Fun on a Friday

I’ve had enough of politics for now, so this will be a more light-hearted post as befits a Friday. Not that I have much lined up for the weekend; apart from the tennis I will be visiting an exhibition in Ashby where a poem of mine is displayed (I was due to perform it but the opening event was cancelled) and probably pondering what to get OH whose birthday is coming up fast on the outside and as usual I have No Ideas What So Ever. OH is never any help in this regard; ‘Oh, I’ll think about it,’ is the reply I get; two weeks later I get the same reply by which time it’s 11 pm the night before so I have to go to the petrol station and get – well, what would I get? What do you get someone who doesn’t like anything nice? Chocolates? Meh. Flowers? Meh. A book? Reddit. And so on. It’s hopeless. Every year it’s the same. I’m tempted to give up on the whole thing.

It was a great day for tennis yesterday. Work just wouldn’t come so I gave it a rest and watched some men’s wheelchair tennis (very impressive; how they move the chair and get to the ball and hit it all at the same time is incredible) a girls’ match where a British player got through (I was amazed by the quality of this too) and of course the women’s semi-finals where Ash Barty smashed her way through to meet Pliskova in the final. Today we have the men’s quarters, Djokovic against the incredible Shapolavov and Berrettini against the Hungarian Hucakz (I think I’ve spelt that right. No, it’s Hurkacz; these Eastern European names are very difficult. Not like our entirely logical English words…)

As for tonight, we will most likely be sitting in front of another episode of The Night Manager, an excellent BBC drama which at the moment is only available on Amazon (don’t blame me, it’s not my account) and catching up with Today at Wimbledon. When I was younger Friday nights used to be very important; not as big as Saturday which was the major night out but still a chance to unwind and let off steam after the week, but nowadays I rarely feel the slightest desire to let off steam – I don’t think I have any steam actually- but occasionally I do feel the urge to go to the pub, sink a few pints and forget about everything till the morning. Alas, my tolerance for alcohol has diminished along with my consumption which means that the resulting hangover will probably not be worth it.

So that’s me today – pausing only to reconfigure the boundaries of modern literature, obvs. See you on the other side.

Kirk out

Poor Emma

It’s bad enough being Andy Murray in your 20s, but being an eighteen year old who has barely played in tournaments before, going out on a show court as the last Brit in the championship, was one step too far for Emma Raducanu. It was a shame; she seemed to love her previous matches but there was so much pinned on this one that it became too much and she succumbed to what appears to be a panic attack. Everyone was very sympathetic including her opponent, though John McEnroe has apparently been criticised for saying she found it ‘a little too much’, which seems to be basically what everyone else is saying so I don’t really see the problem. I’ve always liked the way the mature McEnroe (not the young brat) tells it like it is; the world of tennis is generally tactful to the point of saying virtually nothing, so his views are usually a breath of fresh air. The match was on quite late as well, and that may have had an effect. Anyway, she’ll be back. Meanwhile we are down to the quarter-finals. You wouldn’t get long odds on a Federer-Djokovic final and I’m going for Ash Barty-Angelique Kerber in the women’s, though that’s more open I think.

So what else is new? The government continues its assault on the people, producing a draconian Policing Bill to outlaw annoying protests (that’s the point of protests; no-one takes any notice otherwise). This administration seems to value old statues more than living people and the latest rhetoric about mask-wearing becoming a ‘matter of individual responsibility’ is just about the worst move they could have made; it means that loads of people won’t bother and it will make enforcement in pubs and shops etc much much harder. It will also shift the blame for any rise in infections onto ‘irresponsible’ members of the public, which I’m sure has been their aim all along. And who thought Sajid Javid was a good idea as Health Secretary?

Can I emigrate yet?

Anyway, here are some life tips from Peanuts for when nothing goes right.

Kirk out

TV Days

Did anyone see Casualty the other night?  It was hilarious!  We always have a laugh watching the series; what with people getting blown up and burnt and overturning in huge lorries and crashing vehicles in bizarre and interesting ways which not even Jeremy Clarkson would have thought of; and presenting with weird and obscure diseases – and what with the staff all going out with each other and marrying each other and not seeming to have a life outside the hospital (except when they leave their shift to go and sort out the personal lives of the patients, which they do on a regular basis) – altogether ‘Casualty’ is a laugh a minute.  And the latest episode didn’t disappoint.

I never really ‘bought’ Max and Zoe as a couple.  He’s a lightweight, she’s a professional (except that – and I’m sorry to have to say this because it sounds really judgemental) she has the morals of an alley-cat.  OK let’s put that in a slightly more PC way.  She is blown hither and thither by the winds of circumstance and whim (hey, the winds of whim – that’s a good phrase) and the night before her wedding she goes and sleeps with someone.  She feels terrible, nearly calls the wedding off but then it happens and then hey presto! along comes Dylan to wreck it all by blurting out ‘Oh, so you told him then?’ after they’ve got spliced.  Everything goes awry after that and it ends with two terrifically explosive fires in which probably the entire cast dies.


On holiday I mostly watched the tennis as it was great to see it live.  And last night there was an absolutely brilliant new episode of ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ based in India.  You must watch!  The ‘Brownadder’ episode is particularly mention-worthy.

Kirk out

Slightly Smaller Balls

Note to self: don’t eat lentils. Half an hour after eating a lentil and potato curry, I have blown up like a barrage balloon. Every time I make potato curry, Mark and I have the same conversation. ‘But what about protein?’ he wails. And I reply, just as I always do, ‘I’ll put some pulses in’. This week we had run out of kidney beans, so he suggested lentils.  Mistake!

Still, he has a sense of smell and I don’t, so there’s karma for you.

I watched the women’s tennis final today.  Can someone please explain to me why women can run marathons but still can’t play five sets in tennis?  Also, why they had two male commentators and only one woman?  Are they going to have women commentating on the men’s final?

Are they buggery.

I think we should be told.

Good news about the Tour de France departing from Yorkshire, though the attempts of Yorkshire folk to say ‘le grand depart’ gives me convulsions

A toute a l’heure!

Kirk out

S.W. What?

I have a confession to make.  It’s very odd, but for the first year ever, since I was about 11, I have no interest in Wimbledon.  I don’t know why this is: it could be the football which means the BBC have given it less than their usual dedicated coverage; or the fact that Murray is out much sooner than he ought to have been – whatever the reason I have seen a few matches but it has failed to excite me.  To understand just how weird this is, you have to realise that Wimbledon has been a feature of my calendar every single year since 1966.  I have only missed a couple: once when I was living Up North and didn’t have a TV, and once when I was living in Madrid and only had access to channels like TVE 1 and Telecinco.  Every channel in Spain has adverts on; and the news is so frenetic you can’t follow it at all, never mind the sport.  Which reminds me, have you ever tried listening to the tennis on the radio?  It’s something else.  By the time they’ve described a back-hand cross-court volley with top-spin which lands just short of the baseline, about three more shots have been played.  Weird.

Today I have been mostly… finishing off my memoir.  Yay!  I have now reached the requisite 50,000 words (that’s about 150 pages) and have reached it in about six weeks starting from a base of 6000.  Now begins the work of revising… Still I think I shall give it a rest for a week or two as I have to do my tax return and reapply for tax credits.  Joy.

Have a good weekend.  We shall be going to the cathedral to see the new garden and to Serenity, a Sci-fi event, on Sunday where I shall be poeting.

Kirk out

25 Years and Three Days

I’ve fiddled about rather today, thanks to a late night last night at Chris Conway’s 25 year anniversary gig.  This was quite well-attended, considering that some unmentionable sport was on; I particularly enjoyed the time-shifted updates Chris gave from time to time (England 0, Normandy 1; England 2, Germany 0 – and latterly, England v France entering the 900th year of extra time) updates which touched on the tribal nationalism of football.  The appeal of the game completely passes me by and always has; I’m not much of a team-sports person anyway as I prefer individual games such as – oo, wait! tennis!  Isn’t Wimbledon due to start next week?  Let me check – yes!!! It starts on Monday!  Deep joy.  Three days to go…  The question is, will I be able to break my live TV fast and only watch it on iplayer?  I should, but it’ll be a test of nerve.  I’ll have to avoid the news so that I don’t know the result – a bit like that episode of The Likely Lads where they spend twenty-nine minutes trying to avoid hearing the result only to be told it in the thirtieth minute.

It’s rather a beautiful day down here in Clarendon Park; I’ve just been for a bike ride and Kasabian are due to play some time soon on Vicky Park, so the whole area is fenced off like some kind of gulag.  Tomorrow I am going to a singing workshop so that should be fun.  Oo! and while I was at the Musician I discovered that the divine Webb Sisters are going to be there in July.  If you don’t know what they sound like, here’s a clip.  I’d love to go but the tickets are £12…

Have a good weekend,

Kirk out


What else can I say?  In fact, that is so good a word that I’m gonna say it again.


That’s 77 (or 26) years worth of WOW, thank you very much – and we are entitled to every letter of it.  Wow, wow!  And thrice wow.  And wow again.

Yes, I don’t need to tell you why – it’s obvious.  Since 1977 we have not known such deep and penetrating volleys of joy: such backhand cross-court drop-shots of happiness; such over-the-net-and-in-the-corner-of-the-court returns of euphoria.  And there hasn’t been a British male winner of Wimbledon since 1936.

That’s right: before the war, when women wore long (or longer) skirts to play in; when men wore long trousers and everyone said ‘Oh, jolly good shot!’ in tones like Dan Maskell (in fact Dan Maskell may have been no more than a locker-room strategy in his mother’s womb); when commentators were rather sneering about Americans and foreign Johnnies – that’s the way tennis looked when Fred Perry won the best tournament in the world.  Here’s some Pathe News highlights:

I have to say it doesn’t look anything like as energetic as today’s play – when they were playing I thought they were still warming up!

Anyway, since those days in the male half we’ve had Buster Mottram (reached 1/4 finals but was a fascist), John Lloyd (also 1/4 finals) and Tim Henman (semis but lacking killer instinct).  But now we have Murray, the dourest of Scotsmen, who only just about cracked a smile when he won.

But oh, my god!  What a moment!

He began well, taking the first set 6-4, but most people must have thought we were in for a five-setter.  I hardly dared let myself believe he could win – and even when he took the second 7-5, coming from 1-4 down with 2 breaks of serve against him, I was sure Djokovic would fight back: but whether it was the Serb’s gruelling 5-set semi-final or whether he just didn’t find his form, in the end he couldn’t follow through and the third set saw Murray serving for the match.  He had 3 points on his serve and lost them: it went to deuces – and finally he came through in straight sets!  I could NOT believe it!  The cheers were deafening, Murray cracked what could have been construed as a grin and Djokovic was commendably gracious in defeat.

Oh, joy!  Deep joy!

So it was on a cloud of this joy that I floated over to Yesim’s.  On being asked whether I had any poetry I responded: ‘The only thing I have in me right now is the sheer poetry of watching Murray win Wimbledon!’

Sadly no-one really shared my joy; and a second later someone said (and I quote) ‘I know a negative story about that.’

‘No!’  I said.  ‘No negative stories!’  And I rushed to the loo.

Why is it that when you’re on a high some people’s first thought is to bring you down?

There’s a lot of philosophical stuff here, such as ‘What effect does having a national winner have on the national psyche?’ – not to mention why some people try to bring you down when you’re happy – but I shall save that for a separate post.  For now, I’m just going to leave you with this moment, which I will be savouring for a long time to come:

Game, Set, Match and Championship!






Kirk out

Of mice and men

The laptop is playing up this morning, hence no blog posting.  Mark reckons it’s the mouse (not that we have an actual mouse, just a little pad-thingy which you have to manipulate with your finger) and I think he’s right.  He reckons we need Rat Poison – a free program which bypasses the mouse or kills it or something.  I said Mousetrap would be a more appropriate name, although perhaps not so punchy.  Hence I am doing this on the downstairs computer which does not suit me as the chair is too low down.  I have already written a short story this morning -it’s called ‘Life of a Salesman’ and I’m quite pleased with it.

The garden is looking lovely.  When Daniel has uploaded the photos he took I shall put one on here.  The tomatoes and potatoes are flowering and the strawberries are berrying and everything is buzzing.  Speaking of mice, a cat wandered into the garden today (its name was Whisky) and we encouraged it into the house, thinking it would frighten off the mice.  I even thought it might be worthwhile to put up with it shitting on the floor to get rid of the pesky critters.  But it didn’t.  And now Whisky has whisked off.


The great news from yesterday is that ANDY MURRAY WON QUEEN’S!!!!!!!!!!  This puts him in a brilliant position going into Wimbledon – providing, of course, that he can cope with the pressure and that he hasn’t Peaked Too Soon as men are prone to doing (ha ha).

A card and present arrived in the post today – yay.  No responses on Facebook to my birthday drinks event, however – I’m not sure why.  Maybe all my friends hate me.

Or maybe nobody reads their event invitations.

Wrote a poem this morning as well.  Off to lunch with Mary in a little while.

Kirk out


Strawberries, tennis and my 54th

Oo!  Not long till Wimbledon now, my little bloglets!  But an even shorter time till our anniversary and then – MY BIRTHDAY!!!  Yes!  If anyone wants to know, I’d like either a nice bottle of Rioja or  a book token.  Or you can come down to the pub and buy me a pint since I think I’m going to have a bit of a knees-up.  Haven’t decided where or when yet tho.

Today I have a yoga student coming and then I am clothes shopping in town with the children; Holly is not here at the mo because she is staying at her boyfriend’s.  She needs new shoes (apparently you can never have too many pairs of shoes).  Will be doing some Maths with Daniel (lessons have not gone terribly well this week as he’s been a bit torpid, although the handwriting exercise was good.)  I myself have been feeling a tad lethargic due to an unfortunate habit of waking much too early.  It’s so light!!!  It’s practically daylight when I go to bed and broad daylight when I wake up – which this morning was around 5.

Not good.

All stories in my ‘ready to go’ folder have now gone off and I am working on some others to bring them up to scratch.  Jonathan was due to come over last night with a Hamlet video but failed to materialise.  My yoga thing for philosophy is taking shape.

The garden is looking good – it’s practically covered with green which is reflected by the many mirrors I’ve put up.  Apart from a few spuds I’m growing tomatoes, petit pois, strawberries (just a small plant), basil, sweet peas and fuschias – that’s apart from the perennial herbs and shrubs already there.

I should take a photo and upload it.  I’ll get Daniel to take some.

That’s it

Kirk out

Pina collider

That’s this morning’s bizarre idea, courtesy of the Half Bakery ( – you get lots of fruit and put it in a big machine modelled on the large Hadron Collider and you end up with … you get the idea.

Mark has blogged about the guy we went to see at the Sceptics: Mark is very sceptical about sceptics – he thinks their minds are all closed (when she gets there she knows if their minds are all closed, with a word she can get what she came for).  Sorry, a bit of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ got in there by mistake.  Anyway, he thinks their minds are all closed and when I pointed out that Jan was a sceptic, he said ‘Ah, maybe she’s not a true sceptic.’  That’s what you call a prejudice.

I’m feeling encouraged by a British fiction site and I’m going to send them three stories (they particularly ask for multiple submissions) – which will only leave two to get rid of.  Then when the decks are clear I can start afresh.


Looking forward to Wimbledon.  I can’t believe it’s already the end of May.  Peter is poorly, so shopping will occur instead of yoga.  Daniel has green hair now: it started off as an attempt to get rid of his lice and ended in tonsorial delight.  There may be a photo on facebook.  Hang on, I’ll see.


Sing for Water rehearsal last night.  Didn’t enjoy it as much as last week; the songs were harder and I had a lot of phlegm.  It seems to be very hard to get rid of at the moment.  Really, I ought to have turmeric in all my hot drinks.

Today Daniel is going to the museum and I am sending off my stories.

Kirk out