A Bit of Random Writing…

Gardener sat in a café in the central city; he hadn’t even looked at its name before he’d gone in. He concentrated on being as anonymous as he could at a small table tucked away in a dark corner away from the windows. All around him were men in expensive suits wearing the smug expressions of those who knew that ‘they were alright Jack.’ The people here were full of cash and didn’t mind letting the world know. Gardener pitied the poor person who wasn’t part of this so-called elite; they wouldn’t survive an hour in here. Designer beers adorned the tables next to gourmet food stacked high on plates. There was no sign of a Saturn Draught, UXB, or even an Andromeda Dry anywhere, just traditional Belgian beers from Earth intermixed with carefully tended glasses of wine. Gardener was almost convinced that they knew the difference.

Outside a steady stream of people frowned their way onwards along the pavement under the harsh gaze of the sun, carrying the heat that sat squarely on their shoulders. They walked in a trance looking straight ahead and slightly down. Gardener wondered if they saw the memorial paving stones placed at equidistant intervals to celebrate the West Australians of the Year. Did they see the name Florence Hummerston and wonder what it was that she did? And how good a year did Dennis Lillee have when he received the honour?

He ordered a toasted sandwich and cup of coffee and received a dirty look in response. He wasn’t spending enough. He shouldn’t be there.
For the next half-an-hour he sat hunched over a table slowly eating his food and sipping his coffee while looking at a paper that he wasn’t reading. He knew that people would be looking for him – bad people. Common sense told Gardener that he would be unlucky to be seen, but anybody who could find him in the desert here on Earth clearly had resources and connections; friends with influence.

The sound of laughter barged in on his thoughts. A tall blonde guy in a pinstripe suit was laughing at his own joke. His colleagues were grimacing but he didn’t notice as his ample stomach threatened to escape from his white shirt and the long-suffering buttons that held it together were no longer able to hide behind the yellow silk tie that had fallen to one side. His liquid lunch was winning the battle. Gardener wanted to hit him, tell him that he was an arsehole, that nobody found him funny, and that he should crawl off back to his office to snooze away the afternoon. But he didn’t. He just gritted his teeth and carried on trying to fade into the scenery. He must have succeeded because nobody came near him, not even a waitress.

The Man Without A Spine

He seems to walk without trouble,
no sign of a problem there.
He sits easily at the Boardroom table,
and doesn’t slide off of his chair.

He seems to live a normal life,
with no handicap overtly shown,
so it’s incredible really, when you think that this man
was born without any backbone.

Just watch him dance in tune with the Boss,
and jump whenever he asks,
then come out of the meeting whining and moaning,
before delegating the unreasonable task.

This amazing man with a spine made of jelly
has really no reason to moan,
medical science would pay a fortune to study,
this man without any backbone!

Mongolia and Horses!

I thought I’d repost this – had a read and chuckled, so why not! And I’ve added a picture of me on a horse in Mongolia…what more could you ask for?

 

On a  horse

In a fit of eccentricity my wife and I decided to go on a vacation to Mongolia to have a look around. After all it is the place that produced Ghengis Khan, Kublai Khan and Tamerlaine, home of the Gobi Desert, as well as being the centre of one of the largest empires that the world has seen. After the initial three weeks of festivals, mountains, lakes and open plains, we then left our group and went off to see the remote Tsaartan people who live in the extreme north of the country. However to do this required a significant horse trek…and I had done next to no horse-riding. I looked forward with some trepidation to the 60 kilometres of travel that awaited me. Needless to say the Tsaartan had moved and the ride extended to over 120 kilometres!

Day 1 – consists of two lessons and a practical session

Lesson 1

‘Have you ever ridden a horse before?’ the Trek leader asked me through the interpreter.
‘Uh…no not really. Well once when I was about nine years old I did, but only for about 15 minutes.’ I replied.
‘Nevermind. It’s easy. Just get on the horse and we’ll go from there.’
‘What about a safety hat of some sort?’ I enquired only to be met with a blank look.
‘Just get on the horse and don’t fall off.’
I proceeded to get myself up into the saddle and found a set of leather reins begin put in my hand. They were more like shoelaces in my opinion.
‘OK Peter, tug left and right to steer and tug back to stop.’
I nodded and made some tugging gestures to show that I had understood.
‘To get going say “Cho” and give the horse a good jab in the ribs with your heels. If you want to go faster just dig the ribs some more and say “Cho” some more in a louder voice.’
I waited for some more instruction…but I waited in vain.
‘Right. Off you go and try to keep up.’

Lesson 2 (5 minutes after lesson 1)

Learn to trot and then fast trot as other horses begin to disappear into the distance.

Practical: Ride for six hours until it is time to reach camp and on the way see one of your guides thrown off a spooked horse. But we don’t talk about that because you just don’t fall off horses in Mongolia, and anyhow she was ok. So no worries! And while you’re at it cross a couple of rivers and learn how to hold on as your horse occasionally decides to jump over things for no apparent reason. At the end of the day it is compulsory to open a bottle of vodka and consume its contents prior to going to bed.

Day 2 – consists of two lessons and a practical session

Lessons 3,4 & 5 (Duration 9 hours)

‘Stop complaining about your sore knees and get back on the horse.’
‘And good morning to you too!’
Time to get back on the horse, which is now looking at me in a scornful way. I could swear that it’s smirking and I know that it’s thinking “Right sonny Jim, you thought you had a tough time yesterday, but just you wait. Hahahahahaha!’ Perhaps this paranoia is just part of the training? The trek leader tells me that lessons 3, 4 &5 are to be combined in one mornings’ riding, which will incorporate theory and practice.

Lesson 3

Enter forest – not just any forest either. The forest will be dense and have muddy and downright boggy areas, and a path that winds its way up and down very steep and slippery slopes between the trees – the gradient must be up to 1 in 4. Some trees will have spaces of approximately one metre between them through which the path will go. The horse may try to scrape you off at these points so you will really need to have mastered the basic steering technique by now or be good at putting your knees back into place after such events!

Lesson 4

Now you are out of the forest. The next lesson is riding up precipitous rocky slopes trying to ignore the long drop off to your left. A useful hint here is to pray that the horses instinct for self-preservation is greater than its desire to unseat you and send you tumbling into the raging mountain river some hundreds of metres below.

Lesson 5

Negotiate severe boggy ground not less than 2 km in length where you horse may find itself up to its backside in the mud. The landscape will be such that it will be impossible to tell which bits of ground have a covering to 6 inches of mud or which may be a metre or more in depth. You may find that your horse decides to ignore your yelling and screaming at this point and just stand still while wondering which way to go. If all else fails get assistance from and experienced horseman to find another path. This is likely to be almost as muddy and boggy and further ‘cement’ the relationship that you have developed with your horse.

After a short break for lunch and some photo opportunities with cute reindeer, some entertaining repartee with the local people, and hopefully a blessing from the local shamen, you will repeat lessons 3,4 & 5 in reverse. Note that your horse will ensure that it takes every chance to bruise and batter you on the return journey – so beware! It is permitted to be led by an experienced horseman during some of the more challenging parts of this journey, but of course this is only if you are a nancy who can’t ride and it is never admitted to.

At the end of the days lessons and nine hours of riding it is time to dismount. No cries of ‘Ahhhh my knees’ or ‘I have chafing’ or ‘I can’t walk anymore’ are permitted. You must walk confidently to your tent showing no signs of protesting joints. In fact you may be expected to go through two or three rounds of traditional Mongolian wrestling with your guide, who will probably be shorter, broader and much more suited to the sport…as well as knowing the techniques. Landing on your back a few times may in fact loosen up your aching muscles and prove beneficial. Failing this the bottle of vodka that follows will certainly prove beneficial.

Day 3 – consists of one combined lesson and practical session (4 hours)

Lesson 6 (The final step of the beginners course)

Buy now you will realise that any sort of complaining is simply ignored and so you will stoically get back into the saddle with a look of supreme confidence.

While riding back to your transport you will fast trot and canter. Your guide will give you a withering look when you say ‘This is murder on my backside’ and tell you to grip with your thighs and half stand in the saddle, using very clear sign language. He will then shake his head and laugh at your attempts to do this as you canter along at a steady pace hoping that the torture might soon stop!

The ride will be very quick and once it is over you will be able to call yourself a beginner at horse-riding in Mongolia. Your horse will quickly distance itself from you to avoid the shame of carrying a beginner. You will now have travelled over 100km on horseback across some of the most difficult terrain known to man!

For those who wish to take the intermediate course, which consists of galloping, shooting a bow from a galloping horse to hit a target, herding yaks and other livestock, and cracking walnuts between your thighs, further information can be obtained from your local nomadic family.

To celebrate the successful completion of your journey it is compulsory to open a bottle of vodka and consume the contents.

Phone fixations – the grumpy commuter is back

I’d just like to let my grumpy alter-ego have a word.

I am getting fed-up with seeing zombies walking around transfixed by their phones. It’s almost as though they can’t for one minute not be looking at their screens – as if something might happen between the bus and the office, the two minutes that it takes to walk from the café to the car. They wander around with no eye on the surrounding world, oblivious to ‘actual’ life, instead intent on the virtual universe. I am getting really worried one of them will one day walk into the road, into a wall, or even off a cliff!

Is it too hard to ask that they look where they are going instead of walking into me and then looking surprised that I didn’t remove myself from their pre-ordained and sacred path?

So there, I am grumpy again…life sometimes does that to you.

Five from…Spiderbait!!

Yes, perhaps not a household name, but these guys are the masters of the two minute song. From Finlay in country  New South Wales in Australia, they are, in my opinion, one of the best high energy bands to come out of Australia in the last decade or so. The band is made of Kram, otherwise known has Mark Maher, who plays drums and does lead vocals, Janet English – bass guitarist who also sings lead vocals, and Damian Whitty on guitar. Like all three-piece bands they are all great musicians and have loads of energy. So here goes.

Black Betty – this is an awesome version of this song with a great video to go with it. You’ll end up head-banging and singing out loud, I promise. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nU1VfYYKMDk

Calypso – this is not even two minutes long, but it’s Spiderbait at their best. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnMmRV8y0xM

Fucken Awesome – Once again Janet English on lead vocal and two minutes of high energy rock with a really out there video – love the disturbing dancing animals. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcjOZYeehLs

Shazam – from 1999 and more of the same stuff. See these guys live and you’ll have a great time! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZQ9Havyp-M

On My Way – after this you should be on your way to buy some Spiderbait https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_KTSlooTWY&list=PLD88A302286997483

 

Your bed – another in the occasional series of those little things…

Your bed …what more do I really have to say? We all know and love our beds; they are our best friends. After you’ve have had a busy day, be it good or bad, sinking into your bed is pure joy.

When your muscles are fatigued, your brain is fried, or you’re simply just partied out, your bed welcomes you into its warm embrace. Your pillow gently cradles your head and you begin to drift into that period of semi-consciousness. For a few moments you can feel your body becoming pleasantly heavy under the weight of the blankets. Your think hazy half-coordinated thoughts as you fade out. You never remember going to sleep – how could you?  But you sleep the best deep sleep imaginable.

Then you wake up the next morning feeling refreshed and relaxed, a nice tingle courses through your muscles as you stretch under the covers. You’re just happy to lie there for a while as light infiltrates the room telling you that another day has arrived.  You cling to the pillow, reluctant to move from this moment of absolute bliss, but your sleep has energised you and soon you are up and about, motivated and ready for anything.

Your bed is one of those small things that make life grand! Treasure your relationship with it.

The Cove

I haven’t put up a poem for a while – here’s one that I jotted down yesterday. I’ll probably come back to it later for an edit, but for now, here it is.

 

The Cove

The sun had already fled when we finally
reached the cove
where the swell hit the reef with the
crump of falling bombs.

The water was cold, fresh, not uninviting,
carrying the remnants of waves
that slumped exhausted onto the sand
saving just enough energy

to cushion us as we floated, stared up
as the universe turned;
we drifted with the current,
watched the universe

turning, turning, turning…

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