Saturday 18 November 2023

Cheers, Mate

Welcome to South Manchester on a dull day when there is drizzle in the air. Winter is approaching and the weather is getting colder. It’s not my favourite time of the year, although I like Christmas of course. 

Next week sees America celebrate Thanksgiving, which is something that is only a thing across the pond. Let’s hope you guys in America have a fun time.

Let’s be silly with questions from Sunday Stealing

1. People I'd like to thank and why

I guess I’d like to thank my mates for still being my mates and, of course, Mrs PM for putting up with me for 25 years.

2. Something I rebelled against as a kid

I was rebellious as a child but verbally rather than actually going out and doing things. I spent a lot of time in detention at school for pointing out to teachers that I disagreed with their opinions on my behaviour. We had prefects at my school and these guys were Sixth Formers who had the power to reprimand us and also punish us in a limited way if we misbehaved, by giving us lines, similar to those written by Bart Simpson during the opening credits of The Simpsons. Things like:

I must not call a prefect a useless tosser; I should respect his authority.

We had to write these over and over again on paper and then deliver them to the prefect, who promptly threw them in the bin.

I refused all the time (usually telling  the prefect that the reason I called him a useless tosser is because he WAS a useless tosser). Of course by refusing to do the lines I would end up being hauled up in front of a teacher and given a detention.

I grew out of this behaviour when I became a Sixth Former myself. Thankfully I was never made a prefect myself – probably because I was such an obnoxious little brat in my earlier years and also it would have been hypocritical.

3. What I need to accomplish before the end of the year

I have a couple of things I need to sort out in the house, mainly the final bits and pieces to finish off the back room in the house. It is 95% complete but we still have to get a few things in the loft and free up some space in our outhouse, which is a weather proof storage space that has effectively been acting a  junk room. 

We have disposed of a lot of stuff but we still need to decide what to do with some bits of it. We have an old empty cupboard upstairs and a chest of draws that we are going to move into their and fill up with stuff to make the room look tidy. It would be nice to get that done before I finish for Christmas.

4. Guilty pleasures right now

I don’t believe in the phrase “guilty pleasure”. If it is a pleasure, why do you have to feel guilty about it? I think the phrase is used for things that you like but feel either guilty or embarrassed about liking. I don’t feel guilty or embarrassed about liking anything at all. 

In terms of music, this may be classed as embarrassing because, as a lover of progressive rock, hard rock and heavy metal, this goes against the grain:

In terms of films, I love the Fast and Furious films, even though they are utterly ridiculous. I have to switch off my brain when watching them but they are a fantastic romp:

5. Local landmarks

There are lots of landmarks in Manchester but I will give you just one: The Town Hall. 

At the moment it is having a lot of work done to it, which will last for another year or two, so it is currently behind a lot of scaffolding and covers and the square in front of it, Albert Square, is behind a huge temporary barrier. 

But here is a photo of it from a couple of years ago:

6. Cause or purpose I deeply believe in

Getting rid of the current lying, incompetent UK government that has turned the UK into a laughing stock. Hopefully this will happen in 2024 when we are due a general election. 

7. Things I never learned to do

I never learned to play the guitar, which is something I kind of regret. It’s too late now but I think learning the piano will be enough because I think there is more scope for creating my own music, perhaps with a synthesiser. It’s not too late to try that.

8. Seasonal traditions I’m always excited for

I like Christmas despite the fact that it is embedded in winter, my least favourite season. Here in the UK, we usually spend the festive period with parties, getting together with family and friends as well as the traditional exchange of gifts. And of course New Year is a massive party too.

It’s a good time of year.

9. Something I’d like to be mentored on

Probably learning Spanish. It would be good to have a Spanish friend who can talk to me in Spanish and correct me when I inevitably screw it up. In Manchester we have a Spanish institute where I could go on a proper course and get involved in cultural activities and also use their library to immerse myself more. I may well go there when I retire to see what I can do.

10. Exotic animals I wish I could keep as pets

I don’t really want to keep an exotic animal as a pet. A big cat cub would be good until the beast grows to the point where it decides to have me for lunch instead of its usual fare. Such creatures are better off in the wild though. I will stick to black cats (not a panther).

11. Something normal to me, that might be odd to others

I talk to my cats as if they are real people. Also, I read that if you make the pitch of your voice higher, they are more likely to respond. I am sure that the neighbours have heard me talking to them and think that I am a crazed lunatic. They haven’t told me but you never know. 

12. The last book I quit reading and why

I tend to stick with books even if they are bad. The only one I can remember giving up was a so-called “psychological thriller” that was not a thriller and bored me to tears. I ploughed on with it until I was about half way through and then just gave it away. It was dreadful. I can’t recall the title or the author. 

13. Right now, I appreciate...

Mrs PM for putting up with me and my weird ways.

14. When “the holiday season” starts for me

Probably about a week into December. Mrs PM will decide when to put up the Christmas decorations and at that point she will start buying mince pies. In Manchester the Christmas Markets are up already and Christmas TV commercials have started in earnest, so you could be forgiven for thinking the holiday season was upon us right now. I can’t bring myself to get into the “festive” spirit in November to be honest. It does seem to get earlier every year,

15. Holiday foods and treats I love the most

I love mince pies and my chocolate consumption goes up in the Christmas period. I don’t know why but we always as a nation decide that trying to double our body weight is a good thing and we end up buying sweets, crisps, chocolate, cakes and all manner of fattening foods. This year, I opened a cupboard in January and found a load of such items that we had left over from Christmas so we had to continue scoffing them in January. Also, I got a lot of chocolate as a gift. Now you know why I abstain from mid-January to mid-December.

16. “Terrible” movies that I actually like

There are a few that have poor ratings on IMDB but I don’t care. As I mentioned above, some of the Fast and Furious movies are classed as “terrible” but I love them. If I like a movie, I like it whether other people think they are terrible or not. 

17. Cooking all day for holiday dinner vs. ordering carry-out

If we are hosting at Christmas, we cook. Usually we start the day before so that on Christmas Day there is less to do. This year we aren’t hosting so that will be good.

18. If I were trapped in a holiday movie, I’d pick...

I don’t really like Christmas movies if I’m honest. I quite like “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” but I wouldn’t want to be part of it. Same goes for “Scrooged”. I would probably reluctantly go for “It’s A Wonderful Life”.

19. Which holiday tradition I wish lasted all year long

People get together and tend to have a good time. It would be nice if that occurred all year round.

20. Favourite books, music, tv, movies and music this month

I’m still reading my sci-fi series about space assassins (it’s a five book series). I’ve read better but I am sticking with it. 

Music? I’m currently into Steven Wilson’s latest album, which contains this excellent song with an equally excellent video:

TV? I’m ploughing through The Wire and The Last Kingdom as well as Ahsoka.

Movies? I’ve not been to the cinema this month but I may venture out to watch Napoleon next weekend. I did revisit Gladiator earlier in the month and also Blade. Both excellent movies.


Bev Sykes said...

#5 - Your town hall is beautiful.

#11 - I talk to my dog too and he responds to several things I say. Like if I say "I have to get up" he will immediately jump off my lap whether I have started to make effort to actually get up.

#14 - around here you can buy Christmas decorations at the same time as you get your Halloween costume!

Roger Owen Green said...

I'm not much into the term "guilty pleasure" either

River said...

There's a bigger laughing stock just over that way a bit.
Your Town Hall is very lovely.

Lisa said...

I just realized that I somehow didn't copy and paste the last few questions. I thought it was unusual that we ended on a random number! I always enjoy reading about your traditions. One that is very similar is the fact that everyone tries to eat a ridiculous amount of food due to parties, family gatherings, etc.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bev,

My cats know their names (although I think they both think "Ziggy" means "food"). CHrsitmas decorations appear in October (usually around my birthday - the 8th).




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Roger,

It should be outlawed or just called a "pleasure".




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

I think the Town Hall will look even better when it is finished.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Lisa,

That's why we all go on a diet in January. It's a bit of a mad minth, December.




CountryDew said...

What a lovely town hall. I think everyone eats more because of the cold weather. It's built into our system to try to store up fat for the cold.

Kwizgiver said...

I know I've had a couple of DNF (did not finish) books this year but I can't recall what they were. Mostly, it was the wrong book at the wrong time.


Donna. W said...

I don't know anyone with pets who doesn't speak to their pets. I have talked to cows and pigs, too, when I had them... although they didn't understand much. Dogs learn lots of words. I think cats do too, but they don't want anybody to know it.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi CD,

You may be right about the food. I do put on weight during winter - especially around Christmas. I am quite active though, so it isn't usually too difficult to keep it under control. I do need to lose a little more though.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Kwizgiver,

The book I failed to finish wasn't the wrong book at the right time; it was just dreadful.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi DOnna,

You are absolutely right. The cats only respond when they are hungry.

They are cute though.