The Lighthouse family…..well that’s a misnomer

For those not encyclopedic of their musical knowledge of the 1980’s, the Lighthouse family were actually a very successful music act.

So successful that now some 30 years later they are just embarking on another tour. And for other reasons as well completely, stuck in my head.

They are however quite a misnomer. Not a family at all, just two guys who happened to be working in the same bar in Newcastle (England) and then formed a duo. To be a family it helps to be related ….just ask the Jackson’s, Osmond’s or even the Adam’s.

Oh yes one other point, they don’t live in a lighthouse either .

So what brings them to mind….well sadly the fact I just cannot get one of their songs out of my mind.

I was using my local mini-cab company to take me to the station. For the benefit of those from outside the UK, a mini-cab is a non fully regulated taxi that has to be booked in advance and cannot be hailed . Not one of these…………….

In reality sometimes these mini-cabs are often old and scruffy, and more often than not very, very old and very scruffy!

Now my local mini-cab company are in all honesty totally reliable. The only time a journey failed for me was one time when said car arrived outside my house in very good time, I jump in and immediately engaged with the driver in some weather related topic as we British people tend to do. He didn’t get a word in as I complained about the rain, sun, wind, snow and fog we had endured all in one day. After some 10 minutes I did challenge his unusual route to my destination…. oops… it seems my neighbour had booked using the same company for five minutes earlier to a very different destination! 😯😯😯…and I had hijacked his car…..

Anyway back to the journey in question…. the taxi arrives and from the driver just a mere grunt of a hello. Contrary to most trips where there is a series of standard questions. Questions? Yes, a bit in a way like hairdressers have standard questions: 1. have you been to work today ? 2. Are you going out tonight? 3. Are you going on holiday soon? In the mini cab world, there are also some old faithfuls:

1. Going to the station sir? (slightly worrying as we have already set off, and that was what was agreed when I made the booking and is actually showing on his display!)

2. Going to London sir? A very standard question and always one that leads to drivers sharing views on London traffic, the price of everything in London and the people of London.

3. Going to work sir? Again slightly of concern as I don’t normally spend my holidays wearing a suit, carrying a laptop and reading meeting agendas on the journey.

Anyway, no chat this time…just a sudden burst of music, not just any music but the Lighthouse family. Ah…the radio I thought. But after 4 minutes, no radio chatter but another 1980’s Hit from the same wonder duo, 4 minutes more and another and so on. With some traffic and roadworks on the way we managed to squeeze in a whole greatest hits cd worth of Lighthouse family..with Ocean Drive getting not one but two plays!

Now one other thing worth mentioning is that unlike a taxi in Germany where you get a smart Mercedes, Sweden where you get a Volvo…in the UK, a mini-cab invariably means a battered Skoda that is well past retirement date. This car was no exception. In fact it would be most unusual for one of these cars not to have at least one warning light showing, an unexplained rattle and threadbare seats. On this journey I hit top score with warning light bingo: Engine management warning light, oil pressure, and three others I couldn’t determine and in fact was rather glad not to.

And the “icing on the cake ” a sixth one flickering on and off in tune with the Lighthouse boys as they belted out Ocean Drive!

Anyway, journey finally over I won’t say I kissed the ground as I exited the vehicle but it was certainly a relief to be on a terra firma.

But the music lives on, staying with me. Three days later I find myself still humming the tune.

The song was actually written about the drive from Sunderland to South Shields along the English North Sea coast (yes, not an Ocean I know, but bracing wild seashore…yes) Worth a visit if you find yourself nearby.

What do I get …..no such visions of wild nature. Just permanent flashbacks of a distinctly dodgy taxi ride!

Youtube has the video..search for it if you dare but the melody will stay with you for ever.

Why this blog? Click to find out why?

May contain nuts..

We are all familiar with the mountains of form filling that accompanies any request for credit. The guardian’s of these funds will ask searching questions about the state of our bank accounts, how spendthrift our lifestyle is ..do we burn money? or save money?

…and do we have dependants that we need to support.

After some recent form filling I realised that I have in all innocence been not 100% truthful and failed to declare a dependant.

A dependant squirrel..that by stealth has been becoming part of our household.

At first it was just social calls, a little run around the garden, a bit of jumping tree to tree and that was it.

Well nice to have use made of the garden in the winter. So not a problem.

Along comes spring and then he began calling round for meals..very particular to bird seed and peanuts…oh and also the container that they were in as well. Plastic mesh on a bird feeder was no match for him.

And so to summer, my strawberry plants were of great interest. Individual strawberries were picked and consumed sitting on the garden gate staring in at me intently.

Now I am no expert lip reader but at least once I saw him mouth the words..’any sugar or cream to hand?’. The strawberries lasted about two weeks and now it’s the gooseberries. There is a slightly different technique for these. In case you didn’t know it, squirrels love gooseberries but only the inside. So each skin has to be peeled off and discarded in disgust.

Next on the calendar will be the raspberries, plums and possibly apples. This squirrel may not have learnt much from his parents about ‘ask, don’t just take ‘ but he certainly paid attention to the 5 fruit and veg a day message.

So we seem stuck with our new dependant and soon need to have a difficult conversation with him about making his own way in the world and becoming a net contributor to our household.

In readiness for that conversation I did research and found there are jobs that squirrels can do. However it seems that these new additions to the workforce are not always well received… let’s just hope he has more success than his American squirrel cousin and doesn’t get fired on his first day…

…even squirrels have a tough time in the workplace it seems.

Why this blog? Click to find out more……

The bees knees….

My grandfather was a doctor and naturally inquisitive and always striving to learn more. Even with something as simple as looking up a word in the dictionary he said you should whilst the book is open read the entry above and the entry below. In this way you will learn more things, admittedly maybe not things you need to know, but that might enrich you.

In the electronic world we live in some will argue that these opportunities don’t arise now…but I disagree. In our news feeds etc. there are often adjacent articles that may catch our eye and will be worth our attention.

I can testify to this as recently as yesterday. The said adjacent article intrigued me…’Large Investment for Bee Network’.

From more detailed scrutiny I learnt of a brave and bold initiative to create 1000’s of miles of cycle tracks in the Manchester (England) area including links to major tourist areas , city centre and outlyng towns to revolutionise cycling in the city.

Now I don’t live in Manchester, not really cycle that much but I do strongly support anything that gets people outside, doing healthy stuff and reducing polution so a tick in all three boxes there. I also embrace any kind of good news story so for this alone, I thank my grandfather. Manchester has been in the worldwide news spotlight in the past but for very troubling reasons – most recently the terrorist attacks at the Ariana Grande concert in the city’s arena.

Oh, and in case you are wondering why the name Bee network? The bee has been the symbol of Manchester seen in city emblems since the 1800’s representing it’s tradition as an industrious city. A very apt name for the evolution of transport in this resilient and growing city.

Sometimes in life you need to go and find the good news, it doesn’t come to you.

Why this blog? Click to find out more….