Sox appeal

I perhaps need to start with an apology for English speakers in the UK, Ireland and probably most other places…but not in the America’s…as we in Europe don’t use the word sox as  plural of sock..and we only say socks, so this may grate a little on you…..sorry!

Anyway there is a whole list of words that don’t cross the pond very well….. so let’s just move on from that. And don’t even start me on the others…..

I digress…..a  short while ago I attended an expo in connection with my day job.
As is always the case for  any such event where suppliers want to lure customers to their stands to engage with them, there are the traditional give aways. Some of these are a sure fire winner…chocolate, usb  memory sticks, key rings, bottle openers etc. always attract .

Then there is also a plethora of giveaways that have become very passe…who really wants a cheap plastic pen? or a sticker saying I❤Higginbottam & Company,  Chartered Accountants? Unless of course you are Mr Higginbottam.

Even the good items like the chocolate get eaten, the bottle openers end up consigned to a kitchen drawer…so what does have a lasting effect?

Well it seems that not only does sex sell  but socks have the same effect. I went to an expo last week and was given a funky pair of socks on a supplier stand…so for them it is practical,  memorable,  and will certainly provide a memory trigger…far better than a PowerPoint presentation and a talking point that  was far from exciting. The socks are a great reminder …the  funkier the better!

So this time it seems, the marketing department have got it just right!

Enjoying my blog? I hope so. Please subscribe if you want more and feel free to comment on here and share on social media using the links below. Happy Sunday!

Forty today!

I started writing my blog just for fun a few weeks ago. And was somewhat intrigued this morning to see I have just had my fortyieth follower today…..not the dog in the photo (I only count the human ones😁)

For the serious bloggers out there (and I have the greatest respect for you) having achieved forty followers might be more pitied than celebrated! But for me, who thought nobody might read my words it’s a very pleasant surprise .

Anyway to the forty of you, I hope in some tiny way, I enrich your lives 3 days a week.

To numbers 41, 42 etc. looking forward to you joining in too.

Please do comment , share and like if you enjoy it. If it’s not for you I understand…as the saying goes ‘better to have loved and lost than never to have loved before’

With my best wishes to you all…….

Why this blog? Click to find out why I wite these

Shorts story

A week or so ago it was Dog Awareness week in the UK. Somewhat ironically you may not have been aware of that fact unless you live in the UK and received mail that week that actually had postage stamps that had needed franking. Were you to have received such mail you would have seen the declaration of ‘Dog Awareness week’ proudly stamped on your envelope.

So what is it all about? Obviously its more than just ‘be aware there are such things as dogs’ Most of us have got the hang of that. Dog Awareness week is promoted by the UK’s Royal Mail to remind householders particularly during school summer holidays and better weather (not that these always coincide!) to be cognisant of the danger of loose dogs in gardens or yards. Seemingly innocuous behaviour in the eyes of the householder with a secure and dog safe area. Well yes, until a visitor calls by. Every year countless postman and postwoman receive injuries from dogs defending their properties. As is so often the case…it’s not the dog at fault but just a thoughtless owner .

And an added risk…..UK postman have a shorts wearing season that can extend from January to December so usually the dogs success rate for being on target of teeth meeting leg is very high.

Longer trousers may have to make a comeback……

So actually it’s not the dogs at fault or the postman’s attire but the owners of the dogs. Regrettably ‘Thoughtless Pet Owners Week’ is too big a slogan to fit on most envelopes.

Why this blog? Click to find out more. Enjoyed it, please share……

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?

Dirty old town

For those who are fans of the Pogues, they will know the lyrics of this song are something like ‘ I met my love by the gas works wall, Dreamed a dream by the old canal, I kissed my girl by the factory wall, Dirty old town’ . Now I don’t think that town had a name but somehow I don’t think it was Bellavista, Beaumaris or anything remotely suggesting anything looking nice . Naming of towns isn’t driven by people ..having said that for new towns it perhaps is (we have a few of these new towns in the UK and these probably have had a committee or a focus group to name them).

Yes, unlike children whose parents spend many hours hours of researching popular names. Hopefully being sure that the trendy name you give your child is really what you intended and will survive the years without causing undue embarrassment in the playground or on the school bus. In our family at the time of great grandparents era we have at least one relative who was proudly named Fanny. Say no more..but trust me, it might be not so cool to be called that in North America, in the uk it really is decidedly awkward.

Its not just the names , another example is the regretful parent of David Ian McDonald when it came to initials being marked on schoolwear.

Generally speaking town names have just evolved from some simple geographic description or derivation from a Latin or Roman name from the past. This usually tends to work, but just occasionally you end up with some tidy and pleasant town or village having a name…well that makes it sound rather not so nice, or even having connotations of…well anything but the intended name.

In the UK we have numerous examples of these…I could probably name about 50 with ease…but in the interests of brevity, here is my top 5.

Snodland – as a child when being driven along the motorway and seeing the road sign, for this inoffensive Kent town , my childish brain and equally childish humour saw this as Snotland… causes much hilarity when you are aged 12!

Ramsbottom – include the name ‘bottom’ in any town name and immediately it opens itself up to some suggestion of toilet humour, add the word Ram and you have a sure fire winner. Ramsbotton does have a connection with Rams for sure being in North Pennine sheep country but that is where it ends . Not a bottom in sight and in facts it is a very friendly and bustling market town.

Seaton Sluice – the very name conjures up some kind of porcelain contraption with a not very pleasant function. Now I have never been to Seaton Sluice but I am told its actually a most appealing village on the Northumberland coast.

Grotton – the human brain seems to want to focus on the first four letters here and just think Grot! In reality Grotton is a very pleasant semi rural residential area to the east of Manchester bordering Saddleworth. Nothing grotty about Grotton.

and finally…..

Upperthong – yes, that is the name, not to be confused with nearby Netherthong. Not surprisingly Upperthong residents dread that moment when doing a telephone order for goods or services and being asked their address…. the responses they get back are inevitable and yes probably funny the first time, but I imagine it gets a bit tiresome after 10 years!

Ask and you might receive….

Recently I was asked by a family member what did I want for an impending birthday. Awks…as one would say if one were cool and aged 16. Anyway I had more adult response but basically the same sentiment. Difficult and awkward question, as one neither wants to give a pious answer, oh nothing your love/friendship/running club comradeship/work colleague loveliness is more than enough. Nor is it appropriate to reel off from memory an Argos catalogue number, or an Amazon URL. So how to deal with the issue? Guidance came from a surprising source.

My mother’s local priest in his sermon one week drifted on to the subject of his parishioners hard work fundraising at a recent parish coffee morning but he apologised for the very shabby and worn kitchen knives from his house that were used at the event.

The following Sunday he commenced his sermon by remarking how surprised and overwhelmed he was to find a complete set of shiny new knives giftwrapped waiting by the front door.

Continuing to beam at his loving congregation, he then said, so now to today’s sermon, can I start by saying how St John’s Gospel that we have just heard , of course might draw our mind to a 32″ Panasonic HD ready , network TV.

Very awks!

One of Dad’s Life Hacks ‘What to do with your free priorities/rewards coffee from your mobile provider’

I credit this entirely to my daughter – someone with the social conscience that would put many of our politicians and celebrities in the shade!

Quite simply whenever those nice people at O2 or Vodaphone message her to say there is a free coffee to be collected at Costa, Cafe Nero etc. she will always claim it and give to a homeless person on the street. Now if we could all just do that..that would be nice. Simples!