The Monday Moan – Argument Thief.

ArgumentArgument what? Do please read on, and hopefully all will become clear.

A couple of months ago I was strolling home along a nearby footpath. This particular stretch of path borders a narrow road which, despite the local council’s best efforts to discourage traffic from using it as an arterial route into Cambridge, is also a very busy road. Therefore, in the interest of cyclist safety, the footpath doubles up as a cycleway. Fine. Dandy. No problem with that. None whatsoever.

Back to my stroll home. Being the responsible citizen I am, I regularly glanced over my shoulder to check for cyclists behind me, and whenever I saw a cyclist approaching I moved to the side of the path to give them ample room to pass. Fine, dandy, etcetera.

This plan worked to perfection until one cyclist decided to take me to task for listening to my iPod while walking along the footpath.

‘You didn’t know I was coming up behind you,’ he said, wagging a finger in my face. I told him I was aware he was approaching because I had seen him.

‘You couldn’t hear me with those earphones in your ears.’ This was one belligerent cyclist, but I kept my cool, and repeated that I’d seen him because I was regularly checking for cyclists.

‘You shouldn’t be wearing those earphones. You can’t hear with them in. You’re putting yourself and other people in danger, blah, blah, blah…’

Regular readers of my blog will know by now that I’m not particularly receptive to being lectured. It didn’t take long for my cool to abandon me and leave me spoiling for an argument. Want to pick a fight with me, mate? ‘Ave it then!

‘Listen,’ I roared, being as it appeared to be he not I who was having trouble hearing, ‘I knew you were there BECAUSE I’D SEEN YOU. That is why I’m walking in the bushes so you HAVE PLENTY OF ROOM TO GET PAST. Blimey O’Reilly, you could drive a number nine bus through that gap; and furthermore, I’m NOT putting you, myself or anyone else in danger by wearing my headphones. If I were walking in the middle of the road fair point, but THIS IS A FOOTPATH…’

The cyclist formerly known as belligerent stopped me in full flow, grinning like a goon.???????????????????????????????????????

‘Clam down love,’ he said, ‘I was only joking with you.’ With that he cycled off, while I turned my iPod up to drown out his merry laughter and stomped home in a filthy mood, spoiling for an argument which had so cruelly been denied.

Joking my arse! However, it’s said that (s)he who laughs last, laughs longest. All these months later my argument thief has not only provided me with a Monday Moan, he has also furnished me with a perfect excuse to share a classic Monty Python sketch. Is this the right room for an argument?

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Alison’s Advent Calendar Day Three – Music.

I read a lot of blogs by fellow writers about the role of music in their lives, and most say that music plays a major part in influencing their work. Music certainly does that for me.

How can that be? Surely I don’t listen to music while I’m writing? Well, I have been known to have my iPod on while I’m working – usually when the other half has the telly on and I’m attempting to drown out the irritating adverts. Music doesn’t distract me like endless offers from PPI experts or legalised loan sharks do, but it doesn’t help me while I’m writing either. The inspirational side of music kicks in when I’m away from the computer.

It’s fair to say I don’t suffer from writers’ block (I’d better go and touch some wood, quickly!). In fact, it would be fair to say I sometimes wish my imagination would shut up and let me sleep. However, I do get to the stage after a few hours at the computer where my eyes have white dots in front of them, and my brain turns to mush – and as a result my work turns to mush too. It’s at times like these I recall the words of Monty Python – ‘And now for something completely different.’ For me, the ‘something completely different’ might be ironing, or cleaning, or a stroll to the supermarket (man, I know how to live!), and I always have my iPod on.

Music never fails to lift me up, and my raised spirits kick my imagination back into gear. As I’m ironing, or cleaning, or walking, ideas for various storylines flood my mind, all to a soundtrack of my favourite tunes. I imagine scenarios, often involving me being far more cool than I am in real life, which play out to whatever track I’m listening to at the time. If the scenario is particularly satisfying I’ve been known to play the same song over and over again,  all the way from home to town two miles away. I probably look a bit batty, skipping along the riverside path, grinning and chuntering to myself, but I really don’t care. In between the daydreams about top film directors falling over themselves to turn Dory’s Avengers into a blockbuster, and my acceptance speech as I pick up an ‘Amazing Screenplay’ Oscar for said blockbuster, some of my most creative storylines have come as a result of my passion for music. I can’t write music, but I can write to music.

Here’s one of my favourite tunes: a festive song I find extremely evocative. It’s the lovely Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders with ‘2,000 Miles’.

The children are singing; it must be Christmas time…

Cue goosebumps.

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Today’s advent calendar picture: a little bunny in the snow looking up at a star. Ahh!