2014 — 3 April: Thursday

Another 99p of my widower's mite found its way into the coffers of Jeff Bezos last night.1 I had learned that a remastered double CD of John Martyn's classic album "Solid Air" was now to be found. Turned out it was not to be found by me, so I settled (quite contentedly) for just the one extra live track, housing it in my existing subfolder alongside the MP3s I'd long ago ripped from my original CD.

Fiscally responsible, or what? The remainder of the evening was divided about equally between my Kindle and a couple more episodes of the penultimate season of "House". With the odd bit of dish-washing etc. Time to bend my thoughts towards the contents of my next crockpot, too.


... churning out — or perhaps, merely being able to churn out — three pages a day for decades can constitute "a liability" in a writer. Not that I ever was particularly fond of John Updike. I bought my first ("Couples", which I unearthed in WH Smith in Paris somewhat before it was permitted to be published in the UK) in July 1969 and my last in 2004. In between, there were short stories in the New Yorker, but none seems to have adhered to my cortex. There's a review here of Adam Begley's biography.

My own page rate2 over the years was generally well-guarded from "da management" as I never felt they had any real need to know. This was just one of the things that can make freelance work nicely lucrative (as a compensation, for example, for the pittance paid by a company like IBM).

I don't doubt they had a different opinion, of course :-)

That nice old...

... Uncle ERNIE tells me he's going to send me £50 this month. Ev'ry little helps.

Having stuffed the next batch of crockpottery (and other) stuff away into various nooks and crannies in the kitchen, the clamour from the holes in my nice, no-longer lily-white, cotton socks suggested it would be a good idea to nip out again on one of my annual or so visits to Matalan to replenish the supply. However, the ill-behaved traffic chaos I found in the vicinity of a closed lane in Leigh Road before the turn-off persuaded me to dodge into Hendy Ford instead, do a swift U-turn, and whizz back home new-sockless. Dagnabbit. Oh well. Nearly time for my lunch date.

My evening treat...

... is likely to be what actually turned out to be a BBC, rather than a PBS, documentary I learned about recently. I missed it on its first transmission a few years ago. It's a profile of Henry Marsh, the brain surgeon, doing what he can for people in Ukraine. Though why I had to order a BBC Programme from PBS.org in America is just yet another of the mysteries of globalisation. It was delivered just before I set off for lunch...

Henry Marsh

... following which I am now well-stuffed with duck breast and left with no feeling of urgency about any further food today. Though it probably won't stop me from nibbling another sliver or two of the 3-year matured Quartz Cheddar in due course. Meanwhile, the 'smog' is improving, if my eyes are any guide. It looked pretty horrid up in London.

One of the (many, many) horrible...

... things about being a widower is that Christa is no longer on hand to nip out for a new pair of socks for me in between the odd (and some of them were very odd) patent translations. But, cosmic karma being what it is, one of the many nice things about being a retired chap (who can still manage to totter around in his late wife's final birthday present) is that I can now nip out3 when most shoppers have called it a day and get my own socks. I'm sure this constitutes progress, of a sort.

Now, about that next cuppa...

My son emailed me saying there was "good news" in the financial pages today. I've long since given up reading them (of course) but he was referring to the news of his company's stock flotation. (Link.)

Looking back, I see I noted his decision to join that outfit a little over four years ago. It's his longest stint in any company so far.

A notable quote...

... from the English Surgeon:

Hospitals are like prisons. They're places where a small
number of people are doing nasty things to a large number
of people.

The Ukrainian hospital featured is run by the KGB...



1  Don't worry. I'm sure it will have tax paid on it somewhere. Probably. Eventually.
2  In 1979 the Open University quoted one man-year of effort needed to produce two weeks of (part-time) student training material. I actually flew there once, in 1978, on a little four-person expotition from ICL Beaumont to sniff around the offices of their publications unit. I still recall two things: my pilot looping to try to make me vomit (surely an unwise manoeuvre in such a confined space?) and the apparently low page-production rate of the unit compared to ours. (If I'm honest: mine.)
3  Driving by a more circuitous route to dodge that local lane closure chaos.