Damp leaves

IMG_0042My yard is constantly under a thick blanket of wet leaves.

Sweeping them up is simply a waste of time, like trying to blow away mist, pointless. I will wait until the trees are totally bare before I start the task. Autumn is in full swing, the nights are drawing in, soon the clocks will go back, the mercury has dropped below 10c and in the UK Parliament has resumed.
Yesterday all sitting MPs received a letter.
In a strange fantasy I see them grouped together in some cloistered hall opening each envelope, giddy as students on exam result day. Some would whoop excitedly as they receive the ok from Sir Thomas Legg, some less fortunate would be walking around dejectedly, smiling bravely as they figure out what they will say to the waiting press pack salivating outside.

The reality, I am sure, is somewhat different but what has really surprised me is their reaction. I could understand such a defiant response had this been the first time the words: parliament, expenses, excess, shameful and duck houses had been used. This comes, as we all know, after a summer of excruciating details and public humiliation for pretty much every MP. If the public were to vote just now on the basis of trust Ann Widdecombe would become our first President.
I think we can all agree, regardless of party loyalty this is a truly frightening proposition.

Yes: You probably did claim for expenses within the rules and did nothing legally wrong.
Yes: Sir Thomas Legg probably did go beyond the remit of his summer job.
Yes: The rules have been changed retrospectively.
Yes: Legally this probably has no weight.
Yes: It is unfair.

Yes: You should just shut the fuck up and pay them.

Trust has been destroyed and petty squabbling over a few thousand pound will do nothing to restore it. Don’t worry, give it a year or two, let the noise die down and normal “good old days” business can resume – remember you can vote for it yourself. Just give us something to believe in please, at this moment there is precious little – daily some brave young man is being blown to bits in Afganistan, the country debt is well beyond record levels and you are arguing about your leaf sweeping bills.

This is one of the few times in recent history that I have found myself being more embarrassed about how my home nation is perceived than my wife and she hails from the great Satan itself – America!

Take a leaf out of my book and pick them up yourself, its much quieter.

Indian Summer

Apparently we are enjoying an Indian Summer.
This is another of those strange expressions in English which must make it a fucking bastard to master for anyone not having used it since birth. I can only think of one Swiss-German equivalent – Warm Duscher (warm washer) – meaning a wimp, literally it means you prefer a warm shower to a cold one. This would be acceptable coming from a well known testosterone-fuelled country such as Korea or Russia but coming from the Swiss it is pretty hard to swallow. I don’t know anyone who prefers cold showers to warm, no one at all. In fact I would go as far to say, that if asked, the 300 Spartans from Thermopylae, after defending Greece from a million or so Persians, would like to luxuriate under a warm shower and thus be considered wimps, that is according to the Swiss.

I am not sure which Indians the phrase refers to, Wikipedia is less than helpful and therefore I would have to conclude it is the Indian Indians (as opposed to, for example, the red ones from North America). Google weather tells me it is currently 32c in Mumbai with humidity over 80% so Indian summer has to be rejected along with warm duschers as pure and simple bollocks. It’s nice but not that nice.

Cameron Leo Shanks was born 6 days ago, a gorgeous bundle of noise and food demands. He is currently sleeping in his pram next to me (yes in the living room) as I drink a beer and prepare for the final feed before bed. His mum is enjoying a well earned 3 hours sleep before the night shift commences. Our house, once the bastion of modernity and style has become soft and fuzzy with rounded edges and smells faintly of milk, and I for one absolutely LOVE it.

Any day now

Our new arrival is due any day now.
Tomorrow to be precise but as our doctor points out this could mean now, tomorrow, the day after, the day after that….etc. It is very clear to me that nature really is still in its embryonic stages (forgive the pun), if it really was up to speed and a modern 21st Century version the doctor would send me a meeting invite in Outlook and 15mins before a reminder would pop up on my screen. I could then arrange work around our bundle of joys arrival and we would make our way to the delivery room safe in the knowledge we still had time. No keeping the mobile phone on high and well, frankly, just waiting. Jen is spending her days keeping busy but having spent the last 25 years working to deadlines and outlook meetings “he will come when he is ready” doesn’t quite hit the mark. The house has never been cleaner, I eat like a king every day and my beer is nicely chilled by the time I arrive home. She is already sick of my questioning and I would assume equally sick of our friends questioning.
One day he will arrive and the house will quite quickly return to its normal state, the quality of my food will reduce (or worse still be prepared by yours truly) and my beer will still be in the crate in the garage when I get home. At some point some clever beardy man will have a eureka moment and find the timeliness gene or cell and add some predictability into the process but until that time I will enjoy this hiatus from normality and continue to live like a king.
For how long?…. only nature knows