. In her condition, that’s not unreasonable.

So, put 2 and 2 together.

Daughter is fortunately now safely home, out of there.

Drug den was raided last week by the police. I’ll put to one side how these things are supposed to be secret, but people seem just to know when these things will happen.

As part of the search, they apparently found several months’ supply of whatever meds the neighbour had been prescribed. Every one with her name on them.

You know, I often feel that the police are, in general, not very bright. But maybe a lot of the time, they don’t need to be? Because sometimes, criminals don’t seem to be very bright, either!

By Any Means Necessary

I decided to write this not just because it fits today’s Fandango’s One Word Challenge of begrudge, but also because it is something I have been thinking. I deliberately try to keep my FOWC as brief as possible, but this one is a bit longer. I’ll try to keep it as short as possible but I usderstand if you want to skip.

I’ve been reading several posts lately, they’re all prompted by the recent events in the US. Not just here, but in the general media. The tone of them is basically, this situation is unacceptable and I want it to improve.

That’s fine, as far as it goes, but for my money, it doesn’t go far enough.

If it were me, I would go more along the lines, I want to be treated with equal rights, and by the way, if you don’t want to give me equal rights, then I will take them anyway.

In other words, This can happen the easy way or the hard way, but either way, it’s gonna happen. Give me equal rights. If not, I’ll take them. No dicking around.

I think we should be grateful that the last few generations of Civil Rights activists have been so nice about it, I’m not sure that future generations will be.

Quiz Time (3)

Fancy exercising your brain again? I know, it is Sunday…

This is the third batch of questions I released for my Age UK newsletter. Again, there are one or two questions that I wouldn’t expect anybody to know if they’re not in the UK, but see how you do. Just for fun, answers below.



What is the capital of Libya?


We probably all know that Ruth Ellis was the last woman to be hanged in Britain, but what year?


How many times can you take a cookie from a jar of 20 cookies?


How much does a first-class stamp cost?


Tallin is the capital of?


In 5 years, the combined age of a man and his son will be 80. Given that the age difference between them is 30 years, how old is the son?


We might all be locked down, but in what year did Elvis sing about being locked up, with Jailhouse Rock?


What is the name for a group of rhinos?


Who was Prime Minister when the NHS was formed?


Just now, at the start of lockdown, when the Premier League was suspended, how many points were Liverpool leading it by?





13th July, 1955


Only once. After that, it is a jar of nineteen cookies, and so on. [Thanks Farida for asking a very similar question.]






In 5 years, the father will be 55 and the son 25, making a combined age of 80..
So, right now, the son is 20. [Thanks, again, F.]




A crash!


Clement Atlee, in 1948

[Incidentally, when you talk about Trump winning with a minority vote, the same thing happened here all those years ago. Clem was kicked out in the 1951 General Election, despite winning the most votes.]


25, having played 29 games. They had 82 points, while their closest rival, Manchester City, had 57 points, having played 1 game fewer.

[Liverpool duly went on to win the title when the Premier League resumed last week. The triumph was accompanied by mass celebrations out on the streets of Liverpool. Watch out for the spike coming your way soon!]

How’d you do? Easy Peasy, huh? Don’t worry, the next batch were harder!

Song Lyric Sunday (28 June 2020) – Temperature

Last week, Jim (NewEpicAuthor at A Unique Title For Me) set a theme of the names Mary or Marie (my selection). This week, he gives us the theme of temperature.

I’m going back to my home territory this week, this is one of my top reggae tracks – one of my favourite tracks from one of my favourite bands.

Aswad are a band from west London, UK, who started playing together in the mid-1970s. They originally played quite hardcore reggae but mellowed over the years to produce music with more popular appeal, even topping the UK chart in 1988. Funny, I have always thought that their early work is their best.

Bubbling was released in 1985, a couple of years before they hit the big time. In fact, far from going to the top of the charts, this track only reached #95. What a difference a few years make.

Two of the original band still play together as Aswad, mainly in the London area. Brinsley Forde, the lead vocalist and singer on this track, has a solo career. I still hear about all of them from time to time via a Facebook group (mainly made up of people like me, who still have a foot in the Eighties).

I know a place where we can go
Sweet music plays, turn the lights down low
Operator, play the music that we love so well,
Everyone is feeling irie far as I can tell.

The music takes control until the broad daylght
And I know that we can rock it ‘cos the time is right
Say, won’t you come on over, come on and dance little sista?
Now we could smoke a spliff, maybe have a drink or two
Cos there’s nothin’ I’d like better than to spend some time with you
So won’t you come on over, give me your answer

I and I feel like bubbling
You’re the one to bubble with me
I and I feel like jumping
how’s about you jumping with me.

I’m in a-waiting for your reply
I’m ready and waiting, my hopes are high
We’ve got what it takes and we’ve got all we need
So put on your coat, let the good vibes flow.

And when you hear the music there’ll be no regret
Stand up and listen to the music, we’re not ready yet
You and me now sista, dancing in the corner,
So tell me are you feeling like I’m feeling too?
There’s nothing I’d like better than to be here with you
Oh my little sista, dancing here together


oh, won’t you dance with me?

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