RIP Our Fridge

The sort of fridge we can't afford

Our fridge gave up today, meaning we’ve had to order a new one and throw a lot of food away. Your fridge dying is life’s shitty middle-aged way of saying “no you can’t have a 4K TV in your lounge.”

Now we’ll have to spend ages removing all the photos and stupid sticky things that families with kids cover their fridges in. Including the rude words some childish person (me) has made with magnetic letters.

We’ve had to throw a lot of food away. Not that it was ever going to be¬†eaten. It was lots of spare unidentifiable things from the packs of six families of five have to buy. Eat five, put sixth one in the Drawer of Forgetting to be turned into a meat Popsicle.So it shall be written, so it shall be done.

So many memories unearthed amid the old freezer trays. Hey it’s that one left over burger from 2015. Here’s that curry we saved a portion of in 2016. Ooh the unopened packet of fish fillets we bought during the 2012 Olympics when trying to be healthy that we’ve since spent six years ignoring in favour of pizza and doner kebab meat. Now here’s something curious entirely encased in ice, possibly a shape shifting alien. And inevitably, a few pieces of Lego and 37 Loom Bands.

The Watchers

I went for a walk at Westbay today, which is something I do quite often. I took my camera along and my Samyang 50mm f/1.2 lens. This lens is manual focus only and using it today was frustrating.

There’s no issue with the lens itself. I suffer from an eye problem called Keratoconus. It’s pretty bad in my left eye but thankfully my dominant right eye isn’t so affected. Not today though – my tired right eye made manual focusing through the camera’s EVF rather difficult and made me wish I had a camera with a bigger viewfinder.

Lightning Over Dorset

I was very lucky to get this shot last night. I’ve tried to capture lighting before but never quite got a satisfactory shot. This one however is pretty good.

The BBC certainly liked it as it was used on the website and I’m told made an appearance in the Ten O’clock News.

The Best Worst Guitar

Epiphone 435i – a 1980s superstrat. HSS, with locking trem. I didn’t know anything about guitars. But I decided I wanted to play electric guitar. Mainly to fit in with some new friends at sixth form. But unlike any other hobby I picked up in my youth – this was one I stuck with.

I didn’t know what kind of guitar to buy. I just ordered one out of a neighbour’s Littlewoods catalogue. They sent the wrong one – a bass. Then sent the right one. But it was wrong too. Instead of the even cheaper guitar in the catalogue I received the Epiphone 435i that wasn’t even listed. I had no idea what a locking trem was. Managed to break a few strings trying to tune with the locking nuts tightened. But this cheap HSS guitar with its skinny neck was the only electric guitar I had for nearly 20 years. Learned my first notes on it. Played it a lot live at university. In my late teens and early twenties I must have played for hours every day. I was never any good, but that didn’t matter. I loved that guitar. (more…)

How I Didn’t Learn to Play Guitar

In 1989 I got a book that was just strumming easy chords to famous songs. It was frustrating because they weren’t necessarily in the right key and so I couldn’t play along with the records. But I persevered. Went don’t a few dead ends – such as spending months fingering the open E chord the wrong way. I had an Epiphone superstrat. But no amp for the first couple of years. I plugged the guitar into my boombox and if I wanted distortion just turned it up. I knew nothing and that probably slowed down my learning.

But things got better when I bought a Led Zeppelin tab book. It was mostly inaccurate, but it got me started on lead and riffs. But the big change was when I realised that I could play the notes from Black Dog in any order I wanted and they worked over the same notes. I’d discovered the pentatonic scale. So improv began. (more…)

A Voice for Ellie

Today I published my first short story on Amazon Kindle. Well not my first ever short story. It’s just the first that I’ve published on Amazon’s Kindle platform. At nearly 12,000 words I think it’s a bargain for 99p. The story is called A Voice for Ellie and is a fictionalised semi-biographical tale. The story is available in the UK, USA and many other Amazon stores.

If you are kind enough to buy the story please do leave a review – good or bad – I really value your feedback.

You can find the story A Voice for Ellie by Harry Neary at Amazon.

Sparrowhawk

Deadly goings on in our garden this morning as a Sparrowhawk captures a small bird. The prey was still very much alive at this point and screeching. The reason the hawk was standing like that was to defend itself as all the birds in the garden were dive bombing it in little squadrons to try to get it to leave. Meanwhile the poor sparrow wasn’t being finished off quickly and was very loud.

So I went outside with the hope of either getting the hawk to move off with its prey or leaving the prey behind. It picked up the sparrow and flew down under a tree, then over the wall and out of the garden – followed by lots of small birds trying to scare it away.

An Open Letter to Oliver Letwin MP (Con)

Dear Mr Letwin,

I returned home from shopping this lunchtime to find a poor tree had died partly to fund an election “communication” from you , promoted on behalf of your campaign by a Mr Antony Stanley. My first thoughts were to return to sender with instructions on where one could shove it. However I have decided to respond in more detail.

Your election pamphlet was addressed to me here at the Vicarage. You see my wife is a vicar. In fact Mr Letwin you met my wife during the last election campaign. She was introduced to you in her capacity as a local Church minister in Charlton Down and you completely ignored her. Whatever merits or demerits your party may have I would never vote for someone so rude as to completely ignore and refuse to speak to someone in this way. Manners maketh the man and all that. (more…)

Happy #nondom Day

Every general election has certain days you know will be super important. Even now it only takes a word or two to evoke those memories – such as “Gemma’s Ear”. Today the Labour party gave us #nondom – a promise to stop the unfair system where some rich people can avoid paying tax in this country despite living here and earning money here. Whether this policy makes or loses money for the country seems less important to me than the issue of taxation in a fair and equal society. Labour’s pledge of removing non-dom tax status is a step towards a fairer society.

Why should Lord Rothermere – the owner of racist hate-rag The Daily Mail – spread his bile throughout the nation with his nasty paper, reap the financial rewards but not pay a fair amount of tax? It is unfair. It is that simple. I am not a Labour supporter. The two-faced Blair and his nasty war put an end to that. But for once a party is offering something that goes beyond an election bribe, but instead is about a principle. The principle of fairness is all too rare in today’s political climate. (more…)