In a word: Double

I was watching a TV program and the words ‘double standards’ kept being thrown about with little attention being paid to what it really means.

Like statistics, words can be used in any manner to support or debunk what someone else will call a fact.

Fact, of course, is another word that’s thrown around like a football.

But double standards, what does it really mean?

“a rule or principle which is unfairly applied in different ways to different people or groups”

Put simply, if you own a cat, and I hate cats, I’m likely to say to you I like cats because of who you are and what I might want from you.

It has far more reaching consequences in reality because some of us might profess they regard everyone as being equal ‘in the eyes of the Lord’ but have a very different private view.

Personally, I believe everyone should be treated equally.  The problem is, a great many people around me do not, and it seems that I am slowly becoming a minority in my own country.

How do we rectify this?

I don’t think we can.  Politicians are now running scared in their own constituencies because of the increasingly multicultural population, and cannot be seen to favour one group or another.

Until lobby groups come into play, campaign funding to the politician is discussed, and very subtly, votes are bought.

Does your political representative work on the basis of double standards?

Maybe it’s time to find out before it’s too late, and you too will be living in shanty huts on a reservation.

NANOWRIMO Day Thirteen

Now over the cat and his wake up tactics, food issues, and then walking off with a snooty expression, it might not be, but I’m going with that, it’s time to get to work.

But before that, I’m going to take the time to go over the plan, and taking into account the few side bars that I made a few notes on to come back to, I realise there was a little loss of continuity.

Unfortunately, I’m going to have to rechart the plan in Excel so later when the same thing happens I can quickly move the ’tiles’ around, and this takes a few hours.

Chester drops by to give me a surly look, and wanders off.

Now having sorted the ’tiles’ into order, and added side notes, I’m ready to start again.

Of course, then there’s a problem. I’m writing away, and instead of sticking to the plan, I’m going off on a tangent. That’s the way the story is leading me, pantser style, but it’s only one possibility, so I put that writing aside and go back to the plan.


Not happy, but its written.

Looking for locations: Florence, Italy

Apologies now if I have misspelled any street, piazza or any other names.

The first time we arrived in Florence was by train, from Innsbruck in Austria.  We had been booked into the Hotel Brunelleschi, based on the fact it was built over part of a 12th-century monastery, it was conveniently located, and was a luxury hotel.

We took a taxi, not knowing how far it was, and found it tucked away in a street, via Sant’elisabetta, not far from Florence’s cathedral, the Duomo.  The taxi barely fitted through the streets.  First impressions, it was old, second impression, the room we were given was amazing, with a view over the main street, and wafting up from a food shop below, the aroma of newly baked waffles.  We had to have one.

Words cannot describe how amazing it was to wake up that first morning and look out at the bright sunshine and blue sky.  We were in for a hot day, but that wasn’t going to deter the tourist in us.  Of course, after we had a great breakfast.  I particularly liked the crispy bacon.

The first place on the list to visit was the Piazza del Duomo, where the cathedral is located, and the Porta del Paradiso.  We went into the church, and also did a side trip down into the crypt.  We did not climb to the top of Brunelleschi’s cupola.  We tried the pizza, and hearing that the gelato was very expensive in the main part of the city, ventured further afield and found a gelato vendor that was inexpensive.  As the day was very hot it was a welcome relief.

The Ponte Vecchio, the bridge that crosses the Arno.  We walked to the bridge, taking in the views up and down the river before crossing to the other side, then back towards the Piazza Santa Croce.  On our most recent visit there was a football competition, Calcio Fiorentino, in progress that had taken over the whole Piazza, and during the day there was a parade where all the teams and others dressed in the historic clothing dating back to the 15th century.

The Galleria dell’Accademia was also high on the list of places to visit, and we left the hotel early as we had heard the queues are long to get in.  They were right.  We were at the end of a very, very long queue stretching back to Via delgi Alfani.  We were in the queue for about an hour and a half and it didn’t seem to move very quickly.

Then some people passing by said that we could go to the Museo Di San Marco, and purchase tickets to enter the gallery at a particular time.  We had also read or heard something similar, and, taking a risk we left the queue and went in search.  We found it at the Piazza San Marco, purchased tickets for 13:30 and had time to have lunch before turning up at the entrance for our timeslot, and sure enough, with others who had also purchased tickets, we went in.

Just out of curiosity I went back to the queue to see when the people in front of us were, and they still had an hour before gaining admission.

We saw everything that was recommended, including the famous statue of David, though I had a lot of trouble taking a photo when people kept walking in front.

The Piazza Della Signoria has a large number of statues, including another of David, the Marzocco, the symbol of Florence, Il Perseo, the fountain of Neptune, Poseidon, Perseus with the head of Medusa, and a hall of statues adjacent to the Palazzo Vecchio.

Florence is old, the roads are cobbled and narrow, and there are many trails one can follow and discover something new at the end of every twist and turn.

I have to go back, other than the fact I need a new wallet and belt made from Italian leather.  My wife loves the purses and handbags, also leather, though the scarves have only recently been added to her list of most wanted items.

But, in reality, I want to simply soak up the atmosphere, relax, eat the pasta and drink the endless supply of Moretti’s.

In a word: Happy

“I’m happy to be being here.”

Yes, I actually heard that answer given in a television interview, and thought, at the time, it was a quaint expression.

But in reality, this was a person for whom English was a second language, and that was, quite literally, their translation from their language to English.

Suffice to say, that person was not happy when lost the event she was participating in.

But that particular memory was triggered by another event.

Someone asked me how happy I was.

Happy is another of those words like good, thrown around like a rag doll, used without consequence, or regard for its true meaning.

“After everything that’s happened, you should be the happiest man alive!”

I’m happy.

I should be, to them.

A real friend might also say, “Are you sure, you don’t look happy.”

I hesitate but say, “Sure.  I woke up with a headache,” or some other lame reason.

But, in reality, I’m not ‘happy’.  Convention says that we should be happy if everything is going well.  In my case, it is, to a certain extent, but it is what’s happening within that’s the problem.  We say it because people expect it.

I find there is no use complaining because no one will listen, and definitely, no one likes serial complainers.


But somewhere in all those complaints will be the truth, the one item that is bugging us.

It is a case of whether we are prepared to listen.  Really listen.

And not necessarily take people at their word.


It’s another one of those days

After the cat dragged me out of bed simply because he wanted me to refill the food containers, he did the usual trick of sitting there, watching patiently until I walk off, then goes over to the bowl, sniffs, then walks off.

OK, he didn’t need to wake me up if he was going to do that.

Stern words are spoken but it’s water off a duck’s back (or cat’s back if you like).

I’m annoyed and he’s, well, he’s just a pain in the neck.


Now that I’m up I might as well get some work done.  I think about breakfast, for about a minute, and decide it’s too hard to make toast.  Yes, it’s that kind of morning.


Maybe.  I put the kettle on as a token gesture of doing something, and go out to the writing room.

I’m calling it that for now, because we’re getting into the halfway mark of NaNoWriMo, and it’s proceeding well, which means, of course, that somethings going to happen, and the wheels are going to come off.

I turn on the laptop, and after waiting the usual five minutes, I have the logon screen and no mouse.  It’s been acting erratically for a few days but that’s windows anyway.

So, I have a dead mouse.

Should I give it to Chester to play with?

I change the batteries, usually the problem, but to no avail.

Good thing then we have a few spares because when the granddaughters are over, they are prone to dropping them on the ground and breaking them.  I have a drawer full of dead mice.

One day Chester will be happy, or not.  It’s hard to tell what he’s thinking.

New mouse, wait for it to install, back to work.

Kettle’s boiled, new distraction, might as well get coffee.

Maybe I’ll get back to work later.

Conversations with my cat – 63


This is Chester.  He’s decided to be my personal alarm clock this morning.

It was a two-pronged attack.

First, he jumps from his bed, which, in our room, is a pile of blankets on a massage chair, on to our bed just about where my pillows are, regardless of the fact I might be lying there.

It can be quite disconcerting, as he decided to go for a walk across the back of the bed.

Even more so if he decided to let us know he’s not happy.

Come to think of it, when is he ever happy?

Second, he wanders down the end of the bed and lies down on your feet.  Being a Tonkinese, he’s a lot heavier than he looks.

If you decide to gently ease him off with a few subtle foot movements, he then starts attacking your feet.  This can be a painful exercise in summer if all that covers your feet is a sheet.

So, this morning…

We stayed up late to watch the last four episodes of Jack Ryan series 2.  It’s one of those things where you get hooked, and don’t realise the passing of time.

Consequently this morning I’m tired, and it’s past cat feeding time.

I should know better than to ignore him.

When the first two wake up calls fail, he goes to a third, comes right up in my face and taps me on the shoulder, then lets me know just how unhappy he is with me.

Oh well, sleeping in is over.