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Wow, was it really May that I posted my last BLOG? — February 22, 2011

Wow, was it really May that I posted my last BLOG?

Surely not? I was certain I’d posted saying that I’d finally got the go-kart running, but maybe that was just a dream? Talking abour dreams … but perhaps not for public consumption, might frighten the horses!

Since then I’ve become a gand-daddy again, though to be truthful, I still feel only about eighteen or nineteen. Sad eh? Evie Grace was born in July and weighed in at about eight and a half pounds. Now she’s six and a half months old and has a wicked chuckle and a heart-stopping smile! So, let me check: That’s five grandchildren in this world (Luke, Liam, Tegan, Jack and Evie) d=ranging in age from 14 downwards. had Jacob still been with us he’d have been close to sixteen by now!

Speaking about comings and goings, I heard just a little while ago that one of my old work colleagues at the PCT, Berwyn Williams passed away over the Christmas period. He was such a lovely guy and no great age. He left a young wife and a teenage son on whom he doted. So very sad. It’s interesting, thinking about life and the obverse (death). The other day Evie’s other Gran was talking about how long-lived we were all likely to be becoming, and when we were discussing the likely life-span, she asked me how old my parents had lived – sort of getting a handle on how old we were likely to live. When I said that my mother lived to 87 and my father to only 50, she went rather quiet. I guess if I were to take their joint life-years and average them, I could expect another year and a half of life. Nah, ain’t going that quickly!

The go-kart is still sitting up on blocks until it’s warm enough to tempt me to get back out there and strip and clean out the carburretor. That’s one drawback with two-stroke engines when they’re left over-winter, the petrol dries out and the oil tends to coagulate and bung up the jets! Still, the temperature’s slowly rising and Easter will soon be here, which usually heralds better weather eh?

Damned desktop computer keeps on playing up. It’s close on 9 years old now, and though it was a good one with enhanced base memory and a few extra gizmos added, it’s also driving three extra hard drives totalling almost 3Tb, and among that lot there must be about 1Tb of photos and 0.5 Tb of music. The blinking thing keeps starting and then hanging between the initiation screen and the final desktop and won’t proceed unless/until I power down, go into Safe Mode and then do a full Windows restart. My darling daughter and son-in-law have given me their old (newer than my) desktop, but having run it, it’s slower than mine on a bad day. Still, I am slowly migrating all my essential stuff onto it so that when/if mine does fail (as it seems inevitably it will), then I have a backup plan! I’m currently scanning in all of our old 35mm and my more recent 6cm x 4.5cm slides and negatives … there are literally hundreds, if not thousands. I am amazed at how good many of them are, bearing in mind some of my early cameras with milk-bottle lenses. Today I was doing a batch and came across some I took of Christchurch on one of my early New Zealand speaking tours. In todays newsreel, the scenery looks very different. How sad I felt for the poor folk of that place. May god help them!

Oh, just in case any hardy soul is actually reading this junk, if you’ve got, or know where one is, I’m looking urgently for an old, displaced brake drum from a small commercial vehicle, or a large passenger vehicle. Something about 12″ – 14″ in diameter and anything from 4″ to 6″ deep would be absolutely great! Email me or call if yoiu can help? Cheers.

Had best sign off for now.

Oh, blast, almost forgot. If there are any Mulligans, Leathems or Joynts out there who have connections to Ireland (County Cavan; Ballyhaise Parish; Townland of Tonagh and Thomas Mulligan and Dorothy Leathem from around 1821 – 1825, please, please DO get in touch. Similarly, if there are any Rogers’ or Westons with connections to Whitstable, Tenterden, Bethersden, Chartham or Canterbury, likewise, call or email please!

Love youse all!

 

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Phew, what a busy couple of months these last two have been! — May 17, 2010

Phew, what a busy couple of months these last two have been!

Phew, it’s been a fun time, well, some of it has!
I went to Canada (Montreal – Carignan) for three weeks back at the start of April, and had little or no idea then that I might never get vback home again. So much for a stable world and easy travel eh? The principal purpose of the trip was to help my cousin’s husband sort out some big milling machines (Deckels), renovate them, get them working and sited ready for use in the proiduction processes of the LittleDeer Empire. Along the way we also managed to refurb the large tumbling machine and start building a new big drum-sander. Oh, and not forgetting visiting Montreal and Quebec of course and sampling some of the fine food that is available in the many excellent restaurants!
Last week saw us back at the apartment in Fort William with our youngest daughter, Abigail, and then having arrived back there was the problem of the blocked drain and the ruined hall carpet to address! I always find the Insurance Companies such a bug-bear to deal with don’t you? Such fun!

Now I am facing the challenge of getting a skip and beginning the arduous and very emotional task of sorting and chucking the majority of the accumulated stuff in the old part of the garage so it can be demolished ready for rebuilding as a proper, sound, and warm structure for my new workshop and a sun-room. I say emotional because my heritage suggests (demands?) that nothing which COULD potentially be useful is chucked away, but stored and used as and when. My grandfather (Ernest James), was a king in espousing this principle, and I guess I have inherited 150% of his genetic disposition! However, needs must when the devil drives/ Oh, and then of course I need to ID a suitable builder/bricklayer to get the foundations, blockwork and floor done while the good weather lasts .. did I say good weather?

I’m still planning to do a ferry/drive across through France and into Italy sometime in the summer in my little ForTwo, you might call it a bit of a project! I do so adore Italy!

Ah well, had best stop for now and grab some shut-eye.

New Apartment … ! — March 4, 2010

New Apartment … !

Oh my goodness, what a peaceful place it is! To be able to simply ‘be’ and watch the light on the water of the loch, or on the slopes of the mountains on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula brings such a restful feeling. The occasional ships and smaller boats cruising or smashing their way up and down the loch serve to humanise what might appear otherwise to be a desolate stretch of water. Life, however, is all too manifest in the traffic that surges north and south along the Achintore Road. Vehicles of all sizes, speeds and levels of noise. The apartment itself is finished to a high standard, though not showy. Our furnishings, we think, complement this style, being neither obtrusive nor diminshing.
 
The lathe is sold! — January 11, 2010

The lathe is sold!

Thank goodness! Some very nice guy from the Stoke area has bought my lathe and I now have a BV20M sized space in my overcrowded workshop. Still got some things to dispose of if anyone’s interested … ! Bits and pieces like loads of computer components: power packs; processors; fans; memory and loads and loads of leads. Might suit a car booter or junk-shop owner? There’s also a brand new 4" cross vice [£25.00), a Bradbury static wheel-balancer (minus its stand, but works well when held in a vice) [£10]. two elderly but working photographic enlargers (a 35mm/6×4.5cm Gnome and a large 6/4.5cm – half plate Johnson), both of which have been converted to use Q.H light units for crisp edge to edge definition [£ offers], a safe-light and odds and ends of photographic gear [£ offers]. There is also a standard projection screen on a  tripod stand; a projector table and an excellent 35mm projector. Screen and stand together £25.00, and projector £35.00.
Oh and there’s an excellent Bronica ETRS (6×4.5cm) with standard and telephoto lenses; standard flip-up viewer; 90 degree rotational head and an AEII metering head as well as a couple of backs and a lens-hood, all in a fitted aluminium case [sensible £ offers only please].
I’ve also got several boxes of car booters stuff for which I’d take a few £, so contact me if you’re interested. An email will suffice … daveyrogers@talktalk.net.
And finally … — January 4, 2010

And finally …

Thank goodness … Thanks to the free advert on the workshop site, I’ve finally sold my Warco BV20 lathe, even though I haven’t got the best price that was possible, I can at least say it’s gone. A very nice man from the Stoke area bought and collected it before Christmas.
 
Now I may be able to clear out the rest of the stuff from the old part of the garage, sell some of the surplus and make a start once the warmer weather is here to demolish the rickety and leaky part and rebuild it in high density blocks and d/g windows with a decent roof. Then it’ll be possible to create a warm workshop an a separate sun room.
 
I still have a number of bits and pieces to dispose of, so if you’re reading this and have a need for anything on the list, give me a call and w’ll se if we can do a deal!
The moving finger writes … — December 2, 2009

The moving finger writes …

Views on life are as different as the people who hold them, an in many cases, multiple views are held at the same time time. The other day, I wa conversing with a friend on email after they’d explained about a distant relative who had been diagnosed with cancer. It obviously upset her a great deal, especially since the family concerned had small children. However, there seemed to be a divergence between the expressed upset and the claimed behaviour, which made me examine my own standard responses and values. It’s obvious that we each have standards and values, even if we don’t recognise them as such. Every time we state our ‘views’ on a topic, the parameters come from some internally held frame of reference.
 
Last year when my mother died after a lengthy spell in hospital after a fall, I sat by her bedside and tried to understand what she was trying to say through her oxygen mask, and was saddened by how much she had changed in such a few days. Even though she was still recognisably my mother, her appearance had deteriorated so much, and her usual ability to hold a conversation reduced to single words, framed at great physical cost. The person I least wanted to lose was at the point of passing over, and I could do nothing. Over and above that, the obvious pain that each breath took was in itself painful to behold.
 
The nursing staff and doctors had explained the likely prognosis some weeks before, and although mum knew this too, there was a detemination to hold on to life at any cost. How can we know untilwe reach that stage how we will react to the fast on-rushing end of life? They had said there was a fine balance between providing sufficient analgesia to reduce her pain to a level with which she could cope, and hastening the end. My sister and I were unable to fathom this conundrum, but as days passed, it was evident that the pain was increasing and that she was disappearing within it.
 
Late one evening in July, I decided to go to my motel and rest for a few hours, assured by the night staff that they would call me if mum’s circumstances changed. In the early hours (about half three), the call came. Mum had passed away a few minutes before.
 
Standing at her bedside an hour later, I was both sad and relieved for her. Did I still want her alive? Of course! Did I want her alive and in such great pain … no, I couldn’t wish that on her.
 
Her funeral some ten days later was a quiet event, and though many of our immediate family members (principally my three children) were very tearful. My eyes remained stubbornly dry. Odd really, because when my step-father died and was buried, I was inconsolable, despite the fact that he and I were never really close. What is it about suffering and death that makes us respond so differently at different times? When my wife’s mother and father became ill and died some couple of years apart, my wife was dry eyed throughout, and still (as far as I can determine) hasn’t grieved. I, on the other hand, wept copiously at both funerals.
 
Does the grieving go inside when the pain it causes us is too great and get locked awayuntil our psyche reckons we’re able to better cope? Or is it that we’ve perhaps dealt with it while they were alive and thus have nothing left about which to mourn? I really don’t know.
 
The poet, Kahlil Gibran caught the sad but true facts about our human state of ‘regret’, when he wrote those well-known words "The moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on. Nor all thy piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all thy tears wash out a word of it!"
 
Looking back across my life, there are any number of things, both small and large, about which I have regrets. Thankfully, I have been able to deal with most of those that were more acute while the people involved were alive and able (and willing) to let me set matters right, where that was possible. In most cases it was aout relationships, and my seeming ability to make a mess of them! There remain a couple about which I have, thus far, been unable to make apology. This has been because I have been unable to FIND them again, or, in one case, the rift is unlikely to be mendable!
 
Literature, and life seem to point toward our desire to put things right before we shuffle off this mortal coil, and there is perhaps a good reason for it. To die with a bad conscience isn’t something most reasoning beings wish to contemplate. Debts, whether spiritual, emotional or monetary should ideally be reconciled before we are no longer able so to do.
 
As I contemplate these (to me) facts, I wonder whether and/or how my own father dealt with the things (and people) he left behind. His (at least) two love children (me and Alice Proulx) on different continents, and how many more elsewhere. Do departed spirits indeed remain ‘troubled’ by their acts and omissions in the after-life? Indeed, IS THERE an after-life? That question remains with me since God and I parted company some 15 years ago. After the hell-on-wheels that I experienced for how many years, and which revisits all too regularly, I find it very difficult to envisage a higher being, even though there remains an inner ‘sense’ that there must be, should be ‘something’ or ‘someone’ in charge, a creator?
Cause and effect — November 24, 2009

Cause and effect

Odd how someone NOT being in touch can have as (or more) disastrous effects than if they had been and got cross or told you off?!
It never ceases to amaze me at how sensitive we can be when relationships seem to go wrong, or when we perceive that to be the case. Or, maybe it’s ONLY ME?
 
 
Weeks can seem to pass after an attempted ‘contact’ by phone, text or email and yet it seems a lifetime. I guess that’s a normal human response though … time seeming longer when you’re waiting?
 
Maybe I’m seeing problems where there are none. However, I am all too aware of the old and much-used maxim that says: "Just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they’re NOT out to get you!"
 
Have a nice day now!
 
 
Lightning strike — November 6, 2009

Lightning strike

Phew, so that’s what a lightning-strike costs! Just replaced a TV; Video Player; Video Recorder; Digi-box etc, after what seems to have been a lightning-induced power surge messed up around seven pieces of electrical equipment! It would have been OK, had we not chanegd insurance co’ this year and without realising, accepted a higher voluntary excess which meant that the first year costs of claiming would have been greater than taking the hit straight-away.
 
Now though, we’ve fitted surge-protection to the costliest bits of gear (my PC and associated stuff were all protected thankfully).
 
Rather hope the ‘green-waste’ folk have taken most of the brushwood from the other weekend’s tree cutting exercise. I hope too that the guy who’s repairing my chain-saw will have good news very soon. He said that he’d get around to checking it out this week, and today’s the last working day!
 
Anyone want any logs?
If Autumn’s here … — November 4, 2009

If Autumn’s here …

Well, yesterday saw the City Council crews out with their noisy (but effective) street-sweeping machines, after around four hours they’d cleared most of the fallen leaves. Only a few of the street trees have many left now, so I guess winter’s on the doorstep!
 
That also pre-supposes that we won’t be able to get the remaining trees cut down now, unless we get a late break in the weather. It’s a nuisance because several are nudging the boundary wall now and with a stong gust they could easily damage it. Mmm, will have to see what’s possible with the minimum of help!
 
It’s certain now too that I shan’t be starting to demolish the old garage until Spring arrives and the better weather is here. I am making progress with clearing out a great deal of the junk, though I admit to having difficulty in being very stern with myself, and thus keep on seeing uses for what others would chuck immediately! Maybe getting a skip/dumpster would help sharpen my resolve!
 
 
Ah well, time to go off down to Henley Market to buy some fresh green-groceries. Their stalls always have a plethora of excellent value and ‘straight from the farm’ stuff, and I enjoy wandering around looking for other ‘bargains’.
 
Have a nice day now!