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Happy New Night-Nights

January 5, 2022 12:30pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 10 Comments

mindfulness with Jules Smith

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

Another new year commences but this time with a new set of rules. I am no longer making impossible resolutions and instead have cleverly labelled my goals as “Self-Care” Some have stated that this is a little ambiguous but that’s because they weren’t smart enough to think of it. On occasion, self-care may mean that in fact, a large glass of wine is what’s needed, or a rant at someone is necessary to relieve angst. Other times it may mean I follow a path of calm and positive purpose.

 

 

Before Christmas, I watched something about mindfulness. There was a monk who said that we should be less reactionary and more accepting of negative or anxiety fuelled emotions. Learn to accept them and sit with them for a while. When you feel panic you should welcome it by saying, “Welcome, panic..”

I love a bit of monkery so I thought I’d give that a go because I’m a person who always feels frantic inside and that can’t end well. 

That started out OK. Instead of cursing at the person in front of me driving so slowly, I said, “Welcome, you doddery old sod and thank you for making me realise I don’t need to rush to get where I’m going all the time.” Or, to the person standing in the middle of the supermarket aisle, “Welcome you dozy old cockwomble and thank you for making me wait whilst you chat in the centre of aisle 7 because now I can understand selfishness a little better…”

This has been working well for me because I have replaced getting furious with laughter. Good start. 

 

Alive and Unconscious

 

 

I started to wean myself into change over the period between Christmas and New Year where time does not exist. Airport time. A muddy period where days roll into each other like a swampy fog. You eat the remnants of the Quality Street tub for breakfast washed down with sherry and wonder why you feel like a hot toxic mess. Going straight from that to serious change is not conducive to self-care so I decided to implement my first new routine. 

I am crap at sleeping and apparently sleep is one of the most important things to get right before you even think of doing anything else. 

 I go to bed with the good intention of going to sleep and end up reading my book for hours until I eventually fall to sleep dribbling on my Kindle. I wake up at 3 am and then get up for a cuppa and ruminate over spiteful little thoughts that dance around my head. I go back to bed, wired and watching the night turn into day behind the blinds. Sometimes I go back to my Kindle and can’t remember a damn thing I read a few hours ago. I then fall back to sleep minutes before it’s time to get up. Dreadful. 

 

All Aboard The Night Train!

 

 

I found out that you can train yourself into a sleep pattern. Pick an eight hour period and stick to it vehemently. Even if you wake up during that time, do not get out of bed. You must lie still in torturous bed prison and not get up until your allotted time. I decided that this would be my first trial into self-care. I chose to go to bed at 11 and get up at 7. 

I can’t begin to tell you how difficult this was when I first started. I got Alexa to play rain sounds in an attempt to quiet the devil in my brain daring me to break the rules. No! I’m sticking to this. I lay there like an inmate, lights out, staring at the ceiling. Too hot. Too cold. Covers on. Covers off. I eventually went to sleep and woke up around 3 and then 5. I tossed and turned. I experimented with sleep mists on my pillow. I ended up drenching myself and the bed in lavender stuff in an attempt to drug myself to sleep. I am now allergic to lavender. When 7 am came and the alarm went off I wanted to cry. Shut Up Alexa and go to hell.  Thank you for this fresh new opportunity for an early start…

Like a warrior, I got up and zombied into the day.

 

 

The days were so long that on one of them I ended up having a hysterical time tantrum. It was only 4.30 in the afternoon and I could have sworn it was bedtime. I wailed and despaired and forced myself to do things and the clock refused to tick like normal. I wanted to smash its face in. Thank you, clock for revealing how much more time I have to do all the thing’s I can’t muster the energy to do.

I’d already been at it for nine hours and I had to stay up for another six and a half. I couldn’t even stay awake to The Witcher. I knew it was bad when I started nodding off to Henry Cavill. Were naps allowed? Apparently not. The evil sleep training does not allow this privilege. You must endure a lifetime in each day and be too knackered to do anything constructive past 3 pm. 

Dear Lord above, it’s been a trial. 

However, it has started to work. Not entirely; I still find the days exhaustingly long but I am now starting to get better sleep, only waking up once before my due time and easily falling back off. And since this has started to work I have taken on yet another self-care challenge which I will tell you about next time because I’m having severe problems with that one and might be on the verge of a psychotic meltdown – thank you for all these challenges that will help me hate everything more than before become a better and more balanced person. 

 

 

Anarchy In The Greenbelt

December 15, 2021 10:18am Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 23 Comments

winter view of fields in England

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

I drove down my road a few weeks back and noticed that a giant 5G tower had been erected on the opposite side of the street. No notice was given to anyone about this happening because obviously, the council can do whatever they want. Fortunately for me, it is a way down the road and does not obstruct my outlook but I felt very sorry for the big house opposite who now had their view of the rolling greenbelt obstructed by a giant phallic object.  

A few days later I noticed some graffiti sprayed all over it: 

“Who Gave Permission For This?”

“This Thing Is An Eyesore”

This made me laugh as the culprit had to be one of the people living opposite. The folk in those big houses are probably fairly affluent: they have nice cars, keep their front gardens tastefully in order, have elegant Christmas lights, and are the sort that would likely be very pleasant on the whole and not break the law. That’s what I would think if I was to pigeonhole those that lived there. However, it seems I am completely wrong and that anarchy lives in us all. I was very proud of whoever did this and wanted to knock on their door and invite them over for a drink. 

I could imagine them driving off to B&Q to find spray paint

We’ll have to practise on some MDF boards outside before we do it, Elizabeth. I’ve never defaced anything before.”

“Of course, Roger. I mean, bloody hell, it has to be legible or what will people think?”

“We will sneak out after midnight and do the deed. If anyone stops to ask what we are doing we will have to say we are wildlife conservationists. Start hugging a tree if anyone slows down.”

“Right. I’ll bring my clipboard and opera binoculars so we look authentic.”

I pictured them sneaking out in the dead of night in their plaid Marks and Spencer pyjamas, woolly hats, and wellies. The euphoria of getting away with the vandalisation probably left them breathless and they might have even got to it in the drench shower when they got home to wash off the evidence. Power to the people! However, a week later someone from the council painted over it in battleship grey. I’m hoping too much Christmas spirit might see their rebellious nature rise again.

Talking Of Anarchy In The Greenbelt…

You can’t help love your dogs to bits. There is no loyalty like that of a hound. Even if you are cross with them they still love you. No matter what, you are their favourite thing. 

They are protective

Loving

Attentive

Cute

A bit mental

And ferociously attractive

And you have to remember all of those things when they put you in a difficult situation.

Across the fields we walked, as usual, enjoying the fresh air and apricity of the day when all of a sudden a great big hare decided to have a bit of a skip around in the long grass. Oh, silly hare…

Tex immediately set off after the hopper because there was a tasty snack daring to taunt him. Halo intercepted from the right and they began to hunt down the hare at full pelt in pack mode clearing two fields in seconds. It was like watching a David Attenborough show. My dogs are very fast but the hare had a metre advantage and I prayed it would get to ground. I didn’t want to jog that day but there I was trying to run in hiking boots to catch up with them because all of a sudden they had completely forgotten their names when I called them. I had my 13-year-old Jack Russell with me who hadn’t joined the pack, thank God, but instead ran in circles around my feet which did not help me get a sprint on. 

“Get out the bloody way, you daft dog!” 

I looked up and watched in the distance as the other two came up to a hawthorn hedgerow. Halo stopped. Tex went straight through it. Brilliant. 

A few minutes later three animals came running out diagonally in the other direction at full speed. 

Hold on, I only have two big dogs, what the hell is that?

Oh look, it’s a bloody great deer.

How in hell has that happened? Tex must have thought all his Christmases had come at once. Through the hedge he goes after a hare and comes face to face with a deer. Look what I found, mummy!

Why is this happening to me? I just want to go for a nice walk and now I’m hyper-ventilating, barn dancing around a terrier, and wondering if I’ve lost my wolfits. Am I going to find them feasting on a deer? How am I going to talk my way out of this if the farmer sees it? Will he be pleased that my nut-job mutts have cleared hares and deer from his crops or is he going to shoot them and me? 

I started praying out loud. Please God, let the deer get away. I have been traumatised from a young age by Disney and watching Bambi’s mother die. I don’t want to be party to this kind of ordeal in real life. I’ll do anything.

Eventually, they came back. Unbloodied and absolutely knackered. Bambi had made it. Phew. 

I don’t know who was panting the hardest out of me and the dogs and who might die first but we made it back to the truck intact sans rabbit or venison stew. 

Next time, I’m getting a cat. 

 

Evictus

December 8, 2021 2:12pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 13 Comments

Antony Gormley sculpture

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

I conquered and survived my trip to Liverpool but it didn’t last very long. That’s because my mother got the Airbnb dates mixed up. There we sat on Friday morning, day two of the trip, watching TV with a cup of tea, yet another Christmas film before we set off to get the big red bus to Penny Lane and other notorious sites. 

That’s The Spirit

My mother starts watching Christmas films in September and we all take the rise out of her for doing so. But, it turns out, that Christmas films have a surprisingly addictive quality. There you are scoffing at the start of one, watching it just to bide your time, and before you know it you’re fully invested and imbued with the spirit of magical fantasy. Before you can scoop your sorry arse off the sofa you are now sailing through the next one trying to predict the very predictable ending. Because each and every one of them is the same. 

They all start with a woman who has either lost her job or split up with a boyfriend. She leaves the manic city to start a new job and/or gets stranded and arrives in a beautiful rural American town that is the embodiment of Christmas. The little town is full of snow, tinsel and Christmas cookies and everybody is as nice as Disney. Naturally, the woman meets a man there who is much like Captain America, but he rubs her up the wrong way (No! Not like that!) Already you know this is going to be “The One” by the end of the film. She ends up doing something spectacular to save the town and he ends up knocking on her door on Christmas Eve, or bumping into her, apologising profusely for his behaviour and begging her to stay with him forever in his ranch cabin worth at least a few million with his pet dog who also loves her relentlessly.

All the way through these films I imagine how much fun it would be to make a dark and twisted version where it all goes horribly wrong.

Falalalalalalalala!

I was just describing how I would re-write the film we were watching when suddenly there was a ferocious knock at the door. Let me first explain this house my mother had rented: it was very tall and very thin. Basically, a cut-up Georgian building made into two houses. The kitchen was downstairs, the living room another flight up. Another flight to a landing. The next flight took you to my mother’s room and the flight after that took me gasping, panting and begging for a quick death to my room. Let me tell you that when I came downstairs and realised I’d left my phone charger in my bedroom I very nearly burst into tears. 

So, the loud knocking came from underneath where we were sitting but since the property consisted mainly of stairs you could hang over the bannister and shout, “Hello, who is it?”

Turned out it was the man who owned the gaff and he wondered why we were still here because we should have left. As in actually left for good. My mother tried to convince him otherwise, insisting she had rented it for longer. Of course, she was wrong and we got evicted. The next hour was spent racing around and packing up so the cleaners could get in. Packing and carting things down the very many stairs. I had to ring my mother’s current husband and inform him of the news as he was out having a flu jab and she didn’t dare. 

“You know last night when I said, ‘That’s so my mum though,’” I said over the phone.

“Yeah…”

“Well, this is one of those moments. We’ve just been evicted so you’d better come home. We gotta get a shift on.”

It was hours before he could look at her never mind talk to her again.

Another Place

Crosby beach Liverpool

The only thing I really wanted to see was a load of iron men standing on a beach. This sort of madness appeals to me much like cast iron manhole covers do. 

We hadn’t been there yet so I begged to see them before I set off home. After a long and blustery walk to the seafront, I witnessed the iron sculptures by Antony Gormley on Crosby beach. Based on his own naked body (bit narcissistic) the figures are revealed and submerged as the tide ebbs and flows. I must say I found them rather fabulous.

Sand By Me

Close up of a Gormley sculpture

My Corrosion

 

Gormley statue If I could have picked one up and taken it home I would have. Just so I could dress him up for seasonal holidays and upset the postman.

 

 

A Day In The Life

November 17, 2021 7:28am Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 12 Comments

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

Paperback Writer

I’ve sat here for months doing nothing but writing things. No adventures. No parties. Nada. Then all of a sudden the world begins to come out of hiding and I get invited up to Liverpool for a break.

I’m not sure that you can class Liverpool as a holiday or even a break but there we are. I had to think about it for a bit but since I had a ticket to ride I thought I’d let it be.

Help!

Now, I’d almost forgotten, due to my hermitude, that when I make a plan, Karma wakes up. Ooh, here she goes – *rubs hands together so hard causes a fire* thinks she’s gonna have it easy? BWAHAHAHAHA! 

For starters, the day before my trip a terrorist attack happened in Liverpool. Yes, Liverpool. A car bomb got made by some arsehole and went off in a hospital car park not 300 yards away from the house that I’m going to stay in. Lovely. 

Maybe I shouldn’t go…

Hey Jude Jules “It’ll be alright – there are coppers everywhere. It’s the safest place to be.” 

Hmmm… I’m already on edge. But, you can’t let these nastyass people ruin your plans so I prepared myself for the long and winding road.

Twist and Shout

First stop – wolfits to the kennels! Off I go with the mutts after a long run after a hare across the farmer’s fields. 

“Hmmm – one of your dog’s vaccination cards hasn’t been stamped by the vet. I will need to call them to check if you’re a big fat liar.”

“Go ahead. My dogs are on a plan. They have better healthcare and food than I do. They must have forgotten due to the Covid nonsense.”

He called the vet. It rang and rang. He tried again. This went on for a while. In the meantime, one of the wolfits got bored and pissed up the side of stacked bags of kibble in his shop. Brilliant.

Eventually, the vet answered. The kennel man passed over his mobile phone for me to talk to them as they couldn’t find the information. I put his phone to my ear and said hello and then screamed because my eardrum nearly burst. Kennel man had his phone on speaker which I didn’t realise and the vet receptionist’s voice is still reverberating in my ear canal. 

“I’m sorry but we don’t have your dogs listed at all. There’s no information whatsoever.”

“Well, that’s impossible. I fetched their medicine not two weeks ago. I pay a lot of money to be on your plan and I don’t need this sort of unprofessional nightmare.” Not with the prices you charge. What an outrage.

The receptionist and I had a bit of a passive-aggressive spat and then she told me the name of the vet. It was then that I realised that wasn’t my vet and that’s why she had no idea about my pets. Kennel man had called the wrong veterinary surgery from some other boarder’s sheet. Plonker.

The receptionist put the phone down on me. Karma barked out a laugh. 

The situation got sorted and I left in a terrible rush because I had made myself a strict timetable in order to leave for my junket with everything done. Now I was behind schedule.

While My Guitar iPhone Gently Weeps

I rushed home and started to gather up lots of blankets and cushion covers. The plan was to get all these washed down at the launderette and back on before I left so I could come back to house beautiful. The launderette has huge washing machines that could get it all washed and dried in one go rather than me spending all day using mine. I like the zen of a break to continue when I get back home so I can get back into the swing of things gently. It never happens but I live in hope that one day, it might. 

As I rushed around with my arms full I dropped my iPhone into a hot bucket of water that I’d used to mop the floor earlier and hadn’t yet disposed of. 

“ARGHHHHHHHHH!”

Blankets dropped, I fished around in the water trying to find it whilst screaming like a banshee gently cursing. I rushed it over to the kitchen counter and then dived into the pantry to find the jar of Basmati rice. In it went with force. I prayed and promised to be a much better human being – but only if it didn’t break. 

Penny Lane

I arrived at the launderette. The machines took coins which I didn’t have so I had to change a couple of tenners into pounds and twenty pence pieces in the change machine. There were an awful lot of coins so I put them all in the zipped part of my purse, zipped it up tight and put it back into my bag. I then set about putting all my stuff into the giant washer, filled up the detergent compartment and set the temperature. I pulled my purse back out, went to unzip it and pulled the zipper head clean off. Sigh.

Now, if this had been any other zip and I mean ANY other zip it would have parted its teeth and gaped its brokenness at me. For example, if this was a piece of clothing and I was on a night out it would ruin my evening and force me to go home because, oh look, my zip has bust. 

Not this little git. Oh no, this remained tight shut like a bull terrier with lockjaw. I could not get inside to get my coins. I looked out of the window to see if I could spot anyone dodgy who might have a knife. Nothing except a doddery old window cleaner. I ended up using my car key to try and open it and with great force, it slipped over the metal teeth and cut my knuckle. 

 Finally, and after a lot of will, I got it torn open and the coins spilt out everywhere. I’ll have a new purse for Christmas, thanks…

 Here Comes The Sun

I sat watching the machines whirl round and round for an hour and found the experience quite relaxing which is just what I bloody needed.  As my blankets were drying and I sat patiently waiting, a weird little chap came in to dry his washing. He kept telling me that it was too foggy and damp outside to put it on the line.

“I’ll do six minutes at a time I think – these driers are hot,” he said.

“Yes. Good idea.”

“That’s what I do. Six minutes at a time.”

“Right.”

“How many minutes have you got left?”

“It’s already too many.”

I ended up taking my laundry back a little bit damp.

Eleanor Rigby

Picks out the rice from her phone where connection has been…

I pulled out my phone from the rice jar. I noticed that there was rice jammed into the space where the phone charger goes. How? How has my rice suddenly turned into miniature cous-cous and found a way to block that hole? I sat carefully trying to pick it out bit by bit with a pin hoping I am not going to ruin the connection because we all know how temperamental these things are. I rang someone to make sure it was working and told them about the ordeal.

“You didn’t have to put it in rice – iPhones have been waterproof since the iPhone 8.”

Why did I not know this? 

The day was a colossal nightmare which led me to believe that the high jinks coming up with the scousers should be a breeze by comparison. Liverpool, don’t let me down.

 

Thinking Inside The box

November 10, 2021 9:22am Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 15 Comments

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

I was sitting in the living room the other night, all comfy after eating a nice chunk of cottage pie. I had a blanket wrapped around me because it’s getting cold and I daren’t turn the heating up because of the insane gas prices. I had a nice MPV sitting on the table beside me which is a cocktail that I made up of Mango, Passion fruit, and Vodka. I should market this to bars because it’s lovely but I haven’t got time to do other people’s jobs. 

 

Space Cake

I had just watched an episode of the new series Universe – by Brian Cox, which always gets you thinking, and I was waiting for the Great British Bake Off to start so I could support my favourite contestant, Jurgen, with his methodical baking techniques. The Great British Bake Off is an absolute staple of Great British television and has been known to cure depression, manic episodes, family arguments, and all layers of anxiety with its comforting formula. If you’re feeling a bit low or out-of-sorts then get yourself a nice MPV and get Bake Off on telly. 

 

The Scent of Epiphany

Then, I got to thinking rather than watching the adverts on TV which have now started to get all Christmassy. My favourites are the ridiculous perfume adverts which make absolutely no sense at all and would probably stop me from buying perfume in case I end up like one of the self-absorbed fruit-cakes acting out their madness. However, that ship may have already sailed. 

 

I came to the frightening conclusion that the world is being taken over by boxes. 

Think about it – outside of the box for a moment, if you would. 

There I sat in my house – a box. Inside that box, I sit in another box watching the box. 

Every day I wake up and untuck myself from a box and go to another box to have a shower. I then go to my next box where I turn on a box and start writing things onto a 2D box image.

Even if I want to escape all of this boxiness I have to go outside to a box on wheels which will transport me to another box where I buy things in boxes and bring them back to my box. 

The thing that washes my clothes is a box and so is the thing that dries them. The thing that stores my cans and cools my food – boxes both. Most of my appliances can be considered boxes and all my important documents are kept in boxes. Even my gadgets are boxes. 

And when I die I will end up in my final box. 

Frightening, isn’t it? 

I square to God I’m starting to feel a bit trapped. 

#LetsGetCircular #TriangularTomorrows 

 

Blast Off!

October 13, 2021 10:14am Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 20 Comments

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

Sometimes, whimsy has been known to get the better of me. 

A fanciful notion took hold of me the other day: Wouldn’t it be nice to do something wildly different? Instead of getting up, donning my usual attire and starting up my old motor to go traipsing around the usual places, wouldn’t it be fun to go on a cosmic adventure!

Imagine getting trussed up in your space suit, saying cheerio to the dogs, bouncing outside to fire up your rocket and blasting off on a little junket to our solar system. 

Who wouldn’t want to do that?

Well, since we haven’t yet moved from Tesla’s to rockets you’re not going to find a rocket on your driveway. However, that doesn’t stop us from going on a trip. Oh no. 

Just for all you kids out there, I’ve made a rhyming story and video of a trip around the solar system. So, if you’re one of those people that have put your name down to live on Mars, you might want to watch this. Whilst it’s made for children a few of you adults might just learn a thing or two!

Please feel free to share my video with any parents who think their kids might enjoy my story – Blast Off!

NB: Before any bright spark asks me where Pluto is, know that Pluto got downgraded from a planet to a dwarf planet (the Death Star)

Enjoy!

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