The Monday Moan – Looks Like Christmas Has Come Early, Again

I know I’ve been banging on about the weather we’ve been enjoying in the UK recently, but it really has been unusually gorgeous. Instead of doing the usual ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’ thing of rushing outside en masse on the rare occasions the sun breaks through the rain clouds, and ending up with third degree sunburn in an effort to achieve something resembling a suntan, we’ve been treated to day after day of beautiful sunshine – with a slight blip over the weekend when the tail end of Hurricane Bertha hit our shores. Even my normally gleaming white legs have a bit of colour to them. Yes, we Brits are enjoying a proper summer for once, and I’m loving it.

On Saturday I attended a wedding reception. No surprise there; after all, we are in the height of the wedding season. Naturally I didn’t want to turn up empty handed, so headed into town on a baking hot day, appropriately clad in shorts, T shirt and flip flops, to buy a card for the happy couple.

So, to reiterate:

  • It’s the beginning of August
  • The weather is hot and sunny
  • It’s the wedding season.

Bah HumbugCould I find the wedding cards in the card shop? Well, I did locate them after a couple of circuits of Clinton Cards, stashed away at the back of the shop to make way for – you’ve guessed it – Christmas cards.

Come December, when the weather’s cold and damp, it’s dark by 4pm, and hats, scarves, coats and boots are the clothes of choice, I’ll be dripping with Christmas cheer. To paraphrase Greg Lake, my eyes will be full of tinsel and fire. I love Christmas; it brightens up what would otherwise be the darkest, most dismal month of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and it’s fun.

In December.

Not in bloomin’ August in the middle of a heatwave!

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The Monday Moan – Suffering and Cruelty Are NEVER Funny Things.

Those of you familiar with my Monday Moans will know that they are usually light hearted pops at the little things that irritate from time to time. Nothing major; nothing important. I hope I haven’t lulled you into a sense of security too much, as today’s post is somewhat different. The subject of today’s moan is something about which I feel very strongly, and as such it’s going to be an unusually serious post. Perhaps I should have waited until tomorrow and called it ‘The Tuesday Tirade’, because this post has the potential to turn into a full blown rant.

Deep breaths, and let’s begin.

Years ago, I regularly used to listen to a radio breakfast show. One of the features on this show aired listeners’ stories about some misdemeanour in their past to which they now wanted to confess. The stories (like my Monday Moan) were meant to be light hearted and designed to amuse, and confessions along the lines of ‘I painted my brother’s bike pink and blamed the milkman’ or ‘I ate all my mum’s prized strawberries and blamed the postman’ usually had the desired effect.

HamsterHowever, if the introduction involved an animal I knew that, far from making me chuckle, the story was going to make me 1/ seethe, and 2/ very upset. You see, the animal was inevitably going to meet an unpleasant, certainly painful, probably terrifying and simply NOT FUNNY death as the story progressed. Call me simple, but I cannot for the life of me see ANYTHING funny about the suffering and death of any creature. Furthermore, I think the portrayal of animal suffering as funny is irresponsible in the extreme. There are people in this world who will pick up on the idea that eating their sister’s goldfish or standing on their boyfriend’s hamster is supposedly hilarious, and will set out to impress their equally moronic mates by inflicting pain, suffering and premature death on a helpless creature.

Now, I appreciate not everybody loves animals as I do. However, whether or not you like animals they share our planet, they are essential toGoldfish nature and they deserve our respect. I’m reading a book at the moment, which on the whole is a good book, but I was very upset by a flippant, throwaway line about a cat being locked in a shed full of savage dogs. The tone of the writing suggested to me that at worst the reader should shake his or her head at this, maybe tut a bit then, wearing a wry smile, carry on reading. That didn’t happen with me. Instead, I stared frantically at the words for a while as I tried to rid my mind of horrific, unwelcome images of a defenceless, terrified cat being…

You get the picture, I’m sure. Cruelty and suffering are not things I find amusing. If the book had told of a baby being left at the mercy of the savage dogs everyone would be (quite rightly) horrified, so why is it ok, funny even, to treat a cat so appallingly?

‘Oh, it’s only an animal,’ someone might say. Well I’ve got news for you, mate – SO ARE YOU!

‘Oh, well I hate cats. Cats torture and kill small animals for fun,’ another might say. I’ve two replies to that:

1/ Not all cats hunt and kill small animals. I’ve had the privilege of sharing my home with six different cats over the years, and only one’s been a hunter. He’s merely acting on his instincts; he doesn’t realise he’s being cruel.

2/ Not all humans torture and kill animals for fun, but some do. Unlike cats, humans have the capacity to understand that torturing a helpless creature is cruel, cowardly and despicable, but they do it anyway.

BudgieTo be fair, most people do tend to react with horror when an animal victim of cruelty is a cat or dog. The radio breakfast show stories never involved either of these popular pets, but time and again I heard about the sad demise of mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, and all manner of birds and fish. The radio show in question was on for everyone to listen to at work, so short of running, screaming, to the toilet with my hands clapped over my ears I couldn’t get away from hearing. Yes, I did write to the producers of the show, interceding on behalf of small animals being sacrificed the length and breadth of the UK in the name of entertainment, but to no avail. The DJ has long since moved on to pastures new, and I can only hope that no small animals are being harmed in the making of his show these days.

Perhaps the day will come when everyone realises that suffering and cruelty are NEVER funny things. In the meantime, I’m going to do what I always do to counter the fury I feel about cruelty to animals: I’m going to find my cats and tell them how much I love them.

Bess and Mo on Sofa 1Ken on Sofa Long

 

 

 

The Monday Moan – Sunday Drivers

782237-tn_Car0044[1]Oh the joys of driving on a Sunday. Yesterday morning, being the lovely person I am, I got up super early to drive my partner Andy to the station – not our local station, where he would have had to endure a bus journey part of the way to London, but to Royston station, fifteen or so miles away, so he could hop straight on to the train. Of course, being as British Summer Time had started during the dark hours of Sunday morning I earned bonus Brownie points as an hour of sleep time had vanished into the ether, so super early felt like super duper early.

Anyway, I’m waffling. Super early it may have been, but not so early that the Sunday drivers weren’t already out and about for their weekly pootle. Any British driver will almost certainly have encountered Sunday drivers (I’m not sure if they’re a purely British phenomenon) at some time or other. They drift aimlessly along in their cars, admiring the scenery, contemplating a Sunday roast or a cream tea, and resolutely ignoring mundane stuff such as their fellow road users. I had the pleasure of joining a procession of cars following a common or garden Sunday driver on the way to the station, but it was the one I encountered on the way home that really summed the species up to perfection. This particular Sunday driver was of the ‘One speed limit does all’ school of thought, and the speed he’d selected was 40 miles per hour. Open road single carriageway, 60 mph limit? Let’s do 40. Oh, is that sign telling us we’re entering a 50 mph zone? Shall we do 40 then? Yeah, why not. Oh what a pretty little village we’re entering now! How nice the speed limit is 30 mph so we can admire the quaint cottages and blossom laden trees. Oh, bye then Mr Sunday Driver. Still doing 40, eh?

I’d have roared with laughter had he been done for speeding!

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The Monday Moan: Spam-a-not.

spam[1]

Spam of the not so annoying variety.

I suppose I should thank the loser who hacked into my Twitter account yesterday while I was out enjoying the unseasonably warm weather, being as he or she left me in no doubt as to the subject of today’s Monday moan.

I should, but I’m not going to.

Arrrgh, don’t you hate spam? What is the point? Does it serve any purpose other than to piss people off? Is that its intended purpose? Are spammers really so pathetically inadequate that their only pleasure is to piss off people they’ve never even met?

That’ll be a resounding yes then!

I wish to apologise to everyone who follows @AlisonJack66, and assure you all the spammy tweet that appeared on my account yesterday had absolutely nothing to do with me. The fact that the spam only lost me five followers, and the fact a lot of my followers were good enough to alert me to the fact I’d been hacked, suggests that most people realised this. I know how much spam annoys me, and I’m very embarrassed that such a Tweet appeared on my account in the first place. I’m even more embarrassed that it remained there all day while I was out playing. Passwords have been duly reset, and I bloomin’ well hope it doesn’t happen again.

Here endeth today’s Monday Moan. I really, really hate spam…

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The Monday (Tuesday) Moan – The Nanny State.

Yes, I know, I know. As the more observant among you will have noticed it is, in fact, Tuesday today, and the Monday Moan is late. The simple reason for this is that I was in an unusually good mood yesterday for a Monday, and (gasp!) couldn’t think of anything about which to moan. Really, it’s true. A whole Monday without one single grumble…

Well, that’s not strictly true, but by the time a grumble wormed its way into my head I was far too tired and full of dinner to start blogging. Therefore, for one week only, welcome to the Tuesday Moan; and the subject is: The Nanny State.

It was an advert which triggered this week’s moan; nothing new there, as adverts have a tendency to make me grumpy. However this particular moan is in danger of turning drunk[1]into a full blown rant, as I ABSOLUTELY LOATHE the preachy, self-righteous ‘Let us tell you how to live your life’ brigade. I am an adult, and have been for more years than I care to mention, so I think I am qualified to decide what I do, even if it does include getting falling down drunk every so often. Of course if my actions impacted on other people then the authorities would have every right to intervene, but my actions only impact upon myself, as I lay in bed the day after getting falling down drunk, nursing the mother of all hangovers and grimly muttering ‘Never again.’

k9707260[1]The advert I mentioned earlier was yet another anti-smoking advert. I don’t smoke, and I understand the benefits of not smoking, so why would an anti-smoking advert infuriate me so much? Well, this particular anti-smoking advert wasn’t aimed at smokers. Now the target of the anti-smoking lobby is the friends of smokers. Apparently, according to this insufferably smug advert, a real friend wouldn’t let their friends smoke.

Excuse me? Self-righteous preachy type, are you telling me that I am a bad friend because some of my friends smoke? On second thoughts don’t answer that, otherwise this post may well degenerate into a stream of expletives.

Here’s an idea back at you, self-righteous preachy type: how about a true friend respects people’s rights to make their own decisions? If my smoker friends want to give up, they will give up in their own good time. They’re all intelligent adults; they all know the risks. Where do you think our friendship would end up if I suddenly started chucking their cigarettes in the bin and wagging my finger in their faces?

Yes, that’s right. A true EX-friend will be the one who saw fit to tell their friends what they should and shouldn’t do.

OK, rant over; breathing and blood pressure back to normal; and relax.

What shall I moan about next Monday? Tardy bloggers perhaps?

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The Monday Moan – Mindless Vandalism

IMG_1725Meet my car. In the words of the band Madness: ‘It’s not quite a Jaguar’. If you look carefully you’ll see that there is no left wing mirror. Indeed, the passenger side mirror is but a distant memory. My poor car is a bit forlorn these days: it has big holes in its bumper (Mondeo bumpers have a tendency to collapse if someone breathes too heavily , so it didn’t take kindly to me driving into a wall). It also has a driver’s door which doesn’t unlock, a passenger side window which is a tad reluctant to close, heating that comes on when it chooses (usually a blazing hot day in summer) and a boot that just loves to drop its lid on my head when I’m taking out the shopping. The engine is still sweet, but sadly the framework is falling apart around it.

It’s clearly not the car of someone who has surplus income. There’s no need to call Sherlock, as anyone with half a brain could deduce from the state of the car that its owner only hangs on to it because she doesn’t have the money for a new one – or even a new wing mirror. Therefore, I can only assume that the moron who decided, sometime on Saturday night, that my car should be violently separated from its one remaining wing mirror has something less than half a brain. Luckily Moron didn’t succeed – I doubtrsz_116872_4523[1] there’s anything at which Moron does succeed – but it still made me cross.

My friend suggested that it would be great if a ten ton weight would drop from the sky on to anyone carrying out acts of mindless vandalism. On behalf of my poor car, I applaud that idea.

***

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