Whimsy On A Wednesday
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A Country Shoot And Deerstock

July 19, 2017 3:00pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 13 Comments

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

My week started like this: Three people kipping down at mine with food issues. Like I haven’t got enough going on with pigeons, mad dogs and chess chumps, I get this: One with a gluten intolerance, one with a diet so strict the mathematical equations are more complicated than algebra and another who said, “Just so you know, I’m a pescatarian.”

“Oh, well right now I’m a PissedOffarian and this pad ain’t a Michelin star restaurant. Salad all round then.”

Recipe for a fun filled evening…

The next day a bloke and his van came round. I needed someone to paint the Tudor style, gable end of my house. I don’t know where this guy came from but I was told that someone knew a man that also knew a man through a man that can.

“Just get the man,” I said.

 

Up, Up And ..Umm…Away

I heard the bloke clattering around outside with his ladders for ages. ‘He probably wants a cuppa,’ I thought. Builders don’t tend to get their game on until at least three mugs of tea with 18 sugars have been served.

“Do you want a cup of tea?”

“Nah, s’alright,” he said, wiping the sweat from his brow with his forearm. He gazed worriedly up at the ladders and twiddled with his paint brush.

“You alright?” I asked.

“I’m afraid of heights. I don’t think I can do this.”

I let this information sink in for a few minutes because it didn’t quite correlate: builder and scared of heights.

“I think I’m gonna have to call a mate in.”

An hour later, mate turned up right at the same time that the heat wave decided to take a nosedive and the heavens opened.

“Err… we can’t do it now cos it’s raining.”

“Are you a pescatarian?” I asked.

 

Color Me Lucky

I got a phone call.

“Jules, can you take a few shots? Some musicians in town”

“Sure. The drone hasn’t been back so I’m ready to use my gun. And the mood I’m in after this week I’m more than happy to fire off a few rounds.”

“With your camera…”

“Oh. OK. Who is it?”

Jonathan Terrell, a country singer from Austin, Texas.”

“Well,  HELLO…who better than me?! But, just so you know I’ll obviously be wearing my cowboy boots.”

“Yeah, that’s fine.”

“I’m just sayin’. I always wear them. I don’t want this singer to think I’m doing it just to please him ‘cos this is something I do every day. You know what musicians are like but I can tell you now, I can beat his narcissism 7 days a week and twice on a Sunday.”

 

LA Studio

I didn’t know where I was going so I asked for directions to the recording studio.

 

 

Here are a couple of my photos from downtown grunge this morning.  Very Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Jonathan Terrell

The Lone Star Cowboy. JT.
Jonathan Terrell, NottinghamShutter on The shutter.

Apparently, it doesn’t end here. From Friday to Monday, I am attending the Deerstock Festival to witness this musical event in all its glory. I have to stay in a tent which is going to come as a bit of a shock to me since my fairy godmother has now got me used to 5* hotels on Monarch Beach. The last time I was in a canvas structure I got zipped up in a cupboard section by my mother and have had post traumatic tent disorder ever since.

I am “glamping” in the “artists and groupie section” which means free food and drink. Whilst that’s a bonus it could also be my undoing. If I’m not back next week, send the sniffer dogs.

Check And…Errr…Mate…

July 12, 2017 11:06am Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 26 Comments

Chess, The Queen

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I play chess online. In hindsight, broadcasting such a fact may have been a mistake. Since that time I have been inundated with game requests. For a nanosecond, I thought it may be because I’m having a glorious winning streak but then my paranoia and mentalist brain kicked in.

Why are all these people suddenly coming to my board? And how are they finding me since I don’t publish my username?

I tried to have an open mind and took on the first few but had to decline others. There’s only so many games of chess you can concentrate on and 20 is already too many. Hideous mistakes get made like this because you can’t remember if you’re black or white and what your strategy was. This results in foolish errors and competitive stress disorder. Because nobody remembers who came second.

It’s all very chatty

In all my years of playing chess, I have rarely experienced any chat. The most you’ll get is a grunt, a sigh, penetrating stares and furrowed brows. There’s no room for banter. This is a battle.
When playing online it’s very peaceful, although you do get the occasional comment since the app providers find it necessary to add a message box.

Very infrequently, you’ll get a short interaction:

“Hello”
“Hello”
“Good luck” <- – this spurs me on because it’s psychological mind play.
“You too” And that’s it.

You might get a “gg” for good game at the end. Fin.

That’s sportsmanship and totally acceptable.

Until it’s not…

For some reason, my new Machiavellian opponents have taken to poking the bear.
I was quite taken aback by this as online chess isn’t where I’d expect someone to go trolling for cheap thrills and banter. In my naivety, (cough, splutter) I am of the opinion that chess players are quite staid, nerdy, logical and smart. Obviously, I’m an exception.

Of course, I can ignore these banal and pitiful comments but where would be the fun in that when playing ‘psychology for sport’ is one of my favourite pastimes. It’s a well known fact I have to react to stupidity.

I’ve taken a few screen shots of some of these inspiring conversations for your perusal. I have blocked out the full usernames to protect the guilty. Everyone deserves at least one chance to get back in line.

How is this relevant to a chess game?

Or this:

It gets better…

Oh really?

I couldn’t answer for ages because of my shyness…

What a pillock.

Seriously? Where is this person’s logic?   And how is he so good at chess?   Do these guys actually think that a chick is going to fall for this?  I don’t even know this person.  We’ve never met, shared a drink or a crisp sandwich or an episode of Game of Thrones.  We’ve not even had a normal conversation.  I don’t even know what he looks like!

Talking of which, quite alarmingly some of these people commented on my photo.  Err.. what photo?  I’ve not put any picture up on this app… And I can’t see anyone else’s picture so what’s going on?  Turns out, I must have once logged in through Facebook and so my profile pic shows up.  Gee, thanks, Facebook.

In order that you can understand the following conversation, here’s my profile picture.

Jules Smith, Author, Writer, Blogger

That’s me and a horse at a bar in Nashville, Tenessee.

 

Poodlefakers

That’s what they are.  Now you may think I’m being a bitch. Correct. I am. And rightly so. I mean what happened to chivalry? You wouldn’t get a proper cowboy acting like that. What happened to gentle chat, hand written letters, and getting to know someone properly?  Well, this is what’s happened:  It’s now turned into cheap smutty online talk within hours and likely followed up with a dick pic (akin to the cat bringing a dead bird in) within 24 hours. Nice.

In temper, I went to my Facebook to get rid of my chess app pairing but couldn’t find it anywhere.  Instead, I came across this joy:

 

It’s like a non-stop social virus.  I very nearly went under the radar but then this happened…

 

Two of the chat muppets above only went and BEAT ME.   I can’t begin to tell you how annoying that is.  In fact, I was so mad that I hurled my phone across the room and broke the screen which resulted in me having to go out and buy an iPad Pro and Apple pen.  I’m now going to colour in instead.

 

 

Hysteria In The Wisteria

July 5, 2017 3:02pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 20 Comments

wisteria and honeysuckle

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

On my tenth birthday, I asked for a pair of binoculars and a book on birds. This may come as a surprise to you.

As I grew, this followed with becoming a member of the school chess club, outdoor hiking adventure club, a crew member for the yacht club and book monitor. Thankfully, by the time I hit my teens I discovered strawberry lipgloss, boys and pubs before all evidence of any personality was lost.
This young ornithologist swapped blue tits for how to squeeze real tits into a wonder bra and still stay upright in 4” heels. Progress.

Talking of classy birds…

pigeon

As I sat on my patio in the glorious English sunshine ( the heatwave continues) I noticed that the wisteria and honeysuckle on my pergola had gone quite insane. I moved in closer to inspect and found that there was a pigeon nesting within. I gave the pigeon the “thumbs up” because that meant I didn’t have to spend half a day cutting it back in order to preserve wildlife.

I paid attention to this nest over the next week and noticed that it had started to tilt a little. I looked up pigeon nesting and found that these birds make crap nests. But, I put the thought to one side trusting that these pigeons knew what they were doing.

Talking of instinct…

Parsons terrier

Bred to kill

JR Parsons terrier

This is my terrier. He’s called Noops because he’s a backwards spoon. You can see why.
He actually has more personality than most people I meet, rarely barks,  is incredibly cunning and kills anything that dares to set foot in his garden.

One summer evening last week when I was watching ‘Line of Duty’ on Netflix and couldn’t tear myself away because this cop show is outstanding, I noticed the dog had gone AWOL. I paused the show to find the hound outside standing over the fallen pigeon nest with a dead baby bird.

Nature is evil.

I felt very distressed for the pigeons who had been sitting on this nest for weeks, nurturing their chick. I cleared it away, had a word with the dog, shouted sorry to the birds and went back inside. An hour later, the dog was nowhere to be seen again. I realised he would be possessed by the nest disaster. I know this because he once saw a spider come out of the corner of the kitchen 7 years ago and still thinks it lives there. If I say “spider!” he runs to that very spot and stares at it for hours.

Pigeon off

And there he was, with a second chick, that had been hiding, in his mouth. I went insane, locked the dog in the utility with the promise of a nice new home at the RSPCA and rescued the wounded bird.
I put the creature in an empty box (courtesy of Amazon) with a few remaining twigs from its nest.

Now what?

I tried to put it back in the pergola. No go. I looked up what to do. Warm milk. I began to feed the baby pigeon some 1% chalk water from a teaspoon but think I only helped in drowning it since it was punctured. I watched in distress as the bird flailed around and died.

TOTAL TRAUMA.

 

What the Dickin’s…

Pigeon meme

A few days later I noticed the same two pigeons building another nest back in the same pergola.
I looked up pigeons to find that they mate for life and tend to have two chicks. The female sits in the tree and the male bird fetches twigs that she puts underneath herself. I don’t know why humans haven’t adopted this idea. I’m happy to sit in a field reading a book whilst a man builds a mansion around me until I’m satisfied.

I watched this pigeon work ferociously day after day, minute after minute bringing twig after twig. His work ethic was admirable despite the stupidity of returning to the same place.

“I have to help them,” I declared to friends and family.

“Why? They’re vermin.”

“Actually, they’re ‘Rock Doves’ you know, DOVES – bird of peace. That’s their proper name.”

“Jules, they’re flying rats. You don’t need to help them.”

pigeon meme

“Oh yeah, well it was a different story back in WW1 and WW11 when we used them to our advantage, wasn’t it! Yeah, think about that. Think of all the lives pigeons have saved. They’ve even been awarded the Dickin Medal. In fact, I only went to Cologne because of a pigeon called Colonge, remember?”

 

Who’s the stupid one?

Bird table

I ignored the vermin callers and carried on regardless. I noticed the pigeon fed on the grass. This is not conducive to staying alive because my dog will catch it, rag it and have it lifeless in a matter of seconds.
With a flash of impulse, I drove to the pet shop and explained this dilemma.

“I need that bird table. Unchain it. And I’ll take that bird feeder. What do pigeons eat? Give me a few bags of “Taste the difference bird seed” And so it was. I assembled my pet toys in the garden.

Bird seed on railway sleepers

 

Karma does it again

I’m totally sick of Karma. I should know better since I lived next-door to her in Houston and found she was a nut job lush. Here’s what happened:

The pigeons completely ignored the bird table and continued to graze on the floor. Maybe birds need a visual, I thought. So, I put this dead looking pet toy bird in the middle of my lawn.  “Yeah, this is what happens if you stay on ground, pigeon.  That’s the future for ground-hoppers, my flighty friend”

Bird dog toy

Didn’t work. Instead, all manner of other flying friends come to the table including two vicious magpies that steal other birds eggs and a thieving “It’s all about me” squirrel. I now have to monitor outside activity like a general on a battlefield: shooing off the pigeon before the killer dog comes out, scaring off murdering magpies and cats and trying to convince the neighbours that I haven’t gone stark raving mad.

Flock off.

 

Perfecting The Cowgirl

June 27, 2017 12:03am Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 21 Comments

Cowgirl shooting

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

Returning back to Blighty was rather pleasant since I arrived to 30 degrees of sunshine.
Returning back to Blighty was rather pleasant since I arrived to 30 degrees of sunshine.

Yes, I wrote that twice because it’s historical and I want it to sink into your brain.

I could still have been in Texas except I wasn’t being plagued by hornets, snakes or mosquitoes. And the cars were smaller.

Yee – Haw

The Cowboy Ten Commandments

In the interest of maintaining top quality cowgirl standards, I put my gift of the ‘Cowboy Ten Commandments’ on the wall. I took great pleasure in telling people to “Watch Yer Mouth” as clearly stated.

My fairy godmother sent me a care package that awaited me on my return lest I should become malnourished in England by the inadequate portion sizes.

American food

This food box contained many dishes that I love to eat including a five-gallon margarita mix for when I get depressed.

Not wanting to lose my frontier touch I set about #AmericanCookingWithJules

Corn bread in an iron skillet (followed by Jambalaya)

Corn Bread

And Goode’s Company cowboy beans.

Goode's Company beans

There’s Always Room For Improvement

My Cowboy Church Pastor, R.O told me that I have now progressed from cowgirl to “Good Cowgirl” but that the next step is to become great. So, I stuck a Lone Star flag on the back of my car.

Lone Star Car Sticker

How To Get Gooder

Life Is Gooder

How do I become a ‘Great’ cowgirl, I wondered. What else can I do? I’ve ridden horses, been on hunting camp, shot several homemade Moonshines, been to the mountains, learnt to eat and cook Merrican, written a Western, driven big trucks, danced the two -step at Honky Tonks all over, written country songs, sat on a steer, rode Harley’s,  got myself to Sunday meetin’,  bought three hats, several pairs of boots and a handmade leather belt, got proper down and dirty,  I’ve shot various guns,  and consider Cracker Barrel one of my favourite stores.

Queen Attacks Drone

I could be talking about bees, but I’m not. Like the sweet honey I am, I watched the dusk turn into evening as I sat outside on the patio contemplating life. There’s no AC in England so when it gets hotter than Hell you go outside and take your shirt off.

And then I heard a noise.

It sounded suspiciously like a swarm of killer bees. I leapt from my chair and went to stand in the doorway because being stung to death isn’t how I want to slip off the dish. The noise got louder but I couldn’t see any insects. I tiptoed back outside and noticed a drone flying around my garden and zooming up to my windows.

Now I think I know which neighbour this belongs to and I could’ve gone round and had a word but I try very hard to keep my temper under wraps because it’s like Pandora’s box.

Suddenly everything fell into place. I mean, what would a great cowgirl do?

That’s right. Shoot it. Unfortunately, we don’t have guns here anymore but look what I can order…

BB guns UK

BB Gun

I know exactly where to trap and destroy this drone on its next visit because I’m not just a silly blonde chick with wanderlust, oh no. I happen to be fairly competent at the oldest war game in the world.

Chess With Friends

As you can see, I might be a useful general on a battleground.

Cowgirl Conclusion

Cowgirl up

I don’t know what your opinion is but I think nosey parkers sending their spy equipment around my pad in the wee hours gives me carte blanche to go ballistic bb on the drone. And then let them come to me…

If that doesn’t get me to “Great Cowgirl” status then I’ll eat ma bewwts.

Camp Wisdom

June 21, 2017 9:19pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 16 Comments

Camp Wisdom

Satirical Snapshots bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

Despite my notoriety as a world renowned Art Philosopher, it appears I do not possess enough duende to enter the special places.

I tried in earnest to enter Camp Wisdom but it appears I still have a lot to learn.

 

Oi! Nutter!

The Nutt Hotel

“Go here instead”, they said.

Granbury, Texas. It’s in Hood County so I thought I’d be right at home but I couldn’t find Robin anywhere.

 

Another little Western town

Granbury, Texas

Founded in 1887, Granbury started as a square and log cabin court house. Many of the buildings on the square are now registered historic landmarks, including the Granbury Opera House, which still hosts Broadway productions. The city name originated from the Confederate General Hiram B. Granberry. Some scholars, to explain why the city name is spelled differently, believe the name Granberry was misread on a document, but recent findings have concluded that Granberry chose to spell his name Granbury.

Granbury, TX

Gaol….

Jail at Granbury

The people in this little town were overwhelmed by a visit from an English chick, gazing in awe at me every time I opened my mouth. Not that I’m unused to that but it’s usually for very different reasons.

Granbury TX

Yeah, sod you Camp Wisdom, I’ve found my hood.  Sing about that!

Granbury, Texas

Granbury Texas

And by the way,  have you ever seen such gorgeous garage doors?  No.

Hillsboro, Texas

Texas in the evening is a serenade of the south. As the sun sets in the vast sky the birds chatter, cicadas clatter, tree frogs sing and crickets ring.

Texas in the evening

A vibrant hum of nature by night permeates the warm air and eases away the day. It is the most beautiful sound in the world.

 

Way Down Yonder In New Orleans

June 14, 2017 1:48am Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 16 Comments

Jazz in New Orleans

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

The Big Easy

I made a trip to a new state: Louisiana.  I’ve wanted to go to New Orleans for a long time because it’s one of those places you have a need to see.  I love the eclectic mix of soul meets jazz meets Spanish architecture and French roads.  New Orleans is like no other city I’ve visited in America.

Bad JuJu

Naturally, my namesake breathes its Voodoo into the area so I had to buy a couple of dolls.  It would pay you not to mess about with me because there’s only a pin, a chicken’s foot and my mood between you and your happiness…

Anyway, now I’ve got your undivided attention, you will want to take a look at my video of Nar’Leans below and the things I found captivating.

Yours, JuJu

 

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