Saturday, 14 May 2022


Welcome to a warm and sunny afternoon in May. 

Shall we dive into a bunch of silly questions from Sunday Stealing

1. Where do you get your news these days?

Our news channels in the UK are largely unbiased because they have to be. I wish I could say the same for newspapers. There are a few satellite/cable channels that lean towards the left or right but I tend to avoid those.

The channel I usually get my news from is the good old reliable BBC who, to be fair, do approach the news from different perspectives allowing the views from both sides. This is unlike some American channels like Fox News. Obviously I don’t watch Fox news as I am not interested in American politics at all – I just hear about their bias from shows that I watch from there.

As for the BBC, the right wing usually accuse them of having a left bias and the left wing accuse them of being right wing. This is the price they pay for approaching the news in the way that they do.

Personally, I think they are fine.

2. Do you like crab meat? What makes you crabby?

I haven’t had crab meat since I was in Atlanta, Georgia many years ago. I went to a seafood restaurant and got a huge bucket of crab and a weird implement to use to extract the meat from the legs. I had to be shown how to use it. It was lovely I have to say.

What makes me crabby? This cretin:

3. Does freedom mean more choices? Have you ever felt there were too many choices? Elaborate.

Freedom in what sense? As I’ve said before, I don’t think that we are free. We live under the illusion that we are free but when reality bites you will find that you don’t have the freedom described by your government. Certainly some countries have more than others but the bottom line is that we are not that free at all.

I am naturally indecisive and so I hate it when there are too many choices. For example, I recently bought an electric piano and I agonized for weeks about the best one to buy. I am happy with my choice but it took loads of research. Now I am looking for a new 10 inch tablet and the market is flooded with such items so I have to go through the same pain again.

I suppose it’s good to have a lot of choice but there is a limit to my patience.

4. Barbara Millicent Roberts was introduced to the world on March 9, 1959...that's Barbie to most of us. Did you have Barbies as a kid, or did you let your own children play with Barbies? What well known Barbara (living or not) would you most like to meet?

I am a guy so I didn’t have Barbie dolls as a child. I had two sons and they didn’t have Barbie dolls either. 

I know one person called Barbara, someone I used to work with who is now retired. Two guys I used to work with (also retired) have wives called Barbara.  I guess the most famous persons I have heard of called Barbara are Barbara Streisand and Barbara Windsor, so I will say those two ladies would be on my list to meet.

5. What are three things you value most in another person?

I like people who are funny, honest and sincere.

6. How would you define “old.”  At what age is a person old?

I am 59 years old and while cheeky younger people refer to me as “old” I don’t actually feel old at all. My perception of “old” has changed over the years. When I was a kid, I would have thought 30 was old. When I was 20 I though 50 was old. Now I think of 70 as old. 

And really I am old when I think about it as I will be retiring in a few years. Let’s say 65.

7. A place you’ve been that’s “old.”  Tell us something about your visit there.

I have been to lots of old places, like the Palace of Knossos in Greece, the Colosseum in Rome (and the Forum) and the Great Wall of China. The Great Wall of China was the most impressive and there were several things that struck me about it:

First, it is huge. The bit that we saw is the most touristy bit and it was flooded with visitors.

Next, it very old, some parts dating from the 7th century BC. 

Next, it is very steep in places. If you want to walk along it, be prepared to climb some steps and really steep bits.

Finally it isn’t straight. It winds through the countryside sometimes doubling back on itself and I often wondered why they didn’t make it straight.

It is really impressive though. Here are some photos and if you look carefully you can see Mrs PM in one of them.

8. Something you miss about the “good old days.”  When were they?

The good old days were probably the 1980’s and early 1990’s. I miss being young, I miss decent music being in the charts, I miss university life and a general feeling that the future was going to be amazing. I don’t think the future has become quite as brilliant as I anticipated with wars, pandemics, Brexit and all the pain those things are bringing. I am quite happy despite this and looking forward to another time when I feel as positive as I did back then.

9. In what way are you a 'chip off the old block'? Or if you'd rather, in what way is your child a 'chip off the old block'?

I look just like my dad. He died at the young age of 44 but until that moment the resemblance between the two of us was uncanny. In a similar way, that family resemblance has passed down to my two lads who look very similar to me. Myself and my two lads are really close and although we don’t see each other as often as we would like, we still have a lot of fun together.

Mrs PM calls us “the clones”. Judge for yourself:

10. Old fashioned, Old Testament, old timer, same old same old, old glory, good old boy, old wives tale...choose an 'old' phrase that relates to something in your life or the wider world currently and explain.

For the last ten years I have been called a grumpy old git because I have spent a lot of time ranting about all manner of things. This year I decided that I wasn’t going to be grumpy and that I am going to try to be more positive. It is an uphill struggle, believe me, but so far I have managed to take a deep breath and stay silent when watching the news for example. There is so much crap going on at home and in the world at the moment that the need to look for the good things in life is something I want to do. This time last year, for example, when Boris “the clown” Johnson appeared on TV talking utter bollocks I would yell at the TV and hurl all manner of abuse at the clown/scarecrow hybrid. These days I just shake my head and say nothing. Inside I want to scream but I control myself. 

I just want to be an old git.

11. July 5th is National Hawaii Day...have you ever been to Hawaii? Any desire to visit or make a return trip? Pineapple, mango, or guava...what's your pleasure?

No, I haven’t been to Hawaii. Mrs PM has with one of her old jobs. I followed her to Las Vegas but Hawaii was a bit of a stretch given how long it would take to get there and the time I would need to take off work.

I haven’t ruled it out though. If you live in Hawaii you might see me one day.

Pineapple, mango or guava? I prefer pineapple but I love all three of them.

12. Last time you were 'thrown in at the deep end'? Explain.

It’s happened a lot in my job. One example:

I was working in Hong Kong in 1999 and, almost as an afterthought, I was invited to a meeting. The way it was put to me, I was just going for a quick chat with a couple of people. When I turned up, I was confronted by about ten people. The guy who had invited me introduced me than introduced everybody else to me. They were all high level managerial types and I thought to myself “What’s this?”

I found out.

“Dave, we’re concerned about the millennium bug. Can you give us a presentation about your computer system and tell us all where all the risks lie and whether we are going to have an issue on 31st December 1999?”

I had prepared nothing, had no warning and basically had to convince these guys that all hell wasn’t going to break loose come the millennium.

I almost told them to rearrange the meeting to allow me to prepare. Basically I had to describe the system in great detail and convince these guys that the system would be fine. It took me about two hours and I have to admit that I winged it a little bit. Every time I uttered a sentence it was “Will the bug affect that?” 

“No,” I said. I probably used that word several hundred times in those two hours. 

At the end I discovered that some big manager had started panicking and called for several such meetings immediately. And when told to jump his subordinates jumped, giving people no time to actually sort themselves out. 

In the end, as I predicted, nothing happened with the Millennium Bug. The truth is that as software engineers we had been preparing for it for at least ten years. I found it hilarious when people were convinced that aircraft would fall out of the sky or that your toaster would either start attacking you or explode. 

They all thought that this would happen:

13. Sun, sea, sand, salt...your favourite when it comes to summer?

It’s good to get outside in the sun (as I will be this afternoon). I also like travelling and we are off to Belgium, Spain and Greece this year. Spain and Greece in particular will be fantastic and I can’t wait.

14. Bury your head in the sand, the sands of time, draw a line in the sand, pound sand, shifting sands...pick one and tell us how the phrase currently relates to your life in some way.

Shifting sands I guess. Recent things like the pandemic, Putin’s crazy war and Brexit have meant that odd things have happened and continue to happen worldwide. Also, winding down to retirement means more changes in my life. The next few years are going to be – well interesting to say the least.

15. On a scale of 1-10 (1 = make your own rules and 10=like a warden), how strict were your parents? If you're a parent where on the scale do you land? 

My dad was a lot less strict that my mum. I think my dad wanted us to thrive as kids and, quite rightly in my opinion, he used to encourage us to do stuff. Sadly a lot of the time he deferred to my mum and she was strict and put paid to any ideas we had. 

I think she did it out of love because she was terrified that things may happen to us as a consequence. But it could be frustrating and caused a couple of arguments as I tried to rebel against her wishes – which probably explains the rebellious side of me that surfaced between the ages of about 11 and 18. 

It was only when I grew taller than her that I started ignoring her and laughing when she scolded me, which led to a few fallings out. 

When my dad died, though, things changed and my mum and I became a lot closer.

So on a scale of 1 to 10, my dad was probably a 4 and my mum an 8 giving an average of 6.


Bev Sykes said...

70 is old, huh? I think I'll go back to sleep now, waiting for my 80th birthday in a few months!

Great pictures of the Great Wall. I didn't go nearly that far, but I can say at least that I walked on it. You should get yourself to Orkney if you want to see things REALLY old.

Lori said...

I found myself saying "yes, yes, yes" as I read your answers! I love #1. I wish our news was unbiased. I have a hard time watching it.
I agree with you on #3 also and #6...I will just let you read my answer to that one...hahahaha.
In love all of your pictures and yes, your boys do look just like you! My son looks like my husband also.
The year 2000. I have to admit, I was not that worried about it. We lived without computers before, and I figured you tech people had it handled. Loved your answers! Have a nice day!

Lisa said...

oh my goodness - your sons looks just like you!!! I enjoyed your answers.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bev,

WHo knows what "old" is? I think I am old and I'm 59, like I said. I chose 65 because that (used to be) the UK retirement age. That's all up in the air now of course!




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Lori,

There are biased news channels in the UK - I just don't watch them because they annoy me.

Y2K was funny and I had to explain why we would be okay many times - but a lot of people weren't convinced that a potential issue with time would not turn your lawnmower into a psychopath.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Lisa,

A mate of mine met my eldest lad and said "No doubt who's son THAT is."




CountryDew said...

I remember all the bruhaha about 2000 and what would happen. And the nothing did. I never thought it would, either, and I'm no computer genius. It seemed an absurd thing to be concerned about. Great answers.

Kwizgiver said...

I agree with Mrs. PM about that resemblance!

I loved Belgium. I loved Spain. I have never been to Greece, but I would love it.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi CD,

It's always the same with things like the Millennium Bug; people believe everything they read no matter how absurd it is. I knew we would be fine.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Kwizgiver,

Yes - so do I. Clones united.

Greece is beautiful - especially Santorini.




Roger Owen Green said...

Oh, no, I'll be old next year. When I got married in 1999, it was CLEAR in a photo that I was my father's son.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Roger,

Don't worry, mate. I'm old NOW even though I say I'm not.