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Two years, Pooh sticks and park life…

26 Jun

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY said the WordPress notification I received last week, surprising me with the realisation that Diary of an Internet Nobody has now been ranting and musing its way across the blogosphere for two whole years.

My initial reaction however – one of surprise that I’d been writing for so long, (since I only think of myself as a beginner, still getting to grips with the discipline, so to speak) – faded, as it occurred to me that writing stuff down feels so natural now, that I can’t really conceive of not always having done it.
Although you only have to read that last sentence; well look at it, hyphens, italics, parentheses, mangled tenses, commas all over the place, to see that I still have some work to do in the rambling tangent department.

Only the other day I was reading a post on Being Ron about how many bloggers change the look and feel of their blogs on a more or less regular basis, and that Ron liked to give his blog a makeover occasionally to keep it fresh.
This is something that I’d never considered before, having settled on the desk diary-themed look (because, well, it was obvious) after stumbling upon it when looking for something to replace the very dark, red-on-black theme I began with, and now I can’t bring myself to abandon it.

Do these things really matter to you, my lovely, intelligent, extremely talented and good looking readers?
Do any of you actually click on that e-mail notification, thinking; “Oh dear god, if I have to read another witty and erudite article, surrounded by that faux-leather and digital stitching, I’m going to leave a pithy comment” ?
Your feedback is, as ever welcomed and appreciated…

During my recent brief sabbatical from the blog, I visited family and friends in Sussex, where I managed to fit in; my first visit to my mum’s new house; a pleasant stay with my sister, (I was there when she received her presentation copy of Ho’s “Spacehopper incident” cartoon that he kindly sent her by post, which she will apparently frame and proudly display); a few days in the company of my old friend Trevor, and a trip to Brighton to see Ho himself.

Arriving in Crowborough on the Tuesday evening to the faultless hospitality of my sister – meal on the go, cider in the fridge – I briefly saw my niece and nephew the following morning before they were whisked off to school and then made my way out into Winnie the Pooh country, Ashdown Forest, to where Trev was staying in Hartfield.
Unfortunately this normally simple journey didn’t go quite according to plan, featuring as it did, me crashing into the back of someone’s car as they braked in the wet at a narrow bridge I’d completely forgotten existed, having not been out that way for nearly twenty years.

The gentleman whose car I damaged was very good about the accident, saying only that he “wished you’d done it a couple of months ago when I had my old car, I could have made a killing on the insurance” and when it also turned out that he worked for the company in whose building I’d shared a flat whilst living in Crowborough, well, we parted on amiable terms.

My stay with Trevor was a predictably laid back affair, involving a few visits to country pubs, tooling around the countryside in his open topped sports car and making a special nostalgic trip out onto the forest to visit A.A. Milne’s hundred acre wood, where the actual Pooh Bridge stands.
A game of Pooh sticks took place of course, in which I claimed victory, although it was a close run thing.

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Boys will be boys.

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Into Hundred Acre Wood.

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Eeyore’s house, possibly.

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Pooh Bridge.

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There was also a box of old photos to root through, yielding this gem from the turn of the millennium, when the pair of us were somewhat more hirsute.

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I took my leave of Trevor on Friday morning, suitably refreshed and relaxed, returning to Crowborough to do the familial rounds once more.
I dropped back in to see mum, then to Kerry’s for one final chat with her and Oly, (a truly top man who has the irrepressible enthusiasm of a teenager, the enviable upper body shape of a weightlifter and both legs missing below the knee. In some people I imagine this would put a bit of a crimp in their style, but to Oly it seems nothing more than an excuse for jokes about not having to worry about smelly feet and numerous amusing anecdotes concerning uncooperative prosthetics falling off at inopportune moments) before taking to the road again for the journey down to Brighton and a Friday night out with Ho.

Ho is very switched on when it comes to local events, working as he does for an entertainment promotions company, so he had already got us tickets to a gig at The Haunt, a converted cinema screening room, on the seafront near the famous Brighton Pier.

There were three bands playing, but three weeks have passed and I’m ashamed to say I’ve forgotten the name of one of the support acts, although I do remember Milk and Biscuits and you can sample their material HERE.

The headline act certainly were memorable though, there’s no doubt about that.
Fujiya & Miyagi put on a great show. With stuttering, glitching visuals projected behind them they provided a pounding, mesmerizing set of precision-tooled, clinical synths, enigmatic vocals (some improvised from audience suggestions) and a great live drummer.
To give you a feel for the show here are the obligatory fuzzy gig photos and a link to a particular favourite of mine, the video for Flaws.

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CLICK THE LINK TO PLAY Fujiya & Miyagi – Flaws.

So it was that, after breakfasting with Ho and saying my goodbyes, I left sunny Brighton on Saturday morning and made my way back west to Devon, arriving with only ten minutes to spare to pick up the keys to my new lodgings.
I am now located on the edge of a large park, one of my favourite parts of the town and, due to the smoking ban in the house, I have taken to strolling over the road in my slippers with a mug of coffee, to enjoy a smoke in the evening sunshine amongst the trees.
The park also provides me with free parking and the walk to the car in the early morning is equally pleasant.

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The first few weeks in my new home haven’t been without the odd minor incident however.
Earlier this week, one of my fellow housemates was “entertaining” downstairs in his room when some candles apparently set off the ear-splitting fire alarms that are fitted throughout the shared house, deafening the other residents until someone worked out how to turn it off.
Fortunately I was in my newly adopted garden across the road at the time, so I missed the aural assault, returning merely to an ominously red-lit and beeping alarm panel in the lobby and a houseful of people with headaches.

Someone not so fortunate was the bloke who was driving his brand new mini along the road, just round the corner from where I was coming out of our front door on Wednesday evening.
I heard the most horrendous CRASH, followed by the sound of constant car horns and ran round the corner to see the aforementioned mini, no driver visible, airbags deployed, stopped dead in its tracks by the small hatchback embedded in the side of it.
Now, given that this happened on a straight stretch of road in daylight, and that the driver I saw being helped out of the hatchback by the staff of a nearby hotel was a lady considerably advanced in years, I can only assume that she had failed to see the mini entirely and turned into the hotel car park as it drew level with her.

Whatever the cause of the accident, it looked quite serious and I called up to fellow resident Rebecca, who had come to her window to investigate, to call the police.
They evidently asked her to give a first hand account of proceedings, as she appeared on the street and approached the scene, staying on the phone until the first of many emergency vehicles arrived to take control of the situation.
Both drivers seemed to have escaped injury and, although a fire crew turned up to mop up the petrol on the road and untangle the ruined cars, that was the end to the evening’s excitement.

As a bonus, Rebecca managed to snap a rather dramatic-looking photo of the emergency services in action, so the credit for this one goes to her.

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That about catches me up to the present, but before I go, here are two great songs to play us out:

ONE YOU PROBABLY EXPECT…

…AND ONE YOU MAY NOT.

And I’ll leave you with this gorgeous sunset photo, taken in the park earlier this week.

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11 responses to “Two years, Pooh sticks and park life…

  1. Ho

    June 27, 2014 at 20:29

    It was great to see you on your brief Sussex tour. The other band we saw was AK/DK, you can see their frenzied antics here…

     
    • dalecooper57

      June 27, 2014 at 20:43

      Excellent, thank you. Always a pleasure, never a chore. See you again soon.

       
  2. Ron

    June 28, 2014 at 02:24

    Happy Anniversary, Dale! Isn’t it amazing how time flies when you blog? I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for 8 years because it feels as though it was just yesterday when I started.

    GREAT photos! Love the one of you and your friend in the car! It took me a second, though, to realize why the steering wheel was on the opposite side – HA!

    And OMG…that final shot of the sunset is magnificent! Well done, buddy!

     
    • dalecooper57

      June 28, 2014 at 11:17

      Cheers Ron. That is only one of many beautiful sunsets I’ve captured in just the first few weeks of moving to my parkside residence.

       
  3. Gino Molinari

    June 28, 2014 at 16:22

    This blog is well rubbish

     
    • dalecooper57

      June 28, 2014 at 16:24

      Thank you for your feedback, very instructional.

       
  4. Simon

    June 28, 2014 at 19:21

    Hi Dale. Hope you’ve settled in well to your new humble abode, and many congratulations on your second blogging anniversary. I really enjoy your stories and rants. There’s always a nice momentum to your writing and I think it’s clear you have a genuine love of words. Looking forward to new material, good sir! And please accept my apologies, but I doubt I could ever match Mr Molinari’s terribly constructive feedback.

     
    • dalecooper57

      June 28, 2014 at 23:03

      Thank you Simon, you’re very kind.
      I do indeed have a great fondness for language and it’s vicissitudes, even that of Mr Molinari. ;~}

       
  5. jerseylil

    June 28, 2014 at 23:05

    Happy Two Year Blog Anniversary, Dale! I remember when you started. I’ve been reading your blog that long and have thoroughly enjoyed all your posts. Frankly, I think you are an excellent writer. It’s your writing (and the awesome photos) that have made me an avid reader of your blog. Mangled tenses or too many commas are inconsequential when the writer brings such joy of writing to every post! (Btw, I like the color and layout of your blog; clean design and easy to read. Some blogs are too cluttered and have too many ads. I will be redesigning my blog when I move over to WordPress.)

    Nice that you had a great time visiting your sister and friends (sans the unfortunate car incident), and congrats on your Pooh sticks victory! Great photos and especially love the cool old photo with your friend. Enjoyed the video; I wasn’t familiar with that band and I really like their music.

    Quite a crash you had in your new neighborhood (glad everyone escaped injury). Compliments to Rebecca on her dramatic photo of it. Dale, your new place sounds lovely being near a large park where you can stroll in your slippers to watch the evening sunsets. All the best! Gorgeous sunset photo, thank you for sharing.

     
    • dalecooper57

      June 28, 2014 at 23:10

      Thanks Lil, and thank you for the feedback on the blog layout.
      As ever, a thoroughly comprehensive contribution.

       
  6. Mary

    July 4, 2014 at 12:52

    Congrats on two years of blogging. I enjoyed the photos of Pooh country….and, I really like your style of writing….I admire anyone who has a unique way of turning a phrase…well done! Sounds as if you had a great visit with your family and friends. (Sorry to hear you had a little car crash). Happy blogging in the future!

     

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