Whilst waxing lyrical about the onset of Spring in last week’s Befouled Weakly News (the sun has shone, the temperatures have been very tolerable, the daffodils are ready to burst into bloom, the birdsong is rampant, the insects are beginning to emerge from their winter slumbers and the wood pigeons in the trees outside our bedroom window are “at it” constantly, etc.), I realised that I neglected to include one of the more obvious signs of Spring, at least around these parts: the emergence of huge expanses of pale, white skin cascading out of over-short and over-tight clothing. The spectacle is enhanced for many of the men (and some of the women), with every millimetre of spare flesh covered with tattoos of various descriptions. Fortunately, this week has been somewhat chilly with grey, overcast skies and we’ve largely been spared the sight of Banburians exposing either their over-ample lily-white skin and/or the swathes of intricate tattoos.
Following my exposition outlining my general disposition to cold-callers last week, I was cold called again this week by someone who, when I answered the phone, cheerily replied, “Hello, Mr Stragnell! I’m not calling to sell you anything. I just want to take a moment of your time to gather your opinions on the part of government and large corporations. Is that OK?” To which I naturally snarled, “No!”
Now this was clearly not the sort of response the caller was expecting and I don’t think his script had any suggestions as to what he should reply if the caller said “No.” He was flustered a moment and then started again, “I’m not calling to sell you anything. I just would like a moment of your time to gather your opinions . . . Is that OK?” I replied, with, I hope, a touch of menace in my voice, “No. It is not OK. I am not interested in giving you my opinions whether on behalf of large multinational corporations or for government . . .” at which point the line went dead.
I do feel sorry for the folks having to make these cold calls – it can’t be any fun to be shouted at and abused more or less constantly but, given that our number is on the list of those not to be cold-called, it does annoy me when they ignore their own “voluntary” code of practice. Of course, when I inform them that they should not be phoning our number they invariably reply that they are not, in fact, trying to sell me anything, merely offering me the opportunity of a lifetime. I guess I will just have to be content with improving my menacing, snarling persona.
Ms Playchute and I went to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel the other night which was good fun. Although I didn’t have a free ticket this time, I did have a half-price voucher for a meal at Bella Italia afterwards so it didn’t break the bank. And, even though I still feel eighteen, of course, now that I am of such advanced years, I’m entitled to the old age pensioners discount at the cinema which was a bonus. I guess they think that us old codgers will sleep through half the film; fortunately, I’ve not quite reached that stage.
It certainly boasts an all-star cast (Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, et. al) and it’s about a group of elderly British folk who decide to emigrate to a less expensive retirement in India. They are enticed by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel which turns out to be not quite what they had imagined. Though the new environment is less luxurious than advertised, they are transformed by their shared experiences, discovering, for the most part, that life (and love) can begin again when you let go of the past. One line in particular kind of sums it up – Sonny, the Indian “owner” of the hotel (played by Dev Patel who starred in Slumdog Millionaire), says, at a couple of points, “Everything will be all right in the end… if it’s not all right then it’s not the end.” Excellent philosophy, it seems to me.
It’s been foggy and overcast much of the week but, in one clear moment I did see the conjunction of Venus and Jupiter the other evening – two bright celestial objects in the southwest sky against a lovely, deep blue backdrop. Stunning. Unfortunately, my ability to retrieve my camera from the study, set it up on the tripod, work out the manual settings and the remote trigger (to avoid camera shake) left a considerable amount to be desired. I managed everything apart from getting the remote trigger to work so all I could manage were two very blurred photos before I gave up in despair and frustration. Still, others have been somewhat more successful and had I been half competent, my photograph would have looked remarkably like this one from The Guardian.
And finally, let me wish my mother a very happy Mothering Sunday.
Love to you all,