Stop asking questions!


“I can’t reason things. Things ease themselves out from amongst the debris.”

Weather: the tail end of Storm of Gareth

Mood: half asleep

Phrase of the day: más loco que un plumero (Spanish) meaning ‘crazier than a feather duster’

I talked a bit about Mike yesterday and I want to talk more today. He’s a lovely guy, a funny, big-hearted granddad with tattoos of all his grand kids’ names on his legs, but he’s also cuckoo and sometimes I struggle to work out the logic of our conversations. Like today, when we were talking about Easter Sunday (we get the Monday off) and the following discussion happened. It was nearly home time and we were sitting in our mess room, the rot and the mouse poo slowly seeping into the soles of our boots. I asked Dan,

‘How do they decide when Easter is?’

Dan: Oh, I don’t know. Ask Mike, he’ll know that.

A wiser person would have looked it up on their phone, but why be wise when there are so many other options?

Me (speaking over my shoulder): Mike?

Mike: I’m right behind you, no need to shout.

Me (confused, I wasn’t shouting): Ah yes. Ok. Mike, how do they decide when Easter is?

Mike (slightly irritated): What do you mean how do they decide? It’s different every year isn’t it?

Me: Yes, so how do they decide?

Mike (becoming indignant): Well, they don’t have to decide, it’s different every year.

Me (not good at letting things go when they don’t make sense): But how do they know when that is?

Mike (proudly): I’ll tell you what, I know the next leap year isn’t going to happen.

Me: What?

Mike: There’s not going to be a leap year next year. Or it might be 2040. It was a question on the Chase! [UK quiz show]

Dan: What, there won’t be a leap year?

Me: Wait minute, I want to know how they decide when Easter is.

Mike (now very annoyed): I don’t understand the question! Easter just changes every year, they don’t need to decide it.

Me (tenacity is the thief of joy): But how do they know when that is?

Mike: Well it’s something to do with astrology, isn’t it?

Dan: Why isn’t there going to be a leap year?

Mike: It was on the Chase! They had this chart.

At this point I gave up. Why didn’t I give up sooner? I often ask myself that question, it may need to be carved on my headstone.

For those who feel they’ve invested too much time in reading that and want some knowledge to take away:

In 325CE it was decided that Easter would be on the first Sunday after the Full Moon occurring on or after the 21st March (the vernal equinox).

Leap years don’t happen in Centennial years not divisible by 400. So there was one in 1600 and 2000, but wasn’t one in 1700, 1800, 1900 and won’t be one in 2100. 2040 will have a leap year.

Do you ever have conversations like the above? I feel like I have them too often.

Anyway, the Metro had a discount coupon for Burger King, so I got a burger. I hate Burger King and now I feel a bit sick. I’m going to have to leave my room and use the kitchen at some point. But not yet, I’m building up to it.



Attack of the killer bumble bees (and my hero failure)


Hellrung’s Law: if you wait, it will go away

Weather: a bit gusty

Mood: full of the joys of vim and vigour

Word of the day: vim – meaning enthusiasm and liveliness

Bumblebees never really stopped this winter.  The dreamy teddy bears of the insect world don’t seem to be bothered by cold. And there was one in our tool shed at work today. Unfortunately my colleague Mike was inside the tool shed at the time. He began screaming, flapping his arms at the bee.

‘It’s attacking me! It’s attacking me!’ he wailed, spinning round and round and stumbling over spades and lawnmowers.

‘Just come out of the shed, it won’t hurt you, the door’s right here,’ I said, encouragingly, tapping at the door like calling a cat. It would have taken four paces to leave the shed, he took five times that many trying to hit the poor, confused bee.

‘Argh! It won’t leave me alone!’

‘Because you keep trying to hit it, just walk out of the shed,’ I said.

‘Argh! It’s going insane!’ he said. Finally, by chance he happened on the door and fell out of the shed with a traumatised expression.

‘Are you ok?’ I asked.

‘Inkbiotic,’ he implored, his voice that of one who has known betrayal, ‘why didn’t you save me?’

He asked me several more times that day. Sometimes he would look at me, then look away shaking his head, I had let him down when he needed me most.

Have you ever had the hero-calling and found yourself to be lacking? Let me know I’m not alone.

Anyway, it’s popcorn for dinner again. How long does it take to get scurvy?

A big, awkward giant


‘I seem to be having a tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle’ Arthur Dent

Weather: storm Gareth turned me into a mud Midas. Everything I touched turned to mud.

Mood: tentatively anxious

Word of the day: oofless – poor and oofy – rich

My new job is sort of like my old job, in that I play with plants all day, but now I work with bigger machinery than before, and much nicer people. Today the rain and wind were let loose, so I spent the morning turning into a mud-monster, and the afternoon driving around looking for dangerous tree limbs. I’d never driven a van before this job, and I was keeping that on the down-low from my boss, but these vans are 3.5 tonnes, which feels HUGE. My old car was smaller than a mini and I’ve never driven anything else, so trying to squeeze through narrow roads lined with Jaguars feels like wearing an Iron Man suit in a climbing frame. As yet I haven’t hit anything. Except for a fence post and my boss didn’t see that, so it doesn’t count. Everyone is being very patient.

At home I’m keeping in my room. There are many people milling about the corridors outside, and they seem friendly, I assume some of them live here. I’m eating popcorn for dinner, I’ve got a carton of juice, hopefully I can hide in my room until they’ve cleared.

I’m back! From outer space!

“When you throw everything up in the air anything becomes possible.”  ― Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses


Weather: sunny with a bitter wind

Mood: happy!

Word of the day: ideolocator – the name for the ‘you are here’ sign.

For anyone who still remembers old inkbiotic, I’m back! How are you all doing? I’ll be taking a wander around to find out in a bit.

I’ve not been here for a while, and I’ve missed the blogosphere and you delightful people who inhabit it.

Part of the reason I’ve been away, is that everything has changed for me in the last six months. I now have a new home, a new job, a new goddamn attitude (actually, I’m lying, the attitude is much the same). I’m still a gardener, but working for a much smaller organisation made up of quirks and oddballs. I’m living in a house with four people I don’t know, two Canadians, an American and another Englander. Everyone seems friendly, but I’m still trying to figure out routines and moods. So all is kind of chaotic at the moment and I’m hoping this will make for entertaining blogs in the weeks to come.

But for now, I’m going to have an explore of the WordPress world. See you soon.

Curmudgeon Avenue and an update


I’ve been a bit absent recently, I’ve been wildly busy dancing with aliens and building underground tunnels ready for when the Earth’s surface turns to fire. Today I have a fever, so I’m taking a break from all of that to introduce to any of you who don’t subscribe to Samantha Henthorn’s blog, a chapter from her just released book, because I thought it was great. I love its energy and strangeness. For some reason I couldn’t get it to reblog, so I’m just going to post an extract with a link. Go and have a look at the whole chapter, plus the new one that’s just  gone up, they’re ace! Or just buy the book, go on! Note: any incoherence in this post is due to the fever, and not due to incompetence, for once.

Curmudgeon Avenue Chapter 10: ‘Todger’ wanted

Things were really not going well in Edith and Edna’s search for a todger. I mean a lodger. Wantha and Toonan were the first of a long line of unsuitable potentials. First, there was the woman Edna was convinced she had seen on the reality eviction programme. Then there was the man Edith thought had a liking to one of the mug-shots of local ‘wanteds’ from the local paper. Then there was the family with all their belongings squashed into checked launderette bags. It took all of Edna’s posh-voice-strength to explain that the room was for single occupancy only. ‘For goodness sake! Please stop unpacking your chattels!’ She had screamed.
Of course, Ricky Ricketts heard on Wantha’s grapevine that his mother had a room up for rent. He appeared in the vestibule of number one, Curmudgeon Avenue on a day where the sky looked like porridge. Skies, of course, do not really look like porridge. Unless we are talking about the sky on one of Edna’s pieces of art, a painting that she painstakingly continued with when she heard Ricky Ricketts’ voice.
‘I need you to transfer two hundred quid into my account, otherwise, I’m gonna be overdrawn. I can’t tell them it’s my mum’s fault can I?’
‘Right… I’ve told you, stop looking over my shoulder when I’m on the internet banking Richard!’ Edith’s shaky little voice was observed by Edna upstairs. She would not come down, she hated her nephew and scolded her sister for being so soft with him. She carried on painting her picture of lumpy sky in cheap acrylic (white paint is most likely to run out first, and Edith had Edna on a strict budget because of the roof don’t forget). Yes the sky painting would not be finished until Ricky had left, exiting with the roof fund transferred into his current account. It was too cold for naked self portrait painting, unless she put the heating on. But that would mean more expense, and more risk of bumping in to her horrible nephew downstairs. Edna continued painting. She opened the skylight out wide to take in inspiration of the outside world of Curmudgeon Avenue, Whitefield on this miserable Saturday. She observed two cars passing each other on the road below. Sliding around like the sausages in a tin of beans and sausages, gliding and almost colliding slowly. Slowly enough for the drivers of each car to glance recognition at one another before speeding off in opposite directions…

Continue reading here

To buy, click here!

Samantha Henthorn copyright 2018.

Curmudgeon Avenue; The Harold and Edith Adventures’ will be released later this year.

Weekly Horrorscope

The most accurate horoscope I have encountered, from The Story Hive…



You woke up today, congrats.  One down, thousand fifty-two to go. You will fall asleep, and wake up in Paris – for a month. Don’t trust a word what the cats say. There is no truth in a cat’s answer.


Yep. That’s a grizzly. Nope, it’s not the Yeti. By the way, those berries you ate half an hour ago, those weren’t huckleberries. Yep. Pretty much.

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Graffiti, art, and the imprint of Gen X

A delightful blog about the artist Keith Haring from canyondreaming, I hope you all enjoy it.


It will be hard not to make this post too personal, but I’ll try.  Keith Haring was an inspiring artist at a time when graffiti was still considered an eyesore and not an art form, a time that I have a lot of nostalgia for. I’m guessing that I might well have run into Keith Haring either on a dance floor (gay clubs were the only ones to play even remotely good dance music in the early 80s, and as Cameo says “we don’t have the time for psychological romance”) or in a mosh pit, and those desperate and proud moments were key formative times for a young suburban kid who wanted to know what all the fuss was about when it came to the energy of the big city and the attitude of contemporary art. That said, I visited Haring’s exhibit (along with Paolo Buggiani‘s work) in Firenze…

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The difference between existing and living

Some interesting thoughts from David Swan here about the difference between living and existing. I could especially relate to the idea of it being better to try and fail, than not try at all, it’s not something that works for everyone, but for me, it’s what I need to do.

Work In Progress

I’ve been musing on these two terms existing and living and with my recent forays into the world of the low paid, I get to understand more about existing. To exist is to just get by. It means holding down a job that you don’t really care that much for and then entertaining yourself with monotonous distractions at the weekend. If you are just existing then no doubt you will want to lose yourself in endless television, junk food, and pointless conversation with friends in similar circumstances.

The importance of these two terms is important to understand so that you can recognise that you are just existing and want to push yourself into the realm of the living. The living take long walks anywhere, and great gulps of air. They relax so much more into the now and take their time with living. They pursue their dreams and don’t let…

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Snowflakes and the Sun

A very funny, and mild-rage inducing post from Calmgrove here…


On March 5th 2018 the so-called newspaper called The Sun made a rare foray into the literary world, only to shoot itself in the foot.

Writers Gary O’Shea and Thea Jacobs quoted a couple of academics who’d suggested — unsurprisingly to anybody who’d read Frankenstein — that the Creature was a victim whose actions could be understood even if not condoned.

According to the journalists (is that the correct description?) students who expressed sympathy for the Creature’s plight were to be dubbed ‘snowflakes’; for anyone not au fait with this term of opprobrium it means anyone who is, frankly, not a rabid gun-toting neoliberal who thinks the poor, the disabled, LGBTI campaigners, women and ethnics have only themselves to blame for being victims.

Sadly, it’s not at all obvious that the writers have read either the 1818 text or the 1831 edition, in which it’s abundantly clear that the Creature…

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