Sunday, 28 November 2021


Welcome to South Manchester on a freezing cold day. I was out and about yesterday and it was bitterly cold and quite unpleasant. Today I am staying in and as I type I can see snow falling outside. It is the first time my two cats have seen snow and I’ve just been watching Ziggy looking up at the sky thinking “What the bloody hell is this stuff coming down?”

In Covid-19 related news, it seems that Omicron is here – the latest variant that has been discovered in South Africa. It is unknown whether this variant is as virulent as Delta, whether the vaccines can cope with it or whether it is as dangerous so the Clown in charge of our country has decreed that we should, as a precaution, now wear masks on public transport and in shops – for the next three weeks or so.

I kind of agree with that but given that we are approaching Christmas and pubs and restaurants will be quite busy, perhaps we should prepare for restrictions to be reintroduced. 

It all depends on what the scientists discover.

It’s a sad fact that Covid-19 hasn’t gone away yet.

Anyway – enough of that dismal way of thinking. Let’s dive into some silly questions from Sunday Stealing

1. What is the craziest, most outrageous thing you want to achieve?

Obviously, I want to travel the world – that is not that crazy – once we rid ourselves of Covid-19 of course. I think that is achievable.

Nevertheless, I’ve been thinking about what I am going to do in retirement, given that Mrs PM will not be retiring for a few years yet (being younger than me). I have come up with a crazy notion that I may or may not achieve. 

Regular readers (if there are any) will know that I can play a trombone (well I could at 16 anyway). This means that I can vaguely read music, so I have decided to try to learn an instrument. A guitar would be the obvious choice but I have had a go before and I think it is quite difficult. 

So I am going to try to learn to play a piano. My thinking is that if I can get my hands on a digital piano, with fully weighted keys, I can start to play – maybe even get lessons. I have tried a piano before and I taught myself to play a little bit of California Girls. Why that song? I have no idea – perhaps it was on the radio at the time. 

Learning a piano will open up a few things, like being able to record myself on a laptop and perhaps get some amazing software that can transform my tinkling into something that is vaguely tuneful, perhaps even transforming the piano sound into something else.

It looks quite exciting – and also quite crazy and vaguely outrageous.

It’s never too late – so I think I will do it.

2. Have your parents influenced what goals you have?

Not really. My dad wanted me to achieve more than he did and so encouraged me to excel at school and end up with a decent career – which I did. My specific goals never came from him though but I have always considered what both my parents would have thought about what I achieve. My mum saw a lot of this as she only died recently – but alas, my dad didn’t. If he is watching I am sure he will be proud.

3. What is a fashion trend you’re glad went away.

I am not a fashionista at all and I don’t really care about fashion or what the latest trends are. I kind of fall into it because I buy clothes that vaguely follow the latest trends.

However, when I was a kid I hated the fashion of the 1970’s – it was utterly ridiculous. I am sure it will return some day – these things tend to reappear – but I hope it doesn’t.

4. What word or saying from the past do you think should come back?

The word “Gadzooks” just popped into my weird head when I read this question. I don’t know where that came from to be honest but it was a word that expressed shock – a kind of strange reaction to something surprising.

I’ve just looked it up and discovered that there was actually a shop called Gadzooks in America.

I just like the word. I may start using it and see how far I get.

5. What do you bring with you everywhere you go?

My glasses and my smartphone. And clothes of course.

6. Is there such a thing as a soul?

I would like to think that souls exist – not for religious reasons (as I am not really religious). I prefer to think of a soul as the life force that keeps our bodies going and when that body fails, your soul is liberated to enjoy a more ethereal existence, watching things from afar.

It’s almost certainly not the case but I guess we will all find out sooner or later.

7. Is there life after death?

Deep following on question there. I don’t know is the honest answer but the romantic dreamer inside me likes to believe that somehow I will live on after my decrepit old body has finally given up the ghost. Whether I become a ghost or a drifting soul, I don’t mind, as long as I can still see what is going on in the world.

Related to this, I read a series of vampiric horror novels by a guy called Brian Lumley called Necroscope, where the main protagonist is a man who can speak to the dead. The idea is that the people carry on existing after they die and continue their work in this after-life environment. So for example, Mozart will still be composing symphonies, Isaac Newton will still be trying to solve elusive mathematical problems and Albert Einstein will be working on his theory of relativity. 

I really like that idea.

8. Do you think there will ever be a third world war?

I hope not but I don’t trust some of the nutters we have had as world leaders in recent times, so sadly I know that it could well happen. I was quite worried when Donald Trump was the American president and we still have people like Putin and Kim Jong-un knocking about. At least in America it is possible to get rid of a nutter, as it is here in the UK. But in places like North Korea, China and Russia this is more difficult. 

9. What smell brings back great memories?

The smell of Chinese food reminds me of all the wonderful times I have spent in Hong Kong.

10. How would you like to be remembered?

I would like to be remembered as somebody who made people laugh and wasn’t a bad person.

11. What kind of music are you into?

My musical taste is quite varied but I tend to focus on progressive rock/metal and ambient music. I love everything from heavy metal, to pop music, to electronic industrial metal, to 1970’s disco, to Indie and symphonic metal. Here are two completely different musical masterpieces that illustrates the range of my taste.

12. What is the biggest surprise of your life?

That I am very close to retiring. I see myself as a young man and I can’t believe that I am really quite old.

13. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I am a sensible chap so it would have to be something that is nutritious and isn’t going to turn me into some kind of weirdo over time (well not a weirder weirdo than the weirdo I am now). It would probably be some form of fruit.

If I weren’t being sensible about it and didn't care about becoming a giant mouse then it would have to be cheese.

14. Where is the most awe-inspiring place you have been?

I have travelled to many varied places around the world and it is truly difficult to pick just one of them. I am going to be really selfish though and name just one – Hong Kong. The entire city is just incredible and I am filled with awe and joy whenever I return there.

15. Describe your life in six words

Happy and very eager to retire.


Donna. W said...

That cat looks like Blue, my gray cat.

The Gal Herself said...

I'm thinking about retirement a lot, too. In years gone by, I lived in terror of layoffs. Now I kinda wish my employer would invite me to go. I'm ready.

I picked a 70s fashion staple, too. It was an ugly time, wasn't it?

Elephant's Child said...

When my father retired he said he didn't know how he had ever found time to go to work. I sneered (mentally) a bit at the time, but how right he was.
On the cheese/fruit conundrum I am with you. I would probably choose a fruit as my final food but would really, really miss cheese. I hope that decision is never forced on me.
A big sigh at Omnicron. I think that mutating fast is part of a viruses duty statement. I do hope this one is not immune to the vaccines.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Donna,

I would be impressed if Blue could play the piano.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Gal Herself,

I too want to be laid off - it isn't going to happen though - it will be me who goes.

Yes - the 70's was not a good decade for fashion.




Kwizgiver said...

I detested the fabric of the 70s--all that polyester is a definite turn-off!

Our 6 words are similar.

Good luck with the piano adventure.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

I just hope that Omicron is benign.

I'm hoping for a busy but enjoyable retirement.




Lisa said...

My husband and I are in the same boat as you and your wife. He has partially retired now - just working a couple of days a week and I still need to work for 3+ years. I actually like my job so that is a good thing.

I'm so upset about Omicron and hope it is not a biggie. We were to travel to Italy and Germany in June of 2020 and the trip was postponed until June of 2022. I will be sad if it cancels again. We did sneak in a trip to Ireland in October and I'm so glad we went then. Tourism had not picked back up so the sites weren't crowded. Masks were required indoors but we didn't have a problem with wearing them.

CountryDew said...

I am hoping the new virus variant is not worse than Delta. I prefer to stay home but I also prefer it to be my choice and not because I live around a bunch of mouth-breathers who don't know how to use a mask.

Apparently I am the most outrageous of the Sunday Stealers. I am pleased you are going to learn the piano. That's a very good beginning.

Bev Sykes said...

I never think about "bringing" glasses with me, since I never take them off my face at all, unless I am going to sleep.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Kwizgiver,

Great minds think alike.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Lisa,

I hope you get to Italy and Germany - you never know. They are both great countries.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi CD,

You are indeed. I would never go to space.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bev,

I have to because I am blind without them. I am Mr Magoo.