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Brass monkey weather has finally arrived which means it has gone flipping cold. If you have never heard of the expression, brass monkey weather, this is what it means.
‘Brass Monkey Weather’ refers to very cold weather that is extremely out of the ordinary; cold enough to freeze the tail, nose and ears of a brass monkey.
Up to now, the weather this Winter has been very mild. However, while I enjoy anything 20C or above It has been cloudy with that greyness that hangs around for far too long that makes everyone miserable. Yesterday, after what seemed like many years since the sun put in an appearance, we awoke to beautiful blue skies (when the mist cleared) and sub-zero temperatures.
I had to admit, it was a beautiful day and so I decided that a good walk was on the cards to clear the cobwebs away. The wife said to me in her best school headmistress voice, (not that she ever was a teacher), ‘you better wrap up warm, it’s freezing out there!’ So it was, big coat, woolly hat, scarf and thermal gloves and away we went.
She wasn’t wrong. It was bloomin’ freezing. Although we waited until mid-afternoon before setting off, there were still parts of the countryside that hadn’t thawed out all day. The sun was blazing away, low in the sky, but there was very little heat coming from it. Usually, we bump into one or two fellow walkers on our short one-mile walk, but today, we didn’t see a soul. There were a few sheep in the fields, but they didn’t seem too impressed with us.
Older and Colder
As always, I enjoyed getting out in the fresh air and exercising my legs and lungs. I just didn’t enjoy the brass monkey weather. It used to be far colder than this when I was growing up, I remember the snow and ice lasting for months and even the sea freezing in the harbour at Margate about 1963. It must be something to do with age, getting older we don’t like it colder!
If you’re interested in phrases and their origins, Ginger is an interesting website:
My Multi Coloured Cardigan
For one reason or another, I woke up Christmas morning feeling a little jaded, to say the least.
We had the eldest daughter and her family staying with us and you can imagine how excited the Grandchildren are on Christmas morning. I couldn’t make it out of bed, not at silly o’clock in the morning to join in with the screams of ‘he’s been!!!!’ No, for me it was a late start, a very late start, arising about lunchtime.
I Missed The Car Race
Ooh, I did feel poorly, but I am pleased to say, as the day wore on, I slowly started to feel better. I was sad to have missed the ‘Scalextricx’ demonstration that the Grandson had received from Father Christmas and the fashion show the Granddaughter had put together to show off her new top and shoes and all the other things that girls of her age love.
Everyone was itching to see me open my presents, especially the one package that felt like it could be a blanket or perhaps a large jumper? ‘Open this one first, Grandad’ said the two young voices that were full of excitement. So I did and there before my very eyes was this beautiful, multi-coloured cardigan complete with rainbow buttons.
I had seen a similar cardigan for sale at an extortionate price back in the summer. That’s when I asked my daughter if she could knit me one for Christmas. That’s her hobby and she’s very good at it. I never expected this though. It’s fabulous and ideal for this cold weather that’s just arrived. People keep asking me to see my multi-coloured cardigan and when am I going to wear it out? I think it’s a bit too good to go to the local pub in, everyone will need to wear sunglasses it’s that bright.
Happy New Year
It’s been a great Christmas for me apart from the blip on Christmas morning and it just leaves me to wish everyone a fantastic 2022.
If you’re interested in learning to knit, here’s a Beginners Knitting Website.
My Mom was always on the lookout for a bargain, something useful for the home that perhaps no other home had and was great value for money. In honesty, a lot of the bargains she bought was nothing more than complete tat. Her heart was certainly in the right place, but good grief, her eye for something useful could be a little, let’s say, off.
One of the best purchases she ever made, from my point of view, it gave me many a chuckle, was a hang on the wall plastic fishbowl. It’s hard to describe this item, but I will give it a go. Imagine a giant Polo mint but made from plastic. The back was flat to lie against the wall. The centre of the ring was hollow, just like the mint. So you had this circular plastic tube with a hole in either side about halfway up where you would fill it with water.
Through the holes, you would place a couple of Goldfish and the idea was that they would swim around the circumference of this faux pas happily ever after. That’s what the seller told my Mother and she took it all in. He even sold her a couple of Goldfish to bring home with her to start this marvel of aquatic engineering. I could see the look on my Dad’s face as she turned up with her plastic bag of fish and a dishevelled cardboard box containing the tank. His eyes peered over his glasses while under his breath the words were muttered, ‘…what the bloody hell?!’
As I recall, the fish were put into a rather large jam boiler filled with water for safekeeping. My Dad, still muttering away to himself set about fixing this plastic ‘mint with the hole’ to the wall, bearing in mind it needs to be easily removed for cleaning and changing the water on a regular basis. Thankfully, it didn’t take him too long to get the thing level, safe and easy to remove when needed. The cussing, for now, was kept to a minimum. All that was left now was to fill the contraption with water. This is where it gets really interesting.
The instructions said you have to fill the bathtub full of water. This is because you have to submerge the bowl while keeping it upright at all times. Otherwise, a slight tilt and an air bubble will get in and the water will only remain at the bottom of the tube a few inches deep, certainly not enough for two budding Goldfish. I could tell by now that my Dad’s minimal initial enthusiasm was waning. There were more ‘……what the bloody hells’ and much worse at the thought of filling the bath every couple of days to its brim.
The First Bloop
Even when the bowl had been filled and extracted from the bath with the precision of a bomb disposal officer defusing an unexploded bomb, there was more to come. My Dad had to make the journey downstairs and get this thing back on the wall keeping everything perfectly straight to avoid the air bubble event. I was sat downstairs in the living room, avoiding this debacle, but desperately trying not to laugh. On his first attempt, he must have got down to the tenth step when there was ‘bloop bloop’ from the water followed by an unprintable expression of expletives. Back upstairs he went to repeat the filling exercise all over again.
There’ll Be A Drought
He was getting better, he made it to the twelfth step on his second attempt before ‘bloop bloop, ah #*$% hell’ happened. This went on for the best part of the day, up and down and somehow, after using what must have been half of Birmingham City Corporation’s water supply, he got the thing on the wall complete with two goldfish. To be honest, it was a minor miracle. They put a couple of plants in there with a sprinkle of fish food and sat back to enjoy it. The fish didn’t seem at all impressed and sat near the bottom staring at each other.
The following morning, my Dad was first up and making his way into the living room, drew back the curtains and was horrified to see the bowl was devoid of any fish! He was shocked, there were two Goldfish laying very still on the chair below. That was the end of that.
How to look after a Goldfish.
Dear old Uncle Ernie is better known as PC Plop. He was a Policeman for most of his working life. This was a time when you spent most of the shift out on the street, on foot, covering miles in all weathers, day and night. I’m not knocking the modern police force at all, I’m just pointing out the difference between 60 years ago and today. The Panda car hadn’t been invented and there was probably less crime to deal with, although that’s an assumption.
Labour of Love
He loved his work and was so enthusiastic about it that I even thought about joining the Police Force when I left school, but I doubt they would have been quite ready to accept me. Uncle Ernie loved being out and about in the open. Chatting and getting to know the people on his ‘beat’ was a daily labour of love. I think most of them grew to love him as much as we did as a family.
He would receive Christmas and birthday cards from a lot of people on his beat over the years by trudging the streets. There were babies named after him where he had had to help with the delivery in an emergency before the midwife arrived. He took it all in his stride. Nothing ever seemed too much. However, there was a story involving Uncle Ernie that I never heard until long after he had left this earth.
Apparently, a gang of would-be robbers had been planning quite a ‘big job’ which involved holding up a local bank and making off with hundreds of thousands of pounds of cash in large postal bags. The house where they were busily engaged in planning this misdemeanour was on Uncle Ernie’s ‘beat’. The bigwigs at the police station had been tipped off by an informer and a raid of the property was set up which would include a team of Police Officers, one of which was Ernie.
Early one Summer’s morning, before dawn, Officers and Constables arrived together at the house. The front door would be smashed in by two burly Policemen then in go Uncle Ernie and his colleagues. All went to plan, Ernie was first in, shouting something like ‘POLICE, DO NOT MOVE!’ He charged into the front room where the door was slightly ajar and then suddenly, total darkness! He was still standing, wide awake but suddenly felt very wet and there was an awful stink that was enough to make him feel sick.
It’s Gone Awfully Dark
The reason it went dark so quick is that a carefully placed bucket balancing above the opening of the door and filled with all sorts of human waste and rotting vegetation had fallen squarely on his head as he dashed into the house! He wasn’t alone either. It happened to a couple of other unfortunate ‘Bobbies’ in their quest to catch the would-be robbers. The story goes that the gang had got wind of an impending raid by the Police so had been able to stay one step ahead of them on this particular occasion.
There used to be a saying that a Policeman‘s Lot is not a Happy Lot. I think Uncle Ernie’s was, but like most careers, it does have its odd downfall.
Bobbies were so-called because of Sir Robert Peel. You can read more here:
The radio is usually on in the background in our house for most of the day.
I get up first and always enjoy my half-hour of silence before my good lady appears and on goes BBC Radio Two. We both enjoy Pop Master, the music quiz every weekday with the host Ken Bruce. Somedays we get pretty good scores and other days, particularly if the questions are from the 1980s to the modern-day, we score very little.
Around lunchtime, Jeremy Vine takes over the airwaves and without wanting to sound rude, I try to turn the volume down, although not always successfully. He’s too shouty with shouty guests that are far too shouty for me. The only saving grace is he plays some good music. He must have something though as he seems to have been broadcasting at that time of day for what seems like an age.
Today though, I had to turn him off and with the wife’s blessing too. I think most Mondays, he interviews the BBC Doctor, Sarah Jarvis about a topical illness that I suppose must be beneficial to the listeners. However, today’s subject was ingrowing toenails! It’s lunchtime, I’m just about to sit down and tuck into my freshly made Chicken soup with a splash of pepper and garlic bread and he wants to discuss ingrowing toenails! No, no, no and no.
I’ve Heard It All Before
I’ve sat through the whys and wherefores of bowel movements, listened to why some people have festering boils on their bums to the problems caused by urinary tract infections, but ingrowing toenails, no!! So off it went, click and we ate our lunch in beautiful silence. No shouty callers, no shouty presenters and no ingrowing toenails. Bliss.
I do apologise to anyone that suffers from the problems caused by ingrowing toenails. It does sound very painful, it’s just that I don’t like to hear about it when I am eating. My heart goes out to you, it really does and I hope you get the treatment you need. Just don’t phone Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 when you have been fixed.
If anyone would like further information about ingrowing toenails without ruining your lunch then here is a very informative website: Ingrowing Toenails
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