31 January 2014

Finishing Friday

A child in danger

One afternoon when I was about six I had wandered alone to the end of our street, further than I was actually allowed and just out of sight of my home. It was not the first time I had strayed too far, but this time a car drew up beside me and a man leaned across from his seat, wound down the passenger door window, smiled at me and said, 'Hello.'

It was said as if I should know him, and I was confused, because I couldn't remember who he was, although he looked friendly.

He reached into the glove compartment and pulled out a big bag of sweets - lovely looking chocolates in bright coloured foil.

'Come in for some chocolates and a nice little drive,' he said, and it sounded like an adult's instruction, not a request.

'Come in for some choccies and I'll take you home. You can give the rest of the bag to your mum.'

I was close to getting in, because I was used to doing what adults told me, and I did step towards the car as he opened the door. But something suggested to me that this wasn't right. I don't remember ever having been told not to take sweets from strangers, or talk to them, but I probably had been. I stepped forward, looked at his toothy smile, then suddenly just said, 'No thanks. I've got to go somewhere.'

And I turned and ran back towards home as fast as I could manage.

I heard the car door slamming shut, very loud, then the noise of the engine coming up behind me. He drove alongside me at the slow pace that was still as fast as I could run. He looked at me as I looked at him, still running, then he slammed the accelerator down and sped away and out of my life.

I suppose it is possible that my young life might have only had an hour or so left to run, had my brain taken a different decision. It surely would not have been a pleasant afternoon whatever happened.

Instead, I was home in a few moments and soon became caught up in some game with my brother.

I didn't tell anyone. I don't know why not. I never have, until now.

Years later, when aged twelve, I had gone to the municipal swimming baths quite late, all alone, just in time for the last session before they closed. The pool was quiet, with only a dozen or so swimmers, and I noticed one of the attendants taking a close interest in my every move. I decided he must be thinking I was a good swimmer, which I wasn't at all, but I was vain and already obsessed with what other people thought of me. So I kept swimming past his chair as fast as I could, which was not very fast, and when he smiled at me I smiled back.

As the session ended and the pool emptied he followed me back to my cubicle, looking over the top of the chest-level door just as I swung it closed.

'You're a good swimmer,' he said, 'but you could be a lot better. Do you want to stay behind for some free lessons? I've coached some boys up to winning medals.'

I was flattered. I said yes. He told me not to get dressed but just to dry myself down and sit and wait.

'Wait until everyone else has gone,' he commanded, 'because I don't want anyone else trying to get my help for free.'

So I waited, and the other cubicles emptied, until there was just one customer left - a woman on the other side of the pool who I could see over the top of her cubicle door. She was brushing her hair as half of the lights went out and the pool looked dark and suddenly rather threatening.

And then I heard a whispered voice that said, 'I've got one. I've got him waiting in there for us. I bet he's got a lovely wee arse.'

It sounded like the attendant, and I was old enough to panic at those words - jumping up from the bench and throwing my clothes on, struggling to tie my shoe laces, when suddenly his head was bending over the door and he was shouting, angrily, 'I told you not to dress!'

'I've got to go,' I wailed, 'I forgot what time it was. My Dad will be waiting outside,' which was a lie.

He glared at me. A frightening evil glare, and then he pulled open the door a little, looked quickly to one side, then banged it closed again really hard.

As he walked away I squeezed out and ran for the exit, and noticed he had another male colleague standing beside him. They seemed to be arguing as I escaped, though I couldn't make out their words.

The woman was just adjusting her hair at a mirror on the poolside wall by then. I think the attendant had noticed her just before he had slammed the cubicle door. And so I made it out into the darkening evening, and home alone on the bus.

I didn't tell anyone. I don't know why not. I never have, until now.

And that worries me now.

30 January 2014

Pale light night

Mice, kids and a very fat lady

In the scruffy tenement block of flats in Leith, scene of the scaffolding pole commotion, two floors up a dark and dirty stairwell there lived the Gordon family who, from what I could ascertain, were essentially constructed out of pies, chips and cheap cola.

There were about six children - I never managed a proper headcount - a greasy fat mother and a skinny wiry man who only ever offered me a grunt, never any conversation. Often he would return home, presumably from work, slam shut his door, and immediately just shout out wildly in anger or outrage. We could hear him all up and down the stairwell, but could never really make out any words, or whether he was shouting at his family, or just screaming at life in general. It was an awesome noise to come from such a skinny little man. But there was never any sign of violence, and just a few moments after all this noise Mrs Gordon would often be seen waddling down the stair and across the road to the chip shop, returning with her big bag of pies, chips and cola.

She called me down to help her with a plumbing emergency one day, and I found a flat with essentially no furniture. Just one big sofa, a television, and various mattresses scattered across largely bare floors. There were a couple of rugs, I think, and various young children peered at me suspiciously, like worried kittens, as I tried to help with a leaking pipe. But it was the mice that struck me most. There were mice scampering about, seemingly fearless, running across the mattresses and bedclothes as if it was their place rather than that of the humans.

I made some comment about them, to which Mrs Gordon replied 'Oh I know. They're terrible. I've almost given up trying to catch them.' Then she added, as if it describing some perfectly normal pest control method, 'I manage to get quite a few of them with the vacuum cleaner, but some of the big ones get stuck in the pipe.'

Oh my goodness. And how did she deal with the poor mice that were stuck and struggling halfway up a vacuum pipe, I wonder?

Then there was the hot Summer with another baby on the way, and Mrs Gordon just grew bigger and bigger. Enormously pregnant. Then came the day when I met her on the stair as she struggled upwards, her huge belly jutting out, making it almost impossible for me to pass.

'Ah well, not long now eh?' I offered, cheerily.

She looked at me and frowned, clearly puzzled, then a wave of understanding seemed to come over her.

'I had my baby five weeks ago,' she said, rather coldly.

And I muttered some embarrassed words and vowed never again to assume that a woman might be pregnant, rather than just very fat.

29 January 2014

Lights from the sky

Walking Wednesday

just after midnight, completely alone

Whatever I am

If I shut one eye and look inwards and sideways with the other one I can see the front side of my nose and the arch of a lower eyebrow curving away to the right, and if I shut that eye and look through the opposite one I can see the other side of my nose and other eyebrow curving away up to the left, although it is not my nose really, nor my lower eyebrows, because I am just a mind trapped behind and inside of these external things that are not really a part of me. I, the real me, am a mind trapped inside a head, a prisoner in a skull, and with no proper understanding of what I really am, although an electrochemical creation of moving particles within a network of nerves might cover it, apparently, without revealing anything, really.

I have control over the movement of arms and hands and so a moment ago I was gently slapping at the sides of the head that contains me. Some people began looking at me as I wrote that. Other minds swivelling their electrochemically linked eyes to observe me, because slapping the sides of my head is not a very appropriate thing to do while sitting alone in a coffee shop with a large latte on the table in front of me... thinking the thoughts from inside this head, this damned big bony head, that I am trapped inside. Dammit. Sometimes I want out...

But anyway I am thinking a regular thought again, about the possible illusion of continuity that a consciousness creates each morning, on awakening, when in reality it is perhaps a completely new awakening into awareness, albeit one provided with unreliable memories of previous awakenings, such that each day is really a new life. And many of these these unique moments of conscious awareness I am remembering are of previous days experienced by people who I may naively claim to also have been me. I am currently recalling yet again an image burned into my mind from, I calculate, the summer of 1956 - the second summer of my existence. I now know it was a time of unusual heat and I must have been lying on my back in the pram, because in my memory I can still see the pebble-dash wall rising high above me, although I didn't know what it was back then. The dark pram canopy, half obscuring my view. The deep blue fifties sky high above, and me lying there looking up and wordlessly thinking 'What the heck is this then?'

If only I had known... Even though I still have no idea, of course.

But... Here I am still moving on, still absorbing new memories, still thinking, for a while at least.

To begin again, possibly, tomorrow morning, whatever I am.

28 January 2014

Treely Tuesday

Long night long ago

Now I am remembering the night of one of my teenage years on this Earth when in classic situation comedy style I was sent scuttling under my girlfriend's bed, naked and in a panic, when her mother's knock came at the door. It was a big old house and my girlfriend was a bold young girl, so she had taken to sneaking me in on occasion after her parents had turned in for the evening.

But on this particular evening the mother decided she needed to sleep in the other bed in her daughter's room, due to the father's rasping cough.

We had about one minute after this announcement at the door to get my clothes and shoes stuffed in beside me, and exchange frantic whispers of a plan to sneak me out from the bottom of the bed once the woman was asleep. She was a formidable, unstable and fiercely religious matriarch, who I thought would possibly take a knife to me if she discovered what I had been doing with her daughter. Just a few days earlier, after a disagreement over religion, she had banished me from her heartland in the home with a fierce, "I'll have no heathens in my kitchen!"

She didn't like me, but she tolerated me. Waiting for me to go away.

And now there I was, all skinny teenage six foot four of me, wedged naked beneath the girl's bed, with just enough space to get in, while the grey-haired woman climbed into the other bed just a very short distance from where I lay. There was no space for me to turn off of my back. No hope for me to struggle into my clothes in such a tight hiding place with barely enough room for my chest to rise and fall as I breathed - keeping it shallow, convinced she would hear. But she didn't hear, apparently, although the thought occurred to me that she might be fully aware that I was there.

But she didn't sleep either. She lay, muttering, turning, sitting up, punching her pillow, turning, muttering, rearranging her bedding, minute after minute, hour by cold, dark hour. And so I lay, unaware of the time, listening to every breath of the old woman. But from the girlfriend above me, who had promised to help me plan some escape, I never heard a sound. Somehow, amazingly, she had fallen asleep. There was some company for me squashed so tightly beneath the bed, however. It was a discarded teddy bear, from the feel of it, lying head down against the corner of the room. In the darkness I felt its head, its eyes, and I lay pondering about how quickly the little girl who must once have tended it so carefully had become the now sleeping girlfriend above a hidden naked boyfriend, alongside her mother, as I waited patiently for the dawn.

Time does its things so fast to us in retrospect, but sometimes so slowly, at the time. And through this night the time for me ran very slow.

Eventually, some light began to appear, and tediously slowly that first glimmer of hope turned into a pale and chilly dawn. The mother wakened, if she had ever really been asleep. The girlfriend too. They chatted. They talked for what seemed a long and pointless time, and I found myself again believing that I had been detected from the very beginning, and was simply being made to wait, and suffer, before being hauled out for a different torture to begin.

But that thought was soon pushed from my mind when the door burst open, and the family dog bounded in. She was a big golden Rhodesian Ridgeback Hound, and I was her great friend, and you don't lie naked under a bed without a Rhodesian Ridgeback Hound detecting you. So there was this dog's big golden friendly face, poking in under the bed at me, licking like crazy at what parts of me her tongue could reach while her tail thrashed against the bedside table. I heard my girlfriend shout some panicked nonsense at the dog, desperate to distract it. And then the girl's arm reached down and pulled the confused hound away from me. If dogs can wonder, then she must surely have wondered what new game this was, with her naked pal.

And still, the mother said nothing. Surely, she must most certainly have detected me by now? But eventually the woman simply rose from her bed and went off to wash, with a sleepy yawn. The girlfriend helped me out from under the bed, and stood guard at the door while I quickly dressed. The family took breakfast in the dining room, allowing me to sneak downstairs, out of the front door, and away, at last, along the cold road to my home and a fine hot bath.

And when I called at the house again, just a couple of days later, the mother was perfectly normal towards me - her usual polite but distant toleration. And it was the same from the father, although I got what seemed an especially frantic welcome from the big friendly Rhodesian Ridgeback Hound, though she was probably disappointed that I had dressed.

The relationship with the girl lasted three years, on and off. There was some talk of marriage, never approved of by the parents. But then the mother's long wait was over, and I was off to other adventures, and out of her life forever.

I noticed the ex-girlfriend's wedding photo in the local newspaper some years after that, with the mother standing very proudly beside her. The bride wore a big wide straw hat. She had always told me that she would be married in a big wide straw hat. But another few years later I heard about the divorce. My moments of sadness at the news were felt most deeply for the mother, actually.

As for the girl... Our eyes met, maybe twenty years later, as she looked out from a passing bus and I wandered along a city pavement. She was gone before either of us could acknowledge recognition, but I saw her head turning towards me as the bus reached a bend and took that fleeting last glimpse away from me.

26 January 2014

Remembering forgotten potatoes

On a bus now, back in Leith quite long ago... the remembered moments never stop, all jumbled together with the new ones that come rushing in, and on that bus there was an old dishevelled man who was looking at a crying baby that was struggling in its mother's arms.

And some women were cooing, and smiling at the baby, as women do. But the man was muttering quietly, and I could hear him as he said, 'Poor bleedin' thing... poor bleedin' thing. I just hope you don't have to suffer like me. Poor thing.'

And the new life quietened, soothed by its mother's attention, while I looked at the man and saw a tear forming in one eye. I realised he was probably drunk, just as he shook his head suddenly in great agitation and wailed out loud, 'Oh... fucking hell! I forgot to get the potatoes! She'll kill me. No fucking potatoes! Fucking, fucking hell!'

And we jostled along in our dirty bus, along the deep canyon of the street and then taking a turn down towards the water, where seagulls wheeled in the sky and some gentle waves hit the harbour wall, and I looked at the baby, then the old man. The baby, then the old man... And I saw my past, my future, and there within me, my present, and I let out a long sad sigh. And I very vividly recall on that bus, as I looked at the baby, the old man, and me in my thirties, that I thought, 'We get a chance of everything, if we survive... A shot at everything, young, teenage, middling, ageing, old... Just one shot at it all...'

And now I am recalling the day, aged sixteen, when I stepped out into a busy street, preoccupied with some thought, and foolishly looking the wrong way for traffic, until a bulky vehicle whisked by me, brushing my clothes and missing my head by a centimetre or so. That could have been it then. So nearly was it then. But it wasn't, and so again, all of us survivors, currently, we move on, never understanding how, or why. Never understanding what is going on. And always wondering...What is out there, around billions of stars? Millions of civilizations? Looking up? Wondering for themselves what is out there? What marvels? What horrors? What dangers, dreams and opportunities? What is out there, around billions of stars experiencing billions of moments? Moments just like mine, and yours, but nothing at all like mine, or yours.

And a drop of rain smacked into the glass of a window just a few feet in front of my face right now, and it was perfectly aligned with my upturned eye and the pale disc of the sun just visible through thin cloud. The solitary raindrop then slid slowly down the pane of glass, gathering some molecules from neighbouring wetness as it went, while losing many other molecules through evaporation. I call it a raindrop, but it was a different thing, a different entity, a subtly different phenomenon every moment of its existence. A simplicity built from ever-changing complexity, and a complexity that is built and powered, I think, from deep simplicity. A mixed up mixture of mystery. Just like me.

Simply Sunday

21 January 2014

The Conversation - 8

"So how have you been feeling today?"

"Quite positive actually."

"You bloody joking?"

"No. I think I've been getting things into a more appropriate perspective and have been remembering that the future can be an opportunity to develop rather than necessarily an abyss of disasters to fear."

"You been on the booze?"

"Nope. Not a drop. And some people offered me praise today and I accepted it at face value rather than wondering what they were scheming."

"Ah, it must be the happy pills then. What ones are you on?"

"Not on any at all. I've just been managing to unload all of my exaggerated troubles off of my back and remember that the past has gone, and it can't be changed anyway, but I may have some ability to shape some of what is yet to come, and it might not all be bad. Some of it might even turn out to be quite good."

"You really are joking me, aren't you?"

"No. I'm just looking forward to tomorrow."

"And feeling quite happy?"

"Reasonably so... Quite content and positive, at least."

"In this world? In this life? In this bleedin' universe? You must be fucking mad!"

"Yes indeed... I think that's the secret isn't it?"

"Ah... Yes... Keep it up lad. You keep it up."

Track back through previous parts of The Conversation here

Sunrise at Broxden

19 January 2014

Sunshine breaks through again

Which gives me one out of five, in relation to the previous post: The Conversation - Part 7. Sufficient for one day, perhaps.

The Conversation - 7





"Eh... Being in green countryside on a warm day."


"With or without a ball to hit..."


"Laughing with friends."


"Maybe over a pint or two."



"Nothing else? Good food? Films? Novels?"

"Oh... Food's okay, I suppose, but more of a requirement than fun for me. Films don't interest me much these days. They're all so crap and fake and implausible. Novels? Well, they're all just made up nonsense mostly..."

"So... Sunshine, sex, greenery, laughing and maybe a pint or two... Is that the sum total of things to be cheerful about for you?"

"It's all that comes to mind right now..."

"What about all the rest of it? The rest of life? All of your existence?"

"Mostly just a chore to be tolerated really..."

"While waiting on the sunshine and sex and greenery and laughing and maybe a pint or two?"

"Yes, and if they all came at the same time that would be worth the wait."

"Have they ever?"

"Eh... Hmm... Let me think... Four of the five have, I think. If I'd had a pint in my hand I would have spilled it..."

"Ah well... Still something to live for eh? Still a challenge out there for you to go for the five star treat."

"Oh... and writing rubbish."

"What about it?"

"I like that too."

Previous parts of The Conversation can be tracked through from here

18 January 2014

Grey Day

One night

It was late one winter night in a flat in Leith when I decided to rise from my bed to investigate the prolonged shouting that had been coming from the top floor balcony, just one flight of stairs above my own. For about ten minutes a drunken male voice had been screaming many foul-mouthed variations on the theme of, 'let me in', while a muffled woman's voice had been reiterating, 'go away', in several foul-mouthed variations also.

Then for a while the stairwell had gone silent, until I heard a loud metallic scraping and a heavy panting slowly ascending the stairs and past my door. I looked out through the thin crack beside my letterbox flap to see an old and dishevelled man staggering slowly upwards, dragging a scaffolding pole behind him. It was a short linking section, maybe six feet long. I reckoned he was too drunk to notice me, so I opened my door as he reached the top floor and I leaned out sideways just enough to look up. I could see him as he began hammering the pole against the first door of the top floor like a battering ram, and he was screaming again.

'Let me in! Let, (bang) me, (bang) in, (bang) you fucking (bang) fucker!'

The final bang was followed by the crash of the pole falling onto the stone stairway. The woman inside began screaming. The old guy lifted up the pole again and resumed his attack on the door. I went back into my flat and headed for the phone, but someone must have beaten me to it because just as I picked up the handset I heard the police siren out on the street below.

The timing of what happened next was exquisite. With my door shut again and my face pressed to the letterbox I heard, and then saw, the two burly policemen running upwards, two steps at a time, but then pausing momentarily on my landing to gasp for breath and for one of them to wail, 'Why does it always have to be the top floor!'

And just as they tackled the first step towards the top floor I caught a glimpse of the drunk old guy, walking quite swiftly downwards. As the policemen approached him he blurted out, 'Thank Christ you're here lads, the buggers are going crazy!'

And just as the policemen rushed on past him I heard the door of the flat directly above me open and the young lad who lived up there shouted out, 'What the fuck are you...?'

But the phrase was never finished as the first policeman must have charged into him, and from the heavy thud above my head it was pretty clear he had knocked the young lad to the floor. Then the jumbled chaos of angry voices began: 'What the fuck are you doing?' 'Oh it's you again sonny is it?' 'What the fuck?' 'Stop struggling! You're under arrest.' 'Me? What the...' 'Shut up! Didn't you get enough of this last week eh?'

Then a scuffle, a few kicks, a punch. A wail. Then a bit of quiet. The jangle and click of handcuffs.

Then I heard, 'You stupid fucking Keystone Cops! I wasn't doing anything. It was the old guy. I was just coming to see what it was all about!'

'Shut up!'

Some more scuffling. The sound of another door opening, then an elderly woman's voice asking, quite calmly, 'What are you arresting him for? It was my old man Jim that was kicking in my door. Where is he? Have you let him go?'

I left my door and walked through my lounge to look out of the window, just in time to see the old guy - Jim I presumed - wandering down the path into the dark parkland across the road.

15 January 2014

The Conversation - 6

"So what happened today?"

"Well when I awakened back into this mystery of consciousness I was depressed."

"Do you have to be so damn wordy all the time?"

"Well I woke up depressed."

"So what did you do about that?"

"I stayed in bed, drifting into and out of the mystery of sleep, pondering the nature of it all and..."

"Yes, yes, yes... So you stayed in bed."


"And did that help?"


"So what did you do then?"

"Remained in bed, depressed."


"Until eventually I dragged myself into a warm bath."

"And did that help?"


"And then?"

"And then I forced myself up, and out..."

"Feeling depressed?"

"Yes, until I found something needing done, and so I started to do it, reluctantly, on the computer, at a desk."


"And then I began to feel better, and quite cheerful, and optimistic even, as I did these things that needed to be done and talked to people and exchanged opinions and ideas about things."

"Did you get a lot done?"

"Quite a lot."

"And now?"

"I feel okay really, but I am fearful of awakening in the morning and feeling depressed."

"And if you do, what will you then do?"

"Stay in bed and be depressed, probably."

"You never learn really, do you?"

"Not really."

"You're a bit of an idiot really, aren't you?"

"Oh yes."

"And do you not have anything cheerful, or funny to say? You're almost making me depressed."

"Ah... Cheerful... Funny... Next time, perhaps."

Previous parts of the conversation can be tracked through from here

Looking back

14 January 2014

To burn or not to burn?

That is the question. Whether 'tis better to leave the path back open, or, in burning it down, to force oneself onward with no hope of retreat? (as Shakespeare didn't say).

The Conversation - 5

"Anyway... It is what it is and we are what we are."

"But did we have to be? Did we have any choice, really? Do we?"

"Oh, there you go again. Stop it."

"Can I?"

"Just stop it.   ...


   ...   Have you stopped at last?"

"I don't know."

"Oh deary, deary, me..."

"Fate, chance or freedom, eh?"

"Or some complex mixture of the three?"

"And to not be, or, instead, to be?"

"We'll see."

"Well, we'll not be... soon enough."

"But some say we we'll be forever..."

"And forever... and forever... with no Amen."

"And if that were so I think that every day I would begin just thinking, oh no, not again."

"And then?"

"The same again... again... again..."


"Worse than death."

"Other than, perhaps, just death again, and death again, and death again..."

"Oh... But no. I'll go... I think."

"You'll go and not think, don't you mean?"

"Ah yes that's true, back to being nothing."

"Where, before, we all have been."

"Well, not been. Just have not been. You can't be nothing."

"No. I suppose not so."


"Oh... I don't know."

"Just go."

"To where?"

"To nowhere."

"Can one to nowhere go, though?"

"I just don't know."


Click here to go back to earlier parts of The Conversation

10 January 2014

The Conversation - 4

"Why do you keep banging on about all the things we don't know?"

"Because we don't know so many things, yet so many people are so certain of so many things."

"Like they know there is a God?"

"Which they don't know."

"Or they know what an electron is?"

"Which they don't know."

"Or they know how life began?"

"Which they don't know."

"Or even where in the universe it began?"

"Which they don't know."

"Or actually anything about what the bulk of the matter and energy in the universe is?"

"Dark matter and dark energy... Which they don't know anything about, really."

"Or the nature of consciousness?"

"Which they don't know."

"Or whether or not we have freewill?"

"Which they don't know."

"But things fall downwards rather than up, don't they?"

"Ah yes, in the absence of intervention."

"And aircraft fly thanks to our knowledge of engineering?"

"Oh yes."

"And they know how to make computers work, don't they?"

"Indeed they do, which totally baffles me... but some people do."

" And anaesthetics are good, aren't they?"

"Oh yes."

"So it's all quite useful then, this science and engineering and medicine?"


"That's a good word."

"Thank you."

"But we don't really know what anything really is, deep down, or why it is there, or how life began, or what a conscious mind is, or whether there is a God, or Gods, or other manner of Interveners or if we are truly free?"

"We should be a bit more humble, eh?"

"But so many people feel they have to adopt a position. They have to have an opinion. They can't bear to just admit that they just don't know."

"And why do you think that is?"

"Because adopting a view, whether right or wrong, may have been a good survival and mental stability strategy throughout evolution, perhaps?"

"Do you think so?"

"I don't know."

Earlier Parts of The Conversation:

"I don't believe it is possible to say anything that has not already been said."

"Oh? How about Bedornywobblespiemajabbits with a squirlytabbletoo?"

"Ah... well I don't believe that it is possible to say anything meaningful that has not already been said, even though the precise words may differ."

"Hmm.... So what should we talk about this year? What should we do?"

"I really don't know."

"Why should we bother?"

"I don't know that too."

"You mean either?"


"Well squirlytabbletoo."

"And squirlytabbletoo to you too."

"There are the those who say that every possible thing always happens and we just experience one possibility, although an almost infinite and ever increasing number of other versions of us experience all the alternatives."

"I know. So they'd say that in some version of reality everyone in my street has just run naked from their doors screaming 'Yumple is a Bumbler'?"

"Some professional quantum physicists would say so."

"And in another version of reality the naked ones are screaming 'Yumple is a Bop'?"

"Serious thinkers do say so, although not in such specific terms..."

"And in other versions of reality the naked nutter neighbours are all saying each of these things but with saucepans on their heads, while at the very same instant in Italy the Pope has just stood up and said 'Stuff this for a game of soldiers I'm going to become a drag queen,' while hopping on his left leg, oh, but on his right leg in yet another version of, eh... reality?"

"They are not joking, these quantum theorists, you know."

"And in another..."

"Yes, yes, I get the idea."

"It's nonsense isn't it?"

"Some clever people would not say so. Professor people."

"Some clever people are mad."

"Perhaps, but in some versions of reality they are considered sane."


3. "So what are you going to do next?"


"Ah... still being silly playing around with the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics are you?"

"Some of me are."

"Oh, just stop it, you're becoming irritating."

"Many of me have stopped it, just not this one."

"Stop it."


"Thank goodness for that. So are you going to keep posting on this blog?"

"Yes and no."

"Stop it!"

"You'll just have to see which version of the universe you end up in, won't you? With me, blogging, or not blogging, blogging rubbish, or blogging quality, blogging... Anyway, as for me, I'll be seeking out the versions of existence where I can find some sort of peace and contentment, that's all."

"You? Which one of you?"

"Now you stop it."

"Well good luck."

"Yes good luck. To us all."

"If luck has anything to do with it."

"Or fate?"

"Or chance?"

"Or freedom?"

"Nobody knows, eh?"

"Nope. Nobody. Not a single one of them."

"Or us."

"Let's sleep now."


January Sky

2 January 2014

The Conversation - 3

"So what are you going to do next?"


"Ah... still being silly playing around with the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics are you?"

"Some of me are."

"Oh, just stop it, you're becoming irritating."

"Many of me have stopped it, just not this one."

"Stop it."


"Thank goodness for that. So are you going to keep posting on this blog?"

"Yes and no."

"Stop it!"

"You'll just have to see which version of the universe you end up in, won't you? With me, blogging, or not blogging, blogging rubbish, or blogging quality, blogging... Anyway, as for me, I'll be seeking out the versions of existence where I can find some sort of peace and contentment, that's all."

"You? Which one of you?"

"Now you stop it."

"Well good luck."

"Yes good luck. To us all."

"If luck has anything to do with it."

"Or fate?"

"Or chance?"

"Or freedom?"

"Nobody knows, eh?"

"Nope. Nobody. Not a single one of them."

"Or us."

"Let's sleep now."


The Conversation - 2

"There are the those who say that every possible thing always happens and we just experience one possibility, although an almost infinite and ever increasing number of other versions of us experience all the alternatives."

"I know. So they'd say that in some version of reality everyone in my street has just run naked from their doors screaming 'Yumple is a Bumbler'?"

"Some professional quantum physicists would say so."

"And in another version of reality the naked ones are screaming 'Yumple is a Bop'?"

"Serious thinkers do say so, although not in such specific terms..."

"And in other versions of reality the naked nutter neighbours are all saying each of these things but with saucepans on their heads, while at the very same instant in Italy the Pope has just stood up and said 'Stuff this for a game of soldiers I'm going to become a drag queen,' while hopping on his left leg, oh, but on his right leg in yet another version of, eh... reality?"

"They are not joking, these quantum theorists, you know."

"And in another..."

"Yes, yes, I get the idea."

"It's nonsense isn't it?"

"Some clever people would not say so. Professor people."

"Some clever people are mad."

"Perhaps, but in some versions of reality they are considered sane."


1 January 2014

The Conversation - 1

"I don't believe it is possible to say anything that has not already been said."

"Oh? How about Bedornywobblespiemajabbits with a squirlytabbletoo?"

"Ah... well I don't believe that it is possible to say anything meaningful that has not already been said, even though the precise words may differ."

"Hmm.... So what should we talk about this year? What should we do?"

"I really don't know."

"Why should we bother?"

"I don't know that too."

"You mean either?"


"Well squirlytabbletoo."

"And squirlytabbletoo to you too."

Poems from The Bubble of Now

I am posting and storing these poems all gathered together here meantime. Please do not reproduce any without full acknowledgement by name and url link.


Ploughing on

From this moment on
in the bubble of now
only the future
can be cut by my plough
The past was all furrowed
and blurrowed and messed
but I'll just blunder forward
and try for the best

Move over, move on

Don't be defined by what you used to be
and the disappointment of what you are not
nor constrained by where you wanted to go
but move on now from what you have got.
The choices you made could be wrong
the path that was travelled not right
but move over, move elsewhere, move on
if a path looks inviting, tonight
The old you can still be abandoned
or some bits be retained, some forgot
The person your history suggests that you are
could well be the person you're not
Today and tomorrow, tomorrow
is all that need bother you now
Take the reins of the way you are thinking
and divert it from bad thoughts, somehow

The Bubble of Now

Trying to live life
in the bubble of now
cut off from the past
and the future somehow
living what is
not what has been
nor fearing things coming
that cannot be seen
Outside of the bubble
find worry, regret
Safe in the bubble
is the best we can get

Delightfully Dismal

It's pouring rain
I've got a cold
With every moment
I'm growing old
The Earth is held
by grim gravity
which deems Spring can't come
until the first Spring day
Things could be better
Things could be worse
Look out and smile?
Look in and curse?
My brain says "dammit"
My mind says "be happy"
This is our planet
and most other ones are crappy

Necessary logic

A hand raised in greeting
then slowly retracted
A shared contemplation...
then gladly distracted
No gain without pain
No life without death
No space for renewal
without constant removal
That necessary logic
is a tough thing to see
when I look in his eyes
and his eyes look at me
But his eyes are a mirror
and seeing them shine
I examine his future
and also see mine

A metaphorical moment

You may declare
that I was only watching football
and having a drink
but it was, I swear
a metaphorical moment
I think
This game
This life
This struggle
This strife
This happy
This sad
This good
This bad

Sunshine on old stone

Something about the warm glow
of sunshine on old stone
Just something about it
like there is about so many simple things
and in this cold north winter land
almost always what the sunshine brings

Digital reality

Something and nothing
is all that you need
one and zero
down a USB lead


Sometimes most important
is the thing that's not there
in the significant pause
or the space on the chair
the gap in the atoms
the sentence not said
the chemical patterns
of a mind that's now dead


Sometimes a man
just has to sit and wait
as time congeals
into a semi-solid state
and shoes are picked
then replaced again
and the faint tick of a clock
strikes his head with pain
The shoes go on
the shoes come off
voices become murmurs
that seem so far off
In a desperate moment
of sad introspection
he looks at a mirror
and captures his reflection
Then eventually her voice
makes him prick up his ears
but, “I'll just try next door”
brings the man close to tears

Gas mask

In my grandmother's attic
aged about five
I found a gas mask
and lifting it to my face
I knew what it was
as I inhaled the smell of rubber
and of fear
and I wondered what it would be like
to hear
the sirens sounding
or the whistle warning
and alone in that attic
I first grasped the reality
that I would die
and as I cast the mask aside
and wandered out and back
to a sunny summer
and a searching mother
I was changed
and deranged
from the innocence of the child
as a warm quiet day
became internally cold and wild

Chemical assistance

Diphenhydramine hydrochloride
has become a new friend
to keep by my bedside
When the mind's full of madness
or thoughts bordering on badness
I can reach for the pill
that makes neurons fall still
It beats being boozy
brings on peaceful snoozy
but take it too much
and my thoughts become woozy
And I have some suspicions
when pondering amorous missions
some are dropped in my water
before I cause too much bother


One tunnel just leads to another
it seems to me these days,
and are they harbouring danger
or shelter in gloomy ways?
And that light I see at the end,
is it trouble or is it my friend?
From tunnel, to tunnel, to tunnel,
until the tunnel at the final bend


Pressing these keys
in just the right order
can make meaningful thoughts
from potential disorder,
can make people laugh,
or make people cry,
and want to live longer
or just want to die,
can make money aplenty
and the firmest of friends,
or spark bitter battles
when a sequence offends,
so where next I wonder
with my flickering digits,
words that will help me
or meaningless fidgets?


Forward or back?
I wonder?
Have I really any choice?
I wonder?
Any choice to wander
or not to wander,
I wonder?

Today's I

My age today
is the only age I will ever be
for today is the only day
that the I of today will ever see
Each day is a life
and each evening I die
it's hard to remember
but I really must try

The morning battle

The voice in my head
get out of bed
The syrupy mind
in a bind
the will couldn't find
Get up
Can't be bothered
Get up
What for?
To live
You'd rather die?
The mental cogs clashed
and crashed
and ground
until at last
I rose
and found
until tomorrow
comes round
The voice in my head
get out of bed
The syrupy mind
in a bind
the will couldn't find
Get up
Can't be bothered
Get up
What for?
To live
You'd rather die?

Fighting age

Fighting bad memories
and thoughts of the future
trying to bind sanity
with thin mental sutures
It's the battle of aging
the struggle for the old
worrying about rust
but still hoping for gold

The Badness

Waking up,
feeling bad
full of every problem
I've ever had
Looking forward
feeling dread
of the journey on
until I'm dead
Looking for positives
finding none...
but then a glimmer
of an internal sun
Sit up.
Feel better,
drain away
Cope and handle
just this day
Do I need a doctor?
Do I need a pill?
Or can I get better
with my own will?
I hate this badness
I hate this mad
This waking up
and feeling sad

It passes

When depression comes
remember it goes
it's here and gone
in ebbs and flows
You feel so awful
it's hard to remember
that a miserable August
could bring a happy September
Or a desperate morning
can be gone by the night
A struggle to get up
then soon feeling alright

Change the Day

I am prone to bouts of gloom
indeed deep depression
that falls over me
like a thick sticky blanket of hopelessness
and yet inside of me there is a little voice
that tries to persuade that if I could only try
I could change the day
and bit by bit cut the bastard blanket away
which is what I think I did, eventually, today
with slimy ribbons still sticking to my head
as I run away
And as for tomorrow ?
Who can say ?


Antidepression is about controlling your thinking
Turning off negatives
that can fast have you sinking
Focusing on positives
about only the day
Living the now
is the simple safe way
Good memories are welcome
the bad ones can rot
Live for the moment
with tight rein on each thought

What if?

What if this is all there is
What if this is "it"?
No hidden mysteries
or extra dimensions
Just us, alone... Oh shit!
No parallel universes
or Gods or aliens
rocks are just rocks
with no mysterious matters
and life short and meaningless
and just for a bit?
Dead, alive, dead again,
nothing then something
with comings and goings
that mean nothing at all?
It's something to think of
a point for our focus
that wet wednesdays and boredom
are about the sum of it all.

A life is an imaginary concept

When reviewing a life becomes daunting
remember it's never about your whole life
It's about living the next few minutes
to find fun and avoid pain or strife
Yesterdays and all your tomorrows...
Don't dream of reviewing that way
Why be swamped by imagined totality,
when 'your life' doesn't exist,
I'd say

Living the day

My life began this morning
for I refuse to accept ''getting old''
Each day is a new beginning
A life with one day to unfold.
Then I die yet again in my sleep
as consciousness dissipates and ends,
to be reborn to a new life tomorrow
for whatever that new life then sends


Awake until 5 am
Lying with mind turning
wondering when
the neurons will rest
and a fevered brain
will sleep again
But awake, awake
until 5 am...
Then gone quite sudden
to return at 8
Not enough sleep
so back off again until late
Then trying to get up
as the head fills with madness
Trying to get up
to drain off the sadness
Awake, awake
trying to say
'get up, get up'
and live the day

Same thought, different day

Thinking about the future?
Remember that man said 'that's mad'
Anything beyond this here minute
is the place where the thoughts make you sad
This tea
this moment
this night
Stay in it and you may be alright

Me on Meaning

What does it all mean?
I was asked early today
My answer is nothing
I heard myself say
Things proceeded without you
before you were here
and will march on relentless
after all you hold dear
I am dying this evening
in the moment called sleep
and dying for good
is just sleep but more deep
If it happens tonight
do you think it will matter?
The wind will still blow
and the rain will still patter
A meaningless cycle
without any deep reason
spinning and spinning
through season and season
While some talk of God
I just find that odd
Big beings there may be
but they won't care about me
Maybe I'm stupid
Maybe I'm wrong
But I won't have to ponder
these issues much longer
A tide is approaching
that will wash us away
try to enjoy its encroaching
and live for the day

The human condition

Oh… Just there…
these past few moments…
my mind was calm
and focussed on now
The past was gone
the future was absent
as both are always
but that's hard to remember somehow
That girl is young
That man is old
That book is open
Its lie is sold
I have a suspicion
as I ponder submission
that frail mental chemistry
is the human condition

Mind Me

I am a Mind
So search within me
What will you find?
What will your science see?
Chemistry, moving, making thinking?
or mystery leaving science just sinking?
Atoms, molecules, ions, all matter
swirling around in nerves that chatter?
A place for freedom?
Some scope for chance?
Or a fine but predetermined dance?
A soul?
A hole…
with nothing in it?
A persisting essence?
Or something made just minute by minute?

Every day

Every day,
in recent time,
I wake,
and feel just fine
Then as I lie
I remember, and I worry...
I have to try
not to recall,
at all,
or just not to lie.

Infernal Internal

It doesn't last
remember that
it doesn't last
Well good
but that's the problem
It doesn't last
Ah yes, I see
but the problem will pass
trust me
I do
but then another one will come
or perhaps another few
I know
Just hang on, hang on
this one and that one will just go too
everything is so soon in the past
don't you know?
I do
That's the problem, see?
What? Things lasting but things passing?
Yes, I know, there's just no pleasing me
Ah, I see
And you are?
Eh… You… Well… Me

Armistice... Fight on...

The 12th day of November 1918
was not what some might allude
as humans fighting humans
actually just continued
and carried on, and on
with some war waging every dawn
Wars are always with us
never gone
And at the going down of the sun
and in the morning
we still fight on

Head Ahead

I am living in the dead times
I sometimes think
the empty in the head times
in black mood sink
with proper living done and gone
standing after end of song
A song that even when sung fully
was never really singing, truly
So looking back to wasted land
then gazing on at paths in sand
lifting feet, lifting head
another song
or quietly dead?
a different way?
A place to sing
another day?
So now, my man
what is the plan?
The plan is yes…
is yes, you can

Writing Rubbish

Writing rubbish
keeps me sane
I've ever been thus
and will never chan…
Poetry, prose
or mixed mush in the middle
If a rhyme is needed
it can always be fiddle…
Maybe I'm crazy
maybe I'm mad
maybe just dreadful
maybe just bad
But cheerful
not tearful
is a good way to be
and writing this rubbish
keeps cheerful in me
I may think better of this
and delete in the morning
that's not a promise
it's just a clear warning
One thing about writing
is don't trust the night
never submit until looked at in light
But rubbish
gets published
That's easy to see
So if others write rubbish
then why not me?

The verdict of a visitor who has seen enough

Spaceship Earth?
A ship of fools
Fools of opinion
from nonsensical schools
What rubbish they speak
What mad belief
What blindness to ignorance
What delusions they seek
No point discussing
or writing or reading
as they anti-evolve
with intelligence receding
I'm done, I'm gone, I've had some fun
I'll find somewhere better
around some other sun

The Torturer

I torture myself with my mind,' he said to me,
as we sat together, waiting.
'Oh, but you are your mind, aren't you?' I asked.
'Oh! You feel that too? Well yes, it's true I torture myself by thinking then.'
'Which is what minds do.'
'And who are you? I don't know you.'
'Neither do I, really,' I smiled.
And he said, 'Sly… That's you,' and he smiled too.
And the clock ticked on above his head,
while he continued with, 'My pills don't work, I think.'
'Ah, pills to stop you thinking, might be the best.'
'My mind just needs a rest,' he told me.
Then his name was called,
and I wished him all the best,
and pondered what had brought me there
and thought, 'just cuts and bruises,
damaged swollen flesh,
is much better than a damaged mind that's desperate for rest.'


I may be you
and you may be me
if our consciousness rises
from the same consciousness sea
and every half aware creature
from dog and cat to platypus
has a mind arising from the same deep thing
as you and me and all of us
your individuality an illusion
like a photon from electric waves
a temporary protrusion
that enlightens
but never stays
So be good to me
and I'll be good to you
because we are the same deep person
held in the same sticky conscious glue


The galaxies are moving outward
it seems
but anything more is guessing
almost dreams
of origins and endings
or in and out eternal wendings
Life has lived a very long time
the fossil record tells us
but tales of origins
and tales of ends
are thinkings too adventurous
We are burning fuels
like wanton fools
and pumping out dioxide
but nobody knows
if our activities pose
a genuine threat of suicide
There may be gods
there may be none
and nothing new beyond our sun
We try to reason
and draw conclusions
but false certainties
are our mad delusions

The Dark Tide

Purpose or purposelessness?
Point or no point at all?
Thoughts that allow appreciation
of why religions were invented
even with chance of truth so small
Blinking in the glare of reality
which really, surely does not care
Having the courage to face inevitability
there's probably nothing for us there
Whether true or false
the fight continues with this thinking
that interrupts
the daily routine
and leaves the spirits sinking
A cup of coffee
time out for a rest
forgetting future and past
just for a while, is best
Then a stubborn smile
a small rekindling of satisfaction
with an invented reason to move on
chasing some illusion
trying to ignore it's just distraction
A frail Venice of some contentedness
now glinting in sudden surprising sun
while still creaking on its sodden shaky stilts
as the dark tide recedes again
and you return to things you still want done

My father in me

When I reached an age that I could remember my father at
everything changed
and from then on I had to measure my life
against that of him…
Am I really the same age as when my father did this?
Am I really the same age as when my father did that?
Am I really the same age as when my father began to look old?
And so, soon to come, when senility took hold?
And each day in the mirror
there he is looking at me
and am I ever so slightly stooping now
as did he?


'He's off with stress, for two months now.'
'Off with stress?' the man returns,
'I'll tell you what stress is…
Stress is standing in a sodden trench, aged 19
and waiting for a whistle's blow
to send you running towards raging guns.'
'Hmm… well yes,' the other one responds,
'but stress is in the head,
and in the head,
in the mind, sometimes
just moving on, though doing nothing,
can be as bad as running into being dead.'
'It's nonsense.'
'It's not.'
'We disagree'
'We do,
and I only hope that one day
stress in the mind does not visit you.'
'Aw stress… Boo hoo…
He needs to pull himself together man,
and you do too.'
'Maybe yes. Maybe no.
Unless you are inside his head,
how can you know?'

Tempus non fugit

Time flies?
Where do the years go?
Is it running faster?
Ach no…
Time is always stuck stopped
at the moment of Now
while things move into Now
and out of Now
If they didn't
forever come and go
Now would be very boring
you know

Moving on

Appreciate the pleasure
we can find amid decay
since we pass our prime
in physical life rather early
Our mind spends a long time
in a beaten-up old machine
but if that still moves and still steers
we can still travel and still dream


Walking alone through the lonely old streets
just me, then a cat that my solitude meets
A pat and a snuggle
a start, a retreat
an owl in the darkness
and a breeze through light sleet
A dark quiet village at the base of a hill
where I wandered while young
and I wander now, still

The Struggle

Why do we agonise over things that no longer exist?
Days that are done and people who are gone?
Why do we worry about things that may never come?
Seeking the dark rather than enjoying brief sun?
There just is today, and today and today...
No tomorrow will arrive, no return to yesterday.
Today and today and today and today...
Why do we struggle to live life that way?

Being an adult

Being an adult
is largely about pretending
that you have grown up
disguising the inner child
with words and bluster
and serious demeanour
while inside still wandering
the roads of fantasy and nonsense
that you used to travel openly
but now making sure that nobody notices
until back home alone
in the darkness
the child returns
to laugh
and cry

I do remember

I do remember
some first coming into consciousness
with a glimmer of
"Oh… what's this here?"
but in pure thought
rather than unlearned words
while lying on a bed
looking out of a very young head
that became this much older one
now wondering about being dead
and still pondering
but now with some fear
"Oh… what's this here?"

That Cloud Again

Yes. It has been here before
The one inside my head
"It can just be personality," a doctor said
While elaborating on my thoughts, I tended to agree
"Your thoughts are true, but best not dwelt upon," said she
"Turn away from reality? Is that what you suggest?"
"Sometimes," she said, "That's for the best."
adding, "Look at me, and what I see?"
Which prompted me to offer that she was much like me
"Perhaps," she said, "But I prefer not to say."
And we smiled
and wished each other "Good Day."


A pattern of thoughts
in a head much like mine
was extinguished last night
at too early a time
A fine person has gone
I think not anywhere
just dissipated and vanished
as into thin air
Others may tell me
to hope for his soul
but my sad contemplation
sees a dark empty hole
For what had a beginning
must too have an end
Not that I know, though
but goodbye my friend

Gone, dammit

Guilt, uselessness, inadequacy
pointlessness wondering why
Anger, hurt and annoyance
looking upwards to see only sky
Another one taken the option
that comes at the end of despair
one evening talking quite sensibly
the next morning no longer there
Hidden mostly by bluster
occasional wounds showing through
never revealing sufficient
until goodbye forever to you

Buildings and Birds

Big buildings built from heavy stones
raised high towards the sky
prove life as much as any bird
that flapping flutters by
All improbable constructions
doomed to crumble or to die

Bloomin' Birthday Boy... Bah...

Fifty-eight circles
around the sun are done
so here we bloomin' go now
on another bloomin' one
I did not ask to take this ride
in life I had no say
just "here you are" and "on you go"
and "do it", day by day
So round and round and round and round
and round and round I spun
sometimes feeling all was lost
and sometimes that I'd won
on fifty-eight bloomin' circles
round a hot and shining sun


I didn't ask my children
if they'd like this journey too
I just eyed up my lady and thought
Oh I fancy you
And thus does bloomin' nature
keep the carousel so busy
with unasked puzzled riders
spinning round and round 'til dizzy 

Sunday School

Here are gathered boys and girls 
and fresh-faced adults too
to tell them to believe in things
they cannot know are true
The atmosphere is innocent
the people seeming nice
but then proceeds abuse of minds
by subtle faith's device
Abused become abusers
as the sinister cycle turns
the brain-washed become brain-washers
and the nonsense onward runs

Stop Thinking

Just stopping thinking is the thing to do
when thinking starts to trouble you
when depression looms and worries gather
and thinking gets you in a lather
Just cease for now
the churning mind and furrowed brow
just wait and face the present only
You will feel better, soon or slowly

The Day Today

Don't think of your life
just think of today
for your life doesn't exist
as a thing, anyway
just the day
then the day
then the day...

CalMac and Me

I would much rather be on a CalMac ferry
heading out on a glittering sea
feeling the wind and watching the headlands
shifting and flowing in mist around me
with gulls circling hopefully, looking for chips
the sound of the engines, that rhythm of ships
the gentlest of heaving in a moderate swell
the old ferry feeling that all is now well

It passes

It passes
it passes
(and then it returns)
The sadness and madness
anxiety burns
The stress and the mess
swilling inside a head
The thought that the next rhyme
is better not said
It passes
it passes
(and then will return)
but it passes, it passes
Remember the sun

Bubbles of Then

Bubbles of Then
all gone, again
The practice of Zen
and the powers of ten
The factors of zero
the fiddling of Nero
The heart of a coward
enclosing a hero?
Meaningless words
or a secret within?
The bubbles are rising
as the new ones begin

I want to hear seagulls

I want to hear seagulls
and the wash of the sea
with the warmth of the sun
on the face outside me
as the sounds and the feelings
touch the mind deep within
letting return of contentment begin

To live like a cat

To live like a cat
knowing only the Now
accepting a pat
with a purr
Catching a bird
with a glance of the eye
and thinking of nothing
but stopping it fly
or stretched in the sun
with the warmth soaking in
unaware of the past
or the days yet to run
Just to live like a cat
knowing only the Now
accepting a pat
with a purr


Ignore the past
begin the future
inheriting what's given
from this day on
making further progress
as made beforehand
Enjoy what's here
forget what's gone

The Delusion Illusion

The power of delusion
is the strongest we've got
believing in things
that simply are not
Convincing a mind
to change without aid
dreaming a dream
then finding it made
Delusion illusion
where nothing is real
except the fine feeling
that delusioners feel
The Force
The Placebo
The Gods
The Power
That sees what's real and while laughing, devours

Our Star

Hydrogen to Helium
that is all
in a big and brilliant ball
Simple, bright
our heat
our light
all that stops the endless night
a different sun
than what was there
when I was young
Going, going, going
Coming, coming
the end of dawn

To be

How the hell would I know
what is going on?
I'm merely made of atoms
singing their own song
or maybe something deeper
but nothing known to me
my place is just to ponder
and simply briefly be

Not today

When the time comes
but the time is not now
When the time comes
it will be dealt with
but how?
When the time comes
I will find a way
but it is not time
not that time today