Archive for May 2015

Capers in Catalunya

May 15, 2015

It was when I walked down Las Ramblas that I was having an experience that would change my life. Although at the time of this pivotal moment I didn’t know I was having an experience. Only when I was safely ensconed back in Las Glorious Alba was I informed by a third party about the Nefarious practices of Catalan Artful Dodgers. Unfulfilling for the thieves as it turned out. My trip down the strip changed me. Let us go back to Barcelona before we go further.

My walk down Las Ramblas was without real intent but others were intent on me. Offenses against me by the local populace included being brushed against, bumped, rubbed and wrist frisked. I thought the senoritas were just being over friendly with me and the senors were just plain drunk. It was neither, the pickpockets were having a party with my body. I almost felt sorry for them as after going to all that trouble they had nothing to show for it. You see, I don’t carry cash or cards. Just like when we play Monopoly Mrs W is the banker. And if I can’t get a peseta out of her what chance Pedro?

Another thing I don’t possess is a mobile phone. I dislike the way these contraptions interrupt my brain waves. My head can’t focus around radiation. And it’s also good to be off the radar. Tell me, is it really important to be on call at all times? Not for me, I’m not a phoney person. So the light fingered matadors technical prowess at dipping and passing had encountered an invisible bull. No glory or gore or cells -mobile or jail- for them in this story.

Timepieces are another of my no way Jose eccentricities. Time is precious and I don’t want to waste it by looking at a watch all day. As I’ve said before we spend so much time checking the time we have become slaves to the unrelenting juggernaut that is forever ticking. So I don’t wear a watch. Which made me wonder why the botifarra sausage eaters were having a nibble at my wrists. Maybe they were trying to steal a freckle or something?

A few days ago an old man asked me for the time as I walking along the road. He didn’t believe me when I said I didn’t know it but I could have a guess by judging the height of the sun, distance from earth and the speed of the planet’s axis. About half four, I think. He went on his unmerry way muttering under his breath “has that dope not got a phone?”. So I vowed not to be an old curmudgeon and embrace the, what is it the 19th or something, century. I bought a watch. Furthermore, I wear said watch.

The pickpockets of Glasgow are on a higher latitude than the Latin Catalans. I mean, legend has it that they’ve even been known to steal the eyes out of the unwary. So there will be a high security presence around my watch. There’s no way this watch will be changing hands. I am now a slave to its presence. It won’t leave my sight. I’ll be watching it round the clock.


3.4: The back garden

May 6, 2015


(Ralph and Jeff are sitting in Ralph’s back garden. It is a beautiful sunny day. The birds are tweeting, the bees are buzzing and all is well in the world)

Ralph: It’s amazing the amount of girls that are named after flowers. Lily, Ivy…Rose, Daisy-

Jeff: -Hyacinth.

Ralph: Good one, Jeff, but this one is a hollow victory. While I was making up a list of the obvious names you had time to think of something more elaborate.

Jeff: Sometimes it pays to be second.

Ralph: We’re sitting here. soaking up the rays, having a few beers, enjoying the countryside and great outdoors. It’s so tranquil, we should continue in the same vein. Can you think of any pastoral names? First or last names. You go first this time.

Jeff: Ash. Can be used as a first name and surname.

Ralph. Ha, ha. Did you just go the letter A and that was all you could come up with.

Jeff: What have you got?

Ralph: Warren. Also a first and last moniker.

Jeff: I’m not sure about that. Give me examples?

Ralph: There’s Warren Beatty the film star and Tony Warren. Tony was the guy that created Coronation Street. Sometimes it pays to read the credits in programmes.

Jeff: You could also have said that it can be a book. Warren Peace. (Jeff laughs)

Ralph: There must be a fantastic name out there that is fitting to this occasion. It’s time to get our thinking caps on and get a really good pastoral, flowery, garden type name.

(Several minutes pass without words. The men deep in thought. The kids next door accidentally kick their ball into Ralph’s garden)

Ralph: Don’t worry, boys. Here’s your ball back (he throws it over the fence)

Jeff: You should have kicked it back. Shown the boys how good you used to be. You were a great football player once.

Ralph: Yeah. (he sighs)

Jeff: I’ve got it. What a peach. Trelawny. That is a belter of a name. It is a name, isn’t it? Oh no, don’t tell me it’s a made up one.

Ralph: No, you’re right. Trelawny is a name. Though I don’t know anybody called that. It is a name. We could get the phone book to check it out but I have heard of it. Looks like you’re the winner, Jeff.

Jeff: I don’t want to rub it in but Trelawny works on so many levels. Think about it. Tre for tree and Lawny for lawn. A double-barrelled outdoor name.

Ralph: yeah, yeah, yeah.

(Again the ball from next door ends up in Ralph’s garden)

Jeff: Kick it back, Ralph. We didn’t call you Rocketshot Ralphie for nothing.

(Ralph hits a rocketshot over the fence. Unfortunately his kick is wayward and the ball lands up in a tree at the bottom of the next door garden)

Boy next door: You better get our ball down or I’ll tell my dad.

Ralph: (quietly, to Jeff) What am I going to do? I can’t climb trees, you know that. And this little grass is going to dob me in. And his dad is one mean guy. You must have heard of Grumpy Larry Moody.

Jeff: Grumpy Larry is your next door neighbour! Oh man, you shouldn’t have kicked the ball.

Ralph: You said-

Boy next door: -Hurry up. We want to play. (The boy shakes the tree. The ball falls down onto a different branch)

Ralph: What’s that noise?

(From the tree comes the unmistakable sound of a ball deflating)

Jeff: The ball must have lodged in a splinter. You’ve burst their ball, Ralph.

Ralph: I didn’t burst the-

Boy next door: NYAAAAHHH. (he starts crying). DAAAAAADDDDD.

Shades of the Vagabonds

May 6, 2015

Sonakshi Sinha to be the face of Foster Grant Signature


Eighty six years ago the first mass produced sunglasses were sold. The brand that made them were FGX International and the Foster Grant range continues to be the world’s largest distributors of sunglasses, outselling all their competitors. Gina Lazaro, Chief Marketing Officer at FGX International had this to say about the future of the company. “Before that first sale of 10 cent Foster Grant sunglasses, protection from the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays was limited only to those who could afford custom made sunglasses. Foster Grant’s relationship with Restoring Vision, continues that tradition of providing affordable eyewear that can impact and change people’s lives.”

With these words ringing in my eyes I decided that it was time for me to own a pair of Foster Grant’s sunglasses. No more of the cheap and nasty plastic jobs that fall apart in a million different ways: lens clipping out, legs breaking, cracked rims, bridges that even sticking plaster can’t fix, nose pads digging into nose bone, screw hinge boring into sclera, jagged earpiece doing its best to Van Gogh you. It’s not kite marks they should put on these weapons of mass production but warning signs.

Expecting no more serious injuries once I had the real McCoist’s on me you could have knocked me down with a hawk’s feather when I saw the price of Foster’s. My eyes popped and I almost needed a drink of Foster’s. What’s so special about theses goggles anyway? It’s not as if I can watch the solar eclipse (quite a regular occurrence nowadays, there’s two due next week) with them without my Icarus pupils melting. Or see through walls with them. Or adjust the yaw, roll and pitch when I want to rotate. It was time to leave behind Foster Grant, I was going back to my roots.

Drawn also back to the comfort of mother I was astounded to see that mother had bought a new pair of eyeglasses. My jaw hit the floor that fast it bungeed back up. She’d only gone and bought a pair of Ray-Ban’s.


No, this is not my mother!

My mother was enjoying her little bit of luxury and while I fretted and frowned about my inheritance I was happy for her. Me, I’m still without any sunglasses but with no sunshine in sight, these are days for naked eyes.