A Sense-less Poem by Carey Blyton

I’m having trouble with my ears –

They do not see so well.

My eyes are also failing fast –

They’ve lost their sense of smell.

My nose has lost its power of speech,

My tongue, its sense of touch;

Alas, your sympathy’s in vain –

My hands can’t hear you much.

– by Carey Blyton


This poem reminded me of Kevin Beckman, played by Chris Hemsworth, in the 2016 film Ghostbusters.

Anton Chekhov’s ‘Предложение’ (a.k.a A Marriage Proposal / The Proposal)

Предложение (a.k.a ‘A Marriage Proposal‘ or ‘The Proposal‘) is a one act farce by Антон Павлович Чехов (Anton Pavlovich Chekhov), written somewhere between 1888 to 1889 and first performed in 1890. It is a fast paced play of dialogue based action and situational humour. Usually it is performed in combination with other short pieces of Chekhov‘s such as Медведь: Шутка в одном действии (‘The Bear: A Joke in One Act’ or ‘The Boor’).

I was reminded of this piece by the marriage proposal story line featured in ITV’s Dr Thorne mini series which concluded last night. A turn of fortune changes the mind of the future groom’s mother regarding the marital appropriateness of Dr Thorne‘s niece and so there is a marriage and the mother in law is teased for her preoccupation with the families fortunes wishing for her son to marry for money and not love. This theme was prevalent during the nineteenth century with the most widely recognised examples being in the novels ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (1813) and ‘Wuthering Heights’ (1847 – albeit in the latter part of the novel which is often omitted in adaptions).

Dramatis personæ:

  • Stepan Stepanovitch Chubukov, 54 years old, man (or 70 as he claims at one point to be ‘twice [Ivan’s] age at one point.
  • Natalia Stepanovna Chubukova, his daughter, 25 years old
  • Ivan Vassiliyitch Lomov, 35 years old, a neighbour of Chubukov, a large and hearty, but very suspicious landowner

Plot:

Ivan Vassiliyitch Lomov, a long time neighbor of Stepan Stepanovitch Chubukov, has come to propose marriage to Chubukov’s 25-year-old daughter, Natalia. Stephan gives his permission and Natalia is invited into the room, while Stephan steps out, so Ivan may make his proposal to Natalia.

However instead they get into a disagreement about the ownership of the Oxen Meadows adjoining their properties which Ivan intended to gift her as a dowry. The passionate disagreement results in Ivan, a foppish hypochondriac, suffering supposed palpitations and a numbness in his leg. Stepan, rejoining them, notices this and he himself argues about the sort of bad people the Lomov family have been in the past and has Ivan leave his house. While Stepan rants about Lomov, he expresses his shock that “this fool dares to make you [Natalia] a proposal of marriage!” She immediately starts into hysterics, begging for her father to bring him back which he does immediately.

Natalia and Ivan get into a second argument, this time about the superiority of their respective hunting dogs, respectively Squeezer (who is unfit to be a hunting dog) and Guess (who is old and lame). Stepan gets involved and is close to losing his temper and makes this clear to Ivan. At this junction yet again, after accusing Stepan of being an intriguer amongst other things, foppish Ivan gets a case of vapors and collapses from his exhaustion over arguing . Thus Stepan and Natalia, after checking him, fear he is deceased. Stepan also begins to over react at the junction and Natalia cries over the sudden death brought on by the argument.

However, after a few minutes Ivan regains consciousness, and Stepan, insisting they leave him alone afterwards,  all but forces Ivan and his daughter Natalia to accept the marriage proposal with a kiss. Immediately following Ivan’s kiss on Natasha’s hand, the couple restarts their argument over the dogs and Stepan resigned tries to change the subject by calling for champagne to celebrate while decrying this is how they start their union.

The End.

Review:

This is a light hearted skit mocking the over sentimentalisation of marriage proposals alongside the etiquette and behaviour of the the middle classes.


At the start the participates formally address each other using the personal Christian/first name and the patronymic name (based on the name of the individual’s father) indicates how this is a serious proposal but quickly this falls into farce as the arguments arise between the individuals. The equivalent of Mr, Miss, Ms or Mrs were very uncommon and even today tend to be used more often regarding foreigners although it should also be noted the use of the patronymic today is reserved usually for formal occasions while it was more common in use during the past. Later in the piece all sense of etiquette is thrown out as the squabbling takes its place and even after order is restored the personal behaviour of the couple erupts once more over a trivial matter.


You may note how the men in the play are mirrored by the dogs. Ivan is Squeezer who is ‘overstrung’ and Stepan is Guesser who is ‘old and lame’. Natalia speaks dotingly of her dog Squeezer and perhaps this gives an indication of how her marriage will continue in which she will both argue and yet dot on her husband in the future (and it can easily be seen this is how it will go as such a pairing was very commonly portrayed in dramas of the time regarding married couples and you can see reflected in what would become a cliche in televised sitcoms from America focused on a central married couple even today).


If you saw an adaption without Chekhov‘s name attached and with a localised setting would you realise that this is the work a playwright from over a century ago? I doubt it. These character’s archetypes are universal and timeless. If you changed the names to a more local variant you can see them time and time again reflected in later works worldwide. A central male character, usually middle age or reaching it, who over reacts to events around him in situations he has no control over. A woman who is concerned regarding social matters and very argumentative with cutting comments directed towards her partner (which it is fair to comment is a sexist stereotype nowadays). An old man or woman, usually the parent of one of the more prominent characters, passing comment on events and mentioning the past both positively and negatively. These dramatic caricatures repeat as theirs is a simplistic truth pinpointing the faults of society and its nature to confuse the trivial with the sincere within the grander intentions of the people involved.


This is a simple piece and highly entertaining. As I noted earlier it is often performed accompanied by other short pieces by Chekhov and they offer views of society which still hold as true a view of society today as they did during their writing over a century ago. I would highly recommend seeing live performances as there is an energy there which is hard to replicate through recorded versions. I provide the audio book above, which is a fair simple audio performance, so you can experience the dialogue but nothing beats a live performance.


I often want to see adaptions of Chekhov’s works and they are apparently often repeated in repertoires but somehow never seem to be performed near me. I attended the performance of ‘August’, Anthony Hopkins‘ adaption of ‘Uncle Vanya’, when it was premiered at the New Theatre, Cardiff but since then it seems a far rarer thing in South Wales to see the works of Chekhov despite my every care and attention regarding the yearly repertoires in the performing arts of Wales.


People seem intimidated by the works of Russian writers – after all how often do we hear Tolstoy‘s Война и мир (War and Peace) being used as a synonym for ‘immensely long and difficult to read book’? This is due to Tolstoy‘s personal predilection of going into prolonged commentaries about society which pad the book up quite a bit and do not reflect Russian literature at all. The works of Dostoevsky are influenced by Dickens and read just as easily with a focus more on narrative than reflection. The works of Chekhov are expedient, in comparison to previous generations indulgences in the poetics of language, in how concise the dialogue is. The only limit seems, according to a Russian friend,  to be how the Russian productions of these works usually over sentimentalise them, which effects foreign productions perceptions of how to adapt them, when they can be produced in a far more relevant way to today’s audiences.


Yet with this said the BBC‘s recent near cinematic production of ‘War and Peace’ proves even Tolstoy can be translated in an easily understood adaption. Albeit, as is inevitable with many adaptions of literature, some of the aspects are lost for immediacy or because hearing the inner thoughts of a character is a difficult concept to translate without giving them long running monologues or a voice over which takes you out of the scene.


There is a stigma sadly but, once you have dipped your toe into the water and realise how absurd the prejudice is, there is a world of universally recognisable character archetypes in  Russian works.

‘August’ was also made into a film.
 For whatever reason WordPress is refusing to let me space the review part out properly so I used the ‘horizontal line’ tool to break it up and make it a little bit more easy and pleasing to read layout wise.

Real Life Lessons: Is It Better To Be An Introvert Than An Extrovert?

A child should be seen and not heard. Introverts are rarely the first to get culled in times of group conflict.

Today’s real life lessons for little children: You know when the teacher asks the class a question and you don’t put your hand up to volunteer an answer? That’s instinct and it is what ensured the survival of many a species over the course of history. ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’ eliminates the most visible first not those who keep their heads down and who keep their personal agendas to themselves. You can still excel past your peers but you will not be as recognised as others in your lifetime. It has happened many a time in the sciences most notably between Thomas Edison, the extrovert showman of science, and Nikola Tesla who has now become semi-mythologised.

But where in real life history did this apply? Stalin’s purges of course! When he got rid of the best and brightest in Russian society because he considered them a threat to him! Some intelligentsia survived through the sheer instinctive ability to lay low and not promote themselves in such a way that attracted his attention such as the curators at the Hermitage. They protected it’s abstract art collection, which was of course in storage, by citing that none other than Lenin himself had commended the pieces as examples of exemplary art (and thus it was beyond question to consider destroying them in line with the social realism expected of Soviet artwork as Lenin’s opinions were a quasi-deified ‘law’ in the early Soviet society). An extrovert would be unable to do this and ultimately would have ‘disappeared’ under their own power to foreign lands in exile or through government agencies’ enforcement for a sojourn in a Siberian gulag they would never return from.

“But I didn’t come here for lazy generalisation about the Soviet Union” I hear you cry!

Of course not, but it demonstrates a situation where behaviour associated with introversion aided survival albeit via ‘blat’ i.e. blackmarket dealing and knowing the right people in positions of authority (which you could argue required charisma usually associated with the extrovert of society). Ultimately knowing who to trust and not betraying others intentionally, or by having a big mouth, was key to many affiliations. Also it should be said Russians, and perhaps Slavs in general, are not all stony faced xenophobes but, due to their histories, need their trust gained first but then will stick with you through thick and thin. Tough exteriors with a soft centre. Like a particularly luxuriant caramel chocolate bar. Or an egg… yes, they’re good eggs.

Time to do the bullet points as you probably skipped reading the paragraphs…

Introverts will put up with you shit and laugh at your crap jokes – just what everyone wants in a partner though they only ask for world travelling adventurers on dating sites.
• An introvert is not distracted by petty things and can focus on a task. Like a trained army sniper. Like a hypnotised chicken.
They will value interaction. ’SOMEONE’S ACTUALLY SPEAKING TO ME! I DO ACTUALLY EXIST’ they will think.
• Incredibly naïve due to not learning the unwritten, unspoken, ‘rules of society’ at the school of hard knocks/life. Want to borrow something? Sure, of course, no questions asked! Then you need never return the item. Start little by borrowing pens and eventually you will be borrowing cars and squatting in their house, rent free, eating them out of house and home like a loveable little farting gremlin.
People love an underdog. Introverts are underdogs by nature. Eyore is the icon of such in children’s literature. People like Tigger in short bursts but often consider him to be an annoyance. Everything ‘a tigger does best’ turns out to be done badly. People adore Eyore and the house at Pooh Corner was built for him by the others as he was so loved by them despite being a sarcastic and bitter old soul.
If raising an introvert child they will likely not run off and become the subject of news regarding their disappearance. In fact they probably won’t leave your side once their spirit is properly broken and of course due to this they will always fail to have successful relationships as people aspire to partners who improve their station in life which first and foremost requires confidence i.e. extrovert tendencies. Therefore with an introvert child you will have an on hand servant for all occasions for the rest of your life.
They don’t need to be supervised constantly. Stick them in a cupboard for nine months to work and you won’t hear a word of complaint and all the work will be completed anyway without you contacting them once during that entire period. Matilda, Harry Potter, there are many examples of such noble figures in children’s literature they should aspire to be like.
• An introvert, not actively seeking to have their existence validated by others every single moment of the day, will be able to learn new skills quicker if taught properly in a formal situation. If you say jump they don’t ask how high because they already overheard you say what height you desired in a conversation you had earlier in their presence.
• ‘Good Communication Skills’ means that people don’t ignore what you say because you say so little there must some value to it. Except if you say the building is capable of turning into a giant kaiju fighting robot. Then they will either be unsure if you are telling the truth, as you are not one to make general joking banter, or if you are quietly insane and hence there is a reason why people do not speak to you. No the building does transform. It’s the only explaination for it’s design…
An introvert thinks first then speaks. They usually make more constructive points compared to extroverts who adopt a ‘throw everything and see what sticks’ mentality because they ‘work the numbers’. However they will also probably say the boring common sense answers too which an extrovert will have not said as it is obvious and thus admonish them for even wasting their time stating.
An introvert will listen to your problems but there is no onus on you to reciprocate this. Their lives are mostly fantasy in their head, not doing anything actually interesting in the real world as they are so used to sitting in a room alone, so it would be hard to communicate anyway as its all theory. They’re a sounding board for all life’s griefs.
Ultimate team players. Will listen and co-operate with others. Unquestioning cannon-fodder. Yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir! Like dunking a hobnob biscuit they just keep going absorbing more and more and want more still without breaking! Challenges are welcomed not moaned about. More, more, more! Masochists to the end!
• Spend so much time imagining all the variables they are over prepared for many things. Introverts are the real world equivalent of Batman!
Easily fade into the crowd. Super spies are not like James Bond but that person who face and name you can’t remember but you know was there for a long time in the place you used to work at but made absolutely no impression on you. Like Harry Palmer played by Michael Caine in the Ipcress File.
As leaders they are the type to bring out the best in individuals as they consider others views, even if they do not agree, as they want the best outcome… but then they are so poor at self-promotion they will not be a leader without a senior staff member noticing, while the extrovert is vocally announcing each minute task they have completed in order to be praised, or by being the founder of the organisation.
To introverts the happiness of others takes precedent over their own desires. They will not be able to communicate this. It is traditionally the Celtic/Gaulish notion of love i.e. if you truly love something let it go / their happiness makes you happy, even if it is with another/ love is free not something to be locked away / etc. Hence the annoyance from locals when all those padlocks were placed on the Pont de Arts Bridge in Paris by foreign visitors. To the locals it was as if the people who did this completely misunderstood the notion of love. Obviously this means introverts are very lonely people who will wind up caring for their parents in their old age as carers while their peers have gone off having families. End of a blood line but then the world is over populated as it is.
• Introverts will suffer multiple small failures rather than single big failures like extroverts leaping in before they look. Easier to cover up and more forewarning before everything goes to hell.
You can push and push an introvert but be aware: they may be a ticking time bomb and you don’t want to be there when they explode! But most introverts internalise their anger and so will suffer depression long before expressing their anger outwardly. So you probably shouldn’t worry at all. In fact if you hate them just start the snowball rolling and the rest of it will take care of itself. Win/win situation.
Very often the heroes in popular stories are introverts with poor communication skills e.g. Mr Darcy of Pride and Prejudice, many of Clint Eastwood’s spaghetti western roles, protagonists in computer games (although in this case they are supposed to be a ‘blank slate’ the player imprints themselves on) and most other action hero roles. Men of action not empty words.
• Ironically though in real life there is a contrast due to the cliché of ‘he was a quiet man, kept to himself…’ regarding murderers in media reports usually the truth is that the person involved was very socially skilled and highly active in their community thereby gaining peoples’ unquestioning trust which they go on to later betray. The most famous and, in a dark way, ‘successful’ serial killers like Ed Gein or Ted Bundy were highly socially skilled sociopaths not introverts at all but dangerous outsiders in society will always be portrayed as introverts as it goes against the basic nature of Homo Sapiens as a social animal living in co-operative communities.
• They will be prone to sarcasm or constant attempts at humour to express disagreement before stating it bluntly and offending others like an extrovert would.
• More often than not they are likely to have taken the moral lessons learned in childhood and maintained them into adulthood. Stupid things others grow out of like telling the truth, being honest, putting others before yourself or superstitions like not screwing others over otherwise it will come back to you three fold.
Will work to the best of their ability and take personal responsibility for their actions. In fact to such an extent they will be hyper sensitive to any minor criticism and likely offer to commit seppuku (also known as hara-kiri) at a moment’s notice to retain the team’s honour. Paranoia and an ever present dread of criticism will likely only aid in motivating they to provide only the highest level of service.
Will work with anyone. Even the most antisocial and aggressive people without uttering a word of complaint. Again may lead them to internalising and self-destructive behaviour but then there are plenty of other people you can employ to replace them aren’t there?
‘Hell is other people’ – Introverts can and probably will prefer working alone for the most part but having people to speak to will remind them they are disposable and ensure their compliance. You may be lucky and they actually get on with the people they work with. Anyway you play it it’s a win/win situation with introverts.

If your child is extrovert and you would prefer an introvert child then you need to do a few things. First break their will. Sit them in silence at meals. Isolate them from other children to ensure their social skills are those of an adult and so they have a hard time acclimatising with people of their own age and generation for the rest of their lives. If they rebel use excess force. You only have to do it once as it will be like a nuclear deterrent. Everyone saw what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and so the atom bomb only ever had to be used once to make sure everyone knew their place despite and the gesturing nuclear powered nations make towards one another. Occupy the child’s time. Get them after school lessons that ensure not only are they indoctrinated into measuring their live via achievement but also during this time you have a bit of peace and quiet for yourself as they are being baby sat. Don’t do anything deemed ‘child friendly’. They are there to serve you. Go to places that don’t cater to children. Insist on sitting around for long periods of time with no activities for them to do. The boredom will make them use their imagination more and more until it overtakes their social skills and they are like a little pack mule you have trundle along after you though of course, like many mules, if you chose to use your introvert child this way they will likely be for all intent and purposes infertile as they will be unable to form successful relationships so do not expect any grandchildren.


This is a satirical companion piece to my previous ‘be extrovert rather than introvert’ entry. https://ramblingatthebridgehead.wordpress.com/2015/04/13/real-life-lessons-be-extrovert-not-introvert/

Both have their benefits and their problems. Most people exist somewhere in the middle of the spectrum between the two extremes. Isuppose the stereotype is that extrovert are living life to the full while introverts leads a somewhat tragic existance not achieving their potential.

Regarding the ongoing ear ache saga: Keeping a hot water bottle on my ear for hour upon hour until my ear was bright red has done wonders. Not fully overcome the ailment but leaps and bounds beyond where I was yesterday. At least I can sit vertically and use a laptop this evening.

Real Life Lessons: Is It Better To Be An Extrovert Than An Introvert?

A noisy child will always receive more in life than a quiet child. An extrovert is alive while introverts just exist.

Today’s real life lessons for little children: Don’t work hard but make a lot of noise to be noticed even if what you have to say is of no value, even blatantly offensive or anti-social as no one will enforce any complaints procedure beyond mentioning it to you. In fact this is good as you will be able to identify enemies and work towards making their life hell. You are not there to work as a part of a team with others; they are there to have the pleasure of your company as you bring light to their dull lives.

When you finally do a little work, instead of causing trouble, or sitting around as others work as usual or distracting others who need to focus, everyone will praise you and laud your efforts while those who did their work without needing to be bombarded with platitudes will be taken for granted.

• Be dismissive of anyone you know won’t fight back as it’s a win/win situation for you. Introverts are the enemy who can’t fight back.
• Someone noticed for doing a little will always be more valued than someone who works diligently in silence.
• ‘Good communication skills’ are not about giving information in a concise, clear, manner as customer service to internal and external customers but more so that you can win people over to your side or act in such a manner they feel uncomfortable with confronting you or expressing their own views. If they do just ignore them because the only thing that matters is your world view.
• People love sociopathic extroverts and it’s something society believes you should aspire to be in business.
• Don’t be a team player, except as a step towards self-promotion, be a leader instead. If there is someone you don’t like for no good reason just ignore them and make sure to be over the top in your faux friendly behaviour to others going even as far as invading someone’s personal space inappropriately.
• Other people are to be used as tools not to be considered human beings worthy of respect. Be overtly friendly to current co-workers of course but only have pleasantries with former co-workers. If you completely change you job cut all ties with any who do not seem like they will be beneficial down the road.
• It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail. It has been worded differently overtime but it stands the test of time.
An important distinction to make for male and female extroverts: It is fine for a female extrovert to be overly aggressive in tone and manner, even as far as making overt threats, but a male extrovert will be unable to do such things without it being commented on. A male must be passive aggressive using sarcasm and demeaning banter to achieve their goals. If challenged on your conduct ignore the challenge except if it is senior staff. In this situation make exaggerated gestures of weakness and repentance as a wounded gazelle gambit and witness how effective it is. Be as minimally courteous as you can be to the complainant, for a short time, but then return to the old behaviour once the dust has settled. If you are lucky they might even move the complainer somewhere else to give you an easy life. It’s win/win.
• Remember that banter is a great excuse to be abusive towards people you don’t respect. If the other person takes offense it’s because they don’t have a sense of humour not because you crossed a line.
• Pretend to work on the behalf of others but always keep in mind you are the only one that is important. Helping others is something they teach children to make them comply but capitalism is what they endorse once you are of working age. You are important and in constant competition with everyone else.
• If you don’t succeed it is always someone else’s fault remember. You must accept no personal responsibility for failure, only praise for achievement, especially if it was by someone else’s effort.
• Make sure to mark someone out as ‘other’ to people you wish to influence. Nothing unifies people quicker than a common enemy to criticise. Nothing unites people better than a mutually opposed concept personified.
• Happiness can only be achieved if others suffer. Be loud. Be obnoxious. You do not matter unless you make everyone pay for the slightest effort from you. Work smart not hard.
• If your child is introvert then you need to break them of that habit. In the old days they made left handed people write with their right hand because right is literally right. It caused stuttering and other issues in them but at least they could actually contribute to society afterwards. Famously Winston Churchill had a stutter but you would never know it considering he was one of the greatest prime ministers of Great Britain. You ever see ‘The King’s Speech’ ? Same thing: Introverts are less than human and just taking up space good extrovert ‘characters’ deserve. Better to get rid of the lot of them than let them waste precious air. Or ignore them. It makes no difference they are like extras in a movie scene that serve no other purpose.


This is a satirical piece regarding the constant bombardment of over the top characters television keeps presenting us with on reality shows and its influence on society. The people on the programmes are seeking to entertain and so adopt an extravagant persona but are far more calm in real life. However the media influences real life and so there seem to be far more sociopathic people nowadays believing the persona is the norm and that seeking immediate results is something you should expect due to the short term, high gain, talent shows present them with. You don’t have to work hard, just give a good presentation is the message that has stuck.

Everything is facade as if we never learnt anything from the 1980s fixations on such things as ’greed is good’ which ironically was meant to be a social commentary not a paragon of virtue to business men of the time. The concept of hard work or keeping your head down seems a long lost concept to younger generations. Such behaviour is fine during peace time but during times of conflict or regime change these types become liabilities. However in Britain this will never truly come to pass unlike other areas of the world and thus the self-centred and egotistical will thrive.

I don’t agree with these life lessons but it seems they are sadly becoming true nowadays. Hopefully the next generation will be different.

This is meant to be satirical but in hindsight satire and banter are just two sides of the same coin: the former is pseudo-intellectual while the latter is pseudo-wit.

Apparently pouring water into my ear is not advisable though it has soothed the pain tremendously. Just feels a bit like that ‘stuffy head’ sensation you get with a cold although I do feel very tired though. Not that anyone cares. It is all pointless. I will just lie around again today as nothing can be achieved. Another wasted day of life giving others even more of a head start in securing power and respect without earning it with long term effort. It’s better perhaps if I don’t leave the house from now on and let the world get on with it.

A companion piece regarding the advantages of introverts over extroverts is also available: https://ramblingatthebridgehead.wordpress.com/2015/04/15/real-life-lessons-be-introvert-not-extrovert/

The Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race 2015

The Oxford-Cambridge boat race. Big day. The women’s team, for the first time in the history of the event, not only row the same course as the men’s team but also on the same day. This is reported as if some great achievement has been made but it only serves to demonstrate how backwards these elite academic institutions are and how they indoctrinate the best and brightest of each generation into maintaining the old, if now ancient, status quo of conservative mentality. Other events had made such changes for equality decades ago but these icons of prestige now expect to be congratulated and lauded on having finally done this rather than offhandedly informed it was about time so they know their place.

The announcer at one point, after Cambridge’s loss, declares something to the effect that he couldn’t think of anything worse than this loss they have suffered. Cancer. Acknowledging you will never achieve your dreams. Death of a loved one. Witnessing first-hand the decline of someone mentally day after day until no glimmer of hope is left that they will be the person you knew and all you are left with is a stranger you are responsible for. Death of a child you raised. Knowing that you will never belong anywhere no matter how much effort you make. Loss of hope. Racism. War. Ignorance. Elitism. Prejudice. Wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. No there is nothing worse than losing this boat race which in no way affects the careers of the people involved. What they suffered was a momentary tarnishing of pride. The announcer reiterates that they have been studying and exercising. If only we lesser mortals had such dedication to improvement but alas we are but the lesser order concerned with base matters of surviving day to day unaided by the wealth accumulated by our ancestors nor the grants offered by government which often are gone within the first few weeks as students prioritise establishing social connections (which ultimately will serve them far better than their academic achievements) than budgeting and establishing their tuition.

It is mourned that the women’s team has had to make do with a lean-to in which to practise. This is stated over footage of them sat in a row on top-of-the-line rowing machines practising in synchronised motions within the confines of a well-lit, immaculate, gym. Truly there is no humanity that they are forced to train in such inadequate conditions. At such a rate some common person with wooden shovels tied together, just doing the motions of rowing while sat on their council flat floor as the mould clinging to the windows and water stains, brown like diarrhoea, descending the wall may have a chance at competing with them. Neptune, Poseidon, all gods of the waters will you not aid your daughters in their hour of need? Rather than those in true need let us raise alms unto this sisterhood forged in rowing! Let not one moment more pass in which they strain unnecessarily emitting sweat using the obsolete equipment which had led their predecessors onto victory and achievement previously in less enlightened times. Let carbon fibres be formed, let electronic readouts herald their speed and calories burned. But let not the effort of training show upon their brows, for lo, are they not but women? Do they not know their place and now expect to be considered equal unto their menfolk? Truly a lean too is less than inadequate to these goddesses of galoshes, these muses of the mind, these Amazonians of academia! Give them their custom built training resort and let the lesser people of weak flesh rot for only those of perfection in form and figure should be made into living gods cascaded with a cornucopia of offers and made not to suffer the indignity of we lesser beings. No do not entertain that the disabled, the poor, those unfamiliar with the proper order of things need more aid and this allotted money could ease their desperate burden. Nay I say and nay again! Those who excel, even amongst those who already are proving themselves amongst the best of us, should only be given more and more than expected to endure the strain of physical training and suffer the indignity of hard work as might be expected of others when training. Where is the ever present medical staff? Where is the cool chamber so they may train more efficiently? The masseuse? The dietician? The personal assistants? Man cannot live on bread alone and these paragons of virtue cannot be expected to train hard to achieve, as the lesser orders would, but should have every boon money may buy so not an ounce of their effort is wasted.

The captain of the victorious Oxford men’s team ascends the stage. A blonde giant of a man, legs like tree trunks, chest like a barrel, mounts the stage as if it was a step and holds the gigantic trophy as though it were a baby’s feeding cup. Sir Steve Redgrave, 6 foot 4 inches, 36th greatest Briton ever according to the BBC, 5 time gold medal winner, Britain’s greatest Olympian and a rowing demi-god made flesh stands next to this successor of his legacy, cup in hand ready to hand over the reins unto the captain ceremonially. The announcer declares the captain a meek man as he speaks in booming, confident, tones that echo across the river’s waves and can be heard by those upon the other shore without the aid of microphones. As the fountain of champagne his team mates douse him in cascades off his form, the likes of which ancient Greek sculptures would immortalise and poets celebrate, truly there can be no lesser an image of modesty and restraint as he lifts the trophy aloft and casts it carelessly aside to one of his lesser team mates as the midget cox man looks lovingly if not longingly up, from the monolithic shadow drowning him, at his captain’s Herculean visage is framed, in shiloette, by the sun’s light. This is no rowing captain. This is a saint in the flesh whom we should all aspire to be akin to. Including the ill-fitting wellies.


The boat race was a nice event despite my vitriol. It was more about the mindless ramblings of the announcers making out everything was such a great struggle when this boat race is more about friendly completion between the two academic institutions than being a serious sporting event. Everyone seemed to have fun although Cambridge lost they seemed to take it in good their stride. A ‘nice day out’ sort of gentlemanly event. It is just unfortunate that because the BBC were reporting on it for so long prior to the event they ended up having to fill the air time with ill informed rambling and supposition. Inevitably it becomes a lot of didactic rhetoric embellishing any minute piece of known information rather than being able to give concise, enlightening, information in preparation of the event. The competitors are not professional athletes with established, recorded in detail, careers to comment on admittedly so perhaps, as it is a once a year event, they could have discussed the history of the race or some better form of preparation for the announcers to fill the time would have been adviseable rather than rely on them to fill it on their own with small talk. Everyone seemed to have had fun though so overall it was good coverage with all the technical aspects of it being performed exceptionally.


Walked 2 circuits equating to 12 km in one uninterrupted walk. It wasn’t as far as I thought as I hadn’t done it in a while. The air was cold and there was a stiff breeze and so not at all taxing so I should have kept going and just kept doing curcuits all day until I could walk no more. At least I mixed it up a bit and went down one or two alternative, but parallel routes and found some random religious graffiti. I could have easily kept walking but I wanted to see a film. Later I ooked at an online calorie calculator and it seemed as if it was nothing. I couldn’t even afford to have a soft drink according to the calculator…

Watched some films. Watched Saturday night television. Watched some Welsh programmes. Wrote blog. Wrote other things. Read. Had a nap. Went to bed early. Had tried to talk to someone about one or two things but ultimately that was pointless.

I can tell how things will progress now and know who will be awarded what… as the elite of Oxford-Cambridge learn: Work smart not hard. Make sure people notice every little achievement and bit of effort you make. Social skills are far and away more important than merit. We do not living in a meritocracy. Meritocracy was the basis of the Soviet/Communist system and quickly became corrupted within years so that the old order of keeping the elite and the lower classes separate was reinstated. The faces changed but the attitudes remained. It’s just human nature as a social animal.

It hasn’t worked. It is just that way…The darkness encroaches and you are expected to put up and shut up and not be a burden to others. ‘Do unto others as you would have done unto you’ is a lie. Survival of the fittest and most capable of adapting is the only rule that is true. T. S. Eliot, in The Waste Land, considered April to be the cruellest month. Maybe he was right albeit obviously he was talking about post World War 1 where an entire generation had been lost. To see the renewel of things, new life and potential and the abandonment of the old which is soon forgotten. That which is no longer of use to people is cast aside without hesititation. Spring cleaning for both one’s house and life.

Woke up frequently during the night with pain in my ear as the cat watched over me from the window sill pulled by by his paw. Not an infection but something has happened to the external part… Maybe Ican apply heat or cold to amend it I do not know.

My cat goes in and out the window today. He wanted access to the outside but now seems to have quickly grown bored of it. He destroyed his fishing line toy and now brings me the soft toy bird shaped ‘lure’ to throw for him. He is becoming a dog…

I was hoping to do something today but the ear thing has put me off. I may have done another few circuits but I will leave it for tomorrow and just try to not eat more than I need today. I already eat 4 doughnuts this morning so that has already failed… Everyone would be better off with me removed from the equation. All people want is happy stories and to be surrounded by positive people even if they do nothing but speak negatively of others in order to forge an alligiance through shared opposition. So is life. Just accept your lot in life. Don’t aspire. Don’t complain. If you wanted it enough you would put more effort in even if it broke you. Its just how life is…

This was suprisingly long for something I hadn’t planned to write.