Counting our blessings on the highways to Hell

We should ‘try living in the real world’, said our detractor, via the Letters page of the Cockermouth Times and Star, winding up for his punchline. ‘In a city!’ Clearly it was heart-felt. And aimed full square at me and my co-contributor of many a letter to our local paper, regarding our on-going concerns about…

Stormtroopers and sandbags

Our newish neighbours, across the way in what used to be loosely called ‘the view’ from our living room window — essentially wild green verge, hedgerow, field and cows, in that order — last week erected what appeared to be an eight-foot stormtrooper in their front bay window. As in shiny white-panelled foot soldier of…

Make up tips for old ladies

It’s official. I’ve crossed a line. Stepped into a twilight zone which may last mere moments-long but may also stretch way off into some distant demented good night. Given the choice, I’ll go for the burning and raving at close of day, raging long and hard against the dying of the light. So damn Mr…

Nothing quite so irritating as a migrating mite

I’ve been fascinated by Anne Treneman’s continuing tales in The Times of the lovey-dovey visitors to the yew tree outside her husband’s ‘man cave’ window. I can still recall, only too creepily, my own similar story. Back at the old house, before I moved north to Cumbria, I too had a pair of amorous collared…

Let me read your lips and listen: #itsoktotalk

Good to see that scientists, always so quick to dismiss anything they perceive to be ‘airy fairy’ till they’ve involved a furry creature or two, have finally caught up with things on the hearing front. Apparently, a series of experiments with ferrets, ‘which hear the same range of frequencies as humans and appear to distinguish…

An avalanche of social media and ‘how to survive’

‘You are only as good as you are at the moment people are listening’, wrote pianist Max Levinson in 2009. By which measure, I might well have peaked last week. Because, last week, people were definitely listening. I know this thanks to the verging-on-obsessive, mesmerised eye the Gremlin and I kept on the rapidly mounting…

Sir Chris Bonington, mountain rescue and misrepresentation in the media

‘Rival mountain rescue teams are competing to get to stranded climbers’, said Sir Chris Bonington on Friday morning, in both The Times and The Telegraph, adding that he considers mountain rescue ‘a sport’, in which the volunteers engage because they ‘enjoy the thrill’. None of these contests have ‘quite got to fisticuffs’, he said, despite getting…

Is that taperitis? Or my half-imagination?

Taperitis, I learned this week, is a condition which afflicts extreme athletes, during the ‘taper period’ leading up to whatever totally bonkers activity it is they’re about to undertake. It largely manifests as half-imaginary aches and pains in the feet, legs and lower back. In extreme cases, it can result in a repetitive strain injury…

Killer Hamsters return in a hail of ‘fire and furry’

Well it looks as though the KN-08 waving has escalated after all, what with the most unlikely set of identical twins since Danny de Vito and Arnie Shwarzenegger taking their Killer Hamster act on tour for the summer. Killer Hamster Un brags his newfound ability to nuke the US — although let’s face it, that’s…

Senior moments and lost credit cards

Ever lost a credit card? Turned the house, car, garage and multiple handbags upside down searching for that lost credit card? Forgotten password? In fact, just ‘enjoyed’ a good old fashioned ‘senior moment’? Well, join the club!

Girl jobs, boy jobs and Doctor Who

‘I want a bin fairy too’, said my friend, in her best mock snivel, in between slurps. Wine or tea, I can’t recall now which stage of the evening we were at. But there was definitely chocolate, I do remember that. Considering we’re all supposed to be ‘gender-fluid’ now (yeah right), it shouldn’t be an…