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w/e 2020-10-25

I haven’t listened to much music this week, and but so have this, the full theme tune to The Flumps, which is a right old cheerer-upper:

On YouTube

I uploaded that 18 months ago, seeing as I couldn’t find the full version anywhere apart from my iTunes library, and it now has 46,427 views. Every so often I receive notification of a comment posted on the video and, so far, they’ve all been delightful.

When I worked at UpMyStreet a few of us would occasionally set a few of our Dell desktop computers playing this, all out of sync. So much flumpet (or trombone)! 🎺

§ For the past five years or so we’ve had a holiday flat in Walton-on-the-Naze on the Essex coast (before that my parents always had a static caravan there, so I’ve been visiting my whole life). While we lived in London it wasn’t far away and it was easy to go there every couple of weeks for a change of scene. Now we’ve moved to completely the other side of the country it’s less conveniently situated.

So this week was spent: travelling to Walton; sorting and packing belongings; giving away some things via Facebook; disassembling some works of the master craftsmen John Lewis, Warren Evans, Ian Ikea and Terry Habitat; loading a hire van; driving that, the most densely-packed and carefully-tessellated Vauxhall Vivario, back across the country; unloading everything; and then sorting, unpacking, tidying, rearranging, finding homes for, and re-constructing John, Warren, Ian and Terry’s furniture.

I will be glad not to see any cardboard boxes or brown packing tape or bubblewrap for a while. It’ll be nice when we have more time during the day to do things other than pack and unpack and repack and give away, etc, etc. It is tiring, and I’m also sad to have “left” Walton. But I’m not expecting sympathy because I guess we’re now double landlords, as anxious as that makes me, so you can stop playing that tiny violin, thanks. 🎻

§ Do you ever experience those times when all the little worries and doubts that play in the background of life all of a sudden take over everything? Usually they’re like faint static on a slightly-poorly tuned analog radio but then the tuning knob gets knocked and all you can hear is roaring static. A metaphor for the older folks there. Just say that happens to you too, thanks, that helps. It’s not fun is it. Deep breaths.

I used to half-jokingly say my mid-life crisis started when I was still in my 20s and has kept going at a low level ever since. But maybe that was, you know, life, and I’m actually still owed a crisis? 😢🏍🎸

§ This week we watched both series of Ghosts which is fun, silly and pleasant and a nice diversion from everything. A couple inherit a stately home that’s populated by the ghosts of some people who have died there over the centuries, which only the woman in the couple can see.

The BBC’s blurb says it’s “Grown-up comedy from the Horrible Histories team” although there’s not a lot that’s “grown-up” about it and, aside from some allusions to sex, and some drunkeness, it still feels very like a children’s program. All potential rough edges are smoothed off in a slightly over-cautious way.

For example, the up-tight World War II male army captain might be gay – it’s definitely hinted at – but everything that indicates this is also plausibly deniable. Not that this should be something hidden from a kids’ programme anyway. It’s weird.

It’s also a bit odd that none of the ghosts are at all sexist or racist. OK, aside from the disgraced MP (presumably Tory) from the 1990s, who is sexist in a jokey Carry On kind of way, and isn’t quite allowed to be racist: he’s stopped from giving an impression of Nelson Mandela by the rest of the ghosts who realise or know it will be awful.

I’m not quite complaining, because the show is enjoyable but it does feel kind of weird if you stop for even a moment to think about the attitudes these kindly dead buffoons from centuries past would really have. 👻👩🏾‍🦱👨‍❤️‍👨

§ This weekend in wildlife… we were woken on Saturday morning by the snap of a trap in the loft closing on a mouse that had presumably sought shelter from the cold and rain. And today we found another mouse, this one drowned in a dustbin, in the couple of inches of water that had dripped in from the leaky garage roof. 🐁❌🐭❌

§ I hope you had a good week. At least you didn’t drown in a dustbin. I assume.

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  1. That happens to me too.

  2. Regarding sexist/racist characters: I think that is unavoidable in a lot of genre fiction. I belong to an online writing group and this year I've read tales of pirates and knights and steampunk sleuths and all feature gender equality and even key roles for trans characters, to the extent that not only does in not ring true for 1500 or 1700 or 1900, it doesn't even ring true for 2014. But these are the stories people want to read.