I have several cycling routes that I ride fairly regularly. One takes me out and back into the Yorkshire Wolds. It’s quite a lonely ride with few settlements: just sharp hills and lots of arable farming land. On my way home on such a four hour jaunt I ride through the peaceful village of Full Sutton. I say peaceful because on the outside it is anonymous albeit with a reasonable amount of residential housing and a large prison. I’ve reflected that as the prison is designated ‘high security’ it contains the worst of humanity. However I trundle past and look at the pigs running around in the field opposite reflecting on the free range nature of their existence before becoming sausages.
Despite this tranquility it is somewhat disturbed by being the location of a recent horrific stabbing that led to a prolific paedophile being murdered in his cell. This awful development even made it onto the CNN website. Incarceration can be a violent and hellish existence. I suppose being locked up with malevolent and mentally disturbed men for decades, with no hope of a better future, is a situation that spawns this terrible environment. My next cycle past will make me shudder at what goes on inside its high walls.
Whilst we’re dwelling on violence I deposited myself in the local cinema to watch “Joker”. Again a very mentally disturbed person in 1970s New York City goes on the rampage. Joaquin Rivers will rightly get the Oscar for his acting: beyond brilliant. More gruesome were the trailers for other films to entice this busy auditorium of millennials back for more violence and phantasy. I looked away from the screen as the noise, pyrotechnics and spine chilling violence unfolded. Awful stuff.
I once put on Facebook my proud achievement of persuading Sky to reduce my monthly charges for their services. This drew a reasonable response of others saying ‘well done’ but some commented they had secured bigger savings! An innocuous email arrived last week saying that they were renewing various package discounts. Closer scrutiny confirmed they were but the overall cost was an uplift of £3 per month! Nice try boys. Logging onto their interactive chat line I bonded with Sohil. This bromance led to him reducing my broadband and land line package by £12 per month. (I did suggest I would leave but it never got remotely near me ‘pressing the button’). This concession was quickly obtained but I spent sometime clarifying that this reduction was correct! It seems it was. My lasting reaction is not delight but at how flabby all these rates are and how easily reductions are conceded. Check those emails.
Completing more music reviews is a priority as opportunities to spend time in the garden doing work reduces due to regular rain and falling temperatures. On this basis I can nearly justify being sat in front of a computer listening to music. I added up the total number of albums I had received or bought this year and it came to 383 releases. It’d be fair to say that I’m still very excited to hear something new and interesting but often wading through all these albums is quite a task. For reference if you haven’t seen my published work then check out www.americanamusicshow.com or buy Country Music People from a a newsagent.
We have an annual Christmas dinner with the neighbours at a local restaurant in December. Out of 15 households around half will turn up. As the street is quite spread out with everyone having solid vegetation between each property or high walls socialising or even having the proverbial chat over the adjoining fences is occasional. There can be cheery waves on a Sunday morning as you pass someone washing their car at the kerbside or you acknowledge a dog walker but there is little other interaction. We all keep a low profile; I even declined putting a party political leaflet through neighbours' doors recently. That was a conversation I didn’t want to get into and I was redirected by the party to another local York suburb to play Postman Pat.
However all the neighbours are known and one of my stresses over this event is overcome by some meticulous planning. A bit like the start of a Formula 1 Grand Prix or musical chairs the imperative is to ensure that you time your entrance or manage your location, in the restaurant, to avoid getting sat next to the bores. You know the situation - the folk who have the most wonderful evening because you are engaged, intelligent and kind enough to let them explain to you, in forensic detail, their tribulation with airport parking on their recent holiday. They are so enrapt about detailing their hospital visits (and parking) and prescriptions that the evening flies by for them and they leave at the end of the evening wondering why you're slumped over the table sound asleep. Why do these people never ask a question? If they do they don’t realise it isn’t a cue to take over this thread and tell you that they once owned a sit up and beg bicycle (red with a bell and wicker basket) they used to ride until it was nicked outside Asda! There are a few neighbours that should I become stuck with them on a desert island I would gladly start swimming even if this meant possibly encountering sharks.